Giving Thanks at Merrimack’s Christmas Celebration

More than 100 members of the Merrimack community joined President Christopher E. Hopey, Ph.D. and his wife Cheryl Lucas at a private gathering prior to the annual Christmas Celebration at Boston's Four Seasons Hotel on Dec. 1. Members of the Board of Trustees, the College Leadership Council, the Together for Good Campaign Committee, faculty and staff enjoyed a short program, which included an invocation from Father Gary McCloskey, O.S.A., featured speaker Andrea Rego '18 and Hopey.


After a brief introduction from Sara Brazda, senior vice president for development and alumni relations, Rego, a biology major with a minor in chemistry and a varsity soccer player, shared her special Merrimack journey.

“I was fortunate enough to get a scholarship through the Women’s Soccer Program that made my dream of attending Merrimack a reality,” said Rego, who played four seasons of soccer and was team captain this past season. She described the support and community that existed both on her team and throughout the Merrimack Athletics program, saying, “From the athletic director all the way down to the student training staff, everyone has had a positive impact on my Merrimack career.”

With a long-term goal of being a physician’s assistant, Rego said her Merrimack education had been challenging and rewarding. “The tools and instruments Merrimack provides take learning outside of the classroom to the highest level,” she said. “For example, in organic chemistry we can use the infrared spectroscopy to get a closer look at what molecules we are working with in the lab.” Rego also described how rewarding it was to conduct research with Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Jimmy Franco.

In January, Rego will begin working as a nursing assistant at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center in Burlington, Mass. She credits the O’Brien Center for Career Development for giving her the necessary help and confidence to pursue and secure this position. The O’Brien Center also paired her with an alumni mentor who is currently studying to be a physician’s assistant at a college in Virginia. “Without the mentor program at the O’Brien Center, I wouldn’t have been able to build such a great network,” said Rego. “I hope one day when I am a physician’s assistant, I will participate in the mentor program and this time I will be the mentor—making this gift of service come full circle.”

Rego thanked the guests in attendance for their support and generosity on behalf of past, present and future students, “for making Merrimack College a place we can always call home.”

Hopey followed and thanked guests for joining him and his wife for the evening. “It’s a privilege for me to be the president of Merrimack College, especially at this time in the College’s history,” he said.

“This is another great year at Merrimack,” said Hopey. “Merrimack continues its amazing ascent. I’m pleased to share that this year’s freshman class was the second largest in the College’s history.” He also said the College was on track to soon be a Division I-ranked school before heralding the good news of recent Together for Good Campaign gifts, including the naming gift of Crowe Hall in recognition of a pacesetting gift from Board Chairman Michael Crowe ’92, P’17, H’17 and his wife Kerridan Crowe P’17. He also thanked Christine ’75 and James Zampell ’75, for generously funding The Zampell Family Faculty Fellowship, which offers professional development opportunities to Merrimack’s faculty in the form of grants to pursue research, writing, conferences, special equipment and opportunities to grow student collaborations and research.

“And today was an historic day in the life of our College,” said Hopey, “Through the generosity of the Arcidi family, with whom Merrimack has benefitted from three generations of support, we broke ground on the Alfred L. Arcidi Welcome Center. This new, state-of-the-art, 16,000-square-foot building will be located along the Elm Street entrance. And when it’s complete in the fall of 2018, the Arcidi Center will house the Welcome Center and O’Brien Center for Career Development — and serve as home base for admissions tours, corporate and employer visits. It will essentially become the new front door for our campus.”

Citing further campaign news, Hopey said, “I’m so happy to share that as of this moment our Together for Good Campaign has raised $46 million toward our $50 million goal.” After enthusiastic applause, Hopey called for a Christmas toast. “And so for all of these good reasons please join me in raising a glass for our wonderful Merrimack community,” he said, “Where our best lies ahead.”

The festivities continued into the evening with more than 950 alumni, parents and friends in attendance for the Christmas Celebration.


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