Making an Impact on Student Lives

Liz Kemp Wiza ’85 has long been inspired by Merrimack’s deep connection to the Lawrence community.
Liz Kemp Wiza in front of the MC statue on campus

“You want to give back because you know it has a direct impact on students’ lives.”

Liz Kemp Wiza ’85 has long been inspired by Merrimack’s deep connection to the Lawrence community—and has continued to support students from the city that played such a meaningful role in her life.

During her time as a student at the College, Liz discovered a passion for psychology. After working through an academically challenging freshman year, Liz dove into her psychology studies and ended up forming a close-knit community with her fellow students and faculty members. She and her classmates even helped to establish Merrimack’s own chapter of Psi Chi—the International Honor Society in Psychology—which still exists at the College today.

“During my sophomore year I began to take more psychology courses, and I fell in love with the field. It was truly the professors and the psychology department that made all the difference in my experience. When you find professors that inspire you and are excellent teachers, it changes everything,” she shares.

In addition to her studies, Liz spent a great deal of time volunteering for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America in Lawrence, where she had the opportunity to mentor a nine-year-old girl from Lawrence. She recalls fond memories of spending time with her “little sister” doing activities like arts and crafts, playing board games and going to the movies.

After graduation, Liz continued to work with Lawrence community members and secured her first job as a mental health counselor at the Greater Lawrence Mental Health Center, where she managed several crisis hotlines and was responsible for triaging the needs of clients.

Both of these experiences had a profound impact on Liz, and she credits her Merrimack education and the mentorship of its faculty members with helping her develop the skills she needed to succeed in these roles.

Liz eventually transitioned to a successful career in recruiting, and now dedicates her time to volunteer positions with several organizations, including her local public school district, animal shelter and the Plymouth Area Coalition for the Homeless.

Over the years, Liz regularly donated to The Merrimack Fund to support the College’s area of greatest need. However, when she learned about Merrimack’s Pioneer Scholars program—a program which annually offers up to ten students from Lawrence a full scholarship to Merrimack Collegeshe knew she had found an area of support that spoke to her heart.

Watching on her television from home, she remembers the moment when then-Governor Charlie Baker recognized the Pioneer Scholars during his 2020 State of the Commonwealth Address. She felt an immense sense of pride seeing these students publicly recognized for their hard work, which even further cemented her decision to direct philanthropic support to the program.

Liz decided that making a planned gift from her estate would enable her to have the greatest impact on the Pioneer Scholars. When her planned gift is realized, it will help ensure the program can continue to impact the lives of students from Lawrence for years to come. In addition to her planned gift, Liz also makes a generous annual donation to the program.

She shares, “Merrimack is such a special school, and it makes you want to give back because you know it has a direct impact on students’ lives.”

Join Liz and help put a Merrimack education within reach of deserving students, and change lives in the process. Learn more about the many ways you can give by contacting the Office of Development and Alumni Relations at


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