Destined for Merrimack
A native of the Boston area and the fourth of six children, Lee Slattery ’81 attended a small Catholic school from kindergarten through 12th grade. Like her siblings before her, it was expected that she too would go to college. Her father went to Brown University and served in the army. Her mother went to Manhattanville and returned to work as a CPA when Lee’s youngest brother was in high school. When it came time for Lee to choose a college, she already had a place in mind. “I had been to Merrimack to visit friends a few times before and I liked the vibe from the moment I stepped on campus,” she said. “You know the first time you set foot onto a campus or into a company whether you can picture yourself there.” That’s how it was with Merrimack.
Coming from a school with just 31 students in her graduating class, Lee was drawn in by the warm community at Merrimack. While at Merrimack, Lee had the late Dr. McLaughlin as her psychology professor and mentor, and he had an indelible impact on her. “He was such a wonderful man and a great teacher who helped me with balance and studying.” Inspired by Dr. McLaughlin, Lee chose to major in sociology and psychology. “I realized that I liked studying people, which is what led me to sales. I knew I didn’t want to be sitting in some office writing memos. I was much better at forming relationships.”
Dedicated to Women’s Athletics
At Merrimack, Lee played on the tennis team, but she also loved all the social events—from Homecoming and football games to hockey games. When President Hopey made the commitment to expand women’s athletics, Lee was on the committee to change things. An athlete herself, she was always an advocate for women’s sports. “I would have loved to have played on the golf team, or run track. I’m jealous of all the athletic opportunities young women have now, but it’s exciting to see the two rinks and the locker rooms at Merrimack.”
Move to New York
After graduating one of Lee’s friends from Merrimack told her she had found an apartment in New York City and needed a roommate. “I moved there without a job,” Lee said, and ended up taking a sales position at Rodale Press. She also enrolled in an advertising class at NYU to get a better understanding of the business and the language. Rodale Press had started Organic Gardening Magazine and was focused on healthy eating, long before it was the norm. “Bob Rodale was way ahead of his time,” said Lee. At Rodale Press Lee sold ad pages, which evolved to selling events, sampling ideas, and brands themselves.
A Donor for Life
Today, 34 years later, Lee is still in Manhattan where she is Vice President & Publisher, Family Circle Brand at Meredith Corporation. With many fond memories of Merrimack she has given generously to the school over the years. She recently supported the Together for Good Campaign with a gift to support the redevelopment of the athletics district. She also plans to include Merrimack in her estate plan. “I adored the four years I spent at Merrimack. I came away with the best friends that anyone could ever ask for and I was in a community where people truly cared about you. I wasn’t just a student paying tuition.”
Over the years Lee has seen how much the school has grown. “I really believe in President
Hopey and his team. I’ve watched him handle potentially chaotic situations with such grace and hire talented people around him. That’s what a good leader does. The school has grown in the right way with the right people under his leadership.”
Adds Lee, “Community is still very much a part of the vocabulary at Merrimack. The best part of our board meetings is when the students share their experiences with us. There’s not a minute that goes by when they don’t talk about a professor who has impacted their life. There’s a sense of caring for the students with plenty of help from Dr. Hopey’s entire team. And he’s always right there, front and center.”