Merrimack College Shows its Gratitude

The College’s Evening of Gratitude returned for the first time since 2019 and celebrated donors and supporters whose gifts have fundamentally altered the trajectory of the institution in a positive and impactful way. Additionally, Dr. Joseph Kelley, professor of religious and theological studies, received the Merrimack College Saint Augustine Medal.
Collage featuring Joeseph Kelley, President Christopher E. Hopey, Ph.D., and a group photo of trustees, donors and friends of the College.
At this year’s Evening of Gratitude, President Christopher E. Hopey, Ph.D., (top right) awarded Joeseph Kelley (top left) the Merrimack College Saint Augustine Medal. Also, trustees, donors and friends of the College (bottom) were recognized for their efforts to support the College.

From generous donations to nearly five decades of dedicated service, several members of the Merrimack community were honored at the 2023 Evening of Gratitude for their roles in helping the College achieve its transformative success.

More than 300 people attended the event on Sept. 22 in the Collegiate Church of Christ the Teacher. This was the first Evening of Gratitude held since 2019.

“This is an incredibly special evening for the College,” Merrimack President Christopher E. Hopey, Ph.D. said in his remarks. “I thank all of you for your dedication, your love and your commitment to this institution, as well as your generosity. Your belief in Merrimack’s potential as a leading, Catholic university is humbling and inspiring.”

The highlight of the event was the awarding of the Merrimack College Saint Augustine Medal to Joseph Kelley, professor of religious and theological studies. Kelley has worked at Merrimack since 1974 and has had a myriad of roles and responsibilities across campus ministry, academics, student life and development. 

A scholar of Saint Augustine, Kelley was recognized for his commitment to generations of students, his colleagues and Merrimack.

“You make the spirit of Saint Augustine come to life on our campus through your work, your scholarship, your friendship and your love,” Hopey said to Kelley.

The Merrimack College Saint Augustine Medal is presented annually to a member of the Merrimack community who best embodies the values, teachings and mission of Saint Augustine.

Also honored during the event were trustees, donors and friends of the College who have generously supported several facets of the Merrimack mission including academics, scholarships, research, student life and athletics.

“Tonight, we honor all those who have made noteworthy contributions to the College,” said Margaret Gaylord, vice president of development and alumni relations.

Newly elected Board of Trustees Chairman Kevin Lucey ’89 closed the event by reaffirming the College’s commitment to extending its momentum and ultimately achieving R2 classification.

“Our goals are lofty but achievable,” said Lucey. “President Hopey and his administration have done an amazing job. The past 13 years have not come without its challenges, but Merrimack has done nothing but plow right through and go forward. And I expect nothing less over the next five to 10 years.”

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