Why did you decide to attend Merrimack College?
Maryann: I was one of five children, and for us, our choice was to commute to Merrimack or live at the University of Massachusetts. I really wanted to go to Merrimack, and I was able to go because of a scholarship. For that reason, scholarship is one of my passions.
Jack: There was never any doubt in my mind. I looked at a number of schools, and after an hour I knew Merrimack was it.
How did you meet?
Maryann: I was a commuter, and Jack lived on campus and worked for Father George Morgan in Campus Ministry. Father George’s secretary, Bobbie Maloney, was a friend of mine. She encouraged me to stay on campus and meet more people by getting involved. During one of my visits with Bobbie, Jack walked in for work and she introduced us. We shared a cup of coffee, some laughs and became friends. Jack asked me to the senior prom and we started dating after college.
We stayed in touch with Father George. He married us in 1986, baptized our daughters and celebrated both of my parents’ funeral masses. Father George was a dear friend and was our strong connection to Merrimack.
What is your role at Merrimack today?
Jack: I’m in my fourth year on the Board of Trustees and currently serve as Secretary. I also chair the Institutional Planning and Strategy Committee which looks after the longer-range plan for the success of the College.
It’s been great to be a part of something that is growing and flourishing. For example, I was involved in the early discussions about the women’s ice hockey team, and last year, we were at the opening game. Whether they’re new buildings or new programs, it’s extraordinary to see great ideas come to fruition.
Maryann: Last year, I joined The Warrior Network, and I’m mentoring a very hard-working young woman who is a commuter student. This spring, she will become the first person in her family to graduate from college. I really enjoy spending time with her, I value our friendship and am proud of her accomplishments. Having been a commuter student and the first to graduate from college in my family, I appreciate the support she receives from her family and admire her tenacity to reach her goals.
I’m also on the College Leadership Council, which is a great way to rally alumni to become more involved in the College with events like Mack Gives Back. I love having my feet on campus.
Over the last several years, you‘ve seen the campus transform. What‘s been the most striking change for you?
Jack: The overall growth of the physical footprint, the student population and the breadth of faculty have been impressive. That said, in important ways, it has remained the Merrimack I’ve always known. We have had the opportunity to visit many college campuses with our daughters, but we always find that there’s a very different spirit when you walk on the grounds of Merrimack.
Maryann: I agree. I think the energy and forward momentum is so exciting. The spirit of the people is really what makes Merrimack special.
What distinguishes Merrimack from other colleges?
Jack: Merrimack has very strong leadership, an engaged board, and a supportive faculty and staff—the ingredients for success in a highly competitive space like higher education. Merrimack is at a terrific inflection point, and it’s in “growth mode,” which is unusual for many schools today.
Maryann: People invest their heart and their energy at Merrimack— they really care about it. They are emotionally tied to the school and to the people who have influenced their lives.
What would you say to a student who is considering attending Merrimack College?
Jack: When speaking to potential Warriors, I talk a lot about “opening doors.” They are at a stage in their learning and career where opening doors is critical. Merrimack’s relentless commitment to student success helps make that happen.
Maryann: You will get a great education. You will be supported by faculty and staff and will meet people that will influence you in a positive way. The connections you make here will last a lifetime.
What does the Together for Good Campaign mean to you?
Maryann: It’s the opportunity for Merrimack alumni and friends to come together to make a difference and really impact the trajectory of Merrimack College.
Jack: I believe that a financially strong foundation is essential —that’s how you build a great business, and that’s how you build a great college. The Campaign will enable Merrimack to grow while maintaining the long-lasting traditions of the school.
Why do you think it‘s important to support Merrimack?
Jack: In many ways, giving is like an investment. We give because we believe in Merrimack, and believe there’s a strong return on our investment. The return is the extraordinary people and futures that Merrimack turns out.
Maryann: I think paying it forward is so important. I encourage people to share themselves —whether it’s their time, talent, or money. There are many opportunities to have a positive influence at Merrimack College. Not only will you enrich this community; this community will enrich you.
I would encourage alumni who have not returned to campus to reach out to the Alumni Office. They are a wonderful, dedicated group of people who would be happy to share all the exciting things happening on campus.
Jack: A relatively small amount of giving can change a person, that person’s opportunity set, family, and even the next generation. I have also found that often it does not have to be a big break; extraordinary things can happen when great potential catches a small break at the right moment. That’s why Merrimack is so important to us.