Service Honor Society Inducts Inaugural Class

Twenty-seven Merrimack seniors were inducted into the inaugural class of the Father John McKniff, OSA, Honor Society Wednesday in recognition of their commitment to community service throughout their college careers.

Additionally, a faculty member and two staff members were recognized for their support, and 79 freshmen were honored for exemplary commitment to service during the 2016-17 academic year, during the afternoon ceremony in Austin Hall.

The honor society was established by the Office of Mission and Ministry to recognize students who performed at least 150 hours of community service through the college in such programs as Jump Start, Hands to Help and alternative spring break. Each inductee received a medal to wear at the May 20 baccalaureate Mass and May 21 undergraduate commencement ceremony.

President Christopher E. Hopey, who hosted the induction ceremony, said it is appropriate that the society bears the name of the late Father McKniff, a Catholic missionary and fierce advocate for the poor. Father McKniff, a member of the Province of Villanova, has been named a Servant of God by the Vatican in the first step toward possible canonization.

“One of this college’s core values is service, to engage in collaborative efforts to foster a just and peaceful and sustainable world,” Hopey said. “Service is not just what we do, it’s who we are.”

Seniors inducted Wednesday were Megan Ackerman, David Bailot, Megan Bouchard, Steven Bourque, Katie Brooks, Jessica Bruso, Amy Byrnes, Michaela Christie, Jenna Coviello, Amshula Divadkar, Maura Doyle, Elizabeth Egan, Joseph Fisher, Kaylee Foderaro, Skylah Forend, Juliette LaFavre, Angela Longo, Naudia Mason, Samantha Monaco, Liza Perreault, Marisa Rainey, Meghan Ramsay, Camille Springer, Kileigh Stranahan, Leyna Tobey, Sue Ung and Christian Verreault.

“I feel very honored, especially since this is the first year,” said Brooks, of Dracut Massachusetts, a human development major with a concentration in elementary education.

Brooks was a member of Jump Start for two years, worked at the YMCA in Lawrence, took part in the 2016 alternative spring break to New Orleans and volunteered at a family homeless shelter in Haverhill, Massachusetts.

Fellow inductee Verreault, a sports medicine major from Gray, Maine, who took part in the 2016 alternative spring to San Diego and led a service trip to Montego Bay, Jamaica, said he hopes his story of service inspires other students to civic activity.

“I hope it encourages a lot of others, especially freshmen, to get involved and have something to look forward to,” he said.

Faculty and staff members who were honored at the ceremony were Associate Professor of Civil Engineering Marc Veletzos, for spearheading outreach efforts to Haiti and Nepal following devastating earthquakes in those countries; Associate Director of Campus Center Domenic Divincenzo, for serving as adviser on 13 alternative spring breaks; and Carol Leibowitz, assistant director of the Office of International Student Support, for serving as adviser on 12 service trips.

The selection committee was composed of Father Raymond Dlugos, OSA; Mary McHugh, executive director of the Stevens Service Learning Center; campus minister Jeffrey Wallace; and Hands to Help Director Alicia Reppucci.



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