Brittany Mack, who will graduate from Marygrove next May, embodies the concept of Distinguished Alumna of Tomorrow as demonstrated by her academic achievements, campus leadership and services to the College and her fellow classmates. Her Marygrove degree will include double majors in Political Science and Business—she converted her minor in Business to a major. According to Dr. Theodora Williams, Chair of the Business & Computer Information Systems department, “She was astute enough to figure out that developing business acumen would prepare her for her dreams of becoming a lawyer and mentoring other young disadvantaged lawyers by establishing a business incubator model.”
When Shanelle Jackson succeeded in winning a seat in the Michigan House of Representatives in 2006 at the age of 26, she was the youngest woman of color ever elected to either chamber of the Legislature. A Democrat, she represents the 9th District covering northwest Detroit. Youth is not her only asset. Shanelle is on a mission: to improve the job climate, especially in Detroit; to ensure equitable funding for education; reform discriminatory insurance practices; and to make Detroit a magnet for business development.
Virginia Wadsworth ’86 remembers playing on the Marygrove grounds and in the woods when her family lived on Ohio Street behind the campus. Years later she chose Marygrove to complete a degree in Computer Science and was an outstanding student and selected to be commencement speaker for her graduating class.
Mary Callaghan Lynch ’76 has sung for a pope and first lady, for family and friends and thousands of strangers, in Europe and all across America, but bringing music to those who might otherwise have never heard such things is the gift that has given meaning to her life. As the founding director of The Motor City Lyric Opera, Mary has put to highest and best use her God-given talents, her education and the rich legacy of her late parents.
“I am stunned,” was the reaction of Judith Tomlanovich Miller ’61 when she learned she had been chosen as a Marygrove Distinguished Alumna. That is because Judy’s friends Emily Butler Petrarca ’61 and Maryann Dolan secretly collaborated with Judy’s husband Chuck to nominate her. In summing up Judy’s extraordinary contributions to lay and Catholic communities, children, the aged and the abused, Emily says, “When she sees a need she ‘goes for it.’”
In 1943, just after graduating from St. Mary Academy on the campus of the IHM Motherhouse in Monroe, Michigan, Janice Soleau took a step of only a few blocks to enter the IHM community, to the dismay of her family. Looking back, Sister Jan remarks that at the time she had no idea of the opportunities she would have as an IHM Sister but she felt called. Not only has she gone from the distinctive blue woolen IHM habit that covered everything but hands and face to smart pastel attire – “It’s cheerful”—but she also has been a teacher, writer, vocation director, campus minister, counselor, fund raiser and, especially, a warm friend during her rich career.
When Ann Burger Klocke ’56 was still a student at Nardin Academy in Buffalo, New York, her mother read an article in Good Housekeeping about women’s colleges citing Marygrove among them. A Midwest location, reasonable cost and a campus tour made the decision easy for Ann and her parents. Ann says that Marygrove’s emphasis on social action continues to this day to influence her choices.