I was the Marymount Alumna of The Year
It isn’t very often that we are afforded the benefit of time in our busy lives to pause and reflect about our path and the twists and turns that have led us to where we are today with a full understanding of of the impact that people and places have had on our formation. I was lucky enough last weekend to be given that opportunity and was reminded, once again, about the importance of education, access to it and of the importance of giving back.
Last weekend I was honored by my high school, Marymount Los Angeles, as the Alumna of the Year. This was an honor I didn’t fully appreciate at first, but then as I walked the campus of Marymount again after so many years, with my two young children at my side, I realized that the honor was not actually about me and my accomplishments, but that it was actually a reminder about my continued responsibility of being an example for others to follow.
As I explained during my remarks following receiving the award;
“I stand before you as an example of the power of giving a young woman access to an education that her family couldn’t otherwise afford. I am who I am today because of Marymount, yes, but also because some generous soul decided that financial aid and access to education was important enough to create a financial aid program at Marymount. Because someone made a GIFT to make that happen. I stand upon the shoulders of the RSHM and the Marymount women that came before me because of the generosity of others. I only hope I can live up to the example that was set for me and be an example of generosity for others to follow – to be that example to my community and to, of course, my children, Tommy and Mary.
The last time I sat in this chapel was the week before my high school graduation in 1988. At that time, I was not entirely sure what the world had in store for me, how I would turn out, or what would happen to me with such an uncertain future. But as I sat in conversation with Sister Collette that day, she told me I would graduate with honors and move on to college. She also said, in the words of Thoreau, ‘Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.’ Then she said, keep in touch.”
With that in mind, it is important for all of us to remember where we’ve come from, not in a boastful and self-involved way, but in a thoughtful way to inform our path forward. I have spent my life in service to others, striving to build community wherever I go, to be an example for others and in service to philanthropy – which, by definition means ‘love of mankind’ – someone believed enough in ‘mankind’ to make that gift to Marymount without even knowing me, and it changed my life forever. What will you do today to change and touch the life of a person you’ve never met?