Address by 2012 Outstanding Young Alumna Award Recipient

Sara Mahoney '04

Mahoney offered these words at the Reunion Banquet on Saturday, June 2, 2012 after receiving the Humanitas Award.

Good evening. I would first like to thank Dr. Mooney and the college for granting this award to me.

I would also like to take a moment to thank Debbie Johnson Schwiebert for nominating me for this prestigious award. I had the distinct honor of working with and getting to know Debbie when we served on the Board of Trustees together as I served as the Student Trustee my senior year. Her dedication and commitment to the college and love for Saint Mary’s is unequaled.

I have had many role models growing up and my parents are the first ones who encouraged me to be a leader and supported my decision to attend Saint Mary’s. My father instilled in me the importance of a continuous positive attitude (even when times were tough). My mother taught me to be thankful for the abilities and strengths that I had.

My family has always modeled the importance of giving back to others and the community and encouraged my sister and I to do the same. I am truly blessed to have my family’s constant support and love.

As I reflect on my four years at Saint Mary’s, I was encouraged to take a leadership role in all aspects of my education including in my major, my spiritual life, my social life, and my extracurricular activities. If it was not for Saint Mary’s, I would not be doing what I am today.

Before I even accepted the offer to come to Saint Mary’s I was encouraged to be a member of the Student Diversity Board. Through the various leadership roles that I held on the Student Diversity Board, I learned how to be an advocate not only for myself and my needs, but for the needs of others on campus and in our community. I would like to think that because of the advocacy of me, my fellow students, and other allies on campus, the campus is a little more accessible to students with disabilities today.

As a chemistry major, I needed a lot of encouragement from my professors to make it through the challenging academic curriculum. Every faculty member was supportive throughout the four years, even when I wasn’t sure where the degree might take me.

After graduation and through the experience of working as an admission counselor after college, I knew that working with students with disabilities was my vocation. The values of the college that were instilled in me while on campus in addition to my Catholic faith guide the work that I do today and will continue to do so in the future.

It is important to me to be engaged in the Saint Mary’s community even after graduation. I enjoy working with future students as well as my fellow alumnae in a continuous effort to fulfill the mission of the college . I hope in the future I will be able to continue to contribute to the college and my fellow alumnae in a meaningful way. The importance of encouraging leadership for other women will always be part of my life’s work and I am confident will remain a priority for the members of Saint Mary’s College. Thank you again for this honor.