Avenue News

Women’s Colleges Unite for Unique Career Fair

The Career Crossings Office at SMC held a virtual career fair in collaboration with nine other women’s colleges and universities across the country—the first of its kind. The Women’s College and Universities Diversity Career Expo was held September 27 to help current students land internships, jobs, and post-graduate service opportunities. More than 115 employers attended the fair, giving participants the opportunity to connect with job and internship opportunities ranging from Amazon to Apple, the FBI, and 1st Source Bank. Once participants registered, they were able to sign up for group sessions to learn more about the organizations and to explore various career paths or intimate one-on-one sessions to connect directly with recruiters. According to program organizers, Saint Mary’s wanted to lead the charge on bringing together similar institutions to help our students get recruited and our employer partners gain access to more student candidates.

Summer Camps Offerings to Expand

SMC Summer CampsFrom forensics to lacrosse, campus was lively throughout June and July. The College hosted nearly 500 girls from across the country at nine summer camp experiences, including the new Dialogue and Democracy Academic Institute. Thanks to a $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., future campers will be able to choose from even more programs. President Katie Conboy announced that the grant will enhance and expand on-campus educational summer programs for girls over the next three years, modernizing the College’s summer programming. Saint Mary’s is committed to broadening its impact as a place of lifelong learning for women and girls, she said, adding that “As the only women’s college in Indiana, located in a region where girl-specific resources are scarce, Saint Mary’s has both the opportunity and the obligation to lead. The summer youth programs will specifically emphasize access for Indiana girls and help strengthen how Saint Mary’s recruits students, especially students who have been underserved in higher education.”

SMC Professors Compile South Bend’s COVID Stories

COVID StoriesAt the South Bend Heritage Center, audience members found themselves transported back to the height of the pandemic, when fear combined with resolve, when uncertainty met with hope. They gathered to listen to audio clips containing a collection of voices from the community to remember—and archive—how COVID-19 affected
South Bend.

“Listening to Pandemic Narratives: Selections from COVID-19 Oral Histories in the South Bend Area” is a project of Jamie Wagman, professor of history and gender & women’s studies, and Julia Dauer, professor of English at Saint Mary’s. The event was held on October 11 and featured audio clips from interviews conducted with members of the South Bend community to get different accounts of what pandemic life was like for residents.

“Together, we interviewed an emergency room nurse, a public high school teacher, a mother of four, a community organizer, a yogi, a small business owner, an oboist, a priest, and the director of the LGBTQ Center, among others,” Wagman said. “They reflected over loss, isolation–at times gains–and how they are emerging today. Altogether, their narratives make up a generation of people who have collective memory built around the trauma of the pandemic.”

Wagman and Dauer had noted other oral historians doing these collections but no one was documenting South Bend. So, a year ago, the two researchers worked with students to compile the recordings. Through a class called Doing History, the professors taught students  historiography and the critical examination of the sources who write historical documents. Dauer said looking at these narratives from a humanities perspective helped to process the events of COVID. Using audio to capture the stories rather than video lent a particularly compelling sensory experience for the audience.

“Their memories differ and coexist with one another, not disputing facts but rather offering a layered picture of what life was like for residents of South Bend throughout quarantine, vaccination rollout and beyond,” Wagman said.

“Listening to Pandemic Narratives” is part of a series sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and Indiana Humanities as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

Honoring Our First African American Alumna

Juanita Boozer BaySaint Mary’s College remembers Juanita Boozer Bay ’52, a pioneering alumna who died on August 28 at her home in Haliburton, Ontario in Canada. Bay is considered to be Saint Mary’s first Black alumna, graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in 1952. Prior to her retirement, Bay was the acting director of policy at the Ontario Women’s Directorate, an organization that promotes women’s economic independence and fights against gender-based violence. In 2007, Bay returned to campus to lead a roundtable discussion, “African-American Trailblazers in Post-War America,” examining diversity issues. Bay compared experiences with other panelists, and recalled that her experience on campus was difficult at times, “but the education I received here has stayed with me and instilled in me a love of learning. It also taught me about leadership and how one person can make a difference.” In her memory, the Juanita Boozer Bay ’52 Scholarship Fund has been established.

New Hang Out Corner

Lemans PatioTables, fire pits, ambient lighting, and brick pavers were among the amenities installed this fall in a near-vacant corner outside of Le Mans Hall. Where bike racks once stood now has become a popular gathering place for students, employees, and visitors of the College. Officially called Belles Corner, it began as an informal location during COVID to provide an outdoor eating and safe socializing space. Tucked in the corner just outside the west entrance of Le Mans, students enjoyed the space throughout fall and winter in the pandemic months thanks to comfy Adirondacks, firepits, and Edison bulbs strung among the oaks and maples. Eventually, that furniture was moved to the lawn on the north side of Le Mans to a space known as Belles Backyard. This summer, the College decided to formalize Belles Corner, adding 21 tables and chairs, more lighting, wi-fi and electricity for outdoor events, and stable flooring to be handicap accessible. The grounds department maintains the space, even adding seasonal decorations, said Ben Bowman, director of facilities.

Madrigal Dinners To Celebrate 50 Years of Performances

Classic ChristmasYear after year, the immersive Christmas Madrigal Dinners have invited audiences to step back in time through the food, music, scenery, costumes, and performances of the Renaissance period. When this year’s Madrigal holiday banquet and performances take place this December 2-4, it will be momentous as it marks its 50th anniversary. As is customary, singers from the Women’s Choir are featured, as are dancers, actors, and musicians from the College community. In the months leading up to this year’s event, organizers are encouraging former performers to come to campus to see the show. For many alumnae and friends of the College, the Christmas Madrigal Dinner is a tradition that signifies the official start to the advent season.

An Evening with Author Ashley Ford

Ashley C FordIn late October, Indiana author Ashley C. Ford spent an evening at Saint Mary’s as the Department of English’s 2022 Visiting Writer Series speaker. Ford read from her New York Times bestselling memoir, Somebody’s Daughter, followed by an informal Q&A with the audience. Growing up a poor Black girl in Indiana with a family fragmented by incarceration, Ford shared excerpts from her book about her isolating and complex childhood, and the common experience of those complexities, regardless of our circumstances, and the powerful journey she embarked on to find hope and meaning. Ford’s visit was sponsored by the Gender & Women’s Studies department, the history department, the justice studies department, Campus and Community Events, the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership (CWIL), the Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO), the Office for the Common Good, the Center for Spirituality, the sociology department, the religious studies and theology department, and the Division for Inclusion and Equity.

College Names New Vice President for Mission

Julianne WallaceJulianne Wallace, Ph.D., D.Min., joined the College’s leadership team August 1 as vice president for Mission. Wallace comes to Saint Mary’s from the Congregation of Holy Cross-US Province of Priests and Brothers in Notre Dame, Ind., where she served as director of apostolic mission and charism.

Wallace is an experienced mission leader. The past five years she was at Alvernia University, a Franciscan institution in Reading, Pennsylvania with approximately 2,000 undergraduate students, where she served most recently as vice president for mission and ministry. Prior to Alvernia, she was associate director of faith formation, worship, and ministry at St. Bonaventure University.

Results from the Courier Survey

Thanks to the more than 2,100 of you who responded to our survey this summer. Your replies help us continue to deliver the stories you want to read and remain a magazine you look forward to receiving. This was the first major survey we’ve conducted since 2017! We are grateful to see so many of you take the time to help us compile this important information.

Admittedly, we were curious to see if the events of the past few years left you wanting more—or less—of certain features, articles, and other sections of the Courier. Not surprisingly, what you love most is catching up with your classmates and other alumnae through the Club and Class News section. We’ve long heard this from readers, but it’s nice to have it confirmed through the survey. Following closely behind were the feature stories. The survey revealed that you like reading articles that showcase our incredible alumnae, as well as updates about the campus itself.

We discovered that more than half of you read most to nearly all of each issue. That’s a lot of class news to absorb! We are tickled that our alumnae enjoy reading about each other, despite distance in age and location. It reinforces that you feel deeply connected to this special place and each other.

We publish Courier for you, so please know we want to hear your thoughts, and we are listening! If you have more to share with us, don’t hesitate to reach out to courier@saintmarys.edu. You don’t have to wait for another survey to give us your feedback.

More Courier Fall/Winter 2022