Guest Book is Living Record of Visitors
“Welcome to Saint Mary’s College. We are honored by your presence. Please sign this guest book as a remembrance for us of your visit.” - Carol A. Mooney, President of Saint Mary’s College (2004-2011)
This is the message written on the inside of the guest book that has become a living record of famous visitors to Saint Mary’s, and those who became famous after their visit.
The guest book tradition started about 10 years ago when President Carol A. Mooney, after returning to Saint Mary’s from a business trip, gave the book to Campus and Community Events (CCE) DirectorRichard Baxter. “I picked this up on my last trip and thought about all the honored guests we've had at the College. Since your office takes care of events, I figured you should have this,” she said.
Originally, Mooney intended for the book to be used for performing arts, but now it has become so much more. Saint Mary’s often has guests that rise to notoriety after they visit the College, making their visit here historically special. Fifty one guests have signed the book so far. Authors, actors, musicians, and intellectuals—all of whom have wonderful things to say about Saint Mary’s—have included a personal mark in the book. Some of the notable names include Sigourney Weaver, Sutton Foster, and Margaret Atwood.
In order to keep track of the signatures and who has signed the book when, Baxter keeps a master list of names, dates, and events of each signature and every note. From master classes to Q&As, to workshops on their craft, many of the guests who have signed the book were able to get to know students and faculty alike, making their comments about Saint Mary’s especially inspiring. One particular message from author Doris Kearns Goodwin reads, “How very glad I am to have shared this day with all of you! What a terrific group of young women!” Goodwin conducted a writing workshop with students while she was on campus. Some of the CCE staff’s favorite guests include Jasmine Guy, Goodwin, and Jim Lovell. Author Jacqueline Woodson, one of the College’s most recent guests, signed “To my Saint Mary’s College Family—so cool to be here speaking and always learning from strangers who will one day be friends.”
These individuals each made a lasting impact on CCE staff, as well as the greater campus community. The messages that the guests of the College write serve not only as a reminder of their time here at Saint Mary’s, but also of the importance of the mission of the College.
Maria Dyro '24 is an Accounting major from Jacksonville, FL.