A Message from the President: A College Mourns

September 16, 2010

Dear parents, students, and members of the Saint Mary’s College community:
On September 10, Saint Mary’s College suffered the terrible loss of one of the newest members of our community. Elizabeth “Lizzy” Seeberg, age 19, died suddenly at Memorial Hospital in South Bend. Our hearts are heavy and filled with grief. Although we were just getting to know Lizzy, a first year student, it is clear from her family, friends, and Saint Mary’s classmates and professors that she was an engaging young woman who was more concerned about others than herself. Since Friday, tending to Lizzy’s family and the well-being of all of our students has been the College’s first priority.
We all have many questions about Lizzy’s death. It is always a tragedy when a young person dies. A complete autopsy and toxicology report by the St. Joseph County Coroner is not yet completed. Although we do not know the cause of her death, we want to stop any potential rumors by stating that no crime occurred on our campus related to her death and there is no indication of contagious disease.  
Since Lizzy’s death, our counselors, Residence Life staff, and Campus Ministry staff have been available to every Saint Mary’s College student and have spent many hours in McCandless Hall, Lizzy’s residence hall. On Monday, we held a memorial Mass on the campus to remember Lizzy and pray for her and her family. Following that service, Sister Maureen Grady, CSC, a pastoral counselor and member of the Saint Mary’s College faculty, visited students in McCandless Hall to address any immediate student needs. Sister Maureen’s story is just is one example of the many actions we have taken because of our care and concern for our students.
Students, faculty, and staff continue to process this painful experience. Anyone needing personal assistance is encouraged to make use of the resources available.
Students who feel they need to talk to someone may contact the following offices:

  • Women’s Health Center (counseling) at (574) 284-4805
  • Campus Ministry at (574) 284-5382
  • Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO) at (574) 284-4081
  • Residence Life and Community Standards at (574) 284-4522
  • After 5 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends, students are instructed to contact Campus Security at (574) 284-5000. A dispatcher will connect students with appropriate personnel.

Employees can access free and confidential counseling services through our Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
The safety, security, and well being of our students is always our top priority. Please keep Lizzy, her family, and Saint Mary’s students, faculty, and staff in your prayers. As Isaiah wrote, “…the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted.” We shall draw strength from these words as we go through the grieving process and care for the members of the Saint Mary’s community.
Carol Ann Mooney,