2010 Honor Roll Donor Profiles
The Van Dyke Family
When their oldest daughter began looking at colleges in the late 1970s, little did James and Patricia Van Dyke know how great an impact daughter Gretchen’s choice of Trinity in Washington, DC, would have in their lives. Gretchen entered Trinity in the fall of 1979, and was the first of three daughters who would call Trinity alma mater, followed by Kate, Class of 1985, and Tish, Class of 1986. Parent support translated to family support, as each daughter graduated, entered the “wide, wide world,” and remembered Trinity with support for the Annual Fund. Although Mr. Van Dyke passed away in 1997, his love for Trinity remains strong among the Van Dyke women. Recently they shared their great affection for Trinity and why support for Trinity’s mission is so important to them:
“My husband and I always considered education to be a very high priority. We were privileged to have had private education from elementary school through college, and we insisted on it for our children.
When Gretchen had thoughts of attending Trinity, we were a bit reluctant because of the long distance from our home in Orchard Park, New York. Nevertheless, we consented. Never for a moment did we regret that decision. We grew to love Trinity as much as our daughters did, because of all that we observed.
In Gretchen’s first year, there was no other school for Kate and Tish. It was not just the excellent academic curriculum, but also the wonderful traditions and the great friendships, among both peers and faculty, that inspired us to want to see this institution continue. It was a terrific experience for all of us.
My limited investment may help to insure that there will be future generations of graduates who will enjoy all that my daughters were privileged to experience.”
– Patricia (Mrs. James) Van Dyke
Parent and Development Officer
“As a college professor, in my 17th year teaching political science at The University of Scranton, I appreciate more than ever the academic and personal gifts bestowed on me as a Trinity student. Trinity exposed me to excellent teachers, scholars, and mentors, individuals whom I try to emulate in my academic vocation. I integrate interactive learning techniques into my classes, because I found that kind of classroom environment at Trinity simply irresistible. I work hard at teaching my students how to read, to research, to analyze, to debate, and to write, just as my Trinity professors nurtured those capacities in me. These same skills underlie my successes both at the graduate level and in a professional academic career. Particularly when mentoring female students, I am intensely aware of just how empowering education continues to be for women in American society and in the global community – a lesson deeply rooted in my Trinity education. On a personal level, the friends I made at Trinity are life-long and the best I have; they are the people with whom I celebrate happy occasions, and they always help to lift my spirits when life poses its inevitable challenges. For all of these reasons, I will always love and be grateful for my years at Trinity. Moreover, I will continue making annual financial contributions to Trinity so that future generations of Trinity students benefit academically and personally from the same high quality Trinity educational experience I was so fortunate to receive.”
– Dr. Gretchen Van Dyke ’83
Professor of Political Science
“Because my father taught me to give back. I took a lot out of Trinity and I want to give back.”
– Kate Van Dyke Dzierzanowski ’85
Homemaker and Mother of Three
“Though Trinity has changed since I graduated in 1986, its mission remains steadfast – preparing students for the intellectual, ethical and spiritual aspects of work, civic and family life. That mission connects me to each and every student who walks through the doors of Main Hall, and because I am reminded daily of the number of ways I’ve benefited from my Trinity education, I want to ensure the next generation of Trinity students will be able to do the same.”
– Tish Van Dyke Illston ’86
Public Relations Executive
The Trinity community wishes to recognize and thank the Van Dyke family for honoring the mission of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, and for keeping Trinity strong for future generations through alumnae and family support for the Trinity Annual Fund.
Angela Lanier, PhD
Trinity Reading Specialist
“I have always been taught to take pride in the work that I do. In my work at Trinity, I am challenged daily to explore new ideas, to think in different ways and to plant seeds into young minds. These challenges contribute not only to lessons I present in the classroom, but also to my personal and professional growth outside of the classroom. Giving to Trinity is a gesture that says, ‘I believe in this place and I take pride in what I do here.’”
The Philip and Mary J. McMahon Shannon ’60 Challenge
In celebration of her 50th Reunion, Mary J. McMahon Shannon and her husband, Phil, extended a challenge to the Classes of 1960 through 1964 to raise awareness of the importance of giving to Trinity and to bring support for Trinity to a new level.
The Shannon Challenge matches all gifts made by members of the Classes of 1960 – 1964 from July 1, 2009, through December 31, 2010, on a dollar-for-dollar basis up to a maximum of $350,000. The alumnae rose to the challenge, and during the 2009-2010 fiscal year a total of $185,781 was generously donated.
Why now? The Shannons’ reasons are many, including a celebration of Mary’s 50th Reunion, but also a desire to recognize and to continue Trinity’s unique and powerful mission to educate. Mary’s life has truly been shaped by her Trinity years – both in the classroom and out – as she experienced the academic rigors of an outstanding faculty, strengthened her faith and built friendships that remain 50 years later. Trinity has played a large part in the woman she is today, and is also ingrained in her family: two sisters also call Trinity alma mater – Kathleen McMahon Dooley ’61 and Nora McMahon Glover ’64.
This generous support comes at a pivotal time. Counter to the decreasing number of women’s institutions, Trinity’s enrollment is increasing by leaps and bounds. Education of women is still a priority, and today’s students need top faculty, new technologies and upgraded facilities if they are to achieve and maintain a competitive edge.
In a letter to these classes, Mary and Phil wrote, “We believe in Trinity and the difference that it continues to make for new generations. The world has changed in 50 years, but Trinity’s commitment to the Catholic ideals of community service and social justice has not changed. The vision of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur is clear. The work of Trinity must be supported.”
The Shannon Challenge continues through December 31, 2010. To fully meet the match, approximately $145,000 is still needed. For more information on making a gift to Trinity’s future through the Shannon Challenge, please contact Judy Cabassa Tart ’78 in the Office of Development.
Many thanks to all alumnae who have donated (and will donate) to the Shannon Challenge!
Ellen E. Hudson ’84
College of Arts and Sciences
“I contribute to the Annual Fund on a regular basis because 30 years after walking the halls of the Marble Corridor for the first time, I still believe in the value of a Trinity education. My experiences at Trinity have prepared me to successfully complete two master’s degree programs and enter my 21st year as an educator. I will continue to support Trinity and her strong educational values.”
Terry Nuriddin ’89
School of Professional Studies
“That Trinity remains true to its founding principal of helping a lady attain an education inspires me and my husband. I attended Trinity’s Weekend College. Pursuing my education as a full-time employee was challenging, yet rewarding. My graduation day was a family affair – we were elated! Trinity’s willingness and courage to help a lady become an intellectual and economic contributor to our society pleases my heart and inspires us to give what we can.”
Fred and Nancy Costello
parents of Suzanne ’86 and Amy ’92
College of Arts and Sciences
“When our daughters talked about attending an all-women’s college, we didn’t think that they would have an experience that ‘would prepare them for the real world.’ The real world meant working and learning with women and men. It turned out however, that the Trinity experience offered them leadership opportunities and related responsibilities that, most likely, would not have been available in a co-ed college or university.
We have admired President McGuire’s changes – changes that, in our opinion, were appropriate and needed. We have continued to support her efforts over the past 20 years, and what has been accomplished is a gift to women’s education, especially for those in the metro D.C. area.”
Erma DiCarlo, Trinity Staff
“I give because Trinity is a great place for young women. I love it and it’s a great place for me to come to everyday. I just want to give back for what Trinity has done for me throughout the years.”
V.R. Nemani, Trinity Associate Professor
“The selfless sacrifice and vision of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur over a hundred years ago has given the priceless opportunities for education to thousands of women and, more recently, men, who otherwise would not have had access to higher education. I consider myself very fortunate to play a small part in helping our students to believe in their ability to add value to themselves, and by extension to the society of which they are vital members. I can see the sparkling curiosity and thirst for discovery in my students every time I walk into the class. My modest donation is a token of my strong endorsement of our Trinity’s noble mission.”
Susan Farnsworth, PhD, Trinity Professor
“In my thirty years of teaching at Trinity, I’ve been honored to work with wonderful students whose intellectual, professional, and personal accomplishments fill me with great pride. I’ve shared this life-enhancing experience with gifted and dedicated faculty and administrative colleagues. Financial support from members of the Trinity community helps us continue to provide distinctive academic opportunities to today’s students and to fulfill the ideals of the mission inspired by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.”
In memory of Sr. Caroline Rubino ’62
A gift of $5,000 was made to Trinity’s general scholarship fund in memory of Sr. Caroline Rubino ’62. An alumna gave the gift, not only to honor Sr. Caroline’s life and work, but also to witness her belief that financial support for Trinity’s mission today is one way to honor the historic contribution of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur to the higher education of women in the United States.
Alexandra Laccetti Byers ’78
College of Arts and Sciences
“A number of years ago, when Jeb and I began to make our estate plans, we realized that as a childless couple, we were in a unique position to really make a difference. Although we love our six nephews dearly, we know they will be fine without our financial support when we are no longer around. That’s why we chose to name as the major beneficiaries of our estate our colleges: Trinity, Washington and Lee University, and Christchurch School, where we have lived and worked for over 22 years. Jeb and I believe very strongly in independent education – that is where our life is now and hopefully until retirement. Looking back, my experience at Trinity was one for which I am forever grateful, and aside from my parents, has had the single most impact on my life. Not a day goes by when I don’t think of the extraordinary teachers, friends, and role models I spent my daily life with during those four years. I grew so much, learned so much, and became the woman I am today at Trinity. I remember how impressed I was that so many of my classmates there were the sisters of other Trinity women, or the daughters of other Trinity women, or nieces, or granddaughters, or great-granddaughters, or like me, friends of other Trinity women. That’s the story of Trinity – legacy. And that’s why it is so important to make sure that the legacy of Trinity continues for other daughters, nieces, grand-daughters, friends, and other young women who deserve the same experience at Trinity that we had. Sure, Trinity has changed since I was there; no one wants their institution to remain frozen in time. Trinity has changed to meet the needs of young women of the 21st century and the current enrollment is a testament to the enlightened leadership of President McGuire. To ensure Trinity’s continued success, I invite you to also include Trinity in your estate planning. Let the Trinity legacy continue for additional generations to come!”
American Association of University Women: Supporting Scholars
The McLean, Virginia, branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) has supported Trinity students for eighteen years by providing scholarship funds earned through their annual used book sale.
This September, two students in Trinity’s School of Professional Studies – Barbara Mickens and Diedra Lewis – each received a $2,500 scholarship award thanks to the hard work and generosity of the women of the McLean Branch of AAUW. The students were invited to meet chapter members at their monthly meeting, where both women expressed their thanks to the group. They also related stories of their appreciation for the Trinity community and its support for women. Both Barbara and Diedra plan to major in human relations.