Lisa McMurtrie portraitLisa McMurtie W'93

As an alumna who truly valued my Notre Dame experience, I cannot think of a more fitting tribute to the University than to include Notre Dame in my estate plans. 

I believe it is a privilege and honor for alumnae to create a legacy gift that will help to sustain the University so that it may continue to enrich and change the lives of future generations of students.

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Sallie Mullen portraitSallie Mullen '68

Many years after I’d graduated from college and was working my way up the ranks of the civil service, I realized the extent to which the education I received at Notre Dame contributed to my success. My language degree was my ticket into the National Security Agency; my expository writing skills labeled me the "go to" person whenever a complex paper or briefing was required; and my analytical skills led me to a satisfying career as an intelligence analyst and manager of analysts within the Intelligence Community.

But most of all, the intellectual curiosity and self-confidence instilled in me at NDMU opened doors in my career that might otherwise have been closed to me. Who, for example, would have believed that I — a French major with no technical background — would become an expert in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction? I had the confidence to open the door marked "detour," and it proved a route to success.

Since returning to Baltimore four years ago, I’ve found myself drawn to the University. I’m proud of the contribution it makes to the community, the diversity of the current student population, and the extended opportunities available to today’s students. Participating in the reunion committee for my class’s 45th and in the First Impressions Program has enabled me to get back in touch with NDMU, my classmates, and the current student body. Sister Kathleen Feeley, whose vision helped launch NDMU on its path to success, was my homeroom teacher in sophomore year of high school and oversaw the college newspaper, of which I was a page editor. A more energetic and gifted teacher I’ve never known! And Dr. Soria, who was the head of the Modern Language Department in my time, instilled in me a love of everything Italian that has played a huge role in my life. I believe she would have been proud of me last year when I embarked on my "senior year abroad," living for 10 months near Florence and studying Italian and art history. After all, when I graduated, she gave me an espresso pot!

NDMU has made a significant difference in my life, not least because of the half-scholarships it offered me for four years, without which college would not have been in the cards for me. But also because it underpinned my career and helped shape my lifelong love of European travel. For all that NDMU did for me and in honor of Sister Kathleen and Dr. Soria, I’ve decided to make a legacy bequest to the university. It seems the least I can do!

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Donna Ringger Easton portrait

Donna Ringger Easton '70

I am a Montrose Society member who supports the mission and long-term vision of the Society because it reflects my respect for the outstanding education I received at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland many years ago. I came to Notre Dame to study English and creative writing under the remarkable tutelage of Sister Maura Eichner. My high expectations were surpassed, not only by Sister Maura’s teaching but by that of the entire faculty at Notre Dame. The English department was a close-knit and highly challenging group of faculty and students. Every member raised the bar, and also supported the reach for everyone else.

Today, as a trustee and continuing supporter of our great Notre Dame of Maryland University, I understand the importance of giving back so that others can enjoy the same outstanding education I received. Becoming a member of the Montrose Society means a great deal to me and to my husband John. We thoughtfully considered how to best make a meaningful difference in the lives of future students, and determined that including Notre Dame in my will was the most lasting way to do that. So now, in addition to supporting the Annual Fund each year and the important capital campaigns that fund specific campus goals, we know we will be contributing to the University for years and years to come—a very good feeling indeed!

My broader education at Notre Dame gave me the skills in critical thinking, social consciousness, and communication that formed the base for my professional and personal success long after graduation. I know that I would not be the person I am today without the skills, encouragement and confidence I found in my undergraduate years at this remarkable institution.

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Chris O’Keefe Marsalek portrait

Chris O'Keefe Marsalek '69, M'00

In the spring of my junior year in high school, my dad suffered a fatal heart attack. The impact on our small family was devastating. Suddenly, our lives changed in ways we never anticipated. The dream of a college education, let alone at a Catholic institution, became uncertain, until a visit to Notre Dame's campus. As my mother, tears in her eyes, shared our family situation with the Sister accompanying us, she dared to hope that I would continue my education there after graduation.I was offered a work-study position by the college and, by the end of the academic year, I was awarded outside scholarships which paid for my entire tuition the remaining years. Later, encouraged by my daughter who was then a student at Notre Dame, and energized by the school's commitment to empowering women, I pursued my master's degree. Now, as a financial advisor, l am privileged to share what I have learned.

While it is not always easy to see what has influenced us in life, I know that at an early age I was taught an appreciation and love of learning by my mother. This, fostered by Notre Dame, has lead to a desire to be a continuous learner. I am presently studying to become a licensed Series 65 Investment Advisor and plan to sit for the exam next month.

As members of the Montrose Society, my husband, Stephen, and I chose to make a legacy gift to the University's scholarship program as a way to continue the opportunity that was given to our family. We were blessed that our daughter, Christy Sommerville ’95, chose to attend Notre Dame as a Morrissy Scholar and was awarded a Presidential scholarship. My sister, Jean Clemens Meconi W’95, graduated from the Weekend College with a degree in marketing that has served her well in her field and as the former General Manager of Urbanite. Three women from the same family, three different areas of study, all benefitting from the dedication and vision of those who teach and lead at Notre Dame, now University!

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Kathleen Bennett portrait

Kathleen Bennett '67

The education that I received at Notre Dame helped prepare me for a career in public service. The School Sisters of Notre Dame were wonderful teachers, inspiring me and my fellow students to realize our full potential. Legacy giving is a good way to honor their commitment to education and to ensure the future of NDMU.

It has been very gratifying to return to the campus as a member of the Renaissance Institute, where I continue to "learn for life."

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Edith McParland Donohue portrait

Edith McParland Donohue, Ph.D. '60

Notre Dame provided me with an outstanding education; opportunities for personal growth and leadership; wonderful friends among students, faculty and staff; and formed me into a life-long learner. My experiences as a student, alumna, volunteer, staff person and parent of two graduates of Notre Dame were so outstanding that it has affected my life in many wonderful ways. When my husband and I planned our legacy gifts, we both agreed—with very little discussion—that Notre Dame would be a beneficiary of our estate. We hope that the wonderful education and opportunities at Notre Dame will continue into the future for students. So we trust that our gift, in some small way, will help to make that possible.

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Julie Ben-Susan portrait

Julie Ben-Susan '69

When we were in school ‘Veritas’ seemed pretty amorphous. Now, after my forty-plus years in the rough and tumble real world of Wall Street, the International Longshoreman’s Union, local politics and spin masters, I have come to appreciate ‘Veritas’ surrounded by words like courage, context, common sense, intent and just plain old truth.

That is why Paul and I committed to include Notre Dame in our wills, became a member of the Montrose Society, and have been working closely with this wonderful volunteer, staff and management partnership for the past year.

Thank you, Notre Dame!

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Susan Mitchell portrait

Susan Mitchell '80

I have chosen to support NDMU with a legacy gift simply because my Notre Dame education is the foundation upon which I have built my life. Every single day, whether in a professional, interpersonal, spiritual, ethical or intellectual way, I am informed by what I was privileged enough to receive during my four years at Notre Dame. A Notre Dame education uniquely enriches her students and by extension, the individuals those students encounter in life.

In some small way I trust my legacy gift may, to paraphrase Sr. Maura, “…gather into streams that fountain other streams forever.”

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Suzi Peters Coy portrait

Suzi Peters Coy '60

My Notre Dame education provided a broad foundation through exposure to various disciplines and prepared me well for advanced academic studies. My mother, a graduate of the Class of 1931, instilled in me a love of learning. She was a strong supporter of and tireless volunteer for Notre Dame. It is through this legacy gift intention that I honor and remember my mother’s love of Notre Dame. Through volunteering at Notre Dame I honor my mother’s legacy as well.

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Ruth Luddy Toro portraitRuth Luddy Toro, M.D. '60

I am grateful for the excellent, well-rounded education I received to prepare me for medical school, at a time when not many women entered medical school. I truly value the camaraderie of and friendships made with classmates and faculty.

As a graduating senior I was very grateful to receive the Alumnae Scholarship (of $500) from the College. Medical school was a significant expense and with this scholarship I purchased a microscope. Additionally, I received a partial scholarship for tuition from the College, which amounted to 1/4 of my tuition at that time. It didn’t seem significant to me; however, my parents were appreciative of the contribution. For these reasons I created a legacy bequest intention for NDMU.

Legacy giving is very important to the future of NDMU. Unrestricted current use funds are always necessary, and it is best to let leadership determine where the contributions will make the greatest impact for the institution.

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Jeanne Morris Jones portraitJeanne Morris Jones '50

Notre Dame changed my life! My education prepared me for a career in social work. I am grateful for the many dear friendships I developed as a student at Notre Dame. Many of these same friendships endure today. Harvey and I created an endowed scholarship to allow others to have the same Notre Dame experience which I enjoy. Harvey and I want to pass it on.

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Rita Hartman portraitRita Hartman C'86

I am honored to have been asked to share my story and what motivated me to leave a legacy for the future women attending Notre Dame of Maryland University.

I am grateful for my mother’s foresight in ensuring that I attend the University. During the early part of my sophomore year, my mother died suddenly, and since it had been just the two of us, my world was turned upside-down. However, with the support, generosity, and guidance of both the School Sisters of Notre Dame and the student body, I was able to continue my education and receive my Bachelor of Arts degree.

The charism of the School Sisters and the caring sense of community stayed with me and has challenged me to become the woman I am today. I am a person with a heightened awareness of the economically poor, and I have a sense of responsibility to ‘give back’ when the opportunity presents itself.

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Diane Finley portrait

Diane Finley, Ph.D. '74

I chose to put Notre Dame of Maryland University in my will because I want future students to have the same chance to study abroad that I did. It was one of my most valuable experiences in college. My folks had to really scrimp in order for me to go overseas, but not everyone is lucky enough to have this opportunity.”

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Mary Ellen Vanni portrait

Mary Ellen Vanni '69

My mother was a widow and the mother of six children, five girls and a boy, when she was 33 years old. She also was a Registered Nurse who believed that a college education was mandatory for her children to become self-sufficient.

All of her children achieved that goal beyond the B.A. The College of Notre Dame (now NDMU) was my road to fulfilling that goal and was the basis for personal growth, intellectual curiosity and self-confidence. My mother’s legacy lives on in my gift and desire that another young woman from another fragile family will experience the strength of an NDMU education.

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Vanetta Wallace portrait

Vanetta Wallace '93

Early one Saturday morning, I stepped onto Notre Dame’s campus and instantly fell in love. I was there to audition for a music scholarship. Prior to that visit I had never heard of Notre Dame. I wondered, what on earth a women’s college could do for me?

As we drove up the entrance off of Charles Street, the first thing I saw was the tower. The tower called out to me. I truly believe it was the Holy Spirit telling me I had found my home away from home for the next four years, a place where I would be spiritually and intellectually stimulated in both an enriching and inspiring environment.

Although I was not awarded the scholarship, I did have many important and rewarding experiences at Notre Dame. Those four years were the most impressionable years of my life. I was inspired to become a leader with a purpose, a force to be reckoned with. I was a part of campus life and was on the executive board of many campus organizations; I watched and learned from inspiring female faculty members like Dr. Karen Stoddard and Sister Joseph Mary Zimmer. They pushed me to try harder, because being OK is never enough. They wanted me to be all I could be and then strive for more.

Twenty years later, I have my own day care business: Netta’s Nest Family Childcare. I feel that the strong leadership skills and self-confidence I gained while attending Notre Dame have made me the success I am today. With so many fine institutions closing due to lack of support—such as my elementary and high schools and the graduate school where I earned my Master’s in Early Childhood Education—I had to make a decision that I felt was best to help support Notre Dame. Keeping the dream alive for future generations of women is not something I had to think about twice. I felt it was my duty to give back to the one place that gave me so much and made me who I am today.

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Marilyn Whited portrait

Marilyn Whited '66

A weeklong introspection unveiled that I really grew up at Notre Dame!

While I was at Holy Names Academy, I walked in the shadows of my older sisters and was rarely called by my own name. I was determined to plot my own course in college. My sister was incensed I did not apply to her college, but Dad, my hero, expressed his confidence in my decision and ordered her to leave me alone. I was pleased at his support of my rebellion. I started to grow up, and away.

At Notre Dame, I grew up making more decisions. My first roommate was from Maryland’s Eastern Shore and may as well have been from outer space. Girls in my dorm and classes had such different backgrounds. I was compelled to grow up some more. Doyle Hall residents selected me to represent them on the Resident Student Board. Friendships formed over four years have lasted a lifetime. I learned differences were OK and did some more growing. Some 40 years later, my sister confided that Dad was so proud of me.

Tragedy struck when my mother died. I was shown another, softer, side of the School Sisters of Notre Dame. They understood my misery. Sister Madeleine, concerned that I couldn't concentrate in her classroom (where I had learned of Mom’s passing) requested a new location from the Dean of Studies, Sister Bridget Marie. They went out of their way to rescue me. Faculty would stop me in the tunnel to ask how I was doing. These extraordinary, highly respected women were so intent that I would prevail. I was awed. Years later I am still grateful and humbled and still growing up.

After 48 years, I am convinced my choice of NDM was perfect for me. What I learned in and from Notre Dame is timeless. A student in the tumultuous 60s, I have been proactive for my Church and my community. My volunteer experience in my Parish, schools, and the Seattle community fills 2 pages. I need my Notre Dame to stay strong. My NDM degree validates my decision, being as valuable as my college’s reputation.

There is another reason why NDM is in my will. My Dad told me he had included the SSND in his estate because he wanted the Sisters to remember him in their prayers. Through no fault of his, his good intentions came to naught. So I’m doing it for my Dad too.

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Marcia Maith-Cloud Glover portrait

Marcia Maith-Cloud Glover '88

Since my 1988 graduation from Notre Dame, I have contributed on a continuous basis to the annual fund. I am a proud graduate and realize the importance of supporting my alma mater. Joining the Montrose Society provided me one more opportunity to support NDMU through a legacy gift.

In 2005, I was recognized as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women. In my bio for The Daily Record publication, I noted my graduation from Notre Dame as one of my most significant accomplishments. If not for the Weekend College program, I would not have achieved the personal and professional growth and recognition I have experienced and enjoyed. It was no easy task juggling home, family, work and school. However, the Weekend College format made the task doable. I am forever grateful to the dedicated professors, and committed professionals who supported and encouraged me.

I know I benefited from the legacy gifts of others while attending the Weekend College program at Notre Dame. Now, it is my turn to make the same opportunities available for the next generation.

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Carolyn Donohue portrait

Carolyn Donohue W'86, M'89

After having attended other local colleges on a part-time basis, I joined the Weekend College at College of Notre Dame of Maryland. Unlike other programs, the Weekend College students were made to feel an integral part of the CND community. The faculty was supportive and encouraged the students to develop their full potential.

I am still receiving immense value from the University by participating in the Renaissance Institute, their life-long learning program. Because of all that I have received, it is my honor to support the University by being a member of the Montrose Society with a legacy gift.

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Joan Partridge portrait

Joan Partridge C'91

I am delighted to be a new member of the Montrose Society. I graduated from Notre Dame in 1991 with a degree in education. As an adult learner in the Continuing Education program, I was thrilled to discover the exceptional faculty and stimulating courses that were offered here.

I will always be grateful to Sister Marie Xavier Looymans and Barbara Livermon M.Ed. who prepared me so well for the work I wanted to do. Learning here at Notre Dame was a joyful experience for me, and my life has been enriched by the education I received.

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Katherine Shamer portraitKatherine Shame '82, M'07

As a transfer student, Notre Dame was a logical fit. I wanted to continue my education at a women’s college, where I would not get lost in the shuffle and would be valued as a woman. Notre Dame’s holistic atmosphere, welcoming environment and academic standards met all the criteria on my wish list. Immediately, I felt like I belonged and intuitively knew that Notre Dame was the best choice for me.

The academic standard was challenging and encouraged me to reach for excellence. My journey has confirmed the value of a liberal arts education. Interestingly, courses in Philosophy and Art provided an understanding of the sciences, insight into culture and promoted abstract thinking. These courses provided a good foundation for critical and creative thinking in the workplace. It always amazes me how I am able to retrieve and use information I learned at Notre Dame.

Equally important was Notre Dame’s strong Catholic identity that emphasized human dignity, spirituality and the worth of each human life. These fundamental values encouraged me to stretch to my full potential and recognize the significance of opposing opinions. The faculty created a supportive and encouraging environment that built my confidence and taught the power of persistence, which enabled me to manage challenges and uncover meaningful solutions. To this day I am blessed to be a graduate of Notre Dame and experience the countless opportunities the Alumnae and Alumni Association provides.

For me, becoming a member of the Montrose Society was an obvious decision. This is my opportunity to give back to an institution that has given me so much, both as a student and an alumna. Hopefully, my legacy will help preserve the Notre Dame experience for another generation. By being a Montrose Society member, I am blessed to pass it forward!

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Colleen E. Bergin portrait

Colleen E. Bergin '94, M'04

The Catholic liberal arts education at Notre Dame exposed me to a myriad of disciplines as well as provided me specific skills to grow in my career. As a student, my love of learning was always nourished — there were many wonderful experiences, not just in the classroom: a winter abroad, leadership seminars and an internship in Washington, D.C. I still fondly recall the topics discussed during 'Change Management' in the Master’s program.

“Notre Dame helped to channel the leadership, creativity and compassion employed in my roles of business professional, parent and friend. In short, Notre Dame prepared me for the workforce and for the world.

Joining the Montrose Society in support of Notre Dame was an obvious and easy choice!

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