Young alumnae honor their education by donating hours and ideas as well as money.
|Participants check out T-shirts and other event items after
the first annual Dew Drop Dash, a 5K walk/run on the grounds of the College of
St. Catherine during last summer's alumnae/i reunion.
BY MARY BETH LEONE-GETTEN
WHEN Rita Pomroy graduated from the College of St. Catherine in 2005 with a major
in accounting and a minor in American Sign Language, she already had been hired by
a prestigious Big 4 accounting firm. Yet she wondered how she'd fill the void she
felt after leaving the place she'd called home for the past four years, where she'd
been an orientation guide and captain of the softball team, held office in the
Student Senate and managed the campus information center.
"My professors, coaches and supervisors engaged me in discussions, empowered me to
take an active role in my studies and gave me meaningful work, all of which shaped
who I am today," Pomroy says. So how do you maintain a link to the place that took
you from a wide-eyed teen to a self-assured young woman?
Simple. You get involved.
During graduation practice, Pomroy received a postcard from the Alumnae Association,
inviting all new graduates to stay connected to the College. She filled it out and
quickly got a call from the association's executive director, Ruth Brombach '60,
inviting her to serve as a class representative on the Alumnae Board. Pomroy jumped
at the chance.
Three years later, Pomroy happily juggles her life's responsibilities — working as
an internal auditor for Deluxe Corp., studying for the CPA exam and coaching high
school softball — with her volunteer duties at St. Kate's. She gives roughly 200
hours to the college each year: as treasurer of the Alumnae Council, organizer of
the first 5K walk/run at last year's reunion and a participant in many other campus
She also donates financially to the College and encourages others to donate as
Pomroy doesn't have to look far to see one of St. Kate's amazing alumnae in action.
Her grandmother, Therese Marie Bailey '50, was only the third African-American woman
to graduate from the College. "My grandmother credits St. Kate's for opening doors
to her that would definitely have been closed in most other places at that time in
history," Pomroy explains.
To help reach out to young alums, Pomroy and Sarah Berger '00, director of the Annual
Fund, recently assembled a focus group from the classes of 2003 to 2007. "It was
inspiring to hear these articulate, motivated women talk about their deep devotion
to the College that gave them a world-class education," Berger says.
Together we can
But another message came across loud and clear: The recent graduates — amid new jobs,
student loans and graduate school — felt they couldn't give enough money to St.
Kate's to make a difference. Many were embarrassed to give the $25 they could afford
now to the College that gave them so much. Any donation is important to Berger.
|"When we all pool our resources, together they become a powerful gift that will
positively change someone's educational future."
— Sarah Berger '00
"The beauty of the Annual Fund is that when we all pool our resources — no matter
how small — together they become a powerful gift that will positively change
someone's educational future," she says. She cites the recent presidential election
as an example of what can happen when you pool $5 and $10 donations from a great many
people. "I want our young alums to see that the ripple effect is extraordinary — and
believe that together, anything is possible."
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