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THE MAGAZINE OF REGIS COLLEGE SPRING 2012

Safe Haven Families in need find a home and a direction from the “nuns on the hill.”


“

Molly Danforth ’13 and Nick Fillman ’12 became leaders at Bethany Hill School. The younger kids looked up to them.” [pg 12]

Miriam Finn Sherman ’98 Chief Development Officer miriam.sherman@regiscollege.edu

Regis College

Rachel Morton Editor | rachel@rachelmorton.com

Chair

Board of Trustees 2012

Donna M. Norris, MD

Lilly Pereira Designer | www.lillypereira.com

Members

Heather Ciras Writer | heather.ciras@regiscollege.edu

Carole Fiorine Barrett ’63, JD

Judith Murphy Lauch ’68

Ernest Bartell, CSC, PhD (Emeritus)

Christina Kennedy McCann ’60

Marian Batho ’70, CSJ

Kathleen McCluskey ’71, CSJ, PhD

Regis Today is published twice a year. © 2012, Regis College, Weston, Massachusetts. All rights reserved. The opinions expressed in Regis Today are those of the authors and not necessarily of Regis College.

Beverly W. Boorstein, JD

Teresa M. McGonagle ’81

Kathleen Dawley Smokowski ’79

Peter Minihane, CPA

Maureen Doherty ’68, CSJ

Glenn Morris

Mary Anne Doyle ’67, CSJ, PhD

Mary L. Murphy, CSJ

Please send address changes to:

Clyde H. Evans, PhD

Kathleen O’Hare ’69

Rev. Msgr. Paul V. Garrity, VF

Mary T. Roche ’78, CPA

Antoinette M. Hays, PhD, RN

Joan C. Shea

Leila A. Hogan ’61, CSJ

Jane Cronin Tedder ’66, EdD

Karen Hokanson, SND

Donato J. Tramuto

Ellen C. Kearns ’67, JD

Richard W. Young, PhD (Emeritus)

Office of Institutional Advancement and Alumni Relations Regis College 235 Wellesley Street Weston, MA 02493-1571 781-768-7220 www.regiscollege.edu

Ruth Sanderson Kingsbury ’57


regıs g inside

On the cover Photograph of Pauline Fillman ’02 and her son Nicholas ’12 at Bethany Hill School by Kathleen Dooher.

Features

12

photo: Kathleen Dooher

18

Stairway to the Future The “nuns on the hill” offer a new life to families in need, and the next generation pays it back in kind.

Granny’s Got Gusto Though they carry Medicare cards and dote on grandkids, seniors are still in the workplace, the gym, and the beach— no rocking chairs in sight.

Work 22 Team A special-needs youngster becomes a special member of the lacrosse team.

Departments

2 3

Dear Neighbor Mission articulated, strategic plan in place, morale high. All’s well at Regis.

Tower Views Scholars honored, Public Health major, Regis in the world, Found in translation, New dean, and Trustees join the board.

8 10

Taking Action After years in the financial sector, Carolyn Smith ’83 went back to Regis and back to her roots.

In My Own Words Sister Betty Cawley: Her calling has always been teaching.

Alumni Together 28 Gatherings and events bring alumni together.

Class Notes 30 News of the classes. Alumni Survey 47 Tell us about you.


dear

neighbor

REGIS TODAY

My office has been immersed in: • Working with the faculty of the School of Liberal Arts, Education and Social Sciences (SLAESS) to reinvigorate our liberal arts tradition • Conducting a facilities assessment to determine the needs of an aging physical plant • Taking the first steps toward development of a Master Plan to address those needs and our academic growth as we shape our future • Strategic planning, strategic planning, strategic planning, from the ground up and top down We live at a time when some sociologists say that human community itself is threatened and, in various quarters, under attack. So one of our strategic goals is to “Build and strengthen community.” To do that we must, as another strategic goal puts it, “Bolster fiscal engagement.” This, in turn, supports our third and most fundamental goal, “Cultivate character,” that is, the mission and identity of Regis. You will be hearing more about our strategic plan in the months to come. That said, the morale on campus is good; the energy high; the students, faculty, staff, and trustees hard at work; and I am very pleased at the direction Regis is going. I want to thank Sister Betty Cawley ’63, CSJ, PhD, a classicist and historian, for so ably taking on the interim deanship of SLAESS the past two years and welcome Malcolm Asadoorian, PhD, an economist, as he takes on the role of that School’s academic dean. Antoinette M. Hays, PhD, RN PRESIDENT

photo: Kathleen Dooher

2

During the past six months, the citizens of the world have seen economic recession threaten Greece; battles rage on in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, and Syria; Super-PACs and talk-show hosts dangerously push images and language over the boundaries of civility; and religious women like our own Sisters of Saint Joseph of Boston join forces to fight human trafficking. Regis faculty and staff members continuing our Haiti Project to educate Haitian nursing faculty recently reported back from their spring seminar in that country that their first day was an emotional one. They met a 13-year-old girl who had just given birth to twins. These kinds of reality have made me—a nurse, mother, educator, and Catholic college president—dig in my heels and charge Regis College faculty and staff with new energy for our mission. This winter, I attended a meeting with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and discussed the challenges to higher education. In March, I contributed to an article in The Boston Globe Sunday magazine called “Putting college degrees to work.” Our education of students to have a good influence on the world through service and leadership is a direct response to the human condition and the common good. All of this means, first of all, firming up our capacities so the mission can meaningfully continue and thrive. So this year we have been very busy with the ongoing and central work of teaching, learning, and introducing new undergraduate and graduate programs and courses, such as Heritage for a Global Society, Biomedical Science, Public Health, Medical Imaging, Nuclear Medicine, American Narratives, Economics, and “Thinking, Learning, Doing: The Humanistic Path.” Students on our campus, who already reflect a global multiculturalism and diversity, have been working all year on learning how to help this campus community conduct the “difficult conversations” different human groups must always have.


photo: Kathleen Dooher


Regis Redux Same Campus, Different Career

8 REGIS TODAY

Nearly 30 years ago, Carolyn Smith ’83 graduated with a degree in political science and went on to spend the bulk of her career working in the financial sector. These days, Smith is back at Regis, hitting the books once again. But the banking world is in her rear-view mirror. In May, she is graduating with a master’s degree in health administration. On the surface, it may seem like a complete non sequitur. But her new career choice is actually a rather organic fit. “My younger sister Patricia is disabled and I’ve been the guardian of her,” Smith says. “And our mother has Alzheimer’s disease and I have been her caregiver as well. Caring for others became very natural for me and I thought that if I could do this in my personal life, I could do this for my professional life as well.” For the past five years, Smith had been eyeing a career shift. After investing so many years with management roles in retail and mortgage banking, Smith was ready for a 180-degree change. But for her the timing was never right. When, in 2010, her company consolidated and shifted operations to Connecticut, her position was eliminated. Suddenly the timing had to be right. Frankly, it was a blessing in disguise for Smith. She could finally go after her dreams. She would go back to school and retrain. But where? What program? When Smith read an issue of Regis Today and saw a profile on Catherine Wilson, BA ’83, MS ’11, a former classmate from their undergraduate days, she learned that Wilson was a student in the health administration program (she graduated this past winter). This new Regis program looked very promising to Smith. Besides having all the benefits of a school she knew and loved, it was an 18-month program. It would be intense, she thought. But it wouldn’t be too much of a

life commitment. She looked at other programs in the region and thought many relied too much on online courses. Ultimately, Regis was her ideal match. At the beginning of 2011, she began taking classes full-time. From taking classes in policy to getting the chance to work in the field at an assisted-living facility, Smith is enthusiastic about her experience in the MHA program. “I’ve really enjoyed my time back at the school. My professors and my classmates come from such a wide variety of backgrounds—not all of them are from a health care background. There are a lot of people like me who are making a career transition themselves. Plus it’s allowed me to reconnect with the college. My mother is a Regis grad, too, so I guess this degree makes it a triple pride.” The MHA program launched just over a year ago. Its structure is flexible, allowing individuals to spend roughly 16 months (for full-time) and two years (part-time) to complete the necessary course work. According to Smith, that is one of the most beneficial aspects of the program, as she has to balance her caretaking responsibilities. As much as Smith loved her second time around at Regis, the affection has been mutual. For program director Mary Ann Hart, having someone with Smith’s expansive resume is an immense asset to the program, as she is able to make the classroom a much more dynamic place. “Carolyn’s professional background in business and her extensive experience navigating the health care system as a consumer advocate in caring for elderly relatives have made her an invaluable contributor to the health administration program at Regis,” says Hart. “Like many of our students who come to our graduate program embarking on a second career, she has

photo: Kathleen Dooher

by andrew clark


brought her rich life experience, an enthusiasm for learning, and a commitment to applying her people skills and wisdom to the expanding, dynamic field of health care.” Smith currently lives in Plainville with her husband, Brad, who has been fully supportive of her seismic shift in careers. “My husband has been my biggest cheerleader since I entered the program,” says Smith. “When I first started out, he was proofreading and critiquing all of my papers. But these days, he doesn’t need to. He just reads the first paragraph and says, ‘You’ve got it.’” After she graduates, Smith has a number of different goals she is interested in exploring. When she entered the program, her dream was to be the executive director of an independent or assisted-living facility. But she says that the last two years have opened her up to contemplating other career paths that she had never considered before. Entering the field of policy is something she is weighing. Working in geriatric care and consultation are also possible options for Smith. No matter what area of health care she enters, Smith says that her ultimate goal is to spend her days helping others. “That is one of the reasons that I decided to enter health care administration,” says Smith of having the chance to impact the lives of many through her work. “I’m excited for this new beginning. Right now, I’m figuring out what I want to do when I grow up.”

9 spring 12

photo: Kathleen Dooher

“I’m excited for this new beginning. Right now, I’m figuring out what I want to do when I grow up.”


words

in my own

Always a Teacher Sister Betty Cawley ’63, CSJ, PhD I grew up in Brighton. My parents were what you’d call middle-class. I have two older brothers. They both went to Boston College High School. I went to Mount Saint Joseph Academy.

Sister Mary Ellen was my religious name. Another

thing was going back to our baptismal names and giving up our religious names, much as we liked them. I chose Mary Ellen because it was the name of my 5th-grade teacher. She is still alive.

Our parents, although they had limited education,

REGIS TODAY

I knew I wanted to be a Sister when I was very young. I had so much contact with the Sisters. I always admired them and thought it would be a meaningful way of life. I entered the Sisters of Saint Joseph in 1953, after high school. I had three years of training, which consisted of becoming a woman religious, and some college-level work. After that you were out there teaching. I taught one year in junior high and 16 years in high school. Then I went on my great adventure—a year of study

in Italy. It was part of my doctoral program at Tufts. When I returned, I began teaching at Regis. I’ve been here since the fall of 1970.

I love music. I play the piano and the organ, not well, but well enough to enjoy it. Now I mostly play for our liturgical services, Masses at the Mother House, and unfortunately I play for a lot of funerals. I live in a convent, which is set up like an apartment

building. We have these little garden plots on the property. I grow all kinds of vegetables, whatever my group likes to eat. I like to cook. I find it enjoyable and relaxing. The College is founded on the values of the Sisters. There is still a small group of us here. We have tried to impart the culture and values of the Sisters of St. Joseph. We’re not the only ones who can and do promote those values. You’d be amazed at the way those come forward. Sometimes it’s not even conscious. We expect and hope that what we did here for more than 75 years, other people will carry it on.

Religious vocation is the most important thing. It’s

my life.

What strikes me now is the thought of all the lives you

But I would have been a teacher in any case. When I played “school” as a child, I always managed to be the teacher.

know you have influenced. When, years later, you get an unexpected note from someone you haven’t heard from in heaven knows how long. They will say something that makes you realize you made a difference.

In the 1960s all the religious congregations did go back

That of all things is the overriding thing you take away.

to their roots and look at the early Sisters, in France in the 17th century. We were supposed to make sure we were still embodying those values, and one of them was that they wear the dress of the women of the day. They weren’t supposed to stand out. I wore a habit until 1969.

Sister Betty Cawley ’63 is leaving her current position as dean at the end of the academic year. In a more than 40-year career at Regis, she taught in the classics department, administered a number of programs, and was interim dean of the School of Liberal Arts, Education and Social Sciences. She has served as assistant president of the Sisters of St. Joseph from 1986–1994 and then from 2000–2006.

photo: Kathleen Dooher

10

were very committed to education as the way for their children to succeed.


“What strikes me now is the thought of all the lives you know you have

influenced.”

11 FALL 11


Pauline Fillman ’02 made a new life for her family, including son Nicholas Fillman ’12, with the help of the Sisters at Bethany Hill School.


Families Forge New Lives at Bethany Hill

to the

Teetering on the brink of homelessness in 1994, Pauline Fillman ’02 breathed a sigh of relief when a friend told her about “the nuns on the hill.” Perhaps these religious women, who had just opened an affordable-housing community in Framingham, Massachusetts, were the answer to Pauline’s prayers. The tenacious single mother, struggling to make ends meet as a part-time postal carrier, was determined to forge a better life for her two sons. “We’d lost everything,” she said about the aftermath of a divorce. “We had nothing but each other.” Pauline knocked on the doors of the Bethany Hill School to plead her case and soon discovered a safe haven, an educational challenge, and lifelong friends in the Sisters who would champion her future. By Patricia murray dibona ’84

Photos by Kathleen Dooher

13 spring 12

Stairway Future


Pauline Fillman ’02 (left) found an advocate and a friend in Sister Denise Kelly ’69, CSJ (right), the program director of Bethany Hill School.

14 REGIS TODAY

P

auline connected immediately with Sister Denise Kelly, ’69, CSJ, Bethany Hill School’s program director. The Jamaica native with the island lilt and the Irish nun forged a special kinship, based in large part on their shared belief that education moves people out of poverty. “It breaks the cycle and shows people they don’t have to depend on the system. There’s another way,” says Sister Denise. Pauline and her children embraced Bethany Hill School’s unique condition of residency—participation in educational programs and communal activities—and slowly, happily, began to reshape their lives. Pauline’s come full circle now. She has a fulfilling career as a social worker and she reaches

out to people in every facet of her life. “I ask the Lord, send me someone who will benefit from my help,” remarks Pauline, who says Bethany Hill was there for her and it is time to pay it forward. Once a novitiate, a residential home for young women preparing for their vows as nuns, and later a school for children with special needs, Bethany Hill School offers its residents, adults with disabilities and single mothers with children among them, a second chance. The housing community provides apartments to 105 lowincome families breaking free of homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction, and difficult personal circumstances. Here they receive the support of the community’s sponsors, the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Boston,

as well as local social service agencies and a network of volunteers. Programs for residents focus on parenting skills, financial and career planning, GED preparation, vocational and computer training, and children’s enrichment activities. Bethany Hill School’s campus on Bethany Road near the Ashland town line sits behind a rustic cobblestone wall at the top of a grassy hill. It includes St. Joseph Hall, a retirement home for nuns, and Bethany Health Care Center, a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility. The tranquil neighborhood is governed by the gentle tenet of the Sisters of Saint Joseph who live and work there: to combine action with compassion to bring about change. Nowhere is this more evident than in Pauline’s situation years ago. With encouragement from Sister Denise and financial assistance from the Sisters of Saint Joseph, Pauline enrolled her children in Catholic schools and herself at Aquinas College. Two years later, she had an associate’s degree in social work with president’s list status. She and Sister Denise laugh as they recall those hectic early days when Pauline, driving an “old jalopy of a car,” chauffeured Bethany Hill neighbors and her growing family (daughter Zaria was born in 1996) to school. Following her Aquinas graduation, Pauline was accepted as a social work major at Regis and completed her bachelor’s degree in 2002. “The kids and I were in school for a long time,” she sighs, thinking back to those years of juggling parenting, work, and education. When her children’s school schedule conflicted with college courses, social work classmates stepped in. “Those Regis girls would drive to St. Tarcisius School in Framingham, pick up my kids, bring them back to Regis and help them with their homework while I finished class,” she recalls. The


Fillmans spent so much time on Regis’s campus, her professors joked that the young trio had enough credits to graduate.

C

arol Dorr, director of the social

According to Lyndis Clarke, the Institute’s residential director, “Most holidays and weekends, Pauline pops in to check on her guys, making sure everything is going smoothly, or dropping off a pie she made that morning.” Pauline still yearns for further education but her old nemesis, money, prevents her from pursuing a master’s degree. She is still paying college loans and supporting her children: Nicholas, 22, a senior at Regis; Aaron, 21, who works as a caregiver; and Zaria, 16, a sophomore at Marian High School. At Sister Denise’s urging, she is finally taking time for herself. Pauline has received a scholarship and plans to attend a contemplative weekend this year at the St. Joseph Retreat Center in Cohasset. Pauline’s determined work ethic has been inherited by her children, though Nicholas’s drive to succeed sometimes worries his mom. “I tell him, it’s okay to take some time off, but he won’t. People are depending on him and he refuses to let them down,” she says. The Regis senior is completing his final year as a communications major. In between his six classes, including a rigorous senior seminar, Nick works as a dietary aide at Bethany Health Care Center, a 101-bed skilled nursing facility adjacent to Bethany Hill School. The job keeps Nick busy—he works every weekend from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.—and it connects him with unique people like Sister Janina Mangion, CSJ, who lights up when Nick delivers a meal or sits to chat. “She’s sweet,” he says. Eager to share Sister Janina’s wisdom with the world, Nick set up a Twitter account for the 105-yearold nun with regular “Sister Janina says” comments.

“He’s always thinking. He’s a go-getter with a heart of gold,” says Jim Aujir, Bethany Health Care Center’s general manager of hospitality and building services, chuckling as he recounts the Twitter story. “Nick comes from a simple background and he’s never had a lot but it doesn’t matter—he shines,” says Aujir, who also supervised Nick’s hospitality management internship at the health care center.

N

ick formerly was the stage

manager for Regis theater productions and hopes his future career combines his love of hospitality with his special-event and technical expertise. And while he wasn’t a fan of high school, he says his Regis curriculum has defined him. “I like to speak in public and work in small groups. I like to plan and coordinate…to be in charge,” he admits. Nick says of his past guestservices job at the IMAX 3D theater at Jordan’s Furniture: “I went out of my way to help people and I even got some nice letters. It made me feel good that people had a great time because of me.” During a recent interview at Regis, Nick sat with his close friend and Regis classmate Molly Danforth, a junior nursing student. Nick and Molly grew up together at Bethany Hill School and have remained staunch allies through difficult times. Their connection is palpable, although outwardly the duo is quite different. Nick slouches comfortably in his seat, easy and relaxed in an oversized Adidas black sweatshirt, tugging every now and then at his knit cap. Molly sits upright, a picture

15 spring 12

work department at Regis, says Pauline stood out as an exceptionally hard-working, committed student. “She felt passionately about social work and wanted to make a difference in the lives of her clients, especially vulnerable and oppressed populations. I have no doubt that Pauline has benefited from her Regis education and has established herself as a leader and champion for social justice.” Pauline says women like Dr. Dorr and Sister Denise have left an indelible mark on her life. “Sister D, hmm, I don’t know what I’d do without her. She’s my friend, my family. She’s been there for every graduation, every little thing.” Dr. Dorr prodded her on when doubt and weariness clouded Pauline’s drive to finish college. “I told her it was all too much and I just couldn’t do it anymore,” Pauline says, recalling that Dr. Dorr just looked at her calmly and said, “Well, Pauline, I have every confidence in you.” After graduation, Pauline climbed in her old jalopy and drove a few minutes down the street to the offices of the Justice Resource Institute, one of the largest human services providers in Massachusetts, intending to apply for a direct-care position. Instead, she was hired as the assistant manager of a group home for eight developmentally disabled men. Within weeks, she was promoted to the program’s manager. Pauline is there today, caring for “her guys,” advocating for their needs and supervising staff. Recently, colleagues nominated her for the Association of Developmental Disabilities Providers’ Human Services Professional Award, praising her leadership and hands-on approach.

The Jamaica native and the Irish nun forged a special kinship, based in large part on their shared belief that education moves people out of poverty.


16

of poise in a classic cardigan, honey-colored hair brushing her shoulders, her blue eyes warm and direct as she speaks. When the subject turns to Nick’s aspirations in the hospitality field, Molly teases, “You’re going to be a wedding planner, Nick?” This gentle ribbing got its start years ago when the two played together on Bethany Hill School’s basketball court, attended summer camps and participated in the young people’s nonviolence group. As they matured, Molly and Nick became leaders within the building. “The younger kids look up to them,” says Sister Denise, adding, “I love that they are still so helpful to each other.”

REGIS TODAY

M

olly moved to Bethany Hill School when she was five. Her mother, Kathy, was initially a resident in New Beginnings, a program on the school’s first floor for recovering alcoholics and addicts. “She got clean and sober, transitioned into an apartment, and I moved in with her,” says Molly. Soon after, her older sister and three brothers followed. Molly’s sister is now 28 and her brothers are 26, 25, and 22. “Kathy wanted so much for her children,” affirms Sister Denise. “She had them when she was young, one after the other, and then she got sick.” Despite declining health, Kathy worked diligently to better herself as a parent. She and her boyfriend, Bill Blake, attended parenting classes. “We learned to listen better, to discipline the kids fairly and set limits,” recalls Bill, noting that Molly and Kathy often went to classes together. Still, life was difficult for young Molly, particularly after her biological father died when she was 11. “I was angry at the world,” she says. Molly enrolled in Resiliency for Life at Framingham High

Nick and Molly grew up together at Bethany Hill School and have remained staunch allies through difficult times. School, a voluntary intervention and prevention program that develops skills and confidence in students who are at risk of academic failure. Molly blossomed in the structured program, graduating from high school a full year early. Blake explains that Molly’s motivation to finish school was also fueled by Kathy’s desire to see her daughter graduate. “Kathy was very sick and we all knew she didn’t have long to live,” Blake says. Molly began taking classes at Framingham State College and her mother died six months later. Molly wears an elegant silver necklace engraved with the words “my angel” around her neck. “It has my mom’s ashes in it,” says Molly, gently touching the cylinder pendant. “One of her friends from Bethany made it for me.” Molly says her mother was sick for as long as she can remember. “But she never, ever gave up.” The Danforth siblings received emotional support from the Bethany Sisters throughout their mother’s illness. Molly remembers hugging Sister Betsy Conway, CSJ, then program director for New Beginnings and now the director of spiritual life at Regis. “Sister Betsy and Sister Denise were always with us. They drove us to and from the hospital. They were very much a part of our family.” After her mother died, Molly completed her prerequisites at Massachusetts Bay Community College and was accepted into Regis College’s School of Nursing. “I decided to pursue nursing after my mother died. We kids all took care of her so I knew what it entailed, and I appreciated the relationships she had with her nurses.” Molly says her

first clinical rotation was at the hospital where her mother was a patient. “I’d been in those rooms, been on those floors.” Molly thinks she’d like to become a neonatal nurse and be present during the first precious hours of life, even if that life is precarious. In the future, she hopes to enroll in Regis’s pediatric nurse practitioner program. Both Molly and Nick are eager for the next chapter in their lives. Nick, who will graduate in May, says he’d like to work for a Boston hotel and buy a nice house and a new car. He imagines he’ll be single for quite some time and will be a favorite uncle to Molly’s future kids. Until then, the friends relax at Molly’s new apartment, do their homework together, and dream about the future. Sister Denise believes that Molly, Nick, and Pauline are perfect examples of Bethany Hill School’s mission. “They are incredible people who are motivated to do well and make a difference,” she says with pride. As Bethany Hill School celebrates its 18th year with a Spring Gala in May, Sister Denise remarks that friends often ask her when she plans to retire. She glances toward the bathroom in the children’s playroom where a plumber wrangles with a broken pipe and then cocks her ear toward the hallway and a runaway rambunctious toddler, and admits that she is just too busy to consider retirement. “A lot of miracles happen here,” she asserts. “I’m going to stay until the miracles stop.”


“A lot of miracles happen here,” says Sister Denise Kelly ’69, CSJ, standing here between Regis students Nick Fillman ’12 and Molly Danforth ’13.

17 spring 12


18 REGIS TODAY

“Fun” Granny with flip-flops, yoga mat, bike helmet, new hair, sunglasses, iPod, and workout gear


Granny’s got

My Medicare card came in the mail. It sat propped on my desk for the first month, and we had a staring contest with one another. I’m over the initial impact. I use the card routinely and have even laminated it. For those of you who are yet to become familiar with Medicare, the little card with all of its psychological impact is a flimsy piece of paper. This turning 65 thing is interesting and, frankly, a bit disconcerting. There’s symbolism attached to the number that bears little resemblance to reality. Most surveys end one demographic category with age 64 and start the next group with 65. What’s supposed to change at 65?

by Mary Jane maciewicz Fernino ba ’68, MAT ’97 illustrations by KYLE HILTON

19 SPRING 11

Gusto


20 REGIS Today

When I look at pictures of my grandmother, she was an old woman at 65. The rigid hairstyle, black dress, and orthopedic shoes didn't help, but the point remains that she was “old” at 65. Happily, we live in different times. My routine summer outfit is shorts, a T-shirt ,and flip-flops. In the winter, I trade the shorts for jeans. I listen to podcasts and music on my iPod. I ride a bike. I can’t imagine a summer without being in the water at our local beach. The fact that I get to collect shells with my granddaughter and build sand castles with my grandson when they visit is a bonus. There’s an almost universal sense of wonder that we’re the ones turning 65. I was in a local shop the other day buying a gift. While the salesperson, a woman my age, was wrapping my package, she was telling me about her search for a good Medicare supplement plan. Yes, there’s a sisterhood surrounding this Medicare thing! Anyway, she looked at me with a wry expression and said, “Do you believe that I had to go to the Senior Center to get the information?” I know what she meant. Crossing the doorway of the Senior Center requires courage. I’ve been dragging my feet about looking into a gentle yoga class because it’s housed there. I have the most vivid memory of being at school when the alums returned for reunions dressed in what we laughingly referred to as “mink stoles and flowered hats.” We looked at them from our bloom of young womanhood thinking that we couldn’t imagine ever being that old. Well, big surprise, here we are. I contacted several women from my class recently and asked them to share their thoughts about the pleasures and pitfalls of turning 65. The commonly voiced feeling was one of surprise that we would be in a position to ponder that question. The years since we were together at Regis seem to have moved at warp speed. According to Mary Beth Govoni Cormier, the arrival of her Medicare card wasn’t as big a deal as signing up for AARP. “I was postponing signing up for AARP, even though I had been receiving mailings for a long time, a few years in fact. I finally bit the bullet when they advertised an insulated bag for free that I thought would be great for carrying a lunch to the beach. Still can’t believe any of us is 65…which I feel is the new 42!” “Of course we thought 65 was old when we were 20,” Paula Sudol Lowe writes. She remembers, during college, when a close friend’s mother was very ill, hearing her friend say, “It must be terrible to be sick and old at 65, your body giving out, but your mind still feeling so young.” Now that we've reached that age ourselves, Paula muses, “We certainly never thought we'd ever be faced with any illness. Now, at 65 and not in the best of health, it’s amazing how young 65 still seems. I’m sure 70 will feel quite young as well.” For many of us, careers do not come to a screeching halt just because there are more birthday candles on our cakes. For our generation, juggling family and work has been a large part of our reality—a reality that in many cases provided personal satisfaction in addition to an income. Arbitrarily stopping at age 65 is no longer the norm. Lucy Doyle Previte has no plans to leave her job as accounts payable manager at The Paper Store, Inc. According to Lucy, “I just celebrated my Medicare birthday in January. With the relentless onslaught of Medicare

mailings, I do worry about the fate of trees! Four children in four different states, our 10th grandchild due in June, and a full-time job with no immediate plans to retire—65 is just a number. Now maybe 70....” Alice Valerie Wertz, CFO of Microcosm, Inc., said: “Turning 65 is supposed to be traumatic but I think I missed that part of the equation this year. Maybe it is because my birthday (December 2nd) is so close to Christmas and I was already numb considering the onslaught of 12 additional family members (including four grandchildren under the age of 5) who would be heading home for the holidays. Or maybe it didn't seem that different because I am one of those many 65-year-olds who is still working. There are days when I dream of taking the RV out for a long trip cross country or just parking it in a nice, sunny RV park for a three-month stay. Other days, I am thankful that my skills are still needed. I’m pretty sure that the world is thankful that I am forced to put on make-up every morning! Ask me again when I turn 70. You can send me an e-mail at my office address.” For others, our mid-sixties is a time to let go of the structure of work and delight in time

“Careers do not come to a screeching halt just because there are more birthday candles on our cakes.”


nurses. Often at the same time, we’re wives, mothers, and daughters. We’re volunteers and community organizers. We’re the glue that holds a household together. And the role juggling continues in our current stage of life. As a generation, those of us in our sixties are breaking new ground in being responsible for the care of parents in their nineties. Except in unusual circumstances, our parents’ generation did not struggle with these issues. My parents are both in a nursing home on the North Shore. My mother has Alzheimer’s and my dad is what they refer to as a “twoperson transfer” due to his frailty. Fortunately, it is a well-run facility that provides excellent care, but the cost for both of them is in excess of $700 per day. In many ways, transferring their daily care over to a care facility has eased my physical involvement, if not my worry about them. Trying to answer their increasing needs over the last few years, while living over 100 miles away from them, has been a challenge. And it’s a challenge that I see repeated around me every day. Though the challenges are obvious, the rewards can be rich. One day my neighbor was visiting an assisted-living facility with her elderly aunt, and they were taken out to lunch by a “nice man named Sergio.” On the way home she made an off-handed comment to her aunt that Sergio’s name did not really fit him. “I was thinking that the comment would go right over her head, particularly as she is hard of hearing, and I was really

just musing to myself and not taking the usual effort to make myself heard. All of a sudden she said to me, laughing, ‘Yes, he should have been taller, thinner, and more romantic.’ I can only hope that at 95 I can still tell the difference!” As those of us in our mid-sixties begin to come up with new ideas to provide the best possible care for our aging parents, perhaps, in the process, we will make choices that will make our own aging a little easier for ourselves, or at least for our kids when it’s their turn to deal with us. A sweet young thing at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Wellfleet gave me an automatic senior discount last week, so maybe I look older than I think I do. Note to Dunkin’ Donuts: tell your staff to wait until someone asks for a senior discount. The thing is, I don’t feel that old. Okay, there are a few things. I’m grateful to be healthy, which is something I once took for granted. I’m much more careful on ice and stairs than I used to be. I prefer movie matinees. I’ve traded in the regular one-piece bathing suit for swim shorts. But as the conventional wisdom says, the more things change, the more they remain the same. I’m 65. It is what it is. Time to go forward. As with most things, attitude is all. Mary Jane Maciewicz Fernino, BA ’68, MAT ’97, is a retired English teacher. Her blog is featured on Falmouth Patch (www.falmouth.patch.com).

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that allows for other pursuits. Mary Reilly Potter says that, “Retirement for me has been sweet. David and I live seven months in Venice, Florida, and five in Kittery Point, Maine. I keep busy by walking three miles every day, doing water aerobics five times a week, reading, quilting, sewing, knitting, and having fun as much as I can. I remember my dad’s words of wisdom: ‘Enjoy every day while you can—old age is not for sissies.’” Remaining active is important for many of us. Sheila Brown Healy is “so thankful to be the Fun Gram to my five grandchildren—to swim, waterski, play basketball, and still shoot better than they do!” While her activity level is high, it comes with some support. “In general, I’m in good health, but having to put my blood pressure and other medications into that plastic Monday-through-Sunday container, I’m thankful I can still use the small one with the small letters, not the foot long one with the inch-high letters.” Ruth Crotty Little reinforces the idea that we may have reached our Medicare years, but as with so much that we’ve done in the past, we will reinvent these years as well. “End of days?” By no means. “Time to refresh, rejuvenate, recapture the essence of life, and strongly march on into the twilight

“I remember my dad’s of what we have strived for all words of wisdom: these years.” Our generation has blazed a trail ‘Enjoy every day while to see just how many proverbial hats a woman can wear at one you can—old age is time. On the employment front, we function as designers, lawyers, not for sissies.’” teachers, corporate executives,


Lacrosse Team Helps Local Boy Gain Skills and Make Friends

22 REGIS TODAY Story and Photography by Heather Ciras


23 SPRING 12

It’s an unseasonably warm spring day and Number 5 and Number 7 from the Regis men’s lacrosse team are playing a friendly game of catch in the backyard. There is a lot of laughter, and though few words are spoken, there’s an understanding among the players as they hustle back and forth across the yard. They are shooting at imaginary goals, and when the ball rolls under the fence, they race to see who’s going to get it.


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24 REGIS TODAY

umber 7 then shows Number 5 some cradling techniques. He puts the ball in the pocket and twists the stick back and forth quickly. It looks like the ball is going to fall out time and time again, but it doesn’t. They both smile as he shows how this gravity-defying trick works. In short, it’s a perfect afternoon for Number 5, Sean Lambert, a 12-year-old boy with special needs who’s been “drafted” by the team. Sean broke his arm at school about six weeks ago, and he’s been cooped up inside the house for too long. Playing with Number 7, Stephan Bottex, a 21-year-old Regis junior, is the first time he’s been able to play in a while. “Sean sees Stephan and he lights up,” says Kristy, Sean’s mother, as she sits at her kitchen table in Milford, Mass. Sean isn’t a kid who lights up easily. Sean has a wide range of physical and emotional issues, and the root cause of them all isn’t clear. Physically, he has six herniated disks, kyphosis (a curving of the spine that leads to a hunchback posture), scholiosis, bilateral hip screws from a surgery to fix a dislocated and almost-dislocated hip, and hypotonia, a disorder that causes extreme low muscle tone and often low strength. Plus this winter he broke his arm. The hypotonia is quite severe, and Sean gets easily winded. It’s usually caused by some overarching problem, such as Down’s syndrome or muscular dystrophy, but the cause of Sean’s

delayed language skills, and can therefore seem anywhere from standoffish to downright angry or rude. He often answers in a quick “yes” or “no,” or by simply shaking his head. Because of this, Kristy often speaks for Sean, as he doesn’t normally communicate with others who haven’t known him for a while. But he does open up to Stephan, something that Kristy and her husband Dennis have noticed and delighted in. To others, Sean may still seem withdrawn, but when he’s with the lacrosse team, to his parents, Sean is elated and personable. “When I first met Sean,” said Stephan, a nursing major, “he wouldn’t even shake my hand. He sat there with his hoodie up. Then he came to practice and he wasn’t wearing his hood. And today we actually had a conversation. “When we were out there playing and the ball rolled across the street, I told Sean and Dennis [Sean’s little brother, known as Little D] to hang back,” said Stephan. “Sean leaned in and said, ‘I have a secret.’” Sean and Little D proceeded to tell him about a time they were outside playing soccer and the ball rolled across the street and Little D ran after it, causing traffic to stop. “I don’t think they’ve ever told their mom that.” It was a “guy’s moment,” a sharing of confidences and opening up that Sean rarely does with people outside his immediate family. Kristy hopes to see more of these opportunities to connect with the team in the future because the relationship has been growing so well thus far. “They take Sean for Sean,” she said. “He has a lot of challenges, physically, mentally, whatever. But they don’t judge him. He’s one of the guys.”

“They take Sean for Sean. He has a lot of challenges, physically, mentally, whatever. But they don’t judge him. He’s one of the guys.” hypotonia isn’t understood, even though he’s had a lot of testing done. The unknown is particularly hard on the family. “Truthfully, we don’t know if we’ll have him for another year or another 30,” says Kristy, “but we’re really grateful to have him. And we’re luckier than a lot of families. He’s such a kindhearted kid.” The softer side of Sean isn’t typically seen by the outside world. In addition to his physical ailments, Sean has a mood disorder that can make him defiant and sometimes even violent, and he has

Sean was paired with Regis through Team Impact, a new nonprofit organization based in Quincy, Mass., that matches kids with life-threatening diseases with college sports teams. Sean is invited to all games and practices like any other player. Though he can’t participate in the same activities as the rest of the team, he can help run drills and cheer the team on. He even has his own whistle. The team also threw Sean a draft party, where he got his own custom matching team gear, including a lacrosse stick in red and gold, with the number “5” on it.


“They call lacrosse the ‘fraternal sport.’ It’s a way to connect with others.”

25 SPRING 12

Top two photos: Sean Lambert with Regis lacrosse player Stephan Bottex ’13. Bottom: Sean with his mother Kristy and father Dennis.

“They call lacrosse the ‘fraternal sport,’” says Coach Josh Blumenthal. “It’s a way to connect with others.” It was important to Blumenthal that the team participates in a meaningful form of community service, and building a connection with a family was more appealing to him than doing a one-day service project or clinic. He wanted it to be “more long-lasting.” The plan isn’t to start with a new kid next season, but to continue to welcome Sean back and maybe add more local kids to the team. “The reason we did this was twofold,” Blumenthal says. “Number one, I’d be lying if I didn’t mention that community service is mandated by the school, but more important is number 2: I told the guys, ‘Think of the issues you go through—schoolwork, break up with your girlfriend. Not to belittle your experiences, but now put that in relation to Sean. He has all these issues and just fell and broke his arm. You can get up each day and play sports. He can’t.’” Blumenthal’s goal to have the team learn from Sean has been a slow process, but it is working. Sean has become a little more comfortable each time he’s around the players, and was even laughing and smiling at his draft party. “Sean’s definitely humbled me,” says communications major Brody McCauley ’13. “When he was 10, a group like the Make-A-Wish Foundation gave him a wish and he wanted to go to Washington, D.C., and visit the graves of the presidents and lay a rose on them and thank them for starting this country. That’s amazing.” As much as the team members have grown to admire and appreciate Sean, it can seem almost too good to be true to Sean’s parents. Sean’s emotional issues can be embarrassing in public, even when the people around them understand the situation. “It’s hard to open right up,” says Kristy. “But the team has opened their hearts so we’re trying.” Plans are being made for Sean to go to more practices now that the weather is getting warmer and he is getting more comfortable. Blumenthal and Kristy are also trying to find a time for a group of the players to go to a movie with Sean, something he really likes to do. It’s a way for all parties involved to continue to get to know each other. “I know he’s not the only kid out there that has issues that also cares for other people, but we’re his mom and dad and we think he’s special,” says Kristy, “And this team sees him that way too.” “I tell Kristy, We’re getting more out of this than you are,” says Blumenthal.


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photo: Kathleen Dooher

FALL 10

“The sacred lamp of day Now dipt in western clouds his parting day.” —William Falconer, The Shipwreck


Regis College

Nonprofit Org U.S. Postage

235 Wellesley Street Weston, MA 02493-1571 Change Service Requested

“I give because of my mother”

PAID

Weston, MA Permit No. 53037

During the last several years of my mother’s life, I would visit her every Saturday morning. Over a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, she would frequently talk about her life. A recurring theme was her college days at Regis and a lifetime of support she received from Regis as an alumna. My mom, who the whole family called ‘Nana,’ made a number of lifelong friends at Regis. She truly loved her alma mater. She often stated she wanted to support Regis after she passed away, so on behalf of the Crimmings family, it is with great honor that we made a contribution to Regis College in memory of our dear Nana.

Margaret Murphy Crimmings ’39, for whom Murphy Way is now named.

John Crimmings son of Margaret Murphy Crimmings ’39

Please consider making a gift too. Online: www.registowertalk.net/annualfund Mail: Regis College Annual Fund,
235 Wellesley Street, Box 30,
Weston, MA 02493 Phone: 781.768.7239


Regis Today, Spring 2012