Meet the Board
Molly Ellsworth '92, '10G
Growing up in Columbus, Indiana, Molly was first introduced to SMWC through her eighth grade Spanish teacher, Mary Echsner Moore ’73. “I had the opportunity to visit the campus as a high school freshmen; afterwards, I was ready to apply,” said Molly. “The Woods fostered within me life-long critical thinking and communication skills. I want to share these gifts and ensure that the same opportunity is available in the future. My greatest desire as a Board member is to help ensure that the institution continues to grow and develop with the support from her alums.”
Karen Skinner Lafkas ’65
Karen grew up in Middletown, Ohio, and each summer attended Fort Scott Camp, a Catholic camp. Her counselor one summer was Mary C. Morley, SP, '60 and a fellow camper was Martha Dilger '63. “Because of these women, I visited The Woods and made my instant decision to attend,” said Karen. “At SMWC we were blessed with exceptional, dedicated professors who instilled within us the knowledge that we could accomplish whatever we set out to do. The added bonuses to our academics were the lifelong friendships created and the mantle of Providence that would guide our lives. The Alumnae Board is a strong connection between alums and the College in order that we may involve more alums in its future strength.”
Amy Frakes ’94
Amy grew up in Galesburg, Illinois, and was encourage by her aunts, who were SMWC alums, to look at The Woods after she graduated from high school. “That was the best advice I have received. My Woods education has made me the person that I am today,” said Amy. “I knew that just writing a check was not enough to give back to this wondrous place. As a Board member, I desire to help move the College into the future. If I can help keep The Woods alive and thriving for the next generation of women, then I have succeeded.”
Tracy Biggs-Green ’05
Tracy grew up in Crawfordsville, Indiana and was inspired to attend SMWC from a teacher, and fell in love with the campus, faculty and staff while on a visit.
“SMWC is my home, and I always feel rejuvenated every time I come back for an alumnae event, ring day ceremony, or even just stopping by to visit the College. SMWC has not only given me a well-rounded education, but also a spiritual one as well,” said Tracy. “I look forward to the opportunity to contribute and give back to SMWC and I look to embrace the challenges that lie ahead, make new friends, create new memories, and be a voice for the alumnae.”
Rosie Blankenship ’92
Rosie grew up in Terre Haute, Indiana. She first came to SMWC while visiting a friend and completely fell in love with the journalism program and the College’s family atmosphere. “My education and experience of the SMWC community have given me tremendous professional and personal strength. I want to give back what I’ve received over the years,” said Rosie. “I would like to help strengthen the ties between the Sisters of Providence, their ministry and SMWC. I think all of the daughters of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin can be helped by greater interactions among these groups.”
Karen Steffen Blesch ’99
Karen grew up in Jasper, Ind., and after high school worked in retail and accounting. Upon discovering the WED program (now Woods Online) she enrolled and majored in accounting and business administration. "My degree and the CPA and CFP exams advanced my career; and the spiritual quality of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods has strengthened my faith." said Karen. "I am passionate about giving back because my life has changed for the better, and I will do whatever I can to promote The Woods' mission.
Nancy Hurrle Emmett ’65
Nancy grew up in Rochester, Minnesota. Her mother's best friend was a 1942 graduate of SMWC. "It is because of her that I attended The Woods," said Nancy. "It was the lifelong friendships made at The Woods that always kept me in touch. It's a thrill to be back on campus to see the influence our College continues to have on today's young women.”
Suzanne Mohr Jones ’72
West Terre Haute, Indiana
Throughout her entire elementary and high school education, Suzy was instructed and encouraged by the Sisters of Providence in Terre Haute, Ind. “My family has been blessed with SMWC experiences,” said Suzy. “My aunt attended the College in the 1930s, I graduated in the 1970s, my sister earned her second degree from the WED program [now Woods Online] in the 1990s, and my daughter is currently enrolled as a senior student. Our educational journeys were all enhanced by committed faculty members whose dedicated spirit and generous effort have had a profound impact on our lives. As The Woods continues to develop, it too must grow in its number of supporters. I am most grateful for the past and desire to be involved in the advancement of this high caliber institution.”
Anne Longtine ’64
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Anne was born and raised in Evansville, Indiana, and attended Reitz Memorial High School where she was taught by the Sisters of Providence. She took part in a field trip for a choral contest held at SMWC, and within minutes of arriving, she knew this was where she would love to attend college. Financially, however, it seemed an impossible dream.
A scholarship made this dream a reality. “SMWC gave me an education second to none and inspired another dream: a dream to affect lives in the same way that mine had been touched, which occurred in my forty years of classroom teaching,” said Anne. “I was honored to be asked to serve on the alumnae board and hope that whatever ideas and service I can contribute will further the mission of the College.”
Mary “Maggie” Mullins ’08
Ithaca, New York
Maggie grew up in a small town -- Dana, Indiana, just north of Terre Haute. Her grandmother was in the WED program (now Woods Online) and graduated in 1980, and always spoke highly of the education that she received.
“Attending an all-women’s college allowed me to grow into a strong woman. I wanted to give back to SMWC because that institution made me the strong, independent, caring woman I am today,” said Maggie. “I wanted to join the alumnae board to show that even at a young age you can be a leader in your community. Connecting back to The Woods has always been a great experience for me, and I want to get the word out about all the great activities that alumnae can come back to campus for.”
Judith Higgins Price ’79
Terre Haute, Indiana
Judy grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, and attended a small all-women's high school. "My mother loved it here for the two years that she attended The Woods. I used to look at her yearbooks often. I made a campus visit and fell in love with the atmosphere," said Judy. "My Woods education has created within me an appreciation for seeing issues from many vantage points. It has taught me to look for opportunities and not to wait for them to come my way. As an alum board member I want to help people understand that they can make a difference no matter what their circumstances are. Every alum has wonderful skills and talents to share in some way with the College. Alums are a very important part of potential student recruitment."
Barbara Reder, SP, '64
Sister Barbara grew up in Cincinnati and learned about The Woods at a college fair at her high school. “I loved the atmosphere from the moment I visited,” said Sister Barbara. “The Woods did change my life as I decided to become a Sister of Providence after my graduation. I have had many opportunities to share God’s Providence, especially in California where I ministered for 32 years. I hope to represent the Sisters and encourage alums to become involved in recruiting others so they could benefit, as we have, from all that it means to be a Woods graduate.”
Claire Thuning Roberson, Ph.D. ’67
Claire grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and was attracted by the literature and brochure that she received from SMWC. Coincidentally, her older sister graduated from Immaculata Junior College (also a Providence school) in Washington, D.C.
“The Woods provided me the knowledge base with emphasis on problem-solving, honed my skills, and gave me the confidence to seek all life had to offer,” said Claire. “As an alumnae board member, I am eager to re-energize our fellow alums through strengthening the bond created at The Woods and passing this spirit and encouragement on to present and prospective students.”
Margaret “Meg” Swift Rogers ’80
Currently living in Denver, Meg was born in New Jersey and grew up in Crawfordville. She had never heard of SMWC until senior year in high school, when one of her mother's friends told her about a wonderful college outside Terre Haute. Meg visited SMWC on a bet and fell in love the moment she drove onto campus.
"It's the only college I visited where I felt instantly and deeply settled. I felt as if I'd come home. I never even visited another college,” said Meg. “At The Woods, I learned to think, to discover, to synthesize, and to vocalize then stand up for my beliefs. I am delighted to be a member of the National Alumnae Board. I am able to share my lifelong love of The Woods with a wider audience.”
Margaret “Peggy” Grimmer Rolf ’73
Port Clinton, Ohio
Peggy grew up in Fort Wayne, Ind. She attended St. John's School, where the Sisters of Providence taught, and was impacted by their positive and memorable example. Her mother and aunts also graduated from SMWC and shared their love of The Woods, family and community. Peggy always wanted to be a part of that Woods family and spirit.
“My SMWC education guided me both personally and professionally, providing a strong foundation and sense of friendship and community and a passion for education. I have been involved in education at many levels and welcome the opportunity to serve SMWC Alumnae Board,” said Peggy. “Our Woods connection is important and I want to encourage all alums to support and be involved with the College's growth and success – there are so many opportunities.”
Robert Straub ’05G
Fort Lee, Virginia
Bob grew up in St. Marys, Pennsylvania, and attended Catholic schools from grades first through twelfth, and college. He spent twenty years in the US Army, retiring in 1995, and is now back working for the army as a Government Civilian. In 1999 Bob began a diaconate program in the Richmond, Virginia, diocese; and he completed his MA through the MAPT program at The Woods. "SMWC opened my eyes to new educational opportunities," said Bob. "Through the College, I've met many new and diversified people and I desire to participate more in-depth with them. I want to help SMWC grow!"
Sandra Hall Wiederholt ’80
Mount Horeb, Wisconsin
Sandy grew up in Middleton, Wisconsin, a suburb of Madison. She babysat the children of a 1962 graduate, who introduced her to The Woods. She stayed at SMWC during her freshman year in high school and the decision on where to go to college was made.
“The four years I spent at The Woods shaped me into a woman who was confident and a free thinker. The Sisters of Providence nurtured me and yet challenged me to exceed in whatever I set out to do,” said Sandy. “I wanted to be on the board to be more involved and informed of what The Woods is today and where it is headed. My goal is to see SMWC flourish and be able to provide the best education possible now and into the future.”