SMWC Class of '64 raises record-breaking $1M

July 3rd, 2014 | SMWC

“Club ’64” – This engraved window will be the first thing Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College students see when walking into the fitness center in the future Jeanne Knoerle Sports and Recreation Center on campus.

The Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) Class of 1964, with over 50 of their alums at Reunion this year, celebrated the weekend by reaching their goal of $1 million in giving to the College over the past year. In the history of the College, a jubilee class has never reached that amount over the course of a year until now.

The air was rich in conversation and laughter as the Class of 1964 kicked off Reunion weekend with their Golden Jubilee Reception. At that point, the class had collectively given over $985,000 in the past year with the goal of reaching $1 million by the end of Reunion weekend, June 20-22, 2014.

At the Golden Jubilee Reception, President Dottie King, Ph.D. revealed a glass window engraved with the name of the fitness center that will be in the Jeanne Knoerle Sports and Recreation Center. Due to the generous donations of the Class of 1964, the fitness center was designated “Club 64” to honor the class’s commitment to The Woods. With all of the excitement, it was no surprise that the class exceeded their goal by the end of the weekend.

“When you talk, you get ideas. From ideas, you get excitement. From excitement, you get results,” said Mary Ann Kelly Hellmann ’64 of the success of the campaign to reach $1 million in giving.

Jerry and Mary Ann Hellmann
Jerry and Mary Ann Hellmann stand with Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College President Dottie King at the Golden Jubilee Reception during Reunion.

Jerry Hellmann, SMWC Board of Trustees member and Mary Ann’s husband, went on to describe it as the “perfect storm,” stating that the combination of the 50th Reunion for the class, the addition of the Jeanne Knoerle Sports and Recreation Center, and President Dottie King were the working elements that encouraged classmates to give and strive for the goal of $1 million. Of King, he said, “She’s brought an enthusiasm, an excitement and a belief that it’s going to happen.”

Mary Ann added that the love for The Woods had a lot to do with it too. “I noticed that connection of wanting other people to have what you have and wanting it to still be here.”

Both Mary Ann and Jerry actively worked, along with others in the class, to lead the charge in the effort.

The classmates of 1964 have remained close over the years, with groups of them seeing each other several times per year. For the past 5 years, the Hellmanns have even held a yearly “reunion” at their home in Michigan.

“Our class was always close,” said Mary Ann. “I came here to school for four years and made friends that I still have today. You’ll see somebody years after you’ve graduated, and it’s just like the day you walked out 50 years ago. I can’t tell you why, but it is just that way.”

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