Le Fer Hall

Alum Gifts Woods Ring to Student at SMWC

Alum Stories, News | 05.14.2024

At Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC), students gain life-long skills and build their knowledge, but they also make connections that last beyond the years they spend at The Woods. For Morgan Krause ’24, what started as an assignment for class ended as an ever-lasting memory and connection to The Woods. 

Morgan Krause ’24 and Joan Kirkpatrick, SP, ’55

Throughout the spring semester, Krause completed the course Healthy Aging through Activity, instructed by Tricia Pierce, DHCs, ACSM-CEP, assistant professor of exercise science, through a program that Pierce calls Service Learning, allowing students to practice the learned skills in real-world settings The class visited the Sisters of Providence once a week to conduct an exercise program to promote the benefits of being active. “As a professor at The Woods, I’ve found that it’s important and rewarding to give students these ‘service learning’ experiences to not just benefit them professionally, but also to keep them connected to the roots of the College, which, of course, the sisters started.”

At the beginning of the program, Krause immediately connected with Joan Kirkpatrick, SP, ’55. “She was one of the first presenters in the program, so moving forward, I knew I would remember her,” Sister Joan recalled. Over the semester, she and Krause had several conversations and discovered they both lived in Colorado. As their bond strengthened, Sister Joan then learned that Krause chose not to receive a Woods Ring. “I had known for several years that I wanted to gift my ring to a Woods student who did not have a ring but was very deserving of one. I knew after having multiple conversations with Morgan, she was deserving.” Sister Joan then connected with Dr. Pierce at the “Sister Prom,” an event that was sponsored by SMWC Student Senate and Presidential Corps and told Pierce she wanted to give her ring to Krause.

Morgan Krause ’24, Tricia Pierce, DHCs, ACSM-CEP and Joan Kirkpatrick, SP, ’55

Upon learning that Sister Joan wanted to give her Woods Ring to her, Krause was shocked. “At first, I said no, I just didn’t have an interest in having a ring, but after talking with Dr. Pierce, I changed my mind. I feel so honored to now wear Sister Joan’s ring and carry on her legacy and mine.” 

Sister Joan shared what an honor it was to gift her ring. “Some people may see it as losing something, but I don’t view it that way at all. It is such an honor to gift mine to Morgan, and I know she will wear it proudly,” Joan said. In April, before the chaos of final exams began, Krause and Pierce ventured over to Providence Hall to have lunch with Sister Joan. From there, they socialized as Sister Joan reflected on her time at The Woods as a student and Sister of Providence. Sister Joan then presented Krause with her Woods Ring. Although they were skeptical about needing it resized, it was a providential moment as she slid Sister Joan’s Woods Ring on her finger. It was a perfect fit.

A perfect fit!

In sharing this experience together, Krause and Sister Joan continue to be grateful to Dr. Pierce for bringing their journeys together. “Tricia is the perfect fit for the College to keep students connected here at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods,” Joan shared. In addition to Pierce serving as a mentor to her, Krause shared that she credits a lot of her success in her Woods journey to Pierce. “I really wouldn’t be able to do anything beyond college or have accomplished anything during my time at The Woods with Dr. Pierce,” Krause shared. 

In addition to being known for her contagious personality and creating a positive environment at The Woods, Pierce was awarded the 2024 Alumni Faculty Leadership Award during the Pomeroy Faculty Appreciation Awards ceremony. The award is presented to an individual who has excelled in demonstrating leadership qualities to SMWC students.