This speech was presented at the groundbreaking for the new Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) residence hall on June 18, 2020.
My name is Justine Gibson, and I am a senior music therapy major with a psychology minor, a resident assistant, Admissions Ambassador, and I recently started working with the lovely people in Advancement as a student assistant this summer.
As you can see, The Woods takes over my life; but in all honesty I would not have it any other way. This campus is a magical place. Its loving arms take you in no matter where you are and turns you into the best possible version of yourself. Holding true to the examples set before us by our founding Mother and sisters, The Woods is a place of love and community unlike any I have seen before.
I don’t know how many of you here lived in Le Fer, but it is truly one of the best decisions one could make in their lifetime. Community becomes family within the walls of residential halls, especially within ours. As a resident and resident assistant, I see our community from my own perspective and the perspective of others who live on campus. From studying with friends in the center of residential floors, to movie nights in Sullivan, to being just a small walk away from all of your dearest friends that will come to be more like siblings.
Living in a residential hall is living with the legacy and love of all who were there before you. Each room and hallway holds its own history, and now our students will have the opportunity to write their own histories in a new building.
When I heard of the campus expansion, I was elated! I thought back to the arriving moment of Mother Theodore and the Sisters of Providence and how all in sight were trees and a single log cabin. Now look at us, our legacy has expanded and now requires TWO residential halls. It’s astounding!
Though I will not be able to live in the new residential hall, I’m sure that the love, warmth, and welcoming spirit that floods the hallways of Le Fer will be present in the new building. I love everything about SMWC with my entire heart, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for our ever-growing college.