New award honors beloved Grace Kelly as she retires
The Saint Michael’s College Student Association executive board, which sets policy and allocates funds to student organizations on campus, surprised longtime adviser Grace Kelly ’81 during this year’s S.A. year-end celebration with one final award: the all-new Grace Kelly Community Enrichment Award.
Designed to honor Kelly, who is preparing to retire in June after nearly 40 years of service to the College, The Grace Kelly Community Enrichment Award “recognizes an outstanding student who contributes positively to the student experience, enhances the meaning and feel of community, and works selflessly and gingerly to promote joy,” explained Student Association President Sophia Adams ’18.
The first recipient of the Grace Kelly Community Enrichment Award is Mike McCarthy ’17, a pre-orientation weekend coordinator, an orientation board member, and a resolute member of Active Minds, a student organization dedicated to changing campus perception of mental health issues.
Adams said the Student Association wanted to recognize Kelly and thank her for “teaching so many about what it means to be a community member and how to be a force for positive change.” Since stepping into the role of director of student activities in 2007, she said, Kelly has been the staff adviser to the S.A., devotedly encouraging students on the S.A. executive board and helping them to shape their leadership skills.
She said Kelly is also a positive force in their weekly meetings, which concluded recently for the current academic year. As is tradition, this final meeting of the academic year on May 2 was a celebration marked by honoring members of the College with awards, though this particular event felt extra special because of the honor for Kelly, students said.
This year’s award-winner McCarthy has known Kelly since arriving on campus in the fall of 2013 as a first-year student, and has worked closely with her over his four years at Saint Michael’s. “Working with Grace has taught me so much about bringing pride and joy into each and every interaction that I have with people,” he said. “She is someone who not only respects the people that she works with, but cares about who they are as a person and will doing everything in her power to make their day better.”