The path to success begins at St. Mike’s
Marie (McDonnell) Colbert ’89, P ‘24
Like so many of her classmates and friends, Marie (McDonnell) Colbert ’89, P ’24 has always loved St. Mike’s. But as a Steering Committee member of the All in for St. Mike’s capital campaign, Marie and her husband Vin have taken their commitment to SMC to a whole new level.
With a gift of $20,000 per year for the next five years to the Saint Michael’s Fund and $5,000 per year to the Men’s Soccer program, the Colberts will be supporting not only the College, but also enhancing the athletic experience of their son Dan (’24) and his soccer teammates. “The Saint Michael’s Fund will allow the College to choose the investment areas that they believe will boost the school. And soccer is a family passion; we’ve enjoyed watching our kids play since they were young, and Vin coached them for many years. We’re really happy that Dan has the opportunity to continue playing, and we’re glad to provide support to help the program acquire some of what it might need in years to come.”
Marie’s path at St. Mike’s and subsequent success is a revelation for students still trying to decide on a major or career. “When I was starting my junior year, I was still undecided on a major and not feeling strong passion on a particular career path,” she explains. “After thinking about my options and knowing that I didn’t want to force a decision that I might later regret, I decided to take a semester off to explore career choices to help with my decision.” St. Mike’s was very supportive of Marie’s decision and kept the door wide open for her return. During her time away, she found a great job as a bookkeeper, and quickly got to know the ins and outs of revenue, expenses and the business itself, which led her to a love of accounting and a newfound major in business.
After graduation, Marie returned to the company that had given her a start as bookkeeper, then progressed to Controller where she remained for four years, then helped with the sale of the company. From there, she helped build and run a software company where she started as VP-General Manager for five years, then became President/CEO for the next 20 years. Two years ago, Marie decided to retire to spend time with her family and personal interests. But she missed the sense of accomplishment and interaction, so she recently helped start a software company and brings in new customers as Chief Commercial Officer. “I’ve been there about five months now and I’m met with daily challenges and exciting opportunities to help them be successful. I’m glad that I had the courage to make that initial decision at St. Mike’s, and appreciative of the support I’ve received along the way.”
The generosity that Marie and Vin have shown to St. Mike’s over the years has been a natural progression and a reflection of their appreciation for her SMC education, mentors and friendships, and those of their son, Dan. “We’ve been generous to St. Mike’s over the years – it is just a very special place. As an alumna, I gradually got more involved – International Women’s Day, a giving challenge with friends for our 30th reunion, serving as a guest speaker for the Sigma Beta Delta honor society. There are always new ways to get involved and give back that will fit into your lifestyle, free time and budget.”
When Marie retired briefly, she volunteered to work on the All in for St. Mike’s campaign. A member of the Institutional Advancement staff suggested a multi-year gift, which gives SMC the assurance of incoming funds while keeping the donor involved and engaged as the years go by. “It’s a fabulous idea to support St. Mike’s for the long-term,” Marie explains. “I believe strongly that a liberal arts education offers students a well-rounded education, and the opportunity to explore many paths.” She’s excited for Dan to enjoy his time at SMC, as she did. “I had such a great experience during my time there and always had fun with great friends at school events and in the Burlington area. Dan really likes campus, the soccer program and he’s made many good friends. He’s decided to major in Accounting and looks forward to more normal times next year and a soccer season in the Fall.”
For the seniors graduating this year, Marie has some words of advice as they venture out and begin their careers. “Enter the workforce with eyes wide open, and take advantage and consider opportunities that come your way. You never know where a path might lead you in your journey,” she emphasizes. “And be your own advocate. Don’t wait for someone to ask you if you’re interested or up for a new opportunity, make it known you have something to offer and are willing to try new things. Too often, smart, capable people are too polite and waiting to be asked – show them what you have to offer!”
Lastly, Marie encourages other alumni and families to engage in the All in for St. Mike’s campaign. “I think it’s great that St. Mike’s has undertaken this campaign. It’s an excellent way to showcase how students and graduates go forth to Do Well and Do Good. School leadership is being fiscally responsible during a tough time for higher education. They’re innovating with the times, while maintaining the social justice and religious foundation set forth by the Edmundites. And they’re attracting new students, focusing on diversity, and working to ensure the future of our beloved alma mater for generations to come.”