Jerry Flanagan ’71 P ’94 P ’98 P ’04 P ’11
Presented by Jacki Murphy ’74
Good evening, everyone. I’m Jacki Murphy ’74, longtime director of admissions at Saint Michael’s who worked very closely with Jerry Flanagan for the bulk of my career, and it is my honor to read his Alumni of the Year citation.
Sometimes a place is defined by its location or its history. From the beginning, Saint Michael’s College has been defined by its people. And for the past 54 years, since he stepped foot on this campus as an eager young 18-year-old from North Attleboro, Massachusetts, Saint Michael’s has been defined – and largely selected – by Jerry Flanagan.
Jerry was well known around campus right off the bat, with his friendly demeanor, great humor and ability to seemingly be everywhere at once. He played club football, intramural sports, worked as a resident assistant, served as sophomore class president, and was affiliated with Crown & Sword and Friends of SMC Sports. It made perfect sense that upon earning his degree in Political Science, then a master’s in Higher Education from UVM, St. Mike’s would offer a job to the ultimate ‘Michaelman’ in 1973.
Jerry worked for Saint Mike’s from 1973-2020 in countless roles. As Dean of Admissions and VP of Enrollment and Marketing, Jerry signed tens of thousands of congratulatory letters to students, then waited eagerly for May 1st every year to see who’d take him up on his offer. More than half of all alumni were accepted by Jerry. Think about that!
The thousands of friendships that Jerry made over the decades – and the unlimited supply of SMC purple swag in his closet – made him a perfect ambassador for the school, so he gamely served as Senior Philanthropic Advisor, Interim Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Interim Vice President for Admissions and Enrollment. Every time Jerry thought he could retire and sneak away to the golf course with his classmates, SMC called him back. And every time, Jerry agreed to help out the place and the people he loves so much.
Jerry and Judy Flanagan have given so generously of their time and treasure over so many years. Constantly present at athletic events and events around the country, they’ve promoted St. Mike’s at every opportunity. They’ve created the Flanagan Family Scholarship, and they’re Heritage Circle members, providing for SMC in their estate. Jerry has also been involved with countless St. Mike’s activities, including the Golf Classic, Career Advisory Network, alumni phonathon program, and he’s always a familiar face at reunions – welcoming thousands of alumni back home with a warm smile and a kind word.
Throughout Jerry’s many years on campus, he found time to serve in various leadership roles in higher education, creating relationships that served St. Mike’s well. Jerry was Founder and Chair of the Consortium of Vermont Colleges, Chair of the New England Regional College Board, Trustee of the College Board, and Chair of the New England Catholic Colleges. He also – somehow – found time to volunteer in the community, including as Colchester Town Moderator, Chair of Rice High School Board, and managing Colchester Fire District #1 for 40 years. Now, he serves on the All in for St. Mike’s campaign committee, working to ensure the school’s financial foundation for many years to come.
The Flanagan family has a long history at SMC. Jerry’s uncle, Reverend Francis Moriarty, was an Edmundite priest who paved the way for Jerry, his brother William, sister Patricia, wife Judy, brother-in-law Dave, four of his kids: Chris, Pat, Mike and Megan, and his son-in-law Sean. Surely some of his 12 grandchildren will wear purple and gold someday if Jerry has anything to say about it!
Now that he’s allegedly retired, Jerry spends his down time golfing and watching college and professional sports, especially St. Mike’s and New England teams. He loves to travel to visit his kids and grandkids and is eager to re-start his annual class of 1971 get- togethers.
There are some people who enter our lives for a reason and leave an indelible mark. Jerry Flanagan is one of those people to thousands and thousands of Purple Knights. This award is not given to employees of St. Mike’s, so this award is about 49 years overdue. But we couldn’t be happier to give it to Alumni of the Year, the Golden Knight, the Michaelman of them all – from the class of 1971, congratulations to our friend Jerry Flanagan.