OA Annual Report 2023

2023 ANNUAL REPORT/Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Magazine


Vol. 98

No. 2

Catherine Mickey Saunders ’98 Editor in Chief Vice President for Advancement BJ Riley ’16 Editorial Director Director of Marketing Elizabeth “Izzy” Reel ’21 Managing Editor Content Marketing Manager Kristy Fry Creative Director Director of Creative Services

After some snow arrived on campus, Joynelis Caminero Santiago, a junior music therapy major from Puerto Rico, built her very first snowman. Several of her classmates assisted in teaching her how to build a snowman outside the Conservatory of Music (see their photo on the cover). She enjoyed the experience and posed after adding a stick to give the snowman a smile to match hers!

CONTRIBUTORS Timothy Lueking


Interim President Brennan J. Randolph, MBA




Please send correspondence to: Office of Advancement PO Box 70 Saint Mary of the Woods, IN 47876-0070 Phone: 812-535-5270 E-mail: alumni@smwc.edu © 2024 by Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Printed in the U.S.A. All rights reserved. Every effort has been made to ensure that all information contained in this magazine is accurate.


INSIDE EVERY ISSUE Nota Bena.............................................13 Woods Today......................................... 1


“My decision to come to The Woods has been transformative, setting the stage for a dynamic and fulfilling future.”

My experience at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College has been incredibly enriching. Here at The Woods, I’ve found my place in the vibrant community, particularly through my involvement in the track and field program, Saint Mother Theodore Guerin (SMTG) scholar program and now the Presidential Corps. The Woods offers more than just an academic setting. The track and field program has been the cornerstone of my college journey, enhancing my athletic abilities and providing a sense of belonging within the close-knit cross country team and the

track and field team. Being a scholar student has added an extra layer to my education, connecting me with like-minded individuals and opening doors to intellectual pursuits. Being an involved student here means embracing opportunities beyond the standard curriculum. The Presidential Corps has been a significant part this academic year, offering a platform to develop leadership skills and contribute positively to campus life. Additionally, the SMTG Scholarship cohort has been pivotal in my academic growth, providing a stimulating environment for intellectual exploration. When I am asked about SMWC, I emphasize the unique blend of academic rigor, athletic camaraderie and opportunities for personal development. My decision to come to The Woods has been transformative, setting the stage for a dynamic and fulfilling future. Students at SMWC are embracing the diverse opportunities this institution offers, fostering both academic success and personal growth. SMWC isn’t just a college; it’s a community that shapes and enriches every aspect of the college experience. The Woods Way is the right way. Tim — Timothy Lueking, junior Crawfordsville, Indiana Nursing and Healthcare Administration


March 2023 to February 2024 Year in Review MARCH

Crystal White, DNP, FNP-C, RN and FNP program director welcomed the Class of 2024 graduate nursing students during their White Coat Ceremony in the PK Parlor in Le Fer Hall. Each student stepped forward and was presented with their white coat.

Ring Day was held on March 25, 2023, with 104 Woods Ring recipients. The 2023 ring recipients marked the first class of the next century to reach the achievement, as 2022 marked the 100th anniversary of the Woods Ring.



Terry Bowe was promoted to associate vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion and human resources. Bowe was hired in 2021 as associate vice president for human resources. Bowe also serves the College as the chair of the Diversity Council, a member of the Aspire Higher Strategic Plan Steering Committee and as head women’s basketball coach. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College was listed in the 2023-2024 U.S. News Best Graduate Schools for its Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in the U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate School rankings. BEST GRADUATE SCHOOL RANKINGS

The Global Leadership Institute (GLI) of Saint Mary-of-the Woods College held its first Global Leadership Institute Conference (GLIC) on Friday, April 21, 2023. GLIC 2023 was held virtually with presenters and panelists from around the world. The GLIC 2023 keynote speaker was Mark E. Mendenhall, Ph.D., an internationally renowned and recognized scholar in global leadership and international human resource management.

Mark Mendenhall, Ph.D., received the 2023 Excellence in Global Leadership Award , which recognizes an individual who demonstrates a passion for the field of global leadership and significantly contributes to the increase of knowledge and application of global leadership in the world.

Sara Boyer ’02, ’13G, MLD, executive director for student success, and Amy Houser ’02, director of financial aid, completed Lean Six Sigma Green Belt training and were presented their certificates and belts from Janet Clark, Ph.D., provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. As Green Belts, Boyer and Houser will utilize this training to help SMWC identify barriers to the success and retention of campus students and assist in establishing new and innovative initiatives to help overcome challenges.



With the conclusion of two more commencement ceremonies, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College welcomed 283 graduates from the class of 2023 to the alumni association on Saturday, May 13, after its 189th commencement.

Kevin Lanke was named the Associate Vice President for Athletics. Lanke came to SMWC after almost 25 years in the athletic department at Rose Hulman Institute of Technology.

Nicole Potts ’07, ’22G, and William Michels were presented the Contribution of Excellence Awards (COE) for their article “SLOTT: Student Learning Outcomes Tracing Tool” during the Global

During the 2023 Nursing Pinning Ceremony, 20 recipients were called by name, and each had chosen a family member or friend to assist in placing their pin on them.

Leadership Institute Conference (GLIC).

The Outstanding Nursing Instructor Award was presented to Andrew Delnat, MSN, RN, lecturer of nursing by Marcia Miller, Ph.D., RN, dean of the Division of Nursing and Sciences, during the Nursing Pinning Ceremony.

SMWC hosted 50 high school students during the inaugural week-long C.A.M.P. at The Woods. C.A.M.P., Challenging Ambitions and Maximizing Potential, was made possible by a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. through its initiative, Indiana Youth Programs on Campus (IYPC). Students engaged in hands-on, educational activities on and off campus and received two college credits for completion of the week.



JULY The institution announced it was implementing Canvas, a Learning Management System (LMS) for students to use in the classroom and online beginning Fall 2023. Canvas accommodates course curriculum, assignments, discussions and more while offering new tools to enhance the classroom and online experience. SMWC announced additional majors and minors to its academic programs and changes to some existing programs. • A Bachelor of Science in Equine Studies Pre-Veterinary Science • Equine Breeding and Management and Equine Therapeutic Riding Minors NEW MAJORS, CONCENTRATIONS AND MINORS • Biology Major Added General, Pre-Professional and Biostatistics Concentrations • Kinesiology Now Offers Concentrations in Exercise Science, Health Services and Recreation Science •Digital Marketing Minor

The College welcomed 250 alumni and guests from 26 states and Australia to Reunion 2023.

Sarah Ketenbrink Williams ’48 celebrated her 75th Reunion with her daughters Valerie Foley (left), Gail Harowski (right), and her grandaughter, Emma Harowski (middle).

The Class of 1963 truly admired then President Dottie King and her dedication to carrying out the mission of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin and Saint Mary-of-the Woods College. Anne Lenhard Benington ’63, class secretary, presented King with a gold legacy medallion and plaque to symbolize the Class of 1963’s gratitude during the 2023 Reunion Banquet.

After 21 years at SMWC, the last 13 of those as president, Dottie L. King, Ph.D., announced she was stepping down as president to pursue a new journey as the president and CEO of the Independent Colleges of Indiana.



With a standing record number of 253 new students arriving through the main gate, the Class of 2027

started their collegiate journey as Pomeroys, breaking yet another record of total campus students. Applications to the College increased over 12% for the 2023-24 academic year and the incoming class represented a slight increase over last year. New students from 17 states, Puerto Rico and 13 countries were welcomed. This is one of SMWC’s most geographically diverse entering classes. The total campus student population represents 27 states, Puerto Rico and 20 countries. SEPTEMBER U.S. News & World Report Rankings for America’s Best Colleges for 2024 for SMWC Regional Universities Midwest #35 Best Value – Regional Universities Midwest #3 Social Mobility – Regional Universities Midwest #5

Woods Online Day was declared on October 9, 2023 through a proclamation issued by Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett in celebration of SMWC’s 50 years of distance education. Since 1973, more than 3,500 bachelor’s degrees have been conferred, and over 1,800 certificates have been awarded through the Woods External Degree program now known as Woods Online.

During the festivities of Homecoming 2023, students, faculty, staff and alumni gathered at the 1962 Ring Garden for the blessing and dedication of the Ring Centennial Sculpture, which was completed in 2023 to mark the 100th anniversary of the Woods Ring.


NOVEMBER The Marie Brendan Harvey

Auditorium, formerly the Cecilian Auditorium in the Conservatory of Music, was dedicated as a tribute to the life and enduring legacy of a truly remarkable individual, Marie Brendan Harvey, SP, ‘51 . Harvey, a beloved alumna, professor, administrator, musician and founder of the SMWC Madrigals, passed away in 2016. As part of the Aspire Higher Campaign’s Conservatory of Music Initiative, more than 200 gifts from alumni and friends, as well as much needed grants, allowed the auditorium to be refurbished.

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College’s Ph.D. in Global Leadership program will offer a Business Administration concentration beginning in Fall 2024. This will give doctoral students two concentration options: Business Administration or Organizational Behavior and Change. The Ph.D. in Global Leadership program was introduced in the Fall of 2020 at SMWC and is 100% online.

SMWC was among numerous higher education institutions to celebrate International Education Week. For the second year, the Woods World Fair took place in the Woods Student Center (WSC) on campus to kick off the week. International students, faculty and staff participated in an international flag ceremony where each country was recognized and hung in the WSC. After the ceremony, attendees went from table to table with students, faculty and staff representatives from the countries sharing unique facts and cultural customs. Throughout the week, the SMWC community had virtual opportunities for participation, like the Virtual Global Scavenger Hunt and Global Photo Contest. Campus Life also sponsored an International Trivia Night.



History was made when the SMWC Presidential Corps inducted six new members including its first male members. Students were nominated by a faculty or staff member at SMWC. Students in the Presidential Corps are expected to be professional and positive representatives of the College at all times. Along with the strict requirements for the organization, members of the Presidential Corps must hold a GPA of 3.0 or higher and display characteristics of leadership, professionalism, and humbleness, as well as be great representatives of the College.

As a beloved tradition for decades, faculty and seniors in the Equine Studies program participated in the annual Equine Holiday Ride. All participants gathered at the barn to “dress up” their horse in festive items like Santa hats, garland and more. There were 13 participants this year, including Little Onyx, SMWC’s live mascot. Per tradition, the ride took place on the Monday before finals, also known as Study Day. Equine students sang Christmas carols in front of each building on campus.

SMWC was awarded a $64,600 grant from the Hulman Family. The grant will assist in developing a unique equine breeding program to support the new pre-veterinary curriculum. The objective is to train students in the hands on skills needed to become successful equine veterinarians and place them on the pathway to support the high demand in Indiana’s equine industry.



Applications were opened for the Wabash Valley Leadership Institute. The Wabash Valley Leadership Institute (WVLI), is a partnership between the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. Hosted on the campus of SMWC, the program brings together leaders from West Central Indiana for a week-long (Monday Friday) event. The 13th cohort is scheduled for June 3–7. Counting the first cohort in November 2014, a total of 145 WVLI attendees have benefited from this week-long immersive residential experience.

SMWC has formed a partnership with Ascend Indiana to connect more students to good and promising career opportunities in Indiana. Through the Ascend Network, the initiative’s online job matching platform, SMWC students will be able to connect with Indiana jobs and internships that match their skill sets and interests and will receive increased one-on one career guidance and job search support. In addition, this partnership provides Indiana’s leading employers with a unique platform for hiring SMWC students.


SMWC celebrated a record year for Woods Giving Day 2024. The College’s annual day of giving, Woods Giving Day, was held on Tuesday, February 6. Nearly 100 volunteers gathered in the Woods Student Center making calls to alumni and friends. Collectively, 1,090 donors raised $427,653, with $399,738 raised in support of the Woods Fund, the College’s annual unrestricted fund that supports the operating budget, and $27,915 raised for other funds at the College. With the goal of 1,000 donors, the day set a new record for the day of giving.


$2.2 Million


SMWC received a total of $2,262,133 in grant funds in 2023-2024.




Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) grant was awarded to assist with the historic preservation of the Conservatory of Music.



Lilly Endowment Inc. awarded a grant to enable SMWC to enhance the Science of Reading within the Education Department and teacher preparation program.




SMWC received a planning grant through Lilly Endowment Inc’s College and Community Collaboration (CCC) Initiative, and submitted a $30 million proposal on February 29, 2024.



The USDA awarded a grant to SMWC to establish a Master of Science in Equine Studies, the first to be offered in Indiana.



SMWC received a grant from the Sisters of Charity to establish the Student Success Center on the second floor of Rooney Center.




A Hulman Family grant was awarded a grant to assist in the development of an equine breeding program to support pre-veterinary curriculum.



The Sisters of Providence Foley Legacy Fund provided a grant to fund the addition of an ADA all gender bathroom installed in the Conservatory of Music.




Mental Health America of Indiana provided funds through a mental health grant for the Healthy Minds Survey to be conducted with SMWC students, faculty and staff. SMWC Campus Ministries received a grant from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis that funded the Alternative Spring Break mission trip. $4,000





By Elizabeth Reel ’21, Content Marketing Manager

The world of grants can be daunting to some, but for Sarah Wurtz, MA, grant writer and development specialist, it’s a matter of ultimately impacting Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) students and their experience. Wurtz joined SMWC in July of 2023. “I’ve been in higher education for almost 20 years in a lot of different roles within the industry, ranging from admissions to financial aid to advancement and the registrar’s office. I feel that I’ve gotten a good grasp on not only my skillset but also the institution’s needs. It was a way for me to bring all of my experience together and put it into one project where I work with several different areas at the College,” Wurtz said. Studies show that in the last fiscal year, undergraduate colleges received over $170 million in grants. Wurtz shared how critical grants are to private institutions, like SMWC, in comparison to public institutions that receive state funding. Grant funding is available from government entities like the Department of Education as well as other sources such as foundations and non profit charities.

Grants provide very targeted, restricted resources that allow SMWC to go beyond daily operations and enhance the student experience more than tuition will allow. In just the last decade, SMWC has secured more than $17.7 million in grant funds. “I think that grants really give us the opportunity to think outside the box. When we think of grants, we may think of one big grant for a

specific program. However, its really about how to meet needs that are outside of the day-to-day operational expenses. In our environment, we are highly dependent on tuition revenue, and of course, that can’t cover all of our needs – especially to be innovative,” Wurtz said. To give more insight into her search process of finding grants for The Woods, Wurtz shared that it’s all about project management with the combination of breaking language down from the grant applications and multi-tasking. “I’m rarely working on one grant at a time. I also work with a lot of faculty on grant projects. It really is like a puzzle where you need to find the right pieces to answer the questions of ‘What is it that they’re looking for?’ and ‘What can we actually do with this?’, and then from there, I will pull in the faculty I’m working with so they can get the substantive narrative to what we’re trying to accomplish with the grant – whether it’s programming or another project,” she explained. Wurtz shared that another part of her search process is maintaining the communication and relationships needed with the organizations that fund many grants the College seeks. “A major factor with grant writing is realizing that

behind these grant applications are people that you can have conversations with. It’s important to contact these organizations to make sure that SMWC might be a good fit for applying for a grant and to also ask questions to make sure we have a handle on what we’re applying for. I’m a life-long

learner, and one of the unique things about grant writing is that you learn a lot about different topics that you may not know much about, so it’s really fun for me,” Wurtz concluded.



Sheboygan Yacht Club, Sheboygan, WI

Long Grove Apple Festival, Chicago, IL

Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Chicago, IL

AzziPizza, Terre Haute, IN

Woods Giving Day, Terre Haute, IN

We Are The Woods


Meet-n-Greet, Houston. Texas

Black Alumni Affinity Group, Indianapolis, IN

An online connection to SMWC alumni gatherings with an events schedule and photo archive. More information and a link will be shared in the next View from The Avenue e-newsletter.

Murder Mystery Dinner, Carmel, IN

Bubbles & Brunch, Charlotte, NC

Alumni Gathering, Boca Grande, FL

Woodsies & Wine, Terre Haute, IN


Marilyn Kucer ’66: November 12, 2023. Patricia McLochlin McMillen ’66: April 18, 2021. Anna Michele Pyle ’66: August 27, 2021. Susan Natoli Anderson ’67: December 10, 2023. Linda Chlopecki Scofield ’67: January 5, 2024. Sister of Mary Ann Chlopecki Thompson ’64 (deceased). Sandra Brown Dasgupta ’69: August 31, 2023. Kathy Zambie Doody ’69: July 14, 2023. Eileen Clancy ’72: October 22, 2023. Sister of Kathleen Clancy Guay ’71 (deceased). Claudette Miller Ford ’76: February 17, 2022. Margaret Sims Geyer ’76: September 10, 2023. Frances Nikolic ’76: October 27, 2023. Florence T. Obrzut ’77: July 21, 2023. Antonia Mollaun Townsend ’78: August 15, 2023. Christine Fulton ’79: May 5, 2023. Martha Ebstein Glickman ’81: June 17, 2023. Barbara Simmons ’86: December 23, 2023. Mary Barba Ceja ’87: August 20, 2023. Carole Trotter Jones ’87: January 29, 2023. E. Colleen O’Brien Duncan ’88: August 29, 2023. Megan Melaniphy ’91: September 26, 2023. Sister of Sharon Melaniphy Cuncannan ’90 . Donna Mullens ’91: August 21, 2023. Gail Smith Crowder ’93 : December 20, 2023. Maureen Imming Broeker ’94: December 10, 2019. Marie Hegarty ’96: January 11, 2024. Sister of Helen Hegarty McGee ’73 . Niece of Helen Hegarty Haughey ’31 (deceased) and Marie Hegarty Trowbridge ’38 (deceased). Cousin of Mary Trowbridge Felter ’68. Constance McGuire Beckwith ’00: September 26, 2022 Myrna Easton ’00: August 18, 2023. Theresa Stockdale ’16: August 23, 2023. Benjamin Myers ’20: January 16, 2024.

Barbara Hughes Heldt ’54: December 24, 2022. Sister of Margaret Hughes Fallon ’49 (deceased) and Joan Hughes Bireley ’50 (deceased). Virginia Miknius Arends ’55: July 27, 2023. Sheila Mulligan Koster ’55: June 15, 2023. Patricia Terry Branigan ’56: November 20, 2023. Betty Fischer Dobbins ’57: June 10, 2022. Mary Ann Altschaeffl O’Hern ’58: July 17, 2023. Bernice Schmitt Ridgway ’58: December 29, 2023. Catherine Conti Kilkeary ’60: April 28, 2023. Daughter of Genevieve Keally Conti ’30 (deceased). Clare Xanders Bredell ’61: November 29, 2023. Daughter of Dorothea Abts Xanders ’26 (deceased). Niece of Mary Abts Dodendorf ’17 (deceased). Sister of Sally Xanders ’85 (deceased). Elizabeth Claypool Koschnick ’61: December 19, 2021. Patricia Ward Leary ’61: September 21, 2021. Linda Kaliker, SP ’62: August 24, 2023. Mary V. Sherman Krebs ’62: October 10, 2023. Sister of Joyce Sherman Eckert ’68 (deceased). Meg Gremelspacher Spitznogle ’62: January 6, 2024. Mother of Beth Spitznogle-Portish ’94. Rita Blastick ’63: September 1, 2023. Dawn Hyndman Miller ’63: July 2, 2022. Loretta Picucci, SP ’63: November 9, 2023. Susan Wise ’63: August 16, 2023. Jeannie Hess DePriest ’64: September 28, 2022. Sharon Lawliss ’64: October 27, 2022. Lucille Nolan, SP ’64: December 25, 2023. Sister of Carol Nolan, SP ’54. Linda Solomon Bamford ’65: October 3, 2023. Sue Roethele ’65: March 15, 2023. Margaret Kiefer Watkins ’65: May 27, 2023. Colleen Wiggs Ataras ’66: July 14, 2023. Margaret Varro Koegler ’66: October 20, 2023.

Sarah Hudson Pike ’16 was married to Quoleman Pike on November 4, 2023.

Hunter Reed ’23 was married to Dallis Davis Reed ’22 on October 14, 2023.


Danielle Rosselli Anderson ’12 and Tim - girl, Willamina Rose - August 15, 2023.


Marion W. Blalock: September 12, 2023. Trustee Emeritus Edward J. Hynds, Jr.: March 24, 2023. Trustee Emeritus. Son of Mary English Hynds 1928 (deceased). Darlene Norman: September 12, 2023. Faculty Emeriti Celeste Tsai, SP: August 26, 2023. Sharon Vergez Vercellotti: December 30, 2023. Honorary Degree recipient in 2014. Jeanne Ryan Herbert ’47: August 4, 2023. Louise Oberlander Poliseno ’49: July 14, 2022. Daughter of Donna Scallon Oberlander ’22 (deceased). Shirley Duane Alveal ’50: April 24, 2023. Barbara Lynch Gugger ’50: August 29, 2023. Patricia Kennedy Hutson ’50: September 9, 2023. Sister of Jean Kennedy Jones ’53 (deceased). Mary Ruth Farrell Roberts ’50: December 26, 2022. Marilyn Walker Smith ’50: October 7, 2023. Sister of Eloise Walker McCarty ’59 . Sister-in-law of Laurinda Quill Walker ’57 . Kathleen Kelly Collins ’51: November 10, 2023. Mary Cecilia Hoynes Duhigg ’51: November 21, 2023. Cousin of Loretta Hoynes ’52. Anne Farley Schemel ’51: November 14, 2023. Daughter of Alice Duncan Farley ’24 (deceased). Barbara Bosley Power ’52: December 30, 2023. Elizabeth Fuqua Flittner ’53: November 11, 2023. Mother of Anne Flittner Wiedner ’80 and Kathleen Flittner Luebbe ’85 . Sister of Jean Fuqua, SP ’55 . Aunt of Michelle Flittner Roberts ’88. Marie Signa Cali ’50: May 22, 2023. Sister of Dolores Signa Grzeslo ’53.



D T Career Center





Professional Advisors

• Explore career opportunities • Build and refine resumes • Search for internships and jobs • Find study abroad options • Gain assistance with graduate school applications • Build a network of alumni partners • Identify professional partners and resources

• Develop a 4-year plan • Discuss a change in major • Connect to update plan • Ensure a successful path is taken toward graduation


According to Sara Boyer ’02, ‘13G, executive director for student success, successful colleges are adjusting to serve the needs of today’s college students. Adjustments include an attitude shift institutionally to be ready for all students that come to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. “We have embraced this idea of being a student-ready college rather than expecting every student to be college-ready. Early interventions and collaborative services will help us meet students where they are,” Boyer explained. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College was awarded $1.35 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. along with Anderson University, Indiana Institute of Technology,

Martin University and lead applicant, University of Indianapolis in 2021. The grant was part of the Endowment’s Phase 3 Charting the Future of Indiana’s Colleges and Universities Initiative. The initiative was designed to help Indiana institutions assess and prioritize the most significant challenges and opportunities and develop strategies to address them. As a part of the initiative, Boyer and Amy Houser ’02, director of financial aid, participated in the Lean Six Sigma training, earning their Green Belts. The training will allow them to help SMWC identify barriers to the success and retention of campus students and assist in establishing new and innovative initiatives to help overcome challenges.

From this, the concept of the Student Success Center emerged. The Lilly grant, along with a $250,000 grant from the Hollie and Anna Oakley Foundation, funded renovations to the second floor of the Rooney Center to combine the Learning Resource Center (LRC) with the newly added professional advisors/retention navigators with the relocation of the Career Center. The Student Success Center opened in January 2023. “The neat thing about the Student Success Center is that it is a one-stop shop for students. The retention navigators are helping students by working in tandem with the LRC or the Career Center,” said Boyer.







Learning Resource Center

• Enhance academic and life skills • Enroll in college success courses • Receive assistance from the writing center • Secure individual, group or online tutoring services • Receive one-on-one support from the Academic Support Team

• Prepare for and take (CLEP - College Level Examination Program) tests • Register for assistance through Disability Support Services



By BJ Riley ’16, ’23G, Director of Marketing

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the nursing workforce is expected to grow from 3.1 million in 2021 to 3.3 million in 2031. Additionally, it is projected that over 200,000 additional openings will occur each year through 2031 because of retirements and workforce exits of nurses. “We will increase the number of professional nurses coming from SMWC by 200% with this program,”

said Marcia Miller, Ph.D., RN, dean of the division of nursing and sciences, when asked about the College’s new online program, Paramedics to Bachelor of

Science in Nursing (PM to BSN). PM to

BSN allows students with paramedic licenses to work toward their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree while maintaining their paramedic career. Miller, who came to SMWC in January 2014, was the very first member of the nursing department and was recruited to start the nursing program that opened at SMWC in 2015. In the years prior to coming to SMWC, she had started several programs for other institutions, including an online nursing program. The SMWC nursing program grew from the initial offering of the RN to BSN program to the BSN, the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and the Post-Master’s Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate. The BSN program each year has the highest enrollment of any major. Miller


When she began to think about starting the PM to BSN program, she knew that it would have to be online to allow students to continue their careers as paramedics. “I started the Licensed Practical Nurse LPN to BSN at Indiana State University in an online format, so I was comfortable putting together an online nursing program,” Miller said. “I knew it was doable.” While there were several online PM to RN programs available, there was only one other online PM to BSN program in the country. In designing the program, she understood the need for students to bring credits to the program that they might have earned elsewhere in obtaining their paramedic license and in college. “We structure individualized programs of study based on how many college credits and how much paramedic experience the student brings with them,” Miller explained. Miller presented the program to the Indiana State Board of Nursing in November 2022, and the program was initially approved for 16 seats once a year. In December, she requested the approval be expanded to 24 seats because of the numerous applications submitted in that short time. Miller also asked for the approval of a second cohort each year of 24 seats. The first cohort gathered on campus in January 2023. Jackie Martin, DNP, RN, came to SMWC in July 2023 as the PM to BSN director. Martin is also the trauma program manager at Union Health Systems in Terre

Haute, so she knows what is needed in the field. She also understands the challenges of becoming a BSN as a

Instructors have had to make some adjustments to this unique program as well. “They are adapting to the variety of levels of knowledge of each student. Because it is online, instructors must be available and respond quickly to students’ needs to maintain the personal touch that the SMWC nursing program is known for,” Martin explained. In May 2023, Union Health Systems in Terre Haute announced a $250,000 gift over three years to help expand the PM to BSN program to launch the August cohort with 24 more students. “Union came in as a partner with us because this program is innovative, and it is a way to increase the number of professional nurses in the Wabash Valley,” said Miller. Miller added, “Many paramedics want to further their careers in healthcare. During the pandemic, they were utilized in expanded roles in hospitals and emergency rooms. This just ignited more interest in becoming nurses. Our PM to BSN program will enable them to find a pathway to becoming a nurse with the flexibility to keep their paramedic jobs.” Currently, there are three cohorts with a total of about 60 students enrolled in the PM to BSN program, with the first graduates expected in May 2025. Inquiries and enrollments have come from students around the country.


paramedic. She was a

paramedic before she became a nurse. “This program is unique because it is 100% online, and that is what is most appealing. Traditional programs are hard for paramedics because of their work schedules,” said Martin. The uniqueness of the program is that every student who starts the program already has a paramedic license. “They already have experience in the field and have honed their instincts, so we just build upon them,” explained Martin. “We work with each student for an individualized program of study based on how many college credits that student brings with them as well as the experience that they have as a paramedic,” said Miller. “Students can get their degree in an average of two years.” Another unique part of the program is that the students will do clinicals in their home area, which are set up by the students and can become a feeder program for those nursing departments. The program also uses simulation for some of the clinical requirements.

Q&A with PM to BSN Student Stephanie McClain

Paramedic from Hodgenville, Kentucky, age 44

Why did you enroll in the PM to BSN program at SMWC? SMWC took my previous credits from my Associates of Arts Degree from1999 and gave credit for my Paramedic license. I have yet to find a college that gives credit for the paramedic license or includes the clinicals and ride time that we had to do to become a paramedic. Other colleges overlook that or just give minimal credit for it.

How long will it take you to get your BSN degree? Just under 2 years.

Could you describe the flexibility of the program? The program is highly flexible. The courses are online, with assignments due weekly. There are a few days that we are required to be in-person, but those are few and far between.

Why do you want to become a nurse? I am ready to move on from paramedicine but want to remain in the medical field.

How long have you been a paramedic? 16 years, 24 in EMS.


Reunion Housing Reduced

Change can be difficult. As Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) continues to grow and its campus population diversifies, change has become the new normal. That is particularly true for housing, even at Reunion. Today, the old way of doing things may not work at The Woods, nor should it. “It is important to acknowledge the strain we have been putting on our resources during the summer months, the negative impact it has on the buildings and what we are able to provide our students and their experience,” said Catherine Mickey Saunders ’98, vice president for advancement. “The College’s decision a disruption to norms that is being felt by alumni during registration for Reunion 2024,” she continued. Summers have become shorter with a robust fall athletic season. Resident Assistants arrive in late July before the first wave of athletes moves in to begin training prior to the academic year. With only ten weeks between commencement and the return of the first students, the use of residential facilities is being managed differently this summer. “My team’s priority must be to address maintenance needs and prepare the making focus on the student experience has caused

buildings for the return of our students,” said Frankie Morris-Enochs ’93, vice president for institutional technologies and operations. “Not only do we have deferred maintenance in our historic buildings and preventative maintenance in every residence hall, but there is considerable annual cleaning and staging that is difficult to accomplish when summer guests are occupying residential rooms.” Recognizing the need to address a significant amount of work in a limited timeframe by a modest-sized team, the administration has reduced the number of weeks and spaces available to be rented

semester, the advancement team reduced campus housing capacity to 90 beds for Reunion 2024. It is planned that Le Fer Hall will be fully functional during Reunion on May 31-June 2, 2024. If there are physical plant issues like those the College has battled during recent reunions, attendees will be housed in Les Bois Hall, the new three-floor unit with approximately 30 beds on each floor. Rooms blocks with special discount rates have been arranged at local hotels to accommodate additional alumni reunion attendees. Booking information is available online at smwc.edu/alumni/reunion-2024. “The Woods is a special place that calls us home. I know my fellow alums want today’s students to enjoy their experience living at The Woods as much as we did in our own time,” said Saunders. “It is my hope that our alumni join us for the weekend and reconnect with The Woods and one another, regardless of where they rest their heads,” she added. Change can be difficult. Change at The Woods is not undertaken without great consideration, especially when that change affects something we treasure. As Saint Mother Theodore Guerin said, “We are always in fear about what we treasure.”

“The College’s decision-making focus on the student experience has caused a disruption to norms that is being felt by alumni during registration for Reunion 2024,” ­ — Catherine Mickey Saunders ’98

to non-residential student groups during the summer weeks. “We need to be ready for students’ arrival,” Morris-Enochs added. “Keeping our focus on students makes solving these complicated problems much easier.” This change in priority impacts a variety of groups including alumni reunion, graduate students and faculty attending residencies, summer camps, as well as the College’s approach to scheduling summer conferences and events in the future. To support the operations team in their efforts to prepare the buildings for the fall



By Catherine Mickey Saunders ‘98, Vice President for Advancement

Alumnae from the 1990s, 2000s and even the 2010s may remember empty rooms in Le Fer Hall or suites occupied by only one student enjoying a dorm that felt more like an apartment. With nearly 400 students living on campus in 2023 24, that lifestyle is a shadow of the past. Today, it is common to see four and five students in a suite sharing a bathroom and using the community bath as needed. Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) was a small women’s college struggling to attract enough students to fill only a fraction of the beds in our century-old Le Fer Hall,” said Janet Clark,Ph.D., provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. At a time when many schools are failing to meet enrollment goals, SMWC has been blessed with sustained campus enrollment since 2020. To meet the needs of the growing residential population, the College broke ground in 2021 on its first new residential building in one hundred years! Les Bois Hall is home to a 92 bed residential hall, Doherty Dining Center, the College Bookstore and the Marketplace, a convenient store for the campus community. Even with the addition of Les Bois Hall, two more housing options were needed in the fall. After almost 60 years of providing rooms to visitors, trustees, alumni board members, faculty and more, the Goodwin Guest House was converted to student housing during the summer of 2023. After a quick transition it became the Lake House, a 42-bed residential hall filled primarily with double-double suites sharing a bathroom. For the first time, an off-campus housing option was offered at University Village in Terre Haute (about a 10-minute commute to campus). These strategic changes “We can no longer operate as we did a decade ago when Saint

enabled SMWC to welcome the largest incoming class and campus population in its history in Fall 2023. Applications are tracking ahead of last year, and the incoming class will be larger than the graduating class that leaves. The campus is projected to be at capacity once again in Fall 2024. To be ready for another large residential population, housing remained a priority for campus leadership throughout the year. “The campus life team evaluated Le Fer Hall room configurations this winter. We found efficiencies and adjusted room occupancies for the next academic year, enabling us to offer more double and triple rooms. This will increase housing capacity in Fall 2024,” shared Provost Clark. In addition, the white house on the west side of Le Fer Lake, owned by the Sisters of Providence, will be added to our list of unique housing options known as Le Pont Hall, French for “the bridge.” Provost Clark said, “Le Pont Hall will provide a unique experience for six academically successful junior or senior Guerin Scholars. We are happy to have the opportunity to add it to our residential offerings next year. Not only does it add more beds, but it provides more variety and allows our students to have more freedom as they are drawing closer to graduation.” Considering all the changes and additions made in recent years, SMWC could have 530 beds available for campus students in Fall 2024. The campus life team has revamped the housing process for both returning and new students and is eager to see how their new procedures, coupled with the College’s varied offerings, will provide Woods students with a start to a positive housing experience next year.

Le Fer Hall

Les Bois Hall

The Lake House

Le Pont Hall


2024 Alumni Award Recipients

Rosemary Nudd, SP, ’69, Ph.D. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin Award

Kymberli Huet Payonk ’86 Frances Murphy Rumely Award

Sydney Wilderman ’17

G.O.L.D.E.N. Oak Award

Alumni Awards presented at Reunion Banquet on Saturday, June 1.

REUNION 2024 May 31 - June 2

REGISTER NOW smwc.edu/reunion 2024

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