Mary Ellen Dubiel Freeley, Ed.D., remembers the night she met her husband at the Open House social club’s school dance more than half a century ago. Her friend Joyce Marchetta Bisso, Ed.D., fondly recalls the snowy night when S. Rose Catherine agreed not to check men for Catholic IDs at a different school dance.
Together, they cherish how much St. Joseph’s College still means to them, so much so that they – along with other members from the class of 1967 – came together to establish a scholarship at the College.
“You reach your hand back to help someone to achieve what we did and have the experience of a substantial education,” said Dr. Bisso, explaining why she contributed to a class donation that reached $147,000.
“I feel such a great debt of gratitude for the education I received at St. Joseph’s College. I always say that any success I have had is because of St. Joseph’s.” –Mary Ellen Dubiel Freeley, Ed.D.
The donation establishes a fund that will award scholarships to two female students at SJC Brooklyn. One scholarship will go to an undergraduate pursuing a career in social justice, the other to a woman in her sophomore year who demonstrates financial need and is in good academic standing.
“The Open House social club was a group of women who organized dances periodically,” Dr. Bisso said, recalling one of her favorite memories from her time at SJC Brooklyn. “This one night there was a sudden snowstorm. We went to S. Rose Catherine and asked her not to check for Catholic ID, hoping that some boys would come over. There was a frat house near by, and some of those boys wandered over. We had a lot of fun at that dance, even though there weren’t a lot of us.”
Like Dr. Bisso, Dr. Freeley’s favorite SJC memory happened during an Open House dance: “I was selling tickets at the front door one night and this man came in and I sold him a ticket,” she said. “That man became my husband, and now, I tell him he bought a ticket to everlasting happiness.”
“I’d buy the ticket again,” Dr. Freeley’s husband James chimed in.
“I feel such a great debt of gratitude for the education I received at St. Joseph’s College,” said Dr. Freeley, who wants to help give other students the chance she got at SJC. “I always say that any success I have had is because of St. Joseph’s.”
Through these gifts, the members, family and friends of the Class of ’67 are telling us something important – about themselves and about our College,” –President Donald R. Boomgaarden, Ph.D.
The generosity of the Class of 1967 illustrates the bond so many of the St. Joseph’s 35,000-plus alumni maintain with the College, said SJC President Donald R. Boomgaarden, Ph.D.
“Through these gifts, the members, family and friends of the Class of ’67 are telling us something important – about themselves and about our College,” Dr. Boomgaarden said. “First, they are telling us that they care and that they want St. Joseph’s to continue to be that special place they remember so well and hold in their hearts. And they are also bearing testament to the incredible legacy of their mentors, teachers and the remarkable charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph.”
Contributing to this scholarship allowed the Class of 1967 to come together again and honor the education they received, Dr. Bisso said.
“It’s been important over these 50 years to recognize the impact that St. Joseph’s College had on my life and my future,” she said. “Many of us were the first in our family to graduate from college. Or we were second, among older sisters, but mostly we were the first among daughters. I think it was really a sense of female destiny.”
Five decades later, this sense of female destiny still holds strong, and the education SJC provided these women remains as important as ever, the women said.
“The College was a very warm, friendly and encouraging environment,” Dr. Freeley said. “The nuns who taught us were women way ahead of their time.”