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Top: Matt Weber ’06
Below: CNN senior political analyst David Gergen

Watch the talks by Matt Weber '06 and Sharon T. Driscoll '80

Fourth Annual St. Dominic Weekend Draws 500 Benefactors and Guests

Providence College thanked more than 500 of its most generous benefactors with a weekend of special events that included a dinner at the Rhode Island Convention Center, a luncheon on campus with scholarship recipients, and a discussion about the presidential election with a political analyst from CNN.

The fourth annual St. Dominic Weekend was a show of appreciation for members of the St. Dominic Society (annual giving), the Harkins Society (planned giving), and the 1917 Society (lifetime giving). Those attending spanned 59 class years and came from 21 states, including Texas, Colorado, and Minnesota.

The highlight was the weekend-closing Evening of Appreciation at the Rhode Island Convention Center in downtown Providence, where Matt Weber ’06, author of Fearing the Stigmata (Loyola Press, 2012), drew a standing ovation after an entertaining talk about the challenges of being young and Catholic.

Weber said he learned to explain his faith to students who were unfamiliar with it while he was a student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he is now the new and social media officer. Eventually, Weber came to host segments on CatholicTV, the national cable channel, and to compile his essays into a book.

Weber said he was helped by his experience at PC: “At my core, I have learned from this Order of Preachers how to preach, how to teach, and how to inspire through story … to believe simply that which is good and that which is true,” Weber said.

The Evening of Appreciation also featured the announcement of a $6.5 million bequest from the estate of the late Robert H. Walsh ’39 & ’66Hon., which will endow the College’s first academic chair in the sciences and add to a scholarship fund and an academic fund in chemistry and the biological sciences.

At the Scholarship Luncheon, where donors are united with scholarship recipients, Sharon T. Driscoll ’80 & ’16P, vice president for marketing and communications-global enterprises at IBM, told how her College experience was enhanced by the professors and Dominicans who taught her.

Building on that inspiration, Driscoll established the Treacy Family Scholarship Fund after her father died in April. The fund will assist future students “who will build a beautiful PC mosaic,” she said.

Interviewing David Gergen 

David Gergen, senior political analyst at CNN, was a guest at two events sponsored by the College's School of Business, which received its accreditation during the summer from AACSB International, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Gergen participated in a student-organized forum that drew a crowd of 450 to the specially designed presentation space in the Peterson Recreation Center.

Meredith Maher ’13 (Ridgefield, Conn.), a marketing major, introduced Gergen, who was interviewed first by Jason Elliott ’13 (Manville, R.I.), a political science major, and Patrick Bonner ’13 (Rutherford, N.J.), a finance major. Then, Michael Englert ’13 (Warwick, R.I.), an accountancy major, and Eliza Mandzik ’13 (Burlington, Conn.), a political science major, facilitated questions from students in the audience.

Later in the evening, when he took the stage before donors and their guests for his second appearance of the night, Gergen was full of praise for PC.

“The students asked tougher and more sophisticated questions” than he is asked on television, Gergen said, on topics that included quantitative easing, the fiscal cliff, and the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

“Can you imagine? I was stunned,” said Gergen, adding, “This is the first I’ve seen of Providence College. You have such a gem.”

During the weekend, 17 new members were inducted into the Harkins Society and 16 new members into the 1917 Society. Two anonymous donors joined the 1917 Society and one anonymous person became a Harkins Society member.

Benefactors and their guests also enjoyed receptions, campus trolley tours, and athletic events. Meetings were held by the Board of Trustees, the National Board of Overseers, the School of Business Advisory Council, the Parents Leadership Council, the National Alumni Association Board of Governors, and the Regional Alumni Club.

In the last fiscal year, 1,800 people in the St. Dominic Society made $16 million in contributions to the College — 90 percent of the total raised.

— Vicki-Ann Downing


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