Mary Kaye Waldron

Award Winner

Chaplain Leahy Receives Mary Kaye Waldron Award
Heights Issue date: 4/11/00

“One doesn’t really have an idea of where they are in their faith journey or where they’re going … It’s only when we look back and reflect on where we’ve been can we see a glimpse of where we come from. Perhaps all we can do is take that with us as we go on our way; take what we have learned from our experiences and be sure to use it as a map of what is to come,” Mary Kaye Waldron said in November of 1994, just five months before she died in April of 1995.

The fifth annual Mary Kaye Waldron Award Banquet, honoring Daniel P. Leahy, University Chaplain, 4Boston Director and Courage to Know instructor, was held last Monday evening in the Heights Room.

Waldron was a Boston College student who died in the spring of her senior year in 1995 after battling cancer since the age of 15. She was very active within the Jenks Leadership Program, served as a minister through the Salt and Light Company and was the first-ever female manager of the men’s varsity basketball team. She died one month before graduating from BC.

The award was established in her name by the Undergraduate Government of Boston College in 1996. The award is given each year to a full-time faculty member or administrator who has demonstrated a continuing commitment to the values and ideals of BC.

“This commitment is evident not only through dedication to a particular field of expertise, but also through a deep belief in the need to enhance student life in a positive manner,” said Caitlin Murphy, A&S ’00 and Chair of the Mary Kaye Waldron Award selection committee, said.

It is the only award that is given to a faculty member who is nominated and selected only by a group of students.

All BC students were invited to submit nominations, which were then read by the student selection committee. The committee then met and discussed the nominations and chose the award winner.

Opening remarks were given by Murphy. Then, Paula A. Norbert, University Chaplain, offered an invocation, after which dinner was served.

Following the dinner, Jim Waldron, Mary Kaye’s father, spoke.

After meeting [the recipient], Bonnie and I walk away and say, “For sure, Mary Kaye would be very proud and happy with the choice,” Waldron said. He added that when thinking about all five of the recipients, one quality that all shared came to mind. He said that quality was “humility.”

Robert A. Sherwood, the 1999 winner of the Mary Kaye Waldron Award, spoke following Waldron’s remarks.

Sherwood said that there is no other event on campus that brings together students to honor faculty in the manner that the Mary Kaye Waldron Award Reception and Banquet do.

He said that one of the highlights of the past year was that “I have gotten to know the Waldron family. It has been really tremendous,” he said.

Sherwood went on to speak of the award and his reluctance to relinquish the honor of it to another.

“You become very possessive [of the award],” he said. “I became quite interested that the criteria [for receiving the award] was kept in mind.”

Sherwood said that as soon as he heard that Chaplain Leahy was the 2000 recipient, he was “elated.” He added that Leahy was the youngest of the five recipients, citing Leahy’s recent celebration of his 40th birthday.

“[Leahy] has had an enormous impact on lives of students touched since you’ve been on this campus,” Sherwood said. He added, speaking directly to Leahy, “You are equally valued by colleagues as you are by your students.”

After Sherwood spoke, a slide show of Mary Kaye Waldron was shown. The show, which was played for the third time this year, consisted of pictures of Mary Kaye throughout her short life. The film was put together and set to the theme song of Titanic by Peter Olivieri, Computer Science Department, and the 1997 recipient of the award.

This year, Olivieri created a new addition to the end of the slide show in celebration of the Waldrons becoming grandparents on December 31 of last year.

Oliveri compiled photographs of their grandson, Curran MaKaye Campbell, and showed these following the show of Mary Kaye.

Following a few technical difficulties, a video created by Jeremy Zipple, A&S ’00, was shown.

The video showed many students, faculty and staff of BC congratulating Leahy and sharing memories of Leahy with those at the dinner.

One student in the 4Boston program said that Leahy provides the model for “how I want to live my life.”

Another student said that Leahy is somewhere between a brother and a father figure for him. He stated that Leahy gives “good, fatherly advice,” and acts as a peer, not a superior.

Melissa Kelley, University Chaplain said that Leahy, “is a wonderful colleague and terrific with students. This award could not go to a nicer, kinder, loving person.”

The video was followed by a slide show, also created by Zipple, which depicted Leahy in various stages of his life.

Following the series of videos, Kerry Griffin, CSOM ’00, the student who nominated Leahy, spoke about Leahy and presented him with the Mary Kaye Waldron Award.

“All the actions of his everyday life speak for themselves as award worthy,” Griffin said. “None of us can know all of what he does.”

Described by Griffin as a “family man,” she said that Leahy always makes time for each and every person in which he comes into contact. “To Dan, the little things are the big things. The little things count,” she said.

Griffin added that Leahy “believes fully in every facet of his life. He challenges each person to do the little things well. He does this by example, which makes it even more enthralling.”

Leahy expressed his joy at being named the Mary Kaye Waldron Award winner. He said, jokingly, “The only thing this could compare to is my wedding day.”
Leahy went on to thank the Waldrons for “sharing Mary Kaye with us.” He also thanked his wife who, “makes it possible for me to do all this stuff.”

He said that when Murphy called to tell him he would be receiving the award he, “thought she had the wrong number.”

“Just to be connected to Mary Kaye and her spirit is unbelievable,” he said.

Leahy spoke about BC and said that he is really at a place where he is doing something that he loves.

“My journey of vocation has been trying things and seeing what I’m good at,” he said. “Reading the clues has brought me here.”

“I am able to find God and fall deeper in love with God because of where I am,” he added.

The evening concluded with the benediction, offered by Richard T. Cleary, SJ, University Chaplain. “Mary Kaye lives on for so many of us in our hearts. The best way to honor her memory is by living Christ-like here on Earth. There is joy in our hearts tonight,” he said.

Return to home page