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Friday, May 23, 2014

Susan Brennan Morrison Receives St. Philippine Duchesne Outstanding Alumna Award at Induction Ceremony

Photos L-R: Helen Bruns Ryan, WA'50 and Susan Brennan Morrison, WA'69;
Class of 2014; Zara Anderson '15; Margaret Andersen, '15; Maura Chamberlin, WAAA Coordinator
with Pat Colbert, '69 and Marni Mans, '90; Susan Brennan Morrison with husband Bob and family

The Woodlands Academy Alumnae Association Induction Ceremony hosted on Friday, May 16, 2014 began with a warm welcome by WAAA President, Marni Soderland Mans, '90  and then fellow WAAA Board members: Pat Colbert, '69, Molly Keating, '95 and Maureen Hogan Lang, '56 distributed AASH Passports to thirty-eight young ladies who now become part of their local alumna association (WAAA), as well as, National (AASH) and International (AMASC) Sacred Heart Alum Associations.

Besides the distribution of passports, the ceremony held in the Sacred Heart Chapel included:  musical ambiance by Shi Yu (Angela) Wong, '17,  a very gifted pianist; the introduction of the 2015 Class Officers; Turning of the Rings, led by Junior Class Vice President, Zara Anderson, '15; blessing of alumnae by Head of School, Gerald Grossman; and the announcement of class representatives.

Junior Class President, Margaret Andersen, '15 gave a very moving reflection followed by a musical tribute preformed by the Woodlands Academy Choral Students and Mrs. Elizabeth Kurowski accompanied the young ladies on the piano. To listen to "Here Within My Heart", click on the video link below and enjoy!

Before concluding remarks were given and we all recessed to Coeur de Jesus the St. Philippine Duchesne Outstanding Alumna Award was presented to Susan Brennan Morrison, '69.  This award has become a highlight of the Induction ceremony and honors alumnae of Woodlands Academy whose lives exemplify, to an extraordinary degree, the values and standards that the school represents.

Susan Brennan Morrison is a Lake Forest resident, and former advertising executive with DDB Needham in Chicago and Darcy MacManus Masius in London.  She currently serves on several boards, including: Women's Board of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Shedd Aquarium, Women's Sports Foundation in New York, where she has served on various committees including a special task force for expanding their grass roots, award-winning GoGirlGo! program. Additionally, Susan is a trustee of The Chicago Foundation for Women and a founding member of Women Moving Millions, a philanthropic initiative of the Women's Funding Network in San Francisco.

Susan spoke of her own mother Eileen Bruck Brennan Hunt a 1949 graduate of Barat College of the Sacred Heart. She stated that her mother's "Barat experience was everything to her especially since her own mother had died when she was only 7 years old" and that her mother had "learned the Sacred Heart values and lived them her entire life".  Entering Barat College in the mid-forties,  young Eileen Bruck found her teachers and the upperclassmen to be her role models, she also felt a sense of love and support from the whole Sacred Heart community. Eileen Bruck's Sacred Heart experience was so transforming that she decided she wanted the same for her daughters and enrolled both Susan and her sister in the Academy at birth.  Susan entered Woodlands Academy in 1966 as a sophomore boarder and "loved knowing that her mother had gone to school across the ravine and that she was carry on a tradition that was close to her mother's heart."  

Susan shared in her own words some observations about life and things she has come to value since her graduation.  Below are what Susan described as her "top ten tips": 
 1.   Stay curious
 2.   Find your passion
 3.   Raise your voices and let them be heard
 4.   Believe in yourself and dream big
 5.   Embrace a sense of wonder
 6.   Cherish music
 7.   Keep your sense of humor
 8.   Give something back each and every day
 9.   Feel empathy
10.  Cultivate Community

In conclusion Susan shared with the senior class what her mother had told her upon graduation, "Everywhere you go in life, across the world, as long as you live, you will find other Sacred Heart girls and you will immediately feel like you know them like long lost sisters."   With that knowledge Susan explained that she now understands why alums keep coming back and said, "The fact is we really never leave. Sure we leave campus.  Sure we get on with our lives and we have great adventures, but we don't leave behind the values that we learned and the sense of community that we share. Someday, as Margaret {Andersen,'15} said, many of you will stand up here for one reason or another and you'll feel in community with the young women seated before you as I feel right now.  So go forth young women of the Sacred Heart and do great things in your lives.  Before you know it you'll find yourselves back here too and you'll feel like you never left. Because in fact you never really did!" 

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