Happy Birthday, Brady (Again)

If you were one of Dr. Brady’s students in 2004, you probably remember the day she won the Manning Award. Somehow we students had been not-so-subtly tipped off that she was going to get the award so, and I think I speak for all of us here, it was the one time we really looked forward to going to Chapel.

For me, two things stick out about that day: 1) Watching Brady’s reactions while Dr. Allen gave a glowing speech about her … without realizing that it was about her and 2) seeing her nearly topple her husband’s wheelchair.

First, the speech. To fully appreciate the magnitude of this award, you’ll need to read the the speech Dr. Allen gave:

The John Walker Manning Distinguished Mentor and Teacher Award recognizes faculty who have shown a commitment to Georgetown College by being involved with students and who have also demonstrated excellence in teaching.

Nominees shall have demonstrated leadership in mentoring and counseling students in their academic course work and other aspects of college life during the past two years.

They shall have demonstrated collegiality, Georgetown attitude and spirit, and high moral character.

And they shall have contributed to the college academic community above and beyond regular duties during the past two years.

The Manning award is special, because students make the nominations and have the majority voice in choosing the winner.

This year, thirteen professors were nominated for the award.

The winner is an extraordinary teacher who has the capacity to inspire her students through her teaching and through her life.  The nominating letters were glowing.   One nominator called her “funny, strong, and genuinely good hearted,” adding  “I work harder for her than for myself.  She just inspires me to do my best and to get better. She loves to teach, and you can see and feel that. Her enthusiasm melts off onto her students.”

Another nominated this professor “because she is a friend, a guide, a confidant, a role-model, a heroine, an example of what a strong woman should be, and, above all, a teacher who puts her students above everything.”

“She changes the life of every student that walks through her doors, and it is time that she receives recognition of this and is made aware of just how important she is to this college and to every individual colleague or student whose life she has touched.”

I agree, because this professor was also a teacher and mentor to me when I first arrived at Georgetown College.  So I am pleased beyond words to say that the winner of the 2004 John Walker Manning Distinguished Mentor and Teacher Award is Dr. Mary Brady.

If you knew Brady, you know all of these things were true of her.

And if you knew Brady, you can probably imagine that she was elbowing the people next to her and gesticulating wildly during the speech. I’m not sure what she was saying so I won’t speculate on what she said (but if someone knows, please tell me).

What was clear she had no idea she was about to win an award. Nor did she notice her family sitting there, including who wheelchair-bound husband.

Which brings me to the second thing that sticks out about that day.

After much hooting and hollering during an otherwise regal event, all of Brady’s students gathered near the stage to greet her after she met her family. The next thing I knew, Brady was hurtling from the stage and practically diving into Judge Brady’s lap, nearly toppling his wheelchair. In retrospect, it probably wasn’t quite so dramatic and I should have seen this coming. After all, I should have realized that pinballing around the Chapel was The Most Brady Thing she could have possibly done at the moment.

That being said, welcome to Mary Brady Month 2011-2012, the Most Brady of all months. Like last year, we’ll keep the site active until January 8. The site won’t go away, of course, but this is our month to take the enthusiasm she melted onto all of us and share it with each other, and with the world. Please share this site with your friends, comment like crazy on any of these posts, contact us to post your own piece (or pieces), and check out The Red Room. And once you’ve done that…get back to work!

Happy birthday, Brady.

Special thanks to Dr. Rosemary Allen for providing the Manning speech for use on this site.

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