It’s December 8th and by now you should all know what that means: it’s the start of Mary Brady Month. Unlike similar posts of years past, this post has a lot of ground to cover for current students, faculty, and even alums. In addition to spending the month promoting the Brady legacy and the Red Room, we’re also working on raising money for the Mary Brady Scholarship—which was established last spring and is in the process of gathering $25,000 to become endowed. I know it’s a long post but, hey, if you’re a fan of Mary Brady, you’re probably also a fan of reading words.
First thing’s first. I want your feedback about this site and the scholarship. Please take a few minutes to answer this 10-question survey after you read this post (it might impact your answers, especially if you have some reservations about giving): http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LQH5F7M Don’t worry, no one will ever know who answered what, not even me.
Current Students—STOP READING THIS AND DO ONE OF TWO THINGS:
1. Click on the Red Room link above and enter the name of Beowulf’s successor to access a treasure trove of Dr. Brady’s handouts you can use to study.
2. If you already know about the Red Room, be sure to share the link with others and make them work for that password.
Faculty and Staff—Thank you. When Dr. Barbaccia and I started knocking around the idea of the Pawling 110 Club, Georgetown College faculty and staff jumped on board at the idea, and most of the donations received to date have come from you. I know that many of you miss Dr. Brady more than her former students can imagine; after four years of Dr. Brady, I can’t even imagine what twenty with her might have been like. I’m sure she’d be mortified, thrilled, and honored by the love and esteem you have for her, but your support of this scholarship illustrates what this scholarship is all about. I’m sure each of you has your own Dr. Brady and now you’re the ones who are that person in so many students’ lives. (And isn’t it FUN?)
Alums—If you’ve donated to the scholarship already, thank you, thank you, thank you. If you want to donate, here’s a link explaining where you need to go and what you need to do: http://www.georgetowncollege.edu/eng/pawling-110-club/.
(Note you don’t HAVE to do the Pawling 110 thing; it’s just the best explanation of how to work GC’s crazy online donation thingamabob so that your money gets where it needs to go. Give any amount you can; it all helps raise the percentage of alums who give to the English Department, giving us bragging rights over [insert your favorite department to bash]).
Fact: I just donated myself, which is completely embarrassing because I helped start the scholarship; but hey, life happens and money runs short.
If you want to donate but are short on funds like I was, please keep this scholarship in mind when you reach a position that you CAN give. In the meantime, spread the word about the scholarship and, if you know some English majors, make sure they know about the Red Room.
If you haven’t donated to the scholarship and have reservations about donating to “the College” or questions about the scholarship selection, as I’ve sort of heard through the grapevine, listen up. Here’s a short response to each of the items I typically am asked:
The money for that you donate to the Mary Brady Scholarship will be used just for that. When you donate, your money will sit in a fund—unused—until it reaches $25,000. Then it will officially be “endowed”. Then it will sit for a year, gathering interest (and more donations) until there’s a respectable (but to-be-determined) amount of money that can be given to a student. Even with the change of administration that will happen this spring when Dr. Crouch steps down, that money cannot/will not be used for anything else. It won’t be used for anything at all until it reaches the endowment level of $25,000.
If you’re a GC alum, you know how important that scholarships were to being able to attend a private college. With tuition costs rising everywhere, you’re probably asking yourself if you would have been financially able to attend Georgetown College today. The answer might be no. Why? Because alums like us aren’t giving enough money to scholarships to help offset the cost to students. That’s a fact.
As English majors and liberal arts graduates, the joke’s always been that we wouldn’t make any money. With a recession on and unemployment high, the joke is a lot less funny than it was when we were in college. I know many of us don’t have much money, so giving to the alma mater drops on the list of priorities. Trust me, I get that; it’s why I didn’t donate until a few weeks ago (cross your fingers that my car doesn’t break down, by the way).
But here’s the thing that bugs me: I’ve gotten the idea that some alums might give but don’t want to give to “the College.” I know alums at any college don’t always agree with how their college might be spending money. At GC, this sentiment was vaguely alluded to in a survey calling for Dr. Crouch’s resignation (a survey so void of statements of fact I only assume that it had to do with a collective disappointment with the College’s current financial state and maybe something to do with the College’s relationship with the Baptist Church). Regardless of the validity or absurdity of the rumors you’ve heard about the College’s current financial/political climate, I don’t think it should factor into your decision to give to the Mary Brady Scholarship.
I promise, if you give to this scholarship, you know exactly where it’s going, how it’s going to be used, and you’re going to know it made a positive impact to a student’s life and to your alma mater. It won’t be used to strengthen or destroy a relationship with the Baptist church, to build or demolish dorms, or to go to any other project no matter how great or how awful you personally think it is. It’s a scholarship in Dr. Brady’s memory. That’s it.
And how will recipients be selected? I don’t know yet. Right now, this is what the scholarship is:
The scholarship will support an outstanding rising senior English major who plans to use her or his talents to teach.
Some people have expressed concerns to me that, to be blunt, professors’ favorites may be selected over “more qualified” students. I think it’s a question Brady herself would have raised, and it’s not an easy question to answer or even ask. But now that I’ve acknowledged the question has been asked, here’s my attempt to answer it (noting that I’m most definitely no speaking on anyone at the College’s behalf):
I trust judgment of the current faculty and staff of Georgetown College—and especially that of the English department–to select the best recipients for this scholarship, the students who have the most potential to go on to be the “next” Mary Brady. They’re among the people who knew Brady best and we share a deep commitment to the integrity of this scholarship. If you knew Brady, you know favorites isn’t a game she played and that’s not going to start now. So, if this is only reason you have not to give to this scholarship, it isn’t a very good one.
Having been a student, I get where the concern is coming from—at GC and elsewhere (like at work), I’ve thought some of my classmates were idiots/jerks and wondered how my professors didn’t see through that. From talking with many of you, I know that many of you are teachers yourselves now and you look at the selection question from both sides of the fence–as a professor and as a student. I think the heart of the question really is “Does this scholarship really stand for everything Brady stood for?” and it’s a valid question to ask regarding any scholarship, especially one named after someone we knew well.
So here’s what I propose…take this survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LQH5F7M. It won’t take a lot of your time and promise I’ll take your input to the right people at Georgetown College.
Please don’t let concerns over selection or giving to “the College” be the only reasons you don’t donate to the Mary Brady Scholarship.
Now that we’ve taken care of business, let’s get back to what today is REALLY about.
Today would have been Dr. Brady’s 25th-ish birthday. I’m sure she would have been celebrating it with her family in such a way that on Monday, her students would have spent most of class asking her about it and driving her crazy. She would have still gotten through everything on the syllabus that day and what she didn’t—well, ya better know it for the exam. Her students might have pooled their money together (in quarters) to buy her flowers. That day and that night, she’d tell her friends, family, and coworkers about it because of the many things she loved, I think flowers and students were near the top. She’d have a spare vase lying around to put the flowers in and she’d tend to those flowers until they died perhaps months later, having lived longer than cut flowers normally lived despite the fact her office was equipped with a window better suited for ventilation than for providing natural light. That woman knew everything and her ability to grow plants was only surpassed by her ability to grow students. And whenever students visited her office, she’d remark on the paradox that those flowers are both living and dead at the same time, and what strange innuendo giving the gift of flowers is, considering the range of symbolic meanings they can have and the fact that they have genitalia.
Birthday or not, Brady would have been in her office in Pawling 110 until some ungodly hour on Monday night grading papers, answering emails, and as she’d say, finally getting some work done.
And that, my friends, is the Mary Brady to whom this site is dedicated and what the Mary Brady Scholarship will someday be about. So happy birthday, Brady. And thank you. For everything.
Now get back to work, everybody….after you take this survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LQH5F7M
-Gina Putthoff, Class of 2005