The Angels of ’77

By NDP Alumna Rose Schmitz Marcin, Class of ’77

We are the class of Lime and Rose, the Class of ’77, and we have a strong bond of sisterhood. We always have felt our class is exceptional—though perhaps everyone feelsclass-of-77.jpg that way about her class. Between reunions, we get together for happy hours, and some of our classmates make it a point to see each other every month, or at least annually! Even after all these years, we are still connected to each other. So when we lose one of our own, we come together to honor her memory.

Last year a member of our class, Carol Robbins Lavin, became seriously ill. Many of us went to see her in the hospital right away, and we were all surprised when we found out she passed away in May. As the news was shared among our classmates, we supported each other through prayer, kind words, and the close friendships we share. With our 40-year reunion approaching, we decided to honor Carol and the other classmates we have lost. Mary Blake Heying Foster suggested we dedicate the reunion to Carol’s memory, Helen Kopits Hiser suggested that we donate in Carol’s memory, and Nancy Karpinski suggested that we include all the sisters we have lost. Helen coined our cause and our fallen classmates as the Angels of ‘77. In addition to Carol, we recognized:

  • Susan Lawrence, who passed away on December 26, 2003
  • Patty Moxley Howachyn, who passed away on July 25, 2010
  • Carol Robbins Lavin, who passed away on May 2, 2017
  • Sadly, we lost Mary King Williams this winter, following our reunion, on February 8, 2018

Our class has always donated money to the school, but we wanted to make this year extra special. So as we planned our participation in the NDP Gateway Weekend—an opportunity for all classes celebrating a reunion that year to gather and celebrate together at Notre Dame—we also encouraged donations to our Angels of ‘77 fund. This experience mobilized our class behind a cause, and we had a wonderful response.

When it came time to gather, our group was the largest of all at Gateway Reunion Weekend. Of our class of approximately 140, almost 60 alumnae came from near and far, traveling from Alaska, California, Arizona, Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Ohio, Virginia, and New York, in addition to those of us who live in Maryland. We dedicated our class mass, held prior to the reunion dinner, to the memory of the Angels of ‘77 and set up a drop box for donations during the reunion.


Additionally, and as a complete surprise to me, the class presented a special donation to our cause. Nancy Karpinski gathered contributions toward a gift thanking Karen Meekins Benckini and me for organizing our class while keeping everyone informed about various news and events concerning our class. At our reunion, the class presented Karen and me with a bouquet of roses, gift cards, and, because of the incredible generosity of our classmates, a large donation to the Angels of ‘77 in our names.

In all, our class has raised $15,000 and counting in honor of the NDP Angels of ’77. It is amazing what can be accomplished when NDP sisterhood is combined with philanthropy. We will continue to celebrate the memory of our Angels and the bonds we have with each other for many reunions and gatherings to come.


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