THE ENDOWMENT fund of the College of Notre Dame is $250,000 richer, thanks to the success of "Sister Kathleen's Gala," held Saturday evening to honor Sister Kathleen Feeley, the outgoing president of the college. She's been at the helm of this liberal arts woman's college on North Charles Street for 21 years and has decided to retire at the end of the school year.
Friends and alumnae of the school gathered at the Meyerhoff to pay tribute to this delightful woman. ABC sports commentator Jim McManus (known to most as Jim McKay) kept the program moving, first introducing his wife and gala chair, Margaret, who presented Sister Kathleen with the check. In return, Sister Kathleen presented the weary chairman with a lovely Shaker rocker adorned with the school's emblem.
Sister Kathleen, whose plans include teaching in India as a Fulbright scholar, told the gathering how fate had led her to Notre Dame when she was 13 years old. Her father had taken her to a city catholic school to register, only to be told that no one could register on that day. He drove to the College of Notre Dame and told the Sister that his daughter, Kathleen, was a good student and he had come to register her. He didn't ask about the cost, but did tell the sister he could afford to pay $100 a year. Sister Kathleen never left.
McKay introduced concert artist and Broadway star Barbara Cook, who belted out a variety of Broadway songs. She was accompanied by Wally Harper, an outstanding pianist who conducted the George Hipp Orchestra. When the star of the show, Donald O'Connor, appeared on stage, it was Hipp who had to fill in at piano until O'Connor's pianist showed up. Lots of bobbing heads in the audience told one and all that O'Connor is a favorite, especially singing and dancing to songs like "Walking my Baby Back Home."
Immediately after the concert, trolleys carried guests from the Meyerhoff to an elegant after-theater supper party held in the loveliest room in Maryland, the Peabody Reading Room. (Tickets to the concert/theater party were $1,000 each and it's the only fund-raiser I know that has gotten away with charging that much. There were more than 200 people at the party.)
Champagne flowed as friends of McManus and her co-chairs, Mrs. Hallie Rice and Mrs. James Doyle, received compliments about the gala. Others at the supper party were Tom and Rita Cinnamond, who retired from Semmes Bowen and Semmes to enjoy the best of both worlds -- when he's not at his Fort Lauderdale home, he's in the office, consulting.
Other notables were Sister Kathleen's Loyola counterpart, Father Joseph Sellinger, Tommy and Yardley Manfuso, Jeremiah and Sally Casey, Joe Keelty, Bud Meyerhoff and his wife Lois Wyse, Dot and Henry Rosenberg, Sig and Mary Hyman, Mary Ellen and Frank Gunther, Dr. Mildred Otenasek, Henry Knott, Sr., Mr. and Mrs. James Knott, Mr. and Mrs. Frances Knott, George Constable, Dorothy Scott, Margaret Perrin, M. Jenkins Cromwell, Charles and Bartie Cole, Marti Head, Mike and Pat Batza, Dee and Tom Hardie, Dennis and Joan Rasmussen.
Also on hand were Ed Hale were Joe DeFrancis and Lynda O'Dey, and Taylor Branch, who won a Pulitzer for his book, "Parting the Waters," and his wife, Christie Macy. And of course, the new president of the College of Notre Dame, Sister Rosemarie Nassif, was in attendance (she is working this year at Bryn Mawr College on an ACE fellowship).
I chatted briefly with the McManuses as I was leaving, and they are thrilled that the gala is over, but both agreed that the last eight months of hard work was worth it, because of the wonderful tribute for Sister Kathleen and the college.
Mayor Kurt Schmoke and his doctor wife, Pat, sat with the McManuses, Donald O'Connor, Sister Kathleen and Rosetta and Matt DeVito. I must say that the fact that the mayor came and stayed all evening is quite a compliment to Sister Kathleen, because I've never seen him devote a whole evening of his time to any event.
SEEN ON THE SCENE: Board meetings at the Maryland Institute College of Art should be a lot more colorful with the addition of Randy Evans, Joseph Krakora and William Steinmetz. Evans, former State Sec. of Economic and Employment Development, is now the vice president of corridor development for CSX Corp.; Krakora has an extensive arts background which includes his job as external affairs officer at the National Gallery of Art; and Steinmetz, a 1950 grad and former member of the faculty, is a partner with his wife, Betty Cooke, in The Store Limited at Cross Keys she's also a Maryland Institute grad).