Making Transformative Changes

By contributing to the Taking the LEAD Campaign, you are helping to make transformative changes in the lives of our students. The following stories are just a few examples of how your generous donations impact student success, both at St. Mary’s College and beyond.

Trustee Lex Birney made a gift to retrofit a research vessel – a Seahawk 25 – for the marine science program.

The LEAD Fund provided over $600,000 to renovate space in Goodpaster Hall for the Biochemistry program. Within this space will be four labs (teaching, lab preparation, faculty research and cell culture) as well as a small conference room and enhanced classroom.

Former College Trustee and SMCM Foundation Director Bill Seale answered the call multiple times, providing funds to enhance the track – helping enable the College to become a varsity venue for track & field competition – and to jumpstart a new business administration program by establishing the William Seale Professor of Business Fund. Additionally, he donated funds to purchase one of two brand new rowing shells. In recognition of his philanthropy, the rowing center is dedicated in his honor.

Trustee John Wobensmith ’93 supported the marine science program with a gift to renovate the the lab in Schaefer Hall: The Wobensmith Family Marine Science Academic Laboratory.

SMCM Foundation Director R. Scott Raspa ’86 and Trustees John Bell ’95, Paula Collins and Judy Fillius ’79 gave to the critical LEAD Fund that supports LEAD priorities noted in the strategic plan.

Dedicated alumni Dallas P. Dean ’60 and Donna L. West ’76 supported their named scholarships, allowing students to Take the LEAD in their college coursework and career preparation.

Having majored in psychology, Kelsey Kluh ’23 of LaPlata, Maryland, is the 2023-24 recipient of the Dallas P. Dean Master of Arts in Teaching Scholarship. “As I am financially responsible for all of my schooling, I am deeply grateful for the scholarship and the opportunity to learn and grow in order to become the best teacher I can be for my future students.”

Tessa Gibson-Thoele ’26 of Cumberland, Maryland, is the 2023-24 recipient of the Donna L. Smawley West Scholarship. “I was attracted to St. Mary’s College because of its focus on hands-on and collaborative learning. As an environmental studies major, with minors in biology and educational studies, the location on the St. Mary’s River cannot be beat.

Trustee Emerita Cindy Broyles ’79 gave to the LEAD Fund and to help finish the Landers Challenge in order to receive a $1 million match from the Landers Trust.


Landers Scholar Nia Knott '24 Baltimore, MD

Honorary Alumna Beth Byrd and Professor Emeritus Jeff Byrd established the Byrd Seahawk Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) funds to support the SURF program – an amazing opportunity for students to work within an interdisciplinary cohort on an eight-week scholarly project.

Through the Flores Undergraduate Research Award in Biology Fund, Assisted Management Solutions has funded eight students at $5,000 each to conduct their research.

The Patuxent Partnership (TPP) and the Kahlert Foundation infused the Center for the Study of Democracy and the Anthropology Department, respectively, with significant contributions for programming.

SMCM Foundation President Bonnie Green ’74 gave to ensure that we had the momentum to publicly launch Taking the LEAD.

The Sherman Fairchild Foundation made a significant contribution to provide scientific equipment for chemistry & biochemistry, math & computer science, museum studies and neuroscience.

“Because of gifts to the St. Mary’s Fund, we were recently able to purchase a new ADA-compliant van that can transport students, employees, and visitors with accessibility needs. This addition to the fleet will allow us to better practice our commitment to equity. Attention to accessibility and inclusivity requires us to respond to existing barriers on our campus with practical solutions. Donor support for these endeavors is essential, and we greatly appreciate those whose contributions have made this possible.”
— Director of the Physical Plant Brad Newkirk ‘04