You Have Made a Difference

Sister Merilyn Ryan

I joined the faculty at CHC in 1978 with the ink still fresh on my graduate degree. The students were all women then, and I loved teaching them, and even (most of the time) living in Fontbonne Hall with them. For a number of those years I was Dean of Freshmen, and eventually knew almost every student by name.

I still keep in touch with friends from that era, and count those days and experiences among my blessings.

Some years later I left CHC temporarily for (SSJ) Congregational service. That work, too was a blessing, one I knew was of limited duration – ten years.

During those years Sister Carol led the college in the transition to co-education. This was a wise and courageous decision, but sometimes a costly one for those in leadership roles, especially the President. I heard lots about the transition – from my niece, who was a CHC student then, and from my friends among faculty and staff.

At the end of the ten years of my SSJ Service, I returned to CHC and to teaching math and was welcomed to a new world. Before long, I loved it, and still do. I sometimes say that I never laughed as much when I taught all women; this is true, but just scratches the surface of the outcomes of this wise decision.

I am so grateful to Sister Carol (and to other unnamed administrators) for the courage to take the risk and pay the costs of leading CHC to become a co-educational institution. You have made a difference, and that difference continues to be a blessing.