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St. Mary’s honors Dr. Elizabeth A. Molloy Twomey and Elaine Gustafson

Margot Connell, left, presents the William F. Connell ’55 Service Award, named for her late husband, to Elaine Gustafson. (JOHN GILLOOLY)

St. Mary’s Lynn presented the 2019 Cardinal Cushing Award to Dr. Elizabeth A. Molloy Twomey ’52 at the 23rd annual Cushing Society Celebration Thursday at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem. At the same event, the school honored Elaine Gustafson with the William F. Connell ’55 Service Award.

“We are privileged to honor two strong women whose unyielding commitment to St. Mary’s has helped put us in the position the school enjoys today,” said Head of School Dr. John F. Dolan. 

St. Mary’s established the Cardinal Richard Cushing Society to celebrate commitment to Catholic education and to honor its generous supporters. The Cardinal Cushing Award is presented annually to a vigorous champion of Catholic education whose personal and professional life mirror St. Mary’s mission.

“Presenting these awards gives us the opportunity to acknowledge those who live out the mission of St. Mary’s, and honor the memory of champions of Catholic education in general, and our school in particular,” St. Mary’s Board of Trustees Chair William Mosakowski said.

A 1952 graduate of St. Mary’s Girls’ High School, Twomey continued her education under the tutelage of the Sisters of Notre Dame at Emmanuel College, where she received her bachelor’s degree in English and Psychology. She later earned a master’s in Education at Salem State College and a doctorate in Educational Administration at Boston College.

Twomey began her career as a classroom teacher in Lynn, and has served in a variety of leadership capacities, including as a school principal in Reading, superintendent of schools in Lincoln, associate commissioner for the Massachusetts Department of Education, and deputy commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Education.

In 1994, Twomey was appointed commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Education, where she was widely praised for her educational leadership and commitment to academic excellence. Most recently, Twomey taught for 12 years at the Lynch School of Education as well as the Roche Center for Catholic Education at Boston College. 

She serves as vice chair of the St. Mary’s Board of Trustees and chair of its Education Committee. 

“No one person has done more for the real work of St. Mary’s — excellence in teaching and learning — than Betty Twomey,” Dolan said. 

The William F. Connell ’55 Service Award is given in recognition of consistent and exemplary service. It is named for a St. Mary’s graduate whose boundless generosity to the school included a $5 million bequest. Connell’s widow, Margot, presented the award to Gustafson Thursday.

Gustafson continues to honor the memory of her late husband, Paul Gustafson ’59, by supporting St. Mary’s students through the Gustafson Family Scholarship. Paul was the 2006 recipient of the Cardinal Cushing Award.

“Elaine’s affection for St. Mary’s was developed through her late husband, and she has remained a committed and loyal supporter in the years since his passing,” Dolan said. “Her generosity has helped make a St. Mary’s education possible for countless students.”

Daniel Lobo ’10, a recipient of the first Gustafson Family Scholarship, spoke Thursday about how a St. Mary’s education paved the way for him to attend Harvard University, from which he graduated in 2014. “Talent is equally distributed, but opportunity is not,” Lobo said, encouraging those in attendance to support St. Mary’s so other students in his situation will be able to attend.

Gustafson served as an associate professor at Yale University School of Nursing (YSN), where she directed the school-based Health Care Concentration. She currently serves as an associate clinical professor at YSN. She previously worked as a pediatric nurse practitioner at a community health center and middle school in Connecticut.

Gustafson works with special-needs children through her volunteer work at Easter Seals of Southwest Florida and serves on its advisory board. In April, 2019, she was elected to the Yale Alumni Association Board of Governors.

 

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