Maria College Announces Center to Support Learning Differences

ALBANY, NY, April 28, 2017 –On May 3 at 5:30pm, Maria College will announce a campaign to fund a student support center that will enable a holistic approach to helping students with diverse learning needs and personal or social challenges—integrating academic support with personal, physical, and spiritual support resources. The campaign is unprecedented at the College and has already surpassed expectations.  The center will be named, “The Frank O’Brien Student Support Center,” for former insurance executive and community leader, Frank E. O’Brien.

O’Brien was a longtime Chairman of the Maria College Board of Trustees until his death in 2012.  During his tenure at the College, he worked alongside Laureen Fitzgerald ’61 RSM who served as Maria’s third president until she retired in 2012.  Together, Sister Laureen and Frank worked tirelessly to lead Maria through multiple academic and enrollment transitions including offering flexible course schedules for working adult students.  On May 3, Sister Laureen will be honored as President Emerita for her leadership and as a shining light of Mercy for the Maria community fostering a lifelong commitment to Mercy ideals for thousands of students over 38 years.

“The Frank O’Brien Student Support Center,” will house the Maria Tutoring Center and student support and intervention services, as well as career services, opportunity programs and pastoral care.  The Mercy philosophy will be the heart of the center and extend the support beyond academics and offer students all the services they need to be successful in one place.  As a Mercy mission-driven institution, Maria College has provided affordable and accessible higher education opportunities since 1958.  The College specializes in preparing students for meaningful careers in healthcare and service so they can make a difference in the lives of others. 

Dr. Thomas Gamble, Maria College president stated, “Maria College is proud of enacting its longstanding commitment to Mercy through providing education to those who may not otherwise have had that opportunity.    In honor of Frank O’Brien, we are enhancing our services to non-traditional students and those with learning differences and unique educational needs.  We are grateful for the leadership of Frank’s wife and former trustee Mary Beth Casey O’Brien and daughter Maureen O’Brien, a current trustee who have provided a generous lead gift for other donors to follow.”

“It’s exactly the kind of place my Dad would have championed,” stated Maureen O’Brien.  “Whether in business or in life, my Dad loved to see people succeed.  He worked hard to make sure that the people around him had opportunities to do well.  We are humbled by the support we have received thus far and thankful to have this opportunity to express our appreciation to our many donors in the community.” 

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About Maria College

Founded in 1958, Maria College is one of 16 colleges and universities in the United States sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas.  The private, co-educational, Catholic college in Albany serves almost 1,000 students in a variety of degree and certificate programs including liberal arts, healthcare management, nursing, occupational therapy assistant, and health and occupational sciences. Maria College prepares students for meaningful careers in healthcare and service so they can make a difference in the lives of others.