One day, Pamela (Hudson) Beggan ’66 was browsing her neighborhood farmers market in Alexandria, Va., when she met a friend who was taking a few donated tomatoes to the community food pantry.
“She was happy to see me, as she’d just accepted a full-time job and was looking for someone to replace her in supplying the pantry with fresh produce,” Beggan recalls.
And so the next Wednesday, Beggan, a part-time music teacher, took some veggies to United Community Ministries.
And the next Wednesday. And the one after that. And every Wednesday for some 40 years.
Soon, those few tomatoes grew to more than 20 bushel baskets of farm-fresh fare that Beggan packed into her Jeep each week. Over four decades, Beggan delivered more than 115 tons of fresh produce and goods to people in need, according to the pantry.
For food pantries, perishable food is often hard to come by, and farmers would’ve otherwise tossed the produce that didn’t sell. “Everybody won,” says Beggan, who recently retired from the post; the local Kiwanis will take over the delivery.
The former English major met her husband, Robert Beggan ’66, at Stonehill and the two became something of a philanthropic power duo: Bob retired as president and chief executive officer of United Way International, and he was awarded the College’s Outstanding Alumnus Award in 2002.
Beggan says Stonehill shaped her life in more ways than one: “I wouldn’t know where to begin. Sound Catholic social teaching certainly prepared me for a life of serving others, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Jay Miller ’73 built his career on two passions that trace their roots to his Stonehill days: music and sports.
As a member of Stonehill’s football team, he often ventured with a teammate to Boston venues to soak up music by blues and jazz legends—Taj Mahal, Muddy Waters, Otis Rush, Albert King, Les McCann, McCoy Tyner and Bo Diddley among them.
“It’s more than likely we were breaking all semblance of curfew for the football team,” quips the West Bridgewater native, who double-majored in English and sociology.
After a decade working days as a sportswriter for various publications and enjoying live music at night, Miller decided to try his hand writing about the shows he was taking in.
In 1986, he started covering the local music scene for The Patriot Ledger, and in 1996 started writing a music column for the newspaper.
In more than 30 years of covering music, Miller has accumulated quite a few big name interviews—a few favorites include late greats Gregg Allman and Leon Russell, along with Susan Tedeschi, Dave Alvin, Jason Isbell, Alejandro Escovedo and Rodney Crowell.
Miller was recently acknowledged by the blues industry with a Keeping the Blues Alive Award, given each year as part of the Blues Music Awards to those organizations, institutions or individuals in the United States, Europe and beyond who keep the genre moving forward.
Miller notes that he still has his textbook from an Intro to Journalism course he took at Stonehill, and that his “Stonehill years definitely set the stage” for his career writing about his two passions.
By day, she’s an analyst for an education best practices firm in Washington, D.C. By night and on the weekend, she’s the co-founder and chief operations officer of an educational consulting firm.
And somehow, Audrey del Rosario ’14 has found the time to log more than 100 hours as a public service volunteer in 2016, earning the President’s Volunteer Service Award from the U.S. government’s Corporation for National and Community Service.
Del Rosario spent a good part of 2016 volunteering at various institutions, including BUILD Metro D.C., Aspire! Afterschool Learning and Calvary Women’s Services.
She was “stunned” when she found out she won the prestigious award—but if you knew del Rosario when she was a student at Stonehill, the news probably doesn’t surprise you at all.
In her Skyhawk days, the international studies major served as a mentor through the ALANA-A Brothers and Sisters Leadership Program and in the Student Government Association Senate and belonged to the Asian American Society Leadership Team and the Radiant, Inspirational Sisters Empowered.
She also founded the College’s Oxfam America chapter and created her own internship in the Intercultural Affairs office.
“I learned at Stonehill that I have an entrepreneurial streak,” notes del Rosario, who grew up in the Philippines and Texas and now lives in Arlington, Va.
Specifically, she credits Associate Professor of Political Science Anna Ohanyan’s Honors International Organizations and State Building as a life-altering course: “It challenged me to think about the kind of impact I could make globally and locally.”
Enrolling at Stonehill, Robert Simpson ’93 was already an accomplished professional.
He had served with the U.S. Army in Vietnam and Korea as a medic and a heavy equipment operator. At the Northeast Red Cross Blood Service, he kept the blood supply moving during the Blizzard of ’78, and, at Tufts University, he helped create the first USDA Human Nutrition Research Center.
Eager to better himself, Simpson started evening division classes but spent his days as a materials manager at Neponset Valley Health healthcare system. Balancing the two wasn’t easy. “I quit Stonehill more times than I can count because I didn’t think I could get it done,” he says.
Majoring in healthcare administration, he graduated after seven years and went on to become an innovator in healthcare supply chain management. Under his leadership, LeeSar/Cooperative Services of Florida is an industry leader, known for efficiency and the enhanced patient care provided by its member hospitals.
Simpson often speaks to healthcare administration classes and supports the Healthcare Supply Chain Management Initiative at Stonehill, which gives students hands-on experience through full-time paid summer internships at LeeSar in Fort Myers.
In May, he received an honorary doctor of business administration degree for his impressive career, outreach to Stonehill students and philanthropy.
Set to retire, Simpson plans to consult, fish, exercise and spend more time with his family. He will also continue guest lecturing at Stonehill, noting, “I love sharing my real-world expertise with students. To come full circle, that’s ideal.”
This just might be every art history major’s dream job: Gillian Fruh ’07 is manager for exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, overseeing the logistics, planning and coordination for exhibitions at all three Met sites—the Met Fifth Avenue, the Met Cloisters and the Met Breuer—with a team of project managers.
Founded in 1870, the iconic art museum presents over 5,000 years of art from around the world.
“The coolest part of my day is walking up those steps on Fifth Avenue and through the empty galleries to my office,” says Fruh. “It’s been my goal to work at a major art museum since Stonehill.”
The New Jersey native and former a cappella singer for Girls on the Hill grew up loving music and musicals. She credits her time studying at the University of Oxford in England for sparking her love of art history: “I had the opportunities to study Gothic architecture directly from the source.”
Back stateside, she interned at the the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum—an outdoor modern and contemporary sculpture and site-specific installations museum in Lincoln, which “was a great introduction to working in a museum environment,” she says.
After Stonehill, Fruh earned a master’s degree in art and museum studies from Georgetown University and landed a first job in the exhibitions and design department at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
She says the sheer variety of her Stonehill experiences—internships, studying abroad and the core background of my art history major—“was a great foundation.”