Alumni at Aquinas College

Saints in Action

It’s an honor to share these stories of Aquinas College alumni and friends who are living our Dominican Pillars of prayer, study, service and community during these unprecedented times.

Alumna Makes Protective Face Masks for Grand Rapids Area Nonprofits

Pat McCabe, ’66 is a retired teacher from Blessed Sacrament Catholic Parish in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Pat has devoted much of her free time to making protective face masks for those who are serving the public and need protection.

She started by making masks for her daughter and her coworkers who work at a local pharmacy. She felt compelled to continue making the masks on a larger scale after learning about the many Aquinas alumni working for nonprofits, including Meals on Wheels and Kids’ Food Basket, that are continuing to deliver important services people in need in our community. 

After Aquinas put out a call for protective masks for our campus community, Pat was one of the first people to step forward. She’s crafting 50 masks for the College. Thank you, Pat!

Amy Cutlip, ’20 Reflects on Finishing Undgrad During Pandemic

In her essay, Degrees of uncertainty: Graduation in the time of COVID-19, Amy Cutlip, ’20 shares her experience completing her undergraduate degree in the midst of a pandemic. 

Amy writes, “I took the last class of my undergraduate career without even realizing it. There were no misty eyes or thick-throated farewells, only an insipid countdown to spring break. I didn’t cherish the last lecture from my history professor, only took frantic notes on the Industrial Revolution. Little did we know, we were in the midst of a different kind of revolution, one which would turn our lives upside down.” Continue reading Amy’s thoughtful reflection published April 14, 2020 on LinkedIn

Despite the challenges and disappointments of these recent times, Amy graduated, and through her connections in the AQ Advantage Center, has landed a position with a company that is owned by Aquinas alumni. Congratulations to Amy!

Alumni Association Donates $1,000 to Aquinas Saints Together Fund 

To support the needs of our students facing hardships as a result of COVID-19 now and in the future, Aquinas College established the Aquinas Saints Together Fund. The Fund was used early on by President and First Lady Quinn to purchase grocery gift cards for students who remained on campus as the semester came to a close. A food pantry was also set up on campus through the Fund with a gift from the Woodhouse Family. 

Among the many early gifts made to support this initiative was a contribution of $1,000 from the Aquinas College Alumni Association Leadership Council.

"In times of crisis and uncertainty, it is more important than ever for the Aquinas community to stand together and live the Dominican pillars of community and service," said Will Eberle, ’10, President of the Alumni Association Leadership Council. "We hope the alumni community will join us in extending a helping hand to all those impacted by this crisis."

To support the Aquinas Saints Together Fund, please make an online donation here.

Professor of Spanish and Students Celebrate New Book Through Virtual Poetry Slam

Dr. Shelli Rottschafer and several Aquinas College students recently collaborated to publish a chapbook titled, Nuestros Antepasados y la Nueva Generación en SW Michigan. This book is a collection of student poetry, photography, and a narrative provided by Dr. Rottschafer. 

Inspired by poetry from their World Languages courses, students composed poems based on their own experiences, upbringing and identity. The book and the virtual poetry slam bring attention to and celebrate the strong Latinx community and culture within the Midwest, specifically in our greater Grand Rapids area. 

The book features images created by Daniel Comb from specific neighborhoods in Grand Rapids, including the Grandville Avenue Corridor. Within the text, the murals and their locations are provided, taking readers on a tour and highlighting places to visit within the neighborhoods.

Congratulations and thank you go to the following students for sharing their creativity:

Mariana Santos

Dominique Foley

Darla Romero

Bridget Gibley

Gannon Foley

“I am really proud of our Aquinas Community, and the creativity it produces,” Dr. Rottschafer said. “This work demonstrates what is coming out of our World Languages Department and how cross-curricular coursework makes us stand out as a higher education institution. Also, their poetic voice shows that we are resilient, and this voice expresses hope for things to come.”

Nuestros Antepasados y la Nueva Generación en SW Michigan is available for purchase on Amazon.

Alumna Claire Krohn, ’16 Launches Grand Rapids COVIDsitters Chapter

Aquinas alumna Claire Krohn and her significant other, Jordan Griep, are leading an effort to launch COVIDsitters in West Michigan. COVIDsitters is a national network of student volunteers supporting frontline healthcare workers by running household errands, caring for pets and providing free childcare services during this health crisis.

During her time at AQ, Claire studied biology and music and played on the women’s soccer team. “AQ gave me a wonderful foundation for not just my education, but how I live day-to-day life. The awesome, personalized education I received led me to a life in medicine,” Claire said.

Claire and Jordan are currently third-year medical students at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. After their clinicals were canceled due to COVID-19, Claire and Jordan began exploring ways to help our local healthcare heroes. They found COVIDsitters and started a chapter in Grand Rapids.

Looking forward, Claire hopes to finish her medical degree in the next year and move on to a residency in orthopedic surgery. Claire said, “I'm a Spartan now, but I will always be a Saint!”

See Claire and Jordan's story on WOOD TV8.