Updates from Aquinas College about COVID-19 are at aquinas.edu/coronavirus.  Updates on our plan for Fall 2020 are at aquinas.edu/saintstogether.

Young Alumni Dedicated to Giving Back

Published on

By Haley Brink '18

Amy (O'Neill) Marshall ‘08 was a first year student when Jeremy Marshall ‘05 was a senior at Aquinas College. They fell in love on campus and were married after Amy graduated. Throughout the last decade, Jeremy and Amy Marshall have built a marriage and family around a shared passion for giving back to the community — and to their alma mater in particular.

Amy is the co-owner of Management Business Solutions and Jeremy is in law enforcement for the Department of Justice. Outside of work, the Marshalls are involved in a number of community organizations. Amy is an Aquinas Career Services Advisory Board Member and the Development Chair of the Aquinas Alumni Association Leadership Council, and she is also on the boards of the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Spartan Stores YMCA. Jeremy spends much of his volunteer time with their church and plans to join the parish's Knights of Columbus council.

Given their current commitment to service, it's no surprise that the Marshalls were actively involved as Aquinas students.

“Aquinas helped us understand how important giving back to the community is,” said Amy.

Amy was a psychology major, a cheerleader and participated in the Chicago Semester. Jeremy was a dual major in business administration and communication, an orientation leader, an officer for the Insignis Honors Society, a Student Senate member and a student ambassador. Jeremy also studied in Ireland for a semester and worked for campus safety.

Many of the relationships the Marshalls made with their student peers and faculty members continue today, which makes giving back to Aquinas even more meaningful.

Amy volunteers at Aquinas as often as she can.

“My career is flexible, so I often go during my lunch hour and volunteer. Having a workplace that is open to volunteering and giving back to the community is important to me,” she said.

Amy’s career services volunteer work includes reviewing resumes and helping students prepare for interviews.

Beyond donating their time and talent to the College, the couple also prioritizes budgeting monetary donations. One of the reasons behind their giving is Amy and Jeremy both received scholarships and grants as students at Aquinas, which helped make it possible for them to earn an education. Knowing that an alum made their education possible inspired them to give back in a similar way: The Marshalls plan to fund a scholarship of their own someday.

“Who knows who that will bless or how,” Jeremy said. Plus, as he explained, “Giving back keeps us involved in what’s going on around campus. It is incredible to see your gifts in action.”

“It’s looking back and understanding that somebody gave that opportunity to me, and we could do that,” Amy added. “We have the opportunity to give back to someone’s education.”

Like many recent graduates, the Marshalls started out by giving small amounts to the College.

“We sit down at the beginning of the year and look at our budget and think about who we would like to donate to each year,” Amy said.

“It’s gradual,” added Jeremy. “You build up to larger amounts and make giving what you can when you can a habit.”

Small donations can accumulate to make a large impact. In fact, in fiscal year 2016–2017, over 1,500 alumni gave $25 or less to the College, resulting in over $30,000 in donations.

The Marshalls manage to balance all of their professional work and volunteer commitments with raising two young children. Their son, Owen, and daughter, Elliana, are both under the age of five. It's all about planning for Amy and Jeremy. The couple puts a great deal of emphasis on communication, and credit syncing their calendars as one way to stay organized — and they are quick to express gratitude for support from family members and a reliable nanny.

Amy and Jeremy will soon celebrate 10 years of marriage. One of their goals for their next decade together is to pass the importance of service on to their children. As with their donations to Aquinas, they’ve started small by involving their kids in community service.

“For the past three years, we’ve adopted a family during Christmas,” said Amy. “Our kids help wrap gifts and also come with us to deliver the items we purchased. We will continue to do this for years to come.”