Campaign Leadership

Stewarding hope and access for the next generation of students at Holy Cross.

Hope + Access Campaign Co-Chairs, from left: Melisa Alves '06, John Mullman ’82, P07, Kathleen Maggi ’91, Gary Acquah ’14, and Maura Doherty ’86

Student standing in front of pillars
Melisa Alves ‘06

“My favorite memories from Holy Cross really have a lot to do with the relationships that I built during my time on The Hill.

What is your favorite memory from Holy Cross?
“My favorite memories from Holy Cross really have a lot to do with the relationships that I built during my time on The Hill. I cherish the long Sunday brunches with my best friends in Kimball, where we often stayed long after we were done eating, sharing in community our experiences from that week or supporting one another as we dealt with different challenges both as students and personally. I also have many great memories with the Latin American Student Organization: conversations in the LASO office or the late nights of practices for Noche Latina, which, looking back now, helped me create a sense of community because I was surrounded by people who looked like me, spoke like me and culturally shared similar experiences to me.”

How did Holy Cross lead you to a career in higher education administration? “I didn't realize that higher education was a career path until late junior year/early senior year. It was through conversations with mentors at HC that I started to realize that I could turn my college leadership experiences and passion for working with and mentoring college students into a career. The skills I learned as a peer mentor, resident assistant, Passport Pathfinder and in my multiple roles on the Latin American Student Organization e-board have helped me excel in the field. Now that the tables have turned, I always encourage my students to ask questions, explore and utilize their networks. It's one of the best ways to figure out which career paths might interest them. “

What book or books would you recommend for everyone to read?
“As someone who takes great pride in my Latinx identity, I would recommend the following books, as they highlight voices and experiences within the Latinx community: ‘My Beloved Word’ by Sonia Sotomayor, ‘In The Time of the Butterflies’ by Julia Alvarez and, especially for those working in education, ‘Sentipensante Pedagogy’ by Laura I. Rendón. I'm also including Michelle Obama's book, ‘Becoming.’ As a woman of color who comes from a lower socioeconomic background and was the first in my family to go to college, her book resonated with me in many ways.”

John Mullman ’82, P07

"The most important aspect of my Holy Cross experience was that it instilled a lifelong sense of service as the cornerstone of a life well-lived.”

What is your favorite memory from Holy Cross?
My favorite memories are the things I did with my closest friends, the guys I lived with on Carlin 1 my freshman year, but have remained lifelong friends with for over 40 years now: parties in the Carlin social room, going to Boston for the Harvard tailgate and football game, playing rugby and intramural basketball, a week at the Cape after school ended my junior and senior years.

Was there a class at Holy Cross that led you on your career in the investment business?
I’ve always said that the best preparation for a career in the investment business is a broad liberal arts degree. I took accounting, economics and corporate finance as well as philosophy, psychology and history – all of which were excellent preparation for a career trying to assess the probable effect of future events on individual companies and industries over time. 

What is one component of Holy Cross that you continue to carry with you?
The most important aspect of my Holy Cross experience was that it instilled a lifelong sense of service as the cornerstone of a life well-lived. This was reinforced from the Spiritual Exercises, which I went on during January break my junior year and an immersion trip to West Virginia during Spring Break my senior year. The saying “To whom much has been given, much is expected” has resonated with me for many years since I first heard it on that retreat.

former student standing in front of door
Kathleen Maggi ’91

“All of that said, my parents had come on some difficult financial times while I was at Holy Cross, and I have a sister who is two years older who was there at the same time. It was my sophomore year, and we weren’t sure how we were going to pay for both of us to be there. So, my parents reached out to the College, and certainly very lucky for my sister and I, the College was there for us.

“I just absolutely loved my years at Holy Cross. I loved the education that I got. I feel like I grew up there, although anyone from the class of ‘91 that might be on might actually disagree with that. And, I grew spiritually, and I made some fantastic relationships there that I still maintain to this day.

“All of that said, my parents had come on some difficult financial times while I was at Holy Cross, and I have a sister who is two years older who was there at the same time. It was my sophomore year, and we weren’t sure how we were going to pay for both of us to be there. So, my parents reached out to the College, and certainly very lucky for my sister and I, the College was there for us.

“I don’t know where I would be today had I not been able to finish my years at Holy Cross; but, I look back and I say this is exactly why we need to have dedicated funds for financial aid. And if there are people out there that apply to Holy Cross, who want to come here and are accepted, then we need to make it part of our mission to ensure that financially we can help them to come here. It is not just the education – it is the entire experience within the Holy Cross Community.”

Student standing in front of wall
Gary Acquah ’14

The Jesuit principle of 'men and women for and with others' is a message I continue to carry with me in my line of work.

Was there a class, professor or experience at Holy Cross that has furthered your career in management?
“I can say with certainty that my career, and my business, would not be where they are without the 90-Wide Mentoring Program (where more than 130 Holy Cross alumni across 25 states and 25 industries serve as mentors to student-athletes.). The hands-on coaching I’ve received from my mentors continues to shape how I solve problems and make decisions. Without that support, I’m not sure that I’d have developed the confidence to take the risk of starting my own company at a young age.”

What is a message from Holy Cross that you continue to carry with you?
“The Jesuit principle of 'men and women for and with others' is a message I continue to carry with me in my line of work. Our company, Flex Investments, fundamentally believes in not just prioritizing high rates of return for our investors, but providing high-quality and stable affordable housing to all of Massachusetts’ families.”

What do you currently like to stream?
“I’ve been watching a lot more cooking shows than I care to admit. Since we’ve been spending time at home, I’ve been trying to teach myself how to cook. It’s been fun to learn to tackle new cuisines and ingredients, and, of course, I like to see how intense some of the cooking competition series get.”

Maura Doherty ’86

"The most important aspect of my Holy Cross experience was that it instilled a lifelong sense of service as the cornerstone of a life well-lived.”

What is your favorite memory from Holy Cross?
“While neither of my parents had attended college, my mother insisted that a Jesuit education from either Holy Cross or Boston College were the only options I had available. With application in hand, my mother and I drove from Quincy, Mass., in late summer for an interview at Holy Cross.

As we wandered up the steps of Dinand Library, we met a lovely older gentleman, dressed in overalls and a well-worn cardigan sweater. He carried a huge ring of keys on his side. He introduced himself as Jim and asked if we would like a tour.

Jim tucked my mother's arm under his and escorted us across Dinand's spacious reading room, through its rare book collection and, unbelievably, onto the rooftop of the Library to see the sun start to set over the seven hills of Worcester, which, he announced, were "exactly like the seven hills of Rome." It was breathtaking. Right then, I knew HC was the place for me. Later, we learned our tour guide was in fact, Mr. James Halpin, the legendary head of Admissions for the College.

A week later, I received a letter from Mr. Halpin, admitting me to the Class of 1986. At the bottom of the letter, he wrote that I should never be discouraged from looking for 'the open door of opportunity' until I was positive that the door had been shut — and even then, I was to consider looking through the window for it. Mr. Halpin certainly had all the keys that summer. Now, 30 years later, I am so grateful that he kindly used one of them to open that door for a first-generation student like me. It has made all the difference.”

What is a message from Holy Cross that you continue to carry with you?
“I swallowed that one, consistent Holy Cross message — otherwise known as Fr. Manning's 10PM Sunday Mass — that to be a complete person, a true Holy Cross person, you needed to give of yourself and 'be a person for others.’ I have tried to act upon that message frequently and prayerfully, in my professional and personal lives, as much as possible.”

What book would you recommend for everyone to read?
“With the pandemic, I've caught myself returning to classics like Mark Twain and anything by John Irving, and I’m currently re-reading the play, ‘A Man for All Seasons.’" I also rely on HC friends for insightful recommendations, like the TED Talk, “What Makes a Good Life?”.