Annual Fund Leadership

Continuing Father Sam's Legacy

Kate Coulihan Ficke ’75, MBA ’83, Annual Giving Chair 2012-2013 “If alumnae/i are going to donate anywhere, why shouldn't it be to Rosary College/Dominican University so that the legacy of Fr. Samuel Mazzuchelli can continue for many years to come?”

Kate Coulihan Ficke ’75, MBA ’83
Chair, The Fund for Dominican

Q: How do you respond to fellow alumnae/i when they ask you why they should give?

The cost of a higher education has skyrocketed over the years. Although we worked hard for our tuition money and scraped to get by, today's students are challenged even further and every single dollar makes a difference. No matter how tight things are, I believe that even the smallest donation annually counts as a continual "thank you" to everyone who made our amazing education possible.

Q: How did previous volunteer and professional roles prepare you to become Dominican’s Annual Fund Chair?

Growing up in New York City, I often volunteered my time at the Girl Scouts’ HQ in Manhattan. Once I got to Rosary, I worked part-time in the Alumnae/i Office, maintaining alumnae/i records and working on the Brick-A-Brunch annual fundraiser. Also during that time and after graduation, I volunteered for the Annual Fund Phonathon on campus and even served as Chairperson one year. Working on campus in the early 1990s as the Assistant Alumnae/i Director, I was exposed to all areas of event-planning and fund-raising, especially in connection with the first Capital Campaign that resulted in the addition of the Igini Sports Center.

I was Class Agent for my class of 1975 for several years, have been on our Class Reunion Committee for every reunion since graduation and participated to a small degree in Dominican’s last capital campaign.

Most recently, I was co-chair of the Kappa Gamma Pi National Catholic Graduate Honor Society's National Convention in June 2011, which was held on Dominican’s campus and attended by delegates from across the country.

Q: What was your major at Dominican and how did your studies affect you later in life?

In the late 60s/early 70s, Rosary College allowed students who knew their major course of study to focus almost completely on courses in their major field. As a result, I was able to complete my French major in just three years and then decided to squeeze in a major in English as well, along with three years of German. I spent my junior year abroad in Fribourg, Switzerland at Rosary's Villa des Fougeres, where I was paired with a German roommate, who is still a friend today. The traveling I did while there (although nowhere near the extent of travels pursued by today's students abroad), in addition to the classes taken at the University of Fribourg, combined with getting to know students from numerous different cultures and backgrounds all contributed to my life-long love of travel and cultural exchange.

After earning my MBA in 1983, I transitioned to a financial consulting firm and then took an unanticipated journey into the travel industry. An unfortunate turn of events forced me to change jobs yet again and serendipity pointed me to...Rosary! An almost four-year position in Rosary's Alumnae/i Office during the first major capital campaign allowed me to connect (and in many instances RE-connect) with faculty and staff while working with alums from the 1930s through the early 1990s in both event-planning and fund-raising.

Q: What are some of your favorite Dominican memories?

My first visit to the Rosary/Dominican campus took place the summer I turned two, as we stopped to see some of the sisters on our way from our NYC home to visit relatives in Rockford, Illinois. My mother was a 1936 Rosary graduate (and also a French major). I distinctly remember stepping on to the campus as a high school senior and knowing immediately that THIS was the place I wanted to be my home for the next four years! I applied to several other Midwestern liberal arts colleges that had excellent foreign language programs, but none of them spoke to me like the ivy-covered walls of Rosary College.

Julia Siwierka
Julia K. Siwierka
Class of 2013
Dean's Scholarship

"Dominican has given me the opportunity for independent thinking. I have learned something different from every single professor; I am appreciative of everything they have done for me both inside and outside the classroom."