Christopher Kelly, the Foundation Board President, gave the following speech at this year's graduation ceremony in honor of Mary Claire Bonner. Congratulations to Gerardo Garcia!
“Good morning parents, community members, faculty, administration, and Class of 2017.
The Mary Claire Bonner Award was established by the School and the Board of the Saint Stephen of Hungary School Foundation to honor long time volunteer and Foundation Board co-founder, and Secretary, Mary Claire Bonner.
A word about Ms. Bonner: Mary Claire retired from Aetna as Senior Vice President and as one of the highest ranking women in the history of the US insurance industry. Mary Claire has been named by Crain’s New York as one of New York’s 100 Most Influential Women in Business, but it is her volunteer activities that are most impressive: she has volunteered and served on Boards as diverse as our own Saint Stephen of Hungary School Foundation, the NYC Partnership for the Homeless, Loyola School, Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters, and serves today as a Trustee of Gettysburg College.
Mary Claire came to Saint Stephen’s six years ago after she read an article in the NYT. She is not an alumna, or parent or even parishioner; she just came to the school, knocked on the door and asked, “How can I help”? As she likes to tell it, her first job that day six years ago was washing the windows of the science lab—and true to form, she has been making things clearer and brighter ever since.
After thousands of hours on leadership Board, Foundation matters, and as trusted adviser to multiple administrations, Mary Claire leaves us now to chair Loyola School’s Board of Trustees. No student of Saint Stephen’s in the last six years has had a better friend or advocate whose name they may never have known.
But no more, ladies and gentlemen, no more. Today in this Award we give name and face to all the qualities so difficult to quantify, but which are ultimately the yardstick and currency by which we measure all that matters to living a life full of meaning. In Ms. Bonner’s honor, the Saint Stephen of Hungary School Foundation Mary Claire Bonner Award is to be given at graduation to that eighth grader who, in the view of the School’s Administration, most embodies, by a demonstrated history of assisting others, the qualities of kindness, generosity of spirit, and ongoing belief in the children of Saint Stephen of Hungary School so exemplified by Mary Claire herself.
Ladies and gentlemen, this year’s winner was difficult to choose, but for all that he has done for others, and the bright promise of what he will do in the future, please join me in congratulating the 2017 Mary Claire Bonner Award winner, Gerardo Garcia.”