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Alumna from Class of 1967 donates art as show of love and gratitude for Stuart

Alumna from Class of 1967 donates art as show of love and gratitude for Stuart

This past weekend, we had the pleasure of celebrating our classes ending in 2s and 7s along with the rest of our #Unstoppable Alumnae. These "Milestone Reunion" classes - made up of groups including those celebrating 10, 25, and 50 years since graduation - brought joy and history to our campus, and were truly well represented!

One of these milestone reunion classes, the Class of 1967, joined us to celebrate their 55th Reunion. A number of graduates found their way to campus, however it was those who were not able to be with us that shared something that will endure for years to come here at Stuart. Eliza Kelly ‘67, a regular at each of her Stuart milestone reunions, was unable to make the trip from Baltimore to Princeton due to her health. That didn’t stop her, though, from being with us that day.

Debbie Endersby Gwazda ‘67 explains more:

“Three of the members of the Class of 1967 were present at the Alumnae Luncheon at Stuart on Saturday [May 7, 2022]. Three more joined us at my house later for dinner before the fire – one in person, two by speaker phone. That makes half of our class who “attended” our 55th reunion.

I would like to take a moment to explain the situation to you, Fellow Alumnae. Our class was the first to be able to spend four years at Stuart before graduating. Some of us entered during those four years. Three of the women who “attended” on Saturday were there on Day One. Over the years we have lost touch many times with classmates and miraculously we reconnect after many years. We all care about each other, but we all have gone our separate ways. I have been fortunate to serve my class as Class Secretary for 50 plus years. Wow!

During that time I have received news of graduations, engagements, new jobs, marriages, travels, babies, illnesses, retirements, grandchildren, requests for prayers…  This year I received a new kind of message, “My cancer is back and treatments will no longer be able to stop the cancer and so I am dying after living happily and having outlived my original diagnosis by nine years!”

Eliza Kelly called me with that message and also the request to collect some of her more valuable possessions to give to Stuart as a way to return the favor of all that Stuart has meant to her. Mer. Kirby and Mer. Carmody and others provided a safe haven for her in high school when her life was too sad and too difficult to handle without the love and support that she found at Stuart. Eliza has kept in touch, has attended reunions, has maintained friendships and has always spoken of her appreciation of the life that she was able to lead thanks to the gift of understanding and encouragement that she found in our new school in the 1960s.

Eliza’s donations are at the entrance to the new Student Center. The seven framed pictures are described in an accompanying explanation. Four lithographs are from The Grammar of Ornament, by Owen Jones, a famous book of designs from the mid 19th century. On the other side of the display case are two hand scribed pages from the Bible written in Latin, one in the 13th century and one in the 15th century. Most remarkable is a woodcut from The Nuremberg Chronicle illustrated in 1493. This plate depicts an architectural diagram of The Great Temple of Jesus as imagined by a medieval artist. The Temple was destroyed, perhaps by Roman invaders. Only one wall of the Temple of Jesus still stands: it is known as the Wailing Wall.

It is Eliza’s hope that students will enjoy the art and the story behind the art. In the spirit of her gift she also hopes that students will share her love of our school and find opportunities in their lives because of the education and the teachers at Stuart.


Debbie Endersby Gwazda ‘67

Classmate and Class Secretary