By Joanna Banks
Mount St. Mary’s College has been entwined with the life of Suzanne (Weber) Hoffman ’84, truly from the very beginning. On the September day when she was born, her father dropped her older sister off for her freshman year at the Mount. “Then dad swung by the hospital and picked up me and mom,” Hoffman recalls.
A few years later, “I was at my sister’s College graduation at 4 years old, sleeping during the ceremony,” Hoffman says.
The family’s three-generation Mount tradition began decades before, with her aunts Julia (Weber) Lopker ’45 and Sister Mary Vibiana, CSC, ’61 MA, and her mother, Jean (Flanagan) Weber ’46. Hoffman’s sisters all went to the Mount – Margaret (Weber) Susank ’66, Barbara (Weber) Smith ’72, and Joan (Weber) Galvin ’82 – plus a niece, Patricia Weber ’09. Now one of her daughters, Maureen Hoffman ’16, is a nursing major at the College.
Hoffman’s family shares a deep sense of alumnae pride in MSMC. They have generously set up an endowed scholarship with the College, as well as the Weber Family Expendable Scholarship. “The Mount is special because it’s like family,” Hoffman says.
“You can go anywhere and if you know that someone is a Mount student or a Mount grad, it’s like opening a door to a new friendship. You don’t have that feeling at big universities and big colleges,” she adds. “It’s just really intimate. All the people at the College are really interested in how well you do, and they love to hear about your successes.”
Hoffman has built her career as an executive with The Boeing Company, the world’s largest aerospace firm, for 28 years. Throughout her adult life, Hoffman says returning to the Mount has been like coming home.
“One thing that has remained the same is the College’s commitment to higher education and to maintaining a competitive academic tradition. Also, there is always a sense of belonging and being a part of something.”
Her daughter Maureen spent her teenage years attending Mount alumnae board meetings with Suzanne. “She wanted to go into nursing and she is really benefitting from a small college environment. I think the choice for her was clear. She has excelled in the nursing program and has really connected with new friends,” Hoffman says.
Hoffman has kept in close contact with friends from the Mount, and even continues to see classmates of her mother and aunt. “When we come back for reunions, I know all about my classmates and I can’t wait to hear more. At the last Homecoming, it wasn’t even my class that was celebrating the big reunion. But my friends and I were so connected with the class before and after our year, we made a whole weekend of the event.”
It was almost as though no time had passed since the last time Hoffman reconnected with her Mount family. “Everyone got together and brought out old pictures, and we shared the fun times we had at the College,” she says.