Distinguished Alumni Award
Awarded annually to a Molloy alumnus who demonstrates the true spirit of the College mission, and whose professional career is characterized by a series of outstanding achievements.
Julia A. O'Keeffe '64 started at Molloy in 1960 majoring in Math Education. However, after taking courses with Professor Frank Ford and Sister John Frances she changed her major to English.
After graduating Molloy College in 1964, Julia taught high school English for thirty-four years at H. Frank Carey H.S., part of the Sewanhaka C.H.S.D. During that time, she was the advisor to the Class of 1977, the Thespian Guild, the National Honor Society, Poseidon Literary Magazine, and Scholarship Committee, which she chaired.
Throughout her career at H. Frank Carey H.S., she would receive a yearbook dedication, Teacher of the Year Recognition, and New York State Educator of Excellence from the National Council of Teachers of English. Upon her retirement in 1998, she founded a program called Target Reading, which for eighteen years serviced three elementary schools in the Sewanhaka District.
As a result of much community involvement, Julia received the NYSUT Community Service Award, and Molloy College honored her with the Veritas Medal, which reflects the values and strengths of the Dominican Sisters who founded the college. As part of the Alumni Association, Julia attend the "Royal" English Department's Honor Society meetings and dinners, as well as the annual High Tea.
In 2015, she endowed a scholarship in her parents' names to a student who shares her love of learning and concern with humanity.
Her motto was "'64 in the door; '98 out the gate!" when she considered retiring 19 years ago.
I truly enjoy going to the productions at the Madison Theater, especially since it is difficult for me to travel to NYC, the accessibility of the Madison Theater is convenient. The History of American Rock 'n Roll in February is one of my favorites, bringing back so many of the groups and songs from my days at Molloy.
Could I have envisioned such expansion back in 1964? Molloy has also graduated its first PhD in nursing. WOW! We've come a long way, baby!! Those truly were the good old days, but these days are even better.
Father Benack and his "Take out a half a sheet of paper"; those "American Beauty Rose" beanies we had to wear during hazing, as well as our caps and gowns and white gloves we wore on First Fridays; the time the sets for Blood Wedding collapsed during the night and the poor sisters were scared out of their wits; Joan Kimmins reciting "Woodsman, spare that tree"; Althea Gonya always looking so professional and being so musically talented with "Our Side Story"; the bridge games we played in the smoker; the day JFK was assassinated and the announcement came over the PA that we were all to go home; the Rose Cotillion and 55 Nights; the graduations we attended each year before our own and the disappointment when we weren't allowed to hold our graduation outside. We were truly blessed to go to such a small college where we got to know practically everyone. Those were the days, my friends!