Monica M. Gillespie, Ph.D., installed in Chapel service as Saint Mary’s 13th head of school
Posted October 19, 2012
Saint Mary’s history was made Tuesday, October 16, as Monica M. Gillespie, Ph.D., was officially installed as the 13th head of Saint Mary’s School, during a special service of induction in the historic Saint Mary’s Chapel.
The simple yet poignant installation ceremony, which took place in a regularly scheduled Tuesday Chapel service for the campus community, featured all of the traditional elements of a Saint Mary’s chapel service and special induction – a procession led by the acolytes, joyful hymns and prayers, the reading of scripture, a special homily, the gift of music by the Saint Mary’s Chorale, marshals in white dresses with blue satin sashes and the singing of the School Hymn.
Clergy for the service included the Right Rev. Michael B. Curry, Bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina, and Saint Mary’s Chaplain, the Rev. Ann Bonner-Stewart. The Rev. Daniel Heischman, D.D., executive director of the National Association of Episcopal Schools, delivered the homily.
Student, faculty, staff, trustee, alumnae and parent representatives offered Dr. Gillespie symbolic gifts on behalf of each constituency.
Student Government Association President Alex Mahoney ’13, representing the student body, gave Dr. Gillespie two Saint Mary’s framed sweatshirts – one new and one old style – to welcome the new head of school into the Saint Mary’s family and a “long legacy of girls who love their school and their Saint Mary’s shirts.”
Board of Trustees William G. Taylor gave Dr. Gillespie the keys to the doors of Saint Mary’s, “to be opened to new ideas and a bright future.”
Vestry officers, Laura Shelby Dameron ’13 and Andy Reynolds ’13, representing the Chapel program, gave a copy of the “Book of Common Prayer,” to “help us make God’s love known both inside and outside Saint Mary’s.
Instructor of Visual Art Teresa Assenzo and Auxiliary Services Manager Joy Bradley, representing the faculty and staff, gave a copy of Mark Edmundson’s book, “Teacher: The One Who Made the Difference,” inviting Dr. Gillespie “to be among us who always teaches.”
Copie Wheless Cain ’84HS, president of the Parents Association, gave a plant on behalf of parents, calling Dr. Gillespie to “work with us to nurture and care for our girls as they blossom into confident, strong women.”
Elizabeth Rasberry Pitts ’79C, president of the Alumnae Association, gave a copy of “The Heritage,” the history of Saint Mary’s by Martha Stoops, and called upon Dr. Gillespie to “help us be good stewards of Saint Mary’s past, present and future.”
With the spirit of unity shared by all members of the Saint Mary’s family represented today, and with the promise of an outstanding new leader in the chain of school history, the installation ceremony served to honor the school’s 171-year legacy, celebrate the school’s current excellence and launch us thoughtfully into a bright future.
Mary Virginia Swain '77C
Director of Public Relations & Publications