A Marist Love Story

Jim Joyce and Mary Monsaert fell in love at Marist. Thirty-five years later, their devotion to each other and their loyalty to the College
could not be greater.

 Jim and Mary Monsaert Joyce

Jim and Mary Monsaert Joyce, both Class of 1974, met at Marist during their senior year.

 The Marist campus and student body were smaller when Jim Joyce and Mary Monsaert met in 1974. Donnelly Hall was the main academic building, and there were 1,500 students - only 150 of whom were women. Jim played football throughout college, and Mary was a cheerleader for two years. But they did not meet until the last semester of their senior year, when Cupid started moving things along.

It was actually an entrepreneurial venture that brought the Joyces together. Mary and Brian Wade '74 organized a spring trip to Bermuda. "I was thrilled to be asked by Mary to go," recalls Jim. Unknown to him, if Mary could recruit 15 people for the trip, she would have her expenses paid. "When I showed up at the airport, I was chagrined to find out that Mary and Brian had recruited 30 people for the trip. But all was not lost. Mary and I had dinner together each night in Bermuda," he says. Back on campus love bloomed, and Jim proposed during Senior Week. They were married in September 1975.

Jim graduated cum laude with a BS in business administration and, thanks to a Marist graduate, was launched on a banking career. "Ludwig Odierna, Class of '57, was on campus recruiting for Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company," Jim remembers. "He shepherded me through the interview process and was instrumental in my being offered a job as a management trainee in the credit program." Jim's first day on the job found him among Harvard, Yale, and Columbia graduates. "I am forever grateful to Lud for his guidance and assistance in those early days." This strong start led Jim to a 29-year executive career in retail and commercial banking with the Bank of New York, including service as division president, senior vice president, and executive vice president.

Mary was also hired before graduation. With a BA in English and a concentration in communications, she was recruited by the New York Times in outside sales and within three years joined the management team. She continued up the corporate ladder, and her last assignment before retiring was as assistant to the director of the New York Times Magazine. Mary had spent her junior year in Paris, carrying a full academic load and studying ballet with a professional company. "I was an English major living in a country where I barely spoke the language. I would have preferred to be in England, but Brother [Joseph] Belanger convinced me to try France," says Mary. "I believe the experience helped me to be successful in my life after college."

Following graduation, Mary was active with the Marist Alumni Association and served on the School of Communication advisory board. Jim and Mary have consistently given to the Marist Fund, initially with minimal amounts and later with appreciated securities. They always took advantage of their companies' matching gift programs. In recognition of their multifaceted approach to giving, Jim was named national alumni chairman for Marist's annual giving campaign in 1989. The ultimate recognition of their commitment to Marist came when Mary was named to serve on the Board of Trustees of the College in 2004.

The Joyces have set a good example for their son, Christopher, a 2006 Villanova graduate and a Gannett Newspaper sales associate. Chris embraces their spirit of volunteerism. As a Habitat for Humanity volunteer, he built housing in the Carolinas and New Mexico, and he supports his university's annual giving program.

In retirement, Jim and Mary share a passion for golf and are active with charitable work. In this new phase of life, they also think about what helped them reach this point in their journey together. "We have had a great life," says Jim, "and Marist played a significant role in helping us be who we are. In addition to a great education, we secured jobs that led to great careers. And we found each other."
To recognize the importance of this contribution to their lives, Jim and Mary Joyce have made Marist part of their estate plan. They made this decision, says Jim, "because we want to make sure that in some small way we continue to keep the spirit of Marist alive well beyond our days."

By Shaileen Kopec
Shaileen Kopec is Marist's senior development officer for planned giving and endowment support.