Mary Law, longtime ‘Saint,’ to address Saint Martin’s Class
April 13, 2012
– Mary Conley Law, recently retired registrar of Saint Martin’s
University, has been selected as the speaker for the
University’s 2012 commencement. Law will deliver the 2012
commencement address to more than 360 Saint Martin’s graduates
on Saturday, May 12, in the Hal and Inge Marcus Pavilion on the
University’s Lacey campus.
Law also will receive the President’s Medal from the
University at the commencement ceremony. One of the
institution’s most prestigious honors, the President’s Medal is
bestowed upon individuals who have made distinguished
contributions to the welfare of Saint Martin’s. Only 14 medals
have been awarded since the inception of the honor in 1971. The
campus community, including alumni, will gather later the day of
commencement for a reception to celebrate Law as the newest
recipient of the medal.
This year’s commencement will be a landmark occasion for Law,
who has overseen Saint Martin’s graduation activities for nearly
all of her 37 years with the University. Law recently stepped
down as registrar to take on the role of alumni ambassador. In
her new position, she helps the University reconnect with
alumni, many of whom received not only their diplomas from Law,
but also support, guidance and kindness.
“Mary Law is one of those rare individuals who encapsulates
all that is best about Saint Martin’s,” says Saint Martin’s
President Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D. “Over the course of nearly
four decades, she has touched the lives of countless students,
faculty and staff. Unquestionably, her contributions reflect our
Benedictine values of service and hospitality — values that have
guided Saint Martin’s for generations.”
“She has always taken the mission of Saint Martin’s to heart,
and that’s why she is so beloved,” adds Heynderickx.
Since her first day at Saint Martin’s — Oct. 22, 1975 — Law
has been known by students as the go-to person when academics,
finances or life circumstances become overwhelming.
Her door and heart have always been open, especially to
international students and those beleaguered by the adjustment
to college life, according to David R. Spangler, Ph.D., former
president of Saint Martin’s, who worked with Law for 21 years.
“Many students would come to Saint Martin’s with no
connection to anyone,” says Spangler. “Mary would take students
under her wing and make sure they felt valued and included in
A passionate Saints basketball fan, Law also has been an
unofficial counselor and sometimes raucous supporter of
student-athletes. In 2010, she was inducted into the Saint
Martin’s Athletic Hall of Honor for her support of
At times, her kindness extended to opening her home to
students faced with financial or other difficulties that
threatened their education.
James Hammond, Ph.D. ’93, now superintendent of California’s
large Ontario-Montclair School District, transferred to Saint
Martin’s on a basketball scholarship and reaped the benefits of
Law’s dedication. When he arrived at Saint Martin’s with a
lackluster academic record, she helped him turn his life around,
not only through her support during tough times but also by
continuing to hold him personally accountable. Hammond credits
Law with his success and now tries to pay it forward.
“Anyone else seeing my transcripts would have given up on
me,” he says. “Instead, she invested time in my potential.”
The Saint Martin’s University 2012 Commencement Exercises
will begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 12, at Marcus Pavilion on
the University’s Lacey campus, 5000 Abbey Way S.E. Tickets are
required for attendance.
For more information, visit
Saint Martin’s University is an independent four-year,
coeducational university located on a 380-acre wooded campus in
Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of
Saint Benedict, the University is one of 14 Benedictine colleges
and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only
one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University
prepares students for successful lives through its 21 majors and
six graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business,
education and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes 1,250
students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its main
campus, and 650 more to its extension campuses located at Joint
Base Lewis-McChord, Everett College, Centralia College and
Tacoma Community College. Visit the Saint Martin’s University
website at www.stmartin.edu.
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