For this month’s 13 in ’13 volunteer series, we are featuring Rosemary Durkin ’77 and Jeffrey Best ’77. Rosemary and Jeff met as students at Mercyhurst, and 32 years later are happily married with two children – their daughter Deirdre is currently a junior at Mercyhurst. Rosemary and Jeff have committed many years of service to Mercyhurst since graduating in 1977. In 1985 they were both appointed to the President’s Associates, and in 1997 Rosemary was appointed to the Board of Trustees and now serves as chair of the Student Life committee and chair of the subcommittee on Governance. Jeff serves on the Board of Trustees committee for Buildings and Grounds. Jeff and Rosemary’s contributions to Mercyhurst go beyond serving on the Board: they have worked with our office to institute our annual event in Philadelphia at the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta in May, and make their way back to campus to attend as many events as possible. Because of their continued service to Mercyhurst, Jeff and Rosemary were presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2011.
To view Mercyhurst from Rosemary’s and Jeff’s eyes is a great honor. Jeff and Rosemary have a long history with Mercyhurst. Rosemary’s aunts Catherine Durkin ’36 and Helen Durkin ’38 both attended Mercyhurst, and her grandmother Mary Walsh Durkin was taught by Mother Borgia in Titusville prior to the founding of Mercyhurst. Catherine Durkin was the first laywoman to sit on the Board of Trustees. As a result of her family’s close ties with the school, Rosemary received her first Mercyhurst shirt at the age of 2, thus setting her on the path towards a Mercyhurst education. The Durkin family’s stories of their long history with the Sisters of Mercy nurtured a love and appreciation for the environment and mission of Mercyhurst in both Rosemary and Jeff – who credits them for helping make Mercyhurst feel like his extended family.
Rosemary graduated from Case Western Reserve University School of Law in 1980 and is now a lawyer with Stark & Stark and a partner in their Trusts and Estates Department in Princeton, N.J. Jeffrey is Vice President of Richard N. Best Associates, Inc. his family’s business that sells, services, and installs parking, access, and revenue controls products throughout Pa., N.J., and Del. Throughout their personal and professional success, Rosemary and Jeff have continued to be invaluable members of the Mercyhurst community and ambassadors of Mercyhurst. While we are constantly grateful for their selfless support of Mercyhurst, they instead credit the University’s strong liberal arts education, wonderful professors, and strong tradition of service, woven into the mission, for their continued connection with the school and desire to give back. In addition, seeing the institution grow and prosper over the years, and hearing from their daughter about what a wonderful experience she is having at Mercyhurst, makes them believe that giving Mercyhurst their time over the years is only a small repayment for what Mercyhurst has provided for their family.
We sincerely thank Jeff and Rosemary for their many years of service! Their love of Mercyhurst is truly an inspiration for all of us.