Wells Fargo Award Recipient Donates Funds to Westminster

Marissa (Tyler) Denehy ’08 ΚΑΘ of St. Louis, MO, recently received the Wells Fargo Advisors 2018 Volunteer Service Award for her generous work with Westminster College. Denehy’s award provides the College with a $5,000 grant to be disbursed to departments within the College that she deems appropriate. After careful deliberation, Denehy and her husband, Sam ’10 ΔΤΔ, selected the Center for Teaching and Learning and Enrollment Services to be recipients of the funds.

Denehy is Assistant Vice President and Manager Onboarding Program Lead in the Field Development and Effectiveness Group at Wells Fargo, where she has worked in a variety of capacities since 2012. Despite her extensive commitments at Wells Fargo, Denehy consistently volunteers her time at Westminster, where she received a BA in Finance ten years ago. She also received an MBA from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 2016.

Denehy has served on the Westminster Alumni Council since 2015 and currently is Alumni Council Membership Chair. As an active alumna, Denehy is acutely aware of the need for Westminster professors to receive ongoing support. Therefore the bulk of the award will help the newly formed Center for Teaching and Learning to provide much-needed services for the College’s instructors. “Just knowing this money will have a positive impact on the next generation of Westminster students means the world to me,” Denehy says.

The Center, which focuses primarily on faculty support, aims to perfect the art of teaching. Director Dr. Carolyn Perry says the $4,250 earmarked for the Center will reap great benefits. “Faculty do so much to enhance their classes and mentor their students — everything from bringing in guest speakers to creating class simulations to inviting students to their homes for supper — but right now, most of these ‘extras’ are paid for by faculty themselves, and that’s just not right or sustainable,” says Perry, who also is a Professor of English at Westminster. “Marissa’s gift provides a means of promoting excellence in teaching and strong faculty/student relationships. And what a boost to faculty morale to know an alum like Marissa appreciates them so much.”

Marissa (Tyler) Denehy ’08 and her husband, Sam ’10, chose both the Center for
Teaching and Learning and the Department of Enrollment Services to receive
Denehy’s award. Photo courtesy of Katie Pilgrim-Kloppe ’08 ΚΑΘ.

Through her time spent at the College, Denehy also determined that effective recruitment is of utmost importance at Westminster. As a result, $750 will go directly to the staging of a dorm room at the College.

Student Foundation President Ryan Calvin says the funds will make a significant difference to prospective students. “All of us in the Student Foundation Organization want to personally thank Marissa for her generous donation to our show room,” he says. “This donation will allow us to show prospective students how great living on campus can be, so they can really see why it is a great day to be a Blue Jay!”

Denehy says her colleagues at Wells Fargo were well aware that Westminster is at the top of her list of passions when they nominated her for the award, which goes primarily to the qualifying nonprofit organization of the recipient’s choice. “I basically don’t shut up about Westminster,” she jokes.

Denehy’s grant is one of about 200 Volunteer Service Awards Wells Fargo distributed to its employees this year. “It’s an incredible honor just to have my volunteer work and passion for Westminster recognized by colleagues and my employer,” Denehy says. “It’s even sweeter that they are recognizing it with a $5,000 grant to the school.”


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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is a Media and Content Strategist at Westminster College in Fulton, MO. A 1992 graduate of the College, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communication in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.