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Living a Life of Service: Brooke McPherson ‘20

Brooke McPherson ’20 was watching Caldwell University’s virtual honors convocation with her parents on May 7.  By the time it was over she had received four awards with her dad saying “it was like watching our own personal superbowl.”  It was quite an accomplishment for a young woman who, when she had first started college, wasn’t sure where she fit in.  She found her purpose at Caldwell in a life of service. It was a journey that took her to several states and even out of the country and culminated in her deciding on a unique post-graduation path.

After feeling a bit like a fish out of water her freshman year, McPherson realized she was never really alone on campus. She noticed that many people wanted to connect with her, whether it was in Campus Ministry, in the cafeteria when she would run into new friends, or in time with professors.

“I think becoming aware of that support system gave me added confidence that helped me to thrive while at Caldwell,” said McPherson, who received her bachelor’s degree in computer information systems and marketing with a minor in communication and media studies May 17.

After discovering the wonderful support system she had at Caldwell, McPherson began looking for ways to apply her love of faith and service to her newfound community. She dove into many activities on campus, rarely saying no to a need. She brought with her commitment a joy that left a lasting impact on everyone she encountered. She served as president of the Delta Mu Delta International Business Honor Society and volunteered as an orientation leader, offering herself as a first friend to freshmen on campus.  Through the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice she traveled to Washington, D.C., to learn about social justice issues and to meet with senators and representatives to advocate for those being crushed by systemic oppression. 

During her time at Caldwell, McPherson gained a greater sense of her faith. She discovered she could serve others and in doing so, grow as a person. Through Campus Ministry, she participated in an immersion trip to Belize. She was also given the honor of serving as a Eucharistic minister during the opening Mass for the new Sister Mary Dominic Tweedus chapel on campus. She was thrilled to be attending a Catholic university where she had lots of opportunities to live out her faith through acts of service.

“I try to preach with my life,” said McPherson of her active spiritual walk.

And others have recognized that too. At the honors convocation she received the Excellence in Leadership, Leadership in Ministry and Faith Does Justice Awards and departmental honors in marketing. 

 She credits the university’s dedicated professors and staff members with helping her find a path in life that she can’t wait to begin. After graduation, she will take the alternate path of a year of service. Based on her history of serving others during her college career, this decision is no accident. At the end of the summer, McPherson will begin a year with Good Shepherd Volunteers in Washington Heights, New York City. She will work as the public policy and advocacy fellow, supporting funding for trauma-informed programs that will provide aid for youth, families and communities in New York. 

After she completes the program, McPherson plans to continue her life mission of service by attending graduate school to earn a master’s with a focus on ethical business practices or public policy.

Reflecting on her time at Caldwell, McPherson is quick to acknowledge the role the university’s staff and students played in her life. Her memories are far-reaching, from service trips to late nights spent with friends in the gazebo, from making her confirmation freshman year to a weekend in the Poconos with classmates. The highlights are varied, but there is continuous thread of joy and community in McPherson’s story. The help of others who met the needs of an uncertain freshman has carried her through to this moment when she is stepping out to dedicate her own life to serving others. And as anyone who has met her knows, she will be doing it with a smile on her face.