By Joanna Banks
In the early ‘60s, Americans faced the Civil Rights movement, the intensifying Vietnam War, assassinations of powerful leaders, and the transforming Second Vatican Council. This was also the time Mount Saint Mary’s became a guidepost for Latin and history major Susan Schanz Rausch ’66.
During her years at the Mount, Rausch was inspired by faculty-led student discussions and seminars, participation in student government and intercollegiate activities, and association with Young Christian Students (YCS). These experiences formed lifelong beliefs and transformed her thoughts into action and activism.
“Let your light shine” was a phrase that Mount librarian Sister Catherine Anita Fitzgerald used frequently to signify the importance of living a life reflecting your values. Sister Catherine Anita mentored the YCS and encouraged Rausch and her fellow students to become actively involved with social justice issues. Susan is grateful for the late Professor Emeritus Ron Oard, PhD, who shaped her critical thinking skills, challenged her political viewpoints and ultimately became a friend attending her graduation party. She also remembers the late Professor Emeritus Jim Delahanty, who possessed a unique ability to deconstruct and reshape the cognitive process in lively classroom discussions.
Rausch graduated from Judge Memorial High School in Salt Lake City. She fondly remembers Sr. Irmalyn, and Fathers Tom Gillispie and Tom O’Neil who initiated her contact with the Mount, which resulted in the four-year scholarship that made her years at the Mount possible.
In memory of Sister Catherine Anita, her professors at the Mount and her Judge Memorial mentors, Susan and her husband Dr. Gregory Rausch have established the Sister Catherine Anita History and Social Justice Endowed Scholarship. The fund will benefit students of Judge Memorial who choose to attend Mount Saint Mary’s.
Rausch, the mother of four daughters, is a former Latin and history high school teacher and a former parish liturgical coordinator and employee. She currently volunteers with The Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs and other organizations serving the poor and the homeless in Frederick, MD.
“I hope that whoever applies for this scholarship will learn that education is lifelong,” she says. “You never stop learning, whether it’s a formal education or community learning where volunteer activities connect you to other people and introduce you to new ideas.”
As a history scholar, Rausch says she learned that one person can embolden others and make a difference, one light at a time. “However, it’s what we do together that matters and that changes the course of history,” she says.