Alumni Paying it Forward in the Anselmian Community
June 2, 2021
College years are often some of the best times in life. The years that you live, study and grow up with a community built of exclusively your contemporaries can rarely be duplicated. The friendships formed on campus, made during study groups; forged at hockey practice; sleepless all-nighters cramming for exams; and yes, often cemented during nights at the Pub – these relationships last long after graduation.
For Patricia (Landen) ’88 and Michael Rockett ’88, their connection to Saint Anselm College is no exception. The four years at Saint Anselm College were pivotal in their development, and as the time has passed, they have often discussed how grateful they were for the Anselmian experience.
Recently they learned about a current Saint Anselm senior who might need to withdraw from the College for financial reasons. Knowing how grateful they were to have had the complete experience, the Rocketts decided to pay it forward and provide financial support to allow him to finish out his year.
“We were fortunate enough to be able to do it,” explained Patricia. “School is stressful enough. Then to add on top of it, the stress that you might not be able to stay. We imagined ourselves in that situation and thought it would have been devastating.”
This was just the beginning. Since this initial donation, they have continued to work with the Advancement and Financial Aid offices to identify and support other juniors and seniors who need support to stay on the Hilltop.
“For us, we didn’t want these kids, especially the juniors and seniors, to lose out, because it was something that we experienced which was not only so amazing but proved to lay the foundation for the rest of our lives.” added Michael. “We had such a great experience, we wanted someone else to be able to enjoy that without the added financial stress.”
Ryan Bredin ’21 is a communications major and a member of the football team. He found out that he would be receiving scholarship support from the Rocketts at midnight one night. The support will allow him to pay off some of his student loans and have a stronger start after graduation.
“No one gets to where they want to be without the help of others,” shares Ryan. “Their generous gift is something that will help set me on my journey into the real world after college.”
“I find the generosity of individual donors makes an impact on the lives of students and their families,” shared Elizabeth Keuffel, assistant vice president of enrollment & director of financial aid. “It was a pleasure to help steward this gift because it was unplanned, spontaneous, and impactful at a time when many are feeling thrown by the pandemic. What a gift!”
The Rocketts graduated from Saint Anselm College in 1988 with degrees in business (Patricia) and sociology (Michael). They married shortly after graduation at the Abbey Church, and began working in Michael’s family real estate business, later developing and managing the Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites. They are longtime residents of Marblehead, Mass. Michael and Patricia have deep ties in the community as athletic coaches, supporting local nonprofits, active members of Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish and managing the master plan for school projects.
Michael served as a college trustee from 2015 – 2020, and neither he nor Patricia turn down an opportunity to come back to the Hilltop. They’ve attended debates, reunions, and many other events, but their first order of business when they visit is to get a beer in the Pub. Their two children – Margaret and Thomas – grew up hearing about life at Saint Anselm and seeing how much it has meant to their parents. They often tell them, “I’ve never seen a legacy so strong.”
The Anselmian community has been so important to Michael and Patricia, and they feel fortunate to be able to give back so that other Anselmians are might have the same experience, and have challenged the students they supported to step up in the future as well as to someday buy them a beer in the pub. They told them, “You need to do this same thing some day for somebody else at that school. That’s the deal. Pay it forward.”