Alumna Finds USD Connection in Windy City

Maureen Partynski and familyBorn and raised in Chicago, Maureen Partynski '82 only left the Windy City briefly to attend school at the University of San Diego. When she returned, her only real connection to the campus were fond memories, some lifelong friends and a T-shirt she'd wear occasionally to remind her of her days as a Torero.

Partynski graduated from USD during a major recession, when the unemployment rate was at 10 percent and jobs for new graduates were few and far between. She began working for her father at Hemlock Federal Bank and then life took over. She got married, raised two children, became CEO when her father retired, took the bank public and eventually retired.

It wasn't until 2005—23 years after graduating—that Partynski reconnected with USD in a way that changed her life. That year, President Mary E. Lyons took a trip to Chicago as part of a national tour to spread the word about USD to alumni, parents and prospective students, and to launch or revitalize alumni chapters across the United States.

"I thought I was the only one in Chicago who graduated from USD," recalls Partynski, who became the chapter president. "When I got the alumni list of 600 graduates, I couldn't believe it. I had no idea."

The Chicago chapter of alumni started with a handful of people who initially just got together to network, but eventually they began hosting silent auctions that have raised more than $20,000 in student scholarships.

Partynski eventually joined the national Alumni Association Board and now is the president-elect who will take the helm in July. She's also the proud parent of two new Toreros—Kate, a USD sophomore, and Dan, who recently was accepted as a member of the incoming Class of 2015.

"The alumni board has a strategic plan to increase the networking between alumni and current grads," Partynski says. "I've always tried to make those connections on my own, but it's always better to have a roadmap than to wander around and do things informally."

As a leader on the alumni front and as a parent, Partynski is committed to helping students today and for many years to come. Recently, she made a deferred payment gift annuity. Deferred payment gift annuities can be viewed as a charitable, supplemental retirement plan. The donor gives cash or securities now in exchange for a fixed, guaranteed payment for life that can start as early as one year later. The longer the donor waits for payment, the larger the payment.

"I see many students who are positioned to do wonderful things in this world and who have been accepted to college, but can't put the money together," Partynski says. "There are so many like that and their stories are so touching. I do this for all of them. My philosophy is that if you advance the hopes and dreams of just one student then you've done something important for the world."

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