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SUA Honors the Life of Elise Earley ’13 at Merici Leadership Society Reception

Earley Family

The Saint Ursula Academy (SUA) community came together in late October to honor the life of Elise Ellen Earley ’13 at SUA’s St. Angela Merici Leadership Society Appreciation Reception. 
Each year, Saint Ursula Academy recognizes a woman or man who stands out for their support of our work in transforming students into young women committed to making a positive impact in the world. Named after Saint Angela Merici, foundress of the Ursuline order of Sisters, the Merici Leadership Society Appreciation Reception honors those, who like St. Angela, saw the uniqueness and beauty in all women and embraced them.
Elise Earley ’13 contributed much energy, fun, and support for her classmates during her time as a student at SUA. Now, following her death from a tragic car accident, her legacy is helping area girls attend Saint Ursula Academy due to a scholarship created in her memory. Elise’s uncle, Tom Shields, created a named SUA scholarship in Elise’s memory. Donations have poured in and Elise is again helping others and making their lives better. Today, several students attend Saint Ursula because of Elise and many generous donors who continue to support her scholarship. Elise’s legacy will continue through the many young girls who will now be given a chance to attend Saint Ursula Academy and make a difference in the world. 
In attendance at the reception were Elise’s parents Pat and Judy Shields Earley ’77, her siblings Madeline  ’11 Hanna  ’15, Patrick, Connor, and Quinn, and many family members, classmates, and friends. Several recorded their special memories of Elise, which were compiled into a video that was played at the event. 
Saint Ursula Academy President Lelia Keefe Kramer ’77 shared some of her favorite memories of Elise during the event, “Elise was a junior when I became president at SUA. The instant I met her, I knew I had hit gold with a new young friend. Elise made everyone feel special and welcomed. I was no exception. She would greet me at student events, dances, games, and in the hallways. Her sense of humor brightened my day as well as those she encountered walking class to class. I always marveled at her ability to use her dry sense of humor to make the world a little better for someone.  Elise was a gift from God, and continues to be to this day.”
In addition to honoring Elise and her family, President Lelia Keefe Kramer ’77 thanked all of the supporters at the event, saying, “Saint Ursula Academy would not be the sisterhood we are today without the goodness of volunteers and donors like you. We honor you and the other special stewards and advisors who have spent days, months, and years ensuring we are the best we can be for the students we serve.”  
Street Named After Elise Earley
The day after the reception, City Councilwoman Liz Keating and her team hosted an honorary street renaming in honor of Elise. They unveiled a new street sign for Elise Earley Way at the intersection of Thornton Avenue and River Road, where Elise was killed after the car she was in was hit by a drunk driver. Elise’s family, councilwoman Keating and her staff, family, friends, and other council members were present for the street sign unveiling. 
Elise’s memory continues to make an impact in many ways. 
About St. Angela Merici
In 1535, St. Angela Merici founded the Ursuline Order, the first religious order in the Church to undertake the personal formation of young women. She was a woman who invited others to join her to serve as advisors and spiritual companions. In her effort to be inclusive, she became a woman who was respected and admired by many within the church and across the region. St. Angela is often celebrated as a woman of foresight and courage who enjoined her successors to make changes according to the needs of the time.