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Marian Celebrates FESTival

Marian Celebrates FESTival
Susan Rosenlof
MarianFEST executive chairs and President Michele Romero Ernst '81.

Over 500 gathered to celebrate the 42nd annual MarianFEST (Funding Education in the Servite Tradition) on Friday, Feb. 2. Held at A View at West Shores in Waterloo, this year's theme took its inspiration from the tradition of the Brazilian Carnival - the extravagant celebration held days before the start of Lent. 

To allow plenty of time to mingle and bid, guests were treated to an extended cocktail hour with a heavy hors oeuvres buffet. “FEST is special because it brings so many together from our broad Marian community. Everyone embraced the theme with headpieces, boas and masks. It was a very FESTival vibe,” said Special Events Director Rachel Simmons Stricklet ‘92.

This strategy fueled success, and the event raised a record $800,000.  Since 1982, FEST (Funding Education in the Servite Tradition) has raised support for tuition assistance, which now benefits 50 percent of the student body. FEST is Marian’s largest single fundraising event and is supported by the extended Marian community of parents, alumnae and friends. Students also lend their support to the event by serving as volunteers.

Parents serve as executive chairs of the event. This year’s chairs were: 

  • Jim & Jean Ambrose, parents of Lucy ‘25, Anna ‘23 and Mary ‘21
  • Chris and Michele DeSmet, parents of Mikayla ‘28, Ava ‘26  and Ella ‘23
  • Grant and Sara Helget Janke ‘96, parents of Addy ‘26.
  • Paul & Tammy Olson, parents of Delaney ‘25
  • Steve & Dana Patterson, parents of Grace ‘25 and Megan ‘23
  • Kevin & Tiffany Hays Regan ‘94, parents of Molly ‘27, Slainey ‘26 and Cecelia ‘23
  • Andy & Jody Simpson, parents of Helen ‘26