With graceful good humor, extraordinary organizational skills and unfailing commitment to those most in need, Marge Shanahan has managed and directed Geneva’s Community Lunch Program for ten years providing welcomed, hot meals to scores of citizens. Today, in grateful appreciation of her community service, Hobart and William Smith Colleges present its highest honor to a resident who chose Geneva for retirement but quickly made a career of volunteer leadership.

Marge Shanahan’s impressive work with the Community Lunch Program, operated by Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes, embodies the personal touch and concept of witness developed by the Catholic Worker Movement visionary Dorothy Day who wrote: “People say, what is the sense of our small effort. They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time.”

With the assistance of local groups, businesses, and active volunteers the Community Lunch Program serves nearly 20,000 meals each year. Our own students, faculty and staff are privileged to join in this effort to prepare and serve meals. With Marge Shanahan at the helm, a clean, safe and supportive environment has welcomed families to the daily lunch as if they were part of her own family.

With her husband, John, Marge Shanahan has quickly made a difference for the community of Geneva. Today we salute her model of civic engagement and urge our graduates to contemplate this life of consequence.

Robert F. Kennedy said, “Each time a person stands for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he or she sends forth a tiny ripple of hope. And crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

Marge Shanahan’s life evidences the importance of laying one brick at a time and sending forth ripples of hope. We celebrate her dedication to service and her commitment to making a real difference in the lives of real people. Hobart and William Smith welcome this mother, leader, beloved friend and neighbor to our community.



Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.