As the director of conferences and special events at Ursinus College, Maureen Cawley P’18 wears many hats.
Cawley began her Ursinus journey a little over five years ago after spending more than a decade in the fields of marketing, public relations and special event promotion for the United Way of Cape May County and other community organizations. Whether she is coordinating major campus activities, enhancing relationships with our local community or promoting the college’s growing portfolio of public event hosting opportunities, Cawley and her colleagues within the Conferences and Special Events (CASE) office remain engaged all year.
The CASE team is currently immersed in Ursinus’s SummerBurst program, now in its second year. This initiative was realized and brought to fruition as a way of connecting with the larger community. It offers to the public athletic camps, a robust menu of academic courses and a series of arts and theater programs. Cawley explains, “I think the campus has really rallied behind SummerBurst. That’s why it has been so successful in just its second year,” Cawley says. “Their support and enthusiasm goes a long way in making Ursinus a destination campus, which is such an important aspect of Ursinus 150.”
Cawley notes that CASE works strategically to network and build connections with both individuals and organizations that are well aligned with the college’s educational mission. In fact, Ursinus was one of the 18 residential sites across the nation selected to host the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY) this year. From June to August, fifth and sixth grade students from around the country and the world have the chance to embark on challenging courses in the humanities, writing, math and science. Cawley elaborates on how this partnership materialized, “Following a professional conference, I invited a colleague from an existing CTY host site to come for a visit to learn more about Ursinus and our CASE office. She was so impressed with our campus and the warm welcome she received, that she had no hesitation recommending up to the folks at Johns Hopkins.”
Beyond the direct financial impact, Summer Burst also helps to promote Ursinus’s name. Cawley mentions, “Our goal is to get people on campus so they can learn more about who we are. Our hope is that once they get to know us, they will come back over and over again throughout the year to engage with us at our many academic, cultural and athletic events or to ultimately become a part of the Ursinus family as a student.”
Consequently, the SummerBurst programs as well as these supplemental events have proven to be a key enterprise for the college’s educational mission. “The CASE office is self-sustaining, so the revenue we generate by hosting programs and renting facilities not only funds our efforts as a team, but also supports a lot of other college programs and initiatives. We work hard to find long-term opportunities that make our campus as inviting as possible,” says Cawley.
But, SummerBurst is just a piece of the “events puzzle”. Cawley and her team manage both large and small-scale campus events for the college year-round, comprising the planning and coordination of Commencement, lectures and speaker’s series, multiple student events and staff and faculty gatherings including the Welcome Week luncheon, holiday party and much more.
Undoubtedly, Cawley remains enthusiastic to have others experience, if only briefly, the benefits of an Ursinus education. Her love for the college deepened as she witnessed first-hand the educational experience of her son Emmett Cawley’18. As a result, she has felt compelled to not only offer the college her time and expertise, but to support Ursinus philanthropically as well. She explains, “Ursinus is a really special place, and we know that when people step foot on campus they fall in love with it. My son recently graduated from Ursinus and our family has seen the impact that an Ursinus education can have. It really does prepare students to live creatively and usefully, and to become strong leaders,” Cawley concludes.