Give to UC
Ann (Helfferich) Mackenzie ’77
Co-Chair, The 1869 Society; Health & Exercise Physiology; Tau Sigma Gamma
Was attending Ursinus always a foregone conclusion? Family Connections?
In spite of spending a good portion of her childhood on Ursinus College’s campus, no one ever said anything to me about going to Ursinus. My grandfather was President of Ursinus when I was young. He lived in Super House and ran the theatre group (the Curtain Club), so I spent a great deal of time on campus. I have fond memories of playing hide and go seek in Pfahler at Ursinus, playing on the stages in Wismer, rolling down the hill near the football field, getting to meet professors and others from the administration, like Dean Harris, when I was young. I attended Messiah performances. Just about every weekend was spent at Ursinus. I loved it so much, I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else. Attending Ursinus was a privilege. My interests [women’s athletics] were the strength of Ursinus College. It was truly a formative experience.
Where and how did you spend most of your time on campus?
I lived in Beardwood 2 and spent many days waitressing in the Dining Hall. On the athletic playing field, I tried everything, eventually focusing on field hockey and lacrosse. I thrived in the highly competitive sports atmosphere and greatly enjoyed the opportunity to travel and to play “top notch” athletes. Later in my Ursinus career, I joined Tau Sigma Gamma and lived in Olivian Hall. On weekends, I would work for my father.
Tell me about your Ursinus Love story. How did you two meet?
I fell in love with my husband, Graham “Mac” Mackenzie ’74, the spring of his senior year, my freshman year. He was in Zeta Chi (ZX), as was my brother, Bill ’75. Because of this, I always viewed the Zeta Chi guys as “big brothers” to me. It was at a mixer at Camp Creek’s Edge. I was drawn to Mac: he had crazy hair at the time, was a talented track runner, fun, adventurous and had a lot of “tenacity.” We went on a couple of dates, spent time together down at the Jersey shore, and fostered a wide network of friends in Zeta Chi and Tau Sigma Gamma. After Mac graduated, we continued to write letters. He would call me on the pay phones in the residence halls. He actually hitchhiked down the turnpike to visit me at College after he graduated! We married in 1979.
Reflections: What would you like to share with students today?
Take advantage of everything you have. Once you graduate, you can’t go back. Don’t leave campus. Stay on campus. Get involved! Build relationships with professors. Network with alumni. Go to theater performances. Don’t sit in your dorm rooms!
Why do you continue to support Ursinus?
Staying engaged with Ursinus throughout the years, Mac and I were aware of upgrades when needed (i.e. the field hockey field). I received a scholarship to stay at Ursinus, so supporting Ursinus is our way of helping to pay it forward. For anyone who has received benefits of a small school – meeting friends, playing athletics — the only way that can be sustained is by giving to Ursinus. If Ursinus does well, it adds value to our degree.
What motivates you to stay connected with Ursinus?
I view Ursinus as if it were a child, which needs to be protected and nurtured. I love it so much. It truly is like family to me.