Brescia graduates recognized for community and alumnae engagement

News Release
September 22, 2014

London, ON – Three Brescia alumnae were recently honoured and recognized for their contributions to Brescia, to their communities, and to their alma matter at the 2014 Homecoming Luncheon held on Sunday, September 21 at Brescia.

Mary Kay Kelly (’57) and Nora Newton (’57) received the Carmelle Murphy Alumnae of Award of Distinction. The award was established in 2001 in honour of Carmelle Murphy (’51) in recognition of her dedicated service to Brescia. This award recognizes the accomplishments of Brescia graduates who have: shown achievement in their chosen field; contributed to the development of others; contributed to their community; demonstrated outstanding characteristics; and acted as a role model for others.

This is the first time that the award has been shared between two alumnae. Fellow member of the Class of 1957, Margaret Murray Nicholson, describes the two women as, “wonderful examples of alumnae in action and both have been part of the process that enables institutions to evolve and maintain their relevance.”  Mary Kay Kelly accepted the award at the Homecoming Luncheon on behalf of both recipients and said, “My love for Brescia runs very deep. In trying to examine my intense attachment to this place, I came to understand that this was the first place that I could truly be the person I was meant to be. Brescia touched my soul. I will forever be grateful for what Brescia gave to me and I am truly honoured that she has found Nora and me worthy of this honour.”

Ashley Conyngham (’04) was recognized for her numerous accomplishments when she received the Sister Mary Lou McKenzie Young Alumnae Award of Merit, an award that was renamed in 2011 after Sister May Lou McKenzie in honour of her dedication to Brescia and its students.

Shortly after graduation, Ashley began working for former MPP, Chris Bentley on a part-time basis.  Bentley notes, “It was inspiring to see Ashley improve those around her through this unique combination of almost simultaneous teaching and learning.” For that reason, she quickly rose to serve as his Chief of Staff, a position in which she held for close to seven years.

For the last two years, Ashley has held the role of Director of Communications and Marketing at the London Economic Development Corporation, where she uses key relationships and skills acquired throughout her time in local politics, proving that lessons learned help to build successful careers. Her service leadership roles include sitting as a Trustee on the Board of Trustees at Brescia, and as a Director on the Board of the Children’s Aid Society of London and Middlesex.

All three Brescia graduates say that they look forward to continuing to stay involved with Brescia in the years to come.


For more information please contact:

Colleen Aguilar, Communications, Marketing & External Relations Officer. You may also contact Sheila Blagrave, Director of Communications, Marketing & External Relations Officer at 519.432.8353, ext.28293 or at



Brescia University College, Canada’s only women’s university, is affiliated with Western University. The 1,275 women registered as either full- or part-time students at Brescia study a wide variety of subjects in Arts, Social Sciences, and Foods & Nutrition in an empowering, compassionate, student-centred, and invigorating environment. Degrees are granted by Western. The Catholic College welcomes students from all backgrounds and values diversity. For more current and archived news, a listing of faculty experts, and photos please visit our Media Centre at