The four years Rosemarie Busalacchi Buckley '53 spent as a student at Emmanuel College gave her not only an education that led to a long and satisfying career, but also a lifetime of friendships and shared memories that she can only describe as "miraculous."
"Emmanuel is such a big part of my life," she said. "I don't think I could be as happy as I am today if I hadn't gone to school there."
A native of Dorchester, Massachusetts, Buckley attended the former Christopher Columbus Central Catholic High School in Boston's North End, where the boys' wing was run by the Franciscan Friars and the girls' wing by Emmanuel's founding order, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.
"I loved learning from the Sisters, and attending Emmanuel was the next natural step for me," she said. "I never even considered attending anywhere else."
Buckley was grateful to receive a full scholarship from the Junior League of the Women's Italian Club of Boston and become the first person in her family to attend college. (She was followed by her sisters, fellow Emmanuel alumnae Christine Busalacchi Gaffney '54 and Joanne Busalacchi '64.)
"I just remember starting as a freshman and being so in awe of the seniors," Buckley said. "They were always so poised and friendly."
While at Emmanuel, Buckley studied business administration in a close-knit cohort of about 15 students, led by longtime faculty member Sister Anne Therese, SND. Her business acumen also aided in her role handling the finances of the Epilogue yearbook. In her senior profile in the 1953 edition, she was praised by her classmates for a number of qualities, including her "nostalgic sentiment"an emotion she has certainly felt toward her alma mater for the last six decades.
"They really were golden years for us," she said. "I enjoyed every minute of it."
After graduation, Buckley got a job immediately and worked "a series of great jobs" until she retired from her role as an accounts manager for the Washington Brain and Spine Institute. She and her husband, John Buckley, a 1953 graduate of Boston College, have been married for 56 years, and have seven children and 11 grandchildren.
"Emmanuel prepared me for all walks of my lifeacademically, socially, spiritually," she said.
Buckley passed the importance of a Catholic education onto her children. From 1974 to 1986, she poured herself into the role of "Gonzaga mom" for her five sons who attended the boys' Catholic high school in Washington, D.C. She served two terms as the president of the Gonzaga Mothers Club, co-founded the Club's annual Christmas Gala and the annual Mother/Son Mass and Brunch, both of which have become cherished traditions. She has remained connected through Eagles Wings', an organization for alumni parents, and was awarded the prestigious St. Aloysius Gonzaga Medal in October 2012 for her devotion and service to the school and the larger community.
She has also found time to remain a vital presence in Emmanuel College alumni activities in the years since her graduation. Along with her loyal philanthropic support through annual giving and as a member of the Heritage Society, she attends every event she can, from reunions to regional events. She is a member of the Emmanuel College Club of Cape Cod and was instrumental in spearheading alumni activities in the Washington, D.C. area, including an event featuring accomplished political journalist Lois Romano '74 held at the National Press Club.
"I've only missed one or two reunions," she said, noting her most recent visit to campus was for her 60th reunion in 2013. "We love going back for reunions and catching up. I formed wonderful bonds at Emmanuel, and they've remained my great friends today. When I think about it, it's really quite miraculous."
Buckley hopes that her planned gift, and the gifts of other donors, will provide future generations of Emmanuel students with a quality education and a community that they can always come home to, as well as the financial freedom she was able to enjoy due to the support of other generous donors.
"And I hope Emmanuel will continue to flourish, as it seems to be doing," she said. "And I hope to keep participating in alumni events and that Emmanuel continues to reach out to us. Whenever we can, we just flock there."