Marymount welcomes new arrivals

Marymount University put out the welcome mat for new students during festivities this week. Among those on hand (center) was new university president Irma Becerra. (Photo by Chris Radcliffe)

Marymount University has announced plans to financially support students who intern at non-profit organizations that do not have the resources to pay them.

The new “Sister Majella Berg Internship Fund” is a way to solidify partnerships between the university and local safety-net organizations, new Marymount University president Irma Becerra said.

The U.S. Department of Labor allows organizations to provide unpaid internships if they meet several criteria, but some students are not in a position to work without pay. The new fund will help bridge the gap.

“What a great way to honor the memory of Sister Majella,” said Becerra, who became the university president in July.

Berg, a member of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary order of Roman Catholic nuns that founded Marymount, died in 2004 at age 87. She had been a member of the religious order for nearly 70 years.

Berg served as president from 1960 to 1993, a time when Marymount grew from a two-year women’s institution with 240 students to full-fledged university status. Her 33 years at the helm made her one of the longest serving college presidents in American history.

(Berg may have left Marymount years ago, but in a sense she remains there: In 2011, the university unveiled a statue of Berg surrounded by students as part of its 26th Street development. One of the university’s highest student awards also is named in her honor.)

Becerra detailed the internship fund at a gathering of the Arlington Community Foundation. Veteran civic leader John Milliken, who worked with Berg on various community events through the years, said the outreach effort would be welcomed by the community.

“We look forward to working with you and your staff,” Milliken told Becerra, calling Marymount, “a critical part of the fabric of Arlington County.”

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