COA's 24-Hour Challenge brings together alumnx, students, faculty, staff, family, and friends... COA's 24-Hour Challenge brings together alumnx, students, faculty, staff, family, and friends of the college to support student scholarships, financial aid, field-based coursework, and more.

COA’s annual giving day is upon us! To celebrate the college’s 50th academic year, college leaders are hoping to raise $50,000 in 24 hours on Tuesday, Feb. 8. If that goal is reached, three long-time friends and supporters of the college—Mary K. Eliot, Casey Mallinckrodt, and Walter Robinson—will contribute an additional $50,000—for a total of $100,000. Visit Visit this link to join them on Feb, 8!

Mary K. Eliot Mary K. Eliot

“We are so incredibly grateful for, and inspired by, the generosity of Mary K., Casey, and Walter,” said COA Dean of Advancement Shawn Keeley ’00. “Their friendships, which developed around the college, are a big reason why they are making this investment together and challenging COA’s community to join them. And I certainly hope that everyone will.”

The story of friendship goes back to the early 1970s, when Mary K. and Sam Eliot were part of the innermost circle of COA staff and advocates. Her most enduring mark on the college is COA’s iconic logo, which she developed using five Germanic runes, while Sam’s work provided the backbone of the curriculum and approach to human ecology.

Walter Robinson Walter Robinson

In the first years of the college, Sam Eliot was traveling to promote COA and gave a talk at Mallinckrodt’s high school in St. Louis. She soon made her way to MDI and took summer classes in 1974, including a poetry course taught by the Eliots. Mary K. has been one of Mallinckrodt’s dearest friends and mentors ever since. She taught art classes at COA in the 1990s and has served as a trustee for many years.

Mallinckrodt and Robinson became friends in 1982, and, eventually, at her request, he too joined the board of trustees. Mallinckrodt also introduced and kindled a friendship between Robinson and Eliot that continues to this day.

“My relationship with Mary K. and Walter represents a great chain of connection and is very characteristic of COA, where people connect through values, aspirations, and a commitment to their work and the collective work of building a viable human ecology,” Mallinckrodt said. “We are so happy to support the college Casey Mallinckrodt Casey Mallinckrodtand hope others will follow our lead.”

This blending of friendship and philanthropy is a powerful combination, and has been a huge part of COA’s success over the years, Keeley said.

“During this year’s 24-Hour Challenge, we hope you will follow Mary K., Casey, and Walter’s lead,” he said. “Join them in making a gift to COA… and reach out to a COA friend or two and ask them to join you!”