Manor College Alum from 1966 reflects on Manor’s ‘Love and Warmth’

Eileen (Fahey) Gardner ‘66 graduated with her Associate Degree in Secretarial Science.

Eileen (Fahey) Gardner ’66

Eileen (Fahey) Gardner ‘66 remembers Manor College when the Jenkintown campus consisted of just two buildings. Every morning, students at the all-women junior college went to church at the chapel every morning with the Sisters. 

Gardner, who graduated with her Associate Degree in Secretarial Science, currently is retired and living in Gilbert, Arizona. She spoke during an interview about her time at Manor, how she found the institution and its lasting impact. 

How did you find out about Manor? 

“I grew up in Connecticut and wanted to get a bit further away from home. There was a woman I worked for in my neighborhood as a nanny who encouraged me to go to Manor College. I applied, got accepted and off I went. There was no hesitation in going that far. It was about a three-hour drive, but my roommate was from Connecticut so that made the transition easier.”

Why did you choose to take classes at Manor? 

“I just loved the way it was small. I was raised Roman Catholic and I loved the nuns. The teachers, even the lay teachers who taught typing were wonderful. I felt like I wouldn’t get that if I went to a bigger campus. Manor even gave me a working scholarship. I cleaned all the offices and school buildings for $1 an hour.” 

Was there anyone who made a lasting impression on you?

Ms. Weaver

“There was one teacher, Ms. (Alice) Weaver. She taught secretarial classes. She saw something in me that I didn’t. One day, outside of a classroom, she said, ‘You know, there’s nothing wrong with you. You just need someone to give you a good shake and everything will work out the right way.’ She said it in a way that gave me hope. I was stressed out and trying to find my way. She gave me a vision of the future being better.”

You graduated from Manor College with your Associate Degree in Secretarial Science. What path did you head on after college?

At first, myself and two other women from Manor moved to Boston. We had an apartment together at Beacon Hill. I went to work in administrative jobs throughout the years, like being an office manager or an executive assistant. When my daughters were born, I stayed at home for 11 years. I went back to work and the world totally changed – fax machines and computers were more prevalent when I came back. My last job was in Arizona working as the Assistant to the President of a manager of a cheese manufacturing plant. 

You recently supported Manor and our students. What motivated you to do so?

As I got older and had the ability, I thought about giving back to Manor more. Manor meant something to me. I had the opportunity to share the wealth, so I wanted to start paying back to Manor. It was a very good place for me at that time of my life.

What advice would you give to current students or young alumni?

Manor hasn’t changed much since I was there. You can see it reflected across campus. My advice is to go there and take it all in. Feel the love and warmth that’s there and take it with you when you leave. 

Are you a Manor College alum and would like to reconnect with your classmates? Email to share your story.

Read More:

‘Bambi’ Dearolf ’67 Recalls Life on Campus

Living in Manor’s Backyard, Rosemary Kelly ’65

Marianne Tracey ’61, Prominent in the Field of Psychiatry

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