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2018 MEDALLION OF MERIT

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Susan J. Gangwere McCabe ’79, MA

The Medallion of Merit is awarded to an alumna or alumnus in recognition of outstanding service to Moravian College or the Alumni Association. The Alumni Association is proud to present Susan McCabe a Medallion of Merit in deep appreciation for her exceptional work to better Moravian College.

Susan McCabe ’79 calls herself an “idea person.” What sets her apart is that she turns those ideas into reality, and she’s brought many of her ideas to life at Moravian College.

In 1982, Susan earned a master’s degree in history museum studies from SUNY Oneonta, one of the top museum graduate programs in the country at the time. In 1984, when she returned to Moravian to serve as community relations director, she naturally had the vision to build a relationship between Moravian College and Bethlehem’s historic organizations, believing it important given the college’s extraordinary history. Over the next four years, she applied for and was awarded grants from the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts that helped her organize and deliver various lecture series, concerts, college events, and public programs. She curated the exhibit “Silver in Bethlehem” in Payne Gallery and assisted curator Pearl Frantz ’22 with Moravian College’s decorative arts collection.

She curated “Building Blocks: Elements of Moravian Architecture” with Jim McCabe for Historic Bethlehem Inc. She served as a member of the first class of Leadership Bethlehem, was a board member of the Sun Inn Preservation Association and a member of the Bethlehem Fine Arts Commission, and served as one of the college representatives to the Bethlehem Collegium, a committee comprising Bethlehem’s historic organizations and the college, which collaborated on history tourism planning. 

It was Susan who had the idea to erect a statue of Countess Benigna on campus to honor the remarkable young woman who founded the first college in the United States to educate women.

In 1988, Susan moved on from Moravian for museum work, including positions with the Museum of the City of New York, Historic Hudson Valley, Column B Creative Museum Solutions, and the Henry Ford Estate, but she remained true to her love for her alma mater.

One of the early dancers in the Moravian College Dance company, founded in 1975, Susan has been an ardent supporter of the program. In spring of 2000, she had the idea for, and helped to establish, the Dawn Ketterman Benner Dance Fund, which offers invaluable opportunities to Moravian students interested in dance. The fund brings professional dancers and choreographers to campus for master classes and workshops and provides trips to major dance performances.

Last year, the dance company took a master class at the renowned Ailey School of Dance in New York City and then enjoyed a performance by the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater. This year they will have the opportunity to see the Paul Taylor Dance Company.

The fund also financed the specialty Marley floor in the college’s dance studio located in the Timothy Breidegam Fieldhouse. Susan’s dream is to see a larger dance studio on campus, and if the fate of this vision follows the trajectory of her other ideas, it’s sure to be a dream come true.