The Saratoga Palio was established to honor the inspiring life of Melanie Merola O’Donnell. Melanie was a promising young graduate student in her second year in the AUNE Department of Clinical Psychology who died in a car accident in the Albany area and left her class and the Department with a huge void. One of her best friends started this race the same year of Melanie’s death, and the race and the Foundation, which helps to support students in the mental health world, have been going strong ever since. The Department honors our ties to Melanie by being a sponsor of this event.
This year, third year student Sarajane Rodgers, participated in the race. Her thoughts here:
“On September 17, I was able to participate in my second Saratoga Palio, this time as one of the scholarship recipients. The night before the race, I had the opportunity to eat dinner with the board members, Melanie’s family, and two of the other scholarship winners. Everyone was so nice and I enjoyed getting to see the family of one of our most talked about students again. I had been training to run the half marathon again but because of a broken elbow, that wasn’t possible this year. Instead, I walked the 5k with my mom, who was so kind enough to drive me all the way out to Saratoga when I was only able to use the one arm. As the Saratoga Palio is a very family and community-centered event, it was really sweet to get to share that with one of my own family members.”
Sarajane was also awarded a Donald D. Davis Scholarship for Social Responsibility for the 2017-18 academic year. This endowed fund was established with a gift from the estate of Donald D. Davis, a long time friend of Antioch University New England and former member of the AUNE Board of Visitors. Don was a philanthropist who spent his life giving back to the communities he cared about. The endowment funds a scholarship awarded each year to a student or students with financial need who are involved in service to the community.