The weather almost always cooperates. The unexpected challenges become the slightest hiccups. The guests always have an extraordinarily good time. And the support for and love of Saint Ignatius continues to grow.
That’s what happens when Melissa Murphy puts on an event, which she has done so well at West 30th and Lorain. This week, Saint Ignatius High School sends well wishes to Melissa as she becomes the Director of Development at Saint Joseph Academy.
Melissa met her husband, Latin teacher Jim Murphy ’99, during her time on campus. They have two children, Maggie and Conor, who are just two of the many special visitors that Murphy has brought to the hallways of Wildcat High.
“In her 17 years here as Director of Special Events, Melissa has hosted thousands and thousands of guests with enthusiasm and professionalism,” says Vice President for Institutional Advancement John Morabeto. “Our events are well known throughout our community because Melissa cares so much for each and every attendee and for our mission.”
Melissa oversees major annual programs like the Christmas Concert with the Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus, the Scholarship Drive, Alumni Weekend, and countless others. Her attention to detail makes participants and attendees feel as though each event is held just for them.
“She is by far one of the most detailed, organized people I know,” says Director of Donor Relations Mary Beth Flynn. “Melissa's engaging personality attracts the donors as well. She's formed lifelong friendships over the years through the various events and happenings at Saint Ignatius.”
One prime example of her steadfastness and creativity came with the 2020 Christmas Concert, which couldn’t be held in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“She knew what people wanted. She knew that, yes, the Cleveland Orchestra is one of the world’s greatest, but she knew how to utilize our resources to give people just as great of an experience,” says Colleen Carr, Administrative Assistant to the Director of Special Events.
The resulting virtual, homegrown concert featured performances by student choral and instrumental groups, alumni, family members and friends. Donors received special charcuterie and wine deliveries. And while this performance was completely reinvented, it was praised widely for its excellence in putting people into the Christmas spirit after a challenging year.
“She knows everyone so well, whether it’s in our office or outside our office, that she can make sure everyone is happy,” Carr says. “Melissa always made it a point to ask what people like because she knows all the tiny details that make the Christmas Concert special to so many people.”
Throughout the years, Murphy has formed meaningful friendships with so many employees, alumni and donors. It’s one of many gifts she will take with her to her new position at SJA.
“She has incredible organization skills, she always has a Plan B for weather, and her outgoing personality is a win-win,” Flynn says. “She has set the gold standard for events at Saint Ignatius and she makes it seem effortless.”
“What separates Melissa is her ability to use events as fundraising opportunities—not simply a chance to get together and reminisce,” Morabeto says. “Many event planners see their events as parties; Melissa sees it as an opportunity to advance the mission of the school.”
“I will miss her smiling face and her laugh!” says Flynn. “She lights up a room, and I will miss her terribly.”
Congratulations, Melissa, and thank you for your incredible work! Best of luck at Saint Joseph Academy.