RIVERSIDE — It seems like just yesterday that Amy Gravell was a student, walking the halls of St. Mary Academy Bay View, delivering a student council speech, or performing in cabaret. Now she has returned to Mercy Hall Auditorium in a different role, to serve as the fourth president — and the first alumna president — of the all-girls Catholic academy.
In a special ceremony held on Friday, Sept. 23, Gravell was installed during the school’s annual Mercy Day liturgy. Gravell said that she felt honored and humbled to return to Bay View as its president, adding that she has deeply considered the opportunities and challenges she will experience in this position and reflected on the privilege of following in the footsteps of all who walked these hallowed halls as valuable contributors in the life of school.
“The distinguished legacy of St. Mary Academy Bay View is built on the generous dedication of all who particulate in the experience of our students. I am already grateful for each of you and the unique ways that you value the mission of our school, the stewardship of the Sisters of Mercy and the lifelong gift of a Bay View education. Together we can ensure that current and future generations of young women can claim Bay View as their springboard to success.”
Father Michael Davidson, S.J., traveled from Boston College to serve as the celebrant of the liturgy. He told those gathered that the Sisters of Mercy, the religious who founded the school in 1874, will affirm in Gravell the spirit of carrying on God’s love and a dedication to serving those who are in need of God’s love and mercy.
“You are a legacy of greatness,” said Father Davidson. “Amy, today you will carry the baton of the sisters and you will choose to build to continue the work of mercy, love, compassion and serve with your whole heart.”
Bolstered by a career centered on building and stewarding relationships, Gravell will prioritize connection, compassion, and community through her leadership. She plans to expand partnerships and opportunities within the community for students, strengthen connections with alumnae, inspire a culture of philanthropy and foster a sense of belonging for the Academy’s current and future students.
“We vetted, interviewed and evaluated an extensive pool of qualified and credible candidates through our rigorous search process, and we’re thrilled to select Amy to lead Bay View into its promising future,” said Alison Croke, chair of the Board of Trustees and co-chair of the Search Committee. “Her experience in development and roots in the non-profit sector will help deepen our community connections and offer new, exciting opportunities for our students in this next chapter.”
A Providence resident, Gravell succeeds Sister Marybeth Beretta who has served as Academy president since 2017, making a lasting impact.
Gravell shared that she is praying for wisdom, guidance and grace to the school community will need to sustain and promote the mission of mercy.
“Each and every day I come home to Bay View and I am reminded that a St. Mary Academy Bay View education is a gift of mercy, of grace and compassion, strength, excellence and opportunity. This gift comes in the form of every teacher, staff member, leader, coach, benefactor, and volunteer who gives so much of themselves to this school and to each of you.”