Legacy Ball Honors the Impact of Mr. John M. Wilson at Springfield College | Springfield College

Legacy Ball Honors the Impact of Mr. John M. Wilson at Springfield College


At the conclusion of this year's event, the SSBD executive board honored their staff advisor, Director of Spiritual Life David McMahon.


By: Damon Markiewicz

The Springfield College Student Society for Bridging Diversity (SSBD) hosted the annual John M. Wilson Legacy Ball on Saturday, February 24. Since 2016, SSBD has honored the life and work of Mr. Wilson, the founding director of the Springfield College Office of Multicultural Affairs and long-time advisor of SSBD. Wilson passed away in 2015 after being a constant on the campus for more than 30 years. He worked tirelessly to make the College an accepting place for all students. Whether it was heading up programming, or advising a club, Wilson’s presence was felt, and continues to be felt, all about the campus.

“Through this annual celebration of life, the SSBD celebrates and models an inclusive community through fellowship, the arts, and honoring those champions of inclusion in our community,” said Springfield College Director of Spiritual Life David McMahon, who is the faculty/staff advisor for SSBD and also worked very closely with Wilson during his time on Alden Street. “A night when friends of all backgrounds gather and enjoy everyone’s creativity, dignity, and achievement, this celebration embodies Mr. Wilson’s spirit.”

Togetherness was always the buzzword when it came to Wilson’s extensive career as the multicultural affairs director. He worked so well with students one-on-one, and recognized that there was a real need for students of color to have support. When Wilson passed away, the SSBD started the legacy ball as a way to honor Wilson and keep his spirit alive.

“Wilson’s strength was sitting down with students, understanding them, understanding their needs, and understanding their strengths,” added McMahon. He would personally connect with them, and assist them with whatever they needed.”

The legacy ball raises proceeds for the John M. Wilson Scholarship Fund, which consists of book scholarships awarded to current students during both the fall and spring semesters. The scholarships are awarded to current Springfield College full-time students who are entering their sophomore, junior, or senior year of study.

“It’s difficult to measure one person’s influence, but with John, I think it’s clear that he saw his role as an advocate for students, and that drove him every day,” said Springfield College Vice President for Student Affairs Slandie Dieujuste, PhD. “I think all students need an advocate, and all students need to know that they’re valued, and somebody cares about them. John’s gift was his ability to let other people know that he cared about them, and that they were important.”