What year did you graduate?
1981

What was your major?
Humanities

What are you doing now?
Online Business Coach

How did CSB/SJU help get you to where you are now?
Many examples, but the one that stands out is my study abroad in Germany in 1978. This gave me the travel bug which led to my 21-year career at Northwest Airlines. My career at Northwest Airlines was sales coaching, and then I branched out on my own coaching business as an entrepreneur.

What activities or clubs were you involved in during your time at CSB/SJU?
I played on the St. Ben’s tennis team for four years. I was active in intramural sports at St. Ben’s and St. John’s. My college friends had an intramural softball team.

What is your favorite memory of attending CSB/SJU and why?
Attending football games at St. John’s. Being with all my CSB friends at the football games on beautiful fall days watching the tradition of Johnnie football were precious moments. We experienced the magic of Coach Gagliardi.

Colleen Lilly made lifelong friends during her time at St. Ben’s. Years after their time in Corona Hall,

What was your favorite part of campus and why?
I especially enjoyed the St. John’s Abbey. I often attended daily noon mass, which was 30 minutes in length, before going to the Refectory for lunch. There really is nothing more moving than hearing the bells of St. John’s on campus. I also loved Corona dorm. This is where it all began. This is where I met my lifelong friends and where we bonded and had the best memories. This is the place that changed my life.

What is the biggest difference between college and life after college?
The toughest part about leaving college was not having the daily living experience with my dear friends. There was now a geographical distance between us and we couldn’t just go down the hall to connect. When you leave college, you take on new responsibilities and that was the biggest difference.

What was the best advice you ever got in college?
I was all set to declare my major in social work at the end of my sophomore year. My mentor at the time was Sister Kristin Malloy who sat me down and handed me documents about the importance of being a humanities major. It was the best advice I received because I ended up loving my humanities major, as it gave me freedom to choose my classes.

If you could give a current student a piece of advice, what would you tell them?
Enjoy every single minute at school because it goes incredibly fast. Graduation will be full of emotion as you let go of four of the best years of your life. The good news is, you will continue to be lifetime friends even after graduation. The Bennie/Johnnie connection is unbreakable.

Lilly and her friends still visit campus. The left photo is from 1981 and the right photo is from 2016.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF COLLEEN LILLY