“Never underestimate the power of your actions, no matter how small they may seem. A kind word, a smile, a helping hand, or a supportive gesture can brighten someone’s day, boost their confidence, or even change the trajectory of their life. Be the person who lifts others up, who sees the potential in everyone, and who makes a positive difference wherever you go.” – Mary Wilson
St. Mary’s was honored to welcome Mary Wilson as the Commencement Speaker for the 119th Commencement Ceremonies.
Mary Wilson currently serves as one of the three Life Trustees appointed to guide Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, a grantmaking organization established by her late husband, Ralph Wilson. The Foundation, which began its grantmaking in 2015, is committed to improving the quality of life in its two regions by concentrating on Ralph Wilson’s hometown of Southeast Michigan and Western New York, the home of his beloved Buffalo Bills, the team he founded in 1959.
Mary has been an outspoken champion for the city of Buffalo ever since Ralph Wilson first brought her to the city in 1990 for the Bills’ home opener game. She fell in love with Buffalo, football, and Ralph!
During Ralph’s ownership of the Buffalo Bills, Mary worked to establish the Western New York Girls in Sports program in 2006 and continues to bring together more than 200 girls, ages 9-12, to participate in various sports taught by young athletes from local universities and sports clubs. Mary has always had a passion for sports participation, discovering her love of tennis at the age of 12. Mary holds a degree in physical education from Trinity University. She is a former board member of the USTA Tennis Foundation and played in the Wimbledon Championships in 1976. Mary was also a past President of the National Senior Women’s Tennis Association, playing in many international events and becoming ranked number one in the 60 and over.
Mary is extremely supportive of many different Buffalo organizations, including the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park. Mary donated Ralph’s naval uniform and medals along with letters to his father while he was away in WWII. On this Memorial Day, we thank Mr. Wilson for his service to our country and Mrs. Wilson for her wise words and kindness on full display for all the members of the Class of 2023.