October 2018
Jennifer Crusco
Communications Assistant

Holy Angels Graduates Honored on Alumnae Weekend

Demarest, NJ: Three distinguished graduates of the Academy of the Holy Angels were honored during Alumnae Weekend, October 19-20, 2018. Elyse Deublein Harney, a member of the Class of 1948, received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Barbara Smith Costigan (Class of ’68) was inducted into the AHA Athletic Hall of Fame, and Meaghan Fennessy Keeley (Class of ’83) was welcomed into the AHA Arts Hall of Fame.

Harney, who grew up in North Bergen, was recognized for her professional accomplishments and community service. She was also honored for exemplifying the AHA motto: Vitae via virtus – Virtue is the way of life.

After she graduated from Holy Angels, Harney received a degree in English and history from St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn. Beginning in 1957, the honoree and her husband ran hotels and restaurants in Connecticut. They managed the Country Store in Salisbury, and spent 23 years as the hosts at the White Hart Inn. Afterward, they launched Harney & Sons Tea, an internationally known enterprise.

At the same time, Harney established her own real estate company. Her company now has five offices with 20 agents who serve multiple communities.

Harney is also an active member of her community. She is a member of the choir at her church, where she is also a Eucharistic Minister and lector. She has also been a community selectman, a school board trustee, and a member of the historic district and parks commissions.

This Lifetime Award Recipient currently resides in Salisbury, Connecticut.

Costigan, this year’s Athletic Hall of Fame inductee, was raised in River Edge. As a sophomore at AHA, she made the basketball team. In the years before Title 9 expanded athletic options for women, basketball was the only varsity sport the Academy offered. Costigan made the most of the opportunity.

“She was a basketball machine and an awesome all-around sportswoman,” Costigan’s friend recalled. By the time Costigan was an AHA senior, she was team captain.

During her years at AHA, Costigan was also involved with the Library Council and the Science Club As a member of Young Christian Students club, she played guitar at liturgies.

As a nursing student at Boston College, Costigan played two years of varsity basketball. After her college graduation, she played basketball and softball in adult leagues for over 15 years. She also served as a coach for her children’s basketball and soccer teams.

Prior to her retirement, Costigan was a registered nurse and patient care coordinator for the Lutheran Senior Services in Missouri. She currently resides in Bozeman, Montana.

Keeley, this year’s arts honoree, is a former floor cloth artist and woodcut printer. She now creates abstract, mixed media paintings.

“My art is all about the exploration and intimacy of the canvas' surface,” said Keeley. “This process of moving, scraping, overlapping, and blending the paint and media onto and around the surface truly makes me feel in the moment. My creative journey is making the surface come alive through color and design."

Keeley grew up in Upper Saddle River and graduated from Wheaton College with a BA in art history and a minor in studio art with a concentration in print making. In 2012, she was an artist in residence and teaching assistant at the Braitman Studio Art School. She has also worked as a freelance photographer and in art restoration. She is currently represented by Art House, a boutique art gallery in her hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Keeley has had gallery showings in New York City, Abu Dhabi, and Florence. ARTisSpectrum and Charlotte Talent magazines have both run feature articles about her.

She now focuses on oils, mixed media, and figure work as a student of Andy Braitman and Charlotte Zweber. Keeley is active in the Charlotte area and has donated her work to local charitable organizations for their fundraisers.

Founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1879, the Academy of the Holy Angels is the oldest private girls’ school in Bergen County. While AHA is steeped in Catholic tradition, this prestigious high school serves young women from a broad spectrum of cultural and religious backgrounds. Over time, thousands of women have passed through AHA’s portals. Many go on to study at some of the nation’s best universities, earning high-ranking positions in medicine, government, law, education, public service, business, arts, and athletics. The Academy’s current leaders continue to further the SSND mission to provide each student with the tools she needs to reach the fullness of her potential—spiritually, intellectually, socially, and physically, by offering a first-rate education in a nurturing environment where equal importance is placed on academic excellence, character development, moral integrity, and service to others.


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