Alumna Places MICDS Center Stage in Giving

“Dance brings me joy. It fills my soul,” recounts Noel Messing Hefty ’66. “Whether watching or doing, movement done creatively and expertly fills my heart. My parents taught me how to dance…and our dance teacher at Mary Institute taught me to have faith in my ability.”

Today, Noel looks back at a life lifted by all aspects of dance – as a choreographer, instructor, performer and philanthropist – and is quick to credit her days in the Mary I dance studio for her development.

“I always wanted to be a dance teacher, and Mrs. Joan Matranga was the person who really mentored me. The dance program at MI was very powerful in my day,” she recalls. “I will always be grateful for that.”

And we will always be grateful to Noel for the many ways she has held the bar high for MICDS.  As a former member of the National Board of Visitors, 50th Reunion Class Treasurer, Reunion Volunteer and regular Annual Fund donor, Noel has kept her alma mater in first position throughout her life. But a few years ago when she informed the School of her decision to include MICDS in her estate plans, she outleaped even herself.

“Sustainability is my ultimate hope for the School. The educational experiences at MICDS are so unique and amazing, and the students who go there are so lucky. I want to continue to help create unique experiences for them, and I know that by keeping the library with my sister’s name on it well endowed, it helps to fund amazing programs.”

Noel’s sister, Wilma J. Messing ’62, known as “Jeanne” to family and friends, passed away her freshman year at Mary Institute. Their parents, Wilma and Roswell “Bud” Messing ’34, made the generous decision to fund what is now the Middle School library in Jeanne’s name. “My estate plan is very focused on my sister’s library. Planned giving was never really a conversation in our family as much as it was an example. After Jeanne died, it was important for my parents to create a legacy for her.”

Over the years, Noel and her family have put MICDS center stage in their giving. The Messing family name appears on a variety of spaces and programs that they have funded for many generations, including the first-floor hallway of Beasley, Messing Library, Messing Gallery, The Messing Summer Sabbatical, and The Messing Endowment for Online Technology. Their philanthropic habit has spanned several acts, and given the family much satisfaction. “Find something you are passionate about, and give to that,” Noel recommends. She has certainly followed her own advice, and we applaud her.

If you’re interested in joining the Eliot & Thompson Society for planned giving donors and creating your own legacy at MICDS without costing you anything today, contact Kalleen Capps Rose, Director of Major and Planned Gifts, at 314-995-7455 or