Jack ’71 and Ann Songster ’72 Cahill, residents of St. Louis, Missouri, received the Builder Award, which recognizes alumni who have distinguished themselves and Doane through outstanding achievement, professional accomplishments, community service and their relationship with the university. The Builder Award is considered the highest award alumni can receive. The Cahills are two of nine Doane alumni recognized during the 2022 Alumni Awards Banquet on Oct. 9. Alumni who receive these awards exemplify the ideals taught at Doane, through their leadership and service throughout their careers and lives.
Bio written by Sara Hinds, copywriter.
As Jack ’71 and Ann Songster Cahill ’72 reminisced about their favorite memories of Doane — from living in the dorms to Greek life as a Delta Kappa Pi and Phi Sigma Tau, respectively — the couple eventually meandered to Stop Day.
Jack recalled the power he held one year as student council president when he picked the actual day of the annual event.
“And I don’t know if he even told me!” Ann said and shrugged her shoulders.
The couple met at Doane, Ann a freshman from Exeter, Nebraska, and Jack, a sophomore from Denver, Colorado. They didn’t start dating for another year or so, Ann attributing her shyness as the culprit.
Ann was studying elementary education and Jack psychology. Their paths intertwined in choir. Jack was the frontman of the Varsity Vagabonds, the member who entertained the crowd and told stories.
“I always laugh that the guy who came to Doane on a small music scholarship, couldn't read music, couldn't play an instrument [...] but he could sing and dance a little bit,” Jack said.
After dating during the rest of their Doane years, the couple married the Saturday before Ann’s graduation on Monday. It just made sense to marry with all of their friends around, Ann said.
After a couple years in Omaha and North Platte with Ann teaching first and fourth grade and Jack working for Northwestern Bell, the Cahills moved to Macomb, Illinois, in 1975. They opened an office for Edward Jones, with Ann working in what’s known now as a branch office administrator. Eventually they moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where they still live today.
Jack retired as partner from Edward Jones in 2013 and has joined Ann in full-time duties as hands-on grandparents and difference makers in their community.
The couple have three children and eight grandchildren, with two of three and six of eight living in St. Louis, too. From the get-go, well even before there were grandchildren in the picture, Ann and Jack pledged to play an active role as grandparents.
“We don’t want to miss anything,” Jack said.
Aside from happily attending family gatherings and kids’ sporting and school events, Ann and Jack have also happily volunteered with or served on boards of various organizations.
Jack currently is on the Board of Directors at Missouri Baptist Hospital and Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College; Ann has served on the Doane University Board of Trustees since 2011.
Their commitment to community dates back to opening the doors of their Edward Jones office in Macomb, Illinois, circa 1975. Jack said the company tended to settle in small communities rather than big cities or suburbs.
“If you’re going to be successful in a community, you’ve got to be involved in the community,” he said, talking about the Edward Jones philosophy. “You don’t just do business all the time.”
But their value of giving back dates all the way back to both sets of parents.
And it’s easier to give than receive, Ann said.