Center for Excellence Honoree: Patricia HayesIt's not easy for some people to smile while walking into Quinnipiac's bursar's office. A visit usually means someone has a bill to pay; however, Patricia Hayes knows how to reverse a somber attitude.
"She is always in such a good mood that it rubs off on people," said junior Brendan McKeon, a political science major from Hamden. "She makes the visit not so painful."
McKeon and Sara Esidore '04 of Portland, Conn., nominated Hayes for the Excellence in Service to Students Award. "She always has something nice to say, and that stood out to me," Esidore said. "She makes students feel very welcome."
Students treat Hayes with the same kindness she shows. "I like everything about my job," Hayes said. "There is a terrific group of students here. Never has any student been disrespectful. If it weren't for them, there would be no need for me to have a job here. They are the most important part. Sometimes they come in just to talk."
Esidore and her parents met Hayes during freshman move-in weekend when they went to the bursar's office. That's when Hayes found out Esidore was on the women's basketball team. Hayes introduced herself as a dedicated fan and proved it later. "Every men's basketball I was at she was there, and she was at all the girls' games," Esidore said.
Hayes is so devoted to the Quinnipiac Bobcats she won't even reveal which sport she prefers. "I go to as many sports events as I can," Hayes said. "I would go to more if I could take more afternoons off." Hayes plus Marilyn Lyons, former evening bursar, and Maureen Prefontaine, federal programs supervisor at Quinnipiac, received the Behind the Scenes Award for the 1998/1999 academic year given annually by Quinnipiac's athletics department to dedicated fans for their support.
Hayes moved from Marblehead, Mass., where she was raised with her two younger brothers, to Hamden when her husband had to transfer for his job. While raising their four daughters - Catherine, Patricia, Susan and Jennifer - Hayes was the recreation director at Whitney Manor nursing home in Hamden for six years. Then her friend Dick Gagliardi asked her to help him run his store, SVS Sporting Goods in Hamden.
"I said, 'I don't know anything about sports, I have four daughters,'" Hayes recalled. She learned and eventually became store manager.
Hayes returned to Marblehead after raising her children to join her sister-in-law to run a bed and breakfast. She returned to Hamden five years later. "My grandchildren were getting big, and I was missing that," Hayes said. "I came back to be with them. I was missing a lot of the fun things grandmothers like to see, but it was a hard choice, because I liked the bed and breakfast." Hayes has nine grandchildren. "Plus those I've picked up at Quinnipiac along the way," she said. "Some of the students call me Gram."
SVS was closed when Hayes returned to Hamden, but Gagliardi's wife Manon worked in Quinnipiac's purchasing office and told Hayes about an opening in the bursar's office. Hayes also knew other Quinnipiac employees. She worked with Joanne Leddy, project coordinator, at SVS. Billy Mecca, senior associate director of athletics, and Dan Gooley, head baseball coach, used to buy sports equipment and uniforms for Quinnipiac from SVS. Hayes has been at Quinnipiac for 16 years.