Center for Excellence Honoree: Valerie CarboneIn her 43 years as the bursar, Valerie Carbone probably thought she had seen it all at Quinnipiac University--or at least close to it.
The Hamden native has watched as the small commuter school, originally located on Whitney Avenue when she arrived in 1965, transform into the nationally recognized university it is today after moving to its current Mount Carmel Avenue location a year later. She has witnessed paper processing make way for a Univac punch card system, only to be replaced by the digital information superhighway.
"I enjoy the job. It's challenging. It always has been challenging," says Carbone, referring to the millions of dollars of loan money that she and her department sort through each year. She is responsible for overseeing the operations of the office, from billing to collections.
Recently, something unexpected happened, something that took her off guard in a good way. President John L. Lahey stopped by her office to let her know that she was one of the recipients of the Center for Excellence in Service to Students Award.
"I was very surprised...a lot of tears," Carbone says as her eyes begin to moisten.
Valerie and her husband, Al, are now the first husband-wife team to win Center for Excellence awards since they were founded in 2002. Al, who has enjoyed a lengthy tenure as the associate dean of admissions, was given the same honor in 2007. The two were married in 1974--two years after Al earned his bachelor's degree from QU.
"I was absolutely thrilled for her," Al Carbone says. "I'm glad she finally got recognized for all her many, many years."
Patricia Hayes, who works with Carbone as an accounting secretary in the bursar's office, nominated her long-time co-worker and friend.
"I don't think too many people are aware of the many hours Valerie spends both in and out of the office to make sure student accounts are in order, and up to date," wrote Hayes, a 2004 Center for Excellence honoree who nominated Valerie.
When she's not tending to University finance matters, Valerie is usually spending time with her two children, Heather (Carbone) Hurlbut '98, MBA '00 and Meaghan Carbone '03, as well as her two grandchildren. You can also find her in the kitchen most days.
"Everybody knows she's a phenomenal cook," says Al Carbone, who has special fondness for his wife's anginette cookies. "If anybody wants a recipe, she's got them in her drawer."
Although Valerie remembers a time at Quinnipiac when she knew all the students' faces, she still is impressed that the campus has been able to retain a personal feel to it. She notes that the bursar's main function is to help students with their accounts, but she and her staff also try to assist them with other matters.
"This place is more family," Valerie says. "It was closer before. Now it's a huge family, but everybody is cordial and helpful."