Center for Excellence Honoree: Marion Sparago
Marion Sparago has been described as the guardian angel of the School of Education. Students, faculty and staff agree that her passion and commitment to students are as genuine as they are inspiring.
Sparago, secretary in the School of Education, has been recognized for her efforts with the University's most prestigious staff honor, the Excellence in Service to Students. She was honored at the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Service to Students ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 24, in the Recreation Center on the Mount Carmel Campus.
"Marion is the heart of the School of Education," said Virginia Roussell, an education graduate student. "She is the first person one sees when entering the School of Education and her friendly greeting always makes one feel welcome. She is always willing to help anyone with any problem and she cares about each and every Master of Arts in Teaching student and is always looking out for their best interests."
Sparago has also changed students' lives for the better. Marta Musial, an education student who previously pursued a degree in pre-law at another university, received a phone call from Sparago moments after emailing her questions about the School of Education.
"We must have been on the phone for over an hour," she recalls. "She took the time to explain each and every detail of the program, including internships, student teaching and clinical, what I needed in order to be accepted, a list of deadlines and resources to apply for financial aid. She was the sole reason I chose the school."
Since that conversation, Musial said she has "been nothing but thrilled with being a student at Quinnipiac."
"When I think about Marion, three words come to mind: selfless, caring and giving," said Beth Larkins-Strathy, associate dean of the School of Education. "Marion is also a friend, someone I can share with, vent to and celebrate accomplishments with. I, like all of my colleges in the School of Education, truly love this woman."
Sparago has had such an impact on students that a number of songs and poems have been written in her honor. Among them, one to the tune of the "Ghostbusters" theme. "If you feel all alone, pick up the phone and call Marion Sparago," the song written by student Shayna Farese concludes.
"Marion is very capable and competent in handling not only the daily aspects of her position, but is always readily available to go out of her way to assist staff, students and visitors in dealing with a wide range of issues and problems," said Don McCarthy, an adjunct professor of education. "Many times she has stayed well beyond her normal workday to assist me and others in resolving last-minute situations that occur - from helping set up needed technology for a class, locating assigned teaching space to running those last-minute copies or helping fix the jam in that confounding copy machine. All through these situations, Marion always remains unflappable and never loses that effective smile. She is a great friend and co-worker who is deserving of this recognition."
Sparago said she loves being able to work with the students, and is honored to be recognized by her peers and students.
"My goal is to ensure that each student is well taken care of and knows that I, and the School of Education, am available whenever he or she is in need of any assistance - whether it is a question relating to the program or someone to talk with or a shoulder on which to lean," Sparago said. "I hope what I do in the School of Education has a positive impact on students. I guess because I have four daughters - three of whom have been through college - I have an idea of the pressures and stresses students can encounter, and if I can greet them with a smile and make them feel at home, I feel like I am accomplishing something."
Rebecca Rice, an education student, said she is leaving a greater mark on students than she realizes.
"She is absolutely the glue that holds our education family together and I can't imagine being a part of this incredible program without her," Rice said. "Marion is an overall remarkable individual who pours her heart into everything she does - and no amount of praise or compliments can begin to properly describe how much everyone, including myself, appreciates her."
Also being honored with the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Service to Students Award are: Camille Bracale, a custodian; Leonard Engel, professor of English in the College of Arts and Sciences; Heidi Erickson, senior associate director of admissions; Angela Mattie, associate professor in the Healthcare Management and Organizational Leadership department in the School of Business and Engineering and Andri Smith, associate professor of chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Each recipient will receive a $3,000 cash award, a Center for Excellence sculpture and their names will be carved into the stone plaque in the Arnold Bernhard Library. They will also be featured in "Quinnipiac Magazine" and attend a luncheon with President John L. Lahey in April.
Members of the University community may nominate faculty and staff for next year's awards through April 15, 2014. Learn more.