Mary Anne Nagy, Vice President of Student Life and Leadership Engagement, will be retiring in June 2023, as announced in an email sent to the campus community on Monday, Feb. 6.
Nagy has been with Monmouth for 37 years, first joining the University’s program services department in 1986 before eventually taking on her current role as vice president in 1994. As described in the email, Nagy’s duties include overseeing the areas of campus safety, conference and event services, counseling and prevention services, crisis management, fraternity and sorority life, health services, judicial affairs, off campus and commuter services, residential life, student engagement and student center operations, transitions and leadership programs, and student support and veteran services.
“I’ve been working since I could get working papers at 16, so it’s time to chill a little,” explained Nagy, who described feeling like she might never retire. Prior to joining Monmouth, she worked as a program director for the YMCA of Camden County and then as a director of parks and recreation in Red Bank. After 41 years of full time professional work, Nagy decided it was time to retire.
“Vice President Nagy has tirelessly dedicated her entire professional career to Monmouth University and when she retires in June, will have left an indelible imprint on tens of thousands of students. She has made Monmouth a home –away –from home for our students, providing them with a safe, secure, and memorable experience during their time at the university,” said Patrick Leahy, Ed.D., President of Monmouth University. “While I will certainly miss her leadership and guidance—in areas ranging from student life to crisis management to campus safety, and everything in between—I know that VP Nagy’s influence on Monmouth will be felt for generations to come.”
“It is difficult to articulate all Mary Anne’s contributions to Monmouth University.” added Jeana Piscatelli, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “She has played an integral role in the trajectory of the University. We will miss working and collaborating with our dear friend and colleague.”
“As I look at her career, I am so impressed by the length and the breadth of her leadership and her service and the care that she put into it,” reflected Thomas Pearson, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of History. “She had a job in which she has been on call nonstop for the better part of 27 years. That’s pretty amazing when I think about that level of dedication in dealing with an array of challenges. She deserves tremendous admiration for her willingness to do that.”
Noting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on her final years at Monmouth, Nagy explained, “It took a lot out of me, and that’s probably why I’m tired. But I think it also made me very
proud of the people that I worked with and our commitment to getting back up and running. We were one of the first campuses to do so. We had our challenges, but we got through them.”
“We were building the plane while it was still flying,” described Kathy Maloney, Director of Health Services, who noted Nagy’s determination to facilitate a safe return to campus: “We worked very very closely with each other to keep the University afloat and get the students back.”
“Whether you loved her or you hated her, and there are people on this campus who feel both ways, she has provided really great leadership for Student Life and has always put the student first,” Maloney added.
Nagy noted that many of her favorite memories from her time at Monmouth are related to the “sense of community” and “people coming together to support each other,” citing the days following 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy as some of her most memorable moments from her extensive career.
“The other thing I think about is the students I’ve worked with along the way. I also have some excellent colleagues who I’m going to miss. I think it’s really about the people,” Nagy added.
“Will I miss a full day? I’ll bet I will, but I’m not going to miss the pressure or the stress,” continued Nagy, describing her plans to travel, play golf, and dedicate more time to position with the board of trustees at Monmouth Medical Center. “The work we do in Student Life is hard. Our students deal with a lot of really challenging things, and you feel for them. I don’t know that [Student Life] gets the credit they deserve.”
“Working in Student Affairs is not for the faint of heart,” explained Vaughn Clay, Director of Student Engagement. “It is demanding, time consuming, and this field often asks more from its professionals than it gives back. Yet, those who go into the field do so because they are passionate about guiding and supporting students through one of the most critical moments in their lives.”
Clay, who has worked under Nagy for almost 30 years, described her as “old school,” noting her early arrival and late departure each day as she worked hard to aid the University and its students.
“We will miss her presence in the Division of Student Life and at the University. However, we also know that she leaves behind a legacy that was built on a commitment, dedication, focus, and passion toward helping Monmouth students become their best versions of themselves,” said Clay.
“She’s been a transformative leader here at Monmouth, and she’s going to be a really tough act to follow,” concluded Pearson.