Professional organizations: IACAC, NACAC, College Board, Chicago Area College Counselor Association, and Illinois College Access Network
Member of IACAC: 29 years
How did you get into higher education?
In 1981 I had just recently graduated from college and the Dean of Admission at St. Norbert College, Matt Flanagan, called and asked me if I would go on a bus tour to visit various colleges. The tour was sponsored by a group of people within an association called IACAC, and that’s where it all began. Jim Conroy was running the tour and I met many counselors who became lifelong friends.
Later on, I became the Chicago admission representative for St. Norbert. After seven years as Chicago Rep for St. Norbert, I transitioned to the Associate Director at the National College of Education. After a short break, I became the Director of College Guidance at Notre Dame High School for Boys where I remained for 17 years.
This is my 5th year as Director of College Counseling for the Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund.
How long have you been a member of NACAC?
27 years–my first NACAC Conference was in Cincinnati!
What IACAC and NACAC committees are you involved in?
Conference Committee numerous times, Future Programs and Projects (which doesn’t exist anymore), Original Chair of the Mentorship committee, Credentials Committee. I served for several years as faculty for Summer Institute. (I usually did whatever Gloria Mueller or Scott Ham or April Hansen decided I should do!)
You’re the Director of College Counseling at the Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund. How does DMSF help students?
The mission of the Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund is to give high school scholarship assistance and educational support to Chicago students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. DMSF seeks to make a life-altering difference in the lives of its Scholars by providing them with the best opportunity to succeed in high school and college.
Why are Community-Based Organizations so important to the mission of IACAC?
Community-Based Organizations help to provide access to higher education for underrepresented, economically disadvantaged, first generation kids.
What is your favorite IACAC memory?
I have been doing this so long I have probably forgotten more than I can remember. The fond memories go on and on. I have been to many conferences and many college tours and always have a great time. For me, the most important thing is how many members of IACAC are like family. My nearest and dearest friends I have met through this profession. It was weird to realize the other night at the conference that I knew and considered friends all the people that the awards were named after: Pat Kasowski, Jim Alexander and Molly Arnold. They were all wonderful people and mentors and I was privileged to have known them.
Do you have any words of wisdom for new members?
If you can’t say “I love my job” at least a couple times a week, you should find another profession.
Love what you do and you won’t work a day in your life. Find a mentor it will make your life so much easier.
I am blessed that so many colleagues are willing to give of their time to help me with programming and materials, college visits for the Daniel Murphy Scholars. Getting to know other people in this profession will make your job so much easier. You would be hard pressed to find someone who is not willing to help.
Do you know an interesting IACAC member we should meet? Send your recommendations to Megan O’Rourke.