End of an Era: Mary Frances A.H. Malone, PhD, Retires

End of an Era: Mary Frances A.H. Malone, PhD, Retires

mary frances malone

This week, friends and colleagues gathered for a special reception to honor Dr. Malone, associate vice president for Academic Affairs, and to celebrate her contributions to Fairfield University.

The Fall 2018 semester is drawing to a close, and with it comes the end of an era: after a 35-year career at Fairfield University, Dr. Mary Frances A.H. Malone is retiring from her position as associate vice president for Academic Affairs — a role she held for an unprecedented quarter-century.

“Nothing I could say can truly encompass all that Mary Frances has meant and will continue to mean to this University,” wrote Provost Christine Siegel, PhD, in a letter that shared the news of Dr. Malone’s impending departure with faculty and staff last spring. She offered gratitude for Dr. Malone’s “encouragement, guidance, wise counsel, and many graces” over the years.

In the months between that announcement and Dr. Malone’s retirement, scores of students, alumni, faculty, and staff have come forward to share stories of the significant ways in which Dr. Malone has influenced them personally, professionally, and intellectually. “Everyone has a Mary Frances Malone story – a story that recounts a meaningful encounter – whether it be the first time you met, the sage advice that came just when you needed it, the outreach that was unexpected, or the invitation to lunch that turned out to be about more than lunch,” acknowledged Dr. Siegel in her remarks to friends and colleagues who gathered at a reception in honor of Dr. Malone on Tuesday.

Melissa Quan, director of the Center for Faith and Public Life, also spoke at the reception. She revealed that as she listened to colleagues while preparing her own remarks, “A few themes emerged from the stories that were shared, none of them surprising if you know Mary Frances. The themes were mentorship, presence, and kindness.”

On mentorship, Quan explained how she herself had benefited from the professional and academic guidance Dr. Malone shared so generously and wisely with both students and colleagues, “Mary Frances has a way of seeing into the future, anticipating opportunities, and helping people prepare for those opportunities.”

On behalf of the Class of 2018, James Fitzpatrick '70, assistant vice president for Auxiliary Services, presented Dr. Malone with a gift copy of the 2018 Manor yearbook, which is dedicated to her. Fitzpatrick shared the dedication, which in part reads, “Dr. Malone personifies kindness to all who interact with this gem of a staff member....We, the editors and staff of the 2018 Manor Yearbook, wish this gentle kind soul, God’s speed with her retirement at the conclusion of the fall 2018 semester. We pray that St. Ignatius and St. Robert Bellarmine will look over her with the same love she has shared with Fairfield students. She is a gift to us!"

Poised and gracious as ever, Dr. Malone thanked all present on Tuesday for their thoughtful words and remembrances on the occasion of her retirement. Reflecting on her career, she said, “I owe a great deal to the collective that is Fairfield University. My years here have opened my eyes, my mind, and my heart to such a depth of intellectual engagement across disciplines and have deepened my faith in ways too numerable to count.”

In a nod to her responsibilities for oversight of all traditional campus convocations and ceremonies, Dr. Malone concluded with this prayer: “Thus, through the intercession of Ignatius of Loyola and Robert Bellarmine, may God bless each of you, the mission that is Fairfield University, and the extended University community — and may the sun always shine on Commencement weekends.”


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Last modified: 01-10-19 4:19 PM


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