Far be it for Marilyn Meola Mazzarulli ’59 to consider herself a pioneer.
But, as a member of Cabrini College’s inaugural class and the first alum to start an endowment, Mazzarulli not only forged her own educational path, but a unique humanitarian one as well.
She credits that development to the message of empowerment delivered to her and fellow classmates by Sister Ursula Infante, Cabrini’s founder and first president.
“Mother Ursula, in my opinion, was years ahead of the women’s movement,” Mazzarulli says.
“She instilled in us [the notion] that there was not anything that was not possible for us to do, as women. In those days, that was unheard of.”
Mazzarulli took that message to heart, securing a job within a week of graduation from Cabrini, and re-entering the job market after taking time to raise her three children.
She founded a travel agency in Manhattan with a friend, and over the years, expanded it from a two-woman operation to a female-owned company employing more than 40 agents.
After nine years, Mazzarulli sold the business to her partner. Today, she splits her time between Miami and Palm Desert, Ca., and devotes her energies to her three sons, two stepsons, and nine grandchildren.
Looking back on what has been a rich and fulfilling life, she says her focus now is on helping others and giving back.
“I strongly believe that we have to educate young people,” Mazzarulli says. “If someone has financial problems, those of us who are more fortunate should help.”
More than a decade ago, Mazzarulli placed a call to Cabrini with the intention of making a donation in the form of a scholarship. She did not want to place any restrictions on it; her only request was that the scholarship to go to someone who truly needed it.
As a result of that initiative, the Marilyn Meola Mazzarulli Scholarship Fund was born.
Although she’s never met the beneficiaries of the scholarship in person, she always receives a letter from the recipients, thanking her for making their futures possible. Mazzarulli keeps each letter.
She hopes that by helping students earn an education, she is doing for them what Mother Ursula did for her 50 years ago: letting them know that anything is possible.