“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future,” John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Jason Bozzone’s personal hero, once said. With his eye on the future, Bozzone, the current director of student activities, resigned from his position and will be taking a job at the University of Pennsylvania.
Penn’s School Of Medicine has presented Bozzone with the opportunity to grow professionally and to further his career goals. He has been given the position of Associate Director of Alumni Affairs, Reunions & Special Events Planning. “As a kid, I wanted to be the quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. My ultimate goal would probably have to be to be State Senator of Pa.,” Bozzone said.
In the fall of 2002, Bozzone was working at Penn State, Abington, had just buried his grandfather, and was getting ready to marry his wife Melissa, when he received the call to come in for an interview as director of student activities. Not really interested in changing jobs, he declined the offer. When someone from Cabrini College called a second time, he finally agreed to come in. On the day of his rehearsal dinner, he came in for an interview and got the job.
Since Cabrini was reputed as being a “commuter school” there were not many activities available on campus. “When I came here, there were insurmountable challenges. There was no recognition of student leaders. There was no organization for student organizations. I wanted to give Student Activities an identity on campus. I knew I could grow here,” Bozzone said.
While Bozzone reined the student activities, many programs emerged that current freshmen think are the norm here at Cabrini. Family weekend and orientation was totally reconstructed. Involvement fair was developed. Midnight Madness was enhanced. Quality events were programmed, in Bozzone’s opinion.
“I wanted to enhance and give life to the core values. We put banners and assigned each one a color. We brought a sense of pride and spirit to this campus,” Bozzone said. As for the student leaders, Bozzone formed programs to honor those leaders on campus, to recognize all the hard work they do.
Vice President for Student Development, Dr. Christine Lysionek, is very sorry to see Bozzone leave Cabrini. However, she also understands how important it is to pursue a professional opportunity such as his. “All of us in Student Development are sorry to lose someone of Jason’s experience, energy and commitment from our staff. During his time at Cabrini, he has clearly demonstrated his investment in meeting the needs and interests of our students, and we feel that those who have worked most closely with him over the past three years have sharpened their leadership and programming skills, and have benefited from his dedication to teaching and acting on the college’s core values of community, vision, excellence and respect” Lysionek said. She went on to say, “During his tenure here, he has managed to lay a strong foundation upon which the person who succeeds him can continue to build an excellent activities program.”
Bozzone is also the advisor for the Student Government Association (SGA). President Sarah Madden said, “I have known Jason for the past three years. Cabrini has changed dramatically since he’s been here. He was always such a friend. His door was always opened. He always gave a pat n the back, positive feedback and made you think you were having an impact on the school.”
Kristen Boone, the vice president of activities on SGA, said that Bozzone has had nothing but good intentions for Cabrini and that his enthusiasm has allowed him to bring many new activities here. “Although this is a great opportunity for him, I will miss him as advisor of SGA, but more importantly as a friend,” Boone said.
Bozzone will miss having a supportive vice president, Dr. Lysionek. “At this point in my career, she has been the best supporter, mentor and student affairs practitioner I have ever worked with,” he said. Bozzone’s said that Amy Hecht, his assistant director, is fully competent in student leadership and dedicated to the students, and that helped throughout his stay at Cabrini.
Hecht said that Jason built the Office of Student Activities from the ground up, impacting hundreds of students in the process. “Students are drawn to Jason for his compassion, enthusiasm, and desire to improve everything he’s around. He has been an amazing mentor and is the epitome of a student affair professional. The office will be at a loss without his energy and even his corny jokes!” Hecht said.
Ultimately, Bozzone will miss the students. “That is why I do what I do. It’s gonna be tough because there are students you connect with, you see them grow and you know you had a part in their development. The good things, the bad things. There is a very unique student body here, willing to step up and contribute to the bigger picture,” he said.
Ferris Beuler said on his famous day off, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look once in awhile, you could miss it.” Bozzone is headed for a successful life and career. He stopped at Cabrini, looked around, took a risk, made a positive impact and Cabrini will benefit for years to come.
Cabrini’s very own President, Dr. Antoinette Iadarola, said, “Jason leaves a legacy of helping students find their passion of social justice, helping students understand that ‘giving back’ is important and helping them learn to live lives of dignity and purpose. Jason enhanced the seamless experience we want for our students, both in and out of the classroom, by providing a holistic approach to student development which is at the core of our ‘celebration of the heart.'”