Onondaga Community College annually recognizes distinguished graduates by naming them “Alumni Faces” for their accomplishments and contributions to the community. The 2018 class will be honored during a ceremony October 3, at 5:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall which is located in the Academic II building. Two of the graduates we will honor that night are Mark Re and Nancy Pasquale.
Mark Re and Nancy Pasquale first met in the late 70’s. Working in separate career ventures at the time, they soon found themselves longing for their real passions which led them to OCC. First, Re would return to obtain a degree in Business Administration. His success inspired Pasquale to earn one in Humanities. “We had each other and both worked really hard to get where we are today, but some of our fondest memories were when we were both starting our education and sitting across from each other at the dining room table with piles of books surrounding us,” said Pasquale.
The two adult learners felt comfortable at OCC right away thanks to a supportive environment. “The professors were terrific and I am still friends with some of them to this day,” Re said. Both of them agree their time at OCC shaped them and provided the necessary foundation and confidence to continue on and fulfill their dreams. “We both have degrees from other institutions, but our OCC diplomas are positioned in the same way and just as prominently as our others because that is where it started for us,” Re added.
Since graduating from OCC, Re completed his bachelor’s at Syracuse University and has been promoted through the real estate ranks from Branch Manager to Vice President and Regional Manager at Howard Hanna Real Estate Services. Pasquale completed her bachelor’s from SUNY Cortland and her Master’s from Syracuse University and recently retired after 22 years of service as a high school English teacher in the Fayetteville-Manlius and Solvay school districts.
Looking back on their life from when they first met, their experience at OCC and their professional careers, giving back or “Paying It Forward” has always been a central theme for both Re and Pasquale. Whether it be financially or donating their time, both of them are passionate about opening doors of opportunity to those in need, which has led them to co-chair the OCC Advantage Program. The unique college-readiness and scholarship program gives students at East Syracuse Minoa, Onondaga Central and Solvay High Schools the opportunity to attend OCC tuition free. “When Casey [OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill] came to us to chair the committee we knew it was going to be a challenge, but one we were both passionate about in order to give back not only to the institution that gave us our start, but to the area school children who never thought college was an option to them,” Pasquale said. “We are both humbled and grateful for receiving this honor from an institution we love and respect.”