Speakers and Honorees

Marjorie Fass, MA

Retired assistant dean of student and academic services, School of Nursing

Marjorie FassHonorary Student Marshal

There are many elements that shaped Marjorie Fass’ dedication to the nursing profession and she is grateful for all of them. Her youthful days as a hospital candy striper. Her graduate internship with doctoral candidates that changed her goal from teaching to student services. The students she met once she joined the higher education workforce. Her supportive staff in the Office of Academic and Student Services.

They all led up to her “magic moment” of being chosen as an honorary marshal at UMB’s commencement on May 20.

“I was surprised and thrilled,” says Fass, who retired as assistant dean of student and academic services at the School of Nursing in September. “Just filled with gratitude to be so honored.”

Fass came to the University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) in 1982 as assistant director of admissions. Over the next 15 years, she served in many roles in admissions, alumni affairs, development, and special events. After a 10-year stint at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, she returned to UMSON in 2008 as executive assistant to the associate dean of academic affairs. In 2009, she was named assistant dean for academic and student services.

None of it would have been accomplished without those working around her, she says.

“My accomplishments are really the students I have had the honor to work with through the many years. And I was fortunate to have a very dedicated and talented team in Student and Academic Services that was able to enhance the admissions and registration processes through technology and excellent customer service and to provide strategies for students to improve their learning styles as well as to offer student organizations that provided opportunities for leadership and career services that led to future employment.”

Her gratitude and pride also extend to her family, a son who is a practicing attorney, a daughter who has a master’s degree from the University of London Courtauld Institute of Art. “And I have been married to a wonderful supportive husband for almost 39 years.”

She sees the nursing students as part of her extended family.

“Working with students is a gift,” says Fass. “It is an opportunity to provide information to help them maximize their potential, finding the right program or mentor. For me it is quite gratifying to have those moments to make a difference in someone’s life. I am delighted to say I am still in touch with many of those outstanding nurses.”

Grateful for what the profession has given her, Fass also has given a lot back. Bolstering RN-to-BSN, RN-to-MS, and PhD recruitment statewide. Attracting second-degree students and more men into nursing. Winning national awards from the American Association for Colleges of Nursing, the Graduate Nursing Admissions Professionals. Creating “Career Connections,” a joint project with the University of Maryland Medical System, designed to enable middle school students to experience nursing roles at summer camp. Traveling regionally and nationally to not only recruit but also to educate the public about nursing.

And on one hot day in July 1984 she went into the UMSON alumni room … and came out with an idea for what would become the school’s Living History Museum, the state’s only museum dedicated to nursing. For in the alumni room were historical artifacts dating back to Florence Nightingale.

With Fass among the advocates for the growing project, which became a museum in 1999, the school prepared a display of military memorabilia that included photographs, newspaper clippings, medals, and awards of UMSON alumni who had served in times of war.

Today the museum displays hundreds of historic items.

And now Fass gets to share the commencement stage with a last group of her beloved students.

“Every year when I attended graduation, I would always think of the number of hours of study that was before me and what it took to make it to the magic moment of graduation,” Fass says. “To think that I will have the honor of walking the students to the conclusion of their dedication is thrilling and I am most grateful.”

Chris Zang

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