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Mary Moga

Mary Moga has been named one of four recipients of the 2007 John Tate Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising.

Top advisers honored

Mary Moga is one of four recipients of Tate Award for Undergraduate Advising

By Christie Vogt

April 17, 2007

After much anticipation, most first-year students head off to the University determined to be independent, while also anxious for guidance. That's where Mary Moga comes in--one of four recipients of the 2007 John Tate Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising.

Student conversations with Moga are not limited to deciding between an astronomy and oceanography course or debating between a history and English major.

"Mary would compel me to view my life through a bigger lens outside of the academic arena," says Aasiya Somji, a recent advisee. "[She] pushed me to remember the joy of being thoughtful and purposeful," echoes former student Josh DoBell, "not only in my academic pursuits, but in my life."

Moga, who has been with the College of Liberal Arts honors program on the Twin Cities campus for eight years, brings with her a dedication and enthusiasm which are "quiet and powerful at the same time," according to Carole Anne Broad, co-chair of the Academic Advising Network.

John Tate Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising

The Tate Award was established in 1986 to recognize and honor top advisers U-wide. The other 2007 recipients include:

Pamela Holsinger-Fuchs, UMC Student Services

Julie Johnson Westlund, UMD Career Services

Gayle Woodruff, UMTC Learning Abroad Center, Office of International Programs

See also the Tate Awards.

"I think it would be difficult to find an adviser who has connected with students the way Mary has," adds Honors-CLA assistant program director Pamela Price Baker.

For four years, Moga has been in charge of freshman admissions and recruitment, one of the largest and most important tasks of the office. Despite Moga's hectic schedule, DoBell says that when he met with her, their conversation "felt like the most important thing she had to do that day."

"I love being an adviser," Moga says. "I get to work with amazing people who inspire me--and for whom I hope I return the favor--[and] challenge me, and help me to think in expanded ways."

Each year at the Honors Luncheon for graduating seniors, students cite her repeatedly for having had an impact on their lives at the University.

"We all joke each year about how often Mary is named," says Honors-CLA director Richard McCormick, "but in fact we are impressed by it--and very proud of her." Moga says of her colleagues, "Their constant cheer and willingness to share their lessons, triumphs, and sorrows has helped me to ground myself as an adviser and mentor."

A few years ago, Moga recruited a record number of faculty members--about 50--to participate at the CLA Commencement ceremonies. She "gave graduation the kind of significance that students deserve," McCormick says.

"This recognition by my students, peers, and supervisors for doing a job [that] I love means a lot," Moga says of the award. "I'm thrilled and honored--no pun intended!--to be among those selected."

When speaking of Moga, colleagues and students frequently note her empathy.

"I have observed students enter her office in tears and emerge with resolve and a plan in hand," Baker says. "I watch Mary emerge later, teary-eyed and ecstatic that she and the student had been able to tackle the situation together."

"I encourage them to take full advantage of all the University has to offer," Moga says, "and let them know that they are really the ones in charge of their lives now."

This seems to have been the case with Aasiya Somji: "There has never been a time that I have gone into her office without a paradigm shift in the way I view the world."

"This recognition by my students, peers, and supervisors for doing a job [that] I love means a lot," Moga says of the award. "I'm thrilled and honored--no pun intended!--to be among those selected."

As students leave the U, Moga travels with them through correspondence and well wishes, says Baker. "She does not forget them."

"Four years often rush by at the speed of light," Moga says, "and then they are gone, off to create themselves anew in their lives outside of college."

FURTHER READING

"A sea change in campus culture: New initiatives put undergraduates in the spotlight--and the driver's seat," March 30, 2007 "U advisers celebrate Tate Award winners," May 10, 2006


Christie Vogt is an editorial assistant in University Relations.