Alumni-Parent Profile: Terry Tavella Quell ’79, P’09,’05

Submitted by Virginia Weir, Assistant Director of Advancement Communications on October 15, 2013

I don’t think I realized it at the time, but the Jesuit spirit of “men and women for others” really became ingrained in me. Since I left Fairfield University, I have been involved in many professional and community organizations. Whether in a volunteer or leadership position, I feel it is important to give back to the community and profession.

Terry Tavella Quell ’79, P’09,’05

Our Family’s Fairfield Legacy

Since I was a young girl, I always wanted to be a nurse. When I was in high school, Fairfield’s new nursing school was getting positive reviews. The School of Nursing earned its initial accreditation in 1974 and I started in the fall of 1975. I graduated from the School of Nursing in 1979, and returned several years later to teach part-time in the skills lab.

My children were frequent visitors to campus, so it wasn’t unexpected that they decided to carry on the tradition. My daughter Katie graduated in 2005 with a studio art degree. She currently teaches art at All Saints Catholic School in Norwalk, and serves as professional development coordinator for art in the Bridgeport Diocese. My son John graduated with a music degree in 2009 and currently lives in Seattle, working for Kennelly Keys Music as an instrument repair technician, a craft he was first exposed to when he studied abroad in Italy.

Favorite Fairfield Memory

As a nursing student, we had clinical each week at a local hospital. Since I was a commuter student and lived so close, my parents often hosted dinner for our clinical group at my house in Norwalk. Fun times with great friends!

A nursing and teaching career

I started at Stamford Hospital as a staff nurse. I really enjoyed working with students, so I asked to work when the Fairfield nursing students were on the unit. When a part-time position opened up, I joined the Fairfield staff. Working in a number of professional roles, I supervised the skills lab, directed the Nursing Continuing Education Program, coordinated the first nursing study abroad program in England, and managed academic issues for students at all levels while being a student myself.

I earned a masters in nursing at Western Conn State University in 1994 and completed my Ph.D. in educational leadership from UCONN in 2005. I currently serve as the assistant dean for academic programs and undergraduate program director in the School of Nursing and love my job. I welcome the challenge of working with students and faculty every day, and enjoy helping others attain their goals.

Influences at Fairfield

I had some terrific professors at Fairfield. I remember pediatrics with Carole Pomarico, maternity with Alice Obrig, and med-surg with Suzanne MacAvoy. I recall being quite impressed that the dean, Dr. Phyllis Porter, came to our freshman nursing course to teach a class. When I returned to teach at Fairfield, these teachers became my colleagues, and I feel very fortunate for their mentorship. They challenged me to use my passion for nursing and gain confidence in myself.

I also spent a lot of my free time singing with the Women’s Chorale (now the co-ed Glee Club) with Maestro Arthur Sjögren. I found that music really helped round out my education, and gave me a distraction from a very challenging major. I still feel that it is important for students to get involved in University activities outside of their major area of study. I now sing with the Mendelssohn Choir of Connecticut, currently directed by Carol Ann Maxwell, who also directs the University Glee Club.

A value I took with me from Fairfield

I don’t think I realized it at the time, but the Jesuit spirit of “men and women for others” really became ingrained in me. Since I left Fairfield University, I have been involved in many professional and community organizations. Whether in a volunteer or leadership position, I feel it is important to give back to the community and profession.

Why I give

Quell 3In thanks for the wonderful opportunities that all thQuell 2ree of us had at Fairfield, my children and I wanted to give back to Fairfield. My late husband Jack was a great supporter as we each worked though our degrees. In 2006, with the help of family and friends, we donated the first bench to be placed at Bellarmine Pond to honor Jack’s memory.

We also started a scholarship fund, the Jack A. Quell Scholarship, and when my daughter, Katie, married Michael Tarczali in 2010, they made a gift to it in lieu of giving favors to their guests. It is a wonderful way to extend a helping hand to students at Fairfield University while keeping their dad’s memory alive.

 

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