Earning a lifetime of thank-yous
For 27 years, Cassie Iacovelli has been getting her hands dirty molding the lives of students at the pottery wheel of Rider.
As an assistant dean of Campus Life, Iacovelli supervises a diverse assortment of activities. She oversees the Emerging Leaders, a program she founded for any incoming student to develop leadership skills. Among other roles, Iacovelli has also been the Lawrenceville SGA Adviser since 1997.
During her career, Iacovelli developed many meaningful relationships. One student she advised in 1982 calls her annually to thank her and has never missed a year. Many alumni contact her regularly with e-mails, holiday cards and phone calls.
“Who couldn’t be happy to have a career like that — to have people remember you,” Iacovelli said. “At least you feel you do a job that has some meaning.”
When Iacovelli first started at Rider in the Residence Life Office, she resided on campus in the Lincoln B apartment from 1980 to 1983 with her husband and baby son. Yearbook editor Sherry Goodman, who was also the infant’s babysitter, wrote an entry calling him “the littlest resident on campus.”
Iacovelli cited some of her proud contributions in recent years including the creation of University Day, the organization of Midnight MAACness and the introduction of Bronc Buffets and Bronc Bingo.
One of her most rewarding moments was when she organized an alcohol awareness program. She invited a 26-year-old drunk driver, whose victim became a quadriplegic, to do a presentation.
“I had the drunk driver, the victim and the victim’s mother all talking at the same time and it was very powerful,” she said. “Many students were affected by this program and it may have saved lives.”
Iacovelli has garnered numerous awards. She prides herself on receiving the Frank N. Elliot award for Distinguished Service in 1995.
“I was definitely acknowledged for my work with students and my impact on university traditions and activities,” Iacovelli said.
Not only has she received awards, but she had one named after her by the Lawrenceville SGA. She sees the Cassie D. Iacovelli award as a way students acknowledge and respect her work.
“The best accomplishment is the relationship I’ve formed with students,” she said. “Hopefully I have been a part of their success in life.”
Jan Friedman-Krupnick, assistant vice president of Student Affairs, said Iacovelli is “really effective in helping students grow and develop” and has “mentored more students than anybody else over the years.”
Junior Jennifer Kamm considers Iacovelli the “poster child” of leadership.
“By teaching us to be leaders and spreading leadership on to others, Cassie has strengthened the entire Rider community,” Kamm said. “The passion she has for her job is infectious, which inspires others around her to become passionate as well.”
Freshman Heather Fischler believes that Iacovelli understands the importance of adjusting to the college experience.
“She knows how to help others to get involved, and is a great judge of character,” Fischler said. “She’s one of the best people I have met at Rider University. My college experience would have been totally different if I didn’t know her.”
Iacovelli’s goal for the immediate future is to just enjoy what she does.
“I don’t know how long I’m going to stay at Rider, but I know that while I’m here I’ll give it everything I’ve got,” she said.
Iacovelli lives by the philosophy: “You can’t get out of life alive, so live life to the fullest.”