By From the Lowell Sun
By Nancye Tuttle
LOWELL -- Jacqueline Moloney's life has come full circle. In the mid-'70s, she attended a reception in the historic Allen House on the Lowell State College campus and was taken by its beauty and Merrimack River views.
Now, 33 years later, Moloney, UMass Lowell's executive vice chancellor, enjoys the stunning views from her office there.
"Little did I know then, when I stood in awe in the house, that one day I'd work here," said Moloney, who was Dean of Continuing Studies in April 2007 when newly-appointed Chancellor Marty Meehan offered her the post.
Her job makes her the highest placed female administrator in UMass Lowell history. It's the latest achievement in a career there as teacher, admissions officer, and founder of award-winning programs to improve student retention, faculty development, online learning and continuing education.
Girls Incorporated of Greater Lowell will honor Moloney as the 2008 Woman of the Year at its Celebration of Today's Woman reception on Thursday, June 5, at the Courtyard Marriott.
"I'm touched and surprised. I didn't expect it at all," Moloney said.
Moloney is a fine choice for the award, said Carol Duncan, Girls Inc. executive director.
"Jacquie's accomplishments -- career, community service, wife, mother -- speak for themselves. But what makes her extra special is the fact that she downplays her own leadership role and gives credit to others. Her selflessness, ability to engage others and make them part of her team is a key reason for her success," she said.
Moloney grew up in Tewksbury, one of seven girls and one boy in Esther and Eddie Fidler's large family. She was on the business track at Tewksbury High, until her ninth-grade typing teacher, Jean Reardon, set her toward college.
"Business was what girls from big families did. But I wanted to go to college and she walked me down to the office to change my track. No one in my family had gone to college and my parents had mixed feelings. But when I got my doctorate in 1992, they couldn't have been prouder," Moloney recalled.
Mary Blewett, a retired UMass Lowell history professor, mentored her, too.
"I took all her courses and loved history of American women. It was a profound experience to have faculty who were feminists and made me look at the feminist movement," said Moloney, a sociology major.
Former chancellor Bill Hogan nurtured her career, encouraging every effort. And former Dean of Health Jan Stecchi and Nancy Donahue, past Girls Inc. honorees, inspired her as well.
Her husband, attorney Ed Moloney, and daughters Emily Smith, a lawyer, and Margaret Hansberry, a teacher, are great cheerleaders.
In her spare time, Moloney golfs with friends at Vesper Country Club, travels to Florida with Ed and watches old movies.
Since she joined Meehan, spare moments are few and far between.
"It's a whirlwind. No day's the same. Marty is full of ideas of where to take the campus and institution. It's exciting," she said.
Moloney will share that excitement at her reception.
"It's good that things are changing for women. I'll encourage them to be true to themselves, believe in themselves and commit to their education. It changes lives," she said.
Jacquie Moloney's a prime example of that.