When she was a young mother, divorced from her first husband, Pam Delfino ’10 wished she had had the opportunity to complete the college education she started before her marriage. “I cleaned houses, because I had no skills to fall back on,” she says of the struggle to support her young family.
“I always preached to my kids [that] you need to get an education,” she said. “I always tell them this, but I never set the example.”
Although she had entered college shortly after high school, she soon needed back surgeries, which derailed her educational dreams.
All that changed, thanks to the generosity of donors to the college and the encouragement of her friends and family, including her second husband, Rich; and her daughters Victoria (Tori), 17; Olivia (Livi), 14; and Alexandria (Alli), 8.
And on Dec. 19, Delfino walked across the stage in the Campus Center to receive her diploma, wearing the gold gown of a summa cum laude, having achieved a 4.0 grade point average on the way to a degree in childhood education with a social studies concentration.
One of the people proudest of Delfino’s achievement is Frances Moroney Whited ’44, who endowed the John P. Moroney and Frances Murphy Moroney Merit Scholarship in memory of her parents. The third recipient of the scholarship, which supports a student in the quest for an education degree, Delfino was able to receive the scholarship aid for three years, because she maintained her grades at a high level.
“She shows her passion for teaching and her love of literacy,” Whited said of Delfino. “She is a very worthy recipient of the John P. Moroney and Frances Murphy Moroney Merit Scholarship and I know she will carry on their love of and support of education.”
Whited called Delfino an outstanding student, who “set the bar high for others with what she has achieved.” She praised Delfino for taking advantage of the many opportunities Oswego offers.
For her part, Delfino was eager to take advantage of all those opportunities, observing and learning from teachers in her college classrooms. Professors like Geraldine Forbes and Greg Parsons of history, Tim Delaney of sociology and Linda Lord of education became important role models for her in how to present lessons so that children would learn from them. Lord’s course in literature and literacy inspired Delfino to seek a master’s degree in the field, a program she hopes to begin at Oswego in the fall.
‘The Best Gift’
Delfino takes her own role as a teacher very seriously. “I think education is the best gift you can give a child,” she said. “You can’t replace that — especially reading.”
In one of her letters to Whited, she wrote, “I realize that being a teacher is an incredible responsibility, and I appreciate the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children.”
Delfino is thankful for the help from Whited and other donors. She was also the recipient of the Edward Austin Sheldon Scholarship, Class of 1945 Scholarship, Gillespie/Pietroski Scholarship and Dorothy Rogers Scholarship.
The support from earlier graduates is all part of Oswego’s strong alumni network, something Delfino appreciates since her days of working with the alumni and development department offices. Two of her host teachers were Oswego graduates, Brandie Noyes Norton ’97, M ’00 and Mary Ann Bullard ’89, M ’95. After Delfino’s graduation, Bullard recommended her for substitute teaching assignments.
Delfino’s daughter Tori is now a junior in high school and soon to begin her own college education. Delfino says she is happy that she was able to put her words into action and model the effort she has so long preached to her children.
“The decision to go back to school was not easy,” she wrote. “It requires diligence, sacrifice and hard work. However, every time I have the opportunity to work with the children, it only reaffirms the commitment I have made.”