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Alumni of the Year

Marva Mariner

I am deeply honored and humbled to be receiving this award. But truth be told, the glory belongs to all of us. All who overcome tremendous challenges and dared to chase their dreams. And to the many who stood quietly in the corner supporting, motivating and inspiring us to achieve. This award belongs to all of you.

When I set out to purse my associate in Medical Assistant at ASA, I was already marked for failure by those without foresight and a willingness to think unconventionally. Not only was I a single mother of two girls but I was diagnosed with bilateral hearing loss. A disability could not be corrected with traditional hearing aids. Having lost my hearing during my teen years, I was conditioned to believe that I would never be successful. I faced so many types of discrimination that I too became susceptible to this belief and become fearful of trying.

With so little encouragement, it took many years to develop the courage to pursue a higher level of education. Today I am happy that my journey of thousand miles began at ASA. On my very first day, I was touched by the support and the accommodation I received. Moreover, on days I felt I could no longer continue I was encouraged to keep going. These inspirations, I kept with me throughout my undergraduate years at Mercy College and later during my graduate years at Columbia University.

The great teachers at ASA saw possibilities and in doing so provided the foundation that I so desperately needed. Their support boosted my confidence to reject the limitations others wanted to impose on me. I want to say, “Your work was not in vain” Albert Pike once said, “What we do for ourselves, dies with us; what we do for others remain and is immortal.” My successes –one of which is my employment as a social worker- a field I am most passionate –are also your successes. As I continue to overcome challenges and to empower others, I would like to also say to the graduating class of 2015, family and friends, greatness is within all of us, because we individually and collectively have the power to make a difference in our lives and the lives of others. Thank you and congratulation class 2015.