Dr. Susan Agolini Receives Marymount University’s Outstanding Faculty Award

Dr. Susan Agolini received the Robert A. Draghi Outstanding Faculty Award during Marymount University’s Recognition Day awards ceremony on Saturday, May 19. An annual commencement weekend tradition, the award is presented by the graduating seniors to a faculty member who demonstrates teaching excellence, contributes to strengthening the overall university community and supports Marymount’s mission and “students come first philosophy.”    

It’s named for Dr. Robert A Draghi, professor of philosopy and dean of Marymount’s School of Arts and Sciences, who was a member of Marymount’s faculty from 1961-2003. Draghi was known for his kindness, collegiality, dedication to his discipline and — above all — his abiding concern for students.

“I’m so honored by this award, which took me completely by surprise,” said Agolini, who just completed her third year as the Clare Boothe Luce assistant professor of biology and physical sciences at Marymount.

“Dr. Agolini truly epitomizes what it means to be a compassionate mentor and source of support for each of her students,” said Brenna Cook ’18. “Her selfless commitment to her students, inside and outside of the classroom, as well as her enthusiasm for the field of science is truly unmatched.”

Cook praised Agolini for returning to campus during evenings and weekends to both help students and participate in campus events. Agolini served as Cook’s honors thesis mentor and the two founded Food For Thought, a student-run organization that aims to alleviate local food insecurity and promote sustainable living through urban agriculture.

The group has volunteered at St. Andrews Episcopal Church garden and worked with Arlington Friends of Urban Agriculture. This year it built raised garden beds on campus to raise produce for the Arlington Food Assistance Center, and started a chapter of the Food Recovery Network to donate prepared-but-unused food from Marymount’s dining hall to the Arlington Street Peoples Assistance Network.

“Food For Thought is still actively seeking volunteers throughout the summer, so please reach out to them if you are interested!”Agolini suggested.

“Susan is a total team player dedicated to our students and has a passion for making things right and better for all at MU,” said Dr. Todd Rimkus, professor and chair of Marymount’s department of biology and physical science. “She is innovative in the classroom. She loves to teach and her students can sense that passion.”

Rimkus, who was last year’s Draghi Award winner, said she is a cheerful and giving member of the community and that it was a blessing to have her in the department.

“When you have someone who is engaging students so they can provide food for the food insecure in our area, you know you are working with a wonderful, motivated and caring person,” he said. 

Photo captions
Photo 1
Dr. Susan Agolini, this year’s winner of Marymount University’s Robert A. Draghi Outstanding Faculty Award.

Photo 2
Dr. Agolini, center, and student volunteer Micaela Healy during a spring event where Food For Thought volunteers handed out basil seedlings at a metro stop.