Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty underscored the Scholarship Tea Committee’s recognition of Worcester Community Action Council Executive Director Jill Dagilis as this year’s Tea honoree by declaring May Jill Dagilis Month.
“I have known Jill for 16 years,” he said. “You couldn’t be honoring a better person. Jill is someone who cares about this community and has pretty much dedicated her life to this community.”
Worcester State President Barry M. Maloney noted that Dagilis “exemplifies the success our alumni can achieve after Worcester State and service in our community.”
Prior to leading the Worcester CAC, Dagilis spent 25 years working for the City of Worcester, making history as the first woman to serve as Worcester’s commissioner of code enforcement and commissioner of health and human services and as the point person on the Worcester Vocational School construction project, which took nine years to complete.
With a $20 million budget, the CAC serves more than 72,000 individuals annually through 20 programs that focus on education, employment, energy and asset development while also encompassing work on homelessness, hunger and food insecurity.
Dagilis credits the hard work and dedication of members of her teams for each achievement.
“I love what I do, and I’m inspired when I’m able to help people move forward,” she told the 150 guests gathered in the Student Center Blue Lounge on Sunday, May 5. “Working with teams of others who believe in the same things—building our community for the good of all people—is simply the frosting on the cake of it all for me.”
Dagilis, a member of the Worcester State Foundation Board, is a 1978 graduate of Worcester State’s urban studies program. “I’m a huge fan of Worcester State University and so proud that my education here was truly the foundation for my career choice and development,” she said. She went on to receive her master’s degree in public administration from Clark University.
“In reading about the history of the tea, and learning about the incredible people who’ve been recognized before me, I’m truly humbled,” Dagilis said. “I recognize this is a great opportunity—with all of you—to pay it forward and help many students in such a meaningful way.”
This year’s Tea raised more than $12,000 for the Kathleen M. McAloon Memorial Scholarship.
Rose Mathieu ’13 spoke on behalf of Worcester State’s scholarship recipients. She told of surviving the 2010 Haitian earthquake, which killed more than 300,000 of her fellow citizens. It was winter break of her freshman year.
“I was a devastating feeling to leave behind family members and friends in the wake of the disaster, knowing that I was unable to help them,” she said. “Upon my return, I experienced the compassion that the Worcester State community has for its students. With campus organizations raising money to support the Red Cross’ efforts in Haiti and other organizations on the ground, I was so very moved.”
Worcester State has provided her with many opportunities to develop her professional interests, from a summer internship at the State House in the Department of Community Affairs to serving as president of its Amnesty International chapter to spending a semester studying in Costa Rica.
“For me, Worcester State is more than just an institution, it is the village I love so dearly, and the one who has helped shape me into the woman I have become,” Mathieu said.
She thanked the guests for their support of student scholarships. “On behalf of my peers, and all the scholarship recipients, we thank you for your gifts of time, talent and financial resources,” she noted. “It means everything to us.”
President Maloney echoed her sentiment. “Thank you to one and all for your investment in us and our students,” he said.
Lt. Col. James Sheehan Returns to Worcester State Campus
Retired Marine Corps Lt. Col. James Sheehan ’55, whose historic $3 million bequest was announced last fall, returned to his beloved alma mater last week. He came to view the construction of the . . .