Isabella Clough Marinaro Named Professor of the Year by Class of 2014

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Professor Isabella Clough Marinaro

Professor Isabella Clough Marinaro

On May 11th, the graduating class of 2014 honored Dr. Isabella Clough Marinaro  as “Professor of the Year” during the traditional Baccalaureate Aperitivo.

Inaugurated in 2010, the Baccalaureate Aperitivo is a reception that gives graduates an opportunity to express their appreciation to the JCU faculty and staff through the Professor of the Year award and the presentation of the Class Gift.

President Franco Pavoncello welcomed students, families, faculty, and staff and introduced the Hon. Frank Guarini, Chairman of JCU’s Board of Trustees, who congratulated the Class of 2014.

Then President Pavoncello called upon Class Representatives Tariro Mzezewa and Zachariah Sherburne, who presented John Cabot University with the Class Gift, a world map outlining the 22 countries represented in the Class of 2014.

Tariro then announced the name of the Professor of the Year, Dr. Isabella Clough Marinaro.

Prof. Clough teaches Rome: Modern City, Globalization and Crime, Social Science Research Methods, and Researching Rome: Fieldwork in the City. Her research interests include immigration to Italy, Romani political activism, urban development and its social consequences in Rome and changing forms of crime in Italy. She has co-edited a book, Global Rome: Changing Faces of the Eternal City, which will be published by Indiana University Press this summer.

In presenting the award, Tariro read some comments from Prof. Clough’s students:

“Prof. Clough challenges students to produce their best work, supports them when things get difficult and above all else, inspires them to be better students and better people outside the classroom.”

“Prof. Clough has taught me to see the world with different eyes and understand the intricate workings of life. If it were not for her I would have never found an area of study that I loved and I would have never been able to understand what I am capable of doing. ”

Professor Clough’s Speech

Professor Clough thanked the students for the award and shared some personal memories from her own college graduation. She explained that along with the feelings of relief and excitement came more problematic emotions like panic at facing a new stage in life.

“I discovered years later that that feeling of disorientation, of being in-between two lives, is something that social scientists call liminality – it means standing on that threshold between a previous social status and a new one, it’s a form of limbo if you like. And that limbo is often terrifying but it is also potentially one of the most fertile and creative moments of our lives. ”

She assured students that they should not worry if they don’t have their lives mapped out for them on graduation day and she reminded students that they have crucial tools to guide them in any new environment: the ability to learn and never stop asking questions, and the support of an international community of friends and mentors from the JCU community.

Prof. Clough ended by saying how impressed she has been with students’ courage and determination, not just to fight for their own achievements but also their desire to make things better for others both inside and outside of the JCU community: “You leave this place with a strong sense of justice and, I think, a real desire to make the world a better place. It is traditional for graduation speakers to urge graduates to go out and do good in the world. But I don’t think I need to do that, because I know so many of you, and I have no doubt at all that you’ll carry on giving us plenty of reasons to be proud of you in the future.”