The Ticket to Success
Joe Bellil G '90
Joe Bellil G ’90 had known about Anna Maria College since his teen years when he worked summers at Treasure Valley Boy Scout Camp. In 1988, he was looking for an affordable, quality Masters in Business Administration program, and AMC’s Executive MBA Program provided him the opportunity he had been seeking.
“I knew that getting an MBA would be an important tool that would help me climb the nonprofit management ladder. I was working full time, so I only had the weekends available to attend classes and to study,” Joe recalls. “AMC’s Executive MBA Program met my educational needs while being both affordable and flexible.”
Anna Maria’s setting appealed to Joe, too. “I always enjoyed the early morning drive out to AMC. I appreciated going through rural towns and seeing all the beautiful landscapes. I think other students in the class also liked their commute- it set a good tone for the day,” he shares.
With his AMC degree, he was able to move from the area of accounting to management. “The MBA was my ticket to get in and I just had to prove my skills after that. I’ve moved up various levels in nonprofit management,” he adds.
Joe has been the Vice President of Public Affairs for Easter Seals Massachusetts for almost ten years. He is modest about his accomplishments. “My role is to keep Easter Seals informed on legislation and regulations that may impact its services and the disability community in general. I also am involved in youth leadership and systems advocacy,” he explains. Moreover, Joe is a respected and well-known figure on Beacon Hill, where he tirelessly helps Easter Seals Massachusetts actively support people with disabilities and their families by encouraging state legislators and administrators to create and support programs that help people with disabilities gain greater independence.
Joe is enthusiastic and passionate about his work, but his greatest joy is his family. “I have a wonderful wife and an energetic, eight-year-old boy who enjoys playing all different types of sports in Holden.”
Fulfilling a Dream
Michael Molla '84
Unlike many students whose parents question their decision to major in art, Michael Molla ’84 had the full encouragement of his family to pursue an art degree – if he attended a small, private college.
“They knew I would only flourish in that environment,” Mike recalls. “It was important for them, and me, that I had a broad based education that offered a comprehensive student centered experience.”
Accompanied by his grandfather, Mike came to campus for an interview and portfolio review with Professor Ralph Parente, then chair of the art department. Professor Parente began the review by asking him to talk about each of the 15 pieces in his portfolio for which Mike was well-prepared. Professor Parente then asked a question that caught him off guard.
Within minutes of flipping through his portfolio, Professor Parente asked Mike to describe in detail, ‘How do you think?’ “I remember responding nervously that I don’t really know,” shares Mike. “I was prepared to talk about each piece of work in my portfolio, not answer the type of question he was asking.” According to Mike, Professor Parente responded, “this is one of the first questions you will ask yourself on your journey to become an artist this September here at Anna Maria.”
For Mike, his education started right then and there and continued through his four years at AMC. “Professor Parente systematically raised my creative and professional aspirations beyond what I ever thought possible,” he says.
Mike’s education was rounded out by other faculty and staff, including Dean of Students, Hollie Ingraham, Sr. Rollande Quintal, SSA ’62, and Sr. Paulette Gardner, SSA ’67. “Their commitment to students...continues to echo in both my heart and mind today. They helped inform, educate and develop values that are reflected in my daily work to this day,” he claims.
After graduating, Mike planned to become an art teacher, but teaching jobs were in short supply in the wake of Proposition 2 ½, which impacted school systems in Massachusetts. Utilizing his experience as a resident assistant at Anna Maria, Mike accepted a full-time job as a Resident Director at Fitchburg State College. This led to a residence life position at Denison University in Ohio, followed by a stint as Assistant Dean of Student Life at Mount Saint Mary’s College in Maryland.
Fulfilling a dream to combine his dual love of art and student affairs, Mike moved to Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore, one of the top art colleges in the country. After rising through the ranks to become a chief student affairs officer, Mike currently serves as MICA’s Vice President for Operations. Although very happy in his current role, he hopes to one day serve as a college president.
Mike credits Anna Maria College with providing him with both a strong academic and co-curricular preparation and for supporting his aspirations. “Every moment at AMC, whether in the classrooms, studios or participating in student organizations, I felt as though the entire College was there to support my personal and educational journey,” he comments. “We could not get away with just being average students at AMC; we were expected to be great students.”
Alice Pincus '72 G
When you meet Alice Pincus ’72, her calm demeanor and welcoming smile provide a glimpse into the comfortable family life she has carved out. If you engage her in conversation, you will learn about the many challenges she overcame to follow her dreams.
Born in Haiti, Alice was sent as a child to live in the U.S. due to political unrest. Her parents said good-by to their three children with the hope that they would have a better life outside of their native country.
Leaving everything she knew, Alice arrived in New York at the age of 12 to live with her uncle’s family in Bethesda, MD. Although the culture was different and she had to learn English immersed in regular classes, she made the most of her new, educational opportunity. “Given all that my family sacrificed, I knew that I had to embrace my new life head on,” shares Alice. “I was fortunate that the public junior high I attended offered great equipment and exceptional teachers.” Being close to Washington, DC, Bethesda was a favorite location for Congressional families to raise their children.
It was during these early teen years that Alice was introduced to the science lab. At first struggling with the English language, she was drawn to math and science. She ended up forming a life-long bond with these subjects. As Alice looked forward to attending the public high school, her uncle‘s job changed and she was given the choice of moving with them to Guatemala or staying in the U.S. on a student visa.
“I was determined to stay in the U.S. so I wrote to St. Anne Academy in Marlboro, MA where one cousin was a resident student, asking them for a scholarship,” explains Alice. “And, with their positive response began my lifelong relationship with the Sisters of St. Anne. I started as a sophomore and the small-school experience was just what I needed,” she adds. “I participated in almost every activity and learned how to be a leader; but most important I made great friends.”
Alice graduated in a class of 42 students, seven of whom went on to AMC, including Alice and her closest friend, Renee (Malboeuf) Morse’72. “Once again, the Sisters came through by helping me obtain a scholarship and locating a Paxton family with whom I could live. How generous of these families who opened their homes to students who couldn’t afford to live on campus!” she remarks. However, after her freshman year, Alice faced another struggle and had to find work to pay the tuition going forward. She moved to Worcester sharing apartments with struggling students from other colleges, working two jobs while finishing school.
After graduation, Alice again faced challenges. To remain in the States, she had to marry or stay in school. With Sr. Pauline Madore’s assistance, Alice entered the masters in organic chemistry program at Holy Cross, which was going co-ed. She became one of the first women to graduate from the school.
“I went from an all-female to an all-male school, and then entered the work-force during the turbulence of the seventies,” claims Alice. “I promptly learned that women had a long way to go to be taken seriously in what was considered a man’s world.”
Having met other challenges, Alice quickly succeeded professionally, starting her own consulting and contract R&D business, Pincus Associates, in 1983 with the support of her husband, Bob, who joined her full time in 1990. In 1986, Alice became a key founder of a trade organization, RadTech International No. America, and served as its first, full-term president. Her first experience on a board of directors was as chairperson, creating a board.
Once, after a successful business meeting, Alice reflected on her achievements and immediately thought of the scholarship assistance from the Academy and AMC, and particularly of the academic and emotional support from Sr. Pauline, who had been the chemistry department head when Alice attended AMC. She decided to find Sr. Pauline and establish a scholarship in her honor so other international students could realize their dream of a college education.
In addition to fulfilling her educational dreams, Alice was able to find a permanent home in Andover, MA where she has lived for 36 years. “After all the moving around, when Bob and I married in 1974 I told him I wanted to buy a house where we could form a close-knit family and be grounded,” she shares. We are glad she did.