The Office of the Provost announced in an email on March 21 that Bernadette McVey, director of Academic Events, Initiatives and Planning, and Dr. Maureen Byrnes, a clinical assistant professor in the College of Nursing, are joint recipients of this year’s Emma G. Quartaro Award.
According to Seton Hall’s website, the award “recognizes and honors an outstanding woman leader whose actions inspire and serve as a model for other women at the University, and who has made significant contributions to their success.”
The email said that McVey was recognized for her “devotion and tireless work, often behind the scenes, to make graduation, Faculty Convocation, and other events meaningful celebrations for students and faculty.”
According to the email, Byrnes joined the College of Nursing in 2009. It read that “her nominators cite her leadership in making a positive impact in the lives of women, girls and infants regarding healthcare delivery and human trafficking.”
The recipients were recognized at a luncheon hosted in the Jubilee Atrium on March 29.
“Receiving The Emma Quartaro Woman of the Year Award is such a great honor and quite a wonderful surprise,” Byrnes said in an email. “I could never have anticipated such an incredible occurrence, which is more than enough honor for this midwife.”
McVey said the news of the award took her by surprise. “I was having a pretty hard week, and to hear this was extremely humbling,” she said. “All of the women who have come before me are all women that I look up to, so it really meant a lot to me.”
Nicole Oppenheimer, a senior psychology major, described McVey as “the glue to the office.” Oppenheimer, who works in the Office of the Provost, said she gets to see “behind the scenes” of many of the events Seton Hall hosts.
“Within every single project she works on, she puts 110 percent of herself into it,” Oppenheimer said. “She is so hardworking, so dedicated, incredibly attentive to detail, and knows how to incorporate everyone’s thoughts and opinions to create a cohesive and integral project.”
Oppenheimer said she first met McVey when she was being interviewed for a job at the office. She said she was incredibly nervous moments before her interview, but McVey had made her feel at ease.
“She has this ‘super power’ where no matter who you are, she just gets you and makes you feel so welcomed and supported in whatever situation you find yourself in,” Oppenheimer said. “To this day, I love going into work and working with Ms. McVey. She has always made time for me to discuss things like advice for graduate school to how great ‘A Star is Born’ is.”
Deirdre Yates, Dean of the College of Communication and the Arts, said McVey is the “go-to person in the Office of the Provost.”
“If you need to get something done, you go to Bernadette,” she said. “Even if it’s not her specific job, she’ll work with the other person and make it happen for you.”
Yates said she met McVey at Seton Hall in 2000, where McVey was a student in her acting class. She said she even helped her with her senior thesis.
Yates said she admired McVey’s drive to further her education and career path and to find ways to raise those up around her.
“That’s what she was in class, and that’s what she is in the Provost Office right now,” Yates said. “She’s really the backbone of things, but never asserting herself to say I deserve anything for this. [She’s an] incredible strength and support all the way around.”
Kristel Domingo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.