The college honors Maria Carabelli in the 2016 Mary Roper Award Ceremony

by Kristin Leonato

The college honors Maria Carabelli in the 2016 Mary Roper Award Ceremony
The 2016 Mary Roper Award winner, Maria Carabelli (left) and Dean Deborah Boehm-Davis

Maria Carabelli began her time at Mason as a local high school student who came to the Fenwick library to study. Completing her undergraduate studies at Mason just seemed like a natural next step. After earning her Bachelors degree in communication, she worked for the University Police Department before returning to the Department of Communication where she has worked for the past thirteen years in several positions and now as the office manager and budget coordinator.

To Carabelli, Mason is family and her ability to create a sense of family for communication students, faculty and staff is one of the many reasons she was selected for the college’s 2016 Mary Roper Award.

The Mary Roper Award honors a classified staff member who has shown outstanding service in support of the core goals of the college. The recipient directly supports the mission of the department or college through his or her work with faculty, students, staff or the greater university community. The award is named for Mary Roper, who worked in the Department of Biology and in the dean's office of the College of Arts and Sciences for a total 14 years in the college and almost thirty years at Mason. This annual award is the highest given for staff in the college.

Carabelli reported being “very shocked, but definitely ecstatic” the day the college human resource team made the surprise announcement in the Department of Communications’ office in late November. Her fellow colleagues turned out in force for the official Mary Roper Award Ceremony and Reception held in the Center for the Performing Arts on December 7, 2016.

The 2016 Mary Roper Award Ceremony and Reception honoring Maria Carabelli

Dean Deborah Boehm-Davis led the ceremony by recognizing Mary Roper and other past award recipients in attendance for the celebration. She then shared just a few of the many glowing comments Carabelli’s colleagues had offered about her contributions to her department and Mason, including:

“The business aspects of our department don’t function without Maria’s organization and diligence. She goes above and beyond her designated responsibilities, providing helpful advice and recommendations based on her expertise and experience.”

“Maria keeps our department running and makes it look easy, even though we are constantly asking her to do an incredible amount of work that sometimes seems impossible.”

“Maria is the glue that holds the department together. She cares deeply about our students, staff and faculty. She is extremely dedicated and professional, and her lively spirit makes the office a fun place to work.”

Carabelli family, Maria, Giuseppe and Giacomo Carabelli is married to fellow Mason alumnus, Giuseppe and they have a two year old son and future Patriot, Giacomo. They spend most of their free time with their “labor of love” a formerly condemned house in Fairfax City they have been restoring for the past several years and now call home.

Upon accepting the award, Carabelli thanked her family, her colleagues in her department and within the college for their support and for being the “amazing people I get to work with each day.” She concluded her remarks with a sentiment that in many ways summed up why the Mary Roper Award is so important.  

“Thank you to Mary Roper, who set this amazing example for us all to strive to be the best of ourselves. I may never get to know you well, but I have certainly met a lot of great people who have followed in your footsteps, who have helped me understand what it means to exemplify Mary Roper. For me to be up here today means that all my years of hard work and dedication have meant something to others, as well, and that is all I can ask for.

And to the Mary Ropers of the future, I hope that you will do the same.”

Mary Roper (center), Maria Carabelli and previous recipients of the Mary Roper Award