Welcome to the VAC Mary Grace Parizo Good Time Lounge


Mary Parizo with grand-daughters Kayla and Tiara

The ceremony to name the common area and lounge of the Visual Arts Center the “Mary Grace Parizo Good Time Lounge” will be part of the Grand Opening for the VAC, planned for Thursday, April 19. Donations are being accepted from students, staff, and alumni to be a part of this remembrance.

Parizo was a cornerstone for the Fine and Performing Art Department as the administrative assistant for both the Visual Arts Center and Dibden. She died March 27, 2011, just as the long-awaited plans for the VAC’s renovation were coming to realization.

Fine and Performing Arts Professor Ken Leslie explained the decision making process behind naming the lounge after Parizo: “Mary, because we loved her and want to keep her in our midst going forward; and Good Time, because she was always the driving force to make sure we were all remembering to, well, have a good time. By naming the lounge after Mary we’ll have her with us as always, right in the area of the VAC where we gather, relax, and enjoy our good fortune to be part of such a great place,” he said.

According to Leslie, Parizo was loved by faculty, staff and students for the decades that she worked at Johnson State College, and he remembers her as always high spirited, always thoughtful and always fun.

One case in point was a story Humanities, Writing and Literature staff assistant Sandra J.C. Noyes recalls about Parizo being known for her Halloween costumes. “One year she had a costume that fit over her clothes that made her look like she was part of a harem wearing a very skimpy outfit,” Noyes said. “She decided to surprise Dr. Silver. She opened the classroom door and

said,‘Happy Halloween,’ looking half naked. Dr. Silver finally recovered but I think the students talked about it for several days. It was priceless.”

Noyes also misses the fact that when she walks across campus there is no voice hollering over at her from the picnic table at Dibden. “Mary could tell a story in such a funny way, you couldn’t help but laugh with her,” she said.

Anyone interested in donating and joining this effort at any level should contact Leslie at the VAC or Lauren Philie, director of development and alumni relations. “We are trying to reach a goal of $2000 and we are about a quarter of the way there,” Philie said. “This is a great way for folks on campus to honor Mary, celebrate the new VAC, and support the Fine Arts program by making a donation of any size.”

All money raised will go to the Visual Arts Campaign that raises funds for student scholarships, VAC equipment and programs. “So it’s a win-win-win,” Leslie said. “We honor Mary, we keep her presence and we raise funds for an even more blessed future. It has been truly gratifying to see the strong support this idea has received.”