Montclair State was the starting point for Marianne Autorino’s devotion to learning – and so much more. She met her other true love, Michael, who would become her husband, when they were both students at Montclair State as well.
“I knew I would be a teacher,” says Marianne, “and decided on a Home Economics major to learn all the practical knowledge I could apply with it.”
Montclair State was the catalyst for the couple’s careers, she as a Home Economics teacher and he as an Industrial Arts teacher. Together, they would go on to serve a combined 75 years of teaching.
They both taught at the middle school level in performing arts schools in Montclair’s school district. As a teacher, Marianne was innovative and loved to bring something new to the classroom to encourage students to use their imaginations. Combining their skills, the couple was especially successful in integrating performing arts into the curriculum and worked together to create sets and costumes for performances.
Committed to the teaching profession, Marianne and her late husband established the Michael and Marianne Autorino Endowed Scholarship, which supports scholarships in the College of Education and Human Services for deserving students enrolled in the teacher education program.
“We realized there’s a disparity in access for higher education and we wanted to support Montclair State as it serves all socioeconomic levels,” she says.
Having recently celebrated with the Class of 1968 for its 50th reunion, Marianne demonstrated her commitment to the University by donating to the class gift and serving on the reunion committee. “It was wonderful to talk with colleagues and hear all their accomplishments since graduation. I encourage others to take part in the planning of their reunion, it’s such a good feeling to get involved and bring back memories of good times and all we learned.”
What still stands out for Marianne was how much her professors cared and how concerned they were with students’ success. “As a teacher, I took the same approach of caring, I always had a personal interest in every student,” she says.
Marianne feels that alumni can share a powerful message with current students: “College is an important step in their lives, and I want students to know that if we did it, so can they. They can overcome challenges to achieve what they want when they set out a goal and work toward it.”
“I think it’s important to stay connected to Montclair State – the University provided me with a solid background and base for my future, and I want to say thank you.”