Ask Nick Canzano about his accomplishments, and he’ll talk about the success of others. That is, he’ll tell of the Mercy College students he’s mentored who have gone on to achieve their academic goals despite considerable personal challenge. “I look forward to commencement every year, because I get to see my students walk across the stage and see the pride in their faces,” he says. Canzano is associate director of Mercy’s PACT (or Personalized Achievement Contract) program, which provides each student with a personal mentor experienced in academic advising, student life, career preparation, financial services, and leadership training. As head of the largest of the program’s four teams, Canzano manages two assistant directors and eight counselors, and carries a caseload of up to 105 students per year. One of the original mentors for PACT, he began with the program in 2009 and is credited with being one of the reasons for its success. From 2014 to 2015, for instance, student retention at Mercy College increased a “phenomenal” 10 percent, he says. And last year, Canzano was voted PACT Advisor of the Year from among more than 25.
• Canzano studied business marketing and tried a job in sales, but found the cutthroat nature of the job wasn’t for him. “When I realized that about myself, I began to think of what it was I’m truly passionate about,“ he says. That led him to the Mercy College PACT program.
• He has been instrumental in implementing intramural sports and a Spring Fling activity week that boosts school spirit. He also developed a summer orientation for incoming freshman called CAMP PACT, and is the club advisor for the Billiards Club and Table Tennis Club and a co-advisor for ENVISAJ (Environmental Sustainability and Justice). He’s been involved in many workgroups, including contributing to training staff and organizing and implementing the May commencement ceremony.
• On the lighter side, he won a tie-and-shirt-and-tie- combination contest among colleagues, in which he wore one tie to work all week but paired it with a different shirt each day. picking one tie to wear all week, matching it with a different shirt each day. (Canzano’s neckwear choice was multi-colored, combining blue, orange, teal and green.)