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IIN Staff ...
Published: June 8, 2024

IIN Staff Picks: Appreciating All the Fathers, Grandfathers, and Father Figures This Father’s Day

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It’s imperative that we show kindness and love where it’s due, no matter the circumstance. That’s why we’re highlighting the life lessons and “dad-isms” that fathers, grandfathers, and father figures impart on their loved ones.

Our parents are responsible for shaping us into who we are and providing the lens with which we view the world. We’re recognizing the incredible fathers and father figures whose love and dedication have played a formative role in our lives.

Here’s our staff members on how their fathers, grandfathers, and father figures inspire them:

“My father has taught me some incredible life lessons. They start with the importance of hard work, always doing your best no matter what, and putting family first – there was never a time when he didn’t drop whatever he was doing to help a family member, and whenever he could, he would lend a helping hand to strangers. He instilled in us that taking care of those around us when we can would help make the world a better place. I continue to learn from him every day. He’s 89 years young this year and living with me during COVID. He stills lives by these principles as he embraces every day!”

– Lynda Cloud, CEO

“My dad’s approach to health and life has always been a huge inspiration for me. To this day, he creates space for bio-individuality without ever knowing it: He’ll ride 60+ miles on his bike in the summer heat and then grill up a gigantic cheeseburger – finding equal pleasure and importance in both. My dad provides an example of ‘wellness’ that doesn’t take itself too seriously – joy is always present. He’s the most open-minded person I know, and I can trust him to always provide balanced insight and sage wisdom.” 

– Katie Scharenbroich, Course Advisor

“My father (both parents in fact) is my closest friend. My father taught me patience, understanding, and compassion. Many times, he has reminded me that there is always two sides (or more) to every story and usually truth lies in the middle. He’s also taught me that the most important things are not material things, but family, nature, and knowledge (and many more). As I go through life, he continuously provides me space for reflection and guidance. He also tries to challenge me in the kitchen and the grill.”

– Nora McCaffrey, Chief Academic Officer

“I want to share a classic quote from my dad, which has turned into a slice of advice that I now carry through in many aspects of life. My dad is a strong, caring, witty, wise-guy type, and a retired football coach/driver’s ed teacher. From the time I got my driver’s license until now, each time I depart from the home I grew up in, he shouts from the front porch: ‘Don’t speed, and check your blind spots!’ These classic rules of the road can absolutely be applied to life, right?! Think about it... Don’t speed. Check your blind spots.” 

– Erin Cappiccie, Student Success

“My grandfather fled genocide in Armenia as a child, grew up during the Depression, was at Pearl Harbor when it was bombed, and fought in the South Pacific during WWII. He was kind, dignified, worked in public education, and never spoke a mean word toward any person or group. I try to remember him during these challenging times.”

– Darrell Rogers, Legal/Advocacy

“My dad (or, as we call him, Papa Wolff) is truly one of a kind. He has impacted my life in so many ways. He’s impacted MANY lives. In fact, he has officiated no less than seven marriages (with his online credential) because they can’t imagine a better person for the job. Here are a few qualities that have inspired me throughout my life:

1. He’s a people collector. As he says, ‘Every person I meet, I think, “This person could be my new best friend.”‘

2. He’s an avid learner and lover of books. He built an entire wall of bookshelves in my childhood home in a room that we now call The Library. As he says, ‘The world is your oyster!’

3. He’s an artist who does everything by hand and who appreciates EVERY SMALL THING – the way the light hits the side of the house, the juxtaposition (one of his favorite words) of flavors and textures in a meal... I have a saved voice message on my phone from him: ‘Hi. I’m your dad. And I’m just calling to say that I’m looking out the window at the first dandelion of spring.’ Another popular quote: ‘Observe your world!’

4. He loves to laugh, as much as possible, and he loves to share stories.

5. He cherishes his family – and his family history. Our house is filled with artwork and documents and family photographs going back generations. 

“He also looks just like Mark Twain, which is pretty fantastic. I could go on, get the idea.”

– Jamie Wolff, Education

“My father is my hero. First of all, he’s a 10+ year stage 4 cancer survivor – and that in itself is inspirational. But even before that, my father has always been a source of inspiration for me. He taught me what hard work, dedication, and passion look like, not in a career like you may think but in life. He taught me how important it is to do things you LOVE and bring you joy. He’s almost 60 years old and still plays hockey (a goalie) in adult leagues with kids in high school up to some guys around his age, and he’s good. I’m not biased; it’s a fact.

“He races a vintage blue Mazda Rx3 with the Sports Car Club of America, which he built from scratch – the engine, body, everything. Not only is he a fast and skilled driver, he is an artist. He dedicates many hours to creating and building and perfecting that car. It truly is a work of art. He never sat me down to tell me that it was important to follow your passions and dedicate your time to doing the things you love. He didn’t have to; he led by example. And in his leadership, he gave me someone to aspire to while also feeling immensely supported in everything I have ever chosen to pursue in my life.” 

– Anne Greco, Student Success 

“My dad is the most extroverted, optimistic, excited person I have ever known (he is also a retired salesman). I’ve learned from him how to take initiative, make connections, and embrace every day as an opportunity.”

– Marissa LaRocca, Education

“My dad is an amazing inspiration for me. He’s incredibly curious and always interested in learning more, which has inspired me to always ask questions and helped to develop my strong work ethic. He’s also a very social being and loves to interact with people, which has shown me the power of connection and relationships. Lastly, he showers me with unconditional love, which inspires me every day to look at the world through a lens of love, gratitude, and authenticity.”

– Tammi Harrison, Marketing

“My dad is always there when I need him, whether it’s for a good laugh or advice on my retirement fund. He has demonstrated what it means to be resilient and tenacious. He has always supported all my various interests and cheered on every one of my accomplishments.”

– Dana McNaught, Student Success


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