Center for Excellence Honoree: Ralph Vuolo

Ralph VuoloFor many, Ralph Vuolo is the first face they see when they enter Quinnipiac's Mount Carmel Campus.

Vuolo, who has been stationed at the New Road entrance since he was hired as a full-time officer in 2004, has become known for his warm smile, even-keeled demeanor and desire to help the students find their way.

"The person at that gate is the face of Quinnipiac University," said John Twining, chief of security and safety. "I think I have a great face representing Quinnipiac out there."

Aileen Dever, assistant professor of modern languages in the College of Arts and Sciences, said Vuolo is a great ambassador for the University.

"Ralph is truly one of the most important and memorable people that visitors and others meet when they come to Quinnipiac," said Dever, who is a previous Center of Excellence honoree and who nominated Vuolo this year. "I have countless times witnessed Ralph patiently giving directions to parents and potential students. He cheerfully greets all who pass."

Vuolo has his finger on the pulse of the University, Twining said. "He knows everything that is going at this University," he said. "It goes beyond knowing people's names."

No matter what kind of day Vuolo might be having, he always smiles, Dever said.

"Rain or shine, snow or ice, he's out there with a smile," she said. "You can always count on being greeted by Ralph. That helps the whole tenor and tone of this campus. He creates a very nice and warm and cheery environment."

That is one of the principal roles of his position, Twining said. "Ralph interacts so well with people," he said. "He knows everyone from the president on down. And a large part of our job is interacting with the students."

By being so warm with everyone, he builds trust, Twining said. "We need to know what's going on by talking and interacting with the community," Twining said. "We need to build relationships with people, and Ralph personifies that. If he hears something that needs to be addressed, he will bring it someone's attention."

He excels at turning negatives into positives, Dever said. "Even when he has to tell students they have to park somewhere else or that they cannot do something, he does it in a positive way," she said. "And it's not an easy job he has there."

Vuolo said he has the best job in the world. "This isn't like work for me," he said. "I enjoy the school and the students. The faculty is solid and the bosses are good."

Perhaps that is because Quinnipiac is more than just a career, it is part of Vuolo's life. His daughter, Katherine, is a sophomore nursing major; his son, Steven, is working towards his MBA; and his wife, Mary Theresa, earned her bachelor's degree from the University.

Vuolo said he enjoys everything about his position. "I like helping people out," he said. "College is supposed to be a good experience and I am trying to give them that experience as so long as they follow the rules."

He attributes the respect he garners from the community from a simple theory on life: If you treat the others with respect, I think they will respect you back. "You don't get too many people who can say they love their job," Vuolo said with a grin. "But I'm the exception. I love my job."

Before coming to Quinnipiac, Vuolo worked as a lab technician testing quality control for silver plating chemicals for London Laboratories Limited in Woodbridge. Previous to that, he worked for the Woodbridge Police Department as a supernumerary police officer and as a security guard at the Yale Art Gallery in New Haven.

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