From Italy to Pace: A Kessel Employee’s Journey


Giselle Morales

The Kessel Student Center Fern Dining Hall has many different servers, however, one employee is routinely eager to make students one of the cafeteria’s highly coveted acai/fruit bowls. Mary Vecchio may be the longest-tenured worker at Kessel. She began working there in 1984, took a seven-year break, then returned in 2001 and has been working at Pace ever since.

Vecchio hails from Italy, where she lived until she was 15. Her first job, which she started at 11, was sewing. However, Vecchio was not a huge fan of the craft and did not stick with it.

The cook soon immigrated to the U.S. to seek a better future.

“I came here when I was 15 and I’ve been here ever since,” said Vecchio. “And I’ve never moved out of Plesantville.”

The move to the suburban village came with adjustments. Vecchio’s friends and family were still in Italy, so it was hard to just move on. She was also faced with the challenge of learning English and American culture. However, once she got all of that, she began to love Pleasantville.

Her first job in the area was as a factory worker, but a pitched her the idea of working at Pace University. Today, Vecchio wakes up each morning around 3 a.m., and sets her day up by drinking her coffee, reading a newspaper, and then making her short drive to Pace, where she lives just 10 minutes away from.

Since Vecchio has been in the labor force since she was 11, she is unsure about plans for retirement. With a majority of her immediate family dead and her son all the way in California, she’s searching for new ways to enjoy her day. Continuing to partake in a hobby is not an option for Vecchio because she admittedly has none.

“None, that’s why I’m worried when I leave here which will be barely soon, I don’t know what to do with myself,” she said.

Vecchio hopes to discover some hobbies to spend her free time, with her top options being yoga, walks, painting or working out at the gym.

“I like to walk, so I’ll probably be walking a lot,” said Vecchio. “I go to Starbucks a lot, I’m Italian, so I drink a lot of coffee.”

With her years of working in so many different environments, Vecchio has learned to evolve according to the situation. From Italy to Pace, she continues to go about her days with positivity and eagerness to work.