Marist honors longtime employees with school's highest award

Marist President Hank Hammer, FMS, (center) presented Joe Inzinga ‘77 (left) and Tom Inzinga ’84 with the Laetare Medal. The honor is presented to individuals committed to the Catholic faith and supportive of Marist High School who are role models within their communities, devoted to their professions, and dedicated to excellence in education.

Marist High School President Br. Hank Hammer and Principal Larry Tucker ’79 awarded the Laetare Medal, the most prestigious award given to an associate of the school, to longtime employees Joe ’77 and Tom ’84 Inzinga at the President’s Council dinner in October.

As a student Tom served on student council – promoting involvement, planning events, and upholding traditions. He returned to Marist in 1992 to build the development program. Tom has been instrumental in growing the Marist Endowment by adding more than 40 named scholarships; raising significant tuition donations to help families; facilitating campaigns to renovate the baseball field and boys’ locker room; building the McGowan Academic Resource Center; expanding the cafeteria and fitness center; and installing turf in Red and White Stadium.

“Working at Marist provides me a glimpse of today’s young adults and hope for our future,” Tom said. “To have a role in that future is an honor.”

Joe always knew he wanted to return to Marist as a teacher and coach. His experience as a student had been so positive that he felt a calling to be a part of that as an adult.

While at Marist, Joe was a four-year letterman for baseball. His skills earned him a scholarship to Illinois Institute of Technology. Upon graduation, he returned to Marist and began his now 37-year career at Marist Chicago.

Over the years, Joe has served as a social studies teacher, dean of students, assistant principal, curriculum advisor, and coach. Today, he is the academic dean of underclassmen. He can also be heard as the “voice of Marist” during football games. “I am proud to work with young people,” Joe said. “It’s my responsibility to carry on the tradition as a lay Marist servant.”