Hundreds of Plymouth State University faculty, staff and administrators commemorated the life of Dennise Maslakowski at a campus memorial service Thursday, Jan. 29. Maslakowski, PSU’s associate vice president of the College of Graduate Studies, passed away late last year after a brief illness. Her extraordinary educational leadership spanned more than three decades, and her name is synonymous with graduate education throughout the state of New Hampshire. Irvin D. Gordon, Maslakowski’s husband, told the capacity crowd in Heritage Hall that his late wife’s dedication to Plymouth State was extraordinary.
“Dennise loved Plymouth State University and her colleagues here,” Gordon said. “She took every opportunity to teach, encourage and provide choices for students.”
Maslakowski, a reading and learning disability specialist, served as coordinator of elementary education, director of graduate studies and associate vice president at PSU. She initiated and supported hundreds of partnerships among PSU, other institutions of higher education, and organizations and agencies. Under Maslakowski’s leadership, the PSU College of Graduate Studies grew from approximately 500 to more than 3,000 students. PSU President Sara Jayne Steen said Maslakowski’s efforts not only had an enormous impact on Plymouth State, but on aspiring students as well.
“Dennise’s leadership transformed lives,” Steen said. “Dennise would often describe herself as an entrepreneur of education.”
Maslakowski’s work previously was recognized with the New Hampshire Excellence in Education (EDie) Award, Women in Leadership Award, Leadership in the Arts Award, New England Reading Association Award and PSU Distinguished Graduate Teaching Award. In December, she received PSU’s highest academic honor, the Harold E. Hyde Award for Distinguished Educational Leadership. Following her death, a scholarship was created in her name. The Dennise Maslakowski Graduate Education Scholarship Fund will honor her commitment to teaching and to the encouragement of talented and motivated teachers by providing scholarships to deserving New Hampshire residents enrolled in PSU’s Graduate School of Education.
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