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Marsha Zamberlan Rusnack ’66

Bill and Marsha Rusnack

Marsha Zamberlan Rusnack has been involved as a volunteer with children and education since graduating from IUP in 1966. Her involvement began with the Head Start Program in suburban Chicago in the late 1960s.

At right: Marsha Zamberlan Rusnack with husband, Bill Rusnack ’66

At IUP, Marsha majored in foods and nutrition, was involved with Alpha Gamma Delta, and met her husband, Bill Rusnack. For the first six years after college, Marsha worked in hospital dietetics in Chicago and New York City while Bill pursued his career in the petroleum industry. Bill’s career took them to Los Angeles in 1972, where they started a family. Marsha resumed her involvement with the community and schools while raising their two children. Douglas, now thirty-six, is a radiologist who lives in Sydney, Australia, and Susan, now thirty-four, is a urologic surgeon in New York City. Doug and his wife, Rachel, have a young son, William.

In 1998, Bill and Marsha moved to St. Louis. With their children grown and more time to be involved in the community, Marsha became an active supporter of the arts and education. Marsha gives her time to several different causes and organizations that focus on education and the arts. In April, she was recognized at the forty-third annual St. Louis Variety Gala Dinner as the 2009 Woman of the Year for her commitment to the community.

Marsha recently answered questions about her interests, past, and present.

Currently, you are very involved in volunteer work in your community. How did that come about and why do make these commitments?

I have a variety of interests. My main interests revolve around education programs for all children, especially children with special needs. When we moved to St. Louis, I found I had the time and inclination to give to these organizations. I also found that I can be effective in fundraising, which can be challenging in tough economic times. I serve on the board of trustees for the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Saint Louis Zoo, and the Missouri Botanical Garden, in addition to serving on several other boards. Each of these organizations raises funds to provide opportunities for children to participate in programs and resources.

What would you tell others about this experience?

You have the opportunity to meet the most amazing people, such as parents of special-needs children. They sacrifice so much for their kids and will do whatever is necessary to enrich the quality of life for their children. It is so rewarding to see the fulfillment they get from these opportunities.

Is there some favorite moment or some inspiration that you have from doing this activity?

It’s sometimes difficult to raise funds, but when you see special-needs children get a wheelchair or a van to help transport them to these programs, that’s all the inspiration I need.

What is your fondest memory as an undergraduate student at IUP?

Homecoming was such a special time on campus, with the parade always being a good time. It was great to have the opportunity to see and renew friendships with alumni. Of course, I met my husband, Bill, on campus in our senior year. Ten months later we were married and on our way to Chicago.

Have things changed much since your time at IUP? Are there any places you like to revisit when you are back in the area?

It is like day and night. If you haven’t been back to campus recently, you would not recognize IUP. It’s entirely different in a positive way—it has grown and expanded educationally and culturally.

Profile published on 9/16/09

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