Mary and Alan Marks

Mary & Alan Marks, P’16

Parents of Stacey Marks’16, Hunter College, Hunter Chinese Flagship scholar

Mary and Alan Marks have three children, with their youngest a Macaulay at Hunter-Hunter Chinese Flagship scholar. Mary and Alan made a Dean’s Circle gift of $10,000 over the summer. For them, Stacey’s education has been rooted in unique, transformative opportunities. It’s not an exaggeration to describe their daughter—like many Macaulay students—as a globetrotting student with varied interests ranging from computer science to economics, and much more in between.

Mary has also served as an effective bridge between Macaulay and Hunter’s new Chinese Flagship program. There are 24 Macaulay-Flagship students and both Macaulay and Flagship have rigorous requirements that make careful academic planning and advising critical. With Mary’s help, Macaulay has recognized the need to support the Macaulay-Flagship students in a more integrated way to help them meet all of their goals.

Macaulay: How did you become a Macaulay family?

When Stacey was considering her college choices, she wanted to go to the school with the best Chinese language program. Hunter’s Chinese Flagship is one of the best in the country. When we learned about Macaulay Honors College, the combination of Macaulay-Flagship was almost too good to be true. But it’s real! Macaulay and Flagship are two bookends, if you will, of a well-rounded undergraduate experience with opportunities unlike anything any other college can offer. The choice was also easy for Stacey because Alan received a great education at Queens College that prepared him for medical school, and ultimately as an ophthalmologist. Alan’s alumnus status was sort of like a vetting process for our daughter. CUNY served Alan well, and we knew it would serve Stacey well, too.  And it has—beyond what we,or anyone in the family, especially Stacey, expected.

M: What is it like to be a Macaulay-Flagship parent?

The best way to describe our relationship with Macaulay and Flagship is in the context of our sons’ college experiences. We didn’t know anyone at either of their schools. They went, they graduated, and then they came back to New York and that was that. Don’t get me wrong, they both received great educations, but it just wasn’t the same. Our close ties with Macaulay and Flagship have been completely different. Every time I talk with Dr. Chao, the director of Flagship, or administrators at Macaulay, I’ve had positive conversations that include how things can be improved. Macaulay and Flagship are young institutions, and we feel committed to both missions because there is a real desire to get better. This inspires us to be connected and help in any way we can.

M: How has your relationship changed with your daughter since she’s transitioned from high school to college?

It’s funny. If you ever said to me, “You’re going see your daughter every Sunday, I would have replied, are you kidding me?” We are very fortunate in that we’ve always had a good relationship with our daughter. And when Stacey started college, she immediately began to develop an even stronger sense of her own independence. Alan and I encouraged and embraced this maturity and because she senses that we’re not trying to hold her back or keep her at home, she has actually grown closer to us. It’s like she appreciates our parenting decisions and us as parents. I wouldn’t have predicted it, but Stacey going to college has brought us closer together and we know more about her life now than we ever did.

M: How do you see your role in Macaulay?

We feel as parents of a Macaulay student, it’s our responsibility to help ensure the same opportunities, specifically the breadth and depth of opportunities, are available to all students. That’s why we made our gift to Macaulay—to support the unparalleled opportunities afforded to students.

M: Any other thoughts?

Alan and I always say to each other, “We are so lucky.” Stacey is having an experience of a lifetime. She couldn’t get a better education anywhere else. It’s that simple.