2018 Laetare Medals awarded

laetareMarist President Br. Hank Hammer, FMS, and Principal Larry Tucker ’79 awarded the Laetare Medal, the highest and most prestigious award given to an associate of the school, to long-time employees Joe ’77 and Tom ’84 Inzinga at the President’s Council dinner in October.

For both brothers Marist has been a family affair since they were young. Their parents often invited the Marist Brothers for dinner before oldest brother Joe even enrolled at Marist. Brother Glenn ’79 and then Tom followed suit.

As a student Tom served on student council – promoting student involvement, planning school events, and upholding school traditions.  He returned to Marist in 1992 to build the development program. Through the years, 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 the 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.  It means a great deal to receive the Laetare Medal, especially alongside my brother Joe.”

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. As a freshman, his English teacher was none other than Br. Hank Hammer, FMS. “About as a good of a start as you can get,” Joe explained.

While at Marist, Joe was a four-year letterman for baseball. His skills earned him a scholarship to Illinois Institute of Technology. Upon graduation, Joe interviewed with Br. Gerry Doherty, FMS, who was the head of the Social Studies Department, and that began Joe’s 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 home 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.”

Both credit the Brothers and Marist for helping develop them in their faith and profession. The legacy continues for the Inzingas, as Tom’s sons, Tommy ’14, Joey ’16, and Billy ’21, and Joe’s daughters, Danielle ’11 and Sarah ’14, are part of the Marist tradition.