MVP Tony Sozzo

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MVP: Most Valuable Professional is a series that features a brief Q&A with a different NASFAA member every couple of weeks. Do you know a financial aid colleague with something interesting to say? Send the names of potential future MVPs and a short note about why you're nominating them to news@nasfaa.org 

Tony Sozzo
Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Director of Student Financial Planning and Student Activities At New York Medical College
(Valhalla, NY)

TonyTony began his financial aid career at Iona College in New Rochelle, NY under the guidance of Richard Biondi. He previously served as chair of NASFAA's Graduate and Professional Issues Committee (GPIC) and currently serves as the moderator for NASFAA's Graduate/Professional listserv. He also moderates his own medaid-l listserv which just celebrated it's 20 year anniversary.

One thing working in financial aid has taught me: 

 

It has taught me to be a good listener and not have any pre-conceived notions about the way people live.  Be open and treat everyone equally. 

What I do when I'm not at work: 

I ride my bicycle or go for a hike, take pictures, roast coffee, visit family, cook, and garden. I relax when I can and listen to music-- mostly jazz.  

On my desk right now: 

I have a lot of paper! Mostly preparing for the spring exit Interviews and other things. I plan to change how we approach exits this year.

What sound or noise do you love? 

The sound of a cat purring and the uncontrollable laughter of a baby. 

What is your greatest accomplishment? 

When people say I am trustworthy and a good person. A lot can be accomplished when people trust each other. 

What is a goal you've set for yourself for the upcoming year? 

I always want to be relevant to my students, colleagues, and my institution by trying new ways to communicate, teach, and give advice. I also try to stay abreast of the ever changing landscape in higher education. 

If you could take an all expenses paid vacation somewhere, where would you go? 

Probably Italy since I am of Italian heritage. However seeing the good old USA by driving cross-country would also intrigue me.

The best advice I ever got: 

Two things: Personally: "Do unto others as you would have done to unto you." 

Professionally: "Take less of the credit and a more of the blame" especially when managing people.

What NASFAA service/product is most helpful to you? 

There are many: Today’s News, the Graduate/Professional listserv, GPIC, AskRegs etc. 

One personal fact that would surprise my coworkers is that... 

I consider myself an introvert.

If I had a super power... 

I would like to be able to make negative people speak in a positive way. As soon as they began to talk negatively, I would snap my fingers and they would immediately speak in a positive manner. 

I'm happiest when... 

I do a good days work and help my students and co-workers and spend time with my extended family.

 

 

Want to say hello to Tony or reply to something he said? Please leave your remarks in the comments section, below!  

26 Comments

  • Congrats! We both way back in Region 5 of NYSFAAA and it seems like yesterday that Rich was at Iona! Time flies and you have remained a stalwart in our profession who has the utmost integrity and respect as a long time aid professional.

  • Unfortunately, I have not had the pleasure of getting to know you. Just wanted to let you know how much I like your answers to the questions in the article. You seem to be a person I would enjoy knowing and for whom I would have a great deal of respect. Congratulations!

  • We’ve been colleagues for many, many years and I’ve always admired the way you efficiently, effectively, and with good humor set about accomplishing great things. I feel fortunate to count you also as a friend.
    Ellen Spilker

  • Congratulations Mentor – for several years I watched and respected you from afar. Then, one day at a conference you called me by name with no prior connection.You have since encouraged me [us] to ‘think outside the box’ and inspire others. THANK YOU, yet another mentee, Trudi

  • Great to see your cameo and a bit of recognition for the great work you do, Tony. I truly enjoy working with you on NASFAA projects and have great respect for you. Thanks so much for your friendship! -Eileen O'Leary

  • Congratulations, Tony! This is well deserved. You are an asset to the financial aid world and all that access it, from colleagues to students and beyond. Thank you for your endless dedication and for making us all better employees and people. Wishing you the best today and always! -Maria Jose Araya

  • I remember meeting you during our first time serving together as committee members on GPIC. It was both frustrating and disappointing to both of us. But, thankfully, we had another shot at it and the tables turned for the good. GPIC is on fire and that's because your are the heart of it!

  • Congratulations, Tony and thank you for all your hard work. You have done more for graduate heath professions financial aid than anyone and your efforts are greatly appreciated. It is an honor to know you and work with you.
    ~ Bonnie Crilley

  • This is fantastic and so well deserved. Tony, I know from working with you these many decades the impact you have had on me and so many other colleagues. We are blessed to share a profession with you. I am looking forward to a few more decades with you...not MANY more, just a few. All the best.

  • Tony, Congratulations on a well deserved recognition! You do so much with integrity for the grad/prof sector and I really appreciate all you do. Thanks!
    Sandy Pritt

  • Congratulations Tony! Thank you for your commitment to students and your colleagues. Your love of the financial aid profession and your willingness to share your time and knowledge with others is evident in all that you do. Well deserved!

    Odette

  • Congratulations, well deserved. You have always been the MVP of Grad/Prof sector. A little surprised at what you do when not at work.... I thought it was a bottle of wine, soft jazz music and try to record a PODCAST.

    Lou Palefsky

  • Tony, you are a financial aid master. It is a privilege to be your colleague.
    Joetta

  • Tony, there are not enough words to state what treasure you are to the GCP community, the FA Community and I'm sure to your institution and students. We are so proud of you. Well deserved. I so understand you better now...especially being a fellow introvert.
    -- Tanya Patterson-Stanley

  • Tony, you have always helped the grad/prof community and you always did it with a smile.

  • Excellent! I echo what everyone else has said. Great to learn more about the man behind the name. You're kind of like a rock star in the financial aid world. :) We don't hear thank you enough in our jobs, so THANK YOU for all you do, Tony!
    Cheri Marks

  • Well deserved Tony! We are all lucky to have you as a colleague and advocate for our community.

    Phyllis Schulz

  • Tony, you rock, man. Always a pleasure to share the podium with an ace professional like you.

    John Garcia.

  • I am lucky to know you and have benefited from your wonderful expertise and sense of professionalism. You've always been a MVP to me and countless others. I am proud to be your colleague. Congratulations, Tony! This honor is no surprise to those of us who know and work with you.
    Heather McDonnell

  • Congratulations on MVP and 20 years hosting Med-L! This list serve and the NASFAA GP one are great and so helpful. Thanks for many years of service Tony.

  • Your knowledge, sense of humor, and dedication to "doing the right thing" are wonderful assets to your students and to all of us who are fortunate enough to know you. Thank you!

  • I am thinking you might want to consider changing the fact that you think of yourself as an introvert. At least in my experience of you, you have, ah....learned your way AWAY from that description and into the extrovert category in my mind!
    Jan Price

  • This is no surprise, Tony. You have always put the students and your colleagues first .... not wanting to focus attention on yourself but to lift up others; to make the process better for generations to come. I am so very proud to be able to call you a friend! Best wishes, Tony.
    Mary Fenton

  • You are great Mentor to many. You just don't know how you influence directly and indirectly. Love the advice you like to follow...true leadership at work. Thanks for all you do!
    Dolly Dietrich

  • Tony, you are a good will ambassador for the aid community, especially for those of us who work with graduate students. Thanks for the time and energy you devote to our work.

    Linda Gillette

  • Yeah, Tony!!! So glad to learn a bit more about you personally!! See you in San Juan... --Lauren Snow

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