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Endicott Names Quad in Honor of Ayune Michel ’72

After years as a Trustee and longtime benefactor, Endicott celebrated Ayune Michel ’72 with the dedication of an academic quad in her name.
After years as a Trustee and longtime benefactor, Endicott celebrated Ayune Michel ’72 with the dedication of an academic quad in her name.
By: Will LeBlond

On Friday the 13th, Trustee, Class of 1972 alumna, and nursing director, Ayune Michel, cemented her place on campus with the dedication of the Ayune Michel ’72 Academic Quad, located in front of the newly completed Cummings School of Nursing and Health Sciences. It is a fitting location, as Michel played a major role in funding for the school, thanks to a $2 million gift through Spread Your Wings: The Campaign for Endicott College late last year.

With Michel surrounded by friends and family, fellow Board of Trustees members, nursing students, and Endicott community members, the dedication ceremoniously kicked off Endicott’s annual Homecoming & Family Weekend, which annually brings together Endicott’s community at large to celebrate the College. 

The Ayune Michel '72 Academic Quad was dedicated on October 13, 2023
“Today, we honor Ayune’s legacy and her profound impact on our community. I am delighted to announce that, in recognition of her outstanding contributions, Endicott College proudly names the heart of our beautiful seaside campus the Ayune Michel Academic Quad,” announced President Steven R. DiSalvo, Ph.D. “This quad, which will serve as the centerpiece and hub of learning, stands as a physical testament to Ayune’s enduring commitment to education, her dedication to our College, and her belief in the transformative power of knowledge.”

Michel’s father was a pharmacist; her mother was a nurse. But it was her father who saw that nursing was a job that would always be in demand. “I didn’t go into pharmacy because that was the route chosen for my brother, and he was to take over the family business,” Michel told News at the Nest last fall. “My father saw nursing as stability.”

She came to Endicott in the late 1960s after falling in love with the oceanside campus. Here, Michel earned a degree in pre-physical therapy—the beginning of her educational journey. After leaving the Nest, she completed an advanced nursing program at Newton-Wellesley, earned a health science degree at Northeastern University, and got a master’s in healthcare administration at Framingham State, which ultimately helped catapult her into one of the defining roles of her career as Director of Health Services with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 

“Through the places I have gone, I have learned to have fun and work hard,” said Michel. “I started as a nursing staff member and worked my way up to being a Director of Developmental Disabilities for the State. However, this did not happen overnight. It was dedication and a love for what I was doing.”

After years as a Trustee and longtime benefactor, Endicott celebrated Ayune Michel ’72 with the dedication of an academic quad in her name.
Cummings School of Nursing & Health Sciences Dean Amy Smith said that Michel’s legacy as a lifelong nurse and healthcare administrator will inspire “countless future nurses … as they pursue their own legacies right here at Endicott.”

One of those future nurses was Devora Nolasco ’26, a first-generation college student who wants to demystify healthcare and improve access for marginalized communities. 

“My classmates and I are genuinely grateful to have all these new tools, equipment, and space that will allow us to work in a more proficient way. Having access to spacious classrooms with real-world equipment has helped me feel more prepared as I enter the hospital setting,” Nolasco said. “All of this is made possible by the support and generosity of people like Ms. Michel.”

Now a consistent presence at Endicott events, Michel only reentered the College’s orbit about 10 years ago when she attended an Endicott-hosted cocktail party on Cape Cod and was immediately drawn back to the charm of her alma mater. 

“I remember meeting some of the alumni, a couple of the Trustees, and some parents, and I was very impressed,” said Michel. “This was before President [Richard E.] Wylie died and he was still creating his dream. I was impressed with what was going on and what had happened and so I became a donor.”

From that day on, Michel’s impact on Endicott grew exponentially. She was nominated and appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2018—a role she never anticipated but has cherished. 

“I have enjoyed being able to assist in making decisions to chart Endicott’s path forward and now with the dedication, I’m just beside myself over it,” she said. “Who said the Friday the 13th isn’t lucky?”