This year, I marked 10 years of employment at Wagner College, which includes 10 years as your Wagner Magazine editor.

In 2007, Wagner College welcomed me, easing what might have otherwise been a rocky transition, as I moved from rural Tennessee to the most densely populated urban center in the United States. Culture shock from a move within the United States? Yes, it is possible.

Wagner’s welcome encompassed actions large and small, from my boss’s arranging for me to live on campus for a couple of weeks while I searched for my own apartment, to a public safety officer helping me attach my new license plates to my car.

This support is a manifestation of what is meant by “the Wagner family.” I have felt its embrace since I came here; I didn’t have to earn it. Yet, more than ever this summer, the meaning of the Wagner family has become real for me.

Lee Manchester also joined the Office of Communications and Marketing in 2007. We have worked side by side ever since, and I have come to appreciate his steady presence and commitment to this community more and more.

(Faithful readers of this magazine will remember his many contributions here, especially historical pieces like the three-part “Wagner History Tour.”)

Early this year, he started a major medical journey that culminated in open heart surgery this summer.

Lee is a strong individual; however, this kind of treatment is not something that anyone can power their way through without help.

In lieu of a traditional family, Lee’s Wagner family has revealed what it’s made of in an impressive way.

When I look at our shared “Team Calendar” and see names covering it all day long for weeks, I think, “This is what love looks like.” A steady stream of faculty and staff have provided meals, accompanied short walks, cleaned the kitty litter box, given rides to doctor appointments, and just provided the moral support of their presence, as over the weeks Lee’s body has knit itself back together.

This collective caring in action is what the Wagner family means: In times of need, large or small, you are not alone. Wagner students imbibe this ethic as well. To quote one of our newest alumni, Jazmin Diaz ’17: “Each of us matters to this world.”

— Laura Barlament, Editor, Wagner Magazine

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