A Lettered History: Ms. Lipani’s Life, Legacy, and Impact on the Mount

A+Lettered+History%3A+Ms.+Lipanis+Life%2C+Legacy%2C+and+Impact+on+the+Mount

Most, if not all, of us know Ms. Lipani as the friendly face that greets us when we walk into the library. Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with the beloved librarian about her life, her experience working at the Mount, her accomplishments, and so much more!

Ms. Lipani graduated high school during the 1950s, a time in which it was uncommon that women attended college. As a teenager she had always dreamed of furthering her deep love for learning by continuing her academic career at college, however, these plans were halted when she became engaged to her fiancé. After putting off the marriage for 5 years, she says she finally “gave in” and married her fiancé. Although it was not the path she had originally imagined, she was happy with her husband and had two children, a boy and a girl. Ms. Lipani had a good family and home life, as well as the ability to stay home and raise her children which allowed her to have great close relationships with them. 

Although she loved the life she had with her family, she never let go of her dream of attending college. When her kids were in high school and old enough to not need her always home, she decided to pursue her dream by enrolling part-time at Montclair State University because it was close to home and would not interfere too heavily with being with her family. After putting in six years of hard work and never missing a single class, Ms. Lipani earned her degree in education and even became certified to be a teacher in New Jersey for a lifetime. She explains that this was the best way she could have thought to earn her degree because she was still able to be around for her children and spend time with them. 

All of her hard work raising her children paid off and Ms. Lipani could not be more proud of where they are today. Her daughter followed in her footsteps and studied education to become a teacher – a lifelong dream of hers. Now retired from her classroom, she spends her time teaching and helping other teachers how to use technology in the classroom. As for her son, he works for the federal government.

Before working at the Mount, Ms. Lipani was employed at Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child, but because she lives in Caldwell, she wanted to work closer to home. She retired from Oak Knoll and applied to work at the Mount, sharing that they took her on immediately. Although now we all know that Ms. Lipani can be found in the library, she actually did not start out there. She began working at the Mount a year after Sister Fran became principal and was working in the Development Office raising money for the school before Sister Fran moved her to the Admissions Office where she worked for several years as the secretary to the admissions director. After speaking to Sister Fran about wanting to begin working part-time to fit her schedule better, she was eventually offered the position in the library.

When she isn’t working, Ms. Lipani has a variety of hobbies and activities she participates in. Firstly, she loves being involved in her community and is a Dominican associate, and loves working with the sisters. She also belongs to the University Women of West Caldwell, a group of college-educated women who meet once a month and work to raise money to pay for two high school students and one woman seeking education to go to college. Ms. Lipani shares that this has important meaning to her because she was a woman who dreamed of an education and believes it is important to help other women to have that opportunity as well. Along with her community involvement, she also loves to read books, especially nonfiction, and travel, a fulfillment of her love of knowledge and learning. She has traveled to Europe five times, four times with her husband and once with her daughter after her husband’s passing. The first four times she went, she and her husband got to visit Italy, Switzerland, France, and Ireland, but unfortunately never made it to Spain or Greece which was on their list of places to visit. She also visited Italy a second time with her daughter, who shares her love of traveling and learning about other cultures and places. 

As someone who attended public schools her whole life, Ms. Lipani says she never knew that there could be such strong connections and community ties in a school. She loves working and being at the Mount because of the feeling of family that is always present and because of the great teachers, who are wonderfully educated, and students, that she can see truly have a love of learning. With this being her 25th year at the Mount, Ms. Lipani has had an impact on so many young girls and has seen many changes throughout the years. The best and biggest change she has seen is the new library, which was renovated too long ago. She remarks that she loves seeing how much the girls use the library now and that she is constantly in the company of Mount students when in the library. Of the three different roles she has worked in, Ms. Lipani did not hesitate in saying that her position as a librarian is her favorite because she gets to work more closely with the girls. To her, the best part of working at the Mount is seeing the girls grow from quiet freshmen into vivacious seniors and seeing how much they’ve advanced and accomplished. She loves seeing what an amazing impact the Mount has on girls and the legacy they leave behind as well as hearing about all of their plans for their bright futures. 

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