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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 18, 2017

Class of ‘64 well represented

Sep 30, 2013
Narda Simonsen Murphy

Note: This is the fourth of a five part series regarding the upcoming Parsons College Wall of Honor induction and All-Class Reunion weekend.

Ten distinguished student-alumni will be inducted into the Parsons College Wall of Honor during the fifth ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Fairfield Arts & Convention.

Interested people, history buffs and friends of Parsons College are all invited to attend the events.

Among the 10 people being inducted into the Wall of Honor are Narda Simonsen Murphy and Ray Stolarczyk.

Education and finance are the fields where Simonsen Murphy and Stolarczyk have made their mark in Michigan and Illinois.


Narda Simonsen Murphy

Narda Simonsen Murphy graduated from Parsons College in 1964, and now lives in Williamston, Mich.

As an Iowa farm girl just taking one day at a time, Simonsen Murphy never realized at the time what an awesome education she was receiving at Parsons College, nor did she realize that during the latter part of her career as a school district superintendent, she would be impacting the lives of more than 1,000 students annually. But when she joined the adult world, she began to understand what a depth of learning she had received. The academic challenges at Parsons prepared her for the “real world” and paved the way to a very proud and distinguished career in education.

Following her graduation from Parsons, Simonsen Murphy’s travels carried her from Iowa to Massachusetts to Michigan. Along the way she married Parsons sweetheart, Patrick Murphy, who graduated from Parsons College in 1964, and picked up a master’s degree in secondary education administration with Phi Kappa Phi honors at Michigan State University.

From her first day of teaching at the Fort Madison Junior High School in Iowa, Simonsen Murphy began the journey of touching all the bases on the climb to her current position as superintendent of the Williamston Community Schools in Michigan. She’s taught pre-school, adult education, alternative education, middle school, junior and senior high school, substituted and has even been a homebound tutor. Her successes and the impact she’s made in her field have been well documented. The awards are plentiful and include: Master Teacher Award, Quality Begins with the Individual Award, Excellence in Education Award, Williamston Community Schools Impact Award, Champion for Children Award, and The Presidential Scholar Teacher Award (a White House Commission on Presidential Scholars).

“To this day I miss the classroom, but my current position has blessed me with the opportunity to make an even larger contribution, and gives me the vehicle to support classroom teachers, thereby, broadening — in a ‘layer-removed-way’ — the impact on our students,” said Simonsen Murphy. “Exponentially, I now touch the lives of over a 1,000 children every year … even if it’s not face-to-face.”

As an experienced grant writer, she is most proud of her efforts to bring financial support to her school district. Since 1985, Simonsen Murphy has written more than $1 million in grant monies. She is responsible for the $500,000 received from 1989 to 1991 that provided professional development for her teachers. In the mid-1990s, Williamston received another $400,000 to continue the program, and recently, a $300,000 grant was awarded to create safer bus routes to and from school.

She also plans to continue her active role in the community, where she’s involved with numerous councils, committees and several social organizations.

Recounting her Parsons days, where she was president of Alpha Xi Delta Sorority, Simonsen Murphy said, “I’m certain that nostalgia, plus the fact that I met the love-of-my-life there, has a lot to do with how I feel about Parsons, too, in addition to the great education I received.”

Simonsen Murphy has two sons and families and five grandchildren. Sandy Hermel Parker will present her to the Wall of Honor.


Ray Stolarczyk

Ray Stolarczyk graduated from Parsons College in 1964 and now lives in Naples, Fla.

Stolarczyk came to Parsons from the University of Illinois where he regarded himself as a number and had no access to his professors. He quickly found Parsons to be different. The classes were smaller, professors knew students’ names and they were available upon request. Stolarczyk soared to the dean’s list, got his bachelor’s degree in accounting, graduated with second honors and a marketing award.

After college and a short stint with Northwestern Bell in an accelerated management program, he joined Stangle & Lauber, the premier regional CPA firm in Chicago, specializing in auditing savings and loans, which were then called thrifts. During a 10-year period, Stolarczyk climbed the executive ladder, handling clients with assets exceeding $1.0 billion. He assisted in the conversion of the first Chicago Thrift to a publicly owned company, was awarded his CPA and gained membership to Illinois CPA Society and American Institute of CPA’s. He moved onto Fidelity Federal Savings & Loan Association in 1975. As vice president/treasurer, he transformed the one-office institution into a large company capable of posting major growth. He reorganized the board of directors, installed a number of significant committees, added management incentives and increased the assets and number of full service locations. Stolarczyk then led the conversion from Fidelity to Fidelity Bancorp, and made it a publically held savings bank with stock traded on the NASDQ market. He was promoted to president of Fidelity Bancorp in 1981, and chief executive officer in 1985, serving as chairman of the board until 1991.

Stolarczyk served three terms as an elected director of Illinois Member Thrifts and was selected to speak in Washington, D.C., before the Federal Housing Bank Audit Committee membership meeting. In 1993, he joined MAF Bancorp as a board and audit committee member, oversaw the acquisition of Fidelity by MAF and served on the board, and as trustee of the Trust of the Illinois League of Financial Institutions, a group of 500 thrifts in Illinois.

Prior to retiring in 1997, Stolarczyk was promoted to chairman of the league, chaired a number of committees and became vice chairman of the trusts.

His community involvement includes affiliation with Kiwanis, local PTA, Children with Special Needs and the Boy Scouts of America.

Stolarczyk, his wife Bonnie and their children and families split their retirement between Naples, Fla., and Egg Harbor, Wis.

John Blackstock will present Stolarczyk to the Wall of Honor.

Additional information regarding registration for the events of the Parsons College Reunion weekend can be obtained by contacting David Neff at 919-4640 or neffacres@lisco.com.

Information about inductees David Harding and Larry Litwin was printed Friday in the Fairfield Ledger. Information about David Elliot and the late Edwin Green was printed Thursday, and information about William Bangham and Dorothy Bell was printed Wednesday. Information on the remaining Parsons Wall of Honor inductees is scheduled to be printed Tuesday.


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