Pierre Tielhard de Chardin said, “the most satisfying thing in life is to have been able to give a large part of one’s self to others.” Rhonda Hazell, DPM, associate professor of biology and coordinator of anatomy and physiology at La Salle, embodies these words as her mission, both as an educator and a person. That is why Hazell is the recipient of the 2020 Distinguished Lasallian Educator Award.
“I am able to do this through teaching,” Hazell said in her acceptance remarks. “Each day I give a large part of myself away in the classroom with my love and enthusiasm for the subject of anatomy. At the same time, I give a larger part of myself Introducing various service opportunities to students and participating alongside them.”
The Distinguished Lasallian Educator Award provides the University an opportunity to recognize a person from within the community who represents unwavering dedication to this mission. Recipients are chosen by a panel of faculty and staff. Brother Ernest Miller, D. Min., La Salle’s Vice President for Mission, presented Hazell with the award during the University’s Opening Meeting on August 19 by saying, “Rhonda Hazell lives her faith out in the open and we are all better people for it. As a professor at La Salle for 18 years, she has had a tremendous impact on arguably the greatest number of students per semester over that time.”
Br. Ernest continued, “She is a leader by being of service to others. She inspires faculty and students alike to reach out into the community and out of their comfort zones. In addition to her constant presence locally, she continues to leave her indelible mark of dedicated service throughout the hemisphere as a leader on numerous biannual medical mission trips to Haiti. She inspires others simply by being herself and walking humbly with her God.”
Hazell’s academic career began with a bachelor’s of science in biology from the College of St. Elizabeth before moving on to earn a master’s of science in developmental biology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She continued her education with a M.Ed. in counseling psychology from Temple before completing her DPM from Kent State University’s College of Medicine.
Her volunteer work includes taking multiple trips to Port-au-Prince, Haiti with the Haitian Brothers’ of the Christian Schools’ Lasallian school and the Immaculate Heart Sisters’ general care clinic.
Locally, Dr. Hazell takes faculty colleagues and students to soup kitchens including Loaves-and-Fishes project in Trenton, N.J. and in Philadelphia on Spring Garden Street. During the 2019-2019 academic year, Hazell oversaw more than 300 students entrusted in her care in her lecture and lab sections.