Marsha Guenzler-Stevens '78 is the Director of Activities and Affiliate Assistant Professor in the Department of Counseling and Personnel Services at the University of Maryland.

Your hometown?

Stevenson, Maryland

Why Wesleyan?

My parents both went to IWU, as did my older sister. I thought my sister “hung the moon” and so to follow in her footsteps was one motivation. My whole life I had heard the stories of IWU and I came to believe it was my ONLY OPTION for college.

What I discovered was that it was the classroom instruction, inspiring and concerned faculty, and amazing mentors in student affairs that helped me to find my voice and to assume my role as leader and activist.

Your major?


Favorite professor or class?

Dr. Dorothea Franzen and Dr. Wendell Hess saw something in me I couldn’t see, and each and every day I think of how they inspire my path as a university administrator and faculty member.

After Wesleyan?

I discovered that my true calling was to be in higher education – but only after stumbling into a career born of my in- and out-of-class work at IWU. I also came to appreciate that life is more than work: Becoming engaged in the community and in advancing the human condition on a local and global scale is critical.

Biggest thrill or best memory?

I traveled to South Africa last year with the Tutu family and spent time with Desmond Tutu and his wonderful wife. Archbishop Tutu is as close to God as they come. He inspires me to continue to fight the good fight. He also reminds me that there is great power in the concept of forgiveness and reconciliation.

For fun?

I love the theater, good books, movies, and great restaurants. If you can combine those into a single day, it is a magnificent day.

The best?

The best travel companion and friend that I have is my husband, Randy Stevens. We have traveled the globe – typically with a group of high school girls. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather climb mountains, ride camels, search for lions, travel the Inca Trail, scope Terra Cotta Soldiers, crawl into pyramids, or sit and watch the sun set over an ocean with than Randy.

Favorite book

The one I could read over and over, The Courage to Love by William Sloane Coffin. The one that inspires me, Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela.

Favorite band?

If I’m trying to be hip, Coldplay. If I’m telling you what my next ticket is for, Carole King and James Taylor together in concert.

Favorite movie?

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
(Seeing it with Frank Capra at IWU was my all-time favorite moment. He was our Fine Arts Festival Speaker. Oh, my god – what a moment.)

Favorite quote?

"If you asked me what I came into the world to do, I will tell you, I came to live out loud."– Emile Zola
Marsha Guenzler Stevens

Marsha Guenzler-Stevens '78 is president of the Alumni Association Executive Board, and is actively involved in the Council for IWU Women.

View other Wesleyan profiles