Campus Closeup: Judy Marra
When Judy Marra (Conference and Catering Services) graduated from NMU in 1975 with a degree in physical education, she planned to be a teacher. Little did she know that it was her minor in food and nutrition that would actually decide her future. After substitute teaching grades K-12 in Negaunee and Republic schools for three years, the position of food and beverage manager opened at NMU.
“It was a very busy job," she said. "I oversaw student dining in the Wildcat Den, banquets, invoicing, and all of the liquor on campus. I held that position for over 20 years, and was moved up to being the director of Conference and Catering Services six years ago after a department reorganization.”
Marra’s new responsibilities include helping customers plan banquets, weddings, parties and other social events in the University Center. She spends much of her time working with customers via phone and e-mail, drawing up orders for room setup for the custodians and food menus for the Dining Services kitchen staff to follow.
Marra enjoys planning happy occasions, but she added that the work is very date- and detail-oriented. “At my job, I’m way out into the future all the time. We’re booking into ’07 for conferences and weddings. I have about three calendars going all the time.”
Born and raised in Ishpeming, Marra wanted to stay in the area to remain close to her family. She still resides there with her husband and travel partner, Jim. For a total of six weeks each year, they go downhill skiing in Colorado. “The mountains call us every couple of months. We go as far as Rocky Mountain National Park. I’d say I’m pretty unique in how much I vacation."
Marra also enjoys other activities such as biking, hiking and spending time at her cottage on Little Perch Lake. In the future, Marra and her husband plan to travel more to explore the United States and possibly other countries.
When thinking back to the days when she could have been a teacher, Marra says that she does not regret the career path that she chose.
“I am so happy with what I have done," she added. "I really and truly love my job. Customers tell me that they can see that I am into what I do, and I really am. I have no regrets that I was never a teacher, and it’s the customers and students that make every day worthwhile."