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Marquette University Alumni Association

College of Nursing Award Recipients

Young Alumnus of the Year Award

Tony GuzzardoTONY GUZZARDO, NURS '09
Wauwatosa, Wis.

Tony grew up in a small town, always appreciating that lifestyle, but was encouraged to explore. Marquette helped him do that and more. He says: “Plain and simple, Marquette opened the door to a world I never imagined.” Now, he feels privileged to care for others every day.

It all started with his first trip to Honduras on behalf of Global Brigades, then Global Medical Relief, which sparked his passion for public health and international development and a sincere appreciation for culture and humanity.

“For the first time, my eyes were truly opened to the beautiful world that exists and the adventures that await each of us,” he says. “Undoubtedly, life would look much different these days if I hadn’t taken that first trip.”

That’s what influenced Tony to work abroad in the Peace Corps for three years after graduation, returning recently to the United States to be a clinical nurse. Long term, he plans to find a balance between his passions for critical care and public health and eventually pursue graduate school and practice as a nurse practitioner. He hopes more international work follows, especially it he can teach.

“I’m frequently reminded of the unique privilege nurses have no matter the capacity in which they practice — that of engaging with your patients in such a distinctly intimate manner and being in a position to bring out the best in those you serve at what may be their darkest, most trying time,” he says.

In his spare time, Tony and his family work on their nonprofit organization, spearheaded by his mother's passion and drive, which raises awareness and provides funding for innocent victims of child abuse. To do so, they have cycled as a team in several sponsored rides and organized their own three-day cycling event, which will be an annual occurrence.

Fun Facts

Hometown: Sterling, Ill.

Favorite book:
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.”

Dream dinner guest:
“My maternal grandfather. He passed away when my mother was very young. I’ve always been told how much I remind others of him, which is something that makes me feel very special. I wish I had a chance to hear his stories, to soak up the kind of wisdom that only grandfathers can possess, and to learn the details of our family's history that were lost with his passing.”

Marquette faculty or staff member who had an impact: “Dr. Duane Bruce, former assistant dean for new student programs at Marquette and current dean of students at the New York City College of Technology. While I was a student program director for New Student Orientation, he was one of the first people to teach me that it was acceptable to make mistakes and even more acceptable to ask for help. At least, he was the first person I actually listened to when told that.”

Grade school career aspiration: “For a long time, I wanted to be a pilot, by either ‘saving the world’ as a military fighter pilot or by ‘seeing the world’ as a commercial airline pilot. I distinctly remember watching Top Gun regularly as a kid and living vicariously through Tom Cruise’s ’need for speed.’ I still know every word to You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’ by the Righteous Brothers. I may or may not have wanted to be Garth Brooks as well. Ultimately, a country-singing fighter pilot was everything I dreamt of being.”

Marquette legacy: “Bennie Guzzardo, Dent ’47, my paternal grandfather; John Guzzardo, Sr., Arts ’79, my father; and Ellie Guzzardo, Arts ’13, my sister.”

Most influential person in your life: “There have been many, but most prominent has been my younger sister Ellie. She may not know it, but every day I’m guided by something she’s done, something she’s said or something she’s taught me. She has an uncanny ability to bring out the best in all she encounters and sees goodness wherever she turns. She strikes the perfect balance of innocent curiosity and provocative analysis, seemingly in a state of perpetual wonder, and is never hesitant to ask ’why’ She pushes me to be my best and ultimately makes me an unwaveringly proud older brother for the young woman she’s become. Sometimes she thinks she’s following in my footsteps, but from my perspective I’ve been following in hers.”