Shannon Delaney, an administrator in the Career Advancement office, died unexpectedly on Friday due to natural causes. She was 35.
Delaney began her tenure at the University in the summer of 2010 and worked in a number of different roles before settling into the position of Associate Director of Administration and Planning.
“The thing I want people to know is that she took a lot of pride in working for the University, in working for Career Advancement,” said Meredith Daw, the executive director of Career Advancement.
Daw said Delaney was her “right-hand person” and described her as a “Jill-of-all-trades,” noting that Delaney’s tasks included work in administration, human resources, and programming, among others.
“We as an entire office would not be able to serve students without all her hard work,” said Marthe Druska, the director of operations and marketing at the Career Advancement office. She said that Delaney “was always the first person in the office, and she was usually the last person out.”
Delaney was born in Newburyport, MA and grew up in Boxford, MA. She graduated from Goucher College in Baltimore, where she worked in the campus activities office, and received a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from the University of Delaware. Before coming to the U of C, she worked at Centenary College in Louisiana and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Outside of the office, Delaney participated in half-marathons in Chicago to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. She was also an avid sports fan, especially of the New England Patriots football team. Druska recalled that Delaney planned in advance to take a day off after the Super Bowl in February 2012, so that no matter whether the Patriots won or lost, she “would have a day to recover and collect her emotions.”
Recently, Delaney was training to take the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) exam and become PHR certified. “She was really finding her stride and loving what she was doing,” Daw said.
Although much of Delaney’s work was behind-the-scenes, she oversaw about 50 student workers who she hired, trained, and supported. Daw recalled how invested Delaney was in their success in the office, frequently ensuring they knew and felt good about what they were doing.
“She just really cared, regardless of what she was doing,” Druska said.
Delaney’s parents and uncle visited the office yesterday to grieve with staff members and share memories from her life.
“We’re a pretty close-knit community in this office…It’s a big loss for us,” Daw said.
The Career Advancement office was closed yesterday and will be closed again today to give staff time to mourn; while scheduled student appointments and programs are being rescheduled, practice interviews and employer information sessions are still being held.
The University wishes to hold a memorial service for Delaney in the near future, though no clear plans have been made thus far.