On Thursday, May 17th, Marion Cunningham, ACT’s Administrative Officer, was honored with an Infinite Mile Award from the School of Architecture + Planning (SA+P), alongside Department of Urban Studies and Planning’s Harriette Crawford and Media Lab’s Marissa Marcoux.

Part of the Institute-wide MIT Rewards and Recognition program, SA+P’s Infinite Mile Award is given to individuals–or teams–whose contributions are particularly valuable to advancing the School of Architecture and Planning’s core mission of producing first-rate, innovative research, scholarship and teaching. ACT Lecturer Tobias Putrih spoke about Marion and her achievements on behalf of ACT faculty, students, and staff.

Taking charge of her 8th year as the chief of financial and administrative operations, Marion has overseen 3 generations of ACT directors, and the enrollment of over 1200 MIT graduate and undergraduate students at ACT, with precision and mastership.

As a role model of SA+P’s mission to discover and deliver better futures, Marion executes smooth and spontaneous management for both grand MIT initiatives and day-to-day SA+P program flow.

She has managed a program with outstanding changes to the development and community mission, and occupied each environment with first line support, providing advancement for systems of efficiency, and improvement of classroom technology for the growing human landscape of faculty, staff, graduates, undergraduates, researchers, and visiting artists.

While administration can be a never-ending job, Marion is not troubled by the onslaught of demands, and welcomes drop-in visits from everyone, students to strangers alike. If anyone is answering faculty emails on a weekend, it’s Marion. Whether training a new employee, leading the TA training sessions, or narrating the institution’s history with pride, it is Marion.

She is a leader who both values her meticulous, hard work and punctuality, and nurtures the success of the program by addressing people’s needs first at MIT.

Marion continuously goes the extra mile in hidden and visible ways. Her work ethic and leadership shines from how much she cares about the SA+P community and future. It is difficult, if not impossible, for us to capture in a single speech all that Marion has contributed to ACT, SA+P, and MIT at large.

For years looking forward, we hope the university recognizes and cherishes Marion for the infinite strength and orchestral laughter she brings to our school.