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Love, Service and Education: The Family Business

Cisetti-Orozco-Madden Family Honored With 2017 Alumni Legacy Family Award

Many graduates of the University of Missouri-Kansas City thank their alma mater for the numerous career opportunities and hands-on educational experiences they enjoyed. For a few, their college education led to a lifelong connection.

For UMKC’s 2017 Alumni Awards Legacy Family – the Cisetti-Orozco-Madden family, with a Roo tradition that is 25 family members strong – love played just as big a part in their UMKC experiences as other invaluable adventures.

Second generation UMKC graduate John Cisetti (Conservatory, B.M.E. ’78, M.A. Education ’79, Ed.S. ’85) said UMKC is where he and his wife – Veronica Orozco (Biol Sci, B.S. ’77) – met and fell in love. Orozco Cisetti, also a legacy student – her father, Roberto Orozco, attended UMKC from 1972 – 73 – was the first of five siblings to attend college.

“Although we had different majors and did not take classes together, we were both involved in Greek life,” said John Cisetti. “Veronica was a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority and I was in Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.”

Cisetti, who is also a second generation educator, has been the band director at Louisburg (Kansas) Unified School District for the last 38 years. He has taught school almost as long as his late mother, Josephine (Mannino) Cisetti (Education, B.A. ’45), who taught in the Kansas City Public Schools for 40 years. She was also the first in her family to attend college. After graduating from the University of Kansas City (UMKC’s predecessor) Mannino Cisetti began her career at Carlisle Elementary School. She taught there for five years before moving to Whittier Elementary, where she retired in 1985.

Shortly after the Second World War, Mannino Cisetti helped to teach English to adult refugees and immigrants from Europe during evening classes. Similar to her son, John, and his wife, Veronica, Mannino Cisetti and her husband Joseph Cisetti’s love story sprang up from the roots of education. They met during her time teaching English – he was an Italian immigrant. Two generations later, Mannino Cisetti’s granddaughter – Mary (Cisetti) Patonai (Bloch, B.B.A. ’12) – would meet her husband on the campus of UMKC. Just like her parents, Mary and her husband, Nick, were both involved in Greek life.

“It is a unique connection that Nick (Medicine, M.D. ’14) and I get to share with my parents in meeting at UMKC – and not only at the University, but also through Greek life,” said Cisetti Patonai. As an Alpha Delta Pi legacy, she is sorority sisters with her mother, Orozco Cisetti, and two aunts, Rebecca Orozco Poindexter (Bloch, B.B.A. ’80) and Gloria Orozco Madden (attended 1976 – 77). Celia Orozco Squires also met her husband, Dennis Squires (Bloch, B.B.A. ’86) on campus through their involvement in Greek-letter organizations.

The college sweetheart and Greek involvement trend is not the only commonality passed down the Cisetti-Orozco-Madden family. Commitment to service and education are high on the list of the Legacy Family’s core values.

“I believe that my mother was drawn to service and teaching was a way for her to serve the community,” said John Cisetti, adding that he and his brother, the Rev. Joseph Cisetti (A&S, B.A. ’83) of St. Therese North Parish in Platte County, lived all of their lives to the rhythm of the school year. John Cisetti says his mother influenced his interest in teaching. John Cisetti’s daughter Catherine, who is currently enrolled in the Education Specialist Program at UMKC, says she is sure that growing up close to two educators definitely played a part in her career decision to be an elementary school teacher. Rev. Cisetti, however, got involved with education in a rather different way. Religious teaching.

St. Therese North Parish ministries includes an award-winning school of 570 students, an accredited Early Education Center, and an active social outreach. He also serves on the board of the Bright Futures Fund that works on behalf of Catholic education, particularly in the urban core.

“Priests will tell you that to be in a parish with a school is a lot more work, and it is true. But it is also true that there is a lot more life, joy and even fun. I enjoy teaching both children and adults,” said Rev. Cisetti. He says that a former seminary professor once remarked that he considered Rev. Cisetti’s teaching ability to be something that may have been inherited or acquired from his mother. Rev. Cisetti also attributes his communication studies degree as having prepared him for the daily responsibilities of pastoral service. His influence to attend UMKC came from its economic competitiveness and his familiarity with campus due to his brother, John’s, attendance.

John Cisetti’s brother-in-law and former UMKC employee Patrick Madden (A&S, B.A. ’85) also says his familiarity with UMKC influenced his college choice.

“My grandparents lived at 5300 Rockhill Rd. When I was little, our family would come to my grandparents’ house for Sunday dinners. With that close proximity to campus, I was always running around near Haag Hall, Newcomb Hall, the quad and Epperson House,” said Madden, who also shares a UMKC experience with his wife, Gloria Orozco. Although Madden and his wife did not meet on campus, he says they certainly shared some time at UMKC when he worked for the Athletic department for five years. Madden also keeps his close ties to UMKC by staying involved with the Arts & Sciences Alumni Board.

“The opportunity to interact with [Arts & Sciences Advancement director] Karen English and her staff, not to mention other former Arts & Sciences alums are the biggest reason I want to give back to UMKC,” said Madden.

The Cisetti-Orozco-Madden family’s loyalty to Kansas City is displayed through their love for, and service in, the community. Civic pride was a value in the Cisetti home growing up. It was only natural that many generations to follow would choose to attend college in the city they were raised to love.

“The virtues of receptivity and generosity are important,” said Rev. Cisetti. “Every day I pray, ‘Lord, may I give whatever you wish to receive and receive whatever you wish to give.’”

Mannino Cisetti died in 2014 but the commitment she and her husband had to education has been carried on through succeeding generations of her family. Roberto Orozco also instilled similar values into his children.

“Education is the family business,” said John Cisetti.

The Cisetti-Orozco-Madden family will be presented the Legacy Award at the 2017 Alumni Awards Luncheon April 20 on campus. Members of the family are as follows:

Josephine Mannino Cisetti (Education, M.A. ’45)

Roberto Orozco (attended 1972 -73)

John Cisetti (Conservatory, B.M.E ’78, M.A. Education ’79, Ed.S. ’85)

Veronica Orozco Cisetti (Biol Sci, B.S. ’77)

Rev. Joseph Cisetti (A&S, B.A. ’83)

Steven R. Cisetti (attended)

Catherine Cisetti (SOE, currently enrolled)

Mary Cisetti Patonai (Bloch, B.B.A. ’12)

Dr. Nicolas Patonai (Med, M.D. ’14)

Rebecca Orozco Poindexter (Bloch, B.B.A. ’80)

Jonathan Poindexter (Bloch, B.B.A. ’10)

David Poindexter (A&S, B.L.A. ’12)

David Orozco (SCE, B.S.C.E. ’84)

Celia Orozco Squires (Biol Sci, B.S. ’86)

Dennis Squires (Bloch, B.B.A. ’86)

Amanda Squires (attended)

Carolyn Squires (attended)

Gloria Orozco Madden (attended 1976 -77)

Patrick Madden (A&S, B.A. ’85)

Dennis Madden (A&S, B.A. ’70)

Robin Brown Madden (attended)

Catherine (Katie) Madden [Catherine Rose Scott] (A&S, M.A. ’67)

Brian J. Madden (Law, J.D. ’92)

Marie E. (Beth) Madden (Law, J.D. ’92)

Click here for tickets or sponsorship information for the April 20, 2017, Alumni Awards Luncheon. Click here for more information on the 2017 Alumni Award recipients.


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