Get to know Marcus Paca, assistant director of employer relations for the University’s Career Development Center. He’s a student of history and a New Haven native who takes pride in the city’s delicious – and legendary – pizza.
February 19, 2021
The lifeblood of the University of New Haven are the faculty and staff members who dedicate their lives to helping our students reach their goals. Periodically, we’ll introduce you to a member of the staff so you can learn more about them – beyond their day-to-day work.
Next up is Marcus Paca, assistant director of employer relations at the Career Development Center, who discusses food, family, and football.
Renee Chmiel: Where did you grow up?
Marcus Paca: I grew up in New Haven, CT. New Haven is a city steeped in tradition and history. I love that New Haven has interesting museums, renowned centers of learning, and is full of beautiful parks and open spaces. New Haven is also a city full of citizen activists. There is a deep sense of neighborhood loyalty and advocacy that really shaped my perspective on public service, philanthropy, and sustainable community building. New Haven is also known as an excellent “foodie town.” We definitely have the best Italian pizza – Go Sally’s!
RC: Do you have any pets?
MP: I have a dog. Her name is Belle. She is a two and a half-year-old goldendoodle who is very prim and proper! She loves delicacies such as salmon, ribeye steak, and cashews. She has a calm and loving personality. She has been a great addition to my family, and I love taking her on hikes and on long road trips, which she enjoys immensely. She follows me all around the house from room to room and only bothers me when she wants to play.
Growing up, I had a very protective German Shepard named Baron, and pet fish, turtles, and hamsters. I think it’s safe to say that I’m an animal lover!
RC: Have you read any books recently? What is your favorite book?
MP: I recently finished a biography of President Lincoln called Lincoln, An Illustrated Biography by the Kunhardt family. It provides detailed firsthand accounts of Lincoln’s interactions with friends and family, political allies and foes, pro-slavery diehards, and abolitionists. It was interesting to connect his life with personal artifacts and pictures taken during his lifetime and to compare them to some of the same places in today’s world. The book also provided a relevant and sometimes contemporary take on the development of his personal beliefs, desires, and fears.
My favorite book is The Prince by Machiavelli. I’ve read this book several times, and I believe that leadership is learned and that effective leaders sometimes have to make difficult decisions in order to protect the kingdom. The book shows how external perception is just as important as internal perception. It is a study of the psychology of a man during a very interesting and complicated time in history. I believe that the more you study it, as well as other leadership strategies, the better you become as a leader. The Prince also provides specific examples on how to lead in different scenarios. I balance The Prince with the I Ching, which is a bit more complex and explores individual needs, political philosophy, symbolism, divine-intent, and moral-self cultivation.
RC: What would you love to invent?
MP: As an avid reader and student of history, I would love to invent a time machine. However, I would only use it to observe and understand more clearly the complexities of past human decisions, actions, and behaviors, not necessarily to change the course of history or the linear space-time continuum.
RC: What would your ideal Sunday look like?
MP: An ideal Sunday would begin with a strong cup of coffee and a nice read of the New York Times. It would continue with a nice midday brunch of poached eggs and salmon, more strong coffee, and good conversation on current events. After that, a nice hike through a forest and up a moderate-sized mountain would be ideal. I would note the trees, birds, and plants and try to identify popular ones. At the top of the mountain, I would meditate for 20 minutes and enjoy the air of a beautiful day. I would end my Sunday with an early evening dinner with my wife, a glass (or two) of Bordeaux, and a good football game.
RC: What kind of music do you like?
MP: I like to listen to hip hop, 60s and 70s rock and R&B, and 90s alternative music. I like music that expresses deep-rooted emotion through dramatic melodies with strong bass and percussion. Some of my favorite bands are Earth Wind and Fire, Journey, Santana, Staind, the Isley Brothers, and Wu-Tang Clan. Some of my favorite artists are David Ruffin, Sam Cooke, Anita Baker, Adele, Rick James, and Tina Marie.
RC: What do you like best about working with students at the University?
MP: University of New Haven students are extremely insightful and ambitious. It makes my job so much easier that the vast majority of students who cross my path in Career Development have not only a solid academic background, but also a clear understanding of where they want to go, their strengths, and their weaknesses. They have specific plans for enhancing their chances of lifelong success. They are confident in the quality of the education that they have received, and they are prepared to achieve their professional and personal goals.