Marica S. Tacconi, professor of musicology and assistant director for research and graduate studies in the School of Music, was honored with a 2013 Achieving Women Award from the Penn State Commission for Women.
The Achieving Women Award recognizes Penn State women who have shown notable leadership and accomplishment in their fields, and have gone beyond the requirements of their employment duties and responsibilities in support of the University’s diversity efforts, promotion of equal opportunity or contribution to human causes and public service activities.
“I remember arriving here as a young 28-year-old fresh out of graduate school,” Tacconi recalls. “Almost immediately, Penn State’s vision statement—to be the nation’s finest university in the integration of research, teaching, and service—resonated with my own goals as a scholar, teacher, and citizen of our community.”
From 2005 to 2010 Tacconi served as director of the Penn State Institute for the Arts and Humanities (IAH). In 2008-09 she was selected to participate as a Fellow in the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) Academic Leadership Program. She is an elected member of the Board of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council (chair, Governance Committee) and serves as the Faculty Leader for Curricular and Academic Programs for the Penn State Center for the Performing Arts Classical Music Project.
In her nomination statement, Sue Haug, director of the School of Music, says of Tacconi, “Under her directorship, the IAH became increasingly viewed as a leading institution among arts and humanities centers/institutes nationwide. I have observed Dr. Tacconi’s tenaciousness, thoroughness, and inclusiveness as she has brought together more than a dozen institutional partners and large numbers of people (students, faculty, staff, community members) to plan complex IAH initiatives such as Moments of Change, and then watched in admiration as she brought to fruition the more than 40 public events a year that were part of these programs.”
In her acceptance speech Tacconi expressed her gratitude. “I have been very fortunate to hold various positions of leadership that have enabled me to contribute in small measure to the vitality of our campus and greater community,” Tacconi says. “I will never forget the thrill of introducing Salman Rushdie and Toni Morrison to packed audiences, or the almost dizzying excitement of receiving a kiss on the cheek from cellist Yo-Yo Ma on the Eisenhower stage. And then there are the less public, but equally satisfying thrills: a lively and unscripted exchange of ideas with a colleague in a team-taught course, or seeing the sparkle in a student’s eyes in transcribing music unheard for five centuries.”
A native of central Italy, Tacconi joined the School of Music faculty in 1998 and teaches undergraduate and graduate music history. Her interdisciplinary research interests focus on the music, art, and culture of late medieval and early modern Italy, and has been supported by several institutions and grant agencies, including the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Robert Lehman Foundation, and the American Musicological Society. In 2002-03 Tacconi was a post-doctoral research Fellow at Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence, Italy. She returned to Villa I Tatti in 2011 as the Robert Lehman Visiting Research Professor in Residence.
“To be a true scholar, in the most fundamental meaning, is to be a student—a student of intellectual pursuits, but also a student of how best to share one’s knowledge and passion with the leaders of tomorrow—our current students and future scholars,” Tacconi states. “I strive to inspire and to be inspired by the wonderfully rich community that a vibrant place like Penn State offers.”