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Peerless Peers: Lisa LaRusso

We celebrate our colleague who has worked in The Hub for more than 25 years.

Peerless Peers: Lisa LaRusso

We’d like to take a moment to shine a light on those staff members who work tirelessly to ensure that Purchase runs smoothly. We acknowledge and value their efforts and hope to know them better—one story at a time.

If you’ve eaten at The Hub, you certainly recognize Lisa LaRusso. She’s been working there for more than 25 years. She hit a milestone last fall, celebrating her 60th birthday on November 1. (And her mother, Grace, recently turned 101!)

This is a quote from Nim Sondel the Director of the HUB

Nim Sondel, director of the HUB values Lisa’s work on her team. “Having Lisa on my team makes a huge difference,” says Sondel. “She’s dependable, and I enjoy seeing her interaction with students. She lights up our dining room.”

Born with the genetic disorder Down Syndrome, Lisa was not expected to live past age 25, according to her mother. But refusing to institutionalize their daughter, which was common practice when she was born, her parents chose to raise her at home with her five older siblings. The average lifespan of those with Down Syndrome has increased by twofold since the early 80s due largely to families like the LaRussos who made similar choices.

Lisa graduated from Greenwich High School and continues to live in the home where she was raised in the Pemberwick section of Greenwich.

She is a competitive athlete who participates in running, speed skating, volleyball, tennis, swimming, and, most recently, golf. She has amassed countless awards and ribbons, including several Special Olympics medals. Her athleticism even resulted in the chance to meet Muhammed Ali at an event sponsored by the Special Olympics of Connecticut.

Currently, Lisa lives with her mother and her aide of five years, Sylvia Griffiths, who says, “To know her is to love her…. She has such innocence and positivity. She never lets anything bring her down.”

Sondel adds, “The best way to describe Lisa: caring, impressive, trustworthy, and a sweet person.”

Happy Birthday, Lisa, and thanks for helping us all for more than 25 years. We see you, appreciate you, and can’t do it without you.

Excerpted from