Margaret Contro DeckerWhen Margaret Contro Decker sent her first child off to college she didn’t have all the usual anxieties parents have. Truth is, she knew more about what her daughter’s college life would be like than even her daughter knew.

That’s because Margaret’s daughter was going to Russell Sage College, where Margaret had graduated as part of the Class of 1995.

There was also that her daughter would be studying in the Nursing department, where Margaret had received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing.

“I knew Sage was going to be family, like it had been for me,” Margaret says. “I knew there would be people there to support her.”

Support her, they have. Margaret’s daughter, Aliceon, is a junior now, and, according to her mother has become more confident, hard working and determined to be a great nurse. 

Aliceon has an excellent role model in her mother. Today, Margaret is a chief nursing officer with the New York State Office of Mental Health. Previously, she was a clinical assistant professor at Binghamton University, where she taught for 10 years at the Decker School of Nursing. 

Margaret says Sage prepared her for leadership.

“We learned so much about leadership there,” she says. “We’d sit and talk about it, both in and outside the classroom, and I learned so much from those moments.”

Margaret also took on campus leadership positions, like being a Rally Day Overall, which means she played a major part in this annual event that raises money for community charities by holding friendly student competitions. 

When she decided to join the Russell Sage College Alumnae Association Board of Directors, Margaret says: “I was honored. I love Russell Sage. The Nursing department is phenomenal. I really believe in the school. It played such a big part in making me who I am.”

But she never pushed Sage on her daughter. The decision became something more like chance. 

Margaret and Aliceon drove from their home in the Binghamton area to Troy that day to check out RPI, where Aliceon thought she might study engineering.

After the visit up the hill, they agreed … We’re here, right close by … The rest is history. Mother and daughter sharing the same experience of finding a home away from home.