Higgins Determined to Make Family and Colleagues Proud with Distinguished Springfield Professor Appointment | Springfield College

Higgins Determined to Make Family and Colleagues Proud with Distinguished Springfield Professor Appointment


At left, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Mary Ann Coughlin and Associate Professor of Health Sciences and Coordinator of the Health Sciences Major Pamela Sangeloty Higgins ’83, G’84.


By: Damon Markiewicz

Springfield College Associate Professor of Health Sciences and Coordinator of the Health Sciences Major Pamela Sangeloty Higgins ’83, G’84, has been appointed as the Distinguished Springfield Professor of Humanics for the 2024-25 academic year. As a double alumna, Higgins truly appreciates and understands the honor that comes along with this appointment.

“Being named Distinguished Springfield Professor of Humanics means so much to me on both a personal and professional level,” explained Higgins. “It means you are respected by your peers, which is such a great feeling. So many faculty members deserve this honor, and I feel very fortunate to be a part of such a special group.”

Higgins will take time in the spring and summer to solidify exactly what her project for the 2024-25 academic year will look like. One aspect of her project will be a given, her year-long appointment will have a focus on helping others.

“My instincts are that, my project will certainly have a public health focus,” explained Higgins. “I want to showcase the value of public health. Now that we are in this beautiful new Health Sciences Center, I want to use the space to collaborate with faculty members in different concentrations, and learn how I can help support them. My project will intersect with what is going on in the public health and health sciences fields. Receiving this honor just motivates me to want to work even harder for my peers, our students, and my family.”

Higgins’ family tree is filled with Springfield College connections, starting with her dad, Stanley Sangeloty ’53, G’59. On top of Higgins’ two degrees, she has also witnessed her oldest daughter, Katelyn Higgins ’10, G’12, earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Occupational Therapy. In addition, her youngest daughter Sarah Higgins Crowe ’15, earned her bachelor’s degree from Springfield College in Health Sciences, with a focus in Physical Therapy. If that wasn’t enough degrees for one family, Pam Higgin’s nephew, Thomas Sangeloty ’12, G’14, is a proud graduate of the Physical Education and Health Education program, and her son-in-law, Michael Crowe ’10, also is a proud alumnus.

“I am so lucky that I have a very tight-knit family, and of course I can’t forget my mom Marion, and my brothers Michael and Paul and their families,” described Higgins. “Having the opportunity to serve as the Distinguished Professor is another opportunity to represent all of my family, and show all we have done, and are doing together as a family. My dad was a first-generation college student, his family came from Greece, and he really showed me how to deal with people in a patient, kind way.”

As Higgins explains, there was no added pressure by her father for her to attend Springfield College, and she didn’t limit her own daughters to just tour Alden Street. For each individual, the opportunity to continue on the family legacy at Springfield College just felt right.

“For me, as a student at Springfield College, this was a place where right away, so many faculty, staff, and coaches believed in me, and that was so important for me coming out of high school,” added Higgins. I grew up in a small town, Kensington, Connecticut, and I didn’t always have the most self-confidence. Springfield College was the first place where people helped me find my full potential, besides of course my family members, who have always believed in me.”

And once Higgins was enrolled, she started to develop life-long connections through both academics and athletics. Specifically, two individuals really had an immediate impact in helping her navigate through college life.

“I played four years of women’s lacrosse for head coach Molly Rau, and she believed in me, and was patient with me, and I have brought those skills into my teaching,” explained Higgins. “In addition, Professor of Rehabilitation Counseling Joe Stano was my advisor, and he also believed in me right away. I studied Rehabilitation for my undergraduate degree, and when I stayed on campus to get my master’s degree, I ended up as Joe’s graduate assistant. During that time, he recommended I should go for my master’s degree in Health Sciences, which meant I had to do my own research, and that opened the door for me. I went right into research and I loved it.”

After completing her graduate studies, Higgins would go on to have a long-standing career doing research at UConn Health for nearly 28 years, where she earned a graduate degree in public health. It was also during that time that Higgins reached out to Stano, and had a conversation that would open up a door for Higgins to return to Springfield College.

“I was studying for my certification in Public Health when I started to think to myself, why doesn’t Springfield College teach public health,” explained Higgins. “Teaching public health intersects with our Humanics philosophy. I called Joe Stano and asked him ‘why aren’t you teaching it?’ Joe talked with Dean David Miller, and we got the ball rolling in bringing public health to Springfield College. I started as an adjunct professor teaching two classes that I developed, and that was the road for me to end up back at Springfield College.”

Even during her impactful career at UConn Health, there was always something in the back of Higgins’ mind that was pulling her back to Alden Street.

“I loved the work I was doing at UConn, but I always had a thought that I wanted to go back to Springfield College,” explained Higgins. “I wanted to bring to current students, the same opportunities that were presented to me. Through academics, I was able to find a passion, and make a difference, and I owe that all to Springfield College.”

Higgins prepared herself to return to her adopted home. Once again, it was her close-knit family that helped make the transition from UConn Health to Springfield College a successful one.

“I owe everything to my late husband Sean Higgins. He allowed me to return home to Springfield College, and he always believed in me,” explained Pam. “It was going to take some sacrifice for us to make the change from UConn Health back to Springfield, but he always supported me and I owe everything to him.”

And now, it’s that belief in herself that has Higgins determined to make her family and colleagues proud, with a successful Distinguished Springfield Professor of Humanics journey.

“It’s honestly a little overwhelming to know I will have the opportunity to be a part of the Distinguished Springfield Professor of Humanics tradition,” explained Higgins. “I will be very purposeful in what I select, and I want to help people using public health as the guide. I am always learning from my students, and I will focus on a topic that asks ‘What is needed now? What can we teach them now?’ I am so humbled and honored to get started.”