Fraguli Brings Story of Resiliency Back to Mount Union

October 27, 2016

Joanna Fraguli with Mount Union staffALLIANCE, Ohio – With a unique story that began in Greece and continues today in San Francisco, California, Joanna Fraguli spoke to a group of University of Mount Union students, staff and community members Thursday in the Hoover-Price Campus Center.

Fraguli, who attended Mount Union as a student from 1990-1991, was recruited in her native Greece to come to Mount Union by Harold Hall ’49, then Director of International Admissions for Mount Union.

Her parents became enamored with Hall and never explicitly told her to go to Mount Union, they told her, “…we want you to go to Mr. Hall’s school!”

What made Fraguli’s situation more interesting than that of the typical international student was that she was born with muscular distrophy, because of which doctors told her parents would not let her live past the age of two.

Not only has she lived beyond age two, but she also attended public school with the help of family and friends, and tested third out of thousands of students in the University of Athens’ placement testing. Yet she was not sure she wanted to stay in Greece, which led her to drive five hours from her home town to meet Hall and subsequently attend Mount Union.

Joanna Fraguli

Since her time at Mount Union, Fraguli has become an influential public servant and has been working in the San Francisco Mayor’s Office on Disability since 2006, where she is currently the Deputy Director for Programmatic Access. Her primary charges include bringing disability issues to the forefront of policy development, communication and customer service. She has also led numerous training sessions for the 20,000 employees in the San Fransisco workforce.

“Mr. Hall went out of his way to help change my life and I’m grateful for that,” she said.

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