The Montclair State campus is bustling with people heading off to classes or activities. Walking these paths as a student years ago, Richard Marranca would be doing the same thing. Now, he is a teacher here and, instead of carrying books and a backpack, he is carrying a container of cookies that he brought to share with his students.
Marranca of Roselle Park graduated from Montclair State in 1983 with a bachelor’s in fine arts and minors in English and archaeology. He currently teaches part-time at Montclair State in the classics and humanities department; his courses include Mythology and Humanities I and II.
After graduating from Montclair State, Marranca began substitute teaching. He also attended New York University and earned a Doctor of Arts degree. Once he earned his master’s, Marranca began teaching at the age of 27. Even though he did not plan on teaching, he ended up loving it.
Growing up, Marranca dreamed of being a filmmaker or an archaeologist. He wanted to do “something that sounded adventurous.” Marranca worked in television and film before becoming a teacher. While he was glad for the experience, he was very happy to find teaching.
Writing has also been a huge passion of Marranca’s. He recently published, “The New Romantics: Ten Stories of Mystery, Passion, Travel and Vampires.” The book consists of ten short stories that take place in various parts of the world. The book is all about people who are romantics.
“The characters seek the adventure of life,” Marranca said. To Marranca, new romantics are people who love nature, are passionate, and love exotic travel, poetry and mystery.
Marranca has a total of six books published and has also written stories, essays, poetry and interviews. E.L. Doctorow, Jane Goodall and Allen Ginsberg are some of the people that he has interviewed.
“My books are an explanation of the humanities,” Marranca said.
His passion for writing comes from enjoying the “ancient quality of writing.” Marranca explained that writing is a great way to learn and that he is always seeking things to know.
Marranca’s background varies from life coaching to yoga and meditation, in which he is certified. He likes to bring some of his life coaching techniques into the classroom. Marranca explained how he “helps students clarify their goals, find their strengths and their Obi-Wan Kenobi.”
“I give them too much advice,” Marranca jokingly said. He encourages his students to take care of their health and well-being, to read and to travel. Marranca believes cheapest travel is the best, like staying in youth hostels instead of a hotel.
Marranca’s interest in yoga and meditation began when he took a meditation class in high school; however, during his time at graduate school was when he became passionate about it.
“I realized that doing things like yoga and hiking were the best ways to balance your life, mind and body,” Marranca said. He also occasionally does seminars, and he recently talked about nutrition at a yoga center.
In between teaching and his other endeavors, Marranca spends time traveling. He has been to Europe, Asia, Canada, the Middle East, Latin America and all over the United States. Marranca’s teaching has also brought him to new places. He taught for a year in Germany and taught English and American culture in Vietnam.
His favorite place he has visited is always changing. “Today I’ll say it’s Italy,” Marranca said with a laugh.
Being a teacher at Montclair State brings back memories of Marranca’s time as a student here. He enjoyed the classes and teachers he had and some of his past professors are now his colleagues, such as Tim Renner. Marranca admires him and considers him a big influence.
Looking to the future, Marranca hopes to eventually move to a quieter area, where he will do more writing, volunteering, hiking and traveling.
The clock at College Hall rings across campus, bringing him back to the present. Instead of going to the library to study, like Marranca did when he was a student years ago, he now has other reasons to head to the library: to prep for his next class.