Campus Celebrity: Barbara Danief

Her Powerful Story, The legacy of Adam, and the Positive Outlook on Life


In the past 24 years, there has been a lot of change at Bryant University. Since then, we have transitioned from a Division II College to a D1 University, President Machtley became our President, many new buildings such as the AIC have been constructed, and many other notable changes are present. But one thing that hasn’t changed is the smiling face that stands bright every day in front of the Salmo entrance. Barbara Danief as most students know, is a campus celebrity. Her positive outlook on life, beaming smile, and upbeat personality helps students turn their mood around and make their days. She credits who she is to her mom, Claire, who has worked here at Bryant Dining for 28 years. She could retire, but she loves Bryant way too much. Barbara got her work ethic and passion from her. Her mother’s love for Bryant transferred over to Barbara, who said this community is her family, a loving family. It is a family affair here at Bryant for her, where it is not only herself and her mother, but also her nephew Patrick and niece Rosalind, who work with the dinning services and her son Jared is a cook too. Her other son, Adam, didn’t work at Bryant, but he was another celebrity on campus for many years. Adam was a kind soul, who always wanted to make friends and was always happy. Sadly, Adam passed away from Muscular Dystrophy on September 27th, 2011. Muscular Dystrophy is a genetic disease that weakens the muscles and bounded Adam to a wheel chair. Regardless of his physical ailments, Adam was happy. And this is where Barbara’s story begins.

Barbara’s pride and joy is her family, especially her son Adam. There is always an empty seat next to Barbara at the swipe stand in Salmo, and that is reserved for her special love, Adam. Adam was known for many things at Bryant University. He was the Patriots biggest fan, especially during Training Camp, which took place at Bryant College from 1976-2002. Barbara said one of her favorite moments working at Bryant took place during Patriots training camp. At her first camp, she had a media guide. This packet had names and pictures of all the players, coaches, and staff members, so she would know who they all were when they walked in to eat. Adam would always come to work and hangout in various places across campus. His favorite was the old game room, which was near Gulski dining room. But Adam loved spending time with his mom, and he got to meet all the Pat’s too. She loved how friendly the Patriots were. Especially Tom Brady, who she said was too kind to deflate those balls. Tom usually kept a low profile in front of the media, but he always had time for Barbara and Adam, where he took many pictures (one for a life size poster in Adams room) and autographs. Barbara kept in contact with many of the Patriots. Dante Scarnecchia, who was the assistant head coach at the time, is still in contact with Barbara to this day. Other Patriots who always said hello to both Adam and Barbara and took many photos with them year after year were Teddy Bruschi, Adam Vinetari, Past Coach Pete Carrol, Bruce Armstrong, Chris Slade, and Willie McGuiness just to name a few. Barbara said that there was a special bond between the Patriots and Adam as well as the Patriots and the Bryant Community. She misses that there presence here during the month of August. She was thankful for their kind gestures which included personal phone calls and letters, VIP tickets and tailgate tent events, and all the smiles and laughs they brought to her son and herself. Barbara was known to the Patriots as the joyful employee who always gifted us with a smile and a 4 leaf clover. Barbara says she is an extremely lucky and thankful person, and she can always find a four leaf clover. She collects them, and shares them with people who she feels need some more luck. Every camp, she would thank them for all that they do for her son, and gifted them with these clovers. Those clovers seemed to help, especially in 2002 and 2004 when they were Super-Bowl Champs.

Adam was a special light in everyone’s life. He was always smiling and never gave up. He was a kid with a big heart and lovable personality. One thing Barbara said that was very important in their life was the Special Olympics, which takes place at Bryant in April. The Special Olympics Rhode Island program is one of the world’s most dynamic, providing over 1,600 year-round sports training and athletic competitions for more than 3,000 athletes and hosting over 40 local, regional, and statewide tournaments and competitions each year in 25 official and demonstration sports. Adam loved the games and thrived in the environment. He won many awards and the most notable one was the 2003 Most Inspirational Athlete Award, given to only one participant at the games. When Barbara knew Adam’s time was coming to an end, she had a goodbye meal, and she gave the medals to the rest of her family members. During special moments in their lives, they wear Adams medals to remember his heart and soul. One of the oaths of the Special Olympics is something that holds a special part in Barbara’s heart. “To the world you might just be someone, but to someone, you might just be the world”

When The Archway met with Barbara, we wanted to know what the motive of this article should be. It could be about the life of Barbara and how she has been an amazing asset and an amazing person. It could be about the kind hearts of the Patriots organization and the importance of the Special Olympics. And of course this could be about kind Adam, who was an inspiration and joy for all. But this story is about being positive and living life to the fullest. Barbara looks at the little things in life that will make her smile. Her goal is to put a smile on your face, even if she is having the roughest day. What she learned from Adam is to look for the best always and never worry. One thing Barbara loves to do is paint, and she correlates that with her son Adam, who she represents as a butterfly. She will travel to Prudence Island which is off of Bristol, and collects the dull stones that are in the shape of a butterfly wing and hearts and transforms them. She gives these rocks to people who may need a little light in their lives. It is also a sign of hope. Barbara wanted to thank the Bryant University community. She said it has been a pleasure watching all of the students grow and she is so proud to work here and she loves her job because of the students and the environment. She also wanted to thank the Bryant Dinning Services family for all of the love and support. And she wanted to welcome back Sodexo. She is super happy they are back and super comfortable again. She wanted to give a little shout out to Sean Monaghan and Kim Layne who offered Barbara the world when her Adam passed away. The moral of this article is to realize that you have one life to live. You need to spread sunshine on the cloudiest days and appreciate everyone around you.  Be thankful to be here and always stay positive, just like Adam would.