Excellence in Independent Filmmaking
Maria DeLuca ‘68
A filmmaker since 1971, Maria De Luca has worked professionally as a director, choreographer, editor, writer, producer, interviewer, teacher, and film juror. She has had a primary role in over 50 documentary, narrative, and avant-garde films. Recently, she has pursued architectural design and environmental preservation.
“Green Streets,” Maria’s most noted film, synthesizes her years of varied experience intertwining themes from previous works. Maria uses cinematic art as a vehicle to seek out deeper levels in the personal and universal implications of political and social movements, cultural, and environmental issues. An internationally acclaimed film, “Green Streets,” chronicles community members transforming New York City’s rubble-filled wasteland into thriving vegetable and flower gardens thereby creating vibrant neighborhood gathering places. In these rare urban open spaces of nature, diverse individuals overcome differences and join together to accomplish a greater good. “Green Streets” was awarded two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, and four grants from the New York City State Council on the Arts. The film aired on PBS’s national series, “P.O.: The American Documentary.” It was subsequently on local United States and foreign TV, including the BBC (England) and German, Canadian, Italian, French, Iris
h and Hong Kong TV. The Smithsonian Institute has permanently archived the film’s original negatives in climate-controlled conditions.
Since completing the distribution of “Green Streets,” Maria has been exploring the essence of ‘family’ as an ongoing large project using reflections on her own family, a family tree she made, family archival image she’s collected, the filming of family events and current interviews from all over the United States, Italy, France and Australia.
Maria is married to Giacomo Vieste, award-winning creative director/editors of the “trailers” for major feature films. In recent years, she has been devoted to designing a home for herself, her husband, and their Siberian Huskies and improving the environment. Maria purchased 160 acres of woods in the Catskills Mountains to preserve them from loggers and developers. She is building one home and will leave the rest an unspoiled nature preserve. Maria is the home’s architect; noted pros have called it “original” and a “landmark.” She is shooting an architecture film at their urging.
A cum laude graduate of Caldwell College with a B.A. in English, Maria received an M.A. plus 24 credits in literature and film from the University of Iowa and New York University.
As an educator, Maria has been a Visiting Artist/Associate Professor at the University of Iowa, where she was in charge of a large prestigious film production division and taught advanced film courses. She has also taught at Caldwell College and New Jersey University, and was a high school English, writing, film & humanities teacher.
Excellence in Christian Witness
Patricia Dempsey Faherty ‘55
While Patricia Dempsey Faherty was wheelchair bond when she received the Veritas Award in March 1991, she has not surrendered to life. Among her immediate plans was a trip to Carnegie Hall the following week to hear her friend – a Caldwell College classmate perform.
When one remembers Patricia Dempsey Faherty, it is as friend, supporter, social and team leader. In college, she played sports, was on the Student Government, excelled at public speaking, singing, theatre, and had the spiritual presence to be elected May Queen. After a few years of teaching, she turned her energy to nurture her four young children and to the many social, civic, cultural and parish activities she organized. Pat brought a refreshing energy to every project.
Involved through the years in Caldwell’s Alumni Association, Pat served on the Board and was a leader in one of the Association’s most active chapters, Union County. Under her persuasive guidance as President, the Chapter sponsored scholarship fundraisers for Caldwell-bound students and recruited new students long before recruitment was a college alumni activity. In 1982, for her diligence and continual Alumni Association Support, Pat received the Alumna of the Year Award.
What few knew as she aggressively pursued a life full of giving – to family, friends, parish and community – was that Pat had been battling multiple sclerosis since her late 20’s. A daily communicant when possible, she continued to visit the sick and to support those in need. Shortly after Vatican II, Pat was instrumental in establishing a lector program at Holy Trinity Church, Westfield, New Jersey, where she was also in the choir. In her later years, despite increasingly difficult health issues and a need for full time care, Pat arranged to get out at least once a week to continue her ministry. She joined Caldwell classmates every chance she had. At their 35th Reunion at Caldwell, she insisted on crossing the campus to attend the ‘Groundbreaking’ of the new library. Her strength and determination in the face of a debilitating disease inspired hundreds throughout the country. She used the telephone as her weapon and called every new victim of the disease who came to her attention. She offered friendship, encouragement and hope.
Pat passed away on March 21, 2003. Appropriately, it was the first day of Spring when God called her home. Two of Pat’s children summarized their mother’s life: “She always fought the good fight and, in many ways, chose her time to peacefully leave us. Her courage, determination, and love of life inspired even her doctors and parish priest until the end. Pat had an important message for all who ever listened. She is dearly missed by her children, grandchildren, family and friends who will always cherish their memories of her.”
Excellence in Innovative Teaching
Rita Walker Henry ‘59
To some, the terms “science” and “creativity” when used together, seem to be contradictory. Not so for students in Glen Ridge High School fortunate enough to have had Rita Walker Henry for an earth science or computer science teacher during the past 25 years.
While telecommunications was still an evolving concept in the minds of most Americans, Rita was introducing the potential to her students in “hands on” applications through interactive video simulations and games, audio visual aids and computer courseware. She created an earth science curriculum in 1986 that was evaluated and recommended by the New Jersey Department of Education.
In 1987, Rita was named the Outstanding Earth Science Teacher by the Eastern Section of the National Association of Geology Teachers. That same year, she was also a 1st place winner in the Computer Learning Month lesson plan contest, and earned a 1st prize in the Apple Computer Club’s International Merit competition for her work in integrating computers into the curriculum. A year later, Rita was chosen the State and Regional winner of IBM’s “Teacher of the Year” program. Besides teaching, Rita has written several articles on self-produced interactive video programs and other computer-based activities used in Earth Science curricula. Her essay on “How I Use the Apple II to Teach” was selected first prize out of 35,000 entries by A+ magazine.
One of Rita’s highly honored projects, which was pictured on two magazine covers, involved students shooting footage of geology in the Cascade Volcanic Range of the American Southwest and Hawaii. Under her guidance, the students processed tapes and produced interactive videos using computers, camcorders and voice-over techniques.
Rita is also credited with establishing the Earthlink Club, an international communications network through which students in Glen Ridge can share ideas and information with students as far away as Japan and Germany.
Married to Paul Henry, an audio-visual producer, Rita, in addition to her teaching, produced educational filmtrips for Bergwall Productions in Garden City, New York.
Excellence in Christian Witness
Sister Mary Andrew Kennedy O.P. ‘49
After graduating from Caldwell College in 1949, Anne Kennedy taught English and Spanish at Mount St. Dominic Academy for a few years. She became Sister Mary Andrew in 1952, when she entered the Caldwell College Dominican Congregation. She earned a master’s degree in English from Catholic University of America, Washington, DC and continued teaching at Mount St. Dominic Academy for ten years of her religious life. She also served as moderator of the school’s student publications. The Agony and Golden Fleece.
In 1964, however, life changed for Sister Mary Andrew. She was stricken by multiple sclerosis and was physically limited until her death on March 14, 1993. Sister Mary Andrew accepted her cross, secure in the knowledge that God would be with her. At the beginning of her disability, Sister was active as possible. From her wheelchair, she edited the Congregation’s newsletter and did some tutoring in English and Spanish.
By 1977, Sister Mary Andrew was confined to bed, except for one hour a day. Undaunted by her illness, she became an active member of the Catholic Union of the Sick in America, a support group which unites Christian in spiritual activity. The purpose of the Catholic Union of the Sick is to suffer for a purpose. As a group leader for the Union, Sister Mary Andrew led her members in prayer offered for the conversion of Russia and all atheists. It has not only been through prayer that Sister Mary Andrew influenced and inspired others. Her family had been blessed with her constant concern. She always was interested in their plans and activities. To the members of her congregation, to the nurses who cared for her and to all who came to know her, Sister was an example of a true Christian. She was never self-centered, never asking, “Why me?” never demanding nor impatient nor inconvenienced by the circumstances in her life.
“Sister Mary Andrew’s life reflects values of Caldwell College in a unique and better way that that of many of us who have achieved in a more public way,” said Sister Mary Alphonsus (Mary Elizabeth Kennedy ‘43), her older sister, Sister Mary Alphonsus is a Sister of Mercy at Mount Saint Mary Academy, Watchung, New Jersey. Another sister, Patricia Kennedy Bodnor graduated in ‘51 and Patricia’s daugher, Ann Mary Bodner, graduated in ‘80.
Sister Mary Andrew’s life was her contribution to her congregation and to the Church. She gently, yet profoundly, touched many lives. She persevered through years of discomfort, limitations, and incapacity, and showed all how one person can make a difference. Caldwell College presented Sister Mary Andrew with the Veritas Award for Christian Witness.