Home » Alumni » Veritas » Veritas Awards » Veritas Award 1999

Veritas Award 1999

Excellence in Higher Education
Sister Rita Margaret Chambers O.P., Ph.D. ‘52

The career of Sister Rita Margaret Chambers, O.P, Ph.D, could be an advertisement for the Dominican religious life.  The dialogue would be academically superb – grounded in bon mots of great English writers – but spiced with sports talk, laugher, an encyclopedic memory of Caldwell College alums, a passion for senior citizens, and references to New Jersey Governor Committees and a White House Conference.

Sister Rita Margaret received an M.A. degree from The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C and a Ph.D from Saint John’s University, New York.  She also took courses at the University of Manchester, England; Fordham University and the Maryknoll School of Theology in New York. The enthusiastic scholar, author and lecturer taught in elementary and high schools before joining the Caldwell College faculty in 1955.

English students at Caldwell College benefited from Sister Rita Margaret’s scholarship for fifteen years, including her six years as department chair.  In 1969, the college professor was elected Vicaress of the Dominican Sisters of Caldwell for six years where her ministry included leadership in the area of retirement.

Sister Rita Margaret’s membership on the Advisory Council of the Essex County Office on Aging culminated in her election as Chairperson in 1974.  During this six year era, she spoke and wrote on aging and lectured in English at Essex County College, Newark, New Jersey and Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia.  She attended more than 40 conferences and, in 1971, addressed the Governor’s Conference on Aging. Sister was a New Jersey Delegate to the 1971 White House Conference on Aging.

Marion Manor, a senior citizen housing complex built on property in Caldwell previously owned by the Dominican Sisters, is Sister Rita Margaret’s legacy to the aged.  After stepping down as Vicaress, Sister remained Marian Manor Board of Trustees Chairperson. She became a co-founder/director of the Office of Aging for the Archdiocese of Newark in 1975.

Sister Rita Margaret was called back to Caldwell College in 1978 to become Academic Dean.  After a brief absence from Caldwell to assist a New York City principal, Sister came “home” again as Director of Alumnae Affairs in 1984.  The Veritas Award was conceived and created during this innovative tenure.

When Sister retired from administration in 1988, she pursued projects such as the writing of the history of Marian Manor and of Caldwell College: Celebrating the Past, Shaping the Future; A Short History of Caldwell College 1939-89.  She also organized the historical materials and developed the college archives.


Excellence in the Social Service
Phyllis Cordasco Healy-Sova ‘78

Phyllis Cordasco-Healy Sova decided to study Psychology at Caldwell College ten years into her career and has been accruing accolades ever since.  Phyllis vitae includes Who’s Who in America, an MS from Columbia University Graduate School of Social Work, and an MA from Fairleigh Dickinson University Graduate School of Art and Sciences.  She loves her current career as School Social Work Specialist for the Newark Public Schools in the Department of Teaching and Learning, Office of Early Childhood. Believing she is “where the action is,” Phyllis is in the program that provides comprehensive education, health, nutrition, and social services to Newark’s 6000 preschool children and their families.

For more than 21 years, Phyllis has balanced her social work with her own professional growth. Her credentials include appointment to the Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW), Certified Social Worker of New York (CSW), Certified School Social Worker, Diplomat in Clinical Social Work, Qualified Clinical Social Worker (QCSW), Licensed Clinical Social Worker of New Jersey, and School Social Work Specialist (SSWS).  Recently, Phyllis completed 100 hours of Post Graduate Traineeship in Infant-Parent Relationships and Infant Mental Health from the Institute for Infant and Preschool Mental Health, East Orange, New Jersey.

Prior to her current post, which she has held since 1992, Phyllis served for four years as a Certified School Social Worker for the Newark Board of Education in the Office of Child Guidance and Placement.  She was also a Certified School Social Worker for the Cerebral Palsy Association of Middlesex County. Among her early business positions in the private sector, Phyllis was employed at Caldwell College as Acting Director of Alumni Affairs and Faculty Recruiter/Counselor for the Psychology Department.

Exhibiting her usual generosity and energy in caring for others, Phyllis has been a leader in both religious and community endeavors.  She served on the Newark Archdiocese Commission for interreligious Affairs and the Ministry to Divorced Catholics, former chair of the Borough of Caldwell’s Rent Review Board, and was a founding member of the Borough’s planning group for the Grover Cleveland Senior Citizens’ Center.  Phyllis was very active for 25 years in her home parish, St. Aloysius, Caldwell, NJ, where she also served as a Eucharistic Minister. Currently, Phyllis attends Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, Roseland, NJ, where she continues as a Eucharistic Minister. A prominent Caldwell College alumna, Phyllis received the Alumna of the Year Award in 1986 and the Marian Award in 1991.

Phyllis Cordasco Healy-Sova is married to Peter J. Sova, a retired businessman.


Excellence in Management Consulting
Angela Perillo Stephan ‘71

Angela Perillo Stephan added her own entrepreneurial spirit to a 20 year corporate career, a consulting career of 14 years including being the CEO of HResults, Principal and leader of the Human Capital practice of Virtus Partners, a management and technology firm and CEO of her own firm, Stephan Associate.

Among Angela’s clients are Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Health System, Subaru of America, Teva Pharmaceutical, Amersham Pharmaceutical and others.  Her consulting expertise includes quality and productivity improvements, building accountability for change, leadership and team development and business and human capital strategy development.  Her experience spans all industries with particular expertise in Healthcare and Information Technology.

Numerous boards also benefit from Angela’s commitment.  She has been on the board of Philadelphia Workforce Partnership and the Jobs Policy Network Board for the Philadelphia Region.  She is a frequent speaker on changing behavior, building accountability, quality and productivity at national conferences such as the Human Resource Institute and the International Productivity and Quality Conference.

Angela’s early corporate career included positions as the Director of Organizational Development and Training for the PECO Energy and various executive positions in Human Resources, Information Technology and Insurance Management.  Angela was also the Regional Manager of Aubrey Daniels Associates, the leading expert consulting firm in performance and behavior change.

Scarce private time is shared with Hope United Methodist Church in Voorhees New Jersey where she is a member.  She has been the Chair of the Leadership Team, Human Resources Team and of the Building Team, which recently added a 1.2 million dollar addition.

Angela’s bachelor degree from Caldwell was followed by a Master’s degree from Adelphi University, course work for an MBA at the University of Connecticut, and she is currently enrolled in a PhD program in Human and Organizational Systems with the Fielding Graduate University.  She is married to Hugh Carolan, who brings two wonderful daughters to the marriage to join her daughter, Kristen, who recently graduated from the University of Maryland.