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Veritas Award 2000

Excellence in Secondary Education
Patricia L. Grodeck ‘70

Patricia Grodeck is currently retired from Burlington County Institute of Technology, New Jersey, where she worked for 33 years.  She retired as Assistant Superintendent of a district overseeing two high schools with a combined student population of 1,600 and an adult education division of 2,000 students.

Earlier, Patricia had started in the district as an English and Social Studies teacher.  She was also a guidance counselor and assistant principal. In 1982, she became the first woman principal of a full time, public, technical high school in the State of New Jersey.

Patricia received her certification in Educational Administration and MA in Guidance and Counseling from Rider University, New Jersey.  At Caldwell College, she earned a BA in History with a minor in Education and Political Science. She graduated from Caldwell College with departmental honors in Political Science.

In 1992, Patricia received the Dean’s Citation from Rider University for “her leadership and example in helping to restructure the profession of teaching.” In 1997, Patricia was honored as Burlington County’s Outstanding Woman in Education by the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Committee on Women of the Human Services Advisory Council.  Patricia was awarded the 1998 New Jersey state recognition as “A Women Who Made a Difference” by the New Jersey Advisory Commission on the Status of Women and the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.

Upon retirement in April 2003, Patricia received a Joint Resolution Citation from the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey for her contributions and education.

A resident of Eastampton, New Jersey, she is now enjoying frequent travel, amid other pursuits.


Excellence in Higher Education and Social Services

Barbara Somers Fitzsimmons ‘57

Barbara Fitzsimmons was a Learning Specialist at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Regional Center for College Students with Learning Disabilities, Florham Park-Madison, New Jersey campus.  Barbara instructs learning disabled students, allowing them to function successfully at the college level. Prior to her FDU post, Barbara taught her handicapped students at Summit Middle School, Summit, New Jersey.  Earlier, she served as a Remedial Counselor for the Linden Board of Education, Linden, New Jersey, where she researched, developed, and implemented a pilot remedial education program as part of the first learning disabilities team in the state of New Jersey.  Barbara also served as the events coordinator for the development office of the Archdiocese of Newark, where she co-founded the women’s organization, Heartbeat.

Barbara’s extensive volunteer involvement includes fund raising activities for the Parish of St. Philomena, Livingston, New Jersey, where she also served as a religious educator.  New Jersey Education Association and Summit Chamber of Commerce are among the numerous memberships Barbara holds. Her loyalty and dedication to her alma mater is evident in her seven year commitment as a member of the Caldwell College Board of Trustees and service on a variety of College committees including the Gala and Presidential Selection Committee.  In 1964, Barbara was the first recipient of the College’s Alumna of the Year Award.

Barbara completed her B.A. in English from Caldwell College (1957) and an M.A. in English from Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey (1960).  She also earned her New Jersey Certification as a Teacher of English, Teacher of the Handicapped and Permanent Elementary Education Teacher.

Barbara and her husband, James, reside in the Convent Station, New Jersey and enjoy the company of their four children and twelve grandchildren.


Excellence in Medicine
Dr. Jean C. Lauricella ‘73

For more than 20 years, Jean C. Lauricella, MD, has worked as a pediatrician in her private practice in Pasadena, California.  She serves on the staff of the Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena and as an affiliate professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California Medical School, where she mentors women medical students.

In addition to her demanding practice, Jean is an active volunteer and member of the Board of Directors for the Foothill Family Service, a non-profit agency located in Pasadena.  The agency provides education, counseling, management, leadership, and support for child abuse victims and anger management for “at risk,” angry or violent children and their families.  For the past five years, she has served as the agency’s program chair, overseeing all of the organization’s interests and programs. Jean chairs the agency’s primary fundraiser, which as raised more than $350,000 toward the organization’s programs.  These funds have allowed the non-profit agency to provide services free of charge or for a nominal fee to an average of 10,000 clients annually. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Hospice of Pasadena (Vice Chair of Board) and chairs a program called I Count Too, a bereavement counseling group for children 5-18.

Jean earned her B.A. from Caldwell College in 1973, M.S. in Microbiology from Seton Hall University  in 1975 and her MD from the University of Southern California in 1980. Following this, she completed a three-year pediatrics residency in 1983.

Jean, who resides in Pasadena, also enjoys gourmet cooking, painting and her role as moderator for a monthly book club for professional women.  When her schedule permits, she enjoys spending time with her sister, Cassa Lauricella Bernardini, a 1978 Caldwell graduate who resides in Pasadena, and visiting with her father on the East Coast.