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Veritas Award 2004

Excellence in Health Administration
Linda Chiaravalloti Luciano ‘78

Linda made her mark early at Caldwell when she received the C-pin in her freshman year and was elected class president as a junior.  After graduating with a BS in Business Administration, Linda’s first position was assistant manager at New Jersey Blue Cross in Newark, where she quickly became a manager.  While working, Linda earned an MBA in Marketing from Seton Hall University, New Jersey, in 1982, and accepted a position at Bankers Trust in New York. An Assistant Treasurer, Linda managed three departments and administered a $450,000 budget.

In 1985, Linda became self-employed and shortly thereafter opened Personnel Connection, Inc., a professional recruitment firm in Fairfield, New Jersey.  As president, she achieved a 75% fulfillment rate and $200,000 in sales. After guiding clients in career choices for seven years, Linda moved to the National Pediatric HIV Resource Center, at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey (UMDNJ), as a temporary project manager.  In three months, she was named permanent project manager of the $1.6 million federal grant for HIV education.

Linda gained a wide array of experience at UMDNJ, including Executive Director of Special Projects reporting to the President and Executive Director for Administration and Finance reporting to the Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance.  Linda attracted statewide publicity for the newly created Violence Institute of New Jersey by organizing regional and statewide conferences on violence, education, prevention and treatment plans and collaborating with the New Jersey State Police on domestic violence training.

In her current position as Associate Dean and Chief Operating Officer of the UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, Linda supervises facilities management, information technology, mission based management and marketing. She has led the management initiative in the educational, research and clinical mission areas of the school and the development of an information warehouse to collect data and provide management reports.  Under her leadership, the technology infrastructure and support services have been re-engineered and a database driven website has been developed. In 2003, she launched a marketing department and oversees a marketing strategy, including publications, for the medical school. Linda also supervised the development and implementation of a new more inclusive strategic plan in 2004.

Linda served on the board of Urban League of Essex County from 1997 to 1999 and is currently a member of the National Association of Female Executives.  Since 1998, she has served on the Musical Moments for MS committee, which fundraises for multiple sclerosis research. She and her husband, Robert, participated in the Face of America 2002 World T.E.A.M sports event that biked from Ground Zero, NYC, to Ground Zero, Washington, D.C. in memory of those who died on 9/11/01.  She participated in the Susan G. Komen Walk for Breast Cancer in memory of her aunt and to honor her cousin. Linda was elected to the Caldwell College Board of Trustees in September 2004.

Excellence in Psychotherapy
Beatriz Gomez-Klein ‘73

Beatriz was born and raised in Cuba until the Castro regime took power in 1958.  Her father sent her to the United States where she lived with family members in Miami, Florida, Louisville, Kentucky, and New Jersey.  Entering Caldwell College on a full scholarship, Beatriz became a citizen in her junior year and was class president in her senior year.  She graduated cum laude with a double major in sociology and theology. Beatriz then accepted a fellowship to Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey and completed an MA in Education with a specialty in Rehabilitation Counseling.

Her first professional position was as a rehabilitation counselor at the University of Medicine and Dentistry (UMDNJ), in Newark, New Jersey. Two years later, she moved to the outpatient department as a psychotherapist.  While working at UMDNJ, Beatriz received an MSW from Rutgers University, New Jersey and a post graduate advanced certificate in clinical social work from New York University. Over the years at UMDNJ, Beatriz provided individual,  group and family therapy to patients, many of whom were Spanish-speaking, with a variety of psychiatric problems. She served as a designated liaison with outside agencies and community groups.

In 1976, Governor Breudan Byrne appointed Beatriz to the Board of Trustees of the New Jersey Youth Correctional Institute.  She served as a field instructor and supervisor for baccalaureate social work program at Seton Hall University and on the UMDNJ Clinical Records Review Committee. During 1991-2001, Beatriz worked at the Visiting Nurse Association of Essex Valley as a case manager, planning and monitoring services for elderly, disabled and AIDS individuals.  She was also a VNA consultant for clients with behavioral health needs.

In 2001, after 25 years at UMDNJ, Beatriz retired to open her own practice in psychotherapy. She works with both individuals and couples to serve primarily well-functioning patients with an interest in growing and enriching their lives by learning to cope with depression, anxiety, or interpersonal relationships.  Her primary office is in Caldwell, with a satellite in Fairfield, New Jersey. Beatriz’s bilingual skills allow her to reach a diverse community.

Beatriz received the Visiting Nurse Association Achievement Award in 1996 and the University Health Care Excellence Award UMDNJ in 1999.  Her community service includes work with bereavement groups at Our Lady of the Holy Angels Church in Little Falls, New Jersey and as a behavioral health consultant for Notre Dame parishioners in North Caldwell.  She also does pro bono work.

In 1995, Beatriz met and married her husband, Arthur, a widower with three children: Jennifer, Christie and Timothy.  The family currently resides in North Caldwell, New Jersey.

Excellence in Criminal Justice
Edward J. Nekel ‘98

Ed attended Caldwell College as a continuing education student and received his BA degree magna cum laude in Criminal Justice in 1998.  He completed an MA in Forensic Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (City University of New York) in 2001 and is a graduate of the 200th session of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

As a member of the Paramus police department for more than 25 years, Ed has risen through the ranks from Officer to Sergeant to Lieutenant to his current position of Captain and Detective Division Commander.  In addition, he is Victim Service Coordinator for the Department.

Over the years, Ed has coordinated and funded Paramus-based Community Crisis Response Team training, provided by the National Organization for Victim Assistance.  He worked with AT&T to establish the first municipal-based “Loan-A-Phone” program for domestic violence victims in Bergen county and oversaw the Paramus unit of the regional Domestic Violence Crisis Response Team.

After serving as a Mobile Intensive Care Paramedic, Ed implemented the department’s Emergency Medical Dispatch and Portable Defibrillator Programs.  A paramedic instructor/evaluator, he has been certified as an instructor by the New Jersey Police Training Commission and lectures extensively on issues of community crisis response, crisis intervention and stress management.

On a national level, Ed’s membership in the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) included leadership as President, 1997-1999, and board member, 1993-2003.  He is on NOVA’s crisis response team and participated in their efforts in Kobe, Japan; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Homestead, Florida; East Orange, New Jersey; Bosnia-Henegovia; Zagreb, Croatia and the World Trade Center disaster in New York City.  Ed serves as advisor to numerous communities that have been impacted by traumatic events and assists fellow law enforcement officers. The New Jersey department of Human Services/Division of Mental Health Services has certified Ed as a Mental Health Screener.

In 1992, Ed received the Crime Victim Service Award from the State of New Jersey Office of Victim/Witness Advocacy and the Violent Crimes Compensation Board.  He was also honored by NOVA in 1996 is that organization’s Volunteer of the Year.

Ed currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Girl Scout Council of Bergen County, New Jersey and on the Executive Board of the FBI National Academy Associates-NJ Chapter.  He is also a member of the Caldwell College Alumni Board of Directors and teaches in the College’s Criminal Justice Department as an adjunct professor. Ed proudly completed the 2003 and 2004 New York City Marathon to raise funds for children’s cancer.  He and his wife, Lynda, reside in Paramus, New Jersey.