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Veritas Award 2006

Excellence in Education and Poetry
Sister Elizabeth Michael Boyle, O.P., Ph.D. ‘59

Any Caldwell College graduate who had the experience of taking a class taught by Sister Elizabeth Michael will testify to her ability to challenge, awe and inspire.  Her intellectual rigor and constant questioning mind did not “suffer fools gladly,” and yet, those met her challenge found themselves coming back for more. Her energetic approach to learning was contagious, and her ability to interrelate current literature with science, theology, psychology and world issues kept her course immediate.

Sister Elizabeth Michael welcomed innovation from her students as she herself experimented with multimedia projects, theatre, and poetry.  Demonstrating the power of the visual image to convey a compelling message, her many creations ranged from recruitment slide productions to a multi-screen 40th anniversary presentation, Foundations. In 1984, her theatre screenplay, Dreamscapes – which dramatized her students’ dreams in an interplay of film, dance, poetry, and music – was performed in the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Newark, New Jersey.  Her contemporary Drama students of the seventies and eighties remember her most for their adventures in the New York Off-Broadway scene.

Sister began her career teaching at the elementary and secondary levels and returned to the College as an instructor in 1969.  Over the following thirty-five years, she became Professor, chair advisor of the English department and helped launch both Honors and Graduate programs.  When her vision and communication skills led to election to a six-year term on the Leadership Council for Sisters of St. Dominic, she maintained service to the college on the Board of Trustees.  Of all her many extracurricular contributions to life at Caldwell, in particular, she has championed poetry on campus through activities like the annual Poetry Month Reading, that have attracted such luminaries such as Maxine Kumin, Mark Doty and Billy Collins.  This year marks the fifth anniversary of the Faculty and Staff Poets Society which Sister holds monthly.

Her numerous papers and presentations continuously combine themes of creativity and spirituality, culminating most recently in her first book, Preaching the Poetry of the Gospels.  A Companion to the Lectionary, which won a first place Award from the Catholic Press Association. Her next book, Science as Sacred Metaphor: An Evolving Revelation, will be published in 2006.  From her earlier investigations of silence and drama to her more recent confidence in preaching and poetry, Sister Elizabeth Michael presents both a private and public Dominican mission.

After a B.A. from Caldwell College, Sister Elizabeth Michael earned an M.A. from Catholic University of America and a Ph.D. from Drew University.

Excellence in Technology Management
June LaBella Drewry ‘71

When June LaBella Drewry accepted the position of Global Chief Information Officer for Chubb & Son last summer, she brought with her over 30 years of IT management experience, including twenty years in CIO positions.  June has particular expertise in change management, business/IT alignment, strategy implementation, and managing IT as a business within a business. Her current position at Chubb will oversee a network that extends throughout North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia and Australia.

June developed her leadership skills running all aspects of information technology organizations in medium and large-sized financial services companies, among them: MBL Life Assurance Corp. in Newark, New Jersey, Aetna Inc., in Hartford, Connecticut, Lincoln National Corporation in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Avon Group in Chicago, Illinois, and Freddie Mac Corporation in McLean, Virginia.  While June’s career has largely focused on information technology, she also had other strategic responsibilities such as corporate planning and knowledge management.

June also serves as Director on the Board of Click Commerce, an internet company that provides extranet solutions for channel management, collaborative commerce, and compliance automation. She is a Director on the Board of the Society for Information Management, having served in the past as Chapter President, a Member-at-Large on the SIM International Board of Directors, and President of SIM International.  June also serves as a Board member for ACORD, a data standards body for the insurance industry.

At this point in her IT career, June chooses to devote a larger portion of her time to developing tomorrow’s IT leaders both inside Chubb and in her larger IT network.  She does this through mentoring, coaching, and supporting the development of leadership programs.

June earned her B.A in Mathematics with a Business minor from Caldwell College and has received other awards.

  • Insurance and Technology Elite 8 Award 2001
  • Women in Technology International 2003 Excellence in Corporate IT Leadership Award
  • SIM One award 2005 for outstanding leadership and commitment to the Society for Information Management and the IT profession.

June and her husband, Robert, split their time between New Jersey and Florida.

Excellence in Early Childhood Development
Sally Ward Kelly ‘55

Sally Ward Kelly was a pioneer in the child care field years before the popularity and need for day care centers was evident.  Her vision centered on a family-values oriented, safe, childcare center where children could experience learning and independence in a friendly, fun environment.

Thirty-three years ago she turned her dream into reality and opened the doors to Play-N-Learn, a daycare center whose first clients were teachers and Junior League moms.  The business grew rapidly as women of all occupations entered or reentered the workforce and Sally tailored childcare and learning around busy mothers schedules.

Our honoree quickly became state certified for ages two and a half to six year olds and was able to accept twelve children into her center.   In addition to the day-to-day preschool curriculum, children in Sally’s care greatly benefit from her ingrained sense of community spirit. They make Valentines for Vets and assemble Thanksgiving baskets for needy parish members and learn the importance of giving back to the community.  In 1999, the Marine Corps League presented Sally with a Distinguished Service Award for her years of dedication and providing Valentines for Vets. Further testimony for the awardees lasting impact on her students are many visits to Play-N-Learn from the former “graduates.”

Sally also brought her boundless energy and organizational talents to St.Cassian’s Parish, where she served on the Parish Council and Finance Committee for many years.  During that time, our entrepreneur established the annual Mother’s Day plant sale, taught in St. Cassian’s school enrichment program, was a Girl Scout leader and Class Mother many times over.

Receiving an A.A in Business in 1955, Sally’s dedication to her alma mater continued over decades and earned her the 1992 Alumna of the Year Award.  As an Alumni Board member, she organized several Scholarship Dinners and currently plans the Veritas luncheon and serves on the Veritas Dinner committee.  Her warmth and sense of humor are her cornerstones.

Sally and her late husband, John, raised five children: Kevin, Keith, Heather, Brian and Shawn.  She now has seven grandchildren.

Our honoree’s life has been driven by the four C’s – Children, Church, College and Community.  She is a visionary educator, a personable entrepreneur, and a community phenomena – the first to volunteer.