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Veritas Award 2014

Excellence in Geriatric Advocacy
Gail Sutton Kuchavik ‘97

Gail attended Caldwell College as an adult, and was the first graduate of the Gerontology Certificate Program. She then completed a B.A. degree with double majors in Psychology and Sociology in 1997. She also received a Certificate in Teacher of the Handicapped from William Paterson University.

She accepted an internship at Bridges/SSM International Center on Aging in Denville to provide programs for older adults including a Lifelong Learning Center offering college level classes. Gail was one of the coordinators of the United Nations “First International Day of the Elderly” working with Ambassador Julia Alvarez, Ambassador permanent mission of the Dominican Republic in 1991 and celebrated every year world-wide October 1, which generated the UN “Bill of Rights for Older Persons.” She also coordinated a Gerontological Nursing Exchange Program with ten nurses from Latin America and Jamaica partnering with the World Health Organization, Pan American Health Organization and Saint Clare’s Health System. Gail developed an intergenerational program between the residents of St. Francis Residential Community and an onsite day care center. Project: HAPPY (Healthy Aging Perceptions and Programs for Youth) combined average age 79 and 2 years of age. She received the Robert A. Famighetti Award from the NJ Society on Aging.  Her program was translated into Spanish and taken to the Dominican Republic where it is still ongoing for 21 years at 17 sites in that country.

Gail became the Director of Resident Services at St. Francis Residential Community. She began the “Morris County Living Treasures Awards “in 1993 to recognize and celebrate the lives of seniors who are an inspiration to friends, neighbors and especially younger generations. The popular program attracted media coverage and was supported by the New Jersey Senate.  The program has continued 21 years.

In 1995, Gail was selected by the Rotary International and the UN to represent a team of five women on a goodwill trip to India. She shared information about aging and care of elderly in America. She arranged for the donation of a Mammography Machine to be sent to the women of India from the women of the United States.  She was given a Rotary International Paul Harris Award from the Rotary of India for this endeavor. To date, she has given 62 educational programs to elder hostels, colleges, libraries and many other organizations throughout New Jersey.

For the past thirteen years, Gail has been the Director of Marketing for Arden Courts, Assisted Living devoted exclusively for memory care in West Orange.  In 2001, she collaborated with the Jespy House and Jewish Vocational Services (JVS) to integrate developmentally disabled young adults and elderly with dementia. This program has been very successful and popular. Gail is a certified trainer/facilitator of the Virtual Dementia Tour (VDT) by P.K. Beville. She has trained over 300 physicians, families and health professionals in the past four years. She also teaches Felician College Registered Nursing students about dementia and how to communicate with those patients for positive outcomes.

In April 2013, she accepted the “West Orange Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Award” for Arden Courts of West Orange.  She is on the Steering Committee for Essex County United Way and enjoys preparing Autistic young adults for job interviews at the JVS in East Orange.  Gail is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Historical Society of Boonton Twp. She also enjoys the study of genealogy.

Excellence in Ministry Leadership
Sister Patricia Stringer, O.P. ‘69

Sister Pat received her B.A. at Caldwell in Mathematics and Religious Studies, then went on to complete an M.A. in Math/Industrial Education at Ball State University and an M.S. in Telecommunications at Barry University.  She taught math at a number of Catholic grade schools and high schools, with a five-year period of service to the community as Vocation Director and Director of Formation.

Sister Pat spent five years teaching and ministering to St. Francis de Sales School in Abaco, Bahamas. She also produced videos and coordinated a formation program for young women in Puyo, Ecuador and served as Religious Education Director in Quito, Ecuador. She returned to the U.S. and accepted the position of Assistant Director of Hispanic Apostolate for the Trenton Diocese for several years.  Here she served as a resource person for Spanish-speaking parishioners in predominately Hispanic parishes, working with Religious Ed and pre-Cana programs, creating the first Hispanic Youth Day, and assisting individuals to obtain green cards through an amnesty program.

In 1991, she returned to Caldwell College, where she taught math for five years, managed the television studio and was Director of the Hispanic Concerns Office. From 1995-99, she served as Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, working directly with the Counseling, Campus Ministry, Career Development, Student Activities, International Student and Hispanic Concerns offices and living in the Rosary Hall dormitory.

In 1999, Sister Pat’s career took a new path, when she accepted the position of principal of the school Fe y Alegria Espiritu Santo in the Dominican Republic. During the 11 years of Sister Pat’s tenure, the 4-year grade school blossomed to 8 grades, the original 400 students grew to 1000 students, and 8 teachers increased to 18 teachers, with 10 support staff. In 2004, an Early Childhood Building was built for 4 and 5-year olds, and in 2006, a High School was started with a freshman class. By 2010, total enrollment reached 1500 with 30 teachers and 30 support personnel. In addition, a covered basketball court was built, a well was dug, a baseball field was started, a woodshop was opened and space for a future bakery was built.

Sister Pat returned to the U.S. in 2010 to serve on the Sisters of Saint Dominic Leadership Team as Secretary General. She sits on many Boards, including Marian Manor, Siena Village, Saint Catherine of Siena, Inc. and the Collaborate Dominican Novitiate. She oversees communications, Initial Formation, Dominican Associates, community celebrations, and the Global Issues Committee and is responsible for two Chapter initiatives: transitional housing for women at risk and promoting the charism using technology. In 2001, Sister Pat received the Dominican Sisters’ Peace Initiative Award from the Sisters of Saint Dominic.