LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
HELLO, CALDWELL FAMILY,
One day in July my wife Kathy and I were in the dining hall with faculty and staff at a lunch sponsored by the Office of Human Resources. Several students were on campus that day, too, for freshman orientation. I was grateful to be in a room face to face with so many people who had worked so hard over the last year and proved that we are “the little engine that could.” When larger universities could not withstand the headwinds of the pandemic, Caldwell’s faculty, staff and students showed up with resolve, adaptability and determination for teaching, learning and operations. And if necessary, we will do so again! I am grateful to all of you who persevered, and all of you who continue to support us as we honor the legacy of the Sisters of Saint Dominic by carrying out our educational mission.
In this issue of the magazine, you will read about inspirational members of our Caldwell community—chemistry student Yaman Thapa ’22, who worked in a lab this summer in a prestigious internship at MIT; business student Akwasi Osei-Du, who completed a highly selective internship at Credit Suisse; Dr. Jennifer Rhodes, who, like many professors in the School of Nursing and Public Health, has modeled excellence in nursing during the health crisis and been innovative in student engagement; and several of our 2021 great graduates, including undergraduate commencement speaker Keith Kyewalabye ’21, who has started working as a junior specialist at the University of California San Francisco Brain Tumor Center.
We showcase three inspirational alumnae who are living out our mission and values. Marcia Dukes ’05 is an advocate for racial equality and equity in education. Psychiatrist and professor, Olga Leibu, M.D. ’06 is helping meet the mental health needs of children and adolescents. Children’s literature professional, Caroline Ward Romans ’68 is gifting the Jennings Library with a unique collection of children’s books, totaling hundreds of volumes that she has acquired throughout her career.
This fall, our beloved Sister Gerardine Mueller, O.P. ’54, founder of the Art Department, joins the club of centenarians! We have been celebrating Sister’s life during “The Year of Sister Gerardine” and the parties will continue, virtually, in September, and at the Presidential Scholarship Gala on October 20. The other honorees at the gala are Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr., who has shown exemplary leadership in our county especially during the pandemic, and the staff at the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey, who have supported the expansion of our nursing and art therapy programs and our Counseling Center.
I hope you can join us at some of the activities during Inauguration Week including a lecture with History Professor Marie Mullaney, Ph.D., on “The History and Evolution of Catholic Women’s Colleges in the U.S.,” a panel discussion moderated by Theology and Philosophy Chairman Dr. Jim Flynn on “The Future of Catholic Universities and the Role of Liberal Arts in Higher Education Today,” a faculty music concert, the Anne Goffin Smith Art Exhibit, reunion celebrations with the ’60, ’61, ’65, ’66, ’70, and ’71 classes, student activities including community service and much more. Several of these will be livestreamed.
We will launch two new sports this year—an acrobatics and tumbling program, an emerging NCAA sport (ours is the first collegiate-level program in New Jersey), and a rugby club team. Please come out to support our student-athletes in these or any of our 15 other sports. Our marching band performs at the home games for the sprint football team.
Each Sunday at 7 p.m. during the academic semesters, we have Mass in our Sister Mary Dominic Tweedus Chapel. Please join us
if you can or tune into the livestream.
A warm welcome to Dr. Peter Ubertaccio, our new vice president for academic affairs who came to us from Stonehill College, and Mr. Jorge Rodriguez, our new vice president for strategic initiatives, who had a long career at St. John’s University.
In closing, the worldwide Order of Preachers celebrated the 800th anniversary of St. Dominic’s death on August 6. What an amazing legacy of charity, preaching and the pursuit of truth he left us! That history has been carried down through the centuries by courageous women and men who answered the call including our beautiful founders, the Sisters of St. Dominic of Caldwell. One heroic Dominican was surely Saint Catherine of Siena, who said: “Love follows knowledge.” Knowledge and love. Sounds like a good combination to focus on as we start the new academic year and strive to carry forward the rich heritage that has been entrusted to us.
Matthew Whelan, Ed.D.