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Caldwell University celebrates 76th annual commencement with record-breaking number of graduates

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Students are encouraged to be “amazing”

Caldwell, N.J., May 20, 2018 – Caldwell University celebrated its 76th annual commencement May 20 with a record-breaking number of graduates. The university  awarded 502 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees.

Danielle Hamblin of White Township, New Jersey, delivered the student address at the graduate commencement ceremony encouraging her fellow graduates to “be amazing.” Drawing on the words of a motivational speaker she once heard, she gave the graduates three simple points they need to be successful in life’s journey and to be “the greatest husband, wife, mother, father, boss, employee ever.”

“Number one, wake up; number two, be amazing; number three, go to bed,”  she said. It is obvious how to fulfill numbers one and three, said Hamblin, but number two is personal. “It is up to each individual to define what being amazing is. Can you imagine if we all did?”

Hamblin received a doctoral degree in educational leadership with a special education concentration. Reflecting on her experience in the doctoral program with students in the cohort, she said, “Caldwell provided us with mental challenges but not without the support of collegial partnership. I felt amazing when I knew I had contributed in meaningful ways to helping others on this journey.” Hamblin teaches as an adjunct on the college level and is director of special services for the Sparta public schools.

Dennis Brady of West Orange, New Jersey delivered the student address at the undergraduate commencement ceremony. “The close-knit family that we have grown into over these four years was something that none of us could have anticipated. Those bonds we will cherish forever—the sporting events we attended, the community service trips we went on, it all happened here on 120 Bloomfield Avenue,” said Brady. “We are now sent out to find our way in this world with the knowledge, and more importantly, the values of Caldwell that are instilled in us from the day we walked onto the campus.” He encouraged the graduates never to stray too far away from their Caldwell family. “As a respected doctor and philosopher, Dr. Seuss, once said, ‘Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened,’” said Brady.  He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication and Media Studies with a minor in business administration.

President Nancy H. Blattner, Ph.D., presented doctoral students with their Ph.D.’s and Ed.D.’s, graduate students with their Master of Arts, Master of Business Administration or Master of Science degrees, and undergraduates with their Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Fine Arts or Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees.

Blattner asked the students to stay connected to their alma mater. “Return to this campus that has been your home for the past few years, and carry with you our core values of respect, integrity, community and excellence into your communities and workplaces.”

Graduates wore 100% recycled caps, gowns and tassles. 

Featured News, Music News, News

Nationally-Known Percussion Clinician Thom Hannum to Give Drumline Clinic at Caldwell University

Thom-HannumCaldwell, N.J., Dec. 15, 2016 – – Thom Hannum, one of the nation’s foremost percussion clinicians, will give a Drumline Clinic at Caldwell University, 4 to 9 p.m., Thursday Feb. 9.

The free event will include master classes for indoor drumlines, marching percussion technique break-out sessions, and group performances, as well as a demonstrations by Hannum. It will be held in the Student Center and a free dinner is included.

Hannum is associate director of the Minuteman Marching Band at University of Massachusetts Amherst and is well known in the percussion world for his work with The Cadets and Star of Indiana Drum and Bugle Corps. He was a member of the design team for the Tony Award-winning shows Blast! and CyberJam. In 2001 he was inducted into the Drum Corps International Hall of Fame.

If interested in participating individually or with your indoor drumline, please contact Music Department Professor Rebecca Vega at rvega@caldwell.edu or 973-618-3446.

Percussionists will need to bring their marching instruments. Space is limited so register soon.


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Caldwell University’s Annual Christmas Spectacular, December 9

christmas-spectacularCelebrate the holiday season when the Caldwell University Music Department presents its annual Christmas Spectacular concert 8 p.m., Friday December 9 in the Student Center Auditorium.

The University Chorale, directed by Laura Greenwald, will perform a Baroque Magnificat accompanied by strings, Bogoroditse Djevo by Estonian composer Arvo Part, O Magnum Mysterium by Ivo Antognini and several carols, accompanied by Warren Helms, that play tribute to Mary.

The wind ensemble, conducted by Rebecca Vega, will feature 55 high school honor band students. They will perform Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, DelBorgo’s Christmas Variants, Holst’s In the Bleak Midwinter, Saucedo’s Dashing Through the Snow, O’Loughlin’s Imani (A Kwanzaa Celebration), Hanson’s Albanian Dance and a lovely arrangement of First Noel.

High school students in the honor band come from a number of area high schools: Verona, Nutley, West Essex, Waldwick, Summit, Morris Knolls, Wayne Hills, James Caldwell, Columbia, Cedar Grove, West Orange and Passaic County Technical.

General Admission is $10. Tickets will be available at the door. Student admission is free.

For information contact: 973-618-3520 or lgreen@caldwell.edu


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Caldwell Athletics Hires Daryle Weiss to Lead New Sprint Football Program



CALDWELL, N.J.- Caldwell University Assistant Vice President/Director of Athletics Mark A. Corino has announced the hiring of Daryle Weiss to lead the new sprint football program in its inaugural season in the Collegiate Sprint Football League in Fall 2017. In addition to his coaching duties, Weiss will serve as an athletics administrator overseeing the department’s recruiting efforts. He will be the primary recruiting contact in the athletics department and assist with the overall organization and management of the athletic recruiting process.

“After an extensive hiring process, we are very pleased and excited to have hired Daryle Weiss as our first head coach to lead our sprint football program,” said Corino. “With his extensive recruiting background and outstanding collegiate coaching record, we believe we have found the proper educator and coach to lead this new and exciting initiative. I am looking forward to working closely with Daryle in developing the foundation for this program and establish a level of success in the coming years. Daryle will exhibit a work ethic and approach that will meet with our expected goals. We believe that we are fortunate to have Daryle on board our staff.”

Weiss brings over 20 years of teaching and coaching experience on the collegiate and high school levels. His experience ranges from Montclair Immaculate Conception as the freshman head coach to offensive/defensive line coordinator at Pope John XXIII. Weiss coached in his hometown at James Caldwell High School as the offensive and defensive line coach before taking the head football coach position at Rockland High School in Maine and Westbrook High School in 2007. Weiss moved to the college level with Bates College and most recently with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

“I want to thank President Blattner, Mr. Corino and the entire interview committee for giving me the opportunity to lead the Caldwell University Sprint Football Program,” said Weiss. “This is a dream come true for me and my family. To return home to build a football program at Caldwell University is amazing. I am humbled, honored and excited by the support everyone associated with CU has shown for our football program. I can’t wait to see our student-athletes represent our university in the classroom, community and on the field in 2017.”

The Caldwell native most recently worked at as the Offensive Coordinator and Offensive Line Coach for the football program at RPI for the past two seasons. In his first season, he transformed the offense to increase their offensive totals from the previous season. The Engineers were second in the Liberty League in scoring with 28.2 points per game. The rushing offense ranked third in the conference at 235.5 yards per game, while the total offense was second with 378.5 yards per game. This past season, Weiss’ scoring offense again ranked third in the conference while the Engineers’ total offense posted a league-leading 375.5 yards per contest. The rushing offense again ranked third, while the passing offense improved to second with 212 yards per game.

Prior to RPI, Weiss coached at Bates College for six seasons. He was the Offensive Line Coach, Recruiting Coordinator and Video Coordinator for three seasons. In 2010, Weiss was promoted to Offensive Coordinator, while retaining Offensive Line and Recruiting Coordinator duties.

During his time with the Bobcats, he coached numerous All-NESCAC (New England Small School Athletic Conference) student-athletes at a variety of positions, including tight end, offensive line, wide receiver and quarterback including the first signal caller in school history to be recognized. The team set 11 school records on offense in 2011, led the league in numerous offensive categories in 2012 and led the NCAA Division III in turnover margin in 2013 while setting the program record for rushing yards in a season.

Weiss began coaching high school football in his native New Jersey, where he was on the staffs at Montclair Immaculate Conception, Pope John XXIII and James Caldwell High School. He also coached track & field at Caldwell, as well as at Rockland. Additionally, he has experience coaching high school wrestling and as a strength & conditioning coach.

Weiss graduated from New Jersey City University with a degree in special education and served as a special education teacher from 1999 to 2008. He was a professional actor for five years, and trained at the Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute in New York City as well as at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, where he was a theater major. Weiss has been married for 18 years to his wife Kelly and they have two children, Marshall and Abigail.

“We are excited to have Daryle on board, the hiring of a head coach brings sprint football one step closer to reality,” said Vice President for Enrollment Management and Communications Joe Posillico.

The Cougars will join as the ninth member of the CSFL that includes Army West Point, Chestnut Hill College, Cornell University, Franklin Pierce University, Mansfield University, the U.S. Naval Academy, Post University, and the University of Pennsylvania. Sprint football is a full-contact, intercollegiate, varsity sport and has the same rules as regular college football, except that all players must weigh 172 pounds or less. The league has existed since before World War II.

Alumni News, Featured News, News

Alumna Uses Design Talents to Prepare Church for Bishop’s Ordination

Alumna Meg Poltorak Keyes used her talents to prepare for the ordination and installation of Bishop James F. Checchio as the fifth bishop in the Diocese of Metuchen.

For more than 30 years Poltorak Keyes has been designing liturgical environments. Shortly after graduating from Caldwell as the first person to receive the bachelor’s in fine arts, she heard a request for parishioners to donate their “time, talent, and treasure.” Knowing her time and finances were limited, she realized she could use her talents. “I raised by hand to help with the flowers,” she says. As an interior designer she has done quite a bit of church renovation and restoration. She is a member of the Art and Environment Committee through the Office of Divine Worship for the Archdiocese of Newark. She also sits on the Liturgical Commission for the Diocese of Metuchen.

She credits her former art professor, artist Sister Gerardine Mueller, O.P. for her inspiration. “I would not being doing half as much if it were not for her example.”

The below Diocese of Metuch Catholic Spirit article, “Designer recreates Vatican Gardens to honor bishop’s time in Rome”, highlights Poltorak Keyes work.

Designer recreates Vatican Gardens to honor bishop’s time in Rome

By Tracy Liston

SOUTH PLAINFIELD — Design consultant Meg Poltorak Keyes was hard at work with her small team preparing the Church of the Sacred Heart two nights before the ordination and installation of Bishop James F. Checchio.

May12TheCatholicSpirit“It is very exciting to be a part of this, and it all happened rather quickly,” said Poltorak Keyes. “This is a huge honor to be selected to design the liturgical environments. I am doing this as much for Bishop Paul [G. Bootkoski] as I am for Bishop James,” she said, noting that she has worked with Bishop Bootkoski since the beginning of his 14 years in the diocese. For the celebration of Evening Prayer, held the night before Bishop Checchio’s ordination, Poltorak Keyes said she chose a white decorating theme to adorn the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi in Metuchen “to which was the Memorial of Saint Athanasius, who was a bishop and doctor of the Church.”

However, for the installation and ordination, which fell on the feast of St. Philip and St. James, who were apostles and martyrs, the liturgical color is red, and Poltorak Keyes said she did not want to focus on that particular color.

Instead she chose “to use the architectural elements of the church to reflect and capitalize on the colors that were already here.” Hence her color scheme of butterscotch, pale yellows, and persimmon came to life and accentuated the buff, sand, beige, bronze and oak tones so prominent at Sacred Heart.

“There will be many international visitors here for the ordination and the people will also bring their own colors to the ceremony,” she added.

flowersTo honor the nearly 13 years Bishop Checchio spent in Rome at the Pontifical North American College, Poltorak Keyes decided to research the Vatican Gardens and learn what flowers and shrubs grow there. “A lot of thought went into this,” she said. “I wanted to recreate what would be typical at the Vatican Gardens.”

The Stephanotis, Oleander, Jasmine and Confederate Jasmine that Poltorak Keyes special ordered were all carefully placed in pots by design team members, Anne Poltorak, her sister, and Pru Cadena.

After the festivities, the flowers were delivered to the new bishop “so he can plant them at either his private residence or around the Cathedral to remind him of Rome.”

A designer of liturgical environments for more than 30 years, Poltorak Keyes does regular work for St. Joseph Parish, North Plainfield, where she is a member, and Mount Saint Mary Chapel, Watchung. She also worships at St. Charles Borromeo Church, Montgomery Township.

A member of the diocesan Liturgical Commission, she also specializes in church renovation and restoration. Designer recreates Vatican Gardens to honor bishop’s time in Rome In the background above are some of the creations Meg Poltorak Keyes designed for the Mass of Ordination and Installation of Bishop James F. Checchio at the Church of the Sacred Heart, South Plainfield. At left is one of the arrangements assembled by Poltorak Keyes and design team members Anne Poltorak, her sister, and Pru Cadena. Poltorak Keyes has been designing liturgical environments for more than 30 years.

– Mike Ehrmann photos


Jennings Librarians at the NJLA Conference


Last week, our Archivist, Rebecca Driscoll, and our Electronic Resources Librarian, Sara Margaret Rizzo presented posters at the New Jersey Library Association Conference in Atlantic City, NJ. Rebecca’s poster discussed the work she has been doing using Shared Shelf to preserve and share campus history and activities. Sara’s poster discussed her experiences of working in a new library and university in Kazakhstan. For more detailed descriptions of each poster, please see the abstracts below.

Sharing Campus History and Activities through Artstor’s Shared Shelf
Within the last two years, Caldwell has implemented Shared Shelf, Artstor’s media management solution, to catalog and share archival photograph collections and students’ scholarly projects. Recently, Caldwell was selected to join the Council of Independent College’s Consortium on Digital Resources for Teaching and Research. For that project, we are digitizing and sharing materials created by students during mission-related service activities. The poster covers these projects and our experience with Shared Shelf in general.

njla_saraJersen’ it up in Central Asia: Bringing ideas from NJ libraries and implementing them in a Kazakh library.
Across the Garden State, NJ librarians are doing exciting and innovative things everyday. After finishing my MLIS in 2013, I accepted the position of Expert-Manager of Patron Services at Nazarbayev University Library (NUL) in Astana, Kazakhstan. The University opened in Fall 2010 as part of an education reform project to switch to a more western-style of education. My task in the library was to keep this mission in mind and help transform the library into one of the top libraries in the region. One way of achieving this goal was sharing some of the things libraries do in the Garden State, such as social media outreach and programming, and implementing them in NU’s Library. I will share some of the initiatives I spearheaded and challenges I met along the way. Additionally, I will discuss some things NJ libraries can learn from this experience, such as strategies for working with a multi-lingual population (Kazakhstan is a bilingual country, for many of our students English is their 3rd language, most faculty only knew English, while some staff spoke very little or no English).


Featured News, News

Music Department Offering Summer Orff-Schulwerk Workshop for Teachers

Caldwell, NJ, May 31, 2016 – Caldwell University will offer a Level I Orff-Schulwerk Teacher Education Workshop Program from July 25 through August 5, 2016 on the university’s beautiful campus.

The American Orff-Schulwerk Association approved program is a creative approach to teaching and learning music through speaking, singing, playing instruments and moving. It is an intensive 10-day workshop for music professionals who wish to make music education a joyful, creative experience for teachers and students through the Orff-Schulwerk process. All New Jersey music educators who complete the entire workshop will qualify for 60 hours of professional development credit.

Two certified AOSA instructors, Drue M. Bullington and Kristine Wolfe, will guide participants through an understanding of basic Orff pedagogy, soprano recorder, movement and other special topics.

For more information contact Mr. Thomas Charsky (Tcharsky@caldwell.edu). Additional information and a registration form can be found on the Music Department website: https://www.caldwell.edu/academics/academic-departments/music.

Featured News, News

Caldwell University Celebrates 74th Commencement


Caldwell, N.J., May 15, 2016 – Caldwell University celebrated its 74th annual commencement Sunday, May 15.

Anabela Santos, of Newark, New Jersey, delivered the student address at the undergraduate commencement ceremony. “Caldwell University have shaped us into better thinkers and leaders, helped us discover our passions, and helped us realize potential that we may not have seen in ourselves on our own,” said Santos.

She quoted from the 1990s television sitcom “Boy Meets World” in which the history teacher, Mr. Feeney, advises his students to “believe in yourselves, dream, try, do good.” Santos said, “During this four-year journey, we have each met, in some way, our own version of Mr. Feeney who encouraged us to dream big, believe in ourselves, try our best, and taught us the importance of using our talents to do good. As we prepare to go out into the world, we should embrace and act upon Mr. Feeney’s advice.”

An honorary degree was presented to Dr. Ernani Sadural, director of Global Health for the RWJBarnabas Health System. A board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist, Dr. Sadural is co-founder and chief medical officer of the Life is Great Global Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing medical and non-medical volunteers to underserved populations throughout the world. He and his wife, Dr. Sarah Timmapuri, were inspired to start the organization following the suffering and deaths caused by the earthquake in Haiti in 2010. Dr. Sadural has participated in or led over 50 medical missions across several countries including Haiti, Dominican Republic, India, Philippines, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Grenada, Peru, Nepal, and Honduras. He is a member of the Rotary Club of the Caldwells.

Dr. Sadural told the graduates,  “I applaud your hard work and academic achievements and I share your love of learning. But what I really admire about Caldwell University is your mission of service.” Each of us, he said, “has a role in creating a just and compassionate global community.” Quoting Einstein Dr. Sadural said, “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”

Sarah Schiffelbein, of Villas, New Jersey, delivered the student address at the graduate commencement ceremony.  She said that Caldwell has supported the students throughout their journey in numerous ways.  “Any time we felt defeated and discouraged, Caldwell was there to support us.  When we saw our theses and dissertations slowly taking form and becoming the final product, Caldwell was there supporting us.  Now, today, as we are walking on this stage to accept our degrees, Caldwell is here to support us.”

The university awarded 435 students with undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. President Nancy Blattner presented doctoral students with their Ph.D.s and graduate students with their Master of Arts, Master of Business Administration or Master of Science degrees. She presented undergraduates with their Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Fine Arts or Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees.

Dr. Blattner said it was a day of great pride and joy for all of the family members and friends who supported the students during years of study. “And it is a day of celebration for the faculty, staff and administration of Caldwell University as we send forth our 74th class of graduates to make a positive impact on our world.” She encouraged the students to carry the university’s core values of Respect, Integrity, Community and Excellence into their communities and work places.

The grand marshal of the graduate ceremony was Dr. Tom Keen, professor in the Business Division, and the grand marshall for the undergraduate ceremony was Dr. Sally Jo Weber, professor in the Department of Modern Languages. Honored alumni from the 50th anniversary class of 1966 were recognized at the undergraduate ceremony.

Click here to view the full Undergraduate Commencement photos

Click here to view the full Graduate Commencement photos


Caldwell Athletics’ Silent Auction Raises $3,500 for Make-A-Wish

rp_primary_table2_bannerCALDWELL, N.J. – The Caldwell University Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) hosted a silent auction during the basketball games against Bloomfield College on Saturday, Feb. 20, and raised $3,500 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Each athletics program, as well as other departments at Caldwell, donated themed baskets for the auction, and fans who attended the games were encouraged to bid on the baskets. The highest bid at the end of the auction won the right to buy the baskets.

The money raised during last year allowed Caldwell to adopt a wish. Between the basketball games Caldwell University Athletics and Make -A-Wish revealed to a young women that her wish to go to Hawaii with her family had been granted.

Since Caldwell University became an NCAA Division II institution in 2002, Caldwell University Athletics has been fundraising for Make-A-Wish. An official partner with NCAA Division II Make-A-Wish grants wishes of children who are facing life-threatening medical conditions. All of the proceeds from the silent auction on Saturday were donate to Make-A-Wish.

“I want to thank all of the people who bid on the baskets and those who donated to such a great cause,” said Associate Director of Athletics Kristina Danella, who coordinated Caldwell’s SAAC. “All of the teams did such a great job putting their baskets together and organizing the event, and their hard work really paid off.”

Caldwell’s SAAC consists of two members from each of Caldwell’s 15 intercollegiate athletics programs, plus an executive board.

Featured News, News

Nursing Students Provide Health Care on Mission Trip in Honduras


The Caldwell University Global Medical/Dental Brigades 2016 Team on their recent mission trip to Honduras.

Caldwell, N.J., Feb. 8, 2016 – Eleven Caldwell University nursing and health study students put their academic and clinical experience into action by volunteering at a health clinic in Honduras during winter break. The Caldwell chapter of the organization Global Brigades worked at a clinic in the rural mountain community of Jalaca, two hours from the capital of Tegucigalpa. There they performed triage assessments, took blood pressure screenings and checked vital signs.

On a mission trip to Honduras, Caldwell University Nursing student Taylor Ostrowski lets a child listen to the sound of his heart.

On a mission trip to Honduras, Caldwell University Nursing student Taylor Ostrowski lets a child listen to the sound of his heart.

Nicole Grandeza, a senior, said it was a rewarding to see that their health care knowledge “came out naturally … our observations were supported by the doctors.”

Jonayris Reyna, also a senior, said the mission trip came at a time when the seniors needed the experience because “we are going into what is probably going to be our toughest semester ever.”

Global Brigades is a nonprofit organization that organizes student teams to help communities with their health care needs.

Caldwell’s team was led by nursing professor Marnie Sperling. They  worked with students from Purdue University. Several Caldwell students provided Spanish translation.

Reyna recalled a man who came in needing a composite filling and was embarrassed to have his photo taken. After receiving dental care from Professor Sperling, who is dentist, “his smile did a 360,” said Reyna.

Sperling was proud of her students and their “professionalism, compassion and resilience.”

“The hard-work ethic and leadership that they exhibited exemplified their dedication to the community, which is consistent with Caldwell University’s mission. It was an experience that will stay with me forever,” said Sperling.

Grandeza and Reyna want to return and volunteer again to see how the people used the health care teachings they provided.

The students pointed to many gifts from the trip including making new friends, learning how to build an ecostove, obtaining a better understanding of others’ living conditions and developing empathy.