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Alumni News

A TRAILBLAZER and “the Only Girl in the Room”

Charlene Hamrah

Pictured is Charlene Hamrah and the “boys’ club” in the 1980s.

Charlene Hamraah

Charlene Hamrah on a recent trip to the Grand Canyon.

Charlene Hamrah, Class of 1969

As a shy high school student in the 1960s, Charlene Hamrah had not given much thought to the idea of attending college. She was interested in the business world and planned to apply to a secretarial school. However, she took a different path, becoming a trailblazer in what was then the male-dominated field of business, at a time when men referred to women as “girls.”

Her mother’s influence and encouragement convinced Hamrah to have a bolder vision for her life. “She insisted that I go to college,” recalls Hamrah. At Caldwell College for Women, she majored in business and minored in education. “There were only five business majors in my graduating class, but the campus was close-knit and very social; I made many friendships I’ve maintained to this day.” She blossomed in the nurturing environment at Caldwell and began to think seriously about her future.

After graduating, Hamrah found a position as a business teacher. Although she asked to teach bookkeeping and more advanced business courses, she was assigned the typing and shorthand classes on the theory that she was “a better role model for girls.” Hamrah found teaching skill subjects dull and uninspiring, and this provided the impetus for her to make a career change. In her second year of teaching, and for more than three years while working full time, she commuted to Rutgers-Newark for evening classes, earning an MBA with a concentration in finance in 1975. It was, she says, an exercise in endurance—and a bit lonely since she was the only woman in many of her classes. At the time, women averaged 10 percent of MBA enrollments nationally. Today, women represent more than 40 percent of MBA students, thanks to pioneers like Hamrah.

She landed a job in New York City as secretary to the financial officer of a small commercial insurance company and continued to travel to Newark for evening classes. When Hamrah completed her MBA, she moved into a supervisory position and eventually became the vice president for financial planning and analysis at that company. This once-shy young woman had found her voice and had secured her place as a leader. In 1989, while in her early 40s, she took on a new challenge: the role of motherhood, when she adopted her son, Damon. After the premature death of her husband, Hamrah became the single working mother of a young child.

As her confidence grew, Hamrah was undaunted by the challenge of being the only woman in “the boys’ club.” Her male counterparts acknowledged her intellect, work ethic, and determination; she earned promotions, although not as quickly as the men, and was frustrated by the inequity in her compensation. Her advice for today’s students: “Stay focused and get the job done, go the extra mile, do not be afraid to ask questions, and ask for help when you need it. If you want more responsibility, ask for it—and for the salary that goes with the job.”

The next chapter of her career took Hamrah to Wall Street when she joined AIG, a global giant in the insurance and financial services industry. Promoted through the ranks, she took on numerous roles in finance and accounting, eventually leading the investor relations department. She later became one of the few female officers at the firm, reaching the pinnacle of her career as vice president and director of investor relations. “It was both an internal and external relations position. I guess I wasn’t shy any longer,” Hamrah says with a laugh. As the key contact for institutional investors, she was responsible for reporting financial results, explaining and answering questions about those results, and meeting with investors to explain the company’s operations and opportunities. It was not a job for the faint of heart.

Was there a point at which she finally felt acknowledged by the men with whom she worked? “When the then-CEO of AIG named me corporate vice president,” she says. “On one hand, I felt I deserved it long before that day; on the other hand, I was thrilled. Perhaps most important to me is that the CEO was known as one of the toughest bosses in corporate America, yet he liked and respected me.”

Over the years, Hamrah has remained connected to Caldwell and is “very impressed by what has been accomplished in the past decade and by the students I have met… The campus has changed and enrollment is increasing, but it still has the close community spirit that I loved as a student. The Sisters of St. Dominic deserve credit for taking the bold step of admitting men and expanding the academic programs,” she adds, “and Dr. Nancy Blattner’s vision and leadership have brought Caldwell into an exciting new era.”

Caldwell remains a touchstone in Hamrah’s life. She has made a generous leadership gift to the Campaign for Caldwell and serves as co-chair of the campaign steering committee alongside Elaine Tweedus ’66. In anticipation of her 50th class reunion in the fall of 2019, Hamrah is working with a group of her classmates to conduct outreach and hopes for a great turnout.

“As I look back on my life’s journey,” she says, “I am most struck by my transformation from a shy, quiet girl with a narrow worldview to a confident business executive who embraced opportunities and traveled the world, making many friends along the way. I will be forever grateful to Caldwell for helping me develop a foundation for success—in my career and in many other areas of my life.”

—-Christina Hall

Alumni News

Family Ties Lead to Heartfelt Chapel Commitment

Jon and Stephanie Hauge made a gift to underwrite the crucifix for the new chapel.

Stephanie and Jon Hauge were never students at Caldwell University. Their daughter, Greta, did not study at Caldwell either. So what inspired this generous couple to contribute $25,000 to the Campaign for Caldwell?

Their involvement with Caldwell began more than 20 years ago. Stephanie’s brother-in-law, Tim Manning, served as Caldwell’s vice president of institutional advancement from 1995 to 2000, when they lost him to cancer.

“I was financial vice president at AT&T when Tim joined Caldwell,” Stephanie recalls. “Sister Patrice was president, and there were very few lay people on the board of trustees at that time. Tim saw the value of bringing business leaders onto the board. He knew I had financial expertise and recruited me to become a trustee.”

Stephanie served on the board for nine years, until 2006. Six of those years were spent on the executive board, first as chair of the finance committee and later as chair of the audit committee. She worked closely with her brother-in-law to bring corporate grants to the institution, including funding from the AT&T Foundation.

During this time, Stephanie and Jon developed a high regard for the institution and its Catholic mission. They became, and have remained, loyal donors and can be counted on to give at the President’s Society level each year. Stephanie continues to champion the university in other ways as well. Through her involvement with the Financial Women’s Association of New Jersey, an organization that promotes and supports women leaders, she organized an
event on campus that featured a panel of distinguished women executives—including Dr. Nancy Blattner—who spoke about the challenges of balancing demanding careers with
full lives.

The Hauges’ fondness for Caldwell is, in many ways, tied to their memories of Tim. In 2002, the couple honored Tim’s memory with a major donation that was recognized through the naming of the Manning Campus Bookstore. It was their way of honoring their brother-in-law’s deeply felt commitment to this institution.

They were thrilled to learn about Caldwell’s plans to relocate the university’s chapel, formerly in the Mother Joseph Residence Hall, to the first floor of the Newman Center. “I was especially happy to hear that the beautiful stained-glass windows are going to be incorporated into the design for the new space,” Stephanie notes.

The university’s plans for the new chapel meant the Manning Campus Bookstore would have to be moved. When a new location was chosen, a re-inauguration event was held, complete with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and luncheon. “It was a lovely family celebration. There is a new plaque outside the bookstore that tells visitors about Tim,” Stephanie notes.

The Hauges’ gift is a testament to Caldwell University’s strong Catholic mission. Stephanie and Jon are very committed to ecumenical causes near and far. “Jon and I love to visit churches when we travel. We were drawn by the idea of making the chapel more central to the lives of the students by putting it in the Newman Center. The new chapel will be a wonderful expression of the university’s Dominican roots.”

Stephanie has a master’s in theology and has dedicated countless hours to serving as an RCIA director and in the music and lector ministries at her home parish, Resurrection Church, in Randolph, New Jersey. There is no doubt the Hauges’ gift in support of the new chapel at Caldwell University reflects their confidence in the university’s commitment to its Catholic identity.

Smart gift planning enabled the Hauges to maximize their support. Stephanie explains, “At our age and given the current tax laws and minimum distribution requirements, it makes more sense for us to direct our charitable giving from our IRAs. Doing so reduces our ordinary income and produces additional tax benefits. It’s a better way to give.” Jon’s retirement benefits made it possible to secure additional corporate matching funds from Pfizer.

The Hauges’ newest gift is being made in memory of their parents—Olaf and Gladys Hauge and Edward and Mary Jordan. In recognition of their support, Stephanie and Jon will be listed on the donor wall as benefactors to help underwrite the crucifix. “Our parents were very faith-filled people,” Stephanie says. “They knew the importance of education. And they felt, as we do, that is a beautiful thing to have a church at the center of a community. This is a fitting tribute to them.”

The new chapel will be a wonderful expression of the university’s Dominican roots.

Featured News, News

Healthy screen time for kids – Dr. Sitnick is guest on One-on-One with Steve Adubato

Stephanie Sitnick

Caldwell, N.J., April 15, 2019 – Stephanie Sitnick Ph.D., assistant professor in the School of Psychology and Counseling at Caldwell University, is a guest on One-on-One with Steve Adubato to talk about healthy screen time habits for kids and teens.

With many media choices and the development of digital devices, screen time is a concern for parents who want to decide how much, if any, time their children should spend on media and digital devices. Dr. Sitnick provides information from the American Academy of Pediatrics on guidelines for children’s media use.

Dr. Sitnick and Adubato discuss issues such as appropriate time limits according to a child’s age and how parents need to model good screen time habits for their children.

The broadcast schedule is:

Wednesday, April 17 – 7p.m. on NJTV

Thursday, April 18 – 12:30 a.m. on Thirteen/WNET.

Watch the segment here.


“O Happy Fault: The Human Element in the Creation of The Saint John’s Bible” Lecture

Sower and the Seed

Sower and the Seed, Aidan Hart with contributions from Donald Jackson and Sally Mae Joseph, Copyright 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

“O Happy Fault: The Human Element in the Creation of The Saint John’s Bible” will be the focus of a lecture, 4:30 p.m., Monday April 8 at Caldwell University.  The speakers will be Robert Miller, Ph.D., chair of the Division of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Mount St. Mary College, and Stephanie Pietros, Ph.D., assistant professor of English, College of Mount Saint Vincent.  The lecture is being presented by the Department of Theology and Philosophy at Caldwell as part of its Sister Maura Campbell, O.P. lecture series.

Dr. Pietros will discuss the illustrations of medieval manuscripts and the materials used in their creation, as well as instructions left behind by scribes.

Dr. Miller will speak about biblical text criticism and the causes for errors in ancient illuminated manuscripts. He will demonstrate how the contemporary calligraphers of The Saint John’s Bible made the same errors that were common in the copying of texts prior to the invention of the printing press.

Dr. Pietros’s research interests include medieval and early modern literature, especially lyric poetry; the history of the book, and interdisciplinary studies in literature and music. She has published articles and reviews in the journals Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Shakespeare Bulletin, and Early Modern Culture. Her current projects include an essay on song in Shakespeare’s Othello and a co-edited special issue of the journal Early Modern Culture on the topic of teaching Shakespeare to first-generation college students.

Dr. Miller is a Senior Fellow of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology and a board member for the Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary – USA. He has taught both graduate and undergraduate classes in scripture and theology at Caldwell and Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology at Seton Hall University. Dr. Miller’s research spans a wide area of theology and biblical studies, including biblical theology and typology, John’s Gospel, and Mariology.

The Sister Maura Campbell, O.P. Lecture Series is named for Sister Maura, who was a Sister of St. Dominic of Caldwell, a theologian, philosopher, professor, researcher and national leader in education whose scholarship and teaching spanned 50 years.

For further information, call 973-618-3931.

Library, News

Poster Printing for Research Day 

Print your poster for research day at the Creation Station. All 24″ x 36″ posters will be at the special Research Day price of $17. Payment in cash or check must be made at the time of pick up.

All files must be submitted by Friday, April 12.

Email posterprinting@caldwell.edu for additional information.

Please Note: Poster printing services are only available Tuesdays and Fridays from 11 – 4 p.m.
Any questions will be responded to during the above mentioned hours.


Undergraduate English Major Comprehensive Portfolio Assessment

Most university departments or disciplines have a process for measuring students’ knowledge and skill at the end of their work toward the major. In the past, undergraduate students have been required to complete EN 410 English Seminar prior to preparing and writing a comprehensive essay to demonstrate their understanding and application of literary analysis to a variety of works. However, beginning in the Fall of 2019, our department will now require students to demonstrate what they have learned by selecting essays from previous English courses and, with the help of their professors, revising those essays to make them even better. This collection or portfolio of writings is then submitted for a comprehensive grade. Since this “comps” or capstone experience builds off students’ earlier work, English majors (and students considering a major in English) should save all their writing from each English course taken and would be well advised to keep the literary works they have written about. Students will be required to complete EN 410 Senior Portfolio Projectwhere they will have the opportunity to revise their essays in a workshop-style class setting prior to final professor review.

Featured News, News

Sister Maura Campbell Spring Semester Lecture Series

The Department of Theology and Philosophy at Caldwell University has announced its speakers for spring semester for the Sister Maura Campbell lecture series.

All lectures take place in the Alumni Theater at 4:30 p.m.and are free and open to the public.

Thursday, January 31 – “Papal Policies on Clerical Sexual Abuse: God Weeps,” with Jo-Renee Formicola, Ph.D., professor of political science at Seton Hall University.

Monday, February 4 – “Educating Desire:  Augustine and Dante on the Weight of Love,” with Paul Camacho, Ph.D., Arthur J. Ennis Post-Doctoral Fellow, Augustine and Culture Seminar Program, Villanova University.

Thursday, March 21 – “Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) on the Eucharist,” Lauren Pristas, Ph.D.  emeritus professor, theology, Caldwell University.

Monday, April 8 – “Oh Happy Fault: The Human Element in the Creation of the St. John’s Bible,” with Robert Miller, Ph.D, associate professor of religious studies, Mount Saint Mary’s College, and Stephanie Pietros, Ph.D., assistant professor of English, Mount Saint Vincent’s College.

The lectures are being presented by the Department of Theology and Philosophy as part of its Sister Maura Campbell lecture series.  Sister Maura was a Sister of St. Dominic of Caldwell, a theologian, philosopher, professor, researcher and national leader in education whose scholarship and teaching spanned 50 years.

For further information, call 973-618-3931.

About Caldwell University

Caldwell University is a private, Catholic coed four-year university with a strong liberal arts core curriculum that enhances critical thinking and analytical reasoning. Caldwell offers 29 undergraduate and 30 graduate programs, including doctoral, master’s, certificate and certification programs, as well as online and distance learning options that prepare students for today’s global marketplace. The university has 15 NCAA Division II intercollegiate sports programs and a football program that is a member of the Collegiate Sprint Football League.

Caldwell offers numerous clubs, fraternities, sororities and activities. It is located on a beautiful 70-acre campus in suburban Caldwell, New Jersey. Caldwell was founded by the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Caldwell. Its core values of respect, integrity, community and excellence influence academic and campus life. For more information about Caldwell University, visit caldwell.edu.

Featured News, News

Caldwell and Raritan Valley Community College Partner for Nursing Transfer Agreement

Natalie Pedri

Caldwell University and Raritan Valley Community College have entered into a new agreement that will enable RVCC Nursing graduates to complete their bachelor’s degree in only one year.

According to the agreement, students who receive an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) Degree in Nursing/RN from RVCC may seamlessly transfer to Caldwell University’s online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program as long as they fulfill certain requirements. This includes maintaining a requisite grade point average and being certified with their RN license.

“The new agreement with Caldwell University is a wonderful opportunity for RVCC graduates to continue their higher education and complete their BSN in only one year, enhancing their career prospects. Many of these Nursing students are already working in healthcare, so they will greatly benefit from the online, flexible learning environment,” said RVCC President Michael J. McDonough.

Meghan Ryan, DNP, MSN, RN, FNP-C, CPN, Caldwell University’s coordinator of the RN to BSN program and assistant professor of nursing, said Caldwell is excited to have an established articulation agreement with Raritan Valley Community College. “This agreement will enable students to transfer into our program seamlessly. Student success is a primary concern of each faculty member at Caldwell University. We are sensitive to the needs of the adult learner and we help to foster success whether the student is a newly licensed RN or returning to school after many years. Students will feel a sense of community in this program. Students are supportive of each other in the program and they develop lasting connections with colleagues.”

RVCC graduates may transfer 60-65 credits from the AAS program to Caldwell University, as well as an additional 30 credits for their RN license. Students must complete a minimum of 30 credits at the University.

For additional information about the new agreement, contact Paul Michaud, RVCC’s director of Transfer & Career Services, at 908-526-1200, ext. 8333 or Meghan Ryan at Caldwell University at mryan@caldwell.edu or 973-618-3565.

Caldwell University’s RN to BSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and is a member of the National League for Nursing. The innovative program builds on existing nurse knowledge, is guided by supportive faculty, offers rolling admission every seven weeks and courses are delivered either in a fully online or hybrid format. Students develop leadership skills and build cultural competency and evidence-based practice. Courses are offered every seven weeks and the program can be completed in as little as one year for full- time students.


Finals Week in the Library

Free coffee, tea, and hot chocolate will be available after 6 p.m. Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.

Free massages – Monday 12/10 and Thursday 12/13 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

A special thank you to the Office of Student Engagement for providing the free massages and hot beverages.