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Celebrating Caldwell’s First-Generation Students

Caldwell university student photo with nancy blattner.

Caldwell, N.J., Nov. 8, 2019 – Caldwell University joined other colleges and universities in celebrating its first-generation university students on Nov. 8.

Speaking to the students, President Nancy Blattner shared how she was the first in her family to go to college. Her parents did not attend high school but encouraged their daughter to pursue education. “There are no limits to what you can do with an education. No one can take that away from you,” said President Blattner. And with that education they can help other family members, she said. Dr. Blattner assured the students that the university staff and faculty are there to help them succeed. “You are not alone as first-generation.”

First-generation freshman Hanirah Mitchner said Dr. Blattner’s comments made her feel appreciated.  Leonela Martinez, another first-generation freshman, was happy to hear President Blattner’s “inspiring success story … if she can do it, we can do it too.”

The aim of Caldwell’s event was to celebrate the success of the students and to remind them of the supports available on campus to help them achieve their dreams and goals. It was  held in the university’s new Eileen Jones Multicultural Center, named for the university’s first African-American student.

Celebrating first-generation students

In high school Ashley Williams never thought much about college and her teachers encouraged her to go to a community college, but she was accepted into the EOF program at Caldwell and never looked back. It is a “home away from home. I’m so blessed and happy,” said Williams, of Old Bridge, New Jersey. “I’m a name, not a number” said Williams, who is majoring in history and is busy working in the campus bookstore. She is grateful to faculty and staff members like history professor Dr. Marie Mullaney, her advisor, who Williams says has been “one of the best people—who helped me get to where I want to be.” As first generation in her family she wants to be a role model for her two nieces and hopes other high school students who think college is out of reach realize that “if you put the effort and time into it, it will happen.”

Headshot photo of rodriguez.

Alicia Rodriguez

Senior Alicia Rodriguez says her parents are so excited about her  graduation from college that they are already planning a huge party. “The only thing we talk about is my graduation.” Rodriguez, a resident of Union, New Jersey, says her parents—“the two smartest people I know”—did not go to college and have encouraged their daughter to keep pushing toward her goal of earning a university degree. The first-generation student is majoring in sport management and with a minor in pre-law and a long-term goal of becoming a sports attorney. During her undergraduate years when times were stressful, Melissa Cooke, her advisor in the School of Business and Computer Science, was always supportive and would give her good advice and “a huge push.” A member of the women’s lacrosse team, Rodriguez is also grateful to the Athletics Department, her coaches and teammates for their influence. The skills she learned on the field, like “being devoted and practicing more,” apply to academics and life in general. “Whatever I use in athletics, I use in my day-to-day life,” she said.

Head Shot photo of Kasey Cox.

Kasey Cox

Sophomore Kasey Cox was raised by her grandparents and will be the first in her family to earn a college degree. “My family is proud of me,” said Cox, who grew up in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey. Sometimes being first generation presents challenges, like having to navigate financial aid processes, but she said the staff at Caldwell University has been super helpful. A psychology major with a criminal justice minor, Cox said EOF is her “saving grace.” She belongs to the sorority Delta Phi Epsilon and to the Psychology Club and is an EOF class representative. After receiving her undergraduate degree, she hopes to join the military and then become a school counselor. Cox encouraged other students who do not have family members who have gone to college, saying that with the support EOF, “It is easier than you think.”

Head shot photo of Ruth Jimenez.

Ruth Jimenez

Senior Ruth Jimenez appreciates that EOF holds students accountable for their grades. The staff in the office provides a great support system and helps with resources, but having someone monitoring your grades adds a “sense of accountability,” she said. Jimenez, who came to the United States from the Dominican Republic when she was seven, attended Becton Regional High School in East Rutherford. She is majoring in health care administration and hopes to go on for her master’s and eventually work in administration in a health care setting. Along with her studies, she works hard—on campus in the library and as a substitute teacher. Her parents always supported education and her mother graduated from college in her country, but Ruth will be the first in her family to receive a degree in the United States. That comes with “a big responsibility” since she is setting an example for her 10-year-old brother, who is already talking about going to college. “It was drilled into us,” said Jimenez.

Featured News, News

Caldwell Athletics Receives CAANJ DII Cup For Third Straight Year

SOMERSET, N.J.- The Caldwell University Athletics Department earned the Collegiate Athletic Administrators of New Jersey (CAANJ) Division II Cup for a third straight year for their outstanding athletic accomplishments during the 2018-19 year.

Caldwell Athletics as a department had another outstanding year on the field and in the classroom in 2018-19. The Cougars won two conference championships in women’s soccer and bowling, earning both programs a trip to their respective national tournaments. For women’s soccer, the 2018 conference title was their second in three seasons and their third in the last six seasons, while the bowling team captured their first conference championship in only their fifth year as a varsity program at Caldwell.

The Cougars earned two major award winners last season as bowling’s Jenna Rapach (Hazleton, Pa.) was selected as the East Coast Conference Rookie of the Year and later earned ECC Tournament Most Outstanding Bowler honors. The department featured eight all-region players, including the first women’s lacrosse player in program history to be recognized. Caldwell earned a total of 18 all-conference honorees, including 17 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference All-League players with seven being named to the first team. The department also featured a combined totaled 37 all-academic honorees between the CACC and ECC as well as one CoSIDA Google Cloud Third Team Academic All-American.

The Caldwell Athletics Department was honored at the annual CAANJ Awards Luncheon on Thursday, October 24 at the FairBridge Hotel in Somerset, New Jersey.

English News

Meet Your Major


This past Wednesday, October 23rd, the English Department hosted an event to discuss upcoming events, scholarship opportunities, recommended courses and much more! Each full-time faculty member took time to explain what was up and coming in the department. Although this departmental event was very informative, it was also a social event and students had the opportunity to mingle halfway through. Students spent the remainder of the time enjoying pizza and engaging in meaningful conversations with professors and peers. Although a majority of the students in attendance were English Majors, there were also students who were undecided and others who were considering an English Minor. If you or a peer missed out on this event and wish to learn more about becoming an English major look out for our upcoming meet your major event this spring.

Featured News, News

The Saint John’s Bible events to feature poetry, music, the Middle Ages 

Baptism of Jesus, Donald Jackson, Copyright 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Baptism of Jesus, Donald Jackson, Copyright 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Caldwell University continues its Year with The Saint John’s Bible with events featuring music, poetry and history. The events are free and open to the public.

A Saint John’s Bible Poetry Reading with Sister Eva Mary Hooker, CSC will be held at noon, Wednesday, Oct. 30 in the Westervelt Lecture Hall in Werner Hall.  Sister Eva will read nine of her own original poems that are based upon images from The Saint John’s Bible which she will project in a powerpoint. She will also read from her full-length collection, Godwit (Three: A Taos Press, 2016).    Sister Eva is professor of English and writer-in-residence at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame.  3 Taos Press published her first full-length book of poetry, Godwit, in 2016. Chapiteau Press published two chapbooks, The Winter Keeper (finalist for the Minnesota Book Award in poetry) and Notes for Survival in the Wilderness.  Her poems have been published in journals such as Agni, Salmagundi, Notre Dame Review, Terrain, Witness, Memorious and Salamander.    The reading is sponsored by the Saint  John’s Bible committee and Caldwell University Dr. Mary Ann Miller’s Catholic Writers (of literature) class.

“Illuminations: A Concert of Music Inspired by The Saint John’s Bible” will premiere at 3 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 10 in the university Alumni Theatre.  Music faculty member Nan Childress Orchard has commissioned two original works from New Jersey composers Caroline H. Newman and Rob Middleton to celebrate Caldwell University’s Year with The Saint John’s Bible.  Performers include Childress Orchard, piano; Music Department faculty members Rebecca Vega, flute, and Rob Middleton, clarinet; and Jacqueline Stern, violoncello.

“The Saint John’s Bible: From the Middle Ages to the 21st Century” will be presented by  Marie Mullaney, Ph.D., professor of history at Caldwell, 4:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 14.   This lecture will explain how an understanding of medieval history can lead to a deeper appreciation of The Saint John’s Bible since its production is so intimately linked to the values, techniques, and lifestyles of the time.

The Saint John’s Bible is the first illuminated, handwritten Bible of monumental size to be created in more than 500 years. It  was commissioned by Benedictine Saint John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minnesota and the creative director was Donald Jackson, senior scribe to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s Crown Office.  Caldwell is hosting the Heritage Edition of the Gospels and Acts volume of the Bible until the end of the calendar year.

Alumni News

Alumnus Receives Public Servant of the Year Award

Headshot photo of Carlos Pomares

Caldwell, N.J., Oct. 11, 2019 – Alumnus Carlos Pomares ’93, Essex County freeholder, has been named Essex County Latino-American Chamber of Commerce Public Servant of the Year. He was honored by Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo at a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration Oct. 10.

Pomares has had an accomplished career in nonprofit administration and public service including serving as councilman at-large in Bloomfield, New Jersey, for two terms and becoming the inaugural executive director of the Cuban Artists Fund, an organization dedicated to supporting artists of Cuban ancestry. At the fund, he has overseen collaborative public education projects with the Times Square Alliance, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

He credits his bachelor’s in history and certificate in communications from Caldwell with preparing him for the marketplace. “Through my courses in history and political science, I learned about federalism, government process, policy and the role public servants play in meeting the needs of society in a responsible manner.” In his communications courses, Pomares said, he improved his public speaking skills and learned how to listen, to effectively participate in interviews and debates and to gauge public sentiment on issues communities face. His academic background has been the “bedrock” for his work in government, teaching and museums.

Since graduating from Caldwell, Pomares has stayed in contact with his former history professor, Dr. Marie Mullaney, and communications professor, Bob Mann, “who have followed my career with interest, calling upon me to assist with internship opportunities for students and perspectives from my field.”

In 2017 Pomares received the Caldwell University Veritas Award, the highest honor the university bestows on its alumni. He was recognized for Excellence in Cultural Activism, thanks to a nomination from Mullaney. “To have your mentors consider you to be among them as peers is an honor I will forever treasure,” said Pomares, who also holds a master’s in museum professions from Seton Hall University.

Pomares remembers with gratitude the internship he did at the President Grover Cleveland Birthplace in Caldwell while an undergraduate, which convinced him that he wanted to pursue a career in museum work. From there his career and volunteer activity led him to his work in public service. Because of this experience, he believes strongly in the importance of encouraging students to invest in themselves by doing internships and volunteering in the community. “They often yield insight into careers perhaps previously not considered.”

Featured News, News

Faculty Feature: Professor Rosa Sanchez

Rosa Sanchez, teaching students inside the caldwell university classroom.

Reading, Writing and Diversity

Professor Rosa Sanchez is standing in front of a cross with a group of students. That isn’t unusual, considering she teaches at a Catholic university. But this cross is not located on the university campus, and she and the students are nowhere near Caldwell. On this June day, they find themselves in the shadow of a 500-foot granite cross, embedded in the rocky mountains of Spain. They are there for a study-abroad program, and they are far from your average tourists.

When Sanchez arrived at Caldwell University, she was confident of several things. First, she believed studying abroad was a powerful experience for students. Second, she knew literature had the power to transform lives for the better. And she was confident that her role as assistant professor of Spanish language, literature and culture would allow her to show that diversity is a wonderful thing.

Sanchez was 10 years old when her family moved to New York City from the Dominican Republic. After high school, she attended Barnard College and majored in Latin American studies with the intention of becoming a successful businesswoman. But after pursuing the nine-to-five life through jobs in marketing and public relations, she realized she was on the wrong track. And this became clear at a book club, of all places. Sanchez had started a reading group with friends from college who were also living in New York City after graduation. The more time she spent with the book club, the more she realized she wanted to spend her life working in literature and culture. So she applied to graduate school and attended the University of Virginia to earn a master’s and a Ph.D. in literature.

Sanchez was working as an adjunct professor at St. Francis College in Brooklyn when she first heard about the study-abroad program she would eventually bring to Caldwell. An alumnus of the college was advertising a course of study that allowed students to travel to Segovia, Spain. The program turned out to be an amazing opportunity, and when Sanchez arrived at Caldwell University, she knew she wanted to introduce the program to her students. She traveled with her first group of students to Segovia in the summer of 2017.

Students stay with a host family for a month while they take two classes that revolve around the sites they will visit in Spain. They also have ample time to interact with locals, visiting cafés and parks during their leisure time.

“It’s been great,” said Sanchez. “I love seeing the students, the impact going to a foreign country has on them. A month is a nice chunk of time. You are more able to have the culture sink in.”

New experiences give students a fresh perspective. Instances of culture shock may be as simple as the way people in Spain are careful to conserve water and electricity or as profound as realizing the stereotypes that exist about Americans in other countries. After enjoying the warmth of their host families, the slower pace of the culture and the rich traditions of the country, students often return with a passion for travel and for Spain specifically.

“They are more comfortable stepping out of their shells and just getting to know places,” Sanchez said.

During classes, students get a preview of the sites they will visit during their month abroad. Among these places is the Valley of the Fallen, where they encounter the 500-foot cross. The monument is stunning, but it is also tragic, having been built by a controversial leader using forced labor. Visits to such places allow students to consider buildings and monuments in light of history. Conversations about a monument in Spain have sparked thoughts about historical sites in our country and how students interact with them. This and the experience of living abroad prove to be very powerful for students.

Sanchez has played a large role in other immersive experiences at Caldwell.

In a previous teaching position, she attended a weeklong workshop at Saint John’s University. While there, she had the opportunity to see The Saint John’s Bible. This handwritten, hand-illuminated Bible was carefully produced, beginning in the late 1990s, to reflect a diversity of cultures and the faith of modern believers.

“I was just blown away,” Sanchez said. “It was so stunning to see it in person and to hear about the work it took and all the thought and research that went into it.”

When she heard Caldwell University would have the opportunity to host a portion of that Bible, Sanchez was overjoyed. She remembered her encounter with The Saint John’s Bible years earlier and quickly volunteered to train the docents who would share the Bible with visitors. Three students agreed to take part in the program for the semester, and Sanchez contributed her enthusiasm to the project. During weekly or biweekly meetings, she encouraged the students not only to share facts about the Bible but to invite those who saw it to reflect on the impact the work had on them. Sanchez will continue to train docents this fall while the Bible is on display at Caldwell.

“That has been beautiful, just to be part of that,” she said. “The Saint John’s Bible is so stunning.”

The personal application of The Saint John’s Bible is easy to see. The artists worked hard to incorporate cultural diversity, science and women in the illuminations paired with the text. And that same desire for diversity drives Sanchez every day as she teaches at Caldwell University. “That is at the core of my discipline,” Sanchez said.

Through her classes in the Spanish language, literature and culture program, Sanchez encourages students to listen to music and podcasts from different countries as they read Spanish texts. Students also have the opportunity to attend a play in Spanish in New York City. All of these mediums expose them to a variety of cultures, views and accents.

Sanchez shares her passion for Spanish culture and literature in a number of other ways. She serves as an advisor to the Spanish Club and to the honor society. She was also chosen to participate in the Ancient Greece in the Modern Classroom seminar on “The Ancient Greek Hero” at Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies campus in Washington, D.C. this past July.

She organizes a Spanish conversation hour for students every other week at Rock ‘n’ Joe in Caldwell, where students are treated to coffee as long as they commit to speaking Spanish for the entire hour. Thanks to Sanchez’s hard work and passion, whether students choose to study abroad or stay close to home, they have opportunities to think deeply about diversity and culture and about their place in it.

“I see myself at the center of the effort to teach about other cultures, to see students appreciate other cultures,” she said. “And my hope is that they develop a curiosity for other cultures. I tell them that whatever they learn about in my class is only a snippet of what is really out there.”

—Nicole M. Burrell ’09

Two of Professor Rosa Sanchez’s Favorite Books

One Hundred Years of Solitude

By Gabriel García Márquez

“I read it as an undergraduate on my own. After reading that book, it was the first time I ever felt that I really was going to miss the characters, so that book has a special part in my heart. It was such a long book, and it was really, then, the first time I felt alone afterwards because I had been in the company of those characters for so long.”

Don Quixote

By Miguel de Cervantes

“‘Don Quixote’ was impossible to read the first time I picked it up. But then it became one of my favorite books once I got acquainted with the style of the Golden Age, because it was published in the 1600s. That book also has a special place in my heart because I had a long-distance relationship while I was in Virginia for my Ph.D. To have something to talk about with my then-boyfriend, I would tell him what happened in whatever I was reading at the time. And I started doing that with ‘Don Quixote.’ I would bring it up with him to the point where in one of the weekends where I was in the city, he took me to see a play based on ‘Don Quixote,’ and that’s where he proposed. And here we are several years later, married, and with a precious three-year-old daughter who is already acquainted with a kiddie version of the Spanish classic!



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Community Gathers for Dedication of New Caldwell University Chapel, Located ‘at the Heart’ of Campus 

Community gathers for dedication and blessing Mass for the Sister Mary Dominic Tweedus Chapel.
Nancy Blattner, president of Caldwell University, speaking at the dedication and blessing Mass of the new chapel on campus.
Father Albert Berner, former chaplain at Caldwell University, was one of the concelebrants at the Mass.
Student Maria Lesniewski brings up the flowers for the preparation of the altar.
The university’s chorale was led by Music Department faculty member Dr. Laura Greenwald (left). Student Lauren Mann (right) was the cantor.
Alexander Giaquinto, Ph.D. Trustee Emeriti for Caldwell University, reading at Mass.
Alumnas Patricia Hannon '68 (right) and Nina Neglia ’89 (left) bring up candles for preparation of the altar.
The pianist for the dedication and blessing Mass was Warren Helms.
Alumna and primary benefactor for the chapel, Elaine Tweedus ’66 reading at Mass.
The liturgical designer and project manager Meg Poltorak Keyes '75 in front of the chapel.
 Dr. Nancy Blattner (right) and Elaine Tweedus ’66 (left) unveil the wall recognizing the chapel donors.
Altar servers, students Michael Angelos ‘23 and Anthony Del Debbio ’23 and celebrant Msgr. Robert Emery.
Board of Trustee member Mary Sellito-Curcio (left) and Elaine Kacmarik '60 (right) bring up the gifts.
Community Gathers for Dedication of New Caldwell University Chapel.

Caldwell, N.J., Sept. 20, 2019 – In a historic occasion for Caldwell University, alumni, benefactors, faculty, staff, students and other guests gathered for the dedication and blessing Mass for the new Sister Mary Dominic Tweedus Chapel on Sept. 20.

Located “at the heart of our campus,” said President Nancy Blattner, the chapel “provides more access to sacred space in a heavily traveled area of the campus” and serves as a daily reminder of Caldwell’s Catholic and Dominican heritage. Blattner pointed out that the site overlooks the cemetery of the Sisters of Saint Dominic, the founders of Caldwell University, and the burial place of Sister Mary Dominic Tweedus, O.P., the aunt of the new chapel’s primary benefactor.   Blattner noted that the institution had opened its doors 80 years earlier on Sept. 19.

The celebrant for the Mass was Msgr. Robert Emery, pastor of St. Aloysius  parish in Caldwell, New Jersey and  episcopal vicar for Essex County. “This chapel leads us to God,” Emery said. “It opens our minds to his truth and our hearts to his goodness. Above all, it speaks of his longing to dwell in our souls—if only we would come here and put ourselves in his presence.”  The doors of “this chapel will lead many people to Christ,” said Emery.  He noted that in the responsorial psalm those gathered heard the words, “‘If today you hear God’s voice.’ We pray that in the years to come, many people will hear God’s voice as they visit and pray in the chapel.”

Concelebrating were Father Albert Berner and Father Thomas Orians, S.A., who had served as  chaplains at the university, and Father Thomas Dente, pastor of Notre Dame parish in North Caldwell, New Jersey.

Student Jennifer Montejo, a junior and member of the chorale, was excited for the new chapel and to have a “loving space to be able to worship God freely.” Pointing out that in the homily Msgr. Emery said, many people will come to Christ through those doors, Montejo said, “I believe that.”

Students Anthony Del Debbio ’23 and Michael Angelos ’23 were altar servers at the Mass. Both were servers at their home parishes and they were very happy to be a part of the dedication mass. Being a server at university liturgies, Del Debbio said, is another step in his “faith relationship with God”.

The old chapel was decommissioned in 2018; it was not ADA accessible, had no air conditioning, little parking and was out of view. In designing the new chapel, careful consideration was given to preserve many of the distinctive features of the old chapel “so that there remains an unbroken bond between Caldwell’s past and its present, between its founding and its future,” said Blattner. “We are surrounded by the exquisite original stained glass windows and Stations of the Cross. The tabernacle and the main altar were constructed using materials from the high altar in the former chapel.” Six large stained glass windows from the old chapel depicting Dominican saints are now magnificent artwork located outside the chapel.

Sister Mary John Kearney, O.P., professor emerita of education, said the dedication was inspiring and poignant and she is grateful to be a part of a wonderful center of learning. “As I prayed with so many who work and minister here—our current students and all who call Caldwell University their alma mater—I was made aware of how blessed we are to come together in this new chapel in the center of the campus. Dr. Blattner’s reflection touched me deeply as she spoke to the past, the present and the future of this chapel in the lives of all who have and will find this sacred place a respite.”

The liturgical designer and project manager was Meg Poltorak Keyes ’75, the first student to receive a bachelor of fine arts from what was then Caldwell College for Women. She has been renovating and restoring churches for over two decades.  Her artistic and design expertise, said Blattner, “helped turn our vision into a reality far more beautiful than we could have imagined.” Sister Gerardine Mueller, O.P., professor emerita and the founder of the Art Department at Caldwell, did the numerals for the Stations of the Cross and the processional cross she created years ago is now in the new chapel.

The Sister Mary Dominic Tweedus Chapel was made possible by a gift from alumna Elaine Tweedus and her late husband, Ed Lonyai, in honor of their beloved “Aunt Mary,” who taught in Catholic grammar schools in New Jersey and cared for the elderly Sisters.    Elaine, her brother Rob and his wife Linda attended the Mass.  Elaine said she wants the chapel to be used “for meditation, for prayer” and for people to “come and find peace here.”

Benefactors, including alumni, have seen the chapel as a living memorial to loved ones, sponsoring the crucifix, chairs, ambo, sacristy and entryway and fulfilling many other needs with their generosity. “Your name and the names of the loved ones you may have chosen to honor through one of these gifts will live forever in this special place of prayer and faith,” said Blattner.

Blattner  hopes the new house of worship will inspire the campus community, alumni and supporters to live out the institution’s mission “ever more vigorously as we look ahead to Caldwell University’s future.”

The university’s chorale, led by Music Department faculty member Dr. Laura Greenwald, provided the music.

Chapel donors

Lead Benefactors
Elaine Tweedus ’66 and Ed Lonyai

Entryway Doors Sponsor
Elaine Kacmarik ’60

Stained Glass Window Sponsors
Tim and Nancy H. Blattner
Rhonda Linnett Graber, Trustee

In memory of Arlene Linnett-Babb

Mary (Hanlan ’67) Hess
Robert and Mary (Coyle ’69) Hoyer
Lois H. (Perillo ’60) Mills
Gerard E. Toohey ’03 and Marie F. Ruane-Toohey
Mary Anne Willson ’62

In memory of Mary W. and Nicholas S. Willson

Crucifix Sponsors
Jon L. and Stephanie J. Hauge

In memory of Olaf and Gladys Hauge & Edward and Mary Jordan

Saint Joseph Statue Sponsor
Dr. Dorothy J. Cunningham ’49 

Virgin Mary Statue Sponsor
Friends of Caldwell University

Stations of the Cross Sponsors
Dr. Alexander and Liz Giaquinto
Patricia Ann Hannon ’68
Sharpell and I. Sharpell ’94
Michael and Mary (Sellitto ’83) Curcio, Trustee

Tabernacle Sponsors
Aedan B. and Carol (Anysz ’67) Dunphy

Ambo Sponsors
Kenneth F. Mullaney, Esq., and Marie Mullaney, Ph.D.

Sanctuary Appointments Sponsors
Meg Poltorak Keyes ’75 and Anne T. Poltorak ’78

Chalice Sponsors
Marguerite Kenney ’71 and Maureen Kenney ’77

In memory of Arthur and Lydia Kenney, and Madeline Kenney 73 

Ciborium Sponsor
Doris Krol ’69

In memory of Mary W. Krol

Chapel Chair Sponsors
Tim and Nancy H. Blattner
Kevin and Kerry Boyle
Barbara (Ziglear ’76) Buechner
Jack and Mary (Gaydos ’66) Bury

Caldwell University Alumni Shore Chapter
The Cicale and Manning Families
The Dassing Family
Linda Sue Galate, Ph.D. ’66
Patricia Gartland-Stewart ’85
Dennis Goldstein
Elaine Kacmarik ’60
Charlotte M. Kunst ’47
Florence (Yesville ’56) Maclearie
Nina Neglia ’89
The Ruane Family
The Thomas J. Sellitto Family
Jill Sheldon and Jessica Lynne Fedroff
James T. and Monica (Devlin’67) Larzelere Wixtead
John and Elaine (Bauer’73) Zabriskie




Alumni News, Featured News, News

Caldwell University Unveils Multicultural Center Named for first African American Student


Caldwell, N.J., May 10, 2019 – Caldwell University unveiled its new multicultural center on Thursday, May 9.  The Eileen Jones Multicultural Center is named after Eileen Jones, Esq. ’57, the first African American student to attend and graduate from Caldwell University.

President Nancy H. Blattner, Ph.D., OPA welcomed friends of Jones, alumni, students, staff, faculty and other guests to the dedication and official opening.

“In recognition of all the wonderful cultures that make up the Caldwell University family, this center will serve as a resource for the promotion of multicultural awareness, understanding and appreciation,” said Blattner. “In the spirit of our core values of Respect, Integrity, Community, and Excellence, this will be a place where a variety of programs and events are hosted with the goal of a creating a learning community.”

Blattner explained that Jones earned her B.A. in social studies from Caldwell and then went on to earn a J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law. In 1977, Jones was the first woman appointed chief of the administrative review staff for compensation and pension at the Veterans Administration Central Office in Washington, D.C.  In 1981, she returned to Newark and became the assistant director for the Veterans Administration.  Among the many honors she received, Jones was one of three inaugural recipients of the Caldwell Veritas Award in 1986, an annual award given to celebrate professional excellence of Caldwell alumni.

“Eileen was a smart and motivated woman, and a trailblazer in many ways,” said Blattner.  “Eileen was kind, funny, and warm, and had an infectious smile and really good sense of humor.”

Jones was involved in the community, holding executive positions at the Arts Council of Orange and the Orange Community Advisory Board, and was she also involved with the Newark Museum, the Civic Action League, and Caldwell’s EOF Program.

A lifetime supporter of Caldwell University, in 2015, Jones established a scholarship to help high achieving students with financial need.  Before her passing in January 2019, she donated a gift of property to the university with the intention that the proceeds of its sale be used to establish a multicultural center on campus.

Angela Zaccardi, also an alumna, said she and Jones met when they were both at what was then Caldwell College for Women. They “remained friends forever…she was a great lady and very thorough,” said Zaccardi.

Maud Carroll and her daughter Denise Carroll were among the guests thrilled to be celebrating the dedication.   Maud remembers teaching music to Eileen beginning when she was eight years old and to her sister who became an accomplished musician.    Anna Layton, of East Orange, New Jersey, who met Jones back in the 1940s, was also happy to be at the celebration.  “Eileen was always there for me.”  Also attending was Ernestine Polhill, of Orange, New Jersey, who said that before Jones passed away they had talked about attending the Center dedication together.  “I wouldn’t have missed this for anything.”

The opening prayer was given by student Dennis Martin of the class of 2021.

Featured News, News

President Blattner and other NJ university leaders send letter to NJ congressional delegation on immigration

Caldwell, N.J. – May 3, 2019 – Caldwell University President Nancy Blattner joined presidents and chancellors of other New Jersey colleges and universities in a letter to the New Jersey congressional delegation regarding immigration and international students, faculty and scholars.

The letter is below.

May 2, 2019

Honorable Members of the New Jersey Congressional Delegation:

As presidents and chancellors of colleges and universities throughout New Jersey, we are writing to express our concern about obstacles we are facing in our efforts to attract and retain international students, faculty, and scholars.  Our schools vary in mission, size and the makeup of our student bodies, but we all depend on our ability to attract motivated students and scholars from throughout society and around the world.  We believe our success in these endeavors plays an important role in building the State’s innovation economy.

Over the past several years, we have observed a disturbing increase in the number – and length – of impediments put in the path of our international students, faculty, and staff.  Some of our schools have experienced decreases in foreign student enrollment and all of our schools have encountered an increasingly log-jammed immigration system that is impacting our ability to recruit, retain, and bring to our campuses foreign talent.

Simply put, as it becomes more difficult for foreign students and academics to study and work in the United States, many of them are turning to other options, weakening not just our individual institutions, but American higher education as a whole, and, by extension, our country’s global competitiveness.

Some examples:

  • Administrative processing delays: In a number of recent cases, graduate students and faculty members have been forced to miss or defer entire semesters because their visa applications were mired in “administrative processing” at the State Department. Administrative processing is the time period outside of “normal” processing times in which cases that appear to meet the basic eligibility requirements are referred for additional background checks.  Visa applicants are generally not provided with any explanations, nor are they told how long the additional processing may last.  This situation creates untenable uncertainty for the visa applicant, the employer, and other affected parties, especially as anecdotal reports indicate an increase in the amount of time that cases are remaining in this category.  This can be especially problematic for foreign students and academics, whose commitments in the U.S. align with an established academic calendar.
  • Processing delays for Optional Practical Training: Optional Practical Training (OPT) permits foreign students studying in the U.S. to apply for “practical training” with a U.S. employer in a job directly related to their course of study. The program allows students to supplement their education with valuable experiential learning and on-the-job-training as they start their careers.  Unfortunately, processing times for OPT applications have increased from a previous maximum of 90 days in 2016 to 3½ – 5½months today.  Processing times in this range create an enormous burden for students.  The consequence of these delays is that students are unable to begin their job or program on time and, in many instances, they may lose out on the position altogether.  This harms not only the students, but also the employers seeking to hire qualified, U.S.-trained workers for a practical training opportunity.
  • Increased Requests for Evidence: Over the past year, employers seeking to hire foreign-born employees have seen a dramatic increase in the number of “Requests for Evidence” (RFEs) from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), particularly for H-1B visas, which allow U.S. employers to hire highly-skilled foreign workers in specialty occupations. We understand that USCIS has a responsibility to ensure that it has necessary information about eligibility; we do not doubt that some of these requests are warranted.  The scope of the increase, however, is staggering.  RFEs for H-1B visa petitions more than doubled between the third and fourth quarters of FY 2017.  These requests delay the issuance of visas for employers by months and boost legal costs.  Meanwhile, our professors and other employees are putting their lives on hold as they wait for start-dates.

The types of situations described above rarely make front-page news and the isolated impact of each example is certainly not as dramatic as the effect of higher-profile actions such as the rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or the travel ban.  However, taken together, they create a frustrating and sometimes hostile environment for those wishing to live in and contribute to our communities.  This cumulative effect is acutely felt at our colleges and universities, where we depend on the free flow of talent to help fulfill our teaching and research missions.

Our experiences over the past several years are reflected in the findings of two recent reports by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS).  The AILA analysis of USCIS data found that the total time it takes the federal government to process foreign visas has increased by 46 percent over the past two fiscal years.  Meanwhile, the Council of Graduate Schools found that new enrollments of international students at U.S. graduate schools have fallen for the second year in a row.  The CGS report comes on top of a 2018 survey by the Institute of International Education, which found that new foreign student enrollment for undergraduate programs in the U.S. has decreased by 8.9 percent since the 2015-16 school year.

Needless to say, we are very concerned about the findings in these reports.  For decades, U.S. academia has been the envy of the world, in part because of our recruitment and acceptance of the finest applicants from around the globe.  It has also been an engine of American innovation, bringing together talent from across the nation and around the world to work on the discoveries that fuel our most cutting-edge economic sectors.  Our students, both foreign and U.S.-born, are able to learn from the world’s best professors and conduct research under the tutelage of the most creative minds in their field.  These students, in turn, join the workforce, enter public service, and become educators or researchers themselves.  Eventually, their children attend our colleges and universities, and become productive members of society.

As the 116th Congress moves forward, we ask that you closely monitor the policies and administrative actions that are threatening the free flow of students and scholars upon which our colleges and universities depend.  We appreciate all your work on these issues and hope that you will continue to let foreign-born individuals on our campuses and throughout the State know that people of all backgrounds and nationalities will always be welcome in New Jersey.


Richard A. Levao
Bloomfield College

Rosalind Reichard
Interim President
Centenary University

Helen J. Streubert
College of Saint Elizabeth

Christopher A. Capuano, Ph.D.
Fairleigh Dickinson University

Dr. Joseph R. Marbach
Georgian Court University

Grey J. Dimenna
Monmouth University

Sue Henderson
New Jersey City University

Christopher L. Eisgruber
Princeton University

Nancy H. Blattner, Ph.D.
Caldwell University

Kathryn A. Foster
College of New Jersey

MaryAnn Baenninger
Drew University

Anne M. Prisco, Ph.D.
Felician University

Dawood Farahi, Ph.D.
Kean University

Susan A. Cole, Ph.D.
Montclair State University

Joel S. Bloom
New Jersey Institute of Technology

Peter P. Mercer
Ramapo College

Gregory G. Dell’Omo
Rider University

Robert Barchi
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Robert Barchi
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Nancy Cantor
Rutgers University–Newark

Eugene J. Cornacchia
St. Peter’s University

Harvey Kesselman
Stockton University

Richard J. Helldobler
William Paterson University

Ali A. Houshmand
Rowan University

Brian L. Strom, M.D., M.P.H.
Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences

Christopher J. Molloy
Rutgers University–New Brunswick

Mary J. Meehan, Ph.D.
Interim President
Seton Hall University

Nariman Farvardin
Stevens Institute of Technology

Merodie A. Hancock, Ph.D.
Thomas Edison State University

CC: The Honorable Philip D. Murphy
Governor of New Jersey