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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.

English News, Featured News, News

English Professor’s Poetry Anthology is Selected for National Book Club List

Professor of English Mary Ann Miller, Ph.D. has received national recognition as her anthology “St. Peter’s B-list: Contemporary Poems Inspired by the Saints”  (Ave Maria Presss) has been selected for America Magazine’s, The Catholic Book Club list.

The anthology is listed in the fall books special literary issue. The Catholic Book Club features book reviews and literary discussion from America Media.

Mary Ann Miller

“I am so happy for the opportunity to extend the visibility of the wonderful poets in this collection and to spread the word that Catholicism is fertile ground for contemporary poetry,” said Miller.

St. Peter’s B-list was published in 2014 and features over 100 contemporary American poems, written by 70 poets from across the United States, that contain references to canonized saints.

The voices in these poems are not the saints themselves, speaking from distant times and places.  They are very contemporary voices, both male and female, from a wide range of social, regional, and occupational circumstances, who remember a saint, often despite a pervasive sense of doubt, in the midst of the spiritual struggles of daily life.

Featured News, News

“The Saint John’s Bible: From the Middle Ages to the 21st Century” Lecture

Photo of Marie Mullaney“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 in the Alumni Theatre. 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.

Caldwell University is celebrating its Year with The Saint John’s Bible with events featuring music, poetry and history.

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.

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

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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

New Women’s Lacrosse Head Coach and Recreation Director

CALDWELL, N.J- Caldwell University Assistant Vice President/Director of Athletics Mark A. Corino has named Caitlyn McGinley to lead the women’s lacrosse program and also serve as the department’s recreation director. McGinley was a standout player at Fairleigh Dickinson University and was an assistant coach at FDU for the past four seasons.
Caitlyn Mccginley
“I am honored to be selected and accept the position of the head women’s lacrosse coach at Caldwell University,” said McGinley. “I would like to thank Mark Corino for allowing me this great opportunity. I am excited to work with this group of athletes to continue and improve the success of this program. I would like to thank the student-athletes at Fairleigh Dickinson and most importantly Adriennne Carr for shaping me into the coach I am today.”

McGinley comes to Caldwell after having served as an assistant coach for the FDU-Madison since 2015. She developed practice plans as well as assist in recruiting and operations for the Devils women’s lacrosse program. McGinley was part of three MAC Freedom Championship squads from 2016-18 and three NCAA Division III Championships appearances.

“We are very pleased to have Caitlyn McGinley joining our staff as the women’s lacrosse head coach,” said Corino. “She has an extensive background coaching lacrosse and we expect her to continue to build on the foundation of the program.”

McGinley was a four-year defender and midfielder for FDU for four seasons from 2012-15, earning Middle Atlantic Freedom Conference Rookie of the Year in 2012. During her Devils career, she was named to the First Team All-MAC Freedom in each of her four seasons. McGinley helped lead the Devils to three conference titles along with one trip to the NCAA DIII Tournament. She was named as a team captain during her senior season. McGinley ended her playing career with 53 goals, six assists, 98 ground balls, 63 draw controls, and 91 caused turnovers.

McGinley graduated from FDU-Madison in 2015 with a degree in psychology with a minor in childhood studies.

English News

Caldwell University Commemorates the Third Edition of Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry by Colleen Brennan

Cover of 'Presence - A Journal of Catholic Poetry'

http://www.catholicpoetryjournal.com/presence-2019 

On April 18th, 2019, Caldwell University’s English Department hosted a poetry reading in the Westervelt Lecture Hall to commemorate the release of the third edition of Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry. According to Dr. Mary Ann Miller, the editor-in-chief of Presence, “The journal seeks to show the wide variety of ways God’s presence is communicated to and experienced by human beings and, in so doing, hopes to create a community of writers who recognize Catholicism as fertile ground for the flourishing of contemporary poetry” (http://www.catholicpoetryjournal.com/mission). The 2019 edition of the journal aptly contributes to its overarching mission of establishing community through writing due to its timely inclusion of poetry written by refugees. In partnership with the Faculty Commission of World Concerns, the English Department welcomed Arab American Book Award winner Gregory Orfalea and former Palestinian refugee and Professor Emeritus of American University in Cairo, Egypt Sharif Elmusa to read poems written by Syrian refugees, which were translated by Orfalea and Elmusa for this edition of Presence. Their translated works include “The Life of Photos” by Ibrahim Qa’duni, “A Door That Does Not Slap” by Wael al-Nassir, “Like a Bull Going Left & Right” by ‘Abir Abd al-Wahid, and “Life is Flight” by Lena ‘Atfa.

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

Campus Community Puts Dominican Pillar of Service into Action at Caldwell Day

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Caldwell, N.J., Sept. 30, 2019 –  Some 200 students, faculty and staff headed out to nonprofits to volunteer for the 11th annual Caldwell Day 2019 on Friday, Sept. 27.

Each year, classes are canceled and the campus community puts into action the Catholic Dominic pillar of service.  The university partnered with 18 service sites to help with their needs.

This theme of the day focused on celebrating the life of Saint Martin de Porres  a Dominican lay brother known for his charity, humility and voluntary poverty in serving those on the margins.

We talked with some students about their experiences living out the pillar of service.


Aashutosh Khatiwada ‘23 

Major: Computer Information Systems

Where did you volunteer and what did you do? I volunteered at the Community Foodbank of New Jersey where our group packed up a total of 525 boxes of food.

Aashutosh Khatiwada ' 23 volunteered at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey

Aashutosh Khatiwada ‘ 23 volunteered at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey

What were the life lessons that came from your experience?  It made me think of the people who need the food and that we take food for granted.  I was shocked to learn that the food was going to working families who have one or two jobs but still struggle to make ends meet.  It helps put things into perspective and makes us aware of different problems in the world. After volunteering today at the foodbank, it gave me a sense of self-satisfaction, that someone somewhere feels the effect of our work. Someone does not have to stay hungry today. Someone can put food on their table.

Why is it important for the campus community to put community service into action?

Community service helps you build perspective and understand other human beings.  That is the only way we can live in a cohesive manner. Also, it helps students take a break. It was therapeutic; it gave me a chance to be there in the moment.  And you can ask yourself, “Is it all O.K.? Can you fix it? I can try my best.”


Aubrey Melville ‘20 volunteered visiting the elderly from St. Aloysius Parish.

Aubrey Melville ‘20 volunteered visiting the elderly from St. Aloysius Parish.

Aubrey Melville ‘20 

Major: Accounting

Where did you volunteer and what did you do? I volunteered visiting the elderly from St. Aloysius Parish in Caldwell with Sister Eleanor Uhl, O.P.

What was most rewarding about this experience? The elderly cheered us up. They made jokes and cracked us up and looked at us as their children or grandchildren.

Why is it important for the campus community to take time out to put community service into action? 

As an adult student, it is busy going to school. This experience brought me back to when I was a child and my mother would take us out to visit the elderly.  Whenever you go out to do something like this you believe you have a certain mission, and then it turns out to be a whole different reality.


De-Jane Grant  ‘22

Major: Business Administration and history

Where did you volunteer and what did you do?  I volunteered at the Op Shop Thrift Shop at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Essex Fells where we sorted donated items, put them on the shelves and added price tags and we redecorated some of the displays to make them appealing to customers.

What was most rewarding about this experience?

De-Jane Grant ‘22 and Cindy Herrera ‘22 volunteered at the Op Shop Thrift Shop.

De-Jane Grant ‘22 and Cindy Herrera ‘22 volunteered at the Op Shop Thrift Shop.

I came to a realization that just because something is old doesn’t mean it’s no longer good. Sorting through the various donated shoes, another student and I had to decide which shoes were still good to put on the shelves. When speaking to one of the employees she pointed to one shoe and she said that it may be old but it’s still clean and in good condition and to someone who can’t afford brand new shoes, this will be good and it’ll hold up for a little longer. It made me realize how I can take the brand new shoes that I have for granted.  After today, I realized that I need to appreciate all the clothes that I already have and how lucky I am to be able to have the things I do. Someone who can’t afford the things that I think are simple and inexpensive may not be able to imagine themselves owning these things.

Why is it important for the campus community to take time out to put community service into action?  It is inspiring. I had never volunteered before; I had always wanted to. It was eye-opening and now I want to do more.  I want to give back as much as I can.


Cindy Herrera ‘22 

Major: Criminal Justice major with a minor in Pre Law and Criminal Forensics

Where did you volunteer and what did you do?  I volunteered at the Op Shop Thrift Shop at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Essex Fells organizing and packing up the items that were donated.

What was most rewarding about this experience?  It was really nice to learn that after people donate the clothing, household items, etc. the shop sells them and they give the money to local charities.

Why is it important for the campus community to take time out to put community service into action? As students, we are focused on ourselves and our homework and we don’t take time to think of others; community service shows us there is a whole world out there and that one person can make a difference.


Jennifer Montejo ‘21

Major: Music education

Where did you volunteer and what did you do? I volunteered at the Arc of Essex County with children with Down Syndrome and other intellectual and developmental disabilities.   We helped the aides and played and interacted with the children.

Jennifer Montejo ‘21 volunteered at the Arc of Essex County.

Jennifer Montejo ‘21 volunteered at the Arc of Essex County.

What was most rewarding about this experience?  I love all children and it was wonderful to see how much care the staff members are giving the children to educate them and to help them grow according to their developmental abilities.

Why is it important for the campus community to take time out to put community service into action?  Everything you are studying comes together to help you help the next generation.  It is important to take advantage of this opportunity.  As an education major, it started me thinking about a special education certificate.


Caldwell Day is featured on Abc7’s Eyewitness News in its #BeKind campaign.

Watch it here