Category: Alumni News

Alumni News

Renowned Physicians Support the Next Generation of Nurses

The late Dr. Shamkant P. Mulgaonkar and his wife, Dr. Ujwala Mulgaonkar Portrait

The late Dr. Shamkant P. Mulgaonkar and his wife, Dr. Ujwala Mulgaonkar

“I think Shamkant and I could see something of ourselves in the Caldwell students we met,” Dr. Ujwala Mulgaonkar says, explaining how she and her husband became involved with Caldwell University.

Ujwala and her husband, the late Dr. Shamkant Mulgaonkar, came to the United States from India 40 years ago and settled in West Caldwell. “We were so busy then,” she recalls. “I was starting my career as a pediatrician, and Shamkant was building his practice.”

Shamkant built more than a practice; he built a legacy. He was one of the preeminent professionals in transplantation in the United States and was instrumental in the rapid growth of the surgery. A champion of the development of the
Living Donor Transplant Institute, he was a dynamic leader who cared for thousands of kidney transplant recipients during his career.

Shamkant was largely responsible for the success of the RWJ Barnabas Health Renal and Pancreas Transplant Division, which became one of the most highly regarded programs in the country. He was a past president of the Transplant Society of New Jersey and was twice named New Jersey Transplant Professional of the Year. He was also named Transplant Physician of the Year in 1996. His major research interests included transplant immunology, clinical trials of newer immunosuppressants, and allograft thrombosis. He led clinical research trials in the use of many novel immunosuppressants and published over 100 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals. Shamkant was a member of several professional societies including the American Society of Nephrology, the American Medical Association, the Renal Physicians Association, the Transplant Society of New Jersey and the United Network for Organ Sharing. He was also on the advisory board of the New Jersey Organ and Tissue Sharing Network.

Shamkant began looking for ways to share his expertise with the next generation of health care providers, which led him to become a guest lecturer for Caldwell University’s School of Nursing and Public Health.

“Shamkant and I received such a warm welcome from the Caldwell University community,” Ujwala says. “We couldn’t believe that for so many years we had this beautiful campus right in our own backyard. We fell in love with it!” Shamkant’s lectures were very well received and he enjoyed meeting the students. 

As they got to know the nursing students who regularly attended Shamkant’s lectures, the couple began to think they could do something more. “We had always believed in the value of scholarships,” Ujwala says. “It is important to invest in people and to support and reward excellence.” The couple had traditionally invested in scholarships for students in India. After learning more about Caldwell, the couple decided to invest in scholarships at the university as a way to support college students in their local area.

They began their journey as donors with a special gift to help an international student who was experiencing financial hardship. This led to a larger pledge for scholarships for nursing students. “Shamkant and I realized that both of us had worked with wonderful Caldwell-educated nurses over the course of our careers. We wanted to invest in their success,” Ujwala says.

Shamkant passed away in early 2019. His loss is mourned by his family, friends and colleagues and also by the students, faculty and staff at Caldwell who looked forward to his campus visits. He holds a special place in the hearts
of many in the campus community.

Ujwala plans to continue supporting Caldwell as a way to honor Shamkant’s memory. She recently committed to a multiyear pledge to establish an endowed scholarship for nursing students in Shamkant’s name. “He stood for
excellence in education. This is what Caldwell provides.”

 

Alumni News

John Gallucci Jr. and JAG-ONE Physical Therapy Supports Caldwell University’s Mission and Vision

John Gallucci Jr portrait

John Gallucci Jr., CEO, JAG-ONE Physical Therapy

Although John Gallucci, Jr. never attended Caldwell, he is well acquainted with the university’s Dominican mission and vision, having earned his master’s degree and Ph.D. at nearby Dominican College. Gallucci, a doctor of physical therapy and CEO of JAG-ONE Physical Therapy, got to know the Caldwell campus pretty well, too, during his graduate study year since the sports teams of the two institutions participate in overlapping athletic conferences.

When Gallucci founded his outpatient physical therapy business in 2005, Caldwell was one of the first institutions he visited as part of his initial business relationship-building tour. Soon, his company was providing coverage when the university needed extra hands to accommodate its athletic training service needs.

Today, JAG-ONE serves the tri-state area, with state-of-the-art facilities in New Jersey, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island, Westchester, Long Island and Pennsylvania. Gallucci is the medical coordinator for Major League Soccer, sits as an appointed member on the New Jersey Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sport and has served as the head athletic trainer for several professional and amateur teams including the New York Red Bulls (MLS). He is in high demand as a sports medicine consultant for professional athletes in the NHL, NFL, NBA, MLB and USA Wrestling. Professional athletes from around the world seek his expertise, and he often appears on radio and television, including ESPN’s award-winning “Outside the Lines,” MSG, News 12 New Jersey, Fox 5 New York, PIX11 and WFAN.

Gallucci’s rising star as an expert in injury prevention, rehabilitation, sports medicine and athletic conditioning has not distanced him from his Dominican-focused education. “My goal was always to be a resource to the community and to give back,” he says. Gallucci’s charitable efforts have included a leading role in fundraisers for Barnabas Health, the Valerie Fund, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Arthritis Foundation and the American Cancer Society. He supports more than 150 high schools, college programs and athletic clubs throughout the tri-state area.

As Gallucci grew more familiar with Caldwell, he became more impressed with how the university lives its mission and vision through its academic and athletic programs. He wanted to get involved. “What Caldwell does is outstanding. I wanted to be part of it but in a meaningful way,” he says. This has meant more than the usual company sponsorship arrangement.

“I wasn’t interested in having an advertisement posted in a gym or on a field,” he says. “I wanted my support to be ingrained in the mission and life of this campus.” Gallucci and JAG-ONE achieved that goal by generously committing to a three-year pledge toward the Campaign for Caldwell, in support of campaign priorities at large. “The most important thing at Caldwell is its Catholic mission—caring for others and, whenever you can, lending a hand to help someone else succeed,” he says.

In the spirit of helping others achieve their dreams, Gallucci is generous with his time as well. In November, he presented “Coach[ABILITY]: Student Athlete Workshop” to Caldwell’s student athletes to help them form their own “game plan” for the future. He assured his listeners that what they learn on the court or on the field—teamwork, camaraderie, perseverance, working together toward a common goal—will benefit them in any career path they choose. He also encouraged them to look ahead to the “next play” and to be prepared for those times when it important to adapt to new situations.

As Gallucci’s partnership with Caldwell deepened, he wanted to invest further in Caldwell University as well as his staff. As a result, JAG-ONE recently signed on as a corporate partner of Caldwell University, offering employees, their spouses and dependents a 25% tuition discount. “At JAG-ONE Physical Therapy, we are dedicated to providing personal, professional and financial growth opportunities to each and every one of our employees,” he explains. “Our partnership with Caldwell University has been longstanding as a result of the synergistic core values that both organizations share. Recently, we have strategically advanced our partnership with the university to proudly offer discounted tuition for all JAG-ONE Physical Therapy employees, their spouses and dependents. We are excited to work collaboratively with Caldwell University and truly value our unique partnership, which contributes to the growth and development of our JAG-ONE Physical Therapy family.”

Gallucci will be sharing his insights about health, wellness and living the best life possible in a new book due out in 2020.

 

Alumni News

“Teaching Is a Calling” Kathleen Lynch Napoli ’67

Paul Napoli and Kathleen Lynch Napoli

Paul Napoli and Kathleen Lynch Napoli

When you first meet Kathleen “Kathy” Lynch Napoli, you learn quickly who and what she most holds dear: Paul Napoli, to whom she has been married for 52 years; their five children and six grandchildren, and her faith. Listen further, and you’ll hear about her passionate, unwavering belief in the power of education to transform lives.

Her parents impressed the importance of education upon Kathy and her siblings. It was her childhood dream to become a teacher. “Teaching is a calling,” she says.

That belief is the impetus behind a generous $100,000 gift Kathy and Paul have made to fund the Kathleen Lynch Napoli ’67 Endowed Scholarship in Memory of Margaret and George Lynch, Kathy’s parents. Both died tragically young, before Kathy graduated from Caldwell College for Women and went on to a teaching career.

In addition to honoring the memory of her beloved parents, the gift is a gesture of gratitude to Caldwell. Her mother passed away while Kathy was in high school; then, when she was in college, the unimaginable happened when her father died.

Kathy attributes her ability to remain strong in the face of overwhelming grief to the support she received on campus—from the Sisters, staff and classmates who rallied around her to show their love, support and compassion. She says she has never forgotten the embrace of the Caldwell community at a time when she most needed stability, empathy and hope. Her older sister Pat, also a Caldwell graduate, benefited from the same support during that difficult time.

To lift her spirits, one night a group of her Caldwell friends insisted that Kathy accompany them to a social event for young Catholics. It was then that she met Paul Napoli, a student at Boston College who was to become the love of her life.

Eighteen months later, during a week in June, Kathy graduated from Caldwell College for Women on a Tuesday, Paul graduated from Boston College that Thursday, and on Saturday, the couple were married. Kathy began teaching elementary school students at School 9 in Paterson while Paul attended graduate school. They became parents, and life became busy and full; Kathy stopped teaching to devote herself to raising her family. Paul was finding great success in his career with US Trust, where he rose through the ranks to become vice chair, the position from which he retired. Twenty-five years ago, Kathy and Paul left the community of Glen Ridge, where they raised their family, and moved to Little Silver, where they live in an elegant home splendidly situated on the banks of the Shrewsbury River.

Kathy’s face lights up when she talks about the role teachers play in the lives of their students. “It’s the idea that learning is fun—it opens a whole world. It’s magnificent,” she says, adding, “A good teacher can light a fire.” Kathy’s scholarship is designated for a student focused on a teaching career.

As a longtime supporter of Caldwell, Kathy says, “The purpose of Caldwell is one I admire. I love the way it has grown. I have only wonderful things to say about Caldwell.”

—Christina Hall

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.”

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.

Alumni News, Featured News, News

Caldwell University Unveils Multicultural Center Named for first African American Student

AfaM1
AfaM2
AfaM3
AfaM4

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.

Alumni News, Featured News, News

Caldwell University Remembers “The Life and Words of Sister Vivien Jennings, O.P.”

Slide1
Slide4
Slide5
Slide6
Slider2
Slider3
Mass-for-Sister-Vivien-2019

 

Caldwell, N.J. – April 10, 2019 – They gathered to remember their mentor, their friend, their colleague and their teacher. Caldwell University alumni, colleagues, faculty, staff and family celebrated the “Life and Legacy of Sister Vivien Jennings, O.P.” at a Mass and program Sunday, April 7.

In the packed Motherhouse Chapel, celebrant Father Bob Stagg, former chaplain of the college when Sister Vivien was president, remembered his colleague as a woman of great intellect and vision. He reflected on how, just as the readings for the Fifth Sunday in Lent told of God “making a new way,” Sister Vivien always focused on the making of a new way that would benefit others and encouraged her colleagues to join her in those endeavors. As opposed to breaking things apart, he said, Sister Vivien built, healed, affirmed and reinvented herself and every institution where she worked.

Following Mass, a program focused on “The Life and Words of Sister Vivien Jennings, O.P.” Communications and Media Studies Chair Bob Mann hosted a panel with History Professor Dr. Marie Mullaney, university president, Dr. Nancy Blattner, and former president of the university and Prioress of the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Caldwell, Sister Patrice Werner, O.P. Mann said Sister Vivien “gave me a break” to create a Communications department and major and he has always been appreciative for her vision and support.

The panelists reflected on Sister Vivien’s lasting legacies to Caldwell including the “monumentous decision,” said Mullaney, to go forward with making the college co-educational. Sister Patrice said Sister Vivien fostered the Dominican charism and mission throughout the campus including starting the Fanjeaux experience in France where students, staff and faculty can learn about Saint Dominic and the Order, the Dominican Colleges Colloquium and the Veritas Award recognizing alumni professional excellence. Dr. Blattner said that in addition to the special decisions Sister Vivien made for the campus, her lasting legacy is her publications. “Her written word is one of her great legacies,” said Dr. Blattner. Sister Patrice said Sister Vivien, “led by example” believing that one should be willing to do what he or she is asking others to do. Mullaney, who worked with Sister Vivien during the transition to the institution becoming co-educational, has always remembered how Sister would say, “In higher education to stand still is to fall back.” Dr. Blattner said it is incumbent upon all in the campus community today to keep Sister Vivien’s vision alive and to pass forward the mission and her words.

Friends, Sisters of Saint Dominic, students and grandnieces of Sister Vivien read selections from her three books, “The Valiant Woman: At the Heart of Reconciliation,” “November Noon: Reflections for Life’s Journey” and “The Essential Journey: From Worry to Mercy to Hope, the unfinished words,” which is not yet published and was not completed at the time of her death on May 5, 2018.

The guests then moved into the Jennings Library for the unveiling of a framed image and history panel. “As we stand here in the place named after Sister Vivien in 1994, we are surrounded by the things and people that she loved – literature and learning, family, friends, students and colleagues,” said Dr. Blattner. She unveiled a huge “breathtaking photo” of Sister Vivien that was taken by alumnus Pushparaj “Raj” Aitwal, who was “a true friend of Sister Vivien” and the wall display chronicling Sister Vivien’s life and accomplishments.

Alumni News, News

Beatriz Gomez-Klein ’73: How Scholarship Forged a New Future

Beatrice-Gomez-Klein headshot photo.

I was holding on to a post to keep from falling down,” Beatriz Gomez-Klein ’73 remembers. “My cousin, still a child herself, had her arms around me, trying to comfort me. There was a bucket at our feet. The smells and the rocking of the ship were making us so very sick.”

This is how Gomez-Klein recalls her journey from Cuba to the United States in 1962 in the aftermath of the infamous Bay of Pigs Invasion and Fidel Castro’s rise to power.

“My cousin and I traveled alone. My father and sister could not leave Cuba. They didn’t want to leave my 20-year-old brother, who was in prison there for his involvement with the underground resistance against Castro’s regime,” recalls Gomez-Klein.

This was not the first time she had experienced loss. At the tender age of seven, she lost her beloved mother. “She was my idol,” Gomez-Klein says, her sorrow still apparent so many years later.

At the time, Gomez-Klein was attending a school run by the Order of the Society of the Sacred Heart. She adored her school. When the grief-stricken child asked her father if she could board there, he agreed. The kindness and faith of the sisters provided the comfort Gomez-Klein so desperately needed.

This period of solace did not last long. When Castro confiscated all private property in the 1960s, the school was closed and the sisters were ushered out of the country. Her father hired tutors to teach his daughter at home. “He was afraid that I would be indoctrinated at the public schools.”

He feared for his daughter’s future as well and sent her in the Bay of Pigs cargo exchange ship. Gomez-Klein’s oldest brother was already in the United States. He met the girls in Miami.

“I stayed awhile there, but there were so many Cubans in Miami that I wasn’t making enough progress in learning English, and so I traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, to live with an aunt and uncle there.”

Gomez-Klein soon moved to New Jersey from Louisville to live with another maternal aunt. She enrolled in Newark’s Barringer High School. “I still don’t know how I got up the courage to tell the guidance counselor that I wanted to go to college. She must have thought I was insane! I had no money.”

The counselor looked at her thoughtfully and said she knew a priest in the area who might be able to help. The counselor made an appointment, and Gomez-Klein’s aunt accompanied her. He gave her an application for Caldwell College.

Caldwell offered her a full scholarship. “Without the scholarship, I could never have thought about going to college.”

Her new start was marked by more tragedy, however. Only a few weeks into her freshman year, her father passed away.

“At that point, I felt as though my loss was complete. By the age of 19, I had lost my mother, my school, my country, and then my father.” Far from her childhood home and new to college, Gomez-Klein doubted her ability to continue.

“I immersed myself in everything—becoming a Gamma Theta Lambda sister, joining the Spanish Club and serving as its treasurer, writing for the college’s Spanish newspaper.” The sense of sisterhood and community at Caldwell gave her hope. “We had so much fun. When we had free time, we would put on little plays and skits. Even the sisters would play along!”

Gomez-Klein remains in close touch with her Caldwell classmates, a group that includes the dear cousin.

While studying sociology, she considered entering the Dominican Order and took on religious studies as a second major. She graduated cum laude and with Delta Epsilon Sigma and Kappa Gamma Pi honors, even while shouldering the responsibilities of class president in her senior year.

Although Gomez-Klein ultimately chose secular life, her sense of vocation remained strong and she pursued a master’s degree at Seton Hall University in education with a focus on rehabilitation counseling. She earned a second master’s degree and an advanced certificate in clinical social work from Rutgers University and New York University, respectively.

Gomez-Klein’s professional experience includes serving as a rehabilitation counselor and later as a psychotherapist at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ). In 1976, Governor Brendan Byrne appointed her to the board of trustees of the New Jersey Youth Correctional Institute. She served as a field instructor and supervisor for the baccalaureate social work program at Seton Hall University and on the UMDNJ Clinical Records Review Committee. In the 1990s, Gomez-Klein worked for the Visiting Nurse Association of Essex Valley as a case manager for elderly, disabled and AIDS individuals.

In 2001, Gomez-Klein opened her own practice in psychotherapy. She works with individuals and couples who want to learn to cope with depression, anxiety or interpersonal relationships. Her bilingual skills and her natural compassion allow her to reach a diverse community.

Gomez-Klein’s community service includes work with bereavement groups at Our Lady of the Holy Angels Church in Little Falls and as a behavioral health consultant for Notre Dame parishioners in North Caldwell.

She received the Visiting Nurse Association Achievement Award in 1996 and the University Health Care Excellence Award from UMDNJ in 1999. Caldwell University recognized her accomplishments with the prestigious Veritas Award. Today, she is supportive of her alma mater, serving on the Veritas Award Selection Committee. She has included the university in her legacy plans as well. “I want to give back to the institution that gave me so much.”

Among her many achievements, Gomez-Klein considers receiving the C-Pin in her freshman year at Caldwell the greatest honor she has ever received. “At that time, C-Pin recipients were chosen by their classmates. Earning it meant that you were considered to be the shining example of the Caldwellian woman.”

Anyone who has ever met Beatriz Gomez-Klein would be inclined to agree: she remains a shining example of a Caldwellian woman!

——————-

PULL QUOTE:

I immersed myself in everything—becoming a Gamma Theta Lambda sister, joining the Spanish Club and serving as its treasurer, writing for the college’s Spanish newspaper.

—————-

IN BOX:

Beatriz Gomez-Klein

Life’s greatest achievement? GRADUATING FROM CALDWELL COLLEGE

Most influential book? MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING BY VIKTOR E. FRANKL

Advice for today’s Caldwell student? PERSEVERE WHEN THINGS GET ROUGH.

 

Alumni News, Featured News, News

Alumna Receives Doctoral Fellowship and Presents in Vienna, Austria

Ketty Fernandez receiving a certificate from Tofik Murshudlu of UNODC.

Ketty Fernandez ’14 presented in Vienna at the International Police Executive Symposium at the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime. She is pictured here receiving a certificate from Tofik Murshudlu of UNODC.

Alumna Ketty Fernandez14 has been awarded the Delores A. Auzenne Fellowship at the University of Central Florida where she is working on her Ph.D. in sociology. This fall she became the managing editor of the journal Homicide Studies.

This summer Fernandez presented research with her colleagues in Vienna, Austria at the International Police Executive Symposium at the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime. The symposium brings police researchers and practitioners together to facilitate cross-cultural, international and interdisciplinary exchanges for the enrichment of the policing profession.  Fernandez’s group presented its paper on collaborative work being done to combat human trafficking, particularly in central Florida.

No matter where she is, Caldwell University is always in her heart and mind. She has good memories of her time as an undergraduate student studying psychology. She comes back annually for the spring Educational Opportunity Fund banquet. “Caldwell is my foundation in every sense … EOF was and has been my support system since I started my journey in higher education.”

During her master’s studies at UCF, Fernandez engaged in research projects and presented at a number of conferences on topics such as sexual abuse in the foster care system and differences in serial murder victims based on region. She received her master’s in applied sociology.

Fernandez has been an adjunct at Valencia College and is now a graduate teaching associate at UCF.

As a Hispanic woman, she wants to be a role model for other minority students.  “I think it is really important to keep in contact with the (EOF) program and the students so they know that if they put in their time, effort and hard work, it truly pays off.”

She has set her sights on higher education as a career.  “There are not a lot of ethnic minorities in higher education that students can look up to, and personally it’s something I wish I had more of to this day.” That is why she will always be grateful to the staff in Caldwell’s EOF program.   As she says, “It’s home.”