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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.

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Caldwell University Unveils Multicultural Center Named for first African American Student

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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.

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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

 

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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.”

 

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Caldwell Alums bring Cougars Spirit to Baltimore’s Finest

Carlos Sanchez  and Robert Arena

For Carlos Sanchez ’12 and Robert Arena ’12, the start of the workday might feel a little like old times. The former classmates—and teammates on the soccer field—now work together to fight crime on the streets of Baltimore.

If you had asked them in high school, it is doubtful either would have mentioned attending Caldwell. In fact, Carlos wasn’t sure he would even go to college. “I had always struggled in class. At the time, I was looking at other options, such as trade school.”

That’s when fate—and Caldwell’s recruiters—stepped in. “All I knew is that I wanted to play soccer in college, and that I wanted to be on my own,” Robert recalls. He met Coach Nash at one of the University’s recruitment events.

Carlos happened to wander by the Caldwell table at a Nutley High School college fair. “I struck up a conversation with the admissions counselor, applied, and was accepted on the spot! I don’t know who was more surprised: me, or my parents when I called them with the news.”

Robert joined the soccer program right away. The two met when Carlos joined a year later. Many of their best Caldwell memories revolve around their team. Spring break trips to Europe and Canada with their teammates were particularly memorable. And they still laugh about the Halloween when a few of the soccer players showed up for practice in a friend’s convertible, in full costume.

Robert enrolled at Caldwell thinking that he would pursue a career in teaching. He learned pretty quickly, however, that education was not for him. A teammate suggested he try an elective in criminal justice. He signed up for a class about crime families, and he was hooked.

Carlos had a different path in mind. A communications major with a criminal justice minor, his dream was to become a professional photographer—a combat photographer, preferably. After graduation, he worked for a major transit advertising company, taking photos for public transportation giants like New Jersey Transit and DeCamp Bus Lines.

Although Robert had envisioned joining a New Jersey-based police department after graduation, recession-era budget cuts translated into fewer opportunities for new graduates. He decided to branch out, learned that the city of Baltimore was investing in law enforcement, and joined the force there. When Carlos decided to pivot his career toward criminal justice, Robert encouraged him to apply in Baltimore as well. Within months, not only were they both on the Baltimore police force, they were assigned to the same squad.

Robert mentions how quickly they have advanced in their new careers, in such a short time, “I’ve been able to climb to a level that I never expected.”

But when asked about their achievements, both point to their Caldwell degree. “I didn’t think school was for me,” Robert says, about his early days in college. “I am proud that I was able to handle my studies, while also being a student athlete.”

For Carlos, earning a college degree holds a special place as well. “In high school, I was classified with learning disabilities.” College-level work was even more challenging. “I had to study harder than everyone else. But the Caldwell community supported me. Because of the people there—the teachers, the resources, and the culture—I learned to cope, to be patient, and to keep going.”

Robert echoes this sentiment. “Caldwell helped shaped me into a more confident and responsible man. When I was a tour ambassador for the college, people used to ask me all the time, if I had a chance to do it all over again would I make the same choice? And I would respond with a definite ‘yes’!”

Carlos and Robert are not part of a typical patrol team in Baltimore. They are a crime enforcement unit working to improve a community that is struggling. It is dangerous, but very important, work. In true Cougar fashion, they will persist until the job is done.

 

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Coincidence or Destiny? For this Caldwell Graduate, Unexpected Turns Lead to a Career in Medicine

Bryan Broderick Caldwell University Graduate (2011) outside John Hopkins Hospital.

“When one door closes, another opens.” It’s an expression we often lean on for encouragement when things don’t turn out the way we hope. For Bryan Broderick, the sentiment carried something far more profound.

The truth is, Broderick didn’t really see Caldwell University in his future. His older brothers were already well-established at Caldwell by then, both on and off the soccer field. Broderick envisioned something different. He was, at the time, being recruited by Bucknell University for their soccer program, and he was pretty sure he was on the right path.

Until he wasn’t.

“The cost of attending Bucknell was way out of my family’s range. I wasn’t sure what to do. All I really knew was that I wanted to play soccer.”

As chance would have it, not only did the head soccer coaches at Bucknell and Caldwell know each other, they were brothers. It took only a few phone calls to land Broderick a spot as midfielder on the Caldwell Cougars, with enough scholarships to make his undergraduate education possible.

Choosing a major was another matter. Broderick drifted into the business program. “A good 75% of my teammates were business majors, so I figured that’s what I should do too. But you know how important the liberal arts are at Caldwell, and that was a good thing. Early on, I was introduced to a wide variety of subjects. In the spring semester of my freshman year, I took an anatomy and physiology course for non-biology majors. I just loved it. I couldn’t study enough for this course.”

Broderick’s anatomy and physiology professor quickly saw his potential. In addition to teaching this particular course, the professor was the university’s pre-med advisor as well. Still, he didn’t quite believe her when she first suggested he could have a career in medicine.

Before he knew it, Caldwell was helping to arrange introductions to faculty at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (NJMS) and the Northeast Regional Alliance (NERA). He enrolled in NERA’s MedPrep Program, a three-year summer enrichment program for underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students interested in the medical professions.

Broderick graduated magna cum laude from Caldwell in 2011, with a B.A. in biology. The honors he earned along the way reflect his love of both the sciences and soccer. In 2010 he received the Frederick W. Neumann II Award for meritorious work in the sciences. His project, “Analysis of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” was awarded credit “with distinction.” For four years running, Broderick earned Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference All-Academic Team honors as well as the Division II Athletics Directors Association Academic Achievement Award.

His years at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School were equally distinguished. He was a four-year recipient of the Riverview Medical Center Lester Simon, M.D. Scholarship, and in 2017 he earned the NJMS Dr. Harold J. Jeghers Future Internist Award, which honors a fourth-year student for academic excellence, skill, dedication, and interest in the pursuit of the field of internal medicine.

Broderick graduated with his M.D. in 2017. His career quickly skyrocketed when was accepted into the residency program at Johns Hopkins. “I couldn’t believe it. The program is so competitive. I’m thrilled to be part of such a well-respected institution.”

Broderick is grateful for the support he has received over the years from mentors, scholarship programs and—of course—his family. He has spent plenty of time,  “paying it forward,” volunteering to provide food, clothing, and holiday gifts for needy families in Monmouth County; organizing Caldwell University’s Midnight Run to deliver food, blankets and other items to people living on the street in New York City; and working at the Student Family Health Care Center in Newark, a student-run free clinic for the uninsured. These days, he is mentoring other hopeful future doctors.

By choosing internal medicine as his focus, Broderick will be able choose from a wide range of sub-specialties. “I’m liking cardiology and pulmonary critical care,” he notes. There’s a good chance that whatever door opens for him now will be the right one.

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Elaine Tweedus ’66: A Gift in Memory of “Aunt Mary” to Create a New Chapel

Elaine TweedusWhen Elaine Tweedus graduated from Caldwell College for Women in 1966, a new VW Bug was going for around $1,500, the Beatles had four top Billboard singles and Time magazine’s Man of the Year was awarded to the generation 25 and under. The hippie movement was beginning to take hold, and there were massive protests against the Vietnam War and in favor of civil rights and women’s rights. It was a time of new opportunities, a time when education gave women the chance to become trailblazers. Tweedus, a French major, and her classmates graduated and ventured out into a world that offered them not just jobs but careers and a newfound sense of freedom that fueled their dreams. Tweedus says that when she read “The Feminine Mystique” by Betty Friedan, a light went on.

Looking back on her journey more than fifty years later, Tweedus says she is grateful for the ways in which her Caldwell education shaped her life. Her appreciation and desire to give back inspired a transformational gift of $500,000 to Caldwell to build a new chapel in the Newman Center in memory of her Aunt Mary, a Sister of Saint Dominic of Caldwell.

A product of 16 years of Dominican education, Tweedus says she is blessed to have been taught by excellent, nurturing faculty at Caldwell and to have been guided by Dominican values throughout her life. In light of her career and personal success, she is emphatic in her belief that “Education is one of the best investments anyone can make.”

As a new graduate, Tweedus was hired by Prudential for a position in legal research. Her work ethic and discipline earned her high marks with her supervisors; she rose through the management ranks and eventually became director and corporate officer, the position from which she retired in 2015. She says it was rewarding to witness how her work benefited the company while educating consumers about the importance of making sound financial choices.

Earlier this year Tweedus and her husband, Ed Lonyai, pledged a gift designated for the new campus chapel, which will be named in memory of Elaine’s aunt, Sister Mary Dominic Tweedus, who devoted her life to the Dominican community, serving it for 67 years. Tweedus and Lonyai envision the new chapel as a sacred space for meditation that encourages prayer and reflection—a place where students and the rest of the campus community can find respite from the pressures of daily life. Their investment will enhance the student experience at Caldwell for generations to come.

Tweedus recalls the year or so when her aunt lived at the Motherhouse on campus. “Aunt Mary was my father’s sister. On Sunday afternoons my father would drive my mother, my brothers and me to Caldwell to visit with Aunt Mary. I remember my brothers and I playing tag on the lawn of the Motherhouse. It seems like I had a connection to Caldwell long before I began my college days there,” says Tweedus. She believes her aunt will “be looking down on and offering (the students) insight and advice, as she did for me.”

As one driven to make a difference, Tweedus is active in her community. She spent a number of years volunteering with the Boy Scouts of America. Since her retirement, she has become involved with the Woodbridge River Watch, the Historical Association of Woodbridge Township and the Barron Arts Center in Woodbridge. She is a certified advocate for the New Jersey Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman and works with veterans to help them better understand complex veterans’ benefits. She is an antiques enthusiast, a collector of Chinese porcelain and a world traveler. Now that she has more time for herself, Tweedus is pursuing her love of writing and her lifelong dream of becoming a novelist; she is working on a mystery novel.

Tweedus and Lonyai look forward to the day when the new chapel will open and they can celebrate their memories of Sister Mary Dominic Tweedus in a place named for her in perpetuity.

—Christina Hall

Alumni News, Featured News, News

New Mueller Gallery Celebrates Foundress of CU’s Art Department

New Mueller Gallery Celebrates Foundress Of CU’s Art Department
New Mueller Gallery Celebrates Foundress Of CU’s Art Department
New Mueller Gallery Celebrates Foundress Of CU’s Art Department
New Mueller Gallery Celebrates Foundress Of CU’s Art Department
New Mueller Gallery Celebrates Foundress Of CU’s Art Department
New Mueller Gallery Celebrates Foundress Of CU’s Art Department
New Mueller Gallery Celebrates Foundress Of CU’s Art Department

Joy spilled out of the packed gallery into the hallway as Caldwell University unveiled the “Mueller Gallery” signage at the Homecoming festivities Saturday, Sept. 24. Alumni, students, faculty, staff and administration were honored and thrilled to be celebrating with Sister Gerardine Mueller, O.P., as the art gallery was named after her.

Caldwell University President Nancy Blattner, Ph.D., OPA, assisted Sister Gerardine with cutting the red ribbon to signal the official opening of the gallery.

Sister Gerardine, the foundress of the university’s Art Department, was grateful and surprised at the large turnout of former students and Homecoming attendees. “It was unexpected that they would respond to the gallery naming as they did. It was just beautiful,” she said.

A sister, a teacher, a mentor, an artist and a professor emerita, Mueller is an iconic presence on Caldwell’s campus and is remembered by her students for the lessons and inspiration she shared with them.

At 96 years old, she has a lifetime of artistic works encompassing different mediums including sculpture, stained glass, illuminated manuscripts, woodcarvings and clay.

Alumna Agnes Dembia ’69 was happy to attend the dedication and “see such a glorious acknowledgment of Sister Gerardine and her many contributions to Caldwell University”. Dembia recalled how when she was in the third or fourth grade she saw a color photo spread of Sister Gerardine’s illuminated manuscripts in The Daily News. “Immediately I knew that I wanted her to be my teacher one day and promised myself that it would happen! In my senior year at Caldwell, I took her class in calligraphy and illumination and loved it. I went on to earn a master’s degree in art education. To this day I still enjoy the practice of calligraphy”.

Alumna Elaine Weiss Yonke ’69 was proud to attend the dedication. “Her art is everywhere you look around the campus, yet she remains so humble. I know she is grateful for this special honor, and it was so good to be there and see her smile. She has always inspired me to do my best, to be open to new ideas and to keep going despite setbacks. She taught me to always be true to myself”.

The new gallery is located in the Student Center and will provide a beautiful space for displaying student works and holding special exhibitions.

Sister Gerardine said the gallery naming was recognition of the work done on behalf of the Sisters of St. Dominic congregation at the university. “The gallery leaves a physical, lasting mark of the sisters’ work—of the sisters’ presence—and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have worked in that area of the university.”