Category: Alumni News

Alumni News, Featured News, News, Nursing News

Nursing alumna reportedly helps save a life on airplane

Caldwell University Nursing alumna Courtney Donlan ’16Caldwell University nursing alumna Courtney Donlan ’16 was interviewed on several news outlets after reportedly saving a woman’s life on an airplane.  Donlan is a nurse at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

Professor and Director of the Department of Nursing at Caldwell Dr. Theodora Sirota said the nursing faculty and administration could not be more proud Courtney.  “She exemplifies the high standards and quality of the education our expert faculty provides our students.  It comes as no surprise that Courtney was able to respond swiftly and competently in a mid-flight emergency situation.”

To read about Courtney’s story go to:

To watch CBS 2’s story, go to:

Alumni News, Featured News, News

Alumna Tanya Freeman Honored as Family Lawyer of the Year

Caldwell University Alumna Tanya Freeman Headshot Caldwell, N.J., May 10, 2017– Caldwell University alumna Tanya Freeman, a partner at Weiner Law Group in Parsippany, New Jersey, was honored as Family Lawyer of the Year by the Hudson County Bar Association on April 18 at Liberty House.

Freeman, who has represented professional athletes, television personalities and other high-profile celebrities, fondly remembers her days studying political science at Caldwell. She returned to school as a mother with six children and as a full-time employee at Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. “I really invented myself in my late 30s, and it started at Caldwell. It was so good for my kids to see that Mommy went back.” She still proudly hangs in her office the plaque she received for earning the highest grade point average in the Political Science Department.

Before entering the legal world, Freeman led audit teams for over a decade. She was licensed to practice law in New York and New Jersey in 2012 after graduating cum laude from Touro Law Center. In 2014, Gov. Chris Christie appointed Freeman to the board of directors of University Hospital in Newark, where she chairs the Governance, Ethics and Legal committee. The Thomson Reuters list of New Jersey Super Lawyers named her a “rising star” for two consecutive years. She was also elected to the board of trustees of the Hudson County Bar Association in 2016.

Freeman recalls how she was inspired to start studying at Caldwell. While working for Blue Cross Blue Shield, she was staffing a career fair booth in Caldwell’s cafeteria and decided to look into enrolling. She was 60 credits shy of her undergraduate degree. Soon she was attending classes and was on her way to gaining her bachelor’s degree. “I’m still friends with my Caldwell classmates,” she says.

As a divorce lawyer, she tells her clients her story so they know that that no matter what their age or state in life there is great hope and that they too can take the steps to reinvent themselves.


Alumni News, Featured News, Natural and Physical Sciences News, News

Alumna, physical therapist encourages STEM exploration

Caldwell University alumna Monique PinerosCredits tuition aid grant program with giving her the stepping stone for her education

“Rewarding” does not begin to describe the feeling Caldwell University alumna Monique Pineros  has every day when she heads out the door to work as a physical therapist. “Bringing back a human body to its normal functions with one’s hands is truly an art,” she says.

Pineros remembers her days at Caldwell and how her exposure to the liberal arts and to the diversity of campus life helped prepare her for the dream of entering the medical field. After receiving her doctorate in physical therapy from Quinnipiac University in 2016, she began to practice physical therapy and teach as an adjunct in Caldwell’s Natural and Physical Sciences Department.

“It all would never have been possible without that first stepping-stone, which was Caldwell University, along with the help of TAG,” she says. TAG is a New Jersey  need based grant program that  helps lower income students achieve their dream of receiving a college education.

“When I stand behind the podium in the classroom or evaluate and treat my patients in the clinic, I am constantly reminded that everyone has the potential to become their very best. The trick lies in becoming the individual’s first pusher in order to tap into it.”

Having been “fortunate enough and blessed to be on that receiving side,” Pineros wants to give back. “I too want to be on the other side to help that individual, whether student or patient.

“Coming from a family with financial hardships, I realized I required all the help necessary in order to make my dreams of a college education a reality. TAG was able to provide me with the financial bridge I needed to fulfill my academic studies at Caldwell University.”

Caldwell exposed her to a liberal arts foundation and to a diverse student body. “As a practicing physical therapist, I am able to clearly see the connections from the classroom theory I was given at Caldwell as well as the wealth of knowledge I gained from the interactions with my former peers to that of my current patient population. Not only was I given the academic foundation to pursue graduate studies but also the foundation to interact with patients in the clinic from all ages and walks of life.”

Having the opportunity to interact one on one with her professors at Caldwell and to create trusting relationships made her comfortable with the exchange of ideas at the professional and personal levels. “This was and is quintessential to my everyday life, in and outside of clinical practice.”

Pineros wants to help others who have talents in the STEM fields to be forward-thinking and passionate. “Marrying my love of physical therapy and clinical practice to that of teaching is what I aspire towards because not only do I want to inspire the generations after me in the classroom, I want to ignite a fire and thirst for never-ending exploration for the sciences, health and our future innovations.”

Alumni News, Featured News, News

Caldwell University Recognizing Alumni Professional Excellence at Veritas Awards

Caldwell, N.J., March 8, 2017 – Caldwell University will recognize alumni professional excellence at the annual Veritas awards on Friday March 31.

The award is the highest honor the college bestows on its alumnae/alumni for their professional excellence in diverse fields.  The reception is at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. at Essex Fells Country Club.

Sister M. de Montfort Kinchellagh, O.P. ’68 will receive the Excellence in Social Justice Advocacy award, Elaine Bauer Zabriskie ’73 will receive the Excellence in Quality Technology award, and Carlos Pomares ’93 will receive the Excellence in Cultural Activism award.

Sister M. de Montfort Kinchellagh

Sister M. de Montfort Kinchellagh, O.P. ’68 will receive the Excellence in Social Justice Advocacy award.

Sister de Monfort is a tireless advocate on behalf of issues of peace and justice.  She has held several positions including councilor of ministry for the Leadership Council of the Sisters of St. Dominic of Caldwell and justice promoter for the Sisters.  She was pivotal in establishing the Commission on Global Issues for the Sisters and served as it’s chairperson for over 15 years. Sister de Monfort had a career in education holding a number of positions including teacher, principal, supervisor of schools, and assistant superintendent.

Sister holds a B.A. in English/Elementary Education from Caldwell College and New Jersey Teacher of Elementary Education N-8 and New Jersey Principal certifications. She has an M.A. in Supervision\Administration from Seton Hall University.

Elaine Bauer Zabriskie

Elaine Bauer Zabriskie ’73 will receive the Excellence in Quality Technology award.

Elaine Bauer Zabriskie ’73 has excelled in the field of telecommunications with employment at companies such as AT&T and Verizon. Among her many accomplishments is the design and implementation of a supplier report card program that identified thresholds of performance for customer requirements as well as the management of corrective actions. The program was awarded a U.S. Business Process Patent in November 2012 after a ten-year review process. She is a published author of several professional white papers on supplier performance and on a recognition program for telecommunications suppliers. Zabriskie holds a bachelor of arts in history and social studies from Caldwell College and a master’s of political science and an MBA in management from Montclair University. She is a lifetime certified purchasing manager and a certified software quality engineer.

Carlos Pomares

Carlos Pomares ’93 will receive the Excellence in Cultural Activism award.

Carlos M. Pomares ‘93 is executive director of the Cuban Artists Fund, a non- profit dedicated to supporting artists of Cuban ancestry.   He has overseen a variety of collaborative educational projects between the Cuban Artists Fund and organizations such as the Times Square Alliance, Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Ford Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.  As councilman at-large in Bloomfield, New Jersey, he has successfully spearheaded historic restoration projects, public art installations, and environmental preservation efforts.

Pomares holds a B.A. in History from Caldwell College and received a certificate in Communications.  He also holds an M.A. in Museum Professions from Seton Hall University.

Tickets are $95.00.   RSVP by March 15. For further information, contact Alumni Director Meghan Moran at 973-618-3411 or

Alumni News, Featured News, News

Alumnus performs with young adult honor’s choir at Carnegie Hall

Alumni Nick Bushey

Alumni Nick Bushey performed with the young adult honor’s choir at Carnegie Hall.

Caldwell, N.J., Feb. 23, 2017 – Caldwell University Music Department alumnus Nick Bushey was selected to perform at the Isaac Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall on Feb. 5.  He was chosen from a competitive group of international and national applicants to be a part of the Young Adult Honor’s Choir conducted by Jeffery Redding.

Participants had to apply and send in audition recordings in October. Bushey, of Wayne, N.J.  was thrilled to meet and perform alongside the other choir members, who he said, “shared their unique stories about where they came from and why they loved to sing”.

The musicians received their music in advance of the performance and were expected to report three days prior with all selections memorized. The performance included works ranging from Haydn (“Awake the Harp” from  Creation) to Kim Andre Arneson’s “Even When He is Silent” and “Flight Song.”

After a few days of rehearsals together, all 80 of the choir members were eager to perform on the prestigious stage. “The excitement was contagious. We all fed off of each other’s energy,” Bushey said. “It was truly a life changing experience”.

The Honors Ensemble is open to select college-aged and young adult vocalists. The musicians had the opportunity to rehearse with Redding, an accomplished conductor and former music faculty member at West Virginia University.

Bushey is grateful to all his music professors, his voice teacher Dr. Greenwald, and his family and friends. He is pursuing a career in music education and hopes to motivate and inspire students through music.

Dr. Greenwald said she is proud of Bushey for being accepted into such a prestigious ensemble and was thrilled to see and hear him perform on the stage of Carnegie Hall.

Alumni News, Featured News, News

Caldwell Men’s Basketball Alum Matthew Stuart Inducted into CACC Hall of Fame on Super Saturday

Caldwell University men's basketball standout Matthew Stuart with his team.

CALDWELL, N.J.- Caldwell University men’s basketball standout Matthew Stuart ’94 was officially inducted into the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Hall of Fame in a special ceremony during Saturday’s basketball doubleheader as part of “Super Saturday” festivities. Stuart is the first Caldwell representative in the newly created CACC Hall of Fame and is the first CACC men’s basketball player inducted into the conference hall of fame.

Caldwell Athletics welcomed over 100 former student-athletes and their families back to campus this past Saturday. In addition, each athletic team and several departments on campus contributed a basket of items that were part of the silent auction with the proceeds going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The event was a success as Caldwell Athletics raised over $1,000 from the auction items. Make-A-Wish is the official charitable organization of the NCAA.

“We are so proud of Matt and what he has meant to our institution,” said Assistant Vice President/Director of Athletics Mark A. Corino, “He was a main reason for the early success of the men’s basketball program and we were pleased to have him and his family back to campus to celebrate his induction into the CACC Hall of Fame. The CACC has a long history of outstanding student-athletes and his induction as the first men’s basketball inductee into the hall of fame is an indication of what he has meant to the school and how people recognize his outstanding achievements on the court.”

Between the men’s and women’s contests, Caldwell University President Dr. Nancy Blattner welcomed Stuart and his family to campus and spoke of how exciting it was to have such a large group of alumni present to celebrate a great day for the university. CACC Commissioner Dan Mara followed and read off Stuart’s amazing accomplishments during his playing career. He also stated that great Caldwell men’s basketball players — both current and future — will always be judged by the incredible exploits of Stuart, who starred for the Cougars in the early 90s.

Mara officially inducted Stuart into the conference hall of fame, as he presented him with a framed portrait featuring photos of Stuart from his playing days. Finally, Stuart spoke to the crowd, thanking his former head coach Mark A. Corino, who not only coaches the men’s program, but is also Caldwell’s Assistant Vice President and Director of Athletics. Stuart added how special it was to help build the program and the friendships he made. Stuart asked his family to join him at center court to take part in the ceremony, and they did with photos being taken afterwards.

When Stuart came to Caldwell from Haddon Heights, N.J., in the fall of 1989, the men’s basketball program was beginning its third season of existence. By the time he finished his career in 1994, Stuart had twice earned All-American honors, led the Cougars to their first CACC Tournament championship and helped the team qualify for its first national tournament.

A 6-foot-11 center, Stuart was named the CACC Player of the Year in both 1993 and 1994 while earning NAIA All-American Second Team honors as a junior and First Team as a senior. He did this following a serious knee injury that forced him to miss all but five games during the 1990-91 season. In 110 career games for the Cougars, Stuart scored a school-record 1,888 points. He is second all-time in blocks with 156 and fifth in rebounds with 843 in his career.

To watch the video from the event, go to

Alumni News, Featured News, News

Alum and student featured in “Internship program draws next generation of workers”

Students Shyam Sharma (L) and Joseph DiCarlo (R) have been interns at Tilcon New York, Inc., a supplier of quality stone and asphalt products. They are pictured here with Anne Poltorak ’78, Tilcon Human Resources Manager and member of the Caldwell University Business Advisory Council.

Students Shyam Sharma (L) and Joseph DiCarlo (R) have been interns at Tilcon New York, Inc., a supplier of quality stone and asphalt products. They are pictured here with Anne Poltorak ’78, Tilcon Human Resources Manager and member of the Caldwell University Business Advisory Council.

Caldwell alumna Anne Poltorak ’78, human resources manager at Tilcon, and Caldwell business administration major Shyam Sharma are featured in a Pit & Quarry story on the growth of Tilcon New York’s internship program and the opportunities it provides for the younger workforce.

Tilcon New York , Inc. is a supplier of quality stone and asphalt products

Pit & Quarry magazine serves the aggregates mining industry.

Click here for full article

Alumni News, Featured News, News

Night of Cougar Pride inducts three new hall of famers and first-ever team

Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

CALDWELL, N.J.- Caldwell University Athletics, in conjunction with Cougar Pride, hosted “A Night of Cougar Pride” on Friday, October 21 at Cedar Hill Country Club in Livingston, N.J. Caldwell Athletics welcomed three new hall of famer members, bringing the number in the hall of fame to 40. In addition, the first-ever team was also inducted as part of the ceremony.

The newest members of the Caldwell Athletics Hall of Fame include Assistant Vice President/Director of Athletics and Men’s Basketball Head Coach Mark A. Corino, men’s soccer standout Uke Dauti ’07 and women’s basketball star Gwendolyn Gunn ’00. In addition to the three inductees, Coach Corino’s first national tournament team in 1992-93 was recognized as the first-ever team to receive hall of fame honors.

The Caldwell University Athletics Hall of Fame was established in 2010 to honor student-athletes, coaches and contributors who have played significant roles in the success of the intercollegiate athletic programs at Caldwell University. With this year’s class, there are now 40 members in the Hall of Fame and they plaques are in the Welcome Center located on the first floor of the George R. Newman Center.

To watch the video from the event, click here.

Andrew Fraser and Inductee Uke Dauti

(left to right): Andrew Fraser, Inductee Uke Dauti

Nicole Campbell Russo and Inductee Gwendolyn Gunn

(left to right): Nicole Campbell Russo, Inductee Gwendolyn Gunn

Men's Basketball Team

1992-93 Men’s Basketball Team (left to right): Assistant Coach John Michael Santuli, Father Bob Stagg, Assistant Coach Glenn Carroll, Head Coach Mark A. Corino, Derek Bailey, Ed Elam, Matt Stuart, Brian Gaccione, Damian Kennedy, Evan Swansey

Inductee Mark A. Corino, Sister Michele Rodgers, Dean Johnson

(left to right): Inductee Mark A. Corino, Sister Michele Rodgers, Dean Johnson

Alumni News, News

Friends of Caldwell to hold Tricky Tray on June 16th

The Friends of Caldwell University are sponsoring “A Festival of Flowers : The Prelude to Summer” Tricky Tray to be held on June 16, 2016 at The Hanover Manor in East Hanover, New Jersey. The $50.00 ticket includes pre-dinner snacks (6:00-7:00 PM), dinner (salad, pasta, entree, dessert, coffee, tea, soda), and a sheet of Tier 1 tickets. Doors open at 6:00 PM. The drawing begins at 8:00 PM. A cash bar is available. Tables accommodate up to 10 people. This is a reservations only tricky tray. Tickets will not be sold at the door.

There are four levels of prizes. Value packs will be available. We intend to have a number of prizes equitable to the number of attendees.

The purpose of this event is to support the mission of Caldwell University, student scholarships, and activities/community services sponsored by the University. With our students in mind and the rising cost of tuition, we ask that you join us to make this event enjoyable for our attendees and beneficial to our students.

For information and reservations, please contact:

Jane Bestys (973) 226-2885
Marguerite Kenney (973) 618-3490
Joseph Prestifilippo (973) 226-7510

Alumni News, Featured News, News

Alumna Uses Design Talents to Prepare Church for Bishop’s Ordination

Alumna Meg Poltorak Keyes used her talents to prepare for the ordination and installation of Bishop James F. Checchio as the fifth bishop in the Diocese of Metuchen.

For more than 30 years Poltorak Keyes has been designing liturgical environments. Shortly after graduating from Caldwell as the first person to receive the bachelor’s in fine arts, she heard a request for parishioners to donate their “time, talent, and treasure.” Knowing her time and finances were limited, she realized she could use her talents. “I raised by hand to help with the flowers,” she says. As an interior designer she has done quite a bit of church renovation and restoration. She is a member of the Art and Environment Committee through the Office of Divine Worship for the Archdiocese of Newark. She also sits on the Liturgical Commission for the Diocese of Metuchen.

She credits her former art professor, artist Sister Gerardine Mueller, O.P. for her inspiration. “I would not being doing half as much if it were not for her example.”

The below Diocese of Metuch Catholic Spirit article, “Designer recreates Vatican Gardens to honor bishop’s time in Rome”, highlights Poltorak Keyes work.

Designer recreates Vatican Gardens to honor bishop’s time in Rome

By Tracy Liston

SOUTH PLAINFIELD — Design consultant Meg Poltorak Keyes was hard at work with her small team preparing the Church of the Sacred Heart two nights before the ordination and installation of Bishop James F. Checchio.

Poltorak Keyes“It is very exciting to be a part of this, and it all happened rather quickly,” said Poltorak Keyes. “This is a huge honor to be selected to design the liturgical environments. I am doing this as much for Bishop Paul [G. Bootkoski] as I am for Bishop James,” she said, noting that she has worked with Bishop Bootkoski since the beginning of his 14 years in the diocese. For the celebration of Evening Prayer, held the night before Bishop Checchio’s ordination, Poltorak Keyes said she chose a white decorating theme to adorn the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi in Metuchen “to which was the Memorial of Saint Athanasius, who was a bishop and doctor of the Church.”

However, for the installation and ordination, which fell on the feast of St. Philip and St. James, who were apostles and martyrs, the liturgical color is red, and Poltorak Keyes said she did not want to focus on that particular color.

Instead she chose “to use the architectural elements of the church to reflect and capitalize on the colors that were already here.” Hence her color scheme of butterscotch, pale yellows, and persimmon came to life and accentuated the buff, sand, beige, bronze and oak tones so prominent at Sacred Heart.

“There will be many international visitors here for the ordination and the people will also bring their own colors to the ceremony,” she added.

Bouquet of FlowersTo honor the nearly 13 years Bishop Checchio spent in Rome at the Pontifical North American College, Poltorak Keyes decided to research the Vatican Gardens and learn what flowers and shrubs grow there. “A lot of thought went into this,” she said. “I wanted to recreate what would be typical at the Vatican Gardens.”

The Stephanotis, Oleander, Jasmine and Confederate Jasmine that Poltorak Keyes special ordered were all carefully placed in pots by design team members, Anne Poltorak, her sister, and Pru Cadena.

After the festivities, the flowers were delivered to the new bishop “so he can plant them at either his private residence or around the Cathedral to remind him of Rome.”

A designer of liturgical environments for more than 30 years, Poltorak Keyes does regular work for St. Joseph Parish, North Plainfield, where she is a member, and Mount Saint Mary Chapel, Watchung. She also worships at St. Charles Borromeo Church, Montgomery Township.

A member of the diocesan Liturgical Commission, she also specializes in church renovation and restoration. Designer recreates Vatican Gardens to honor bishop’s time in Rome In the background above are some of the creations Meg Poltorak Keyes designed for the Mass of Ordination and Installation of Bishop James F. Checchio at the Church of the Sacred Heart, South Plainfield. At left is one of the arrangements assembled by Poltorak Keyes and design team members Anne Poltorak, her sister, and Pru Cadena. Poltorak Keyes has been designing liturgical environments for more than 30 years.

– Mike Ehrmann photos