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Art therapy students volunteer at Essex County Hospital Center


Caldwell, N.J.  Oct. 24, 2017 – Caldwell graduate and undergraduate students  studying art therapy volunteered at the Essex County Hospital Center, the receiving hospital for all short-term psychiatric facilities in the county.

Annette Vaccaro, assistant professor and clinical coordinator at Caldwell, said it was a unique opportunity for the students, since due to confidentiality issues, it is not the norm for the work to be observed by others. “Community-based interventions allow even undergraduates to observe and become immersed in the counseling art therapy process as a facilitator.”

Graduate students Kaila Hawriluk and Andrea Morte are doing internships at the hospital for their studies in the mental health counseling with art therapy master’s degree program. They came up with the idea to have the students help patients plan for the hospital’s Halloween party by creating costumes around a theme of superheroes and villains.

They managed the entire project, which included assigning roles, gathering supplies, deciding on materials and publicizing the event to solicit graduate and undergraduate art therapy students and rehab therapy team staff at the hospital. They were guided by their internship supervisors, Caldwell alumna Ashley Gerolstein and art therapist Lisa Thomas, employees at the hospital.

Hawriluk found it rewarding to see the patients having fun while creating their superheroes. The patients’ choices helped the team learn a little more about their personalities and the characteristics of the superhero personalities they take pride in, said Hawriluk.

Morte liked seeing the patients, staff and students interact, and she was pleased that a number of patients engaged in the project. “We did not know which patients would come down, and it was surprising for me to see patients who I haven’t had in art groups come and create.”

Members of the Caldwell art therapy faculty are grateful to the Essex County Hospital patients and staff for collaborating with them on the project, said Vaccaro. The project, she said, also provided a networking opportunity “where more senior clinicians become mentors to those with less experience,” an arrangement that can continue throughout their careers.

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“The Problem of Pain in the Book of Job” lecture, Nov. 13

Caldwell University’s Department of Theology/Philosophy will host a talk with Gregory Glazov, D.Phil. (Oxon.), professor of biblical studies in the School of Theology at Seton Hall University, on “The Problem of Pain in the Book of Job,” Monday Nov. 13 at 4:30 p.m. in the Alumni Theatre.

The lecture is part of the university’s Sister Maura Campbell lecture series.

Dr. Glazov will explain why The Book of Job is the most famous biblical exploration on the so-called “problem of pain,” the problem of reconciling the experience of innocent suffering with faith in a righteous and wise Creator. The lecture aims to lead the reader into a deeper understanding of how the question is framed and dramatically explored by the book’s structure and characters, and to appreciate why the book ends with God admonishing Job’s friends for charging God with mismanaging the universe.

Dr. Glazov earned M.Phil. and D.Phil. degrees in Jewish Studies in the Graeco-Roman World from Oxford University. He specializes and has published books and articles in biblical representations of divine-human confrontations, biblical anthropology, Jewish-Christian relations, the biblical sources of Christian prayer and in the Jewish writings of the Russian philosopher Vladimir Solovyov.

The lecture series is named after Sister Maura Campbell, O.P., a Sister of St. Dominic of Caldwell. She was a theologian, philosopher, professor, researcher and national leader in education whose scholarship and teaching spanned 50 years.

For further information, call 973-618-3931.

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President Blattner discusses “Graduating from College Debt” on Caucus: New Jersey

President Nancy Blattner, Ph.D. is a guest on Caucus: New Jersey with Steve Adubato to discuss how students and parents can better manage college debt.

The other panelists are:  Kim Cole, community engagement manager at Navicore Solutions, Roger Michaud, senior vice president and director of college savings, Franklin Templeton Investments and Jennifer Rodriguez, a graduate student at Rutgers University.

The broadcast schedule is as follows:

Sat. 10/14 NJTV 12 noon
Sat. 10/14 Thirteen 12:30 p.m.
Sun. 10/15 NJTV 8:30 a.m.
Sun. 10/15 NJTV 11:30 a.m.
Tues. 10/17 NJTV 5:30 a.m.
Tues. 10/17 WHYY 5:30 p.m.

To view the program, go to:

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“The Church at Play: Leisure and Sport in the Catholic Tradition”, Oct. 19

Caldwell, N.J. – Oct. 11, 2017 –    “The Church at Play: Leisure and Sport in the Catholic Tradition” will be the topic of a lecture hosted by the Department of Theology/Philosophy at Caldwell University on Oct. 19, 4:30 p.m.

Robert P. Miller, Ph.D., assistant professor, at Mount Saint Mary College, will speak on the topic as part of the Sister Maura Campbell Lecture Series.

Dr. Miller’s talk will focus on the importance of leisure and its roots in the Sabbath; the principle of sacramentality or the ability of the physical world to point to the spiritual world; as well as explain a brief history of the church’s relationship to sports, including the teachings of Augustine and Aquinas with regard to the body.

The event will be held in the Alumni Theatre.

The Sister Maura Campbell, O.P. lecture series is named after Sister Maura, who was a Sister of St. Dominic of Caldwell. She was a theologian, philosopher, professor, researcher, and national leader in education whose scholarship and teaching spanned 50 years.

For further information call 973-618-3931.

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Dominican pillar of service put into action on Caldwell Day


Caldwell, N.J., Oct. 2, 2017 – When he walked down Roseland Avenue in Caldwell, Orges Rrapay was always curious about the inner workings of the Caldwell Volunteer Fire Department. The Caldwell University student got a chance to learn about the operation Sept. 29 when he and other students and faculty volunteered at the firehouse for Caldwell Day, the university’s annual day of community service.

They cleaned the fire trucks and were given a tour. For Rrapay, who is from Albania, it was gratifying to see the dedication of the fire department. He felt a sense of community that said, “We are here in good days and bad days, even when a fire occurs.” The firehouse was just one of several community groups and nonprofits where 243 Caldwell students, faculty and staff used their hands and hearts to put into action the university’s Catholic Dominican pillar of service.

A large group volunteered at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, organizing packages for people in Puerto Rico hit by Hurricane Maria. Omar Henegan, a supervisor at the FoodBank who managed the Caldwell group, was grateful for the volunteers, telling them, “We thank you so much for your time and opportunity to come help sort this food out with us.”

Elementary education and psychology major Erin Flohr volunteered at Academy Lower School in Verona, which serves children on the autism spectrum and with behavioral and related disabilities. As a future teacher, Flohr found it rewarding to teach a child how to say a word, and it was also a good experience to observe “how passionate and patient” the teachers were.

Science Department faculty member Dr. Marjorie Squires and some students volunteered at the ARC of Essex County Stepping Stones School, which provides services for children with Down syndrome from ages 3 to 10. Squires was impressed by the dedication of the teachers and by the children’s joy. “I’m uplifted. My soul is happy and light.” Oluwatosin Adebiyi, a nursing student, said she saw how “unique and special” each child was. Judy Bellina, a Caldwell University alumna who is coordinator of volunteer, community and parent outreach at Stepping Stones, was glad to welcome volunteers from her alma mater and to let others in the community see what the school provides.

Another group volunteered at St. Francis Xavier School in Newark, turning a storage room into a music room. At first the sight of the jam-packed room was overwhelming, but as student Brandi-Lee Brochu found, in the end it was a good feeling to know they had finished the job and had gotten the room ready for the music teacher, Erin Fitzpatrick, a recent Caldwell University alumna.

A group of alumni, along with Sharon Dwyer from the CU Development and Alumni Affairs Office, volunteered at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic School in Asbury Park doing art projects and helping out in the classrooms.

Quin DeLaRosa and a group of students and faculty volunteered digging and turning over soil for the Caldwell Environmental Commission at the pollinator garden on Personnette Street.  He summed up the day well for all the volunteers. Even if the work seemed mundane, he said, in the end it’s important to think “about the impact it has on people and our responsibility to the world around us.”

Groups also volunteered at:

  • Film Academy 360
  • Caring Closet in Madison
  • Caldwell Public Library
  • St. Aloysius Parish, Caldwell
  • Our Lady of Czestochowa School, Jersey City
  • Grover Cleveland Park Conservancy
  • Calvary Lutheran Church, Verona
  • Kingsland Manor
  • Our Lady Help of Christians, East Orange
  • Caring Closet with Jersey Cares (Dress for Success)
  • Spectrum360
  • Academy360 Upper School
  • And in campus clean-ups.

Caldwell Day is an annual tradition that the Caldwell community looks forward to. It was begun by President Nancy Blattner when she came to Caldwell in 2009.

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New Mueller Gallery Celebrates Foundress of CU’s Art Department

Photo courtesy Pushparaj Aitwal.
Photo courtesy Pushparaj Aitwal.
Photo courtesy Pushparaj Aitwal.
Photo courtesy Pushparaj Aitwal.
Photo courtesy Pushparaj Aitwal.
Photo courtesy Pushparaj Aitwal.
Photo courtesy Pushparaj Aitwal.

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.”

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Ponto Earns CAANJ DII Female Student Athlete of the Year; Caldwell Athletics Receives DII Cup

CALDWELL, N.J.- Caldwell University softball alumna Sydney Ponto ’17 (West Deptford, N.J.) was selected as the Collegiate Athletic Administrators of New Jersey (CAANJ) Division II Female Student-Athlete of the Year. The Caldwell University Athletics Department earned the DII Cup for their outstanding athletic accomplishments during the 2016-17 year.

“Caldwell athletics had an exceptionally successful year during 2016-17, and we are honored to be receiving the CAANJ DII Cup in recognition of our teams, their coaches and our athletes,” said Caldwell President Dr. Nancy Blattner. “

Caldwell Athletics as a department turned in one of its best years on the field. The fall season featured three playoff teams, highlighted by women’s soccer winning their second CACC Championship in four years. The women’s volleyball team reached the CACC championship final, while men’s soccer advanced to the CACC semifinals. During the winter season, the men’s and women’s basketball teams both reached the semifinals with the women’s team advancing to the championship final. The women’s bowling team, in only their third season, qualified for the Northeast Conference Championships for the second straight season. Bowling advanced to the NEC Championship Final Four for the first time in program history. The success continued into the spring as the softball team tied the single-season program record with 45 wins and won their seventh CACC Championship. Women’s lacrosse reached the post season for a second straight season in its fourth year as a program at Caldwell. The men’s and women’s track and field team both took third place at the CACC Championship meet in May.

“Caldwell athletics plays an integral role in the success of Caldwell University, and to win the CAANJ DII Cup certainly validates our commitment to our athletes and coaches,” said Caldwell Senior Vice President Joe Posillico.

Caldwell earned six major award honors led by women’s basketball’s Kristen Drogsler (Middle Village, N.Y.) and softball’s Marisa Monasseri (Monroe, N.J). Volleyball’s Jessica Mitchell (Plainfield, Ill.) and women’s lacrosse’s Rachel Lucia (Egg Harbor Township, N.J.) earned CACC Defensive Player of the Year honors, while Ponto was the CACC Pitcher of the Year. Alexandra Greaves (Huntington, N.Y.) from the women’s cross country team was selected as the CACC Rookie of the Year.

As a department, Caldwell earned 44 CACC All-Academic honorees as well as 19 CACC All-Conference selections. The department also earned seven CoSIDA Academic All-District winners as well as three CoSIDA Academic All-Americans.

“I am truly humbled and honored to receive this award,” said Ponto. “Thanks to my coaches, the athletic staff, professors, administration, friends, family, and of course my teammates for everything, I could not have done anything without them. My four years at Caldwell were unforgettable and irreplaceable, and I am happy to call it a home.”

Ponto finished her career on the softball field last spring as one of the most decorated players in school history. She was named the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Pitcher of the Year and was a CACC First Team All-Conference selection. Ponto added Division II Conference Commissioner’s Association (D2CCA) East Region Pitcher of the Year honors to her resume along with Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference D2 Pitcher of the Year honors. She earned D2CCA Third Team All-American honors from the and the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA). She excelled in the classroom as she was selected to the CoSIDA Academic All-American Third Team. Ponto named to the D2CCA and NFCA East Region First Team and was an ECAC First Team All-Star. She set the program single season record with 30 wins in the circle in 2017. Ponto led the conference in wins, strikeouts (269), complete games (23) and innings pitched (226.0). She went 4-0 in the CACC Championship Tournament, earning Tournament MVP honors. Ponto ended her career second all-time in school history with 75 wins in the pitching circle.

In response to Ponto’s award, Blattner added, “we are proud of all our student-athletes but particularly Sydney Ponto for the amazing career she had as a pitcher on our softball team.  She is so deserving of the inaugural student-athlete of the year award in DII from CAANJ, which highlights her contributions on the field and her success as a Caldwell student-athlete.

Posillico said, “having Sydney recognized as the first ever CAANJ Division II Female Student- Athlete of the Year is an amazing honor and we are so proud of her and her accomplishments on and off the field,”

Ponto and the department will be honored at the CAANJ luncheon on Thursday, October 12 at 12:30 pm, at the Holiday Inn in Somerset, NJ.

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President Blattner is guest on Caucus: New Jersey on Making College More Affordable

President Nancy Blattner, Ph.D. is a guest on Caucus: New Jersey with Steve Adubato discussing “Making College More Affordable.”  Blattner and the panel of guests talked about their work in serving as members of the New Jersey College Affordability Study Commission.

The other panelists are: Dr. Ali A. Housmand, president of Rowan University, Dr. Tim Haresign, president of the Council of New Jersey State College Locals and associate professor of biology at Stockton University, and Giancarlo Tello, the student representative on the Commission.

They discussed recommendations from the commission, how to make college more affordable, how parents can start planning early, public private partnerships, challenges for first generation students and understanding the differences between loans and grants.

The broadcast schedule is as follows:

Making College More Affordable Sat. 9/30 NJTV 12 noon
Sun. 10/1 NJTV 8:30AM
Sun. 10/1 NJTV 11:30AM
Tues.10/3 NJTV 5:30AM
Tues. 10/3 WHYY 5:30PM

Click here to watch the full video.

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Lecture “Revolutionary Women: Girlfriends I’ve Made in 40 Years as a Historian”

Dr. Marie Mullaney will be the speaker at a Phi Kappa Phi Caldwell University Chapter lecture Oct. 12.

Caldwell, N.J., Sept. 25, 2017 “Revolutionary Women: Girlfriends I’ve Made in 40 Years as a Historian” will be the topic of a Phi Kappa Phi lecture presented by Historian Dr. Marie Mullaney at Caldwell University, 7 p.m., Thursday Oct. 12.

Dr. Mullaney, professor of history at Caldwell and a specialist in the history of women, will discuss the research and publishing she has done on a wide number of achieving women in the past.

“Some were really radicals; others were pathbreakers,” said Dr. Mullaney. Some of the women she will discuss include Mabel Smith Douglass, the founder of the New Jersey College for Women; Katharine Ryan Gibbs, the founder of the well-known Katherine Gibbs secretarial schools;  French anarchist Louise Michel; Karl Marx’s daughter Eleanor; La Pasionaria of Spanish Civil War fame; and New Jersey communitarian Rebecca Buffum Spring.

In telling their stories, Dr. Mullaney will explain what it means to live a life as a professional academic and she will share stories of how her own teachers and her students have played a role in motivating her research. “Doing research has helped me become a better teacher and I want to share that advice with others, most especially students who are interested in pursuing research in any career field,” said Dr. Mullaney.

The lecture is free and open to the public. It is being presented by the Caldwell University chapter of Phi Kappa Phi. It will be held on campus in the Alumni Theater.  Light refreshments will be served.  For more information, contact phikappaphi@caldwell.edu or Dr. Francie Del Vecchio at 973-618-3416.

Phi Kappa Phi’s mission is “To recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others.” For more information about Phi Kappa Phi, visit www.PhiKappaPhi.org.

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Students Attend United Nations Leadership and Enrichment Programs

Minhtruc Nguyen, a senior at Caldwell University, was a volunteer at the United Nations for the forum on “Moral and Innovative Leadership: Vision, Service and Entrepreneurship” run by the International Young Leaders Assembly.

Caldwell, N.J., Sept. 25, 2017 – Caldwell University students recently attended enrichment and leadership programs at the United Nations in New York City.

In August 19 students participated in “Moral and Innovative Leadership: Vision, Service and Entrepreneurship” run by the International Young Leaders Assembly. The assembly is a partnership-driven leadership development program aimed at empowering young leaders to positively affect their communities, nations and the world.

Minhtruc Nguyen, a senior at Caldwell who was attending for her third time, was enthused that the speakers encouraged the students to work to change the world. “Sometimes we get tired on the way to success,” she said, but the program encourages students to “do more.” A financial economics and accounting major who transferred to Caldwell two years ago, Nguyen was happy to be asked to be a volunteer for the forum. As a result, she was invited to take the IBM leadership training program at the summit for which she received a certificate.

She looks forward to attending the International Young Leaders Assembly next year and hopes she can encourage more students as well as staff and faculty from Caldwell to attend.

Romina Ghale attended two forums at the United Nations–“Moral and Innovative Leadership: Vision, Service and Entrepreneurship” run by the International Young Leaders Assembly and the “Ear and Hearing Health as a Vehicle for Peace and Sustainable Development.”

Maulin Joshi, director of international student services, was pleased that the students attended the summit since it “empowers our young leaders to positively impact their communities and gives them an opportunity to join an excellent global network.”

Romina Ghale joined Nyugen at the conference. Gale also attended a forum titled “Ear and Hearing Health as a Vehicle for Peace and Sustainable Development” at the U.N. on Sept. 14. Hosted by the International Federation for Peace and Sustainable Development and the permanent mission of Guatemala to the United Nations, the day included educational sessions to understand the global impact of hearing impairment and efforts to increase funding nationally and internationally. Ghale said she was honored to hear the speakers including former President Bill Clinton and William B. Austin, founder of the Starkey Hearing Foundation.