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Alumna, Former NJ Assemblywoman is Speaker at Caldwell University Homecoming Kick-off


Caldwell, N.J. – September 26, 2016 – The kick-off event for the homecoming weekend celebration at Caldwell University featured The Honorable Arline Friscia, former New Jersey Assemblywoman and a Caldwell University alumna. Friscia was interviewed in a forum hosted by Professor Bob Mann, chair of the Communications and Media Studies Department, as part the university’s Veritas Lecture series. In 1996 Friscia received the university’s Veritas Award for Excellence in Politics. The awards recognizes alumni excellence in all professions.

Friscia, a member of the Class of 1956, at what was then Caldwell College for Women, graduated with a degree in music. “I owe a great deal to Caldwell, because it shaped my life,” she said.

Caldwell alumnae, students, faculty and staff enjoyed a discussion as Friscia commented on a variety of topics including her career path and how she made her way into a legislative position, the challenges for women who choose the field of politics as a career, and how people can become effective in working with their legislators.

As a legislator, Friscia represented the 19th Legislative District, which comprises the Middlesex County municipalities of Carteret Borough, Perth Amboy City, Sayreville Borough, South Amboy City, and Woodbridge Township. For more than 18 years, she served as UniServ Director for the New Jersey Education Association and negotiated on behalf of its membership. A former Councilwoman-at-Large in Woodbridge Township, she provided leadership on issues concerning recreation opportunities for socially deprived children and adolescents.

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CU Science Students Intern at Johns Hopkins


Caldwell, N.J., September 16, 2016 – Two Caldwell University science students and one recent alumna were selected to intern at the world-renowned teaching and biomedical hospital Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.

Students Pamela Marte and Juan Garcia and recent grad Christina Blonski-Cupo were chosen to participate in the JH Bloomberg School of Public Health Diversity Summer Internship Program.

Marte was “honored and humbled” to be working in the building with so much science history. She was assigned to the cytokine research lab in the clinical immunology lab, working directly with Dr. Barbara Detrick, a professor of pathology at the JH University School of Medicine. Detrick, a Caldwell University alumna, formed the partnership between Caldwell and Johns Hopkins, which was offered for the second year in a row.

Garcia and Blonski also had the chance to meet Detrick. “She is an inspiration,” said Blonski-Cupo ’16.

Marte’s assignment, “Evaluation of Cytokines in Autoimmune Retinopathy,” looked at the cytokine levels in patients with a very rare eye condition called autoimmune retinopathy or AIR.

Blonski interned in the infectious disease laboratory run by Dr. Petros Karakousis, associate professor of the Medicine Division of Infectious Diseases. Her project was titled “Evaluation of Mycobacterium smegmatis as an in vitro Model for Viable but Non-Culturable (VBNC) Bacteria.”

Garcia interned in the lab of Dr. Zhibin Wang, assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences in the Bloomberg School of Public Health.   Garcia’s project was titled “”The Role of CHD4 on Histone Recognition”. The experience was “fun, exciting, competitive and hard work,” he said.

“It was a demanding program” but definitely rewarding, said Marte.

Blonski-Cupo said she especially appreciated being able to meet and work with accomplished researchers.

Although they worked very hard, “there was a good balance of work and play,” said Marte. She enjoyed discovering Baltimore and taking the Amtrak to Washington, D.C. It was “great meeting new people”  and going to events and food tastings, said Garcia.

At the culmination of the internship, the students gave a poster, paper and PowerPoint project presentation. “I grew as a person and a professional,” said Marte. “This experience definitely confirmed my decision to pursue a career in research,” said Blonski-Cupo.

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English Department’s Dr. Miller is Founding Editor of a new National Catholic Poetry Journal


Mary Ann MillerCaldwell, N.J., September 15, 2016 – English professor Mary Ann B. Miller is the editor of a new professional, national-level Catholic poetry journal that is affiliated with the Department of English at Caldwell.

Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry is an independent journal planned for annual print publication each spring.  It is a venue for the publication of poetry written by authors whose work is informed by the Catholic faith.  “I am starting this journal because currently there are Catholic periodicals that print both fiction and poetry as well as those that publish articles on Catholic culture, but none that are devoted exclusively to poetry.  I became aware of the need for this kind of journal when participating on a panel at a conference entitled ‘The Future of the Catholic Literary Imagination,’ sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles,” said Miller.

“The journal will publish poems,” said Miller, “informed by the Catholic faith on the basis of their artistic excellence, rather than on the basis of the author’s professed creed or because the subject matter is explicitly Catholic.  As the Dominican St. Thomas Aquinas suggests, art is a good in and of itself, so a good poem will reflect God solely on the basis of its being a good work of art.”

“On the other hand,” Miller added, “poems that do contain overt references to Catholic concepts, such as the saints, priests, nuns, the mysteries of the rosary, just to name a few, are welcome.  Many poets have told me over the years that they don’t believe their poems that contain these kinds of references have been taken seriously by most journals.  My hope is that Presence will provide a venue for these poems because artistic merit and references to Catholic images are not mutually exclusive.”

But regardless of whether a poem is explicitly Catholic, what makes a poem Catholic is that it contains underlying theological assumptions, “the chief of which is the operation of God’s grace in the world.”  As Presence’s Mission Statement further explains: “The poems in this journal convey God’s presence in any number of ways—by exploring the intersection of matter and spirit, by depicting the struggle between belief and doubt, by questioning the faith, being surprised by it, taking joy in it, even finding humor in it.”

Miller added that “despite some important differences among the various Christian denominations, there is a great deal of common ground that exists among them, and so the journal will necessarily take on an ecumenical flavor.  For example, we welcome poems that contain a kind of dialogue between Jewish and Christian or even atheist and Christian voices.”

The Advisory Board for Presence is comprised of members who are nationally known in the field of Catholic poetry and in academic spheres.  They are Susanne Paola Antonetta, William Baer, Paul Contino, Dana Gioia, Paul Mariani, Angela Alaimo O’Donnell, and Judith Valente.

Dr. Miller, who chairs the English Department and teaches poetry, is editor of the anthology, St. Peter’s B-list: Contemporary Poems Inspired by the Saints, published by Ave Maria Press.

She has created a class called Journal Editing, in which she can engage students in reading poems submitted for possible publication and in writing micro-reviews of individual collections of poetry by a variety of contemporary poets.  This class is running for the first time this fall, in conjunction with the reading period for the journal.

The first reading period is taking place now through Dec. 1, 2016 with the first annual issue slated for Spring 2017.

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CU Student Chosen for NJ Governor’s STEM Scholars Program


Alumna and current post-baccalaureate student Jessica Binkiewicz was chosen for the 2017 NJ Governor’s STEM Scholars program.

Caldwell, N.J., Sept. 14, 2016 – Caldwell University alumna and current post-baccalaureate student Jessica Binkiewicz was chosen for the prestigious 2017 New Jersey Governor’s STEM Scholars program.

The goal of the competitive program is to educate the best and brightest students about science, technology, engineering and math opportunities in New Jersey and to encourage the Garden State’s economic development.

Binkiewicz, the first Caldwell student selected for the program, was thrilled to learn that she was accepted and is looking forward to networking with professionals in New Jersey STEM fields, learning from prospective mentors and meeting other similar-minded young adults who share a passion for STEM.

She was selected to lead a research team for a project she created focusing on determining the inhibitory effects of Thieves oil on E. coli to explore new natural therapies for bacterial infections.  “I chose this topic because I believe it is crucial to look beyond allopathic treatments as they can cause pathogenic resistance, hence the formation of superbugs, and can also be expensive and cause adverse effects.” Binkiewicz hopes the findings can make a difference. “As a future physician, I understand how important scientific research is because it advances medicine and directly impacts people’s lives.”

A West Caldwell resident, Binkiewicz graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Caldwell in 2014.  She is now in the pre-medical post-baccalaureate program at Caldwell and plans to attend medical school.

While a post-baccalaureate student, she took an independent research study course with Science Professor Dr. Agnes Berki and presented her findings at William Paterson’s 10th annual research symposium and at Caldwell University’s Scholars’ Day.

Binkiewicz volunteers in the Emergency Department at Mountainside Hospital and is an active member of the Alpha Chi, Psi Chi, National Society of Leadership and Success, and Delta Epsilon Sigma honor societies.


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Night of Cougar Pride Honoring 2016 Hall of Fame Class Set for October 21

CALDWELL, N.J.- Caldwell University Athletics, in conjunction with Cougar Pride, will host “A Night of Cougar Pride” at Cedar Hill Country Club in Livingston, N.J. on Friday, October 21. The Caldwell Athletics “Night of Cougar Pride” Dinner, honoring the 2016 Hall of Fame inductees, will begin with cocktail hour at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner and hall of fame induction ceremony at 7:30 p.m.

The Caldwell University Hall of Fame committee has elected a trio of honorees and the first-ever team for the 2016 class. Assistant Vice President/Director of Athletics and Men’s Basketball Head Coach Mark A. Corino highlights the induction ceremony and will be enshrined for his years of service to the institution. Men’s soccer standout Uke Dauti and women’s basketball’s Gwen Gunn will also be recognized during “A Night of Cougar Pride”, on October 21. In addition to the three inductees, Coach Corino’s first national tournament team in 1992-93 will be recognized as the first-ever team to receive hall of fame honors.

Cost is $125 per person with tables of 10 people available for $1,000. All proceeds will go to the Cougar Pride General Fund, which supports the degree completion program and enhancements for the 16 intercollegiate athletic programs. Tickets are available for the Caldwell Athletics “Night of Cougar Pride” Ceremony by calling Caldwell University Athletics at (973) 618-3260. Online registration for the event is available and can be accessed by clicking here.

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, which is located on the first floor of the George R. Newman Center. The October 21 ceremony is the main fundraising event for Cougar Pride, the official booster club of Caldwell University Athletics.

Coach Corino joined the Cougars as the Director of Athletics and men’s basketball coach in 1988. During his tenure as Director of Athletics, he led the initiative to transition the institution to full NCAA Division II membership status in 2002. The department has seen significant growth during Corino’s tenure as he has overseen the process to increase sport sponsorship from three in 1988 to the current number of 16 athletic programs. Corino has seen tremendous success on the court in 28 seasons as the men’s basketball head coach for the Cougars. He has amassed 435 wins as Caldwell’s head coach and four CACC Coach of the Year honors as well as a Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association Coach of the Year Award in 1998. Corino’s collegiate coaching career spans over 30 years where he has 530 wins and is the second winningest collegiate men’s basketball head coach in the state of New Jersey. His Caldwell coaching career includes five trips to the NAIA National Tournament, one appearance in the NCAA Division II Tournament; seven CACC regular-season championships, five CACC Tournament titles and an NAIA District 31 crown.

Dauti played for the men’s soccer team from 2004-06 and was a two-time Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference First Team All-Conference selection. In his three seasons, he totaled 69 points with 31 goals and seven assists for the Cougars. He tallied 35 points in the 2005 season with 16 goals in 15 games. Dauti was honored twice by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America on the All-Region Second Team. During his time, the Cougars posted a record of 37-19-3 and appeared in the CACC Tournament semifinals all three seasons. Caldwell was the tournament runner-up in 2005 where Dauti earned CACC All-Tournament honors.

Gunn played for the women’s basketball team from 1996-2000 and was twice honored as a CACC All-Conference selection in her junior and senior seasons. In her senior season, she averaged 12 points and 6.9 rebounds per game to earn All-American Honorable Mention honors. She currently ranks 12th in school history with 1,225 points and ninth with 742 rebounds for her Cougar career. She helped lead the Cougars to a second place finish in her freshman season and a CACC Regular Season Championship as a senior. The Cougars advanced to their second-ever NAIA Tournament appearance in 2000. Caldwell posted a four-year mark of 66-49 during her time in a Cougar uniform.

In addition to the three inductees, Coach Corino’s first men’s basketball team that advanced to the national tournament will be the first team to be enshrined in the hall of fame. In their sixth year as a program, the 1992-93 men’s basketball team posted 21 wins, which tied the win record set the previous season. The Cougars went 11-1 in the CACC as they repeated as regular season champions and won their first ever CACC Tournament Championship. In the District 31 Tournament, Caldwell defeated Nyack College and Teikyo Post College (now Post University), earning their first ever District 31 title and advanced to the NAIA National Tournament for the first time in program history. Matt Stuart was the top player as he averaged 18.1 points per game along with 8.9 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per contest. He earned NAIA Second Team All-American honors, which was the first All-American in men’s basketball history.

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Softball’s Marisa Monasseri Named ECAC Division II Female Scholar Athlete of the Year


DANBURY, Conn.- Caldwell University softball junior Marisa Monasseri (Monroe, N.J.) was named the ECAC Division II Female Scholar Athlete of the Year after excelling on and off the field during her sophomore season. It is the fourth year in a row that a Caldwell student athlete has been honored with the ECAC Scholar Athlete of the Year (Paul Nyitray, baseball, 2013, 2014 and Robert Humes, baseball, 2015).

In order to be considered for the ECAC Scholar Athlete Award, a candidate must have earned a cumulative minimum overall GPA of 3.2 (4.0 scale and must have reached sophomore athletics and academic status (true freshmen, redshirt freshmen and ineligible athletics transfers are not eligible) and be a starter or significant reserve in a particular sport and must compete in a least 50 percent of the contests in that sport.

Monasseri will be honored with the rest of the award recipients at the 2016 ECAC Honors Dinner on September 22 at the Matrix Conference & Banquet Center in Danbury, Connecticut. The event will begin with a cocktail hour at 6 p.m. followed by dinner and awards at 7 p.m. For the full ECAC release and complete list of award winners, click here.

This latest award for Monasseri caps an incredible sophomore year for the All-American catcher and reigning Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Player of the Year. She was a First Team CACC pick as well as an NFCA and D2CCA First Team All-East Region selection. Monasseri also earned NFCA and D2CCA Second Team All-American honors and was an ECAC First Team All-Star. She was a three-time CACC Player of the Week as well as the ECAC Division II Player of the Week and NFCA Division II National Player of the Week one time. On the academic side, Monasseri was a CACC All-Academic Team selection and was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District Team.

On the field, Monasseri posted a career-year for the Cougars as she set the single season mark for homeruns with 17. She started 51 games in 2016 and posted team-highs with 57 RBI, 113 total bases and a .423 batting average. Monasseri scored 32 runs with 52 hits, eight doubles, one triple, while slugging .919 and an on base percentage of .564.

In the CACC, she led the conference in average, RBI, homeruns, slugging and on base percentage, while ranking seventh in runs and ninth in hits.

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Mass of Holy Spirit Marks Start of Academic Year

Caldwell, N.J., Sept. 8, 2016 – Caldwell University held its traditional Mass of the Holy Spirit Sept. 7 marking the beginning of the academic year.

Students, faculty, and staff gathered to thank God for His blessings on the university and to invoke the Holy Spirit’s guidance and inspiration for the campus community.

Father Thomas Blind celebrated the Mass.  “The Spirit of God makes a great difference in our lives,” he said.   “We are brought together as a community to pray with or for one another,” and to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit of courage, knowledge, fortitude, and wisdom, he said.   The Holy Spirit also provides comfort and peace, the peace that one can give to others and the world, said Father Blind.

Special blessings were given to the Student Government Association, the choir, the residence life staff, and fall athletes.    Prior to reading the blessings, President Nancy Blattner asked that those who will be blessed pass it on. “Find a way that you can be a blessing to someone else on this campus.”

Music Professor Laura Greenwald, members of the Caldwell University Chorale, accompanist Warren Helms, and cantor Rebecca Nee provided the music.

The university typically holds a Mass of the Holy Spirit at the beginning of each academic semester.

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Nursing students receive white coats celebrating the start of clinical studies

Caldwell, N.J., Sept. 2, 2016 – Sixty-six Caldwell University nursing students received their white coats at a ceremony Sept. 1 celebrating the start of their clinical studies.

“May the white coat remind you of our professional bond and commitment to the caring, compassion and humanism in nursing that we all share,” said Dr. Theodora Sirota, Ph.D., CNL, APRN-BC, professor and director of the Department of Nursing.

Sister Kathleen Tuite, vice president for student life, told the third-year students they were giving a “wonderful witness” to Caldwell University and encouraged them to provide “selfless love” in their work as nurses.

The keynote address was given by Carol Porter, DNP, R.N., FAAN, a former chief nursing officer at Mount Sinai Medical Center. She told the students that their entrance into clinical care is a “wonderful, serious step” in their careers. “It’s what’s inside the coat that matters,” she said.  Porter encouraged them to look at every patient through that person’s eyes, to “always go above and beyond … to seek out a mentor … to be well informed, well read, and belong to associations.” She advised them never to be afraid to advocate for a patient and to “push the envelope” if they feel something is ethically and morally wrong.

Samantha Coghlan, a senior and president of the Student Nurses’ Association, encouraged the students to become involved in the student-run organization. “Your participation will contribute to your success and prepare you for the rest of your life as a professional registered nurse.”

Nicole Grandeza ’16, B.S.N., R.N., spoke about the Caldwell Nursing Honor Society and encouraged the students to strive for academic and professional leadership, to “be inquisitive … be willing to learn … be open to change … strive to go above and beyond.”

Olivia O’Donnell, a junior who received her white coat, said it was a “very exciting day,” especially since she had also had her first clinical experience earlier. Jade Puello, also a junior, said it was sort of “like graduation … another milestone.”

The students were cloaked in their jackets by faculty members and received Humanism in Medicine pins from seniors.

They recited the nursing white-coat oath, pledging to accept the responsibilities that embody the nursing profession including the primary importance of considering the welfare of humanity and the relief of suffering.

Father Tom Blind gave the invocation and benediction, noting the upcoming canonization of Mother Teresa and how she is a model for God’s love and care for the sick.

Dr. Nan Childress Orchard, chair of the Music Department, provided the processional and recessional music.

The pins were provided as a gift from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, initiators of the first white-coat ceremony.

The ceremony was originally made possible by a grant from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation to support the Gold-ACCN White Coat Ceremony for Nursing.

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Brenda Petersen: Compassionate nurses inspired her career path

BrendaPeterson085Brenda Petersen never wanted to pursue a nursing career, even though her mother was a nurse.

“I heard the stories and I thought, ‘I could never do that.’” She started college studying business and then entered the professional workforce as a special deputy sheriff in the Hunterdon County Sheriff’s Office and was certified as a sex crimes investigator. She left the county and went to work for an engineering firm and then for a Fortune 500 company in cost accounting.

But everything changed after she had her first baby. Hospitalized for a month on complete bed rest and unable to care for her infant son, Petersen saw the compassion of the nurses and realized she wanted to pursue a dream of “being just like them.”

“It wasn’t the doctors; it wasn’t the medicine that made the biggest difference in my healing and recovery; it was the caring of those nurses who came to my bedside at one of the worst times of my life,” she said.

Her journey to become a nurse began a few years later. “When my kids went to school, I went to school. And I’ve been in school ever since,” Petersen said. She is completing her Ph.D. in Health Sciences Leadership at Seton Hall University’s School of Health and Medical Sciences, and expects to defend her dissertation this fall.

Her nursing studies began in an associate degree program because that was what she could afford. After receiving her degree, she worked in home care and then quickly enrolled in Seton Hall’s R.N. to B.S.N. program.

During her studies, Petersen met a pediatric nurse practitioner/nurse educator who would become her mentor. “She touched me and inspired me to want to go on for my graduate degree, so I pursued the same path she had.” That path would lead Petersen to become a pediatric nurse practitioner and then a nurse educator. She spent a decade on the nursing faculty and as a program administrator at Seton Hall and joined Caldwell in 2013.

In addition to her role as assistant director in the Department of Nursing, she was recently named director of Caldwell’s new Department of Public Health , which will feature a B.S. in public health education.

She takes seriously the responsibility that comes with educating students in a changing health care environment. “I’m very passionate about supporting student success, not just academically but emotionally.”

Success in nursing education means constantly keeping pace with industry changes especially since professional standards have been raised over the last several years. In 2013 the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses became more difficult because preventable patient injury is the third-leading cause of death in the United States, Petersen explained. From day one on the job, she joined the nursing team to research evidence on best teaching practices, and the team is seeing results. She boasted of recent grads who have passed the exams and are all employed, several in jobs that are not standard for the new nurse. Employers are impressed by the way Caldwell’s nursing students represent themselves in their field work, Petersen stressed. “We teach with great passion, great hope and great expectation that the words we use and the lessons we provide will impact our students to have practices that reflect who we are as an institution.”

One of the field work settings is the Dedicated Education Unit at Morristown Medical Center where Caldwell has partnered for the past two years. “They were very vocal in the fact that they chose us because of our faculty, in particular Dr. Marnie Sperling,” said Petersen. Unlike a traditional student/faculty model, the DEU model provides a “practicing expert nurse” who works directly with the student to manage patient care, which is the type of work the student will do after entering the workforce, she said. Since statistics show that a large number of new nurses leave the profession in the first six months of being on the job, gaining this type of experience can counter that trend and benefit the employer by reducing orientation costs, she explained.

Petersen and her husband John have been married for 37 years and have three grown children, Tyler, Victoria and Erik. On weekends she enjoys reading anything related to education or best practices for educating nurses. “I’m at a great time in my life; I’m passionate about seeing Caldwell grow and our department expand and grow.” She also gives back by serving on the board of the New Jersey Physicians Advisory Group, which provides up-to-date medical information on teen sexual health to educators, parents and health professionals.

Word is spreading about what she called the “brand” of Caldwell nursing graduates, a brand that includes core values as well
as skills and ability, she explained. “It’s with great humility I do my best to try to give them examples of what that really means.”  n

— CL

“ I’m very passionate about supporting student success, not just academically but emotionalls.”BrendaPeterson_Classroom_153Final_RT_No screens

Things you might not know about Professor Brenda Petersen

She and her husband John met in high school when she was 15, and they’ve been together ever since. “He is my rock, my touchstone, my ‘true north,’” she said.

Her father, Norman Berner, was a World War II veteran, a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division who jumped into Normandy on D-Day. He was named by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest arborist. “I don’t think anyone is going to beat him, because he was 86 when he was recognized,” said Petersen.

Her mother, Alice Emfinger Berner, a nurse with an associate degree, was one of the first physician assistants in New Jersey. “That was the early stages of nurse practitioners and physician assistants, so she sat for the exam, passed it and became licensed as a physician assistant before it was full regulated. She was a trailblazer,” said Petersen.

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Marie Mullaney: A father’s love of politics and newspapers sparks a daughter’s passion for history

MarieMullaney006Marie Mullaney remembers that her father, a Newark schoolteacher, loved politics and reading newspapers. “We had newspapers all over the house,” she says. As a child, she would accompany her father to Asbury Park not to go to the beach but to sit in “a newspaper office” that had publications from all over the country. There her father devoured the papers and Mullaney learned to love the world of history and politics. “I had this phenomenal interest.”

Her zeal for history grew as she attended Catholic schools in Newark. When she was in third grade she couldn’t wait to enter fourth grade, which had a social studies curriculum. In eighth grade she wound up memorizing her history book “because I kept reading it and reading it.” And then there was the 1968 presidential election. She recalls the television coverage starting at 2 p.m. and continuing all day. “I was fascinated by the whole process and certainly by Nixon’s story.”

But Mullaney never thought she’d pursue history professionally. “My father kept telling me, ‘You need to get a job.’” With an aptitude for math, she started out in college as a math major, but by the end of her first semester in freshman year, she knew her heart was not in it. She switched to political science until she had a revelation in her international relations class. “I became furious with the instructor and the textbook,” realizing that all of it was “garbage.” Quite simply, she says, “You can’t study political science without knowing history, especially in international relations.”

This “aha” moment shaped her direction. “You needed history before you can get to any sort of theoretical analysis. History is just the fountain of truth.” She graduated from Seton Hall summa cum laude as valedictorian with a double major in history and political science. She always thought she’d go to law school and was accepted into several including Harvard. But her college history professors encouraged her to go to graduate school and to apply for the prestigious Danforth Foundation Fellowship. Mullaney was one of only 65 students nationwide selected to receive the scholarship. “Here I was with all these law school acceptances.” After two weeks in law school, she did a 180 and decided to pursue her passion for history, enrolling in graduate school at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. She was a scholar in feminism, interested in women who were rebels against their societies and in Marxism. “(It’s) actually ironic because I’m a very politically conservative person,” she says.

Realizing how “horrible” the job market was for history students, Mullaney was driven to complete her master’s and her Ph.D. in 4½ years, breaking all kinds of records for her age. “That fear pushed me like you would not believe.” While she was finishing her Ph.D., Rutgers put out a brochure highlighting its upcoming graduates. Caldwell College saw it and hired her as an adjunct to teach a women’s history course. Not long after, she was offered a full-time teaching job. “No search committees; I suppose they checked my references. I don’t know. I was a good Catholic girl,” she says.

Seeing Caldwell’s growth has been most gratifying for Mullaney. She came to Caldwell when it was a small women’s institution. “That was great. I’m still in contact with some of the students. Those were special days, those early years.”

In the 1980s, she was on the committee to determine whether the institution should go coed. Since she had taught at Douglass College, which was then the undergraduate women’s college at Rutgers University, and had studied the history of women’s colleges, she knew it was time for Caldwell to transition.

Her contributions to Caldwell’s growth are numerous—chairing the History Department for 21 years, bringing the history honor society Phi Alpha Theta to campus, creating the political science major, overseeing the department during curriculum revision and the creation of the senior outcomes assessment research process and serving on the Faculty Council as secretary for many years. She returned to work after having each of her three children. After giving birth to her oldest, she was back on campus four days later for graduation.

As a professor, Mullaney has stretched and grown. At the beginning, “We had to teach everything. You would laugh if you knew some of the courses I have taught.” She appreciates being in an environment where professors and teachers can grow and develop. “If I were at a larger institution, I would be stuck teaching whatever specialty I developed in graduate school.” Her Ph.D. is in European history, but her passions have expanded; she loves teaching Western civilization and a range of courses on American history. Her more recent research interests have involved the history of the Catholic Church, and she has created two courses on the topic for the enriched core. “I love the flexibility we are given. If you have an idea, if you have a talent, if you have a desire, you are allowed to run with it, and I think that is terrific.”

Mullaney calls herself “neurotically organized” and has used that attribute to help the university reach lofty goals. Since 1985 she has played a pivotal role in Caldwell’s Middle States reaccreditation processes, chairing the curriculum work group in 1985 and the entire steering committee in 1995. Along with President Nancy Blattner, the board of trustees and the cabinet, she led the most recent Middle States effort in 2015. While most would be happy to be done and to take a rest after a three-year process involving massive documents, just weeks after the completion, Mullaney was heard saying how she missed Middle States. “I loved doing Middle States. You want to help the university, and I’m a historian, a storyteller. We use documents and we support what we say with facts and evidence.”

She makes to-do lists all the time, often on pieces of paper. “I don’t need a fancy computer or smartphone… I get things done. You want something done, give it to me.” But she admits that her “driven” personality can sometimes be tough, even for herself.

Her two sons and one daughter were all swimmers and always knew their mother was there for them. “My daughter said, ‘My mother was at every swim meet.’” She was class mother, involved in her kids’ school committees, and ran “gigantic” parties for her children. “I wound up in the hospital one year with pneumonia for doing that,” she says.

Still, Mullaney says she is most grateful to God for giving her a family and “the health and energy” to do what she has done.

Building relationships with students and keeping in contact with them have been most gratifying. “The history students are the greatest. They become teachers themselves. They ask me for help,” she says.

Mullaney spent a recent sabbatical researching the history of the Katherine Gibbs schools, and she is excited about being able to develop new courses. “After so many years of juggling work and children, I feel even more intellectually alive than I did when I was in graduate school. And it’s a great feeling.”

— CL

“You can’t study political science without knowing history, especially in international relations.”


Things you might not know about Marie Mullaney

If you are talking to her when she is home, it is not unusual for her to say, “Hold the phone. I have to get the cookies out of the oven.”

“I love to decorate. I love to cook. I’m like Martha Stewart with a Ph.D. I cook dinner five nights a week. One of my side specialties is the history of food.”

She is a voracious reader. “In my house I have thousands of books in my collection. To quote Thomas Jefferson, ‘I cannot live without books.’”