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Faculty Feature: Professor Kevin Barnes

Education: It is a Wonderful Life

On a recent visit to observe a graduate student in his classroom internship, Dr. Kevin Barnes turned on his way out and said, “Persevere. Get this done.” Barnes had listened to the student to explain the challenges he was having balancing work, academics, and family, and he understood. As associate dean of the School of Education and the graduate coordinator of the Educational Administration Leadership program, he wants students to know their professors are there to support them as they manage the responsibilities of Picture of Kevin Barnes going to school as adults. Barnes was once in that place himself, working and pursuing advanced degrees with a young family. He remembers the mentors who encouraged him to “persevere because, with these degrees, life becomes better and more opportunities are available to you,” and he wants to make sure the next generation has that encouragement too.

Barnes, who teaches aspiring principals and administrators, brings his master’s and doctoral students nearly four decades of educational insights from New Jersey K-12 schools.

He wants to pass on to his graduate students something of what he was given by his mentors when he was a physical education teacher and a football and track coach in districts including Hillside, Sayreville and Millburn and then in leadership positions in Ringwood, Park Ridge and Caldwell/West Caldwell. He normally stayed about five years in each district. “Always long enough to get tenure,” he explained. It was a strategy that David Paulis, his principal in Ringwood, had encouraged to help novice leaders grow.

Barnes’s passion for education began when he was growing up in Woodbridge, New Jersey, where he had the “very good fortune” to have phenomenal role models as teachers and as coaches. He remembers in high school having the thought that if he could influence people the way his teachers had, it “would be a wonderful life.” When he was playing football at Woodbridge High, college recruiters were coming to his school to pursue a standout player. His coach, Sam Lupo, also encouraged them to look at Barnes, a tight end who had played some outstanding games on a team that had enjoyed a successful season. Barnes ended up with good offers including a full scholarship to play football at the College of William & Mary, which he took. He earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education, health and driver’s education with a minor in classical studies, which included classes in Greek and Roman tragedy and comedy and archaeology.

The Monday after graduating from college, Barnes reported to training camp in Carlyle, Pennsylvania, to start work as a professional and collegiate scout for the Washington Redskins, a job he had gotten through a networking contact from a friend. Scouting had not been a career thought for Barnes, but he took on the adventure and visited five colleges in the Southeast each week, looking at potential pro football players and attending important games on the weekends. It was fun, but after one season he realized he wanted to be back home near his fiancée, his high school sweetheart, Karen.

His first teaching job was in elementary physical education in Hillside, New Jersey, where he also coached football, wrestling, and track; then it was on to Sayreville High School, followed by Millburn High. While at Millburn, a new career path opened up for Barnes when the superintendent, Dr. Paul Rossey, asked to meet with him. Seeing that Barnes had leadership skills, Rossey “did not ask me, [but] told me, that I would be enrolling in a graduate program in educational administration.” Barnes hedged a bit, mentioning all his teaching and coaching responsibilities, his two young kids at home and his summer work. Rossey responded, “Yes, we all do, and in September you will be enrolled in an educational administration program.”

Barnes chose Rutgers, completed his master’s and continued straight on into the doctoral program for which his advisor was internationally known education administration professor Wayne Hoy. He took a position as vice principal at Ryerson Middle School in Ringwood, working under the supervision of Paulis, who hired employees with “zero experience” in education administration so they would have no preconceived notions about what Kevin Barnes during his classadministration meant. At the end of five years, he encouraged his employees to take the ball and run elsewhere with it. Barnes did just that, becoming an elementary school principal at Park Ridge in Bergen County.

Again after five years, it was time to move. This time it was to the Caldwell/West Caldwell public school district, where he had principalships at Wilson Elementary School, Grover Cleveland Middle School, and James Caldwell High School. “The neat part,” he says, is that there was one cohort of students in the Caldwell-West Caldwell District that had him as their principal from kindergarten through senior year. “Every once in a while God calls your bluff,” Barnes says with a laugh.

His entry into college teaching began when he was still at James Caldwell and became an adjunct in a post-baccalaureate program in the Education Division. Barnes enjoyed the work, and after 38 years in public schools, he realized he was ready to retire from K-12 and to focus more on higher education. “If you went full circle, we went into education to teach. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to get back into teaching,” Barnes says.

Today, Barnes enjoys working with the master’s, doctoral and post-baccalaureate students “who show up on time 100 percent of the time because they are paying.”

He also teaches the undergraduate freshman seminar class, a population he is familiar with—“high school seniors three months removed.” Each fall, incoming freshmen in the seminar learn about the nuts and bolts of earning a bachelor’s degree, the different ways professors teach and how to deal with “freshman angst,” he says. They have told him it is comforting for them to hear from him, “You are not going through this alone.”

Barnes has been a first reader for two completed doctoral defenses and is “in the thick of it” with three others at different stages of doctoral preparation. He would meet with the two students who defended for as long as five hours to attempt to get them through the process, he says. It is refreshing to him to see students committed to an area of interest and eager to collect data, analyze it and put it in a “fluid formatted document.” He is grateful to be a part of the Caldwell team, at the “please-and-thank-you university,” as he describes it, where people hold doors for one another and genuinely care.

It is also heartening to teach students who come right out of the classroom and want to make a difference as great school administrators. “They say, ‘I’ve come to realize I can positively influence the lives of 20 to 25 children [in the classroom], but through administration, I might be able to positively influence the lives of ­­200 or 400 or 6,000.’ Those are the people that are doing it for the right reasons,” explains Barnes.

He and Karen are blessed to have three grandchildren and he looks forward to going to his “Tiny Beans” app for a daily feed of photos of the little ones’ adventures and triumphs. Barnes thinks back to that teenager at Woodbridge High School who had an inkling that working in education would be a “wonderful life.” The kid was right. “I would not have had it any other way,” Barnes says. He would do it all over again. “Just like Jimmy Stewart in the iconic Christmas movie said, ‘It’s (been) a wonderful life.”  






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Junior Nursing Students Receive White Coats for Start of Clinicals

Caldwell, N.J., Sept. 11, 2019 – Sixty Caldwell University nursing students in their junior year received their white coats and Humanism in Medicine pins honoring the start of their clinical work in hospitals and health care centers.   

The 5th annual Gold Foundation-Arnold P. Gold Foundation ceremony was held on Sept. 11.  Caldwell University President Nancy Blattner, Associate Dean of the School of Nursing and Public Health Donna Naturale, Director of Undergraduate Nursing Students Kathleen Kelley,  School of Nursing and Public Health faculty, and Assistant Director of the Gold Humanism Honor Society Louisa Tvito, as well as family and friends gathered to celebrate this milestone with the students.

Four of the students shared their experiences in the nursing program.  

Elysee Fearon 

Cedar Grove, NJ

How does it feel to receive your white coat?
It is an amazing feeling to be here today… it signifies our first step to becoming nurses.

Why did you decide to study nursing?
I decided that I wanted to be a nurse after I experienced a tragedy in my life. My father was diagnosed with an aggressive and malignant brain tumor when I was Elysee Fearon16 years old. He was a fighter, but during his last few months, he needed help with his daily activities, such as eating and brushing his teeth. I helped him every day until his last. It was then that I realized I wanted to do this for the rest of my life, helping people in their most difficult times and being able to keep their dignity. I hope that one day I can be that person for someone else. 

What has been most rewarding about Caldwell University’s nursing program?
The most rewarding part of Caldwell’s nursing program is knowing that one day with all of the skills and knowledge I am gaining at Caldwell. I will one day be able to help those who need it most. 

 What area of nursing do you think you would like to pursue?
One day I would love to be a nurse in an ICU unit or possibly an oncology nurse. 

 Your advice to incoming nursing students?
My advice for incoming nursing students is to put your heart into nursing. You will pick up the skills and the knowledge throughout the years, but it is most important to love what you do and be truly passionate about wanting to help others. The rest will fall into place (with hard work and studying, of course)!

Killian Gesicki

I grew up in Parsippany, New Jersey and moved to Montville, New Jersey six years ago. 

How does it feel to receive your white coat?
I’m relieved and excited. Killain Gesicki

Why did you decide to study nursing?
I decided to pursue nursing because of the impact I can have on others and caring for those who cannot fully take care of themselves. I also enjoy learning new topics and the different fields in nursing you can work in. Before our first day of nursing school, I was very nervous but after the first week my nerves calmed down. 

What has been most rewarding about Caldwell University’s nursing program?
Caldwell’s nursing program is very rewarding because of all the professors I have. They want you to succeed and be an amazing nurse and work to your full potential. Knowing that they are always there when I need them,  have a question or don’t understand a topic makes this program one of a kind. They set you up for success!

What area of nursing do you think you would like to pursue?
Once I am done with nursing school and pass my NCLEX I would love to work as a critical care nurse and specialize in neonatal intensive care. My brother and sister were two months premature and spent the beginning stages of their newborn life in the NICU. The nurses in the NICU were very knowledgeable and took amazing care of my brother and sister and I want to be that kind of nurse. I want to be that nurse who the parents will remember that took care of their newborn baby. I will have the strength and knowledge to take care of them because of this program. 

Your advice to incoming nursing students?
My advice to any incoming nursing student would be to study, read ahead, organize yourself, get a whiteboard, and breath because ‘you got this’! Nursing is a hard major but it is a very rewarding career. Just remember, you made it this far and got into a nursing program which is a huge accomplishment in itself.                    

Peter Toscak

Linden, New Jersey.

 How did it feel to receive your white coat?
It feels like the true accumulation of all my past successes for the work I put in. 

Why did you decide to study nursing?
The decision to pursue nursing was a decision that took a very long time to Peter Topscakmake. I initially began working at a hospital at 18 years old assisting doctors of physical therapy in providing post-surgical/ burn rehabilitation therapy to patients. My initial dream was to care for people and I believed that rehabilitating patients was my way of doing it. While working at the hospital, I slowly lost interest due to the monotonous repetition that was my everyday work life. There was barely any time to build rapport with my patients and often times the real hands-on care was delivered by the nurses. This discovery of the nursing profession allowed me to examine just how amazing nurses are, as well as how much good a competent nurse can bring to the world.

 What has been most rewarding about Caldwell University’s nursing program?
The nursing program here at Caldwell has been extremely rewarding because it has allowed me to connect with amazing individuals and learn from the best nurses in the country. Additionally, the first time I donned my stethoscope around my neck; wearing it proudly, it was very symbolic to me of the journey I am embarking on.

 What area of nursing do you think you would like to pursue?
I am hoping for the opportunity to be commissioned into the military and practice my nursing while also serving my country. Regardless of this opportunity coming to fruition or not, I want to specialize in critical care. Specifically, I would like to be working in an emergency department or an intensive care unit.

 Your advice to incoming nursing students?
The school work comes quick, so don’t let yourself fall behind for even just a second. You’ll want to practice your nursing at a high degree of competency, and since every class counts towards that, you need to build a strong foundation. This, in turn, will allow you to practice with great autonomy, making you stand out amongst your peers, and eventually amongst your colleagues.

Tricia Florexil

Irvington, New Jersey  

How does it feel to receive your white coat?
It is a great experience because it means I’m stepping into the real nursing world.

Why did you decide to study nursing?
I’ve always had an interest in the health/medical field and I found that nursing was more flexible with the specialties and it provides an opportunity to build a Tricia Florexil connection with patients.

What has been most rewarding about Caldwell University’s nursing program?
I like the close-knit community and easy access (and open) help from the professors.

What area of nursing do you think you would like to pursue?
I’m currently focused on the labor and delivery unit and hope to advance to becoming a midwife. 

  Your advice to incoming nursing students?
My advice to incoming freshmen is to not be afraid of feeling nervous because everyone is. Really be open and have a great experience as a college student for the first two years because once you start your nursing courses, you really have to devote the majority of your time to nursing. 

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Science Students Learn New Research Skills in Internships

Caldwell, N.J., Sep. 9, 2019- Several students from Caldwell University’s Department of Natural Sciences participated in summer research internships taking them all across the United States. The internships challenged the students academically and gave them clarity or confirmation for their future endeavors.

For the second summer, Marina Schlaepfer, a junior majoring in biology and Marina Schlaepfer during her internshipminoring in chemistry, returned to the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus to participate in the Gates Summer Internship Program. Over the course of 11 weeks, interning with 20 other students, Schlaepfer explored cardiology under Lori Walker, Ph.D.

“Specifically, I researched unlocking the plasticity of cardiac myocytes to harness the regenerative potential of the heart,” Schlaepfer explained. “I was able to identify unique cellular signaling pathways and factors from cardiac fibroblasts that can contribute to cardiac myocytes being more proliferative and fetal-like [or dedifferentiated].”

When a person suffers a heart attack, the muscle cells of the heart, cardiac myocytes, usually die instead of regenerating, but according to Schlaepfer, Walker’s lab had found that some other mature heart cells can become less mature and then turn into myocytes, allowing the heart to replace the damaged muscle cells.

Completing the internship confirmed to her that she wants to pursue cardiology.

“I have always known I loved cardiology, and this just made me realize how much I truly love it,” she said. “The heart is so fascinating to me, as it’s such a hardworking machine.”

Schlaepfer is considering taking an M.D.-Ph.D. route so she can become a clinician-scientist or a physician who also conducts research.

In addition to Dr. Lori, Schlaepfer said she was thankful to senior research assistant Yanmei Du for providing guidance on her project.

Kofi Mireku, a senior, also conducted his research at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus as part of the cancer research summer fellowship program at the campus’s Cancer Center.Kofi Mireku during his internship

Under the supervision of Dr. Medhi Fini, a doctor-researcher and assistant professor at the Anschutz Medical Campus Center of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Diseases, Mireku conducted his research in the field of breast cancer.

“We began a pilot study on xanthine oxidoreductase and ROS [reactive oxygen species]   tolerance on E0771 breast cancer cells,” Mireku said.

Before this experience, Mireku had never worked with animals or on in vivo techniques. Inoculating the mammary glands of premenopausal and postmenopausal mice with the E0771 breast cancer cells, Mireku measured for tumor growth in both groups.

While collecting data, however, he and Fini accidentally found that the genes that code for XOR—an enzyme that generates ROS, a molecule believed to encourage cancer growth—appeared to have been removed from the tumor growth in postmenopausal mice.

This led Fini and Mireku to hypothesize that XOR plays a significant role in controlling the function of fibroblasts found in the breast.

Though the research is ongoing, Mireku said he finished the first phase and shared his data with the academic community in a poster presentation on campus.

Thanks to this internship, Mireku said he fulfilled his goal of understanding the dynamics of being both a medical professional and a researcher, which cemented his conviction to pursue a career in medicine. He was also able to network with other professionals, which led him to another opportunity over the summer that exposed him to clinical experiences.

Aarion Romany, an international student from  Trinidad and Tobago,  a senior majoring in chemistry and minoring in marketing, found it challenging to find a research program that would accept an international student. After applying to several programs, Romany was accepted for the summer undergraduate research fellowship program offered by the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.Aarion Romany during his internship

“There I was assigned a mentor who was a funded principal investigator,” Romany said. “The lab I joined studies a protein called human DNA helicase B (HELB). It is a protein that is involved in repairing our DNA as it’s damaged.”

Although this was his second internship, Romany said it was the first time he had conducted research at an R01 institution, one that receives large research grants from the National Institutes of Health. Romany said that the internship “was a wonderful experience” and that he plans to go to graduate school.

Romany advised other international students who are looking for research internships not to give up or to “limit the scope of where you look for research opportunities.” He encouraged exploring possibilities throughout the United States because that’s what led him to Arkansas, but he said the best place to start is at Caldwell University’s independent undergraduate research program. “Through this program I was prepared for conducting research, troubleshooting, thinking, and even giving presentations,” he said.

Keith Kyewalabye, a junior majoring in biology and minoring in music, who is an international student hailing from Uganda, also had difficulty finding research opportunities.

Over two summers, Kyewalabye applied to more than 40 programs and finally was accepted to two for the summer. He chose the summer undergraduate research program held at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas.Keith during his internship

“I was doing cancer research. More specifically, the project I was working on was helping to understand this gene called ATM,” he said. “I was studying the effects of a mutation on this gene [and] its expression.”

ATM, or ataxia telangiectasia-mutated, plays an important role in fixing damaged DNA by releasing a protein to repair mutations. However, Kyewalabye explained that some cancers might mutate the gene, causing it to release a “defunct protein” that cannot repair DNA well. The Food and Drug Administration, he noted, has approved drugs that target the mutated ATM, shutting down its ability to repair cancerous DNA, thus causing the cancer to die.

Kyewalabye said some people who have the mutated ATM gene, and who are expected to respond well to the medication, do not respond as anticipated, because not all mutated ATM genes produce a defunct protein.

“I was trying to understand what types of mutations result in defunct proteins and what types of mutations leave proteins working.”

Kyewalabye found his internship experience insightful, and he realized that one can work in a clinical setting and in research. He hopes to become a neurosurgeon and is considering applying to M.D.-Ph.D. programs.

Right across the street from where Kyewalabye was conducting his research, Ngima Sherpa, a biology and chemistry major who is set to graduate in December 2019, was conducting her research as part of the summer biomedical research internship or SMART program at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston.

“I did not know her before, but a mutual friend of ours told me she was in Houston as well, working in a hospital across the street from me, and we eventually got into contact and connected over the summer,” Kyewalabye said.

“We bonded quickly,” Sherpa said. “It was really nice to meet someone from home in a new town.”

During her nine weeks at BCM, Sherpa worked at the Center for Drug Discovery in the lab of Dr. Dr. Nihan Ucisik and Dr. Martin Matzuk.Ngima Sherpa presenting her research project

“I was new to the lab’s research area of drug repurposing through computational chemistry, given my previous background in biological research, but my mentors were very instrumental in helping me learn the concepts of computational chemistry and different cheminformatic techniques,” Sherpa said.

BCM “is an incredible hub for cutting-edge scientific research, providing the perfect environment for thriving young scientists,” she said. Because of her research experience, Sherpa decided to pursue a Ph.D. She will be giving a presentation on her research in Hawaii this fall.

Fellow senior Shreyoshi Hossain, a biology major minoring in chemistry and business, participated in a summer internship at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island where she worked on a computational biology project.

“I was quite nervous for a couple of reasons, firstly because this was the first time I would be working with a programming language and second because I would be working in the institution ranked number one in academic research worldwide by the scientific journal Nature,” Hossain said.

Luckily, with the support of her mentor, Dr. Hannah Meyer, Hossain was encouraged to learn through trial and error, and by the end of her internship she had mastered a new programming language called R, written a 20-page paper titled “Literature Mining for Human Pathogens” and presented her research to experienced scientists.Shreyoshi during her internship

“Although it was an intense few weeks, I am so grateful for the experience,” Hossain said.

In addition to conducting research during their internships, students attended seminars where they met professional researchers and learned about their fields. In some cases, they had an opportunity to shadow physicians.

Among the other students doing research this summer were Amelia Biswas, who worked at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and Prasad Gyawali, who interned at the Henry E. Riggs School of Applied Life Sciences at the Keck Graduate Institute in California as part of the Bioprocessing Summer Undergraduate Internship Training and Education Program.

–          Deborah Balthazar ’17




Caldwell University President Blattner to Step Down June 2020

Caldwell University Beginning an Immediate Search 

President Nancy BlattnerCaldwell, N.J., Sept. 9, 2019 – Caldwell University President Nancy Blattner has informed the Caldwell University Board of Trustees that she will conclude her presidency at the end of this academic year, in June 2020, coinciding with the terms of her current contract. Dr. Blattner has been appointed the next president at Fontbonne University in her home state of Missouri and will assume that new role on July 1, 2020. 

Caldwell’s Board of Trustees will begin an immediate search for the university’s next president.

Laurita Warner, Chair of the Caldwell University Board of Trustees, said the university is grateful to Dr. Blattner for her leadership over the last 10 years.  “With Dr. Blattner’s energy and initiative, the university has achieved many significant milestones and Caldwell students have flourished because of her care, understanding, and belief in them.”  

Dr. Blattner said she is grateful for having had the chance to be a part of the Caldwell family.  “From the moment Tim and I first stepped foot on the Caldwell campus during the interview process, we felt a sense of community and an appreciation for the institution’s Catholic Dominican mission. When we moved to New Jersey more than 10 years ago, we left behind family and friends as we immersed ourselves in a new tradition, and now, it is time in our personal lives to return to those who remained in Missouri. I am grateful for the people who welcomed us, for the experiences we’ve shared with the campus community, for outstanding colleagues on the leadership team, and for the opportunity to lead a vibrant campus that lives out its mission and puts students at the center of its existence.”

Dr. Blattner is the university’s first lay president. Her many accomplishments at Caldwell have included: 

  • Achieving university status.
  • Boosting undergraduate enrollment in welcoming Caldwell University’s largest freshman classes in 2017, 2018 and 2019. 
  • Leading in advancing Caldwell University’s rankings on the U.S. News &  World Report Best Colleges lists. 
  • Overseeing the creation of state-of-the-art nursing labs and the new Eileen Jones Multicultural Center.
  • Overseeing the implementation of new academic programs and athletic sports including sprint football and men’s lacrosse. 
  • Innovatively repurposing building space in many areas on campus.
  • Relocating and overseeing the construction for the campus chapel in a central location for students, faculty, staff and visitors.  
  • Starting the mission trips to Belize, the annual community service Caldwell Day to give back to the borough of Caldwell and the State of New Jersey, the study-abroad course in Rome and the Dominican Formation Program for faculty and staff.
  • Advancing Caldwell University and higher education in her service on state and national higher education organizations and in establishing relationships with donors and alumni and in the community. 


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Caldwell University Ranked NJ’s Best-Value School for Regional Universities by U.S. News & World Report

US News and World Report - Best Colleges - Regional Universities 2020 US News and World Report - Best Colleges - Best Value 2020 US News and World Report - Best Colleges - Social Mobility 2020

Caldwell, N.J., Sept. 9, 2019 – Caldwell University is the Best Value school in New Jersey and number 18 overall in the “Best Value Schools” in the Regional Universities North category, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 Best Colleges list. Caldwell moved up seven spots on the Best Value Schools list from the 2019 rankings.

Caldwell University was also noted in the rankings of Regional Universities in the North as a top performer for Social Mobility, Ethnic Diversity and Most International Students. Additionally Caldwell is ranked among the top 75 regional universities in the North.

Stephen Quinn, acting vice president of enrollment management and communications, said this year’s rankings are some of the best for Caldwell University. “We are thrilled that the U.S. News & World Report shows us as the best value in New Jersey and among the top 20 for best value schools in the Regional Universities North category. We are reaching those milestones by offering a cost-effective, strong academic education with a focus on each individual student’s aspirations and goals.”

As explained by U.S. News & World Report, the Best Value calculation “takes into account a school’s academic quality, as indicated by its 2020 U.S. News Best Colleges ranking, and the 2017-2018 net cost of attendance for a student who received the average level of need-based financial aid. The higher the quality of the program and the lower the cost, the better the deal.”

This fall Caldwell welcomed its second-largest freshman class in its history with students hailing from 13 states and 14 countries and with 67 percent identifying as students of color.

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Art Historian to Present “Illuminating Scripture: An Analysis of Imagery from The Saint John’s Bible”

Luke Anthology by Donald Jackson

Luke Anthology, Donald Jackson with contributions from Aidan Hart and Sally Mae Joseph, Copyright 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Thursday, Sept. 26, 4:30 p.m. – “Illuminating Scripture: An Analysis of Imagery from The Saint John’s Bible” will be the topic of a presentation given by Jennifer Noonan, Ph.D. the Alvin R. Calman professor of art history at Caldwell University. It will be held in the Alumni Theatre on campus.  The lecture is part of the Sister Maura Campbell series and is being presented by the Department of Theology and Philosophy. 

The Saint John’s Bible is the first handwritten and illuminated Bible since the invention of the printing press in the 15th century. Caldwell is hosting the Heritage Edition of the Gospels and Acts volume, a work of art that unites the ancient Benedictine tradition with today’s technology and vision.

Noonan’s talk will address the production of The Saint John’s Bible and the collaborative acts that led to the manuscript’s creation and will analyze the images within the book. This visual analysis specifically considers how the illuminations in The Saint John’s Bible echo symbolic imagery found in medieval manuscripts and at the same time engage more contemporary images and, as a result, reflect broader artistic practices.

The lecture is free and open to the public. It is being presented as part of Caldwell University’s Year with The Saint John’s Bible and the Department of Theology and Philosophy’s Sister Maura Campbell lecture series. Sister Maura was a Sister of St. Dominic of Caldwell, a theologian, philosopher, professor, researcher and national leader in education whose scholarship and teaching spanned 50 years. For further information, call 973-618-3931.

Noonan teaches classes that cover the history of art and a course she developed on “The Art & Architecture in the Roman Catholic World.” Her research focuses on modern and contemporary art with a particular emphasis on printmaking. Her scholarship considers ways in which both the process and the object carry aesthetic and conceptual weight. Her research has entailed an examination of work by Vito Acconci, Bruce Conner David Hammons and Joyce Wieland.

Noonan’s current project looks at the 1970 Venice Biennale and considers how it fits into the International Art Program’s (a division of what is now known as the Smithsonian American Art Museum) larger practice of sending prints and print studios abroad. She has received support for this project from the Glady Krieble Delmas Foundation and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, where she was the Terra Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in residence during the 2017-2018 academic year.

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“10 Lessons in Career Development” lecture with JP Morgan Chase Executive Alma DeMetropolis, Oct. 1

Caldwell, N.J., Aug. 26, 2019 – “10 Lessons in Career Development” will be the topic of a lecture given by JP Morgan Chase executive Alma DeMetropolis, CFA, CFP, 5 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 1 at Caldwell University.   The presentation is free and open to the public and will be held in the Alumni Theatre on campus.

Alma Demetropolis HeadshotDemetropolis is New Jersey Market President for JPMorgan Chase & Co. and NJ Market Manager for J.P. Morgan Private Bank.  She provides executive leadership across the firm’s lines of business as well as community and employment engagement. She joined J.P. Morgan in 1992 and has been advising families, endowments and foundations on a broad range of wealth matters and managing investment portfolios for over 20 years. DeMetropolis worked for seven years on foreign assignments in Latin America and Europe.

She serves on boards for the Liberty Science Center, Community Food Bank of New Jersey, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, SciTech Scity and Nature Conservancy NJ Advisory Council. She previously served on the Cornell University Dean’s Advisory Council and the New Providence Education Foundation. She was recognized as a Top 100 Financial Adviser by the Financial Times in 2014 and by NJBIZ as one of the Best Fifty Women in Business for 2012.

DeMetropolis holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University and is fluent in Spanish and Greek. She is a certified financial planner, a chartered financial analyst and a member of the CFA Institute and the New York Society of Security Analysts.

Demotropolis held a roundtable with Caldwell University business students at JP Morgan’s offices in Summit, New Jersey in 2018. She was honored at the Caldwell University 2018 Presidential Scholarship Gala.

Watch here the video of Alma Demtropolis with Caldwell University students.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HD9sD2JLzfE .

To RSVP for the lecture, contact Melissa Cook by Sept. 30 at mecook@caldwell.edu.

About J.P. Morgan Private Bank

J.P. Morgan is a global leader in financial services to corporations, governments, for-profit and not-for-profit institutions and wealthy individuals. Through the Private Bank at J.P. Morgan, the firm delivers customized wealth management advice and solutions to wealthy individuals and their families, leveraging its broad capabilities in investing, family office management, philanthropy, credit, fiduciary services and special advisory services to help its clients advance toward their own particular goals. For more than 150 years, the Private Bank’s comprehensive and integrated product offering, commitment to innovation and integrity, and focus on placing the interests of its clients first and foremost have made J.P. Morgan an advisor of choice to people of significant wealth around the world.


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Caldwell University Welcomes the Class of 2023

New Student Convocation 4
New Student Convocation 3
New Student Convocation 2
New Student Convocation 3
Move In Day 2
Move In Day_

Caldwell, N.J., Aug. 27, 2019 – Caldwell University welcomed the class of 2023 at its New Student Convocation on Monday, August 26, 2019.

Barbara Chesler, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs, opened the ceremony, saying it was the 80th year of Caldwell University, “a joyous time” to celebrate the rich history and look forward to the future with new students.

Over 500 incoming students including 450 freshmen, representing 13 states and 14 countries, are beginning their university careers at Caldwell this semester.  The university had a record-breaking number of applications at 4,801 and its highest number of acceptances at 3,326. Caldwell continues to enroll a diverse population of students with 67% of the incoming freshmen identifying as students of color.

At convocation, President Nancy H. Blattner recognized the students who had made the dean’s list for the fall and spring semesters of 2018-19 and were receiving special pins.  She urged the incoming students to see the dean’s list students as role models and to make it a goal to be where they are next year.

Blattner encouraged the new students to learn about Caldwell’s rich history and its commitment to the Dominican pillars of prayer, service, community and study.  Whether a resident or commuter student, “participate fully as a community member at Caldwell,” she said. “We care about you and are excited that you are becoming a part of the Caldwell University community.”   Pointing out that one of the pillars is service, Blattner said she was asking each student to participate in one service activity during their university careers. “I hope you do more,” she said explaining that the university offers many opportunities for volunteerism locally and internationally.  “Part of our mission is to graduate students who contribute to a just society,” she said.

Sister Kathleen Tuite, O.P., vice president for student life, described the Caldwell University seal on the pendant that was given to each new student.  The red symbolizes the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the gold, His kingship, said Sister.  Inscribed in the seal is the university’s motto, “Sapientia et Scientia,” which means wisdom and knowledge and is derived from the Litany of the Sacred Heart.  The golden sun represents St. Thomas Aquinas, the patron saint of Catholic Schools. This coat of arms, said Sister Kathleen, is a reminder to the students to be involved and to be leaders in today’s world.  “Wear your pendant proudly.”

Orges Rrapaj ’21, president of the Student Government Association, led the new students in a pledge affirming their support and commitment to the Catholic Dominican education of Caldwell University. “Today you are accepting an incredible opportunity to begin this new chapter at Caldwell University,” he said.   “Make this journey everything you want it to be; be willing to move out of your comfort zone and take whatever Caldwell has to offer.”

The class of 2023 prayer was led by Michael Angelos ’23.  Campus Ministry Director Colleen O’Brien gave the invocation and Sister Joanne Beirne, O.P., delivered the blessing.    The processional music was provided by the university’s drumline directed by university music faculty member Rebecca Vega and alumnus John Piopol.

Other Welcome Weekend activities included information sessions, a barbeque hosted at President Blattner’s home, a trip to Great Adventure and opportunities to learn about the Dominican mission and meet with the Sisters of St. Dominic of Caldwell.

Prior to the weekend, Campus Ministry offered its FIRST (Freshmen Immersion into Reflection Service and Tradition) program to incoming freshmen. Over the course of three days, 16 freshmen and five upper-class leaders had the chance to meet and have dinner with the Sisters of Saint Dominic and with President Blattner and to build community with each other before starting the semester. They did community service with First Friends of NJ/NY, the Caldwell Environmental Commission and the Op Shop at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Roseland, New Jersey.




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Mueller Gallery to Present Exhibitions on US-Mexico Border, Historical Crowns

"Panel 1 - Plazas and Parks" by Dionisio Cortes Ortega
 ‘1560’ by Mauricio Cortes

Caldwell, N.J., Aug. 16, 2019 – The Mueller Gallery at Caldwell University will open its 2019-20 season Sept. 4 with exhibitions on historical crowns and the U.S,-Mexico border.  “Mauricio Cortes Ortega: Scin-til-late” and “Dionisio Cortes Ortega: Blurred Boundarieswill be on view Sept. 4 to Oct. 8.  The public is invited to a talk with both artists from 5 to 6 p.m. followed by a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 4.  The exhibitions are free and open to the public. 

“Scin-til-late” brings together recent work derived from research on historical crowns such as the Crown of the Andesa 17th century votive crown made in Colombia. The crown, purportedly made from melted down Inca objects and stolen emeralds from the last emperor, was sold to a Chicago jeweler in the 20th century and subsequently paraded at fairs, car shows and fancy dinners and finally acquired by the MET in 2015. Mauricio’s work reimagines history and corrupted splendor, complex and historical objects imbued with untold stories; alternative interpretations emerge from disfigured symbols and the redaction of the decorative.

“Blurred Boundaries” is a photography and video installation that challenges the perceived differences between the United States and Mexico. The work consists of recent images taken in two sets of cities in the USA and Mexico: Chicago, Illinois-Saltilllo, Mexico and Brownsville, Texas-Matamoros, Mexico.  These visuals are juxtaposed and presented on custom-made stereoscopic devices with the intention of mixing and blurring the identity of each photograph. Still and moving imagery are paired by location and feature everyday scenes of life in places such as markets, schools, and parks among many others. Cortes Ortega says that his exhibition draws its foundation from the public discourse on immigration that has emphasized the differences on either side of the border, differences that were rooted at the dawn of colonization and have grown over time and with ongoing political agendas. “Blurred Boundaries” seeks to puzzle the viewer by showing indistinguishable images from either side of the divide. This exercise enables viewers to question how the assumed differences dissipate, exposing the porous nature of physical and metaphysical borders. 

For information on the exhibitions, go to www.caldwell.edu/gallery or call 973-618-3238


Mauricio Cortes Ortega is an artist and educator living and working in New York. His independent and collaborative projects reflect on histories of colonialism in the Americas that have reshaped everyday symbols, religious idols and craft production. Ortega is interested in making objects and images inspired by the dramatic history of colonial America. His paintings, drawings and sculptures depict shrouded objects like crowns, hoods and other bodily adornments. In his paintings and drawings, he uses bingo markers and glitter pens to achieve shimmering and vibrant effects. He often employs line patterns, a visual connection to his hometown’s historical production of the Mexican Saltillo sarape: intricate textiles that trace colonial history through changes in design, material, and function in society. For his sculptures, he glazes the ceramic pieces in a super high gloss black for a deep mirror finish; each sculpture stands as an individual object but when brought together represent a growing still-life collection. 

Dionisio Cortes Ortega holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from The Cooper Union in New York City.  In addition to the numerous life drawing classes, Ortega took film and photography in the art school, all of which influenced his artistic and professional practice. Recently his work has focused on tackling social and political issues including: the series of missing 43 Ayotzinapa students in Mexico; the upheavals along the border between Mexico and the United States; and the current state of the justice system in the United States. Ortega has worked with number of different media. Currently he is shooting photography and creating large scale sculptures. Dionisio is also a registered architect in the State of New York and has a studio in the Bronx.


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Caldwell Student Serves in Puerto Rico with Dominican Young Adults


Caldwell, N.J., Aug. 8, 2019 – Anamika Sharma Paudel knows what it is like when a country is hit by a natural disaster. The Caldwell University international student from Nepal experienced the devastating earthquake that pounded her nation in 2015. It changed her life and she emerged knowing she wanted to pay back the people who had reached out to help her beloved Nepal.

Paudel had the chance to “pay it forward” this summer when she joined other young adults and two Dominican Sisters for a 7-day mission to help the people of Puerto Rico, who are still reeling from category-four Hurricane Maria, which slammed the country in 2017.

Paudel, along with Sister Pat Stringer, O.P., a Sister of St. Dominic of Caldwell, and the other travelers, helped repair and rebuild homes and planted crops. They learned about farming and afforestation, the process of planting trees to create a forest. And they stood with the people of Puerto Rico during the protests against government corruption. Along the way, they met special people who opened their hearts and homes and shared their culture and their struggles. “We heard their stories, prayed together, ate together like a family,” said Paudel, a senior majoring in health care administration and minoring in communication and media studies.

Paudel recalled meeting a man who joyfully told of his love for the environment and his coffee farms and taught them how to plant coffee samplings. A silver lining from the hurricane was that the ground became more fertile and new plants have arisen where they had never grown before. “I saw such content on this man’s face that it was clear to me how one would feel when he found his purpose in life,” said Paudel.

They learned more about planting from a 16-year-old boy who had turned an abandoned school into an agricultural research center with funding from the United States. Paudel was impressed with his skills, purpose and humility. “At such a young age, he has done so much for his community.” His family hosted the group for lunch; “we sang together and blessed each other,” Paudel said. The encounter taught her “how beautiful a simple life is and that it had purpose.”

Paudel was thankful for the friendships she forged with the young adults from other Dominican institutions. “We all came from different walks of life; we were in different phases of our lives, but we shared the common values of community, service, integrity, compassion and friendship.”

Stringer, promoter of Dominican life and charism for the Caldwell Dominicans, was also grateful to be a part of this “special group of young people” on an adventure during which they received far more than what they gave. “I believe that each of us was changed for the better by this experience and came away appreciating all that we have been given.”

Paudel, vice president of the Student Government Association, says she  has come back “rejuvenated,” knowing “the value of true contentment found in service,” and she hopes other Caldwell students are inspired to take community service opportunities “which will change their lives for better, forever.”