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Caldwell University Named a College of Distinction

College of Distinction 2019-2020

Caldwell University has been named a 2019-2020 College of Distinction.The university has been recognized for its successful delivery of four distinctions—engaged students, great teaching, vibrant community and successful outcomes.

The university was also acknowledged with 2019-20 awards as Business College of Distinction,Education College of Distinction, Nursing College of Distinction and Catholic College of Distinction.

Stephen Quinn, acting vice president for enrollment management and communications, says the awards reaffirm areas of strength at Caldwell. “We are delighted to be acknowledged in areas where we are exemplary in serving our students and preparing them for the global marketplace.”

The university is offering a new Bachelor of Science degree in esports management and a new fully online Master of Science degree in nursing in population health; it is relaunching its Bachelor of Science degree in computer science.

About Colleges of Distinction: Colleges of Distinction has recognized and honored schools throughout the United States for excellence in undergraduate-focused higher education for over 15 years. The member schools within the Colleges of Distinction consortium distinguish themselves through their focus on the undergraduate experience. For more information, visit CollegesofDistinction.com.

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Health Sciences Grad Receives Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship for Medical School


Favour Garuba recipient of Phi Kappa Phi fellowship

Favour Garuba ’19 is the recipient of a Phi Kappa Phi fellowship. She will be attending Washington University School of Medicine in the fall on a full scholarship.

Recent graduate Favour Garuba is the recipient of a fellowship from the prestigious honor society Phi Kappa Phi.  PKP awards the grants to members who are starting their first year of graduate or professional study.  Garuba, who received her bachelor’s in health sciences May 19, will be entering Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis in the fall on a full scholarship.

Garuba was active in community service during her undergraduate years including spearheading the Phi Kappa Phi book drive for Autism Awareness month in April where students collected over 300 books for The Learning Center for Exceptional Children in Clifton, New Jersey.

She was thrilled when she found out that she was selected for fellowship. “Once I read the email, I felt grateful, honored, and humbled,” and she felt like a load was lifted off her shoulders, “All I could really say was ‘thank God.’”

Lynne Alleger, associate faculty member in the Academic Success Center and president of Caldwell’s chapter of PKP, worked closely with Garuba on the project.  “Even with mid-terms looming and graduation quickly approaching, Favour was always ready and willing to meet, make suggestions, and coordinate with our book drive recipient.”

Alleger is also proud of the other student leaders, Chennelle Lawrence, Roksana Korbi and Anwar Khalil for “their diligence in getting the book drive off the ground in a very short period of time and securing a very grateful recipient…all of the young women were more than motivated to meet with me and get the ball rolling on our agendas.”

Garuba, an international student from Nigeria, is grateful to the Phi Kappa Phi Chapter at Caldwell for nominating her, to the professors in the Natural  Sciences Department who wrote recommendation letters and to “the countless other individuals” at Caldwell who helped her achieve her goals.   She is looking forward to starting her medical studies so she can use her gifts to help those in need. “I would like to dedicate my services as a physician and researcher to improve health in a way that reaches every community, including those in disadvantaged areas.”

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Business Student’s Apprenticeship Provides In-depth Human Resources Training

“All schools should be making this a priority. It should be across the board,” says Caldwell University business student Crystal Zamora of her human resources apprenticeship program.  Zamora is the first federally registered human resources apprentice in the U.S. thanks to a partnership with the Employers Association of New Jersey.

Crystal Zamora

Zamora, who is majoring in business administration and minoring in human resources, has worked in HR for the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey where among her duties she assisted with payroll and planned a wellness program, and she is currently working in HR at Mott MacDonald, a national engineering firm in Iselin, New Jersey. “The companies I have had the honor of working with have given me such invaluable experiences,” she said.   The networking has been one of the highlights of the apprenticeship.  “There are so many professionals who are willing to help me.”

Apprenticeships are different than internships since students have the opportunity to work for two to three years immersing themselves in the business experiences.   John Sarno, president of EANJ, says most of the students, like Zamora, are the first in their families to attend college and they are “totally committed to their career development, working and attending classes full-time, a long-term commitment that requires the utmost endurance.”

Zamora, who will graduate in December and continue in Caldwell’s MBA program, is applying  concepts she learned in the classroom to “real life experiences” as she is exposed to areas of HR like the Affordable Care Act and Occupational Safety and Health Administration reporting, bargaining agreements, recruitment and promotion, and harassment issues.  EANJ has given her the opportunity to attend classes on human resources administration and law and compensation.

The US Department of Labor is promoting apprenticeships following the 2017 executive order to expand the programs. According to the US Department of Labor, nationally registered apprenticeships are becoming increasing available with reportedly 585,000 in 2018 compared with 375,000 in 2013. Graduates who have had apprenticeships are attractive to employers because they have on the job experience.

Sheila O’Rourke, Caldwell’s vice president of institutional effectiveness and member of EANJ’s board, is happy that Caldwell is one of the first to embrace this way of giving students more in-depth work experiences. “Crystal worked in our Human Resources office at Caldwell University before she started her apprenticeship.  There, I had the pleasure of getting to know her, and to witness firsthand her eagerness to learn and her strong work ethic.  Crystal will be an asset to any HR office lucky enough to employ her.”

Zamora recommends apprenticeships to students in any majors for their personal and professional development. “I hope more of these apprenticeship programs come to life,” she said, because it gives students solid experience and “enhances the connection” between class instruction and the field work.

Virginia Rich, associate dean of the School of Business and Computer Science, says the program is a terrific opportunity for employers to groom a potential employee to meet their firm’s unique needs and is one of the best active learning experiences a student could have. “Through industry experience, the lessons we teach in the classroom are reinforced in a tremendously meaningful way. And the employers benefit from the valuable work apprentices provide.”

Zamora is grateful to Rich and business faculty member Helen McGowan for introducing her to the program. “They have guided me throughout the entire experience.” She knows it has put her on the right path. “I have realized this is something I would love to do and a career I could see myself happy in.”

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Dominican Preaching Conference Opens Students’ Eyes to “Wide, yet Connected World”

Participants of the Dominican Preaching Conference
Participants of the Dominican Preaching Conference
Participants of the Dominican Preaching Conference_
Participants of the Dominican Preaching Conference
Volunteers for the Dominican Preaching Conference
Caldwell Students Volunteers for the Conference
Participants of the Dominican Preaching Conference
Participants of the Dominican Preaching Conference
Participants of the Dominican Preaching Conference

Caldwell, N.J., June 5, 2019 – Isabelle Pioch came away from the annual Dominican Preaching Conference full of ideas that she would like to bring back to her campus and incorporate into her own life.   From a service day to possibly visiting detention centers to focusing more on contemplation, Pioch is looking forward to taking what she learned and putting it into action.  The Siena Heights University student joined 35 other students from Dominican colleges and universities at Caldwell University May 21-26 to explore how the Catholic Dominican tradition can be a part of their everyday lives.  “I am also going to continue expressing my faith through my artworks and projects,” said Pioch, a graphic design major.  Madison Perry, a biology student at Caldwell, was happy to discover that “preaching is not just standing behind a pulpit but can be expressed through art forms and service.”

Speakers presented on topics such as the Saints of the Order, The Dominican Family, Preaching the Signs of the Times, Preaching Through Service and Preaching Through Art.  In “Saints of the Order,”  “St. Dominic” portrayed by Patrick Spedale, campus minister at St. Pius X High School in Houston, spoke about “holy preaching” and encouraged the students to see that there is “a great need for great preachers of truth today.” Dominicans “love to study and study to love,” he said, and it is important to have “the Bible in one hand and the iPad in the other in order to read the signs of the times.” Dominic was “destined to do great things in life in the name of Jesus Christ,” said Spedale, and he encouraged the students to do the same in striving for the best in their lives.

A session on social justice included topics such as immigration, climate change, human trafficking, economic justice, and peace and security. The students were encouraged to look for solutions for famine, war, prejudice, racism, and sexism through advocacy, fundraising, and by asking systemic questions and look for answers.

Perry enjoyed meeting other students from across the United States.  “Despite not being Catholic, this conference has helped me grow closer to God and I was happy to have met such an accepting community of students, mentors, and staff.”    It was an empowering conference, said Pioch, “and really opened my eyes to the wide, yet connected world around me.”

Sister Gina Fleming, O.P., executive director of the Dominican Youth Movement USA, was in awe of the participants’ energy and interactions.  “The future of our communities, our country, and our world is in the hands of these young people.” It was a privilege for her to share the Dominican charism with the students. “I have tremendous hope that they will make a difference with their lives.”

Caldwell’s director of campus ministry, Colleen O’Brien said it was a gift to see the students engage in their faith in more active ways.  “Our Caldwell students learned quite a bit and hopefully they will be able to carry this experience with them into their future. We look forward to putting some more Dominican values into practice this next school year.”

Dana McStowe, the campus ministry program coordinator, assisted in running the program. Caldwell student Kassandra Pardo also attended.

The Caldwell students who helped with set-up and other logistics were Brooke McPherson, Maria Lesniewski, Julianna Verso, Brittany Gaule, and Anthony Pineros.


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Recent Graduates are in Top One Percent of Business Undergraduates

Recent graduates Zulenny Reyes-Calderon and Aida Osmeni were recognized at the New Jersey Collegiate Business Administration Association honor society ceremony May 3. L to R: Caldwell Business Professor Bernard O’Rourke; adjunct at Caldwell and professor at Essex County College, Dr. Germaine Albuquerque; Reyes-Calderon and Aida Osmeni; Associate Dean of the School of Business and Computer Science Virginia Rich and Business Professor Monika Sywak

Recent graduates Zulenny Reyes-Calderon and Aida Osmeni were recognized at the New Jersey Collegiate Business Administration Association honor society ceremony May 3. L to R: Caldwell Business Professor Bernard O’Rourke; adjunct at Caldwell and professor at Essex County College, Dr. Germaine Albuquerque; Reyes-Calderon and Aida Osmeni; Associate Dean of the School of Business and Computer Science Prof. Virginia Rich and Business Professor Monika Sywak

Caldwell, N.J June 3, 2019 -Recent graduates Aida Osmeni and Zulenny Reyes-Calderon were recognized at the New Jersey Collegiate Business Administration Association honor society ceremony on Friday, May 3 at Middlesex County College. The top one percent of undergraduate students pursuing degrees in business are invited to join NJCBAA.

Osmeni received a Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in financial economics and math and Reyes-Calderon received a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration on May 19 at Caldwell’s commencement ceremony.

Dr. Virginia Rich, associate dean of the School of Business and Computer Science, says the School of Business is very proud of Osmeni and Reyes-Calderon. “We are delighted that our students’ hard work and dedication is recognized by the NJCBAA with this distinguished award.”

Osmeni is employed at Crum & Forster and Zulenny is working in her family’s business.



Celebrating the Class of 2019

Devin Lattuga: Ready to take on the marathons

Devin Lattuga is a long-distance runner. As the captain of the Caldwell University men’s track and cross-country teams during his senior year, he Devin Lattuga on his Graduation knows his sport helps form community. “With all the technology and the fast-paced world we live in, running provides a different kind of speed—a chance to enjoy nature and to enjoy friends.”

Lattuga, who received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Caldwell University on May 19, is proud that his team took first place his senior year at the Caldwell Cougar Chase home cross-country meet and that he won the individual first prize.

Soon he will turn his attention to training for marathons—marathons for athletics and the marathon of law school, at Columbus School of Law at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. for which he received a full tuition scholarship.

Lattuga, a resident of Denville, New Jersey, has known for a while that he wanted to pursue law, but his work in Campus Ministry at Caldwell inspired him to look at how lawyers can reach out to those on the margins. One of his favorite activities has been Midnight Runs when students pile into a van and drive into New York City to provide the homeless with warm clothes, soup and conversation. Lattuga has been involved in other Campus Ministry projects including Boxtown for which students slept outside to raise awareness of homelessness. Campus Ministry is a great way to “meet like-minded people,” and the director, Colleen O’Brien, “is so inspiring” and makes students feel at home, says Lattuga.

In the spring semester, Lattuga became a student docent when the university hosted the Gospels and Acts heritage edition of The Saint John’s Bible, the first handwritten illuminated Bible of monumental scale in over 500 years. This gave him a chance to talk with the guests viewing the exquisite sacred art and to hear a little about their faith journeys. “As a practicing Catholic, I love hearing other people’s stories.”

Lattuga transferred to Caldwell in the second semester of his freshman year and felt welcomed from the beginning. He recalls his first trip to the cafeteria when another track team member was behind him and said, “Sit with us.” She noticed Lattuga had a running watch and invited him to run with team members the next day. That caring atmosphere made him realize he was in the right place.

He appreciated the individualized attention he received from his “amazing” professors in the English Department, who “always wanted me to succeed.”

At Catholic University of America, law students are given opportunities to work in pro-bono areas of law such as immigration and veterans affairs something that interests Lattuga. “I’m going in with an open mind, trying everything, seeing what suits me best … and letting the Spirit move through me.” Pacing himself and planning will be the key, but he is up for the challenges. “In both the marathon of running and the marathon of law school, it is most important to be prepared. I know for both I need to work hard and be dedicated; if I can do that, I know I will reach my goals.”


Favour Garuba: Using her gifts and talents in science to serve others

The first time Favour Garuba volunteered at the Community FoodBank of New Favour Gabura on her GraduationJersey, she saw a banner with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. that said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘what are you doing for others?’” That thought has stayed with Garuba as she has contemplated how she can use her gifts in science and at the same time serve others.

Since that day at the foodbank, Garuba looked for opportunities to volunteer during her college career. She has appreciated how Caldwell has exposed her to what community service means and has helped her grow as a leader who understands the importance of philanthropy. In the Health Professions club, she enjoyed each fall when students would collect food for the “Halloween for Hunger” campaign. Garuba is proud that she was one of the founders of the African Caribbean Association, and that she and the other members fundraised for a literacy program for disadvantaged children in Ghana. As a student vice president of the prestigious honor society Phi Kappa Phi, she was excited that members held a drive this past spring and collected 336 books to promote literacy for children. She also loved working with children when she volunteered at the university’s Center for Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis.

An international student from Nigeria, she  received her bachelor’s in health sciences degree on May 19.   She is grateful to the faculty members in the Natural Sciences Department, who pushed her toward excellence and encouraged her in her research endeavors.  Last year at the Independent College Fund of New Jersey Research Symposium and at Caldwell University’s Research and Creative Arts Day, she presented on the antibacterial effect of cinnamon and peppermint essential oils. Natural Sciences Professor Agnes Berki has helped her learn how to become a thorough researcher. Garuba remembers the first time she met Berki. “I was with my mom, and Dr. Berki told my mom she would ride me hard.” It was true. Berki pushed Garuba not just to do research but to do it exceptionally well. “She is like a mother to me,” says Garuba.

Garuba has also looked out for her classmates at Caldwell, always thinking, “What can we do for students?” She arranged for Health Professions Club members to watch a live surgery online at the Liberty Science Center where they communicated with the surgeon and other members of the surgical team. The goal was to expose students to as many health care fields as possible so they could make educated decisions about career goals, she says.

Garuba was an orientation leader, worked in the Academic Success Center and in the Accounts Payable Office where learning to be accurate with numbers, she says, will help if she becomes a physician.

She currently volunteers at Overlook Medical Center and has set her sights on improving health on a global level as a clinician and researcher. At a recent program of the National Society of Leadership and Success, Garuba was tasked with writing down her gifts. Her answers were “intelligence, charisma, problem solving and diligence.” She knows they are not gifts just for herself and she is particularly interested in using her abilities in preventive care, “much cheaper and less invasive than treatment.” She points to her native Africa where natural products can aid in health. It all comes back to that banner with the quote from MLK Jr.: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘what are you doing for others?’” And her answer? “I would like to dedicate my services as a physician and researcher to improve health in a way that reaches every community, including those in disadvantaged areas.”

Marisa Castronova:  Looking beyond the walls of the classroom

Marisa Castronova has always loved her job teaching Life Science at Robert L. Marisa Castronova on her GraduationLazar Middle School in Montville, New Jersey but she never really considered how she might expand her influence beyond the four walls of her classroom.  That was, until she became a student in the doctoral program in Educational Leadership at Caldwell University.  There, she and fellow cohort member, educator Jessica Shackil, were encouraged to develop their idea of STEM PALS, a cross-district and cross-grade program designed to get students excited about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). “The doctoral program helped us to take STEM PALS through to fruition,” says Castronova.  With grant monies from the NJEA Frederick L. Hipp Foundation, the two were able to expand the project and provide STEM access to even more students. Today, four years later, fourth-grade students from Parsippany work with seventh and eighth grade students from Montville on STEM challenges in real time.

Castronova, a resident of Nutley, New Jersey was selected to give the graduate student address at Caldwell University’s commencement ceremony on May 19.  She earned her doctorate last December and says she fully appreciated the model of the program that was designed for working adults.  “I looked forward to going to class on Friday night and Saturdays. I loved talking about educational issues with people who were also interested in teaching, reform and educational leadership,” says Castronova.   She grew as a researcher as her Caldwell professors encouraged her to dig deep, push theory forward and share findings with colleagues.  Her work caught the attention of others; she was accepted to present at the Northeastern Educational Research Association and was invited to speak at the RiSE Center’s STEM Colloquium at the University of Maine (Orono).

She misses not going to class on the weekends.  The classes were “intellectually stimulating and provided me with a rich perspective on different educational topics.”

The program has forced her to grow intellectually and ask ‘how can data help me?’ Now, she uses research more often to make decisions.  She sees that her initiatives as a science educator and as a researcher can influence others. “I feel that my work at Caldwell has led me to create positive educational change and reach people on a broader scale.”

Jennifer Mary Gates: “Prepared for My Encore Career”

When Jennifer Mary Gates came to class, she sat up front in the center, “raised Jennifer Mary Gatesmy hand all the time and kept the class late.” She was a graduate student in Caldwell’s master’s in business administration program and she was focused on getting the most out of her classes decades after receiving her undergraduate degree. “I needed to learn how to go to school. There was so much to get from each class,” said Gates, who was also juggling full-time work, family obligations, and transitions and teaching yoga.

Gates, who received her MBA on May 19, overcame the preconceived notions she had about going to college as a mature student.

Gates, who received her MBA on May 19, overcame the preconceived notions she had about going to college as a mature student.

“I was intimidated by Excel.” Now she knows its benefits. “Preparing for assignments enabled me to better execute research and analyze and produce reports.”

She was not sure what it would be like going to school in a younger culture. “Now I understand the younger workforce so much better.”

Gates was apprehensive about studying on the internet. “I was terrified of online classes but now I enjoy them. Many classes were challenging, but “they opened up opportunities,” she said.

Before starting her master’s classes, she needed to take seven prerequisite undergraduate classes, which turned out to be good introductions. “It got me into the student mode.”

Gates appreciated the faculty members in the School of Business and Computer Science. “I learned so much from each and every teacher, even if their style was not my style.” She found that they were more than willing to help. “They understood what the students need,” said Gates, who is a bank commercial loan officer in corporate risk. “In graduate classes everyone is engaged,” she said. “I was taught how to present to an audience, and now I have the tools to be confident in my presentation and delivery.”

Along the way, Gates adjusted according to her needs, taking a semester off, enrolling in summer, Saturday and evening classes and learning to manage her time effectively. She took advantage of the short-term study-abroad course, run by Business Professor Bernie O’Rourke, focusing on industry in Ireland. She enjoyed singing and laughing with the other students as they traveled through Ireland’s different counties and scenic countryside, going to and from the corporations, speaking to business leaders and learning their operational processes.

Gates received her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina–Greensboro and previously worked as a real estate agent and in retail in family-run small businesses. Her MBA has prepared her for her next “fulfilling encore career.” “I refreshed myself. It opened up everything for me.” She wants other adult learners to know they can do it too. “Have the confidence to know your opportunities are unlimited.”

Jessica Noel: “Life is precious”

Jessica Noel knows one thing for sure: She does not want to “just live”; she has Jessica Noel on her graduation to live for others too. Her experiences at Caldwell University have solidified her determination to reach out to those on the margins.

“This whole college experience has opened my eyes,” says Noel, a resident of Union, New Jersey, who received a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology on May 19.

In clubs and programs, Noel took advantage of just about every opportunity presented to her.  When volunteering with the Educational Opportunity Fund at a soup kitchen, she learned to appreciate the Catholic Dominican tradition and its charism of helping others. In attending Student Government Association meetings, she came away encouraged to be involved in her community. In Black Student Union and Latin American Student Organization meetings, she realized the importance of being aware of the needs of others. With the Gamer’s Guild Club, she learned how to play a game; “something I never knew growing up with two sisters—I learned technology and it was fun,” she says. In her courses, she appreciated being exposed to world issues.

Noel, who came to the United States from Haiti when she was a year old, has a heart for helping others; it was born out of her life experiences. When she was starting sixth grade, she was diagnosed with cancer, medullobalastoma. “A minor aspect of my life” is how she describes it.   Her experience with cancer made her realize how fragile life is. “I survived,” Noel says, but she saw other children who did not. She emerged from that challenging time this difficult time knowing “life is precious,” she says.

The Educational Opportunity Fund has been an important part of Noel’s experience at Caldwell. She started classes in 2015 in the EOF summer program. “I knew I loved it here.” Throughout college, Noel had a work study job in the EOF office, learning about the business world with the guidance of Director Andrei St. Felix and the other staff members.

Noel is considering graduate school to pursue social work, but first she would like to explore other occupations that would allow her to help others. She is concerned about kids and young people caught in horrific situations like human trafficking. “I want to empower kids to know who they are … I want to grow and help others.”

She is inspired by Matthew West’s song “Do Something” and points to the lyrics: “God, why don’t you do something?” He said, ‘I did, yeah, I created you.’” The song  makes her think about the bigger picture as she maps out her steps after graduation. “So much to do. I want to save the world.”

Justice Baskin: Teaching the next generation the importance of leadership  


Justice Baskin is looking forward to teaching social studies to high school students so they can be encouraged to become productive citizens. It is the reason he switched his major to history when he was a sophomore. “I want to educate inner-city people about the need to vote,” says Baskin, who received his Bachelor of Arts degree in secondary education and social studies on May 19 from Caldwell University. Baskin, who grew up in Jersey City, believes it is imperative for young people from urban environments to become leaders. It is the reason he wants teenagers to see more African-American men as educators in their classrooms and why eventually he would like to become a school principal.

Justice Baskin on his graduation

Baskin was recognized for his own leadership skills during Caldwell University’s honors convocation. He received the “C” Pin, awarded to an individual in his class who portrays the qualities of an exemplary Caldwell University student, and he took second place in the Golden Eagle Award for Excellence in American History.

Caldwell University was a part of his life from a young age. His father is an alumnae, and Baskin remembers fondly coming to campus with his dad. The pleasantness of the staff, faculty and students is something unique, stemming from the Catholic Dominican foundation, says Baskin.

Looking back at his college career, Baskin is proud of pushing forward conversations and initiatives on diversity and inclusion and of taking part in the Educational Opportunity Fund. He says staff and other students in the program were there for him “every step of the way.”

Baskin was a member of the track and cross-country teams and a founding member of the dance team. He worked through college as a Caldwell resident life assistant in the dorms and at Fordham in the Bronx at night in merchandising and design for a campus store.

Energetic with excellent communication skills, Baskin says he also learned “to be quiet” during his college years. He knows there is a gift in listening that is linked with leadership. Listening helped him learn, he says. “It helped me in family and in work.”

As he leaves Caldwell, Baskin takes other life lessons with him. He has learned to be more open-minded and that “it is okay to make mistakes and bounce back and keep going.” He has become more resilient too, although he says with a smile that he already knew that—“I learned it in Jersey City.” He is grateful to his Caldwell professors, “every single one of them,” and is excited to begin a career that will allow him to help young people engage and to become productive citizens. It is an imperative, he believes, for a healthy society. “The students of today will be the leaders of tomorrow.”

Kathryn Marano: Women Business Faculty Members Inspired Her to Lead

It was the women faculty members in Caldwell University’s School of Business Kathryn Marano delivering Commencement Speechand Computer Science who especially inspired Kathryn Marano during her college years. “There are so many influential women, lawyers, women with other advanced degrees that have guided me. From the minute I walked through the door, it was one of the reasons I knew Caldwell was right for me.” The female faculty members were role models who pushed her “in a good way,” and that helped her become a leader. Marano was chosen to give the undergraduate commencement speech at Caldwell University’s graduation May 19. The Nutley, New Jersey, resident has also led by finishing college in three years and by taking on roles such as vice president of the Women’s Leadership Initiative on campus.

The importance of women supporting each other and being at the helm is something she heard quite a bit about growing up. Marano attended high school at St. Dominic Academy in Jersey City where the slogan was “Empowering women for leadership since 1878,” and an aunt, Caldwell Dominican Sister Maureen James, was a positive influence on her life. Marano entered Caldwell with AP classes, and this summer she will receive her Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with minors in small business entrepreneurship and marketing. She has been in the dog grooming business since she was 12 years old and has worked through college. She hopes to become an entrepreneur and to run her own dog grooming business.

As a commuter, Marano did not think she would have much of a college experience, but she was pleasantly surprised to find out she was wrong.  She made friends and became involved—so much so “that I sold Caldwell to my younger sister who is now a student here,” she said.  Marano hopes to return to campus someday to tell other young women about her journey and the importance of finding their own voices and leading. “I love women supporting women.”

Liam Kearney: Discoveries from “long sprawling conversations” on campus

It was the conversations that enriched Liam Kearney’s time as an Liam Kearny on his graduation undergraduate student at Caldwell University—conversations inside and especially outside the classroom with other students. “You have a responsibility to take what you learn in class and test it outside,” said Kearney, who graduated May 19 with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and a minor in communication and media studies.

Caldwell’s beautiful 70 acre campus provided many places “to nab at the end of the day” to have meaningful conversations. “What astonishes me is how quickly people will talk about what they are passionate about—in five minutes—if you are genuinely interested in them,” said Kearney. At the core, a meaningful exchange is something people are looking for, he contends, even if they do not know it. The “modern truth-seeking platforms we use, like social media, prioritize conflict and polarization over healthy dialogue,” he said. Most people, Kearney said, are interested in a wide range of things. “If you meet them well, they are willing to talk about their interests for a long time.” Those “long sprawling conversations,” he said, can become messy, but there are opportunities to find common ground and they can bear fruit.

Kearney also appreciated the dialogue in the business classes and how the “practical” was applied by the faculty members who had a wealth of experience Liam Kearney receives his degree from his great aunt, Sister Mary John Kearneyin business or law. “I could trust what they would say,” said Kearney. “We would take abstract ideas and apply them to something concrete; there was more utility to it.”

He grew up in Oceanport, New Jersey, and came to Caldwell with credits from AP and from a partnership he took part in between his high school, Marine Academy and Science and Technology, and a nearby college. He will continue at Caldwell in the fall, studying for his MBA and aiming to finish the combined degrees in four years.

His interest in learning about people’s lives extends to his talents in music as a singer, composer and musical artist. Music is a vehicle for interaction and communication and he enjoyed when a group of university students would get together to jam, play their instruments and sing. “I would typically be the facilitator, making sure everyone was getting along. You have to give it structure.”

This past year, Kearney attended the Spirituality and Leadership Institute retreat in the Poconos, which focuses on developing young citizens who promote public justice and seek the common good. Again, it was the conversations that were fascinating. “I wish I had found the program earlier,” he said. In his senior year, he took the spring break study abroad course, “Vienna-Experiencing Austrian History and Art”. This coming fall, he will serve as treasurer of the business honor society Delta Mu Delta.

Seeking out the interests of others came from growing up with “a great family structure” that taught him “what you don’t know is always more important that what you know.”

That sentiment, Kearney admits, is “not a normal resting space” for humans and requires “a muscle that has not been flexed” but is certainly one worth discovering. He invites other students to look closely for the truth, beauty and discoveries that can arise from simply engaging in a conversation with another member of Caldwell’s campus. “Don’t have contempt for the small opportunity. It can quickly grow into an experience which is deeply and unexpectedly meaningful.”

Graduate Students Confront Real World Issues in the Field of Trauma and Abuse

How does a student learn to develop “thick skin?” For Jana Nieman and Maureen Duguid, both graduate students in mental health counseling, it was their shared experience of working with survivors — and perpetrators, of sexual abuse and domestic violence.

Jana Nieman

Jana Nieman

Through an internship at JBWS in Morris County, New Jersey, a nonprofit organization providing support services and solutions that bring balance and renewal to their clients, Nieman and Duguid were face to face with the depths of pain and suffering caused by sexual abuse and violence.

Duguid provided survivors of abuse with individual and group counseling, helped clients prepare for legal counsel and accompanied them on visits to the Morris County Justice Center. Nieman co-facilitated group and individual counseling sessions and coordinated the intake process with perpetrators –“a challenging population,” she says. These experiences helped her focus on “finding the good in people.”  Since she had never imagined herself working with those populations, the experience was both eye opening and mind broadening.

Juli Harpell-Elam, director of abuse prevention at JBWS, says that since 2015, the staff of her organization has welcomed Caldwell’s mental health counseling student interns. Coming into their internships, she says, these students evidence proper foundational training. Harpell-Elam supervised Nieman and was impressed with her ability to remain calm while creating a safe, supportive environment for her clients. Nieman worked with “mostly mandated clients” who were “feeling judged, feeling punished,” and not necessarily coming into the program on their terms, explained Harpell-Elam.

Maureen Duguid

Maureen Duguid

“Caldwell equips its students,” says Marianne McCrone, director of the Morris Family Justice Center, who was Duguid’s supervisor. “They arrive with a “big knowledge base and good clinical skill set, which translates into hands-on here at the site,” she added.  She described Duguid as an empathic “team player” who is calm in a crisis, committed to the safety of her clients, and professional in her interactions with police officers, attorneys, judges, and court staff.

On May 19, Nieman and Duguid each received a Master of Arts degree in mental health counseling. They are grateful to their supervisors and the faculty members in Caldwell’s Psychology Department. “I could always go to my professors for help and feedback,” said Duguid.  The Caldwell professors were “highly resourceful,” and there was “great supervision,” said Nieman.

Dr. Emma Kendrick, the coordinator of the graduate programs in counseling, takes pride in all that Caldwell’s mental health interns contribute to valuable community programs like JBWS. “Even before graduating, our students can start serving the needs of a diverse population within the local community. The work that the interns are doing is beneficial not only to the clients but to their ongoing professional development as counselors.”

The fieldwork at JBWS has prepared Nieman and Duguid for their next career steps. After all, “You don’t learn how to be a counselor from a textbook,” said Nieman.


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“Human Not So Kind” Art Exhibition Focuses on Natural World, Beauty and Destruction


Caldwell, N.J., May 20, 2019 – The Mueller Gallery at Caldwell University is featuring an exhibition focusing on the natural world and its beauty and raising awareness of how humanity is disrupting that beauty. “Human Not So Kind” was created by student Phoebe Schepacarter for her senior art project.

Schepacarter, who received her Bachelor Fine Arts degree on May 19, said the exhibition gave her a way to highlight issues that many people are not talking about related to nature and the environment.

The front room of the gallery features 14 different pieces representing the natural world. “These works feature seven different biome areas that focus on the natural beauty of each area. Contrasting the beauty of each of these landscapes, are multiple ways that humanity has negatively affected the natural world,” said Schepacarter of Franklinville, New Jersey. Each landscape piece has an informational panel that has five facts about the biome and a statement about the ways humanity is destroying the world.

The back room of the gallery focuses on the positives of what humanity is doing for the earth. “There is a nine foot tall mural that is a map of the world indicating how well each country is taking care of the world and there are 24 panels highlighting specific places where people are taking care of the world. The panels also provide recommendations on how people can alter their lifestyles to be more earth friendly,” explained Schepacarter.

“I hope to make people feel responsible and to create a wave of change, even if it is just small daily changes to improve the world we live in, as it is the only one we have and we are all responsible for the condition it is in,” said Schepacarter.

Schepacarter’s artist statement is:

It is human nature to believe we are not at fault. To believe that we are doing the right thing because it directly benefits us. Contrary to this belief not everything we do is right or just, but everything we do has a cause and effect. The world around us is constantly changing and we are all the cause. These pieces were created to show the beauty of the natural world and how we are all at fault for the destruction of this world around us. To inform people of all the destruction we are causing just by living. However, there is hope. Around the world there are countries changing their way of life to protect the world they have and to improve it for those to come. Everyone is at fault. But this also means that everyone can be the positive change we need to see in the world. Even if the change is only small steps, it is still something and will make a difference. We need to be more human-kind and less human not-so kind.

“Human Not So Kind” will be on display in the Mueller Gallery through the summer. To make an appointment to see the exhibition, contact Professor Suzanne Baron at sbaron@caldwell.edu.

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Caldwell University Celebrates 77th Commencement

Commencement 2019 (4)
Commencement 2019 (1)
Commencement 2019 (3)
Commencement 2019 (5)
Commencement 2019

Caldwell University celebrates 77th commencement

Former secretary of higher education Rochelle Hendricks receives honorary degree

Caldwell, N.J., May 19, 2019 – Caldwell University celebrated its 77th annual commencement Sunday, May 19 awarding degrees to 467 graduates.

Marisa Castronova of Nutley, New Jersey, delivered the student address at the graduate commencement ceremony. She advised her fellow graduates to consider the person who earned the degree and to remember that he or she is the driving force behind the degree. “A degree is not a living entity…It can’t walk, it can’t talk.” Castronova, who received her doctorate in educational leadership in December, said, “Consider you, the person who earned it. Consider you, the person who decided to embark on an educational trek requiring hard work, dedication and sacrifice.”  She encouraged graduates to take time to reflect on what they have learned about themselves. “For knowing who you are and what you are capable of will enable you to transform knowledge into something great.” Castronova is a science educator at Robert L. Lazar Middle School in Montville, New Jersey.

Kathryn Marano, also of Nutley, delivered the undergraduate commencement ceremony address. She suggested to graduates that they are all “rocket scientists” who have been building rocket ships that will lift off when they leave the auditorium. Utilizing the image of the rocket ship, Marano said the classes they took were the framework of the ship, while the attributes they learned at Caldwell including kindness, resilience, integrity and respect would help  them navigate the rocket ship “through tough and uncharted territory.” The most important components of the rocket ship are the team of professors, classmates and staff whose guidance students will take with them after graduation, she said. “With the rocket ship complete, we are ready to take on the world, and I am confident that we will be the pioneers of the future and successful in whatever paths we choose.” Marano will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with minors in small business entrepreneurship and marketing in August.

An honorary degree was awarded to Rochelle Hendricks who served as the first secretary of higher education for the state of New Jersey from 2011 to 2018. She encouraged the graduates to imagine the world the way they would like it to be and to let the light of God shine through them as they strive to make the world a better and brighter place.   “As you make a living, be sure to make a life,” and remember the values that are timeless and transcendent, she said.

Members of Caldwell’s class of 1969, marking their 50th anniversary, were recognized.

President Nancy H. Blattner, Ph.D., presented doctoral students with their Ph.D.s and Ed.D.s, graduate students with their Master of Arts, Master of Business Administration or Master of Science degrees and undergraduates with their Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Fine Arts or Bachelor of Science in nursing degrees.   A Master of Science in Accounting degree was awarded posthumously to Kelly Marilly Gonzalez. Her brother accepted the degree from Dr. Blattner.

President Blattner told the graduates that it was a day of great joy and pride for them, their family members and loved ones who supported them. She said the university was “sending you forward, not just as graduates, but as people who we expect to make a difference.” She advised them to stay connected to their alma mater that has “not only been your learning community but also your family for four years.” Each student, she said, “has made an indelible impression on me.”

Laurita Warner, chair of the Board of Trustees and alumna, said some things at Caldwell never change like a welcoming environment, dedicated and caring faculty, “an administration who work tirelessly to provide a campus where students can thrive and learn, and the mission inspired by Saint Dominic and our Catholic tradition to prepare students to think critically, pursue truth and contribute to a just society. And friendships that last a lifetime.” She extended two wishes to each of the graduates, “the gift of memories of Caldwell University as fond as mine are and the very best future life has to offer.”

Undergraduate and master’s students wore gowns made from 100 percent post-recycled plastic bottles.


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Sport management students host event to support business professor’s nonprofit for education in India

Abhaneriv Classroom

Caldwell, N.J., May 14, 2019 – Students in Business Professor Neil Malvone’s Sports Event Management class and in the Sport Management Club hosted a nightfall volleyball event to support Pawel’s Children which improves education in India. The non-profit organization was founded by Business Professor Monika Sywak in honor of her son.  

Malvone said the students were thrilled to create the event to help Pawel’s Children.  

Each semester, the event management students create an event from ideation to implementation as a way to learn the course material in an experiential fashion. They handle all aspects of the event including finding participants, sponsors, and bringing in spectators, as well as the event logistics,” said Malvone.  

Sywak is grateful to Malvone and the students for their support. The founding of the Pawel’s Children goes back to 2014 when Sywak says the organization “found her” and it was love at first sight. They support the Abhaneri School in an impoverished area of India that Sywak “stumbled on” during a sightseeing trip with her friends Shalini Madaras and Denise Walsh.     

They were distributing soccer balls in a rural area of Rajasthan when they stopped at the Abhaneri School. They saw that 300 children were learning in a structure with dirt floors, no running water, no bathrooms or electricity, and unstable walls. After leaving the kids that day, Sywak says, she could not stop thinking about them, “how special they were and how much they really wanted to learn.” Even with a language barrier and her friend’s translation, Sywak could feel how “sincere, humble and genuine” the people were and could see they “had a real  love for education.”

“They just needed a little help to take it further,” says Sywak, who teaches undergraduate and graduate finance and ethical business strategy courses. She and her friends decided to start with a small project, financing the construction of bathrooms. They suggested making the donations in memory of Sywak’s son, Pawel, who had died in 2012 at 20 years old. As they started spreading the word,  they could see there was support for the project. Soon after, they applied for the nonprofit status and Pawel’s Children was born.

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Caldwell University Unveils Multicultural Center Named for first African American Student


Caldwell, N.J., May 10, 2019 – Caldwell University unveiled its new multicultural center on Thursday, May 9.  The Eileen Jones Multicultural Center is named after Eileen Jones, Esq. ’57, the first African American student to attend and graduate from Caldwell University.

President Nancy H. Blattner, Ph.D., OPA welcomed friends of Jones, alumni, students, staff, faculty and other guests to the dedication and official opening.

“In recognition of all the wonderful cultures that make up the Caldwell University family, this center will serve as a resource for the promotion of multicultural awareness, understanding and appreciation,” said Blattner. “In the spirit of our core values of Respect, Integrity, Community, and Excellence, this will be a place where a variety of programs and events are hosted with the goal of a creating a learning community.”

Blattner explained that Jones earned her B.A. in social studies from Caldwell and then went on to earn a J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law. In 1977, Jones was the first woman appointed chief of the administrative review staff for compensation and pension at the Veterans Administration Central Office in Washington, D.C.  In 1981, she returned to Newark and became the assistant director for the Veterans Administration.  Among the many honors she received, Jones was one of three inaugural recipients of the Caldwell Veritas Award in 1986, an annual award given to celebrate professional excellence of Caldwell alumni.

“Eileen was a smart and motivated woman, and a trailblazer in many ways,” said Blattner.  “Eileen was kind, funny, and warm, and had an infectious smile and really good sense of humor.”

Jones was involved in the community, holding executive positions at the Arts Council of Orange and the Orange Community Advisory Board, and was she also involved with the Newark Museum, the Civic Action League, and Caldwell’s EOF Program.

A lifetime supporter of Caldwell University, in 2015, Jones established a scholarship to help high achieving students with financial need.  Before her passing in January 2019, she donated a gift of property to the university with the intention that the proceeds of its sale be used to establish a multicultural center on campus.

Angela Zaccardi, also an alumna, said she and Jones met when they were both at what was then Caldwell College for Women. They “remained friends forever…she was a great lady and very thorough,” said Zaccardi.

Maud Carroll and her daughter Denise Carroll were among the guests thrilled to be celebrating the dedication.   Maud remembers teaching music to Eileen beginning when she was eight years old and to her sister who became an accomplished musician.    Anna Layton, of East Orange, New Jersey, who met Jones back in the 1940s, was also happy to be at the celebration.  “Eileen was always there for me.”  Also attending was Ernestine Polhill, of Orange, New Jersey, who said that before Jones passed away they had talked about attending the Center dedication together.  “I wouldn’t have missed this for anything.”

The opening prayer was given by student Dennis Martin of the class of 2021.