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The Sister Maura Campbell Lecture Series 2015-2016 will Celebrate the 800th Anniversary of the Order of Preachers

Sister Carol J. Dempsey

Sister Carol J. Dempsey will speak on “Hearing the Prophets from the Bowels of the Earth: A Dominican Perspective” on October 19.

In celebrating the 800th anniversary of the Order of Preachers, the Theology/Philosophy Department at Caldwell University will present the Sister Maura Campbell, O.P. Lectures Series. The lectures are free and open to the public and will explore the richness of the Catholic Dominican tradition.

Monday Oct. 19, 2015– Carol J. Dempsey, O.P., a Sister of St. Dominic of Caldwell and Professor of Theology (Biblical Studies) at the University of Portland, Portland, OR. will speak on “Hearing the Prophets from the Bowels of the Earth: A Dominican Perspective” from 4 to 5 p.m. in the Alumni Theatre.
Thursday Nov. 12, 2015 – Honora Werner, O.P., D.Min. , a Sister of St. Dominic of Caldwell and Director of the D.Min. in Preaching Program at Aquinas Institute of Theology, St. Louis, MO will present on “The Homilies of Fra Angelico” from 12 noon to 1 p.m. in the Alumni Theatre.

Monday Feb. 1, 2016 – Father Innocent Smith, O.P. of St. Vincent Ferrer Priory in New York City will speak on “Aquinas, Liturgy, Prayer”, 4 to 5 p.m. in the Alumni Theatre.

Tuesday April 12, 2016 – Sister Judith Miryam Boneski, O.P. will present on “Dominic’s First Daughters: In the Heart of the Holy Preaching”. Sister is director of advancement at the Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary in Summit, N.J. and she is a Caldwell College alumna. The lecture will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. in the Student Center Gym.

Sister Honora Werner

Sister Honora Werner will present on “The Homilies of Fra Angelico” on November 12

The Sister Maura Campbell, O.P.. lecture series is named after Sister Maura, who was a Sister of St. Dominic of Caldwell. She was a theologian, philosopher, professor, researcher, and national leader in education whose scholarship and teaching spanned 50 years.
For further information please call 973-618-3931.

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Alum, NJ Teacher of the Year tells students ‘teach from the heart’

New Jersey Teacher of the Year Mark Mautone

Applied behavior analysis alum, New Jersey Teacher of the Year Mark Mautone presented teaching tips and professional advice to education students September 29. Left to right: Dr. Joan Moriarty, associate dean, Education Division, Dr. Kenneth Reeve, The Alvin R. Calman Professor of Applied Behavior Analysis, Mautone, and Dr. Sharon Reeve, chair of the ABA Department.


Caldwell University alum Mark Mautone has traveled 22,189 miles this past year as New Jersey State Teacher of the Year. His adventures have taken him everywhere from Space Camp to the White House.  No matter where he is headed, the goal is always the same, sharing knowledge, inspiring others to be better teachers, and to “not give up on students.”

Speaking to Caldwell University undergraduate and graduate education and applied behavior analysis students on September 29, Mautone encouraged them to “teach from the heart, come up with solutions,” and not be afraid to make mistakes.  “The first time it is a mistake. The second time it is a decision.”

Mautone recounted his journey in teaching, which began 20 years ago with a severely disabled 5-year-old child.   “I didn’t have the skills. I didn’t think I’d get past the third day.”  But he knew that could not give up on the child because all he could think of was how someone else might not give that child a chance.

Mautone went on to receive his bachelor’s from Kean University and a master’s in applied behavior analysis from Caldwell, which he credits with giving him a solid background to effectively teach children on the autism spectrum and with rigorously pushing him to achieve high professional standards.

Today he is a special education teacher at Wallace Elementary School in Hoboken.  His research has focused on ways to properly use technology to help children on the autism spectrum learn.

He stressed the importance of building a strong network outside the classroom —“getting yourself out there.” He explained how his collaborations with various organizations including Macworld/iWorld, the National Catholic Partnership for Disabilities, the U.S. Department of Education, NJEA, and Autism Speaks have helped him grow professionally and make contacts.  “If someone asks you to serve on a panel, you never want to turn down that opportunity.    You may initially have second thoughts on participating because you may feel that you’re not too knowledgeable on the panel topic, but you were asked for a reason,” Mautone said.  This provides an opportunity to learn by doing further research and seeking out other professionals.     “Embrace mistakes. They are going to happen.”

It is important to “get to know your students, surround yourself with positive people…don’t be afraid to ask for help… and smile.  That might be the only smile the student gets all day,” he added.

Dr. Joan Moriarty, associate dean of the Education Division, encouraged the students to make Mautone’s teaching tips part of their professional journey.

Dr. Sharon Reeve, chair of Caldwell’s ABA department, said Mautone is a good example of a person who proved that you can bring the fields of education and ABA together, be impactful, and make a difference in a child’s life.

Ashley McDowell, a senior music education major said Mautone was humble and she appreciated his teacher tips.

“Powerful 45 minutes,” was how graduate student Mike Haber described the presentation.  Katelyn Hart, who is student teaching 3rd grade, said it inspired her to be a better teacher and a better person.

Dr. Christine Johnson, superintendent of schools in Hoboken, also a Caldwell alumna, was in the audience. She echoed Mautone’s sentiments saying education is all about “making connections with people, making a difference for the children we are serving.”

In April Mautone was welcomed to the White House by President Obama along with the other state teachers of the year, and this fall a Classroom Closeup television program featuring Mautone’s work received an Emmy.  They have all been wonderful experiences, but perhaps one of the most memorable was the trip he made this past summer to Pennsylvania to visit that very first student, who is now a young adult.  After a few minutes of hesitation, there was a connection, “just like in the old days,” said Mautone.

Haber said Mautone’s story of his first student was a wonderful mini-lesson.  It showed that “any lesson can propel you forward.”

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Caldwell University Community Celebrates Homecoming and Family Weekend

Homecoming art exhibition
Homecoming tattoo
Homecoming fun game
Homecoming group picture
Homecoming kid art
Homecoming soccer
Homecoming soccer
Homecoming gifts
Homecoming Nancy Blattner
Homecoming music

The Caldwell University community celebrated Homecoming and Family Weekend on a picture-perfect weekend Sept. 18 -20.

President Blattner gave the State of the University address welcoming alumni back to campus, especially the Class of 1965, which was celebrating its 50 anniversary.

Alumna Lauren Podkul said she tries to come to Homecoming every year. “It’s always so good to see everyone again.  The term “homecoming” can be taken very literally here. So many people I talked to on Saturday were all in agreement that visiting Caldwell really does feel like ‘coming home.’ “

Chair of the Board of Trustees  Laurita Warner ‘70 presented Noel Ruane ’70 with the Peggy Harris Alumni of the Year Award for giving her “time, talent and treasure” to the university.

The award is presented annually to alumni who have shown outstanding service to the university. Warner said that Ruane has served and loved the university since 1967 and has been active in the university’s shore chapter serving with “dignity and hard work.”

Other activities included: a barbeque and carnival on the plaza, the art exhibition A Rising Tide: 3+3, mini university lectures on “What Exactly are those Kids Reading” with Education Professor Edith Ries and “Presidential Scandal, Feminism and DNA: The Warren Harding Story” with History Professor Marie Mullaney, a Golden Anniversary Tea and soccer games.

The Veritas Lecture Series featured a conversation with alumnae trailblazers Angela Zaccardi ’56 and Eileen Jones ’57 and was moderated by Dr. Nancy J. Becker, assistant to the president, special Projects.  They shared how their foundation at Caldwell University assisted them in their careers as successful women in government.

Jones ’57, who received the 1986 Veritas Award for Excellence in Government Law, was the first African American student and graduate of Caldwell College for Women. She holds a J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law, worked for the Social Security Administration and the Veteran’s Administration in Newark and then in Washington, D.C. where she was the first woman appointed as chief of the administrative review staff for compensation and pension.

Zaccardi ’56, who received the 1987 Veritas Award for Excellence in Government, worked for the U.S. Embassy in Rome and became one of the first female immigration officers at JFK Airport. She was also the first female president of the local New Jersey Chapter of the American Federation of Government Employees Union at INS and served as the Executive Director of the Federal Executive Board in Newark.

A Faculty Favorites concert kicked off the 20th season of the concert series and featured the talents of faculty and alumni. Dr. Laura Greenwald, director of the concert series and an accomplished soprano, was recognized by President Blattner for giving her talent and dedication to the series for two decades.

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Caldwell University Athletics Welcomes Back Hall of Fame Class of 2015


Caldwell University Athletics, in conjunction with Cougar Pride, welcomed back its 2015 Hall of Fame Class last Friday night as part of Homecoming Weekend. Family and friends of the five new inductees were greeted with a reception in the Newman Center and their accomplishments were recognized by Assistant Vice President/Director of Athletics Mark A. Corino. The Caldwell Athletics Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place on Friday, October 30 at Cedar Hill Country Club in Livingston, N.J at 6:30 pm.

The Caldwell Athletics Hall of Fame Ceremony will begin with cocktail hour begins at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner and the Hall of Fame ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Cost is $125 per person. Tickets for alumni, faculty and staff are $100. All proceeds will go to the Cougar Pride General Fund, which supports the degree completion program and enhancements for the 15 intercollegiate athletic programs. Tickets are available for the Caldwell Athletics Hall of Fame Ceremony by calling Caldwell University Athletics at (973) 618-3260.

Hotel accommodations will also be available for the October 30 event at FairBridge Hotel and Conference Center located at 130 Route10 West in East Hanover, NJ. The group rate of $79 per night plus taxes and fees is available prior to October 21. Please call to make reservations under the block name of Caldwell University Hall of Fame at 973-386-5622. A van service from the FairBridge Hotel to the Cedar Hill Country Club will be provided.

“We are extremely excited and proud to be welcoming our five new inductees to the Hall of Fame,” said Corino. “We are looking forward to an outstanding evening at Cedar Hill Country Club on October 30 that will consist of administration, staff and current hall of famers in attendance. These new inductees are exceptional people who have contributed to our athletic department and our university in a positive manner.”

The Caldwell University Athletics Hall of Fame was established in 2010 to honor student-athletes, coaches and contributors who have played significant roles in the success of the intercollegiate athletic programs at Caldwell University. There are now 37 members in the Hall of Fame, which is located on the first floor of the George R. Newman Center. The Hall of Fame Dinner is the main fundraising event for Cougar Pride, the official booster club of Caldwell University Athletics.

The 2015 class of the Caldwell University Athletics Hall of Fame includes Ed Elam ’97 (men’s basketball), Dan Keller ‘00 (baseball), Shenee Clarke ’04 (women’s basketball), Miguel Walker ’07 (men’s soccer) and Kristee Paknis ’08 (women’s soccer). Additionally, Cougar Pride will present Mark Reda with a special award for his continued support of the Caldwell University Athletics Department and its student-athletes.

Ed Elam helped the Cougar men’s basketball team Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference championships in 1993 and 1996, giving the Cougars an athletic guard who could get to the basket and play tough defense. The program’s all-time leader in steals with 238, Elam set a school record with 73 steals as a senior on the 1996 championship squad.

Dan Keller was an offensive catalyst on Caldwell’s early baseball teams. A two-time all-CACC selection, he batted .409 as a sophomore and .371 as a junior, helping the Cougars advance to the CACC championship game in 1999. Keller recorded a program-best 139 runs in 115 career games and ranks seventh all-time at Caldwell in batting average (.352) and doubles (30).

Shenee Clarke received all-CACC honors three times as an electric guard for the Caldwell women’s basketball team. A force on both ends of the court, Clarke holds the school record for career steals (298) and ranks sixth on the Cougars’ all-time scoring list with 1,583 points. As a junior she was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2003 CACC Tournament as Caldwell captured its second conference title.

Miguel Walker came to Caldwell from Jamaica in 2003 and quickly became the heart and soul of some of the Cougars’ best soccer teams. A crafty ball-winner and central midfielder, Walker received all-CACC honors twice while serving as the team captain for two seasons. Caldwell made the CACC Tournament semifinals all four of Walker’s years, advancing to the finals in 2003 and 2005.

Kristee Paknis led the Cougar women’s soccer team in scoring and made the all-CACC team in all four of her seasons at Caldwell. A skilled offensive midfielder, she ranks second all-time at Caldwell in goals (33), assists (21) and points (87). As a senior in 2008, Paknis was named to the all-Region and all-CACC first teams after registering 30 points on 12 goals and six assists.



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CELEBRATING THE ARTS: A History of Caldwell University Art Programs 1939-2014


As part of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the art department, a book telling the story of the visual arts at Caldwell University is now available. The anniversary coincides with the 40th anniversary of Caldwell College becoming New Jersey’s first higher education institution to be certified to offer the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and the ending of the 75th anniversary celebration of the founding of Caldwell College for Women. These milestones highlight the commitment of the university’s founders, the Sisters of Saint Dominic, to make the arts integral to its educational mission. This history celebrates these milestones as well as the faculty, students, alumni, administrators, trustees, and benefactors whose talents, leadership, and generosity made them possible. The telling of the story of the visual arts at Caldwell University is augmented with color photographs of major events, persons and artworks that adorn our beautiful campus.

Joanne Ryan, O.P.A., Ph.D.

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Liberal Arts Foundation Supports Her Physical Therapy Studies


Monique Pineros ’12 on a mission trip in Guatemala


Once Caldwell University alum Monique Pineros ’12 had the chance to shadow physical therapists there was no turning back in her career choice. A student in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Quinnipiac University’s School of Health Sciences in North Haven, Connecticut, Pineros has set her sights on helping people rehabilitate through the science of physical therapy.

“I wanted to do something with my hands,” says Pineros, who has been playing piano since she was five years old. She did not simply want to write scripts, but instead hoped to provide a holistic approach to disease and injury.

Pineros is a graduate research assistant in the Diagnostic Imaging Department at Quinnipiac, helping the department chairman by researching information for strategic planning projects and providing Spanish translation for the uninsured at the Community Access Imaging Clinic in New Haven County.  She was the recipient of a 2014 Health Research and Educational Trust health career scholarship from the New Jersey Hospital Association.

In January she was selected to serve on a mission trip to Guatemala with 16 other therapists and students who are studying occupational therapy or physical therapy at Quinnipiac. “Ten days of life-changing experiences” is how she describes the adventure. She provided translation services during evaluations, treatment sessions and follow-up appointments between patients and their families and the therapist and student teams at Centro Pavarotti and the Instituto Neurologico de Gautemala and worked with patients with cancer at the Instituto de Cancerologia y Hospital. She assisted professionals and students in treating children and teens with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and malnourishment and growth issues, and adults who were untreated stroke victims. Team members implemented an exercise and dance program in the women’s cancer ward. Lacking resources, they became creative in making modified tools like back supports, weights and bolsters from items like empty water bottles, rice, cloth, therabands and more. “We take so much of the basics for granted,” like having bed sheets or walkers, says Pineros. Seeing how grateful the patients were, making them smile and brighten up, gave her joy and made her realize “how lucky we are.”

In May she returned to Guatemala for a week for a capstone project she is working on comparing healthcare system disparities between the US and Guatemala. She is also working with a team to compile essays and interviews from people in the country for a monograph geared at repairing relationships.

The liberal arts foundation Pineros gained at Caldwell University benefits her work in physical therapy. The “link never breaks … Caldwell gave me a solid foundation for this career.”

“The liberal arts made me aware of everyday humanities. I’m using that information in physical therapy,” because the work is “socially driven,” she says. Caldwell was the “best thing that ever happened to me.”  The family environment, excellent advisors, and good and understanding professors helped her at every point in pursuing her bachelor’s degree.

P.T. was not always on her radar. In fact, Pineros wanted to become a physician. From the time she was a student at Mother Seton Regional High School in Clark, New Jersey, every birthday, she’d make a wish to become a doctor. She worked hard as a Biology major at Caldwell and started medical school after graduation, only to learn quickly that this was not where she was supposed to be.  She wants to share those life lessons with other students. “Set a goal. Get as much experience outside that goal as possible; it could give you more options if the main objective does not work out. Be open to change.” And that’s where the liberal arts come in handy. “Give yourself permission to try something new,” she says.

Her new goal has been more rewarding than she could have imagined; Pineros plans to work in the outpatient setting, get her board certification as an orthopedic clinical specialist and start her own practice. Most gratifying of all is being a “bridge” for patients, helping them gain a better quality of life and establishing meaningful relationships with them. Seeing the joy on their faces and the physical and emotional changes is “akin to the butterfly’s metamorphosis,” she says. “The culture of physical therapy is just different.”

— Colette M. Liddy

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Alumna Shares Award-Winning Internship Program with Caldwell University Student

Sharma-Poltorak 1
Sharma -Poltorak 2

Driving through Tilcon NY Inc.’s Mount Hope Quarry is a little like driving onto the moon. A vast landscape of rock face overlooking mounds of mined aggregate materials, continuously processed by giant, spider-like machinery, the 600-acre mining facility is like something out of a 1980s science fiction flick about lunar colonies. A far cry from Caldwell University’s pristine, wooded campus (though it’s only about 17 miles away), this is where Caldwell University student Shyam Sharma spent his summer break as Tilcon NY Inc.’s first human resources intern.

Sharma, a junior at Caldwell, hails from Lodi, New Jersey. Recently elected president of the Caldwell University Student Government Association, Sharma learned of the internship opportunity through the Caldwell University Business Advisory Council through which he was introduced to Caldwell alumna, and Veritas Award winner, Anne Poltorak ’78. Poltorak,  human resources manager for Tilcon NY Inc., who has served on the council, helped to create the award-winning internship program to fill a gap in the talent pool.

“It was a struggle for us to attract qualified candidates to this area,” she noted, “especially when the bigger mining and engineering schools are out of state. In addition, it’s not a glamorous industry. You’re outside. It’s hot one day, cold the next, dirty and dusty.” Poltorak described many instances in which the company would hire qualified candidates for positions, only for those employees to leave within months thanks in large part to the high cost of living and the quickpaced lifestyle for which the tristate area is known. “Folks just didn’t want to stick around when they saw the housing prices and taxes.” The solution, the company found, was to look to local talent and introduce them to the industry. Now the companyworks with local schools with hard-hitting engineering programs like Rutgers University and NJIT.

The program offers students, ideally beginning the summer between their freshman and sophomore years, the opportunity for hands-on training at work sites. Between their sophomore and junior years, students get more technical training, and finally, between their junior and senior years, they learn about the back-office operations, like finance and accounting. The program thus provides students with a well-rounded introduction to mining operations, while giving the company an opportunity to decide if the interns would be a good fit as full-time employees upon graduation. Most of them are, and many of the supervisors on staff came up through those ranks.

When Tilcon NY Inc.’s New Jersey president Sean O’Sullivan, wanted to expand the program to include human resources, Poltorak jumped at the chance to look to Caldwell University for qualified candidates. “I know the values and the type of education Caldwell University instills in its students,” explained Poltorak, who holds a degree in business administration. “The liberal arts-based education I received at Caldwell helped open my eyes to so many different areas. I wasn’t just focused on one thing, and I could take the skills I learned with me. I know that education prepared me to take on everything I have had to do, even now. So when I told my president I was going to look at my alma mater first, he told me he would expect nothing less from me.”

Sharma feels strongly that he will benefit from his experiences with Tilcon NY Inc. Majoring in business  administration with minors in marketing, pre-law and political science, Sharma jumped at the chance to train in such a diverse climate with a successful alumna. “Everyone here has been great and I’m experiencing new things every day,” he said. From designing informational brochures to compiling data for labor negotiations, Sharma is gaining real-world, practical skills. He too credits his ability to move easily between various tasks to the type of education he is receiving at Caldwell University and refers to Caldwell graduates as “amazing products.” Sharma overlooking active mining operations at Tilcon NY Inc.’s Mount Hope Quarry. The quarry produces aggregate materials used in asphalt, electric wiring, toilets, gutters, nails, door knobs, sewer pipes, toothpaste, water glasses, pencils and baby powder. The materials mined from Mount Hope Quarry are all (quite literally) made in the USA. Sharma and Anne Poltorak ’78 at Tilcon NY Inc.’s New Jersey corporate office.

Indeed, Caldwell University continues to pride itself on its amazing products. “As alumni leaders continue to distinguish themselves through support to their alma mater, Caldwell University keeps growing stronger,” said Kevin Boyle, vice president for development and alumni affairs. “Bringing internship opportunities to our students is one way alumni can have a direct impact on the lives of our students. We know for a fact that Anne’s contribution to Shyam’s education will only bolster the likelihood of his success in the future. We are proud of such connections and look forward to the day students who are currently benefiting from these opportunities, like Shyam, return to Caldwell as alumni to give back in their own ways.”

In the meantime, Sharma, who is set to graduate in 2017, will work hard and continue to take advantage of the
opportunities before him while shooting for (or working from) the moon.

Internship opportunities are available to students of all majors and in a limitless variety of fields. To learn more about how you can connect with qualified students to fill internship opportunities in you organization, contact the Career Planning and Development Office at 973-618-3290 orcareers@caldwell.edu.

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Caldwell University Grad Receives NJ Student Teacher Award


Sara Zambelli (3rd from left), a recent graduate of Caldwell University, received a New Jersey Distinguished Student Teacher Award. Pictured with her left to right are:  Dr. Edith Ries, Professor in the Education Division, Caldwell University; Dr. Joan Moriarty, Associate Dean of Education, Caldwell University; Sara; and Sondra Mermelstein, Sara’s cooperating teacher at Redwood Elementary School in West Orange.

Sara Zambelli (3rd from left), a recent graduate of Caldwell University, received a New Jersey Distinguished Student Teacher Award. Pictured with her left to right are: Dr. Edith Ries, Professor in the Education Division, Caldwell University; Dr. Joan Moriarty, Associate Dean of Education, Caldwell University; Sara; and Sondra Mermelstein, Sara’s cooperating teacher at Redwood Elementary School in West Orange. Photo by: Mike Schwartz

Two Other Outstanding Education Students Are Nominees

Caldwell, N.J., June 26, 2015– Caldwell University recent graduate Sara Zambelli is a recipient of a New Jersey Distinguished Student Teacher Award from the New Jersey Department of Education and the New Jersey Association of Colleges for Teacher Preparation.



Sara Zambelli, a recent graduate of Caldwell University, received a New Jersey Distinguished Student Teacher Award. She is pictured here with Mark Mautone, NJ State Teacher of the Year and analum of the Caldwell University graduate program in applied behavior analysis. Mautone spoke at the awards.

Sara Zambelli, a recent graduate of Caldwell University, received a New Jersey Distinguished Student Teacher Award. She is pictured here with Mark Mautone, NJ State Teacher of the Year and analum of the Caldwell University graduate program in applied behavior analysis. Mautone spoke at the awards. Photo by: Mike Schwartz


Zambelli, a resident of West Milford, New Jersey, did her student teaching in the 4th grade at Redwood Elementary School in West Orange and was thrilled with the experience. “I believe teaching is the most important job in the world. It creates all other professions,” she said. Zambelli received her bachelor’s in Elementary Education and English from Caldwell in May.

Two other outstanding education students from Caldwell University— Karen Kucharski and Gianna Veniero —were nominated for the student teacher award and received certificates. All three students were honored at a NJ Department of Education ceremony on June 24.

Dr. Joan Moriarty, associate dean of education at Caldwell, says the Education Division applauds Sara’s hard work and efforts. The Education Division is honored that students from their program have received this award two years in a row. Melissa Brady ’14 received the honor last year. “What a tribute to the hard work and dedication of the faculty and students,” said Moriarty.

Zambelli said she is grateful to her cooperating teacher, Sondra Mermelstein at Redwood, and Redwood’s principal, Mrs. Kivlon, for their tremendous support throughout this year.

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Music Alumni and Students Connect to Sing Praises for Caldwell’s Music Program


Caldwell, N.J., April 9, 2015 – Caldwell University alumni joined music faculty and current students for an evening of performance and networking in the Alumni Theatre on March 31.  Organized by Professor Rebecca Vega, the event provided an opportunity for current students to hear about alumni experiences after college in the professional fields of music, education, and business.  The event opened with a reception followed by a performance by Professor Nan Childress-Orchard and Conner Romanowsky ’09 of a piano four hands arrangement of Malagueña by Ernesto Lecuona  and En Bateau by Claude Debussy .

The alumni then participated in a panel discussion in which they were asked to tell students about themselves, what they are doing now, and what advice they would like to share with the students.

“Don’t be afraid to take advantage of the opportunities that come to you,” Brian Singer ’13 told the students.  “You never know when those opportunities are going to lead to your next job or give you a skill you’ll need down the road.”  Currently employed at Sam Ash Music, Brian uses what he learned at Caldwell to help him guide customers to appropriate purchases while he hones his skills fixing instruments.  While still seeking work as a music teacher, his current position has allowed him to make connections he is sure will lead him to a job in the future.

Cara Pernas ’10, a music teacher in Jersey City, told the students that Caldwell helped her find a passion for music.  “Without Caldwell and Dr. Greenwald, I wouldn’t have the strength I have as a musician and a teacher.”

Alumni also offered practical advice for students going into education.  “Get to know the administration in your district,” Pernas told them.  “There are many obstacles out there.”

Singer told students to keep all of their course materials.  “You’ll go back to it,” he said, with nods of agreement from other educators on the panel.

Vincent Peri ‘11, who attended Caldwell for a second bachelor’s degree after being laid off from a high level position, described how Caldwell helped him become an elementary music teacher, his true passion.  Following a “bittersweet” and lucrative career in the music industry, Peri returned to school to study music education.  “[The faculty] rebuilt me as a professional,” he said.  In terms of advice for students, he told them to “start building work experience now…. Humble yourself and take what you can get.  It’s competitive out there, so with any opportunity you have, always treat it like you might get a full time job there.  And music ed [sic] majors, practice your piano!”

Christopher Logan ’12, was a music and business major at Caldwell.  Now a wealth management specialist at Merrill Lynch, Logan told the students, “Music is my life, but it wasn’t meant to be my job.”  He then went on to explain how his degree in music helps him daily.  “I approach every presentation like a composition,” he says.  “I learned that from the faculty here, so take what they have to say and run with it.”

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Caldwell University Alumni Present President Blattner with Veritas Award


Caldwell, N.J., April 9, 2015 – Caldwell University alumni presented President Nancy Blattner with its professional excellence Veritas Award on Friday March 27. Alumni, faculty, staff, students and local community leaders gathered on campus to celebrate with Dr. Blattner as she was honored with the award for Excellence in Leadership in Higher Education.

The award presenters were Dr. Blattner’s husband, J. Timothy Blattner, and Sister Kathleen Tuite, O.P., vice president and dean of student life. Mr. Blattner spoke of his wife’s career as an educator prior to coming to Caldwell University, her roles as a devoted mother to their children and in nurturing and mentoring other young people, and her service to those in need, notably through her work with Birthright, a pregnancy resource center.

Sister Kathleen recounted how Dr. Blattner assumed the presidency in 2009 as Caldwell’s first lay president. From the beginning “she understood the role she came to embrace,” said Sister Kathleen. The “Dominican spirit and tradition are in stellar hands”. Those who benefit most from her commitment are Caldwell University students. “Her compassion, inquiry into their lives and genuine desire to see them succeed in their educational goals and give expression to the mission of Caldwell University is palpable,” said Sister.

Dr. Blattner’s accomplishments include leading in record breaking enrollment and repurposing space for improved facilities and dorms, achieving university status , overseeing the implementation of new academic programs and providing “clear strategic direction and planning” as guides “to ensuring a future full of hope,” said Sister.

In accepting the award Dr. Blattner said it was particularly meaningful to her since it recognizes those professionals who carry the Dominican values into their families and communities. She recounted growing up in Cape Girardeau with aging parents who “had no formal education beyond the eighth grade,” and gave her the “three great gifts…the desire for an education, an unparalleled work ethic and the lived example of Catholic values.” She expressed her gratitude to the Sisters, alumni, faculty, staff, students and members of the Caldwell community who have “opened both their homes and their lives” to embrace Tim and her.

To the students she had a special message. “You are the reason why I get up every morning and come to work with a hope-filled heart.”

“I truly believe that each one of you—because of your holistic education at Caldwell—will make a difference in our world –whether it be in your careers, in your communities or in your families,” she said.

The annual award recognizes alumni excellence in all professions. Although Dr. Blattner is not an alumna, the Veritas Award committee chose to grace her with this distinction because of her ongoing commitment to ensuring that the legacy of the Sisters of St. Dominic is sustained through the work of the university.

Awardees are chosen by an independent committee of alumni based on their fulfillment of criteria that reflect the mission of the Sisters of St. Dominic who founded the university.

Caldwell University Chorale, directed by Music Department Professor Laura Greenwald and accompanied by Warren Helms, sang “Inscription of Hope” by Z. Randall Stroope and “Dominican Magnificat” by Feargal King.