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Alumna Uses Design Talents to Prepare Church for Bishop’s Ordination

Alumna Meg Poltorak Keyes used her talents to prepare for the ordination and installation of Bishop James F. Checchio as the fifth bishop in the Diocese of Metuchen.

For more than 30 years Poltorak Keyes has been designing liturgical environments. Shortly after graduating from Caldwell as the first person to receive the bachelor’s in fine arts, she heard a request for parishioners to donate their “time, talent, and treasure.” Knowing her time and finances were limited, she realized she could use her talents. “I raised by hand to help with the flowers,” she says. As an interior designer she has done quite a bit of church renovation and restoration. She is a member of the Art and Environment Committee through the Office of Divine Worship for the Archdiocese of Newark. She also sits on the Liturgical Commission for the Diocese of Metuchen.

She credits her former art professor, artist Sister Gerardine Mueller, O.P. for her inspiration. “I would not being doing half as much if it were not for her example.”

The below Diocese of Metuch Catholic Spirit article, “Designer recreates Vatican Gardens to honor bishop’s time in Rome”, highlights Poltorak Keyes work.

Designer recreates Vatican Gardens to honor bishop’s time in Rome

By Tracy Liston

SOUTH PLAINFIELD — Design consultant Meg Poltorak Keyes was hard at work with her small team preparing the Church of the Sacred Heart two nights before the ordination and installation of Bishop James F. Checchio.

May12TheCatholicSpirit“It is very exciting to be a part of this, and it all happened rather quickly,” said Poltorak Keyes. “This is a huge honor to be selected to design the liturgical environments. I am doing this as much for Bishop Paul [G. Bootkoski] as I am for Bishop James,” she said, noting that she has worked with Bishop Bootkoski since the beginning of his 14 years in the diocese. For the celebration of Evening Prayer, held the night before Bishop Checchio’s ordination, Poltorak Keyes said she chose a white decorating theme to adorn the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi in Metuchen “to which was the Memorial of Saint Athanasius, who was a bishop and doctor of the Church.”

However, for the installation and ordination, which fell on the feast of St. Philip and St. James, who were apostles and martyrs, the liturgical color is red, and Poltorak Keyes said she did not want to focus on that particular color.

Instead she chose “to use the architectural elements of the church to reflect and capitalize on the colors that were already here.” Hence her color scheme of butterscotch, pale yellows, and persimmon came to life and accentuated the buff, sand, beige, bronze and oak tones so prominent at Sacred Heart.

“There will be many international visitors here for the ordination and the people will also bring their own colors to the ceremony,” she added.

flowersTo honor the nearly 13 years Bishop Checchio spent in Rome at the Pontifical North American College, Poltorak Keyes decided to research the Vatican Gardens and learn what flowers and shrubs grow there. “A lot of thought went into this,” she said. “I wanted to recreate what would be typical at the Vatican Gardens.”

The Stephanotis, Oleander, Jasmine and Confederate Jasmine that Poltorak Keyes special ordered were all carefully placed in pots by design team members, Anne Poltorak, her sister, and Pru Cadena.

After the festivities, the flowers were delivered to the new bishop “so he can plant them at either his private residence or around the Cathedral to remind him of Rome.”

A designer of liturgical environments for more than 30 years, Poltorak Keyes does regular work for St. Joseph Parish, North Plainfield, where she is a member, and Mount Saint Mary Chapel, Watchung. She also worships at St. Charles Borromeo Church, Montgomery Township.

A member of the diocesan Liturgical Commission, she also specializes in church renovation and restoration. Designer recreates Vatican Gardens to honor bishop’s time in Rome In the background above are some of the creations Meg Poltorak Keyes designed for the Mass of Ordination and Installation of Bishop James F. Checchio at the Church of the Sacred Heart, South Plainfield. At left is one of the arrangements assembled by Poltorak Keyes and design team members Anne Poltorak, her sister, and Pru Cadena. Poltorak Keyes has been designing liturgical environments for more than 30 years.

– Mike Ehrmann photos

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Caldwell Alumni Veritas Award Dinner Features Connection with Soldier in Kuwait


Caldwell, N.J., April 7, 2016 – Thanks to the modern technology of Skype, Caldwell University connected overseas with United States Army Colonel. Christopher Doneski ‘ 90 to recognize him with the Veritas Award for Excellence in Military Service.

The Veritas Award is the highest honor Caldwell bestows on graduates for professional excellence.

Colonel Doneski’s mother, Mary Louise Donnelly Doneski ’56, received the Veritas Award for Excellence in Leadership and Service and Eileen Curtis ’68 received the Veritas Award for Excellence in Cultural Programming. Family members and friends of the honorees, along with the Caldwell University community, gathered for a celebratory dinner on April 1 at Essex Fells Country Club.

Colonel Doneski’s brother, Colonel Terrence Doneski (USAF, retired) introduced his brother and his mother before they received their awards.

Colonel Christopher recalled his days at Caldwell, the people who made a difference in his life, and how he learned to be both a good follower and a leader during his college career. “Caldwell (university) will always feel like home,” he said. Mrs. Doneski and Colonel Doneski both remembered fondly their aunt, Sister Marita Donnelly, a Sister of St. Dominic of Caldwell, an inspirational woman, who had an impact on their lives.

Colonel Doneski has 25 years experience in the United States Army and has made a name for himself as a leader, expert observer, coach, and mentor. Currently he is part of the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), which is responsible for running counter ISIL operations in Iraq and Syria. In 2015, he was selected to serve as the director of the Armored Warfighting Forum, which was established to enhance the professional and leadership development of the Army’s maneuver warfare community.

Mary Lou Donnelly Doneski ’56 has been a trailblazer for women in the military., She was the first woman to be commissioned as a Naval officer directly from a college or university in New Jersey. As a lieutenant, Mrs. Doneski was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. After that, she continued to serve her country as a military spouse, supporting her husband’s career in the Army. She raised five children through nine family moves and her husband’s two deployments to Vietnam and Korea. She mentored the spouses of junior officers.

Eileen Curtis ’68 was introduced by her husband Marshall Curtis who pointed out that Eileen has won just about every award for her broadcasting work including a Peabody.
She was previous music director at WGMS Radio in Washington D.C. where she enjoyed a career producing cultural documentaries that gained her the Peabody Award and a Silver Medal for the Arts from the Government of Austria. Among the many highlights of her career, she collaborated with pyrotechnic experts to create the music for the fireworks on the Washington Mall that accompanied the return of the Iranian hostages, for which she was thanked by President Ronald Reagan.

Music education student Nicholas Bushey appreciated meeting Curtis. “She took the time to talk to me about where I am in my career and she told stories about her experiences. She was very encouraging to me and her passion for everything that she does was inspiring.”

Sophomore Dennis Brady said it was an honor to be invited to the dinner and be in the presence of successful alums. “I thought it was great to connect with alumni and explain to them my experiences of Caldwell University today.”

Senior Shyam Sharma said the honorees are an inspiration to students. “It was amazing to see how, as an institution, we’ve grown so much over the years, yet the values and foundation of the university remain consistent with our beginnings.”

Marshall Curtis announced the establishment of a Caldwell University scholarship fund in honor of Eileen.

The Doneski family announced the establishment of The Mary Louise Donnelly Doneski Scholarship, which will be awarded annually to a student interested in military or other public service.

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Veritas Awards to be held April 1 to honor professional alumni excellence

Veritas Logo

Caldwell University will honor alumni professional excellence at its 31st annual Veritas Awards Friday, April 1 at the Essex Fells Country Club in Essex Fells, N.J.

The honorees are: Eileen Curtis ’68 for Excellence in Cultural Programming,
Mary Lou Donnelly Doneski ’56 for Excellence in Leadership and Service, and Colonel Christopher Doneski ’90 for Excellence in Military Service . The Veritas Award is the highest honor the university bestows on its alumni.

Curtis, of Falls Church, Virginia, has served as president of the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce since 1994. She has been recognized as Woman of the Year by the Herndon Business and Professional Women and as Chamber Executive of the Year by the Virginia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.

In her former career, as music director at WGMS Radio, Curtis produced cultural documentaries that gained her a Peabody Award and a Silver Medal for the Arts from the Government of Austria. Among the many highlights of her career, she collaborated with pyrotechnic experts to create the music for the fireworks on the Washington Mall that accompanied the return of the Iranian hostages, for which she was thanked by President Ronald Reagan. Curtis is also a published author. She holds a B.A. in Music from Caldwell College, an M.A.in Musicology from the Catholic University of America, and a certificate from the Mozarteum,

Mary Louise Donnelly Doneski, of Bethesda, Maryland, has been a trailblazer for women in the military. She followed in the footsteps of her mother, who worked in a munitions plant during  World War II, and an aunt who served in the U.S. Coast Guard, Doneski was the first woman to be commissioned as a Naval officer directly from a college or university in New Jersey. As a lieutenant, Doneski was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. After that, she continued to serve her country as a military spouse, supporting her husband’s career in the Army. She raised five children through nine family moves and her husband’s two deployments to Vietnam and Korea. She mentored the spouses of junior officers. She served on the campaign staff for President Kennedy and worked to turn out the military vote while stationed in West Germany. She is a shining example of leadership, selfless service, scholarship, and motherhood, which has inspired all of her family to a life of service and left an indelible impression on all those who have been touched by her many acts of kindness and charity.

Her commitment to lifelong education and service has inspired all of her children including her son Christopher who will also receive a Veritas award. For over 40 years, she has served in leadership positions in the Woman’s Club of Bethesda, which is active in supporting local shelters and scholarships for students She holds a B.A. in Social Studies from Caldwell College for Women and has a master’s degree.

United States Army Colonel Christopher Doneski has over 25 years experience in the United States Army and has made a name for himself as a leader, expert observer, coach, and mentor.

Currently stationed in Kuwait, Doneski is part of the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), which is responsible for running counter ISIL operations in Iraq and Syria. In 2015, he was selected to serve as the director of the Armored Warfighting Forum, which was established to enhance the professional and leadership development of the Army’s maneuver warfare community.

He has worked as the deputy and then acting chief of staff for III Corps at Fort Hood, Texas. He served as the Commander of First Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, the Opposing Force, as the senior brigade combat trainer at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California, where he was responsible for preparing brigades for combat in Afghanistan, was deputy brigade trainer at the Joint Multinational Training Center in Hohenfels, Germany and brigade chief of operations in Afghanistan for the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, known as the Sky Soldiers .

He holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Caldwell College, an M.B.A. from University of Maryland, and a Master’s of Strategic Studies from U.S. Army War College.

The evening begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are $95 and can be obtained by going to www.caldwell.edu/alumni/veritas or calling 973-618-3352.

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Caldwell University Alumna Making Careers Possible for Veterans


Daniela Petrilli ’02 has started a nonprofit organization Operation MCP (Making Careers Possible) to assist veterans and service members.


An alarming statistic keeps running through Daniela Petrilli’s mind. “There are nearly 50,000 homeless veterans on any given night in the United States,” she says. To her, the situation is a travesty that must end. “One of the many ways we can combat veterans’ homelessness is by helping them become employed.”

Petrilli ’02 recently founded the nonprofit Operation MCP (Making Careers Possible), which assists veterans and service members with résumé writing and interview preparation to help them transition from the military to the civilian workforce. “If I can help even one veteran after he or she fought for our country and for our freedoms, it will be so rewarding.” Operation MCP would like to help veterans find their ideal careers.

Petrilli, who works in human resources for the government during the day, decided to use her educational background and professional experience to start the nonprofit.

“Vets often need assistance translating their military work experience into layman terms when applying for jobs in the government or private sector,” she explains. “He or she could have managed a $50 million defense contract, or commanded an infantry battalion, but needs the resources to know how to explain it to a non-military employer.”

Helping veterans is an issue that hits close to home. Petrilli founded Operation MCP in honor of her father, the late Michael Carlo Petrilli, who served in Vietnam as sergeant in the United States Army. In the 1970s there were few resources to help veterans return to civilian life. Her father suffered from depression, anxiety and night terrors and self-medicated with alcohol, which caused his untimely death at 62. Growing up with an “emotionally unavailable father was certainly not easy.  It was hard for him to be affectionate with my sister and me because he was angry most of the time,” she writes in a blog on her website. “My mom always worried about leaving my sister and me alone with him for fear he would drink instead of looking after us.”

Petrilli points out that it was not until 1980 that the American Psychiatric Association added post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III).  She was angry with her father for a long time, but with the help of wonderful mental health professionals “was finally able to accept that his PTSD and alcoholism was not something he asked for, but a direct result of serving in war,” she writes.

She grew up in Springfield, New Jersey, received her Bachelor of Arts degree in communication arts with minors in marketing and psychology from Caldwell, then worked in publishing, television and public relations and received her Master of Arts degree in communication studies and leadership from Kean University. In 2008, she became certified in human resources studies by Cornell University. She remembers fondly her days at Caldwell. “I was the first person in my family to go to college. All of my professors were wonderful.  I was involved in numerous activities. I was a cheerleader, member of the Marketing Association and the Student Government Association, and now I work for the government in human resources.” Her education in marketing, business and psychology is helping her today. “Studying marketing and business has helped me build my non-profit. Through minoring in psychology, I learned how to work with all types of people.  I’ve also learned that using emotional intelligence to assist veterans in need is vital,” she says.

Operation MCP is planning events. The group is holding its launch party in Washington, D.C. in November and is looking forward to laying Christmas wreaths in early December at Arlington National Cemetery, something she and her friends have been doing for the last few years.

Petrilli is putting together her board of trustees and looking for volunteers with experience to work with the veterans or to help with outreach, marketing, or obtaining donors and sponsorships. “Washington, D.C., is a great base for the organization since there are so many veterans here,” she says.  “It’s so important to give back. Veterans causes are near and dear to my heart.”

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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