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Healthcare Foundation Grant Supports Art Therapy Center and Internships

Caldwell University has received a grant from The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey to expand its graduate programming in art therapy. The $95,600 grant will support the expansion and modernization of art therapy program space on campus and establish new supervisory fellowships at mental health agency internship sites in the Newark, New Jersey area.

A new dedicated Art Therapy Center will feature a dynamic learning environment with workshop and classroom spaces equipped with state of the art technology, such as digital smartboards, tablets and iMac© personal computers and collaborative office and art display areas.

Graduate student interns will work with vulnerable children at sites like the Youth Consultation Service and The Essex County Mental Health Center and with seniors at the Jewish Community Housing Corporation of Metropolitan New Jersey and Daughters of Israel.

Annette Vaccaro, Caldwell University associate professor of counseling and clinical coordinator, points out that Caldwell student interns provide over 9,500 hours annually at sites ranging from physical rehabilitation to pediatric units to schools and programs that serve those facing mental health problems.  “This grant will allow us to reach more sites and the most vulnerable populations who may not have the language to express themselves in words but can accept an offer to make art for self-expression and healing.”

Marsha Atkind, executive director/CEO of the Healthcare Foundation added, “We at the Foundation are keenly aware of the positive impact that art therapy can have on people suffering with various mental health challenges – people who often cannot express themselves adequately in other ways.  We are proud to have been able to support this important work.”

The art therapy graduate program prepares students to become licensed mental health counselors and registered art therapists. Caldwell offers three levels of training in art therapy. The undergraduate double major in art and psychology with art therapy concentration prepares students for entry into the M.A. in mental health counseling with art therapy specialization, the post-graduate M.A. in art therapy is designed for professionals who already hold a graduate degree in a related field but want to become art therapists, and the M.A. in mental health counseling with art therapy specialization. The Mental Health Counseling Degree with Art Therapy specialization program was the first program of its kind in the nation to become accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Program, and the first and only graduate art therapy program in New Jersey.

About the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey

The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey is an independent, endowed grant-making organization dedicated to reducing disparities in the delivery of healthcare and improving access to quality healthcare for vulnerable populations in the greater Newark, NJ area and the Jewish community of MetroWest NJ. To this end, the Foundation has granted over $133 million in its 20 year history.

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High school students gather for Spirituality and Leadership Institute


Caldwell, N.J. – Thinking deeply about how you communicate, text and post might not be the way most teenagers would like to spend a week at summer camp, but  10 high school students found it was the best way they could imagine.

The students gathered on the campus of Caldwell University from July 15 to 21 for the Spirituality and Leadership Institute program.

“We probed questions like: ‘What does it look like for us to eat, drink, dress, shop, watch, play and love in ways that help and heal those around us and foster health and happiness in our own lives?’” explained Dr. Kyle Bennett, Ph.D., director of the institute and a Caldwell University assistant professor of philosophy.

“Mr. Bennett made us understand that nothing just is. There is always a further meaning,” said Rich Franklin, a rising senior at St. Mary of the Assumption High School in Elizabeth.

Now in its second year, the program is aimed at helping young people look at avenues for promoting public justice and seeking the common good. Mornings consisted of lectures and class; afternoons and evenings included free time and organized events. The students lived in the university’s residence hall.

“It was a new experience every day,” said Viv Zeballos, a rising senior at Millburn High School.

“I felt like I was actually in college,” said Franklin, who attended the institute for a second year.

Among the speakers was Meghan Ritchey, an events coordinator and curator in New York City, who gave career advice. She stressed the importance of “being mindful of serving others” and at the same time providing a quality product. Ritchey said that as a freelancer she must “rely on God because there is so much uncertainty.” She encouraged the students to choose good mentors and to find ways to work with teams, putting “experiences over events” and concentrating on “relationships more than work.” She said they should show God they are willing to take risks. “Anything you think you are bad at, you should do.”

Ritchey’s talk was “so motivating and inspiring,” said Zeballos, who works at a bakery and now feels empowered to take risks and to share her creative promotion ideas. For Noah Wickenheiser, a rising junior from Notre Dame High School in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, Bennett’s talk on interacting with others was most valuable. It “made me think about how I act around others … and how I value others,” he said.

Other speakers included: actor Matt Lowe on thinking and creativity, business executive and Caldwell adjunct professor Barbara Davies on journaling and expression, and Assistant Professor of Theology Christopher Cimorelli, Ph.D., on working and the environment.

Getting to know students from different schools and locations was a broadening experience. “I’m basically a city kid” who found a “country friend,” said Franklin.

Activities included rope courses at the Turtle Back Zoo, a Jackals baseball game, an ice cream social, dodgeball, kickball and mini golf.

The program was well organized, said Wickenheiser. “They included everyone’s ideas.”

“I’d rate it as a really positive experience,” said Zeballos.

“A 10 out of 10,” agreed Wickenheiser.

The institute is made possible through a grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc.

The other students who participated are:

Antonia Ippolito,  Pope John XXIII Regional High School

Nasir Jones and Jennifer Lawson from St. Mary of the Assumption High School

Daniel Cwynar from James Caldwell High School

Sophia Feijoo from St. Dominic Academy

Miles Smith from Union Catholic Regional High School

Sidney Lauredant from Oratory Preparatory School

An optional overnight weekend will be held October 6 to 9 at the Spruce Lake Retreat Center in Canadensis, Pennsylvania.

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Caldwell University Named a “Best College” by MONEY Magazine

Caldwell University has been named one of the “Best Colleges” by MONEY Magazine, a longtime trusted leader in financial preparedness.

The magazine ranked 711 colleges and universities in the U.S. based on educational quality, affordability and alumni success. Caldwell University was chosen for its high performance in those areas.

“This is the first time we have made the MONEY Magazine ‘Best Colleges’ list and it is very exciting for us,” said Joseph Posillico, Ed.D., senior vice president at Caldwell.  “It reinforces the progress and innovation that Caldwell has made in our quality education and affordability along with the strong feedback we are receiving from our alumni.”

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Caldwell, New Jersey: a perfect location for a university

Rock n Joe photo

Students Denis Gray, Farah Leon, Zaira Baranukova and Louis Del Virginia having a good time at the coffee café Rock’n’Joe.

The borough of Caldwell is an ideal location for a university. Within walking distance or a short drive from campus, there are many places to get a good cup of coffee, a great slice, or find a unique gift.

With tree-lined sidewalks, a Main-Street-USA feel, and Grover Cleveland Birthplace Memorial Association, Caldwell is a great place to take a bike ride, grab an ice cream cone, enjoy the great outdoors and visit boutiques and shops. Plus, there are a number of restaurants and eateries featuring various cuisines and atmospheres.

Throughout the year, students, faculty and staff enjoy frequenting the different venues for everything from grocery shopping to getting a haircut or a manicure. They use the service provider businesses for professional and personal needs.

Crystal Lopez, director of residence life at the university, says the students enjoy the warm community surrounding their educational atmosphere. “Many of them work in town and make Caldwell a home out of their college experience.”

During the academic year, Theology and Philosophy Department professors Kyle Bennett, Ph.D. and Christopher Cimorelli, Ph.D.host discussions with students at the coffee café, Rock ‘n’Joe, on Bloomfield Avenue. “We meet on different Fridays to talk about topics such as economics, politics, theology, and marriage,” says Dr. Bennett.

The Caldwell University Jazz Band, student ensemble and the faculty jazz quartet, led by Music faculty member Rob Middleton, play at Rock ‘n’ Joe once a semester.


Caldwell University nursing students provide free blood pressures screenings at the annual Caldwell Street Fair the first Sunday of October.

During the spring semester each year, English Department Professor and Chair Mary Ann B. Miller, Ph.D. works with the Caldwell Public Library staff to host poetry readings for local, published poets. As part of her Introduction to Poetry course, students work with poets to plan their readings and gain experience in public relations, event planning and public speaking.

The university is a sponsor for the Rotary Kiwanis Caldwell Street Fair, which is held the first Sunday of every October. Nursing students enjoy providing free blood pressure screenings, music students perform, and staff and faculty provide free give-aways, photos with the mascot Cougar and information about the university. “It is always great fun and a terrific opportunity for the university students, staff and faculty to meet many people in the community,” says Tim Blattner, husband of Caldwell President Nancy Blattner. Tim, a member and past president of the Rotary, coordinates the university’s tent along with Linda Maher, the university’s marketing coordinator. This year’s street fair will be held Sunday October 1 from noon to 5 p.m.

Dr Miller and her daughter's photo

English Professor Mary Ann Miller and her daughter enjoy ice cream at Gelotti of Caldwell on a hot summer day.

In the summer, the West Caldwell free outdoor gazebo concert series feature a variety of music. Here’s the summer 2017 schedule.

Art on the Avenue is held in Caldwell on a Saturday at the beginning of every June and features photography, fine art crafts, sculpture, and crafts.

On the Fourth of July, the Grover Cleveland Birthplace historic site hosts a free ice cream social. The site is the birthplace of the only U.S. President born in New Jersey, President Grover Cleveland.http://presidentcleveland.org/


Caldwell University students Farah Leon and Denis Gray outside Rock n Joe coffee cafe.

Transportation to New York City and other locations
For those who want to visit New York City, the Decamp # 33 bus stops on Bloomfield Avenue right outside the entrance to the university. There are also local New Jersey Transit #29 buses to Montclair and Newark where students can enjoy activities including the Montclair Art Museum and the Newark Museum.

NJ Transit trains run to New York City, Newark and Hoboken from several stops in Montclair. Trains from Newark run to various points at the Jersey shore where one can enjoy the beach.

For bus and train schedules to go:

Useful community links
Caldwell Merchants Association – https://www.caldwellmerchants.com/
Caldwell Street Fair – https://www.caldwellmerchants.com/
Rotary Club of the Caldwells – http://www.caldwellrotary.org/

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Public Health Education Program Preparing Students for Healthcare Workforce

In this video, Dr. Brenda Petersen, Ph.D., associate dean of the Caldwell University School of Nursing and Public Health and Dr. Ernani Sadural, director of global health for Barnabas Health, talk about ways the Public Health Education program at Caldwell University is preparing students to enter the healthcare delivery system equipped with the necessary skills to meet complex healthcare needs of diverse populations.

The department includes the Bachelor of Science in Public Health Education and the Inter-Professional Health Education Collaborative.

Graduates of the BSPHE will be qualified and prepared for positions in community health and public health as well as hospitals, insurance companies, primary care provider offices, private and commercial community health organizations, research organizations, health coaches in wellness centers, educators within biology and pharmaceutical industry and governmental public health organizations.

The IPHEC provides integrated learning experiences utilizing best practice methods for students enrolled in the inter-disciplinary health programs.

Students have the opportunity to engage in exciting inter-disciplinary learning activities, simulation exercises in state-of-the-art simulation labs, and assignments that strengthen necessary skills to enter the healthcare delivery job force, such as using telemedicine as a disruptive innovation for providing patient teaching to populations.

To find out more, go to:


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Broadway ‘Hamilton’ drummer returns to Caldwell University to give percussion clinic


Caldwell, N.J., July 13, 2017 –

When you do something it is “super important” to do it like you mean it, Broadway musician Andres Forero told middle and high school students at Caldwell University’s percussion camp. Returning to the camp for a second year in a row, Forero, drummer for the hit Broadway play “Hamilton,” gave a percussion clinic to 20 students on July 11. Now in its sixth year, the camp features daily clinics presented by nationally acclaimed drummers and percussionists, said Alexander Bocchino, director of the camp and a Caldwell music faculty member.

In an entertaining interactive format, Forero, who has won Tony, Grammy and Emmy awards, took the students “out of the pit,” playing R&B, jazz and creative music. “It is wonderful to share what is underneath the stage, studio and live shows,” he said. He also gave the young people words of wisdom, saying they should be grateful to their parents for sending them to the camp. Recalling how he had grown up in humble circumstances, he told the students that one year his mother worked very hard so he could attend a music camp.

He stressed the importance of have good listening skills and working with “intention” in whatever they do. “The intention behind what you do should have a substance and meaning to it.” That, he explained, applies to music and anything else they set out to do in life.

Forero, a music prodigy, has played around the globe. In 2016, he was on the cover of Modern Drummer magazine. He recalled how when he was younger he thought it would be nice if he could someday afford a subscription to the magazine. His life experiences—including being in a car accident many years ago and having to learn to walk and play again—have given him the opportunity to share with young people how to get past obstacles and to achieve goals.

Recent high school graduate Carina Page, who has attended the camp for several years, said Forero is such an “amazing musician,” and she was impressed by “the way he teaches us different ways to portray creativity in music.”

Bocchino remarked, “We are lucky to have a musician of Andres’ caliber come to our camp and share his wealth of talent and experiences with the students.”

Forero said it was an honor to return to the university. “How could I say no? I’m grateful to Alex and the staff … it kind of my responsibility to share my experience with young people … I learn as much as I teach.”

The camp also features a trip to the Birdland Jazz Club in New York City where music faculty member, prize-winning composer, and saxophonist Rob Middleton plays, and a final student concert on campus for parents and friends.

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Caldwell Athletics Tabs Torey Northup-Jones ‘13 To Lead Women’s Basketball Program

Dec 15, 2012; Caldwell, NJ, USA; NCAA Div II Basketball – Caldwell College (M&W) vs Felician College. Mandatory Credit: Jim O’Connor-NJ Sport Pics


Caldwell University Assistant Vice President/Director of Athletics Mark A. Corino has announced the hiring of women’s basketball alum Torey Northup-Jones ’13 to lead the Cougars as its head coach. Northup-Jones will also serve as one of the department’s Assistant Athletic Directors and will oversee the Student Athlete Advisory Committee along with other administrative duties.

“I am very excited and honored to be returning to Caldwell as the head women’s basketball coach and assistant athletic director,” said Northup-Jones. “I want to thank President Nancy Blattner and Assistant Vice President/Director of Athletics Mark Corino for giving me this amazing opportunity. I want to thank Coach Cimino for recruiting me to Caldwell and coaching me and being a great inspiration along the way. It is such a privilege to be able to return to an outstanding university and coach a program I take so much pride in. I am thrilled to be back and look forward to mentoring and inspiring our players on and off the court.”

Northup-Jones shined on the court for the Cougars from 2009-13, including being named the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Rookie of the Year as a freshman. She was a four-time CACC All-Conference selection, including appearing on the first team three times. Northup-Jones was selected to the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association First Team in her final three seasons. She was a Daktronics First Team All-East Region selection as a sophomore and was named to the Second Team as a junior. Northup-Jones was part of the Caldwell SAAC for four years and served as its president in her senior year. She was named the Caldwell NJAIAW Woman of the Year in 2013. Northup-Jones also competed on Caldwell’s first track and field team in 2012 and earned Honorable Mention All-Conference in the 4×400 meter relay. She finished her playing career with 1,850 points, 599 rebounds, 197 steals, 391 assists and 234 three-pointers. Northup-Jones ranks fourth in program history in scoring, fifth in assists, second in free throw percentage and is the all-time leader in triples.

“We are tremendously excited and pleased to welcome back Torey to our institution and athletic department as our assistant director and women’s basketball head coach,” said Corino. “I believe Torey is extremely prepared to handle all facets of this position and will be motivated, dedicated and committed to our successful program. As a former outstanding student-athlete, Torey has a great knowledge and understanding of our mission and will lead in a positive manner. In working at Binghamton University for the past three years under Linda Cimino, our former head coach, Torey was involved in all aspects of coaching and was promoted to recruiting coordinator this past season which has prepared her for this challenge. I am happy to provide her with this opportunity and am looking forward to working with her as she will now lead our program through this new and exciting era.”

Northup-Jones returns to Caldwell after having served for three seasons as an assistant coach at Division I Binghamton University. In September 2016, she was promoted to the program’s recruiting coordinator. While at Binghamton, Northup-Jones worked on player development with the team’s guards and was responsible for three all-conference players, including the 2015 America East Rookie of the Year. She also assisted with scouting, recruiting, team’s academics and community service projects. Northup-Jones was responsible for creating a regional and national network with AAU and high school coaches.

“Torey has established herself as an excellent coach, a tireless recruiter and a young woman of the highest character,” added Binghamton University Head Coach and former Caldwell Head Coach Linda Cimino. “I’m so proud to watch her grow and mature both personally and professionally from a player, to an assistant, to now the head coach at her alma mater. She’s one of the best athletes to ever wear a Cougar uniform and will demonstrate her commitment and pride for Caldwell every day as she carries out the Catholic mission of the University as its head coach and assistant director of athletics.  She has prepared herself for this great opportunity and I believe this is an outstanding hire for the entire Caldwell community.”

Northup-Jones began her coaching career at St. John’s University, where she was the graduate assistant coach in 2013-14. The Red Storm posted a 23-11 record that season, advanced to the BIG East championship game and appeared in the NCAA Division I Tournament.

Prior to playing collegiate ball at Caldwell, Northup-Jones attended LaSalle Academy in Rhode Island, where her team won three consecutive state championships under Sean Reddy. As a senior, she was selected as the Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Rhode Island.

She received her bachelor’s degree from Caldwell in Psychology in 2013 and her master’s degree in Sports Management — with a specialization in Coaching Leadership — from St. John’s in 2015.

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Caldwell University Selected to Receive CIC Intergenerational Connections Grant

Caldwell, N.J., July 6, 2017 –

Caldwell University is one of a select group of 21 institutions across the nation chosen by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) to receive a grant of nearly $13,000 to implement an Intergenerational Connections: Students Serving Older Adults program. The one-year grant will be used to enhance connections between undergraduate students and older adults in the community. CIC launched this new initiative with support from the AARP Foundation to encourage colleges to create or extend programs in which students help low-income older adults (ages 50 and older) tackle key life challenges.

CIC President Richard Ekman said, “CIC hopes that this pilot project will serve as a first step toward the development of a national network of programs on independent college and university campuses that promote intergenerational interaction between students and community members.”

These 21 colleges and universities will be part of a new network of colleges that the AARP Foundation hopes will help establish best practices for engaging students in meeting the challenges of older adults—hunger, safe and affordable housing, income-generation, and social isolation—in the communities surrounding college campuses.

Brenda Petersen, Ph.D., chair of the Public Health Department, said Caldwell University is using this grant to develop its Community Telehealth Program designed to help older adults overcome the barriers in adoption of technology and to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. Students in the undergraduate bachelor’s in Public Health Education Program will engage with older adults providing assistance and teaching in accessing and using digital devices, providing instruction on safety and privacy on the internet, and helping this population learn how to use online resources and social media.

“Through our partnership with an independent living facility in our community we are excited about the opportunity to advance our undergraduate Public Health Education students’ use of telehealth while providing connections to older adults in our community. Our goal through this intergenerational connections grant is to promote the health of older adults through the use of telehealth and to create a national model that can be replicated by other schools and universities ” said Dr. Petersen.

More information about the project and the participating institutions is available on the CIC website at www.cic.edu/programs/intergenerational-connections.

The Council of Independent Colleges is an association of 768 nonprofit independent colleges and universities and higher education affiliates and organizations that has worked since 1956 to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance public understanding of private higher education’s contributions to society. CIC is the major national organization that focuses on providing services to leaders of independent colleges and universities as well as conferences, seminars, and other programs that help institutions improve educational quality, administrative and financial performance, and institutional visibility. CIC conducts the largest annual conference of college and university presidents and of chief academic officers. CIC also provides support to state associations that organize programs and generate contributions for their member colleges and universities. The Council is headquartered at One Dupont Circle in Washington, DC.

About AARP Foundation

AARP Foundation works to ensure that low-income older adults have nutritious food, affordable housing, a steady income, and strong and sustaining bonds. We collaborate with individuals and organizations who share our commitment to innovation and our passion for problem-solving. Supported by vigorous legal advocacy, we create and advance effective solutions that help struggling older adults transform their lives. AARP Foundation is the affiliated charity of AARP. 


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Exploring women’s political leadership

Caldwell, N.J., July 6, 2017 –

Kerry McGrath ’17 and Daniele Rocca attended the NEW Leadership™ program at the Eagleton Institute of Politics


Recent Caldwell graduate Kerry McGrath ’17 and rising senior Daniele Rocca attended the NEW Leadership™ program at the Eagleton Institute of Politics June 8-13.  The program aims to educate college women about politics and leadership and encourage them to become effective leaders in the political arena.

McGrath was pleased to learn about careers where she could combine her communications and media major with her minor of political science.  “I learned about media jobs in the state house and public relations and media jobs working for state senators or assemblymen and assemblywomen.”

Roca, a political science major, said the most rewarding aspect was meeting influential women and exchanging stories with them.  She appreciated getting an understanding of who they are and “why it was important for them to get involved.”

Roca and McGrath were enthused to learn more about negotiation and how to work with people who have different points of view.    “It’s important to be kind and work with someone even if they are on the opposite side of the aisle than you, because having friends on both sides of the aisle shows you are understanding and can listen and work with people you disagree with,” said McGrath.

Both came away ready to put what they learned into action. Roca appreciated the challenging aspects, which she said helped her become “reinvigorated” to do work to put aside the “polarization and aggression we see today.”   McGrath hopes to get involved in local town politics. “I was inspired to start attending town council meetings, which I plan to do this summer. I am also going to start volunteering on campaigns where I will network and make connections.”



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Caldwell University Recognized for 2017 Learning Excellence in NJ

Caldwell, N.J., July 5, 2017 –

Caldwell University has been recognized for offering one of the best learning environments in New Jersey for 2017 by LearnHowToBecome.org, a leader in education and career resources.

“It was important to recognize the colleges and universities that are going above and beyond the standard for learning,” said Wes Ricketts, co-founder of LearnHowToBecome.org. “These schools have proven that their learning environments are exceptional and continuing to improve.”

“This is an affirmation of the value of the education Caldwell is providing to prepare students for the career path they choose to pursue,” said Joseph Posillico, senior vice president at Caldwell University.

The full ranking list and complete methodology can be viewed here:
Best Colleges in New Jersey – http://www.learnhowtobecome.org/college/new-jersey/

To be considered for this ranking, schools must be institutionally accredited, public or private not-for-profit institutions and offer at least ten total programs. The main data points considered when ranking universities include:
• In-state tuition and fees for undergraduates
• Student to teacher ratio
• 6 Year Graduation Rate
• % of students receiving institutional financial aid (first time- full time undergrads)

LearnHowToBecome.org has distinguished their ranking measurement by including the median earnings of alumni ten years after enrolling in college. Factoring in salary earnings alongside tuition and financial aid offers a more accurate assessment of the return on investment a university offers.

LearnHowToBecome.org began in late 2013 with a mission to help students and professionals understand what is takes to land their perfect career, whether they need to know which schools to pick or how to climb the company ladder.

LearnHowToBecome.org works alongside educational and employment experts to make sure information is accurate and current.