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New Mueller Gallery Celebrates Foundress of CU’s Art Department

Photo courtesy Pushparaj Aitwal.
Photo courtesy Pushparaj Aitwal.
Photo courtesy Pushparaj Aitwal.
Photo courtesy Pushparaj Aitwal.
Photo courtesy Pushparaj Aitwal.
Photo courtesy Pushparaj Aitwal.
Photo courtesy Pushparaj Aitwal.

Joy spilled out of the packed gallery into the hallway as Caldwell University unveiled the “Mueller Gallery” signage at the Homecoming festivities Saturday, Sept. 24. Alumni, students, faculty, staff and administration were honored and thrilled to be celebrating with Sister Gerardine Mueller, O.P., as the art gallery was named after her.

Caldwell University President Nancy Blattner, Ph.D., OPA, assisted Sister Gerardine with cutting the red ribbon to signal the official opening of the gallery.

Sister Gerardine, the foundress of the university’s Art Department, was grateful and surprised at the large turnout of former students and Homecoming attendees. “It was unexpected that they would respond to the gallery naming as they did. It was just beautiful,” she said.

A sister, a teacher, a mentor, an artist and a professor emerita, Mueller is an iconic presence on Caldwell’s campus and is remembered by her students for the lessons and inspiration she shared with them.

At 96 years old, she has a lifetime of artistic works encompassing different mediums including sculpture, stained glass, illuminated manuscripts, woodcarvings and clay.

Alumna Agnes Dembia ’69 was happy to attend the dedication and “see such a glorious acknowledgment of Sister Gerardine and her many contributions to Caldwell University”. Dembia recalled how when she was in the third or fourth grade she saw a color photo spread of Sister Gerardine’s illuminated manuscripts in The Daily News. “Immediately I knew that I wanted her to be my teacher one day and promised myself that it would happen! In my senior year at Caldwell, I took her class in calligraphy and illumination and loved it. I went on to earn a master’s degree in art education. To this day I still enjoy the practice of calligraphy”.

Alumna Elaine Weiss Yonke ’69 was proud to attend the dedication. “Her art is everywhere you look around the campus, yet she remains so humble. I know she is grateful for this special honor, and it was so good to be there and see her smile. She has always inspired me to do my best, to be open to new ideas and to keep going despite setbacks. She taught me to always be true to myself”.

The new gallery is located in the Student Center and will provide a beautiful space for displaying student works and holding special exhibitions.

Sister Gerardine said the gallery naming was recognition of the work done on behalf of the Sisters of St. Dominic congregation at the university. “The gallery leaves a physical, lasting mark of the sisters’ work—of the sisters’ presence—and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have worked in that area of the university.”

Featured News, News

Ponto Earns CAANJ DII Female Student Athlete of the Year; Caldwell Athletics Receives DII Cup

CALDWELL, N.J.- Caldwell University softball alumna Sydney Ponto ’17 (West Deptford, N.J.) was selected as the Collegiate Athletic Administrators of New Jersey (CAANJ) Division II Female Student-Athlete of the Year. The Caldwell University Athletics Department earned the DII Cup for their outstanding athletic accomplishments during the 2016-17 year.

“Caldwell athletics had an exceptionally successful year during 2016-17, and we are honored to be receiving the CAANJ DII Cup in recognition of our teams, their coaches and our athletes,” said Caldwell President Dr. Nancy Blattner. “

Caldwell Athletics as a department turned in one of its best years on the field. The fall season featured three playoff teams, highlighted by women’s soccer winning their second CACC Championship in four years. The women’s volleyball team reached the CACC championship final, while men’s soccer advanced to the CACC semifinals. During the winter season, the men’s and women’s basketball teams both reached the semifinals with the women’s team advancing to the championship final. The women’s bowling team, in only their third season, qualified for the Northeast Conference Championships for the second straight season. Bowling advanced to the NEC Championship Final Four for the first time in program history. The success continued into the spring as the softball team tied the single-season program record with 45 wins and won their seventh CACC Championship. Women’s lacrosse reached the post season for a second straight season in its fourth year as a program at Caldwell. The men’s and women’s track and field team both took third place at the CACC Championship meet in May.

“Caldwell athletics plays an integral role in the success of Caldwell University, and to win the CAANJ DII Cup certainly validates our commitment to our athletes and coaches,” said Caldwell Senior Vice President Joe Posillico.

Caldwell earned six major award honors led by women’s basketball’s Kristen Drogsler (Middle Village, N.Y.) and softball’s Marisa Monasseri (Monroe, N.J). Volleyball’s Jessica Mitchell (Plainfield, Ill.) and women’s lacrosse’s Rachel Lucia (Egg Harbor Township, N.J.) earned CACC Defensive Player of the Year honors, while Ponto was the CACC Pitcher of the Year. Alexandra Greaves (Huntington, N.Y.) from the women’s cross country team was selected as the CACC Rookie of the Year.

As a department, Caldwell earned 44 CACC All-Academic honorees as well as 19 CACC All-Conference selections. The department also earned seven CoSIDA Academic All-District winners as well as three CoSIDA Academic All-Americans.

“I am truly humbled and honored to receive this award,” said Ponto. “Thanks to my coaches, the athletic staff, professors, administration, friends, family, and of course my teammates for everything, I could not have done anything without them. My four years at Caldwell were unforgettable and irreplaceable, and I am happy to call it a home.”

Ponto finished her career on the softball field last spring as one of the most decorated players in school history. She was named the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Pitcher of the Year and was a CACC First Team All-Conference selection. Ponto added Division II Conference Commissioner’s Association (D2CCA) East Region Pitcher of the Year honors to her resume along with Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference D2 Pitcher of the Year honors. She earned D2CCA Third Team All-American honors from the and the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA). She excelled in the classroom as she was selected to the CoSIDA Academic All-American Third Team. Ponto named to the D2CCA and NFCA East Region First Team and was an ECAC First Team All-Star. She set the program single season record with 30 wins in the circle in 2017. Ponto led the conference in wins, strikeouts (269), complete games (23) and innings pitched (226.0). She went 4-0 in the CACC Championship Tournament, earning Tournament MVP honors. Ponto ended her career second all-time in school history with 75 wins in the pitching circle.

In response to Ponto’s award, Blattner added, “we are proud of all our student-athletes but particularly Sydney Ponto for the amazing career she had as a pitcher on our softball team.  She is so deserving of the inaugural student-athlete of the year award in DII from CAANJ, which highlights her contributions on the field and her success as a Caldwell student-athlete.

Posillico said, “having Sydney recognized as the first ever CAANJ Division II Female Student- Athlete of the Year is an amazing honor and we are so proud of her and her accomplishments on and off the field,”

Ponto and the department will be honored at the CAANJ luncheon on Thursday, October 12 at 12:30 pm, at the Holiday Inn in Somerset, NJ.

Featured News, News

President Blattner is guest on Caucus: New Jersey on Making College More Affordable

President Nancy Blattner, Ph.D. is a guest on Caucus: New Jersey with Steve Adubato discussing “Making College More Affordable.”  Blattner and the panel of guests talked about their work in serving as members of the New Jersey College Affordability Study Commission.

The other panelists are: Dr. Ali A. Housmand, president of Rowan University, Dr. Tim Haresign, president of the Council of New Jersey State College Locals and associate professor of biology at Stockton University, and Giancarlo Tello, the student representative on the Commission.

They discussed recommendations from the commission, how to make college more affordable, how parents can start planning early, public private partnerships, challenges for first generation students and understanding the differences between loans and grants.

The broadcast schedule is as follows:

Making College More Affordable Sat. 9/30 NJTV 12 noon
Sun. 10/1 NJTV 8:30AM
Sun. 10/1 NJTV 11:30AM
Tues.10/3 NJTV 5:30AM
Tues. 10/3 WHYY 5:30PM

Click here to watch the full video.

Featured News, News

Lecture “Revolutionary Women: Girlfriends I’ve Made in 40 Years as a Historian”

Dr. Marie Mullaney will be the speaker at a Phi Kappa Phi Caldwell University Chapter lecture Oct. 12.

Caldwell, N.J., Sept. 25, 2017 “Revolutionary Women: Girlfriends I’ve Made in 40 Years as a Historian” will be the topic of a Phi Kappa Phi lecture presented by Historian Dr. Marie Mullaney at Caldwell University, 7 p.m., Thursday Oct. 12.

Dr. Mullaney, professor of history at Caldwell and a specialist in the history of women, will discuss the research and publishing she has done on a wide number of achieving women in the past.

“Some were really radicals; others were pathbreakers,” said Dr. Mullaney. Some of the women she will discuss include Mabel Smith Douglass, the founder of the New Jersey College for Women; Katharine Ryan Gibbs, the founder of the well-known Katherine Gibbs secretarial schools;  French anarchist Louise Michel; Karl Marx’s daughter Eleanor; La Pasionaria of Spanish Civil War fame; and New Jersey communitarian Rebecca Buffum Spring.

In telling their stories, Dr. Mullaney will explain what it means to live a life as a professional academic and she will share stories of how her own teachers and her students have played a role in motivating her research. “Doing research has helped me become a better teacher and I want to share that advice with others, most especially students who are interested in pursuing research in any career field,” said Dr. Mullaney.

The lecture is free and open to the public. It is being presented by the Caldwell University chapter of Phi Kappa Phi. It will be held on campus in the Alumni Theater.  Light refreshments will be served.  For more information, contact phikappaphi@caldwell.edu or Dr. Francie Del Vecchio at 973-618-3416.

Phi Kappa Phi’s mission is “To recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others.” For more information about Phi Kappa Phi, visit www.PhiKappaPhi.org.

Featured News, News

Students Attend United Nations Leadership and Enrichment Programs

Minhtruc Nguyen, a senior at Caldwell University, was a volunteer at the United Nations for the forum on “Moral and Innovative Leadership: Vision, Service and Entrepreneurship” run by the International Young Leaders Assembly.

Caldwell, N.J., Sept. 25, 2017 – Caldwell University students recently attended enrichment and leadership programs at the United Nations in New York City.

In August 19 students participated in “Moral and Innovative Leadership: Vision, Service and Entrepreneurship” run by the International Young Leaders Assembly. The assembly is a partnership-driven leadership development program aimed at empowering young leaders to positively affect their communities, nations and the world.

Minhtruc Nguyen, a senior at Caldwell who was attending for her third time, was enthused that the speakers encouraged the students to work to change the world. “Sometimes we get tired on the way to success,” she said, but the program encourages students to “do more.” A financial economics and accounting major who transferred to Caldwell two years ago, Nguyen was happy to be asked to be a volunteer for the forum. As a result, she was invited to take the IBM leadership training program at the summit for which she received a certificate.

She looks forward to attending the International Young Leaders Assembly next year and hopes she can encourage more students as well as staff and faculty from Caldwell to attend.

Romina Ghale attended two forums at the United Nations–“Moral and Innovative Leadership: Vision, Service and Entrepreneurship” run by the International Young Leaders Assembly and the “Ear and Hearing Health as a Vehicle for Peace and Sustainable Development.”

Maulin Joshi, director of international student services, was pleased that the students attended the summit since it “empowers our young leaders to positively impact their communities and gives them an opportunity to join an excellent global network.”

Romina Ghale joined Nyugen at the conference. Gale also attended a forum titled “Ear and Hearing Health as a Vehicle for Peace and Sustainable Development” at the U.N. on Sept. 14. Hosted by the International Federation for Peace and Sustainable Development and the permanent mission of Guatemala to the United Nations, the day included educational sessions to understand the global impact of hearing impairment and efforts to increase funding nationally and internationally. Ghale said she was honored to hear the speakers including former President Bill Clinton and William B. Austin, founder of the Starkey Hearing Foundation.

Featured News, News

Book signing – Practices of Love, Sept. 25

Talk and book signing – “Practices of Love: Spiritual Disciplines for the Life of the World”

The Caldwell University Department of Theology/Philosophy will host a talk and book signing with philosophy faculty member Kyle Bennett, Ph.D. on his new work “Practices of Love: Spiritual Disciplines for the Life of the World”, noon to 1 p.m., Monday, Sept. 25. The event will be held on the first floor of the Newman Center (in the former bookstore location) on Caldwell’s campus. The public is invited to attend.

Spiritual disciplines are often viewed primarily as a means to draw us closer to God. While these practices do deepen and enrich our “vertical” relationship with God, Kyle David Bennett argues that they were originally designed to positively impact our “horizontal” relationships—with neighbors, strangers, enemies, friends, family, animals, and even the earth. Bennett explains that this “horizontal” dimension has often been overlooked or forgotten in contemporary discussions of the spiritual disciplines.

This book offers an alternative way of understanding the classic spiritual disciplines that makes them relevant, doable, and meaningful for everyday Christians. Bennett shows how the disciplines are remedial practices that correct the malformed ways we do everyday things, such as think, eat, talk, own, work, and rest. Through personal anecdotes, engagement with Scripture, and vivid cultural references, he invites us to practice the spiritual disciplines wholesale and shows how changing the way we do basic human activities can bring healing, renewal, and transformation to our day-to-day lives and the world around us.

Bennett is also program director of The Spirituality and Leadership Institute at Caldwell University, a summer program for high school students.


Featured News, News

Caldwell U Fans Pack Stadium for First Sprint Football Game


Caldwell, N.J. – Fans packed the stands for Caldwell University’s first-ever sprint football game Sept. 16.

Students, alumni, faculty, staff and the community came out to root for the Cougars, led by Head Coach Daryle Weiss, as the team faced the University of Pennsylvania Quakers.

In Caldwell style, they rolled out the red carpet, literally, with the rug running from a pre-game reception area to the stadium. President Nancy Blattner, Ph.D., was thrilled to mark the historic day, thanking all those who made it happen—“donors, friends who wanted to rally around football … prospective students, and families.” She performed the ceremonial coin toss, winning it for the Cougars. University of Pennsylvania Head Football Coach Bill Wagner presented Dr. Blattner with a league welcome gift of a 2016 Collegiate Sprint Football League football and a brochure on the 85-year history of sprint football.

Senior Irielis Garcia said sprint football has created a buzz with the students. “Everyone is supporting one another. It’s wonderful.”

“Loved the game. Really good turnout,” said freshman Antonia Duzic.

“A good bonding experience,” said freshman Thomas Dono.

Senior Katherine Langari was pleased to see that many students painted their faces and decorated their T-shirts and that other student-athletes supported the new team. “A lot of the sports are coming together.”

Senior Megan Ilievski saw the game as “a really good opportunity to hang out with friends and support the school.”

Alumna Ethel Maria Conroy ’83 came to support her daughter, cheerleader Maria Conroy-Covin. “I’m so excited. I’m overwhelmed in a good way. I couldn’t find a parking spot.”

With the sun beaming down, everyone was feeling the late summer heat. “We felt united as we perspired. It was a beautiful spirit,” said alumna Angela Zaccardi ’58.

The marching band comes out of a strong Music Department. With music faculty member Rebecca Vega at the helm, the 18 musicians and six color guards are looking forward to being an active organization at the sprint home games and at other events like Homecoming and open houses.

Drum major Micaela Andrews attended band leadership camp during the past two summers with Professor Vega. She was thrilled to be able to perform with the marching band. “We worked so hard leading up to the game and when we finally took the field, it really felt like we were making history for Caldwell.”

It took the hard work and commitment of several people to make sprint football a reality for Caldwell. Senior Vice President Joseph Posillico, Ed.D. and Assistant Vice President of Athletics Mark Corino were on the front lines with Dr. Blattner in researching the league and its fit for Caldwell. “It’s an amazing feeling seeing a concept and a dream come to life out on the field and to have this type of excitement surrounding the event,” said Dr. Posillico.

Don O’Hagan, chief information officer at Caldwell, was on the university’s football committee, which was led by Dr. Blattner. “She brought us all together on the football planning committee. She took the minutes! This first game was the culmination of many people working outside their job descriptions to make this happen,” said O’Hagan. Dr. Blattner thanked O’Hagan for spearheading the historic Game Day program, which included advertisements and messages of congratulations from community leaders and local businesses.  Board of Trustee member John Crawford worked in collaboration with Linda Maher and Graphic Imagery on creating the wonderful design of the program.

Sprint is a full-contact, intercollegiate varsity sport that has the same rules as regular college football. Players must weigh 178 pounds or less. The week leading up to the game was Spirit Week on campus. Events included a Friday night bonfire.

The Collegiate Sprint Football League has existed since before World War II and can boast of famous players like former President Jimmy Carter, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

The other members of the Collegiate Sprint Football League include Army West Point, Chestnut Hill College, Cornell University, Franklin Pierce University, Mansfield University, the U.S. Naval Academy, Post University and the University of Pennsylvania.

Caldwell’s upcoming home games are 1 p.m. Oct. 14 against Mansfield University and noon Oct. 28 against Franklin Pierce University.

For those who want to make road trips, the Caldwell Cougars are at Cornell University 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22; Post University noon Saturday, Sept. 30, and the U.S. Naval Academy 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3.

Featured News, News, Uncategorized

Mass of the Holy Spirit – Caldwell Community Encouraged to be Open to God’s Will


The Caldwell University community gathered for Mass of the Holy Spirit to pray for guidance in and inspiration in the new school year. Traditionally the Mass of the Holy Spirit is a symbol of the beginning of the academic year at a Catholic university.

Reverend James Manos, a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark, was the celebrant.  “What are your gifts?” he asked of those in attendance. In order to know what God is calling one to do with his or her gifts, one has to be open to the spirit of God, said Father Manos.

Recalling the recent anniversary of 9-11, he spoke of Father Mychal Judge, the Franciscan priest and chaplain to the New York City Fire Department, who died ministering to people at the site of the World Trade Center attacks. During his lifetime, Father Judge ministered to alcoholics, those who had AIDS, migrants and the marginalized, said Father Manos. “He brought more and more people closer to God…He was open to the spirit of God.”   Like Father Judge, we have to be open to what God is calling us to do, said Manos. At times it can be confusing, but if we sit quietly we will be able to hear God’s answer, he said.

Father Manos recalled the words of Father Judge who said “When I don’t know what’s next, I get down on my knees and pray, ‘Lord, take me, mold me, fashion me, show me what You want.’ Then I watch and listen and it will come.”

“So don’t fret,” said Manos. He told attendees they would get the answer if they were open to the Holy Spirit and God’s will.

President Nancy Blattner read a special blessing for the student-athletes, the resident life assistants, the Student Government Association officers and the university chorale.

Music Professor Laura Greenwald, members of the Caldwell University Chorale, accompanist Warren Helms, and cantor Rebecca Nee provided the music.

Library, News

Win prizes and celebrate Constitution Day!

Come celebrate Constitution Day on Friday 9/15/17 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. in the Library.

Complete the Constitution Day Scavenger Hunt for a chance to win a $30 gift card to the bookstore! Contest open to any Caldwell University student.

More activities are available:

Complete the Constitution Day Scavenger Hunt for prizes!

Watch streaming video from the National Constitution Center

Try out a sample Naturalization Test and see if you could pass

Interact with the Constitution via the Constitution Center’s iPad app

Featured News, News

Junior Nursing Students Receive White Coats for Start of Clinicals

Photo courtesy of nursing student Jewelz Lopez's father.

Studying to be a nurse can be tough, challenging and rewarding all at the same time. One of the rewards comes when junior nursing students are honored at the White Coat Ceremony as they start their clinical work in hospitals and health care centers. Fifty-six Caldwell University nursing students hit that milestone Thursday, Sept. 7, when they received their white coats and their Humanism in Medicine pins.

Dr. Brenda Petersen, associate dean of the School of Nursing and Public Health, greeted the audience of students, faculty, staff, family members and friends who gathered for the joyful occasion. Addressing the students she said, “You commit yourselves today to the service to others and to work toward the greater good for all.”

Dr. Kathleen Kelley, assistant director and associate professor in the School of Nursing and Public Health, told the juniors that their white jackets symbolize their professional identity and will remind them of the ideals that have always characterized professional nursing such caring and compassion toward the people they serve. “It is personally delivered by your faculty as a gift of faith, confidence and compassion. The oath that you take today binds you to that professional commitment toward patient-centered care,” said Kelley of the pledge the students read as they accepted the responsibilities of the nursing profession.

Senior Natalie Pedri gave a powerful talk about her journey in being diagnosed with a stage-four Wilms’ tumor, a pediatric cancer, and having to leave school for a year for surgery and treatment. During a self-assessment, which she had learned to perform in nursing class, she found the large mass that led her to get medical care. She said that having cancer allowed her to see nursing from a patient’s perspective and that she was grateful to the nurses who cared for her and to the supportive Caldwell nursing faculty, in particular Kelley, who had gone through breast cancer herself. “Being a patient wasn’t easy, but I learned that it’s the nurses that make the difference in your experience. They are the ones who advocate for you, are by your side 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and help you throughout the difficult time. I now know from my own experience the kind of nurse I want to be.”

Nursing junior Jewelz Lopez was moved by Pedri’s talk. “It made me feel more connected to my major, to what it is all about,” said Lopez.

Dr. Barbara Chesler, vice president for academic affairs, told the students that wearing the white coat is a sign that they take their professional choice seriously and that they understand the commitment they are making to themselves, to their families and to the Nursing Department. Acknowledging that there will be struggles, Chesler told the students they will meet those challenges. “You’ll rise because your strength as a nurse is not determined by one grade, one shift of one job. It’s an ongoing journey of learning, honor, humility and a chance to make even the smallest difference in the lives of your patients.”

The juniors were thrilled to receive their coats. “Glad to be on my way to achieving my dreams,” said Jacqueline Garcia. “Feels like the first day of the rest of my life,” said Lucia Siniscalchi. “Happy I made it this far,” said Akiel Morris. “So excited for everything. Hopefully I will be a good nurse,” said Sarah Koritam.

There were many proud parents in the audience. “So excited; it’s emotional. I was expecting this at the end of the two years,” said Siniscalchi’s mother, Maria.

The Humanism in Medicine pins are a gift from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, initiators of the White Coat Ceremony.

Director of Campus Ministry Colleen O’Brien gave the invocation and benediction.

Dr. Nan Childress Orchard, chair of the Music Department, provided the processional and recessional music.