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Caldwell University Celebrates Founder’s Day March 16

Mother-Joseph

Caldwell, N.J., – March 11, 2016 – Caldwell University will celebrate Founder’s Day and its Catholic Dominican heritage with an array of activities on Wednesday March 16.

“This year’s Founder’s Day is particularly special since we are celebrating the 800th anniversary of the worldwide Order of Preachers,” said Sister Kathleen Tuite, O.P., vice president for student life. “Founder’s Day and the Jubilee is a celebration for everyone at Caldwell in the Dominican Family—our students, faculty, staff, and administration.”

At 8 a.m. commuters will be greeted by volunteers who will be handing out breakfast in the commuter parking lot.

At 11 a.m. faculty, staff, and students are invited to attend a mini-course.

The forums will include:
“Sisters and the Shaping of America” with Dr. Marie Mullaney, professor of history.

“DNA : The Springy Blueprint of Life” with Science faculty Dr. Agnes Berki and Dr. Angelina Scimone and students Tulaja Shrestha and Debbie Balthazar.

“Preserving and Sharing University History and Student Service Activities Online” with Rebecca Driscoll, reference services and archives librarian.

“Growth Mindset 2.0” with Graduate student Monica Heinze.

“Winter Break Mission Trips: Belize and Honduras” with students and staff.

“3D Printing as a Community Service”with Ellen Johnston, assistant director Jennings Library and Heather Cook, Learning Commons librarian.

“Caldwell University Grant-funded Programs with Pat Levins,” director of corporate, foundation and government relations.

A tour of the Motherhouse will be led by Sister Elaine Keenan, O.P.

Mass will be celebrated at noon by Chaplain Father Albert Berner. After Mass, Presidential Service Awards will be presented to various employees for their years of commitment to the university. A special luncheon will be held in the cafeteria.

Between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. students can stop by Werner Hall’s first floor to pick up a hot beverage and snack before their night classes.

Glow in the dark dodge ball hosted by the Cougar Steppers will be held in the Student Center Gym from 9 to 11 p.m.

Caldwell University celebrates Founder’s Day each year to remember its opening in 1939 and its foundress, Mother Joseph Dunn, O.P.

About Mother Joseph Dunn, O.P., Foundress, Caldwell University

Born on December 29, 1885, in Boonton, New Jersey. Mother Joseph entered the Caldwell Dominican Community in 1902. As a young sister, she taught at elementary and high school levels.

Mother Joseph was elected Mother Superior of the Caldwell Dominican Sisters in 1927 and re-elected in 1933. Due to her involvement in the creation of Caldwell College for Women at the time is was suggested that she be permitted to run again for re-election. She was indeed re-elected for a third term on the first ballot!

Mother Joseph was known for her “enthusiasm for all things Dominican” and strived to be a dedicated daughter of the church.

In 1927, Mother Joseph sought permission to erect a junior college in Caldwell, however, the request was denied as the Bishop felt the need for a woman’s college was already met by the College of Saint Elizabeth at Convent Station. Mother Joseph never abandoned her dream of a college. On June 21, 1939, the Bishop announced that a college for women would be opened in Caldwell by September. Mother Joseph and her Council had done the impossible. They had created the College amidst the Great Depression and war. The college officially opened on September 22, 1939, as Caldwell College for Women, with thirty-four students. By 1947, the college’s enrollment had increased to 170. Just as it is now, the faculty and student body were a close-knit community. The spirit of the family was nurtured by the creation and fostering of many Dominican traditions.

After the blessing of the cornerstone for Raymond Hall, the Honorable Alexander P. Waugh a lifetime resident of Caldwell and dear friend to the sisters, spoke of the sisters and Mother Joseph, “Dominicans were not standing still. Great things were happening…Mother Joseph’s name was legendary in the Caldwell Community. She knew what Almighty God wanted her to achieve – and she knew how to obtain material to achieve those objectives. That quiet, able nun on the hill was a mental match for anyone in the Community.”

At the age of 71 Mother Joseph Dunn passed away on Good Friday, March 30, 1956. As the foundress of Caldwell University, she has left behind a seventy-six year long legacy of carrying and passing on the torch of truth through education and the zeal for the Church, marked with the Dominican spirit.