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lucent The Alumni Magazine of American International College

Summer 2012 | Volume 5 | Issue 2

Healing Haiti: AIC Professors and Students Respond to a Country in Crisis

A Summer with Much to Celebrate

We generally associate summer with a slower pace. However, that hasn’t been the case on the AIC campus so far! It was truly heartwarming to watch more than 330 undergraduates at our commencement ceremony cross the stage and receive their diploma, as well as nearly 850 graduate students. It is always rewarding for me to watch our students finish their course of study at American International College, knowing that their personal and professional aspirations are that much closer. Congratulations to the Class of 2012!

lucent EDITORIAL BOARD Heather Cahill Danielle Goldaper Craig Greenberg Lynn Saunders Scott Whitney CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Craig Greenberg Mary Ellen Lowney Mimi Rigali Samantha Stephens

In mid June, the College hosted the Fifth Annual President’s Cup Golf Outing at the Ranch Golf Club in Southwick, Massachusetts. Those who supported the event helped to raise over $55,000 and we managed to have a great day of golf on a beautiful course! Many thanks to all who supported our athletics programs with this event; we look forward to seeing you next year.


Within the same week, the College held its inaugural Run for Education, a 5k race designed to benefit local schools and raise awareness of contemporary issues in public education. Our partnership with the K-12 Teacher’s Alliance garnered excellent participation from area educators, as more than 110 runners registered. It was clear from the support that we received from our runners, sponsors, and community leaders that the groundwork has been laid to grow this event in subsequent years.

PHOTOGRAPHY Craig Greenberg Lynn Saunders Deb Shea

I am also pleased to announce two new additions to the AIC community: After an extensive search, Dr. Todd Fritch has assumed the role of provost for the College. Also, Dr. Cesarina Thompson will now serve as the dean of the School of Health Sciences. Both candidates come to us with impressive experience and I am enthusiastic about the contributions that they will make in further developing our academic programs. Be sure to welcome them both when you are next on campus. The upcoming academic year will prove to be a significant one for AIC. As we continue to assemble an excellent team of staff and faculty, we look forward to increasing our academic offerings, maintaining our athletic excellence, and building an institution that continues to prepare our students for today’s economy. As always, I wish to thank you for your continued support and commitment to your alma mater. Enjoy a restful summer!

Vince Maniaci, president


inside this issue Summer 2012 | Volume 5 | Issue 2




Campus Update



Off the Record



Class Notes


What the Eye Doesn’t See


In Memoriam


Archiving the Past


One for the Books

Find out about the latest developments, on campus and off.

And Justice for All: AIC’s Department of Criminal Justice.

Check on your fellow alumni and see what they’re up to.

Guarding the Thin Blue Line Sarah Calgreen ’12 prepares for the U.S. marshal training program.

Ending a Chapter

AIC bids a fond farewell to retiring faculty.

Nursing students and professors travel to Haiti in the wake of the 2010 earthquake.

The Office of the Registrar uncovers clues to an alumna’s fascinating past.

Dominic Smith ’12 wins track program’s first national title.

What have you been up to? Join AIC’s Alumni Facebook and LinkedIn pages, and follow us on Twitter. Feel free to e-mail us at Please send any comments or suggestions about this publication to We’d love to hear from you!

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Letters to the Editor

lucent The Alumni Magazine of American International College

Spring 2012 | Volume 5 | Issue 1

AIC Theater and Garret Players present “Snow White: The Queen’s Fair Daughter,” adapted by Max Bush and directed by Fred Sokol. This version of Snow White is based on the oral story as it was told to the Brothers Grimm in 1808. It contains many of the familiar elements—the seven dwarves, mirror, bodice and apple, the glass coffin—but also differs from the Grimms’ later versions in that the stepmother is a mother, there is no hunter, and the king, Snow White’s father, plays a significant role.

I have been reading the current issue of Lucent and the articles are great. One small suggestion. I think the colors “red and grey” don’t make me think of AIC and suggest some other college. It was almost mistakenly discarded.

Ed. note: The balance between maintaining branding standards and developing fresh design is a delicate one. We believe that the consistency of the Lucent masthead and our designation as “The Alumni Magazine of American International College” allows us to explore new design options in both color and layout. Much thanks for your feedback!

Three performances only

April 13 and 14 at 7 p.m. and April 15 at 1 p.m. Admission: students free, general public $3.00, donations are appreciated. Griswold Theatre, Karen Sprague Cultural Arts Center. For more information call: Patty Scagliarini at 413.205.3264

www.a i c. e du / a rts

Donald V. DeRosa ’63 Dean Blaine Stevens: An Open Door and an Open Mind President Emeritus University of the Pacific

AIC Graduates Urged to Engage Globally Commencement ceremony marks success for Class of 2012 It’s off to the “real world” for the more than 1,100 students from the Class of 2012 at American International College. More than 330 undergraduate degrees and some 850 graduate diplomas were awarded during commencement ceremonies at the MassMutual Center, Sunday, May 20, including the first degrees in the College’s Doctor of Education program. U.S. Ambassador Michael Polt ’75 urged graduating students to engage constructively and critically with global America. “Join us in together forming a more perfect union, not just in the United States, but as a community of nations,” he said. Polt, the U.S. ambassador to Estonia, and Frank Colaccino ’73, chairman of the College’s Board of Trustees and CEO of the Colvest Group, were this year’s commencement speakers and received honorary degrees during the ceremony. “[D]iplomacy and world events are no longer strictly in the hands of diplomats, but also in the hands of citizens, of AIC graduates, on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube,” said Polt. 2 | Lucent

Colaccino attended public schools in Springfield and said he had to work two part-time jobs, including pumping gas, even after taking out student loans, to pay his tuition. “I was loaded up with debt and the prospective of employment was bleak,” Colaccino said. However, he added that “as scary as the world is, it's full of opportunities...Don't be afraid to fail.” There are a lot of doors to be opened, he said, adding that AIC has provided “the keys to open those doors.” Students from as far away as California and as old as 62 years of age received degrees at this year’s commencement ceremony. The Class of 2012 represents more than 15 U.S. states and 10 foreign countries, including Canada, India, Russia, Spain, Kenya, China, Ghana, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, and Poland. Michelle LaFond of Holyoke, Massachusetts, and Alba Coton of Spain were recognized as co-valedictorians. n

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Golf Outing Benefits Athletics AIC’s 5th Annual President’s Cup receives support Golfers of all stripes turned out to support AIC’s student-athletes at this year’s President’s Cup Golf Outing. The fifth annual fundraising event was held on June 7 at the Ranch Golf Club in Southwick, Massachusetts. Ninety-nine golfers enjoyed nearly perfect weather, punctuated by the occasional sun shower and welcomed retreats to the clubhouse. Supporters of this year’s event raised over $55,000 in sponsorship dollars and net proceeds. The revenue will be used to provide AIC’s student-athletes with essential, up-to-date training equipment. The first place gross winners of the tournament were John Cormican, James Crocker, Dennis Booska, and Mike Johnson. Prize for the first place net foursome was awarded to Chris Mercurio, Nick Wormly, Tony Mercurio, and Mike LaChapelle. The event also

featured long drive, closest to the pin, and putting contests. Heather Cahill, executive director for institutional advancement, expressed sincere thanks for all of those that contributed to yet another successful outing. “We are always so gratified that our alumni, trustees, friends, and many corporate partners come out to support our athletics program,” she said. n

Honorary Chairperson Allen Miles ’84 leaves the tee after the first drive.

AIC’s Run for Education a Success 5k race benefits area schools The weather was warm and the course was challenging, but that didn’t deter the runners participating in AIC’s inaugural Run for Education this past June. Sponsored by The team from Consolidated Health the K-12 Teacher’s Plans registers for the run. Alliance, the Run for Education is an extension of AIC’s long-standing commitment to create future educators and to support our local and regional school systems. In the spirit of both academic and physical fitness, more than 110 participants raced along the city of Springfield's storied State Street corridor from the Federal Courthouse to AIC’s new track facility.

More than $5,000 in prize money was awarded to runners who competed in the first AIC Run for Education. Prize money was awarded to the top individual and team runners, as well as the Pre-K through 12th grade schools for which they ran. The top prize of $2,500 was awarded to Southwick Tolland Regional High School after the team “Grading on a Curve” took first place in the team category. According to Joseph Mroz, executive vice president of the K-12 Teacher’s Alliance, the event was highly successful as an inaugural effort. “It was very well organized and that’s so important in terms of future events,” said Mroz. At the conclusion of the race, runners were treated to free stretching exercises from area physical therapists and trainers, free snacks, give-away items, and the allimportant bottle of cold water. Runners represented 25 schools throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts. n

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AIC Welcomes Key Additions to the College Community The College announces incoming provost and dean As students return to campus at the summer’s end, they will be greeted by new faces in their academic lives. Dr. Todd Fritch will serve as American International College’s new provost and Dr. Cesarina Thompson has joined the College community as dean of the School of Health Sciences. Both additions to AIC’s administration have enjoyed extensive academic and professional experience and bring a wealth of innovation to their respective positions. Fritch’s background is primarily in geology, with a bachelor’s degree from Lake Superior State University and a master’s degree and doctorate from Baylor University. In his professional life, he has served as a consulting hydrogeologist Dr. Todd Fritch, the College's new and Geographic Information provost and Dr. Cesarina ThompSystems project manager for son, the new dean of the School of both private and public projHealth Sciences. ects; he continues to serve in both functions through various review and oversight committees of which he is a member. In the academic realm, Fritch recently served as vice president of academic affairs and dean of graduate and professional studies at the American College in Athens, Greece. During his tenure, he led the

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development of five new undergraduate and four new graduate degree programs, as well as several noncredit programs. Fritch also established partnerships between the American College and various stateside universities, including Stanford University and University of Massachusetts Lowell. Fritch is enthusiastic about working with “a talented group of faculty and staff ” at AIC and believes that the College’s ethos will be a good fit for him. “I am deeply passionate about the mission and values of AIC, and look forward to working together to make a great institution even better,” he said. Thompson brings to AIC 25 years of teaching and administrative experience, including as the interim associate dean of the School of Health and Human Services at Southern Connecticut State University. As AIC’s School of Health Sciences enjoys continued growth, Thompson’s background seems well-suited to the current areas of focus within the College’s health science programs. As chairperson of the Department of Nursing at Southern Connecticut State University, Thompson developed an inter-institutional doctoral program to prepare future nurse educators. She has also served on several national task forces related to issues in nursing education. n

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From Our Faculty Two Veterans Resource Committee Members Present at NETA Conference This spring, staff members Diane Furtek ’08 and Pamela Robinson presented their research and experience regarding military inclusion in higher education at the New England Transfer Association conference in Woodstock, Vermont. Nearly 90 college transfer counselors and directors from two and four-year private and public colleges attended the conference. Furtek, the College’s registrar and veterans resource coordinator, discussed with the attendees the particular challenges that veterans face in integrating into a college setting. Robinson, program manager for the College’s School of Continuing Education, serves with Furtek on the AIC Veterans Resource Committee and noted that the veteran population at both public and private colleges is expected to grow in upcoming years, requiring staff and faculty to be aware of the particular needs of the military population in the classroom. “So many of our veteran students are parents, work fulltime, and some are still active duty…and could leave

at a moment’s notice,” said Robinson. “We make every attempt to offer them flexibility when something like that happens.” Furtek and Robinson also explored the emotional needs of some veterans returning from deployment. Veteran students benefit from having an on-campus “buddy,” usually an academic advisor, who can replicate the tight-knit community they typically experience during their time in service. “These folks go through their entire military career with a group,” said Robinson. “So when they come to campus, they want to feel that connection.” In addition to the need for advisors that can offer consistent support, Furtek and Robinson advised the audience to create formal or informal veteran-to-veteran networks. Furtek and Robinson’s presentation was based on research, a consideration of best practices, and information culled from past veteran student panels. n

Taking for Recognized Grantedfor Service AIC PhysicalNothing Therapy Professor AIC faculty receive funding for innovations The Grant Department recently held a workshop for faculty and staff to increase awareness and promote the grant development process on campus. In the fall, a series of additional workshops will be offered for staff and faculty designed to build skills that will enable participants to successfully write grant proposals. Dr. Patrick Carley, professor in the Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program, was awarded a grant from Elements Industrial Design to implement a pilot study regarding the ergonomic design of snow shovels. The Grant Department is also working on several grants to assist in funding the construction and development of a School of Business Technology Laboratory. The classroom/learning laboratory will

be equipped with state-of-the-art technology, which will provide the analytical tools needed to learn twenty-first century skills. This exciting project will positively impact the development of Rendering of the proposed School of Business Technology financial education Laboratory. and literacy programming at AIC. The George I. Alden Trust has awarded the College an $80,000 grant towards this project. n

Summer 2012 | 5

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A Man of Letters AIC’s associate dean reflects on a lifetime in education The string of letters after Nicholas D. Young’s name comprises almost the entire alphabet—PhD, EdD, MBA— and represent a lifetime devoted to education.

Young’s impressive 26-page resume is filled with details of education, writings, presentations, workshops, and national and international conferences—including the Seventh Annual Education and Development Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, which he attended earlier this year.

Young has added another notch to his career as an educator, writer, and lifelong learner: in July, he will become superintendent of schools for South Hadley, Massachusetts.

His resume also lists such achievements as being named winner of the 2010 Commonwealth of Massachusetts Superintendent of Schools of the Year award. He received a Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund Fellowship in 2008-2009, which resulted in an indepth study of the Japanese educational system.

Among his credentials for that position are several degrees and certifications from American International College, with which he has had a fruitful relationship since 1988. His degrees from the College Dr. Young studying in Japan as part of a include a doctorate in educaFulbright program, fall of 2008. tional psychology in 1993 and a Master of Public Administration in May of 2006. In addition, he has served as an adjunct professor and assisted the faculty in designing a graduate program in school/educational counseling. He is currently the associate dean of the Doctor of Education program.

Young is a first-generation college graduate who ran out of money after his freshman year in college. He left to join the military, with which he has had a relationship since he was 17. He has held a number of commands and currently holds the rank of Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, where he now serves as commander of the 287th Medical Company. In that capacity, he is responsible for planning and executing training, supervising, and evaluating soldiers, among other leadership roles.

Designation as Phi Beta Kappa, dean’s awards, and other recognitions of his scholarship and commitment to education adorn his resume. In all, Young has amassed 16 degrees (and counting) in his 45 years from a variety of higher educational institutions. However, he is particularly grateful to AIC, the college that provided the impetus he needed at the time. “AIC gave me a break when I was very young,” he said. “They’ve allowed me to accumulate seven or eight degrees—the most number of degrees at AIC in the history of the College,” he said. “It was good to me in every way. Always flexible with a real focus on practice.”

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Young is also a licensed clinical psychologist and the author of several children’s books. He most recently coauthored two books in a series, respectively titled Oliver Attends an IEP Meeting and Oliver Learns How to Deal With School Bullies; both books are scheduled for release shortly. Due out this summer is his book Powerful Partnerships for Student Success: Schools, Families and Communities, coedited by Christene Michael, director of the Doctor of Education program at AIC. Young also penned In Search of the Great Spirit Moose in the Shadows of Mount Katahdin with coauthor Lynne Celli, associate professor in the EdD program at AIC. Young’s prolific career has been driven by a fierce commitment to education. “My focus has always been education,” he said. “I’m committed to the goal that students get the very best from Pre-K to all levels.” In his new position, he knows he has to reverse the negative perception of a school system tainted by the

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suicide of Phoebe Prince in 2010. “We need to be reenergized and to turn the public perception around,” Young said. “There are a lot of wonderful kids, mature kids – you don’t hear a lot about that.” Among his goals for South Hadley is to establish an early college program, add virtual education areas, and promote a positive culture throughout the schools. He also wants to strengthen the links between school, family, and community. “I believe that people are fundamentally good and that they want to be part of a collaborative team; they want to make a positive contribution.” Young also believes that “we’ve got to do a better job and be fully engaged in providing [students] with a stimulating academic curriculum, including special needs students who need to be fully supported,” he said. “We need an engaging, rigorous curriculum…for all. That’s not to say we don’t already have a strong educational system here,” he said, “but we need to do a better job in recognizing and reward-

ing school achievement. We need to make it cool to be a high achiever.” Young is married to Dianne Young, chair of the mathematics department at South Hadley High School. “She was the one who connected me to individuals who furthered my interest in education,” he said. “I would say I married into education.” Apparently that devotion to scholarship has passed on to the next generation. His daughter, Melanie, a junior at South Hadley High, is looking into pre-med programs. His son, Max, is a fourth grader in the district’s Mosier School. “Both are good students,” he said, “and getting a great education in South Hadley.” Young relaxes by…well, that’s difficult for him, but running “takes the edge off,” he said. He also gave up caffeine about 20 years ago. “My friends don’t want me on coffee,” he laughed. n

by the numbers 330 > 387 > 843 > 940 >

undergraduate students graduating (or commencing) empty dorm rooms on campus during the summer graduate students graduating (or commencing) chairs set on the floor of the MassMutual Center for Graduation 2012 Summer 2012 | 7

Guarding the Thin Blue Line AIC senior begins U.S. marshal training By Samantha Stephens ’11

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Calgreen does what comes naturally: keeping others in line.

Summer 2012 | 9

Without intending to, Sarah Calgreen ’12 has been preparing for this all her life. Recently, Calgreen was selected as one of only 30 applicants nationwide to train under the Centralized Student Career Experience Program, a cooperative education program that prepares undergraduate students for deputy U.S. marshal positions. From her early years growing up in Stratford, Connecticut, Calgreen admitted that she had a strong sense of morality and wasn’t afraid to speak up for what was right. “I always hated when people would do the wrong thing—even in school I would stay in line and never cut in front of people. If people were parked on the street in the wrong direction, I would write them notes. I would pretend I was a police officer,” Calgreen recalled. Without family in law enforcement, Calgreen said that she isn’t sure where her strong sense of “right and wrong” came from. When she arrived at American International College as a criminal justice major, Calgreen admitted she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her degree after graduation. Nonetheless, she seized the opportunity to become an integral part of the AIC community, serving as a peer mentor, orientation leader, resident assistant, and as Student-Athlete Advisory President in her senior year. “I liked being an influential factor on incoming students and being a role model. I liked showing underclassmen what they can accomplish and showing what AIC has to offer,” Calgreen said of her extracurricular activities.

ity of becoming a U.S. marshal, Calgreen began to weigh her future options. She admitted that, though she always wanted to work in law enforcement, she had never thought seriously about applying for U.S. marshal training. However, the opportunity quickly came into focus, and after just one day of researching the responsibilities of a marshal, Calgreen said she was hooked. “I thought this is perfect for me, this is exactly what I want,” Calgreen said. It took a full year for her to be admitted into the rigorous 16-week work-study program, but Calgreen said it was worth all the hard work. College students who successfully complete the program have the potential to transition into a deputy position. But with great opportunity also comes great responsibility. “This last semester has probably been the biggest challenge. Balancing everything going on—continuing to play softball, working, and school with having friends—is really difficult,” Calgreen admitted. “It’s all about time management with everything I’ve taken on.” Calgreen began her athletic career at AIC after being recruited to play softball. Without any prior knowledge of the school or any connections to Springfield, Massachusetts, Calgreen recalls visiting the campus and quickly falling in love. Noting that the small campus size, the proximity of the dorms to the academic buildings, and the camaraderie between students and faculty appealed to her most, she said that she also embraced the city of Springfield. “The neighborhood didn’t scare me. Instantly, I just felt like I fit, like I knew this was where I was supposed to go,” she said.

"Balancing everything going on—continuing to play softball, working, and school with having friends—is really difficult.”

Calgreen said she utilized many of the resources the school has to offer, including AIC’s tutoring services to help keep her grades up. When Professor Jill McCarthy Payne approached her about the possibil10 | Lucent

Calgreen particularly treasured the ability to walk from one building to another on campus while seeing familiar faces, which created a “homey environment.” Calgreen explained that professors at AIC care about students as people, rather than just as nameless faces in their lectures. She added that the school’s welcoming environment starts with President Vince Maniaci, continues to other administrators and staff, and is quickly adopted by incoming students as they arrive on campus.

Calgreen is not the first AIC student to become a U.S. marshal: John Gibbons, a 1978 graduate, was sworn in as the first African American U.S. marshal for Massachusetts in 2010 and has taken on the role of Calgreen’s mentor as she prepares for the program. Calling Gibbons one of “the greatest role models for me,” she said that he has shared valuable advice with her, including the value of working hard, staying focused, and being a good person. “He wants to see me be successful. He took time out of his day and made sure he came to the academic awards where I was speaking. That truly shows me he cares about me as a person and it means a lot,” Calgreen said. She added that Gibbons is “the boss” and having a close friendship with him has been an invaluable part of her learning and growing at AIC. Calgreen also cited Professor Payne, who first presented to Calgreen the option of becoming a marshal, as being a mentor. Additionally, Calgreen is thankful to the other criminal justice professors who helped her along the way. After mastering everything from handcuffing and transporting a prisoner to proper conduct in a court room, Calgreen will travel to Georgia in late summer or early fall, where she will be tested physically and adhere to a monthly fitness regimen at the Federal Law Enforcement Academy. After completing her training in Georgia, Calgreen looks forward to receiving her assignment. Although she gets a “wish list” of three preferred locations, she’s prepared to move anywhere the job takes her. “I am only 22, so if I was going to go somewhere else, I don’t want to be too, too far from family. The east coast would be great— but if they put me anywhere, that’s fine because this is the best opportunity I could be given,” Calgreen said. Connecticut, Massachusetts, and the Carolinas are her top picks for places to be stationed, but Calgreen said she would be just as happy to move to California or a U.S. territory such as Guam. “It’s ultimately up to them,” she said.

Sarah Calgreen swings for the fences at a Yellow Jackets softball game.

son at AIC. However, due to her determination and the flexibility of those around her, Calgreen said she was able to keep her responsibilities in balance. Now, as she prepares for her post-collegiate future, Calgreen described leaving AIC as bittersweet. “It was very possible [for me] to be successful there. I love AIC; I’m very sad to leave. To me, AIC has become family. Being able to walk across the quad and have different professors that I never had in class say, ‘Hi Sarah,’ is really incredible,” Calgreen said. “[To] me, AIC is family and I can’t repay everyone for what they have given me. AIC has helped make me who I am today.” n

Ready to embark on her next chapter, Calgreen described the position of U.S. marshal as her “dream job”; she is particularly excited to do everything she has dreamed of by a young age. “I had a string of emotions when I realized I got the job,” Calgreen said, initially worried that she wouldn’t be able to handle both the internship and her final sports seaSummer 2012 | 11

Ending a Chapter Beginning Another Retiring faculty reflect on years of growth at AIC

By MaryEllen Lowney

Five long-time administrators and professors are closing up shop and making their farewells after productive careers on campus, during which each contributed significantly to the College’s growth. And calling them “long-time” is no exaggeration. Between them, Dr. Paul Desmarais, chair of the Mathematics Department; Naomi White-Inniss, director of Multi-Cultural Affairs; Dr. Paul Quinlan, director of the Curtis Blake Center; Dr. Carol Jobe, dean of Health Sciences; and Dr. Ira Smolowitz, former dean of the School of Business Administration, have amassed a near century-and-a-half of experience in higher education. President Vincent Maniaci spoke highly of them. “These members of our community have had a profound and lasting impact on AIC. Combined they have served the College for over 140 years. Their institutional knowledge is irreplaceable and they have touched the lives of countless AIC students. They will be greatly missed,” he said. Students, alumni, staff, faculty, and administration are sure to agree. Quinlan began before AIC had a diagnostic learning program for students with reading and language disabilities. He built up a program that now includes the Curtis Blake School of Learning, supportive services to AIC students, a tutorial service for public schools, a summer instructional clinic, and a staff of 75. Jobe served the College in two stints—from 1996 to 2003 and again from 2006 until her retirement this June. During those times, Dean Jobe served in two very different capacities. For her first seven years, she functioned as AIC’s provost, overseeing academics for the entire College. When she returned three years later, she was appointed as the first dean of the School of Health Sciences, a school that she had founded as provost. Desmarais has been running the Mathematics Department for the past 24 years, and has also taken leadership roles at commencement ceremonies and as chief judge of the annual Model Congress program. He has also earned a reputation for congeniality, often popping into his colleagues’ offices just to say hello. Smolowitz, who retired in December, was for many years dean of the School of Business Administration. Besides his teaching duties, Smolowitz was a prolific researcher, writer, and speaker. Innis-White is a particular favorite among students, known for her compassionate understanding, commitment to diversity, and her famous ‘Ma White’s Macaroni and Cheese,’ which she often brings to campus.

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The Architect of the Curtis Blake Center Dr. Paul Quinlan arrived at AIC in 1972, after earning his doctorate in clinical psychology at Yale University. He began before the College had a program for students with reading and language disabilities and gradually built a multi-faceted, research-based program. His job title in those early days was director of the then-fledgling Curtis Blake Center, a title he has held since with pride. The program now runs a local school for language learning disabled students. It also provides services to AIC students and public school students across the region. “We started as diagnostic, then expanded,” Quinlan said, giving credit to his long-time codirector, Brian Cleary, who retired in 2000. “It was clear that the more we learned about kids with learning disabilities, the more we could provide for their needs,” Quinlan said. “There wasn’t a lot available in the public school setting to meet their needs. Our primary interest is kids with developmental reading problems, primarily dyslexia.” Quinlan’s colleague and friend Executive Vice President for Academics Gregory Schmutte had all good things to say about the man. “For the last 41 years, Paul Quinlan has been the consummate academic administrator. As director of the Curtis Blake Learning Center, Paul has created a nationally renowned program that has aided thousands of children and college students with learning disabilities,” Schmutte said. “Many of these individuals went through lifechanging transformations as a result of the efforts of the staff of the Blake Center under Paul’s leadership. He created a program of the highest quality while maintaining a work environment for his staff that was the envy of all,” he said. On a personal level, Schmutte added, “Paul has been a close personal friend and professional mentor for me for the past 33 years. We are losing a great administrator and a great intellect with Paul’s retirement. Selfishly for me, I’m not losing a good friend.” So what’s Quinlan, who lives in Longmeadow, planning next? There will be more time for reading fiction, for the summer family home in New Hampshire, and to spend time with his wife Terry, three children, and four grandchildren. Dr. Paul Quinlan stands outside the Center he helped build from its founding.

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By the Numbers Dr. Paul Desmarais began teaching mathematics at AIC in 1975, after earning a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and a doctorate degree, all in mathematics, at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Drawn to the discipline’s simplicity and orderliness, he is a self-described “natural mathematician.” He explained, “My mind lends itself to math. I like the structure and organization of it…I like rules. I like the rule-based science of it. As you get to higher levels, the problems aren’t that easy to solve. Things aren’t perfectly clear. It becomes grey,” he added. Desmarais is an early riser, holding office hours at the unusual hour of 7:35 each morning, and then running an 8 a.m. entry-level calculus class. Students know they’re going to wake up when Desmarais takes to the board and begins writing formulas. He said he loves teaching and will continue to teach his 8 a.m. class every weekday as an adjunct. But the Chicopee resident is also looking forward to retirement, time with his wife Donna, their three children, and two grandchildren. “I will miss the people. I’m a people person, for the most part. I cultivate relationships...I go around and visit people just to say ‘hi’ on a Friday afternoon,” he said. Desmarais’s colleagues speak of him in superlatives. “Paul has to be one of the hardest-working faculty members on campus, and with our hard-working faculty, that’s saying a lot,” said Amelia Janeczek, professor and chair of the Biology Department. Janeczek took note of Desmarais’s service on critical faculty committees, service as faculty marshal for the academic awards ceremony and commencement, sponsor for AIC’s chapter of the Alpha Chi honor society, head judge at Model Congress, and much more. She also called her colleague a helpful guide to new professors and a friend to herself and many others on campus. “Paul is always quiet about his contributions of time and effort to AIC. As senior faculty, he’s also been a great mentor to new faculty in the sciences, and over the years we’ve learned so much from him about strategies for teaching, as well as treating students fairly and with respect. He does it all with grace, humor, and a mathematician’s precision,” Janeczek said.

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Dr. Paul Desmarais with some of the tools of his trade.

A Clean Bill of Academic Health Since Dr. Carol Jobe’s first seven years as provost, she has found the spirit on the AIC campus to be exceptional. “I felt that this was a very special faculty and staff,” said Jobe. “They pitch in and work together, whether it’s their stated duty or not.” In addition to serving as a dean and provost at AIC, Jobe has also been the president of three institutions, vice president of several others, special assistant to the president of Carnegie Mellon University, and has held a litany of other remarkable positions. However, it is her time at AIC that she remembers most fondly. “I have had great experiences in different institutions…but this is what I consider to be the highlight of my career,” said Jobe. The dean notes that the founding of the College’s School of Health Sciences remains one of her proudest achievements. As provost, Jobe structured the school so as to encourage substantive inter-disciplinary learning. “I tried to create a school that provided a unique way for faculty to experiment,” she explained. “A nursing student should know what a physical therapist does; occupational therapists should know what nurses do—so that when you take care of the patient, you’re taking care of the whole patient.” After spending three years as president of Our Lady of the Holy Cross in Louisiana, Jobe returned to AIC to become the first appointed dean of the health sciences school that she founded. Jobe’s friend and fellow AIC faculty member, Dr. Bruce Johnson, will remember Jobe for her positivism and boundless energy. “She has a certain spirit,” he noted. “You know she is present in a room full of people.” Johnson also noted Jobe’s dedication to her family: her children, grandchildren, and husband. Retirement will allow Jobe to focus more of her time and energy on those closest to her; she and her husband plan to relocate to their mountaintop home in northern New Hampshire, where ski slopes and golf ranges abound.

Dr. Carol Jobe enjoys a light moment in her Courniotes Hall office.

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Research and Development Dr. Ira Smolowitz began teaching at AIC in early 1988, after earning a doctorate in urban and environmental studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and teaching for 10 years at Siena College, both in upstate New York. His position at AIC has included the ongoing job of teaching and working with students, and for several years he was dean of the School of Business Administration, as well as dean of the Bureau of Business Research and Program Development. Over the years, Smolowitz forged strong ties with the local business community. He was a prolific researcher and writer, publishing in the Association for Operations Management and many other journals and magazines, thus earning a reputation as a speaker for area business groups. He was widely quoted in the media at the local and national level. “AIC gave me a chance to build and develop myself professionally,” Smolowitz said. “I speak on something I call counterintuitive business practices. I talk about such things as ‘you don’t worship market share.’ It may sound good on paper but it may hurt your bottom line if you pick up customers who don’t pay,” he explained. “I talk about ethics. You never have quality programs if your people practice in an unethical manner.” Smolowitz said he enjoyed his experience at AIC and particularly appreciated the diversity among students. “I think the fact that we have international students is a very good plus for the college,” he said. “I had many students from other countries who brought with them old-fashioned values and a strong work ethic. They did very well for themselves.” As with his fellow retirees, Smolowitz, who lives in Longmeadow, plans to spend more time with his wife, Judith, two children, and six grandchildren. He would also enjoy more teaching and speaking, to share his expertise.

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Dr. Smolowitz hits the books in The Shea Memorial Library.

The Gift of a Sympathetic Ear In her office on the second floor of the Schwartz Campus Center, Naomi White-Inniss houses 40 years of memories and she wonders how she is going to pack it all to bring to her Springfield home. A pink couch and chair welcome visitors—and there are many. Shelves are filled with books, dolls, stuffed animals, tchotchkes, and gifts from around the world. One wall is lined with awards, including the Alexander Mapp Black Achievement Award in 1990, Eyes on the Prize in 1992, and the National Young Scholars Program 25 years of service award, to name a few. While White-Inniss, known affectionately by students as ‘Ma White,’ has been recognized by many official groups and organizations, it is her relationships with students that she holds most dear. “What we have up here is an open door policy for students,” she said, referring to the Student Services Department. “It’s about making students feel comfortable… making sure they know that they’ll be received well and not be judged. I’ve had students come in really upset, sobbing, and we don’t know what’s going on. Until you get to what that is, they need to get to a comfortable place. “Sometimes a student will come in and not say anything, just sit quietly—and that’s okay. Helping students through their journey here is what we do. Watching them develop is an amazing thing, really,” she said. Jasmine Worrell, who graduated in May with a communications degree, said White-Inniss made her feel loved, right from their first meeting. “When I first met Ma White on my tour of AIC as a senior in high school, she spoke to me as if she watched me grow up. She is always that smiling face with plenty of love and advice,” Worrell said. “Ma enlisted me to be the photographer for the Multi-Cultural Department on campus and [she gave me] the opportunity to be a part of so many events with her. I saw how many people really do love her presence and influence,” she added. Why is WhiteInniss so loved? Worrell articulates the answer: “Ma White is popular with so many students of different backgrounds because she is so caring and welcoming,” Worrell said. n "Ma White" surrounded by some of her biggest fans.

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Honoring Our Retiring Staff and Faculty Jack Barocas was appointed to the American International College faculty in the fall of 2004. Since that time, he has served as a chemistry professor and as the instructor for the Organic and Biological Chemistry course required of all nursing students. During his time at AIC, Dr. Barocas took an active role in science outreach, notably representing the College at the Pioneer Valley Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Regional Network. As he prepares for retirement, Barocas will remain active in supporting his successor at AIC. Phyllis Domash has served as the Curtis Blake Day School’s administrative assistant since 2002. Throughout her decade of work at the school, Domash has built a reputation for skillful multi-tasking, according to Dr. Paul Quinlan, director of the Curtis Blake Center at American International College. While caring for her clerical duties and managing a hectic office, Domash also serves as an informal confidante to students, creating a warm environment from the moment students and visitors enter the front door. In her retirement, Domash will enjoy increased “moose spotting” expeditions in Maine with her husband, sister, and brother-in-law. Linda Gillen began her time at American International College in 1981 as one of two teachers at the newly founded Curtis Blake Day School. In the school’s second year, she became educational administrator, a position that she has held since, overseeing the school’s growth from seven to 75 students. Gillen looks forward to continued travel in retirement, with a tour of the British Isles first on the agenda. Betty Hrdlicka served as a tutor at the Curtis Blake Center from 1979 to 1982. She then became a fulltime special education teacher at the Curtis Blake Day School, a position that she held for the following 30 years. Hrdlicka will miss working with the students and staff at the school. In retirement, she intends to focus on gardening, cooking, traveling, and spending time with her husband, Paul, and their four grandchildren.

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Gretchen Morris has taught regular education at the Curtis Blake Day School for the past 14 years. As she learned the unique methodologies and approaches of the school, Morris made the decision to spend the remaining years of her career dedicated to its student population. Quinlan cited Morris as always having done a “superb job” in service to the school’s student body. She looks forward to frequent trips to London, England, where her grandchildren reside. Virgina Reiter retired from American International College’s nursing faculty in 2003. She was quickly recruited by the Curtis Blake Day School to serve as the school nurse and resident clinician, positions that she has held for the past nine years. As a clinician, Reiter is known for her rapport with students, as well as her compassionate approach in caring for their emotional needs. In retirement, Reiter looks forward to volunteer work, copious reading, and visits to California, home to her son and grandchildren. Sheila Rucki began her time at American International College nearly 18 years ago as an adjunct professor in the College’s undergraduate nursing program. She soon began to teach full time and was invited to serve as the associate director of the Master of Science in Nursing program in 2008. Rucki enjoyed the collegial environment at AIC, as well as the tremendous support that she received in achieving her goals for the MSN program. In retirement, she and her husband look forward to more time dedicated to skiing and golf. Professor Rucki will also continue to teach part time at the College and participate in some course development. n

give to your future “It is our pleasure to make our annual donation to AIC for scholarships. We urge you, current and future alumni, to help support your alma mater, its students and faculty. Supporting education is really a gift we give our future selves.” Brian ’65 and Patricia Saunders Consider making a gift back to where your future began. For more information about giving to the Annual Fund, please contact Danielle Goldaper, director of alumni relations and annual giving at 413.205.3520, email at or visit

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see doesn’t move the heart what the eye doesn't

- Haitian proverb AIC nursing students and professors turn their attention to an ailing nation By Scott Whitney

An afflicted groan rose over Port au Prince, as if released by the city itself. Within seconds, the earth began to gallop, collapsing buildings in waves across Haiti’s capital city. As ninety seconds of terror continued, students of the Karen School of Nursing acted with instinct, running from their classrooms and down five flights of stairs. The student’s evacuation was cut horrifically short as the building gave way, sending each floor cascading onto the one below it. Shortly thereafter, reverberations from the earthquake subsided, giving way to the cries of survivors. Nearly 30 nursing students, as well as members of the faculty and the program’s director, died in the remains of the building. Estimates vary, but most sources place the final death count at more than 300,000 throughout the small island of Haiti. Survivors often refer to the ensuing hours as “the apocalypse,” during which the poverty-stricken city of Port au Prince began to care for its wounded and bury its dead. Nearly 1,700 miles away in Springfield, Massachusetts, American International College Professor Ayesha Ali watched the evening news with peculiar attachment. “Sometimes when you hear something like this on TV your heart gets pulled in that direction,” said Ali, recounting her first exposure to the tragedy. “But this was more than that. I felt extremely overwhelmed. This was human suffering at its height.” The Haiti earthquake of January 2010 measured 7.0 on the Richter scale and left a deeply impoverished country in the throes of chaos. The aftermath, including nearly $5 billion in damages, only furthered the troubles of a country with 80 percent of its population living below the poverty line. As a professor at AIC’s School of Nursing, Ali found herself particularly troubled by the human suffering caused by the disaster. “I felt powerless and extremely overwhelmed by what I was hearing,” she said. “I also felt connected in some way, felt that I needed to do something.” Ali’s compulsion to be involved remained undiminished in the days after the disaster, and she took up the task of finding a suitable outlet for her sympathy. She soon learned of a local church group that had an ongoing humanitarian effort in Haiti. The fit seemed right. “It was important to me that it was not a group 22 | Lucent

that was going to Haiti for the first time because of the earthquake, but who had a commitment years before,” said Ali. “I felt like I could make a phone call to a group like that and see how my emotions could move into action.” Professor Ali was soon in touch with Dr. Mark Pohlman of the First Church of Christ, a Longmeadow group with an established connection to CONASPEH, a Haitian faith-based organization. Ali found Pohlman’s religious group to be an appropriate choice, given what she knew of the deeply spiritual Haitian culture. CONASPEH comprises thousands of Protestant churches throughout Haiti. In 1997, the church made a gift of $50,000 to CONASPEH, which was instrumental in the construction of the building that housed the Karen School of Nursing and ultimately collapsed during the earthquake. Ali appreciated Pohlman’s longstanding ties to Haiti, as well as the substance of his group’s work. In addition to donating supplies to the Karen School of Nursing, the group has also provided some students with much-needed scholarships to continue their studies. It became clear how Ali’s clinical and academic background could best serve the needs of CONASPEH and the Haitian community. “When they heard that I taught nursing, they saw that I could play a role in their school of nursing. I was excited about that.” Ali then shared her ambitions with fellow AIC nursing professor and frequent traveler Elizabeth George. “When [Professor Ali] expressed some interest in going, I thought that it would fit nicely with the ongoing interest I’ve had in going to developing countries and doing some sort of service,” said George, who has a history of international volunteer work in countries such as China, Thailand, and Vietnam. Putting Feeling into Action Ali and George’s partnership with the Longmeadow group soon focused, not just on aid relief, but on the long-term goal of developing a baccalaureate based nursing infrastructure in Haiti. In February 2011, both AIC professors joined Pohlman on a trip to the ravaged capital of Port au Prince. During this exploratory visit, the professors agreed to return and further their relationship with CONASPEH’s Karen School,

particularly in developing a standardized baccalaureate nursing curriculum. In meetings with the nursing director of Haiti, Irma Bois, and a representative from the Haitian Ministry of Health, it was made clear to Ali and George that there was a dire need to create a standard, nationally accredited nursing curriculum. “There will not be enough doctors for awhile,” explained Ali. “So their goal in Haiti is to build strong, four-year nursing programs throughout Haiti so that nurses can go out to rural areas and throughout the cities and…potentially save lives through nursing and public health measures.” To that end, Ali and Pohlman drove to Canada to retrieve $1,000 worth of French nursing textbooks, purchased with money largely donated by AIC students, staff, and faculty. “The [Karen School] lost what little equipment they had, including two hospital beds…We kept asking, ‘What is your top priority?’ And reestablishing their library is the top priority,” said Ali. The group planned a return trip during AIC’s 2012 intersession to deliver the textbooks and continue their work with CONASPEH. Due to the timing of the trip between semesters, AIC nursing students would be able to join the other delegates. George sent an e-mail to her students, asking for any that might be interested to be in touch; Karen Morphew ’12 and Agathe Joseph ’12 responded to the call. Culture Shock Shortly after getting off the plane in Port au Prince, both AIC students found themselves in shock by what they saw. “Chaos. Immediately chaos,” said Morphew of the memory. “The air is thick and hard to breathe…All of the animals and the people are in survival mode, competing with each other for food.” For Joseph, traveling to Haiti was something of a homecoming. Her family had fled the island country in 1993 after her father was marked for assassination by the regime of then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Although her parents have since returned, Joseph had not been back to her homeland since the age of six. At 24, she reflects on a very different country than the one that she remembers as a girl. “Haiti was in a much better state then,” she said. “When I lived there, I never knew poverty. I never saw it.” What Joseph discovered when she returned would remind her how distant her childhood memories truly were.

The scenes that she witnessed upon her return were brutal reminders of the effect of the past two decades on a nation once known as the Pearl of the Antilles. “I was lost for words,” she said quietly. “I can try to explain it to you, but you can’t understand that kind of poverty until you see a pile of trash being burned and people selling and buying and eating next to it— until you see homes where there’s no running water, no electricity, and open sewers.” Ali and George, already familiar with living conditions in developing countries from previous travels, saw the same scene through a public health lens. “Whenever it comes to a developing country, it’s always about the basics: clean water, sanitation, getting the basic needs met,” George observed. Ali added, “There’s no centralized way of picking up trash there. Sanitation and water that we take for granted—that is not the case in a lot of places outside of industrialized society. That aspect can be shocking initially.” Shortly after leaving the airport tarmac, a Haitian guide escorted the group to their van, giving strict instructions to stay close together, not make eye contact with beggars, and to keep their bags close. According to Morphew, these first few hours were grueling, especially for the uninitiated. “Everyone’s pushing and shoving and maybe your bags are in this pile, maybe they’re in that pile. Who knows,” she said. “I wasn’t sure what I was in for.” Step by Incremental Step During their visit, the group developed a system of communication with their Haitian counterparts that would allow them to stay in touch long distance between future physical visits. “We hope to do some cross-faculty teaching through Skype,” said Ali. “We’ll also use those Skype meetings to take a look at how things are going, if they’ve started using the textbooks yet, what problems they’re running into.” Pohlman and his group have resisted the temptation to think too ambitiously or impose plans on the Haitian nursing faculty. “The situation can be like quicksand,” said George. “You can have a plan and have structure, but things shift, and sometimes it’s a matter of asking, ‘What do you need now?’ It has immediacy.” Ali agreed that all of their efforts have been necessarily incremental. Summer 2012 | 23

For Morphew, those baby steps exacerbated her emotional response to the poverty and devastation that she witnessed in Haiti. “There’s injured people everywhere, starving people everywhere, and I’m sitting in meetings all day. As much as I’m telling myself that we’re making progress, it wasn’t making me feel any better. I needed to be doing something.” She recalls a particularly difficult experience during a sightseeing excursion to the collapsed Presidential Palace. “As the van doors opened, all of these kids put their hands in, begging…and we have to push them out and close the door,” she said, her mouth drawing thin at the memory.

A Sort of Homecoming

Several days into the trip, Morphew shared her frustrations with her professors and confided that she might fly home early. “I was having a tough time; I was sad and confused.” she explained. “Professor George said that she’d be more worried if I didn’t feel that way. That made me feel a little better.” In the next few days, the group took a more hands-on approach to their work. Joseph and Morphew assembled packages of essential medical equipment for the Karen School’s graduating students and began to assist in teaching several nursing classes. According to Morphew, being able to talk one-on-one with the Haitian students helped her to understand the possibilities and limitations of her group’s efforts. “Most of it was connecting with [students]—hearing them and relating to them.” Gradually, she found common ground with her Haitian colleagues, including the surprising discovery that the nursing curriculum at AIC and the Karen School had many shared elements. “They were really on the same level as we were,” said Morphew, noting the odds that Haitian nursing students overcame to make that a reality. “Our books change every semester and we get the latest editions. Their books are often pulled from the rubble and may not even be in their language.”

Joseph acknowledges that her Haitian background and fluent Creole made her trip to Port au Prince that much easier. “I was able to communicate with the people. I understand their culture, their customs,” she said. In fact, much of Joseph’s time in Haiti was spent translating for Pohlman and his colleagues. “It was such an honor,” said Joseph. “I was going back to my country for the first time in 19 years and I wasn’t going for nothing. I was able to give.”

Haitian students also wrestle with a less than ideal learning environment. While the new school building is under construction, school officials have erected temporary tent classrooms. “There’s dust everywhere. It’s flowing in while you’re in your chair trying to learn,” recalls Ali. “There are roosters walking around; that’s just the way it is.” She is quick to note that these distractions have little effect on the attention Haitian students pay to their studies. “Their notion is that you sit and learn…They see education as the next generation’s only hope.” 24 | Lucent

Four months after her return from Haiti, Agathe Joseph spoke to an assembled crowd in AIC’s Courniotes Hall Amphitheatre. “The urgency for community nurses in Haiti is so great that there’s a special school for community nurses,” she said, gesturing to a photo projected on the screen behind her. Over the next hour, she gave a narrative of her experiences in Haiti to an audience that included AIC students, staff, and faculty. George and Ali are quick to note that Joseph needed no prodding to publicly share her experiences with the College community.

Through meetings with the director of CONASPEH and the nursing director of the Karen School, Joseph grew to appreciate her profession of choice, as well as her four years of nursing education. “That country opened my eyes to how important nursing is,” she said. “I’m so thankful for the education that I got at AIC, because I know that it’s right. This program makes a good nurse.” She contrasts her access to education with that of the Haitian population: “In this country, I don’t care how many loans you have, you can get an education. In Haiti, most people that are graduating from high school will not be able to afford higher education. Some of them will go for a skill, but there are no jobs. The majority will end up hustling and will have no way out,” said Joseph. She relates her experience as evidence of the American Dream. “When I want something, I work hard and get it. That’s the way this country was built,” she said, pointing to the world outside. “So it was very hard for me to comprehend that [many Haitians] are trapped. When that hit me…” Joseph trails off, shaking her head. Despite the overwhelming adversity that they observed, Ali, George, Morphew, and Joseph all took note of a specific attribute in the Haitian population: an unquenchable sense of hope. During their stay,

the group was able to visit several Haitian churches, an experience that Ali remembers well. “It’s really invigorating to see them engaging in their faith and spirituality. Whether you believe in God or not, to see people that are so poor have so much hope, it’s a lesson for all of us,” she said. Morphew noted that a feeling of hope permeates much of Haitian culture. “There are positive messages written on walls and painted on vehicles,” she said. “The last thing I expected to find was very hopeful, grateful people living among the chaos.” Bringing It Back Home In May of this year, Joseph and Morphew graduated from AIC’s School of Nursing. As they enter the workforce, they will likely practice in well-appointed clinics with a relative abundance of supplies. Boxes of syringes and closets full of medication would make the few sagging shelves of supplies at the Karen School of Nursing seem almost laughable, if not for the human cost. But for both graduates, the distance between them and their experiences in Haiti will do little to dull their memories. Morphew speaks of an almost militant sense of conservation that she has developed since her return. “In the future, I can see myself creating some kind of plan to reduce the amount of unnecessary waste of medical supplies… People do it unknowingly, but I can remind them that it’s not only costly, but totally unnecessary,” she said. For Joseph, her experiences in Haiti were more than a return to the country of her birth; they also galvanized her sense of urgency regarding her career choice. “I appreciate nursing more,” she said. “We have the ability to advocate for such a big population, because we’re not just about treating disease. Nursing is about treating the person as a whole. Because of that, it has the ability to reach communities in ways that medicine really can’t.” She smiles broadly. “That country opened my eyes.” As the Haiti initiative moves forward, Ali intends to include more students on future trips. In addition to enhancing their clinical experience, she believes that it has a positive effect on students’ cultural sensitivity with patients. “When you see what human beings on this earth go through, it can do nothing but raise your level of understanding of the human experience and make you a better nurse,” she said. “Our nursing

program at AIC is trying to get at the importance of understanding culture as an integral part of who our patients are…and knowing that our students have traveled to where people of other cultures live, work, and sadly experience varying degrees of suffering, that brings increased credibility to that concept and to our program. That can only be a good thing.” Ali intends to continue her work with CONASPEH to develop the Karen School’s nursing program into a comprehensive four-year degree program. For the past several years, she has collaborated with representatives from 20 baccalaureate programs within Massachusetts to build the capacity of Haiti’s nurses and the programs that train them. This group, under the auspices of the Regis College Haiti Project and Partners in Health, aims to provide quality education to Haitian nursing students, building the human infrastructure in that country. This collaborative group works closely with Haiti’s Ministry of Health to facilitate a nationwide effort. In addition to big-picture thinking, Ali and George continue to make smaller efforts to aid the Karen School. Outside of their adjoining offices, the professors maintain a small table of coffee, snacks, and handmade bags for sale; proceeds are currently earmarked for the purchase of hospital beds. They have dubbed the effort “Café Haiti.” Regardless of what the future holds for their initiative, Ali is quick to note the benefit to her students. “It brings them a larger understanding of the human experience, which is always great in terms of who you become as a nurse,” she said. “Nursing is a science and an art, and the combination of both of those must bring compassion when you are working with people.” As the first AIC students to participate in the program, Joseph and Morphew support Ali’s belief in the effects that the experience can have on nursing students. “I don’t want to be the person that’s constantly like, ‘You know, in Haiti…’ but I think that there’s a way to bring about change, to open people’s eyes gently,” said Morphew. “I think about Haiti every day and it’s hard to explain to people that haven’t seen it. They think that they know.” She pauses, tapping on the table in front of her before finishing her thought. “I thought that I knew. I didn’t.” To learn more about Professor Ali and George’s ongoing efforts with the Karen School of Nursing, e-mail Ali at n Summer 2012 | 25

Archiving the Past 26 | Lucent

From the recesses of American International College’s Lee Hall, Nancy Dzidzan received priceless information related to her research of an extraordinary woman, her great aunt, Stella Mucha. Dzidzan, of South Milwaukee, Wisconsin, decided to embark on the rewarding, if not frustrating, work of researching her family history. She was particularly interested in Mucha, who had attended AIC in the 1920s and had touched her life in a positive way. “Aunt Stella was an amazing lady whom I loved dearly. My life would have been less had she not graced it,” she said. Dzidzan wanted to know more about Mucha who, born to Polish immigrants, had accomplished much during an era when most women didn’t work outside the home. Dzidzan ramped up her research when the executor of her great aunt’s estate revealed that Mucha had attended AIC but offered few details about her stay there. Dzidzan sent a letter seeking more information to the Office of the Registrar at AIC. It landed in the hands of Patricia Petraske, a 23-year employee of the College. “The letter came out of the blue,” Petraske said. “She knew her aunt had gotten a degree from AIC but she wanted more information.” Once proof came that Dzidzan was indeed related to Mucha, Petraske began her own search in the old khaki-green metal file drawers that house archived student records in the musty basement of Lee. To her amazement, there they were. It is not a service that the College normally provides, but Petraske was taken with Dzidzan’s particular request. “I have no idea how I found it,” Petraske said. “The records are very good, but they aren’t in alphabetical order.” However, to Dzidzan’s delight, find them she did. The records showed a woman who excelled in a demanding program. They also revealed the costs related to her three-year education at AIC beginning in 1921. The handwritten, highly legible records reported her tuition, $42; room, $8; laundry, $2; and use of a piano, $1. Stella’s grades included a 98 in Latin; 93 in chemistry; 96 in legal protection; and 95 in Polish. She graduated with a grade point average of 89.7 and had served as class president. A worn photo, likely clipped from a newspaper, shows a determined and serious young woman facing the camera head on.

Student information at that time included a contract that was signed by Mucha’s parents. The contract reads, “I agree to take care of my room assigned to me and accept the rules of the college without reservation.” Records also meticulously showed each student’s birthplace, date of birth (1899 for Mucha), and religion—she was Catholic. Through her records, Mucha impressed Petraske as a dedicated person who devoted her life to her profession. Dzidzan’s research and personal contact also left a positive and lasting impression on her. Her research reinforced the notion that her aunt “was a lady who…was ahead of her time,” she said. Well into her forties, Mucha married Michael Mickritz; the couple had no children. When Mucha died in 2001 at the age of 101, the executor of her estate let Dzidzan go through the Mickritzes’s belongings. That is when Dzidzan learned that her great aunt had gone to AIC. She sensed that Mucha’s decision to leave for college was an indicator of a hungry mind, and that AIC was the first formal step in a lifelong quest for knowledge and meaning. Dzidzan also learned that prior to going to AIC, Mucha spent two years in Poland as part of the Grey Samaritans, a philanthropic group run by the YWCA and the American Relief Administration. They provided a much needed service after World War I and Mucha participated from 1918 to 1920. After AIC, Mucha continued her education at the Illinois Training School for Nurses and became a registered nurse. She also received a Bachelor of Philosophy degree from the University of Chicago and a Master of Arts in Public Health degree from Columbia University. Her education launched a lifelong career in health services, ending with a position with the U.S. Public Health Service as a senior nurse officer. In between various prestigious nursing positions, she also served as a midwife in New York City. By the time Dzidzan knew her great aunt, Mucha had transitioned to the life of a homemaker, gardener, and gracious hostess. “But she was so much more than that. She knew what she did and didn’t have to talk about it. Such a neat lady.” n

Summer 2012 | 27


for the Books

AIC English major wins national track title

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By Samantha Stephens ’11


merican International College’s track team is a true rags to riches story. In its sixth year, few might have expected that the program would have leaped every hurdle and shotputted to success, but when athlete Dominic Smith ’12 crossed the finish line after a 400-meter-dash hosted by Minnesota State University, the program sky-rocketed to notoriety and Smith became a national title-holder. “We have gone from rags to riches in terms of performances of colleges,” Smith said. As Smith processed his win, admitting he was still in “race mode” after crossing the finish line, he attributed his win to Coach Leo Mayo. Last year, when Smith came in second place, Mayo was unable to hand him his award because the first place coach carries that honor. Therefore, Smith was happy that Mayo, who “always wears his best suit,” finally had his chance this year. With a time of 47.84 seconds, Smith noted one of the best features of the 400-meter race: “[I]f something doesn’t work out as smoothly as you want, you have a few seconds to recover” and as exhaustion sets in, passion takes over. “You go through stages: you might start confident and doubt yourself, or you might doubt yourself then feel confident,” Smith added. After graduating from Bloomfield High School, in Bloomfield, Connecticut, Smith enrolled at AIC through the guidance of his high school coach. His coach particularly wanted Smith to work with Mayo, who had coached at Bloomfield High School before Smith was a student. “He told me about AIC; he really wanted to make sure Coach Mayo got dibs on the athletes,” Smith admitted. Without an official visit or tour, Smith arrived on the AIC campus in the fall of 2008 and graduated this past May with an English major and history minor. Admitting that he hasn’t yet thought about all of the future possibilities for his major, Smith has started considering options for continuing his sports career. The process of becoming an Olympic athlete, Smith explained, includes finding the right trainer and sponsors, and achieving the right accolades to get necessary attention and recognition. “You need a good coach, good staff, good place to train,” said Smith.

Smith is certain of the role AIC has played in his life, best captured by the moment he walked back onto the college campus after winning his national title. He was greeted and congratulated by friends, faculty, staff, and administrators. A banner will forever hang in the gym in his honor, Smith said. “The administrators from school contacted me, the president from the school, everybody that knew me since I was a freshman,” Smith said. “That was one of the best moments of my life. I didn’t realize the ripples of my accomplishment or what the school had in store for me.” Crediting the coaches who have helped him over the years, Smith said, “It’s all coaching. This is the work of the adults around me.” Smith said he expected to win a title for AIC early in his college career but “didn’t translate high school into college,” in terms of the competition and hard work needed to compete at a level where he could break a national record. However, after earning a second place victory in his junior year, Smith said he knew he would graduate AIC with the national championship title. “I knew it would be mine for the next year as I kept growing. When I went to the national meet, I knew the better man would take home that title,” Smith said. With tremendous perseverance and self-discipline, Smith said his family inspires his success. “I have a little bit of internal drive but [it’s] truly family that drives me. My family name, my community, my country. I have a lot of positive energy and keep my eye on the prize,” Smith said. Smith said when he chose AIC, he did so with the intent of “creating history” for a new program. As a recently graduated senior reflecting on his time at the College, Smith said he wouldn’t change anything. “I thought if I go to AIC there’s a greater chance of me creating history. The program had only been a program for two years. There were no record holders; I would be the first to create history,” Smith said. “I was the first national champion ever at AIC. It worked out perfectly for me.” n

Summer 2012 | 29

| off the record |

“I’d like to know if what I said in the classroom ‘ You may not thank me now, but in five years you’ll thank me for this’ …actually came true.” Jill McCarthy Payne

30 | Lucent

And Justice for All AIC’s Department of Criminal Justice By Scott Whitney This issue of Lucent introduces a new Q&A feature, “Off the Record.” In an effort to keep our readership informed of the ongoing personal and professional lives of the College’s faculty, each issue of Lucent will feature an interview with a different AIC department or program. While the discussion will begin in the pages of this magazine, you will find it continued on the AIC website at the link cited below. We encourage you to be a part of the conversation and reach out to your former professors via Facebook. We will be closely watching the alumni Facebook page for your comments and will see to it that you are put in touch with the faculty, coaches, and staff that made a difference during your time at AIC. A discussion with Professors Thomas Fitzgerald ’66 (TF), David Kuzmeski ’78 (DK), and Jill McCarthy Payne ( JMP). Lucent: Every department has its own flavor and personality. How would you describe the personality of the Criminal Justice Department? DK: I don’t want to be too sentimental, but it’s almost like a family, we’ve been together so long. I’ve been here for 32 years and before that I was a student of Tom’s when he was an adjunct here. We know each other and have a uniform goal; we understand what the criminal justice system needs, and we understand the academic and practical end and we marry the two and try to produce a quality student with as much background that’s necessary for that person to succeed. Our track record is good with a lot of success stories. TF: It’s cooperative and supportive. We’re always in sync with each other; we know what everybody is doing in every class. We just try to put it all together for these kids. We try to spend time with them. We’ve got a lot of practical experience among us. David was a police officer, a defense attorney, a correctional officer. Jill was a prosecutor. I worked in a police department and probation office. (Continue our discussion at

Summer 2012 | 31


| class notes | Dear Alumni In the spring 2012 edition of Lucent, we asked you to please tell us about the photo to the right. The response we received from Todd Freeman ’99 is printed below the photo. We invite you to respond to our new installment of “Tell us about this photo.” seen below. We look forward to hearing your story.

Danielle Goldaper Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving

Hi Danielle, The second person from the left is Lawrence (Larry) Moses ’99. I sent him a copy of the picture last night and he said he had no idea what is was from and said it must have been [from the] fall of 1995. Sorry but I do not recognize anyone else. I hope that helps. Good luck. Todd Freeman ’99 Todd, This picture stumped our alumni staff too. We asked around to faculty and administrators who were on campus in the mid ’90s, but nobody had the details to tell us about this photo. We even posted it on our alumni page on Facebook (American International College Alumni). Thank you for your help with at least one of the names of the people in this photo. Sincerely, Danielle Goldaper Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving

Tell us about this photo!

We would love to know who is in it, what they were doing, and where they are now. Tell your story to Danielle Goldaper at We will draw a name from the responses and send that person a gift from AIC.

32 | Lucent

Alumni profiles

| class notes | Marianne Ravenola Welch ’62 Major: Education

Alumni Director: What is your most memorable experience at AIC? Marianne: Winter Carnival of 1960. I was chosen as Queen of the Carnival. I still remember my dress. Alumni Director: Have you maintained contact with many of your fellow AIC alumni over the last 50 years? Marianne: I married one, Paul Welch ’59. Beyond that, we have had several lifelong friends that we have stayed close with after graduating from AIC. Alumni Director: What is the best book that you have read in the last year? Marianne: My son sent me Pillars of the Earth. It’s an older book, but I enjoyed reading it. Alumni Director: If you could go back to college, what single thing might you do differently? Marianne: I wish that I had lived on campus instead of day-hopping. The students who lived on campus seemed to have a different experience. The four years of college was the best experience of my life! Alumni Director: How would you complete this sentence: “YOU KNOW YOU WENT TO AIC IF:” Marianne: You can remember hanging out in Dr. Cohen’s science lab. If you can remember Julie’s Dream.

Matthew D. Walsh ’87 Major: Psychology

Alumni Director: Can you share your “coolest” experience at AIC? Matt: Once, I was hanging out in the admissions area with Susan Guay. The student who was supposed to give the tour didn’t show up, so I ended up giving the tour. It was a blast. Alumni Director: How is it possible that you never missed homecoming in 20 years? Matt: I went to every homecoming up until 2010. The alumni office always made it easy for me to enjoy homecoming. One year I was going to rent a Winnebago for homecoming. Someone from the alumni office got permission for me to park it down by the athletics center. I remember coming to the homecoming five years after graduation. It was one of the largest homecoming events on record. If all the planets align again, I want to make sure that I am there the next time that AIC has a huge turnout. Alumni Director: What is your favorite way to reward yourself when you reach a goal that you’ve set for yourself? Matt: I don’t view life as a system of checks and balances. I just keep asking myself what is next. I just keep going on to the next thing. Alumni Director: What’s next for you? Matt: My fantasy is: next two years go to Southeat Asia and teach in Vietnam, Cambodia, or Thailand. I’d spend weekdays working and evenings and weekends scuba diving. I am also looking at possibilities within the [U.S.] State Department. Alumni Director: How would you complete this sentence: “YOU KNOW YOU WENT TO AIC IF:” Matt: You know who Uncle Warren is. Summer 2012 | 33

| class notes |


Clara L. Swan ’39 celebrated

her 100th birthday. Clara was honored at Husson University in Maine, where she served the Husson students for 34 years in teaching, administrative, and coaching roles.


Mary Raissi Stewart ’42 has written a new book: Memories of the Founding and Early Years of the College of the Virgin Islands, on St. Croix 1960-1986. After living in St. Croix for a year, Mary began teaching night school to adults at Elena Christian Junior High School. “That’s where I say the college started – at Elena. Two of us were teaching 14 students,” Mary said. Mary retired from the college in 1986, the same year that the school was renamed the University of the Virgin Islands.


Thomas McGovern, Jr. ’55 of

Enfield, Connecticut, is pleased to announce the arrival of another great-grandchild, Jaxson, born last December. Jaxson is the sixth great-grandchild in the McGovern family.


Robert Gombar ’68 retired in

March from his 35-year post to the U.S. Secret Service. Robert served as the special agent in charge of Southern European, Middle Eastern, and African operations from his station in Rome, Italy, for 15 years. Before that, his

34 | Lucent

postings included Boston; San Diego; Washington, DC; Miami; San Juan, Puerto Rico; United States Secret Service headquarters; Interpol headquarters; Paris, France; and Milan, Italy. Mr. Gombar has accepted a position as security executive with AS Roma, a Series “A” professional soccer team in Rome, Italy.


David P. Hajjar ’74 is the Frank

H.T. Rhodes Distinguished Professor of Cardiovascular Biology and Genetics, professor of biochemistry, pathology, and laboratory medicine as well as the dean of the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences. Recently, he became the second Weill Cornell faculty member to receive the Fulbright Specialist Program scholarship.

John Yates ’77 MS has been

named as the new senior designer to head up the Chamberlin Granite Co. showroom in Avon, Connecticut. John is a certified kitchen and bath designer and he resides in New Hartford, Connecticut, with his wife, Eileen Kindl.

Darnell Williams ’79 has been named as the chairman of the Board of Deacons at Morning Star Baptist Church in the Mattapan section of Boston, Massachusetts. Morning Star Baptist Church is one of the fastestgrowing churches in the Greater Boston area.


Maria Mazzei ’82 retired after

35 years as a high school foreign language instructor in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Michele Pfeil ’84 was recently

inducted into the Saugerties Sports Hall of Fame. In Saugerties, New York, “Shelly” played varsity girls basketball, softball, and volleyball during her high school career. Her accomplishments there are unsurpassed. Shelly continued her athletic success in all three sports during her years at AIC. Shelly works in the Electronic Monitoring Unit of the Dutchess County Probation Department.

Dianne Gendreau Provost ’86 has started a new business,

Manners and More. The services offered by this company include personal presentation, art of conversation, customer service, and interviewing skills. The services of Manners and More are marketed to young adults from grade six to college graduates.


Sherri St. Jacques Hopkins ’95 has been named a Healthcare

Heroes 2011 Nurse of the Year. Sherri is a cardiac nurse at the Hospital of Saint Raphael in New Haven, Connecticut. She is at the forefront of a movement to make lifesaving defibrillators more widely available.

| class notes |

Charles Villee ’96 CAGS has been a member of the Grafton, Massachusetts, Board of Library Trustees and a member of the Grafton Commission on Disability since 2009. Charles works as a speaker for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, giving speeches to colleges, universities, prisons, and other locations statewide about his recovery from bipolar illness. He is also a sportswriter for the Grafton News, a weekly Grafton newspaper. Lisa Edwards Dakin ’96 MEd

has been appointed principal of Milton Bradley Elementary School in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Alex Mnatsakanov ’99 joined

Habitat for Humanity International in 2011. Alex traveled with a group of 11 people to Trinidad and Tobago to help two families. His 2012 trip will take him to Armenia.


Chad Mazza ’01 has been an-

nounced as the principal of Winter Hill Community School. Chad will bring seven years of K-8 leadership experience and will be relocating to Boston, Massachusetts.


Julie DeRoche ’10 CAGS has

been named director of curriculum and instruction for the Georgetown Public Schools.

Jim Lyons ’10 MPT is opening

the new Synergy Physical Therapy Clinic in Northampton, Massachusetts. Jim has been working in a physical therapy clinic setting since 1996 with a focus on outpatient orthopedics. He is currently pursuing his doctorate in physical therapy with a concentration in manual therapy.

Melinda Zmaczynski ’10 MEd of Westfield, Massachusetts, has announced her engagement to Keith Holmes, also of Westfield. Melinda is a kindergarten teacher in the Hadley Public School system. A September wedding is planned. Heidi Cahoon-McEwan ’11

CAGS has been hired as the coordinator for special education for institutional settings for the Collaborative for Educational Services.

Keshawn Dodds ’01 has produced a new play based on his book “Who’s on My Side?” The Kalen Brown Story. Keshawn was also named to Business West magazine’s Class of 2012 40 under Forty. Jaclyn Stevenson ’04 MSOD has been named to Business West magazine’s Class of 2012 40 under Forty.

Frank Preston ’82, Dave Amato ’83, Larry Drew ’82 and Frank Zanetti ’83 at the Chipman Golf Outing.

Summer 2012 | 35

| in memoriam | 1943








William R. Jenkins Barbara Curland Cossin Helene F. Knightly Robert G. Holland Stanley P. Maslak


Marian Cieslowski Carman Jean M. Newman Donald M. Gardner


James E. Supple

Elizabeth Rapalus George N. Sevigny



Leo S. Cussell James A. Eisenstock William T. Fisher Adrien Louis Gaudreau


Lawrence L. Pomerantz


Therese A. Bailey


Edward M. Grant, Jr.


Louis R. Verani


Stuart A. Markson


Eunice I. Henry Jeanne B. Langevin


Elaine C. Garbin


Diana M. Gilmore


Doreen J. Beaulieu


Ruth Gralinski


Shirley Stanton


Tiffany Hall

Judith E. Markowitz Kern Harding J. Stewart




Richard E. Dukeshire Hubert O. Ranger


William J. Scanlon


Barbara A. Carrigan King

36 | Lucent

John D. Covino

Theresa M. Anderson Evangeline Chipman

Save the Date

Homecoming and Family Weekend 2012 October 19 - 21

Pep Rally • Football • Barbecue • Soccer • Reunions • Ghost Hunt Visit for more details.

Summer 2012 | 37

American International College 1000 State Street Springfield, Massachusetts 01109

Admissions Calendar of Events For more information on these events, visit Fall Open Houses

Saturday, September 29, 2012 and Saturday, November 17, 2012 AIC’s fall Open Houses are an opportunity for prospective students to tour campus, learn about our programs of study, and talk to current students. Meet our admissions staff and learn about the application process, college financing, and scholarship opportunities.

Homecoming Info session Saturday, October 20, 2012

Come be a part of tradition at AIC’s homecoming weekend. Tour the campus and see where we have been and hear about where we are going. End the day with a tailgate barbecue and help us cheer on our Division II football team! Go Yellow Jackets!

Gathering of Scholars Sunday, February 24, 2013

Our annual Gathering of Scholars is an invite-only, semi-formal brunch where we celebrate our top accepted scholars. Explore the Honors Program, student research opportunities, and how our scholars excel inside and outside the classroom.

Accepted Student’s Day Saturday, April 13, 2013

The day we celebrate our accepted students! Meet faculty from your major, or shop around if you’re not sure. Tour the campus: check out classrooms, residence halls, athletic fields, and the place where we hide President Maniaci’s football (he gets it back on Fridays). Find out how AIC can make college affordable for you and learn more about the jobs that will be waiting for you with an AIC diploma.

Personal Visit Day

Be our guest! Get a feel for what life as an AIC student is like by eating in the dining commons, talking to current students about their experience and touring campus. Set up your own personal visit to explore AIC. 38 | Lucent

Lucent, The Alumni Magazine of American International College  

Summer 2012 Alumni Magazine

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