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An Interview with Jane Oates: New Jersey’s Independent Voice for Higher Education Page 6

The Liberal Arts Degree: An Ancient Concept for a Modern World Page 10

Jill Freudenfels and Erin McDermott

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CULTURAL CONVERGENCE Ramapo College presents extracurricular programs that are cultural, colorful, and sometimes, competitive. Each enhances and expands the global education and diversity goals of the College, while offering students, faculty, and staff a glimpse at the customs and realities of different cultures and lifestyles.

Wheelchair Basketball, sponsored by the Office of Specialized Services, is held each October in recognition of Disability Awareness Month. The United Spinal Nets shoot hoops with Ramapo faculty, staff, and students. Student organizations have always been strong supporters. They include the EOF Service Corps, Tau Kappa Epsilon and Omega Phi Chi, and student athletes. “Our goal is to spread disability awareness and education,” said Missy Long, adjunct professor and academic advisor, Office of Specialized Services.

The Culture Club presented the Sumac Punchau Group, a Native American dance troupe that celebrates the culture and heritage of Native Americans of the Andes. “Members organize programs that emphasize cultural enhancement and introduce students to cultures other than their own,” noted Niza Fabre, associate professor of Spanish and faculty advisor to the Culture Club.

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The Redhawk Native American Arts Council is maintained by Native American artists and educators who reside in and around New York City. The Council is dedicated to educating the public and breaking stereotypes by presenting the traditions and societal contributions of Native Americans through song, dance, art, crafts, and other forms of expression. Debra Stark, assistant director of career development/placement for the Cahill Center, arranged for the performance, with support from the Office of Student Activities/Platinum Series, First Year Seminar, International and Intercultural Education, and the Berrie Center.

Bamboo Breeze, a group of Chinese musicians and dancers, performed at a tea party in celebration of Chinese New Year, the Year of the Dog. Nina Peng, a visiting scholar, assisted the College’s United Asian Association and the Office of Student Activities in planning the celebration.

As part of Ramapo’s African Ancestry Month observance, Sister Souljah, activist, author, speaker, and hip-hop artist, was the guest speaker at an opening banquet. Following her presentation, she signed copies of her books, No Disrespect and The Coldest Winter Ever. One of many activities planned for the month, Sarakasi, the Amazing African Acrobats performed in the Sharp Theater. The troupe, from Kenya, performed pyramids, limbo, acrobatics, tumbling, contortion, chair balancing, and ring jumping, all set to bumping lingala beats. Author, poet, and activist Kevin Powell discussed “The State of Black America” at a closing reception. The African Ancestry Month Planning Committee, student organizations, and College administrative offices sponsored the month-long series of events.

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RAMAPO MAGAZINE Spring 2006 VOLUME 6, ISSUE 4 COLLEGE EXECUTIVE OFFICERS Peter P. Mercer, Ph.D. President Pamela M. Bischoff, Ed.D. Vice President for Student Affairs Victoria H. Bruni, Esq. Vice President for Administration and Finance Cathleen Davey Vice President for Institutional Advancement W. Sanborn Pfeiffer, Ph.D. Provost/VPAA/Interim CIO BOARD CHAIRS Thomas A. Zelante, Esq. Board of Trustees Bernard J. Milano Board of Governors Lisa A. Ryan Alumni Association Francis J. Rodriquez Friends of Ramapo College of New Jersey




(L) Jane Oates, New Jersey’s executive director for the Commission on Higher Education, and Governor Corzine’s point person, with students Erin McDermott (center) and Jill Freudenfels (right), discussing issues that relate to Ramapo College students.

RAMAPO MAGAZINE STAFF Cathleen Davey Editor-in-Chief Bonnie D. Franklin Executive Editor Mary Cicitta Managing Editor Rosa Diaz-Mulryan Editor Cynthia Burns News Editor Janet Dengel Alumni Editor Kathleen Austin Foundation Editor Rachel McCann Sports Editor Liz Kloak Staff Writer Carolyn Herring Staff Photographer

Design: The Byne Group/ Information contained in this magazine can be made available upon request in alternate media. Requests should be directed to: 201.684.7611 Alumni contact and change of address: 201.684.7179 Student Affairs contact: Pam Bischoff at 201.684.7457 or
















BRIDGES Program Spans Culture, Education, and Poverty

An Interview With Jane Oates: New Jersey’s Independent Voice for Higher Education





An Ancient Concept for a Modern World

Ramapo Magazine is produced by the Office of Marketing and Communications.

Correction: An article in the winter 2005 Annual Report issue of Ramapo Magazine, “Legacy Takes On New Meaning Under The Arch,” incorrectly listed the number of freshman in the class of 2009. It should have read “748.” We regret this error.

505 Ramapo Valley Road Mahwah, NJ 07430-1680

As part of the BRIDGES program in the Dominican Republic, Ramapo students distribute clothing to various communities. (For more on this story, see page 29.)

Visit our Web site at Spring 2006

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COLLEGE NEWS R a m a p o College was listed in the February 2006 issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine as among the “100 Best Values in Pubic Colleges.” The headline continued, “Yes, you can still get a first-class education at a reasonable price.” In explanatory notes on how the 100 were chosen, Kimberly Lankford, who authored the article, wrote, “Schools that top Kiplinger’s list are noteworthy for the combination of top-flight academics and affordable costs.” Kiplinger’s looked at more than 500 public four-year colleges and universities, using measures including the percentage of freshmen scoring 600 or higher on the verbal and math components of the SAT, student/ faculty ratio, and graduation rates. In addition, school rankings were based on cost and financial aid, the average cost for a student with need after subtracting grants, the average cost for a student without need after subtracting non-need based grants, the average percentage of need met by aid, and the average debt a student accumulates before graduation. “This is external confirmation of what Ramapo faculty, staff, and students have known for a long time: Ramapo is among the state, region, and country’s most respected public colleges,” says Peter Goetz, vice provost for enrollment management.

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Teachers’ Workshop Provides Ideas for Holocaust Education Photo courtesy: Lara Rodriquez

Ramapo College Listed by Kiplinger’s As One of 100 Best Values in Public Colleges

Dr. Victoria Madden (center standing), project director, Center for Technology Enhanced Education, introduced seniors to environmental studies.

Senior Citizens “SEE” Issues Critical to the Environment Senior Environmental Experiences, called Project SEE, is a joint effort between Ramapo College and the Meadowlands Environment Center designed to increase the interest of senior citizens in environmental issues by linking science to history and politics. “SEE can serve as a model to introduce more seniors to the unique ecosystem of the Meadowlands marshlands and encourage them to engage in discussions about the environmental issues presented in their communities,” says Dr. Angela Cristini, director of the Meadowlands Environment Center and executive director of Special Programs at Ramapo College. Cristini was awarded a grant by the National Science Foundation to coordinate the three-year project with the Meadowlands Environment Center. SEE is expected to reach approximately 4,500 senior citizens in 32 centers throughout New Jersey.

Speakers provide an introduction to the potential use of hydrogen in New Jersey’s future energy plans. Lower right: A hydrogen-based car was a featured exhibit.

The Future of Hydrogen Energy in New Jersey Discussed Ramapo College hosted a regional, educational networking meeting for stakeholders of The New Jersey Hydrogen Learning Center. An introduction to the potential of hydrogen in the state’s energy future was followed by the main program, “Articulating a Hydrogen Energy Policy at the State Level: New York Lessons for New Jersey.” The presentation explored New York and New Jersey state government plans and policies to develop a hydrogen economy.

Thanks to the generous support of Dana and Yossie Hollander, and with the cooperation of the N.J. State Commission on Holocaust Education, the Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies hosted an Emil Gumpert Teachers’ Workshop to provide innovative and engaging ideas to help educators implement Holocaust education programs in the classroom. The workshop, “Echoes and Reflections: a Multimedia Curriculum on the Holocaust,” was presented by the Anti-Defamation League. The curriculum is a joint project of the Anti-Defamation League, Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, and Yad Vashem Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Authority. Dr. Michael Riff, director of the Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies believes that, “Workshops for teachers are a crucial link in the chain that begins with the work of scholars and master teachers and ends with better informed and critically thinking students in the classrooms of our state.” The Center encourages and assists persons of all ages in learning the history and lessons of the Holocaust, the Armenian Genocide, and other similar tragedies. “Our hope is that in understanding the pernicious consequences of antiSemitism, racism, ethnic hatred and other forms of bigotry, we can endeavor to build a better future,” says Riff.


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Knowledge Initiative Program

Ramapo Student Premieres Film at Festival Several Ways to Die Trying, a film written and directed by student Glen Tickle, premiered at the Cape May New Jersey Film Festival. It’s the story of a young writer who wants to kill himself but gets writer’s block when penning his suicide note. He falls in love and has to decide if the girl is worth living for. Tickle notes that while it was filmed outside an academic setting, it features Ramapo College students Dan Van Winkle, who starred in the film, and Tom Estler, a production assistant. Alumni who participated in the project include: Justin Ulbrich and Matt Ziegel, directors of photography; producer Stephanie A. Bello; and Stephanie Rath, who was the animal wrangler, production assistant, and temporary line producer. The film’s Web site is www.

Congressman Speaks At Ramapo College Trustees A.J. Sabath and Esther Suarez join Trustees Chair Thomas Zelante (center), Congressman Robert E. Andrews (second from right), and Ramapo President Peter Mercer (right) at Andrews’ presentation, “Our Nation’s Fiscal Policy: Strengthening the United States’ Global Economic Standing,” on the College campus. Andrews represents the First Congressional District, comprised of Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties.

The Knowledge Initiative provides New Jersey-based corporations, entrepreneurs, small business owners, researchers, and students with access to information resources through statewide Web access to high-end science, technology, medical, and business databases. New Jersey’s public and private college and university libraries, under the leadership of the State Library, will have an expanded role in economic development by providing access to and training in the use of the databases. The Knowledge Initiative is funded by a $6 million appropriation in the FY 2005 state budget. “The Potter Library is an active participant in this project and the Knowledge Initiative’s databases are identified on the Library’s Web site,” says Judith Jeney, dean. The site may be accessed by logging on to

Manuscript Co-authored by Students Published in International Journal A manuscript co-authored by students and faculty of the Ramapo College Bioinformatics Group has been published in the international journal, Nucleic Acid Research. The group consists of Ramapo undergraduate students Rumen Kostadinov, Nishtha Malhotra and Manuel Viotti, and professors Paramjeet Bagga, Lawrence D’Antonio, and Robert Shine. The manuscript is based on a database created by Ramapo’s bioinformatics research group and contains computed information from human and mouse genomes.

Observing Women’s History Month

The Federal Challenge Team at the Federal Reserve Bank. L to R: Steven Bloom, Madvee Muthu, Dr. Alexandre Olbrecht, Timothy Haase and Levin Purn.

Ramapo Students Are Up to the Challenge Under the direction of Dr. Alexandre Olbrecht, Ramapo College’s Federal Reserve Bank Challenge Team, composed of Steven Bloom, Timothy Haase, Madvee Muthu, and Kevin Purn, made it to the regional semifinals. The team was eliminated by SUNY Geneseo, which took second place nationally. “The competition allows students to get in-depth on the topic of how the federal fund rates are managed, which affect loan rates and mortgage rates,” said Olbrecht, an assistant professor of economics. “In addition to the presentation and teamwork skills developed, it allows students to rub elbows with policy makers and gives them a sense of what it would be like to work for the Federal Reserve Bank.”

World-renowned sculptor Alice Aycock presented a slide lecture as part of the College’s Women’s History Month observance. She offered a survey of her career and discussed Starsifter, Galaxy NGC 4314, which is permanently installed in the Bill Bradley Sports and Recreation Center. The commissioned work results from The New Jersey Public Building Arts Inclusion Act, which provides for dedicating a portion of publicity-financed building construction costs for the fine arts.

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FACULTY N E W S Yaghmaian is an Iranian-born U.S. national who has over 15 years of experience in studying, teaching, and writing about issues of international political economy, globalization, and the Middle East. He has worked closely with migrant communities in New York City, Europe, and the Middle East. Embracing the Infidel is published as a Delacorte Press Hardcover.

Yaghmaian Chronicles Stories of Muslim Migrants on the Journey West Dr. Behzad Yaghmaian, a professor of economics, is the author of Embracing the Infidel: Stories of Muslim Migrants on the Journey West. From 2002 through 2004, Yaghmaian lived among Muslim immigrants in ghettos, transition camps, and safe houses, and recorded their experiences. From the slums of Istanbul to the streets of Athens to the safe houses of the United Kingdom, thousands of men and women from Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iran, and other countries are living clandestinely, in the midst of a desperate journey to escape oppression in their homelands and find freedom and legal residency in the West. In the book, Yaghmaian takes readers on an astounding trip along a modern day underground railroad that stretches from the Middle East and Africa to Western Europe and the United States, chronicling the stories of Muslim immigrants who are desperate to escape a state of limbo where they live unwanted and illegally in western nations, but are unable to return safely to the countries that they once called home. Many of the people the author met have survived war, brutal imprisonment, and political and social persecution.

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Professor Receives Fulbright to Hong Kong Dr. Ting Gong, a professor of political science, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to lecture and conduct research at City University of Hong Kong. Gong will give lectures and develop curricula at City University. In addition, the professor will conduct a research project on controlling corruption. Gong explains that Hong Kong was once an area of epidemic corruption. In response to public complaints, the government created an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) that took tough measures to fight for corruption control. “Through effective policies and viable institutional mechanisms, Hong Kong has made itself one of the rare cases in controlling corruption with its success being acknowledged worldwide,” noted Gong. As part of her grant, Gong plans to propose three courses that would contribute to the curricula development of City University -- Contemporary Chinese Politics, Politics and Corruption and Research Methodology. She says, “My scholarship on corruption

and my comparative and institutional perspectives in teaching will help broaden students’ intellectual inquiry and provide them with a better understanding of political science and public administration.”

A Comprehensive Survey of Digital Photography Jonathan Lipkin, an associate professor of digital media, has written Photography Reborn: Image Making in the Digital Era, published by Harry N. Abrams. “Digital photography has replaced traditional photography as the most prevalent form of visual communication,” asserts Lipkin. Not long ago, photographers considered digital pictures an abandonment of the traditional 35mm standard. Now the digital format is replacing film as the prevailing medium for professionals, artists, and amateurs alike. Photography Reborn is the first comprehensive survey of this new medium of visual expression and a reference for anyone who wants to understand the technology. In his book, Lipkin chronicles the intersection of digital technology and photography, exploring its impact and the limits of its possibilities. He explores dominant themes in the field, including the human body, identity, and the landscape. The book is illustrated with works by important contemporary artists including Andreas Gursky, Thomas Ruff, Pedro Meyer, Nancy Burson, and Loretta Lux. The author says digital photography is simultaneously a direct evolution and a distinct break

Video frames from Renata Gangemi’s latest work, Latino Poets Speak Out

from traditional photography. “It shares many of the same characteristics, but borrows from other media, most notably collage and painting. The most salient aspect of traditional photography – its direct relation to reality – has been forever altered. Another important aspect of photography, its ability to be easily reproduced and transmitted, has been amplified. In short, digital photography is photography reborn.” Photography Reborn is available at bookstores and from online booksellers.

Video Presented at Museum of Modern Art Renata Gangemi, an assistant professor of communications, presented her latest video work, Latino Poets Speak Out, at the Museum of Modern Art as part of its Call for Change documentary series. Latino Poets Speak Out is a poetic and visual journey into the current status of the Latino community; it highlights the poetry and personal views of some of the most prominent New York City Latino poets whose work points to the ironies and contradictions facing the nation and society. The film’s combination of spoken words and visuals aims to stir the viewer into action. Gangemi’s body of work encompasses documentaries that reflect people’s everyday lives and concerns, while maintaining a strong visual element. The documentarian and her co-director, Ruben González, channel viewpoints not usually reflected in mainstream media using


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Video frames from Bonnie Blake’s latest work, A Friend

innovative approaches. “A majority of our work deals with activism, often exposing social and political inequities,” says Gangemi. Latino Poets Speak Out, along with the Call for Change series presented at the Brooklyn Art Museum (BAM) last fall, is making the national festival and educational circuit.

Shannon’s Interest in Woody Guthrie Nets Recognition Dr. Edward Shannon, an associate professor of literature, was one of three recipients of the BMI Foundation/Woody Guthrie Archive’s First Annual Woody Guthrie Research Fellowships. The award supports his research project “The History of ‘This Land is Your Land.’” Shannon was presented the award by Ralph Jackson, president, BMI music publishers, and Nora Guthrie, Woody’s daughter, and the director of the Guthrie archives. Several notable figures from the worlds of folk music and organized labor were present, including folksinger David Massengill and Woody Guthrie’s first biographer and Shannon’s longtime friend, Henrietta Yurchenco, author of A Mighty Hard Road: the Woody Guthrie Story. Shannon also presented “This Song was Written in New York City: ‘This Land is Your Land,’

The History of a Song” at the North East Modern Language Association annual meeting in Philadelphia, PA.

Friendship Between Homeless Women the Subject of a Video Bonnie Blake, an assistant professor of graphic/multimedia design, screened her video, A Friend, in a show called “New Media/New Work” at the Art Interactive Gallery in Cambridge, MA. The video focuses on the friendship between two homeless women, one of whom is the sister of Blake’s friend. “Transient might be a more appropriate word,” believes Blake. “Her home may be a floor or a night in a friend’s room or a church or shelter. Sometimes, in extreme circumstances, if she is sick or the weather is cold, a friend may lend her money for a room for a week or a month.” “My video explores women and friendship as something that is an essential ingredient for survival, and it transcends culture, socioeconomic status, environment, and situation,” continues Blake. “It’s the one thing that this woman has found that is real, pure, and that matters.” Her friend is a component of the “virtual” home the homeless woman carries with her. For this transient woman, Blake observes, with her bleak situation, her friendship is more important than having a real home.

The objects homeless people collect intrigue Blake. She says they become their homes, or at least the possessions one would have in a home. Blake has observed that they don’t take the objects out of their pockets when they sleep for fear of losing the only things that belong to them. “Their belongings allow them to set up home anywhere with all the comforts of home – the belongings they found on the street.” The assistant professor became interested in the homeless population through work she does with an advocacy group. “Getting to know homeless people on a personal level has raised my awareness of their invisibility in our culture,” Blake says.

Creating a Sustainable World is Topic of Book Edited by Schroyer

Creating A Sustainable World: Past Experience/Future Struggle by Dr. Trent Schroyer and co-edited by Tom Golodik

and economic models for a sustainable world and presents the principles of a new field of ecological economics as the appropriate frame for measuring how economic activity is part of the earth’s organic order and subject to its constraints.

Dr. Trent Schroyer, a professor of sociology-philosophy, co-edited, along with Tom Golodik, Creating A Sustainable World: Past Experience/Future Struggle.

The book includes many case studies of the diverse and concrete experiences now underway, as well as self-reflections written by those working in the field of sustainability. Schroyer authored six essays in the book, published by The Apex Press.

Creating a Sustainable World is a collection of essays that reconstructs the original Earth Summit events from 1992 and its followup 10 years later, and critiques sustainable development as a corporate ideology. The collection also describes an emerging world sustainability movement with proposals for the widening of the sustainability discourse and reforms. The book provides cultural

Since 1988 Schroyer has participated in networks of international scholars and citizens’ organizations concerned with sustainability, alternative economic strategies, and cultural alternatives to development. He served as program coordinator and president of The Other Economic Summit (TOES) for the counter G-8 summits in the United States in 1990, 1997, and 2004.

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FEATURE AN INTERVIEW WITH JANE OATES: New Jersey’s Independent Voice For Higher Education Jane Oates was appointed executive director of the Commission on Higher Education for the state of New Jersey in February, 2006. She is also senior policy advisor on higher education to Governor Jon Corzine. From 1997 to early 2006, Oates was senior education advisor to U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee. Prior to 1997, she directed field services for Temple University’s Center for Research in Human Development and Education and worked on teacher certification programs in Philadelphia. She was a special education teacher in Philadelphia and Boston. Oates graduated from Boston College and received her master’s from Arcadia University. Shortly after Oates’ arrival in Trenton, she was interviewed by Ramapo College students Jill Freudenfels and Erin McDermott.

Freudenfels and McDermott: Tell us your favorite college story.

Oates: I think that my favorite story about

Pictured (L to R): Jill Freudenfels, Jane Oats and Erin McDermott

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college is when I arrived [at Boston College]. My dad wanted me to go to an all-girl’s school, but he finally agreed to my attending Boston College. We were all set to move in and everything that could possibly go wrong happened. Our car broke down in New York; it was packed to the brim with everything you could imagine, even prior to the days of electronics. Living in Philadelphia, it took seven hours to get to Boston. When we arrived, my father was speaking with the boys helping us move in and asked them where they lived. They responded that they lived here. Father asked again, saying he knew they lived on campus but where. The boys responded that they lived in this building that I was moving into. At that point I really ran up three flights of steps, because I thought my father was going to put me right back into the car and not let me go to school there. My father’s reaction was priceless; it’s still my favorite story.


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Freudenfels and McDermott: How have you fulfilled your original career goal from the point of Boston College to now? Oates: When I was at Boston College, I was a special education major. There were only four colleges in the country that had an undergraduate major in special education. Prior to Public Law 94-142 in 1974, special education was institutional care; there was no public special education. So going into that area meant that you were going to deal with people with severe and profound disabilities in a hospital setting. That was what I was really looking at as a freshman. While I was an undergraduate, federal law changed to make it possible for people with mild disabilities to attend public school. This gave me the chance to work in a public school setting instead of a hospital setting. While I was there, this really stretched my thinking about special education and education in general. I was very fortunate that in my senior year, when the Boston public school system was hiring only a handful of people, I was offered a position while student teaching. Absolutely, I fulfilled my goals during my time in Boston College. As I began teaching, my goals changed. I was on the cusp of a generation that went into a profession at 18 and stayed there for life until retirement at 65. That concept changed, and I adapted as the country changed. I left Boston in 1978 to go back to Philadelphia, not for teaching, but because I had become acquainted with Senator Edward Kennedy through political activism in Massachusetts. Senator Kennedy was thinking about running for President and needed my support in Pennsylvania. I worked on his campaign from 1979-1980 while teaching in the Philadelphia school district. I fell in love with the Philadelphia school system and worked in a junior high even after my presidential candidate was not elected. I was thrilled to be home near my family. An opportunity arose to work with a researcher from Temple University to co-write a paper on inclusion, a hot topic in the 1980s. My work attracted the attention of the director of the Center for Education at Temple, who asked me to join the center as a researcher, which I thought was incredibly interesting. It is so important for researchers to be connected to their fields.

I stayed at Temple and wrote a lot of federal grants, and got involved with federal politics. I continued my friendship with Senator Kennedy through correspondence. We discussed changes that I felt strongly about that were relevant to people with special needs. Through Temple’s National Center for Education in the Inner Cities, which later became the Mid-Atlantic Laboratory, I worked with urban districts all over the country and became more familiar with education in New Jersey. In 1996, Senator Kennedy talked to me about coming down to Washington, D.C., which changed my career goals; I never expected a career in politics. Even though I was involved in federal policies in Washington, D.C., in my heart I was still a junior high special education teacher. The long-winded answer to your very good question is that I have met all my career goals including those that I had no idea I had. This most recent one — coming into state government — is something that a year ago I would have never expected because I loved what I was doing in Washington, D.C. But when opportunities present themselves, sometimes you have to change your goals and stretch yourself to adapt to a new experience.

Freudenfels and McDermott: When did you first meet Governor Corzine?

Oates: I met him the day he was sworn in to the U.S. Senate, almost six years ago. The staff was invited to the swearing in.

Freudenfels and McDermott: What was your first impression?

Oates: While in the Senate, you are surrounded by 100 people, talented men and women, who choose to serve their government. So everyday you begin with a great respect for them, whether you agree with them or not. During my tenure in Washington, D.C., I worked with many nationally recognized right and left-wing people, some who were very far from where I wanted to be on social and domestic policy, but the respect I had for them was the same. Jon Corzine was different; coming later in life, he gave up a lot to be a part of the Senate. He is very interesting because he not only is brilliant, but he is extraordinarily warm and concerned about people. That was my first impression and that first impression has proven true.

STUDENT LEADER MEETS THE GOVERNOR On March 30, Governor Corzine met with students from New Jersey’s public colleges to discuss higher education issues, specifically, the budget. Steven Bloom represented Ramapo at that meeting, which took place at Drumthwacket, Governor Corzine’s official residence. Bloom, a resident of Glen Rock, New Jersey, is a sophomore majoring in accounting and economics with a minor in political science. He was recently elected to be the alternate student trustee for the 2006/07 academic year. In addition, Steven is the secretary of financial affairs for the Ramapo Student Government Association. He is a member of Hillel, the Anisfield School of Business Dean’s Advisory Student Board and works as an intern in the Office of Administration and Finance. “Having the opportunity to represent the Ramapo College student body was a true honor. After meeting personally with Governor Corzine and hearing his presentation on the current situation in the state regarding the fiscal crisis, I can appreciate the tough choices he has had to make. As the budget picture becomes clearer, the Ramapo community must reach out to its elected officials and encourage them to rethink these substantial cuts in higher education. I am hopeful that as time goes on Governor Corzine will restore many of the cuts that he has been forced to make.”

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FEATURE Freudenfels and McDermott: As the new executive director on higher education, how do you see your role? Oates: Let me first talk for a second about the Commission on Higher Education. The commission was first established in 1994 to provide an independent voice for higher education and it came about as a devolution of state control. At that time, relying on other people’s history because I was not here, it seems that they wanted to get rid of an oversight structure to allow great autonomy for the institutions so that they could exercise creativity and realize their individual missions. It’s laudable and appropriate that people recognize this. At the same time, they realized that if we don’t have the chancellor structure that some states have, then there should be something else, and somebody needs to license programs and work with the accrediting agencies. So, the commission is a very interesting entity. I think it’s most effective when it’s working with the Council of Presidents and not as a separate entity within the state. When the Commission on Higher Education is working well, it is a critical friend of all higher education in the state and a critical friend of the Governor. I think that the structure is very interesting. My role is to make sure that the commission is doing what it was intended to do—being that critical friend. Sometimes the role of the commission has to be applauding the efforts of institutions and sometimes the role of the Commission on Higher Education needs to be encouraging the institutions to look at a different path. The same thing goes with the Governor; sometimes the commission’s role is to tell the Governor that he is doing the right thing and sometimes it’s to tell the Governor that he needs to go down a different path as well. The other piece of the job is not so philosophical; the other piece of the job is to “make sure that the trains are running on time down there.” We oversee the GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) grant in the state, the EOF program, and we also work together with HESSA (Higher Education Student Assistance Authority), the financial arm, to make sure that the TAG program (Tuition Aid Grant) is administered correctly. Members of the commission sit on each other’s boards so

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that we know what’s going on in all of the other areas. The Commission on Higher Education does all the pre-collegiate servicing, the ELMS program (Education for Language Minority Students) and all of the accrediting. Therefore, the executive director needs to make sure that the goings on in the Commission on Higher Education are happening in a timely Jane Oates, executive director for the Commission on Higher Education fashion. Basically the job is a mix between policy and running all of the areas Oates: There are easy similarities; I have which the commission oversees. worked for probably two of the smartest people in American politics. They were An interesting thing is that there have very similar people to work for and have been a handful of executive directors in the comparable styles in terms of access and history of the commission and I am the first being open to suggestions. The big difference dual appointment. This means I have both is that ninety percent of my time with a policy role with the Governor—an office Senator Kennedy was spent on legislation, here in the state house—and the commission getting bills through, blocking bad bills, role. It requires that I have a strong enough negotiating floor time, having debates with relationship with the Governor so that I can other members, and things like that. I think ask to be recused if there is something that that in this position as executive director, I shouldn’t be involved in. On the other very little of my time will be spent on hand, I can say to him that this is in your promoting legislation and much more of best interest and this is in the best interest of it will be spent on executive branch-types the commission, and we’re going to have to of activities—outreach, communications, have two separate stands because representing policy development, rather than legislative both may sometimes not be parallel. For the development. The political skills required for most part I think it is going to be extremely both are similar, along with the belief of both productive because the commission has not of my bosses in working in a bipartisan way. had a high profile. People in the state do not I think that the role here is to compete with know about the commission and too many other states to show that New Jersey is the people nationally do not know about the high number one state in the country in terms of quality of colleges in New Jersey. I see that as higher education. all part of both jobs; six months from now I may have a very different understanding of the complexity of both roles but today I see them as mutually supportive. An example of my dual role at the Commission on Higher Education occurred with the current budget proposal. I was able to make sure that we had a meeting with the Governor for all of the presidents of the state institutions on Monday, March 27, 2006. I think it’s fair to say that previous executive directors may not have been able to have facilitated that so quickly.

Freudenfels and McDermott: How will this compare to your role as Senator Kennedy’s educational advisor?

Freudenfels and McDermott: Can you describe your relationship with the commission? How does your role as executive director fit into the Commission on Higher Education?

Oates: The executive director is the person who does the work. The commissioners meet regularly; they decide certain things, pose questions, and want information. The executive director’s job is to make sure that they get the answers that they need and to work with them to make sure we have whatever information is necessary. One of the major roles the commissioners expect me to


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Oates: The first responsibility is to make

L to R: Cathleen Davey, vice president for Institutional Advancement, and executive director of the Ramapo Foundation, Jill Freudenfels, Jane Oates, and Erin McDermott

fulfill is updating them regularly on how we are meeting the goals of A Blueprint for Excellence and again, to work with HESSA.

Freudenfels and McDermott: How will you work toward making government accessible to the average student so that their viewpoint is taken into consideration? Oates: It is going to be a challenge; students are difficult to grab because they are busy going to class, studying, working, balancing campus and home relationships, and it is very difficult. So that is one area where I am searching for a way to best meet this challenge. Certainly, I will continue to accept invitations to go speak to groups of students and I have reached out to PERG (Program Evaluation and Research Group), but with fifty colleges, it is pretty difficult to figure out a way that I can get to everybody. So I see this as one of my biggest challenges, and would like some opportunity to meet with both professors and students to create an open dialogue.

sure that the needs and interests of the colleges are brought to the Governor’s attention, and to inform the Governor on policy issues about higher education. The second is to make sure that the colleges are aware of the opportunities that are available to them. I’d like to bring more research and federal money in to the state in whatever way possible, whether it’s going through things like GEAR UP competitive grants, or through quasi governmental organizations like NIH (National Institutes of Health), NSF (National Science Foundation), and NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) to get more money and more recognition of the incredible work that is going on at the institutions. We’ll be looking broadly at trying to get more opportunities for colleges in the federal, private sectors, and in the foundation world. We will also look at how we can help each institution to expand their mission with external money. The third piece may be a change for the commission, and some of my commissioners may not fully agree with this statement just yet, but it would be giving students a bigger voice in state policy. I don’t just say that because two students are interviewing me. The Governor held a meeting with the college presidents on Monday, March 27 and a subsequent meeting with students on Thursday, March 30. This meeting clearly sent the message that students are equally as important, and it is crucial to the Governor to make sure that students are involved in policy development at the state level.

ABOUT THE INTERVIEWERS Erin McDermott, a senior majoring in political science, is from Monroe Township, N.J. She has been involved in student government throughout her time at Ramapo, serving as chair of the election committee for two years and secretary of personnel. She is currently government relations intern in the Office of Institutional Advancement and works in the Office of Student Affairs for Dean of Students Nancy Mackin. Jill Freudenfels, a senior, is an

Freudenfels and McDermott: Tell us about three main responsibilities in your position.

accounting major with minors in public policy and international business. She is from East Brunswick,

After attending Governor Corzine’s meeting with state college presidents on March 27, Ramapo College President Peter Mercer issued the following statement: At the beginning of this week, I joined the other presidents of the state public colleges in a meeting with Governor Corzine at his official residence. The meeting was useful. The presidents were unequivocal about the devastating effect the proposed budget would have on our institutions.

The Governor was attentive and appeared genuinely hopeful that higher than anticipated tax revenues, for example, might lead to the proposed cuts being reduced. Many of our faculty, staff, and students have asked my fellow presidents and me how they can be helpful. We are working on a plan to communicate our message and I will keep you informed as it unfolds. In the meantime, I am working with the Cabinet on various models of how to manage next year’s budget.

N.J. She was named winner of the Dean’s Award for Student Leadership. Jill is a student governor on the Foundation Board of Governors, president of Omnicron Delta Kappa-Leadership Honor Society and president of Hillel. Following graduation, Jill will work in the auditing department of KPMG in their Princeton office.


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The Liberal Arts Degree: AN ANCIENT CONCEPT FOR A Modern World By Carol Hovanec Professor of Literature, School of American and International Studies

Carol Hovanec, lecturing in her American literature course, The American Short Story.

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Liberal arts is not a new concept, since this mode of study originated in ancient Greece and Rome and has continued throughout the history of higher education. The Greek ideal of “humanism” was to mold a wellrounded citizen, “sound in mind and body.” Clarity in thinking and expression was the goal, and subjects studied included grammar, logic, rhetoric, mathematics, and music. In the Middle Ages, and to a large extent, into the late nineteenth century, universities were designed to educate male clergymen, with occupations in medicine, law, business, and other similar areas learned not in classrooms but through apprenticeships to “master craftsmen.” Of course, American education now has evolved so that the latter “practical” professions are now highly respectable and require extensive graduate study. In the minds of some, therefore, higher education should focus less on general education and more on preparation for “getting a job” and “making money.” Courses in history, literature, philosophy, sociology, etc. are regarded as non-relevant frills. Nothing could be further from the truth, because studying the liberal arts provides a different viewpoint which is impossible to perceive in a narrow context. Certainly, as Newman observed, an overemphasis on one field can distort the understanding of reality. The importance of general education can apply to any field. Of course, it is essential for a prospective physician, lawyer, or manager to take undergraduate courses in the specific area he or she hopes to pursue as a career. But in the competitive arena of admission to graduate school or business, recruiters look for the applicant who stands out from the crowd — one with transferable skills, the ability to communicate, to solve complex problems, to collaborate with others, and to adapt to the pressures and challenges of a changing workplace. Preparation for this perspective and depth of mind cannot come from the limited focus of studying only one area.

The founders of Ramapo College understood the importance of these relationships, establishing not only a liberal arts institution, but one with an interdisciplinary organization, where the professors and majors could interact with one another. Students were encouraged to view knowledge as a whole, not in isolated parts. Professors were housed not in departments, but schools, and developed team-taught courses, which highlighted connections between events and ideas. As a literature professor, I have seen students become excited as they discovered the relevance of great works, even when written centuries ago. Pre-med students are often surprised to find that doctors also have been authors and have worked out some of their own problems in their fiction. For example, William Carlos Williams explores the treatment of children in “The Use of Force,” and Charlotte Perkins Gilman shows how dangerous postpartum depression can be in “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Pre-law students marvel at the treatment of clerks in Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener” or the delays in the legal system depicted in Dickens’ Bleak House. A social work major can find no more horrifying study of child abuse than in Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby or Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. But examples occur in all the liberal arts disciplines. A course in history can show how leaders in the past faced the specter of warfare and dealt with the burdens of leadership. Political science can create more responsible voters, as one becomes better able to evaluate candidates’ credentials, their speeches, and polling. Liberal arts graduates are attractive to employers because they have developed the skills necessary to adapt in an ever-changing workforce. Employers know that graduates with the right background are ready and willing to learn, and often advance more quickly. Certainly, I have found that students who received multiple job offers, sometimes

even before graduation, were those who drew relationships between what they learned in various courses. They were avid readers; they wrote carefully and correctly; and they were articulate speakers. However, the liberal arts not only equips graduates with the potential tools for a successful career; a broad-based education enriches one’s life. Emily Dickinson remarked in a poem that a book is like a sailing ship, taking her to new worlds, and the joy of reading does just this. The study of art and music makes museums and concert halls come alive. And, the study of history, geography, and anthropology deepen one’s appreciation for other societies and makes travel more rewarding. Also, philosophy can help one think out problems and be more logical and fair-minded in personal associations. Finally, I will never forget the student, who appeared in a Readings in the Humanities section, who stated that he had never read a book! When he discovered that he could relate to the travails of the young King Henry V in Shakespeare’s play or Hemingway’s Nick Adams, he told me that the course had changed the whole way he viewed college. He signed up for another literature course, as an elective, because “Now,” he said “I like to read.” In our fast-moving technological world, we should never lose sight of the value of the education the ancient Greeks felt was central to the good life, for they knew that the liberal arts teach one not only how to think but also how to live. Carol Hovanec is a professor of Literature in Ramapo College’s School of American and International Studies. Hovanec is a former dean of the School of American and International Studies, and is a member of the College’s founding faculty. She has introduced countless numbers of students to the marvels of poetry and literature throughout her teaching career.

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FOUNDATION NEWS Challenge Grant and Major Gifts Support Construction of a SPIRITUAL CENTER “The Spiritual Center will offer opportunities for members of our community to have honest interfaith dialogue, to explore values, and the search for meaning,” notes Dr. Peter Mercer, president of Ramapo College. The Center will also provide a refuge. “In this troubled world it is important for young adults to have a place for quiet contemplation and meditation,” says Theresa Salameno. Adds her husband, Lawrence, “We believe people of all faiths should be able to utilize a space where they can come together to better understand each other’s beliefs.”

The Salameno Spiritual Center will overlook Kameron Pond.


ith a pledge of $350,000, Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Salameno of Allendale, New Jersey have established the Salameno Challenge Grant to support the construction of a Spiritual Center on the Ramapo College campus. In appreciation for their commitment to the project, the building will be named the Lawrence and Theresa Salameno Spiritual Center. The Salameno’s daughter, Francesca, recently graduated from Ramapo College and is teaching at the Brookdale School in Allendale. The impetus for the Spiritual Center came from Dr. Anthony T. Padovano, a distinguished professor of literature and philosophy at Ramapo College, who’s had a longstanding interest in seeing the project come to fruition. With the Salameno Challenge Gift in place, Padavano and his wife, Theresa, made a generous commitment of $200,000 toward the project. Through his teaching at Ramapo and lecturing around the world, Padovano has seen first hand the growing interest from students seeking to integrate the mind, body, and spirit into their collegiate life.

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The Salemeno Challenge Grant has prompted others to become engaged in the campaign to raise the balance of the funds needed to complete the Spiritual Center. Peter McBride, a member of the Board of Trustees and his wife, Pam, have also made a generous leadership gift of $100,000 to the new Center. Ralph Mastrangelo, a member of the Board of Governors, and his wife, Liz, have agreed to chair this campaign and have made a major gift of $25,000 as well. The College is fortunate to have donors who are willing to support our students by maintaining a wellrounded college experience. The Salameno Challenge Grant provides an incentive to donors to make a gift or pledge to the Center; the challenge period will run through November 2006. It is expected the project will cost approximately $1 million to complete. A number of student groups are expected to use the facility. “The Center will meet the very important needs of organizations such as Hillel, Catholics at Ramapo United, the Muslim Students Association, the Campus Crusade for Christ, and the Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship,” says Dr. Pamela Bischoff, vice president for student affairs. “Many of our students now closely link

L to R: Lawrence Salemeno, Theresa Salemeno, and Peter Mercer at the Spirituality Center Reception at the Havemeyer House.

their religious and spiritual development with voluntary service. I imagine that organizations like the Community Builders Coalition, Ebony Women for Social Change, and Brothers Making A Difference will find the Center a wonderful place in which to conduct some of their activities.” According to The Catholic Advocate, college administrators, educators, and researchers are noticing an increased interest in spirituality on campuses. One reason may be the transition from youth to adulthood, accompanied by a search for meaning and identity. There is also a desire on college campuses to breach the gap between believers of different faiths with respect, understanding, and compassion. The events of 9/11 also play a role believes Father Ron Stanley, O.P., Catholic campus minister and director of campus ministries at Ramapo College. “Students need a place to go, a place to pray, a sacred space to worship. The spiritual needs of students should be met as much as any other part of their student life.” “We are grateful for the generosity, support and enthusiasm that our donors have exhibited for this project, which will benefit the Ramapo College community for years to come,” says Cathleen Davey, vice president for Institutional Advancement and executive director of the Ramapo College Foundation.


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Foundation Recognizes Dedicated Students:

ENDOWMENTS AT RAMAPO When her children were older, Marion Dugan enrolled at Ramapo College to take the final courses required to earn her bachelor’s degree. She graduated in 1980 with a degree in public administration. Both she and her husband, John, were scholarship recipients during their undergraduate careers. “While I was a student at Ramapo, I saw the need for scholarships, especially among returning students,” says Dugan. She also was struck by the dedication some students gave toward earning a degree, especially among those with additional responsibilities, such as women with children. To recognize such dedicated students, Dugan established an endowed scholarship fund in 2005. The award benefits seniors in any major who demonstrate financial need. Marion Dugan is one of many members of the College community who have established an endowed fund this year. Endowed funds last in perpetuity, and they provide a permanent source of income for scholarship, program support, research, or unrestricted purposes at Ramapo College. Another alumna who joined Dugan in creating an endowed fund this year was Meena Joisher ’92. The College is proud to count both of Joisher’s daughters as Ramapo alumnae: Purvi Joisher Parekh, who received a degree in information systems in 2001 and an MBA in 2004; and Manshi Joisher, who earned a degree in information systems in 2002. Meena Joisher and her husband, Mukul, created an endowed scholarship in 2003 for the benefit of outstanding international students, particularly those from India. This award was created to recognize the positive experience Purvi and Manshi had. Meena Joisher named a second scholarship, which also benefits international students, for her daughters. The value of the gift was doubled, since she works for UPS, a matching gift company.

A number of donors chose to augment their existing scholarship programs with endowment gifts: • The Police Officer Michael J. Buczek Scholarship is an annual award created over 10 years ago. Michael Buczek attended Ramapo and later became a New York City

police officer in Washington Heights. He was tragically killed in the line of duty in 1988. Michael’s father, Ted Buczek, began raising funds to create a children’s baseball league in Washington Heights, and scholarship funds at Michael’s high school and college. By endowing this scholarship, Ted Buczek sought a permanent way to honor his son’s memory while benefiting students interested in law enforcement.

“The greatest benefit of an endowment fund is that it offers a lasting reminder of one’s generosity and interests while providing a permanent source of funding for Ramapo College.” - Cathleen Davey Vice President for Institutional Advancement, and Executive Director, The Foundation • The Mary K. Fanale Scholarships were endowed by the Fanale family soon after Mary’s death in 1981. The Fanale family continued to support the endowment, and after Mary’s husband Salvatore died in 2005, the Fanale family directed a major contribution to the endowment, increasing its value fivefold. The Mary K. and Salvatore Fanale Scholarships will now benefit many mature students from New Jersey who strive for excellence in their studies. • Arnold Mytelka, former chair of the Ramapo College Board of Trustees (1979-80) had established an endowed scholarship in his mother’s memory in 1983. In 2005, he made a generous contribution to create a second endowed fund in memory of his father, Herman. The Herman D. Mytelka Scholarships will benefit students who have graduated from a high school in Jersey City, in honor of Herman’s years as a high school principal and mathematics teacher. • The Lori Ann Oldenhage Scholarship is an annual award created to celebrate Oldenhage’s “enthusiasm for life.” At her untimely death from cancer in 2002, members of Oldenhage’s family created this award in her memory for students pursuing a marketing degree. The family endowed the Oldenhage award in 2005.

L to R: Patrick Fanale, Nancy Fanale, Peter Mercer, David Fanale, and James Fanale.

An increasing number of people in the Ramapo family are taking advantage of planned giving opportunities. One is Millicent Anisfield, a member of the College’s Board of Trustees from 1985 to 1997, and its chair from 1992 to 1994. Anisfield created a substantial bequest to grow the existing Anisfield Scholarship, an endowed program. Under the terms of the bequest, the scholarship will continue to “benefit women and minority students at Ramapo College who demonstrate academic merit and financial need.”

L to R: Arnold Mytelka, Rena Jensen, Rosalind Mytelka.

L to R: Mecca Terry, Ted Buczek.

L to R: Manshi Joisher, Tuguldur Tungalag, Meena Joisher, and Mukul Joisher. Spring 2006

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Janet Dengel ‘87, director of annual giving and alumni relations, visits Vitus Stablein ‘76. Moving away from New Jersey did not end Vitus’ dedication to and support of Ramapo College. If you would like to visit campus for a personal tour or would like members of the Alumni Office to visit your place of work, contact 201.684.7179.

Athletic reunions, donor receptions, fraternity fun, business networking – even a gathering of the first graduating class of 1973 – brought alumni back to Ramapo College to rekindle memories and find out how they can be a part of Ramapo’s future. When alumni couldn’t get back to campus, the spirit of Ramapo was sent to them – with President Peter P. Mercer making visits to alumni corporate groups and to individuals in Washington, D.C., and during personal visits by the staff from the Alumni Office. Check the Alumni Web pages at to find out where you can meet us next and to view alumni photographs.

September 25, 2005: Alumni Softball and Baseball Reunions

1. Ramapo College Alumni Softball Team Back Row (L to R): Kathleen Finnegan ‘80, Debbie (Makliewicz) McNally ‘93, Carol Morrison, Nancy (Galass) Remias ‘97, Dawn Martin, Deena (Bishop) Brennan ‘97, Stacey (Morris) Weeks, Ben Allen


Front Row (L to R): Courtney (Geisel) Braun ‘00, Doris Anne (Vacca) Pennolla, Ellie Ettz ‘94, Julie (Smith) DeSalvo ‘94, Dana Zezza ‘98, Kerry O’Meara, Kelly Duhart ‘95, Kate Levin ‘04, Jamie Anzaldi ‘05, Michelle Micklos ‘04 2. Ramapo College Baseball Alumni Back Row (L to R): Tom Cappola, Jon Cantor, Anthony Verdi ‘02, Mike Morelli, Frank Eufemia


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Kneeling (L to R): Ray Tuthill, John Franklin, Dave Winans ‘04, Chris Buser ‘03, Scott Joffe ‘04


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October 2, 2005: Men’s and Women’s Soccer Reunions


October 6, 2005: Alumni Consecutive Donor Reception

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October 22, 2005: Class of 1973 Reunion 3. L to R: Sergio Basurco ’80, Fred Shouldice ’81, Alan Spielholz ’78, Nelson Ramirez ’80; in front, Fred’s son Jake


4. Back Row Standing (L to R): Pamela Kalyoussef ‘03, Amy Gordon ‘02, Lauren Reynolds ‘05, Kim Tavalaro ‘03, Kristen Petretta. Front Row Sitting (L to R): Lisa DePree ‘05, Alysia Battista ‘04, Tiffany James ‘04 5. President Mercer with Marina Topken ‘87, a long-time supporter of Ramapo College 6. L to R: Maria Miceli-Jacobson ‘95, President Mercer, and Skip Storch ‘80

November 22, 2005: Alumni Business Network at the Sony Skybox on campus

7. Standing (L to R): Class of ‘73: Christine Rose, Leo Campbell, Cindy Brennan, Sheryl Stein, Jeff Warren, Don Mahoney. Sitting (L to R): Suzanne Taijelo, Francis X. O’Toole 8. L to R: Geraldine Charles and Pat Hunter ‘01, ‘05

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December 3, 2005: Alpha Phi Delta Reunion


December 15, 2005: Alumni on Campus Holiday Party 10.

December 16, 2005: KPMG Corporate Alumni Event

9. L to R: Peter Juris, Rob Dente ‘92, Henry Romero, Ben Finley ‘95, Michael Colasurdo ‘94, Michael Maksymiw, Anthony McGowan, Peter Morris ‘96, Michael Rufrano ‘04 10. Standing Last Row (L to R): Bruce Werman ‘91, Janet Dengel ‘87, Marcelo “Nico” Halpern ‘98, Vince Gimmelli ‘90, Sean Powers ‘99, Jonathan Belle ‘97 Standing Middle Row (L to R): Sandy Cohen ‘76, Diana Williams ‘75, Joyce VanDyken ‘86, Merie Scordo ‘86, Rachel Jaffe ‘02, Debra Stark ‘94, ‘05, Amy Bravo ‘96, Kathleen Stathis ‘91, Purvi Parekh ‘01, ‘04, Michael Skafidas ‘97


Standing Front Row (L to R): Robin Keller ‘98, Fran Livreri ‘89, President Peter P. Mercer, Jackie Ehlert-Mercer

January 11, 2006: Alumni Tip-Off Pre-Game Dinner

11. Front row (L to R): Patricia Nass ‘97, Lorena Calixtro-Fulton ‘96, President Mercer, Amy Noller ‘99, Maureen Gilchrist ‘02, Mary Lagatol ‘92, Berine Milano, president KPMG, L.L.C. Foundation


Back Row (L to R): Eileen Esslinger ‘97, Pat Budres ‘93, Katya Calixtro ‘95, Amy Lagevin ‘93, Tucker Koenen ‘04, Juby Thomas, Karen Reiter ‘93, ‘99, Mitchell Biarsky ‘90, Karen Lynch ‘94, Nazanin Malek ‘92, Sevan Sprofera ‘91 12. L to R: Jonathan ‘93 and Tammy Marcus, Pat McClenton ‘76, Marianne Dabinette, Jim Sorace ‘84 at the Alumni Tip-Off Pre-Game Dinner 13. L to R: Agnes Mutisya, Adele Stan, Donna Huff (all from class of ‘83) and President Mercer at the Washington, D.C. Alumni Reception

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14. L to R: Rosa Pena-Lara ‘02, John Tomaszewski ‘02, Elizabeth Triantafilidis ‘00, Frank Kyles ‘79, President Mercer, Thomas Ammazzalorso ‘95, Agnes Mutisya ‘83, Leo Campbell ‘73, Donna Huff ‘83, James Lydon, Esq. ‘76 and Adele Stan ‘83 at the Washington D.C. Alumni Reception


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L to R: Joe Ippolito, Mary Ippolito ‘82, Cornelia Baker, Frank Rodriguez, chair, Friends of Ramapo

Friends of Ramapo and Ramapo Parents Enjoy Events

Standing L to R: Pat McClenton ‘76, Michael Ricciardi ‘79, Cindy Davis ‘78, Lisa Ryan ‘84, Joseph DeAngelis, Brian Steros ‘98, Patrick Hunter ‘01, ‘05. Sitting L to R: Jenny LaPlaca ‘01, Ursula Pico-Reinacher ‘98

Alumni Reach Out to Help Community

A week of rain and flooding couldn’t dampen the spirit at Ramapo Family Weekend, where even the sun made an appearance. Faculty presentations; student organization booths for facepainting, crafts, and science demos; Midnight Madness; a jazz brunch and more were enjoyed by more than 1,000 people. The highlight of the day was the drawing for the Tuition Raffle by President Peter P. Mercer’s mother, Pauline.

The Alumni Association Board and committee members voted unanimously to Adopt-A-Family through the Center for Food Action. At each meeting, alumni donate food, toys, toiletries, and items needed by local families. When Santa (Sandy) McDowell ‘80 heard of their generosity, she asked them to continue with a spring 2006 drive for families in Paterson. The Board will continue its effort and plans to expand the number of families who can be helped by involving more alumni and the Ramapo campus community. For information on how you can get involved, contact the Alumni Office at 201.684.7179.

Parents returned to campus in December to share the holiday spirit with the Friends of Ramapo at a reception and performance of The Nutcracker. Members of the Friends of Ramapo also attended a special viewing of the AIDS Quilt at the invitation of Mandy Restivo ‘99, director of the Ramapo College Women’s Center. To join Friends of Ramapo or the Ramapo College Parents Council, contact Purvi Parekh at 201.684.7115 or

Alumni Board Welcomes Members Four members were elected to the Ramapo College Alumni Association Board of Directors. Serving three-year terms starting in September, 2006 will be: Steven Fonder ’74 Group Manager, United States Treasury

J. Patrick Hunter ’01, ’05 Sales Manager, Mercedes Benz, Manhattan Patricia McClenton ’76 Administrative Assistant Conifer Holding Bruce Medley Program Coordinator Franklin Township Recreation Department

Pictured are Ramapo College alumni who work at KPMG, L.L.C. After an onsite visit at the company’s corporate headquarters in Montvale, the group was invited for dinner at the Havemeyer House on campus, home to President Mercer and his wife, Jacqueline Ehlert-Mercer. Front Row (L to R): Karen Reiter ‘93, ‘99, Eileen Esslinger ‘97, Mitchell Biarsky ‘90, President Mercer, Maureen Gilchrist ‘02, Jackie EhlertMercer. Middle Row (L to R): Brian Lofman, interim dean of the Anisfield School of Business, Donna Sullivan ‘81, Sabrina Deutsch ‘00, Katya Calixtro ‘95. Top Row (L to R): Jonathan Marcus ‘93, Amy Noller ‘99, Karen Lynch ‘94.

Alumni Corporate Visits If you work for a company with ten or more Ramapo College Alumni, let us know and we can arrange to visit you on-site. We’ll bring news of the College as well as arrange for a short presentation by a requested faculty member or President Peter P. Mercer. The corporate outreach program is a “Lunch and Learn About Ramapo” project that enables you to reconnect with the College, the Alumni Office, and your fellow graduates during your lunch hour. Spring 2006

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L to R: Ramapo students, Kortni Elion and Aaron Kruglyak

Join Efforts to Raise Scholarship Funds In 2005, the Alumni Association Board of Directors established a new endowed scholarship to reward students who dedicate their time to community volunteer projects. To help raise funds for the effort, the Alumni Association Special Events Committee is selling Ramapo Roadrunner afghan blankets, holding a raffle at the Alumni Tent on July 6, and hosting “A Night at the Meadowlands Racetrack” on June 8. To order blankets, raffle tickets, or for reservations to the Meadowlands event, contact Purvi Parekh, assistant director, alumni relations, at 201.684.7115 or Or, download a blanket form or Meadowlands reservation form at http://www.ramapo. edu/alumni_foundation/ index.html.

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First Table Sitting (L to R): Lucille Zirpoli ‘84, Arthur Zirpoli ‘83, Brenda Gibson ‘74, George Gibson ‘74. Second Table Sitting (L to R): Larry Moran ‘86 (standing behind his wife), Lisa Moran ‘85, Timothy Lorencovitz ‘94, Jennifer Lorencovitz ‘95, Steve Fonder ‘74. Second Row Standing (L to R): Angela Rozborski-Langan ‘73, Maryann Brett-Brennan ‘73, Gerry Brennan ‘73, Santa McDowell ‘77, Richard McDowell ‘77, Kristen Rounsaville ‘04, Tyson Rounsaville ‘03, Lauren Sartori ‘03, Christopher Curasco ‘03, Tom Stika ‘86, Maria Stika ‘89, Joann Mitchell ‘86, Bruce Mitchell ‘84

Ramapo Alumni Couples Enjoy Dinner & Theater It’s been said that when freshman attend their college orientation, their future love, spouse, or partner may be in the room. At Ramapo, there were certainly some students through the years who received an education in love as well as liberal arts. The alumni data records list almost 200 alumni couples. They were invited by President Peter P. Mercer and his wife, Jacqueline Ehlert-Mercer, to dinner at their home on campus, the Havemeyer House, to celebrate Valentine’s Day. After dinner, the couples regathered at the Berrie Center for a tango performance and a heart-shaped dessert. Here are some of their stories:

On Halloween 1985, Maria came to Ramapo in a cavewoman’s outfit and stole my heart. We have grown together since then, and have only the best memories of Ramapo some 20 years and four children later!

moved in and George continued to commute. His car broke down and he had to hitchhike from Newark. This touched my heart and I asked my roommates if he could move in until his dorm was built. He has never moved out.

Maria ‘89 and Tom ‘86 Stika

George and Brenda Gibson ‘74

I was sunbathing behind Sycamore when this pretty lady walked by and said “hello.” We went out for a few dates and as time passed, she asked me to marry her. With twin boys, we are now prepping them to join the Ramapo College team when it is time.

It was an off-year assembly race and I was in Professor Cliff Peterson’s class. He enjoined us all to get involved in our government, so I did. I met Bruce, another Ramapo student. The candidate lost but it was, in fact, one of the most successful campaigns because six of us in that campaign got married, including the candidate.

Lucille ‘84 SchusterZirpoli and Arthur Zirpoli ‘83 We met in what became “The Pub.” After the dorms were built I

Joann ‘86 and Bruce Mitchell ‘84 After the first Ramapo basketball game of the ‘93-’94 season, we got together with a bunch of friends at the State Line Diner.


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We met through roommates who suggested that we’d make a good couple. We have been together for almost five years now and we were just married in October of 2005. Kristen ‘04 and Tyson ‘03 Rounsaville

Back Standing Row (L to R): Roger Gray ‘76, Priscilla Van Aulen ‘86, Peter Van Aulen ‘87, President Mercer, Kevin J. Williams ‘74, Timothy Eustace ‘78, Cort Engelken ‘74, Lorraine Chouinard ‘76, Jackie Ehlert-Mercer. Front Row Sitting (L to R): Shelley Gray ‘77, Katie Polatsek ‘05, Tyron Eggleston ‘03, Rachel Jaffe ‘02, Richard Marko Jr. ‘03, Janine Cicio-Colyer ‘05, Bill Colyer ‘04

We really hit it off. The next night, we took a trip to Lincoln Harbor in Weehawken and ended up in NYC at the Empire State Building. We’ve been married almost seven years and have two children. I always said, it was a good thing Ramapo won that night, otherwise I may have been in a bad mood and things could have been different. Tim ‘94 and Jennifer ‘95 Lorencovitz I majored in Pub—no seriously, Kevin and I met in my senior year. He graduated in ‘74 and came back to teach in ‘78. He was my child psych professor. I was probably his worst student. Now 25 years later and two kids together, we came back for a Valentine’s dinner. Tim Eustace ‘78 and Kevin Williams ‘74

We met in “Love and the American Novel” with Denis Murphy, a great professor. We’ve been together ever since ‘74-’06! Cort Engelken ‘74 and Lorraine Chouinard ‘76 (former director of the Child Development Center) I knew Roger before attending Ramapo, but our romance blossomed here. I married him upon my graduation, which was not popular in the 1970s. Roger and I have been very successful in the arts and are grateful for our ties to Ramapo. Roger was named “Alumnus of the Year” in 1997. How exciting to encourage students to pursue careers in the arts — thanks to Ramapo for such a creative environment. Shelley ‘77 and Roger ‘76 Gray

Between ‘72 and ‘74 there was no indoor pool on campus. In order to graduate you had to take one phys-ed credit, so we traveled to a pool on Route 17 to take a life-saving course. Professor Hartmann said, “Fonder, jump in and rescue Deiterlien.” I gave her mouth-to-mouth and at that moment we started to date. Last year, I was honored to hand my wife her master’s degree in nursing at commencement as the Alumni Board representative. Now my wife is an adjunct professor of nursing at Ramapo.

Gerry and I were hand-picked by the first dean of student activities, Ed Henderson, to help with Ramapo’s first orientation in the fall of 1971. It was there that we first met (in the York Room). Four years later we had our wedding reception in the York Room, and in 2000 hosted our 25th anniversary party in the York Room. Gerry was the first editor of the Ramapo newspaper, called The Paper at that time. Tom Langan was the photography editor/photographer as well as the layout person. Gerry and Tom both appeared as Ramapo College students on William F. Buckley’s Firing Line. We have many fond memories of Ramapo and truly thank the College for bringing us together. Maryann Brett ‘73 and Gerry Brennan ‘73 Tom Langan ‘75 and Angela Rozborski-Langan ‘73

Steve ‘74 and Patricia ‘99, ‘05 Fonder We met and became friends through the Student Government Association. We were both senators and we were interested in student life at Ramapo. Since graduation we became closer and have been together for a year. We are grateful to Ramapo. Lauren Sartori ‘03 and Chris Curasco ‘03

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Diane Lattimer ’85 to Christopher Stemper Wendy Barbara Yurash’94 to Mathew Scott Garrison Bryan Enberg ’96 to Jennifer Lane Denise Ann Lobo ‘97 to Stephan Erno Rothe Richard Price ‘97 to Jennifer Carley Jennifer Zeichner ’97 to Aaron Greenberg on January 5, 2006 in Jerusalem, Israel.

Kevin Joseph Neretich ‘98 to Debra Ann Derkacs Ramona Lall ‘99 to Pontus Gunve ‘00 Michael Miroddi ‘00 to Jillane Chiandusse ‘01 Elizabeth McKenna ’01 to Robert Kucharek Shari Berman ‘01 to Noah D. Kalter ‘03 Richard Goldstein ’01 to Elissa Adler ’03 Lisa Ann Lyon ’03 to Richard Parsells




Frank J. Giordano ’73 has joined the management team of Bank of America Corporate Insurance Agency, L.L.C., as a construction wrap-up industry practice leader. Giordano will also oversee the construction wrap-up unit in the Insurance Division, with responsibility for business plan development.

Evan Weiner ’77 has written The Business and Politics of Sports: A Collection of Columns. The book contains over 100 of Weiner’s columns, written between 1998 and 2005, that describe the power plays, players, media, and political connections which rule the 19 billion dollar-a-year business of sports.

Mary Ellen Doster Lorenzo ’78, executive vice-president of the Boiling Springs Savings Bank, was recently appointed to serve on the bank’s board of directors. She also holds positions as chief financial officer and treasurer at the bank.

Robert Bruno ’73 and Phyllis Grodin Bruno ’76 recently celebrated their thirtieth wedding anniversary and the birth of their first grandchild, Jack. Robert retired from the Palisades Park School District after 29 years of teaching both English and history. He has been the head softball coach for the Fairleigh Dickinson University Softball Team for the past six seasons. He also is an assistant director of academic counseling for athletes. Phyllis was appointed director of social studies and work readiness for the Franklin Township public school system.

Kevin T. Kernan ’77 recently published his fifth book, I’m Just Getting Started, Jack McKeon’s Life Story. Kevin is also a columnist with the New York Post.

’74 Daniel P. Quinn ’74 visited Ireland for a month to make appearances including readings from his new book, Exits and Entrances.

’76 Lorre Strain-Welsh ’76 opened her exhibit of paintings called “Transitions” at the Stable Gallery in Ridgewood.

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Richard McDowell ’77 and Santa (Sandy) McDowell ’80 celebrated their thirtieth wedding anniversary on February 14, 2006. They were the first couple to get married while they were students at Ramapo. They also attended the first-ever Alumni Couples Valentine’s Dinner and performance hosted by President Peter P. Mercer on Feb. 4, 2006.

’79 James Morley ’79, associate professor of clinical psychology at Ramapo College, published a review of Renaud Barbaras’ text The Being of the Phenomenon: Merleau-Ponty’s Ontology for the Journal of Phenomenological Psychology. Deborah “Debbie” Smith ’79 was recently appointed broker/ manager of RE/MAX Champions. During her ten-year real estate career, she received numerous honors, including membership in the New Jersey Association of Realtors Circle of Excellence in 2000 though 2004; NJAR Million Dollar Club in 1998; and the RE/MAX 100 Percent Club. She is a member of the Monmouth County Association of Realtors, serving on the Legislative and Political Affairs Committee and other committees. She currently resides in West Long Branch, serves as co-leader of Girl Scout Troop 672, and is a member of The West Long Branch Historical Society, The Oceanport Garden Club, The Red Hat Society, Shore Regional Parents Forum, and The West Long Branch Centennial Committee.


David A. “Skip” Storch ’80 swam 150 miles down the Hudson River from Albany to Battery Park in Manhattan on August 25, 2005. Storch beat the past record of George Creegan who swam the same distance in 50 hours and 6 minutes in 1927. Storch finished the swim in 41.5 total hours and is the new world record holder for the fastest swim ever from Albany, NY to Battery Park, NYC. Pictured: (L to R): Storch and his Ramapo alumni friend, Roger J. Muller, Jr. ’79

’81 Anthony Rizzo ’81 has been named vice president of clinical services for Pascack Valley Hospital in Westwood. He has been with the hospital for 12 years and previously served as administrator for home care services.


Judi Gemeinhardt ’82 recently published two new books, The Everly Brothers: A Celebration in Photos, Fantasy and Verse, and


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I N Grace Chance ’03 to Jeffrey Markey Leighann Rivera ’04 to Shawn Michael Penaga Shannon Tasker ‘04 to Jason Salerno William Colyer ’04 to Janine Cicio ’05

SUBMIT CLASS NOTES: Do you have an interesting item to share with your classmates? E-mail


Larry Wertheim ‘81 Kathryn J. Kelly ‘88 Robert E. Sievers ‘90 Michael J. Goodwin Jr. ’05

Fifty word limit. All photos must be 300 dpi.

A Diary of A Woman in Anguish and Other Poems. Her poem, “An Open Tribute to Our Living Legends,” gained international response in 1985 when being published as a foreword to John Hosum’s A History of the Everly Brothers, An Illustrated Discography. Two of her Everly poems have been set to music and are included in the cassette, America. She has received the 1998 President’s Award for Literary Excellence by the National Registry of Authors and Writers. She has also received honors for “Darwin’s Paradise” from EWG Presents, an electronic magazine. Her biography has appeared consistently in the Marquis’ Who’s Who In the World 2000-2004 and Who’s Who In American Women to be released in 2006-2007. Richard Mastrangelo ‘82 won a council seat in the town of Fairfield. He previously served on the town’s Planning Board and is president of the Republican Club.

was also recently the fifth place Top Walker/Fundraiser for the 2005 American Heart Association Heart Walk (D.C. region). This February, she was part of a religious mission to Havana, Cuba.

’85 Dorothy Gillman ’85 was elected to serve a one-year term as a member of the board of directors for the National Association of Veterans Program Administrators (NAVPA), a professional organization for people working in both campus-based and communitybased veterans programs. She also was elected to serve as vice-president of NAVPA. Edward Shannon ’85 is a recipient of the BMI Foundation/Woody Guthrie Archive Research Fellowship. The award supports Edward’s research project, “The History of This Land Is Your Land.” He will present a paper on his research at the Northeast Modern Language Association’s annual meeting.

’83 Donna Huff ‘83, a senior claims analyst for Geico Direct in the Washington, D.C. area also devotes her time to charities and has won several recognitions. At Mayor Anthony Williams’ weekly televised press conference in January, Huff was recognized as an exceptional volunteer for Mentors, Inc., an organization she has worked with since 1995. Huff has mentored eight young people who have gone on to college. She

Robert Vliet ’85 was recently appointed as vice president in charge of consumer lending by the Atlantic Stewardship Bank. Vliet has worked for the company since November 21, 2005 and will begin his new position in the bank’s lending division in Wayne.

’86 Joann Frijia Mitchell, CMP ’86 was announced as Meeting Professionals International (MPI) “Meeting Planner of the Year, 2004-2005” for consistently demonstrating superior meeting management ability and for outstand-

ing creativity and innovation for the New Jersey Chapter and the meeting industry.

’87 M a r i a n Gorewitz ’87 launched her professional Web site emphasizing her specialization in writing ad copy for educational, training, and seminar companies. Her daughter (pictured above) recently turned four and has just started ballet. Gorewitz and her husband, Mark Kleinman, celebrated their fifteenth anniversary in July. Richard Skrosky ’87 has been hired as offensive line coach for Elon University. Skrosky worked at Ramapo College as head football coach for the 1992 campaign, after serving the 1990 and 1991 seasons as its offensive coordinator, offensive line coach, and tight ends coach. Skrosky is entering his twenty third year as a football coach, his nineteenth at the college level. The Lodi, NJ native was an All-Bergen County defensive back at Lodi High School and a safety on Ramapo’s football squad.

’89 Cynthia Holland Torry ’89 has launched Torry Events, a wedding/party planning company specializing in theme weddings and receptions based in North Jersey. Torry gained over ten years of experience working with the State Theater and the National

MS Society Greater North Jersey Chapter. She was past president of the Young Associates group of the Tomorrows Children’s Fund at Hackensack University Medical Center and is an experienced piano stylist, having served as interim musical director for the Ramapo Reformed Church.

’91 Robert Olive ’91 is a detective with the Paramus Police Department’s Criminal Identification Bureau. He is married and has two children. Since 1993, he has traveled around the world playing bagpipes with the 45-member Police Pipers and Drums of Bergen County.


After years of working at the Bronx Zoo as a wild animal keeper and as a pet store owner in Mount Kisco, NY, Scott Gunther ’93, was ready for a challenge that combined entrepreneurship with his love of nature. The answer came when a franchise store, Wild Birds Unlimited, in Paramus became available. “I love nature and animals as well as teaching people about them.” The store features bird feeders, baths, and garden continued on page 22

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CLASS NOTES continued from page 21 decorations with a strong emphasis on education. Brochures, books and guides on bats, butterflies, and serious birding are on display. Field trips, lectures, even a visit from a red tail hawk and a screech owl, courtesy of the Raptor Trust, are on the calendar of events. But, beyond the profits, Scott gives non-profits high priority too. The store partners with the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology through Project Feeder Watch for bird counts, data collection and guides. Local groups including the Bergen County Audubon Society and the Hackensack River Keeper are invited to speak at the store. Part of the proceeds at Wild Birds Unlimited goes to the Pathways to Nature Conservation Fund to provide wildlife refuges across North America. Even the Gorilla Fund Coffee brewing in the store benefits wildlife research. “What people don’t know is that birding is the second largest outdoor hobby after gardening,” says Scott. “I’m here to educate them.”

cultural activities in the cities of Dhahran, Riyadh, and Jiddah for a ten-day visit. “Education is the most important public policy component of any country and this was an incredible opportunity to take an in-depth look at the Saudi model,” said Ammazzalorso. “I gained a better understanding of the people of Saudi Arabia and how they educate their future generations.”


Gwen (Higbee) Plut ’96 and her husband Tom announced the birth of their daughter , Abigail Grace, on February 22, 2006.



Audrey Costadina ’97 served as associate producer for the PBS film, Imagining America: Icons of 20th Century American Art, a two-hour special which aired on Dec. 28, 2005. The film depicts a journey through the amazing transformations that took place in twentieth century America, told through the words and works of some of the century’s most significant artists.

David Sonshine ’94 is a recent graduate of the New York Real Estate Institute (NYREI) and has joined Citi-Habitats in New York City as a Real Estate Agent.

Christine Cannistraro ’97 is beginning her coaching career with the Fair Lawn girls’ soccer program.

AJ Sabath ’93 is now the Chief of Staff to the New Jersey Senate President, Richard Codey.


Thomas Ammazzalorso ’95 was selected for Aramco Educators to Saudi Arabia Program to examine Saudi education, industry and technology, culture and history, and global relations through site visits, panel discussions and

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Daniel Jean ’97, acting director of first year experience and leadership education at Ramapo College, has written a staged reading entitled A Degree of Difficulty, an insightful look at one black man’s struggle to adulthood during his senior year in high school.

Marcella Runell ’97 is serving as the interim program coordinator for the New Perspectives Program at Bank Street College, and is a doctoral student in the social justice education program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her dissertation, a work in progress, is entitled “Education in a Hip-Hop Nation: Identity, Politics and Pedagogy.” Runell received her master’s degree in higher education administration from New York University in 1999. During her tenure at The University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Runell taught various social justice education courses for undergraduate and graduate students. She also taught with the Holyoke Community College Upward Bound program, where she was named New Teacher of the Year in 2003. While at N.Y.U., Runell served in the office of student activities, where she created the curriculum for the G.O.L.D. Social Justice program and founded the Harambe Alliance. Additionally, Runell traveled to Poland and South Africa to do social justice education work. She was awarded the Brooklyn Borough President’s Racial Unity Citation in 2001.

’98 Catherine Roche ’98 received her Master of Arts in Liberal Studies in May 2005 from Rutgers University. She is currently employed as a manager of clinical research for a pharmaceutical company in central New Jersey. Robert S. Shell ’98 was named the Wayne branch manager of Valley National Bank.


Ramona Lall ’99 and Pontus Gunve ’00 got married in December 2005 in India. Pontus has been appointed as an instructor at the Rock Workshop, sponsored by the New Jersey Workshop for the Arts. He is currently working as a sound designer and composer for film, commercials and multimedia projects. Many Ramapo College alumni as well as professors attended the ceremony. Pictured L to R: Prof. Michael Edelstein, Prof. Ludmilla Smirnova, and David Enstrom. Second row: Kyriaki Christodolou, Pontus Gunve (groom) ’00, Ramona Lall (bride) ’99, Maja Stojanovic ’00, Agatha Drobik ’00. Bottom: Michael Pasch ’00. Kara Dackermann Andersson ’99 and Jan Andersson ’99 are living in Sweden following a transfer overseas by their company, Sandvik Coromant. Mandy Restivo ’99 and Edith Margaret ’03 were part of the production of The Vagina Monologues staged at Ramapo College in February. Proceeds from the play were donated to the Bergen County Rape Crisis Center. Restivo is the director of the Women’s Center at Ramapo College and Margaret is the principal library assistant at the College.

Kevin Joseph Neretich ’98 married Debra Ann Derkacs in July 2005. Kevin is the director of financial aid at Dover Business College. The couple reside in Edison.

Damian J. Pinton ’99, assistant coordinator, athletic facilities, and Rachel L. McCann ’01, director of sports information/marketing and planning, are engaged. A wedding is planned for June 2006.


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Jill Zupancic ’00 is engaged to Brendan Donovan. The wedding is planned for April 2007.

Alumni Redux 4, which opened at the Pascal Gallery at RC on February 8 featured works by visual arts graduates of Ramapo College of New Jersey. K.C. Barnes ’01 displayed works on paper; Tenley Marshall ’01 exhibited paintings and fiberwork; Gina Miccinilli ’95 featured sculpture; Marie-Noelle ’94 presented a wall installation; Sam Spaeth ’02 displayed animation; and Emily Toxie ’03 exhibited mixed media. All of the artists were enrolled in Ramapo College’s School of Contemporary Arts. Alumni Redux 4 is the fourth exhibition featuring the works of College alumni.

Deonia Olivo-Lewis ’00 and Richard Neveu of Richmond are engaged to be married and happily announce the birth of their daughter, Rileyann Neveu, who came into the world on November 18, 2005. Mecca Scott ’00 has been appointed director of residence life at Drew University. She has six years of administrative experience. Her most recent post was as assistant director of residential life at Boston College. Michael Miroddi ’00 and Jill Chiandusse ’01 were married on October 23, 2004. Jill is an art director for Sigma Group, an advertising agency in Oradell. Mike is a performance analyst for JP Morgan in New York City.

’01 Gary Ahladianakis ’01, brother of Tau Delta Phi, graduated from the University of Connecticut School of Law in Hartford, CT.

Marie-Noelle ‘94 (top), and Tenley Marshall ‘01 (bottom) at the opening reception of Alumni Redux 4

Eric Dimeck ’01 has been appointed social studies teacher at Glen Ridge High School. His experience includes working as a paraprofessional at Verona High School for five years. Bill Corbett ’01 is releasing his first full band album, Born Without A Name which will be in music stores throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Australia in June, 2006. His band, Soul Piece, signed a recording contract with Wheat Recording Company based in Los Angeles, CA, in December ’05. Soul Piece is heavily influenced by classic rock artists such as Jimmy Hendrix and the Allman Brothers Band, rock pop artists such as Coldplay and U2, and singer/

songwriter based groups like Dave Matthews Band and Bruce Springsteen. Hope and fun are the central themes behind the lyrical content of the songs as Soul Piece’s target audience is that of young adulthood. Bill first started writing songs while attending Ramapo and built his earlier fan base in the dormitories of the college. In 1999, Bill performed to a sold out Berrie Center in support of his first solo release We’re Waiting. Bill discovered further musical interests while attending Ramapo, studying under professors Mack Brandon and Jeremy Wall. A native of Mt. Ephraim, NJ, Corbett formed his band six years ago after graduation and has continued striving towards his life’s goals, to write and perform music for people of all ages to enjoy and connect with. Bill starts his national tour with his band in April and can be reached at soulpiece , soulpiecemusic@yahoo. com, or Timothy O’Shaughnessy ’01 recently joined the Fair Lawn Police Department. Paul Young ’01 has been an editorial assistant at The Record for the past four years. In addition to assisting the Opinion department, he writes for Friday’s GO! section and has also contributed articles for the Op-Ed page. Haneefah Webster ’01 had a baby girl on March 4, 2004. Webster is currently working for the Department of Homeland Security.

Elizabeth Caraballo ’01 returned to her alma mater, Weehawken High School, during the first week of January 2006 to speak with high school students about her college experiences. Caraballo offered advice and answered the students’ questions in an effort to help make their transition to college a smooth one. She is currently attending Seton Hall Law School. Shari Berman ’01 and Noah Kalter ’03 were recently married. Shari has been named assistant youth director for the New Jersey region of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. Noah is a fourth grade teacher at Deerfield Elementary School in Short Hills.

David I. Bacall ’01 and Joan Osoteo ’03 were married on March 12, 2006. Richard Goldstein ’01 married Elissa Adler ’03 on October 30, 2005 in Springfield. Richard is a high school teacher in Union City and Elissa is a supervisor at an adolescent rehab facility in Secaucus.

’02 Samira A. Allen ’02 is the new assistant director of alumni affairs and annual giving at St. Thomas Aquinas College in Sparkill, NY. Jasmina Bisanovic ’02 has become a member of the Ramapo community. She is employed by the Ramapo College Student Development Center as an assistant to the director of student activities.

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Richard John Marko, Jr. ’03 and Rachel Jaffe ’02 are engaged. A wedding is planned for 2007.

ICU nurse at a local hospital and is pursuing a master’s of science degree at UMDNJ in Newark to be an acute care nurse practitioner.

The two met in The Village, fall 2003, and have been inseparable since. A wedding is planned for June 2008.

Jennifer Zisa ’04 has been employed by the County Seat since her graduation from Ramapo. Her main job is as copy editor for each issue’s articles, headlines, captions and advertisements. In addition, she does writing and photography for the newspaper.

’05 Kelly Lane ’05 was chosen by the Wyckoff Reformed Church to take over the position of director of children’s ministries. She will oversee the Sunday school program, planning lessons and organizing special events for holidays such as Christmas and Easter. Francesco Virgilio ’05 took part in casting for a role in the movie Wake Up Callz. He aspires to be on Broadway.

Tryon Eggleston ’03 and Kathrine Polatsek ’05 recently announced their engagement. Eggleston was elected as an officer of the New Jersey Higher Education Webmasters group, a consortium of professionals who discuss concerns, visions, standards, policies, regulations and technologies related to higher education webmasters. He is the Web specialist for Drew University in Madison. Elizabeth Aronson ’03 and Deanna Gardner ’05 launched their new company, Verge Marketing and Promotions L.L.C. They put to use their business marketing and psychology degrees to create a new, upbeat, and in-depth marketing company. They consider themselves “innovators in creating the ultimate edge.”

’04 David Sheffrin ’04 was hired by the Manville Police Department in July 2005.

Jason Caputo ’04 and Krystal (Ciocon) Caputo ’04 married in October 2005 and proudly announced the birth of their first son, Jason Patrick Caputo, in November of 2005.

William Colyer ’04 and Janine Cicio ’05 were married on October 7, 2005. William works in the sales department of the Home Supply and Lumber Center in Hawthorne, while Janine works as a business development and communications assistant with Jones Day in Manhattan. The couple reside in Hawthorne.

Jessica Lynn Cassidy ’04 is engaged to Todd Vanderwall. Jessica is employed by C.H. Robinson Co. in Montvale. Frank J. Manole, Jr. ’04 is engaged to Gisele Suzanne Daigneault. A November 2006 wedding is planned. Frank is currently an

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Josh Lipsky ’04 and Christina Medina ’05 announced their engagement on November 9, 2005.

Thomas Rondinaro ’05 is employed as a house manager at the Shea Center for Performing Arts at William Paterson University. Thomas Balne ’05 is the box office manager for the New Jersey Shakespeare Theatre, located on the campus of Drew University in Madison. S c o t t Stanchak ’05 is working for AT&T for ISNN, a 24-hour Webcast that provides technical information and breaking news reports on Internet security. Stanchak also has reported on minor league baseball for the Hunterdon County Democrat, and has had his own sports radio show on WDVR-FM in Sergeantsville. A series of latenight talk shows for Cablevision, “Scott Stanchak TV Reality” is also being aired. While at Ramapo, Stanchak had his own radio and TV shows. During his career, he has interviewed Yankees Joe Torre and Bernie Williams, the Giant’s Eli Manning and Tiki Barber, as well as Devils hockey players. His favorite interview? Sparky Lyle: “He doesn’t talk to the media often, but he talked with me about Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle. I can’t believe I shook the same hand.”

Several Class of 2005 members took part in the film production of Several Ways to Die Trying, which premiered at the Cape May New Jersey Film Festival. Justin Ulbrich ’05 and Matt Ziegel ’05 were directors of photography; Stephanie Bello ’05 was the producer; and Stephanie Rath ’05 was the production assistant, temporary line producer, and animal wrangler. Ramapo student Glen Tickle was the film’s writer and director.

’06 Christine O’Neill ’06 (January 2006 MALS graduate), will present her paper “Mark Twain’s Historical Fiction: Reflections on Racial Inequality in the Nineteenth Century,” at the 19th Century American Literature Panel at the Annual New Jersey College English Association Spring Conference.

THE NEWEST WAY TO GIVE—JUST CLICK AND DONATE You can give to the Ramapo College Annual Fund securely online. Visit www.ramapo. edu/alumni_foundation/ supportingRamapo/giving Opportunities.html All gifts, large and small, help support student scholarship, faculty lines, and college projects. To share your opinions on our site or our new online giving, call David Terdiman, associate director of annual giving at 201.684.7141 or e-mail


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C L A S S W h e r e

O F 2 0 0 5 , A r e Yo u ?

If you would like to share your story for future magazine issues, please e-mail the information to All photos must be 300 dpi.

A L U M N I : Marvin Wilson ’05 majored in law and society. Wilson, a quadriplegic who cannot speak with ease, suffered a stroke 15 years ago. He is 47 years old. Marvin recently contacted us to tell us about his plans to attend law school. “My plans look like they might come to fruition. I am only in the process of completing applications now, but I have received good feedback from alumni of my dream school, and although none of it is an actual endorsement, it did cause me to think positively.” We asked Marvin how Ramapo prepared him for his graduate work pursuits. “I loved attending Ramapo. The professors in my major course of study were extremely knowledgeable in the subject matter, and in my case,

I n

T h e

S p o t l i g h t George David Steinberg ’05 recently donated one of his paintings, “African Dancing,” to Ramapo College, where it is on display in the George T. Potter Library. Steinberg, an art teacher at the Hawthorne School in Teaneck, and a recent graduate of the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) graduate program stated, “I was inspired to give the painting to a place I feel so warmly about.” Steinberg is a 1973 graduate of the New School of Fine Arts. He continued his training under accomplished American impressionist, Samuel Brecher. Steinberg exhibits both oils and watercolors in galleries throughout New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C., and Connecticut. His paintings also have been exhibited at the International Watercolor Show, Allied Artist and National Academy exhibits.

I found their teaching styles to be conducive to the way I best grasp information. I enjoyed the legal experiences my professors shared since this cannot be found in books, so I feel that I am wellprepared for my graduate school undertaking.” When asked to characterize his Ramapo experience, Marvin said, “I would summarize my experience at Ramapo in one word, community. I found everyone at the College extremely helpful, and just as important, inclusive. For a disabled person, being accepted for yourself and embraced in the fold like any other student is immensely important.”

L to R: George David Steinberg and Judith Jeney, Library Dean

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E x c i t i n g AT

B r a n d

o f

B a l l



By Ron Kase, Ph.D. Associate Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Director, Grants Administration

“If a student comes to a game, he or she will come back. Ramapo is achieving a national reputation through basketball.” –Professor Cliff Peterson gram has been difficult to sustain, and I have tried to show my support whenever possible. There are other loyal supporters including Mark Singer, director of financial aid, and Peter Goetz, vice provost for enrollment management, who can be found at practically every game.”

When did basketball start at Ramapo?

Professor Cliff Peterson (R), talking with two Ramapo College students

Professor Cliff Peterson is a member of the college’s founding faculty. He began teaching political science at Ramapo College in 1972, and is still influential in guiding the college’s academic program and mission. While an undergraduate at Rutgers, Peterson played varsity basketball. He continues today playing in the North Jersey Senior Leagues, and in national and international basketball tournaments. He closely follows Ramapo’s Roadrunners basketball team. At a recent Roadrunners’ game, Ron Kase, the college’s

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associate vice president for grants and sponsored programs interviewed Cliff Peterson regarding the College’s basketball history.

Cliff, you’re one of the team’s most loyal fans. Has this been the case from the beginning? “Yes, I’m a basketball nut. I like the Division III scholar/athlete concept—Playing for the love of the game, not because of scholarships paying their way in college. It’s a challenge to build a program in Division III. The pro-

“Right away there was an intramural league. I was a member of a faculty team that played student teams. We controlled the ball quite successfully. Mark Singer, Don Fucci, Tony Lamanna and Ben Allen were on the team. There was also a lunch time faculty group that played competitive ball. We were all in our early 30s so it was serious basketball. Mark Singer holds the record for the most basketball played in the old gym. Intercollegiate teams began early in the college’s life, but we didn’t have a gym to play in. All games were away at other schools, hence the name Roadrunners. They were always on the road. I believe that the team practiced at a local public school, but I don’t know for sure.”

Do you have some early memories of the teams, coaches and games? “The coaching staff was composed entirely of part-timers from off campus. Chuck McBreen was the first full-time coach hired for basketball. Over the past four years under McBreen, Ramapo has the best combined record of any college or university in New Jersey. Our teams compete in the NJAC with old established teams. It was very tough to compete. Players came in and out like a revolving door. It was difficult to sustain the program until the late 80s. Todd Meyers comes to mind. He was a great coach who has had a career as athletic director at Ramapo High School. As far as memorable players, I would say they include Mike Bramucci, who graduated and is an assistant coach at Columbia University, and Jerry Ackridge, the first Ramapo player to score 1000 points, who is the head coach at Englewood High School.” Other players who come to mind are Bruce Medley from the late ‘70s, Rich Hill and Ben Arcuri, both outstanding. Chuck Ransom was an All American and Tennyson


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Photo from the collection of Professor Donald Fucci


Ramapo College Faculty/Staff Intramural Team-1976 L to R standing: Jim Fuhse, Donald Fucci, John Durkin, Tony LaManna. L to R kneeling: Joe Wydecker, Rich Myrlak, Fred Brudzinski, Kathleen Finnegan.

Whitthead led the country in steals and assists in Division III ball. A former coach, Tom Barriese is currently an assistant coach with the NBA’s Nets. Let’s not forget that women’s basketball grew up right along with the men’s game. The women’s teams have periodically made the playoffs over the years.”

What have been the most impressive moments of Ramapo basketball? “I would have to say the 1991 team that was the first Ramapo team to reach the Division III NCAA Final Four was really impressive. The team was composed of mostly seniors who had played together for four years. They were coached by Todd Meyer, and John Brown was the team’s star. Unfortunately they lost in Ohio to Franklin & Marshall and Otterbein College. They were from a young Ramapo College in those days, but they made it to the Final Four and played well. Ramapo’s men’s team currently has the

highest winning percentage of any college in New Jersey. It’s an exciting brand of ball. If a student comes to a game, he or she will come back. This season the team traveled to Arizona to the Division III holiday tournament, the Phoenix Cactus Jam. They won the tournament with Todd Lowber named MVP. The college is achieving a national reputation through basketball.”

So obviously you believe that basketball is good for Ramapo. “Players stay in the program. We are seeing players who are good students attending other colleges transferring to Ramapo to play basketball. Also many players from disadvantaged circumstances have succeeded at Ramapo. They’ve become teachers and coaches after graduation and have been successful in business and professional careers. This is basketball’s most important product.”

While attending games in the new Bradley Center, I have noticed that many more students come to see the team play. Is this because of the new building or because the team has done so well over the last several years? “I believe it’s both. The new building adds to school spirit. It’s not a substitute for academic excellence, but it certainly contributes to a sense of community. It’s a place for students to congregate to relate to each other and to faculty. I am thrilled by the attendance, the spirit, I fondly remember guarding Bill Bradley in Rutgers/Princeton games, and now our team plays in the Bill Bradley Center. It’s been a dream come true for me and the basketball program. We paid our dues. We were an onthe-road, rag-tag, hard working team that won games and deserves to play in this arena.”

Meagan Drapkin, of Aberdeen, NJ is a senior psychology major seeking teacher certification in elementary education and a member of the Women’s cross-country, indoor and outdoor track teams. She has been elected captain of all three teams for the past two seasons and was selected for Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and as a collegiate All-American Scholar. In conjunction with National Girls and Women in Sports Day, the New Jersey Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (NJAIAW) awarded Meagan their Woman of the Year Award at a luncheon ceremony at Seton Hall University on February 12. Selected for her academic, athletic and leadership achievements, Meagan is on the Dean’s List and is a representative on the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. The Women’s spring track team has been named the winner of the NJAIAW’s Academic Achievement Award. The team attended the award ceremony and were guests at the Seton Hall/Providence Women’s basketball game at Seton Hall University on February 12. This honor is awarded for a team’s combined GPA from the previous academic year. Members of the team include: L to R: Women’s Spring Track Team Megan Donovan, Meagan Drapkin, Erin Stern, Spencer St. Fleur, Briane Jacob, Marlie Massena, Amy Carlson.

Dr. Peterson and other faculty and college staff members can be found at all home games in the seats behind the players. Spring 2006

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5/1/06 11:37:36 AM

SPOTLIGHT Par t n e r sh i p w i t h R amap o R i d g e M iddle

Photos by Barbara Siembieda

Sc h o ol i s a Wi n-Wi n-Wi n-Wi n-Wi n Sto r y

Each semester, Ramapo College teacher education students meet for class once a week at the Ramapo Ridge Middle School in Mahwah. “Class” consists of one-on-one and one-on-two tutoring, with the college students teaching reading, writing, and study skills to anywhere from 30 to 75 middle school students. For 45 minutes prior to the one and one-half hour session with the middle schoolers and one hour following it, the future teachers themselves become students. It’s at this point that they sit down with Program Creators (L.) Frances Shapiro-Skrobe, professor of English and (R.) Ellen Kaiden, professor of Reading and Education to turn in lesson plans and written reflection statements, discuss their experiences, and analyze the instruction. Meeting the nationally-recognized need to help all teachers integrate reading and writing into their disciplines, the two two-credit courses (one in reading, one in writing) are the college students’ first experience in teaching, even before they begin student teaching. The program was created in 2000 by Kaiden and ShapiroSkrobe, with the support of professional staff members from the Cahill Center for Experiential Learning, and in partnership with Ramapo

28 S p r i n g 2 0 0 6

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Ridge Middle School. Each course is one-half of the semester; both are required of all preservice secondary teacher education students.

Ramapo student teachers: (Left) David Dunn, (Top) Tracee McFarland, and (Bottom) Jawarah Muhammad, tutoring Ramapo Ridge Middle School students in reading, writing and study skills

It’s a win-win-win-win-win situation,” says Shapiro-Skrobe, who teaches the Secondary Writing and Language Arts component. “For the college students, it’s a first chance to practice what they are studying. For the middle school students, it’s an opportunity for individualized tutoring. The middle school enjoys the close connection to the College and the help it brings their students. Parents appreciate the opportunities provided to their middle school students. And for Ramapo College, there is the chance to build community relationships and provide practice for teacher education students.”

The future teachers conduct an initial assessment of the student and design a curriculum that is centered on the individual. They look for articles that reflect that student’s particular interests and encourage the learners to bring in their texts and assignments. Strengths and areas where improvement is needed are identified. The college students present strategies that are research-based and demonstrated to be successful. Kaiden says the process creates reflective practitioners: “You have to have some training to make that happen, to think, ‘How did that lesson unfold?’ We want to empower them to be highly successful teachers.”

Kaiden, who teaches the Secondary Reading and Language Arts course, tells the teacher education students: “I invite you to join me on the other side of the desk.” The future teachers learn the importance of planning and being very well prepared. “We talk about everything, including proper attire, selection of texts, appropriate behavior, and materials,” says Kaiden.

Administrators at Ramapo Ridge report the middle school participants have improved attitudes toward reading and writing. The course is seen as a model by other teacher education programs and some institutions have asked Kaiden and Shapiro-Skrobe for help in setting up their own programs. “This is a wonderful example of a partnership that has developed between the College and Ramapo Ridge Middle School,” says Shapiro-Skrobe. “They deserve a lot of the credit.” And, as a further highlight to this success story, two Ramapo College graduates of the program are now on the faculty at Ramapo Ridge.

Merging theory and practice, the college students have the opportunity to write lesson plans for real students, implement those plans, teach the lesson, reflect on the class, and build on what occurred and on the students’ needs.


5/1/06 11:37:42 AM

SPOTLIGHT BRIDGES Program Spans Culture, Education, and Poverty D AT E B O O K MAY 25 Commencement 10 a.m. Bandshell

SAVE THE DATE Night at the Races Meadowlands 6 p.m.

July 6 Alumni Tent Barbecue, concert, and fireworks 5:30 p.m.

July 22 New Alumni Summer Reunion Bar-A / Belmar 4-8 p.m.

Photos by Father Ronald Stanley

June 8

“Ramapo students assist those in rural communities to build or improve their homes, schools, roads, and means of income.”

July 6, 13, 20 & 27 Commerce Bank Summer Concert Series

Father Ronald Stanley

Be part of the summer fun! Renew Ramapo friendships! Make new friends! Bring the whole family. Hear great music plus see a fantastic fireworks display at dusk. The alumni tent will be located behind the McBride House. All concerts begin at 8 p.m. at the Bandshell. Admission is free. Parking is $5.00 per car. Thursday, July 6 Fireworks plus “Silver Starlight Orchestra-Salute to America” Thursday, July 13 “The Demensions,” a legendary oldies group Thursday, July 20 “Rag Doll—Tribute to the Four Seasons” Thursday, July 27 “52nd Street—Tribute to Billy Joel,” with Dan Vechesky

July 24, 2006 The 19th Annual Golf Outing Tuxedo Country Club Tuxedo Park, New York

September 9, 2006 Friends of Ramapo Art Auction and Cabaret Berrie Center 6:30 p.m.

In January, Father Ronald Stanley, director of campus ministries, accompanied students to the remote mountains of the Dominican Republic. “The students assist those in rural communities to build or improve their homes, schools, roads, and means of income,” says Father Ron. “They teach English, math, and arts and crafts in the public school. They also distribute clothing and medicines to various communities.” This was the nineteenth trip Father Ron has taken with Ramapo students.

The students live and work in a hamlet called La Cuchilla, about a three-hour ride from Santiago, the second largest city in the country. Prior to the trip, Father Ron holds orientation sessions to help participants prepare for this Third World experience. Once there, students live in pairs with farming families, experiencing everyday life, generally without benefit of electricity, flush toilets, or paved roads.

“The difficult part was to see daily begging for money on the streets, parents not having $30 to send their child to a doctor, or children hiking one hour to school, regardless of weather conditions.” Before each trip, students raise funds to purchase building materials and to cover other expenses. Another BRIDGES trip to the Dominican Republic is planned for May 26 through June 9.

Anne Neumann is an international exchange student from Germany. She traveled with 14 other students to La Cuchilla.

To join the fun, contact Purvi Parekh, 201.684.7115;

Spring 2006

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5/1/06 11:37:47 AM

Non Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Hackensack, NJ Permit No. 1037

505 Ramapo Valley Road Mahwah, NJ 07430-1680

New Jersey’s Public Liberal Arts College

WE SALUTE OUR... Distinguished Citizens of 2006

L to R: Jeffrey Warren, Emily Kosstrin Mann, Audrey Meyers and, Joseph Dockery receive a certificate of special congressional recognition for outstanding service to the community from Congressman Scott Garrett (center).

Thomas McGurn (chair, DCD Committee), and L to R: Thomas McGurn, DCD Committee chair; Emily Kosstrin Mann, Carolyn McGurn. honoree; Bernie Milano, chair, Board of Governors; Audrey Meyers, honoree; Joe Dockery, honoree; Peter P. Mercer, Ramapo president; Jeff Warren, honoree; Cathleen Davey, vice president, Institutional Advancement; Thomas Zelante, chairman, Board of Trustees.

The 24th Distinguished Citizens Award

Joseph T. Dockery: President of Prestige Management Services, Inc.

Dinner held recently at the Rockleigh Country





$250,000.00 for student scholarships, College programs, faculty research, and campus improvements. With over 400 attendees, the dinner honored four individuals for their outstanding leadership, pursuit of excellence, and commitment to the enrichment of higher education. This year’s honorees are representative of Ramapo’s diverse and talented community partners.

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“Bergen County has become a vital area for international, research and growth businesses. As New Jersey’s Public Liberal Arts College, Ramapo College has kept pace and succeeded by evolving into an institution with national recognition.” Emily Mann: Governor on the Ramapo College Foundation and past Trustee “Having been personally involved in many aspects of implementation of the master plan at Ramapo while serving as a Trustee, I am extremely proud of the work we accomplished.”

Audrey Meyers: President and Chief Executive Officer, The Valley Hospital and Valley Health System “Valley is proud of its innovative nursing education partnership with Ramapo College. It places the nursing students at the hospital for their clinical training, providing invaluable out-of-the-classroom experience. The first class will graduate this spring and a number of students have accepted positions at Valley.” Jeffrey Warren: Principal with JR Market Strategies, LLC and a member of Ramapo’s first graduating class in 1973 “In those heady formative years, Ramapo was known for a willingness to innovate, for taking risks, promoting experimentation and for a healthy aversion to formality.”

5/1/06 11:37:52 AM

Ramapo College Magazine Spring 2006  
Ramapo College Magazine Spring 2006