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Winter 2012


Sierra Leone>p.2 ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: Ramapo Brand Campaign>p.8 Alumni Spotlight on Keith Dawkins ’94: Attuned to Toons >p.27


Ramapo College Magazine Winter 2012

from the office of the president PETER P. MERCER, Ph.D.

As you will read in the following pages, Ramapo College is proudly pushing boundaries. As we launch our new branding campaign, I am reminded of how often our students, faculty, staff, and curricula push against traditional notions and move the College forward. In November, on Founders’ Day, we introduced the new look and campaign message to the community. From brochures to banners to the new look of Ramapo Magazine, you will notice the changes that help us articulate for the Student members of the Ramapo College Higher Education Awareness Committee kicked off Higher Education Awareness Week with a panel discussion on the factors influencing the costs of higher education. From left: Past Student Trustee Laura Hahn ’11, Danielle Mascio ’13, President Peter P. Mercer, Student Trustee Erin Kaplan-Burns ’12 and Kevin Cottino ’14.

world what we already know about Ramapo College — that it is a special place filled with exceptional people. This May I was fortunate to travel to Sierra Leone with Ramapo staff, faculty, and study abroad students to do volunteer work in health care. The experience was not only a lesson in West African culture, but also an opportunity for participants, including me and my wife, Jackie, to gain greater appreciation and insight into our own culture and way of life — a remarkably valuable lesson and one that I encourage our students to push themselves to experience firsthand. Ramapo has also pushed against the belief that improving academic quality and increasing diversity in higher education are incompatible goals. They are not. We have improved diversity as well as academic standing. Ramapo’s Class of

Shown here are participants at the 2011 Graduation Fair with President Peter P. Mercer.

2015 is the second most qualified academically and the diversity of this class has increased from the average over the last several years of 22% to closer to 30%. One goal that Ramapo continues to push toward is a rational basis for state funding. Last year the Report of the Governor’s Taskforce on Higher Education, led by former Governor Tom Kean, noted, “New Jersey should develop and implement a more rational approach to allocating state aid among Rutgers and the other senior public institutions of higher education. We recommend, as soon as fiscal realities permit, both the additional operating funding called for throughout this report

The Ramapo College Bass Fishing Club competed in the National Guard/FLW College Fishing Northern Division Championship. Both teams placed in the top five and will compete in the national championships in April 2012. From left: Bob Rieder ‘15 and Charlie Danza ‘11, who placed fourth; President Peter P. Mercer; Bradley Center Manager and Fishing Club Advisor PJ Bartolotto, holding a certificate for a Ranger boat valued at $25,000; Jeff Voss‘13 and Joe Zapf ‘14, who placed first.


Ramapo College Magazine Winter 2012

to place New Jersey where it should be to build its economic future, and separate, additional funding, to help correct existing disparities in operating funding.” Unfortunately, Ramapo still remains in the bottom three of the state colleges for per capita allocations. If we received the average per capita allocation from the state, we would be several million dollars ahead of where we are now. We must continue to push for our fair share of state funding and I encourage you to contact your elected representatives on this issue.

contents COVER STORY >p.2 COLLEGE EXECUTIVE OFFICERS Peter P. Mercer, Ph.D. President Beth E. Barnett, Ed.D. Provost Cathleen Davey Vice President for Institutional Advancement Dorthy Echols Tobe, Ed.D. Chief Planning Officer BOARD OF TRUSTEES A.J. Sabath ’93 Chair BOARD OF GOVERNORS Robert Tillsley Chair

President Peter P. Mercer codified the working relationship between the University of Sierre Leone in Freetown and Ramapo College in signing a five-year agreement of understanding which outlined the cooperative education and cultural exchanges to be undertaken by each school in 2008.


Sierre Leone


Capturing the Essence of a Ramapo Education

Jonathan N. Marcus ’93, Esq. Alumni Assocation Board Chair Stanley Richmond Friends of Ramapo Chair

RAMAPO MAGAZINE STAFF Cathleen Davey Editor-in-Chief


College News


Faculty News


Grant News


Planned Giving

This magazine can be made available upon request in alternate media. Requests should directed to: 201.684.7611


Foundation News

Alumni contact and change address: Purvi Parekh at 201.684.7115


Alumni News


Class Notes


Courts and Fields

Anna Farneski Executive Editor Mary Cicitta Managing Editor Cynthia Burns Foundation Editor Carolyn Herring Photo Editor Design: Stamats, Inc.

Student Affairs Contact: Miki Cammarata at 201.684.7591 Pat Chang at 201.684.7731

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


Front: Kaitlyn Francese ’12 demonstrates the fascinating world of cameras to young residents of Sierre Leone. Photo credit: Kathy Burke


Keith Dawkins ’94: Attuned to Toons As senior vice president and general manager of Nicktoons & TeenNick, Dawkins has climbed many hills throughout his career, and is now running the day-to-day operations of two of Nickelodeon’s popular and ever-growing networks.




(Left to right, lower row): Professor of Nursing G. Elaine Patterson, Runa Khanom ’13, Whitney Gordon ’13, Kaitlyn Francese ’12, Chris McKenna ’12, Florence Dorwie ’10. (Left to right, back row): Jessica Catena ’12, Ken Rodenheiser ’12, Christina Vega ’13 and, Avani Rakholia ’14 with Holy Rosary School students during the Sierre Leone trip. Photo credit: Kathy Burke

Leone Sierra

Ramapo College students travel to Sierra Leone on a study abroad program designed to introduce them to a health care system very different from anything they had been exposed to.

Above: A native of Sierre Leone and a nurse practitioner at ColumbiaPresbyterian Hospital in New York City, Florence Dorwie (left) works with Kaitlyn Francese ’12 (right) to check a patient’s blood sugar at Freetown Health Clinic. (L-R): Ken Rodenheiser ’12, Jessica Catena ’12, Avani Rakholia ’12, Bo Hospital doctor, Kaitlyn Francese ’12 and Professor of Nursing G. Elaine Patterson observed a C-section at Bo Hospital.


Ramapo College Magazine Winter 2012

“It’s just amazing the transformation that you see happening in front of your eyes,” Professor of Nursing G. Elaine Patterson recalls of the students.


alk about pushing boundaries. When he signed up to spend two weeks in Sierra Leone last May for a trip focused on public health issues, senior nursing major Ken Rodenheiser understood that he’d be traveling to a poor country still suffering the devastation inflicted by a decade-long civil war. But for Rodenheiser, experiencing daily life in Sierra Leone brought it all home. “I knew there was going to be poverty in Sierra Leone, but I never put it together, at least not visually,” he says. “There was so much destruction; it was heartbreaking, especially seeing little kids having to walk miles and miles with their mothers just to get water for the day.” Rodenheiser was part of a 15-person Ramapo College contingent that traveled to Sierra Leone on a study abroad program designed to introduce students to a health care system very different from anything they had been exposed to. The group, which included eight students, an alumna, and Ramapo President Peter P. Mercer and his wife, Dr. Jacqueline Ehlert-Mercer, helped conduct health clinics and conferences and traveled hundreds of miles from their base in Freetown, the capital city. Throughout the journey, the students saw their preconceptions

melt away in the swelter of subSaharan Africa. And from their first day, with their luggage left behind in Paris, they learned a most valuable lesson: How to make do with less. “It’s just amazing the transformation that you see happening in front of your eyes,” Professor of Nursing G. Elaine Patterson recalls of the students. “First they are in shock—nothing less than shock. They don’t speak much because they’re just trying to absorb and internalize. From the bright lights to the darkness, from the wealth and affluence to the stark poverty of a postwar country.” The students were reminded daily of how much was lacking in the Sierra Leone health care system. They encountered substandard hospital facilities and equipment, sporadic delivery of water and electricity, and a lack of understanding of basic hygiene. Kathleen Burke, the assistant dean of Ramapo’s nursing program, says operating room windows were often left open due to the stifling heat. Some members of the Ramapo group visited the malnutrition ward at Connaught Hospital in Freetown. At a health conference in Freetown, EhlertMercer, who earned a doctorate degree in nutrition from Columbia University, delivered a lecture on nutrition for

pregnant women. In Bo, some students visited an orphanage while at Bo General Hospital four others watched twins being delivered by Caesarian section—“under conditions we probably haven’t seen in North America in 75 years,” notes President Mercer. “They really got into what they were doing,” the Mercer says of the students. “They seemed quite determined to get the most of the experience. They were adaptive in a way I would hope they’d be adaptive.” Patterson says working in a foreign culture often means having to adjust expectations. The point of the trip, she says, was not to simply deliver health care for two weeks, but to teach Sierra Leoneans how to improve their own system of care. “There is protocol to everything,” she says. “It has to do with pride also—proud, proud, proud people. You may think you’re helping them, but you’re more embarrassing them by pointing out their lack. So you have to be always cautious of that. Those who are more educated, those who have traveled, can understand it more. But the local people, who have never gone anywhere, would not like you to point out the fact that they’re washing the baby’s clothes and putting them on the ground outside to dry. Because




(L-R, seated): President Peter P. Mercer; Mayor, of Bo, His Worship Wusu Sannoh; Assistant Dean of Nursing Kathy Burke. (L-R, standing): Jessica Catena ’12; Whitney Gordon ’13; Runa Khanom ’13; Christina Vega ’13; Mami Caulker; Florence Dorwie ’10; Avani Rakholia ’14; Dr. Jacqueline Ehlert-Mercer; Ebony Samuel ’10, B.S.N., M.S.N.; Professor of Nursing G. Elaine Patterson; Kaitlyn Francese ’12; Sandra Jimenez; Ken Rodenheiser ’12 and Christopher McKenna ’12 at a meeting with the Mayor of Bo.

the concept of germs isn’t there.” The group’s luggage arrived three days behind them—just in time for the first health clinic, held in a Methodist church in Freetown. Some 300 local people lined up so the Ramapo students—of whom only four were nursing majors—could measure their height, weight, and blood pressure and take readings for cholesterol, glucose, and body mass index. Members of the Ramapo group say they saw many Sierra Leoneans missing limbs—machetes were among the weapons of choice during the civil war— and treated scores of patients suffering from malaria and hypertension. Patterson says hypertension poses the biggest health problem among adults—the average diet is high in salt and fat—while malaria poses the biggest threat to children. For the general population, she says, the most pernicious health risk is poverty. In a country where the average life expectancy is 45 years for men and 55 years for women, Patterson


Ramapo College Magazine Winter 2012

says, death is a constant visitor. “Every child we examined either had malaria or has it now,” Patterson says. “Every parent you talk to had it several times. To them it’s not as big a deal as the world makes it. But a lot of people die from it. A lot of kids die from it. But they’re so used to having children die. For example, when we did assessments on pregnant women: “How many pregnancies have you had? “Five.” “How many are alive?” “Two.” “What happened to the other three?” “They died.” “How’d they die?” “I don’t know.” “That’s why they have a lot of children, because not all of them survive.” The Ramapo group did not prescribe medication, Patterson says, but they did distribute condoms and discuss sex education. Ebony Samuel ’10, who received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from Ramapo and is now a nurse at Hackensack University

Medical Center, says she elicited “a big stir, great laughter,” when she instructed the men at one health clinic to test themselves for testicular and breast cancer. “They said, ’We’re supposed to do breast self-examination too?’ I said, yes, cancer is not gender-biased,” Samuel says. “They got serious afterward.” At a health clinic conducted in a former Doctors Without Borders hospital in the village of Jimmi, senior Chris McKenna ’12 says he saw 51 patients in four hours—none older than five years, one just 14 days old. “They had some supplies, but not a whole lot,” McKenna says. “They didn’t have physicians. They had community health workers and nurses. That one day is what put a lot of things in perspective. We’re seeing all these kids come through, and a lot of them are fairly sick, and there’s only so much you can do with the supplies there.” Burke and Patterson were making their fourth trip to Sierra Leone in as many years. They first traveled there in 2008 at the invitation of Sa Leone

Health Pride, a nonprofit health care organization founded three years earlier by Florence Dorwie, who studied nursing under Patterson in the 1980s at Long Island University. A native of Sierra Leone and a nurse practitioner at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, Dorwie says she was moved to found Sa Leone after hearing a lecturer describe the high rates of infant and maternal mortality in her home country. She connected the Ramapo professors with officials at the nursing school at the University of Sierra Leone in Freetown. Like so many other institutions in Sierra Leone, the nursing school was decimated by the civil war, which ended in 2002. Patterson and Burke agreed to help develop a nursing curriculum that would meet university-level standards. In 2008, to codify the working relationship between the schools, Mercer signed a five-year “agreement of understanding” outlining the cooperative education and cultural exchanges to be undertaken by each school. In May, Mercer announced that Ramapo would provide scholarships for two members of the University of Sierra Leone nursing faculty to enroll in Ramapo’s master’s program in nursing. The faculty members are taking online courses this semester—using some of the 20 computers that Ramapo provided to the university—and will live on campus during the fall semester as they complete their student teaching requirements. Patterson and Burke made their first two trips to Sierra Leone without students. “It was devastating,” Patterson says. “All the infrastructure, all the nursing programs, were destroyed. We really were going in a postwar–type situation. The key thing for us was that the university was transitioning its diploma program.” They brought three students with them in 2010, testing the waters for a possible study abroad program. Under difficult conditions, the students flourished. When they returned to Ramapo, Patterson says, they became the program’s biggest boosters.

“It was nice to have their voice instead of just us,” Patterson says. “At all the different meetings, and talking to classes—just getting the word out— we had them with us all the time.” Patterson and Burke approached Ben Levy, Ramapo’s director of international education, to talk about developing a study abroad curriculum, focused on public health, for the Sierra Leone trip. Patterson says she wanted to attract students from all academic disciplines. Levy prepared a two-hour orientation

the chiefs, who delivered laudatory speeches. McKenna remembers sitting next to Dorwie’s mother, Baindu Jalloh, and seeing her eyes swell with tears. Rodenheiser says the celebration began as soon as the van carrying the Ramapo group arrived on the outskirts of the village. “As our car pulled closer and closer, the kids of the village literally ran alongside the car for at least a mile,” he says. “Some of them didn’t have shoes. Some of them didn’t have shirts. But they all ran with

Some 300 local people lined up so the Ramapo students—of whom only four were nursing majors—could measure their height, weight, and blood pressure and take readings for cholesterol, glucose, and body mass index. for all the Ramapo participants, covering everything from Sierra Leone’s history and the civil war to what to expect upon arriving at the airport and how to bargain at the Freetown marketplace. One of the highlights of this year’s trip was the excursion to the secluded village of Jimmi—90 minutes of bad roads from Bo—where Dorwie grew up and where her mother and sister still live. Unbeknownst to Dorwie, the village had prepared an elaborate daylong ceremony in her honor, celebrating the first woman from Jimmi to earn a doctorate degree (Dorwie received a DNP in nursing practice from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in 2010). Just about everyone in the village turned out, including

smiles on their faces just to see us.” Dorwie was overwhelmed. “It brought me to tears,” she says. “I’ve been doing this since I started the organization. I haven’t really had any vacation. Trying to juggle school, work, and running a nonprofit organization, you think you’re just doing it, but they acknowledged that they really appreciate me. It felt good. It made me proud.” Dorwie travels to Sierra Leone once or twice a year, her efforts focused on reducing infant and maternal mortality. She calls her approach “Each One Teach One.” “If I teach one mother how to take care of herself during the pregnancy, I expect her to go teach another mother,” she says. “Or if I teach one



nurse how to give good care to a pregnant woman, hopefully that nurse will go teach another nurse. “In Sierra Leone, they appreciate it, because they don’t have the access to health care,” she says. “We try to bring it closer to them.” Patterson says although the Sierra Leone study abroad program provides a powerful teaching tool, she worries that it will require additional funding to remain viable. In addition to computers, Ramapo has provided the nursing school with textbooks and outfitted a practice lab, and this year the college is working with local hospitals to send a shipping

Ken Rodenheiser returned home from Sierra Leone with similar convictions. What would he tell Ramapo students considering making the trip next May? “Do it,” he says. “The experience is absolutely worth it.”


Ramapo College Magazine Winter 2012


container filled with medical equipment to the University of Sierra Leone. Ebony Samuel conveyed the impact of her experience in an email: “The main concept that I have gathered from attending such a momentous trip is this: We all have something to learn from one another,” she wrote. “It may not mean traveling halfway across the world to seek it, but the message is to be accepting of it, no matter when or where. And if the opportunity presents itself for you to practice your craft or even explore your interests whether in your backyard or across the world, then I suggest you

Above: Ramapo nursing student Avani Rakholia ’14 takes the blood pressure of a patient at Freetown Health Clinic. Right: Dr. Jacqueline Ehlert-Mercer delivered a class on nutrition for pregnant women at the health conference during the Sierre Leone trip.

grab on to the opportunity because you never know where it may lead you.” Ken Rodenheiser returned home from Sierra Leone with similar convictions. What would he tell Ramapo students considering making the trip next May? “Do it,” he says. “The experience is absolutely worth it. You will be outside of your comfort zone, but you’ll see so much, experience so much, and understand so much more. You will appreciate everything you have when you come home.”

Left: Alumna Ebony Samuel ’10 checks a patient’s blood pressure at Freetown Health Clinic.

Ebony Samuel conveyed the impact of her experience in an e-mail: “The main concept that I have gathered from attending such a momentous trip is this: We all have something to learn from one another,” she wrote. “It may not mean traveling halfway across the world to seek it, but the message is to be accepting of it, no matter when or where. And if the opportunity presents itself for you to practice your craft or even explore your interests whether in your backyard or across the world, then I suggest you grab on to the opportunity because you never know where it may lead you.”




Capturing the Essence of a Ramapo Education T

his fall Ramapo College of New Jersey embarked on a campaign designed to tell the rest of the world what those closest to Ramapo have known for decades: The College derives its core strength from a stellar faculty that provide opportunities for collaborative research and other outside-the-classroom projects that prepare students for graduate school and beyond. With the help of Stamats, a national marketing firm, a committee of faculty, alumni, administrators, and others crafted a theme for the branding campaign—Pushing Boundaries—designed to define Ramapo’s approach to higher education and raise the College’s profile with the general public. “It fits us very well,” says Cathleen Davey, vice president for institutional advancement. “When you talk about international, interdisciplinary, multicultural, and experiential learning, ’Pushing Boundaries’ works with all four of our original pillars. We didn’t want to deviate from our mission. We just wanted help articulating it.” That process of articulation began in late 2010, when Institutional Advancement convened a Marketing Advisory Committee chaired by Brian Smith, a retired communications specialist with PSEG and a former adjunct professor at Ramapo. For years, says Ramapo President Peter P. Mercer, even New Jersey residents had misperceptions about the College. Some wondered whether Ramapo was a two-year school. Some wondered whether it was a private school. “We’ve known for a long time that our identity is blurred in the public’s mind,” Mercer says. So the committee was charged with devising a branding campaign that would define Ramapo by its strengths—its small class sizes, its sylvan hillside campus and, most notably, its professors. Stamats surveyed hundreds of people representing Ramapo constituencies, from


Ramapo College Magazine Winter 2012

prospective students and their parents to professors and alumni. Despite some common misconceptions, the survey found that the public was generally aware of the strong reputation of Ramapo’s faculty. “The objective was to clarify what the brand ought to be,” Smith says. “After much discussion, the committee, with the advice of our consultant, decided its focus would be on a brand that expresses the fact that the school has solid, committed, engaging faculty focused on helping students achieve good results during their college years to prepare them for being successful in all aspects of their lives—not just in their careers, but in their personal lives.” In these times of increased competition for a declining pool of high school graduates, Davey says, Ramapo’s branding campaign is intended to ensure that the college continues to attract high-achieving students. The words “Pushing Boundaries,” illustrated with arrows pointing left to right, will adorn Ramapo’s new recruiting brochures and promotional texts. Advertisements for Ramapo will soon be seen on billboards throughout New Jersey. A formal kickoff ceremony for the branding campaign was held in November on Founders’ Day. “We want to make sure future employers, our alumni, opinion leaders in the state, legislators, that they really are aware of the success stories that are beginning on our campus,” Davey says. “We’ve had competing priorities for funding. And we now realize we no longer can be as effective as we want to be without being out there, without being visible, and honestly I think we’re better prepared to tell stories. We have more students going on to graduate school. We have more students publishing and conducting undergraduate research with faculty members. Our programs are highly accredited, earning the highest credentials in their field. I think we have a good story to tell, so it’s worth telling.”







Look Forward

Ramapo College of New Jersey 505 Ramapo Valley Road Mahwah, NJ 07430

To college and professors who encourage, mentor, and push you. New friendships that last forever. Internships. Hands-on classes. A job that will become a career. Start on this hillside campus, where you can see from the city to the mountaintop. Look forward. Start at Ramapo.


Fall 2011 Open House Schedule Sunday, September 25 Saturday, October 15 Sunday, December 4

Good Fit? Students admitted to Ramapo typically rank in the top 20% of their graduating class with a middle 50% range of critical reading and math SAT scores of 1170 or an ACT composite of 26.


Tour campus. Talk with professors. Discover the program that

opens forward for you.

The words “Pushing Boundaries,” illustrated with arrows pointing left to right, will adorn Ramapo’s new recruiting brochures and promotional texts. Advertisements for Ramapo will soon be seen on billboards throughout New Jersey.




There is unmistakable momentu m. There is no denying that this is Ramapo’

s moment. — cathLeen DaVey, Vice PresiDent of institution aL aDVanceMent & executiVe Director of the raMaPo coLLege founDation

“There comes a special moment in everyone’s life, a moment for which that person was born. In that moment, he finds greatness. It is his finest hour.” As Winston Churchill said, there comes that moment. This is Ramapo College of New Jersey’s finest moment.

cHaRlES & caROl ScHaEFER, a.c.S.W. (’84) Trustee, Shepherd Foundation – charLes Retired Psychotherapist & clinical Instructor at the yale child Study Team – caroL

This is our moment to push boundaries; to further the promise of today’s student as well as that of each future student to walk beneath Ramapo’s arch. Individual students need financial support and connections outside their classroom. Faculty and students need 21st-century labs and teaching spaces.

There is unmistakable momentum. There is no denying that this is Ramapo’s moment. Strong, visionary leadership is present, led by our Board



raMaPo coLLege founDation 505 raMaPo VaLLey roaD Mahwah, nJ 07430 201-684-7611 www.raMaPo.eDu/caMPaign

regionaL anD aLuMni caMPaign gifts PurVi PareKh, Regional Campaign Coordinator 201-684-7115 | Parent & frienD caMPaign giVing Jo anne ZeLLers, Director of Constituent Relations 201-684-7179 |

of Trustees, President Peter P. Mercer, our provost and chief planning officer, as well as our deans and academic leaders.

raMaPo coLLege of new Jersey Peter P. Mercer LL.M., Ph.D., President 201-684-7610 |

The excellence of our faculty and the caliber of students Ramapo recruits has been recognized by national rankings. Both our faculty and students continue to be recipients of prestigious awards and graduate fellowships.

further our ProMise caMPaign LeaDershiP gift cathLeen DaVey, Vice President Executive Director, Ramapo College Foundation 201-684-7615 |

The incredible support of our Board of Governors, alumni, parents, friends, faculty, and staff has thus far allowed us to achieve 75 percent of our initial Comprehens ive Capital Campaign goal of $40 million. This campaign is the largest in the College’s history and has the potential not only to push boundaries, but to transform Ramapo. We will advance the strategic initiatives already committed to by President Mercer as well as secure our place at the forefront of the finest public liberal arts colleges in the region. The Ramapo College Foundation is thrilled to launch what will be a record-setting campaign. We are confident of its success by June 2013, and we are certain of its impact for our students and faculty. This is your moment to push the boundary, to become part of the promise. Here we stand, on the boundary. Join us. Together, we push boundaries. Together, we further our promise.

enDowMent anD caPitaL constructi on gifts KathLeen MainarDi, Assistant Vice President 201-684-6259 | grants & sPonsoreD research ron Kase, Associate Vice President 201-684-7287 |

annuities trust, PLanneD giVing eLLen DuDas, Planned Giving Director 201-684-7005 | founDation anD corPorate suPPort cLauDia esKer, Senior Grants Writer 201-684-7374 | raMaPo coLLege annuaL funD/Birch feLLowshiP Joyce schaDer, Associate Director, Annual Fund 201-684-7141 |

To hear our donors, students, faculty, and leaders speak about furthering the promise of Ramapo College, scan this code.

“Our students’ success is due in large measure to the teaching and mentoring of our faculty, but friends of Ramapo also have had a hand in our graduates’ success. In recent years, we’ve benefitted ramapo College of new Jersey: $40-million from the generosity of many donors in building endowments school by school. Endowments provide, among other Pushing innoVation…by supporting new capital construction things, scholarships for our best students. projects: $12 million goal ($9,678,602 reached) Endowments also improve and enrich Pushing oPPortunity…by supporting essential endowments programs and support our faculty for students and programs: $10 million goal ($7,753,289 reached) and deans. All of this creates deeper and Pushing schoLarshiP…by supporting innovative faculty grants richer opportunities for students.”


The Campaign for

$34,747,178 reaChed

and sponsored research: $15.5 million goal ($15,583,288 reached) Pushing transforMation…by supporting outstanding gifts to Ramapo’s Annual Fund: $2.5 million goal ($1,731,999 reached)

PresiDent Mercer

DATA AS OF JuNE 30, 2011

independence connection $5,252,822 remaining

“I got the idea for the scholarship while I was sitting in class at Ramapo. When I looked around, I realized the sacrifices so many were making. They were so bright, so driven, but some didn’t have the money to get a master’s degree. In the social services, you really need a graduate degree to have the credentials and knowledge to make a difference. I thought if I helped one person, they could help 20, and it would have a nice ripple effect.” - caroL schaefer (’84) “The multiplier effect is amazing. You train a number and they go out and train others. Carol and I have discussed this over the years, and it’s one of the most inspiring things about supporting education. We’ve been fortunate to meet quite a few of the recipients, and their enthusiasm for what they’re doing is beyond belief.” - chucK schaefer

“One of the most moving pieces was hearing what each person had done—pediatric oncology, working in prisons—and how each had really made a difference in the community. I would be too sensitive for some of those fields, but to find out that I had given somebody the opportunity to do what I wasn’t able to, really moved me.”

caroL schaefer (’84)

When we talk about furthering our promise, we are speaking both about the promise we make students and the promise we see in them. In a few short years, they will be starting out as teachers, accountants, nurses, researchers, physicians, artists, journalists, business builders, psychologists, social workers, scientists, and many other professions. The whole purpose of public education is to open opportunities to the next generation, yet paying for college remains a burden for many students and their families. A scholarship can give a student a more confident start, and a more stable beginning to a career. That solid beginning may make for a more fruitful career, one directed more at the problems worth solving and less about the next paycheck. Just imagine—today’s college students will be retiring in the middle of this century. Neither we nor they can predict the range their careers may take. They may help communities work better, new industries thrive, families heal, ecosystems recover, individuals regain hope, or they may help one child understand math. And an endowed scholarship helps not just today’s students, but those who will be launching into their chosen professions in 2026 and 2056—even 2116. Now that’s a legacy.


For Chris Romano, associate vice president for enrollment management, who will now oversee the branding campaign, it will have a direct impact on his day-to-day duties. While Ramapo is not looking to increase its undergraduate enrollment of nearly 5,700, Romano says, the College will be expanding its recruitment of adult learners and others who have earned college credits but now want to complete their degree requirements. Ramapo recruiters will also expand their reach into southern New Jersey and bordering states. “It can no longer just be ’Come to open house,’” Romano says. “A significant portion of our strategy is just about reinforcing the institutional image.” By all accounts, those involved with the branding campaign have galvanized around the theme of “Pushing Boundaries.” Those two words, they agree, capture the essence of a Ramapo education. “People saw that as the ethos of what we do,” Mercer says. “The best question you can ever ask a students is, ’Have you ever thought of this?’ A liberal arts education should make them disquieted because their own ideas are being challenged.” “They came back with a brand promise that we can be proud of,” Romano says. “It reaffirmed what we already know—the strength of the faculty. As soon as they


Ramapo College Magazine Winter 2012

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unveiled ’Pushing Boundaries,’ I think everybody knew where we stand as a college. I think it’s edgy. It captures to me what a liberal arts education is supposed to do.” Carter Jones Meyer, a history professor who served on the Marketing Advisory Committee, says she was excited to see the campaign recognize Ramapo’s faculty as a key selling point for the college. “I thought this is great because this is what Ramapo has tried to do all along,” Meyer says. “It reached back to the founding ideals of the College. The whole thing is getting Ramapo out there in the public. We have this wonderful institution here, and it’s just an unknown entity. We want people to know what we do in liberal arts here, and I’m hoping this will help with that.” For Mercer, the branding campaign marks something of a milestone for Ramapo. “I see it as a sign of the maturation of the College, which has achieved a remarkable amount in its short life,” Mercer says. “Our place in the universe of higher education is now more clearly delineated.” To share your stories about how Ramapo College has helped you or someone you know push boundaries, please email:



PRESIDENT PETER P. MERCER REAPPOINTED AS COLLEGE PRESIDENT Peter P. Mercer, President of Ramapo College, was reappointed as president for another five years by a recent and unanimous vote of the Board of Trustees. The reappointment ensures that Mercer, who has served in the position for the past six years, will continue to lead Ramapo College as the state’s premier liberal arts institute. Under Mercer, graduation rates, SAT scores, and the number of incoming students have risen. Additionally, Mercer has increased the education value of the College for students by finding funds for new professors and capital improvement projects, despite reduced state funding and economic challenges.

Ramapo College Supporter Richard Anisfield Mourned Richard Anisfield, an ardent supporter of Ramapo College, passed away on Saturday, October 8. Together with his wife Millicent, Mr. Anisfield devoted time and financial support to the College. In 2006, the Anisfields donated $2.5 million toward Ramapo’s business school that now bears their name in appreciation for their contributions. Combined with their other donation, the Anisfields donated a total of $3 million to Ramapo at that time. In April 2008, the Anisfields donated another $3 million to the Anisfield School of Business to complete the building’s fifth floor and the Global Trading Markets Lab. The Anisfields also contributed to the Angelica and Russ Berrie Center for Performing and Visual Arts. Also in 2008, Mr. Anisfield received an Honor Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from the Board of Trustees for his commitment to the College.



The Adult Learner and Graduate Programs have new additions for fall 2011. This semester marks the launch of the new Adult Degree Completion Program, part of the Adult Learner Program, which allows returning adult students who have earned an associates degree or up to 64 credits to complete their undergraduate degree in the social sciences. The curriculum is designed and structured in a way that allows adults to learn on their own terms and complete the program in two years. “What we are trying to do is create programs for nontraditional students that meet the needs of returning adult students,” said Associate Director of Admissions for Adult Learning and Graduate Programs Julian Gomez. “We want to develop an environment that is adult-friendly. We’re looking to enhance our programs... [offered] to our adult and nontraditional students.” The Master of Arts in Educational Leadership (MAEL) program is the newest addition to the College’s graduate programs and builds on the College’s established strength in its Teacher Education program. The 36-credit MAEL program is designed for certified teachers who wish to work in leadership positions within education, such as school principals, assistant principals, supervisors, and/or directors. Last year, the Master of Arts in Sustainability Studies (MASS) program was added to the graduate school programs and is now in its second year with a full cohort of enrolled students. “We are working to develop graduate programs that build on areas where we have established strength in our undergraduate curriculum and also respond to a societal need. Regardless of the discipline, our graduate programs are designed to enable graduates to push beyond their own boundaries by incorporating hands-on learning opportunities in the classroom that prepare them for the ever-evolving world they are preparing to lead,” Gomez further adds.

Fall 2011 saw the debut of Ramapo’s newest minor—Human Rights and Genocide Studies in the School of American and International Studies (AIS). The minor emphasizes the study of human rights and genocide as an academic and practical pursuit in preparation for graduate school, careers in international organizations, government, nonprofits, multinational corporations, and the media. The minor was organized by AIS Dean Hassan Nejad, Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies Director Michael Riff, and Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Studies Rebecca Root. A past survey of AIS students showed that an overwhelming number supported the addition of the new major and were interested in joining when plans were underway to develop the new minor. “I think students feel a need to think about questions of what it means to be human and human dignity,” said Root. “Students have a unique opportunity to have debates about [these two issues].” Seven students have chosen to study the minor so far during the fall 2011 semester. Some courses offered for the minor include Paradigms of Genocide, Social Inequality, and International Migration and Human Rights.

THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION: IT’S GREAT TO WORK AT RAMAPO COLLEGE Ramapo College is one of the great colleges in the U.S. to work for, according to survey results released July 25 by The Chronicle of Higher Education. The results, in The Chronicle’s fourth annual report on “The Academic Workplace,” are based on a survey of nearly 44,000 employees at 310 colleges and universities. In total, only 111 of the 310 institutions achieved “Great College to Work For” recognition. Ramapo College, the only New Jersey institution that was recognized, earned this honor in two categories—



Teaching Environment and Tenure Clarity and Process. “The Chronicle’s Great Colleges to Work For program provided Ramapo College with valuable insight into many facets of our institutional culture. Ramapo’s own faculty and staff completed the survey and, as a result, the College was recognized in the categories of Teaching

Environment and Tenure Clarity and Process,” says Brittany A. Goldstein, special assistant to President Peter P. Mercer. “A look at Ramapo’s results in all 15 categories gives us reason to celebrate our accomplishments and motivation to push harder in other areas. The program is a useful tool that provided the College with both national recognition

and valuable data that is being used to inform decisions. Could we really ask for much more?” Ramapo was also praised for its in-classroom audio and video technology and small class sizes. Surveys indicated that faculty members feel that Ramapo successfully recognizes both innovative and high-quality teaching.

Maroon Madness Welcomes First-Year Students Maroon Madness welcomed first-year students to Ramapo College on August 30, the first night of the new students’ Ramapo careers, with games, giveaways, and prizes. About 800 students attended the energetic event which was sponsored by Athletics, the Center for Student Involvement, and the First-Year Experience Board. The event offered spin classes, volleyball, basketball, rock wall climbing, and swimming as well as a DJ and a live band, Ryanhood, in the Auxiliary Gym. The game room and fitness center (located in the Bradley Center) were also available to students. The event introduced students to the athletic department and the idea of becoming a “Ramapo Rowdie” as a supporter of the Roadrunners and to the amenities offered at the Bradley Center. The event was also a social opportunity for new students to meet others.

More than 100 clubs and organizations were represented at the Club Fair. Photo credit: Serafina Riccobono

ANNUAL CLUB FAIR ENCOURAGES STUDENT INVOLVEMENT The annual fall Club Fair was held on Tuesday, September 13, to inform students about the many clubs and organizations Ramapo offers and to encourage students to become involved in extracurricular activities. One hundred and one organizations were represented at the fair, including 99 clubs, the Ramapo Admissions Student Ambassadors (RASA), and Intramurals.


Pictured (but not in order) at Maroon Madness is the 2011 Field Hockey Team consisting of Michelle Gustafson ’14, Katie Bruno ’13, Jayne Manigrasso ’12, Megan Minneci ’15 Rachel Seidman ’12, Amanda Barretta ’14, Caroline Speakman ’13, Rebecca Penhaker ’12, Dana Shea ’15, Devon Brown ’14, Nicole Kaspar ’15, Danisleydis Hernandez ’14, Taylor Jade Nicholas ’15, Lynsey Boss ’15, Samantha Gardner ’13, Rachel Wintermute ’14, Amanda Ferry ’13, Jessica Lawrie ’15, Aimee Herbert, ’12, Victoria Ahlers ’13, Rebecca Elliott ’13, Alicia Lyons ’14. Photo courtesy of Louis DiPaolo ’12

The New Jersey Utilities Association (NJUA) awarded Ms. Gail P. Brady of the Board of Trustees the NJUA Distinguished Service Award for her successful 40-plus years in the water industry during the utility industry’s 96th Annual Conference on June 9, 2011. The award is the utility industry’s highest honor. Board of Trustees member Gail P. Brady


Ramapo College Magazine Winter 2012

Sponsored by the Center for Student Involvement, the outdoor event even featured the debut of “Fledge,” the new baby Roadrunner mascot. In a sample conducted by the Center for Student Involvement for 36 different organization and club stations, 1,320 interested students had signed up for more information regarding membership in the clubs.


Academic Counselor for the Office of Specialized Services Cheryl Schwartz (left) and Director of the Office of Specialized Services David Nast (right) greeted Ted Kennedy Jr., at the sold out Disability Awareness Month event.

Ted Kennedy Jr. Guest Speaker for Ramapo College’s Disability Awareness Event Ted Kennedy Jr. spoke at Ramapo College on October 4 for National Disability Awareness Month. His lecture, “Facing the Challenge: Advocating for the Civil Rights of People with Disabilities,” was sponsored by the Office of Specialized Services, along with the assistance of the Center for Student Involvement (CSI) in celebration of Disability Awareness Month. The sold-out event focused on topics such as disability law, the successes and failures of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and discrimination against those with disabilities as well as how that discrimination is expressed and how it can be combated. “In my opinion, we need to replace the charity approach with the social policy approach for disabilities,” says Kennedy, citing that the latter approach would allow the disabled greater independence through social measures such as the construction of disability-friendly infrastructure. “We should be looking at a social model. That’s what Ramapo College uses.” Since losing his leg to bone cancer in 1973 at the age of 12, Kennedy has devoted much of his life working as an advocate for the civil rights for people with disabilities. “Society’s opinion and perception [of disability]—the fears and stereotypes—are the greater barrier to independence,” Kennedy says. Kennedy has served as the executive director of Facing the Challenge, a nonprofit advocate for public policyrelated issues, taught disability-related issues at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and has worked with policymakers and the corporate world to expand opportunities for those with disabilities. The Office of Specialized Services has been hosting disability awareness events in October for the last 15 years. Past guest speakers include physician and best-selling author Dr. Oliver Sacks; Dr. Temple Grandin; doctor of animal science, writer, and humorist David Sedaris; and poet Adrienne Rich. Disability Awareness Month has been celebrated each October in the United States since Congress passed Resolution No. 176 in 1945. The first week of October was initially designated to recognize those disabled in the workplace. The entire month of October is now dedicated to the recognition of the achievements of those with disabilities in all areas.

Ramapo College generated more than $100,000 in revenue by renting its spaces and facilities to an array of summer camps and programs for sports, religious, educational, and recreational use as well as to a variety of residential and day programs offered to the public for summer 2011. The camps and programs are run independently by external businesses and organizations as well as nonprofit organizations. Groups include academic programs such as Upward Bound and SAT Princeton Review, and nonprofit organizations such as the Mahwah Police and the Foundation for Free Enterprise. The revenue generated from the camps—namely for the College in facilities fees—is used to fund special projects and replace and upgrade equipment used by Athletics, the Berrie Center, Media, and Facilities. The camps not only generate income for Ramapo, but also showcase the College to young attendees as well as to adult chaperones and counselors who might not visit otherwise. Last summer, more than 2,200 people participated in the camps and programs.

SCHOOL OF AMERICAN AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES PRESENTS AT CONFERENCE IN KRAKOW Ramapo College’s School of American and International Studies collaborated with the Jagiellonian University’s Institute of the Middle and Far East to hold Political Socialization and Emerging Political Actors in the Middle East, a conference in Krakow, Poland May 18–20. The conference was held in the Collegium Maius of the University. Participants from the College included AIS Dean Hassan Nejad, Assistant Professor Pinart Kayaalp, Professor of History Ira Spar, and undergraduate International Studies major Valerie Kamenova. Paper topics presented by Ramapo’s participants were “Rage, Fear, and Transformation in the Middle East and North America,” presented by Nejad, and “Post-1960s Feminist Literature in Turkey,” presented by Kayaalp. Spar documented “An Historical View of Conflicts Between Formulations of Positive and Theologian Law,” and Kamenova presented “Contemporary Perspective of Islam in Politics: Iran and Turkey.”

R.A. Dickey (center) speaks to a group of All-Star baseball camp attendees.

METS PITCHER R.A. DICKEY VISITS BASEBALL CAMP AT COLLEGE New York Mets right-hand pitcher Robert Alan “R.A.” Dickey visited Ramapo College baseball Coach Rich Martin’s All-Star Baseball camp in July during the camp’s second week of the five-week summer camp held at Ramapo College. Dickey spoke about the sport to campers, who ranged in age from 7 to 17, and demonstrated his signature pitch—the knuckle ball. “R.A. was blown away by our facilities,” says Martin of the ballplayer’s visit. “He loved the opportunity to speak to young people about baseball and life. [If possible], he would like to continue visiting the camp.” Dickey previously played for the Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, and the Minnesota Twins before signing with the Mets in 2010.




FRED AND FLORENCE THOMASES AWARD HONORS DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY PROFESSOR Associate Professor of Developmental Psychology Lysandra Perez-Strumolo was the 2011 recipient of the Fred and Florence Thomases Award in April. The Fred and Florence Thomases Award for Faculty Research and Development was established in 1975 as an endowment from founding trustee Florence Thomases and her husband. The award is given annually to honor a faculty member who has made significant and ongoing contributions to the development of the College.

Florence Josephson Thomases

Florence, mother of four, mentor of many, died July 24, 2011, at the age of 97. The loving wife of the late Fred Thomases, she dedicated her life to family, friends, and philanthropy. Mrs. Thomases was a founding member of the Ramapo College Board of Trustees and served several years as board president. She supported countless students and faculty through endowed scholarships and grants for research and teaching excellence.

Associate Professor of Developmental Psychology Lysandra Perez-Strumolo

STAMFORD DOWNTOWN SUMMER ART SHOW “WIT AND WHIMSY” SHOWCASES PROFESSOR’S STATUES Six of Professor of Art Judith Peck’s sculptures were exhibited in the Stamford Downtown Summer Sculpture Exhibit “Wit and Whimsy” in Connecticut from June through August. Peck’s sculptures, along with 39 pieces by 12 other artists, were displayed on downtown streets, parks, and plazas. The sculptures by Peck featured in “Wit and Whimsy” included Seated Woman Read, Tennis Player, Personalities, “Reclining Woman, Black, Red and Yellow, and Falling Woman. For more information about the Stamford Downtown Summer Sculpture Exhibit “Wit and Whimsy,” visit


Judith Peck’s Tennis Player

Ramapo College Magazine Winter 2012

From left: Dr. Doug Arnold, senior program officer with the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Division of Education Programs, enjoyed a cruise on the Hudson River with Professor of American Studies Stephen Rice and Associate Professor of Art History Meredith Davis.

Ramapo Hosts Hudson River in the 19th Century and the Modernization of America Workshop Ramapo College hosted a one-week workshop for K–12 educators in July after receiving a $175,114 National Endowment for the Humanities grant, a part of the Landmarks of American History and Culture Program. The workshop focused on the history of the river through studies of works of art, literature, and architecture by individuals such as Thomas Cole, Washington Irving, John Burroughs, and others as well as non-fiction writing to understand how the river was transformed by technological, commercial, environmental, and tourism developments. “We really believe in the purpose of the grant….The idea of place-based learning [where] you can get out of the classroom and go out to the sites,” says Professor of American Studies Stephen Rice, who—along with Associate Professor of Art History Meredith Davis—received the NEH grant for the program and coordinated the workshop. “We saw the Hudson River as having a really important role in American culture and social development.” Seventy-seven educators attended the event, including teachers from as far away as Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Colorado, California, Indiana, Vermont, and New Hampshire as well as from New York and New Jersey. “[The visiting educators] loved the campus,” says Davis. “They felt the College went out of its way to welcome them and accommodate them as a serious group of scholars.” Davis also cited the experiential component of the workshop as well as the College’s proximity to New York City, the site that turned the river into a place of commerce, as strengths of the workshop. “Our location was really ideal for this project,” Davis says. Educators visited sites seminal to the development of the river such as Washington Irving’s home of Sunnyside in Tarrytown, New York, the Meadowlands Environment Center, the Hudson River Museum and a journey on Pride of the Hudson, a boat trip through the Hudson Highlands. The workshop encompassed a place-based approach with different disciplines within the humanities, including visual art, historical documents, and literature, allowing educators in varying fields of expertise to partake in the event. “We saw the possibility of teachers in different fields touching on the subject of the river at some point,” Rice says. Rice and Davis plan to reapply for a 2013 grant.


(Shown from left): Associate Professor of Communication Arts Ruma Sen with panelists Saskia Witteborn of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Nazan Haydari of Maltepe University in Istanbul, during an evening reception. Photo credit: Ruma Sen

Professor of Communication Arts Presents in Turkey Associate Professor of Communication Arts Ruma Sen presented two papers at the International Association of Media and Communication Research Conference in Istanbul, Turkey, in July 2011. Her two works focused on global Bollywood and the impact of globalization on Indian television, respectively. The IAMCR event is held annually in different locations across the globe. Sen was invited by leading scholar Sujata Mehta to participate in the panel dealing with Bollywood. Sen was chosen to partake in the globalization panel, which looked at the globalization of television in several different countries including Poland, Lithuania, India and Turkey. Thirty-two countries participated in the conference. “Turkey has been a location for conferences because of its location and its development as a nation,” said Sen. “It lends itself to questions about globalization.”

Ramapo College hosted the Native American Film Festival on October 10 in the H-Wing Auditorium, a daylong event that included four films directed and acted by Native American filmmakers. The festival was held to raise awareness about the harsh realities faced by the indigenous people of America and as an alternative to Columbus Day. “This College has the name of the local tribe,” says Video Art and New Media Professor Shalom Gorewitz, who organized the event with the support of the School of Communication Arts. “This land probably belonged to them at one time. I think it’s important for students to pay attention to their contribution to society.” The festival, inspired by Opening Commencement 2011 speaker James Loewen’s book, Lies My Teacher Told Me, featured the local Ramapough Indian tribe, an offshoot of the Lenape community, and the Ojibwa community from

An hourlong drum circle at the Salameno Spiritual Center, facilitated by a Ramapough tribe member and participants, was part of the Native American Film Festival in October.

Wisconsin as well as an hour long drum circle at the Arch. Films featured in the festival were Trudell, by Heather Rae Powwow Highway, directed by Jonathan Wacks; Smoke Signals, directed by Chris Eyre; and The Business of Fancy Dining, written and directed by Sherman Alexie.

Discover how our faculty are pushing boundaries at profiles/faculty.html or scan this code with a smartphone.

PROFESSOR OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AUTHORS NEW BOOK ON CHINA Professor of Political Economy and Economic Development Behzad Yaghmaian is the author of The Accidental Capitalist: A People’s Story of the New China, due out in March 2012 by Palgrave Macmillan. Yaghmaian’s book focuses on the political and economic rise of China from the perspective of the country’s people, people Yaghmaian refers to as individuals who “made China the envy of the world.” “[Past books written on China] focus on China as a threat to the United States and the Western world, stealing

American jobs,” says Yaghmaian. “[The books] are always a negative image cast on China. I thought what was missing in this Chinese discourse were the lives of the Chinese people.” Yaghmaian spent a year in China residing among migrant workers in the western city of Shenzhen. He lived near the ghetto homes of migrant workers to observe the workers in their environment. Yaghmaian drew information from his subjects—including old peasants, young women working in factories, factory owners, and migrant workers—by becoming

a participant in their lives during the year that he lived in China. By visiting their homes and sharing meals with the Chinese workers, Yaghmaian became familiar with the daily routines of their lives. describes the upcoming book as “a unique portrait of a country experiencing the turmoil of rapid development—the personal hopes, hardships, triumphs, and tragedies of those behind the Chinese ’economic dragon.’ The Accidental Capitalist reveals the human reality behind China’s rise to global-superpower status.”



THEATER PROFESSOR WORKS ON AWARDNOMINATED NYC PLAY Associate Professor of Theater Mary Ellen Allison worked as the production stage manager for Ocean in a Tea Cup, a musical feat ured in the Midtown International Theater Festival in New York City during the summer. The play was based on the true story of an American

soldier during and after World War II who considers himself a conscientious objector. Guiltridden from killing, he travels to India and meets a holy man who changes his life. “It was a very moving play,” says Allison. “It makes you reassess your own life and what’s important to you. That’s what drew me to it.” The musical was nominated for three awards at the festival for Outstanding Production,

Outstanding Music and Lyrics, and Outstanding Male Actor. Allison has spent 30 years working in theater and has done both Broadway and Off-Broadway work. In April and May, she worked on The Tallest Building in the World, a play about the construction of the World Trade Center, in West Orange’s Luna Stage. Associate Professor of Theater Mary Ellen Allison

Ramapo Chorale Performs at Guam Music Festival Eighteen members of the Ramapo Chorale spent 12 days in Guam during June to present a full feature concert as the kickoff to the Pacific Summer Music Festival. The concert’s songs were selected from the Chorale’s spring performance “Ramapo Chorale Goes to the Movies,” a crowd-pleasing selection from both old and new films. “Alongside the value of the musical experience, the intercultural experience was extraordinary,” says Associate Professor of Vocal Music and Convener of the Music Program Lisa Lutter. “To make music with individuals from halfway across the planet [is] pretty amazing! The greatest—and unexpected—benefit of singing [is] seeing the world—the opportunity to know, work, and live with people from many cultures.” The performance was presented at St. John the Divine Episcopal Church for a broad audience. “The Pacific Summer Music Festival…draws from the very multicultural population of the island,” Lutter says. “As a musician, it was an amazing opportunity, getting to work with and learn from [music conductor] Dr. Weston Noble. As a tourist, I was fascinated to learn about the sociopolitical history of the protectorate,” says Chorale member Chris Gabbett ’14, a communication arts student double majoring in political science and international studies. “I realized that, under the direction of Dr. Weston Noble and Dr. Lisa Lutter, that I could do things that I never believed were possible and my passion for my art soared,” said Chorale President Hollie Smith ’14, a music major with a concentration in vocal performance. “I thank Lisa every day for giving us this opportunity.” Since 2008, the Chorale has toured internationally in addition to performing at venues in the tri-state area. Past trips have been to the Czech Republic, Vienna, The Philippines, and Costa Rica. The College’s auditioned vocal ensemble Canta Nova, also directed by Lutter, performed at a 9/11 10th Anniversary Commemorative event.


Ramapo College Magazine Winter 2012

Members of the Chorale perform in Guam during the summer at the Pacific Summer Music Festival.

Canta Nova, under the direction of Associate Professor of Vocal Music Lisa Lutter, performed at a Bergen County 9/11 service.

PROFESSOR EARNS E. EMMETT REID AWARD IN CHEMISTRY Assistant Professor of Analytical Chemistry Anita J. Brandolini was presented with the E. Emmett Reid Award in Chemistry Teaching at Small Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region of the American Chemical Society in May. Brandolini was honored with the award at the Middle Atlantic Regional Meeting at the University of Maryland. She was also named of Fellow of the American Chemical Society for her contributions to the Society as well as her teaching and research.

Assistant Professor of Analytical Chemistry Anita J. Brandolini

The American Chemical Society Fellows Program was created in 2008 to honor members of the Society for their contributions and achievements.

NEW YORK UNIVERSITY SILVER SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK HONORS DEAN AS DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS Dean of the School of Social Science and Human Services and Professor of Social Work and Sociology Samuel J. Rosenberg, Ph.D., has been selected to receive a Distinguished Alumnus Award from New York University’s Silver School of Social Work. Rosenberg was nominated by colleague and Associate Professor of Developmental Psychology Lysandra PerezStrumolo, and was then selected for the award by a committee of New York University alumni, faculty and staff. Rosenberg was presented with the award during NYU’s Alumni Day on Saturday, September 24.

Dean of the School of Social Science and Human Services and Professor of Social Work and Sociology Samuel J. Rosenberg

From left: Art Gallery Director Sydney Jenkins, Chris Twomey ’76, Dean of the School of Contemporary Arts Steve Perry, and Assistant Professor of Art Ann LePore, Photo credit: Serafina Riccobono

Kresge Gallery Showcases Work of Professor of 3-D Design and Animation The Berrie Center’s Kresge Gallery showcased a monthlong exhibition of artwork by Assistant Professor of 3-D Design and Animation Anne LePore between September and October. “Ann LePore: Mapping Ann LePore, Camp Houlton, 2011, for Empathy in Four Dimensions” exhibited maps charcoal, graphite, and gouache on canvas and kinetic objects and the use of projected light. Pieces from three of LePore’s projects titled Flight, Due North, and Mapping in Four Dimensions. were displayed. Her work used the idea of “mapping” to communicate data and stories. The exhibit was supported partly by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. The Kresge Gallery will feature “Arthur Ganson: Kinetic Mandala,” an exhibit showcasing moving sculptures from November 2 through December 7.

PROFESSOR OF PAINTING’S DOCUMENTARY IS SCREENED AT RURAL ROUTE FILM FESTIVAL Professor of Painting Warner Wada’s 30-minute documentary film Muskrat John was screened August 5 during the Rural Route Film Festival held at the Museum of the Moving Image, Socrates Sculpture Park, and the Brooklyn Grange, an organic rooftop farm, in Queens. The short film follows John Rohweder, also known as “Muskrat John,” who traps muskrats in the New Jersey Meadowlands, where habitats have been affected by the

construction of highways, truck depots, and football stadiums. “…the audience response to the documentary was very positive,” says Wada, “[but] the real reward for me, as the filmmaker, was the response of Johnny Rohweder, the 83-yearold trapper born and raised in Jersey City. Each trip ’across the river’ was a real treat for him, driving him down 42nd Street on our way to the Museum of Natural History on Central Park West, Johnny commented

that he hadn’t seen Times Square since the late ’50s.” Rohweder began trapping the animals 30 years ago for extra money while he labored as a railroad worker at night. Wada referred to him as “a true child of the depression,” helping to “put food on the table.” The documentary focused on how the changing environment of the Meadowlands has impacted Rohweder. Professor of Painting Warner Wada



Engineering Physics: A Major That Attracts Dynamic Faculty and Energetic Students


embers of the engineering physics faculty have been recognized by the National Science Foundation (NSF), which has made monetary awards to Ramapo College. Most recently, Professor of Physics Daniela Buna received $78,998 for an applied physics laboratory. Assistant Professor of Engineering Physics Ozgur Dogru received a grant of $59,373 for the development of a carbon 14 analyzer. A gift from Pat and Marion Dugan ’80, an alumna of Ramapo College, provided $100,000 for the purchase of highly technical physics lab equipment. Ramapo College’s engineering physics program has evolved into a highly relevant science major that attracts internationally trained faculty and motivated students who continue their education in doctorate programs at prestigious universities, garners grants from individuals and the NSF and lends itself to cooperative arrangements with other institutions. The engineering physics major is a recent addition to the science program at Ramapo College. The traditional physics curriculum has been modified to provide a thorough education in applied physics. Engineering physics, unlike theoretical physics, focuses on specialty areas such as optics, energy, materials science, applied mechanics, laser spectroscopy, micro fabrication, control theory, and nanotechnology. Professors of Physics Philip Anderson and Daniela Buna, Associate Professor of Physics Caroline Brisson, and Assistant Professor of Engineering Physics Ozgur Dogru (who completed undergraduate and graduate programs in the United States as well as Belgium, Romania,


Ramapo College Magazine Winter 2012

Seated: Marion Dugan '80. (L-R Standing): Professor of Physics Daniela Buna, Associate Professor of Physics Caroline Brisson and Assistant Professor of Engineering Physics Ozgur Dogru.

Switzerland, and Turkey) comprise the engineering physics faculty. They have research interests in medical physics, fiber optics, semiconductors, and laser spectroscopy. They are solidly grounded in the science of traditional physics, the underlying discipline required to introduce students to applications of physics projects that improve everyone’s lives. The fulltime professors maintain a demanding schedule teaching classes and labs, directing research projects staffed by their students, applying for grants, and publishing results of their own research. The engineering physics program numbers 40 student majors and an additional 10 to 15 minors. This enrollment is twice the national average of 19 majors, based on statistics compiled by the American Institute of Physics. Additionally, more than 1,100 Ramapo College students take physics courses to fulfill requirements for other majors. In the course work students seek solutions to problems

presented in the physical and life sciences. Completing the major is the beginning of a career path for students who apply computational skills and engineering to problem solving. The faculty works closely with Rutgers and New Jersey Institute of Technology, where graduates of the engineering physics major have been accepted for advanced degree work. They’ve also been accepted to Dartmouth College, University of Pittsburgh, Lehigh University, and University of Notre Dame, among other universities. To foster learning experiences, Brisson has established live video courses in photonics and semiconductors for combined participation by Ramapo College and NJIT students. Engineering physics has gathered a community of faculty members and students united by their passion for the science and desire to conduct research that may lead to the development of new products, medical treatments, or entrepreneurial opportunities.


Benefiting from a Bequest: A Student Excels at Ramapo College Zhasmina Baramova’11


very graduating class has its superstars — students who embrace all the curricular and extracurricular opportunities the College offers. Students who make their marks by earning high grade-point averages, are named to honor societies, and who go above and beyond the requirements of their majors. Zhasmina Baramova ’11 is one such student. Yet her success at Ramapo College may not have happened had she not received critical scholarship support through the Anisfield-Meyers Endowed Family Scholarship. Baramova graduated from Ramapo College this past May with a 3.99 grade-point average. She had declared two majors: Business administration, with a concentration in finance, and mathematics. Among her achievements was becoming a member of the New Jersey Collegiate Business Administration Association. She also was inducted into two honor societies, Delta Mu Delta and Pi Mu Epsilon, and participated in the William Lowell Putnam Competition in Mathematics, a prestigious undergraduate competition, and the Model United Nations. Baramova is proud of her achievements, saying, “I know how it feels to reach a valuable result after months of hard work— the satisfaction and success are inexpressible.” And she

is grateful for the scholarship support that helped her achieve these goals. The Anisfield-Meyers Endowed Scholarship was created by Ina Anisfield Meyers. The Florida resident made a bequest to the College, to be used to create this endowed scholarship. The story of this bequest was fondly told by Ms. Meyers before she passed away in 2009. One day in 2006, Ina AnisfieldMeyers decided to search the Internet for other people with the name Anisfield. She found a press release from Ramapo College announcing a large donation from Richard and Millicent Anisfield to name and strengthen the business school. Richard’s name sparked a memory from 1939, when she and her family traveled to Paterson, New Jersey to visit relatives. “My father and his father went off to play golf and our mothers went shopping. Richard, who was my age, went to play with his friends,” Ms. Meyers recalled. “I spent the whole day in this big house all by myself.” After reading the press release, Ms. Meyers contacted Mr. Anisfield, believing him to be her only living family member. She spoke with his wife, Millicent. “We just had a delightful time on the phone,” says Mrs. Anisfield. “She was so grateful to have found some family.” When Ms. Meyers began planning her estate, she sought the Anisfields’ advice. She had no other family members to guide her. She had already

Ina Anisfield-Meyers

made gifts to her chosen charities. “I learned a lot about Ramapo from Richard and Millicent; they had given so much of themselves to the College, so I became very interested,” Ms. Meyers said. She decided to bequeath the remainder of her estate, a gift of $1,866,747, to Ramapo College. For about one year, President Peter P. Mercer and Vice President for Institutional Advancement Cathleen Davey spoke with Ina on the phone, sent videos of College events, and updated her on the construction progress of the building through photographs. On October 24, 2006, the College announced Ina’s gift at the Topping-Off Ceremony. The AnisfieldMeyers Endowed Family Scholarship is intended for upperclassmen in the Anisfield School of Business that have demonstrated academic achievement and have financial need. To date, $70,500 has been awarded. She also established the first endowed faculty chair, the Steven Meyers Chair in Finance at the College.



SUMMER SCENES Golf Outing Strengthens Links with Corporate and Individual Donors With lush green fairways beckoning, more than 120 golfers took to the links July 18 for the Ramapo College Foundation’s 24th Annual Golf Outing at the Tuxedo Club. Participants, many of whom repeatedly support this event, enjoyed lunch, a round of golf, skills challenges, an auction and a raffle, and dinner, as well as left with a goody bag in hand and a beautiful golf vest. Members of the Golf Committee, chaired by Donald Mahoney ’73, expressed their gratitude to the Anthony J. Marino Family and their company, Century 21 Construction, for sponsoring the event.   The committee was also grateful for support from the other sponsors: Prudential; McCarter English, LLP; Inserra ShopRite Supermarkets; Stryker; O’Connor Davies Munns & Dobbins, LLP; Valley National Bank; SEIKO Corporation of America; Prestige BMW; Prestige MINI; BMW of North America, LLC; UPS; and Lakeland Bank.   The event raised almost $100,000 for student scholarships, such as the one awarded to Louis DiPaolo, named in honor of Debra Perry ’85, a member of the Golf Committee and the individual low gross winner at the 2010 Annual Golf Outing. Louis, a sophomore, is a law and society major who earned a 3.9-grade point average as a freshman at Ramapo College. Proceeds also support faculty and student research opportunities and campus capital projects.

Golf Committee members (from the left) Tom Mahoney ’86, the overall men’s low gross winner; Golf Committee Chairperson Don Mahoney ’73; Fran Hackett ’80; Debra Perry ’85; John Brewster ’75; Dan Miller; Dave Repetto; and Tom Palmer coordinated the event, securing auction prizes— including a 2012 BMW 128i convertible for the first golfer to make a hole-inone on the par three 17th hole.

From left: President Peter P. Mercer, Fran Hackett ’80, Board of Governors Chair Robert Tillsley, and Anthony Marino gather for the silent auction during the golf outing.

Patricia Davino (left), vice president/branch sales manager at Valley National Bank, presented a check to Cathleen Davey, executive director of the Ramapo College Foundation, to support the bank’s sponsorship of golf carts at the golf outing. This was the third consecutive year that Valley National Bank, a valuable community partner, sponsored the golf carts. Davino, a member of the Board of Governors, serves on the Golf and Finance committees.


Ramapo College Magazine Winter 2012

Board of Governors members (from left) Roy Putrino, Donald Maddi, and Tom Srednicki, and their guest, Nish Vartebedian, enjoyed the after-golf program of dinner and the auction.

Attendees Have a Ball at TD Bank Summer Concerts The best of rock and pop tribute bands headlined the 2011 TD Bank Summer Concert Series. The Bronx Wanderers, a Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons tribute band, kicked off the series. The series was held on four Thursday evenings in July. Families from across the region listened to great music and enjoyed a picnic with friends on the Bandshell lawn. Additional concert sponsors were Liberty Mutual Insurance, Rockland Electric Company, Ramapo College Alumni Association and the Friends of Ramapo.

Thomas Dunn, with President Peter P. Mercer (left) and Board of Governors Chairman Robert Tillsley, (right).

Chairman of the Board of Governors Robert Tillsley, David Alai, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees A.J. Sabath ’93.

Picnic on the Patio

Concert attendees enjoy the first TD Bank summer event.

Grilling and Grooving The Alumni Association hosted its annual New Alumni Summer Reunion at Bar Anticipation in Belmar on July 16. With the boardwalk and beach as a backdrop, recent grads caught up with their friends and made new ones. From left: Robert Pisano ’07, Bryan Pineiro ’07, Dana Braff Pineiro ’07, Katelyn Mulligan ’07, and Bridget Hudzik ’06 reminisce about their Ramapo days and catch up at the New Alumni Summer Reunion in July.

Each summer President Peter P. Mercer and the Ramapo College Foundation host a barbecue to demonstrate their appreciation for the leadership exhibited by the Board of Trustees, the Board of Governors, and all of the volunteer organizations that support the mission of the College. The picnic, held July 21 on the patio at the Trustees Pavilion, was also an opportunity to announce recipients of the Ramapo College Foundation’s Mission Award: David Alai, corporate vice president of Sharp Electronics; and Thomas Dunn, Esq., retired counsel for the law firm of Beattie Padovano. The Mission Award recognizes outstanding leadership and service to the Ramapo College Foundation Board of Governors.

Foundation Fast Fact The Foundation’s total revenue from FY 10 to FY 11 increased by 61.3% from $4,849,098 to $7,825,664. And, the Foundation’s Endowment, over the same period of time, jumped by 24.3% from $8,110,207 to $10,088,114.



BERRIE CENTER EXHIBITS ARTWORK OF RAMAPO ALUMNA The Berrie Center’s Pascal Gallery showcased a monthlong exhibition of artwork by alumna Chris Twomey between September and October. “Chris Twomey: Time, Media, and Significance” showcased a range of Twomey’s work, from early experimental animation to recent conceptual projects. Her recent installation, ASTRAL FLUFF: Carnal bodies in Celestial Orbit, was large enough for viewers to walk through. Berrie Center Gallery Director Sydney Jenkins described the piece as a compilation of “everyday life.” Her work draws on themes of origin and identity and often incorporates other media forms into her work. Twomey graduated from Ramapo College in 1976. During her time at the College, she was known for her innovative installation and performance works. Several of these pieces were shown in the Pascal Gallery exhibit. Twomey’s career spans across many facets of media. In the 1970s, she worked in filmmaking and created experimental ethos and surrealist-inspired work. By the late 1970s and early 1980s, Twomey had adopted a more narrative approach to her filmmaking, and it was during this time that she began to work as a documentary editor and television producer. Her

Men’s Soccer Alumni Event Scores Players from Inaugural Team Men’s soccer celebrated 40 years of victory with players from the 1971 team. Pictured are the College’s first team, other alumni players and current team members on October 15. Coach DJ Pinton ’99 is shown with players present and past in the photo below.

Chris Twomey ’76

past experiences in other fields of work influence her art. She is also the co-founder of the website www.broadthinking. org, an art collaborative site dedicated to visually promoting the existence of all living things as well as the advancement of innovative ideas. The exhibit was supported partly by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/ Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. The Pascal Galleries will feature “Jonathan Lipkin: Photographs from Livingston County,” a documentary in photos from November 2 through December 7.

Meet and Greet for Regional Alumni

Alumni held a regional networking event October 6 in Newark, New Jersey, at the offices of McCarter & English, LLP. (L-R): Debra Perry ’85, Michael LaFrance ’84, Anthony Solari ’06, Gary Ahladianakis ’01, Jonathan N. Marcus, Esq., ’93; Joanna DeGroot Nichols ’00, Sami Asaad ’03, Daniel Makoski ’05, Kelly Loyd ’06, Russell Sommers ’05, Stephanie Walden Cabrera ’03, Babatunde Malomo ’06; and Purvi Joisher Parekh ’01, ’04.


Ramapo College Magazine Winter 2012

ALUMNI MEET AND GREET Members of the Bergen County Chapter of the Alumni Association enjoyed a barbecue July 7, prior to the first concert in the TD Bank Summer Concert Series. The evening provided an opportunity for members to meet, reminisce and, for new members, to learn the benefits of chapter membership. After singing along to the tunes of the Bronx Wanderers, featuring songs by the Four Seasons, alumni and other concert attendees gazed at the summer sky lit by a fabulous fireworks display. An annual tradition at Ramapo College, the barbecue drew 60 Bergen County area alumni to campus.


Kaitlin Chieco ’09

Ramapo College alumna Kaitlin Chieco ’09 won a 2011 MidAtlantic Emmy for her work with journalist Sara Lee Kessler on NJN Public Television’s Decoding

Ramapo Graduates Are as Good as Gold GOLD graduates, graduates of the last decade (2000 to 2011), participated in a kickoff reception on October 1 to discuss planning events of particular interest to them.

Autism documentary on September 24, 2011, at the MidAtlantic Emmy ceremony held at the Loews Hotel in Philadelphia. Chieco served as the associate producer of the documentary and spent about a year-anda-half researching, setting up shots and interviews with researchers and families, and helping in the editing and writing of the documentary. “When I heard, ’...and the Emmy goes to...Decoding Autism!’ I was speechless. To be 24 and accomplish something that not many people achieve in their lifetime, I was proud of myself and my work,” says Chieco of her win. “The long hours, hard work, and obstacles that the Decoding Autism team put in were recognized in a big way.” The hourlong documentary, which premiered in April 2011, highlights efforts in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Boston, Louisville, and Sacramento, where researchers hope to

discover new information that will lead to prevention of or a cure for autism. Chieco describes the documentary in the words of one reviewer as “one part heartbreak, and two parts hope.” At the time of the making of the documentary, one in 95 children in New Jersey was diagnosed with autism, the highest percentage in the country. “It was an eye-opening project from the beginning, and to be able to tell the stories of families who deal with this disorder on a daily basis and the stories of researchers who work tirelessly looking for answers was an honor,” says Chieco. Chieco credits the College’s Journalism program and Professor of Journalism Edna Negron as influential in her success. “[Professor Negron] is a strong force at Ramapo and an unbelievable mentor,” says Chieco. “Ramapo’s journalism curriculum really allows students to understand the basics of how to be a good journalist.”

Left to right on the porch: Joyce Schader; Eric Chambers ’01; J. Patrick Hunter ’01, ’05; Alan Finkelstein ’01; Jeffrey Weiler ’08; Daniel Makoski ’05; Robert Amon ’08; Steven Engravalle ’00; Martin Valerio; Danielle Mancini Valerio ’08; Steven Bloom ’08; Thomas J. Butler ’08, ’11; James Anderson; Ruthann Anderson ’09; Maria DeCarlo ’08; Vahid Rahimi ’09; Luis Acosta; Vincent Pittaro Jr ’07; Cathleen Davey; Laura Lai-Minteer ’02; Giancarlo Poli ’11; Andrew Nieporent ’10; Joshua Sarfity ’99; Beth Kotkin ’04; Karen Reiter ’93, ’99; Daniel Kotkin ’02; Mathew Kaulius ’05; Penny Gregorowicz ’10; Anthony

UPDATE YOUR PROFILE NOW Use your smartphone or tablet to update your alumni profile and submit your email address using this QR code.

Manderano ’05; guest of Penny Gregorowicz; Ljubomir Granzan; Marko Granzan; Jovana Petrovic Granzan ’03; Franklin Pachay ’08; Adam Biener ’10; Jonelyn Planillo ’09; Anthony Romeo; Caitlin Casey ’11; Dominic Sposato ’04; Kathryn Siddell ’11; Robert Josic ’07, ’10; Gabriela Josic; Jasmina Bisanovic Josic ’02, ’05. Left to right on the stairs: Joseph Bacino; Simone Bacino ’05; Ebony Samuel ’06, ’10; Jonathan N. Marcus, Esq., ’93; Tom Ng ’10; President Peter P. Mercer; Tammy Marcus; Justin Swisher ’08; Harrison Gilbert ’09; Geoffrey Orozco ’09; Alex Sim ’10; Purvi Joisher Parekh ’01, ’04.



SATISH K. KAUTA ’95 relocated to San Diego, California, with his family. Kauta is president and CEO of OverArching Solutions, a management consulting firm concerned with innovation in the healthcare industry. The company performs market research, research, demand forecasting, financial planning and analysis that helps bring successful products to the marketplace.

In Memoriam σσ Richard σσ Soni

Bertolini Jr ’73

Brett ’74

σσ Anthony

M. Rizzo ’81

σσ Richard

J. Alderman ’84

σσ Mark

R. Williams ’93

σσ Conor

Richard Clark ’05

BOB FOHRMEISTER ’78 is a federal budget liaison officer for the White House and Congress. He is working on the Balanced Budget Law. Prior to this position, he served for eight years as the White House budget director under President Ronald Reagan. He also spent 20 years in the Air Force and completed five tours in Vietnam.

VICTORIA HODGDON ’78 graduated from Rutgers University. Hodgdon taught English at Rutgers, Kean, Middlesex and at a technical college in New York City. She married her husband, Drew, five years ago. They met at a Shakespeare Festival in London. They moved to Missouri four years ago.

GARY QUINN ’78 was appointed to the New Jersey Pinelands Commission. Quinn’s selection was confirmed June 27 and he was sworn in along with five others. As a commissioner, he will oversee any public development applications that come before the Commission. A real estate developer, he serves as mayor of Lacey Township, New Jersey. A service of installation for THE REV. DR. RHONDA MYERS ’78 was held October 16, 2011, at Chapel Lane Presbyterian Church. In addition to Ramapo, Myers is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. She has spent 15 years in ministry, most recently in Franklin, New Jersey.


DONNA MAINARDI-SINGER ’78 fulfilled her dream of traveling to the Middle East to visit her daughter, who works in Beirut. Here, she’s at Souk el Tayeb, Lebanon’s first farmers’ market in Beirut, with a copy of the Ramapo Magazine.

SEAN POWERS ’99 and his wife, Erin, are the proud parents of John Kenney and Collin Patrick, born August 17, 2011. John weighed 5 lbs., 13 oz. and Collin, 4 lbs., 8 oz. Powers is the national director of Admissions for Ross University, North Brunswick, New Jersey.

LESTER H. WILLIAMS ’80 received a master’s degree in human services and Counseling in 1984 from Montclair State University. Williams is a county director for Community Services for the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities.

MARK A. LOTWIS ’83 was appointed senior director of public policy at InterAction, a Washington, D.C.–based alliance in the U.S. international nongovernmental organization. In his new position. He is responsible for shaping InterAction’s policy decisions on humanitarian, relief and longterm development issues. Lotwis will also serve as a member of the senior management team. GLEN MESSINA ’85 was appointed chief operating officer at PHH Corporation. Messina is responsible for PHH’s Mortgage and Fleet Management business units.

BURT A. SHADOW ’85 is employed as a bilingual elementary school teacher with the Fort Worth Independent School District in Fort Worth, Texas.

Ramapo College Magazine Winter 2012

“Positive Sounds,” a weekly contemporary Christian music radio program hosted by BOB TAYLOR ’96, earned an Award of Excellence, the highest honor in the Radio Programs Category, at the 2011 Communicator Awards.

ELIZABETH MAGENNIS ’98 was promoted to executive vice president at North Jersey Community Bank. Magennis previously served as senior vice president and chief lending and relationship officer.

MARK J. SPRENGEL ’00 pictured with Governor Chris Christie, was named environmental scientist at Matrix New World Engineering in East Hanover, New Jersey. He is a resident of Nutley, New Jersey.

STEVEN ENGRAVALLE ’00 and his wife, Samantha, met Governor Chris Christie at the Sussex County Republican Gala on May 25, 2011. Engravalle is assistant superintendent for Fort Lee Public Schools.

LENORE (ROIMISHER) BRADY ’99 has been a telecommunicator with the North Carolina Highway Patrol since 2005. She received general instructor certification through Rowan Cabarrus Community College. The certification allows for instruction of in-service and telecommunicator classes for the agency.

MARISSA BLAHNIK ’01 was recognized by The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences — Upper Midwest Chapter with an Emmy® Award for Magazine Program — Single Story/Feature/Segment for her segment on painter Scott West. The series garnered six awards. Blahnik also contributed a segment to the episode recognized with a Regional Emmy® Award for Magazine — Program/ Special/Series category.

ERIN O’BRIEN ’03 AND ANNE LIBERMAN ’09 designed lights and costumes, respectively, for the production of Ocean Teacup, an original musical staged by Mary Ellen Allison, associate professor of theater, at the Midtown International Theater Festival in Manhattan.

MEREDITH (PISAENO) SCULLY ’03, ’06 and her husband, Erik, announced the birth of their son, Bennett Erik. Bennett was born October 12, 2011.

DR. CAROLINA CABRAL ’04 met with members of Ramapo’s Pre-med Club. She is completing her medical residency in cardiology at NYU and, this past summer, completed a medical fellowship at Robert Wood Johnson. In 2010 she married Dr. Kevin Mangone, whom she met at Ramapo when he was a postbaccalaureate student.

JASON WIENER ’04 is an

JILL (ZUPANCIC) DONOVAN ’00 and Brendan Donovan welcomed their first child, Grace Teaghan, on March 28. She was born at 6:25 p.m. and weighed 8 lbs., 13 oz. and measured 19 inches.

ISABEL SUPPE ’01 has been living in Argentina where she worked as a mountain guide in the Andes and in Africa. After a terrifying accident in which she fell 400 meters from a summit ridge in the Bolivian Andes, landed on a glacier, and was declared dead, Suppe has found a new career in inspirational speaking. ESPN covered her personal ordeal and she’s written a book about it that will be released in Spanish. Suppe plans on doing a U.S. speaking tour.

JENNY DARLINGTON ’01,’08 and husband, Ryan, welcomed a son, Tucker James, on June 1 at 7:27 p.m. He weighed 7 lbs., 9 oz. and measured 20-1/2 inches.

DR. NICHOLAS A. BERNICE ’02 was named principal of the Leonia Middle School for the 2011–2012 academic year. Bernice served as vice principal for the past two years.

ASHLEY (CARBONE) HOWELL ’05 married RYAN HOWELL ’06 on October 1, 2010. Carbone received a Ph.D. in chemistry from Rutgers University in 2009. She is a research scientist at Avon Products. She also is an adjunct professor in TAS. Howell is pursuing his M.B.A. in finance at Fairleigh Dickinson University while working full-time as a senior financial analyst at Medco.

officer of the Manchester, New Jersey, police department. Wiener also served as a part-time dispatcher for the Monmouth University Police and volunteer firefighter in Cheesequake, both in New Jersey. Wiener resides in Old Bridge, New Jersey.

THERESA FOX ’05 married Jeffrey Dunay on September 3. Fox is pursuing a certification in corrections from Passaic Valley Community College. She is a case manager for Homeless Solutions.

AIMEE (BARILLA) KRONMILLER ’05 and her husband, Daniel, welcomed their son Lucas Daniel on July 5, 2010.

JILL HEATHER MYERS ’06 and Benjamin Edward Fuller married in September. Myers holds a master’s degree in educational psychology, magna cum laude, from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, and is employed at the Renfrew Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

DANIELLE M. ALBANESE ’07 earned her master’s degree in social work from Fordham University at Lincoln Center, New York City. Albanese will take her certification exams for the state of New York and New Jersey this fall.

MICHAEL DILLARD, MPA, CALA ’07 has been accepted to Rowan University to pursue a doctorate in educational leadership. He will continue to work in health care administration until he completes his degree.

MELISSA DUFFY ’07 married Michael Whalen on September 18, 2011. Duffy is a product coordinator for a travel corporation in Ramsey, New Jersey.

JOSEPH KUCZMA ’07 married Aja Deodato on August 6, 2011, at the Belvedere Mansion in Staatsburg, New York. Kuczma is an account manager at Vivaki in Manhattan. The couple honeymooned in Turks & Caicos and resides in Hoboken, New Jersey.



JILL HEATHER MYERS ’06 and Benjamin Edward


Fuller married in September. Myers holds a master’s degree in educational psychology, magna cum laude, from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, and is employed at the Renfrew Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

GADARETH HIGGS ’08 has been accepted into Yale University’s highly prestigious Ph.D. program in computational biology and bioinformatics.

DANIELLE M. ALBANESE ’07 earned her master’s degree in social work from Fordham University at Lincoln Center, New York City. Albanese will take her certification exams for the state of New York and New Jersey this fall.

KAITLIN CHIECO ’09 won a 2011 Mid-Atlantic Emmy for her work with Sara Lee Kessler on a documentary, Decoding Autism.

MICHAEL DILLARD, MPA, CALA ’07 has been accepted to Rowan University to pursue a doctorate in educational leadership. He will continue to work in health care administration until he completes his degree.

MELISSA DUFFY ’07 married Michael Whalen on September 18, 2011. Duffy is a product coordinator for a travel corporation in Ramsey, New Jersey.

JOSEPH KUCZMA ’07 married Aja Deodato on August 6, 2011, at the Belvedere Mansion in Staatsburg, New York. Kuczma is an account manager at Vivaki in Manhattan. The couple honeymooned in Turks & Caicos and resides in Hoboken, New Jersey.


KELSEY GODDARD ’10 teaches fifth grade math and science at Stafford Intermediate School in Manahawkin, New Jersey.

TARA M. DRAKE ’09 and

MICHELLE (GUERRERO) WALDORF ’07 and her husband, Rob, welcomed their first daughter, Adriana Gabrielle Waldorf, on September 17, 2011, at 11:52 a.m. She weighed 6 lbs., 11oz. and measured 20 inches long.

JESSICA OFFER ’08 was promoted to senior accountant at WithumSmith+Brown, Certified Public Accountants and Consultants. Offer, of South Orange, New Jersey, specializes in financial services, insurance fund audits, and trust and estate tax.

were married July 1, 2011 at St. Joseph Church in West Milford, New Jersey. Provost graduated from Seton Hall University with an M.B.A. in finance. Rieder is an eighth grade social studies teacher at Macopin Middle School in West Milford. She is also a field hockey and lacrosse coach at West Milford High School. They reside in Ridgewood, New Jersey.


were married on April 29. They met in Oak Hall during their sophomore year at Ramapo and have been together ever since.

Ramapo College Magazine Winter 2012

Luis Armando Gonzalez announced their engagement. Drake is pursuing her doctorate in biochemistry at the University of Delaware and is a research assistant for Dr. Brian Bahnson at the University of Delaware. The wedding is planned for June 2012.

RENEE GRANT ’09 graduated from Rowan University in May 2011 with a master’s degree in higher education administration. Grant is a housing assignments coordinator at Montclair State University.

MATTHEW ROSSOMANDO ’09 graduated from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey on May 25, 2011, with a Master of Science as a physician assistant.

2ND LT. STEPHEN LABIT ‘09 earned his wings upon

MARISSA WELCH ’08 married Donovan Deysel on April 23, 2011.

graduating from Combat Systems Officer (CSO) training class 11-06 at the 479th Flying Training Group at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. Labit will serve as a CSO in the U-28 at Hurlburt Field, Florida. The CSO program merges the navigator, weapons systems officer and electronic warfare officer careers into one.

ALLYSON (WEIKNOFSKY) MCKENNA ’10 AND ALEX MCKENNA married August 6, 2011. The couple welcomed a son, Aiden Charles McKenna, February 19, 2011 at 7:13 p.m. He weighed 8 lbs., 1 oz. and measured 19 inches.

MICHAEL MORICI ’10 is a full-time teacher at Palisades Park Jr./Sr. High School teaching mathematics. Morici also began a master’s program in educational technology at Ramapo College.

JESSICA ROFFE ’11 is employed by the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University and has accepted an Americorp Vista position for the fall.

STEPHANIE DISPOTO ’11 is enjoying a freelance position in the graphic production department of Victoria’s Secret. The department is responsible for creating the layout for catalogs and promotional materials. Dispoto was offered the position after completing an internship there. Dispoto (right), is pictured (above) with her supervisor, Natalie Owens.

ANDREW BROWN ’11, who played volleyball for Ramapo, was selected as a member of the U.S. Volleyball 2011 PanAmerican Maccabi Games to be held in December in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Brown is a volleyball coach at Montclair High School. DAYNA FUCARINO ’11 was named communications coordinator at The DSM Group in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.

JONATHON WESTCOTT ’11 joined Fazio, Mannuzza, Roche, Tankel, LaPilusa, LLC of Cranford, New Jersey, as a staff accountant.


>By: JoAnne Zellers

Attuned to Toons Ask Keith Dawkins ’94 to share a Ramapo College memory and he says, laughingly, “Snow! Slip-sliding up that hill to class and mounds of snow in the parking lot…until May!” Dawkins, as Senior Vice President and General Manager of Nicktoons & TeenNick, has climbed many hills throughout his career, and is now charged with running the day-to-day operations of two of Nickelodeon’s popular and evergrowing networks.

Keith Dawkins ’94

Upon graduating from high school Dawkins, who was born and raised in Ridgewood, New Jersey, knew that he needed a college that was academically challenging, affordable, and close to home. Proximity was important as Dawkins worked full-time at a retail store to pay his way through college. He decided that he “fit right in at Ramapo,” and “it was an easy place to be from a compatibility standpoint.” continued on next page…



>Attuned to Toons Continued

and technology. But with constant coverage of the Clinton/Lewinski scandal, and the war in Kosovo, Fox News Channel was transformed into a force in business and Dawkins into news production exclusively.

Keith and Jeanine Mahon Dawkins ’94

Drawn to careers that involved communicating with people, he considered education, law and television. He chose TV because he was an avid consumer of the medium and had aspirations of being on-the-air. Dawkins enrolled in the School of Contemporary Arts; journalism, technical production courses and a class on Civil Disobedience were favorites. With guidance from his professors, he obtained an internship with CNBC. “Internships allow you to find out about yourself and what you love,” says Dawkins. “You also learn what you don’t like, which is just as valuable.” The internship resulted in an offer from “America’s Talking,” a start-up 24 hour cable network (the network would later become MSNBC). While his career started in production, Dawkins still dreamed of being “onair”…so, with some initiative and creativity, he produced some demo tapes and sent them throughout the country. The effort landed him a slot as a general assignment reporter at News 12 New Jersey. Talent, timing, and networking brought him to Fox News Channel. The executives who had run CNBC and launched “America’s Talking” needed a producer for the new upstart cable new outlet. He says, “It was amazing to be courted, in my 20s, by seasoned television executives, by virtue of my internship, hard work and cable industry experience.” At Fox News Channel, Dawkins initially produced half-hour shows on sports


Ramapo College Magazine Winter 2012

His background in news, production and storytelling (along with his own love of music) helped facilitate a move to VH1, where he landed a gig as a supervising producer, working in their news department. From there it was a chance meeting with Cyma Zarghami, then general manager of Nickelodeon (she’s now the company’s president), that would provide new direction to his career. Zarghami had seen Keith give a presentation on what VH1 was doing in the area of diversity and its

As for the opportunities that Ramapo provided, “I got two really great things from Ramapo, a direction for my career and my wife. Not a bad deal.” impacts on their business culture. Zarghami, not knowing who Keith was at the time, introduced herself and complimented him on his presentation. Their relationship began at that moment and, after many lunches and more conversations, she asked him to become the first general manager of Nicktoons. That was seven years ago. Last year, Dawkins increased to his responsibilities and added another network, TeenNick, to his plate. His involvement in the world of children’s and teen programming makes him a hit at home with his fifth

and second grade sons and their friends. “Their friends often ask me if it’s true that I’m the boss of Nickelodeon. I’m quick to say NO, which bums them out for a second, but I’m quick to add that I do get to handle Nicktoons and TeenNick. Their faces light up! It’s a joy to impact kids that way.” Dawkins didn’t start with a fixed plan or set of goals, but took advantage of opportunities while following his instincts. “A love of TV has been the constant throughout. I thrive on the energy and pace of this world.” He received executive leadership training at Harvard and UCLA business schools. He voices his Ramapo pride when he says, “People who were fortunate enough to attend Ivy League colleges or other prestigious institutions should be proud, but small schools like Ramapo often get overlooked. Dig deeper and you will find that Ramapo has given birth to a bunch of really bright folks who are doing powerful things in their communities.” Dawkins is a proponent of keeping academic talent in-state. “We need New Jersey State school pride,” he says. “We have some of the best high schools in the nation in terms of academic excellence, graduation rates and college placement. Those schools need to be a funnel to make our state colleges great, especially Ramapo. Don’t discount it as a choice.” He notes, too, that Ramapo has very successful alumni and their success should be showcased so students can see what opportunities exist and what can be accomplished. From his vantage point on top of the toons, Dawkins says it’s really all about creating, being open to and taking advantage of opportunities. “While you may start out in one direction, you really have to examine the opportunities that come your way throughout your career.” As for the opportunities that Ramapo provided, “I got two really great things from Ramapo, a direction for my career and my wife. Not a bad deal.” (During his time at Ramapo he met his future wife, Jeanine Mahon ’94.)


>By: Courtney Brach ’12

Charles Gordon was recently appointed the Director of


Athletics, Intramurals, and Recreation of Ramapo College’s athletics department. He is the College’s sixth athletic director. Gordon brings more than 35 years of experience to Ramapo. He served as the Director of Athletics and Assistant Dean of Students at The American University in Cairo, Egypt; Director of Athletics at Augustana College; Director of Athletics and Recreation at Emory University; and Director of Athletics at Rhodes College. Gordon has been the tournament director and host athletic director for many NCAA national and regional championships. He is also the founding president of the NCAA Division III Athletics Administrators Association. Ramapo Magazine asked Gordon about his new position.

You most recently served as the Director of Athletics and Assistant Dean of students at The American University in Cairo, Egypt. Why were you interested in working at Ramapo College? What about the College sparked your interest? I was interested in returning to the States in general and clearly my experiences in Division III [fueled the decision to come to Ramapo]. I’ve been fortunate to work in schools that had a very strong emphasis on academics. Ramapo’s combination of good athletics and emphasis on academics was very interesting to me.

What are your hopes and plans for the future of the College’s intramural and recreational sports? I hope in those programs we can improve both quality and quantity of what we offer. We might be able to realize some costsavings within intramurals and keep that money in intramurals to improve the quality and quantity of what we do. I realize that most of the students’contact with our department would be through intramurals and recreation as a participant, not in the varsity program. They may be a spectator in the varsity program, but clearly most students will participate in the intramural and recreational areas, so we want to make sure they’re strong. We want to make sure they’re well funded, that [students] have a safe and fun time while they’re participating. Now that you’re here, how does Ramapo’s athletics department differ from your other colleges and universities?

How will your past experiences and careers affect what you bring to Ramapo? I think I’ve been very fortunate to work in very successful Division III programs that produced very good teams as well as a number of great scholar-athletes—Augustana and Emory in particular; Augustana being one of the highest producers of academic AllAmericans and Emory really hitting home runs with academic All-Americans and NCAA postgraduate winners. The teams have also been successful in most places I’ve been, so I think it’s a good balance. I think Ramapo strives for that balance of success on the field and court as well as success in the classroom. I think I have a good base to draw from in how to do that, how to help coaches emphasize that with their student-athletes.…The first thing we want to talk about is academics [and] how important we think academics are as well.

I think what makes any program different from another are the people. Ramapo has been great. I’m excited to meet [and] work with new people…I’m looking forward to working with [others involved in the Athletics Department and] the student-athletes. The people are what make the place special, and the people at Ramapo have been wonderful. What would you like to communicate to the Ramapo community about the College’s athletics department? I would just hope that people come down and help support the programs. I think that student-athletes work very hard, and I think people would be impressed if they came to games to see how those student-athletes are representing Ramapo College. I hope people come down and support the teams. I also hope people will take a look at the intramural and recreational activities and find something that fits into their weekly schedule. We’re all about healthy lifestyles and helping people stay fit. Come down and work out, come down and watch teams play. That’s the message.

29 AC


505 Ramapo Valley Road Mahwah, NJ 07430-1623

Opening Convocation 2011 James Loewen, author of Lies My Teachers Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, was the guest speaker at Opening Convocation in September before an audience of about 1,200 to 1,500 students, faculty, staff and special guests. Loewen’s lecture, followed by a question-and-answer session, focused on the truths glossed over by history books by presenting primary documents and photographs from the Civil War era to unearth these truths. The convocation supplemented the summer reading for the Class of 2015, who read Loewen’s book as part of the First-Year Seminar program. The book reveals the blandness and factual inaccuracies of high school history textbooks by presenting students with the “whole story” of history. Loewen’s retelling of American history adds the passion, conflict, ambiguity, and drama back into historical events that high school texts fail to mention. “History can be a weapon, and it can be used against you. It was certainly used against my students,” says Loewen. “[My students] knew things that didn’t happen and didn’t know things that did. The one thing that high school students know is that World War I preceded World War II.” Loewen taught race relations at the University of Vermont for 20 years and previously taught at Tougaloo College in Mississippi. He has been an expert witness in more than 50 civil rights, voting rights, and employment cases. His other books include Lies across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong, Sundown Towns, Teaching What Really Happened, Mississippi: Conflict and Change, (which he co-authored), The Mississippi Chinese: Between Black and White, Social Science in the Courtroom and The Truth About Columbus. All are dedicated to educating readers about history’s unspoken truths. “Justice in the present gives us the courage to achieve truth of the past,” says Loewen. “I hope you will work for truth of the past or justice of the present.”

Pictured (from left are): Student Trustee Erin Kaplan-Burns ’13, Board of Trustees Chairman A.J. Sabath ’93, Vice President of Institutional Advancement Cathleen Davey, James Loewen, Faculty Assembly President and Professor of Clinical Psychology James Morley, President Peter P. Mercer, Vice President of Administration and Finance and Chief Planning Officer Dorothy Echols Tobe, Immediate Past Board of Trustees Chairperson The Dr. Reverend Vernon C. Walton, and Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Beth Barnett.

From left are: Melanie Cianbella ’15, President Peter P. Mercer, James Loewen, Jonathan Mangel ’15 and Thomas Colella ’15. Cinabella, Mangel, and Colella received the 2011 Summer Reading Essay Contest Award.

President Peter P. Mercer, James Loewen and Dr. Jackie Ehlert-Mercer.

Ramapo Magazine Winter 2012  
Ramapo Magazine Winter 2012