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Graduation Information: • •

• • Judy Smith (left) and Anna Deavere Smith (right) were announced as Kean’s new commencement speakers on April 24, 2015.

Kean University announced this year’s commencement speakers on April 23, three weeks after pulling hip-hop artist Common amid outcry from New Jersey State Police. Playwright, actress and professor Anna Deavere Smith, who starred in series like West Wing and Nurse Jackie, will deliver the undergraduate commencement address. Judy Smith, the inspiration for the television series “Scandal” whose crisis management firm advised people like Monica Lewinsky and Michael Vick, will be the graduate commencement speaker. Common, whose real name is Lonnie Rashid Lynn, was swiftly removed as Kean’s commencement speaker after New Jersey State Police raised concerns over a song the rapper wrote supporting Joanne Chesimard, a convicted cop killer. Anna Smith is a professor at New York University and is best known for crafting one-woman, multicharacter plays about American social issues, the university said in a statement. Judy Smith helped coordinate the United Nations Foundation and World Health Organization’s response to the SARS epidemic, the university said in a statement. “Kean University is honored to welcome Anna Deavere Smith and Judy Smith for our 2015 commencement ceremonies, “ said Kean University President Dr. Dawood Farahi in a statement on

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Kean announces new commencement speakers

By Sade Cox

Men’s Volleyball ends season

The undergraduate graduation ceremony will be held on May 21 at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. Students will get a ticket voucher for six guests once they pick up their cap and gown in the University Center from May 11 to 15. The voucher must be turned in at the Wilkins Theatre Box Office to retrieve tickets. The ceremony starts at 8:30 a.m., but graduating students should arrive at 7 a.m. with their cap and gown and reader card to prepare for the processional lineup. Guests are not allowed to accompany students on processional line and should enter through the PNC Bank Tower, located at the Northeast corner of the building at Mulberry and Edison Place. Students should proceed to the Lafayette Tower entrance located at the Southeast corner of the building at Mulberry and Lafayette. Once there, students will be directed by Kean commencement marshals wearing blue robes. For more information on directions, photo registration and ring orders, visit

Photo: Kean University

April 23. “It would be difficult to find two more skilled practitioners of their respective crafts and our students will benefit greatly from their wealth of expertise and insight.” But not everyone is happy with the choice. Students voiced their frustrations with not having Common as the commencement speaker. Christine Christian, a graduating senior majoring in biology had hopes in Common returning as the commencement speaker. “I am extremely disappointed with Kean University’s commencement speaker choice for the May 2015 graduation ceremony,” Christian said in an e-mail. “I’m sure Anna Deavere Smith is a great speaker; however, I’m still very upset that Common was cancelled. He was let go of because of a song he made 15 years ago, which I think is absolutely ridiculous.” Even with the students’ effort to have a petition on to gather supporters to get Common back as the speaker, the university decided to pursue other options. Anna Smith will deliver the undergraduate commencement address on May 21 at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. Judy Smith will speak at a separate ceremony on May 19 at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ. The university is expected to award close to 3,000 degrees at the ceremony, the university said in a statement.

A farewell to the Class of 2015

Joe Fuoco working on a media project about English majors.

Controversy for upcoming School of Architecture By Alyssa Davis With the Michael Graves School of Architecture just months from holding its first classes, there is debate among faculty and administration about the need for the program. Kean announced the additional program this past October and plans to open classes in Fall 2015. Shortly after Kean’s announcement, an article published by stated that the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) views the new school of architecture to be “a wasteful duplication.” NJIT, which is also a state-funded school, has its own school of architecture. Kean and NJIT are less than 10 miles apart, serving the same general area. Richard Katz, Secretary for Kean’s Faculty Senate believes that the new program was put in place with Kean’s Wenzhou, China campus in mind. “There is a clear need for architecture in China; it is not clear that the students in NJ need another architecture program,” Katz said. Nine professors are needed to run the new program. Katz also questions whether or not this program will weigh-down on existing programs at Kean. “Another issue is, will the resources that are going to this program diminish the resources for other existing programs?” Katz said. Kean’s Faculty Senate submitted a list of 31 questions, which covered everything from the accreditation process

Photo: Vera Boateng

By Vera Boateng

to the set-up of the program itself, to David Mahoney, acting dean of the program. Mahoney failed to answer the questions. The Tower attempted to interview Mahoney about the program, but he did not respond to emails. Although some question if the new program will prove to be successful, others believe whole-heartedly that the school of architecture will be an asset to the University. “I believe that the University evolves according to the needs in our society,” said education professor and executive board member Patrick Ippolito in an e-mail. “We have to keep pace with the times. The School will be an asset to Kean as it will bring us an additional student population here and in China.” Ippolito also commented on NJIT’s disapproval of Kean’s new architecture program. “Many colleges in the state have duplicate programs, this does not mean one or more should have a monopoly,” he said. “Let the best survive. The fact that we have a world famous architect, although now deceased, feel strongly enough about our program to put his name on it should be an indication that we have a better than average chance for success.” Michael Graves, the namesake of Kean’s School of Architecture, passed away on March 12 at the age of 80. Although Kean anticipates the approval of the program, there is one more step in the process before it becomes official. “The School of Arch. curriculum was approved by the

Most Kean Seniors are anxious to jump right into their cap and gowns and out to their respective study areas after graduation, but graduating college for a lot of students was not always around the corner. They had to work hard to get there. “I didn’t start college right away and now after my 10 year journey in school, I am finally ready to graduate and become the English teacher I have always wanted to be,” said Joe Fuoco, English major at Kean. With finals approaching and classes coming to an end, it is almost time for students to pack up and indulge in the 3-month summer hiatus from school. It is an exciting time for all Kean students, especially our May 2015 graduates. Fuoco will be among the estimated 2,400 graduating seniors to receive their undergraduate degrees on May 21 at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. Fuoco remembered a time where he thought he was not going to finish school and wanted to give up altogether. His motivation stemmed from the professors who shared their stories with him about their struggles in life and how they were able to overcome them. It all clicked when one professor said to him that it is never too late to go to college. Another senior at Kean was overwhelmed about which major to declare, and had struggles in her own life with her confidence in finding a specific area of interest. This student is Alicia Ross, a Psychology major at Kean. “When I first started out at Kean I didn’t know what I wanted to do and had many people throwing options and suggestions at me,” said Ross. “I was so lost.” It wasn’t until Ross branched out and went to an event that it would change how she would spend her time at Kean. “When I went to an event at Kean called “Ladies Night”, a woman’s awareness event, the people running the event were so passionate about the women in other countries, it made me feel confident that I could work with the organization, to do something about it too,”

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May, 2015

Change of powers at Kean’s student organization By Marco Rodriguez As Gerard Smithwrick steps out into the bright sunshine and embraces the spring weather, he’s aware that a new season has come to Kean University in more ways than one. Smithwrick, Kean’s current Student Organization President, is aware of these constant life changes as he prepares to leave office to make way for president-elect, Nigel Donald. As he reflects on his last days and the work he’s done over the past two semesters, Smithwrick, a senior at Kean, takes it all in with a bittersweet sense. On one hand, he’ll miss serving the student body, and on the other, he’s confident that his successor will thrive in his current position. “The presidency is all about being approachable and visible to the people who put you in office,” said Smithwrick. “Thankfully, I will graduate knowing that I’ve left the students in great hands with Nigel.” Donald, a junior at Kean majoring in Economics and minoring in Political Science, won the election for President after beating out three competitors by securing 40.57 percent of the votes. The elections were held April 7 to April 8 on Cougar Link. Carli Hench, Managing Assistant Director for the Student Organization, expressed her office’s approval with the turnout that awarded Donald the winner in the presidential elections. “We were satisfied with the voter turnout,” said Hench. “There were 382 voters in the Student Org Executive Board election, compared to last year’s 273 voters.” The office of President of the Student Organization is one that both Smithwrick and Donald have been after since their respective freshman year at Kean. For a

young Smithwrick, his aspirations to become President revolved around making a difference at the University and being a servant to the students of Kean. Furthermore, he desired to give them everything they needed to have the best experience at the university. Donald, who has been involved with student governments since high school, approached his university experience with a strong desire to serve and represent. As a Battalion Executive Officer his senior year in high school in the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) program, his responsibilities included consulting with enlisted cadets on how the program was running and how it could be improved. Additionally, he ran for senior class President his senior year which gave him the valuable experience of programming and running a campaign. The two students bonded and climbed the ranks in Kean’s campus politics, with the crowning moment coming last year when Smithwrick was elected President and Donald Vice President. This experience, according to Donald, was strengthened by their belief that the well being of students should always be first. “My relationship with Gerard was and is great,” said Donald. “We were elected individually for our positions last year, but the commonality that we have is that we want to see students succeed more than anything.” As he prepares to go, Smithwrick believes the time is now for Donald to occupy the position he has worked so hard to get. “Nigel is an analytical thinker, a researcher, a planner and a leader, who has the potential to make some real moves to benefit the student body,” said Smithwrick. “I’ve been preparing him for the seat of office, and I believe he is now ready to step into this position.” Donald will be sure to have his hand full

Gerard Smithwrick, Kean’s current Student Organization President, speaking before a group of students.

once he takes office in May as his predecessor’s accomplishments stand before him. Among the work that Smithwrick is most proud of, is his work with Gourmet Dining to secure several outside franchise entities to come on campus for students to enjoy. “Students should expect to see names like Jersey Mike’s and Auntie Anne’s very soon on campus,” Smithwrick said. “We want to advance our campus dining experience, which is why we took these steps.” In addition to the improved dining experience, Smithwrick’s team received approval from Kean’s facilities division to move forward on plans to upgrade the trolley transportation infrastructure. According to Smithwrick, the trolleys will soon be fitted with TV’s and Wi-Fi capabilities for students to enjoy as they make their way around campus. Smithwrick has made it a point to lead by example, but has also taken Donald under his wing to prepare him for what is ahead. “The advice I’ve given Nigel is to be strong yet gentle and confident yet humble,” said Smithwrick. “I am so pleased and overjoyed to have him as my successor this upcoming school year, because I know he will succeed.” Donald also recognizes that he’s learned much from Smithwrick in their time together,

Photo: Ryan Norton

as the latter prepares to graduate and move on to Barry University in pursuit of his Master’s degree. “Gerard has taught me to be more even more passionate about life at Kean,” said Donald. “His advice has always been to continue to exert my passion on everything that I am involved with here in the university and I plan to do so.” While Smithwrick does admit that the most difficult part of the job is not being able to please everyone, both he and Donald agree that the best aspect of being president is the students. “I had the privilege and honor of meeting with students of all different aspects of the Kean community,” Smithwrick said. “I got to hear their ideas, answer their questions, and inspire them to get more involved in the Kean culture.” “The students I encounter every day, and the ability to serve as their representative in the eyes of the administrative staff of Kean is the best part about the job,” said Donald. “I love meeting students at Kean because we are such a diverse university and that allows you to learn the life story of every student and more importantly, understand what we have in common.”

Shaky allegations made at March protest on campus

Photo: Rebecca Panico

Kayla-Simone McKelvey speaking passionately at March’s demonstration.

By Rebecca Panico Little to no evidence has emerged to support the claims student demonstrators in March who made several allegations against the Student Organization and a Kean psychology professor. In follow up interviews with administration officials, SO members and students involved in the March 13 demonstration, it appears that a number of accusations were without any foundation and that some of those participating in the protest had no first-hand knowledge of any of the incidents that were alleged to have occurred. Protestors alleged that when they tried to plan trips to museums or the Apollo Theater in

Harlem, NY, their paperwork was always deemed incomplete by the Student Organization. They also claimed that a psychology professor made racially-charged comments about Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old who was shot dead by Cleveland police last November. Pan-African Student Union President KaylaSimone McKelvey made many of the claims at the March 13 protest, although she reiterated that the demonstration was not organized by her group. However, her complaints regarding the SO not funding a specific trip to the Apollo Theater tied in with a previous incident involving PASU. PASU is a funded group of the programming board, made up entirely of students who are not council members or executive board members of the SO, explained SO President Gerard Smithwrick in an e-mail on March 13. SO Director Stephanie Faser stated that she had sent out promotional materials for a trip to the Apollo Theater to PASU as they were preparing for Black History Month, but never received any paperwork from the group applying for the trip. “I don’t know what happened, but we never received their paperwork,” Faser stated during an interview with Smithwrick, Vice President of Funded Groups Michael Veltre, Vice President of Student Affairs Janice Murray-Laury and Susan Kayne, spokeswoman for the university. Faser said that while she had heard allegations that her office had denied funding for the trip, no request was ever submitted to even start the process.

When told of Faser’s comments, McKelvey responded only with information regarding funding for next year’s Black History Month events via e-mail. “Because of our persistence Student Org is currently implementing the Apollo trip for next year during Black History month so we have made slow progress towards minority students at Kean University,” McKelvey said in an e-mail. “When you go for what you want and it has purpose or substance, a solution will be presented and it was.” But upon inquiry at a PASU council meeting, McKelvey said PASU ultimately never filed the request because their professional staffer, Laury, told her it’d be difficult to get special incentive funding for it. Each of the SO’s 25 funded groups receive $2500 in the beginning of each academic year and can obtain another $2500 for events once they’ve proven a need, Faser explained. Funded groups can apply for special incentives that exceed their regular funding if a group really wants the program and there are enough funds, she said. The demonstrators had also voiced concerns over a psychology professor. According to McKelvey, a professor said the 12-year-old who was shot dead by Cleveland police last November deserved to die and that the only mistake the police had made was driving too close to the boy. After the demonstration, Laury said she had followed up and did find a student who had some concerns about “something that had occurred in a classroom.” Laury did not think the student

would be comfortable going public. “After meeting with that student, getting a sense of what that issue was, there was a meeting with the faculty member and it does seem that it was resolved,” she said. “There was certainly some misunderstanding -- there was a miscommunication -- but it has been addressed directly.” When asked what was specifically stated in the class, Laury explained that it was to her knowledge that the professor had communicated “some support for the police officer” but didn’t know verbatim what was said. “There wasn’t sufficient time in the class for discussion by the other students. That’s my interpretation of what occurred,” she said. Laury believes that the student met with the professor and spoke out their differences. No disciplinary action has taken place against the professor, Laury said. Kayne, who was also present at the interview, said that the issue seemed to be sufficiently handled. “I think the bottom line here is that this was an issue that appears to have been addressed to the satisfaction of both the student and the faculty,” Kayne said. Laury stated the demonstrators definitely sparked a healthy open-dialogue between students, faculty and the administration. “I think what’s important is that the students are actively engaged in sharing their concerns and making the university aware of issues as they arise and we’re going to keep that dialogue going,” said Laury.

Unmasking the truth about domestic violence at masquerade ball By Daris Mendez Ornate masks and elegant dresses filled up the reach of Downs Hall on April 8. With translucent glasses and lounge tables dressed in aqua blue, you would think the elegance followed an event like prom or homecoming. The purpose, however, was a masquerade charity ball hosted by Kean’s Leadership Institute, aimed to raise funds for 180Turning Lives Around, a New Jersey based nonprofit organization which provides help for families and individuals who have been affected by domestic violence and sexual assault. The ball was 100 percent student run and supported by numerous donations from restaurants and organizations including Chickfil-A, Barnes and Nobles, and Gourmet Dining. Kean’s Leadership Institute was able to

raise over $4,000 for the cause, from tickets and collaboration from students, according to KLI member Alyssa Leona in her introduction speech The initial goal of the fundraiser was $3,000. At the beginning of the evening, guest mingled around lounge tables, many taking pictures or decorating masks. Students, Taylor Williams and Kimalee Nichol-Ford, from Kean’s Center for Leadership and Service, hosted the night’s activities, which all connected to the idea of bringing awareness to domestic violence and sexual assault. Kean Dance Theatre (KDT) contributed to itinerary by performing a partnered number while wearing masks. “My mask represents a friend, an officer, a counselor or even a sibling. It represents

someone you feel comfortable enough to talk to about what you are going through and hopefully put it to an end,” echoed the KDT members. The guest speaker for the night was managing assistant director of Community Standards and Student Conduct, Nicole Rodriquez. Rodriguez stressed the importance of recognizing domestic violence when it happens and spoke about President Obama’s legislature put in place last March, which requires college campuses to speak about domestic violence. “We want to make sure that students at Kean University are aware of what domestic violence is and how to recognize it,” said Rodriguez Rodriguez also urged Kean students to check out the program Step Up which is designed to help Kean students recognize domestic

violence when in the situation or recognize when a friend is going through it as well. After dinner was served, guests were shown a short film directed by students tilted, “End the Silence,” which included two different scenarios where there were both a male and female victim of domestic violence. The film also portrays both the emotional and physical abuse involves in these types of relationships. Towards the end of the evening, after raffle prizes were given away, Kean students and guests present danced to the various genres of music provided by DJ Nix in the Mix. One attendee was Blanca Rosa, an education major. “This event was more than a masquerade ball, it was a learning experience to be more informed about domestic violence and sexual assault,” said Rosa.


May, 2015

Meet Janice: CAS’s Café worker

The Man Behind Liberty Hall Museum By Anthony Muccigrossi

Janice O’Halloran working at the CAS Café Kiosk.

Photo: Bhriana Smith

By Bhriana Smith If you have attended class in the Center for Academic Success (CAS) building, you are aware of the miniature café kiosk located on the third floor. In the café lies a sweet and charming barista who greets everyone with open arms. From her unforgettable soft voice, to her unbelievably warm smile, she is the heart that keeps the English and Communication majors and professors going, quite literally, everyday. Her name is Janice O’Halloran, and she knows just about everyone’s name. O’Halloran has been making drinks and warming hearts on Kean’s campus for quite a while. “I’ve been working for Gourmet Dining for two and a half years,” said O’Halloran. “I started off in the Starbucks. I was there for a year and a half, then I came up here last year.” Her time in the CAS building has been one that she has genuinely enjoyed. “I love this atmosphere, the people, the hours,” replied O’Halloran, when asked about her favorite aspects of working at the mini café. The general audience that O’ Halloran interacts with are professors in the English and Communication departments, because of the café’s location. “It’s so hard to name all the professors because I know most by first name,” she joked. “Everyone, Dr. Dan O Day, Dr. Jim Connors, all of the professors that are in this building are just so great.” When it comes to Starbucks drinks, O’Halloran’s favorite drink to make and consume is the caramel Macchiato. Like many “religious” coffee and tea drinkers, she is particular in the process of making drinks. “When I order a caramel Macchiato, I specify exactly how I want it,” said O’Halloran. “It just has to be made a particular way. I never want to have to send it back.” While she loves to drink her favorite coffee, she is also a devoted tea drinker. “Every morning I drink an Irish breakfast tea from Ireland,” she stated. “I have family over there so they send it to me, or bring me some when they come to visit.” If you’re not exactly sure which Starbucks drink to try, go visit Miss O’Halloran anyway. She just may be able to throw something together that you’ll love. “Somebody tells me what kind of flavors they like and I look around and then I’m like ‘I can put that together and make it into a nice drink,’” said O’Halloran. If you’re the adventurous type, you can try an O’Halloran Classic, a flavored drink that she created herself. “When I worked at Barnes and Noble years ago, I came up with a Cake Batter Frappuccino,” she said. “It’s a vanilla bean frap with vanilla syrup and caramel sauce drizzled on top. I’ve made chocolate gingerbread Frappuccino’s too.” For the people that have yet to visit this tiny café, it’s a great place to stop by, even if you’re not big on caffeinated beverages. “We have smoothies up here that are absolutely delicious, and the iced teas are just fabulous, just come and try something!” she said. As the center of the CAS community, you can share a smile and exchange a few words with Miss Janice O’Halloran the next time you pass the café.

The man behind Liberty Hall Museum sports a gray sweater with an American flag bow tie, looking like an American History historian. This man is Bill Schroh, the Director of Operations at Liberty Hall Museum. Schroh began his journey in history while he was a college student at State University of New York College at Buffalo, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Social Studies Education. Schroh became the director with the creation of Liberty Hall Museum over 10 years ago. “I have a finger in every single pie of the museum,” Schroh said. Schroh’s time at Liberty Hall Museum started when he opened up a history newspaper with a classified section for jobs. From the time Schroh interviewed for the job, he knew this was the place for him. An average day at Liberty Hall Museum can be unpredictable. Liberty Hall Museum, located at Kean University, is the home of William Livingston, the first Governor of New Jersey. Schroh is in charge of the daily operations of the museum, which includes activities, hiring, and training. Liberty Hall Museum is dear to Schroh’s heart, including his family. His children, Emma, 17, and Theodore, 15, have been coming to the museum since they were just babies. As a lover of history, Schroh reflected on the time he spent with his grandparents, which included touring historic landmarks and sites. With the hopes of pursuing a teaching career at the high school level, Schroh found a volunteering position at a museum. As his volunteer position soon turned into a part-time job, Schroh began his time in museum education. “I’ve always been interested in history,” said Schroh. Schroh’s office is decorated with the atmosphere of an historian. Proudly on his wall is a portrait of President Theodore Roosevelt. Among the books on his bookshelf are history books, including a signed copy of “The King’s Deception” by Author Steve Berry, who visited Liberty Hall Museum. “Bill is a really hard worker,” said Lacey Bongard, Programs Director for Liberty Hall Museum. Among the walls of Liberty Hall Museum’s offices are the many pictures of the events held at the museum. Schroh had the opportunity to meet those of prominence, such as Congressman Leonard Lance, and Governor Chris Christie. When talking about history of the museum, Schroh has a smile on his face and his tone appears excited. As part of his job at the museum, Schroh is in charge of researching for projects and exhibits. Among his projects, Schroh was featured in the short film “Hannah Caldwell,” which was directed and produced by Professor Larry Tung, of Kean University. The film was shot at Liberty Hall Museum. Surrounding himself around letters and artifacts of the Kean and Livingston family, Schroh is becoming the family historian, in a sense. “When the Kean family wants to know something about their family, whether currently or in the

Photo: Anthony Muccigrossi

Bill Schroh, Director of Operations, Liberty Hall Museum.

past, they don’t ask each other, they ask Bill Schroh,” said Richard O’Neil, Executive Director and Vice President of Liberty Hall museum. While Schroh reads and researches extensively for the museum projects, Schroh said his favorite part of American history is from 1800 to 1914. When Schroh was first hired at the museum, it was just getting started. Describing his time at Liberty Hall Museum, Schroh said he’s been here since the beginning. “To create a museum from scratch is fantastic,” Schroh said, while reflecting on the creation of Liberty Hall Museum. As part of his job as the director, Schroh comes across and reads many original documents. Among the documents he has uncovered date back to President George Washington. Schroh described the artifacts as being priceless. In his spare time, Schroh enjoys listening to country western music, hiking, walking, and going to the movies. Near his house in Warwick, New York, there is a drive-in movie theater, which Schroh enjoys taking his family to watch films. Schroh said they are lucky enough to have a drivein movie theater. Among his traveling interests, going to England was his favorite destination. With many exhibits a year, which started about five years ago, Schroh said they focus on a particular piece, and highlight it throughout the house. Describing the process of designing an exhibit, Schroh said it usually takes about a year to plan and open an exhibit. According to the museum’s website, the new featured exhibit, “Toys Through Time,” features children’s toys from more than 100 years ago, toys that the youngsters of the Liberty Hall Residence actually played with. “Liberty Hall is a treasure box of American history,” Schroh said.

Phil Giannino: Signing Off By Kristen DeMatos Walking the halls on the fourth floor of the CAS building, it’s nearly impossible not to notice the presence of one Kean senior, Phil Giannino. It is not his 6’3 stature that commands your attention, but rather his loud laugh and charismatic disposition. Giannino works at the University’s radio station, WKNJ 90.3 as the station manager and former program director. WKNJ is Kean’s only radio station and is now Kean’s number one listened to station. Students run the radio station under faculty advisement. Four years ago, when he walked onto campus as a fresh-faced freshman, Giannino joined the radio station and brought it back to life. “When I got there it was a ghost town,” Giannino said. “No one really knew about the station.” Dr. Scott McHugh is the faculty advisor for the radio station. “Every few years, we have turnover at the station and when Phil came in we were going through turnover,” Dr. McHugh said. “People graduate, and there’s a void. So he stepped right in and decided to change things, in terms of what he wanted to do.” He didn’t feel the underground rap format the station was using back then was reaching the key demographics of student listeners, so Giannino changed the format to Top 40/College. “I changed the old image from ‘WKNJ 90.3 The Sound of Kean University’ to

WKNJ 90.3 FM Cougar Radio,” Giannino said. From then on, the radio station had just begun the start of its changes. “He got really involved, you know, recruited people in his classes, to try and make things better,” McHugh said. “He’s done a lot of good things. He got the current group organized, he tried to manage them appropriately, make sure everybody had a specific job at the station.” Among these changes included dividing up positions among the radio staff. “The former program director did everything herself which I didn’t think was fair to everyone else,” Giannino said. “So I placed different positions, like station manager, program director, music director, stuff like that.” Giannino, who was interning with the radio station Magic 98.3 and 1450 WCTC in New Brunswick, just received a full time job with them as a sales assistant. “I’ve always wanted to run my own station one day and this is the right track to make that possible,” said Giannino. “I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to work with. Everyone is amazing and it feels like a family, so I’m very happy with this job.” Students that work with Giannino feel that he brought the vibe that the radio station has been waiting for. “Working with Phil is awesome, he’s a good guy,” said WKNJ DJ Wayne Clark. “We always have a lot of fun.” Giannino’s impact at Kean doesn’t stop

at the radio station. Janice O’Halloran, a worker at the faux Starbucks on the third floor of CAS, said she loves having Phil around. “He brightens up our days here, he’s such a joy,” she said. “He lets me be creative and surprise him with his order. He’s a sweet guy.” He also proPhotos: Anthony Muccigrossi Phil Giannino working at the Kean Cougar Radio station. vides help for other students and faculty “He’s always available to help, if need during numerous school events to share be,” said Margaret Waldron, secretary to his knowledge and express his personality. the school of Communication, Media and “He’s done some things with the televiJournalism. “He’s a good boy.” sion studio, and he’s helped out on some With Giannino’s impending graduation open houses, and tours and he’s always getting closer and closer everyday, he can’t available to talk to students when they help but feel grateful for all the experienccome in for visits,” McHugh said. “He’s es WKNJ and Kean University has offered really become kind of like a spokesman, a to him. face of our program.” “I’m gonna miss everyone here, but I Giannino’s involvement and presence know I have an exciting future ahead of has made an impact on those he meets, me,” said Giannino, with a smile on his including different staff among the fourth face. floor of CAS.

May, 2015



exhibit focus

By Bryan C. Kuriawa

Painter Joseph Marioni next to one of his recently completed works.

Photo: Anthony Muccigrossi

New York painter captures painting’s essence in Liquid Light Above the busy streets of Manhattan, he spends his mornings reading through books about the history of art. Surrounded by a library compiling his favorite artists, his colleagues, and his own work, he plans for the day ahead. Two floors above in his studio, he creates a painting composed of multiple layers, but one final color. The emphasis in each being of one color, as specific to that color as possible, and to that of light. Such a straightforward piece of art, in truth encompasses more to the viewer than imagined. Since 1970, Joseph Marioni has set about forging his own identity in the world of art. His multi-layered, yet ultimately single-color, paintings have gained praise both overseas and in his own backyard. Despite being considered an abstract or minimal painter, Marioni would instead classify himself as a “Radical Painter.” Within this context, the act of painting itself becomes his immediate and direct objective. “It’s painting of sensation, not painting of information, the painting is not trying to give you information, it’s trying to give you sensation,” Marioni said. “It doesn’t have a picture, narrative, it doesn’t have a story, there’s no picture language in the painting.” Born in 1943, the son of a doctor and opera singer, Marioni first introduction to art came during childhood. Sitting in his father’s library, he would look at various large art books detailing the history of Renaissance painting. Viewing them, he was distinctly influenced by the color of these works seeing them as the most beautiful form of “eye candy.” From these paintings, Marioni decided his future profession was to be a painter. With the post-war Abstract Expressionists being among the most popular painters, Marioni would begin to view their work in similar standing. Seeing those of Pollock, Rothko, and Newman as modern influences, he moved to New York to pursue his dream. Yet upon arriving, Marioni arrived in the midst of an artistic transition that influenced his work. “I came to New York at the peak of people like

Bob [Robert] Ryman and Brice Marden, two of my colleagues, and the issue was the literalness of their work,” Marioni said. “The question is what is the difference between something that is real and something that is merely literal, and the basic difference is the distinction between object-hood and objectness.” In developing his own distinct style, Marioni stressed the reality of this matter, but saw what he creates as “Real Paintings” devoted to objectness. In this, it portrays the essence of painting, to carry pigment which carries light or as he dubs, “Liquid Light.” Yet beyond the act of painting, he feels such a term carries a philosophical weight which goes into the essence of an object. “Our eye and brain [have] not developed enough for us to recognize light, we don’t recognize light,” Marioni said. “What we recognize is the object that the light is reflected off of. The light has to divide up into its components in order for us to see it, so our consciousness doesn’t recognize the light itself in the pure form. It recognizes what I call the children of the light, the angels of the God of light. We have the most mundane names for them; we call them green, yellow, red and blue.” In this principle, Marioni feels that individuals have never asked about the philosophical undertones of his work. Instead, he believes the critic is there to promote their agenda, in which this topic may be unfashionable. To that extent, Marioni feels there are certain terms not addressed by writers in discussing art due to historical “baggage.” “Quality, beauty, spiritual, they’re taboo,” Marioni said. “They are the three things Western Civilization categorizes as useless.” To Marioni, these subjects are ignored by modern art critics when it comes time to write their articles. In such cases, critics, and subsequently gallery curators, are more interested in projecting their social agendas rather than something broader. While he is established in Europe, Marioni has only recently been gaining notice as a

painter in the United States. In 2011, he was featured as part of the gallery, “Eye to Eye” at the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C. Paired with the works of Vincent Van Gogh, Piet Mondrian, and others, Marioni’s work became the exhibit’s centerpiece. “Marioni is a truly erudite painter dedicated as much to the process and materials of painting as to the intellectual ideas behind the medium,” Vesela Sretenović, Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art said. “His desire to paint light and the immaterial yet in a very concrete manner, with sheer color, puts him in between the physical and meta-physical, a place where he can happily reside as being simply and truthfully himself: a “painter.” Although in his eyes, his recent prominence in America comes in a time of a different popular art form. “America is not interested in painting anymore, it’s not our cultural identity, what is our dominate art-form? It’s filmmaking,” Marioni said. “The United States is shifting its cultural identity from the East Coast to the West Coast, it may take another 20 or 30 years, and then the United States will emerge with a dominate art-form which will be filmmaking.” Yet in terms of painting, Marioni stated one day, we will have artists who are just painting simply red or blue paintings. In this, there will be a progress of art in the future as have occurred with different forms transforming into branches of abstract art. Beyond any transitions that may happen, Marioni feels art will still remain prominent. Whether on an easel, or in another form, he believes it will remain and address more than the image. “Painting is the medium of the human spirit,” Marioni said. “I make paintings that address the human spirit.” For more information, visit Mr. Marioni’s website at Editor Anthony Muccigrossi contributed to the reporting of this article.

How To Spot One Of Us:

A Collaborative Exhibition By Gabrielle Gale Prendatt-Carter “How to Spot One of Us: A Collaborative Exhibition” currently located at the University’s Human Rights Institute Gallery, located in The Nancy Thompson Library, is a gallery featuring the works of Holocaust survivors’ children. The gallery features the photography of Aliza Augustine, and film & poetry by Janet R. Kirchheimer. Both second-generation Holocaust survivors, Augustine and Kirchheimer joined forces in the name of their families to provide this dual exhibit. “So in these photos, you see some of their family members holding pictures of their ancestors and the pictures floating in the background are of their ancestors and family members, and the second generation survivors are the ones holding the pictures,” explained Human Rights Institute docent,

Chelsea Deline. It was when Kirchheimer went to visit the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. that she felt compelled to tell the story of her ancestors. “She was in front of a cattle car and she just felt this heavy presence come over her, almost as if her ancestors didn’t want for her to be there. You just came to visit this exhibit but you’re not doing anything to continue telling our story,” explained Deline. “The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators,” according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. During the Holocaust, cattle cars were used to transport captured Jews from the internment camps. “They would pack like a hundred of them in the cattle cars so, some of them would die off in the cattle cars and it would be harder to breathe. There was no

“Yona” by Aliza Augustine

food and barely any oxygen or water,” said Deline. The “How to Spot One of Us: A Collaborative Exhibition” was brought to Kean because of the Holocaust Museum located upstairs in the Human Rights Institute.

Photo: Gabrielle Gale Prendatt-Carter

“We look for people who would like to come and exhibit here…any exhibit that comes here is telling some type of story,” said Deline. “How to Spot One of Us” will be in the Human Rights Institute Gallery until May 18.


May, 2015

movies & entertainment Otaku Anime Society commemorates 15 years at first “TowerCon” By Gabrielle Gale Prendatt-Carter Kean University’s Otaku Anime Society (OAS) hosted the first annual, TowerCon at the University Center on April 19, to commemorate its 15-year anniversary. TowerCon activities were held on floors one through three of the University Center with a respectable turnout. The convention gathered Kean students, faculty, alumni, and the public, under one roof to fellowship and enjoy the many events of the day. One can find that many of the attendees of the TowerCon shared other similar interests and hobbies besides Japanese anime. “The convention has been more than just anime,” said faculty advisor and Kean librarian, Craig Anderson, “I presented something on live action role playing games. There’s been something on video games and Magic, the gathering card game.”

Much like a standard anime convention, Kean’s TowerCon had table panels, an artist alley, a cosplay fashion show, an outdoor DJ segment, and a guest speaker; voice over actor Mike Pollock, most notably recognized for his roles in “Pokémon,” Russian cartoon “Smeshariki,” and videogame “Sonic Lost World.” “The cosplay fashion show was actually the basis for this entire event,” said OAS president and student, Justin George. “They wanted to do this a couple of semesters ago but, they just couldn’t get enough people interested. So when I became president, the e-board figured the best way to give this the attention it deserves is to base this—during the day with other events,” said George. Anime is not just an interest however; it is a culture. “It’s basically animation, but the term anime has come to mean [specific] animation that’s come from Japan, from

Nicole Nunes, winner of the cosplay contest.

Far East countries, or by extension, any anime done in that kind of style,” said Anderson. “It’s almost anything that falls under the nerd or geek subculture.” According to George, it’s “all about the culture.” “We’re talking card games, video games,

Photo: Gabrielle Gale Prendatt-Carter

comic books, and that’s where you get a lot of these people that come to these events such as the one today,” said George. “We welcome everyone here and we’ve learned a lot of things from this con that we hope to expand on making the event much bigger and better.”

Online streaming Services vs. the movie theater By Anthony N. Muccigrossi The days of spending $11.50 on a movie ticket, popcorn, and the almost $5 bottle of water are over. A film lover can pay less than the price of a ticket, and enjoy unlimited films all month long. With the creation of online streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, film lovers are watching movies without ever leaving the comfort of their residence. “The more devices you can access to watch a movie, I think it makes movies more [desirable],” Dr. Cathleen Londino, a Film professor at Kean, said. While the tradition of watching a film at a movie theatre still exists, online streaming is changing the consumer market in more ways than one. Since its establishment in 1997, Netflix has adapted and changed the way consumers watch films and television shows. According to a company timeline, Netflix originated as a movie rental service using the internet as the marketplace. Just two years later, in 1999, Netflix began to charge a monthly fee, which allowed consumers to rent unlimited movies. “With modern technology now, with big screen TVs and surround sound, you can get the same experience at home that you can at the movies,” Bill Kolbenschlag, a Journalism and Public Relations lecturer at Kean said. According to, the price

of a movie ticket at South Plainfield, N.J., Regal Cinema 16 is $11.50. In retrospect, Amazon Prime, a service that includes music streaming, e-books, and free shipping on orders, as well as online streaming of movies and shows for Prime subscribers, costs $99.00 a year. Broken down to $8.25 a month, movie enthusiasts can watch unlimited films a month, for less than the cost of a single movie ticket. Looking at company data, Netflix had 4.2 million subscribers in 2005. In 2015, more than 57 million subscribers use it as their streaming platform. “I used to love going to the movies, but now Regal Cinemas. I just can’t stand the crowds anymore,” Kolbenschlag said. Hulu, like Netflix and Amazon Prime, also offers movies and television shows. However, Hulu’s website states that currently running shows can be streamed to a subscriber’s device. The main difference between Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu, is that Hulu uses advertising as a method of generating money. With all the online streaming, movie theaters are facing competition from around

the world. To make the movie theatre’s more appealing, theatres such as AMC have included dinning options and cinema suites, which allow guests 21 and over to enjoy alcohol beverages while watching the movie. Online streaming doesn’t place an age blockade on movie lovers who are younger than the age of 21. “Watching a movie on Netflix is more personable,” Phil Giannino, a senior Communication/Media student said. However, rather than spend money on a movie ticket and food, the moneypinching person can enjoy full access to thousands of films and television shows for under $10.00 a month. Photo: Anthony Muccigrossi

Unlike the movie theatre, you aren’t forced to watch the 15 to 20 minutes of previews before a movie actually begins. From a convenience standpoint, people also seen online- streaming as a way to multitask and stop and resume a film. A lover of film only needs three things: a subscription to a streaming service, a computer or tablet, and internet connection, and the movie theatre comes to them anywhere in the world.

With the present generation glued to their technology, it isn’t uncommon to see people watching their favorite shows at a Starbucks or on a train. Since the implementation of Wi-Fi on Airplanes, film lovers can use streaming services at 30,000 feet in the air. To draw more people to their services, online streaming platforms have created original shows such as “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black,” which were created exclusively for Netflix. Amazon Studios, in a press release in January, announced that Woody Allen will write and direct his first television series. “Woody Allen is a visionary creator who has made some of the greatest films of alltime, and it’s an honor to be working with him on his first television series,” Roy Price, Vice President of Amazon Studios, said in a press release. Writers and directors no longer have to solely persuade television stations to buy their series, being that the market has increased to include online streaming services. When it comes to the shift from watching a movie in a theatre to online, Mr. Kolbenshlag reflected on the noise generated from people talking, crinkling the popcorn bag, and making noise with their soda and straw. When it comes to the benefit of online streaming, versus the movie theatre, Giannino mentioned, “You don’t have that awkward person that laugh’s at every little thing that’s not funny.”

Words light up stage at night of poetry By Rebecca Panico Shantelle Lowery grabbed the microphone and stood in front a crowd of about 50 people in Hutchinson’s first-floor auditorium on April 16 with the words “poetry slam” written on a whiteboard behind her. “My first poem is for someone very, very special,” she said. She paused. “I hate you.” The crowd erupted in laughter and Lowery, a psychology and psychiatric rehabilitation major, continued on. But despite the humor, the poem actually dealt with her emotions at the time of her mother’s cancer diagnosis. “I hate you, cancer,” Lowery, 21, read. “You took my one and only mother…One day the doctor called me and told me to come in because my mother only had one day to live.”

At the end, the crowd snapped their fingers rather than applauding. Snapping fingers – said Rikki Orange, the event’s host – lets the poet know that they’re being heard and felt without interrupting the flow of the performance. “We sought to give you guys [the performers] an outlet…to express your heart,” said Orange at the beginning of the event. The event, titled “Potency of Poetry,” began at 7 p.m. and was benefitting Kean’s Sigma Tau Delta English Honor’s Society. Anyone could register to perform for $2 and audience members paid $3 to get in. The poetry slam, which has a bit more attitude than traditional poetry readings one would see in a café during the 1950s or 60, featured performers that were not just limited to English majors, were from all walks of life and were both young and old.

Some performed musical sketches, like early childhood education major Brendan Salazar, who sang and played acoustic guitar. Others rapped with interludes of a capella singing, like Matthew Cunha, a freshman communications major. Topics of the poems were eclectic, covering themes such war, politics, love, race, relationships and personal struggles. Mary Ellen Banfield, who is expected to graduate this May from Kean with a master’s in English writing, read a poem titled “Third Wind” about her ex-husband of 22 years and his flatulence. “…An anal exhale, no fresh air to inhale. An air biscuit I’d rather not taste. A booty cough that must be covered! A brown haze which never clears,” Banfield read aloud to much laugher from the audience. Others decided to do some spontaneous poetry, like Holly Wood (yes, that’s her real

name), who was also a host and organizer of the event. “Slam. Poetry. Yelling. Angry. Waving my hands a lot. Specific point of view on things,” Wood said with punctuated rhythm, almost perfectly describing most of the poems of that night in a few simple words. Over 20 people performed that night. The event raised $162 and will be used to fund future events, said treasurer and secretary for the English Honors Society Sarah Sakowski. Adam Raffaele, a public school teacher that teaches science in Union township, heard of the event from his girlfriend and tagged along to watch. Even the science-guy enjoyed the night of arts and entertainment. “It’s very good to see everyone open up,” said Raffaele. “It’s not exactly my thing but it was cool to see.”



May, 2015


Goodbye from The Tower’s Editor-in-Chief By Bryan C. Kuriawa Well, after nearly four years of wandering in and out of room 413, I’m graduating from Kean University. Despite the many ups and downs, I can say it was fun and enjoyable working on this publication, day in and day out. When I first came here in November 2011, it was to be an Arts and Entertainment writer whose primary subject was monthly film reviews. My time as a writer for my High School paper had convinced me I could be the next Roger Ebert or Gene Shalit. Boy was I full of it. I eventually, highlight “eventually,” came to realize movie critics were a dime a dozen in the overly saturated world of media. Any individual, not only with strong grammatical skills, but even a camera, can express his or her opinion on cinema. Thus I made the transition over to Features and profiling people with interesting backstories or careers. Sitting in the Tower office from my comfy wheel chair, excuse the misuse of terms, the room looks a little different from when I first saw it. The tables have been reorganized into nice rows, the area seems more open, but at least the international clocks are still here. Three of them function somewhat well, the rest are in need of fresh batteries. I should probably get on that last matter before the semester ends. Back on topic, I’m not entirely sure how to address the fact of my graduation in a proper light. I could use this time to thank many of the fine professors I’ve had. Excluding a few who resulted in mental anguish, and could be potential fictional villains if I


ever write detective novels. Similarly, I could mention that I’m happy to have worked and gotten to know many of our writers during my time here. That working with such a staff has proven to be both developmental and to a smaller extent, entertaining. Entertaining in manners that would be impossible to describe, largely due to inappropriateness. Hopefully, my passive, sarcastic tone will be evident to you at this point, dear reader. Those last two words probably pushed me into the “antique” category in tone. Moving on, I would say that I’m very happy to have worked with this staff in the past two semesters. It’s been enjoyable getting to know you all and develop a strong student publication. To the writers and editors at this publication, I have a message for you all. Regardless of your writing focus, whether it be the Arts, Sports, whatever, keep a truly inquisitive mind. Develop your own ideals and always seek the truth and information behind everything you do. Care about what truly moves you and stand for everything you believe in. In this sense, I will quote from the late Prime Minster of Rhodesia, Ian Smith. “Freedom and justice. If you have those two, it covers everything. You must stick to those principles and have the courage of your convictions.” I’ll give everyone a moment at this point to look up who Ian Smith, or the former country of Rhodesia, is. To everyone, I say thanks for making my college experience, and my time at The Tower, exceptional. It’s been an honor working, writing, and procrastinating with you all. Goodbye Kean, goodbye to The Tower, We can put this one to rest.

(Continued from page 1)

explained Ross. Ross is now involved in a philanthropy interest group for Mu Sigma Upsilon called “The Girl Effect.” This group’s focus is to raise funds for the women living in third world countries, so that they are able to go to school and live a positive lifestyle. Ross is excited to hold more bake sales to raise money and will become a counselor for adolescents and young adults, specifically those who have not always had the confidence and motivation to move forward in life. Diane Calle graduated from Kean University with a bachelor’s in Public Administration in the Spring of 2014 and will be the first person in her family to continue on to receive a masters degree. “After you work so hard and give everything you’ve got, you feel so much better about everything,” said Diana Calle a graduate of Public Administration at Kean. Calle’s future goals include earning a PhD in Public Administration after she finishes her master’s program. “I remembered while being an undergrad I worked so hard in everything and I got

Architecture School

really involved by joining the sorority Mu Sigma Upsilon,” said Calle. “I really missed college after I graduated so I decided to go back to get a masters degree.” She is currently the secretary of Graduate and Part Time Student council, at Kean and the secretary for a non-profit organization, the Hispanic/Latino alumni council. “The advice that I would give anyone in college would be to get involved,” Calle said. “There are so many leadership opportunities at Kean to take advantage of and they really help out in the long run.” Students should arrive at 7 a.m. with their cap and gown to prepare for the processional lineup, which will begin at 8:30 am. The ceremony also starts at 8:30 a.m. There have not been any new announcements about the commencement speaker. This information is unknown at this time. For more information about The 2015 Commencement Ceremony, visit: Congratulations to the Kean Graduating Class of 2015!

(Continued from page 1)

Academic Issues Committee of the New Jersey President’s Council on April 10,” explained Kean’s spokeswoman Susan Kayne, later adding that the New Jersey President’s Council approved the program on April 27. While faculty and administration debate over the benefits of the new program, Kean’s students also have varying views. “There are not a lot of state schools that have architecture, there is NJIT but, it’s rather expensive,” said Erin Langan, who is studying Industrial Design but always planned on getting her masters in architecture. “Especially being backed by Michael Graves I think it will bring a lot more respect to the design program as well as the architecture program.” Others are wary to support an additional program. “I just wonder how this new program will affect tuition rates and school resources,” said senior psychology major Alyssa Dworzanski. “I feel that Kean should focus on supporting existing programs, rather than use funds and tuition money to create new ones.” Regardless of faculty, administration or student opinions, it looks as though the Michael Graves School of Architecture will become the newest program at Kean University, as long as it receives the final approval. The school is to be housed in the new Green Lane building, which also holds the Robert Busch School of Design.

Department of Communication Kean University Center for Academic Success 1000 Morris Avenue Union, NJ 07083 Telephone: (908) 737-0460; Fax: (908) 737-0465 Email:;

The Tower is an independent, laboratory newspaper of Kean University’s journalism option in the communication major program. It is published monthly through the regular academic year and supported by advertising and the Department of Communication. The Tower is not responsible for claims made by its advertisers. The Tower is a public forum and is free from censorship and advance approval of content by the university administration. The Tower staff is responsible for its content.




OPINION PIECES AND LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Tower welcomes guest columns and letters to the editor from any source. Such material should be submitted to or left at The Tower’s offices. To verify sources of written material, submissions must include the writer’s name and contact information. Students should include their class (sophomore, graduate, etc.) and major. Faculty and staff should include campus title or position. On request, names may be withheld from publication if The Tower staff determines there is a legitimate reason to do so, but no anonymous letters will be accepted for publication. The Tower reserves the right to edit, and refuse publication of any submission.

DISPLAY AND CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING Deadline for space reservations for display advertising is two weeks before the publication date. Ads submitted after that may be used on a space-available basis. All ads are run-of-the-paper unless an extra fee is collected for a paid position. Deadline for art work and copy is one week before the publication date. Classified advertising can be submitted up to the Thursday before publication as long as the payment is made at the same time. Call (908) 737-0461 or email for a rate card.



May, 2015

Kean senior finds new passion in lacrosse By Celeste Simmons Have you ever been on campus and seen the girl with the long, curly, dark brown hair? The one with the big welcoming smile always on her face? If you have than you probably already know who I’m talking about. Thainara Ramos, a psychology major, who’s a senior here at Kean. Ramos, who is known by her friends as Tee, plays on the women’s lacrosse team here at Kean. Now you might be thinking that this is about to be another sports profile story about an athlete and how their season has been, but it’s not. Ramos has a unique story; this is her first time ever playing lacrosse. She tried out for the team with no prior playing experience. “Trying out for a sport that I’ve never played before at a college level has been the toughest thing I’ve had to encounter,” said Ramos. “It has been a physical, but mostly a mental challenge.” This is not Ramos first college sport, she also played basketball at Kean her sophomore and junior years. After taking a year off from athletics, Ramos said she began to miss the team aspect of competition and that prompted her to try out for lacrosse. “I’ve been an athlete all my life,” said Ramos. “The first sport I ever played was basketball, and from there I stayed with soccer and softball. I Through the tunnel. honestly can’t picture my life without sports.” Ramos comes from comes from a very athletic family. “My father played soccer all his life and my mom played volleyball,” said Ramos. “My sister also plays a wide variety of sports so it’s definitely a competitive household.” Stepping on to a field having never played the sport before would be scary for most, but trying out next to girls who have all played before would be downright nerve wracking. That wasn’t the case for Ramos, though. The girls have all been very welcoming and supportive to her since the beginning. “I love everything lacrosse has taught me,” said Ramos. “I wouldn’t take anything back from this awesome experience.” Ramos said that the team has a way of coming together even during hardships. One of the toughest parts for Ramos has been the physical aspect of the sport. She

Photo: Kean Athletics

says the sport can really push you to your breaking point; to the point where your body can’t take it anymore. “Tee has an amazing personality,” said Michael Cooper, a close friend of Ramos. “Always staying positive even when she can be broken, but she still manages to juggle her life while things are at it’s peak. An amazing all around woman.” Ramos has tackled this experience head on. She’s a great example of the saying “it’s never too late to try something new.” She proves that you really can do anything if you set your mind to it. “My athletic career at Kean has been an incredible experience,” said Ramos. “I wouldn’t change anything I’ve gone through or any decision I’ve made. The lessons learned here will stick with me forever. I’m beyond happy that I’ve decided to play sports in college. I honestly don’t know what I would be doing with my time without sports.”

Team chemistry is key for tennis team By Jamie Alicea III Kean’s womens tennis team is focusing this off-season on attacking the ball and developing the team’s new-found chemistry. The tennis team is coming off a successful season that saw the squad go 8-5, which is the program’s best mark since 2010. The team is run by relatively new coach Jodi Valenti, who continues to instill a team first atmosphere, in her 3rd year as head coach. One player that has benefited from this team first mentality is sophomore Michelle Luis. “One year ago today I got a call from my coach asking me to join the team,” said Luis. “These girls have made such an impact on my life. Not only are they my teammates, but they are my best friends, my sisters. The love we have for tennis brought us together, but the love we have for each other made us a family.”

For the team to get to that next level they must protect the court at home, where they only managed a 4-3 record. The team managed to improve individually, as players like Luis, Alyssa Peterson, Richonda Figgins, and Jyssel Lebon all finished above .500 for the singles side. The team could possibly be playing with as many as 10 sophomores heading into next season, but that only motivates senior captain Christy Verdi. “I believe us Kean’s womens tennis team.

being successful last season, not just score wise, but team wise, was no accident,” said Verdi. “It had to do with us finishing out our games strong, and while we previously didn’t have as many arms, now we do and now we’re a family.” For many of these players, tennis has given them a chance to be themselves, to leave their emotions out on the field. “Tennis is the only sport that makes me feel like myself,” said sophomore

Richonda Figgins. “It makes me happy for myself, and allows you to feel like your not only playing against yourself but for yourself and your teammates.” The sport is a big aspect in many of the players’ lives. “Tennis plays a big role in my life and because you invest in a college sport you have to just keep practicing, be committed, and dedicate yourself,” said sophomore Alyssa Peterson. The team looks to continue where they left off, as the team closed out last season with a 3 game winning streak. Their motivation is to defeat #1 ranked division rival TCNJ. “We really look forward to facing them, they’re a tough team and if you can somehow manage a win off of them you’re like a God.” said Verdi.

Photo: Jamie Alicia III

2014-2015 Women’s basketball team

Photo: Kean Athletic website







May, 2015

Men’s volleyball ends strong season in NCAA Quarterfinals

Photo: Kean Athletics

Photo: Ryan Kelly, University Relations

Players lined up before match.

By Krzysztof Kucza After a hard-fought and successful season, the fifth seeded Kean Men’s Volleyball team ended their 2015 campaign, as they lost to third seeded SUNY New Paltz in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Men’s Volleyball Championship on April 24. The Cougars fought hard, but fell in four sets (16-25, 25-18, 18-25, 17-25). Kean struggled to get into a rhythm early which ultimately caused them to fall in the opening set. Kean bounced back as they won the second set thanks to a well balanced offense and great ball control, committing only one error during the set. The third and fourth set saw a different play style by New Paltz as they made some key adjustments to slow down Kean after their great second set. The Hawks also got their offense up and running, after hitting their worst percentage in the game during that second set, and Kean struggled to stop them. “Right when we thought we had them on the

ropes, they came up and just switched it up on us and moved things around,” explained senior right side hitter Ed Jedziniak. “They were just consistent, and a team that is consistent like that they can just go and go.” Blocking was yet again something Kean prevailed in registering. They totaled 10 blocks in the match compared to just two by SUNY New Paltz. After receiving his First Team All-American award the night before, senior outside hitter Bez Arslani lead all hitters with a team high 10 kills while hitting .250%. Middles Kyle Farley and Tommy Rosario had seven kills apiece while hitting .538% and .214% respectively. This is the fourth year in a row that Kean has been in the NCAA tournament since the program began five years ago. “For us to do what we have done four years in a row, I think we are proud of where we are,” preached coach Charlie Ginex. “ I’m super proud of these guys, and especially the seniors for the hard work

they put in day in and day out. Throughout the season and off season and for us to come out here and battle to have a chance to play with the best teams in the country, we are very proud of that.” With the loss, the Cougars fall to 31-6 to end their 2015 season which is still the most wins in program history. The team will be looking to win its fifth conference title next year and make another run at the NCAA tournament. They’ll be doing it without the five seniors that were the core of the team this year. Senior setter Ron Dunn talked about how it was playing with these seniors for four years: “These guys are my best friends,” said Dunn. “I’ve lived with them for a couple years now and I feel like they are really part of my family. I wouldn’t have it any other way then like going out with them right there with me. I think we had a special bond and this was a great group of guys to play with. I feel honored to have played all four years with these guys.”

Baseball team stays steady despite obstacles By Mak Ojutiku From the perspective of an outsider looking in, Kean University’s baseball team is having another typical good season. The 5th ranked Cougars currently have a 29-10 record, which seems like just another strong mark for the exceptional baseball program. If you asked a member of the team how they’re doing though, you’d get a different answer. “If you were to ask someone not on the team, they may say we are playing pretty well,” said junior infielder Ryan Reitmeyer. “As far as the standards of our team, any player would tell you we haven’t been playing our best baseball.” One big reason the team hasn’t been up to it’s usual standards is injuries. The Cougars have had to go deep into their depth chart to replace injured players, and because of that their starting rotation hasn’t been as static as it usually is. One positive of the situation is that it’s given a lot of previously unheralded players the chance to step up and show what they’ve got. One such player is Matt Krupa. Krupa, a freshman has stepped up to replace last year’s First-Team All-NJAC and All-New Jersey infielder Andy Lopez, who suffered an injury early this season. In 34 games, Krupa has 46 hits, 29 RBIs and a slugging percentage of .500. Krupa’s stellar play got him the honor of being named the 2015 NJAC Rookie of the Year. “Matt’s been a really good surprise stepping up,” said head coach Neil Ioviero. “He kind of got forced into it, and he’s doing really well for us.” The Cougars have had bright spots in other areas as well. On an April 4, 11-2 win against NJAC rival Montclair, Reitmeyer went 5-for-7 with 8 RBIs and two consecutive home runs, one of which was a grand slam. “Hitting the grand slam was awesome!” said Reitmeyer. “I have hit one in little league, but for my college career it was my

first. It’s always a great feeling when you do something that helps the team win.” Junior Matt Meleo also had reached a milestone in NJAC play. On April 11, Meleo went 6-6 hitting as the Cougars defeated Rutgers-Newark 11-7. Meleo’s performance got him in the record books, as he tied a mark previously held by two former Cougars. “I felt really good before the game,” said Meleo. “My swing in batting practice felt good and that usually carries over come game time. Tying the Kean record was an honor, knowing the caliber of players that have come through this program. The best part is getting the win though. If the win does not happen then, to me, those hits don’t mean anything.” While it hasn’t been easy for them, the Cougars have managed to stay afloat. The head coach of the team attributes the

Anthony Fischetti at bat against Stockton

team’s ability to do that to their bullpen. Rich Ferguson, Vinny Zanfordino, Matt Wagner, and Chris Amato, have all been solid on the mound for the Cougars. Ferguson recently received the Fireman of the Year award, which is given to the top reliever in NJAC. “Those guys have pitched out of the bullpen where the starters got knocked out pretty early,” said Ioviero. “And if those guys couldn’t hold the lead and get the game under control we’d be in trouble most times. They’re ready everyday and they’ve done a really good job.” The team has been led by seniors Sal Taromino and Chris Thielmann. Taormina’s 52 hits make him the best hitter on the team and the sixth best in NJAC. Thielmann, a pitcher, has 51 strikeouts and has pitched 66 innings, the second highest amount in NJAC. He

recently pitched a complete game shutout in a 1-0 win against 24th ranked Rowan. “Taromino is just a really good leader he’s fearless when he plays.” said Ioviero. “He doesn’t back down. Him and Thielmann, he’s our best pitcher, they really deserve a lot of the credit.” The regular season has just about winded down and now the Cougars are looking to to put on a good show in the postseason. The goal for this season is what is every season; to get the NCAA tournament and the World Series. “When playoff time comes, all the older guys know that it’s time to bear down and get to work,” said Thielmann. “But I believe the younger guys are really beginning to catch on to this, so I can really see us making a big statement when it comes tourney time. From here on out, it’s a National Championship or bust.”

Photo: Mak Ojutiku

The Tower May 2015  
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