News from the President's Office
May 2014
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Pulitzer Prize-Winning Poet Stephen Dunn Among Speakers at Spring Commencement Ceremonies

Stockton students take the traditional walk to the Sports Center where family and friends await the commencement ceremony.

Over 1,300 Stockton graduates received degrees in three commencement ceremonies earlier this month. The Master’s and Doctoral graduation was held on May 8, and Baccalaureate ceremonies were held in the morning of May 11 for the Schools of Arts and Humanities, Business, Education, General Studies and Health Sciences and in the afternoon for the Schools of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Poet Stephen Dunn, who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for “Different Hours” in 2001 and is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Creative Writing at Stockton, spoke in the May 11 morning ceremony. Dunn was presented with a Doctor of Humane Letters by Dean Pappas, vice chairman of the Board of Trustees.

He urged the graduates to persevere despite the inevitable questions about “What Next” and the demands of making a living while maintaining one’s soul, which he called “character’s grid, its underpinning.”

“Today you begin your own legacy, which I trust will add to Stockton’s. Good luck to you all,” he concluded, citing a Japanese proverb:

“‘Fall down seven times, stand up eight.’”

The Research and Development Council of New Jersey's President Anthony Cicatiello, who is also co-founder and CEO of CN Communications, gave the commencement address in the May 11 afternoon ceremony. He was awarded the college's Distinguished Service Award.

Lori S. Herndon, president and chief executive officer of the AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, and executive vice president of AtlantiCare, was the keynote speaker on May 8 at the Doctoral and Master’s Degree Commencement. Herndon, a 1992 Stockton alumna and a member of the College Foundation board, was awarded the college's Distinguished Service Award.

Dr. Harvey Kesselman, provost and executive vice president of the college, gave opening remarks at the May 11 ceremonies and called on all the mothers in the audience to stand and be recognized on Mother’s Day. President Herman Saatkamp had been called away due to a family illness.

“Our students are promises we make to a future we will not see, and at this graduation, with these outstanding students, you can see that we are delivering on our promises,” said Dr. Kesselman. 

He told the graduates, “It is still the case that more jobs are available for those holding a bachelor’s degree or higher than for any other degree. Indeed, New Jersey is ranked second in the nation for states creating jobs for college graduates.”

“What lies ahead of you is the delight of moving forward into a new life, but it also requires persistence, diligence, hard work, and getting along with others who may be different from you in a cosmopolitan world,” Dr. Kesselman said.

The May 11 morning ceremony featured a surprise for Lacey Reger, of Hammonton, NJ, whose brother flew 17 hours from Bahrain to surprise her. Zechariah Reger, a firefighter in the U.S. Coast Guard stationed in the Middle East, met his sister with roses as she came off the platform from receiving her Nursing diploma.

One exceptional student received three undergraduate degrees at the May 11 afternoon ceremony. Kristin M. Gummoe, of Folsom, in Atlantic County, NJ, earned degrees in Business Studies, with a concentration in International Business; Political Science, with a pre-law concentration; and Language and Cultural Studies, with a concentration in Spanish.

“I would never have been able to complete it without the support I found not only within my family,
friends, and boyfriend, but also my preceptors at Stockton and supervisors at work,” Gummoe said.

Visit Flickr to see images from all three ceremonies.


Dr. Joseph Lema Awarded Fulbright to Help Develop Tourism Education in Asia

Dr. Joseph Lema, associate professor of Hospitality and Tourism Management

Dr. Joseph Lema, associate professor of Hospitality and Tourism Management, has been awarded a 2014 Fulbright Specialist US- Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) initiative award to help develop tourism education programs in Thailand and Indonesia this summer.

Through the Thailand-United States Educational Foundation, Dr. Lema will be collaborating with Burapha University International College during July and August and then travel to Jakarta, Indonesia to work with the partner Trisakiti Institute of Tourism until the end of August.

His work will involve lecturing, developing curriculum, assessing educational and professional development needs for hospitality organizations, and advancing ASEAN regional tourism marketing research for the development of a globally competitive workforce. With increased investment by multinational corporations, higher education has an important role in developing leadership capacity that can meet the needs of an increasingly complex hospitality and tourism industry in this dynamic region of the world, Dr. Lema noted.

“I am looking forward to having the opportunity to participate in sharing experiences and knowledge that leads to more competitive approaches to hospitality and tourism, higher education and increasing mobility for students,” he said.

“Dr. Lema’s work exemplifies the college’s commitment to global perspectives, one of the pillars of a distinctive Stockton education and very characteristic of Stockton’s faculty,” said President Herman Saatkamp. “Dr. Lema joins Dr. Mary Lou Galantino, professor of Physical Therapy at Stockton, who is working on global health education and HIV research as a Fulbright specialist in South Africa starting this month.”

The Fulbright program is sponsored by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It was founded by the late U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright in 1946 and now operates in 155 countries. Fulbrights provide funding for students, scholars, teachers, and professionals for graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools.


Stockton’s Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality & Tourism Hosts Jersey Shorecast

Dr. Israel Posner moderates a panel comprised of, from left, Stockton’s Dr. Brian Tyrrell, associate professor of Hospitality and Tourism Management Studies, Joseph Kelly, president of the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce, and Dr. Michael Busler, professor of Business Studies.

The Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality & Tourism (LIGHT) sponsored the sixth annual Jersey Shorecast on May 2, bringing together experts to discuss the prospects of the summer tourist season.

Atlantic City plans additional special events, a major renovation of Pacific Avenue and perhaps a new stage on one of the piers, to attract new tourists and expand its market, said keynote speaker Mayor Don Guardian at the Carnegie Center in Atlantic City.

Panelists from Stockton College and Atlantic, Cape May and Ocean counties predicted business will be good all along the shore this summer, as the economy and jobs continue to rebound.

Special events, as well as promoting nightlife, eco-tourism and all the Jersey Shore has to offer are the best ways to ensure a successful tourism season, experts agreed during two panel discussions.

“The recession is over, or at least we’re feeling better about it,” said Diane Wieland, director of the Cape May County Department of Tourism. Last year, Cape May County’s lodging industry generated $2.24 billion and retail hit $1.1 billion for the first time, she said, adding that she expects to see more increases this year.

Dr. Brian Tyrrell, associate professor of Hospitality and Tourism Management Studies at Stockton, cited a tourism promotion survey by LIGHT earlier this year showing that just over half of the visitors to New Jersey came to the Jersey shore within the past year, although bad weather in June 2013 kept visitors away in the early part of last summer.

“I truly believe it’s going to be a better season this year and one of the best ever,” Dr. Tyrrell said.
Dr. Michael Busler, professor of Business Studies at Stockton, predicted a 4-5 percent increase in tourism business for most of the shore, as long as gas prices stay under $4 a gallon.

Dr. Israel Posner, executive director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at Stockton, served as the panels’ moderator.


Lieut. Gov. Kim Guadagno Meets with Business, Education and Government Leaders at Stockton

Sheila Smallwood, manager of the Laboratory Services Division at the Federal Aviation Administration's William J. Hughes Technical Center, Lieut. Gov. Kim Guadagno, Stockton President Herman Saatkamp and Ronald Johnson, president and CEO of Shore Memorial Hospital, walk to Independence Plaza.

The state, higher education and business came together at Stockton on May 5 to work on closing “the disconnect” between the 200,000 available jobs in New Jersey and the state’s 7.2 percent unemployment rate.

Lieut. Gov. Kim Guadagno visited Stockton’s campus to speak with President Herman Saatkamp, Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks, Commissioner Harold Wirths of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, President Peter Mora of Atlantic Cape Community College and a roundtable of business, education and government leaders from southern New Jersey.

Stockton’s Talent Network for Retail, Hospitality and Tourism is one of New Jersey’s seven Talent Networks, which train workers for jobs that industry leaders want to fill.

“We understand, under President Saakamp, that things are working very well right here,” Lieut. Gov. Guadagno said, citing the Talent Network and other workforce development programs.

"President Saatkamp is a leader and innovator who understands the importance of being a strong and reliable partner with the surrounding communities, businesses and industries,” said Secretary Hendricks. "His efforts have solidified Stockton College as a stellar example of how colleges can meet critical needs and provide a clear vision for the future.

Stockton is working with elementary and high schools, community colleges and other four-year institutions on workforce development, President Saatkamp said, adding that about 70-80 percent of Stockton graduates have jobs within six months after they graduate.

But he asked the business leaders, “What are the skills we should be focusing on?”

Paul Gentilini, whose family owns Ford and Chevrolet dealerships in Woodbine, Cape May County, said, “It’s always hard for us to find qualified technicians.” He said many of his hires have gone to Universal Technical Institute (UTI) which has locations around the country, the closest one being in Philadelphia. He said he would like to have a similar training facility in southern New Jersey.

Lori S. Herndon, a Stockton alumna who is president and chief executive officer of the AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, and executive vice president of AtlantiCare, said partnerships with Stockton and ACCC have been instrumental in providing trained nurses, nurse-practitioners and other health sciences staff.

Commissioner Wirths said his department is spending training money only on “real-time jobs.” “We’re going to employers, asking what’s needed and training for those jobs,” he said.

President Saatkamp suggested doing more work on internships, including emphasizing “soft skills,” such as getting along with others in the workplace. He also said that Stockton’s William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy and the Stockton Polling Institute could be resources on workforce development issues.

“We have established The Richard Stockton College as a center of excellence for our students and we are pleased and honored by the kind and gracious words of the lieutenant governor and members of the Governor’s Cabinet,” said President Saatkamp. “We have always been an integral part of our community, and as Stockton continues to prosper, I am confident we will find new ways to help our community grow with us.”

The group included: Atlantic County Freeholder Will Pauls, who is president of the South Jersey Building Trades; Ron Johnson, CEO of Shore Medical Center and a Stockton graduate; Tom Ballance, a Stockton graduate who is president and COO of the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa; Andrew J. Musick, director of Policy and Research at the New Jersey Business & Industry Association; Sheila Smallwood, manager of the Laboratory Services Division at the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center; and Sharon Schulman, a Stockton graduate who is CEO of External Affairs and Institutional Research at the college.

The lieutenant governor also toured the college’s Independence Plaza, where a two-story mural of the Declaration of Independence shows the signatures of the founding fathers, including that of Richard Stockton, for whom the college is named.


Stockton Statistic:

Stockton Softball ended the 2014 season by winning the team’s second consecutive Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Metro Tournament championship on May 11. The Ospreys won five games in the post-season tournament to repeat as ECAC champions, earning Stockton Softball’s fifth ECAC title overall.

Pitcher Michelle Pietrocola, who graduated from Stockton’s Nursing program earlier that day, was named the ECAC tournament’s Most Outstanding Player for the second straight year. As a senior, Pietrocola broke Stockton’s record for all-time strikeouts in the third game of the season, and ended her career with 611 total strikeouts. Her seventh win of the 2014 season landed her the title of Stockton College’s Winningest Pitcher, with 53 total wins at the end of the season. Pietrocola broke the record for number of appearances (96), innings pitched (498.1) and complete games (52) for a four-year career.

Led by Head Softball Coach Val Julien, the team finished 26-16 for the season, with a .619 winning percentage. To read more about Stockton Softball, click here.


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