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G. Larry James
The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey lost a dear member of its community and one of its most influential forces earlier this month with the passing of G. Larry James.
Mr. James, longtime Athletic Director, Dean of Athletics and Recreational Programs whose most recent role was Interim Dean of Athletics Engagement and Community Involvement passed away Nov. 6 following a courageous battle with cancer. His contributions to the College and generations of student athletes have been immeasurable.
Mr. James, who passed away on his 61st birthday, was a gold and silver medalist on what is generally regarded as the greatest track team ever assembled – the 1968 United States team at the Mexico City Olympiad. Mr. James was recognized last year for his service and dedication to the College, his community and humanity over the last 40 years.
A longtime resident of Smithville, Mr. James shepherded the Ospreys’ athletic programs from a largely noncompetitive and club sport model into a perennial national power. The Stockton men’s soccer team won the NCAA Division III National Championship in 2001, and men’s basketball, and men’s and women’s soccer reached the NCAA Final Four. Virtually all Stockton sports programs have been champions and contenders in the New Jersey Athletic Conference and their other respective leagues. Perhaps more importantly, Stockton athletes have accomplished these feats with graduation rates and grade point averages exceeding national averages by a wide margin.
The College also built its Sports Center, added many new athletic facilities and hosted training camps for Olympic and World Cup teams under his watch.
“Larry James was an outstanding citizen of the Stockton community and the world community,” College President Herman J. Saatkamp said. “His positive impact has truly been global in scope. We’re proud he was one of us.”
Larry James (right) in action during the 400 meter final at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. At left is teammate Lee Evans. James won the silver medal, Evans the gold, both under the existing world record time.
Larry James was a native of Greenburgh/White Plains, NY. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Villanova University in 1970 and a Masters in Public Policy from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey in 1987. He served in the United States Marine Corps Reserves and achieved the rank of Major. He came to Stockton in 1972 as an Assistant Athletic Director.
James is credited with helping to shape the identity and positive reputation of Stockton, the newest member institution of the New Jersey System of Higher Education. He also helped to secure training camps at Stockton for the Women's United States Olympic Basketball Team in 1992, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's World Cup Soccer Team in 1994 and its Olympic Soccer Team in 1996. Additionally, he was instrumental in Stockton’s facilities being used as training camps for the NBA, the Atlantic 10 Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, and the United States Under-18 National Soccer Team.
James helped to spearhead the effort culminating in the construction of Stockton's 70,000-square foot multipurpose recreation center. The $17 million project was completed in 2000 and provides a facility unmatched in the region. The complex includes a NCAA competitive basketball court and practice courts for basketball, volleyball, tennis and soccer. It also provides 5,000 seats for events such as concerts and the College’s commencement ceremonies and houses a state-of-the-art fitness center and offices for the athletic department.
Perhaps best known as a member of the 1968 United States Olympic 4 x 400-meter relay team, which won a gold medal and held the oldest running world record in the sport of Track and Field, James was nicknamed "The Mighty Burner." He won an individual silver medal in those same Olympics in Mexico City in the 400 meters. Those achievements are highlights in a distinguished career for which James was inducted into the National Track & Field Hall of Fame in December 2003.
James still holds several records at Villanova University, where he is enshrined in the Varsity Club Hall of Fame and the Athletics Department's Sports Wall of Fame. He also has been inducted into the White Plains High School Hall of Fame and the Westchester County Sports Hall of Fame. At the Penn Relays, where his finish in the 1968 mile relay Championship of America was ranked by the Philadelphia Daily News as among the Top Ten moments in the 100-year history of the world's largest relay carnival, James was inducted into the Wall of Fame in 1995.
Since his retirement as a competitor, Mr. James remained active in athletics and the Olympic movement. He was chair of the USA Track and Field Budget and Finance Committee and was selected to serve as Head Men's Manager at the 2004 Olympic Training Camp in Crete, Greece and the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki, Finland. James previously served as a manager for the USA Track and Field Team at the 2003 World Championships in France, the 1997 World Championships in Athens, Greece and the 1995 USA vs. Great Britain Meet. He also was on the coaching staff of the 1994 U.S. Olympic Festival. Additionally, he served as a member of the NCAA Olympic Sports Liaison Committee, NCAA Men's Committee and the United States Olympic Committee's Games Preparation and Services Committee.
Mr. James served on the Board of Trustees of AtlantiCare Health Services and was appointed to the Board of Governors of Atlantic City Medical Center. He also has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Boys and Girls Club of Atlantic City, the United Way of Atlantic County and New Jersey Sports Hall of Fame.
Last year, Stockton renamed its main athletic field G. Larry James Stadium, and a “Touchstone” was placed at the entrance to the field for competitors to skim prior to competition and be reminded of Mr. James’ ideals and standards for excellence.
To say Stockton will miss this great man is a massive understatement. It is hoped his family and many friends take comfort in knowing his legacy will endure at the College.
Stockton Homecoming 2008 a Big Success
More than 600 alumni, family and students attended the Stockton at the Shore Celebration, Stockton’s 2008 Homecoming. Dean's Receptions and the Faculty and Alumni Reunion highlighted the weekend with entertainment provided by the Faculty Band.
The Offices of Alumni Affairs and Student Development hosted Homecoming festivities the weekend of October 11 and 12.
“We are delighted so many alumni, family and friends returned to Stockton for Homecoming 2008,” said Sara Faurot Crowley, Director of Alumni Relations. “Once again, we teamed up with student organizations to plan Homecoming and it will be something we continue to do in the future.”
The Alumni Association held its annual meeting, inducting six Stockton College alumni to serve as Class Representatives for a two-year term.
The evening concluded with the Seth Meyers comedy show at the Performing Arts Center, sponsored by the Stockton Entertainment Team.
On Sunday, more than 300 athletes, students, staff, faculty and community members attended the Alumni Association Legacy Fund Run/Walk at Stockton’s G. Larry James Stadium that was sponsored by the Stockton College Alumni Association and Osprey Fans (OFANS), the College’s sports booster group. The theme of the event was “Choose to Lose… And Overcome Childhood and Adult Obesity”. Activities included a 5K race as well as half-hour and hour walks for distance. All proceeds benefited the G. Larry James Legacy Fund for Stockton scholarships.
The event marked one of the last public appearances of Stockton’s beloved Larry James, Interim Dean of Athletics Engagement and Community Involvement, who passed away on Nov. 6.
Plans are already underway for Homecoming 2009. “We are already making plans for next year, especially with the success of the Stockton Alumni Legacy Fund Run/Walk,” said Sara Faurot Crowley. “We hope to expand the event, engaging even more students, alumni and friends, while raising scholarship money for the G. Larry James Legacy Fund.”
Dr. Reva A. Curry to Head Stockton’s Health Sciences School
The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey has named Dr. Reva A. Curry as Interim Dean of Health Sciences. Dr. Curry, a resident of Sicklerville, Camden County, formerly served as Vice President of Student Services at Salem Community College.
“Stockton is pleased to have added such an experienced educator to our School of Health Sciences,” said Dr. David Carr, Provost and Acting President. “Dr. Curry has served in leadership positions in both the health care and higher education environments.”
Prior to her position as Vice President at Salem Community College, which she held since 2001, Dr. Curry was Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs at the same institution from 1998 to 2001. Previously, Dr. Curry was Allied Health Coordinator at Harrisburg Area Community College and directed academic programs in sonography at Thomas Jefferson University and the Medical College of Georgia.
Dr. Curry earned her B.S. in Radiological Technologies from the Medical College of Georgia, her M.Ed. in Health Services Education from Augusta College, and her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Curry is also the author of a textbook on sonography.
Stockton Chosen for New National Initiative on Protecting America’s Fiscal Future
The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey is one of nine institutions chosen to participate in a new initiative of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). Given that the next generation of adults will labor under the nation’s current and growing debt accumulation, the initiative, entitled America’s Future: Protecting the Fiscal Health of Our Democracy will consider what college students can do to educate themselves and their communities about the need for bipartisan solutions to the nation’s mounting debt.
The national initiative is a collaboration between members of AASCU’s American Democracy Project and Public Agenda, a nonprofit research and civic engagement organization based in Washington, DC. The Stockton project will be led by the College’s Economics program in collaboration with the Stockton Center on Successful Aging (SCOSA) and other organizations on campus. Assistant Professor of Economics and Director of the Stockton Center for Economic Education Ramya Vijaya will lead the efforts of a coordinating team, which currently includes Associate Professor of Economics and Coordinator of Women’s Studies Ellen Mutari, Assistant Professor of Economics and Editor of The South Jersey Economic Review Oliver Cooke, and Professor of Psychology and Director of SCOSA David Burdick. Since children, women, and older adults often suffer disproportionately from economic disparities, a focus on these groups is vital. Their voices added to the dialogue may also help the nation to address the mounting debt with new and more effective approaches.
Stockton Provost and Acting President Dr. David Carr notes that “This project will empower Stockton students to grapple with the significant political and economic issues facing our nation today and in the near future. By presenting them with the facts and analysis from a nonpartisan perspective, our efforts will prepare students to seek appropriate solutions in their lives, in their communities and in the nation. Stockton is honored to have been selected as one of only nine institutions chosen nationwide to host this program.”
Throughout the year Stockton’s America’s Future project will sponsor or co-sponsor various programs and activities that aim to engage broad sections of the campus community and our south Jersey neighbors, in a conversation about our nation’s fiscal circumstances and the policy options needed to confront and address these complex issues.
This programming began on Thursday, October 23, 2008 with a SCOSA lecture by Marcello Spinella titled “Aging Successfully with (or Without) Money”. Additional programming highlights include:
Event details will be posted on the Stockton home page as information becomes available. For additional information, please contact Dr. Ramya Vijaya at (609) 652-4741 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Journey of the Tracks” Brings Stockton Full Circle in Expansion of Sara and Sam Schoffer Holocaust Resource Center
Provost David Carr (left) inspects authentic rails used to transport Holocaust victims, which will be incorporated into the design of the expanded Sara and Sam Schoffer Holocaust Resource Center at Stockton.
The Holocaust Resource Center at the Richard Stockton College of NJ is in the midst of its first major expansion and renovation since its 1990 founding. The project will double the Center’s size and offer more learning opportunities for both educators and students. Enhanced areas for study and research and electronic classroom technology will be updated. In essence it will soon be an entirely new Center.
In the spring of 2006, focus groups met at Stockton to review the architectural plans of Martin Blumberg who was designing The Sara and Sam Schoffer Holocaust Resource Center. The focus group members were Holocaust survivors and their families as well as community leaders. The group wanted an entrance that conveyed the lessons within the The Sara and Sam Schoffer Holocaust Resource Center. Architect Martin Blumberg suggested a design that incorporated railroad tracks into the entrance to the Center. The tracks would be symbolic of the network of trains in Europe during World War II, the chief mode of transportation taking Holocaust victims from the ghettos to the death camps. Blumberg contacted a railroad track company that supplied Amtrak to obtain the rails to be used in the design.
College President Herman J. Saatkamp, Jr.; Dean of General Studies, Dr. G. Jan Colijn; and the Holocaust Resource Center Executive Committee and a myriad of community supporters made this vision a reality.
One of the first calls made was to Dr. Michael Berenbaum, a former Ida E. King Distinguished Professor of Holocaust Studies at Stockton. Dr. Berenbaum is best known as the Project Director for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and President of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation. He agreed to become Stockton’s consultant on the project. With that, Stockton embarked on a yearlong process to obtain the tracks, which culminated Friday, Oct. 3, with their 1:00 PM arrival from Poland to the campus of the 7,000-student public liberal arts and professional college.
Stockton’s plant management team headed by Facilities Director Donald Moore understood the importance of the project and pledged to do whatever they could to assist in the cost of acquisition, transport and installation of the tracks. “Some projects we do are more than bricks and mortar,” Moore said. “Projects like this one, are directly tied to the heart and soul of the institution.”
“Dr. Michael Berenbaum’s dedication, cooperation, and expertise were essential in obtaining the railroad tracks,” Rosenthal said. “At every turn, he was there for us, making the right calls to the right people.” Through Berenbaum’s efforts, authentic tracks from the Bialystok area in Poland, were located. Berenbaum purchased the tracks himself and donated them to the College. The four 20-foot sections of track, each weighing 600 lbs., will be suspended over the entrance to the Center and will extend into the Center itself.
The tracks were removed from a railbed in the region of Bialystok, near where the Nazi regime established the third largest Jewish ghetto. It was a central point in the network of rail lines moving the victims to the Auschwitz-Birkenau, Treblinka, Theresienstadt and Majdanek concentration camps. “At a minimum, hundreds of thousands of the almost three million Jews who were murdered in Nazi death camps came through the area where these tracks originated,” said Colijn. From Bialystok, the tracks were loaded on a flatbed truck and shipped to the Polish port city of Gydnia. The tracks were then placed in a cargo container and loaded onto a freighter owned by the firm Maersk, one of the largest shipping companies in the world. The freighter journeyed to Hamburg, Germany, and its cargo was transferred to the SS Glasgow Express. The Atlantic crossing took about a week, with the rails arriving in New York Harbor and eventually at a port at the New York Container Terminal.
“The cargo was treated with respect and dignity every step of the journey,” Rosenthal notes, “It was treated as something valuable, a piece of evidence for education about the Holocaust to future generations.” Despite heightened security since the events of September 11, 2001, Brian Iacone, an Emmy award-winning photojournalist, was permitted to document the railroad track arrival in NY Harbor. That arrival marked some surprising turns in the journey. Ms. Rosenthal and Mr. Iacone were told there was no way of knowing which container among the thousands loaded on the ship contained the rails.
However, word soon came back that the rails were in fact located in a container at the very top of the stacks. Located almost instantly, the container was surrounded by other containers emblazoned with the Star of David and logo of the Zim Line, an Israeli shipping company. According to Ms. Rosenthal, “We were told the Zim’s containers are not often loaded onto the SS Glasgow Express in Hamburg. And here they were completely surrounding our railroad tracks.” A huge crane was used to lift the container holding the tracks, but the containers from Israel had somehow adhered to the container with the rails. It took four passes by the crane before the container could be extricated from the containers from Israel. “We were told that was a very unusual occurrence,” Rosenthal said. In one final twist of irony, the tracks arrived just before the Jewish High Holidays.
One of the first facilities of its kind at a public college in the United States, the Center was named in honor of Holocaust survivors Sara and Sam Schoffer, parents of donor Leo Schoffer, who contributed $500,000 —the largest single donation in the history of the College. A separate room, made possible by a $250,000 gift of the Azeez Foundation, was named in honor of Holocaust survivor Professor Liviu Librescu, the professor who sacrificed his life to save his students during the shooting spree at Virginia Tech in 2007. A third major donation, from Mr. Jack Koopman of the Netherlands, in the amount of $100,000, has also supported the Center.
According to Dr. Michael Berenbaum, “Railroads were indispensable to the Holocaust. At first the Nazis murdered Jews by sending mobile killers to stationary victims, moving into towns, villages, and hamlets and murdering the Jews one-by-one, town-by-town, and city-by-city. When this method proved too difficult to sustain, the process was reversed – the victims were made mobile and the killing centers stationary. The entire process was industrialized. Killing centers were established on major railroad lines. Auschwitz had 44 parallel railroad tracks – by comparison to New York’s Penn Station, which has but 21 – it is because of its rail line infrastructure that Auschwitz-Birkenau became a killing center.”
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