News from the President's Office
December 2009
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In Memoriam: Dr. Vera King Farris
(July 18, 1938 - November 28, 2009)

Dr. Vera King Farris

The Richard Stockton College community lost one of its treasures recently with the passing of Dr. Vera King Farris.

Dr. Farris served as Stockton’s President from May 1983 until her retirement in June 2003, and presided over a remarkable period of rapid physical plant expansion, enrollment growth and academic stature. She passed away Nov. 28 at AtlanticCare Regional Medical Center, Mainland Division, on the Stockton campus, after a brief illness.

“Dr. Farris was the spirit of Stockton,” said President Herman J. Saatkamp, Jr., as he presided over a moment of silence at a meeting of the Board of Trustees. “Although she will be missed, her legacy is all around us.”

The College was only 10 years old when Dr. Farris was named its third president.  She transformed it from a small state school to a nationally ranked institution noted for its academic excellence, affordability and accessibility. Among her most well-known accomplishments: establishing the Sara and Sam Schoffer Holocaust Resource Center, one of the first centers of its kind at a U.S. public college or university; a change in the College’s mission to offer advanced degrees and the formation of the nation’s first Master’s in Holocaust and Genocide Studies; and a number of “green” initiatives including the installation of a geothermal energy system, the first in the state and largest in the world at the time.

A native of Atlantic City, Dr. Farris graduated third in her class from Atlantic City High School and went on to earn her undergraduate degree in biology from Tuskegee Institute, now Tuskegee University.  She went on to achieve both her master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Massachusetts.

The College’s academic reputation surged during Dr. Farris’ tenure.  The average SAT score of regularly admitted freshmen rose by more than 300 points to levels well above state and national averages, and the Carnegie Foundation classified the College as “selective.”  She also championed the rise in Stockton athletics, including the construction of the Sports Center and a new lighted soccer stadium and track and field facility. The men’s soccer team won the NCAA national championship, and women’s soccer and men’s basketball made the NCAA Final Four during her administration.

Stockton added residential complexes and eight new buildings during her career, including the Arts and Sciences Building and the West Quad. She entered Stockton into a partnership with the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority to renovate the Carnegie Library in Atlantic City for use by the College as a satellite center.

“Dr. Farris transformed the institution and students were always at the core,” said faculty member and longtime friend Joseph Marchetti, the former vice president for academic affairs.

Giving Back: Provost’s Office Combines Holiday Spirit, Community Engagement

Provost David Carr and staff brightened the holidays for an area family.

Civic engagement has long been a hallmark of the Provost’s Office at Stockton.  The office staff has carried over its commitment and passion for helping local residents to its annual holiday gift exchange.  Rather than the traditional “Pollyanna” or other form of office gifting, the staff adopted a local family through the Arc of Atlantic County’s Holiday Partners program. During the holiday season, Arc reaches out to the community for help in providing food and presents to people with developmental disabilities and their families who have a financial need. 

“We had two girls and a boy, a mother and a grandmother to buy for,” said staffer Maureen Toughill Gilbert, “Provost (David) Carr came up with the idea to help brighten the holidays for a less fortunate family, and it has become a tradition in our office.”

In addition to Ms. Gilbert and Dr. Carr, the entire staff, including Marc Lowenstein, Nick Mansor, Deb Dagavarian, Jeannine Arrigo, Claudine Keenan, Trish Snyder, Fran Marchese, Denise Gallaro, Thomas Grites and Sherri Barella participated.  They received a “wish list” from the family and obtained the ages and clothing sizes for the children and began to collect gifts.  When it was time to present the items to the Arc of Atlantic County for distribution, the staff had gathered an impressive array of toys, games, clothing and household items.

“We have a number of families where there is a single parent trying to make ends meet and take care of their disabled child. It can be challenging and exhausting,” said Nicole Terzakis, social services director at the Arc. 

The Provost’s Office staff certainly came through to help the Arc’s efforts.

The Arc of Atlantic County is a private non-profit organization that has been making a difference in the lives of people with developmental disabilities and their families since its founding in 1961.  The Holiday Partners program specifically matches families with donors who have volunteered to adopt a family for the holiday.  The Arc services about 50 families who apply for their Holiday Partners program annually – more than 200 people.

Stockton College Conferred Degrees at Annual Fall Commencement Ceremonies

Batsheva Abraham delivering the student address at the morning Hooding Ceremony

On Sunday, December 13, Provost David Carr presented diplomas to approximately 818 degree candidates (648 fall graduates and 170 summer graduates) in the eight schools of the College: Arts and Humanities, Business, Education, General Studies, Graduate Studies, Health Sciences, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Social and Behavioral Sciences.  Included in that number were 78 advanced degree candidates: 2 Master of Arts in Holocaust and Genocide Studies; 19 Master of Business Administration; 17 Master of Arts in Instructional Technology; 21 Master of Science in Occupational Therapy, 4 Master of Arts in Education, 4 Master of Arts in Criminal Justice and 11 Doctor of Physical Therapy.

In the morning, the Hooding Ceremony for master’s degree candidates took place in the Performing Arts Center, and in the afternoon, the degree conferral ceremony for bachelor’s degree candidates took place in the Sports Center.  

Batsheva Abraham, a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) graduate, delivered the student address at the Hooding Ceremony.  Brian Brateris, a resident of Lake Como, NJ and Student Senate President, delivered the student address at the afternoon bachelor’s degree conferral ceremony.  Brateris is a mentor for the Student Orientation Adventure Program (SOAR), and he served as a Student Senator for three years.  Brateris also served as Vice Chairman for School Spirit, Chairman of Student Welfare, and President and brother of Kappa Sigma Fraternity.  As a member of Kappa Sigma, he was part of the charity work they conducted for Toys for Tots, The Fallen Heroes campaign, and Making Precious Strides (Hunter Syndrome).  Brateris is also a current member of Stockton’s Doctor of Physical Therapy class of 2012.

Provost and Executive Vice President Dr. David Carr delivered the keynote address at one of his last commencement ceremonies as Provost of the College.  Dr. Carr has served The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey as Executive Vice President and Provost, since the position’s inception in 2004.  In June of next year, Dr. Carr will transition from his current position as Provost to Senior Research Fellow for the College’s William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy, where he will pursue his passion for political science.  Dr. Carr came to the College in 1992, and throughout his Stockton career, he was essential in establishing the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy; establishing and supporting activities promoting economic development, including the Small Business Development Center for Atlantic, Cape May, and Cumberland counties, The Stockton Center for Hospitality and Tourism research, The South Jersey Economic Review, and several community focused centers such as the Coastal Research Center and the Stockton Center on Successful Aging; and establishing numerous service learning programs that engage students and faculty with the community.  Dr. Carr earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from San Diego State University in political science and his Ph.D. in political science from the State University of New York at Binghamton.       

Kent St. John, a lifelong resident of New Jersey and a key member of the NJN News team, was recognized at commencement with a Distinguished Service Award.  Kent St. John is committed to many of the topics and issues on which he reports for NJN News. He serves as chief of the NJN News South Jersey bureau.  A strong dedication to his work has earned Mr. St. John an Emmy Award nomination. He consistently delivers insightful and compelling reports on a wide range of topics, whether on location in South Jersey or in the NJN News studio in Trenton.  Kent St. John is a graduate of Rutgers University, New Brunswick, and a resident of Lindenwold.

Council of Black Faculty and Staff Raised Money to Support Student Scholarships at 28th Annual Awards Dinner and Dance

Mr. Stephen B. Davis and his wife Paula Stewart Davis with their daughters Shavonne, an honors student and athlete at Vineland High School (far left), and Rahshana, Student Development Specialist at ACCC (far right)

The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey’s Council of Black Faculty and Staff hosted the 28th Annual Awards Dinner and Dance on Thursday, November 12, 2009 at the Carriage House in Galloway, New Jersey. 

This year’s honorees included the following: Mr. Stephen (pronounced Stefan) B. Davis, Merit Recipient; Mrs. Paula Stewart Davis, Distinguished Stockton Alumna; and Mrs. Rita Mack and Dr. Clarence C. Hoover, III, Lifetime Achievement Honorees.  Awards are presented to recognize outstanding service and demonstration of commitment to the College.    

Mr. Stephen B. Davis and Mrs. Paula Stewart Davis were the first husband-and-wife team honored in the same year.  Stephen Davis said, “I’m very proud to be honored along with Paula.”

Mr. Stephen B. Davis is the Associate Dean of Students at Stockton.  Stephen earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in health administration from Penn State University where he played varsity football and was a member of the 1986 national championship team.  Stephen was also a star student and athlete at Deptford High School where he was recognized as an All American Football Player, All Group III Basketball Player, and All Gloucester County Track Weight-man. 

Paula Stewart Davis is Director of Counseling and Support Services at Atlantic Cape Community College (ACCC). Paula was a first-generation college student.  She was provided access to higher education through benefits of the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) program, which provides financial, academic, and emotional support through a counseling staff.  With the help of EOF, Paula earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Stockton College and a master’s degree in counseling/student personnel services from Upsala College in East Orange, New Jersey.  Since then, Paula’s leadership has helped ACCC’s EOF Program to receive an Outcome Assessment increase for marked improvements in graduation and retention rates.  She also developed the EOF Culinary Bridge program, which increased the number of EOF graduates from the Academy of Culinary Arts. 

Rita Mack owns and operates three McDonald’s Family Restaurants in Atlantic City with her husband, Tony.  In 1988, Rita helped to launch the McDonald’s Women Operator Network (WON) and served as a board member for four years.  Rita currently serves as Chair and CEO of the National Black McDonald’s Operator’s Association (NBMOA), which is the largest and most successful organization for African American franchises in the country.  Rita earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Tennessee State University.   

Dr. Clarence C. Hoover, III is the Superintendent of the East Orange Public School District, where he is responsible for the curricular, programmatic, and fiscal oversight for approximately 12,000 students in Essex County’s second largest district.  Dr. Hoover is the immediate past Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Stockton College.  Dr. Hoover received a bachelor’s degree from Cheyney University, a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and a doctorate from Temple University.

The Council of Black Faculty and Staff was established to act as a body to foster communication among the Stockton community and New Jersey concerning the voice and position of minority personnel and students at Stockton.  The annual awards dinner and dance honors and celebrates the accomplishments of community members and serves as a fundraising event to raise money for student scholarships. 

The scholarship award recipients for 2009-2010 are Breeonna Richardson, Charlitta Redd, Danielle Lake, Jadirah Pettey, Jasmeen Frazier, Phillip Bennett, SeRonna Anderson, and Teresa Fields.  Breeonna Richardson represented the scholarship recipients and presented a speech at the awards dinner and dance to thank the Stockton community for their continued support.

Stockton Exhibit to Commemorate Black History Month

Silver gelatin print by William E. Williams

To celebrate Black History Month, the Visual Arts faculty and the School of Arts and Humanities at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey will sponsor a photography exhibition and artist lecture to commemorate the contributions of African American soldiers during the Civil War. The exhibition and lecture will feature photographer William Earl Williams.

The photography exhibition “Unsung Heroes: African American Soldiers in the Civil War” will run from January 19, 2010 through February 19, 2010 in the Stockton College Art Gallery in H113 on the Galloway Township campus.

Artist William E. Williams will present his slide lecture “The African American Soldiers and the Civil War Experience: Photographs Celebrating Unsung Heroes and Places” on Wednesday, February 3, 2010 from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Arts and Sciences building lecture hall.  Following the lecture, a special “meet the artist” reception will be held in the Art Gallery from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Over 60 silver gelatin photographs, taken by William E. Williams, with accompanying extended gallery notes will be on display at Stockton’s Art Gallery during the month. The images will showcase prominent sites where African American troops contributed to the final Union victory.

Laura Guth, Assistant Director of Light Work, a non-profit, artist-run photography organization in Syracuse, New York said, “Just as monuments symbolize an imperative to remember, Williams’ photographs serve to restore forgotten or unmaintained sites to our national memory.”

In 1986, William E. Williams began visiting Civil War memorial sites as research for one of his projects. Unexpectedly, Williams discovered a serious lack of coverage recognizing the involvement of over 180,000 African American soldiers during the Civil War. One project quickly led to another. After his extensive research, Williams was driven to document a pictorial history of the sites where the soldiers had been during the course of the war.

Williams said, “Too often the historical and artistic legacy of black accomplishments is ignored. As an artist the memory of these soldiers has inspired my artistic imagination. The ground they fought on is sacred and an inspiration for all Americans. These sites dispel the myth that blacks were given their citizenship and rights after the Civil War without having fought for and earned them.”

Williams is a professor of fine arts and curator of photography at Haverford College in Pennsylvania. For more information, please visit the Stockton Art Gallery Web site

Stockton Fun Fact:
What Stockton administrators helped to “hood” family members who earned advanced degrees at the recent Fall Graduation?

(Click here to reveal the answer)

Cynthia Sosnowski, Executive Director, Continuing Studies for Health Sciences and Human Services, assisted Dean Deb Figart in hooding her daughter Abigail Crafts, who earned a Master of Business Administration; and Sharon Schulman, Special Assistant to the President for External Affairs and Executive Director of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy, helped Dean Figart hood her sister Rosalind Metcalf, who received a Master’s of Arts in Instructional Technology.

Cynthia Sosnowski (right) and her
daughter Abigail Crafts
Sharon Schulman (left) hooding her sister
Rosalind Metcalf, a music teacher in Millville, with Dean Figart (right)

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