Bulletins and Meetings

Retired Faculty Association Luncheon June 7, 2011

The meeting was called to order by Anthony Maltese, presider.  Introductions were made for Sandra Deller, vice president for Institutional Advancement, who is scheduled to retire this month, and Joanne Nigrelli, assistant vice president, principal gifts. All of the retirees present knew Arnold Speert, the former University president, who thanked everyone.

Dr. Speert recalled coming to the campus as a professor in the Chemistry Department, and noted the assistance he received from various individuals. He learned that it was especially important to heed the advice of the secretary of the department.  He mentioned several individuals he remembered, including Milt Grodsky, James Olsen, Bill McKeefrey, Frank Zanfino and Peter Spiridon.  He became vice president to Seymour Hyman. Eight years later he became president.

Since retirement, Dr. Speert has been serving on the Middle States Evaluation Team and has completed several reviews of academic programs across the region. Currently, he is scheduled to review Towson State University. His activities have been many and fruitful. Many at the session asked questions about his career and enhanced his presentation.

The luncheon/meeting was adjourned at approximately 1:30 p.m.


Retired Faculty Association Luncheon May 26, 2010

The meeting began about noon. Fourteen people attended. Administrators present included Jerry Flora, head football coach; Janis Schwartz, director of alumni relations; Joanne Nigrelli, assistant vice president, principal gifts; and Spencer Scott, director, major gifts and planned giving.

Gunvor Satra, an associate professor of history who retired in 2002, presented a talk about her volunteer activities as a guide for blind cross-country skiers.  She showed the group a series of slides and delved into the history, the groups, and many of the places that are part of the skiing program.  

Satra explained the techniques used by instructors who work with the blind. Many of the code words used were mentioned.  For example, using a clock system to describe a turn coming up, is "Turn left...five after the hour” or “Turn right....fifteen before the hour."   It was also fascinating for the group to learn and observe how the blind are able to follow the trails, such as using a herringbone technique to climb slight hills.  The command "SIT" was enjoyed by the skiers when they had to stop.  The audience learned a great deal and delighted in the pictorial slides and descriptive aspects of the presentation.   The meeting adjourned at approximately 2:00 p.m.



Retired Faculty Association Luncheon March 10, 2010

The meeting commenced at 12:25 p.m.  Administrators present included Arnold Speert, University president; Sandra Deller, vice president for institutional advancement; Joanne Nigrelli, assistant vice president, principal gifts; and Spencer Scott, director, major gifts and planned giving.

Sandra Deller addressed the group briefly. Joanne Nigrelli invited us to attend the Legacy Award Gala honoring, among others, Dr. Speert for his many years of service.  Dr. Speert, in his remarks, indicated that an announcement naming a new president was imminent. He also made a request for information on how to join our group.  The Retired Faculty Association will meet the new president at their next luncheon in May.
The guest speaker, Dr. Marilyn Daniels, who earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communication from William Paterson and is a professor at Penn State, was introduced to the group.  Her book, Babies Can Talk, http://www.marilyndaniels.com/books.html is being released in April this year.  Dr. Daniels introduced American Sign Language and its usage, especially with hearing infants and children.  She offered several opportunities for signing to the attendees.  The first nine letters of the alphabet and words associated with them were presented. Participants seemed adept at adapting to this learning experience and remembered the signs remarkably well. Dr. Daniels’ main point was that all infants, not just hearing impaired, can benefit from learning signing. It helps develop the body-mind learning connection, stimulates brain growth, and speeds the acquisition of spoken language.  Many questions were asked. Dr. Daniels responded to them insightfully and provided relevant information.  Her research and many publications dealing with teaching hearing children to sign (ASL) were highlighted.
The session ended at 1:50 p.m.



Retired Faculty Association Luncheon December 1, 2009

Several administrators attended the meeting including Arnold Speert, University president, Sandra Deller, vice president for Institutional Advancement, Joanne Nigrelli, assistant vice president, principal gifts, Spencer Scott, director, major gifts and planned giving, and Barbara Stomber, manager of donor relations. Mrs. Stomber was instrumental in procuring the guest speaker, Greg Mattison. The luncheon began at noon. At 12:30 p.m., the presider, Tony Maltese, called the group to order.

Janis Schwartz, director of alumni relations, welcomed the group and informed us about the Legacy Award Gala and Silent Auction that will be held on April 16, 2010.  On that occasion, special plaudits will be given to retiring President Arnold Speert for his service to the University.  Also, she indicated that Gunvor Satra, a retired professor of history, and member of the Retired Faculty Association, will receive the Faculty Service Award.  Everyone was encouraged to "save the date" for the upcoming Gala.

Dr. Speert warmly greeted the members and reviewed many of the changes that have taken place on campus.

Dr. Maltese introduced the guest speaker, Greg Mattison.  Greg, a member of the Instruction, Research, & Technology (IRT) group on campus, has been extremely active with climate control issues. Climate Control and its relevancy was the topic for the meeting. Using a slide show, Greg described many of the concerns and changes facing the university, the country, and the world. He was extremely knowledgeable and responded adeptly to questions after his presentation. 

A brief period of informal discussion followed the presentation. The meeting was adjourned at approximately 2 p.m.

Retired Faculty Association Luncheon May 21, 2009

Photo of Ruth Fern with birthday cake
Ruth Fern celebrating
her 90th birthday
For more photos, please click here

In attendance: Bill and Ann Muir, Tony Maltese, Gabe Vitalone, Stella Hyman, Barbara Grant, Betty DeGroot, Ruth Fern (guest of honor and speaker), John Stimson, James Ruban, Wil Myers, Elizabeth Rinaldi, Paul and Patricia Chao; and from the administration: Joanne Nigrelli, Janis Schwartz and Spencer Scott.

Tony Maltese welcomed the group and announced that in addition to having Ruth Fern as our special speaker we were also going to have the pleasure of celebrating her ninetieth birthday, with a cake provided by Barbara Grant, and ice cream also. We all joined in singing happy birthday.

Joanne Nigrelli told us that Arnold Speert had formally announced his retirement and that he would remain until a successor was chosen by the board, a process that would begin immediately.

After her birthday celebration, Ruth Fern took the group through the history of the Celts, the Mystery People of Europe, from antiquity up to the Irish Rebellion of 1916. The first stop was the Mummies of Urumchi: found in the desert of what is now China, having blonde and red hair and blue eyes and women that were 6 feet tall and men who were 6 foot six inches, dressed in plaids. They were restless and combative horse people, continuously moving west and south conquering and blending with each of the peoples they encounterd throughout what are now Pakistan, Iran, Greece, Romania, and Northern Italy (where many red-headed descendents are found today). They continued through Spain and into Cornwall and much of the British Isles.

The Celts had a long warlike and varied influence in the British Isles. A few stories stand out from the excellent history related by Ruth Fern. The Druid class of leaders were not just priests but also lawyers, doctors and teachers and education was a major part of Celtic responsibility. The genders were equal with women able to divorce husbands and be warriors. The most famous woman warrior was Boudica who destroyed the Roman occupiers of London after her leadership was insulted. The Romans left Britain when Rome was sacked in 410 AD (by the Visigoths this time, not the Celts who had already sacked Rome three times). During the following period “the Irish Saved Civilization” (as the famous book title stated) by preserving documents in its monasteries. St. Patrick had enabled the establishment of Catholic religion by adapting and borrowing Celtic symbolism and meanings. Ruth showed us a Celtic cross that combined the sacred sun symbol of the Celts with the cross as an illustration of this conversion by combination.

After her enthralling presentation, Ruth invited us to examine the many artifacts, books and fabrics with which she had decorated the meeting room. We all took the opportunity to do that and to ask her many more questions.

Retired Faculty Luncheon Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The RFA met for an informal luncheon at noon.
In attendance were:  Rosanne Martorella, Ruth Fern, William Muir, Wilbur Meyers, Stella Hyman, Elizabeth Rinaldi, Gunvor Satra, Jerome Chambelain, James Ruban, Edith Wallace, Donald Levine, Sidney Berman, Anthony Maltese, Arnold Speert, Sandra Deller, Janis Schwartz, Spencer Scott, Raymiond Torres-Santos, Joanne Nigrelli, Barbara Grant, Grace DeGraf, Elizabeth DeGroot, Jewell Snyder and the guest speaker, John Rhodes.  
The session was called to order by Tony Maltese.  Faculty introduced themselves, briefly. Dr. Arnold Speert spoke about many of the changes taking place at the University including budgetary concerns facing the institution.  Several other administrators spoke briefly, including Janis Schwartz, director of alumni relations.  The new dean of Arts and Communication, Dr. Raymond Torres-Santos, was introduced and spoke to the group, highlighting many of his goals for the school.

John Rhodes, the guest speaker, was introduced.  John, a professor in the Communication Department with a background in television news, spoke about trips he took with students to various global sites.  There, they examined cultural aspects and related their interests in news gathering to the location and the inhabitants.  John played a DVD produced in conjunction with a trip to Gambia in Africa.  He interspersed commentary with the playing of the DVD. Students were featured in the DVD. A question and answer period followed. Other comments were offered by members of the Association and John. The session was a delightful opportunity for all to share in the exploits of a faculty member and current students.  The session adjourned around 2:15 p.m. The next luncheon is scheduled for Thursday, May 21, 2009. Ruth Fern will share her interests and knowedge about the Celts, their language and their influence around the world.

Retired Faculty Luncheon Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tony Maltese greeted the group which included a number of new attendees and he suggested that everyone introduce themselves, (see list below for new and familiar names).

Janis Schwartz, interim director of alumni relations, and Spencer Scott, director, major gifts and planned giving, also greeted the group. Spencer introduced two members (Ruth Fern and Barbara Grant) and invited them to discuss the scholarships they have created with the University.

Maltese introduced the guest speaker, Phil Cioffari, professor of English at William Paterson as well as an accomplished writer, stage director and filmmaker. Cioffari read an excerpt from his novel, Catholic Boys, Livingston Press, a suspense thriller about a Bronx cop and his wife who were shaped by past decisions. The passage revealed how a Catholic boy's decision to become a police officer and not use his legal degree impacted his family. The character preferred doing hands-on work that rewarded him with daily results rather than taking on a white-collar desk job. The reading was extremely engrossing and no summary would do it justice.

Cioffari described the joys and difficulties of independent filmmaking. We were surprised to learn that there are still many traditional Irish neighborhood bars in the Bronx. They are very difficult to rent for moviemaking, according to Cioffari, because they will only close between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m., and are used to receiving large rental payments from television shows such as Law and Order. Many questions about choosing actors and locations were asked and answered. We were sorry to learn that the cost of obtaining music rights is so prohibitive that Cioffari's film, Love in the Age of Dion, will probably not be available for wide distribution, although it won many film society awards. Cioffari was asked what he was reading and he admitted that he enjoys detective fiction, especifically the “surf noir” novels of Kem Nunn.

Attending: Joseph Brandes, Phil Cioffari, Judith Coomes, Barbara Grant, Betty DeGroot, Ruth Fern, Donato Fornuto, Stella Hyman, Donald Levine, Anthony Maltese, Rosanne Martorella, Bill Muir, Will Myers, Margaret O’Connor, Elizabeth Rinaldi, James Ruban, Gunvor Satra, John Stimson, Alphonse Sully, Edith Wallace; and Staff: Spencer Scott, Janis Schwartz, and Joanne Nigrelli


Retired Faculty Luncheon Tuesday October 7, 2008

Tony Maltese greeted the retirees and introduced the attending staff members. Janis Schwartz, interim director of alumni relations, greeted us warmly and hopes to spend more time with us in the near future. Spencer Scott, director, major gifts and planned giving, discussed a number of ways that retirees can receive tax benefits by donating to the University, including donating unwanted life insurance policies.

Tony then introduced the main speaker, David Gilley, assistant professor of biology, whose speciality is bee communication. His talk was a fascinating hour about bee life in general and the specifics of his research. First, we learned that bees do not usually bite humans. Chances are that if you are bitten, it was a wasp. The audience asked questions on the differences between such insects, and their different relationships to humans. The most salient fact is that about 30 percent of our food crops are fertilized by honey bees and they are currently endangered by a virus attacking hives. The virus has been identified but not counteracted as yet, so crop fertilization is still in jeopardy.

Gilley’s main research question was a further development on the Von Frisch discovery of bee dancing as associated with communication of distance and direction in the search for pollen. Hives have a dancing stage, on which returning scouts perform a waggle dance that seems to provide accurate information. But more is needed: How exactly is the information transmitted? The dancing produces results even when done in the dark, so it probably is not just the dance step itself that is the communicator. Gillley hypothesized that it is through aroma, and carried out a number of experimental manipulations. He used hives located near the Alumni House, and isolated the chemicals used in the communication. He was also able to reproduce the chemicals and demonstrate that they increased information transmission and pollen gathering. It was a fine lecture, punctuated by many questions from the audience. Our thanks to David Gilley and to Tony for inviting him.

The next Retired Faculty Association luncheon will be on November 19, 2008 ( not the date originally planned). Phil Ciofarri will be the guest of honor.

Retirees in attendance included: Anthony Maltese, Gabriel Vitalone, James R. Ruban, Elizabeth M. Rinaldi, Wilber S. Myers, Laura T. Aitken, Sidney Berman, Ruth Fern, Stella Hyman, Richard De Luca and John B. Stimson.

Archive of Previous Meetings