Grand Reception Honorees Selected for Leadership & Community Involvement

The Grand Reception honorees were on campus to meet with students and to look over plans for the future of the university with President Sr. Mary Eileen O’Brien.

Dominican University New York will honor Alan Seidman, Executive Director, Construction Contractors Association (CCA) of the Hudson Valley, and the Beckerle Family of Beckerle Lumber Supply Co. at the 49th Annual Grand Reception.  The event takes place on Sunday, October 30, 2022, at 12:30 p.m. at the Old Tappan Manor in Tappan, NJ. 

The honorees were chosen for their outstanding professional leadership, community involvement, and philanthropic works. 

Seidman is Executive Director of the CCA of the Hudson Valley, as well as the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Association of Southeastern NY.  As a lifelong Hudson Valley resident, he has been involved in many community activities. He is a past Chair of the Orange County Legislature and Past President of Temple Beth Jacob in Newburgh.  He was also officer of the Cornwall Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Highland Engine Co #1, and a first responder with American Red Cross on 9-11.    

The Beckerle Family operates four branches of Beckerle Lumber Supply Co. – in Spring Valley, Congers, Orangeburg, and Haverstraw – more than any other building materials supplier in Rockland County.  Over the past 80 years, the family has built a successful business by providing quality products, knowledgeable advice, and attentive services.  Through three generations of Beckerle leadership, the family has been involved in the community with a legacy of service and philanthropy. As just one example, company owners and employees have volunteered for Meals on Wheels for more than 20 years.

Dominican University New York invites all community members to join the University in celebrating the honorees and thanking them for their service.  Tickets and sponsorships can be purchased at www.duny.edu/grandreception2022  For more information, contact specialevents@duny.edu or call 845-848-7406. 

University Celebrates Its 70th Anniversary

President Sr. Mary Eileen O’Brien and Chancellor Sr. Kathleen Sullivan at Dominican University New York’s 70th Anniversary celebration.

Just months after being elevated to the status of a university, Dominican University New York reached another important milestone – its 70th anniversary.  Administrators, faculty, staff, and friends of the university gathered in the Lawrence Room of Rosary Hall on October 1, 2022, for an event “Celebrating Our First 70 Years of Excellence.”

One of the highlights of the event was a video presentation that reviewed the last 70 years of the University’s history beginning with the founding of the institution by the Dominican Sisters of Blauvelt in 1952 as a two-year college for religious women to become educators.  Over the years, the campus expanded to accommodate a growing enrollment and to welcome resident students. 

Sr. Mary Eileen O’Brien O.P., Ph.D., President, Dominican University New York, said, “The first 70 years have been most productive.  We look forward to the next 70 and beyond.” 

Among the guests at the anniversary celebration was New York State Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick, who presented Sr. Mary Eileen with a proclamation honoring the University on 70 years of outstanding educational services in the community. “To see a county, a state, and really a world full of people that have gone through this special place – who have gotten their educational foundation, their religious foundation, and set them up for a life of success,” he said.

New Fundraising Campaign Launched

Steven Sabatini, Chair, Dominican University New York Board of Trustees, said the University had a lot to be proud of, having educated more than 15,000 alumni and encouraged education, leadership, respect for the individual, and service to the community.

During the event, Sabatini announced the launch of a new fundraising campaign.  “’Charging Forward With U’ is our current initiative focused on raising support from our alumni and friends so that we can ensure that both the current and future generations of Chargers are supported with the resources they need in order to prepare for success.”  He said any donation – large or small – makes a difference and moves the University closer to this year’s fundraising goal of $1.35 million.  Sabatini announced that he and his wife are kicking off the contributions with a $25,000 commitment on top of a previous gift to the turf field and a provision in his will to Dominican University. 

Because of the urgency and importance of the fundraising effort, Sabatini said he hoped others would support the campaign, “Together we can continue to make a difference in the lives of the thousands of individuals who have and will be impacted by Dominican University.” Those wishing to contribute to the campaign can donate here.

University’s Four Stages of Development

Sr. Mary Eileen told attendees that she has often thought of the University’s history in four stages of development.  During the first 15 years, the institution transitioned from a Junior College for the Dominican Sisters to a four-year independent liberal arts college for both men and women.  The second phase, which lasted 20 years, saw the broadening of undergraduate offerings, especially in business, health-related programs, and social work.  The institution began outreach to non-traditional students with the establishment of the Weekend College.  A partnership with the South Orangetown Central School District allowed for the use of Cooke Hall and Casey Hall for classrooms and administrative offices. 

Between 1987 and 2007, or the third phase, the campus expanded with the construction of new buildings and evolved from a commuter college to a campus for residents and commuters.  In 1994, a new athletic facility, the Hennessy Center, was opened.  The next priority was to provide on-campus housing and to construct a dining hall and student center for the new residents.  In 1996, Hertel Hall, a 290-bed residence hall, and Granito Center, a student center and dining hall opened. 

In 2005, the Prusmack Center for Health and Science Education was completed, offering updated classrooms, laboratories, and a lecture hall.  Enrollment continued to grow throughout this period and in 2007 Guzman Hall, a 200-bed student residence, was constructed. Sullivan Library also opened in its new location in Rosary Hall in 2007.  The third phase also is when Dominican established graduate programs in Teacher Education, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and an MBA. 

Sr. Mary Eileen said that we are now 15 years into the development of a fourth phase of development in which technology has grown, the lease/purchase of an additional 17 acres of land from the Sisters of Blauvelt was completed, and a Master Plan for the use of this property was developed.  During this most recent phase, there has been a focus on career development and fostering internships.  Faculty are developing new general education curriculum and the University is exploring alternative sources of income.  The crowning achievement during the current phase, has been the name change from Dominican College to Dominican University, New York. 

Winners of the 2022 Spirit of the Founders Award Announced

The 2022 Spirit of the Founders Award was presented to students Gee Salim and Elena Vilanvoa.

The 2022 Spirit of the Founders Award was presented to students Gee Salim and Elena Vilanova during a ceremony in the Lawrence Room on Tuesday, September 20, 2022.  The event was one of the highlights of the weeklong celebration of Founders Week. 

The Spirit of the Founders Award recognizes the contributions of student leaders who hold the promise of carrying the Dominican spirit into the future.  Salim said he was honored to receive the award and admitted that it can be difficult to juggle school and activities when you are an involved student. “It’s good to see that what we do matters.  We want to do what is best for Dominican University,” he said. Salim is from Brazil and has served as President of the International Students Association for two years.  He is also a member of the men’s tennis team, a Resident Assistant, and the Senior Class Representative for the Student Government Association.

Vilanova said being involved in student activities has been an incredible experience.  “I’m so proud to be able to be involved on campus and have the opportunity to take on such great leadership roles,” she said.  “I wouldn’t change it for the world.” Vilanova has served as President of the Student Government Association for two years and President of Alpha Lamba Delta, the Freshman Honor Society.  She also was a Peer Mentor. 

Both honorees thanked President Sr. Mary Eileen, O.P, Ph.D., and Chancellor Sr. Kathleen Sullivan, O.P., for all they do for the university.   

Dominican University NY Ranked a Top Performer on Social Mobility by U.S. News & World Report

U.S. News & World Report ranked Dominican University New York a Top Performer on Social Mobility on its 2022-2023 Best Colleges list.  Dominican College was ranked in the top 14% for social mobility among national universities.  Top performers in this category are more successful than other institutions at advancing social mobility by enrolling and graduating large proportions of students awarded Pell Grants. 

Dominican University has always welcomed students of diverse economic backgrounds and first generation students, while promoting educational excellence, leadership, and service throughout the university community.  In addition, the University has been designated a Hispanic Serving Institution and Military Friendly. 

This is the third time that the institution has been recognized for social mobility by U.S. News & World Report.  However, it is the first time that Dominican is considered a national university in the rankings, since becoming Dominican University New York in May 2022.   

National Science Foundation Awards University $1.5 Million Grant for Stem Scholarships

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Dominican University New York a $1.5 million, six-year grant to launch a new program that supports high-achieving, low-income STEM students. 

The majority of the NSF grant funds will be used to provide 4-year scholarships of up to $10,000 per year to 26 biology students.  The first scholarships will be awarded to incoming freshman in fall 2023 as part of the BLAST (Biology for Low-income Aspiring Scholars in Training) Program.   

AnnMarie DelliPizzi, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology, said that BLAST Program aims to increase student retention and success by linking scholarships with co-curricular activities, including academic support, mentoring, and undergraduate research.  The BLAST students will meet with visiting scholars from other universities or industry to be exposed to different career paths.

 “Low-income students often have to work multiple jobs to pay for school, and this frequently interferes with successfully completing their degrees,” said Regina Alvarez, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology. “The scholarships provided by the grant will help to alleviate this burden, allowing students more time to focus on academics.” 

Elena Guevara, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology, said, “In addition to the scholarships that the students receive, other support includes things such as travel to a scientific conference during freshman year, funds for their senior capstone projects, trips to visit faculty at research-intensive universities, and more.” 

Dominican University New York has been designated a Hispanic-Serving Institution and the BLAST program has the potential to increase the diversity of the STEM workforce.   The goal of the grant is for students to remain in school, graduate, and either secure employment in a STEM field or enter graduate school. 

The NSF grant received is a Track 2 S-STEM grant (Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics grant), award #2221106.  In 2015, Dominican received a $590,000 Track 1 grant from the NSF to provide scholarships and support to students. This new grant builds on the success of that initial grant, submitted by Bernadette Connors, Ph.D., Professor of Biology. Institutions of higher education must have received a Track 1 grant in order to be eligible to apply for a Track 2 grant. 

Dominican University New York biology faculty worked together to prepare and submit the NSF grant application and stress that their teamwork was critical to the success of the application. 

Dominican University Offers New Concentrations to Students

Beginning this fall, Dominican University will offer new concentrations in Digital Marketing, Public Health and Neuroscience.

Dominican University New York is offering new concentrations in Digital Marketing, Public Health, and Neuroscience, beginning this fall.  The concentrations will be offered through the Lower Cost Model Consortium (LCMC).  The LCMC is a coalition of about 150 small and mid-sized colleges and universities that have committed to making college more accessible.

Thomas Nowak, Ph.D., Vice President for Academic Affairs, said that under the program, students take almost all classes on campus and take three to five classes online through the LCMC for a concentration in specialized, high-demand fields.  “We still give you the small school attention, but we are giving you programs that would normally be offered at large universities.  It’s the best of both worlds, “ he said. 

All three concentrations were recently approved by the New York State Department of Education. 

New Environmental Studies Major Offered

Beginning in fall 2022, Dominican University will offer a new Environmental Studies major.  Environmental studies is a growing field with many job opportunities.

Regina Alvarez, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology, said that students can opt for one of two tracks – a science track or a general track.  “Students who do the science track can go to graduate school, can do research, or they can get technical jobs in the environmental field,” she said.  Students who take the general track would be more interested in working with government policies, or being an environmental consultant, an activist, a lobbyist, or an educator. 

Students in both tracks will earn a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies degree.  For more information about the Environmental Studies program, click here.

President Zelenskyy Awarded Honorary Degree at Commencement

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zekenskyy was awarded an honorary degree in absentia during the 68th Dominican College Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 15.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was awarded an honorary degree in absentia during the 68th Dominican College Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 15.  Dominican College is among about 30 colleges and universities throughout the United States conferring on Zelenskyy an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in recognition of his extraordinary leadership, courage, sense of justice, and his willingness to possibly lose his life in the effort to defend freedom. 

“President Zelenskyy has displayed such inspiring and courageous leadership in the face of unimaginable horror, as Russia launches a relentless and unprovoked attack against his country.  He has risen to the challenge and has been the right leader for this moment in history,” said Dominican College President Sr. Mary Eileen O’Brien, O.P., Ph.D. “Because of this, Dominican College is among the institutions of higher learning recognizing the exceptional dedication of President Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people by awarding him an honorary degree.”

The Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate of Sloatsburg, who are members of a congregation founded in 1892 in Zhuzel, Ukraine, will also be honored at the Commencement.  Since the Russian attack on Ukraine, the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate in the United States have been raising money and sending medical supplies to members of the congregation located in Ukraine and Poland to help the Ukrainian people.  Dominican College will recognize the admirable service of the Sisters of Mary Immaculate of Sloatsburg by awarding them the 2022 Veritas Medal.   

United Nations Official Delivers Commencement Address

Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee delivered the Commencement Address at Dominican College’s 68th Commencement Ceremony.

A United Nations official with a distinguished career of more than 30 years in international relations and diplomacy delivered the Commencement Address at Dominican College’s 68th Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 15, at 12 noon.  Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee serves as Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) for Africa in the Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations (DPPA-DPO).  This latest appointment follows impressive diplomatic posts in Moscow, Geneva, Tel Aviv, South Africa, New York, and Washington, D.C.

During the Commencement Ceremony at Clover Stadium in Pomona, NY,  Pobee received the honorary degree of  Doctor of Humanities in recognition of her extraordinary career in international relations and diplomacy, her steadfast dedication to furthering peace and security, her tireless advocacy for education and human rights, and her passionate support of women and youth,

Of her many posts, Pobee considers her appointment as Ghana’s first woman Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 2015 to 2020 to be the highlight of her career. In this position, she had various special assignments, including serving as Vice-President of the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Co-Facilitator of the high-level meeting on Financing for Development 2019, Chair of the African Group of Ambassadors in New York, Chair of the New York Group of Friends of the African-Women Leaders Network, and Co-Chair of the Group of Friends on Gender Parity at the United Nations. 

Pobee’s interest in international relations and diplomacy was first sparked as a high school student in Cape Coast, Ghana, when she joined a school club called the Ghana United Nations Students Association (GUNSA).  The students discussed world issues and took part in mock UN General Assembly sessions and Security Council sessions.  It was then that she began to closely follow the anti-apartheid struggle of the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and human rights and economic development issues.  Pobee was also a member of the Red Cross Society and Sunday School Club in high school and spent many weekends providing first aid services and teaching bible studies to children in local communities. At that young age, she realized how fortunate she was to be attending one of the best schools in the country and decided to be mindful of the needs around her and to serve others. 

A graduate of the University of Ghana, Pobee also holds a master’s degree in Development Studies with a specialization in Women and Development from the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague. In addition, she has diplomas in Public Administration and Multilateral Diplomacy from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration and the Geneva Institute of International Studies.

True Black History Museum Comes to Dominican College

Students visited the traveling True Black History Museum in the Granito Center extension in celebration of Black History Month.

The True Black History Museum, which shows visitors a snapshot of the history of African-Americans through photos, videos, and artifacts, came to Dominican College on February 16, 2022.    

Janay Craft, Director of Operations for the museum, said that the idea of the traveling museum is to bring the museum to the people.  “The goals are two things:  to preserve the history of black people and to show that African Americans do have value.  Those are the two main principles.”

Craft said she received a lot of positive feedback from the Dominican College students who visited the museum set up in the Granito Center extension.  Dominican College sponsored the True Black History Museum visit in celebration of Black History Month.