The Heart of St. Francis College
Choosing celebration instead of sadness, St. Francis College hosted a party on May 24 to honor those who retired from the College this past semester. In all, more than 350 years of experience is departing from full-time service, many taking advantage of a retirement package that was offered.
From athletics to admissions, coaches to telecommunications, a host of Terriers past and present came out to wish the best to the 15 people saying their goodbyes this summer.
Vanessa De Almeida '00 who worked with Dennis McDermott '74 and Donna DeSiena for 16 years described the Brazilian tradition where you don't allow departing guests to hold the door as they leave, insuring that it will not be a final goodbye. She asked all SFC members who retired, "Please don't touch the doorknob on the way out because we want you to come back."
Romona Caramico '11
Romona Caramico '11 started working at St. Francis College in September 2000 as Secretary to the Director of Development. In October, 2003 she transferred to Admissions as Admissions Systems Manager and then later as Assistant Director until her retirement this year. While working at SFC she completed her Bachelor's Degree in 2011, joining both of her children, Andrew Caramico '00 and Maria Blandino '03 as alumni of SFC. Romona played an important role at the college and will be missed for her dedicated years of service at SFC.
—Maria Blandino '03
Director of Planning & Institutional Research
Steven Catalano's relationship with St. Francis College was forged through his relationship with (then) Schools Chancellor, Dr. Frank Macchiarola '62, for whom he was a driver. Dr. Mac became a fast friend and mentor to Steve and encouraged him to pursue his post-secondary education. In 2001, he began his tenure at SFC as a professor in the IT department before joining the College full-time in 2006. In a data-driven world, Steve's impact on the college has been profound. From the creation of essential fact sheets to providing key information which led to positive rankings in USNews & World Report, Forbes, and Money, Steve has always had a passion to deliver what people needed to achieve their goal. His dedication to providing data that is accurate and meaningful gave the College the power to strategically make decisions that further the SFC mission and assist day-to-day functions across campus. His willingness to offer his assistance and share knowledge, and natural inclination towards helping others is an embodiment of Franciscanism. "Always humble, Steve consistently remembered to thank all those who were involved in getting a project to fruition—and it is now time that we thank him for his service!"
— Jennifer B. Graham and Monica Michalski '01
"I remember first meeting Donna DeSiena when I interviewed for the Assistant Director of Alumni Relations position. Everything about her was positive, and filled with kindness and light. In the 16 years that followed that day, I would come to learn many things about her, including how she will probably not enjoy reading this because she hates being the center of attention. Her humble nature is on par with any Franciscan, as are her deeds. When Donna wasn't keeping Dennis McDermott and I sane, or serving as the soul of our office, she volunteered with her church, or spent her evenings visiting a sick loved one. In her 17 years at the College, she did far more than she ever took credit for, and poured her heart and soul into every project in which she played a part (and she was a part of them all). Seeing her smile every morning was the highlight of my day, and my life is far richer for having her in it."
—Vanessa De Almeida '00
Management & Information Technology
"From the first moment I set foot in St. Francis College as a new Assistant Professor in the Management Department in 1999 until now, there has been a constant presence dedicated to high quality teaching, service to the College and service to the Community—Dr. Peter Gomori. Pete's initial guidance as I designed my first classes in Finance and Management were crucial to my teaching effectiveness. His insights, advice and direction on how the College works proved invaluable. He loved sharing his Hungarian culture with Eastern European students, moderating clubs and helping to organize cultural events. Pete continues to keep in touch with many of his former students, even visiting them in their home countries. Throughout the years he has been at St. Francis, there is one phrase that sums up Pete's underlying philosophy: Be Better. He always wanted the students to be better, the College to be better, the faculty to be better and himself to be better. He's been a colleague, mentor, and, most importantly, a friend. And while his retirement reduces his physical presence at St. Francis College, the influence he has had on it over the past 34 years will continue long into the future."
Director, Masters Program in Accounting
Since coming to St. Francis College 38 years ago Professor Geoffrey Horlick has had an important hand in the success of thousands of St. Francis College Accounting students. As Chair of the Department of Accounting & Business Law and later as Program Director of the MS Program in Accounting, his rigorous standards and mentorship have instilled a high level of skill and proficiency that puts St. Francis College accountants on par with those from the best schools in the country. Under Dr. Horlicks's leadership, the College began a five-year combined Bachelor's and Master's Degree Program in Accounting as well as a two year Master's Degree Program. Outside of the classroom, Dr. Horlick is a member of the American Accounting Association, American Institute of CPAs and New York State Society of CPAs. He has published in Business Horizons and The Federal Accountant and served as Author and Editor of the Kaplan CPA Review Course for ten years. In addition he has consulted for Citicorp, Coopers & Lybrand, Theatre Now, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Hughes/Moss Casting, and Sherwood Ltd. Dr. Horlick currently serves as a Board Member and Treasurer of the Adoptive Parents' Committee and has participated as a panelist at the organization's annual conference.
Chair, Communication Arts
After 31 years of teaching at St. Francis College, Dr. Lynne Jackson retired in December 2017. She served as professor and chair for the past nine years for the Communication Arts Department. Under her leadership, the department blossomed with high student enrollment, as well as new faculty members and staff. She is the recipient of numerous awards, such as the Distinguished Professor award, The Franciscan Spirit award, and she is inducted into the Duns Scotus Honor Society. Dr. Jackson has mentored an innumerable amount of students and alumni. "Lynne, I cannot thank you enough for all your guidance, support and most of all, friendship."
—Lauren Bertolotti '08
Senior Circulation Clerk
For nearly three decades Sofiya Kagan's managed the circulation desk at the SFC Library, overseeing the checking out and intake of library materials, and supervising the student workers on duty. Ms. Kagan was the face of the Library—the first person one saw upon entering and the last upon leaving. She was always firm when discussing library fines and other offenses, yet skillful and polite when helping patrons with printing, finding the right call numbers, directing them to reference librarians, and much, much more. She made an invaluable contribution to the college and will be sorely missed.
Dennis McDermott '74
"Many things have been said and written about Dennis McDermott, whether it be his career, his college days or his love for St. Francis Some call him Big D., Mr. St. Francis, or even Big Man on Campus, and although his role as Director of Alumni Relations lasted 17 years, his relationship with the College began decades before. He and his wife Cathy are living embodiments of Franciscanism, and their love for St. Francis has proven to be boundless. I have learned a lot from Dennis, but the biggest lessons were about empathy, humanity and respect. The list of his accolades pales in comparison to the list of people he has helped. He would often say, 'It's easy to train a superstar. You have to look after the kids that stumble and need help. Those are the ones you go after.' The truth is, if it seems as if Dennis knows everyone, it is because he truly takes the time to really get to know them, because he wants to, and because he wants them to know that they are seen. It has been one of the greatest joys in my life to get to know Dennis as a boss, mentor and friend."
—Vanessa De Almeida '00
Supervisor of Mailroom
Neither slow elevator, stopped escalator, nor crowded hallway ever kept Danzil Monk (29 years) from delivering inter-office mail or picking up packages to be sent out. You often heard him singing a gospel tune before you saw him, providing a melodic interlude to your day. The moderator of the Christian Club for many years, religion is deeply important to Danzil. He volunteered for 25 years on WBLS program Open Line. He now devotes much of his time as a Minister at Perfecting Faith Church in Freeport, Long Island, under Pastor Donald A. McClurkin, Jr. Danzil also sings in the choir and you can watch him every Sunday
morning on the church live stream at perfectingfaith.com.
Carl Quigley '75
Assistant Athletic Director
Cathal (Carl) Quigley graduated from St. Francis College in 1975, but he never left, going from water polo player to coach and continuing a journey that created a powerhouse program and brought thousands of top students to the College from around the world. Forty years later, even though he is retiring as Assistant Athletics Director for Aquatics, Carl will still not be far from Brooklyn Heights. "International students like myself, who never set foot in America, packed their bags one night, leaving everything they've ever known, took a ten hour flight to get here, unaccompanied, to be welcomed by Carl's white mustache. He is that man that waits for us at the airport, drives us to our apartments, stops and talks to us whenever he is not sprinting around the College. He is that man who takes swimmers to eat shrimp, and lets water polo guys borrow his bike and surf board at his house in the Rockaways. Carl is that one person who made St. Francis feel like home, because he welcomed us as family. He is our American dad, that man we go to talk to, wiser in age, but just as young in spirit."
—Vukasin Petrovic '20
Director of Library Services
Dr. James P. Smith, who headed the SFC Library for 17 years, was a true leader beloved by his colleagues. During his tenure he oversaw the library's move from its old location to the new renovated space, and directed the development and maintenance of the library collection. Dr. Smith was a stern but fair leader who pushed hard to make the library relevant in the internet age. Smart, funny, knowledgeable; he always had his thumb on the zeitgeist, always up to date with new informational and educational technologies. He never micromanaged, choosing instead to support the work of his fellow librarians and trust them to bring the library to the fore of higher education.
Grants Manager, Government and Community Relations / Development
Though not clothed in a priest's clerical garb, Edward Stewart always opened his door to counsel, listen, and advise his co-workers. He straddled the offices of Government and Community Relations and Development, helping to secure millions of dollars in grants for the College, including for the Nursing Labs, HDTV Studio, and a new Maker Space now being planned. During his ten years at St. Francis, he was steward to several generous alumni, deepening the connection with their alma mater and ensuring their donations were both impactful and reflective of their giving priorities. This fall, Ed will return to priestly ministry as a chaplain at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut.
Women's Basketball Head Coach
Coach John Thurston has been involved in coaching college athletics for over forty years, the past six as Head Coach of the Women's Basketball Team. He led them to the College's first ever NCAA Tournament appearance and perhaps more impressively, the following year, the team had the top GPA in women's basketball. "This is a huge credit to you and your staff and we are so grateful for your hard work and dedication to developing us individually and as a team. You challenge and inspire us every single day and allow us to flourish as we enter the real world. I am so blessed to have ended up here. You advocate for a total college experience and encourage us to enjoy every aspect of life. In saying all of this, the best part about you, coach, is how unbelievably caring you are about each and every single player that has played underneath you. You truly have our best interest at heart and you push us to be successful at anything we do."
—Alex Delaney '18
Romona Caramico '11
Dennis McDermott '74
Carl Quigley '75
Sabrina Simmons '10
Peggy Standing Deer
Jerome Williams '76