College Accreditation Reaffirmed by Middle States Commission on Higher Education

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) has reaffirmed accreditation for Dominican College. MSCHE accreditation is an expression of confidence in an institution’s mission and goals, its performance, and its resources.

Sr. Mary Eileen O’Brien, O.P., Ph.D., President, announced the accreditation to administrators, faculty, and staff on Monday, November 20. “This decision validates our commitment to continuous assessment and improvement of our institution.  I take the opportunity of this positive news to thank all in the College community for participating in and contributing to the Self-Study Report.  This is a proud moment for the College,” she said.

The two year re-accreditation process included the preparation of a report by the College’s Self-Study Steering Committee, led by Dr. Thomas Nowak, VP for Academic Affairs, Brian Fernandes, VP for Enrollment Management, and Dr. Kathleen Conlon Hinge, Assistant Professor of Physics and Mathematics. The Self-Study Report was submitted in March 2017.  Then in April, a Visiting Team made up of representatives of similar institutions, visited the Dominican College campus for three days as part of the MSCHE re-accreditation process.

MSCHE is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as the accrediting body overseeing all regionally accredited colleges and universities in the Mid-Atlantic states, as well as those in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and in several foreign countries.




Healthcare Symposium Focuses on the Opioid Epidemic

Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe was the keynote speaker at the Fifth Annual Healthcare Symposium, “The Opium Epidemic: What you need to know.”

Dominican College’s Fifth Annual Healthcare Symposium, “The Opioid Epidemic: What you need to know” drew a crowd of interested health care professionals, educators, concerned parents, and students to the Fury Lecture Hall in the Prusmack Center on Wednesday, November 15. 

Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe was the keynote speaker at the evening symposium and said in 2016, more than 64,000 people across the U.S. died from overdoses, and 75% of the overdoses were from opioid-based drugs. “I can’t think of anything that’s more topical and more important.  We are in a crisis.  We are in an epidemic here in Rockland County and well beyond,” he said.

Zugibe stressed that the opioid crisis was unique to the U.S. because although the U.S. has  5 % of the world’s population, Americans use 90% of opioid painkillers. He blamed pharmaceutical companies for creating the problem with an aggressive marketing campaign to convince doctors that the opioid drugs were safe for long-term use and non-addictive. However, most people addicted to heroin begin by taking opioid prescription drugs.  

There is no easy solution, said Zugibe, but officials are tackling the problem from a number of fronts, including aggressive law enforcement and treatment programs like the Rockland County Drug Court. He said the biggest focus going forward must be on prevention. “We have to get much better at educating and stopping these individuals from starting with it in the first place and that’s really where the focus is,” he said. “One of the key areas we’ve decided to focus on is doctors – educating doctors to change their prescribing methods.”

A panel of experts discussed services available in Rockland County and answered questions from the audience. The symposium was moderated by Joan Facelle, M.D., M.P.H., Former Commissioner of Health for Rockland County. 


Scholarship Recognition Dinner Honors Students and Donors

Junior Nursing student Amanda Carby delivered the Student Address at the Scholarship Recognition Dinner.

At the Annual Scholarship Recognition Dinner on November 9, 2017, attendees dined on a Thanksgiving feast after the scholarship recipients received certificates of recognition. During the evening, the College gives thanks for the accomplishments of the students, for the guidance of parents and faculty, and for the generosity of donors. 

Junior Nursing student Amanda Carby, delivered the student address. “We have all been told plenty of times that education and knowledge are the keys to success, but to obtain that success we need to have dreams, goals and aspirations,” she said.  

Amanda received the Riversville Foundation Scholarship – one of five new scholarships. At the first Scholarship Recognition Dinner in 1995, just six scholarships were awarded to 14 recipients. This year, 45 scholarships were awarded to 98 students. 




CEO of Holt Construction Shares His Business Advice

Jack Holt, CEO of Holt Construction, was the guest speaker at a CEO Forum sponsored by the Palisades Institute.

Jack Holt, CEO of Holt Construction, stressed that customer service should be the first priority of any business during a CEO Forum at Dominican College on November 8, 2017, which was sponsored by the Palisades Institute.   

Holt Construction was founded in 1919, by Jack Holt’s grandfather and remains headquartered in Pearl River in his grandfather’s home. The company is now ranked one of the top 300 contractors in the U.S. and has offices in Manhattan, Boston, Philadelphia, Houston, Dallas, Goshen, and Newark.  He explained how the company grew from its first corporate project of building 500 mouse cages for Lederle Laboratories to constructing baseball stadiums, airport terminals, hotels, and many other large projects.  “It’s all about the client.  We remain steadfast in our commitment to our clients – offering quality work while keeping their projects on time and on budget,“  he said. 

In addition to client satisfaction, Holt told the business leaders in attendance that site safety, a strong commitment to ethics, and embracing modern technology were also keys to his company’s success. He added that even as the company has grown and changed structurally, Holt Construction has continued to maintain family business values. Holt’s son and grandson also work at the company.   

The aim of the Palisades Institute of Dominican College is to encourage leaders in business, government, and not-for-profit agencies to integrate the concepts of leadership, quality, and ethics to achieve long-term success.



Acclaimed Dominican College Christmas Concert to be Held Sunday, December 3

Three vocalists will accompany the Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea during the Dominican College Christmas Concert on Sunday, December 3.

A beloved Dominican College tradition continues on Sunday, December 3, 2017, with the Annual Christmas Concert featuring the Reverend Alphonse Stephenson and the Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea. The concert will be held at 3 p.m. in the Hennessy Center on the Dominican College Campus at 495 Western Highway in Blauvelt, NY.

The concert features 40 classically-trained musicians, directed by Father Alphonse, who was the conductor and musical director of the 1980’s Broadway run of A Chorus Line. The orchestra, which will be accompanied by three vocalists, is made up of some of the area’s finest musicians and performs concerts throughout the region.

Tickets for the concert are priced at $30 for General Admission, $25 for seniors and veterans and $20 for students with a school ID. Concert tickets include a post-performance dessert reception.  In addition, a Holiday Buffet will be held in the Granito Center at 1 p.m. before the concert, at a cost of $20 per person. 

To purchase tickets, visit , e-mail or call 845-848-7406.



OT Students Create Intergenerational Program for Dominican Sisters

OT student Daniela Naclerio assists preschoolers and Sisters with an intergenerational arts and crafts activity.

Students in the Occupational Therapy Program have been working with Dominican Sisters at the Convent in Blauvelt as part of their Level I fieldwork. Two of the students, Alyana Pomerantz and Daniela Naclerio created an intergenerational program which involved preschoolers from St. Catharine’s Early Childhood Center playing and doing arts and crafts with  Sisters from the Infirmary on Friday, November 3.

Michael Pizzi, Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy, said,  “So the students are creating right now a more interactive thing between the Sisters and the preschoolers and if you observe, the Sisters are smiling.  They are engaged.  When they are sitting in their rooms, there is nothing else going on and they sleep.”

Other activities that the OT students have used to engage the Sisters include gardening, cooking, and painting, as well as socialization and memory activities.


College Holds Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony for Hennessy Expansion

Student athletes demonstrate to College Trustee Dr. Clement Osei how to use equipment in the new fitness center during a tour of the facility.

The latest campus addition – the Hennessy Center expansion – was showcased during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, October 19, 2017.

College President Sr. Mary Eileen O’Brien, O.P., Ph.D., reviewed the College history from its founding in 1952 and the need since then for recreational opportunities for residential students. “This expansion includes an additional gym, a well-equipped fitness center and creative practice and program space. How grateful we are to the many people who brought it to fruition,” she said. 

Sr. Mary Eileen thanked the Building and Grounds Committee of the Board, Holt Construction, Dominican College’s Facilities Staff and the many donors. In addition, she thanked State Senator David Carlucci, who was in attendance, for his support.

Senator Carlucci cited a study that found students enrolled in a school fitness center had higher GPAs and were more likely to graduate. That is important, he said, because Dominican College graduates contribute so much to the community.  “The things that are going on here at Dominican College don’t just stay within these walls, they proliferate to our community and improve the quality of life of all of the people in our community and in New York State,” he said. 

The dignitaries and donors at the ceremony toured the improvements and additions to the Hennessy Center, including the new gym, the fitness center, an athletic training lab, and a recruiting/conference room. The festivities included a ribbon-cutting outside both the gym and the fitness center.  Sr. Barbara McEneany, O.P., Director of Campus Ministry, blessed the area outside of the fitness center with Holy Water.  In addition, a plaque listing the project’s top donors was unveiled outside the new gym.   


Social Work Student Battling Lupus Awarded Scholarship

Student Deset Seyoum, a recent L.I.F.E. scholarship winner, is shown here on the Dominican College campus,

Social Work student Deset Seyoum has been awarded a scholarship from the Lupus Inspiration Foundation for Excellence (L.I.F.E.).  L.I.F.E.’s mission is to promote lupus awareness and award merit-based scholarships to college students diagnosed with the disease.  The foundation also offers support to the students. 

“It’s my dream come true, “ said Deset. “I feel that there’s someone who can understand me and help me so it means a lot to me.”

Deset is a native of Ethiopia and after moving here to be with her husband in 2014, became very ill with joint pain and rashes. When she was finally diagnosed with lupus, one of her kidneys was nearly failing and she had to take about 15 medications daily. Today, Deset said she is almost in remission and she takes just four medications.   

Deset discovered the L.I.F.E. scholarship application while she was surfing the web for information about lupus. She credits Debra Moniz, Director of the Academic Success Center (ASC), and Sr. Ursula McGovern, O.P.,  a professional tutor at the ASC, with assisting her with the scholarship application.


College Board Welcomes Two New Trustees

Sr. Michaela Connelly, O.P., President of the Sisters of St. Dominic of Blauvelt.

Michael Santos, Director of Ethics and Business Standards at Orange and Rockland Utilities

Two new trustees — Michael Santos and Sr. Michaela Connelly, O.P. —  are now on the Dominican College Board of Trustees.

Michael Santos has been the Director of Ethics and Business Standards at Orange and Rockland Utilities since 2014 and is responsible for developing, monitoring, and enforcing all aspects of the ethics program. He previously worked for Consolidated Edison in a number of positions concerned with business ethics and employee and labor relations.  He also sits on the board of the Palisades Institute of Dominican College.  

Sr. Michaela is the President of the Sisters of St. Dominic of Blauvelt, taking the top leadership position of the Congregation after serving as Vice President from 2011 to 2017.

Sr.  Michaela also has a long history of working in education. She started her career teaching elementary and junior high school students for the Archdiocese of New York in the Bronx and later served as Dean of Students and Principal at St. Raymond Academy for Girls.  In addition, she worked at Dominican College from 1972-1987 as Director of Public Relations and Director of Development.  Sr. Michaela earned a B.S. in Education from Dominican College in 1968 and an M.S. in Education (Administration) from Fordham University in 1973. 

Two highly-respected trustees who are stepping down from the board – James E. Hennessy and Anthony Montalbano, Esq. – were approved as Trustee Emeriti at the October Board Retreat. 



Hall of Fame Basketball Coach Bob Hurley Sr. Speaks at Basketball Tip-Off Dinner

The Men’s Basketball Team, along with their friends and family, got advice on basketball, coaching, and life from legendary basketball coach Bob Hurley Sr. at the Tip-Off Dinner on Thursday, October 12, 2017.

Hurley spoke about how he first started coaching as an 18 year old for CYO Basketball before taking a job at St. Anthony’s High School in Jersey City, N.J., where his teams won 28 state championships and four national titles.

College Trustee and former DC Basketball Player Michael McLaughlin introduced Coach Hurley by saying that he has changed lives. “You want to talk about character? Here’s a man that could have demanded a seven or eight figure contract and gotten it at will later on in his career,” said McLaughlin.  “He bypassed that because there was a community that needed him.”

Coach Hurley said over the years he became comfortable in his skin and learned the best way to coach based on his personality. His advice to the players in attendance was that they should concentrate on individually being the best they can be. 

Coach Hurley was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010 and was a 2017 ESPY Award winner as “Best Coach.” He ended his speech talking about the ESPY award ceremony and being among great athletes.

“From being in a little gym, upper 30 school in Jersey City on Friday nights at 18, to being almost 70 years old being on the ESPY’s, it was quite a run,” he said.

The 2017 Men’s Basketball Tip-Off Dinner was held at Casa Mia Manor House in Blauvelt.


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