Faculty and Freshmen Convocations

On August 24, 2010, Saint Peter’s College began the new academic year by welcoming faculty and freshmen at separate convocations.

The Faculty Convocation, annually held in the Roy Irving Theatre, welcomed the faculty, administration and staff to the beginning of another academic year. It was an opportunity to celebrate faculty tenure announcements, promotions and fellowships, and to introduce new members of the College community. This important afternoon began with a welcome from the recently appointed Dean of the Colleges of Arts and Sciences and School of Business Adminsitration, Velda Goldberg, Ph.D. The new Chaplain, Rev. Rocco Danzi, S.J., led the audience in an invocation.

The Bene Merenti awards were a program highlight, honoring those who have served the College for 20 years. This year, Bene Merenti awards were offered to Peter Antonini, Ph.D., Andrea Bubka, Ph.D., Lisa O’Neill, Ph.D., Wilfred Royer, Ph.D., Margaret Talbot, M.A. and Constance Wagner, M.A. As part of an esteemed tradition, colleagues read citations in honor of the Bene Merenti recipients who were present to receive their awards, allowing the audience to learn more about each person’s academic and personal achievements.

Kathleen Monahan, Ph.D., professor and chairperson of the Department of English, offered the citation for Peter Antonini, adjunct lecturer in the Department of Philosophy, sharing that they first met as undergraduates at Saint Peter’s. Dr. Monahan spoke about his strong dual career as a teacher and a postal carrier, and commented, “His desire to serve is reflected in his community activities which include everything from tenure as a Little League coach to participation in the Friends of the Library of Allendale.”

Frederick Bonato, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Psychology, spoke in honor of his colleague, Dr. Bubka, who is also a professor of psychology. Dr. Bonato credited Dr. Bubka with vast improvements to their department, and cited many of her professional achievements. He shared, “During spring break in 2000, we built a $400 optokinetic drum, and thus far it has yielded 12 peer-reviewed articles, research grants and many conference presentations. Her lab is now a well-equipped and growing human performance research facility.” In addition to her impressive accomplishments, teaching remains a priority. Dr. Bonato noted, “She has worked one on one with over 50 students conducting collaborative research.”

Dr. Monahan also delivered a citation for Constance Wagner, lecturer in the Department of English and director of the College’s writing program as well. Dr. Monahan commented on the diverse professional life of Ms. Wagner before she joined the College, noting that she “has applied this range of skills to great effect in her work with the writing program, as she oversees the efforts of more than 15 instructors teaching 5 different levels of composition courses.” Dr. Monahan shared a glimpse into Ms. Wagner’s talents by mentioning her singing ability and her pursuit of a scholarly book on The Lord of the Rings.

Additionally, three community members celebrated 40 years of service to the College: William Knapp, M.A., Rev. Robert E. Kennedy, S.J. and Larry Thomas, Ph.D.

Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., president of Saint Peter’s College, commented, “At Saint Peter’s we have always embraced this day as a time of renewal of not only our collective commitment to our students but also to each other.” His remarks enjoined the audience to remember this day of celebration throughout the year.

Rev. Michael Braden, S.J., the vice president for mission and ministry, offered the final benediction. Afterward, the audience enjoyed a reception in honor of the Bene Merenti recipients. Faculty, administration and staff from many different parts of the College offered their congratulations.

The Class of 2014 was welcomed at the Yanitelli Recreational Life Center with a day-long program including an invocation, a welcome from Dr. Cornacchia, and a chance to read and sign the Petrean Creed. The Petrean Creed outlines the educational and personal values that the students will learn and live by for their next years at Saint Peter’s. The convocation gave students an opportunity to begin the process of formation.

Students were collectively introduced to Crossing into America, the text of the Freshman Common Reading Program, which is a collection of writings about immigration after World War II. Another element of the program included educating the new students about sustainable living while at the College. Finally, the Class of 2014 ended the convocation with food, games, karaoke and more at a special barbecue in their honor.

The freshmen met the faculty when classes began on Wednesday, the day after the convocations.