Throughout its history, The College of New Jersey has had a remarkable ability to innovate, inspire, and engage. This commitment to excellence is a primary reason we stand as one of the top public colleges in the country. Please join us in our quest to ensure a TCNJ education continues to be both exceptional and accessible for hardworking, high-striving students by participating in The Campaign for TCNJ.
Barbara Meyers Pelson ’59
Allen M. Silk, ESQ.
Mike Randazzo ’10 gives back to PackerTCNJ’s Aquatic Center is getting a significant upgrade thanks to a gift by Mike Randazzo ’10. Randazzo, a lifelong competitive swimmer and coach, contributed funds to purchase a state-of-the-art scoreboard for the pool at Packer Hall. Paired with the college’s new Omega Quantum timing system — the same system being used in the upcoming Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro — Randazzo’s generosity has put TCNJ’s swimming facility in a league of its own. “It’s the largest board of its kind in the U.S. that is in use in a short-course pool,” says Brian Bishop, associate director of athletics and TCNJ’s men’s swimming and diving coach, referring to the pool’s 25-yard length. Long-course pools are 50 meters. The scoreboard will allow swimmers, coaches and spectators to enjoy swim meets as they never have before. It can display swimmers’ names, lane positions, heats and times, while also simulcasting races, showing replays and announcing records. “Any scoreboard can put up the results,” Bishop says. “This one has so many capabilities, it’s almost endless.” Randazzo swam his first meet at TCNJ in 2005 as a member of the state championship-winning Hillsborough High School Boys’ Swimming team. He hasn’t been far from the pool at Packer Hall since. He swam there recreationally throughout his years at TCNJ, also helping to coach the Lions and volunteering with the team. After graduation, he became head coach of Eastern Express Swimming, a member club of USA Swimming that trains and develops swimmers ages 6-18. TCNJ has been home to Eastern Express since the club was founded in 1987. In thinking about how to give back to the facility that has been so central to his life and career, Randazzo says he wanted to do something worthy of the caliber of swimming that occurs there. “We now have a board that can appropriately showcase the performances that take place in that pool,” Randazzo says. “It’s going to give a new recognition and credibility to the athletes. That excited me when I was thinking of a way I could give back.” TCNJ’s men’s swimming and diving team has been successful at the NCAA Division III national championships, finishing in the top seven the past three years, with individual swimmers winning national titles. The women’s team has been equally impressive, regularly landing in the top three at the Metropolitan Conference Championships and going undefeated in the New Jersey Athletic Conference, where they are four-time champions. Randazzo’s Eastern Express has a swimmer who qualified for the Olympic trials this year, and the club boasts an Olympian, Andy Potts, who competed in the triathlon in 2004, won a gold medal at the 2007 Pan American games and went on to become a successful Ironman competitor. Elite swimmers won’t be the only ones to benefit. Bishop says the scoreboard can display “anything you can see on a computer screen,” so movies and educational videos can be played during rec swim and swim instruction. There’s also potential to generate revenue for the Aquatic Center by selling advertising on the board. “It’s a tremendous, unbelievably generous gift,” Bishop says. “It enhances the facility in every aspect.” —Denise DiFulco
Inaugural fellowship winner could have life-saving impact on campusWith the support of a campaign gift from Andy ’83 and Maria ’83 Polansky, senior interactive multimedia major Niveda Harishankar is designing an app that could have a life-saving impact on campus. The Andy and Maria Polansky Scholarship Endowment provides fellowship awards in recognition of TCNJ students who demonstrate exemplary leadership and a commitment to enriching the community by applying their talents and skills in communication, media, and technology. Moved to action during her junior year when a fellow classmate died by suicide, Harishankar’s idea for the TCNJ Wellness app blossomed in her mobile computing class that same year. She wanted to ensure that mental health resources for students were never more than a swipe and tap away. “It just came together in my mind that this app would be a small step toward bringing students the resources they need in order to make a difference,” she says. The $1,000 fellowship prize sent her to HOW Design Live, a weeklong professional graphic design conference in Chicago that gave her the expertise and motivation to bring the project to life. “The conference taught me how graphic design can solve problems in order to better my community,” she says. And that’s exactly what she set out to do for her fellow students. The mobile app allows students to lift their spirits, track their moods, and get help from the community, all while protecting their privacy. It features a mood tracker, suggested activities and exercises, and quick access to existing psychological resources at the college. After she graduates in May, Harishankar will head to a full-time position at Amazon.com as a user experience designer. “Every single project at TCNJ has been a step toward becoming a better problem solver,” she says.
Matthew Bender receives of the Gitenstein-Hart Sabbatical Prize for 2016-17To a historian, 10 years might be a blip on the radar. To someone writing a book, 10 years could feel like an eternity. As the third recipient of the Gitenstein-Hart Sabbatical Prize, Associate Professor of History Matthew Bender will get support during the 2016–17 academic year to bring his decade-in-the-making book to fruition. His manuscript, “Water Brings No Harm: Knowledge, Power, and the Struggle for the Waters of Kilimanjaro,” examines struggles over the control, management, and meaning of water resources on Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro for the past 150 years. “I’m looking at a very narrow place but over a large period of time to look at the bigger question of how people think about water as a resource,” he says. According to Bender, there is a “mind-blowing” number of outsiders who have come to Kilimanjaro to try to influence local thinking about water—how it should be delivered, who can access it, whether or not it should remain free. The local population, with their own knowledge of water only accepts new ideas as they prove relevant. For example, people boil their drinking water, but reject science showing that irrigation is harmful to the mountain. His hope is that the book will have powerful implications not just for scholars of African history, but also for policymakers, engineers, and development specialists. “It’s really essential that they understand how local people think about [the resources],” he says. “It’s not enough to go in with a technical solution; it’s about understanding how a community uses a resource in order to know what the best technical solution is.” The sabbatical will not only afford him time to fine-tune his writing, but allow him to travel back to Tanzania for follow-up fieldwork. “Historians are book writers,” says Bender. “I’m super excited to have a year’s worth of time with this as my primary task.”
Alumna Patricia Busk’s commitment to future teachers and to TCNJ prompts $1 million giftA piece of fruit set free in a classroom provided the tipping point Patricia Busk ’66 needed to sharpen her professional focus. “I did my student teaching at Princeton High,” says Busk. “I was teaching first-year algebra after lunch, and a student rolled an orange down the aisle. Several other students followed his lead.” Among other things, Busk says that “helped me realize that maybe I should be teaching college students.” With her PhD from the University of Wisconsin and a graduate faculty position at the University of San Francisco’s School of Education, Busk found her niche. “To help move an educator to the next level of their professional development is, to me, extremely satisfying,” says Busk. “And it has been quite some time since someone has rolled an orange down the aisle.” With nearly 40 years spent teaching, Busk often thinks about the future of her field, and who will rise up to become the next generation of teachers. The evaporation of federal tuition grants has led to a decline in enrollments of underrepresented populations, she says. Busk knows from experience the two things necessary to ensure that students from underrepresented populations who want to become teachers can do so: “Financial aid for those who cannot afford a quality education, and mentoring by an experienced educator who can help them build a solid foundation as educators themselves,” she says. Creating an attractive and effective opportunity for these students was a priority for Busk, an alumna or faculty member at five schools of education. To honor the memory of Patricia Busk’s late mother, she and her husband, Michael, chose TCNJ as the institution at which to establish The Julia Maziarz Fund in Support of the School of Education. “For well over a decade, my husband and I have been following the development of TCNJ,” says Busk. “We continue to be especially impressed by the very careful and precise improvements in the university under the direction of President Gitenstein, the faculty, and the Board of Trustees.” “As with any other investment, we want something that produces, that is energetic,” she says. “TCNJ is clearly one of those places.” The fund will support students from populations that are underrepresented in higher education, and who plan to teach in urban settings. The donation will also fund a faculty member who will recruit and mentor scholarship recipients. The fact that TCNJ is involved in assisting schools in Trenton, Patricia Busk’s home town, also figured into the Busk’s decision to make a gift. “I learned that Jeff Passe, the dean of the School of Education at TCNJ, is facilitating a partnership” with the schools in the city, she says. “My parents and I lived in Trenton, but when I was 5, my mother passed over from tuberculosis.” “I thought of honoring my mother’s heritage—and all the love I received from her during the short time that we were together—by naming this bequest for her,” says Busk. “Her passing over 65 years ago was such a loss for my father and for me, but she still is remembered.” Says Busk, “Now good work in her name will continue in the city in which she raised me.”
After 50 years, Walter L. Sikorski stays close to his alma materWalter L. Sikorski ’62 arrived at The College of New Jersey in 1958 with a singular purpose: he wanted to become a teacher. More than 50 years later, and with an expansive education career now behind him, he is still deeply tied to the college—and a committed donor, too. As he’s quick to point out, alma mater translates to your other mother. Sikorski spent 35 years teaching English in New Jersey public schools, from South Brunswick to Trenton to North Brunswick. He helped his students unravel Romeo and Juliet, The Great Gatsby, Great Expectations and other classics. He also stayed connected to TCNJ through visits to campus and as a member—and eventual president—of the Alumni Association. In 2010, Sikorski took another step in caring for his other mother. He elected to establish his first charitable gift annuity, which provides him with income for life and will ultimately support the School of Education. Since then, he has created eight more. “I was given a great education at a reduced cost, and this is my way of returning the favor,” he says. “It’s also nice to have a source of income from the interest. All in all, it’s a marvelous instrument for the donor and for the students who now attend TCNJ.” He says he’s both nostalgic and proud when he returns to campus now. “I have fond memories of my own time there, and I think the college has evolved in a very positive manner under [President] Barbara Gitenstein’s leadership,” he adds. That’s why he added yet another layer to his support for the college recently, as chair of the School of Education Committee for The Campaign for TCNJ. “I’ve been blessed with a good life,” Sikorski says. “I like feeling that I’m using it to help students afford their college educations.” —Molly Petrilla
$1 million gift will benefit students of modest meansRobert Carr has a vision. In the not-too-distant future, 50 students from low-income New Jersey families will enroll at TCNJ and graduate in four years with no debt. Thanks to a $1 million gift from Carr’s Give Something Back Foundation (GSBF), that vision is now destined to become reality, “GSBF is thrilled to partner with The College of New Jersey to provide maximum access to a four-year college education to qualified students of modest means,” said Carr at a June 30 campus ceremony. “TCNJ shares our mission of helping students realize their full potential.” The students will be identified as high school freshman, assigned a mentor who advises them and helps prepare them to succeed in college, and provides assistance in assessing career and college choices. The first group will arrive at TCNJ in fall 2019. Long before he became involved in giving scholarships to students, Carr received one himself—$250 from the Lockport Women’s Club—when he graduated from high school in 1963. “It meant a lot to me. I got a plaque with my name on it, my picture in the newspaper. I don’t even know why I got it. It just happened,” he said. “I always vowed that whenever I was able, I would contribute that money back—with interest.” Today, as chairman and CEO of Princeton-based Heartland Payment Systems, one of the nation’s largest processors of debit and credit card transactions, Carr is making good on that promise. Beginning in his hometown of Lockport, Illinois, the foundation has already awarded 250 scholarships to high-striving students who don’t have the financial resources to attend college. This year, the program expanded to New Jersey, where he currently lives. The ambitious program aims to put 1,000 students—many of whom will be the first in their family to get a degree—through college. “As a public institution, we are committed to serving talented students from all socioeconomic backgrounds,” said TCNJ President R. Barbara Gitenstein. “This gift will help ensure that anyone who is intellectually capable will have access to a high quality TCNJ education.”
New campaign launches to fund major TCNJ prioritiesOn Saturday, April 25, approximately 1,000 students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends gathered on a sunny and crisp Quimby’s Prairie to be a part of college history. The moment came at 4 p.m., when TCNJ President R. Barbara Gitenstein took center stage for the big reveal—the special announcement that the college was undertaking a major initiative to ensure a TCNJ education continues to be both exceptional and accessible for hardworking, high-striving students. The campaign—subtitled “Innovate, Inspire, Engage”—is the college’s first-ever comprehensive fundraising effort. With a goal of raising at least $40 million by June 2017, the campaign will advance four priorities: student support, academic enrichment (including support for faculty research and scholarship), the student experience, and capital improvements. Read Full Story
Cooperman College Scholars pledges support for nearly two dozen Essex County teens.The Cooperman College Scholars program has partnered with TCNJ to help teens from Essex County high schools pursue higher education. Cooperman Scholars will start with a three-week, on-campus experience the summer after their junior year in high school. They will live in the residence halls, participate in a college workshop organized by the Center for Student Success, and take two classes. After the summer experience, Cooperman and TCNJ staff will offer application preparedness support and help completing
required financial aid information to all Cooperman Scholars who plan to apply to TCNJ. Those who enroll at TCNJ will receive a four-year scholarship from the Cooperman Scholars program, which will pay costs (up to $9,000 per year) that are not covered in their financial aid package.
Janet Morrison announced as TCNJ’s first-ever endowed chair.
TCNJ receives $1M gift to support student-faculty collaboration.
Faculty research will reach new altitudes thanks to gift from president and husband.
The Campaign for TCNJ seeks support for four critical priorities. Learn more about them, see the impact philanthropy is having at the college, and explore ways in which you can make a difference.
Create your own legacy by investing in our four campaign priorities.
Scholarships and fellowships ensure that deserving TCNJ students can focus on fulfilling their promise.
GOAL: $20 MILLION
ENDOWED PRESIDENTIAL SCHOLARSProvide a full-tuition scholarship annually: $500,000
ENDOWED DISTINGUISHED SCHOLARSSupport a partial-tuition scholarship annually: $250,000
ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIPSSee the immediate impact of your philanthropy through a scholarship.
Endowed Scholarships: $25,000
FACULTY-STUDENT COLLABORATION ENDOWED FUNDSExpand powerful, mentored learning: $100,000
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Endow scholarly pursuits and help TCNJ attract and retain top scholars and top students.
GOAL: $4 MILLION
Advance a dean’s strategic initiatives: $1.5 million
Support focused education and research efforts: $1 million
Recruit and retain top scholars to senior faculty positions: $1 million
Assist junior faculty members in scholarly endeavor: $500,000
ACADEMIC RESEARCH FUNDS
Encourage innovative teaching and research by faculty members within a designated school or department: Endowed Funds: $25,000 Impact Funds: $10,000
Ensure that students benefit from mentored, practice-based study and opportunities to learn and lead in the community and across the globe.
GOAL: $14 MILLION
STUDENT EXPERIENCE FUNDS
Help TCNJ students grow as scholars and leaders by investing in these strategic initiatives across the college mission: Endowed funds: $25,000
LECTURE SERIES LEADERSHIP
DEVELOPMENT LIBRARY ACQUISITIONS
THE BONNER INSTITUTE AND COMMUNITY ENGAGED LEARNING
OPPORTUNITY AND INCLUSION INITIATIVES
Ensure that science and engineering students have access to modern labs and the cross-disciplinary environments embraced by industry innovators.
We’re well on our way to our goal of $40 million. Thanks to the many donors who have already answered the call to “engage”! Join them by making a gift today!