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A transformational gift from Andrea and Anthony Melchiorre, FDU parents, will focus on student mental health and well-being. The Melchiorre gift establishes the “Transforming College Campuses” initiative, which provides fellowship opportunities to FDU graduate and undergraduate students. “We are proud to partner with FDU on this transformational project. We are confident that this innovative program will provide FDU students with unparalleled support in mental health and well-being as well as the guidance to develop the personal skills for young adults to successfully navigate college life and beyond,” noted Andrea Melchiorre.
The Transforming College Campus initiative will support the mental health needs of FDU undergraduate students, and fosters a pipeline for students to pursue professions key to student well-being and success (e.g., clinicians and student affairs professionals). The project embeds graduate students in a required course for first-year students, “Transition to University Life.” The graduate student will remain paired with the students in the course for their first two years at FDU. The goal of this initiative will be to provide an environment of caring, support and ongoing mentorship during the critical years of a college education.
We are confident that this innovative program will provide FDU students with unparalleled support in mental health and well-being…
FDU graduate student, parent and benefactor
Learn more about the Students First campaign at SUPPORT.FDU.EDU/STUDENTSFIRST
Known to family and friends lovingly as Aunt Marye, Marye (Trinkle) Ruzila, who graduated from FDU’s Rutherford Campus in 1958, generously gifted $1.1 million to FDU. Her gift was endowed to the Career Development Center and the Silberman College of Business.
The gift to the Career Development Center provides grants to cover part of the costs of transportation, wardrobe and lost wages for students completing unpaid internships. In honor of her generosity, the Career Development Center on the Florham Campus was named the John Robert Ruzila and Marye Trinkle Ruzila Career Development Center. John Robert Ruzila, an alumnus himself, graduated from FDU’s Rutherford Campus in 1956.
Aunt Marye’s experience as one of the first few women to receive a B.S. in business management inspired her to establish the John Robert and Marye Trinkle Ruzila Endowed Scholarship in the Silberman College of Business. Rosemary Trinkle Baran, BS’83, also a graduate of FDU’s Rutherford Campus, noted, “Though Aunt Marye and Uncle John didn’t live to see the full impact of their gift, their spirit of altruism lives on in many FDU students.”
One of the best things about this award is accessibility. This grant is open to all students regardless of year, major, financial-aid status or citizenship.
University Director FDU Career Development Center
Learn more about the Students First campaign at SUPPORT.FDU.EDU/STUDENTSFIRST
“I can take a child who hasn’t had success in school and, using Orton-Gillingham, teach that child to read,” says FDU alumna, Ann Marie Schwartz, who was certified in the Orton-Gillingham approach — a multisensory phonics technique used to teach literacy — by FDU’s Center for Dyslexia Studies in 2000. Individuals with dyslexia typically have trouble reading in a traditional manner and struggle with understanding and comprehending words and passages — it’s a common learning disability, affecting an estimated 40 million Americans.
Schwartz, who began her career as an elementary school teacher, says that she has been able to help many children in the 22 years since she was trained in the method, and that she is passionate about spreading the word. “Children with learning disabilities are often placed in special-education classes even though many are exceptionally bright,” she says. “There should be someone in every school who has this training and can identify and help children with dyslexia.”
To that end, Schwartz and her family’s foundation have made FDU’s Center for Dyslexia Studies a philanthropic priority. “When you see parents angry, sad and agitated because their kids are struggling, and then you see the effect on the whole family as soon as their kids stop having trouble and become successful, that’s very rewarding,” she says.
The impact of training even one teacher in this method can have a profound effect.
“Gifts to the center provide scholarships for teachers to learn how to teach reading to struggling readers,” says Mary Farrell, director of the Center for Dyslexia Studies. “It is a gift that keeps on giving. We estimate that, on average, our graduates teach 15 struggling readers each year throughout the course of their typically lengthy teaching careers. The impact of learning to read for a struggling reader is immeasurable in terms of its long-term outcomes for improved self-esteem, attitude and life expectancy.”
For Brian Temple, BS’00, MS’01, an infectious disease (ID) physician at the Aurora Medical Center in Oshkosh, Wis., every day is a quest — to find answers, to better understand diseases and to heal his patients.
This was especially true during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when Temple found himself at the forefront of the fast-spreading medical mystery. Faced with a virus unlike any other, “we were all forced to deal with our mortality and our fear of the unknown,” he says. Temple trusted his training and infection-prevention protocols, but everything the experts knew, or thought they knew, kept changing.
At the height of this uncertainty — when there were more questions than answers — Temple’s days were long and exhausting, and he often felt unappreciated. “It was tough to see so many people die because we couldn’t do anything about it,” Temple says. “We also dealt with misinformation, patients who thought they knew medicine more than we did and others who believed COVID wasn’t real.” But “seeing someone you thought would die walk out of the hospital” made it all worthwhile.
Finding the correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment for patients gives Temple much fulfillment. Each virus brings with it unique characteristics that need to be understood. “We’re like detectives because we’re often consulted to figure out what’s going on” with a patient, he says. The process from initial consult to diagnosis is not always a straight line, and he has often taken circuitous routes to find the right answer to a patient’s problem.
Temple remembers treating a patient who had a high fever and headaches with increased liver enzymes. “Admitted with sepsis and given broad antibiotics, the patient continued to worsen,” he says. Temple talked with the patient, did a physical exam and evaluated his labs. “He was eventually diagnosed with anaplasmosis [a bacterial disease transmitted to humans by a blacklegged tick or deer tick],” he adds. “I started him on doxycycline [an antibiotic] and noticed a significant improvement.”
Temple doesn’t only treat complex or contagious diseases — a common misconception about ID physicians. “Cases can range from a urinary tract infection to a necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease) or spinal/vertebral osteomyelitis (bone infection), post-travel infection or fever of unknown origin (FUO).” And “because we don’t deal with just one organ,” collaboration with other specialists is crucial.
Temple is always up for the challenge. “I love my job because no day is the same,” he says. Timely and relevant knowledge is power, so he regularly checks the IDSA (Infectious Diseases Society of America), CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and WHO (World Health Organization) websites. “I get alerts each day from various journals and sites such as Medscape [which offer essential drug-and-disease information],” he added. He also meets with the Aurora Medical Center’s infection preventionist to ensure there are no outbreaks within their facility.
Preparation is half the battle. Temple believes it takes a certain kind of person to do the job well: one who is ready to work hard — oftentimes unnoticed — and is committed to a life of continuous learning. “ID medicine is tough, but it can be very rewarding,” he says.
Members of the Fairleigh Dickinson University community gathered to dedicate the Vincent J. and Lenda F. Naimoli Ballpark on Saturday, October 9. Naimoli Ballpark opened for play on the Florham Campus in the spring of 2021.
The ballpark is named for generous benefactor and former Trustee Vincent Naimoli, MBA’64, who passed away in 2019, and his wife, Lenda, in honor of their seven-figure donations to FDU’s One University Many Dreams campaign. It will serve as the home field for the Division III Devils.
The facility includes a permanent fixed grandstand, a press box, batting cages and a modern scoreboard. Additional parking, walkways and site lighting have been added as well.
“The facility is magnificent,” said former President Christopher Capuano. “It is one of the best baseball facilities in New Jersey and maybe one of the best Division III baseball parks in the country.”
Both Capuano and Jenn Noon, former director of athletics at the Florham Campus, paid tribute to the Naimoli family. “On behalf of past, current and future student-athletes, we thank the Naimoli family for their generous gifts and unwavering support,” Noon said. “We are forever grateful for the Vincent J. & Lenda F. Naimoli Ballpark, and we look forward to making many memories at this park.”
A very successful businessman and entrepreneur, Naimoli is best known for bringing baseball to Tampa as the founder of the Tampa Bay Rays. A previous gift from Naimoli supported the construction of the Naimoli Family Baseball Complex on the Metropolitan Campus in 2011.
“I had a very special relationship with Vince,” Capuano added, “and I know he is here today in spirit. Lenda’s generosity is just as great as Vince’s, and she allowed us to complete our vision. We owe a lot to them, and they are forever part of our family.”
Following the dedication ceremony, the FDU Devils baseball team played a doubleheader against Raritan Valley Community College.
As a young man, Dennis O’Brien’s dream was to play major league baseball. He went to tryout after tryout in the New York metropolitan area, hoping to catch the eye of a team scout. Finally, a scout suggested that he might have better luck attracting the attention of a major league team if he first played for a college program. The scout happened to know Harvey Woods, FDU’s first-ever director of intercollegiate athletics and head baseball coach. The scout gave Woods a call.
Based on the scout’s endorsement, O’Brien, BS’65, enrolled in FDU on an athletic scholarship. “I was the first in my family to go to college,” he says. “My parents couldn’t afford to send me.” During his freshman year, he quickly made a name for himself, tossing back-to-back no-hitters in the same week, an accomplishment remarkable enough to earn him a mention in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd.”
But, by his senior year, O’Brien began to understand that his dream of being a professional ball player might not come true. Armed with his FDU degree in accounting, he went to work for Warner Lambert, the pharmaceutical and health care products giant, rising through the corporate accounting ranks and, ultimately retiring as vice president, finance, consumer health care – U.S.
“I had a very enjoyable career,” he says. “I travelled the world.”
In 2001 the O’Briens — Dennis and his wife Adele — endowed the Harvey Woods Scholarship fund because, O’Brien says, “when Adele and I look back and ask ourselves ‘How did we get here?’ the answer is simple. It was that baseball scholarship granted to me by Harvey Woods.”
The scholarship is awarded to students who will be playing Division 1 baseball and are “academically successful, have good character and financial need,” O’Brien says.
O’Brien’s commitment to the sport he loves and his alma mater has not waned. He is a co-founder of the baseball alumni organization, a regular at reunions and serves as a member of the FDU Division 1 Athletics Hall of Fame nominating committee.
Almost 60 years after he threw those back-to-back no-hitters, O’Brien says “I still have a passion for FDU baseball and all it stands for.”
Kelley Kramer, BA’05, the deputy managing editor at Fox News Media, says that she can trace many of her professional successes to her time at FDU. “What will come as absolutely no surprise to the alumni and friends of FDU, is that the seeds for so much of what I have been able to accomplish were sewn during my four years at the metropolitan campus.” Kramer says that at FDU, she discovered the thing that sparked her imagination. And that, as well as the connections that she made, both inside and outside of the classroom gave her a strong foundation on which she has built her career.
Kramer, who served as editor in chief of the student run newspaper, the Equinox, recalls that paper’s advisor, Jane Foderaro, who was fondly known as “Tinker,” was both a mentor and a role model. On Thursday nights, when the paper was being put to bed, and the student editors would often work until the wee hours, Foderaro, then in her 70s and having already had a career as a working journalist, was always there at 3:00 am, making sure that the student journalists always head themselves to the highest journalistic standards. “I learned a lot about journalism, professionalism and ethics from her,” Kramer says.
Kramer says that the scholarships that she received while at FDU were the leg up that she needed. Originally focused on a career in public relations, says that a “wonderful alchemy of guidance, skill, focus, ambition, connections and a little luck” helped her to set her sights on a career in broadcast journalism.
One of the internships that she had while a student – at Fox 29 in Philadelphia — led to her first job in journalism. She rolled the teleprompter for the station’s morning show.
After several promotions, she ended up on the assignment desk, but she says that, having held a variety of jobs at the station, she knew that what she really wanted to do was write and produce live TV news. Using some of the tenacity that she had honed at FDU, she began applying for producing jobs across the country. “That’s how this Jersey girl ended up in Green Bay, Wisconsin,” she says, “running the morning show at the local NBC station.” From there, she was rehired by Fox 29, this time as a producer. “I spent three years there before the big leagues came calling,” she says. “I started at Fox News as a writer on Fox and Friends and worked my way up to senior producer before moving to the digital side. “
Kramer knows that ambition and tenacity are not always enough. “No one makes their way alone,” she says. “A great university is defined by the way in which it identifies and nurtures the talents that each student brings and that’s what FDU did for me. We all have potential and I was fortunate to find a university and mentors who saw mine and challenged me to grow, learn and find my way in the world.”
Kramer, who makes an annual gift to The Fund for FDU, says that hers is only one of the many stories of FDU students who you have been assisted by the generous gifts from donors — “the students who have taken the encouragement, training, guidance, inspiration, instruction and preparation into the world and created the best versions of themselves.”
When Tramaine Cooper, BS’04, MS’07, spoke at 2021’s Virtual Charter Day, he was hoping that he would serve as living proof of the impact that scholarship giving has one FDU’s students. As a student at FDU, Tramaine, who earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Hospitality, was a recipient of a Charter Day scholarship and is now the senior director of brand performance support at Hilton Hotels and Resorts, responsible for supporting all of the new hotels in the Americas that join the company’s portfolio.
In fact, it was not the first time that Tramaine spoke at Charter Day. In 2007, 22-year-old Tramaine was selected to be the evening’s student speaker. Tramaine recalls how nervous he was that night. “There I was, in a tuxedo, addressing the generous friends of FDU,” Tramaine says. “My goal was to represent all of the recipients of scholarships at FDU and to make sure that those in attendance that night understood the incredible impact their generosity had and continues to have.“
Tramaine credits FDU’s International School of Hospitality and Tourism Management with much of his career successes. “It is truly one of the jewels in the University’s crown. My time at FDU cemented my career goals and the education that I received laid the foundation for the career I have today. Every professor I worked with had and shared real world knowledge about the hospitality industry, the nuances of working in hospitality and ways to provide guests with exceptional experiences.”
Tramaine says that FDU equipped him with the tools to think creatively, even in tough situations, which certainly describes much of the past two years in the hospitality industry. “While the pandemic has changed the hospitality and tourism industry, hospitality is fundamental to most of the world’s economies,” he notes. “The business may change, but people will always want to travel – for business, for pleasure, to visit family and friends. And when people travel, they will want to feel at home and cared for.”
For this reason, he says, we will always need well-trained hospitality professionals.
Tramaine remains an engaged alumnus, because, he says, it gives him the opportunity to give back some small part of what he received at FDU. In 2019, he was a guest speaker and moderated a panel discussion at FDU. And, he says, he is an enthusiastic cheerleader for FDU students who are accepted into Hilton’s internship programs.
“Charter Day 2007 was, for me, a step toward my goals,” Tramaine says. “I was the first person in my immediate family to graduate from college and for my father, who accompanied me that night, it was a wonderful occasion and a very proud moment.” Tramaine recalls that, because he was able to put “Charter Day speaker” on his resume, which caught the eye of a recruiter for Wyndham Hotels, he was offered an internship at the company’s corporate offices in Parsippany.
Tramaine says he is grateful to all the long-time supporters of FDU’s Charter Day. “The help that you provide to the students of this wonderful institution has a ripple effect,” he says, “changing an almost unknowable number of lives now and in the future, for the better.”
In January of 1969, Arthur Clevenger, a junior at Illinois College, a private liberal arts school in Jacksonville, IL, traveled to Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Wroxton College, in Oxfordshire, England, on the advice of his college’s dean of students, to spend the spring semester immersed in all things British. Although the young man had travelled extensively with his parents throughout the United States, he had never been abroad and, alone on his first international flight, he was both excited and, he recalls, “scared to death.” Arriving at Heathrow, Clevenger had the good luck to hail a taxi driven by a friendly driver, who took pity on the intimidated young man and gave him a tour of London’s sight, free of charge, ending, finally at Paddington Station, where the Clevenger boarded a train to Banbury.
Clevenger remembers the cab he took from the station to the campus driving up the long driveway, the grounds covered in snow, and catching his first glimpse of Wroxton Abbey. “It was love at first sight,” he says.
Clevenger was one of 46 students enrolled at Wroxton that spring. The group quickly began participating in field trips, attending plays, and studying English, history, theatre, education, and economics, becoming, along the way, fast friends.
“We were on our own,” Clevenger recalls. “We learned to work together while building self-confidence and independence and created life-long friendships. We safely hitchhiked around the countryside – it was a different world and different time then. Wroxton exposed me to another culture and a whole world full of new experiences and people. It truly was a life-changing experience for me. I’ve traveled paths I never would have considered had I not gone to Wroxton.”
After college, Clevenger worked for the Marsh Company, a manufacturer headquartered in Belleville, IL, with facilities located in four other states, that his grandparents, Eugene and Darley Marsh, owned. He worked in product marking, packing products and the production of shipping supplies, making his way up through the ranks to general manager.
In the 1980s, Clevenger shifted his professional focus to industrial-use barcoding applications. He worked for several companies in data collection, label production, and barcode-based factory automation systems and retired from National Cash Register in 2000. But he found that he missed the sense of purpose that employment provided and eventually found a new passion in the tourism industry, giving city trolley tours in Asheville, NC, and, more recently, in Mobile, AL, for the past 12 years.
But, Clevenger says, his time at Wroxton has always loomed large. “It’s just in my blood,” he says. “I feel at home in the Abbey and in the village of Wroxton, whose character always remains stoically in place. I decided to donate my home in my estate plan as a legacy gift for Wroxton, so others can enjoy the same wonderful experience that has been so much a part of my life these many years. Wroxton was the key that unlocked my quest for travel and enrichment and immersion in worldwide cultures. I hope my legacy gift allows aspiring students to achieve scholastic success and find a pathway to their dreams through their own Wroxton experience.”
Although Clevenger has travelled extensively throughout the world — he notes that he has been to 49 states, 10 Canadian provinces, and 75 countries — he returns to Wroxton over and over. “In 1995, I organized the first reunion of our Class of 1969 with 10 of our classmates at Wroxton. In 1999, I took my 79-year-old mother to Wroxton and she loved the campus. In 2001, we held a reunion in New York City with 18 classmates and a Wroxton faculty member. We returned to Wroxton in 2004, and again in 2019 with a few classmates. Ever since 2003, I have returned to Wroxton almost every year. To me, Wroxton is a state of mind complete with its gracious civility, hospitality, and historic significance,” Clevenger says.
Arthur is the Class of 1969 representative and is planning its next reunion at Wroxton as he and his classmates approach their upcoming diamond birthday jubilee next year. He is encouraging his classmates to join him for the 2023 Wroxton Alumni Getaway Trip, scheduled from July 20 to 27, 2023, with the hope of celebrating their shared 75th birthday year together at Wroxton.
Clevenger says that first taste of international travel ignited a passion that remains to this day. “Learning both in and out of the classroom was essential for the Clevenger family,” he says.
By Anne Sherber
When James Orefice, MA’91 (Metro), decided to earn his master’s degree in political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University, he was already a commodities trader on Wall Street. Through his work, he had come to understand the ways in which even small shifts in the global landscape could have enormous consequences for world markets.
But he decided to attend graduate school not because he thought it would make him a better trader — although it did — but because he was curious. Orefice, whose undergraduate degree from Widener University is in history, says that, as a trader, he spent his days poring over The Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times and charting markets to determine the supply of and demand for the precious metals he traded.
“Graduate school was fun,” says Orefice. “I did it at night so, it took me a few years, but I really enjoyed the courses and the professors. It also helped me anticipate trends and make business decisions. It taught me to think and solve problems.”
Orefice remembers several professors in particular who challenged him in ways that made him a better, more insightful trader.
“In particular, the late Nasrollah Fatemi, director emeritus of the Graduate Institute of International Studies, and his son, Faramarz (Jim) Fatemi, professor emeritus of history and political science, and Helen Brudner, professor emerita of history and political science, were tough and inspirational,” Orefice says.
Orefice’s path to Wall Street and to FDU was anything but direct.
When he graduated from college in 1971, he recalls, the country was in the midst of an economic slump. So Orefice decided to work his way around the U.S., with stops as a hand on a cattle ranch; as a laborer in a meatpacking plant in Denver, Colo.; and as a mobile home mechanic; before opening his own commodities firm in Dallas, Texas.
From Dallas, he made his way back east, secured a position as a floor clerk on Wall Street and, eventually, bought membership to trade precious metals and crude oil.
Even as he zigzagged toward a successful career in the high-pressure trading world, he never lost his passion for learning.
That commitment to education became the impetus for a $2.5-million gift to FDU made by the Orefice Family Foundation as well as Orefice’s decision to include the University in his estate plans, some of which are earmarked to support scholarships and programs at FDU’s School of Public and Global Affairs.
Giving to FDU is giving someone the means to obtain an education.
Orefice, who hung up his trading jacket in 2010, now splits his time between homes in New Jersey and Florida and manages commercial and residential real estate.
He says that although he worked in the private sector, he strongly supports students who choose a career in public service. “Anytime you can join a nonprofit or public organization you have the chance to turn a negative world into a positive one. Giving back to the community turns a zero-sum world into a pro-sum world,” says Orefice.
Previously, Orefice’s generosity allowed the University to establish the Orefice Family Scholarship at FDU. The scholarship supports undergraduate students studying political science and international studies. The Orefice family has also contributed matching donations to the 42-hour Challenge, now known as the 42 Hours of Giving, a fundraiser named in honor of FDU’s founding in 1942.