Hofstra Students Donate Their Spring Break to New Orleans
For a group of 16 Hofstra students, spring break was not about the beach and relaxing, but a chance to volunteer in the relief effort for the city of New Orleans, still devastated by last summer’s Hurricane Katrina. From April 6 to 12, 2006, three administrators joined these heroic students – who spanned all class years, majors and faiths – to help with the recovery and cleanup effort.
Working with Catholic Charities and Brother Martin High School in New Orleans, the Hofstra students tackled difficult jobs such as minor construction, cleaning of debris and providing hospitality to displaced families.
This “alternative spring break” was largely inspired by the Office of Student Activities and Director of Student Activities Anita Ellis ’88, ’90, who was moved by the story of a single mother whose life was devastated by the storm. Subsequently, the Dean of Students Office and the student organization Hofstra Concerts volunteered to provide transportation and housing for the Hofstra students. The students were responsible for their own meals and personal expenses.
Hofstra’s Campus Catholic Parish and the Office of Student Activities took the lead in coordinating the trip. Other involved student organizations at Hofstra included the Student Government Association, Students for Life, the Newman Club and the Interfraternal Sororal Council. Many departments on campus, such as the President’s Office, Dean of Students, and the Offices for Development, Alumni Relations and University Relations, also offered assistance.
Commerce Bank, which opened a branch in the Hofstra University Student Center in February, helped underwrite the students’ efforts by presenting the Newman Club with a check for $1,000 to be used for this mission to New Orleans.
The students hosted a fundraising reception at the Hofstra University Club on March 29. Proceeds from that event were used to benefit Catholic Charities and Brother Martin High School and also to purchase Home Depot gift cards that the students distributed to residents of New Orleans.
Hofstra Cheerleaders and the Hofstra Dance team both walked away with first place awards at the 2006 College Cheerleading & Dance Team Championship held at Disney Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida, January 13 and 14, 2006.
Diane Perillo, assistant dean of student activities, works closely with the Spirit Support groups and accompanied the Cheer and Dance teams to Orlando. “The energy level was through the roof during the competition,” she said. “Both teams were so supportive of each other, and the coaches were completely focused on what the students needed to do to place first. There was also so much energy and support from the audience. In the crowd there were family members wearing Hofstra apparel and many alumni from the Cheerleading and Dance teams were rooting on the teams.”
With coaching by Christine Nowierski for the Cheerleaders and Jill Deal for the Dance team, all the good energy on stage, backstage and in the stands proved fortuitous: For the first time Hofstra won two first place awards in the national competition. Hofstra Cheerleaders placed first in the category of Small Coed, Division I, beating out University of Louisiana-Monroe, University of Texas at Arlington, University of Texas Pan American and Villanova University, among others.
The Hofstra Dance team placed first among Division I schools in the Hip Hop category. Hofstra placed ahead of other winning schools such as Southeastern Louisiana University, University of Delaware, St. Joseph’s University, California State University- Fullerton and James Madison University. Dean of Students Gina-Lyn Crance ’89, ’92 praised the award-winning teams. “Our students are a remarkably talented group of men and women who dedicate most of their out-of class time to Cheer and Dance. It is an honor that they placed first in the national competitions. Now, colleges and universities across the nation know what we do: Hofstra Cheerleaders and Dance team members are energetic, talented, dedicated students who represent Hofstra with pride!”
Ms. Perillo said once the teams returned to New York, the students – while still thrilled by their historic wins – were not resting on their laurels. “The 2006 National Championship teams are now working harder for the glory of winning next year and representing Hofstra. I would never ask for a different group of students to travel with. These 41 athletes are a mature, professional, and energetic representation of Hofstra University.”
The 2005-2006 academic year has seen the announcement of many new graduate programs by the Frank G. Zarb School of Business, the School of Education and Allied Human Services and the School of Communication.
Last summer, the Frank G. Zarb School of Business announced two new Master of Business Administration programs, the first M.B.A. programs on Long Island with concentrations in health services management and quality management. As part of a partnership with North Shore-Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Health System, these programs were offered for the first time in fall 2005 and include additional instructors from North Shore-LIJ.
The M.B.A. in quality management provides a balance between theoretical improvement and actual practice (guest lectures, case studies and internships). The program in health services management focuses on the latest developments in the health care industry and their legal, ethical and economic implications. For these newest M.B.A. programs the Zarb School joins with Hofstra’s School of Education and Allied Human Services’ Master of Health Administration program to offer four required core courses – U.S. Health Services, Health Policy and Legislation, Health Economics, and Health Systems Finance.
Additionally, the Zarb School of Business anticipates the launch of an M.B.A. program with a concentration in sports and entertainment management.
This spring the School of Education and Allied Human Services announced a new Master of Arts in mental health counseling and an M.S.Ed. in rehabilitation counseling in mental health. Both degrees provide students with a critical knowledge base of 11 content areas in mental health counseling and satisfy the educational requirements for mental health counseling licensure in New York. According to New York state law, effective January 1, 2006, only individuals who are licensed may provide mental health services or psychotherapy.
Graduates in mental health counseling are prepared to work in a variety of community, social service, and private settings. The rehabilitation counseling degree in mental health is designed for students who wish to practice as rehabilitation counselors and/or as mental health counselors.
Also this spring, the School of Communication announced Long Island’s first Master of Arts in journalism, beginning this fall. The new master’s program will offer evening classes and a choice of specialization in either science and health or business writing. The program targets not only working journalists who want an advanced degree, but also undergraduates majoring in the sciences, public health or business who want a career in specialized writing; high school journalism teachers and advisers who want to teach at a higher level; and adults contemplating a career change.
Students enrolled in this graduate journalism program will take courses taught by award-winning faculty and industry professionals. Depending on their specialization, they will also take courses at the Zarb School of Business, Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, or in health-related disciplines at the School of Education and Allied Human Services.
Approximately 1,200 students celebrated the holiday season with a great gift to themselves: an undergraduate or graduate degree. The December 22 commencement ceremony, held at the Hofstra University Arena, also marked the first commencement for Hofstra’s Saturday College, a relatively new division of the University that allows students to earn a bachelor’s degree by taking courses on the weekend, without disrupting career or family obligations.
The ceremony’s honorary degree recipient was Dr. Colin Goddard, chief executive officer of OSI Pharmaceuticals.
Dr. Laurie Johnson, a Hofstra professor of counseling, research, special education and rehabilitation with expertise in conflict resolution, has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright grant to spend seven months in Cyprus and work extensively with counselors and teachers in the country. Cyprus has been a divided land since 1974, when Turkey invaded Cyprus, ethnopolitically dividing the island into Orthodox Christian Greek Cypriots in the south and Muslim Turkish Cypriots in the north. Dr. Johnson’s Fulbright journey began in January 2006.
Dr. Johnson is working to create programs that influence attitudinal change and promote reconciliation between the two ethnic groups. “Hofstra University very much appreciates the important work being done by Dr. Johnson, and we are very pleased that her efforts have been recognized by the Fulbright Program,”stated Dr. Herman Berliner, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.
For the past five years Dr. Johnson has worked on similar projects in Northern Ireland, where she served as the Sheelagh Murnaghan Visiting Professor at Queens University in Belfast from 2000 to 2001. While in that divided society she focused on the development of systemic approaches to conflict resolution such as integrated education. In Ireland she led cross-community peace dialogues and trained community and educational leaders in conflict resolution methods. She plans to do the same in Cyprus.
Dr. Johnson says that being an outside research scholar in a divided land can be an asset in conflict resolution work. “You are viewed as having no ulterior motive and are more trusted. You are considered to have no bias or preference.” This is important in a divided country where the resident experts are automatically presumed to be biased toward their own community and therefore often ineffectual in their efforts to bring about reconciliation. Dr. Johnson explained that until now there have been virtually no systemic efforts taken in Cyprus to integrate peace education into the school community and neither teachers nor counselors have received exposure to conflict resolution methods or training in interculturalism.
Four Hofstra students traveled to the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, to work behind the scenes for NBC. Only nine universities nationwide placed interns with the network. NBC interviewed more than 450 potential candidates for 123 internship positions at the February 10 to 26 winter games.
The School of Communication students – Anthony Scarola of Glen Head, NY; Crystal Cohen of Dingman’s Ferry, PA; Lauren Fernstrom of Pittsburgh, PA; and Lauren Mann of North Easton, MA – all received substantial financial support from the University for this venture. Two of the Hofstra students are broadcast journalism majors, one is studying public relations and one is majoring in video/television.
While in Torino, the students were able to share their unique perspectives with classmates in Professor Dennis Mazzocco’s class, “Olympic Production and Programming: Torino 2006.” Using telecommunication connections provided by blackboard.com, Hofstra’s Hempstead team “met” with Hofstra’s Torino team via Internet, telephone and other satellite hookups to discuss preparations for and coverage of the Olympics. They read the same assignments, viewed each other’s work, took tests, and asked and answered questions via message boards and chats. Following the Olympics, both teams produced an archival document using the Internet.
Hofstra University celebrated its annual Shakespeare Festival in March with King John, a play that had not yet been performed on the Hofstra stage in the 57-year history of the festival.
The Shakespeare Festival is widely considered by the theatrical community to be a terrific training ground for aspiring actors. Multiple performances comprise each Shakespeare Festival: a full-length Shakespearean play, a shorter dramatic piece and the “Festival Musicale,” a concert by the Hofstra Collegium Musicum, an ensemble from the Music Department devoted to the performance of early music.
King John, directed by Drama and Dance Professor Royston Coppenger, headlined the 2006 festival. This year’s companion play was Calamity John, a merrie musical, guest directed by Hofstra alumna Kara Lynn Vaeni ’92. The Festival Musicale, directed by Professor of Music William E. Hettrick, was a concert titled “Dear John,” featuring harpsichordist Sonia Gezairlian Grib.
The 10th Annual Hofstra Gala to benefit student scholarships was held May 4 at the Hofstra University Arena on North Campus.
The event honoree was Helene Fortunoff, president emeritus of Fortunoff. Hofstra President Stuart Rabinowitz used the festivities of the Gala to announce the launch of the University’s first capital campaign in almost 20 years. Generous gifts have brought Hofstra closer to completing initiatives that will further the University’s reputation as a center of academic excellence.
Proceeds from the Gala benefit the Hofstra University Scholarship Fund, which provides financial assistance to deserving students who wish to pursue their educational goals at Hofstra. 1-800-FLOWERS was an underwriter of the event.
Long respected as a leader in the merchandising and design of fine jewelry, Helene Fortunoff established the fine jewelry division of Fortunoff. As Fortunoff grew from a small housewares store on Livonia Avenue in Brooklyn to its constellation of stores in New York and New Jersey, Mrs. Fortunoff became involved in many of the strategic decisions that enabled the company to become a premier retail chain.
Helene Fortunoff has shattered the traditional dominance of men in the jewelry industry, winning a number of prestigious accolades and awards along the way. She was the first recipient of both the National Jewelers Award for retailing excellence and the Morris B. Zale Award for retailing excellence. She was inducted into the Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA) Hall of Fame in 1993 and was elected president of the WJA that same year. Mrs. Fortunoff also received the American Gem Society’s 2001 Triple Zero Award. The prestigious DeBeers Carat Club invited Mrs. Fortunoff to be its first woman member.
In 1996 she traveled to South Africa as a guest of DeBeers, visiting gold and diamond mines. In recognition of her longstanding association with Italian jewelry manufacturers, Mrs. Fortunoff received the honorary appointment as knight of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy in June 1997.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) acknowledged Mrs. Fortunoff as a 1997 Sovereign of the GIA League of Honor, one of the most prestigious awards of recognition the Institute bestows upon benefactors. Mrs. Fortunoff’s interest in gem and industry standards has led to her recent election as chairman of the Board of Governors of the Gemological Institute of America. Mrs. Fortunoff recently joined the Committee of 200, an organization that strives to exemplify and promote entrepreneurship and corporate leadership among women of this generation and the next.
Mrs. Fortunoff has always reserved time for community and religious organizations. Now a past trustee of the North Shore Family and Child Guidance Association, she was honored as its 1996 Woman of Achievement. She was honored by the UJA Federation of New York, Diamond and Jewelry Division, as well as this same division by ORT. She is also a charter member of the UJA Women of Distinction and a Lion of Judah of that organization. In addition, Mrs. Fortunoff serves as an advisory board member of the Women President Organization. Most recently, she was a featured speaker at a “Women in Business” forum for the Learning Annex and the 92nd Street Y in New York City. In January 2006 she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jewelry Information Center.
Mrs. Fortunoff is a member and former chair of the Board of Trustees of Hofstra University. She and the Fortunoff family have significantly contributed to the growth of the University over the years, including the establishment of the Lester Fortunoff Memorial Scholarship and dedication of the Alan Fortunoff Reading Room in Hofstra School of Law. Mrs. Fortunoff also served as co-chair of the Hofstra School of Law capital campaign. In 1998 Hofstra recognized Mrs. Fortunoff with the designation of honorary alumna in appreciation of her tireless efforts and leadership on behalf of Hofstra University.
A cum laude graduate in business administration from New York University Stern School of Business, Helene Fortunoff makes her home in Manhasset, New York. Of her six children, five work in executive retailing positions at Fortunoff.