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Sr. Mary Eileen O’Brien President
Sister Mary Eileen O’Brien, O.P., Ph.D., is President of Dominican College and a member of the Dominican Sisters of Blauvelt. She has dedicated herself to education and congregational excellence and leadership for close to 50 years. This heartfelt commitment has served to inspire and guide the many people, particularly students, whose lives she has touched through her service.
Sr. Mary Eileen was elected to serve as College President in 1979 and remained in that position until she was elected to a six-year term as President of the Sisters of St. Dominic (1987-1993). She was chosen to serve again as President of the College in 1997. Since 1929, the College’s enrollment has grown by almost two-thirds to about 2,000 students. The growth has come about through her leadership in introducing new undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as two doctoral programs. The College currently offers over 35 bachelors, masters and doctoral programs. An academic facility for the health and science programs, three residence halls, a student center and gymnasium were also added.
She began her educational career in the Bronx, where she was raised.She taught mathematics at St. Benedict’s School and at St. Pius High School before serving as the principal of St. Luke’s School in the South Bronx. In 1977, she was calledupon to assist her mentor and former teacher, Sr. Natalie Casey, the President of Dominican College.
Sr. Mary Eileen earned a doctorate degree in Educational Administration and Supervision from Fordham University and holds master’s degrees from both Teachers College of Columbia University and Manhattan College.She received a bachelor of arts in English from Dominican College.
In addition to her dedication to Dominican College and the Dominican Sisters, Sr. Mary Eileen is active in her local,regional, and national community.Some of her recent community involvements include: Bon Secours Charity HealthSystem; Caldwell College, Board of Trustees; Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference, President’s Council; Rockland’s 40 Under 40 Program, Co-Chair; Department of Social Services, Citizen’s Advisory Council; Dominican Higher EducationCouncil, Chair; Helen Hayes Hospital, Board of Visitors; Lower Hudson Valley Catholic Colleges and UniversitiesConsortium, President’s Council; Rockland County Business Association, Board Member.
Her commitment to education and community service and leadership resulted in numerous honors, including: IrishEducation 100 – Irish Voice, Journal News/Junior Achievement: Business Person of the Year, Rockland EmploymentNetwork: Lifetime Achievement Award, Helen Hayes MacArthur Award, Annual Award – Rockland EconomicDevelopment Corporation (REDC), Woman of the Year – Rockland Business and Professional Women’s Club, honoree bythe Knights of Columbus, Women Pioneers in Education (CEJJES) Award, Dominican College Athletic Hall of Fame and mostrecently the Our Lady of the Rosary Leadership Award.
Sr. Mary Eileen has also participated actively in the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, the Council ofIndependent Colleges, the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities, and the National Association ofIndependence Colleges and Universities. She currently serves as Chair of the Dominican Higher Education Council.
Sister Kathleen Sullivan, O.P. is a member of the Dominican Sisters of Blauvelt, NY. She currently servesas the Chancellor for External Affairs at Dominican College in Orangeburg, NY and as a member of theCollege’s Board of Trustees.She served as President of the College from 1987-1997.
Immediately prior to assuming the office of the President of the College, she served on the congregationalleadership team of the Sisters of St. Dominic. For the sixteen years before her election to congregational leadership, Sister served in various capacities in Dominican College: as Assistant Professor of French,Director of Admissions and as Academic Dean.
Sister is a member of the Board of the Rockland Economic Development Council, the WorkforceDevelopment Board of Rockland County, the Rockland County Public Health Priorities Steering Committeeand the Board of St. Peter’s Day Care Center (Yonkers, NY).
Thomas Nowak, Vice President for Academic Affairs/Academic Dean at Dominican College in Rockland County, NY, has served in multiple roles during his 28 years at the institution. He remains a member of the English faculty (Associate Professor rank) and was Department Chair from August 1995 through December 2005. In January 2006, he began serving as Director of the Arts & Sciences Division. In Fall 2007, he was asked to serve for a semester as interim Academic Dean, and was asked to take this on as a permanent position the following semester, Spring 2008. In addition to these administrative roles, Thom was the Director of the College’s Honors Program from 1994 through 2001, served three separate year-long stints as the Director of the College’s Writing Center, and chaired several faculty committees (Academic Standards, Faculty Affairs, and Rank & Tenure). Thom also served as a writer for two Middle States (MSCHE) accreditation reports and co-chaired three others. As Academic Dean, he has worked on reaccreditation self-study reports and site visits for seven separate professional programs, primarily in health fields.
Thom received his Ph.D. in English Language & Literature from the State University of New York at Stony Brook (fields of concentration: Renaissance and 17th-Century Literature, Medieval Literature, Composition and Rhetorical Theory). His dissertation was on “The English Gunpowder Plot Sermons, 1605 -1651.” At SUNY at Stony Brook, he held a full Teaching Fellowship for four years and taught various levels of composition courses under the mentorship of Peter Elbow and tutored in the University’s Writing Center. During this period, he also adjunct taught at Hofstra University and SUNY College at Old Westbury. Thom did his undergraduate work at the State University of New York at Binghamton where he earned his B.A. in Rhetoric and Literature and a Minor Certificate in Medieval Studies.
Thom currently lives with his wife, children Ruth and Max, and multiple pets (three cats, two fish tanks, and one snake) in Orange County, New York.
Brian Fernandes works at Dominican College, NY, as Vice President for Enrollment Management, a position he has held for over 20 years. He has managerial responsibility for the offices of Admissions, Financial Aid and the Registrar. This includes developing and managing strategies related to the College’s enrollment goals at the bachelor’s, masters’ and doctoral levels, including marketing to diverse student markets. He also works on institutional aid positioning to support enrollment goals and fiscal needs. He served as co-chair on the College’s Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) Self-Study for 2007 and 2017, and has served on three MSCHE Self-Study Visiting Teams. Prior to Dominican, Brian was Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs in the School of Arts & Science at Iona College, NY, where he managed over 20 graduate programs on two campuses for 10 years. He has served as an adjunct faculty member at Iona since 1990 teaching courses in Leadership and Management.
He earned his M.B.A from Iona College, NY, and his B.Sc. from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, India.
Brian lives in Fairfield, CT, where he has been an active member of the Parent Teacher Association of his children’s schools for over 15 years.
Anthony J. Cipolla was appointed to the position of Vice President of Financial Affairs at Dominican College in Julyof 2009. Prior to his appointment at Dominican College, Mr. Cipolla was Vice President of Finance at Gibbs College in Livingston, NJ. During his six-year tenure there, he became well-versed in Financial Aid issues and managed both financial and operational affairs. In addition, Mr. Cipolla was responsible for overseeing and supervising StudentAccounts, Bursar, Information Technology, Human Resources, Purchasing, Facilities and Security.
During his more than 20 years of experience, he has been employed as a successful senior financial executive at various manufacturing companies which produced complex products and served a worldwide customer base.His most recent manufacturing experience came from Lafarge Road Marking, an industry leader in road marking paint and equipment, where he was promoted from Controller to Chief Financial Officer. In this role, Mr. Cipolla was responsible for allfinancial matters as well as overseeing Information Technology, Human Resources and mergers and acquisitions.
Mr. Cipolla’s academic credentials include an M.B.A. in Finance from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a B.S. in Finance from Seton Hall University.
Mr. Cipolla resides in Whippany, New Jersey with his wife Terry and sons Bryan and Eric.
Joseph G. Valenti joined the Dominican College community as Vice President for Institutional Advancement in July of 2019.He came to the College with nearly thirty years of experience in fundraising and development.He began his career as a development consultant with the Martin J. Moran Company and has served in Advancement leadership roles at Cardinal Hayes High School, Marymount College –Tarrytown, Manhattan College, Iona College and , most recently, as Vice President for College Advancement at Mount Saint Mary College.He has been recognized by the Mid-Hudson Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals with its 2018 Award for Innovation in Fundraising.
At each of the institutions that he has served he has introduced a variety of innovative programs that include planned giving programs, generational annual giving programs, comprehensive capital campaigns and numerous types of fundraising events.He has cultivated relationships with many foundations and corporations that have contributed millions of dollars to the institutions that he has served.Over the course of his career he has raised well over $100 million for worthy education institutions.
He has served on several boards of charitable institutions within the greater Hudson Valley community, including the board of John S. Burke Catholic High, Catholic Charities of Orange and Sullivan Counties, The Greater Newburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Community Advisory Council of Sullivan 180.
Mr. Valenti holds a bachelors and a masters degree from St. John’s University.He is a native of Queens, NY where he received a quality elementary education from the Amityville Dominican Sisters.The son of immigrant garment workers, Mr. Valenti has devoted his career to serving institutions that provide values based education to students from underserved populations.
He resides in Putnam County with his wife, Louise, and his daughter Emily.
John Burke, a 1994 graduate of Dominican College, with a degree in Elementary Education andPsychology was appointed Vice President for Student Development in the fall of 2009. Prior tohis current role, he served as Associate Director of Athletics and Compliance Officer and had avery successful career at the helm of the Lady Chargers women’s basketball program for nineyears. John also, holds a Masters from Northeastern University in Leadership Studies.
John Burke was named as one of Rockland County’s Forty under 40 in 2002 and is an Alumnusof the Leadership Rockland program, Class of 2011. He was awarded the All-Met Division IICoach of the Year in 2007-2008 and the Steve Baxter Service Award in 2010.
Dean Burke lives with his wife Tara, sons Ryan and Daniel and their dog Boomer in Pearl River,NY.