College Secures Grants to Support TVI Program

A student in the TVI program at Dominican College is shown here looking through a light filter. This allows a student who is visually impaired to use best contrast when viewing their environment.

Dominican College’s graduate level program to educate teachers of students who are blind or visually impaired (TVI Program) is getting updated equipment thanks to an influx of grant money. The grant money will also be used to support technology, instruction, professional development, student assistance, marketing, and outreach for the TVI Program. The College has secured a total of $394,507 in grants since July 2018.

Dominican College has one of just two graduate level TVI programs in New York State. The College’s program combines both online and on-campus learning and aims to help meet the needs of a severely underserved population. Experts say 5,000 additional teachers of the blind are needed nationwide to serve more than 63,000 students who meet the definition of blindness or low vision.

“The money that we’ve received is very much appreciated and will help us get additional instructional materials, such as braille writers, embossers, and assistive technology devices that our students will utilize in the classroom,” said Yvette Blitzer, Dominican College Coordinator of the TVI Program.

Dominican College is also increasing marketing and outreach efforts for the TVI program in an attempt to educate more students to help meet the demand for teachers of the blind and visually impaired in New York State and across the nation.

Dominican College received grants from the Lavelle Fund for the Blind, the Hearst Foundation, the Sarah K. de Coizart Article TENTH Perpetual Charitable Trust, the Thomas & Agnes Carvel Foundation, and the Ralph M. Cestone Foundation.
The TVI program is a certificate program that also offers students the option of earning a Master of Science in Education.

Beginning this fall, undergraduate students also have the option of earning a master’s degree in the TVI program in five years as part of the Senior Year Overlap Program or SYROP. In this program, highly motivated students are able to earn graduate credits during their senior year, while simultaneously completing requirements in the undergraduate Teacher Education Program.

For more information about the Teachers of Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired Program, contact 845-848-7910 or visit

Student Accepted into Selective Princeton University Program

Junior Stephanie Moncayo has been accepted into Princeton University’s Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Scholars Program.

Junior Stefanie Moncayo has been accepted into Princeton University’s Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) Scholars Program.  The highly competitive and selective program provides talented potential graduate students with a preview of the opportunities at Princeton University during four days in October.  Moncayo said she will be staying with a graduate host to experience life on the Princeton campus.

“I will also be presenting research that I’m working on at Dominican College,” said Moncayo. “The graduate students will present their work as well, and I will have the opportunity to meet professors in the program. “

Moncayo has a double major in biology and math with a minor in chemistry.  She said she is thankful that Dominican College professors in the science and math departments prepared her to be accepted into such a prestigious program.


Dominican College Welcomes Class of 2023

The Class of 2023 posed for a class photo following the Freshman Convocation on Saturday, August 24, 2019.

The Class of 2023 has arrived on campus.  Freshman Move-In Day took place on Friday, August 23, 2019 with upperclassmen helping students get settled into Hertel Hall and Rosary Hall.  Freshmen then took part in Orientation activities and Freshman Convocation.

There are more than 280 freshmen registered for the fall semester at Dominican College.  The students are from 17 states and seven countries outside of the U.S.  The most popular major among incoming freshmen is nursing, followed by business management, biology, teacher education, criminal justice and psychology.

The fall semester started on Monday, August 26th with a week full of student activities for freshmen and returning students,  including the Charger Block Party and Club Fair.  New programs for the 2019-2020 school year include a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership and Communication, a reduced credit MBA program, and an online RN to BSN program.  In athletics news, the College now has a men’s and women’s tennis team for a total of 17 sports.

High School Students Participate in Summer Science Program

Students in the RISE program are shown here removing invasive plants that are suffocating native and ornamental species.

Dominican College hosted a three-week summer research experience for high school students in July.  The free program is called RISE (Research Immersion in Science and Ecology) and was generously funded by Orange and Rockland Utilities.

Biology Professor Regina Alvarez said the 15 high school participants in the program were mature, intelligent, and highly motivated to learn.  “Our aim was to expose the students to different STEM and environmental science fields and to nurture and promote their interest in science,” she said.

During the first week of the RISE program, students were introduced to a range of STEM fields and careers through various workshops. Students then worked with undergraduate mentors and a scientist, to complete a project during the second week.  The projects focused on the Sparkill Creek and included chemical descriptions, microbiological and viral genomics, and botanical and ecological surveys. The program concluded with students learning how to analyze data and prepare a poster presentation.  On July 26, 2019 the students presented their work at Dominican College to their families, friends, and teachers.


Communications Professor Studies Prevalence of Opinions on Cable News

Communications Professor Dr. Mark Meachem examined 11 years of primetime cable newscasts during his sabbatical.

Communications Professor Dr. Mark Meachem has completed his sabbatical research examining 11 years of primetime cable news.  His research showed that an average of one in every five comments on cable newscasts was an opinion, rather than fact.

Dr. Meachem studied the top-rated news shows on MSNBC, CNN, and FOX News, anchored by Rachel Maddow, Anderson Cooper, and Sean Hannity.  He said the blending of fact and opinions helps explain why, according to a national study of more than 5,000 U.S. adults, only about a quarter of Americans could correctly distinguish factual statements from opinions.

There are a number of ways that newscasts mix opinions and news.  “Most common and most troubling is the phrase ‘I think’ to preface both facts and opinions,”said Dr. Meachem. “The phrase is used, on average, every two minutes of a primetime cable news show.”

Dr. Meachem admits he was surprised that he did not find an overall trend of increasing opinions being offered on the cable news shows.   Rather, he said, the results went up and down.  Only Anderson Cooper’s show showed a sharp increase in the number of opinions, although that program began more as a standard news show compared to shows on MSNBC and FOX.

The research and Dr. Meachem’s resulting presentation at the Eastern Communications Conference in Providence, RI in April sparked a lot of discussion about what the media can do differently.  Dr. Meachem believes that cable news shows should do  a better job of separating opinions from facts.

College Board of Trustees Elects New Leadership

Steven T. Sabatini, the CFO of Modern Bank’s holding companies, has been elected the new Chair of the Dominican College Board of Trustees.

The Chief Financial Officer of Modern Bank’s holding companies has been elected Chair of the Dominican College Board of Trustees. Steven T. Sabatini will serve with former Rockland County Commissioner of Health Joan H. Facelle, M.D., who was elected Vice Chair. They assumed their new positions July 1, 2019.

Sabatini has been a member of the Board since 2002 and served as Vice Chair for the past nine years. He is a Certified Public Accountant and served as Chairman of the National Epilepsy Foundation of America and as a Director of the Epilepsy Foundation of Metropolitan New York.

Sabatini said he was honored to be asked to serve as Chair of the Dominican College Board of Trustees and is committed to the College and its continued success.  “As Chair, I would like to see the College continue to provide an affordable, high-quality education to its students, expand enrollment, and develop the facilities necessary to maintain Dominican College’s reputation as an institution of excellence,”  he said.

His priorities as Chair include:  increasing the use of technology; continuing development of sports and sports facilities, including a new turf field; enhancing enrollment; and increasing fundraising and the endowment.

Sabatini replaces Ken Marks who was Chair for the past nine years, and was first elected to the Board in 2000. President Sr. Mary Eileen O’Brien, O.P., Ph.D.,  thanked Marks for his demonstrated passion to the College and his deep commitment to ensuring its success.

College Welcomes New VP for Institutional Advancement

Joseph G. Valenti outside his Siena House office on his first day as Dominican College’s new VP for Institutional Advancement.

President Sr. Mary Eileen O’Brien, O.P., Ph.D.,  has announced that Joseph G. Valenti has been named Vice President for Institutional Advancement, beginning July 15, 2019.

In this role, Valenti will be responsible for fundraising, alumni relations, special events, marketing, and communications at the College.  As part of the leadership team, he will serve as a member of the President’s Cabinet and on critical committees, including those involved with drafting the budget, the strategic plan, and the master plan for the College. Among his first projects will be to help secure the monies needed to build a new turf field and track.

“We are delighted to welcome Joe to the Dominican College family.  He joins us with a wealth of experience in fundraising and development at institutions of higher education,” said Sr. Mary Eileen. “He will be a key player in the College’s future, as we aspire to continued growth and vitality.”

Valenti is the former VP for College Advancement at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, NY – a position he held for nine years. He has also worked at Mercy College, Iona College, Manhattan College, and Marymount College.  In all, he has more than 27 years of experience in fundraising management.  Valenti earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and a Master of Arts degree in government from St. John’s University in Jamaica, N.Y.

The position of VP for Institutional Advancement was previously held by Dorothy C. Filoramo, who retired after more than 25 years in the position.

Dominican College Celebrates 25 Years of Campus Development

Dominican College celebrated 25 years of campus development at the 47th Annual Grand Reception on Sunday, June 9, 2019 at The View in Piermont, NY.

During the Grand Reception, special recognition was given to a number of individuals who have been instrumental in the College’s growth including:  Ross Pepe, Jack Holt, Pat Diccianni, Nick Badami (posthumously), Jim Granito,  Pat Aguanno,  Joe Corless,  Jim Hennessy, Pat Miele,  Karim Abood, Jon Prusmack (posthumously), and Patti Prusmack.

Each of these individuals played a key role in the development of the campus and the construction of new buildings. We are grateful for their wisdom, hard work, and generosity in helping us to develop the campus over the past quarter century,” said Sr. Mary Eileen O’Brien, O.P., Ph.D., College President.

At the event, it was announced that a brass plaque giving special recognition to the individuals was affixed to a large rock in front of the Hennessy Center.

Dominican College has undergone tremendous growth since 1994 when the College opened the Hennessy Center, the main athletic facility on campus.  In 1996, Hertel Hall, a 290-bed student residence opened, along with the Granito Center, a student center and dining hall. Four years later, the second floor of the Granito Center was completed, containing the Badami Board Room, the Health Center, and the College Bookstore.  In 2005, the Prusmack Center for Health and Science Education was completed to offer updated classrooms, laboratories, and a lecture hall.   Guzman Hall, a 200-bed student residence, was constructed and opened in 2007.  Most recently, in 2017, the Hennessy Center expansion was completed, with a new gymnasium and fitness center.



Cardinal Dolan Delivers Commencement Address

Timothy Cardinal Dolan delivered the Commencement Address at Dominican College’s Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 19, 2019.

There was a heightened excitement and anticipation leading up to Dominican College’s 65th Commencement Exercises because His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, was delivering the Commencement Address.  The charismatic Cardinal Dolan received an honorary degree, Doctor of Humanities, during the ceremony on Sunday, May 19, 2019 at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, NY. “What an honor, what a joy, to receive this degree,” he said.

The honor was bestowed upon Cardinal Dolan in recognition of a life dedicated to service of the poor, education of the mind, and care of the soul.

After receiving the honorary degree, Cardinal Dolan addressed the Class of 2019.  “I sense a special bond with all of you, because I, too,  relish the education I received from Dominicans – in my case, four years of theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome.”

He added, “The intellectual wattage of the daughters and sons of St. Dominic is a most radiant jewel in the crown of Mother Church and western civilization.”

Cardinal Dolan told the graduates that although Commencement speakers typically give words of wisdom and impart wise counsel, he was inspired by them.  He called the graduates his “professors” and said they taught him five important lessons.

The first lesson he said he learned was the importance of education. “You chose school. You chose learning.  You chose education.  You chose college and I thank you for that.  God’s most profound natural gift to us is our mind,” he said.

Cardinal Dolan said it was also clear that the graduates cherish community and that they appreciate tradition.  In addition, he said they reminded him that life has purpose and meaning.  Finally, said Cardinal Dolan, “You are letting us know in a very jubilant way that all we get is intended to be given away.  I watch you in admiration, chafing to get going, to put your learning to good use, to move on, to get to work.”

A total of 573 students graduated – 105 with doctoral degrees, 64 with master’s degrees, 402 with bachelor’s degrees and two with associate degrees.

President Sr. Mary Eileen O’Brien, O.P., Ph.D. told the graduates to receive their diplomas with a sense of pride in their accomplishment.  “Be proud of your Alma Mater, as we are of you.  Remember, once a Charger, always a Charger!  Dominican College will ultimately measure its effectiveness, not by the degrees of its faculty or the size of its campus, although we treasure both, but rather by the competence and compassion, the vision and generosity of its over 15,000 graduates.  How greatly the world needs your joyful and hope-filled lives,” she said.

In addition to Cardinal Dolan, several other individuals were honored during the Commencement Exercises.

  • John E. Sorrentino, retired Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Pfizer in Pearl River, NY, received an honorary degree, Doctor of Science, in recognition of his outstanding work in the development of life-enhancing vaccines. He also led Pfizer’s corporate citizenship efforts and was helpful in upgrading the College’s biology and chemistry laboratories in Forkel Hall.


  • Ronald Israelski, a hand/micro vascular surgeon, is currently Director of Medical Education at Orange Regional Medical Center and received the Veritas Medal. Dr. Israelski has done extensive relief and charity work in Haiti, working tirelessly to improve medical delivery to the people of Port-au-Prince. He has also improved medical services to the uninsured in Sullivan County and New York City.


  • Abdul Sulaiman Jr, ’09, received the Badami Outstanding Young Alumnus Award. In 2013, Abdul founded a company called Project Pawn to mentor children through the game of chess.

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