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.



Broadway Concert at Convent Chapel to Raise Funds for Jackson DiDona

Jackson DiDona has been diagnosed with an aggressive brain cancer. A concert on Monday, May 20 at 7 p.m. will raise money to help pay for his medical treatment.

Broadway and off-Broadway performers will be singing show tunes during a special concert on Monday, May 20, at 7 p.m. at the Dominican Sisters of Blauvelt Convent Chapel on Western Highway. Tickets will be sold at the door for a suggested donation of $20.  All money raised from the event will benefit 5-year-old Jackson DiDona, who has been diagnosed with an aggressive brain cancer.

Jackson’s father is Greg DiDona, the Assistant Director of the Academic Success Center, and his grandmother is Nancy DiDona, Director of Nursing.  The Dominican College Community is supporting the DiDona family as they pray for a miracle for Jackson who has been diagnosed with DIPG, or diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, a type of brain tumor found in an area of the brainstem.  The treatments are very costly and a number of fundraisers are taking place to help the family pay for Jackson’s medical care.

During the concert, performers will be singing songs from Phantom of the Opera, A Chorus Line, Man of La Mancha, Camelot, My Fair Lady, and many other favorites.  The concert was organized by Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy Michael Pizzi, who will be performing with his friends. When he is not teaching, Professor Pizzi is busy producing charity cabaret concerts, musical revues, and creating classes and Broadway camps for children with special needs.

Parking for the concert will be at the main Dominican College parking lot at 480 Western Highway, Orangeburg, NY.  For additional information about Jackson and to learn more about how you can help, visit

Campaign to Build New Turf Field and Track Underway

The architect’s rendering of the proposed turf field, which is surrounded by a six-lane track, is shown above.

Dominican College is planning to construct a NCAA regulation size turf field, with a six-lane track surrounding the field, on the site of the current grass field near Forkel Hall. The project includes plans for permanent bleachers to seat 225 spectators, a press box, and a new scoreboard.

A fundraising campaign — called “dirt 2 turf” – aims to raise about $3 million for the project, which will benefit Dominican College men’s and women’s soccer and lacrosse teams, as well as men’s and women’s cross-country, and track and field teams.  It is hoped that construction will be completed sometime next year.

John Burke, V.P. for Student Development and Dean of Students, said it is critical to complete the project as soon as possible because the soccer and lacrosse teams need somewhere to play and practice. “Our current soccer field is in disrepair.  The last two years we’ve had to go off campus for a number of matches because our field was not playable,” he said.

Senior Advancement Officer Sal Pennino said the fundraising campaign officially began with the Turf Field Kickoff event on November 30 with former soccer and lacrosse athletes. “The campaign, which is named dirt 2 turf, will be reaching out to community members, corporations, and our alumni for support in raising the necessary funding to complete the project,” he said. “Our hope is to have our alumni step forward and leave their legacy with their gift towards the construction of the turf field.  Every gift matters, no matter how large, in order to bring a state-of-the-art field that will be used and enjoyed for generations to come,” he said.

The new turf field will have a number of naming opportunities to recognize the commitment and generosity of our donors.  For more information about the new turf field and the dirt 2 turf campaign, visit



Dominican College Launches Effort to Become a Tobacco-Free Campus

Students Gianluca Barecchia and Ashley Sainvil recently attended a Truth Initiative Conference in Crystal City, VA.

Dominican College has joined a national movement to address smoking and tobacco use at college campuses. The College will receive funds and technical support from Truth Initiative®, the nation’s largest nonprofit public health organization dedicated to making tobacco use a thing of the past.

“Dominican College is committed to making our environment safer, healthier, and more productive,” said Director of Student Health and Project Leader Lynda Chesterman. “Students, faculty, staff, and administrators will be asked to support the adoption of a 100 percent tobacco-free or smoke-free policy.”

Co-leader Jenna Tacinelli Hach, Clinical Education Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Athletic Training, added, “Tobacco use remains the number one cause of preventable death in this country.  In addition, secondhand smoke exposure causes cancer and cardiopulmonary diseases.”

Dominican College has formed a Taskforce for a Tobacco-Free Campus to assess tobacco use, identify a treatment plan for current smokers, and draft a smoke-free or tobacco-free policy. Two students on the task force will develop and lead educational efforts among students. The policy ultimately must be approved by the President’s cabinet before being enacted.

“With 99 percent of smokers starting before age 26, college campuses are critical platforms for preventing young adults from starting tobacco use, aiding those current tobacco users in quitting, and reducing exposure to secondhand smoke for all,” said Robin Koval, CEO and president of Truth Initiative. “We are looking forward to supporting Dominican College’s efforts to make smoking and tobacco use a thing of the past.”


A 100 percent tobacco-free policy prohibits the use of any tobacco product, such as cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, small cigars, pipes, hookah, smokeless tobacco (otherwise known as dip, chew, snuff, spit and snus) and other smokeless products. It can also include electronic cigarettes. A comprehensive tobacco-free policy could also address tobacco sales, marketing, sponsorship, and investments at colleges. A 100 percent smoke-free policy is one that prohibits the use of smoke-producing tobacco, such as cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, small cigars, pipes and hookah, as well as e-cigarettes.  Both policies apply to anyone on campus and on any campus property. For more information on model campus policies, visit the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation.

Adjunct Instructor Receives NYS Assembly Women of Distinction Award

NYS Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (left) presented Hilda Kogut with a 2019 Women of Distinction Award on April 8, 2019 in Albany, NY.

Hilda Kogut, a Dominican College adjunct instructor in criminal justice, was honored with the 2019 New York State Assembly Women of Distinction Award on April 8, 2019.   The award honors women who are making a difference in New York State, their communities, and in the lives of others.  Kogut was one of 10 Women of Distinction to be honored this year by New York State Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee.

Assemblywoman Jaffee said, “It is my distinct pleasure to recognize these 10 remarkable Rockland County women.  The 2019 Women of Distinction Awards are an important opportunity to pay tribute to these women whose strength, vision, hard work, and compassion are lifting up others, strengthening our communities, our economy, and improving our quality of life.”

Kogut is a former FBI Agent with 25 years of experience in law enforcement, who loves teaching criminal justice classes at Dominican College.  As Chair of Citizens United to Protect our Neighborhoods (CUPON) in Chestnut Ridge, she has fought against illegal housing and overdevelopment,  and advocated for proper land use and zoning laws.

The 2019 Women of Distinction were recognized in the Assembly Chambers at the New York State Capitol.

College Offers Additional Career Fair for Healthcare Students

The College held its first Healthcare Career Fair on April 3, 2019 in the Granito Center.

Students met with company recruiters, applied for jobs and internships, and polished their networking skills at two Career Fairs in April.  For the first time, the College held a Healthcare Career Fair to cater to the College’s many healthcare students.  The annual Career Fair, which is open to the public, took place on April 2, 2019. The Healthcare Career Fair, which better accommodated students who had clinicals, was held a day later.

“Our first Healthcare Career Fair was a huge success,”  said Internship Coordinator/Career Counselor Rose Macom, MSEd.  “Students took advantage of the opportunity to meet and network with healthcare employers.  The two hours went by very quickly.  Employers gave us excellent feedback and we learned about new externship opportunities for our students.”

The annual Career Fair also was successful with a 20 percent increase in the number of students who attended.  Macom said that recruiters at both events were impressed with how well prepared the students were,  based on their resumes and knowledge of the companies.


Director of the Bronx Zoo Speaks at the College

The Director of the Bronx Zoo, Jim Breheny, spoke at Dominican College about the Zoo’s efforts to nurture the regrowth of endangered species and their habitats.

The Director of the Bronx Zoo, Jim Breheny, spoke at Dominican College as part of the 2019 Honor’s Lyceum and Science Seminar Series on March 27, 2019.  Breheny also serves as Executive Vice President of the Wildlife Conservation Society and is featured in Animal Planet’s hit docuseries “The Zoo.”

Assistant Professor of Biology Emma C. Sarro, PhD, said Breheny’s presentation focused on the work that the Bronx Zoo and its collaborators have done to nurture the regrowth of endangered species and their habitats.  “Jim provided several heart-warming examples of how some of our most precious animals are getting another chance to flourish in their own habitat, due to the research and work by the staff at the Zoo,” said Dr. Sarro. “Our students left the seminar with a greater appreciation for the mission of the Zoo and many students stayed after the talk to meet Jim and continue the conversation.”

Breheny explained that helping endangered species is done partly through the education and awareness that the Zoo brings to its visitors. He said a lot of work is done out in the field and behind the scenes as well.  Breheny’s presentation took place in the Lawrence Room of Casey Hall.

Students Explore Careers on Criminal Justice Day

FBI Recruiter FX Flaherty spoke at Criminal Justice Day about the FBI application and hiring process.

Students studying criminal justice learned about possible career paths during the Seventh Annual Criminal Justice Day on March 21, 2019.  The three presenters were Chief of Rockland County Sheriff’s Patrol William Barbera, FBI recruiters FX Flaherty and Sahara Juarbe, and Department of Homeland Security Deputy Regional Director Jason S. Martinez.

Coordinator of the Criminal Justice Program Tara Parrello, Ph.D., said every year students gain useful information from the presentations. “The students feel very fortunate that they get to ask questions and to hear about these careers that maybe some of them didn’t know existed,” she said.

A few exceptional students are invited to have lunch with the speakers after the presentations to allow them to ask even more questions.  Criminal Justice Day takes place in the Fury Lecture Hall of the Prusmack Center.


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