Local Business Leaders Learn About New Federal Tax Bill

Scott Thompsett, Tax Managing Director, was one of the presenters from Grant Thornton at the Palisades Institute Forum on the new Federal Tax Bill.

Leaders of local businesses and not-for-profits were briefed on the new Federal Tax Bill during a Palisades Institute forum on March 6, 2018.   A panel of accounting experts from Grant Thornton led the discussion.

The presenters stressed that the tax bill is open to interpretation so businesses need to reach out to their tax advisors.  “Until regulations are written to give us guidance on the law, we have many unanswered questions,” said Jill Grossman, Grant Thornton Managing Director, Tax Reporting and Advisory,

One of the unintended consequences of the new tax law may be a decrease in charitable giving.  Scott Thompsett, Grant Thornton Tax Managing Director, said that’s because many more individuals are expected to take a standard deduction, rather than itemizing deductions. “The Tax Policy Center came out with a projection that they anticipate there will be $14 billion to $16 billion less in charitable giving each year because of these changes in the tax law,” said Thompsett.  He added that some people believe higher net individuals, corporations, and foundations will be more generous to charities under the new bill.

The aim of the Palisades Institute of Dominican College is to encourage leaders in business, government, and not-for-profit agencies to integrate the concepts of leadership, quality, and ethics to achieve long-term success.


Students Build Homes During Alternative Spring Break

Dominican College students and administrators built homes with Habitat for Humanity as part of the Alternative Spring Break Program.

For more than 10 years, a group of Dominican College students have passed up on the traditional Spring Break and instead volunteered to work with Habitat for Humanity to build homes for families in need of decent, affordable housing.

This year, 31 students and four administrators traveled to the Florida communities of Flagler Beach and Bunnell to participate in the week-long Alternative Spring Break Program.  Melissa Leigh Grau, Director of Community Engagement and Leadership Development,  said the group worked on four different homes – all in different stages of construction.

“The houses they are building are going to members in the community who are trying to break out of the cycle of poverty, “ Grau said.  “We actually get to meet the people who will be living in the houses we are working on.”  That’s because the homeowners are required to put in “sweat equity” by working alongside others on the home.  In addition, they must pay a zero percent mortgage on the property.

Grau said freshman through seniors participate in the trip, and many have returned year after year.  The students traveled by train this year, leaving for Florida on Saturday, February 24 and returning Sunday, March 4.




Students Investigate Mock Crime Scene

Students collected evidence at a mock crime scene outside of the Granito Center on February 21, 2018 as part of a Criminal Investigations Class.

Students taking a Criminal Investigations course were busy on February 20, 2018 investigating a mock crime scene outside the Granito Center. The mock crime scene included a car with two gunshot victims and a missing driver.   Adjunct Professor William Barbara, who also serves as Chief of Patrol of the Rockland Sheriff’s Department, said the students were all acting as investigators.

“The students will photograph the scene, sketch the scene, gather the evidence, collect the evidence, lift the fingerprints and do the interviews of all the witnesses,” he said.

Chief Barbera said that he teaches the students interview and interrogation techniques as part of his course.  After processing the crime scene, the students interview a suspect and try to get a confession.

For more information about Dominican College’s Criminal Justice Program, please click here:

Economist with Federal Reserve Bank of NY Presents “Outlook on the Economy”

Jason Bram, Research Officer with the Federal Reserve Bank of NY, spoke at Dominican College on January 25.

The “Outlook on the Economy” was positive from an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York,  who delivered his annual presentation on Thursday, January 25, 2018, at Dominican College’s Fury Lecture Hall. Jason Bram, Research Officer, Regional Analysis Function, spoke about the latest economic indicators.

While the securities industry has long been the most important driving sector of the New York City economy, Bram said that something unexpected has happened since the recession. “That is that the city would have its strongest economic boom – really in recent history – with no help from Wall Street,” he said.   While the securities industry is still a bigger industry in the city, technology is quickly gaining on it, said Bram.  Since 2010, the number of technology jobs has doubled.

Bram also told the audience of business leaders and college administrators that:

  • The US economy and labor market have gained some momentum.
  • Manufacturing and housing have shown increased strength.
  • The regional economy has fared well, with NYC continuing to lead.
  • Home prices have picked up across much of the region.

Bram produces the regional Beige Book reports, and uses monthly business surveys to monitor and analyze current and emerging economic trends and issues of concern.




Non-Profit Board Members Get Tips on How to Become More Effective

Michael G. Daigneault, CEO of Quantum Governance, presented information to non-profit board members on how to become more effective during a January 11, 2018 Palisades Institute Forum.

During a Palisades Institute Forum called “Good Governance,” non-profit board members learned how to become more effective and more strategic in their planning. Presenter Michael G. Daigneault, CEO of Quantum Governance, discussed how to rejuvenate non-profit boards and how to attract millennials during the January 11, 2018 forum in the Lawrence Room of Rosary Hall.

Board members today, he said, need to think in a new way and consider three different perspectives – fiduciary, strategic, and generative.  Daigneault explained what he meant by generative thinking. “That is asking the really hard, underlying value questions surrounding your organization. Why do we exist? What are we here for?  Who are we really trying to serve?  Are we really serving them capably and well?”

The aim of the Palisades Institute of Dominican College is to encourage leaders in business, government, and not-for-profit agencies to integrate the concepts of leadership, quality, and ethics to achieve long-term success.

First Student to Graduate With New Theater Minor

The first student with a Theater minor will graduate the end of January.  Jamilya Williams said she has always loved the theater and has been backstage working on costumes at Dominican College’s Spring Musicals since she was a freshman.

“I thought the Theater minor would be a good idea because I plan to be an elementary school teacher and I’d like to do plays with the kids,” she said.

Jamilya will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and a Theater  minor.  She plans to attend graduate school before working as a teacher.

For more information on our Theater minor, visit



Parents of “The Man with the Red Bandanna” Speak with Education Students

Professor Diane DiSpagna presented Alison and Jefferson Crowther with a study guide for a biography about their son. The study guide was written by students in DiSpagna’s Literacy class.

Education students who read about the 9-11 hero known as “the man with the red bandanna” met for more than two hours with his parents to discuss Welles Remy Crowther’s incredible life.  Welles is credited with rescuing 18 people from the World Trade Center on 9-11, while wearing his signature red bandanna.  His parents, Jefferson and Alison, have traveled all over the country sharing his story.  Alison said she enjoyed the discussion on December 14, 2107, with students in Professor Diane DiSpagna’s Literacy Class.  The students had read a biography about Welles called “The Red Bandanna” by Tom Rinaldi.

“To me, it’s the most wonderful thing to see these young people inspired by Welles, embraced and excited by his story and them wanting to share it,“ said Alison.  “And these are future teachers who developed from what I see is a beautiful study guide.”

The students presented the Crowthers with a study guide they wrote for the “The Red Bandana” for grades 4 through 12.  The guide includes suggested classroom activities and comprehension questions for teachers to use when assigning this book.

History Club Steps Back in Time for Debate

Shown above is the winning Loyalist team preparing before the debate at the ’76 House in Tappan.

Students in the Dominican College History Club  stepped back in time to debate whether the colonies should seek independence from Britain at the ‘76 House in Tappan on November 16, 2017. Christopher Libertini, Assistant Professor of History, said the Loyalists won the debate over the Patriots.

“This was an idea generated from the curator of the Orangetown Historical Museum and Archives as they look for ways to deepen a collaboration between the museum and the History Club,” he said.

The collaboration has allowed students to creatively learn about history in the area and has opened up opportunities for internships at the Orangetown Historical Museum and Archives. Professor Libertini said it will also be helpful as Dominican College prepares to host the 2018 Phi Alpha Theta New York-New Jersey Regional Conference in April.  Phi Alpha Theta is the National Honor Society for History.



College Accreditation Reaffirmed by Middle States Commission on Higher Education

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) has reaffirmed accreditation for Dominican College. MSCHE accreditation is an expression of confidence in an institution’s mission and goals, its performance, and its resources.

Sr. Mary Eileen O’Brien, O.P., Ph.D., President, announced the accreditation to administrators, faculty, and staff on Monday, November 20. “This decision validates our commitment to continuous assessment and improvement of our institution.  I take the opportunity of this positive news to thank all in the College community for participating in and contributing to the Self-Study Report.  This is a proud moment for the College,” she said.

The two year re-accreditation process included the preparation of a report by the College’s Self-Study Steering Committee, led by Dr. Thomas Nowak, VP for Academic Affairs, Brian Fernandes, VP for Enrollment Management, and Dr. Kathleen Conlon Hinge, Assistant Professor of Physics and Mathematics. The Self-Study Report was submitted in March 2017.  Then in April, a Visiting Team made up of representatives of similar institutions, visited the Dominican College campus for three days as part of the MSCHE re-accreditation process.

MSCHE is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as the accrediting body overseeing all regionally accredited colleges and universities in the Mid-Atlantic states, as well as those in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and in several foreign countries.




Healthcare Symposium Focuses on the Opioid Epidemic

Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe was the keynote speaker at the Fifth Annual Healthcare Symposium, “The Opium Epidemic: What you need to know.”

Dominican College’s Fifth Annual Healthcare Symposium, “The Opioid Epidemic: What you need to know” drew a crowd of interested health care professionals, educators, concerned parents, and students to the Fury Lecture Hall in the Prusmack Center on Wednesday, November 15. 

Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe was the keynote speaker at the evening symposium and said in 2016, more than 64,000 people across the U.S. died from overdoses, and 75% of the overdoses were from opioid-based drugs. “I can’t think of anything that’s more topical and more important.  We are in a crisis.  We are in an epidemic here in Rockland County and well beyond,” he said.

Zugibe stressed that the opioid crisis was unique to the U.S. because although the U.S. has  5 % of the world’s population, Americans use 90% of opioid painkillers. He blamed pharmaceutical companies for creating the problem with an aggressive marketing campaign to convince doctors that the opioid drugs were safe for long-term use and non-addictive. However, most people addicted to heroin begin by taking opioid prescription drugs.  

There is no easy solution, said Zugibe, but officials are tackling the problem from a number of fronts, including aggressive law enforcement and treatment programs like the Rockland County Drug Court. He said the biggest focus going forward must be on prevention. “We have to get much better at educating and stopping these individuals from starting with it in the first place and that’s really where the focus is,” he said. “One of the key areas we’ve decided to focus on is doctors – educating doctors to change their prescribing methods.”

A panel of experts discussed services available in Rockland County and answered questions from the audience. The symposium was moderated by Joan Facelle, M.D., M.P.H., Former Commissioner of Health for Rockland County. 


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