Alumni & Friends

Louis Abate

Mercy College graduate Louis Abate credits the inspiration and help of several faculty members as he studied in the sciences on his path to becoming a chiropractor. Professor Roger Persell “mentored me in developing and writing my Master’s level thesis." Professors Fay Greenwald and Margaret Morris, for whom Abate worked in the English Department, "helped me to grow, evolve, and develop as a student at Mercy, taking time to sit with me when the going got rough. Each saw unique gifts in me so they pushed me continually to strive higher educationally, emotionally, and spiritually."

Louis Abate graduated cum laude with a B.S. in Biology – and says he will never forget the combined mentoring power of these individuals "and how they helped me grow into the doctor and human being that I am today." Inspired by the College's mission to serve, he created a Wellness Center in Boston, and is the former president of A World of Choices, an organization dedicated to delivering holistic care to those with HIV/AIDS. Dr. Abate currently runs Illuminare Wellness in New York City.

Louis Abate, '91, is one of 60 successful alums sharing the stories of those who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of his journey.

Hon. José Alvarado '89 Westchester's 1st Hispanic/Latino County Legislator & Manual Santapau Assistant Professor of Humanities

When José Alvarado moved from his native Honduras to Yonkers in 1982, he arrived having had only minimal exposure to a formal education and to the English language. To help support his family José held a series of minimum wage jobs while working to earn his high school equivalency diploma. Alvarado eventually went on to college studying business at Mercy College, where he credits one of his professors, Manuel Santapau, with helping him complete his bachelor's degree. José also volunteered as an English tutor in Mercy's bilingual program — an experience which launched a life of public services and his unwavering commitment to serve his community. Alvarado was first elected county legislator for the 17th District of Southwest Yonkers in 2001, earning him the distinction of becoming Westchester's first Hispanic/Latino county legislator.

José Alvarado, '89, is one of 60 successful Mercy College alums sharing the story of who inspired them in college -- in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to be a part of his journey.

Walter Anderson Publisher & CEO of Parade Magazine & Dr. Adma d'Heurle Professor of Psychology

Mercy's commitment to its students is life-long as evidenced by the relationship between our all-star alumnus Walter Anderson and his psychology professor, Dr. Adma d'Heurle, whom Anderson credits with encouraging him to be a better student. Anderson graduated Summa cum Laude from Mercy College in 1972. He was valedictorian of his class and went on to become a champion for the cause of literacy: publisher and CEO of Parade Magazine, winner of the 1994 Horatio Alger Award, and hosting the PBS series 'Read Together' are among his many achievements. And Anderson's ties to the professor who mentored him at Mercy lasted even after commencement: when his son was born, Anderson later wrote that he and his wife sought out Adma d'Heurle for advice on being good parents. He remembers her telling him the most important lesson his infant son would learn was to trust -- advice Anderson took to heart.

Walter Anderson, '72, is one of 60 successful alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college -- in honor of our 60th birthday. We are honored to have been a part of his journey.

Anthongy Beadle Adolescent Education & Dr. Bessie Ford Assistant Professor, Education

At Mercy College we know our students' lives can have many successful chapters -- and we're there for them. Anthony Beadle first came to Mercy's business program where he received an undergraduate degree in accounting. He credits one of his professors, Dr. Michael Cavanaugh, with making business studies fun, and teaching him that good business "is a win-win situation for everyone and that our mission is always to delight our customers." Beadle became a finance supervisor at Altria Corporate Services, Inc, serving as the company's enterprise expert in multinational corporate aviation finance, accounting and taxation.

In 2008, Beadle returned to Mercy to get his master's degree in adolescent education, then took post graduate studies teaching students with disabilities. Once again, Mercy faculty members were there to mentor and inspire him: Dr. Bessie Ford "made designing and managing my complex education program a pleasure"; and Professor Olga de Jesus, who is a Mercy alum herself (MS '09 and '01) "is a generous, insightful, and highly gifted teacher of teachers who every day modeled how to be an effective educator for students of every ability."

Anthony Beadle, '87 and '09, is one of 60 successful Mercy alums sharing the story of who inspired them during college in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to be a part of his journey.

Mercy's commitment to its students is life-long as evidenced by the relationship between our all-star alumnus Walter Anderson and his psychology professor, Dr. Adma Dheurle, whom Anderson credits with encouraging him to be a better student. Anderson graduated Summa cum Laude from Mercy College in 1972. He was valedictorian of his class and went on to become a champion for the cause of literacy: publisher and CEO of Parade Magazine, winner of the 1994 Horatio Alger Award, and hosting the PBS series 'Read Together' are among his many achievements. And Anderson's ties to the professor who mentored him at Mercy lasted even after commencement: when his son was born, Anderson later wrote that he and his wife sought out Adma Dheurle for advice on being good parents. He remembers her telling him the most important lesson his infant son would learn was to trust advice Anderson took to heart. Walter Anderson is one of 60 successful alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college in honor of our 60th birthday. We are honored to have been a part of his journey.

Barbara G. Berger '83 President of Food City Markets & Elaine Paris Department of Mathematics and Computer Information Sciences Professor

Sometimes our professors inspire their students not by what they teach — but how they live. When Barbara Berger came to Mercy College her mentor Elaine Paris "was a Professor at Mercy but also in school for her Doctorate and raising two children. I admired her and was inspired to go back to college." Barbara studied accounting while raising three children of her own — and graduated magna cum laude in 1983. Her education enabled her to become a food industry executive and she is now the President of Food City Markets -- a successful inner-city supermarket chain.

Barbara Berger is one of 60 successful alumni who are sharing the story of who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are honored to have been a part of her journey.

William Bettini image

William Bettini graduated from Mercy College in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems. He credits the department’s John DiElsi with helping to shape his college experience and the many successes that came after. Bettini has served at Lehman Brothers, Barclays Capital, Deutche bank, and is now a senior vice president at Bank of America.

William Bettini ’05 is one of sixty successful Mercy alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of his journey.

Wayne Cioffari Associate Professor, Business and Accounting & Joe Bivona '76
Vice President of Time Warner

Some of us know what we want to be when we grow up. Some of us don't. Joseph Bivona, who graduated from Mercy in 1976 with a bachelor's degree in business administration, found himself in that second category. It was one of his business professors -- Wayne Cioffari — who helped Joseph see the future: "As my college career was coming to a close, Wayne continued to mentor me with my job search. I strongly believe without Wayne I would not have made the college and career choices which shaped both my business and family environments."

Those choices led him first to Mobile Oil, then Coca-Cola, and finally to Time Warner where he is now a Vice President, married and the father of three, as well as the recipient of Mercy's Sr. Agnes M. O'Grady Distinguished Alumni Award.

Joe Bivona, '76, is one of 60 successful alums sharing the story of who inspired him at Mercy College -- in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to be a part of his journey.

Wanda Borges '72 Attorney at Borges Donovan, LLC & John Rayburn Mercy Faculty

Those who inspire us in college can come from any department — not just the one we major in! Attorney Wanda Borges, who received her bachelor's degree from Mercy in 1972, remembers the influence and support of her music professor, John Rayburn. "Dr. Rayburn was more than a music professor. He went out of his way to encourage those students who had a true love for music to enjoy every aspect of music. At Mercy I minored in music while majoring in modern foreign languages and was prepared to teach upon graduation."

Instead, Borges was admitted to the New York State bar in 1979, and in 2000 established her own law firm where there are now 5 attorneys. Like so many of our students, her relationship with her Mercy mentor continued: "Dr. Rayburn was more than just an educator and mentor, he was also a good friend and confidante and we remained in touch until shortly before he died when he was a guest at and played at my wedding."

Wanda Borges is one of 60 successful Mercy alums sharing the story of who inspired them at college -- in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of her journey.

Scott Bowers

Scott Bowers was headed out of Mercy College: not with a degree, but rather as a drop out -- when Mercy's Ben Weisman, who taught business administration and economics, intervened. "Dr Weisman met me while I was obtaining my teachers' signatures to formally drop their classes and my intention was to drop out of college. He convinced me to try a few of his courses which were about to be initiated at Mercy. I did and subsequently went to work for him at a position I held for 4 plus years. He was a close mentor and friend." Bowers also remembers the support he received from Sister Agnes O'Grady in Mercy's School of Business — and has gone on to enjoy a great deal of success in business himself.

After receiving his bachelor's degree in 1976, Scott got his MBA, and is now a Senior Vice President and Global Wealth Advisor at UBS in Houston, TX. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Houston area Parkinsons Foundation.

Scott Bowers is one of 60 successful alums sharing the story of who inspired them during college — in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of his journey.

Mercy's commitment to its students is life-long as evidenced by the relationship between our all-star alumnus Walter Anderson and his psychology professor, Dr. Adma Dheurle, whom Anderson credits with encouraging him to be a better student. Anderson graduated Summa cum Laude from Mercy College in 1972. He was valedictorian of his class and went on to become a champion for the cause of literacy: publisher and CEO of Parade Magazine, winner of the 1994 Horatio Alger Award, and hosting the PBS series 'Read Together' are among his many achievements. And Anderson's ties to the professor who mentored him at Mercy lasted even after commencement: when his son was born, Anderson later wrote that he and his wife sought out Adma Dheurle for advice on being good parents. He remembers her telling him the most important lesson his infant son would learn was to trust advice Anderson took to heart. Walter Anderson is one of 60 successful alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college in honor of our 60th birthday. We are honored to have been a part of his journey.

Alexis Chapin-Downs

Alexis Chapin-Downs came to Mercy College as a graduate student – receiving her MA with Distinction in English Literature in 2005. She credits the English department's program director Joel Feimer with helping encourage her to go back to class: "Dr. Feimer's enthusiasm for the Master's Program was the impetus for my returning to graduate school. His expertise and passion for the subjects he taught continue to be a constant inspiration." Ms. Chapin-Downs went on to teach -- as an adjunct professor of English at Mercy -- and served as a Trustee of the Hastings Education Foundation in Hastings on Hudson, NY.

Now residing in Miami, FL, Ms. Chapin-Downs has volunteered as a teacher and counselor at Camp Sizanani in South Africa, a Global Camps Africa program for children from Soweto affected by HIV/Aids, and is currently volunteering with the Posse Foundation, a national program that identifies public high school students with academic and leadership potential who may be overlooked by the traditional process and creates teams of 10 students per partner college or university who are awarded four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarships.

Alexis Chapin-Downs '05 is one of sixty successful Mercy alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of her journey.

Cherie Christmas

With determination and a dream, Cherie Christmas, an inspirational speaker, TV personality, and the founder and CEO of MAXX, New York built a multimillion dollar company before she was 27 years old. Cherie attended Mercy College and earned a bachelor of science in 1984 while working full time for Citicorp, USA. She chose Mercy because of its broad range of course offerings and multiple campuses that enabled her to graduate in less than four years. In selecting who most influenced her during college, she chose the whole college as a great learning environment.

With over 25 years in the fashion industry she is recognized as a leading expert, regularly appearing on television. Sales of her handbags have marked her as one of TV’s top handbag producers. They are featured monthly in fashion magazines and are regularly chosen to be worn in movies and TV shows including What Not To Wear, The Closer, Desperate Housewives, The Wedding Planner, and Sex and the City.

Cherie also donates thousands of bags to help raise money for charities. She truly believes that success is not measured by what we acquire, but by what we give to others. With that as her mantra, her mission is to motivate women to be the best that they can be.

Cherie Christmas is one of sixty successful Mercy alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of her journey.

Joseph Eboli '01 Broadcast Audio at Good Morning America & Paul Steinman Program Director of Music Industry and Technology

Life coach Stephanie Del Valle came to Mercy College to do graduate work, earning her Master of Science in Urban Education in 2009. It was Mercy's Professor Howard Miller who she says "alerted me to my potential for greatness in this new field of education…I hadn't thought of myself as a candidate for moving beyond the classroom until then." Prof. Miller, she says, is "a great example of excellence as a leader, an educator, and a person."

Stephanie went on to follow Dr. Miller's example: as a teacher in the New York City schools, she was awarded the National Council of Teachers of English Early Career Educator of Color Leadership Award in 2009. She is currently a board member and Treasurer of the New York State English Council, as well as a life coach for the wellness center Personal Journeys. In addition, she serves on the NCATE (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education) Advisory Board at Mercy College.

Stephanie Del Valle, '09, is one of 60 successful Mercy alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college – in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of her journey.

Joseph Eboli '01 Broadcast Audio at Good Morning America & Paul Steinman Program Director of Music Industry and Technology

Joseph Eboli came to Mercy College at an exciting time for students with his major: Music Industry and Technology. The department was being reorganized by Mercy's Paul Steinman — program director and a musician with many years of experience as a composer and sound mixer. Joseph says Professor Steinman took him under his wing and "invited me to participate in the restructuring; he gave me a great deal of guidance, support and latitude, allowing me to grow into the program and my own position within it." Joseph graduated magna cum laude and has been working in broadcast audio ever since: at A&E, ESPN, and now at "Good Morning America" on ABC News. He's also an active member of his Bronx community -- working to enhance quality of life issues — paying it forward and paying tribute to what his Mercy mentor did for him: "The confidence he showed in me instilled a sense of my own abilities that I carry to this day each time I embark on new challenges."

Joseph Eboli, '01, is one of 60 successful Mercy alums sharing the story of who inspired them while at college — in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of his journey.

Walter Eddie

Walter Eddie, Executive Director of Student Development & Residence Life at Monroe College, received his B.A. in Criminal Justice from Mercy College in 1982. He credits Mercy professors William Lindsey and Manuel Santapau for their "guidance, support, and unselfish commitment to every student entering the program." Walter Eddie became a member of the Criminal Justice honor society — and went on to get advanced degrees in Education and Education Administration. In 2000 he received the Mercy College Carter G. Woodson award — in recognition of meritorious service to our community and outstanding contributions to African American life and history.

Walter Eddie, '82, is one of 60 successful Mercy College alums sharing the story of who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of his journey.

Dr. Majid Eshghi '09
Professor of Urology at New York Medical College & Wayne CioffariAssociate Professor, Business and Accounting

After getting his medical degree, Majid Eshghi continued his education, coming to Mercy College to get his MBA. Eshghi says business Professor Wayne Cioffari "encouraged me to continue my education" and "guided me through course selection." Eshghi got his degree in 2009 and is currently a urologist at Westchester Medical Center. He has also moved from student to teacher: Dr. Eshghi is a Professor of Urology at New York Medical College.

Dr. Majid Eshghi, '09, is one of 60 successful Mercy College alums sharing the story of who inspired them during college -- in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to be a part of his journey.

Alex Ferrari '82

In Alex Ferrari's case, it wasn't just one person who made the difference in his education - it was a whole department. Ferrari, an Executive Vice President at Viacom, credits the entire Mercy Business Department with helping to shape his professional success. After receiving his undergraduate degree in business from Mercy in 1982, Ferrari joined a "little start-up company" - MTV -- as it was just getting off the ground. He served in executive roles at MTV for years as it grew into the internationally recognized music and media giant it is today. Alex Ferrari is currently the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Viacom Media Network's Music and Logo group.

Alex Ferrari is one of 60 successful alums sharing the story of who inspired them during college in honor of our 60th birthday. We are honored to have been a part of his journey.

Donald Ferraro

To Donald Ferraro, police work is about more than mere law enforcement - it's about being of service to the people of the community, shepherding the local youths down the right path, and preserving everyone's safety. Ferraro attended Mercy College while serving as the Youth Officer for the Scarsdale Police Department, where, under the successful mentoring of Professor Anne Rice, he earned a bachelor's degree in Social Science in 1974. Ferraro quickly rose through the ranks and was appointed Chief of Police in Scarsdale in 1983. Then in 1991 he was promoted to Director of Public Safety, responsible for the Scarsdale Police and Fire Departments. Under Ferraro's leadership, the Scarsdale Police Department was awarded national accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies and state accreditation by the New York State Law Enforcement Accreditation program. He was active in the New York State Chiefs of Police, the Westchester County Police Chiefs' Association, and the Scarsdale Rotary Club, of which he is a past president. Ferraro retired in 2002.

Donald Ferraro, '74, is one of sixty successful Mercy alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of his journey.

Catherine Follis  & Dr. Francis Mahoney

Catherine Mahoney Follis, '74, first married, had a family and then turned to finding her professional path in life. When her youngest child entered kindergarten, Catherine came to Mercy College. She began by taking one class at a time. Her sister Dr. Frances T.M. Mahoney was on the faculty at Mercy, and, Follis says, "challenged me to continue on with classes until I received my Associate Degree." By that point Catherine knew she wanted to keep going; her sister was her mentor and role model as well. "I knew I wanted to follow in her footsteps and I too wanted to become an educator. I then graduated four years later with a degree in Special Education." She continued her studies, receiving a Master's Degree in Special Education from the College of New Rochelle. She went on to teach in elementary school for 26 years in Haworth, New Jersey. Now in addition to her three adult children she has 7 grandchildren, and says she is very involved in activities on behalf of her town and her church.

Catherine Mahoney Follis is one of 60 successful Mercy alums sharing the story of who inspired them in college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of her journey.

Jane Folloro '97 Producer at Bronxnet & Louis Grasso Program Director, Media Studies

Jane Folloro graduated from Mercy College in 1997 where she received her Bachelor of Science in Journalism and Media. Folloro credits program director Louis Grasso for successfully mentoring her through her undergraduate experience. She is currently a producer at BronxNet — an independent, not-for-profit organization providing programming on cable public access channels by the people of the Bronx, for the people of the Bronx.

Jane Folloro, '97, is one of 60 successful Mercy College alums sharing the story of who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of her journey.

George Gallego '10 Founder of Wheels of Progress & Rosemarie Murray Assistant Professor of Humanities

For George Gallego, no challenge is too great. He's a world ranked para-triathlete and the founder of Wheels of Progress — a not-for-profit social service agency dedicated to bettering the lives of persons with spinal cord injuries or other physical disabilities. Gallego got his bachelor's degree in organizational leadership at Mercy working closely with Professor Rosemarie Murray, who he says "became my advisor, mentor, and supporter of my organization." He quickly came to appreciate the value of her support. Dr. Murray, he says, "is what educators should strive to be: she encourages students to be all that they can be; she helps them develop skills and thinking that prepares them to make dreams come true!" Now, through his agency and his own private work with persons who become spinal cord injured, George Gallego is carrying on the tradition of mentoring that's central to our values of Mercy College.

George Gallego, '10, is one of 60 successful Mercy alums sharing the story of who inspired them during college -- in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to be a part of his journey.

Lucretia Mann Professor of Accounting & Julio Garcia '87 Perella Weinberg Partners LP

Julio Garcia is one of nine family members to attend Mercy College. Garcia received his BS in accounting, under the mentorship of Professor Lucretia Mann, who he says "is a great accounting professor who knows her material and goes the extra mile for her students. I remember taking advanced accounting with Professor Mann and afterwards she offered me an intern job." Garcia joined one of the big accounting firms, and is now the Partner, COO and CFO of his own firm, Massif Partners L.P. In 2008 Hispanic Business Magazine ranked him among the 100 most influential Hispanics in the U.S. Garcia's relationship with his professor and mentor continues today: "I stay in touch with her and help when possible with her current student population. She is a mentor to me and hasn't aged one bit!"

Julio Garcia, '87, is one of 60 successful Mercy College alums sharing the story of who inspired them during college -- in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to be a part of his journey.

Justin Gerrish

Music producer Justin Gerrish found his passion and his profession through Mercy’s Music Industry Technology program, where he excelled under the mentoring of two of his professors, Steve Ward and Steve LaCerra. He says they helped him gain the knowledge he needed to shine in this industry. LaCerra's style of teaching, he says, "was very hands on, which has always been the very best way for me to learn a new skill." And Steve Ward’s "extensive knowledge of the music industry, including music technology, music theory, recording, etc. has always made me feel comfortable and confident to look to him for guidance with any question I may have had. He also encouraged his students to experiment in the studio, and try different approaches in a collaborative environment for the ultimate goal of retaining and expanding our knowledge for the recording process. After all, being in the field of music is an art and everyone has a different approach. It was very beneficial to have a teacher who recognized that."

Gerrish went on to work for Avatar Recording Studios, where his accomplishments included working on albums for John Mayer, Muse, Weezer, and many other artists. He also mixed the grammy-nominated "Contra" album by Vampire Weekend, as well as a track for the Twilight "Eclipse" soundtrack. He currently co-owns a recording studio in Manhattan's East Village.

Justin Gerrish, '06, is one of sixty successful Mercy alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of his journey.

John Gigantiello '85 & Mercy's former president Jay Sexter

John Gigantiello recalls the counselors at Mercy as being of tremendous help in his search for a post-college job. They not only helped with resumes and put students through mock interviews, but they taped the interactions so students could view their performances afterward. He says it was a wonderful learning tool and he is grateful for the tutelage of business teachers who applied their real world experiences to classroom work and administrators - including Mercy's former President Jay Sexter, who he says was, "very supportive and a great visionary."

After receiving his BS in accounting in 1985, Gigantiello accepted a position with the Bank of New York in its Profitability Measurement department. He continued in the banking industry until he and his wife decided to found a private internet company – J&L International. John was also a partner in the music company Holy Zone, whose goal is to bring Christian music to young people through their teen years, and he provides free PC's and technical support to Catholic schools. Along with his music business, John is part owner in a real estate company.

John Gigantiello, '85, is one of sixty successful Mercy alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of his journey.

David Gualtiere '09 Principal at Clark Academy & Dr. William Prattella Mercy Faculty

David Gualtiere, '09, received two Masters degrees from Mercy College – in Adolescent Education and in School Building Leadership. He says the School of Education's Professor William Prattella "…has been an instructor, mentor and friend. He has been a constant source of encouragement and enlightenment. I have valued his guidance and advice."

With his advanced degrees from Mercy, Gualtiere moved from teaching to administration – eventually becoming the Principal of Clark Academy, and is now Assistant Principal at Greenburgh Academy, in Westchester, NY where he says he finds himself using many of Prof. Prattella’s guiding values in his position. Gualtiere is also the co-founder of the Fellows Academy - a not-for-profit organization that looks to provide children with special needs a unique opportunity to engage other students -- here and abroad -- in educational, social and charitable pursuits. And he is a member of Phi Delta Kappa (the International Honor Society for Educators.)

David Gualtiere, '09, is one of 60 successful Mercy alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of his journey.

Michael Hayes '92 Audit Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers & Dr. Charles Shook Professor and Chair of the Accounting Department

Michael Hayes got his undergraduate degree in accounting from Mercy College in 1992, and says Professor Charles Shook "made me realize that public accounting was an interesting and dynamic field. He taught with passion and conviction. He made a positive difference in my life."

Hayes went on to become a Certified Public Accountant in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and is currently an audit partner at Pricewaterhouse Coopers. He married classmate Karen French and the couple have two children, Ryan and Sarah. In addition to his professional work Hayes is a board member at the New Teacher’s Project, and St. Luke’s Lifeworks.

Michael Hayes '92 is one of 60 successful Mercy alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of his journey.

With over 30 years of medical research to her credit, Catherine Hession traces the genesis of her career to Mercy College. She received her Bachelor's degree in Biology, where her Professor Anne Rice "spent many hours as a mentor and advisor in my pursuit of my degree."

After graduating from Mercy College in 1968, Hession began her career at the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research. She is now the Principal Scientist at Biogen, a biopharmaceutical company principally engaged in discovering and developing drugs for human healthcare through genetic engineering, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In addition to working on improving the lives of patients around the world, Catherine is an experienced sailor, a supporter of several charities and educational institutions, and provides financial support and mentoring of in-need graduate students in science.

Catherine Hession, '68, is one of sixty successful Mercy alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of her journey.

Raul Hiraldo

Raul Hiraldo received his Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Mercy College in 1991. He credits the department's Professor Robert Ritzcovan with helping to insure both his academic and professional success. Professor Ritzcovan "went out of his way to help students understand the material at hand by providing real world examples and experiences. He challenged students to have original thoughts about the issues being discussed and provide real solutions to problems."

Hiraldo is vice president of the commercial business group at Citibank. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of the Business Initiative Corporation of New York.

Raul Hiraldo '91 is one of sixty successful Mercy alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of his journey.

Naomi Isaacs

Naomi Isaacs graduated from Mercy College in 1981 with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration. She credits the entire department with helping to insure her success: "As an adult with three children and a full time job returning to complete my degree, the faculty's understanding and assistance made it possible." She is currently the controller at Chas. H. Sells Inc., a well established Westchester Engineering Services Company.

Naomi Isaacs '81 is one of sixty successful Mercy alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of her journey.

Pat Kischak

Pat Kischak received her Bachelor's degree in Business Management and a Master's degree in Business Administration from Mercy College. She studied Marketing as an undergrad with Professor Wayne Cioffari – who "encouraged me to pursue an MBA. His encouragement and support for the remainder of my years at Mercy was exceptional. At one point during the MBA experience, my thought was to resign and with his encouragement, I took a leave of absence, returned and graduated with honors. The day after graduation he called me to let me know how proud he was of my accomplishment. Truly a dedicated educator!!"

Pat is a board member of the Yonkers Parking Authority, and currently serves as Vice President of Risk Management at the Hospitals Insurance Co.

Pat Kischak, '02 and '08, is one of 60 successful alums sharing the stories of those who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of her journey.

George Longworth

Commissioner-Sheriff George Longworth has enjoyed separate but often intertwined careers in law enforcement and the law since getting his B.S. in Criminal Justice at Mercy College in 1993. He started working in the field in 1981 as a police officer with the Westchester County Department of Public Safety on a summer, seasonal basis. Longworth went on to join the Dobbs Ferry Police Department, gaining patrol, investigatory, and supervisory experience until he finally landed the top post there. At 32, he became the youngest person to be named chief of a Westchester County Police Department.

Like his older brother Gregory, who also attended Mercy College, George remembers the encouragement and support he received from Stan Wiktor, his Professor of Sociology. After receiving his Bachelor's degree he went on to get his law degree, and was admitted to the New York State and Connecticut bar associations and the United States District Court of the Southern District of New York shortly thereafter. Today he serves as the Public Safety Commissioner in Westchester County, where he lives with his wife and two daughters.

George Longworth '93, is one of sixty successful Mercy alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to be a part of his journey.

Gregory Longworth and Wiktor

Gregory Longworth attended Mercy College as a double major in sociology and music, and credits his mentor, sociology professor Dr. Stan Wiktor, with helping to launch him on a path to success culminating in the law practice he has today. Along the way Longworth has used his expertise to serve law enforcement agencies on both coasts: as the Administrative Law Special Counsel to the Police Commissioner of New York, as well as the member of a special board of inquiry charged with investigating and reviewing the tactics of the Los Angeles Police Department SWAT Team.

Longworth is currently an attorney at Worth, Longworth, & London, LLP where he practices in the areas of civil and criminal litigation and administrative law.

Gregory Longworth is one of 60 successful Mercy alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of his journey.

Dennis Mckesey '01 Principal at the Promise Academy Charter School & Dr. Esther Wermuth Director, ICPT Program

Dennis McKesey, '01, has always had the heart of an educator, rising from teacher's aide to school aide to assistant principal to principal in the years since he graduated from Mercy College with a bachelor's degree in Behavioral Science. And it was a professor in Mercy's School of Education who mentored him along the way: Dr. Esther Wermuth "... has inspired, supported, and encouraged me to take risks as well as excel in all that I do." McKesey is currently a principal at the Promise Academy Charter School in New York City, and he is carrying on Dr. Wermuth's commitment by serving as a mentor to future school leaders.

Dennis McKesey is one of 60 successful Mercy College alums sharing the story of who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of his journey.

Joan Muir

Joan Muir came to Mercy College set on a career in the therapeutic health profession, and says her mentor, Psychology Professor and Administrator Winston Harrison, helped her get there. Harrison "encouraged me, and told me Mercy would prepare me for graduate school." She says Harrison was right: after receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology at Mercy in 1986, Muir went on to train at Fordham University where she completed a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, did an internship at Yale University, and was a post-doctoral fellow at Columbia University.

She joined the University of Miami faculty in 1998 and is currently Associate Director of the Brief Strategic Family Therapy Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Muir has done research and published in the areas of family therapy, cultural issues and parent-child relationships. In addition she is an accomplished speaker and is heard regularly on local radio discussing families and relationships.

Joan Muir, '86, is one of sixty successful Mercy alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of her journey.

Anthony John Mullen Teacher at Greenwich Public Schools & Dr. Bessie Ford Mercy Faculty

Anthony Mullen came to Mercy College to make a change. He'd had a distinguished career as a New York City police officer for 21 years, but had always nurtured a dream to teach students with special needs. Mercy's Dr. Bessie Ford helped Mullen make his dream a reality: "Dr. Ford encouraged me to pursue my degree despite working full-time. She was always available to help and support me throughout the process of earning my master's degree." Mullen received his Master's in Special Education and Elementary Education from Mercy in 2002. And his story is a testament to the idea that if you follow your true passion, you'll shine: in 2009 Tony Mullen was named National Teacher of the Year by President Obama — in a ceremony at the White House. Mullen teaches at the ARCH School in Greenwich CT -- an alternative high school serving kids with behavioral and emotional disorders who are often on their last academic stop when they reach him.

Tony Mullen is one of 60 successful Mercy alums sharing the story of who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to be a part of his journey.   

Jill Muller & Dorothy Oberhaus

Jill Muller says she had very little confidence in her academic abilities when she came to Mercy College in 1986. She had not sat through a class in 10 years and was at one time a high school dropout. As the mother of two pre-school age children, she was also concerned about finding time to devote to her studies.

Little did she know that at Mercy, she would discover an incredibly supportive faculty that recognized her abilities, nurtured her talents, and gave her the confidence to pursue higher education. Muller received her undergraduate degree from Mercy in English, and with the sponsorship of Professor Dorothy Oberhaus – whom Muller describes as a mentor and friend, was one of 22 students nationwide to receive a distinguished Mellon fellowship in 1992. She went on to earn a masters and doctorate (with distinction) in English from Columbia University. She has taught at Columbia, here at Mercy College, and is currently a professor at Cooper Union in New York City. She is also the author of a book and several articles and introductions. She has recently written an English curriculum for a pre-college program in Beijing, China.

Jill Muller, '92, is one of 60 successful Mercy alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th Birthday. We are proud to have been a part of her journey.

Edward Mullins

Ed Mullins was elected president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association in New York City - a leadership position he assumed the same year he graduated with a Master's degree in Organizational Leadership from Mercy College. Mullins says professor Barbara Benjamin was "the most productive and aggressive person I've ever encountered in terms of education. I graduated from the program almost ten years ago and she has kept in touch, is a close advisor and everything she has suggested to me has worked!"

Mullins had been a member of the New York City Police Department since January 1982, and was promoted to the detective divisions in both Manhattan and Brooklyn, where he learned about labor management along the way. He describes himself as a "lifelong believer in the merits of education" and is currently an adjunct lecturer at Mercy College, as well as serving on the advisory board of its school of business. He's a volunteer firefighter in Nassau County, where he lives with his wife and twin sons, and an ardent hockey player and coach - serving in both collegiate and youth leagues.

Ed Mullins ’02, is one of 60 alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of his journey.

Dr. Jaime Nieto Director of Neurosurgery at the New York Hospital of Queens & Professor William Lindsey

Surgeon Jaime Nieto, '91, is the director of Neurosurgery at the New York Hospital of Queens. He received his bachelor's degree in Biology from Mercy College. Dr. Nieto credits Mercy professor and administrator William Lindsey with mentoring him in all aspects of his college experience. "He was supportive of everyone's goals and aspirations. He was always helpful no matter what the issue was, from financial aid to counseling to school visits." Dr. Nieto is the father of two boys — one of whom is already following in his father's path of caregiving: he's in college studying Physical Therapy.

Jaime Nieto is one of 60 successful Mercy alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of his journey.

Joseph Nohavicka & Donald Morales

When Joseph Nohavicka decided to return to school at the age of 27, he was married and ran his own business, a Wise potato chip distribution route in the South Bronx. It was profitable and successful, but it simply wasn’t providing him with the intellectual stimulation he craved. So he decided to do something about it. Nohavicka worked full-time during the day and attended night classes at Mercy College’s Bronx campus. It was arduous and time-consuming, but with hard work and the mentoring of Professor Donald Morales, worth every ounce of effort. "Dr. Morales was my first writing teacher. Although I had attended very good schools before, I had never really developed strong writing skills. He showed me how. Because of his patience I was able to develop those important skills." Nohavicka said he knew when he graduated that he could accomplish anything.

After receiving his Bachelor's degree in 1990 in English -- a course of study he said thoroughly prepared him for the rigors of a legal education – Nohavicka applied to law school, earning his Juris Doctorate three years later from Yeshiva University's Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City. Nohavicka is admitted to practice in United States District Courts of the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York; the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit; and the Supreme Court of the United States. He is currently a partner at Mavromihalis, Pardalis & Nohavicka LLP, and has been a frequent contributor to the New York Law Journal over the past 14 years.

Joseph Nohavicka, '90, is one of 60 successful Mercy alums sharing the stories of those who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of his journey.

Sarah O'Connor '80 Senior VP, Strategic Development & Chief Legal Officer at Arch Chemicals, Inc. & Mercy College Administration

Sarah O'Connor has remained a part of the Mercy College family ever since graduating with her Bachelor's degree in Business Administration in 1980. She says, "My parents, who emigrated from Ireland, always emphasized the importance of higher education for their children. It was important for me to take financial responsibility for my college degree. Therefore, it was critical for me to find an affordable way to earn a quality education. I was awarded a full academic scholarship to Mercy College, which was the cornerstone of the success I have achieved today." For this reason O'Connor chose to credit the entire Mercy College Administration as the mentor whose influence and support has been most meaningful to her over the years.

O'Connor is currently SVP for Strategic Development and the Chief Legal Officer Arch Chemicals in Norwalk, CT. She is the highest ranking female in that organization. She is also a member of the advisory board to the Mercy College School of Business, a member of the college's Development Committee, and has served as an adjunct professor in the School of Business. She established the Matt O'Connor Memorial Scholarship for graduates of St. Barnabas high school in tribute to her father.

Sarah O’Connor, '80, is one of 60 successful Mercy alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of her journey.

Wayne Cioffari Associate Professor, Business and Accounting & Karen O'Mara '79 Executive at Polo Ralph Lauren

Karen O'Mara wanted to make it in the world of business and her professor at Mercy College — Wayne Cioffari — helped her get there. "Wayne was my mentor throughout college and afterwards. He was instrumental in promoting my career in business and in encouraging me to do my best in undergrad, graduate, and at work. I also had an opportunity to work in his office during college."

With her BS in business administration from Mercy College and later an MBA, Karen became an executive at Polo Ralph Lauren where she is now a Senior Vice President for Human Resources — Wholesale, Design, Sourcing and Licensing. She's also carrying the Mercy values forward — serving on the Committee for Mentoring program at Polo Ralph Lauren.

Karen O'Mara, '79, is one of 60 successful Mercy alums sharing the story of who inspired them during college — in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to be a part of her journey.

Sally Odland

Sally Odland is a graduate of the Mercy College School of Business, having received her MBA with distinction in 2006. While there, she says adjunct professor Carmine Giuliani "encouraged me to write a strategic management dissertation on a topic that - in 2006 - was flying well below the radar of the business community, namely peak oil and the pending transition to a reduced petroleum economy."

Like so many Mercy students, Odland benefitted from being taught by someone with both knowledge of -- and hands on experience in -- the energy industry: "the practical knowledge and outlook from Giuliani's day job as an operations manager for a major utility made him a critically informed advisor/reviewer and a realistic sounding board."

Sally Odland went on to become a project manager on large geologic basin investigations for potential oil sites - and on federal investigations for hazardous waste sites.Her groundbreaking master's thesis written while at Mercy College has been widely distributed in business, geology, investment and policy circles. And she managed the design and construction of a "virtual instruments" exhibit for the field museum in Chicago that won an American association of museums golden muse award for best interactive exhibit.

Sally Odland '06, is one of 60 Mercy alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of her journey.

Michele Quirolo '82 President/Chief Executive Officer of The Visiting Nurse Association of Hudson Valley & Dr. Jennie Mae Pepper Mercy Faculty

Michele Quirolo received her Behavioral Sciences and Nursing undergraduate degrees from Mercy College, studying under Mercy's Dr. Mae Pepper, whom she says was a mentor and supporter for many years after her graduation until Dr. Pepper's untimely death. "She valued me as a professional and asked that I serve on the Professional Nursing Advisory Board. We worked on a variety of projects together and she was always available when I needed her to be a sounding board. Mae was an exceptional role model and friend." Quirolo is currently President and Chief Executive Officer of The Visiting Nurse Association of Hudson Valley and is Chairman of the Board of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice.

Michele Quirolo is one of 60 successful Mercy alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college — in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of her journey.

Paulette Sansone

Every time Paulette Sansone obtains a research grant, she thinks of Professor Mary Kraetzer of Mercy College. Sansone was a double major in Sociology and Psychology; she wanted be a social worker but it was Kraetzer who told her she had a gift for research and encouraged Sansone to consider that field of work. "I told myself that I didn’t want to spend my life conducting research; I wanted to work with people. Little did I know that Dr. Kraetzer's prediction would one day come true. While I was the Director of Social Service, I started writing grants, some of them research grants."

Sansone soon realized her mentor's instincts about her potential for success in this area were right, as they say, on the money. Over the past 30 years, both in her current and previous positions, she has secured more than two million dollars in grants. She was awarded the Professional of the Year award from the New York Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (NYAHSA), and received the Award for Excellence in Research and Education from the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA) as well as its Innovation of the Year award. She is currently the Director of Research at Frances Schervier LTHHCP. Her philanthropic activities include a program to provide holiday gifts to children in the poorest congressional district in the Bronx and work on behalf of animals -- including a pet pantry for seniors who can't afford to feed their beloved pets.

Paulette Sansone, '76, is one of 60 successful Mercy alums sharing the stories of those who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of her journey.

REVEREND EUGENE SAWICKI/DR. MARIE THERESA MCVICAR

Eugene Sawicki was the very first male student accepted to Mercy College, and one of only four men in his graduating class. Sawicki received his bachelor's degree in Psychology and credits his enduring success thereafter to his professor and mentor, Dr. Marie Theresa McVicar. To this day – more than 40 years after graduation and with an additional seven degrees to his credit – he proudly still wears his ring from Mercy.

Sawicki has served as military chaplain in the New York State Guard, with the U.S. Military Police in Germany, and for more than 24 years in the New York City Fire Department's Division of Fire Communications, earning more than 11 commendations. For 20 years he was the Pastor of Our Lady of Vilnius Lithuanian Roman Catholic Church in Manhattan. Father Sawicki, who holds a Doctorate in Nursing Education from Columbia, was an advisory board member of Mercy’s therapeutic recreation program and taught as an adjunct professor since 1982 – where he was admired by his students for his humor, compassion, knowledge, and unique style of teaching.

Father Eugene Sawicki, '70, is one of 60 successful Mercy alums sharing the stories of those who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of his journey.

Caitlin Snyder'05 Senior Assistant Director of PACT & Albert Bisogne Professor of Criminal Justice

Caitlin Snyder has paid Mercy College the ultimate compliment: she's back working to help shape one of our most valuable programs after getting her undergraduate degree from Mercy in 2005. Caitlin got her bachelor's in criminal justice, working closely with Professor Albert Bisogne. "Al Bisogne was the Assistant Dean at the Yorktown campus when I was a student and he taught several of my criminal justice courses. His dedication to his students as well as his enthusiasm in class provided me with a great college experience. After graduation, Al sat with me and helped me complete graduate school applications and financial aid paperwork."

Caitlin joined the staff of Mercy as a Senior Assistant Director of Mercy's PACT program - a revolutionary project dedicated to providing all our students the kind of mentoring that she received at Mercy College. She's now serving as the Director of Special Events and Major Gifts Officer. And she's once again a Mercy student: getting her MBA with a concentration in marketing.

Caitlin Snyder, '05, is one of 60 successful Mercy alums sharing the story of who inspired them during college -- in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to be a part of her journey.

Dr. Harris B Stratyner & Dr. Frances Mahoney

Harris Stratyner recalls one professor in particular who changed his life. Dr. Frances Mahoney took him under her wing, taught him about psychology and life, and arranged for him to serve as a teaching assistant to Mercy's distinguished professor Dr. Kenneth B. Clark, a prominent social scientist who achieved international recognition for his research on the social and psychological effects of racism and segregation. Stratyner graduated summa cum laude from Mercy College in 1977 and was the first student to receive the gold medal in psychology. He went on to get his master's and his doctorate in counseling psychology.

Stratyner has been a vocal and visible presence in the counseling world – particularly as it relates to addiction and recovery. He served for many years as director of addiction/recovery services for New York Presbyterian Hospital Westchester Division, and is currently the Regional Clinical Vice President at the Caron Treatment Centers. He has been a fixture on TV and his own radio show on WFAS for 23 years, and his writing has appeared in both professional publications and lay. He's a member of the American Psychological Association, the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors and Vice Chairman of the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence. Stratyner also sits on the board of Mercy College. He is the co-author of the book PDR Guide to Pediatric and Adolescent Mental Health.

Harris Stratyner, '77, is one of 60 successful Mercy alums sharing the stories of those who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of his journey.

Mary Stroock

Mary Stroock received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Mercy College. In 1982 she earned a B.A. in History, and one year later took an entry level staff position with the Girl Scouts of Westchester*Putnam - rising steadily within that organization until she became its chief executive officer in 2001. During that time she returned to Mercy College to receive her master's degree in organizational leadership - where she worked closely with and was mentored by Professor Barbara Benjamin.

"I think the most important thing Professor Benjamin taught me was that there was almost always more than one way to approach a situation. I was a very linear and logical thinker. She showed me that, as leaders, we must also use our other perceptions to motivate people and solve problems. We must learn how to hear the colors, see the sounds, feel the thoughts and listen to our intuition."

Mary retired from the Girl Scouts in 2007, having presided over a period of substantial growth for the organization. She currently volunteers at the Hudson Valley Hospital Center in Cortland Manor, NY, and is the proud mother of two children and grandmother of five.

Mary Stroock '82 and '98, is one of 60 Mercy alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of her journey.

Brian Sweeney & Bill Sullivan & Irene Buckley

Baseball pitcher Brian Sweeney had two Mercy mentors in his corner during college -- insuring his success both on the field and in the classroom. Coach Bill Sullivan "was instrumental in the development of my baseball career. He instilled in me the work ethic and attitude I needed to achieve my goals. Plus he taught me how to throw a change-up!"

And Irene Buckley, a member of the Administration, "was a person that was always there for me at Mercy College. She was instrumental in my academic progress and though she was happy about my baseball career, she made sure I did everything I could to excel academically." Sweeney received his Bachelor's degree in Biology in 2007.

Sweeney made his major league baseball debut in 2003 pitching for the Seattle Mariners. He is now a relief pitcher in the New York Mets organization.

Brian Sweeney, '07, is one of 60 successful Mercy alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of his journey.

Marjorie Hollingsworth-Mitchell

Marjorie Hollingsworth-Mitchell graduated from Mercy College in 1978 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology, and says the department Faculty observed in her "a potential to succeed and treated me accordingly." She has served in executive roles at the United States Trust Company and Citibank, as a Faculty member at the American Institute of Banking, and is now the President of the Hollingsworth Group.

Marjorie Hollingsworth-Mitchell '78 is one of sixty successful Mercy alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of her journey.

Col. Georgette Toews

Col. Georgette Toews' relationship with her mentor at Mercy is the kind of bond the College is most proud of, as it lasted throughout her higher education and beyond. Col. Toews received her B.A. in History in 1969. She remembers that "Eva F.S. Ellis was always there for us no matter what we were concerned about - be it what courses to take or what career to think about. She was very instrumental in helping me decide to take my junior year in England at Oxford. She helped me see beyond the world of college to the greater world. Her support was unconditional. I communicated with her for over 20 years after graduation."

Col. Toews spent 30 years in the US Air Force retiring as a full Colonel. She was Executive Assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force and Military Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. She went on to be Director of Personnel for two major air commands -- Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the Air Force Special Operations Command. Col. Toews retired as Chief of Equal Opportunity for the US Air Force in the Pentagon.

A resident of Grasonville, MD, Col. Toews has now become an artist – working in watercolor, acrylic, pastel, oil, and fiber. She is currently on the Chesapeake College Art Advisory Committee which works to raise funds for arts scholarships. And she volunteers with emergency outreach assistance to her community through her church.

Col. Georgette Toews, '69, is one of 60 Mercy alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of her journey.

Col. Georgette Toews

Pamela Torres is a graduate of Mercy's nationally renowned Veterinary Technology program. She says of her mentor, Jean Burke, "She’s probably the unsung hero of the department. Quite a pusher, the program wouldn’t have moved forward without her. She kept everything together and followed job opportunities for students very closely. Even after I had a job she continued to call me about opportunities."

Pamela is currently a Veterinary Technician Supervisor for the Wildlife Conservation Society at the Bronx Zoo. She says that, as a widow, raising her two children while being a full-time professional is her proudest accomplishment. She also works with the Zoo’s Education Department, lecturing about her job and careers to visiting students.

Pamela Torres, '85, is one of 60 successful Mercy alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of her journey.

Carolyn Tragni '86 Executive Dean of Academic Engagement and Planning, Mercy College & Dr. Franics Mahoney Chairperson of the Psychology Department Andrew Nelson Dean for Admissions

Carolyn Tragni, Mercy's own Executive Dean of Academic Engagement and Planning, says two Mercy faculty members were instrumental in her academic and professional success. "Dr. Frances Mahoney, Chair of the Psychology Department, served as my faculty mentor while Mr. Andrew Nelson, Dean for Admissions, served as my professional mentor. Dr. Mahoney was a significant presence at Mercy College as a strong advocate for student success. I recall every conversation with Dr. Mahoney as engaging, from both a pedagogical, learning and leadership perspective. Mr. Andrew Nelson, Dean for Admissions, influenced my professional success as I learned the value of a strong work ethic with a positive and entrepreneurial spirit." Carolyn Tragni has clearly taken all of that advocacy and mentoring to heart through her work for such organizations as the Association for Equality and Excellence in Education, Habitat for Humanity, and for Mercy College -- where she has held positions in admissions, academic support services, and college opportunity planning.

Carolyn Tragni is one of 60 successful Mercy alums sharing the story of who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of her journey.

Phyllis Vonderheide

Phyllis Vonderheide received her Bachelor's Degree in Behavioral Science-Community Health from Mercy College in 1988. She credits the Dean of Online Learning at Mercy, Dr. Frank McCluskey, with helping to set her on a successful path after college. She is currently the Director of Educational Resources at the Phelps Memorial Hospital Center.

Phyllis Vonderheide '88 is one of sixty successful Mercy alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday.We are proud to have been a part of her journey.

Joseph Whalen

Like many young men of his generation, Joseph Whalen found himself facing a selective service draft notification. With his sights set on attending college, and with the help of professors like Frances Mahoney and Ann Grow, he was accepted to Mercy College. Mahoney and Grow, he recalls, "introduced me to teaching, and provided a career path that has enabled me to help others with much greater needs." after graduating Mercy with a B.S., he took a teaching position at Green Chimneys School in Brewster, NY – a nationally renowned, non-profit organization whose mission is to restore possibilities and create futures for children with emotional, behavioral, social and learning challenges through educational, therapeutic and outreach services. Green Chimneys programs range from shelter care to day and nursery school care, residential treatment, adult services, group homes, therapeutic horseback riding, and more.

In 1996 Whalen was named the organization’s executive director where he serves to this day.

Joseph Whalen, '72, is one of 60 successful Mercy Alums sharing the stories of those who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of his journey.

Joan Wolf

For Joan Wolf, the choice to go to Mercy College was clear. In recruiting for the first baccalaureate class, the Sisters of Mercy offered full scholarships to the most promising students from local schools. When offered the opportunity to be a part of the Class of '65 Wolf, a native of the Bronx, found it hard to resist. She majored in English, with a minor in History, and says Sister Joannes Christie had a huge influence on her choice of careers. "Sister Joannes loved literature so much that the light of her love flowed over all of her students. "I can remember reading The Romance of The Rose, a medieval romance that I found excruciatingly boring, and coming into class and hearing her talk about it and thinking, by the end of the lecture, well yes – it really was rather beautiful after all!"

Joan began her career as a high school English teacher, then went on to publish 45 novels in various genres, many of which have become best sellers. She is passionate about horses, and runs the food pantry at her church, St. Mary, in Milford, Ct.

Joan Wolf, '65, is one of 60 successful Mercy alums sharing the stories of those who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of her journey.

Rebecca Zaltas '07 Learning Disabilities Specialist at The Westchester Fairfield Hebrew Academy & Dr. Fred Zaltas Mercy Faculty

Rebecca Zaltas earned her master's degree in education from Mercy College in 2007. Her words of praise for her mentor say it all: "There is a quote that says 'good teaching is as much about passion as it is about reason. It's about not only motivating students to learn, but teaching them how to learn, and doing so in a manner that is relevant, meaningful and memorable.' No professor has ever motivated his students, and helped them learn, understand and create a positive and memorable environment like my mentor, my teacher and my father Dr. Fred Zaltas."

Ms. Zaltas is the Upper School Learning Disabilities Specialist at the Carmel Academy. She has created a coaching program for students who have difficulty with executive functioning skills. She also provides academic tutoring and fosters emotional and social support programs for boys diagnosed with autism.

Rebecca Zaltas '07 is one of 60 successful Mercy alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of her journey.

Richard Mosquera image

Richard Mosquera came to Mercy College to get his Masters Degree in Organizational Leadership. "From the first day that I had the opportunity to meet the Business School's Ben Manyindo, there was no question as to his innate talents as both a Professor and a person. Mosquera continues, "While I'm considerably 'longer in the tooth' than Ben in terms of years, I've always valued his mentoring and guidance during my tenure in the MSOL Program and beyond. I learned a great deal from him through his counseling and frequent sidebar discussions."

Mosquera is the very proud father of 3 children and has himself gone on to serve as an Adjunct Professor at the Mercy College School of Business in both Organizational Leadership and Corporate and Homeland Security. He served in Law Enforcement for 30 years, eventually being elevated into the Senior Executive ranks of the FBI. Mosquera was then able to parlay those years of experience into a corporate leadership position with an iconic American company: he's a Vice President of Security and Business Continuity at the Campbell Soup Company.

Richard Mosquera ’07 is one of sixty successful Mercy alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of his journey.

John Thompson

John Thompson received his undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Mercy College in 1982. He credits the college's Continuing Education Program – and in particular Dean Ann Rubenzahl – with helping to insure both his academic and professional success. John is a Senior Vice President and General Manager at Bestbuy.com. His philanthropic work includes service for the Urban Ventures Leadership Foundation, where he was the recipient of the 2008 Minneapolis Community Builders Award.

John Thompson '82 is one of sixty successful Mercy alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of his journey.

Captain Stephen Krulin image

Captain Stephen Krulin majored in Behavioral Science at Mercy College with a minor in Business Administration. He tells this story about an encounter with Mercy's Professor Alan Lydecker: "My grades were good but I felt tired and already beaten by the effort still required to graduate. Professor Lydecker saw me in the corridor and asked why I looked so glum. He asked me to walk with him to the cafeteria and grab a cup of coffee. As I remember it, his advice was that, as impossible as the tasks before me might feel, the truth was feelings were not facts and I would be better served focusing on the facts of my situation rather than cowered by my feelings."

Captain Krulin also says if it weren't for the Veterans program that Mercy College offered, he never would have gone to college. He was married with young children at the time. Krulin subsequently went on to law school but says it was Mercy College that got him started. He is currently a Judge Advocate General in the Virginia National Guard.

Captain Stephen Krulin '78 is one of sixty successful Mercy alums sharing the stories of who inspired them in college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of his journey.

Susan Crucy Burkhardt image

Susan Crucy Burkhardt received her undergraduate degree in Speech Communications from Mercy College in 1980 and was inducted into the college Alumni Hall of Fame in 2002. She credits the Departments of Speech Pathology and Audiology with helping to insure both her academic and professional success.

For more than 20 years she worked with Hitachi America, starting in sales and marketing and progressing over time to corporate ommunications and finally community relations, philanthropy, and corporate social responsibility. During that time she also served as a Trustee in the Village of Tarrytown, NY where she lives, as an active volunteer at the Sleepy Hollow Tarrytown Chamber of Commerce, and with many other Westchester-based non-profit organizations. She is now Senior Director, Affiliate Marketing and Training, with Keep America Beautiful.

Susan Crucy Burkhardt '80 is one of sixty successful Mercy alums sharing the stories of who inspired them during college, in honor of our 60th birthday. We are proud to have been a part of her journey.