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Ramapo College Bestows 20 Employees with Presidential Staff Awards

(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)June 7, 2016

MAHWAH, N.J. – President Peter P. Mercer announced the recipients of the Ramapo College President’s Staff Recognition Awards on June 3, 2016.

The President’s Staff Recognition Program consists of three award categories: Staff Excellence in Service, Staff Leadership, and the Team Project Award.

The 2016 recipients of the Staff Excellence in Service Award are Joan Richards of Fort Lee, Linda Checchi Kavan of River Edge, and Vincent Tomaselli of Wayne. The Award is presented to individuals that, in that year, provided exemplary service by fostering cooperation, collaboration and open communication among college constituents

Joan Richards, Director of Nursing Simulation, was noted for her commitment to high quality student learning, for launching the Simulation Center in the recently opened Adler Center for Nursing Excellence, and for her impact beyond the Ramapo campus with groups such as Valley Hospital. Richards was commended as “an exceptional mentor, kind, considerate and non-judgmental, adding that “her approach is always one of inclusivity.”

Linda Checchi Kavan, Coordinator of Events and Conferences, was recognized for her excellent service and for consistently going above and beyond expectations to deliver support to the faculty, staff, and renters who run programs at Ramapo. Kavan’s performance was compared to that of an air traffic controller, noting “Linda doesn’t fly the planes. She doesn’t fuel them up, or serve the complimentary beverages to passengers. Rather she makes sure every one of those planes is lined up, takes off or lands with precision, resulting in a seamless flow of arrivals and departures.” She was further commended for her attention to detail, consideration of others, and collegial approach to planning.

Vincent Tomaselli, Public Safety Officer, was described as “the epitome of the College.” He was commended for greeting everyone on campus with respect and a smile. His warm, helpful and patient personality was described as an embodiment of Ramapo’s mission and values. Tomaselli was also lauded for going above and beyond his position by extending unconditional kindness in every interaction. From students to guests, many people have attributed their positive experiences and attitudes towards Ramapo to Tomaselli’s delightful and thoughtful manner.

The 2016 recipients of the Staff Leadership Award are Suzanne Badawi, Ellie Esposito of Verona, and Janelle Ferraro of Wantage. The recipients were recognized for assuming a leadership role and successfully effecting positive change.

Suzanne Badawi, Director of Field Education in the Social Work program, was recognized for her distinctive leadership in building the infrastructure, personnel, and training for mandatory field work assignments for the Bachelors of Social Work and the recently launched Masters of Social Work. Badawi’s field placement leadership enabled the BSW program to more than triple in size.  Further, she was commended for having developed meaningful relationships with several new community partners and, as a result, establishing 65 new field placements for MSW students in the fall 2016.

Ellie Esposito, Program Assistant in the Master of Business Administration program, was recognized for her leadership and her “commitment to excellence with a smile.”  Esposito was commended for seeing several projects through to completion, no matter the task or the obstacles that may have emerged.  Specifically, she devised a customized communication protocol for new MBA applicants, led an effort to assess and ultimately replace the vendor for the MBA program’s Boot Camp, and took the initiative to repurpose an unused pantry into an instructional supply closet.

Janelle Ferraro, Program Assistant/Graphic Designer, was recognized for the high quality and responsiveness of her work as well as for her outreach and support of students. Ferraro, an alumna of Ramapo College, was commended for developing a moving memorial tribute for a late benefactor, volunteering to provide guidance to the Yearbook Club, and stepping in to assist the School of Contemporary Arts with delivery of its graphics design curriculum. “All of her work is done on time and is of top quality,” commented President Mercer.

The Team Project Award is awarded to a group of employees who achieved a significant outcome or completed a significant project. It is further focused on recognizing collaboration across units/departments. The Team Project Award was presented to 14 representatives of the College’s divisions of Academic Affairs, Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, and Institutional Advancement. Team members collaborated to design and develop a “leave-behind” publication for local businesses and community groups to highlight and summarize the many ways Ramapo can partner with external constituents. In addition, the team was commended for generating efficiencies and effectively supporting the goals of the College. Team members included: Mary Cicitta, Sandra Diaz, Rosa Diaz-Mulryan, Danielle Graziani, Jose Hernandez, Melissa Horvath-Plyman, Robert Josic, Timothy Landers, Patricia Laprey, Alexandra Simone, Debra Stark, Lori Walker, Rayna Wendell, and Charles Willett.

“It brings many of us tremendous satisfaction and joy when we are recognized for doing excellent work, for going above and beyond the call of duty, for exceeding expectations, or for motivating a colleague,” said President Mercer, “Ramapo College is fortunate to be home to many talented and compassionate personnel whose extra efforts and exemplary service make the College a great place to work and study.”

The award winners will be further recognized by the College’s Board of Trustees at its meeting on June 27, 2016.


About Ramapo College

Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The comprehensive college is situated among the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, is within commuting distance to New York City, was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and boasts the best on-campus housing in New Jersey per

Ramapo College provides its students with individualized attention, mentorship, and supports; hands-on learning; and a range of opportunities for service and leadership development. Its graduation and retention rates exceed national averages and it places approximately 1,000 students per year in internships in New York City. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice; is recognized as the state’s top college on the list of Best Disability Schools by Great Value Colleges; is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools; and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others.  

Ramapo College’s over 40,000 alumni are the confident, intellectually curious, self-aware, and humble people who are highly sought after and who make a positive impact at local, national, and global levels.  Ramapo College is distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by Every student at Ramapo is enrolled in its unique and award winning Pathways Program which equips and empowers students, across the continuum of their academic career, to secure internships, pursue graduate/professional school, and/or enter the job market. 

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Applied Mathematics, Business Administration, Contemporary Instructional Design, Computer Science, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.


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