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(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)January 22, 2020

MAHWAH, N.J. –The Ramapo College Foundation will honor three individuals for their professional achievement, commitment and community service at its 38th Annual Distinguished Citizens Award Dinner.  The honorees will be recognized at a gala on March 14 at the Rockleigh Country Club in Rockleigh, N.J. The annual benefit dinner raises funds for student scholarships, faculty and student undergraduate research and campus projects.

“The College is truly grateful for the dedication and service shown by Eileen Comerford, Ann Marie Leichman and Joseph Sanzari,” said Ramapo College President Peter P. Mercer. “We thank them for their support, commitment and determination to make a difference in the lives of so many in our community.”

EILEEN COMERFORD ’80 is Director of Municipal Investments, Gallatin & Company, LLC. She is responsible for the management of municipal bond investments for high net worth investors and works closely with her clients to create customized portfolios that reflect their current needs, future goals and risk tolerance.  Prior to joining Gallatin & Company, Eileen spent 29 years at J. & W. Seligman & Company, Inc., a privately owned investment advisory firm established in 1864. As managing director and co-portfolio manager, Eileen was responsible for the management of more than $1 billion in municipal bond fund assets. Throughout her career, she was directly involved in developing efficient processes, establishing compliance procedures and supporting marketing efforts.Eileen Comerford

Eileen is a member of the Ramapo College Foundation Board of Governors, the Anisfield School of Business Alumni Advisory Board, the Learning Commons Campaign Cabinet, the Roadrunner Financial Group Advisory Board and recently she joined the Friends of Ramapo. Eileen also participates in the Ramapo College Foundation’s Mentorship Program. Additionally, Eileen has been a volunteer advocate since 2012 for the State of N.J. Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman, which seeks to protect the health, welfare, and civil and human rights of older individuals in long-term care facilities.

Ann Marie LeichmanANN MARIE LEICHMAN, R.N., MSN, NEA-BC, is Senior Vice President, Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer at The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, New Jersey, where she has worked for the past 20 years. During her tenure at the hospital, she has been part of its’ many accomplishments including four consecutive ANCC Magnet designations for nursing excellence, four-time recipient of the AACN Beacon Award for all critical care units including the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and numerous Joint Commission Disease Specific Certifications. She has been recognized for her professional accomplishments by the Institute for Nursing with its 2018 Diva and Don Award and also by the Organization of Nurse Leaders – New Jersey in 2014 with the Nurse Executive of the Year award.  In addition, she was the recipient of The Record’s 2015 Tribute to Nursing award in Nursing Administration and was the recipient of the YMCA Tribute to Women and Industry award in 2007.

JOSEPH M. SANZARI is owner and founder of Joseph M. Sanzari, Inc., a highway and heavy construction business. Celebrating their 50th Anniversary, his company is a driving force behind many significant projects in New Jersey and New York, including work with all major public agencies along with large private projects.Joseph M. Sanzari

He is a self-made man and began working and learning about construction in his hometown as a teenager. He began his career as a member of Operating Engineers Local 825 as a heavy equipment operator. He began his business in 1969, performing municipal, county and utility public work with one dump truck, one backhoe and one pickup truck.

The cocktail reception and silent auction begin at 6 p.m. The dinner program honoring the Distinguished Citizens begins at 8 p.m. Dinner and dancing will follow. Dinner committee chairs are Peter Seminara ’00 and Roy Putrino. Current event sponsors to date are Stryker and The Valley Hospital. Sponsorship and participation information can be found at or by contacting Liz Kloak at or 201-684-6834.

All media wishing to attend should contact Angela Daidone, Public Relations Specialist at Ramapo College of New Jersey, at or 201-684-7477.


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 College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice, and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others. Ramapo College is also distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by, boasts the best campus housing in New Jersey on, and is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools.

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, Business Administration, Data Science, Educational Technology, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education.


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