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Professor Edward A. ShannonProfessor Edward A. Shannon – Ireland

Edward A. Shannon is Professor of Literature Ramapo College of NJ (and former convener of the Literature major). He is also an alum of Ramapo (class of ’85). He teaches and writes about Irish American Literatature, American literature, American Studies, the humanities, and graphic novels. He has published on literary firgures like Mark Twain, Woody Guthrie, and Patricia Highsmith. He has also published articles on cartoonitsts Robert Crumb, Art Spiegelman, George Herriman, and Winsor McCay and is the author of The Pocket Guide to Writing about Literature (Prentice Hall, 2001).  He was named a 2005 Woody Guthrie Fellow by the Woody Guthrie Foundation, the inaugrual year of the Fellowship program. From 2000-2003, he lead Irish Study Abroad programs for Ramapo, a program he is revising for summer 2020.


Dr. Jacqueline Ehlert-Mercer and President Peter P. MercerAbout President Peter P. Mercer

Dr. Peter Philip Mercer became Ramapo College’s fourth president on July 1, 2005. He previously served as dean of the law school and then as vice president (administration) and general counsel at the University of Western Ontario, where he was a professor of law.

He has authored, co-authored and edited two books, numerous articles, book chapters and reviews. His recent publications have focused on the legal profession and professional standards as well as the unique features of higher education administration. He earned his L.L.M. and Ph.D. from the

University of Cambridge, and a J.D. from the University of Western Ontario. For 20 years, he also has served as principal instructor in the Senior University Administrators Course held at the Banff Center, Banff Alberta, each June and he is a member of the faculty of the Harvard University Seminar for New Presidents held every July.

In addition to the higher education sector, Dr. Mercer’s service includes membership on the Board of Directors of the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey and the Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce.

During Dr. Mercer’s tenure at Ramapo, the College has been increasingly regarded as a great value and a superior institution. Ramapo College has been ranked by U.S. News and World Report as among the “Best Regional Universities in the North,” and by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine as one of the “100 Best Values in Public Colleges.”

Over the past several years, Dr. Mercer has led Ramapo College through an ambitious and transformative campus-wide building program that has resulted in the completion of the Anisfield School of Business, the Bill Bradley Sports and Recreation Center, the Overlook and Laurel residence halls, the Sharp Sustainability Education Center, the Salameno Spiritual Center and the Adler Center for Nursing Excellence.

The College has recently completed renovation to its academic complex that houses state-of-the-art science and research laboratories and other instructional and social space, in addition to ongoing projects across campus, and is currently embarking on major renovations to the George T. Potter Library.

Dr. Mercer is married to Dr. Jacqueline Ehlert-Mercer.

About Dr. Jacqueline Ehlert-Mercer

Dr. Jacqueline Ehlert-Mercer is a registered dietitian, nutrition educator, author and researcher and has practiced and taught nutrition for 22 years. She practiced for most of that time in her native Canada. She taught nutrition in the faculty of dentistry at the University of Western Ontario, the nursing program at Columbia University Teacher’s College, and the master’s of nutrition program at Montclair State University. She is currently a research fellow and an adjunct professor at Ramapo College.

Six months after moving to New Jersey in 2005, Dr. Ehlert-Mercer created Ramapo College’s first edible garden at the Havemeyer House where college and K-12 students learn nutrition through a living curriculum. The Garden was established in response to a call for public institutions of higher education to initiate educational programs to prevent childhood and adolescent obesity. The mission of the sustainable edible garden was enhanced with the introduction of beehives in 2011. Since then she maintains the beehives which produce honey enjoyed by students, college friends and used for food events at the Havemeyer House.

Her research interests are centered on the eating and nutrition behaviors of college students as well as food ecology and sustainable food systems.

On a parallel track, Dr. Ehlert-Mercer was introduced to the world of gastronomy and enology during her tenure as the director of hospitality services overseeing departments that taught students culinary arts, enology, hospitality management, restaurant management and other gastronomy programs at a school in Vancouver.  In the 90’s she worked tirelessly to pioneer the philosophy that “nutrition and gastronomy go hand in hand” and in recognition of her work, she was inducted into Les Dames d’Escoffier society in 1996. Les Dames d’Escoffier is a philanthropic organization founded by Julia Child and other leaders in the fields of food, fine beverage and hospitality. The by-invitation membership is composed of more than 2,300 members in 40 chapters in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Mexico. Dr.

Ehlert-Mercer is currently a member of the New York chapter which hosts several food and wine events yearly.

Dr. Ehlert-Mercer’s gastronomic, nutrition and enology interests have taken her countless times to countries in the Mediterranean with a focus on Southern France. In print, television and through professional lectures, Dr. Ehlert-Mercer has shared her knowledge of the healthful connection between a Mediterranean diet and health. She brings the same level of enthusiasm and knowledge to the food and wine tours she has led to Italy and France, and she looks forward to sharing her love of food and wine with you in Southern France.


IRA SPAR PHOTOProfessor Ira Spar – Israel The Holy Land: Art & Archaeology

Ira Spar is Professor of Ancient History at Ramapo College where he teaches courses on the history, archaeology and religion of the ancient world. He is also Research Assyriologist in the Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Professor Spar has published a four-volume edition of the Museum’s collection of ancient Babylonian and Sumerian cuneiform tablets, which includes his discovery of a new portion of the Babylonian story of the Flood. From 1987 to 1997 he founded and co-directed the New Jersey Archaeological Consortium-Tel Aviv University excavations at Tel Hadar, located on the shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel. This project led to the discovery of the long lost biblical kingdom of Geshur. In addition to his many articles, Professor Spar has written and narrated a children’s book based on an ancient Babylonian myth. This story, Marduk, King of the Gods, is available online at This will be the nineteenth time Professor Spar has accompanied a tour to Israel and the Middle East.