Distinguished Alumna Gina Collins Cummings, LC’84, Is a Human Rights Activist and Organizer

Gina Collins CummingsGina Collins Cummings, a 1984 graduate of Livingston College at Rutgers University, has been a political activist since elementary school, when she wrote a letter to her own teacher, questioning that teacher’s insistence that people came only in black and white, not the many subtle shades and colors that Gina innocently recognized in her friends.

The Livingston Alumni Association honored Cummings as a Distinguished Alumna in 2004.

Cummings organized Livingston College students to form a chapter of the New Jersey Public Interest Group (NJPIRG), and she went on to become the NJPIRG Student Chapters Organizing Director and Summer Canvass Regional Director.

She also founded an organization called Green Corps, which trained aspiring young activists to become grassroots environmental organizers, where she worked for 10 years. While organizing Green Corps, she was also the USPIRG Field Director and ran environmental campaigns in all 50 states.

Cummings later served as Director of Constituency Outreach, then Director of Operations, for Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). In that capacity, she has developed and implemented the strategic plans for a number of PHR campaigns, including Health Action AIDS, the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines, the Campaign to Eliminate Conflict Diamonds. and the Campaign for Women’s Health in Afghanistan. At PHR she has also focused on an international effort to fight AIDS and an effort to abolish the death penalty for juveniles in the United States.

Cummings, a native of Long Island, New York, is married to Tom Cummings. They have two children.

Distinguished Alumnus Edward E. Johnson, Jr., LC’79, Has Excelled on Wall Street

Edward E. Johnson, Jr.Edward E. Johnson, Jr., a 1979 graduate of Livingston College at Rutgers University, took an unusual route to success on Wall Street.

In 2004, the Livingston Alumni Association honored Johnson as a Distinguished Alumnus.

After earning his bacherlor of arts degree in psychology from Livingston College, Johnson attended New York University Graduate School of Business Administration in 1983.

He began his career in retail, serving as one of the youngest managers at Saks Fifth Avenue.

During a summer internship at Salomon Brothers, he was captivated by sales and trading. His skills landed him a full-time job at Salomon and, in 1989, at Merrill Lynch & Co. He was a first vice president of Merrill Lynch’s Managed Solutions Group.

As of 2016 he is a partner at Aperio Capital Management, LLC. He previously was the Chief Operating Officer of Advent Capital Management, LLC.

Black Enterprise magazine has named Johnson to its lists of the “Most Powerful Blacks on Wall Street” in 2002 and subsequent years. He also served on the Livingston College Dean’s Advisory Council.

Distinguished Alumnus Michael Laracy, LC’74, Leads Reform in Human Services, Aiding Low-Income Children and Families

Michael C. LaracyMichael C. Laracy, a 1974 graduate of Livingston College at Rutgers University, successfully transferred his bachelor’s degree in urban planning and policy analysis into a career of leadership in human services reform in state government and in national philanthropy. Laracy’s work focuses on income security for low-income children and families.

In 2004, the Livingston Alumni Association honored Laracy as a Distinguished Alumnus.

As of October 2017, Laracy is the Director of Policy Reform and Advocacy at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Baltimore, Maryland.

Laracy has led multi-foundation efforts and has a record of successfully overseeing and directing complex system and policy innovations. For example, his efforts resulted in the crafting of new income security and support systems for low-income working families. One result of this work has been income tax reform, most notably the $80 billion expansion of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit in 2001.

Prior to joining the Annie E. Casey Foundation in 1994, Laracy was Assistant Commissioner for Policy, Planning and Program Evaluation in the New Jersey Department of Human Services, where he served for 17 years.

Distinguished Alumnus Harry V. Swayne III, LC’90, Oversees Player Engagement for Baltimore Ravens; Played Pro Football for 15 Years

Harry V. Swayne III, Baltimore Ravens Director of Player EngagementHarry V. Swayne III (LC’90) enjoyed a brilliant career as a defensive tackle for Rutgers’ Scarlet Knights football team from 1983 to 1986.

In 1990, four years after the end of his Rutgers football career, Swayne earned a bachelor of science degree in sports management from Livingston College at Rutgers University.

In 2004, the Livingston Alumni Association honored Swayne as a Distinguished Alumnus.

Swayne’s best football season at Rutgers came as a senior in 1986, when he registered 51 tackles, five sacks, nine tackles for loss and three fumble recoveries. He distinguished himself as a defensive lineman and received the Bender Award in 1986, and was named to the ECAC All-East first team as a defensive lineman.

In his 15-year career as a player in the National Football League (NFL), Swayne captured three Super Bowl rings (two with the Denver Broncos, one with the Baltimore Ravens) and also won an AFC Championship with the San Diego Chargers. 

Harry V. Swayne III, Rutgers Scarlet Knights Defensive Tackle Swayne began his professional career when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers picked him in the seventh round of the NFL draft in 1987.

In 1991, Swayne signed with the San Diego Chargers, with whom he started as left tackle in Super Bowl XXIX. Swayne then signed with the Denver Broncos in 1997, where he won two Super Bowls.

Swayne played for the Baltimore Ravens in 1999 to 2000 and won another Super Bowl. He retired from the playing field after one year with the Miami Dolphins (2001). 

Swayne later served as the Team Chaplain for the Chicago Bears.

Harry V. Swayne III, Denver Broncos player number 74Since 2008, Swayne has overseen the day-to-day responsibilities of the player engagement department for the Ravens, including assisting players with career transition into, during and after their time in the NFL.

He rejoined the Ravens in 2008 as the Assistant Director of Player Programs, then was promoted to Director of Player Engagement in 2009. He is also a missionary for Athletics in Action, which is affiliated with Campus Crusades for Christ.

In 2003 Swayne was inducted into the Rutgers Football Hall of Fame.

The LAA also presented a special Alumni Achievement Award to Swayne on November 2, 2002, at Rutgers Stadium, during halftime of the Rutgers vs. Miami football game.

Swayne and his wife, Dawn, have three daughters and two sons.

Photos: (Top right) Courtesy of the Baltimore Ravens; (Center right) An official photo from Swayne’s Rutgers career; (Left) Swayne (#74) with the Denver Broncos.

Distinguished Alumnus Steven Plofker, LC’78, Is a Real Estate Developer, Attorney, Business Owner

Steven D. PlofkerSteven D. Plofker, a 1978 graduate of Livingston College at Rutgers University, is a real estate developer and attorney who has enjoyed success in multiple business ventures

In 2002, the Livingston Alumni Association honored Plofker as a Distinguished Alumnus. Plofker earned a Master’s Degree in urban planning and policy analysis from Harvard University in 1980, and a J.D. (law) degree from Rutgers’ School of Law in Newark in 1993.

As of 2016, Plofker is a Commissioner of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority. He is a past board member of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and also served with the Montclair Economic Development Corporation.

Among Plofker’s many community activities, he has served as a member of the Livingston College Dean’s Advisory Board, co-chair of the Mountainside Hospital Campaign in Montclair, New Jersey, and a founding board member for the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center. He has served as a board member or trustee of Montclair Art Museum, the Board of Overseers and Governance Committee at Rutgers, the Overseers Committee on University Resources at Harvard, and the American Red Cross Northern New Jersey.

Plofker is a real estate developer who specializes in historic renovations, readaptive uses of commercial and industrial structures, and sensitive solutions to community projects. He is also a practicing attorney in Montclair and is a member of the bar in New Jersey, New York, Illinois, and the U.S. District Court.

In 1991, Plofker was a co-founder, with his wife, and Senior Director of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, a company that grew from a collection of 10 lipsticks into a full-line global competitor with products distributed in more than 300 stores. Plofker later negotiated the sale of the company to Estee Lauder, Inc.

His business interests include ownership in multiple tennis clubs and indoor sports field facilities. He also owns a film and photography studio, a boutique hotel, a parking company and a licensing company.

Distinguished Alumnus David Laskow, LC’77, Established Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program

Dr. David A. LaskowDavid A. Laskow, a 1977 graduate of Livingston College at Rutgers University, has been Chairman of the Surgery Department at St. Peter’s Medical Center in New Brunswick, New Jersey, since 2017.

In 2002, the Livingston Alumni Association of Rutgers University honored Dr. Laskow as a Distinguished Alumnus. He is also a 1981 graduate of Rutgers Medical School, now known as Rutgers’ Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS).

He previously was Chief of the Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Service at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) and Associate Professor of Surgery at RWJMS. 

Dr. Laskow arrived at RWJUH in New Brunswick, New Jersey, to established a kidney and pancreas transplant program there. In 2007 Dr. Laskow spoke with The Star-Ledger about his career and his own heart transplant after he suffered a heart attack in 2005.

Prior to joining RWJUH, Dr. Laskow was the Director of the Division of Transplantation at Allegheny University Hospital-Hahnemann Division. His experience also includes appointments at the University of Alabama School of Medicine, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, and Beth Israel Medical Center.

Dr. Laskow is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the American College of Surgeons, American Society of Transplant Physicians, and the Association for Academic Surgery. He has conducted 14 innovative clinical trials advancing the art and science of kidney transplantation, and has been published in more than 40 peer-reviewed journals and books.

Dr. Laskow resides with his wife, Mary, in Middlesex County, New Jersey. They have two adult daughters.

For Distinguished Alumna Susan Kille, LC’74, a Career in Journalism Began With a ‘Long, Strange Trip’ at Livingston College

Susan KilleJournalist Susan Kille, a 1974 graduate of Livingston College at Rutgers University, was drawn to the college because it promised a diverse student body and a social vision that didn’t exist at the South Jersey shore where she grew up.

In 2002, the Livingston Alumni Association honored Kille as a Distinguished Alumna.

Kille has worked for more than 30 years for The New York Times Company in print, online and mobile news, and has served as the editor of the in-house wire service connecting the Times’ 14 regional newspapers at the time. In recent years she has blogged about journalism, travel and her battles with lung cancer, among other topics.

Kille graduated from Livingston College with a major in Human Communications. While in college, she was an intern at the Rutgers News Service and also worked at the Targum. She began working for newspapers when she landed a summer job in 1970 at her hometown newspaper, the Ocean City Sentinel-Ledger. She has also worked for The Press of Atlantic City and The Morning Star in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Kille had been away from the campus for more than 25 years when Arnold G. Hyndman, then Dean of Livingston College, invited her to join his alumni advisory committee.

“I like to arrive early for meetings and walk through Tillett Hall, which was one of the first buildings on campus and where just about everything happened during my college days,” she says. “I see pieces of the past, but also the activity of the present. Then I walk into Quad 1 and look up at my old window and think — in words that resonated around those walls in the ’70s — ‘what a long, strange trip it’s been’.” Kille is married to Tom Sawyer (yes, that’s his real name) and they live in Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York. They have two adult daughters, Lucy and Eva.

Pictured: Kille at the Brooklyn Bridge.

Distinguished Alumnus John Lipori, LC’77, Retired Bank Executive, Served on Livingston College Dean’s Advisory Council

John S. LiporiJohn S. Lipori, a retired bank executive, was one of the first four Livingston College Distinguished Alumni, honored in 2000.

Lipori, a 1977 graduate of Livingston College at Rutgers University, served as National Director of Portfolio Management at BNY Mellon from 2010 until his retirement in 2015.

John S. Lipori (1977)Lipori had previously served as Executive Vice President (EVP) and Chief Trust Officer of BNY Mellon Wealth Management and EVP at The Bank of New York, after joining the Bank in 1979.

He has served as a Trustee of the Variety Preschooler’s Workshop in Syossett, NY, a nonprofit organization that works with handicapped preschool children and their families.

He has also served as the Chair of Livingston College’s Dean’s Advisory Council and as a member of the Rockefeller University’s Committee on Trusts and Estate Gift Plans. 

Photos: Top, courtesy of John Lipori. Bottom: Lipori as pictured in the 1977 Livingston College yearbook, The Rock, Volume II.

Distinguished Alumnus Clifton Lacy, LC’75, Leads Rutgers’ Institute for Emergency Preparedness and Homeland Security

Clifton R. LacyClifton R. Lacy (MD, FACC, FACP), honored in 2000 as one of the first four Livingston College Distinguished Alumni, is the Director of Rutgers’ Institute for Emergency Preparedness and Homeland Security (IEPHS).

He also has directed the University Center for Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Response (UCDPER). In 2004 he was inducted into the Rutgers University Hall of Distinguished Alumni.

Dr. Lacy, a 1975 graduate of Livingston College at Rutgers University and a 1979 graduate of Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (now part of Rutgers), has a long and distinguished career in medical leadership.

He previously served as president of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH), and also as Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Chief of Staff at RWJUH. He also is a former New Jersey state Health Commissioner.

Clifton R. Lacy (Livingston College yearbook photo)

At the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), he served as Senior Vice President and earlier as Chief of Cardiovascular Diseases and Hypertension. He is widely published in the field of cardiovascular diseases and is an active research investigator in national and international clinical trials. Lacy has served on several national, regional, and local clinical and scientific committees and advisory boards, including the National Institutes of Health, the American College of Cardiology, and the American Heart Association.

Photos: Top, courtesy of the Rutgers Institute for Emergency Preparedness and Homeland Security. Bottom: Lacy as pictured in the Livingston College yearbook, We the People.

Distinguished Alumnus Alfred E. Ramey, Jr., LC’73, an Expert on School Funding, Has a Long Tenure in New Jersey and University Legal Roles

Alfred E. Ramey, Jr.Alfred E. Ramey, Jr. was honored in 2000 as one of the first four Livingston College Distinguished Alumni. As of 2016, Ramey is the University Counsel for New Jersey City University in Jersey City.

Ramey, a 1973 graduate of Livingston College at Rutgers University,  previously served as Counsel to the Executive Commission on Ethical Standards and as Assistant Attorney General in the Office of the Attorney General of New Jersey.

During his nearly 25 years of service to New Jersey, he has served as Counsel to the Department of Education, and is one of the state’s leading authorities on school funding. He has served on Rutgers University’s Board of Trustees and as a member of the Trustees of the Mercer County Bar Association. He earned his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania.