Distinguished Alumna Ndidiamaka N. Amutah-Onukagha, LC’03, Works to Improve the Health of Women, Babies and Disadvantaged Communities

Ndidiamaka (Ndidi) N. Amutah-Onukagha, LC’03, was honored in 2013 as a Distinguished Alumna of Livingston College at Rutgers University.

Dr. Amutah-Onukagha has been an assistant professor at Tufts University’s School of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, since July 2017. In this capacity her research focuses on adverse birth outcomes for women of color, HIV/AIDS and women of color in an urban context, and community-based participatory research.

She had previously served as an assistant professor in the College of Education and Human Services, Department of Health and Nutrition Sciences, at Montclair State University, and was a fellow of the Research Education Institute for Diverse Scholars from 2013-2015.

Dr. Amutah-Onukagha completed her dissertation focused on infant mortality in Washington, DC, and it specifically examined neighborhood level disadvantage, social determinants of health, and race/ethnicity as predictors of infant mortality.

Her research interests include health disparities, reproductive health, infant mortality and HIV/AIDS in ethnic minority populations.

Dr. Amutah-Onukagha has worked as a researcher in community-based research settings in a variety of areas including maternal and child health, health disparities, and HIV/AIDS.

She has published and presented in the area of HIV/AIDS and infant mortality in urban communities.

She also has served as president of the Society for the Analysis of African American Public Health Issues and a director of The Women’s Collective, a nonprofit social service agency for women of color who are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS in Washington, DC.

Video (2 minutes, 3 seconds): Amutah-Onukagha discusses her career and the cultural opportunities she experienced at Livingston College. Open the video in a new window.

Photos: (top) Courtesy of Amutah-Onukagha; (bottom) From the 2003 Livingston College yearbook, Diversity: Roots of Knowledge, Volume XIII.

Distinguished Alumnus Nicholas Ferroni, LC’03, Mentors by Shining a Light on History


Nicholas FerroniEducator and historian Nicholas Ferroni, LC’03, was honored as a Livingston College Distinguished Alumnus in 2013.

Ferroni has received national attention for his unique and innovative methodology in successfully mentoring and reaching contemporary and urban students, and has been featured in various academic and scholarly journals.

Ferroni, a former actor turned teacher, writer and host, was recently named one of the 100 most influential people in America for his commitment to education reform as well as developing a “Teach the Truth” campaign to incorporate more minority figures and groups into the high school social studies curriculum.

Ferroni was also named one of Men’s Fitness magazine’s “25 Fittest Men in the World,” “The Man of Appeal” by Rutgers magazine, and “The Sexiest Teacher Alive” by People magazine. As of 2021 Ferroni is a history teacher at Union High School in Union, New Jersey.

He has written for HuffPost about education, diversity, and his pride in New Jersey, among other issues. 

Ferroni has said that since he can’t do history, he teaches it.

His activism inside the classroom, in the media, and online, though, promises to change the history of those he teaches.

His continuing lessons to his students include:

  • Advocating for the LGBT community;
  • Conducting a social experiment to teach about the underrepresentation of women in Congress;
  • Organizing a crowdfunding campaign to help a student and his family recover from a housing crisis.

“Most teachers, including myself, see our students as our ‘kids,’ ” Ferroni told People in 2018. “They are not just students to us, and we care as much about their success in life as their success in class.”

Follow Nicholas Ferroni on Twitter.

Videos: (Center) Ferroni discusses his career and passions. (Bottom) Ferroni’s acceptance video. Or open the videos in a new window.

Distinguished Alumnus Robert Bertrand, LC’01, Broadcast Engineer, Reimagined Radio at Rutgers

Robert BertrandRobert P. Bertrand, honored in 2015 as a Livingston College Distinguished Alumnus, is the Chief Technology Officer at WAMU-FM 88.5, the National Public Radio station in Washington, D.C.

Before joining WAMU, Bertrand served for more than five years as the Market Chief Engineer for CBS Radio New York. He oversaw the technical operations of four FM and three AM radio stations, in addition to the CBS Sports Radio Network until January 2016.

At CBS Radio, Bertrand led a team of 20 broadcast engineering and IT pros supporting the more than 500 people who comprise these operations, including 35 studios and 40 news production workstations. Prior to taking the chief role in December 2010, Bertrand served as a broadcast engineer for WCBS 880 for five years.

Bertrand began his commercial radio career at Greater Media’s WCTC and WMGQ in New Brunswick, New Jersey, where he discovered his passion for broadcast engineering.

Robert Bertrand, 2001 Livingston College yearbook

A 2001 graduate of Livingston College, Bertrand spent his college career to build a new radio station at Rutgers University, a joint venture with Piscataway High School. That station, 90.3 FM The Core, first broadcast in 2000.

Today it is the largest student organization at Rutgers and continues to develop new talent among the high school and college students it serves. For almost a decade after graduating, Bertrand continued to advise The Core and served as its chief engineer.

For Bertrand, Livingston College was a place for “forgotten misfits … a place for people who didn’t think that everything else in the world was OK.” And he felt right at home there, he tells us in the embedded video (2 minutes, 20 seconds). (Open the video in a new window.)

Photos: (top) Courtesy of Bertrand; (bottom) From the 2001 Livingston College yearbook, Diversity: Making Connections, Volume XI .

Distinguished Alumna Deborah Stokes, LC’74: Livingston College Fostered Art and Social Justice

Deborah StokesDeborah L. Stokes, honored in 2015 as a Livingston College Distinguished Alumna, has served as the Curator for Education, Head of K-12 and Teacher Programs with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art since 2008.

At the Smithsonian, Stokes oversees the development of educational programs, activities, and materials for diverse school audiences and teacher development. Stokes writes with an eye to multidisciplinary, cross-unit collaborative programming and has created family gallery guides integrating the arts with natural history, astronomy and environmental science in a series of exhibitions.

Before arriving at the Smithsonian, Stokes was appointed Visiting Professor in the Art History Department at University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) teaching The Visual Art of Africa and Issues in Contemporary African Art. Stokes received her M.A. in Museum Studies at Columbia College Chicago, and worked as a Research Associate in the Anthropology Collections at the Field Museum in Chicago with a focus on African beadwork. She has published extensively in African arts.

Stokes’ work on the African continent has taken her to Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa and she continues to foster ideas of cross cultural collaboration with contemporary artists, curators, and educators both nationally and internationally.

In 2012, Stokes received the Pioneer Award from the Federal Government Distance Learning Association (FGDLA) in recognition of an individual for demonstrating initiative and leadership in the development and implementation of distance learning in the federal government.

In August 2013 her Distance Learning program was awarded the coveted Pinnacle Award from the Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration (CILC). Stokes is currently serving a three-year term on the Advisory Board of Art Education, Journal of the National Art Education Association.

During her college tenure, Stokes found mentors in the Art and Art History programs at Livingston College who introduced her to the museum world in New York City. “Livingston College gave a foundation to the idea of social justice,” Stokes tells us in the embedded video. (You may also open the video in a new window.)

Also, check out an article documenting the “First Livingston Women’s [Art] Show” in 1972, at which Stokes exhibited paintings and a silk screen print.

Distinguished Alumnus Kenneth Cop, LC’95, Leads Diverse Rutgers Police Force

Kenneth CopKenneth B. Cop, honored in 2015 as a Livingston College Distinguished Alumnus, serves as the Executive Director of Public Safety and Chief of Rutgers University Police.

He oversees the administration and operation of all public safety services for Rutgers University, with approximately 500 employees under his command. Cop graduated from Livingston College (’95) with a Bachelor of Science in Administration of Justice, a minor in Sociology and a Criminology Certificate.

At Centenary College (’02), he earned a Master of Arts in Leadership and Public Administration. Additionally, he is a graduate of the FBI National Academy Class #254, the West Point Command and Leadership School, and the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Program.

Cop was hired as a Rutgers University Security Officer in 1995. He completed his basic police certification at the Ocean County Police Academy and started his law enforcement career as a Rutgers University Police Officer in 1997. He has been promoted to positions of increasing responsibilities during his career with Rutgers.

Livingston College’s motto of “Strength Through Diversity” is still alive in public safety at Rutgers, Cop tells us in the embedded video. (You may also open the video in a new window.)

In 2020 Rutgers Today interviewed Chief Cop. From the interview: “I just wanted to help others and keep people safe. … The sentiment was instinctual for me, something that I had always cared about. My decision to remain at Rutgers after I graduated is because I always viewed the university as home. So, keeping my home safe was a natural career progression.”

Documentation of Livingston College History

Documents and Photos Related to Livingston College’s 50th Anniversary and Beyond

— A short history of Livingston College, from its planning in 1965 to its final commencement in 2010, is available on another page on this site.

— Several authors have written about Livingston College’s history in both popular and scholarly works. See a selected bibliography.

— For a list of student yearbooks produced during Livingston College’s history, including links to cover-to-cover online versions of the yearbooks, please see this page.

In addition to the yearbooks, handbooks, newspapers and other publications and documents from Livingston College, scanned by the Internet Archive, are available.

Louis Economopoulos, 1973Many of the materials are from the collection of Louis T. Economopoulos (pictured at left), a 1973 graduate of Livingston College.

— Kenneth Lew has included a few Livingston College documents within his collection of publications and other documents on New Brunswick and Rutgers history. The Livingston College items are:

* Livingston College – Admission to the University in New Brunswick, New Jersey (1971). (The 1969 and 1970 editions of the same document are available in LAA’s collection hosted by the Internet Archive.)

* To Members of the Class of 1983 (March 1, 1979)

* Dear Freshman (May 12, 1979)

Student playing pool in Livingston student union, 1978— Rutgers’ Special Collections and University Archives (held within Alexander Library on the College Avenue campus in New Brunswick) holds numerous documents on Livingston College’s history. Note that the documents themselves are available for review in person only at the library. Among the relevant Livingston College documents are:

  • Records of the Office of the Dean of Livingston College, Ernest A. Lynton, 1965-1973
  • Guide to the Walton R. Johnson Papers, 1949-2001
  • Guide to the Rutgers Grass Roots – Progressive Activists Files, 1921-1993 (1979-1993, bulk)

— The Penn State University (PSU) Libraries website DOES offer online access to some documents related to Livingston College’s history, via the Horowitz Transaction Publishers Archive. 

In August 2006 the Historical Collections and Labor Archives (HCLA) division of the Special Collections Library of the PSU acquired the corporate archives of Transaction Publishers, a gift of Dr. Irving Louis Horowitz, chairman of the board of Transaction Publishers and the Hannah Arendt Distinguished University Professor (Emeritus), Department of Sociology, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

Top photo: A model showing the three Quads dorms and Tillett Hall. Frank Grad and Sons, Architects, 1965–70, photo dated April 20, 1966. The quads were reinterpretations of the quadrangular colleges of Oxford and Cambridge, broken up into smaller volumes along each side. The shape creates an intimate outdoor courtyard. Source: R-Photo, Buildings and Grounds, Box 33, Livingston College, Architectural Model folder, as published in the article, The early years of Livingston College, 1964–1973: Revisiting the “college of good intentions.” Courtesy of Rutgers University Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives.

Center photo: Louis T. Economopoulos (LC’73), covering Rutgers lacrosse as a reporter for The Home News in 1973.

Bottom photo: Student playing pool at the Livingston student union, 1978. The current Livingston Student Center opened in 1986 and was expanded in 2010. Tillett Hall was the previous home of student activities, including the dining hall and pub.

Riki Jacobs Livingston Pride Award

Riki E. JacobsThe Riki Jacobs Livingston Pride Award is given annually by the Livingston Alumni Association (LAA) to the Rutgers-New Brunswick graduating senior who most embodies the spirit of Livingston College and its attributes of leadership and social action.

All Rutgers University-New Brunswick undergraduate seniors with a minimum cumulative GPA of are eligible to apply for the award.

Riki E. Jacobs (1957-2009, pictured at right) was the director of the Hyacinth Foundation, an AIDS support organization, among many roles she fulfilled to assist vulnerable populations.

Jacobs (LC’80) also was one of LAA’s first Livingston College Distinguished Alumni, honored in 2000.

Recipients of the Livingston Pride Award (renamed for Riki Jacobs in 2010)

Honorees from 1990 through 2010 graduated from Livingston College. Since 2011, honorees may be graduates of any undergraduate college at Rutgers University-New Brunswick/Piscataway.

The years in the list below link to the Livingston College yearbook page where each student is pictured. / * Photo not available.

The names link to more information about each awardee, as available.

1990: Yantra E. Zavala *
1991: Stephanie Heitman
1992: Daniel Malloie
1993: Harry R. Knabe
1994: Janel C. Patti
1995: Ayana D. Gee
1996: Caren A. Tinney
1997: Connie Liauw
1998: Ashwini Reddy
1999: Irene Shenouda
2000: Geraldine Burgos
2001: Randall Gordon Stamm
2002: Michael Lawrence Dimond
2003: Kazim A. Rizvi
2004: Gregory Ordun
2005: Lisa M. Lattanzi
2006: Keith A. Gottesman
2007: Zuleima Feliciano *
2008: Jacqui Whitfield *
2009: Rob Drucker *
2010: Victoria Rowland *
2011: Matthew Cortland
2012: Amy Tran
2013: Melanie Davila
2014: Emilie Transue
2015: Amy Albert
2016: Victor A. Mensah
2017: Maria Alba
2018: Lucy Anne Blevins
2019: Eshan Kaul
2021: Janelle L. Taliaferro

2021: Amanda Wells
2022: Tara Krishna
2022: Anthony Rivera-Rosario
2023: Divon Pender
2023: Sara Rubiano

Stephanie Heitman, LC’91 Daniel Malloie, LC’92 Harry R. Knabe, LC’93 Janel C. Patti, LC’94 Ayana D. Gee, LC’95
Stephanie Heitman Daniel Malloie Harry R. Knabe Janel C. Patti Ayana D. Gee
Caren A. Tinney, LC’96 Connie Liauw, LC’97 Ashwini Reddy, LC’98 Irene Shenouda, LC’99 Geraldine Burgos, LC’00
Caren A. Tinney Connie Liauw Ashwini Reddy Irene Shenouda Geraldine Burgos
Randall Gordon Stamm, LC’01 Michael Lawrence Dimond, LC’02 Kazim A. Rizvi, LC’03 Gregory Ordun, LC’04 Lisa M. Lattanzi, LC’05
Randall Gordon Stamm Michael Lawrence Dimond Kazim A. Rizvi Gregory Ordun Lisa M. Lattanzi
Keith A. Gottesman, LC’06 Matthew Cortland, SAS’11 Amy Tran, SAS’12 Melanie Davila, SAS’13 Emilie Transue, SAS’14
Keith A. Gottesman Matthew Cortland Amy Tran Melanie Davila Emilie Transue
Amy Albert, SAS’15 Victor A. Mensah, SAS’16 Maria Alba, SAS’17 Lucy Anne Blevins, SAS’18 Eshan Kaul, SEBS’19
Amy Albert Victor A. Mensah Maria Alba Lucy Anne Blevins Eshan Kaul
Janelle L. Taliaferro, RBS’21
Amanda Wells, SAS’21 Tara Krishna, SAS’22
Janelle L. Taliaferro Amanda Wells Tara Krishna
Anthony Rivera-Rosario, SAS’22
Divon Pender, SMLR’23 Sara Rubiano, SAS/EJB’23

Anthony Rivera-Rosario Divon Pender Sara Rubiano

Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

Seth Jeremy DvorinBiographies for the recipients of the awards listed and linked below have been updated when possible. Otherwise, they represent the information available as of the dates of induction. Send updates or corrections.

  • Livingston College Distinguished Alumni Award: Established in September 2000 to recognize Livingston College alumni who have distinguished themselves by contributions they have made in their chosen fields of endeavor, by the leadership they have exhibited, and by the general benefits to the larger society resulting from their activities.
  • Seth Dvorin Distinguished Young Alumni Award: Established in November 2004 in memory of Army Lt. Seth Jeremy Dvorin (LC’02, Administration of Justice; pictured at right), who was killed in Iraq on February 3, 2004. The Seth Dvorin Award was presented to Livingston College young alumni who have distinguished themselves by contributions they have made in their chosen fields of endeavor, by the leadership they have exhibited, and by the general benefits to the larger society resulting from their activities. The three recipients of this award are noted below. This award is now retired.

2000 Inductees

Riki Jacobs Clifton R. Lacy John S. Lipori Alfred E. Ramey, Jr.
Director of AIDS Support Organization;
Health Educator (died in 2009)
Medical Leader;
New Jersey State Health Commissioner
Banking Executive University Counsel;
New Jersey Assistant Attorney General

2002 Inductees

Thomas F. Daley Susan Kille David A. Laskow Steven D. Plofker
District Attorney; Judge; Adjunct Professor of Law (died in 2015) Newspaper Journalist Surgeon; Associate Professor of Surgery Real Estate Developer; Attorney

2004 Inductees

Frank T. Carvill Gina Collins Cummings Edward E. Johnson, Jr.
New Jersey National Guardsman
Killed in Iraq (Posthumous; died in 2004)
Environmental, Health,
and Social Justice Activist
Wall Street Executive
Michael C. Laracy Karen Rogers Harry V. Swayne III
Advocate for Children and Families Seth Dvorin Distinguished
Young Alumni Award

Television Meteorologist/Journalist
Football Executive and Player

2006 Inductees

Avery Brooks Colleen Fraser Mark Helias
Actor; Director; Singer; Professor, Mason Gross School of the Arts Advocate for People with Disabilities;
Hero of United Airlines Flight 93
(Posthumous; died in 2001)
Jazz Musician and Composer
Liza Kirschenbaum Andrea D. Lyon Gregg Spiridellis
Advocate for Children in the Courts Law School Dean;
Expert in Death-Penalty Defense
Seth Dvorin Distinguished
Young Alumni Award

Entrepreneur in Online Entertainment

2009 Inductees 

Kevin Apuzzio Marla Diamond Francoise Jacobsohn Martha Nell Smith
Seth Dvorin Distinguished Young Alumni Award
 Heroic Firefighter and
Emergency Medical Technician
(Posthumous; died in 2006)
Radio Journalist  Advocate for Women and Workers Professor of English;
Emily Dickinson Scholar

2011 Inductees

Gregory Q. Brown Eddie Jordan
Rutgers Board of Governors Chair;
Business Leader
 Rutgers Men’s Basketball Head Coach (2013-2016)
and Player (1973-1977)

2013 Inductees

Ndidi Amutah Nicholas Ferroni Jessie J. Hanna
Assistant Professor
Researcher on Health and Nutrition
Educator and Historian Physician
Researcher on Pediatric Cancer

2015 Inductees

Robert Bertrand Kenneth Cop Deborah Stokes
Radio Engineer Rutgers University Executive Director of Police Services / Chief of Police Museum Curator and Arts Educator

2018 Inductees

Staci Berger Jeanie Bryson Dr. Everette Penn
Housing and Community Development Advocate Jazz/Pop/Latin Vocalist Race/Youth/Justice Scholar
Carlyle E. Shelton Jr. Robert W. Snyder Deborah Stokes
Deputy Inspector General,
U.S. Marine Corps
Professor, American Studies and Journalism College Advisor and Social Justice Advocate

Livingston Legacy Lectures (2009-2010)

Those of us who were members of the Livingston College family, whether as a student, faculty or staff member, or friend, know of the vital and eternal legacy Livingston has to this day on the overall programs of Rutgers University and on a global scale. 

Livingston graduates and staff play key roles in the national and international communities, and Livingston’s programs and unique attributes live on in a variety of Rutgers University programs. 

To celebrate Livingston’s contributions to the overall Rutgers and global communities, the Livingston Alumni Association hosted two Livingston Legacy Lecture programs in 2009 and 2010.  

  • Livingston College History Panel (2009).
  • Journalism Panel (2010).