Category Archives: Distinguished Alumni Award

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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 also is a regular blogger for The Huffington Post, writing 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:

“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.

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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 .

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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.

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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.”

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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 30 years old and under 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 (LC’80, NLAW’89) CLIFTON R. LACY (LC’75, RWJMS’79)
Riki Jacobs Clifton R. Lacy
Director of AIDS Support Organization;
Health Educator (died in 2009)
Medical Leader;
New Jersey State Health Commissioner
JOHN S. LIPORI (LC’77) ALFRED E. RAMEY, JR. (LC’73)
John S. Lipori Alfred E. Ramey, Jr.
Banking Executive University Counsel;
New Jersey Assistant Attorney General

2002 Inductees

THOMAS F. DALEY (LC’75) SUSAN KILLE (LC’74)
Thomas F. Daley Susan Kille
District Attorney; Judge;
Adjunct Professor of Law
(died in 2015)
Newspaper Journalist
DAVID A. LASKOW (LC’77, RWJMS’81) STEVEN D. PLOFKER (LC’78)
David A. Laskow Steven D. Plofker
Surgeon; Associate Professor of Surgery Real Estate Developer; Attorney

2004 Inductees

FRANK CARVILL (LC’75) GINA COLLINS CUMMINGS (LC’84) EDWARD E. JOHNSON, JR. (LC’79)
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 (LC’74) KAREN ROGERS (LC’92) HARRY V. SWAYNE III (LC’90)
Michael C. Laracy Karen Rogers Harry V. Swayme III
Advocate for Children and Families Seth Dvorin Distinguished
Young Alumni Award

Television Meteorologist/Journalist
Football Executive and Player

2006 Inductees

AVERY BROOKS (LC’73, MGSA’76) COLLEEN FRASER (LC’74) MARK HELIAS (LC’74)
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 (LC’87) ANDREA D. LYON (LC’73) GREGG SPIRIDELLIS (LC’93, RBS’93)
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 (LC’06) MARLA DIAMOND (LC’92)
Kevin Apuzzio Marla Diamond
Seth Dvorin Distinguished Young Alumni Award
 Heroic Firefighter and 
Emergency Medical Technician
(Posthumous; died in 2006)
Radio Journalist
FRANCOISE JACOBSOHN (LC’79) MARTHA NELL SMITH
(LC’77, GSNB’82,’85)
Francoise Jacobsohn Martha Nell Smith
 Advocate for Women and Workers Professor of English;
Emily Dickinson Scholar

2011 Inductees

GREGORY Q. BROWN (LC’82) EDWARD M. JORDAN (SMLR’15)
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 N. AMUTAH-ONUKAGHA  (LC’03) NICHOLAS FERRONI (LC’03) JESSIE J. HANNA (LC’07, RWJMS’14)
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 P. BERTRAND  (LC’01) KENNETH B. COP (LC’95) DEBORAH L. STOKES (LC’74)
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 (LC’94, EJB/GSNB’04) JEANIE BRYSON (LC’81) EVERETTE B. PENN (LC’91)
Staci Berger Jeanie Bryson Dr. Everette Penn
Housing and Community Development Advocate Jazz/Pop/Latin Vocalist Race/Youth/Justice Scholar

CARLYLE E. SHELTON JR.  (LC’80) ROBERT W. SNYDER (LC’77) MARIE VARGHESE (LC’03)
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

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