Category Archives: Awards/Alumni Activity

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Michael Greenberg Unites the Studies of Urban Planning and Public Health; Honored with Livingston Legacy Award in 2018

Michael R. GreenbergMichael R. Greenberg studies environmental health, environmental policy and risk analysis. He is a Distinguished Professor of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University-New Brunswick and served as the Bloustein School’s 2017-2018 Interim Dean

Greenberg joined the faculty at Rutgers’ Livingston College in September 1971, as an associate professor of urban planning, urban studies and geography.

He served as a Livingston College Fellow. He also served on Livingston College’s appointments and promotions (A&P) and academic standing committees; and led in the building the undergraduate community health program, which became the undergraduate public health program.

Michael R. GreenbergHe and Bernard Goldstein of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) worked to establish the New Jersey graduate program in Public Health, which eventually became the Rutgers School of Public Health. 

Rutgers’ Livingston Alumni Association (LAA) honored Greenberg on March 20, 2018, with the Livingston Legacy Award, honoring his key role in the establishment and growth of Livingston College and its mission, and for his overall contributions to the Rutgers and global communities. 

In an interview for the 2018 award, Greenberg tells us that “Livingston was a terrific place to work with people who … didn’t think in standardized ways. They would challenge what you had to say.

“You’d get up at one of the faculty meetings in Livingston College, and if you could get through a sentence without being challenged, that was an accomplishment.

“The things I learned at Livingston have served me well throughout my entire career at Rutgers.”

In the 1970s, Rosemary Agrista (LC’76) was a student in Greenberg’s senior seminar on urban studies, related to her major in Urban Communications (Journalism). Greenberg’s teaching about conservation and interpreting master plans later led Agrista to become an environmental activist.

As of 2018 Greenberg also serves as Director of the Environmental Analysis and Communications Group at the Bloustein School, and previously was Associate Dean of the Faculty. He had joined the Bloustein School faculty in 2000, and also holds appointments in Rutgers’ School of Public Health.

Michael R. Greenberg His 2017 book, Urban Planning and Public Health: A Critical Partnership (with Dona Schneider, American Public Health Association) provides an in-depth summary of the historic connections between the fields of public health and urban planning since the Industrial Revolution.

It also draws the connections between urban planning and public health through case examples and outlines critical challenges to integrate science, policy and politics to further the health of communities across the U.S.

Greenberg has written more than 30 books and more than 300 articles on topics including water supply and quality, solid waste management, mathematical programming, population and employment projection methods, and environmental cancer.

Some of his other recent books include:

  • Explaining Risk Analysis (Earthscan, 2017);
  • Protecting Seniors Against Environmental Disasters: From Hazards and Vulnerability to Prevention and Resilience (Earthscan, 2014);
  • Nuclear Waste Management, Nuclear Power and Energy Choices: Public Preferences, Perceptions, and Trust (Springer, 2012);
  • The Environmental Impact Statement After Two Generations: Managing Environmental Power (Routledge, 2011).

Michael R. Greenberg Greenberg also chaired a committee, which in 2017 reported to the U.S. Congress on the extent that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) emphasizes human health and safety in its allocations for remediating former nuclear weapons sites.

He has also served on several government committees related to the destruction of the U.S. chemical weapons stockpile and nuclear weapons; chemical waste management; and the degradation of the U.S. government physical infrastructure, and sustainability and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As of 2018 he is a member of the Plutonium Disposition Committee, reporting to the DOE.

Greenberg served as area editor for social sciences and then editor-in-chief of Risk Analysis: An International Journal from 2002-2013, and continues as associate editor for environmental health for the American Journal of Public Health.

He had earned his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in geography from Columbia University. He served as an assistant professor at Columbia before joining the Livingston College faculty.

Photos courtesy of Michael Greenberg. In collage: Greenberg at age 8, in 1965, in the 1970s and in 1999; With several of his studies; Featured in an editorial cartoon in The Daily Targum, by Roy Wollen.

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‘Intimate’ Vocalist Jeanie Bryson, LC’81, Inspired by Rutgers’ Jazz Department; Honored as a Distinguished Alumna in 2018

Jeanie Bryson Jeanie Bryson, a 1981 graduate of Livingston College at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, is a vocalist of jazz, pop and Latin songs whose style has been described as “intimate.”

On March 20, 2018, the Livingston Alumni Association (LAA) honored Bryson with the Livingston College Distinguished Alumni Award. Bryson and five other exceptional graduates of Livingston College were honored at an awards celebration at Rutgers.

Jeanie Bryson album coversA “world-class jazz department” at Rutgers and one of her professors, Kenny Barron, inspired in her a love of jazz singing, Bryson noted on her website.

She has also been greatly influenced by her parents, the songwriter Connie Bryson and the late jazz trumpeter-singer-composer Dizzy Gillespie.

For Gillespie’s 90th birthday in 2007 (he had died in 1993) Bryson created and performed a concert tribute, The Dizzy Songbook, which played at the Guinness Jazz Festival and toured.

Bryson had met Barron when he was playing piano in Gillespie’s band in the early 1960s. Their paths crossed again at Rutgers, when Bryson took his keyboard harmony class.

In an interview for the 2018 Livingston College Distinguished Alumni Award, Bryson says that Livingston College was “my kind of place. It was a little more relaxed, a little more unorthodox … It was a really eclectic musical experience. You know, I ended up becoming a jazz singer, and of course the jazz department at Rutgers was also one of the best in this country and the world at the time.

“I got a great deal of wonderful listening experience, meeting musicians at school that ended up being, you know, really world-class players. They were my classmates so I got to play with them then and even as an adult I did records with some of the people that I went to school with. I couldn’t have picked a better place to go to school than Livingston.”

Bryson studied anthropology at Rutgers (and minored in ethnomusicology). She intended to go to law school, but was drawn to music, she noted in a 2008 interview with The Mercury of Pottstown, Pennsylvania.

“I really have no other skills aside from music,” Bryson told the music writer Ed Condran. “So it was kind of inevitable for me. I didn’t realize it until I was in my 20s. My parents did what they loved, which was music. It was my turn to do what I love, which is music as well. It runs in the family.”

Jeanie Bryson and Dizzy Gillespie She left her day job in 1987 to sing full time. In 1996, music writer Peter Watrous noted the “conversational level” of her performance at the Village Vanguard.

“She never raises her voice or adds details when clarity works better. And the effect is intimacy,” Watrous wrote in The New York Times. She has created a performance language rare in its ability to portray desire and humor as a part of everyday life.

Having performed and travelled extensively throughout North and South America, Europe, Israel and Japan, Bryson has received international acclaim. Along with being a guest vocalist on several outstanding recordings over the years, Bryson has multiple solo albums to her credit. 

Jeanie Bryson and Coleman MellettBryson’s relationship with Gillespie was complicated by the fact that he had fathered her out of wedlock, and didn’t acknowledge their relationship publicly although he supported her privately. In the 1980s Gillespie came to hear her sing in New York, where he reportedly said, “Man, she sounds just like me.” The saxophonist Stan Getz, who was also in the audience, said Bryson sounds more like the trumpeter Miles Davis, and she agrees.

“Our musical styles were about as different as they could be,” Bryson said in a 2018 interview with Fatherly. “My father’s trademark was playing faster and higher than any other trumpet player had ever played before. Nobody had ever heard anybody play like that. His lightning speed and his dexterity were in the stratosphere.

“My style is very dark. You couldn’t find anybody that would be any different than Dizzy’s and my voice.”

Bryson is working on a book about her memories with her father.

Bryson’s husband, the jazz guitarist, singer and songwriter Coleman (Coley) Mellett, died in a plane crash in 2009. He had been traveling north to play with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra as a longtime member of the Chuck Mangione band. The loss of her husband was devastating — Mellett and Bryson had been together since 1996, when he became a member of her touring band. Their everyday lives and their musical careers were completely entwined — traveling the world together for years.

One way of keeping her husband’s memory and his legacy alive has been producing a documentary about Mellett and the original songs that were left behind — on his computer in his music studio — music that Grammy-award winning producer Barry Miles saw to it was finished with the contributions of some of the world’s most acclaimed musicians, including James Taylor, Chuck Mangione, and Michael McDonald.

The film, titled “Sing You a Brand New Song: The Words and Music of Coleman Mellett,” had its premiere at the New Jersey International Film Festival on June 8, 2019, at Rutgers. “Sing You a Brand New Song” was named as the festival’s best documentary film. Bryson and her co-producers also plan to release a companion CD.

Photos (from top): Courtesy of Jeanie Bryson; Album covers (clockwise from top left): “Deja Blue,” “Some Cats Know: Jeanie Bryson Sings Songs of Peggy Lee,” “I Love Being Here With You” and “Tonight I Need You So”; With Dizzy Gilespie; With Coleman Mellett in 2007.

Video: Bryson singing Irving Berlin’s Change Partners (4 minutes, 25 seconds).

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Carlyle E. Shelton Jr., LC’80, Is Deputy Inspector General of the US Marine Corps; Honored as a Distinguished Alumnus in 2018

Carlyle E. Shelton Jr.Carlyle E. (Carl) Shelton Jr., a 1980 graduate of Livingston College at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, and is currently the Deputy Inspector General of the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) since January 2009.

Shelton and five other exceptional graduates of Livingston College were honored at an awards celebration on Tuesday, March 20, 2018, at Rutgers.

During his course of studies at Livingston College, Shelton was nominated for a Congressional internship in Washington, D.C. He served as an Aide to Congressman Nicholas Mavroules (D-Mass.) from 1979-80. Upon graduation from Livingston College, Shelton was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the USMC in June 1980.

Shelton’s 30-year career as a Marine infantry officer spans 61 countries, two wars, the Los Angeles riots, and humanitarian and disaster relief operations at home and abroad. His vast array of assignments includes command at the platoon, company and battalion levels.

Hillary Rodham Clinton and Carlyle E. Shelton Jr.He was a Detachment Commander aboard the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (responsible for nuclear weapons security), Operations Officer for 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine, a Special Operations designated Battalion Landing Team (BLT 3/1), Instructor at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, Head of Land Warfare at the Naval Doctrine Command, Commander of the Marine Scout Sniper School, Camp Lejeune, Security Battalion Commander, Camp Pendleton, and Director, Investigations and Assistance for the Inspector General of the Marine Corps, to mention a few of the assignments Shelton served with distinction.

Currently, Shelton is the most senior civilian authority within the Office of Inspector General of the Marine Corps (IGMC). The IGMC promotes Marine Corps combat readiness, institutional integrity, effectiveness, discipline and credibility, through impartial and independent inspections, assessments, inquiries, investigations and training. Shelton reports to the Secretary of the Navy for Marine Corps matters and assists the Commandant of the Marine Corps with his constitutional responsibility to organize, train and equip Marine forces for worldwide deployments.

Shelton’s functional duties includes the conduct of comprehensive unit inspections throughout the Marine Corps, oversight of all investigations of fraud, waste, abuse, mismanagement and misconduct; to include investigations of senior ranking officials.

He maintains oversight of intelligence programs to include special access programs and other sensitive activities in support of national security missions conducted by naval forces.

Shelton had previously served as Director of Investigations and Assistance in the IGMC from September 2006 through January 2009, and is certified by the Association of Inspectors General.

His personal accolades include the Department of Defense Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (with four Gold Stars), Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, and numerous unit citations and medals.

Carlyle E. Shelton Jr. at Arlington National CemeteryHis civilian recognitions include the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force for North County, California. He was also recognized by the Emergency Managers of Southern California for Department of Homeland Security, Advance Team Presidential Security, and numerous other recognitions.

At Livingston College he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. In 2003 he earned a master’s degree in National Security Strategy from National War College.

Photos courtesy of Carlyle E. Shelton Jr. Center: With former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Bottom: Shelton, serving as the representative of the office of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, presents a folded American flag to Jacqueline Mackin-Hartman, the daughter of retired Col. Alvin Mackin, at Arlington National Cemetery in 2010.

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Distinguished Alumna Staci Berger, LC’94, Is an Activist Supporting Affordable Homes and Community Development

Staci BergerStaci Berger, a 1994 graduate of Livingston College at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, leads a statewide association which supports the creation of affordable homes and community development in New Jersey.

In 2018 the Livingston Alumni Association (LAA) honored Berger with the Livingston College Distinguished Alumni Award, for her activism and work to advance justice. Berger and five other exceptional graduates of Livingston College were honored at an awards celebration on Tuesday, March 20 at Rutgers.

She received her master’s degree in Public Affairs and Politics from Rutgers University’s Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and Graduate School-New Brunswick in 2004. In 2017 the Bloustein School honored Berger with a Career Achievement Award.

In the 1993 Livingston College yearbook, Berger wrote: “In the year 2003, I will be working on the same things I am working for here at Livingston: justice and equality for all. Education, at Livingston and Rutgers, is just one issue I have spent my time here fighting for. The next ten years, and probably for the rest of my life, will be dedicated to people and their right to live free.”

In an interview for the 2018 Livingston College Distinguished Alumni Award, Berger notes: “I graduated a little bit later than my incoming class. Twenty of us were suspended for taking over Bishop House in an effort to get the university to not increase tuition. We were disciplined both in the university and in the justice system for standing up for what we believed in. And that is integral to the Livingston experience.”

As the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey (HCDNNJ), Berger directs this association of more than 150 community-based development organizations.

HCDNNJ was created in 1989 to enhance the efforts of these groups to create affordable homes and revitalize their communities, and to improve the climate for community development in New Jersey.

Staci Berger and Betty Chan in the Livingston College 1993 yearbookBefore becoming the President and CEO, Berger served as the Director of Advocacy and Policy. In this role she was responsible for leading the community development policy staff team, including working with the policy coordinator and field organizers, to broaden and mobilize support for the network’s public policy agenda.

Representing the HCDNNJ on Community Reinvestment Act Advisory Boards for both PNC Bank and Valley National Bank, and on TD Bank’s Leadership Council, Berger assists these institutions in meeting their community investment objectives.

She has made multiple appearances on national media outlets, including MSNBC, NPR, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal, and is a recognized expert on housing and community development issues sought by national, regional and local press.

Prior to joining the HCDNNJ, Berger worked for nine years with New Jersey Citizen Action (NJCA) where she went from being an organizer to the Political and Legislative Director. As the Political and Legislative Director, she devised and implemented political, legislative, and electoral strategy for the state’s largest nonprofit, non-partisan independent watchdog coalition. She continues to serve on the NJCA’s Board of Directors.

New Jersey Assemblyman Jerry Green with Staci BergerBerger serves on the Economic and Community Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and is a member of the Housing Advisory Council for the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York.  

She additionally has served as an associate trainer for the Midwest Academy, a leading national training institute for the progressive movement, and worked as a labor organizer with the AFL-CIO Organizing Institute and the Health Professionals and Allied Employees/AFT/AFL-CIO.

Berger’s professional milestones and honors include:

  • Inaugural recipient of the Center for Non-Profits’ Emerging Leader Award in 2013.
  • Community Service Award from New Jersey Citizen Action in 2014.
  • Recognition as a Change Maker by the New Jersey General Assembly during Women’s History Month in 2016.
  • Career Achievement Award from Rutgers’ Bloustein School of Public Policy in 2017.
  • Golden Rose Award for Advocacy from the Rose House in 2017.

Berger, a Massachusetts native, lives with her husband and two sons in Piscataway, New Jersey, where she is involved in volunteer efforts to improve her own community and advance social, political and economic justice. She served as President of the Martin Luther King Intermediate Elementary School Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) from 2012 to 2014, and continues to serve as the PTO Vice President of Conackamack Middle School.

Berger has been involved in multiple, successful electoral campaigns to make the Board of Education responsive to and reflective of the needs of the school community. She helped advance school policy changes to win smaller class sizes, secure food justice, and protect the rights of all students regardless of documentation status or gender identity.

In 2016, she led the founding of the Central Jersey Progressive Democrats, and ran a campaign to elect more than 100 area residents for office in June 2017.

Her efforts led to a civil rights victory in Piscataway. On December 19, 2017, the Piscataway Township Council attempted to keep Berger from videotaping a council meeting based on a township ordinance.

On December 27, 2017, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey advised the township that the law allows citizens to videotape meetings. Three days later the township announced that it would revise its ordinance to permit videorecording of its meetings, and in the interim would not enforce its old ordinance prohibiting such recordings.

Berger was a speaker at the 2017 New Jersey Congressional Reception, focusing on housing issues. She tells the audience: “We can’t just build homes, we have to also build movements. … Right now every single person needs to be involved in the fight for justice, because nobody else is going to do it for us … .” The conclusion of her speech was drowned out by applause.

Follow Staci Berger on Twitter.

Photos, from top: Courtesy of Staci Berger; With fellow student Betty Chan in the 1993 Livingston College yearbook, Diversity: A Higher Form of Education; With New Jersey Assemblyman Jerry Green.

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Jeffrey Armus Honored as Loyal Son for His Service to Rutgers and Its Alumni

Jeffrey M. Armus, 1977 graduate of Livingston College at Rutgers UniversityThe Rutgers Alumni Association (RAA) honored Jeffrey M. Armus, a 1977 graduate of Livingston College, as one of eight Loyal Sons and Loyal Daughters of Rutgers for 2018.

As of 2021, Armus is the President for the Livingston Alumni Association (LAA), and previously served as the LAA’s Vice President, Secretary, and Secretary.

Giving back to his school and to the university at large has been a labor of love for Armus.

As a student he discovered his passion and commitment to volunteerism and turned that into almost two decades of service to Livingston College. He has served on the Livingston College Dean’s Advisory Council and the LAA’s executive board, including serving as Community Service and Nominations Awards chair.

He extended his alumni work to the Rutgers Alumni Association, as a Community Service Committee chair. Armus also stepped up to serve as Class of 1977 Gift Campaign Chair for his class using his enthusiasm and drive to convince alumni to support their alma mater.

Jeffrey M. Armus, 1977 graduate of Livingston College at Rutgers University A lover of history, Jeff was instrumental in the historical preservation of Livingston College through the Livingston Legacy Archive Project.

Armus, who also graduated from Rutgers’ School of Business in 1982, was  honored on April 14, 2018, during the 60th Annual Loyal Sons and Daughters Dinner, a “scarlet” tie event held at Neilson Dining Hall on Rutgers’ Douglass Campus.

The Loyal Sons and Loyal Daughters of Rutgers are individuals who have made a meaningful and longstanding commitment to the betterment of Rutgers, the State University by exemplifying extraordinary alumni service or by making a significant impact on University life and culture. Nominations are made by existing Loyal Sons and Daughters, and the finalists named by a special selection committee of the RAA. The RAA is the nation’s fourth-oldest alumni association, serving alumni in multiple colleges and schools on Rutgers’ New Brunswick/Piscataway campus. 

Bios for all of the 2018 honorees are online. In addition to Armus, they are:

  • Harold P. Baird, RC’59
  • Robert L. Barchi, Rutgers University President
  • Anthony J. DePetris, CCAS’84
  • Ladislas F. (Laddie) Feher, RC’56, NLAW’59
  • Lora L. Fong, DC ’79, NLAW ’91
  • Christopher J. Paladino, RC’82, CLAW’85
  • Helen F. Pirrello, UCNB’00, SSW’05

Photos: Jeffrey Armus in 2016 (top), and in the 1977 Livingston College yearbook, The Rock, Volume II. 

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