Category Archives: In Memoriam

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In Memoriam

We remember some of the many notable administrators, faculty members, staff members and alumni who made a difference at Livingston College and in the Livingston Alumni community. Brief notes and a link to profiles with more information, where available, are included.

Administrators, Faculty and Staff:

Albert E. Blumberg Lora (Dee) Garrison Melvin L. Gary Hilda Hidalgo
Albert E. Blumberg Lora (Dee) Garrison  Melvin L. Gary Hilda Hidalgo

Richard F. Hixson W. Robert Jenkins Wells Hamilton Keddie Ernest A. Lynton
Richard Hixson W. Robert Jenkins  Wells Keddie Ernest A. Lynton

Patrick McCreary Wilson Carey McWilliams Emmanuel G. Mesthene Edward G. Ortiz
Patrick McCreary Wilson Carey McWilliams  Emmanuel George Mesthene Edward G. Ortiz

Henry A. Plotkin Seth Scheiner Winston E. Thompson Paula Van Riper
Henry A. Plotkin (Hank Plotkin) Seth Scheiner Winston Edna Thompson Paula Van Riper

Alumni:

(Seven of the 37 Rutgers graduates who died in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks had earned Livingston College degrees. Read about all 37 of the graduates on Barbara Preston’s website.)

Kevin A.B. Appuzio William S. Bauer Jr. Frank Carvill Thomas F. Daley
Kevin Apuzzio William S. Bauer Jr. Frank Carvill Thomas F. Daley 

Michael A. Davidson Jayceryll M. de Chavez Seth Jeremy Dvorin Colleen L. Fraser
Michael A. Davidson Jayceryll M. de Chavez Seth Jeremy Dvorin  Colleen Fraser

Riki E. Jacobs Brendan Mark Lang James A. Martello Jon A. Perconti Jr.
Riki E. Jacobs Brendan Mark Lang James A. Martello Jon A. Perconti Jr.

Gary Scott Pfeffer Scott M. Schertzer Derek Lamont Young
Gary Scott Pfeffer Scott M. Schertzer  Derek Lamont Young 

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Felice C. Ronca, Assistant Dean for Curriculum at Livingston College, Remembered

Felice C. Ronca, who was assistant dean for curriculum at Rutgers University’s Livingston College, died March 23, 1996, after a long illness. Ronca lived in Highland Park, New Jersey, at the time of her death. She had previously served as coordinator of the Livingston College Honors Program and the Paul Robeson Scholars Project. She also taught comparative literature at Douglass and Livingston colleges. A memorial service for Ronca was held at Rutgers’ Kirkpatrick Chapel.
Continue reading Felice C. Ronca, Assistant Dean for Curriculum at Livingston College, Remembered

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Seth Dvorin, LC’02, Was Killed in Battle in Iraq; Distinguished Young Alumni Award Named for Him

Seth Jeremy DvorinU.S. Army Lt. Seth Jeremy Dvorin, a 2002 graduate of Livingston College at Rutgers University, was killed in battle near Iskandariyah, Iraq, on Feb. 3, 2004.

An improvised explosive device (IED) killed Dvorin, age 24, while he was conducting counter-IED operations.

In 2004, Rutgers’ Livingston Alumni Association created the Seth Dvorin Distinguished Young Alumni Award in his honor.

Dvorin had been assigned to Battery B, 3rd Battalion, 62nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Drum, New York.

Seth Dvorin and Sue NiedererDvorin’s sister, Rebekah, told The Associated Press that the Army informed her that “Seth’s unit had been ordered to clear the area of the homemade mines and bombs that have killed dozens of troops. … They were in a convoy and saw something in the road. My brother, the hero, told his driver to stop. That’s when the bomb detonated, when they were trying to dismantle it.”

Dvorin earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Administration of Justice from Livingston College in 2002. Born in Freehold, New Jersey, he grew up in East Brunswick and South Brunswick, New Jersey. He graduated from South Brunswick High School, where he played football and baseball.

Dvorin traveled extensively, including to Europe and Israel. He loved animals and cars, especially Mustangs, and was an excellent cook. He had lived in Evans Mills, New York, at the time of his death.

Seth and Kelly DvorinDvorin was posthumously awarded a Bronze Star for valor. He was buried in Marlboro Memorial Cemetery, Monmouth County, New Jersey.

Surviving Dvorin were his wife, Kelly Harris Dvorin, whom he married on August 26, 2003, five days before leaving for Iraq; his mother, Sue Niederer, and her husband Greg; his father, Richard Dvorin, and his companion Ellen Sutton; his sister, Rebekah Dvorin, and her then-fiance, Walter Gruszka; his stepbrother, Joshua Dvorin; his paternal grandmother, Ruth Dvorin; his maternal grandfather, Jacob Sapir; and his uncles Gary Sapir and Howard Dvorin. 

Dvorin’s mother, Sue Niederer, has protested the Bush Administration for the US involvement in Iraq, and criticized Donald J. Trump for his insensitivity to Gold Star families who have lost family members in battle.

As of 2018 she continues to speak on behalf of the GI Go Fund, a national nonprofit organization that helps veterans find employment and secure education and health care benefits, and provides assistance to low-income and homeless veterans, according to a May 26, 2018, article from My Central Jersey. Friends of Dvorin founded the GI Go Fund in 2006.

Seth Dvorin’s father, Richard Dvorin, a U.S. Air Force veteran, worked through his grief by volunteering for a phone hotline for veterans and their families.

Richard Dvorin also served as Past Commander for the Lt. Seth Dvorin Jewish War Veterans Post #972 in Marlboro, New Jersey, renamed for his son in 2004. Richard Dvorin died in 2013.

Photos: Seth Dvorin; Dvorin with his mother, Sue Niederer; Dvorin with his wife, Kelly Dvorin.

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Jayceryll de Chavez, LC’99, Was Driven to Leave His Mark; Remembered with Dedication at Rutgers Business School Building

Jaceryll Malabuyoc de Chavez South Tower at Rutgers Business SchoolOn October 20, 2017, Rutgers Business School dedicated the South Tower of its building on the Livingston Campus to Jayceryll Malabuyoc de Chavez, an alumnus who died during the 9/11 terrorist attack at the World Trade Center.

More than 100 guests assembled in the tower’s foyer in front of a new plaque inscribed with details of de Chavez’s life, a photo taken at his graduation and a portion of a steel beam from the ruins of the World Trade Center.

As a Livingston College student, de Chavez studied finance and economics. He was working as a portfolio analyst at Franklin Templeton’s offices on the 95th floor of the World Trade Center’s South Tower on September 11, 2001.

Jaceryll Malabuyoc de ChavezHe had graduated in 1999 from Rutgers’ Livingston College and the Rutgers School of Business-New Brunswick.

De Chavez was a distinguished scholar who started two fraternities, Delta Chi and Alpha Kappa Psi, while he was at Rutgers.

Friends said that de Chavez, an immigrant from the Philippines, appreciated everything and was driven to succeed and to leave his mark.

A conference room and four reading rooms at the Carr Library, also on Livingston Campus, are named after de Chavez, and his family has created a $1 million endowed scholarship and endowed excellence fund in his memory.

The professional business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi also awards a scholarship in his name.

Read more about de Chavez in a Rutgers Business School article on the 2017 South Tower dedication, by Susan Todd.

Top photo by Lauren Guiliano, courtesy of Rutgers Business School. 

Jaceryll Malabuyoc de Chavez - Tributes at Carr LibraryPhoto collage (clockwise from bottom left): Sign outside the conference room at Carr Library’s ground (basement) level; de Chavez’s portrait, plaque (see below), and furnishings inside the conference room; one of the four study rooms in his honor on the library’s second floor.

Top plaque: Every man believes in certain ideologies and life philosophies, it should be marked that Jayceryll M. de Chavez stood believing: “Experience is never limited, and it is never complete; it is an immense sensibility, a kind of huge spider-web of the finest silken-threads suspended in the chamber of consciousness, and catching every air-borne particle in its tissue.” (Sir Henry James).

Bottom plaque: Alpha Kappa Psi Study Room 4 Donated in Loving Memory of Jacy M. De Chavez and Victims of 9/11.

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Firefighter Kevin Apuzzio, LC’06, Gave His Life in the Line of Duty; Posthumously Honored as a Distinguished Alumnus in 2009

Kevin ApuzzioKevin Anthony Bernardo Apuzzio, a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician (EMT), died on April 11, 2006, in the line of duty while attempting to rescue a woman in a house fire. He was 21, and the woman, Betty Scott, was 75.

A month later, Rutgers University’s Livingston College posthumously awarded him a bachelor’s degree. Also in 2006, Apuzzio was presented posthumously with the Rutgers University Alumni Federation’s Edward J. Bloustein Award for Community Service.

In 2009 the Livingston Alumni Association honored Apuzzio as a Seth Dvorin Distinguished Young Alumnus.

Kevin Apuzzio, Firefighter with East Franklin Township Fire Department, Station 27At age 16, Apuzzio, a lifelong resident of Union, New Jersey, had trained to become an EMT. In 2002 he graduated from Union Catholic High School in Scotch Plains, New Jersey.

Apuzzio had worked as a part-time EMT in Rutgers Department of Emergency Services for more than three years, and for about two years as a volunteer firefighter with the East Franklin Fire Department, Station 27, in Somerset, New Jersey, where he obtained his Firefighter 1 certification and was promoted to foreman.

Apuzzio, who had studied criminal justice at Rutgers, wanted to become a police officer in New York City. On the day of his death, his family received his police exam test results in the mail. Apuzzio achieved an almost perfect score of 99.6.

Kevin Apuzzio, Rutgers University Emergency Medical TechnicianA 2009 tribute video to Apuzzio (embedded on this page) interweaves recollections from his parents and from Dan Krushinski, East Franklin Fire Chief.

Joseph Apuzzio called his son a role model. “If he even knew you just a little bit, he’d do anything he could. … He volunteered for just about anything.”

At the fatal fire, Chief Krushinski said, Apuzzio answered the call and entered the burning house “without hesitation, without doubt in his mind.”

His father also remembers taking Kevin fishing: “The first time I took him fishing, I guess he was 6, maybe 7 years old. And he caught a trout, a good size trout, OK? So he drags the trout onto the shore, and I got to pick it up and he saw where the hook was and he got very upset. He said he didn’t want to hurt the trout.”

Krushinski remembered Apuzzio as “a gentleman and easy-going, but he wanted to help people.”

“I think if you drove down (Interstate) 287 and passed five people with flat tires, he probably would have stopped and helped all five people change their tires.”

In 2007, one year to the day after Apuzzio’s passing, members of the Rutgers community and the Apuzzio family gathered in the university’s Public Safety Building to honor him by renaming the training facility the Kevin Apuzzio Training Center.

“Kevin personified the best of Rutgers students: hard work, community involvement and a desire to help others,” said Richard L. McCormick, then president of Rutgers. “We use this training center to prepare public safety personnel to serve and protect our community. It is only fitting that it bear Kevin’s name.”

In December 2013, the voting members of the East Franklin Fire Company established the Kevin A. Apuzzio Memorial Foundation to provide funds and support to student firefighters following in Apuzzio’s footsteps of community service. In June 2014, the foundation officially incorporated as a New Jersey nonprofit corporation. Funds raised support the foundation’s mission to carry on Apuzzio’s legacy through scholarships and outreach programs.

On the 10th anniversary of his death in 2016, friends and family remembered Apuzzio, with the Union Township Committee and the Union County Sheriff presenting commemorative resolutions to his family.

Apuzzio was survived by his parents, Joseph and Marili, and a sister, Leila. He is buried at Mount Olive Cemetery in Newark, New Jersey.

Read more about Apuzzio:

Watch the LAA’s interview and video tribute to Apuzzio (2 minutes, 32 seconds), embedded on this page, or open in a new window.

Photos courtesy of the Apuzzio family and the East Franklin Fire Department.

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Dean Paula Van Riper Remembered; Honored with Memorial Bench on Livingston Campus

Paula Van RiperRutgers University has honored Paula K. Van Riper, a former assistant dean and director of advising for Rutgers’ School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) and previously for Livingston College, with a tribute plaque erected on a bench outside the James Dickson Carr Library (formerly the Kilmer Library) on Livingston campus.

Rutgers dedicated the plaque to Van Riper’s memory at a ceremony on Saturday, September 24, 2016.

Van Riper, 67, of Branchburg, New Jersey, passed away on August 20, 2015, after a long struggle with multiple myeloma.

Van Riper had served as a dean at Rutgers in various roles since 1992. Prior to joining the university, Van Riper served on the Piscataway, New Jersey, Board of Education as a member, Vice President and President, and as President of the PTA Presidents Council.

Diagnosed with myeloma in 1999, Van Riper founded the Central Jersey Multiple Myeloma Support Group, providing information, guidance, and support to many fellow patients and their families. She had spoken and written extensively in support of the myeloma community, and had appeared as its advocate before legislative bodies. She also started a yearly 5K race to support multiple myeloma research. In fall 2015, shortly after Van Riper’s death, the proceeds from the race funded a research grant in her name.

A fund-raiser for Van Riper’s memorial plaque, which ran from August 10-September 12, 2016, raised $8,840, with $7,000 earmarked for Rutgers and $1,840 for scholarships for Piscataway High School students. 

“Thousands of students remember her fondly as the advisor ready with a word of good advice, a smile and a gentle push forward,” her colleague, SAS Assistant Dean Robin Diamond, said in a video explaining the fund-raising campaign (also embedded on this page). “Need someone to talk to who would give it to you straight while still caring about your experience? Paula was your person.”

Among other accomplishments, Van Riper established a connection between the radio stations at Rutgers and Piscataway High School, allowing them to merge and serve both the university and the high school since 2000.

Garth Patterson, an academic advisor in SAS since its founding in 2007, remembers Van Riper as a professional mentor “and in uncountable ways, influenced my growth as a person.”

Jason Goldstein, a 2002 alumnus of Livingston College, remembers Van Riper from an open house event he attended before entering college.

“As a dean, Paula Van Riper provided remarks, led a panel discussion, and provided insight when answering questions from the audience. She showcased her warmth, energy, and love for students, a disposition that represented Livingston College very well,” said Goldstein, who is also a former President of the Livingston Alumni Association. “As an inquisitive high school student, I had a million questions. After the event ended, I approached Paula in the hallway to introduce myself and learn a little more. Paula spent what must have been a half hour with me and my parents sharing her passion for Livingston College and tips to be successful at Rutgers and in life. I felt there was now a face, with a beautiful smile, on this intimidating university.”

Sabrina Lauredent, an alumna from the SAS Class of 2015, remembers Van Riper as “thoughtful, kind, witty and very honest to me about everything.

“Dean Van Riper was thoughtful, kind, witty and very honest to me about everything. Dean Van Riper guided me through a lot of my academic and personal struggles, and was always willing to meet with me in between work and classes,” said Lauredent, a secretarial assistant at the Livingston Advising Center. “During each advising session she encouraged me to try harder and simply do better, and I always left feeling a little more confident in my abilities and myself.

“There were plenty of fun conversations too, about puppies, the weather and our hair. I loved everything about Dean Van Riper from the way she appreciated everyone around her, the way she spoke, the pretty scarves she wore, her cute green Prius, and the hugs she gave me before and after every long break.”

Van Riper was born in 1947 in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and graduated from Franklin High School in 1965. Van Riper earned a B.S. in Business Administration from Rider University in 1969, and a Master’s in Social Work from Rutgers in 1997.

She is survived by her son Ryan Van Riper, daughter Renee (Whitman) and her husband Eric Whitman, brother Richard Bonopane, sister Bonnie (Fochi), brother Alan Bonopane, and grandson Alexander Whitman. She is predeceased by her parents, Vincent and Frances Bonopane.

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