“The thing I remember most about Montclair State was the great mentoring and genuine concern for the students by the faculty,” Larry “Tree” Bartkus ’73 said after a recent visit to campus with his wife, Bonnie and their granddaughter, Taylor. He lives in Southern California and hadn’t been back to campus since he graduated. “I went back and deep down inside, was quite concerned that through the growth and modernization of the campus that the friendly feeling might get lost. I was pleasantly surprised to find it hadn’t changed. The campus always had a friendly feel to it and my memories now are all pleasant”
“Great professors like Dr. Thomas Wilson and Dr. Roswell Ewart would always take time out of their day to sit with students after class and share a cup of coffee and their outstanding knowledge.” Being able to connect with professors is crucial to college success, and Bartkus made sure to develop those relationships well. During the tour, Dr. John Isidor updated him about his former professors and showed him around the College of Science and Mathematics’ facilities. During his time as a student, Bartkus worked as a Chemistry lab assistant.
Bartkus has worked in Quality Assurance and Quality Engineering for 41 years. He currently works with human heart valve replacements at Edwards Lifesciences. He is a Senior Distinguished Engineer there. “My degree from Montclair State has opened many doors professionally for me and during my professional duties I am frequently called upon to teach or lecture on technical subjects,” he said. Bartkus has lectured at nine colleges and been named Speaker of the Year three times by ASQ Southern California Biomedical Discussion Group. He is also a Certified Quality Engineer and Six Sigma Master Black Belt, a change agent who leads high-level Six Sigma projects. Six Sigma is a collection of tools and strategies used for process improvement within companies.
Greg Toner ’72 ’76 MA joined Bartkus and his family on the campus tour. Toner and Bartkus were fraternity brothers during their Montclair State days and have stayed in touch since.
Bartkus enjoyed his visit to campus, especially the new additions like the Red Hawk Diner. An opportunity to see the campus was part of a bucket list he’d put together for their trip to New Jersey. The visit exceeded his expectations, he said, and he’s proud to call Montclair State his alma mater. “The teaching by example experience I got at Montclair State has helped me tremendously and I will remain forever grateful to the school and excellent faculty that is there.”