A Bright Future Ahead for Montclair State as We Embark on Our Second Century

Photo: Mike Peters

Centennial Gala honorees (from the left), Francis Cuss, Mitchell E. Hersh, Douglas L. Kennedy and Nader Tavakoli, Esq. ’80.

“There are many ways to support Montclair State,” says Thomas J. Haynes, Vice President for University Advancement. Some recent noteworthy contributions for scholarships, music and the humanities will benefit both today’s and tomorrow’s students.

Montclair State University’s Centennial Gala: 100 Scholarships for 100 Students, a glittering black-tie dinner-dance celebrating the University’s centennial, was held on May 3 in the new Student Recreation Center. Proceeds from the Gala established the Centennial Scholarship Fund, which creates 100 scholarships for 100 students in the University’s five colleges and schools. Longtime Board of Trustees member Rose Cali ’80 served as chair of the Gala Committee.

“I would like to give a special thanks to the hard-working members of our advisory boards of our schools and colleges,” says Haynes. “They were instrumental in ensuring the Gala’s success.”

The Centennial Honorees were recognized for their contributions of time, talent and resources. They were Francis Cuss, senior vice president, Discovery and Exploratory Clinical Research, accepting for Bristol-Myers Squibb; Mitchell E. Hersh, president & CEO, Mack-Cali Realty Corporation; Douglas L. Kennedy, president of the New Jersey Division of Capital One Bank; and Nader Tavakoli, Esq. ’80, senior managing director, EagleRock Capital Management, LLC.

In other news, a distinguished alumna, Pamela W. Portin ’77, has established the Pamela Portin Scholarship for outstanding political science students—the first political science scholarship at the University. “I’m excited about getting to help the next generation of our country’s public policy leaders,” she says.

Portin came to campus in April to attend the Department of Political Science and Law awards ceremony and meet her first Portin Scholarship student, Ali Abedin ’09, a joint jurisprudence and political science major.

“When alumni such as Ms. Portin are generous enough to give back to the school and the students and, in her case, travel across the country to speak to students about her own personal experiences in life, it reinvigorates the students and reminds us of our potential,” says Abedin. “People such as Ms. Portin offer students hope for the future and are mentors of great significance.”

After graduation in 2009, Abedin plans to go to law school and hopes to practice either environmental or corporate law.

Portin owns Pamela Portin Consulting, LLC. Previously, she served as Director of Children’s Safety for Microsoft; and she is currently co-chair of Microsoft’s Children’s CyberSafety Council. During her student days, Portin, a political science major, was an R.A. at Bohn Hall, which she visited during her trip to the campus.

An anonymous benefactor has made the lead gift to the John J. Cali School of Music’s Commissioning Project. This initiative will create new musical compositions for one of Montclair’s outstanding student ensembles and support the development of New Jersey’s talented young musicians. For more information on the Cali School’s Commissioning Project, contact Keith Wiggs at 973-655-3443 or e-mail wiggsk@mail.montclair.edu.

The Campaign for the Second Century has already surpassed its $50 million goal to support Montclair State. “Our advisory board members in particular have served as strong advocates for the University this year,” says Haynes. “Everyone has pulled together and been very supportive of our programs and events.”

“We have a bright future ahead for our second century,” Haynes adds.