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Alumni News

Montclair State in Your Neighborhood

On the Road Again

Posted in: Alumni News and Events

With the world reopening and alumni living across the country, Montclair State University was on the road again, with special gatherings in Arizona, California and Florida this year.

In February, alumni and friends gathered at El Chorro in Paradise Valley, AZ, enjoying an evening of spectacular views, rekindled connections and the opportunity to meet President Jonathan Koppell. There are close to 1,000 alumni living in Arizona.

For Dr. Judith Melillo ’67, a mathematics major, her Montclair State University degree led to a career teaching math in New Jersey, California and then Ohio and eventually resulted in her earning a PhD in curriculum and instruction of math education from Kent State University, where she also served as an associate professor. “When I retired to Scottsdale, it was great to realize that my connection to Montclair can last a lifetime…I was excited to be able to attend the alumni gathering and hear about the University’s amazing growth,” says Melillo.

In March, Wendy Gillespie ’73 hosted a reception in her home in San Diego, CA, with fellow alumni and friends living in the area. Gillespie is an entrepreneur and Broadway producer of “Come From Away,” among others, and has remained engaged, ever grateful for her Montclair education.

“With 2,000 alumni and friends living in California, our Red Hawk community is as strong as ever. It was wonderful to see proud alumni and friends from Southern California gathered in support of the University and its new President,” says Gillespie.

Also held in March was a gathering in Florida, where more than 6,000 alumni now call home. Stanley Fils ’09, ’16 MBA and his fiancé Jerlissa Rivas ’10 moved to Florida during the pandemic and were thrilled to know there are so many fellow Red Hawks in the area.

“We were excited for an alumni gathering to make the South Florida Red Hawk community feel right at home,” says Fils. “I had a great time discussing crypto, financial literacy, and the future of Montclair State University with President Koppell and Montclair friends.”

Hosting the Delray Beach, FL, reception were Robert Lieberman and his wife Barbara. Lieberman, who serves on the Montclair State University Foundation board, is an enthusiastic advocate for the University, regularly supporting scholarships and creating opportunities for students as interns in his business.

“I am not an alumnus, but I have gotten so much from my relationship with the University,” says Lieberman. “I am happy to participate as a volunteer on the Foundation Board and give back to Montclair to support the excellence and opportunities it provides.”

“We are grateful for the generosity of our hosts to enable us to give alumni living across the country an opportunity to connect,” says Jeanne Marano, assistant vice president for Annual Giving and Alumni Engagement. “As part of our series of regional events and activities, we reach beyond campus to host alumni networking opportunities, so even those alumni who don’t live in New Jersey can network with fellow alumni and friends in their neighborhood and reconnect with the University.”

Alumni events take place throughout the year. To tap into your alumni network and benefits, please visit or contact the Office of Annual Giving and Alumni Engagement at 973-655-4141 or

To view photo galleries from the event, please click on the links below: