Denise Rover ’84 always dreamed of following in her mother’s footsteps and becoming an educator. Her mother, Dolores Rover ’51, graduated from Montclair State Teacher’s College and went on to become an elementary school teacher in the Kearny public schools.
“She always spoke highly of her college experience,” recalls Denise. “Montclair State was the premier teaching college and I thought it would be ideal to attend her alma mater. It was the only college to which I applied and I was honored to be accepted.”
Although she was majoring in Spanish, Denise was enticed by broadcasting, a budding program based in the DuMont Television Center that fell under the Speech and Theatre Department. She decided to pursue it instead of Spanish and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Speech and Theatre, with a concentration in Broadcasting.
“That was one of the best decisions that I made in my life. Those of us focused on broadcasting would spend all of our free time at the DuMont Television Center. We would attend our classes, but also had to accrue many hours on production projects,” she recalls. “There were only 30 or 35 of us in the class, but each of us had a passion and dedication to learn and succeed in our endeavors.”
She credits professors Christopher “Doc” Stasheff and Howard J. Travis with being the catalyst for her success, as well the success of many of her former classmates, many of whom she still sees in professional circles. “Both men were dynamic mentors and pushed us to be the best we could be,” says Denise.
Since graduating from Montclair State, Denise has worn many hats in the media industry. In 1984, with a freshly printed diploma in hand, she began her career as a golf tournament runner for ABC Sports. Soon after, she landed with WNBC where she held positions in news, sales and programming. A 33-year veteran of NBCUniversal, Denise is currently an account manager at WNJU-TV/Telemundo 47.
It’s that type of broad experience that has led organizations throughout the industry to call upon Denise for her expertise and leadership. She is currently the president of the New York Chapter of The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She was elected by the New York Chapter members to represent sales and marketing on the Board of Governors for several terms, and has also served terms as secretary and treasurer of the organization. She was elected to two terms as a member of the Board of Trustees at the national level where she chaired the Moving Forward: Daytime Emmy ® Awards Committee. Denise has also been co-chair of the New York Emmy ® Awards Committee.
Philanthropy is paramount in Denise’s life. Especially close to her heart is the fund for breast cancer research that she established at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center as a tribute to her parents.
Since 2012, Denise has been a member of the Montclair State University President’s Club and long before that, supported the University through annual giving. “I spent four years of my life attending classes at Montclair State,” she says. “It’s the place where I started to grow emotionally and set the foundation for my professional career.”
Denise believes that a pillar of the power of giving is apparent in the new educational tools being offered to Montclair State students that put them at the forefront of preparedness for careers in their field. The new state-of-the-art School of Communication and Media building is just one example of this, she says.
“I believe in sharing the success we have in life and giving back, and I encourage other alumni to do the same in whatever capacity they are able. My motto is to pay it forward.”