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  • Supporting the Local Community

    A family legacy of community service and highlights of students involved in giving back.

     
    students supporting local community through food donations

    Community Involvement Deeply Rooted in Daniels Family

    Like the roots of a great oak tree, Maxine ’74M and Thomas Daniels ’75M HN ’01 have been a grounding force of strength and endurance in their community. They recently reflected on their 60 years of service during an interview for Black History Month.

    From founding the African American Heritage Association of Monmouth County in an effort to preserve and share their history, to facilitating the Program for Acceleration in Computer Science Careers (PAC) along with their son, Daryl ’82M, they have remained steadfast in helping others with grace, courage, and humor.

    The Daniels moved to Neptune in 1950 and graduated with master’s degrees from Monmouth College in the 1970s. Following in their parents’ footsteps, two of their sons also attained master’s degrees from Monmouth. Larrick ’93M ’03M is a technology coach in the Asbury Park High School, having been named “Teacher of the Year.” Daryl is an adjunct faculty member of both the University of Phoenix and Park University in Tennessee.

    “What we wanted to do was to give the truth about the accomplishments of blacks to this country,” Thomas said. “You can do whatever you want to do, but you have to dream it and you have to work it.”

    Thomas envisioned blazing trails early on when at the age of six he dreamed of flying airplanes. “Then, I decided I would build airplanes. Then I got tired of building somebody else’s model, so I built my own. Then as I went along, I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to fly airplanes and that I really wanted to design airplanes.”

    He never lost sight of his dreams. He continued to blaze his trail in the 1940s when he was recognized for his intelligence and talents in the segregated Kentucky high school he attended. He was selected to participate in the Army Specialized Training Reserve Program as part of the Enlisted Reserve, which meant a free ride to college.

    “I had been taught all of my life you’re inferior because you’re black. I learned quickly that wasn’t so.”

    After being discharged from the Army in 1946, he returned to the University of Iowa where he began his studies to attain a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. Thomas retired from the Army as a space technology executive after 38 years of service, 35 of which were spent at Fort Monmouth and its military base, Camp Evans. He was the deputy director as well as the director of the Combat Surveillance and Target Acquisition Laboratory. After leaving Fort Monmouth, Thomas worked at the Pentagon, providing principal advice, assistance, and guidance as special assistant to the director for Space and Strategic Systems.

    Maxine retired in 1986 after 30 years in education. After becoming her high school valedictorian in Texas, she catapulted her career into teaching music in Texas and Tennessee, and then in Neptune and Asbury Park. By 1970 she was the guidance counselor for the new Asbury Park Middle School, later becoming chair of the guidance department.

    After so many years of service, one might think that Maxine and Thomas are now ready to ease up on their commitment to volunteering, but anyone who knows them well knows otherwise.

    Every first and third Sunday, the Daniels help children become better citizens as part of a program they organized at their church, St. Stephen A.M.E. Zion Church in Asbury Park, called “Grandparents Forum.”

    The Daniels have also remained involved in the Program for Acceleration in Computer Science Careers program, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2014. The program, which provides more science and computer science opportunities to minorities, is sponsored by the Asbury Park-Neptune Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, which first partnered with Monmouth University in 1984.

    (continued below)

    Greg Hannah, BS Education, Class of 2004  
     

    Greg Hannah

    Degree Program:
    Education and History

    Class of 2004
     

     
    Assistant Director of Disability Services at Villanova University
     

    Growing up in the small seaside town of Manasquan, NJ, Hannah learned early on that anything was possible and that helping others was a way of life. So when he became a disability advisor at Villanova University in 2009, it seemed like a natural fit. Hannah has met some pretty interesting and inspiring people along the way and has most recently developed Mission Possible, a new action/adventure reality show that champions the disabled and believes courage, determination, and the human spirit conquer all. “Our goal is to show how an ordinary person faces adversity by having the character tell the story,” said Hannah. “It’s compelling to see what some of these people face and what obstacles they overcome.” Hannah has spent the past 15 years working in the fields of education, leadership development, athletic training, and film production. In 2009 he was featured in the award-winning, 25-minute documentary, “Coming off the DL”, which looked at the lives of two students, Frank Kineavy and Nick Gaynor, living with severe cerebral palsy and changing the way people see ability.

    The Big Event

    More than 700 student volunteers participate in town and beach clean-ups, organize donations, and prepare meals at more than 35 work sites around the Monmouth University campus for the Big Event each year.

     
     
    The Community Garden

    Monmouth University students, faculty, and community gardeners work together to harvest fresh produce for donation to local organizations including Lutheran Church of the Reformation Food Pantry, Soup D’Shore at St. Lukes Methodist Church, Long Branch Senior Center, and Ronald McDonald House, among others. More than 8,600 pounds of vegetables have been donated to community agencies since 2010.

     
     
    students serving food at shelter  

    That partnership with Monmouth University’s School of Science serves children in Monmouth and Ocean Counties from third to 12th grade. To help facilitate this program, the Daniels’ home parish, St. Stephen’s, provides two buses to transport 20 children from the Asbury Park area to the PAC program on the Monmouth campus.

    The PAC program consists of two, 10-week sessions on the Monmouth campus during the school year, starting in the fall and concluding in the spring. Working with a dedicated group of instructors, tutors, and parents, participating students gain experience with software applications, NXT robotics, mathematics, life skills, problem-solving techniques, and more.

    School of Science Dean and interim Vice Provost for Graduate Studies Michael Palladino said, “The enthusiasm that the Daniels had for creating the program and the support of current director Chester Anderson have sustained the PAC program. Countless students have benefited from an exposure to careers in computer science and mathematics as a result of the academic programs offered through PAC.”

    Thomas and Maxine Daniels have worked together and supported each other for more than 60 years, nurturing new growth in every facet of their lives. Their determination and dedication to their family and community is indelible, and the resulting impact is infinite. Whether it is creating a new program that fosters new opportunities for children or conquering an illness that many would have succumbed to, the Daniels face each new challenge together, never forgetting to share a smile and a laugh or a thank you.

    Students Fundraise for Sheriff’s Office K-9 Vests

    “Paws for a Cause” fundraiser, sponsored by the Alpha Phi Sigma Criminal Justice Honor Society, is held each year to raise money for K-9 vests for the Sheriff’s office.

     
    Student with Police Officer and K9 dog  
    Monmouth University Pen Pals Give Asbury Park Students a College Connection

    Monmouth University students mentor middle school students from the local community through the Pen Pal Program, organized by the Writing Services Office. The pen pals exchange letters throughout the year and then meet at a campus function at the end of the spring semester.

    Asbury Park Middle School Students Met with Pen Pals at Monmouth University

     
    Two students talking  
    Community Relations Taskforce

    Monmouth University is a lead member of the Community Relations Taskforce. The taskforce is made up of representatives from the local towns, neighbors, student leaders, and representatives of Monmouth University.

     
    Man loading goods inside open van  
    Mentor Program Focuses on Nonviolence

    Student volunteers from Women and Girls Education (WAGE), a non-profit organization founded by Political Science Professor Rekha Datta, mentored students from Asbury Park Middle School on non-violence.

    Learn More

     
    Student sitting at desk and laughing