Skip to main content


Dr. Michael Waters

Since he was a teenager, Dr. Michael Waters has been writing poetry. Now an English professor at Monmouth University, his beloved craft is back in the spotlight. Waters is one of 173 artists, scientists, and scholars out of 3,000 applicants to be selected for a 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship. The distinction has been awarded for more than 90 years and recognizes individuals from the U.S. and Canada.

As part of the fellowship, which is set to begin in January 2018, Waters vows to use the $50,000 award to travel and craft poems that will “connect the old world in Eastern Europe to the new world.”

Waters is no stranger to recognition for his work. As a senior in college studying abroad in England, he won a national poetry competition and was invited to London to share his work with the Poetry Society. Waters became a published author at the age of 22, and has most recently released his poetry book, “Celestial Joyride,” in 2016.

Waters is expected to publish his next book, “Dean of Discipline,” in 2018.

Joe Rapolla


Joe Rapolla is the Chair of the Music & Theater Arts Department at Monmouth University and Director of the Music Industry Program (MBA ‘90, Monmouth). Since taking over as department chair in July of 2013, Rapolla has completely redesigned the program, helming the launch of Blue Hawk Records, a student-run record label.

In addition, Rapolla is responsible for forming innovative partnerships with organizations such as Asbury Park-based Lakehouse Recording Studios, as well as the GRAMMY Museum. Monmouth University is one of only nine universities nationwide with access to GRAMMY Museum content for educational purposes, curriculum resources, research programs, professional development seminars, collaborative marketing and promotions, project-based learning and unique student internship opportunities. These partnerships further the goal of providing students with real world experiences and hands-on projects to complement Monmouth’s comprehensive academic offerings.

Rapolla is also a marketing and strategy consultant for music, media, entertainment and consumer brands. He built and headed integrated consumer marketing departments at both Universal Music and Warner Music Group, where he successfully introduced and created direct-to-consumer marketing/CRM strategies, campaigns and platforms. Additionally, Rapolla directed all digital marketing for a video game start-up partnered with Def Jam Enterprises.

Rapolla’s work has won honors by AdAge for innovative campaign design and results, and has also been recognized by the Direct Marketing Association, which endowed him with two top ECHO Awards. Case studies of his work are highlighted in The Customer Loyalty Solution written by direct marketing pioneer, Arthur Hughes.

As a performing songwriter and producer, Rapolla has released three studio CD’s and produced dozens more, including a film soundtrack. Rapolla collaborates with top writers and artists in NYC and Nashville, and continues to perform locally and abroad.

Monmouth Proud

Dr. David M. Tripold is an associate professor of music in the Music and Theatre Arts Department at Monmouth University. He received his doctorate in liturgical studies from Drew University and a Master of Music Degree in Sacred Music from Westminster Choir College of Rider University.


Tripold has taught at Monmouth University since 1997. His research focuses on the repertoire and cultural climate of 19th-century American church music. Since coming to Monmouth University, he has taught courses in music theory, music history, music appreciation, choral conducting, group voice, music education methods, ear training, and choir. Likewise, he has conducted or trained soloists and choirs for well over 100 concerts and musical theatre productions during his tenure at Monmouth.


His most recent publication is Sing to the Lord a New Song: Choirs in the Worship and Culture of the Dutch Reformed Church in America, 1785-1860, which was published in 2012 by Eerdmans Publishing in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Tripold is currently spearheading a project on worship and music of the Reformed Church in America 1865-1929. He is specifically fond of the independent studies that focus on American church music and culture.  


“I am especially proud of The Global Understanding initiative, a vital and wide-reaching entity established at Monmouth University to connect people of different ethnic backgrounds, to breach invisible walls, and to counteract insular and unfounded points of view between people of differing ethnicities,” says Tripold. “Monmouth’s work in this regard has been groundbreaking and essential to a mission of bringing about social change through cooperation.”

One of his favorite Monmouth memories was the Music and Theatre Department’s trip to England to visit London, Oxford, Bath, and Stratford-upon-Avon.

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px ‘Times New Roman’} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px ‘Times New Roman’; min-height: 15.0px} p.p3 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 11.0px Helvetica; min-height: 13.0px}