Campus Briefs

The scene at West Long Branch.

A Day for Celebration

With pomp befitting the historic circumstances, Monmouth University formally installed Patrick F. Leahy, Ed.D., as its 10th president on Oct. 18, 2019. Academic and legislative leaders from across the region joined the University community in welcoming Leahy, who officially took office on Aug. 1.

President Leahy flanked by Board of Trustees Vice Chairs Jeana M. Piscatelli ’01, ’02M (left) and John A. Brockriede Jr. ’07, ’10M (right), who presented him the President’s Chain of Office.

During his installation address, Leahy invoked the words of President John F. Kennedy, who during a 1963 speech at Amherst College asked, “What good is a private college or university unless it is serving a great national purpose?”

“That question is more relevant, more challenging, more urgent today than ever before,” Leahy said.

“If we can educate students of competence, creativity, and compassion; if we can make our first-class private education as accessible as possible; if we can expand discovery to help solve our nation’s problems; and if we can continue to be forces for positive economic, cultural, and social development in our communities, then we private colleges and universities really can serve a great national purpose in the 21st century,” Leahy continued. “And if we here at Monmouth University can do all of this, then we will not only participate in this effort in the years to come, we will lead it.”

Polling Institute again Rated A+

For the third straight time, the Monmouth University Polling Institute has been rated one of the best in the nation by the news site FiveThirtyEight. The Monmouth Poll was one of just six to receive a grade of A-plus out of 430 polling operations reviewed by FiveThirtyEight. It also received the best “predictive” score among these pollsters.

Big Wins for Model UN

Monmouth’s Model UN team had major wins at competitions in London and Washington, D.C., last fall. At the Oxford University International Model UN, where teams from Oxford, Cambridge, and London School of Economics were among the universities competing, several Monmouth students won individual speaker awards: Kristen Gomez (Best Delegate), Nick Boice (High Commendation), Payton Collander (Honorable Mention), and Mackenzie Ricca (Honorable Mention). In D.C., Monmouth’s U.S. Delegation took home Outstanding Delegation honors while Monmouth’s Jordan Delegation received Honorable Mention distinction.

Two Firsts for the Debate Team

In October, Monmouth debaters Payton Collander and Anthony Cendagorta finished first, and Mia Ardovini-Booker and Billy Siefert finished second, at the University of Rochester’s Brad Smith Invitational Debate Tournament—the first time the Debate Hawks have captured the top two team awards in a competition. The following month, Ardovini-Booker and Siefert won first place at the Rutgers University Newark tournament, securing the Debate Hawks’ first-ever back- to-back championship wins.

Ensuring a Safe Place for Civil Discourse

Last semester, a two- day Conversation and Action event brought together experts from the legal, advocacy, law enforcement, and higher education fields for a provocative discussion about sexual assault and Title IX on college campuses.

Panelists left their talking points behind as they debated hypothetical scenarios based on real-life cases of campus sexual assault, discussing a wide range of topics including reporting procedures, investigations, support and advocacy, adjudication, and penalties.

Jack Ford addresses the audience during last semester’s Conversation and Action event.

The discussion, which was moderated by Peabody- and Emmy-award winning journalist Jack Ford, was based on the popular Fred Friendly Seminars: Participants were not meant to reach a consensus, but rather to engage in “high-level conversation … that allows for diverging perspectives,” said Lisa Dinella, director of Monmouth’s Program for Gender and Intersectionality Studies, which organized the event.

“Universities have been criticized for presenting only one side of issues and for shutting down conversations that are controversial,” said Dinella. “That Monmouth University hosted this event is progressive. We’re not shying away from this conversation, and that’s really important.”

The action part of the event featured a full day of workshops in which students learned concrete skills they can use to end sexual and gender-based campus violence.

Dinella said the goal now is to find sponsorship that will allow the Conversation and Action series to become an annual event, so that other relevant topics can be explored. While elevating the public discourse on meaningful issues, the event teaches students “how to have a conversation about controversial topics in a way that allows them to see all sides of the issue, and how to use that information to make an impact in their community,” she said.

School of Nursing Ranked among the Best

The Marjorie K. Unterberg School of Nursing and Health Studies was ranked as the No. 3 best nursing school in New Jersey, and among the Top 100 best private nursing schools nation- wide, in the annual 2019 Nursing Schools Almanac report.

DEP Lauds Monmouth as a Recycling Leader

Last fall, New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection recognized the University as an institutional leader for its broad-based program that resulted in recycling 46% of the waste generated on campus in 2018. Monmouth’s program includes initiatives to recycle glass, plastic, metal, aluminum, used light bulbs, batteries, toner cartridges, and more. The installation of hydration stations to encourage use of reusable containers and the donation of old electronic equipment, clothes, and books to charities were also cited as contributing factors to the University’s successful program.