"News is the first rough draft of history."

The Voice of the College at Florham

"News is the first rough draft of history." - The Voice of the College at Florham

J. Michael Adams named IAUP president


This June, Fairleigh Dickinson University president J. Michael Adams will add another leadership role to his already expansive resume.

After serving as president-elect for the past three years, Adams will serve as president of the International Association of University Presidents until 2014.

The IAUP was created in 1964 by FDU founder Peter Sammartino, who called 250 rectors, vice chancellors and university presidents from around the world to the newly-purchased campus in Wroxton, England. It was Sammartino’s vision to use the power of presidency to better the world, Adams said.

More than four decades later, Adams sees his IAUP presidency as a chance to continue and build upon that vision.

“This is a unique time in history,” said Adams. “The world has changed in the last decade, and to many people it’s a fearful future. The world seeks trusted leadership, and IAUP can provide that. Now we have the opportunity to answer the question, ‘where are we going?’”
In his years as president-elect, Adams began progress on a work agenda, under the theme “building bridges through higher education.”

Some of the changes Adams hopes to orchestrate during his term are the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, Academic Chairs for Africa, and the UN/IAUP Universities for Africa and Countries in Special Need. Adams noted that many of the projects would involve pairing universities in the developed world with universities in the developing world.

“We have to understand each other,” Adams said. “We’re creating our agenda under three sub-themes: human development, peace and sustainable economic development.”

It is clear in Adams’ blueprints for these “bridges” that the institution of higher education is the strong support system.

“We’ve allied ourselves with the Scholar Rescue Fund, the group that brought Einstein out of Nazi Germany. Terrorists around the world have figured this out – if you want to destroy a culture, close the universities and shoot the professors. We’ve brought 260 professors out of areas like Ecuador, Iraq and Pakistan who were under death threat for teaching logic and rational ideas,” Adams said.

The IAUP is strongly reminiscent of the Fairleigh Dickinson University mantra of global education.

“The global vision of FDU is exactly aligned with what IAUP is doing,” said Adams. “This is transformational – it’s going to the change the world.”

IAUP, together with the United Nations, created the “Day of Peace,” which is celebrated annually on Sept. 21.

In addition to this, IAUP has recently helped to create “Academic Impact,” which, according to its website, “is a global initiative that aligns institutions of higher education with the United Nations in actively supporting ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, literacy, sustainability and conflict resolution.”

Academic Impact was announced on the College at Florham campus by the Secretary General, who received an honorary doctorate degree from the university.

Adams believes that involvement in the IAUP is the reason that FDU works so closely with the United Nations.

“People often ask me if I’m really on a first name basis with the Secretary General, and I respond that that’s true: he calls me Michael, and I call him sir,” said Adams. “I do have a personal relationship with him though. He views me [when we meet] as the FDU president, but IAUP allows me to get in the door.”

Maintaining a first-name-basis with the Secretary General is not the only thing that involvement in the IAUP has allowed Adams to do. Through the IAUP, Adams has met with key figures at worldwide companies such as Microsoft and Pearson Publishing.  The organization has proven to be a gateway for Adams to gain access to people, companies and organizations that he would not have been able to connect with otherwise.

While it is doubtful that the everyday lives of FDU students will be affected by Adams’ newest title, the effects of his presidency will likely have a profound impact on their futures.

“Building these professional relationships with worldwide companies means that our students will have more access, and more ambassadors will come here as a result of this organization,” Adams said.

One of founder Peter Sammartino’s great accomplishments was not only mentoring a soon-to-be president at Bangkok University, but also accepting and covering tuition for four Thai professors at a time as they studied for graduate degrees, Adams said. In addition, he issued FDU undergraduate degrees to professors abroad so that they would be able to pursue their graduate work. What began as a one-time deal turned into a yearly commitment, and as a result, there is an entire university in Thailand where professors hold degrees from Fairleigh Dickinson.

“Because of this initiative, within the next five years, your Fairleigh Dickinson University degree will be more valuable worldwide,” said Adams.

From the editor’s desk: Good night, good luck


It’s here – my final issue of The Pillar as editor-in-chief. I’m experiencing a menagerie of emotions – relief, pride and of course, a completely unanticipated sense of loss.

While I’m excited to shed some of the stress this semester has brought, it’s hard to let go of something that’s defined you for a good eight months. The Pillar has opened me up to some incredible opportunities, from lunch with New York Times reporter Scott Shane to a spot on the Alternative Winter Break trip to Costa Rica last January.

But this column isn’t about me.

This column is about someone very important – without her, this newspaper would not be in your hands right now (plus, yours truly would be curled up in the fetal position on the floor of the newspaper office.)

This column is about Sarah Latson.

Sarah is listed on page two as our faculty adviser, but that’s hardly recognition enough for her hard work within our organization. The woman needs a plaque. Or a small island named after her. Really, the title of “adviser” doesn’t nearly do her justice. Of course, I’m not sure what exactly the proper title should be, but “adviser” doesn’t really begin to cover it.

Back in September, I found myself feeling incredibly frustrated with my very first night of layout. Left to my own devices without much help from past editors, nothing was coming out right.

I’m doomed, I kept telling myself. Barely an issue into the school year, and I’m already ruining it. It was looking to be a long, long semester.

Sarah would roll her eyes as she sat in the chair next to me during my mini-freakout.
“You’ll do just fine. Every editor says that when they first start. It’ll get done.”

And you know what? It did. Ten times in a single semester, in addition to issues published during our days as The Metro.

While the editors and writers are entirely hands-on in the production of the newspaper, there is something to be said for a great adviser.

Monday nights have long been the newspaper’s “layout night,” where, after a long weekend of editing, importing and pasting, we look over the finished product to ensure that no mistakes or typos mar our hard work. Sarah stays beside us the whole way, and even though sometimes problems force us to stay at the office until nearly midnight, she is always there to help us solve them. Her passion for the newspaper is contagious, and we take even more pride in our hard work knowing that she has our back and supports us every step of the way. I consider myself incredibly lucky to work with and learn from her, knowing that not all campus clubs receive such help. Having heard horror stories over the past four years about less-than-enthusiastic faculty advisers, I find myself wishing I could bless every College at Florham club with their very own Sarah.

A veteran of the newspaper business, Sarah has prepared me (well, all of us really) for “real world” newsrooms, and made us better journalists and editors. (Commas go inside the quotes, people.)

But the true sign of a great adviser is how well he or she connects with the members of the club, and it is here that Sarah truly shines.

While my senior year has been one of great opportunities and experiences, I have also had my share of struggles. Sarah has helped me through a great deal of non-Pillar-related issues, including, but not limited to, a rough breakup, frustration regarding the future, and the surprisingly tough decision of whether or not to accept my half-year internship across the world, or return to FDU in September to begin my graduate work.

Maybe the proper title has more to do with a great friend than anything else.

As I prepare to hand the keys over to my successors, I know that the combination of their talent and enthusiasm will take The Pillar to new heights.

I would like to thank all of The Pillar’s readers for their support throughout the semester. Thank you for your contributions, for your emails, for stopping me around campus to tell me how great the latest issue looks. It means more to me than I can really express, and I will truly miss being a part of this wonderful club and community.

Good night, and good luck.

Club raises awareness and funds for animal issues


Fairleigh Dickinson students are no strangers to community service. From honor societies to Greek organizations, philanthropy is an important aspect of the college experience.

One community service club, however, is putting a slight twist  on traditional college volunteer projects by speaking out for those who cannot speak for themselves.

The Animal Rights Club unites students under a common love of animals, and works to promote awareness about animal rights and issues through education and community service projects.

Members will learn about animal abuse and abandonment statistics and how they can change them, and will have the opportunity to volunteer at local animal shelters.

FDU sophomore and Animal Rights Club President Laura Moody was inspired to organize the club after attending an adoption day through a club chapter at a friend’s school.

“Just like most people, I’ve always loved animals,” Moody said. “I’ve also always craved to partake in community service, but never got the push I needed.”

So far, students have shown interest in the new organization.

With over 30 FDU students showing up at the club’s last meeting, the Animal Rights Club has truly showcased the power of puppies.

“I know there won’t be over 30 active members, but for me it’s not about how many members there are,” said Moody. “I want people who are truly passionate and dedicated.”

Moody believes that this “community” aspect of the club will help make volunteer efforts successful.

“People don’t want to do community service alone. If they are able to find a friend to go with them they are more likely to enjoy it and to go more often,” Moody said. “I’m hoping once my members start actively volunteering at animal shelters they will have the desire to take the initiative to volunteer elsewhere too.”

Though the Animal Rights Club was only created this semester, the organization has hit the ground running, having already held successful fundraising events.

The club’s recent chocolate chip cookie bake sale raised a little over $200, prompting Moody and the other club members to schedule another cookie sale for late March.

The money raised by the Animal Rights Club will be donated to the nearby Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter or to the organization Pennies for Puppies.

Pennies for Puppies is organized by The Seeing Eye in Morristown, an organization dedicated to empowering people who are blind by raising and training seeing-eye dogs.

Tonight at 5:30 p.m., a representative from Pennies for Puppies, along with a furry four-legged friend, will be coming to FDU to talk about the organization and encourage students to participate.

As finals approach, the Animal Rights Club is planning a “de-stress event,” where puppies from local shelters will be brought to the university so that both the students and the animals can benefit from much-needed playtime.

In addition to these events, Moody noted that the club will be doing volunteer work with two local animal shelters throughout the semester. Those shelters are St. Hubert’s in Madison and Mt. Pleasant on Route 10.

From the editor’s desk: This vegan life


Last September, after copious amounts of reading and research, I decided to go vegan – no meat, no dairy, no eggs.

I am not here to talk you out of eating meat, nor do I intend to criticize dietary choices that differ from mine. I only pose a simple question: is it right to take another life under the faulty reasoning that it tastes good?

We can scrap the argument that meat is necessary for human survival. Let’s face it: we are pretty ill-equipped hunters, armed with no claws, slow-moving bodies, and a pretty laughable set of tiny canine teeth. Countless people around the world lead perfectly healthy lives following plant-based diets – and not just “hippies” in America.

So how can we justify a six-piece McNugget meal? We don’t. We just prefer not to think about it, is all.

My father is one of the biggest animal lovers I know. I mean, I’ve only seen the man cry twice in my entire existence – once when his mother died, and once when our 10-year-old German Shepherd was put to sleep. We joke that if the house was on fire, he would save the cat before any of the rest of us.

“You have legs!” he retorts.

Yet, despite his (and others’) intense love for animals, his favorite weekend meal is a cheeseburger fresh from the grill.

Probably because he prefers not to think about it. The grocery store even helps us out – it’s not “cow,” it’s “beef,” and that Styrofoam tray wrapped in plastic bears little resemblance to the dewey-eyed bovine that it once was.

Along with blissful ignorance, I believe the stigma attached to vegan food can be a turn-off for many meat eaters. Usually, the mere mention of “vegan cooking” is enough to send even the toughest man running. The main culprit: tofu.

Sure, tofu is gross if you eat it out of the package when it’s cold and floppy. Would you eat chicken or bacon right out of the package? Like anything, tofu needs to be marinated and cooked to a delicious golden brown. Add a little olive oil and some bread crumbs into the mix, bake at 350, and you’ve got yourself some fine tofu nuggets, my friend.

Some people simply don’t know about the horrors that make up the meat, dairy and egg industries. Uneducated about the truths behind these products, consumers allow labels like “organic” and “free-range” fool them into thinking what they’re buying is humane.

The label “free-range” gives shoppers mental images of happy clucking chickens strutting around fields and doing happy chicken things. In reality, a hatchery that consists of a long, crowded shed with a small opening at the end can label their eggs as being from “free-range” birds. Aside from that, there is the simple fact that all male chicks are slaughtered directly after birth, because they are incapable of producing eggs and are therefore labeled “useless.” Kind of takes the “easy” out of eggs over easy, doesn’t it?

I don’t write this column with the intention it will cause you to immediately shun the hot dogs in the caf, or that you’ll switch out your coffee creamer to coconut milk (though it is quite delicious). If you put this paper down and wrap your leftover bacon cheeseburger in it, then I respect that as your adult choice.

What I do urge, however, is educating ourselves about our food – where it comes from, what process it goes through from farm to table, what chemicals or antibiotics it’s being sprayed with or fed.

We probably can’t stop the whole world, or the whole country, from eating meat. With that said, there are attainable changes that we as human beings can implement if we find that we absolutely cannot live without animal products in our lives. If other living things, with the ability to suffer, must die for our appetite, then they should at least have ample space to move and we should have a better appreciation for life.

Educate yourself and initiate change. You owe it to your burger.

When disaster strikes, FDU students step up


At 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 9, most FDU students were still in bed, enjoying a late start or a quiet day off from classes. In Union, N.J., however, the Conforti family’s lives were changed when a four-alarm fire broke out in the basement of their two-family home.
Firefighters were finally able to get the blaze under control around 1:30 p.m.

Luckily, no one was injured, but in the span of a few hours, the fire had destroyed the Confortis’ home and all of their possessions.

Michael, Lupe and their two children, Nestor, 12, and Rita Maria, 6, were left with nothing but the clothes they were wearing on the morning of the disaster.

For FDU sophomore Kristen Scioscia, the disaster was more than just a stranger’s sad story – the Confortis are her family.

“Right now, they are staying with family members until they find housing,” Scioscia said. “They’ve had some help through fundraisers through their schools and the community, but really right now they have nothing.”

Scioscia decided to rally the College at Florham’s clubs and organizations to help raise money for the family.

Scioscia, who is also the president of the Proud Italian Student Association (PISA), decided on a carnival-like fair in the Student Center, where students could purchase snacks, play games and donate to the cause.

At 8 p.m. on Feb. 23, three weeks after the fire, several FDU organizations set up and decorated tables.

The Student Volunteer Association’s (SVA) table featured three bowls where students could place raffle tickets to win gift cards for places like Best Buy and Dunkin Donuts. The raffle tickets were handed out as prizes for students who shot at targets with suction-cup darts.

SVA President Danielle Dombro felt that it was important to come out and support the cause.

“PISA approached SVA about setting up a table at the fundraiser,” said Dombro. “Kristen is one of my good friends, so I was happy to help.”

In addition to SVA, tables were manned by PISA, the Asian Culture Club, and the brothers of Zeta Beta Tau.

Theta Phi Alpha and Sigma Chi did not attend the fundraiser, but both showed their support by donating clothing.

For three hours, students came to the Student Center mall  to purchase bags of chips and candies, play games and listen to music, all the while knowing that all proceeds would go directly to the Conforti family.

Through the course of the evening, Scioscia and the participating organizations raised $209.80.

Josephine Spina, an adjunct faculty member in Becton College, donated enough to bring the total to an even $250.

From the editor’s desk: Yes Man

What’s that saying on all those motivational posters and at the end of nearly every pep talk? In the end, you won’t remember every little fact that you learned in class, or the paper you wrote for Core 3 – college is, really, mostly about your life outside of the classroom.

As of today, I have 75 days left as an undergraduate at Fairleigh Dickinson University. 75 days left in a dormitory. 75 days left as a resident assistant. 1,800 hours left living 20 feet away from my  best friends. A little over two months – it’s crazy, when you think about it.
I woke up in a panic one morning a few weeks ago because I was convinced that in nearly four years of school, I hadn’t really done anything. I mean sure, I’ve “done” things, but I felt like I hadn’t really done anything.

What if, when I’m an old lady, the only really solid memories I have of college are the inside of a classroom and the giant pile of laundry in my apartment?

It brought me back to a movie I had watched over the summer with my parents, “Yes Man.” The basic premise of the movie is that after attending a seminar, the main character, played by Jim Carrey, pledges to say “yes” to everything in his life – making plans, letting people borrow money from him, absolutely everything. It winds up leading him to a girl, who, of course, he inevitably falls in love with.

I enjoyed the movie, but didn’t really think about it much until recently, probably after realizing how much it connected to my own life.

How many nights have you stayed in because you “were tired?” How many trips did you take a rain check on because you were “writing a paper?” If you’re anything like me, then probably more than you care to admit.

In my years as an underclassman, I was under the very typical assumption that, naturally, I was going to be in college forever. Three and a half years til graduation? That’ll never come.

Even last semester, it didn’t really hit me that this was my chance, so I could sort of justify spending an evening in. “Oh man, I have so much work to do tonight.”

No, I don’t, I just want to sit around and look up recipes for vegan lasagna on StumbleUpon.

With 108,000 minutes until I walk at graduation with my friends, it’s time to me to become a Yes Man.

(Well, woman, but it doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as nicely.)

At first it was something that was a little intimidating to me. I mean, I already have a pretty busy schedule – who doesn’t? – shouldn’t I be using my free nights to relax?

The answer is no. No, I should not. There is plenty of time to sit around when I’m working a 9 to 5, or on maternity leave, or hanging out playing bingo when I’m an old woman. It’s time for me to realize that I will never be 21 years old again.

While I don’t have money or material possessions to lend out like Jim Carrey’s character did in the movie, the concept extends to saying “yes” to opportunities that may never come up again and making incredible memories.

You’re not going to care if your GPA goes from a 3.2 to a 3.3, but you holed yourself away in your room and never got to experience those “greatest four years of your life” that everyone talks about.

Now, I’m not saying to be completely irresponsible about your studies – an education is why we’re here, after all, and grades are important – but we shouldn’t use it as an excuse to be a hermit.

We shouldn’t pass up opportunities to go out because we’re “short on cash.” Everyone is short on cash, but the good thing about money is that there are lots of ways to make it back.

I implore you, reader, to make yourself a Yes Man. Maybe not all the time – but baby steps is what it’s all about.

Go out this weekend.

Make plans for Spring Break.

Get out there and make some memories.

Just don’t ask me to borrow any money.

For FDU professor, Floyd tribute is more than just a cover show


On March 4, the band The Professors will perform a collection of Pink Floyd songs in the Bottle Hill Room. For Professor of Communication Studies and lead guitarist Gary Radford, however, the show will be less of a cover performance and more of a musical biography.

Pink Floyd has been an important musical influence in Radford’s life since he first purchased the band’s “Animals” album as a teenager in 1977. The band introduced Radford to the idea of the “concept album.”

“Up until that point, all of the music I listened to was Top 40 singles on the radio,” said Radford. “The idea that songs could be connected by bigger themes was a revelation.”

Radford said that Pink Floyd’s lyrics, which addressed deeper issues like mental illness and the futility of time, combined with sound effects of farm animals and banging clocks, soon replaced the “mainstream” music in his life.

“It is not that Floyd music is intrinsically good,” said Radford. “This is not what drew me to it. Rather, Pink Floyd was able to connect with my life in different ways. It helped me establish relationships with my friends, it was ‘cool,’ it seemed to speak to feelings and events in my life at the time.”

For Radford, Pink Floyd’s final London performance of “The Wall” in 1980 was the most influential live music experience of his life.

“‘The Wall’ is perhaps the ultimate concept album,” said Radford. “‘The Wall’ show is perhaps the ultimate concept performance. There has been nothing like it since, and I always feel proud when I tell my students I saw the original Wall concert.”

Reflecting the attitude and message of Pink Floyd’s music, The Professors’ FDU performance will have a concept album feel to it.

While the group plans to play classics such as “The Wall,” “Wish You Were Here” and “Dark Side of the Moon,” they will also perform the earlier hits that originally attracted a young Radford so that students and faculty in attendance will be able to get the complete Floyd experience.

“We have arranged the songs thematically,” Radford said. “We hope to create a sense of narrative that so marks a Pink Floyd show of old.”

Radford performs in The Professors with his daughter, Meg, his wife, Marie, Peter VanEmburg, Nick Romanenko and Jennifer Zahorbenski.

The performance, “From the Piper at the Gates of Dawn to The Final Cut: The Music of Pink Floyd,” will begin at 8 p.m. There will be no charge for admission, and refreshments will be available.

Visit The Professors on the web at www.theprofessors.net.

From the editor’s desk: Half-price candy


In the weeks following a somewhat messy breakup, I did what any self-respecting college senior would do: I cleaned my apartment from top to bottom, bought a goldfish and applied to teach English in China for the better part of the summer.

It’s funny how it’s often the most tumultuous events in our lives that make us realize who we really are and what things are genuinely important to us. What’s even more funny is looking back on everything and finding that what we were holding on to was, in reality, holding us back.

I sit at one of the round tables in the back of a restaurant in Westfield with some family members I haven’t seen in awhile. I slide an orange slice around the rim of a red sangria while my cousins discuss what I’m missing.

“Do you know what I think you need?” Christine asks me, leaning her elbow on the tabletop. I shake my head – the older I get, the less I seem to know about myself. She spears a cherry on the little plastic sword in her drink and holds it up, examining it as she talks. “You need somebody like you, who’s fun and enthusiastic. You need somebody who can pick up on a moment’s notice and go places and see the world. You’re 21. You don’t need anybody’s baggage to hold you back.”

I open my mouth to say something, but oddly, I begin to find myself agreeing with her. I take a long sip of my drink instead.

What’s so bad about flying solo for awhile, anyway? As I sit and let the conversation flow around me, I realize that this might be the first time in my life where I can finally start to focus on me.

As college seniors, we talk a lot about “finding ourselves,” like we’re going to have some sort of epiphany while backpacking through Europe. Maybe “finding ourselves” is just an excuse to take advantage of the fact that this may be the last time in our lives where we have no real responsibilities. At this point in my life, I have no job, no family to support, no mortgage. Even if I come back with no real handle on who I am, at least I will have had a great experience, and maybe learned a few things about myself.

In just a few short weeks after receiving my new-found freedom, I’ve reconnected with old friends, made plans with family who live in the area, and have begun planning what’s looking like one hell of a summer. Maybe the key is to have something to look forward to.
While I’m certainly sad that a relationship that I put a lot of time, effort and care into didn’t work out, in a way it’s also exciting and freeing (once the initial mourning period ends, anyway).

I have my entire life ahead of me and absolutely nothing is set in stone. If I want to work on a cruise ship in the Caribbean for a year, I can. If I want to move to Germany, I can. If I want to climb into my mini-van one day and take off on a three-week road trip across the U.S., I can. Will I? Probably not. But it’s pretty exhilarating to know that the opportunity is there if I want it.

I’ve accepted that there will be ups and downs in this journey, but really, what part of life doesn’t have them?

For every morning that I stand under the shower staring at the wall and wondering where it all went wrong, there will be a night out with my friends or a great spontaneous trip that I wouldn’t have taken otherwise. When I’m feeling lonely, I have a pretty goofy-looking goldfish in my apartment to give all my love and affection to.

“You’ll never tell me you need space, will you Lennie Small?”

Lennie looks at me with his big telescope eyes and gobbles up some goldfish crisps. That’ll do, fish. That’ll do.

As I write this, it’s a little after 11 a.m. on Valentine’s Day.

Part of me is sad that I’ll be alone this holiday. Part of me still hurts a little bit when I think about him. It’s a little difficult to ignore the clusters of heart-shaped balloons creeping their way over the divider from the Florham Programming Committee’s office.

But the day isn’t all bad. Noon begins the registration for summer trips to Israel, and it’s been fun trying to coordinate all my different trips together.

And if all else fails, I just have to make it to tomorrow, because all the chocolate in the retail world will be half-price.

Medco School of Pharmacy unveiled

Founding Dean of the Medco School of Pharmacy Ruth Nemire addresses guests in Lenfell Hall.


“Today is special and historic,” began Fairleigh Dickinson University President Michael Adams. “This is the official birth of an incredible and innovative program.”

On Feb. 3, over 200 guests gathered in Lenfell Hall to celebrate the unveiling of the Medco School of Pharmacy, a project nearly three years in the making. The opening of the school is not only a special occasion for the university, but also for New Jersey, as FDU’s is the first pharmacy school to be established in the state since 1892.

The concept was introduced to the university by Assistant Dean of Students for Judicial Affairs Dwight Davidson, and Dean of Becton College Geoffrey Weinman and Assistant Professor of Chemistry Michael Avaltroni were among those responsible for the program’s outreach, design and development.

The school of pharmacy is named for Medco Health Solutions, Inc., the Franklin Lakes-based company that donated $5 million to support the program’s opening in Fall 2012. Medco Chairman and CEO David B. Snow, Jr. expressed his positive view of the partnership between Medco and FDU.

“We are proud to work with Fairleigh Dickinson University in the opening of the Medco School of Pharmacy and to offer our experience and expertise in support of a new generation of pharmacy school graduates who will be able to apply their education across a wide range of health care fields,” said Snow during his speech. “We also look forward to collaborating on new advancements in the practice of pharmacy and on research initiatives of mutual interest. Together we can have an even greater impact on health care in our country.”

“Now is our time to change the world,” said Founding Dean of the Medco School of Pharmacy Ruth Nemire. “It is time to be leaders in a revolution in heathcare.” Nemire was hired as the founding dean last November.

The Medco School of Pharmacy plans to graduate students who can keep up with the ever-changing responsibilities of modern pharmacists.

Medco Chairman and CEO David Snow and FDU President Michael Adams look on during the opening ceremony.

In his address, Snow noted that the pharmacists of today, and the future, will be those to come out from behind the counter and become more responsible for face-to-face patient care.

Nemire outlined the major points of the program, which include a focus on individualized patient care, integrated technology and inclusion of beta testing within the curriculums.
“We will graduate students who will take us to the future,” said Nemire.

In addition to its pharmaceutical degree, the Medco School of Pharmacy is currently seeking approval to include several master’s degrees in health sciences so that students in the program will gain specialty knowledge. Once approved, these master’s degrees will include regulatory affairs, clinical trials management, health humanities, health communications and health and pharmacy informatics.

“No other pharmacy school in the country offers the range of dual-degree programs that the Medco School will provide,” said Nemire.

In Fall 2012, the school of pharmacy’s first class, about 85 students altogether, will begin their journey toward graduation, gaining the necessary knowledge and skills to become pharmacists ready for the ever-changing landscape of the field.

Photos courtesy of www.fdu.edu

Alternative Winter Break: Costa Rica

FDU sophomore Dan Palmer clears debris with a new friend in Manzanillo, Costa Rica.


On our last night in Manzanillo, Costa Rica, I was on my way back to the hotel when one of the locals waved me over.

“I hear you’re all leaving tomorrow,” he said. I nodded, though I hadn’t yet quite come to terms that our trip was coming to a close. The man smiled and put his hand on my shoulder. “We are all so grateful for what you do for this community. We are a small little town, and what you all do here to support us makes such a difference. Bless you.” Though hard work gives its own rewards, the validation and appreciation from one of the town’s residents is something that will touch me forever.

On Jan. 6, I was among 13 students and two faculty members from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s College at Florham who arrived in Costa Rica for our Alternative Winter Break trip.  The central focus of our trip was community service: during our stay, we would work on a variety of beach projects and renovate the town’s only schoolhouse before the students returned from the winter holiday.

On our first day of service work, arriving at the school put everything in perspective. For children in kindergarten through eighth grade, a total of about 70 students, the little turquoise schoolhouse held three classrooms and a small kitchen. Desks and chairs were piled into corners, mildew stained the seafoam-colored walls, and the ocean had caused a year’s worth of rust to cake up on the wrought-iron windows.

We divided into two teams; one half would stay and work on the school while the other headed up to the beach, bringing in painted concrete cylinders and planting trees to protect the beach from cars. We were essentially given our assignments, and it was up to us to create teams and an efficient work system. In addition to making a difference within the town, we were also given the opportunity to hone our own leadership skills.

Sometimes as we worked, local children would come up to us, helping us plant trees or just sitting nearby and chatting. It was such a unique experience to not only make our mark on the community, but also to interact with the locals on such a casual level.

I went to Manzanillo so I could make an impact on the community. What I didn’t expect, however, was how much the little community on the southeast tip of Costa Rica would have on me.

While I came away from the trip with an incredible feeling of pride about our service projects, there is certainly something to be said about being completely immersed in another culture. Costa Rica, “the rich coast,” is certainly an appropriate name for this country. Everything is vibrant and fresh, from the scenery to the food to the people.
Because Fairleigh Dickinson University’s mission is to provide a global education, much of our core curriculum consists of the problem of “ethnocentricism” – when a person views the world only through the lens of his or her own culture. Understanding this concept helped us immeasurably when we found ourselves surrounded by a culture that was not our own, and some customs didn’t quite line up with the American way of life. I came back from the trip not only with a head full of braids, but also with a different outlook on the world.

During our first restaurant meal in Costa Rica, we were surprised to find out that service is much slower than back home, and a lunch out could last as long as two to three hours. Not long into the trip, however, once we had broken down some of our own cultural walls, we began to look forward to these stretches of time, a change to relax and catch up. After engaging in some of our best conversations during these long mealtimes, it’s made me rethink the American need to be constantly busy – maybe there really is something to be said for taking some time out of the day where the only agenda is to catch up with loved ones and enjoy a home-cooked meal.

Freshman Lauren Ruzicka washes dishes at Manzanillo's only school house.

In Manzanillo, a common response to “how are you” is pura vida, which means “the good life.” The phrase has been bouncing around in my head since our arrival. What exactly makes “the good life”? In Manzanillo, there are no iPads, a handful of television stations, and the solitary road into the town has only existed for 30 years, yet everyone is living pura vida. It made us all stop and rethink our values and how we measure personal success – maybe the secret to pura vida isn’t as complicated as we think.

Before going on the Alternative Winter Break trip, I found myself at the crossroad that many other college seniors face – the stresses of getting a “real” job, living arrangements, and coming to terms with the fact that a four-year chapter of my life will soon come to a close. While thinking about the future is certainly still a little intimidating, I feel that this helped me to find out what in this world is important to me. Knowing that the children of Manzanillo will go back to a beautiful school is made a little sweeter by finding myself along the way.

Professor of English Katie Singer applies a fresh coat of paint to the town bus stop.