University News

Spring 2023 Issue
A closeup view of the name 'Kesselman Hall' on the outside of the Atlantic City residential building

University News

Stockton Names Joe Bertolino Next President

Joe Bertolino behind a podium
Dr. Joe Bertolino addresses the crowd after being named Stockton's next president at a special Board of Trustees meeting on March 3. | Photo by Bernie DeLury

Dr. Joe Bertolino will become the next president of Stockton University on July 1, 2023. The University’s Board of Trustees appointed Bertolino at a special meeting March 3, following a national search.

“I am keenly aware of the challenges facing higher education – especially public regional institutions. I can say with confidence that Stockton is facing those challenges head-on and will continue to thrive,” Bertolino said. 

Bertolino is the current president of Southern Connecticut State University and brings more than 30 years of experience in higher education. Prior to joining Southern in 2016, he held roles as president of Lyndon State College in Vermont, vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs at Queens College/City University of New York, and dean for Community Development at Barnard College in New York. 

Born and raised in Glendora, New Jersey, Bertolino said he felt he was returning “home” in joining Stockton, where his mother, Eileen, graduated in 1977. “Being here now to serve her alma mater as its president is both meaningful and an act of love.”

The search for Stockton University’s sixth president has been thorough and extensive, and the Search Committee was committed to an open process, Board chair Raymond Ciccone said. Over 80 applications were received, which the Search Committee narrowed down to 12 semifinalists. Three candidates were chosen from that group to come to campus for in-person interviews in late January and early February. 

Those campus visits included open public forums with faculty, staff, students, alumni and members of the community and allowed question-and-answer sessions with each candidate. The Stockton community was also asked to provide feedback on each of the three finalists, and the Board of Trustees took those comments into consideration when making its final decision, Ciccone said. 

New Multicultural Center a Hub for Inclusion

A crowd of faculty, staff and students behind a ribbon that has just been cut.
President Harvey Kesselman is all smiles after cutting the ribbon to officially open the new Multicultural Center. | Photo by Susan Allen '09, '14

Stockton University reaffirmed its commitment to strengthen diversity, equity and inclusion at the institution with the opening of a Multicultural Center on the Galloway campus on Feb. 22.

“This center is not just a physical space; it is also a reminder that we must all do what we can to ensure Stockton remains a welcoming community for all,” President Harvey Kesselman told a crowd of more than 200 students, faculty, staff and community members who gathered in the new space.

The 4,200-square-foot space features a flexible multipurpose lounge for events, a conference room, kitchen, resource center and staff offices. A garden entrance and archway, which draw their inspiration from the Civil Rights Garden in Atlantic City, lead into the center. 

The center will provide a space on campus to address the needs of Stockton’s increasing diversity. The fall 2022 entering class was the most diverse in Stockton’s history at 46%, with more than 700 first-year students identifying as minority or mixed race.

“Momentum surrounds us right now, not just in this space, but in the entire campus community,” said Jovin Fernandez, adding she was excited to join Stockton as the inaugural director of the Multicultural Center.

Jovin Fernandez laughs in the new Multicultural Center
Jovin Fernandez is the inaugural director of the Multicultural Center. | Photo by Susan Allen '09, '14

“This center will bring a new layer of joy, excitement, belonging and inclusion to the campus. I look forward to the ways that we will strengthen school spirit and institutional pride, how we will deepen critical thinking and learning inside and outside of the classroom, grow as a community and bond in unity,” Fernandez said. “We will celebrate our similarities rather than allowing our differences to distance us."

New Atlantic City Residence Hall Opens May 3

Another milestone of Stockton University’s expansion in Atlantic City arrived May 3 as President Harvey Kesselman officially opened a new student residence hall in the city’s University District.

“I want you to know how excited we are to finally step inside and tour this amazing new building,” he said. “Today represents another incredible milestone on this exciting journey.”

The 135,000-square-foot, six-story building is located at the corner of Atlantic and South Providence avenues in the Chelsea Heights section of the city. It’s just a short walk from the rest of the Stockton Atlantic City campus, which opened in 2018.

In a ceremony shortly before the ribbon-cutting of the new residential complex, Stockton’s residence hall on the Boardwalk was renamed Kesselman Hall.

“Today’s unveiling is not only a personal honor, but also a reflection of the strong partnership between Stockton and Atlantic City,” Kesselman said. “To have my name associated with both is the most beautiful tribute I could ever imagine.”

Raymond Ciccone, chair of the Stockton Board of Trustees, said the decision to name the residence hall is not one to take lightly, but one made after careful consideration and consultation.

“It is an honor traditionally afforded to those who have made significant contributions to the betterment of an organization,” he said. “And I can’t think of anyone who has contributed more to Stockton than President Kesselman.”

'Dr. Harvey Kesselman Way' Dedicated in Atlantic City

A section of Albany Avenue adjacent to the Stockton Atlantic City Residential Complex was designated as Dr. Harvey Kesselman Way on April 27. 

“I am deeply humbled by this extraordinary gesture. Atlantic City holds a very special place in my heart,” Kesselman said, recalling his parents saving for summer trips to Atlantic City as a child. “Sixty years later, they would be so proud.”

The new Phase II complex features apartment- and suite-style living with a total of 416 beds. Most of the suites include four single bedrooms, a common area, two bathrooms and a full kitchen. There’s also a lounge on each floor, meeting room, business center and laundry facilities. Students have views of the beach, Boardwalk and O’Donnell Park and access to a courtyard with outside seating.

“Today marks a significant milestone for our institution as we celebrate the opening of yet another state-of-the-art facility that will provide our students a safe, comfortable and welcoming home away from home,” said Ciccone.

Ciccone reiterated that the new residence hall is evidence of the University’s commitment to the city.

“This new building is more than just a place to live. It represents our commitment to excellence in all areas of university life,” he said. “It is a space where students will build lifelong friendships, pursue their passions and achieve their dreams. We are proud to offer our students the very best that this new building exemplifies.”

Schwarzenegger Brings Message of Strength Against Hate

Arnold Schwarzenegger has spent most of his life helping people build their strength.  

“Your muscles only grow from resistance. It wasn’t easy. It was uncomfortable. Your mind and character are no different than your body and muscles,” the former bodybuilder told Stockton University students and guests during his presentation centered on terminating hate Monday, March 6. 

“It is easier to hate than it is to learn. Easier isn’t better,” said Schwarzenegger, star of several blockbuster films including "Twins," "Kindergarten Cop" and "Predator." 

More than 600 students, faculty, staff and invited guests, including Holocaust survivors and their families, turned out to hear Schwarzenegger’s message.  

Arnold Schwarzenegger stands behind a podium to address a crowd
Arnold Schwarzenegger shared his message about combating hate and prejudice to a packed crowd on March 6. | Photo by Bernie DeLury

He began his visit at the Sara & Sam Schoffer Holocaust Resource Center on Stockton’s Galloway campus, where he met with local Holocaust survivors and their families and learned about the internationally recognized center, which preserves and shares the history of the Holocaust and life stories of South Jersey survivors. 

Schwarzenegger was born in Austria two years after World War II to a former Nazi soldier. Since serving as 38th governor of California, Schwarzenegger has been outspoken about fighting antisemitism and hate. Last September, he toured the Auschwitz concentration camp in Germany. 

Gail Rosenthal and Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Holocaust Resource Center
Part of Schwarzenegger's visit to campus included a tour of the Sara & Sam Schoffer Holocaust Resource Center. Here, center director Gail Rosenthal briefs Schwarzenegger on the center's work. | Photo by Vern Ogrodnek

“How do we stop this from happening again? After a visit to Auschwitz, you will never question why ‘never again’ is a valid cry of the people who fight to prevent another Holocaust. 

“Today, I don’t want to preach to the choir. I want to talk to the people out there who may have stumbled on their path. … I want to talk to you if you found yourself thinking anyone is inferior or out to get them because of their religion or color of skin. 

“I’ve seen people throw away their future because of hateful beliefs,” he said, calling his father “a broken man who had to drink to numb the pain.” 

Instead, Schwarzenegger encouraged the audience to choose a life of strength. 

“It’s not easy to look in the mirror and change your own life. Discomfort is how we grow strong,” he said. “You have to struggle to build strength.”

President Harvey Kesselman presented Schwarzenegger with an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree. “This morning, we honor an individual whose artistic career, dedication to public service and extensive philanthropy exemplify Stockton’s values. He is one of the most extraordinary individuals of our time, whose commitment and success in the entertainment industry, and his government, public policy and non-profit work has earned him a place among Stockton’s,” Kesselman said. 

Stockton Dives into Prohibition History with National Geographic

Two scientists at a large lab table examine a sample
Peter Straub (left), professor of Biology and Coastal Zone Management, and Stephen Nagiewicz compare notes on a shipwreck from the Prohibition era. | Photo by Susan Allen '09, '14

Stephen Nagiewicz, an adjunct instructor of Marine Science at Stockton University, tucked a sketch of a shipwreck between the pages of a logbook for safe keeping. He knew the amber flasks poking up like gravestones on the seafloor were all that remained of a story worth telling, but how the details of the crew and mission would be uncovered was still a mystery. 

Thirty-five years later, he got a phone call that would end up deploying multibeam sonar, an ROV, divers, a film crew with cameras in the air and sea, and computer-generated imagery (CGI) to reconstruct the ship and its secret role in prohibition for a season 6 episode of National Geographic’s docuseries “Drain the Oceans.”

Mallinson Sadler Productions, based in England and Scotland, was looking for marine archaeology experts who could take them to a shipwreck with ties to illegal smuggling of alcohol. James Delgado, a maritime archaeologist known for his investigations of the Titanic, Monitor, Arizona, Conestoga and more than 100 other wrecks, pointed them in the direction of Atlantic City and gave them his colleague Nagiewicz’s name.

In the 1990s, Nagiewicz, who was running a scuba diving charter company at the time, wanted to look for new spots to explore. He’d been given GPS coordinates from a friend who was the captain of a fishing charter boat. The wreck had been fished, but because it’s so small and hard to find, his friend suspected it had never been seen by divers.

Nagiewicz decided to go and have his own look. He and his wife, Barbara, who were the first to explore the wreck, found much more than they could have imagined.

Glass Family Creates Scholarship in Memory of Husband, Father

A new Stockton University Foundation gift will provide an annual scholarship to a student dedicated to service.

The endowed scholarship honors the memory of Stephen A. Glass of Galloway. His wife, AmyBeth, and children Elizabeth, Zachary and Sarah, his mother, Lynette Glass, along with the generous support of family and friends, established the fund.

The scholarship will be awarded annually to a full-time student with a demonstrated commitment to serving others in their school, community, job or at home.

Stephen Glass had a zest for life, an incredible sense of humor, and a strong work ethic. Stephen always had a kind, encouraging word for others. He used his coaching and motivational talents to ensure others felt supported and had the tools necessary to achieve their personal and professional goals. 

Harvey Kesselman and the Glass family post in front of the University seal in the President's Conference Room
From left: Zachary Glass, President Harvey Kesselman, AmyBeth Glass, Lynette Glass, Sarah Glass, Elizabeth Glass. | Photo by Stacey Clapp

The scholarship leaves a legacy for Stephen Glass, who had a lifelong connection to Stockton. As a child, he was occasionally stopped by Stockton professors as he ran through the hallways of the Galloway campus while his mother, Lynette Glass ’83, was in class. AmyBeth Glass is associate provost for Academic Affairs, and daughter Elizabeth graduated in 2022.

“Growing up, money was scarce, and a scholarship made completing my baccalaureate degree possible. The personal impact that gift provided is one I will never forget and is often a daily reminder how simple acts of kindness change the trajectory of our lives,” AmyBeth Glass said. “As a family, when determining how to best honor Stephen’s memory, a scholarship seemed like a perfect way to ensure his legacy and generosity continues. We are grateful and thankful for the opportunities this gift provides.”


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