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Dominican University New York Names Vice President for Mission and Ministry; Veolia Scholarships Totaling $65,000 Help Local Students; Briefs

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Dominican University New York Names Vice President for Mission and Ministry

Dominican University New York has named Sr. Jennifer Schaaf, O.P., D.Min. for the newly-created position of vice president for mission and ministry, effective September 1.  Sr. Schaaf is a member of the Dominican Sisters of Blauvelt and has been working for the past 11 years as assistant chaplain at Saint Thomas More, the Catholic Chapel and Center at Yale University in New Haven, CT.

“After many years in campus ministry at Yale, and previously at Ohio Dominican University, I am excited to take on this role, which brings together my past experience of ministry, my research focus on charism formation in higher education, and my passion for the future of Dominican life,” said Sr. Schaaf. “I know that I am following in the footsteps of many beloved sisters who have served at Dominican University throughout the years and shaped it into the institution it is now – one that truly cares about the students and their success.”

A new professional field of mission integration has emerged in Catholic higher education in response to the growing number of universities founded by religious communities that now have lay leadership.  Earlier this month, Dominican University announced that Dr. Manuel Martínez from Mercy College of Ohio will become its first lay president as of July 15, 2024.  Sr. Mary Eileen O’Brien, O.P., Ph.D., retired as of January 1, 2024, after serving a total of 35 years as president, and Sr. Kathleen Sullivan, O.P., will be retiring at the end of the month, after serving more than 55 years in a number of positions including chancellor and president.

Sr. Mary Hughes, O.P., Ed.D., Interim President of Dominican University, said she was delighted to welcome Sr. Schaaf to Dominican University. “Sr. Jenn represents a new younger generation, and the future of the Dominican Sisters of Blauvelt.  Dominican University is prepared to carry on its proud tradition, while changing with the times to provide the best education for its students.”

Sr. Schaaf said, “In my new role as V.P. for Mission and Ministry, I will help Dominican University transition from the long-standing leadership of Sr. Mary Eileen and Sr. Kathleen into a new era through working with students, faculty, staff, and administrators to continue the four pillars of Dominican life – prayer, study, community, and service – and the specific charism of the Blauvelt Dominican’s care and compassion for marginalized communities and individuals.”

Sr. Schaaf received a Doctor of Ministry from Seattle University. She also has a Bachelor of Music Education and a Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry from the University of Portland.  Prior to becoming a sister, Sr. Schaaf taught music at a Catholic elementary school and then was campus minister at Ohio Dominican University. As she was beginning to discern whether to enter religious life, Sr. Schaaf worked as director of communications for the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, NY, for four years.  She ultimately decided to join the order and was a canonical novice at the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate in Saint Louis, MO.  Since 2013, Sr. Schaaf has worked as assistant chaplain at Saint Thomas More Chapel at Yale University.

Veolia Scholarships Totaling $65,000 Help Clear Path to Higher Education for Local Students

Veolia has partnered with the New York Chapter of the National Association of Water Companies (NAWC), Rockland Community College (RCC), the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the North Rockland Academy of Finance and the Gordon Foundation, to offer 23 local students financial assistance as they work toward advancing their education.

“These scholarships are an investment in the future and in our ability to sustain a workforce that will advance the services we provide across the communities we serve,” said Chris Graziano, Vice President and General Manager of Veolia’s New York operations and chairperson of NAWC’s New York Chapter. “With the water industry growing increasingly complex, we need to sharpen our focus on recruiting enthusiastic, intelligent and motivated young people who share our commitment to solving tomorrow’s challenges with practical, high-impact solutions.”

Veolia, a global leader of sustainable environmental solutions, provides water service to 500,000 customers in Rockland, Westchester, Orange, Putnam and Tioga counties in New York.

Here’s a snapshot of the scholarship programs Veolia recently helped fund for local college-bound students.

Veolia/NAWC Scholarships

In partnership with the NY chapter of the NAWC, Veolia granted eight $3,000 scholarships to top-achieving students pursuing degrees in science, engineering and other fields that support the water industry. The following students were honored during an awards ceremony at the Thayer Hotel in West Point, NY: Jennie Belle Aliaga of Carmel High School, Siya Balapal of Nanuet High School, Aaditya Batra of Ardsley High School, Ashlin Davila of Nanuet High School, Anna Morrissey of Tappan Zee High School, Isabella Nordstrom of Tappan Zee High School, Ryan Olson of Clarkstown South High School and Jacob Sipe of Owego Free Academy.

Veolia/RCC Scholarships

Veolia provided 10, $2,500 scholarships to RCC students completing their associate degree and working toward a bachelor degree in the areas of environmental sciences and engineering. These scholarships cover 50% of RCC’s average annual tuition. This year’s scholarship recipients were: Melodie Cornelly, Zara Khan, Aisha Lapointe, Tomoka Matsumura, Keishawna Nurse, Isabella Ochman, Ilyssa Shapiro, Elizabeth Taub, Haruto Tsushi and Yusuke Tsushi.

Veolia/UNCF Scholarships

Veolia/UNCF College Scholarship Program awarded two $5,000 merit-based scholarships to graduating New Rochelle High School seniors Nastashya Johnson and Samantha Benjamin.

Veolia/Academy of Finance Scholarships

North Rockland High School students Michael Mandia and Xiadani De La Rosa Perez received $500 scholarships from Veolia during North Rockland High School Academy of Finance’s 23rd annual graduation dinner at The Thayer Hotel at West Point.

Veolia/Gordon Foundation Scholarship Program

Veolia sponsored the 24th annual awards ceremony of the CEJJES Institute and Gordon Community Partnership that honored top academic performing Rockland high school seniors of the African diaspora.

Suffern High School’s Ja’nya Beepot was the recipient of the $20,000 Dr. Susan G. Gordon Scholarship.

HGAR Presents $1,000 Check to Habitat for Humanity of Rockland County

The Hudson Gateway REALTOR® Foundation, the charitable arm of the Hudson Gateway Association of REALTORS®, recently presented a check for $2,000 to Habitat for Humanity of Rockland County.

Habitat for Humanity of Rockland, in New City, is an independently operated affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International. Founded in 1997, its mission is to work in partnership with thousands of Rockland County volunteers and qualified low-income families of all races, religions, and creeds to build and renovate homes for those in need. In addition, the organization provides financial education for families to have access to safe, affordable housing where they can grow in a stable environment.

Habitat of Rockland is scheduled to begin its newest home build this summer. Some of its recent past projects include the completion of single-family homes in Haverstraw, and a home renovation in Hillburn.

Habitat of Rockland receives no funding from Habitat International and only very limited funds from the government. It relies on donations from the local community. The average cost to build a Habitat home in Rockland is $100,000, plus volunteer work from future homeowners and volunteers. In addition to regular volunteer opportunities, it features special groups such as the Women Build and Student Build.

“On behalf of the Habitat for Humanity of Rockland, Inc. Board of Directors, we are absolutely grateful for Hudson Gateway Realtor Foundation for their generous donation. This donation will go towards a house for a family who earns a living wage to be able to purchase a reasonably priced home that they helped build that is decent and safe. As a fellow Realtor, I am proud to see Realtors giving back to our community,” said Adam O’Gorman, President of Habitat for Humanity of Rockland, Inc.

Established in 2004 and relaunched in 2013, the HG Realtor Foundation has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to charities and non-profits throughout the Hudson Valley. As concerned members of the communities we work in, the Hudson Gateway REALTOR® Foundation participates in qualified community-based charities who serve the housing, hunger, health, happiness, and humane needs of citizens everywhere.

For more information or to apply for funding from the Hudson Gateway REALTOR® Foundation, visit