Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Movers and Shakers: Diamond Reception Unveils Inaugural Hofstra Honor Roll Inductees

By Dave Gil de Rubio ’90

There were many memorable moments from Hofstra’s Diamond Weekend — the September 23-26, 2010, launch of the University’s 75th anniversary. One of the highlights was the Diamond Reception featuring the William and Kate Hofstra Honor Roll on Friday, September 24, which paid tribute to hundreds of employees, alumni and friends who have had a significant impact on the history of Hofstra. The gathering reunited classmates who hadn’t seen each other in decades, as well as former and current professors and their students. Honor Roll inductees who could not attend the reception were represented by family members who delighted in the splendor of the evening. (Nominations for the Honor Roll will continue to be accepted until May 2011. Visit for more information.)

A small jazz ensemble, led by Tim Zerone ’10, performed while two large flat-screen monitors ran a slideshow of photos, past and present, of the honorees. The elite level of achievers included a captain of industry (Steven Freiberg ’79, CEO of E*Trade), prominent politician ( the late Joseph Margiotta ’50), Academy Award-winning filmmaker (Francis Ford Coppola ’60), world-class athlete (Marques Colston ’06), best-selling author (Nelson DeMille ’70), celebrated coach (Butch van Breda Kolff) and acclaimed actresses (Lainie Kazan ’60, Susan Sullivan ‘64). And of course, inductees included longtime faculty members who’ve not only helped shape young minds, but also made a significant mark in their respective fields, be it American history and politics (Michael D’Innocenzo, Herb Rosenbaum), film studies (Sybil DelGaudio), science (Harold Hastings) or music (Herbert Deutsch ’56). Amid all the pomp and circumstance, there was an overarching sense of pride in Hofstra and how the school has played an integral part in shaping people’s lives and the community.

It was at Hofstra that Hope [Morehouse] Brockway ’45 met her husband, Honor Roll inductee Robert Brockway ’46. It was also at Hofstra that she picked up a love of Shakespeare, became a Chronicle columnist and was pushed to exceed the boundaries then set for women. Her student years marked a time when most of Hofstra’s male students and professors were fighting in World War II. “I think the biggest thing that happened to me was that I had to do many things that women weren’t supposed to do,” she recalled. “We had to learn skills, run meetings, publish and play sports. I was a business administration major, and in that day and age, women became either teachers or secretaries. [During wartime] we were doing everything on campus, but I loved it and eventually ended up working in the business world. If I hadn’t had the opportunities to learn skills of keeping books and running meetings as a student, that would have never happened. I was long before Gloria Steinem.” Robert Brockway, who passed away in 2008, was an emeritus member of the Hofstra University Board of Trustees. He also served in a number of capacities at the Zarb School of Business, including professor of marketing, senior executive in residence, and special assistant to the dean.

Hofstra was not only where Honor Roll inductee Louis F. DiBlasi ’61 received a great education and a scholarship to play football and lacrosse under Hall of Fame coach Howdy Myers, but it was also where he acquired the tools to succeed as a teacher and football coach in the Half Hollow Hills School District for 28 years. “I owe Hofstra a lot. I owe my life to them. If it wasn’t for Hofstra, I would never have graduated and had the ability to go on and be hired as a teacher. [For that], I’m really grateful.”

Kimberly Hunter-Bishop ’94, ’97 literally grew up at
Hofstra, given that her mother, Honor Roll inductee Deanna Hunter ’71, ’77, was the longtime director of Hofstra’s Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP) and College Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP), which help guide disadvantaged students into scientific, technological and health professions. Dr. Hunter was also the founding member of both the Black/Hispanic Alumni Association and the Counselor Education Alumni Association. Her work was an inspiration to Hunter-Bishop, who currently teaches at Uniondale’s California Avenue Elementary School. “My mom exposed me to so many different cultural experiences on campus that helped me become the person I am now. I’ve passed on what I’ve learned here and my experiences to the children I teach,” she said. “They know I went to Hofstra, and I encourage them to go to college. And if they ever want to visit a college, there’s one right by our school. I really push it – college, college, college – you have to graduate from college. That comes from my mom, who instilled it in me.”

Longstanding members of the Hofstra faculty and administration are equally proud of the University’s accomplishments. Honor Roll inductees Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Herman Berliner and Spanish Professor Zenia DaSilva both remarked on the immense growth of the University. Dr. DaSilva, who is celebrating her 50th year of teaching at Hofstra, has no intention of retiring. “When I first came here, Hofstra was a small liberal arts college. It used to be a very local student body, and now it’s an international student body,” she said. “Everything has become more enhanced and has grown in a positive direction. I’m happy to be here and am happy with the thought of continuing.”

Provost Berliner, in his 41st year  at Hofstra, is firm in what he believes has been the key to the school’s success. “A good liberal arts education and knowing that teaching matters and that it’s not secondary. If you’re really going to maximize the learning experience, then it has to be in an environment of excellent teaching,” he enthusiastically explained, adding, “That’s going to continue. These core values have guided Hofstra all along, and that’s going to remain. [Going forward], you’ll find the University doing more things with more prominence and more of an international reach.”

Current students attest to the impact Hofstra has had on their lives. Homecoming king and queen nominees Michael Calabro, Christina Myers, Scott Berozi and Nicholas Faranda have all taken full advantage of the many opportunities the school has offered and readily recount how their four years at Hofstra have shaped them. “Hofstra allowed me to enjoy so many new experiences, from internships to clubs to jobs on campus to everything in between,” said Berozi, while Myers admitted, “Hofstra really means home to me. As a senior, I cannot imagine not being here next year. It is its own little world here, and if you take advantage of every opportunity they offer, it can really become your world.” Faranda and Calabro both agree that Hofstra has provided as many personal ties as professional opportunities. “I’ve met people who are my best friends and who I consider family. For me, it’s how Hofstra shaped me, and I’m really grateful for it,” Faranda said with a smile. Calabro agreed, adding, “I really have met the friends I’m going to be with for the rest of my life, and I think that’s why I’ve stayed at Hofstra and how I’ve grown both as a leader and in my social life with friends and family.”


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