2018 Alumni Award Winners


John “Bunny” Barbes ’39 and Lila T. Barbes ’40 Wagner Alumni Laureate

For long and distinguished service to Wagner College

Polly Peck Moles '68

Known as a generous,  giving person, Polly Peck Moles ’68 has contributed so much to Wagner College over many years of involvement and support for her alma mater.

Celebrating her 50th anniversary of graduation this year, Moles was an elementary education major and English minor. She was a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority and participated in the Bregenz study abroad program in 1965–66. She married Thomas Moles ’65, another great leader and supporter of Wagner College.

Moles had a long career in teaching. She taught third grade in Darien, Connecticut, in 1968–69, before moving on to East Windsor, New Jersey, where she taught third through fifth grades from 1969 to 1986. She was also a science content specialist, acting vice principal, and unit leader.
Moles gave many years of volunteer service and leadership in her community, including the Princeton Medical Center Auxiliary, Board of Trustees, and Foundation; the Peddie School Parents’ Association and Board of Trustees; the Princeton Ballet Board; and many more activities.

She also gave much of her time to Wagner College. She served on the Wagner Board of Trustees from 2002 to 2014, serving on various committees and chairing the committees for institutional advancement and buildings and grounds. She was a founding member of the Alpha Delta Pi Scholarship Fund, which began awarding scholarships last year. Big supporters of Wagner athletics, she and Tom were instrumental in raising the funds for the Dr. Gregory P. Knapp ’66 H’00 Strength Room in the Spiro Sports Center.

Polly and Tom Moles have two children, Anne Mulick and Thomas Seaver Moles, and five grandchildren: Grace Mulick, Maeve Mulick, Will Moles, Meghan Moles, and Chip Moles.

Dr. Kevin Sheehy '67 M '70 M '92

H '99 Alumni Leadership Medal

For consistent leadership and service to the Wagner College Alumni Association

Russell H. Johnson '67 M'72

Russell H. Johnson ’67 M’72 has supported the College for many years since his graduation, serving as alumni magazine editor, fundraiser, and administrator; officer of the National Alumni Association; and a benefactor of the English program.

Johnson earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English at Wagner. A major in the U.S. Air Force, he served on active duty from 1968 to 1972, followed by Reserve duty. His assignments included teaching at the Air Force Academy. He was Wagner’s director of public information and publications as well as vice president of development from 1974 to 1981. He went on to hold executive positions at major investment and financial firms: Merrill Lynch Asset Management; Kidder, Peabody & Co.; and Citigroup. He retired in 2001, having served as founding chairman and CEO of Tower Square Securities, Inc.

This multi-talented alumnus has notched many achievements in diverse fields since his retirement. He is a watercolor artist, workshop leader, and photographer active in Kennebunk, Maine, and Princeton Junction, New Jersey. As a novelist, he has published seven books, mostly in a series based on the character of NYPD Detective Peter Nazareth. He has been a student of taekwondo since 1972, and he has become a top competitor in taekwondo master’s-level championships: He is the two-time USA national champion (2014 and 2015), world championship bronze medalist (2014), and five-time New Jersey state champion (2014–2018).

Johnson has long supported the Dr. Thomas Kendris Memorial Fund and the Jack Boies Prize, both endowed funds that support Wagner’s Department of English. He helped to create these funds, which honor the two professors who had the biggest impact on his life.
Johnson and his wife, Nancy Pelcak Johnson ’70, have two children and three grandchildren.

Certificate of Appreciation

For individuals who have become active in the work of the Alumni Association

Michael V. Barrett '68

Michael V. Barrett ’68 has been instrumental in organizing reunions of alumni who attended Wagner’s study abroad program in Bregenz, Austria — including the 50th anniversary reunion of the 1966–67 Bregenz alumni, held in Austria. His event planning and communications skills have been critical to the success of these reunions.

Barrett grew up on Staten Island and earned his B.A. in history from Wagner. He spent his junior year at Wagner’s Bregenz program. “My participation in the Bregenz program was seminal in shaping my vision and who I am today,” he says.

After graduation, Barrett served as the College’s assistant director of admissions for several years. He then helped coordinate admissions in upstate New York and earned his master’s degree in business from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

He is the president of Barrett Associates, a public affairs and lobbying firm that he founded in Albany, New York, 40 years ago. On behalf of its corporate clients, the firm has influenced major legislation that has had a positive impact on New York’s business climate. Their advocacy has encompassed issues in the insurance, banking, health care, tax, and other sectors.

He and his wife, Ruth, have two sons, Michael and Samuel.

Rebecca M. Colucci Kelly '06

Rebecca M. Colucci Kelly ’06, an arts administration major, has made exemplary contributions to Wagner alumni relations as well as to Alzheimer’s disease charitable work.

For the past year, Kelly has served as life enrichment manager and reminiscence coordinator at Sunrise Senior Living in Staten Island. For the previous nine years, she worked in the Office of Alumni Relations at Wagner, connecting alumni to the College as office secretary and alumni coordinator. She planned events and programs and managed groups such as the Alumni Association Board of Directors. She coordinated 50th- and 10th-anniversary reunion committees for many years, including her own 10th anniversary committee in 2016, which raised money to dedicate a memorial bench for the late Kira Marshall ’06. A former president of Kappa Sigma Alpha co-ed fraternity, she also served as its faculty advisor.

“Rebecca’s work during her time in Wagner’s alumni relations office was exemplary, as she courteously and efficiently provided any assistance required by alums, friends of Wagner, and anyone else who sought her help,” says Alumni Association board member Michael Muccino ’73. “In addition, she went out of her way to make everyone aware that she was there for them, out of her love for Wagner and everyone associated with the school.”

Kelly is forever grateful to her Wagner alumni family, especially to the late Dr. Donald Spiro ’49 H’88 and his family, who encouraged her to attend Wagner. She is grateful to her parents, who provided her the opportunity to attend Wagner and pursue her dreams. The professor who most impacted her life was Laura Morowitz, professor of art history, whose classes Kelly loved and who helped her get her first internship at Snug Harbor Cultural Center.

Inspired by her grandmother’s struggles with dementia, Kelly helps with community programs through the Alzheimer’s Association and CaringKind, The Heart of Alzheimer’s Caregiving. She co-chairs a walk for Staten Island that benefits those who suffer with the disease and their caregivers.
Kelly and her husband, Samson, have three children, Joshua, Ryan, and Gabrielle.


Distinguished Graduate of Wagner

For unique career contributions to his or her community, state, or the nation, bringing honor to Wagner

Dr. Kurt Landgraf '68 H'08

Named the President of Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, in 2017, Kurt M. Landgraf ’68 H’08 has served in many leadership positions with major corporations during his distinguished career.

Landgraf came to Washington College with a decades-long résumé as a senior executive with DuPont and a 13-year tenure as president and CEO of Educational Testing Service (ETS), the world’s largest private educational testing and measurement organization and a leader in educational research. During his tenure at ETS, Landgraf led the financial turnaround of the organization from near-bankruptcy to create a $1.6 billion global, technology-based concern.

He previously held senior leadership positions at DuPont, including chief operating officer, chief financial officer, chairman of DuPont Europe Middle East and Africa, chairman and chief executive officer of the DuPont Pharmaceutical Company, and president and chief executive officer at the DuPont Merck Company. Landgraf also served as vice chairman of New Jersey’s Higher Education Commission, the state’s governing board for colleges and universities, and president of the National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science.
Born in Newark, New Jersey, Landgraf earned his bachelor’s degree in economics and business administration from Wagner College. The Wagner professor who had the biggest impact on him was William Maher.

Landgraf went on to earn three master’s degrees: an M.A. in economics from Pennsylvania State University, an M.Ed. in educational administration from Rutgers University, and an M.S. in sociology from Western Michigan University. He is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program, has received four honorary doctorates, and has taught college-level economics, sociology, and labor relations at a range of institutions.

A Wagner College trustee from 1996 to 2004, Landgraf serves on the boards of Corning Incorporated and Louisiana-Pacific Corporation. He has previously chaired the National Pharmaceutical Council, United Way of Delaware, Delaware Care Plan, and Delaware Public Policy Institute.
His wife, Rita M. Landgraf, is the former secretary of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, and she teaches in the University of Delaware’s College of Health Services. They have four grown children — Christopher, Shawn, Mark, and Lauren — and two granddaughters, twins Layla and Olivia.

Wagner Alumni Fellows

For distinguished careers in defined aspects of the College's academic program

Nancy H. Haig '75 M'81 - Economics/Business Administration

Nancy Harrison Haig ’75 M’81 of Ridgewood, New Jersey, earned her B.S. in economics from Wagner College in 1975, and her MBA in management and finance in 1981. She was inducted into Delta Mu Delta, the international honor society for business administration studies. She earned a second MBA from Capella University in 2013.

She names Robert Volyn in economics as the Wagner professor who had the greatest and the most memorable impact on her.
For the past five years, Haig has been an active participant in Wagner College’s Career Conversations program, which brings alumni professionals together with students for networking encounters. “I discuss the profession of internal auditing with students,” Haig says, “and I hire Wagner interns to work and learn about the profession of internal auditing.”

Since 2012, Haig has been with the global services firm of Alvarez & Marsal, currently as global director of internal audit and compliance. Previously she worked in internal auditing for Eisai, a pharmaceutical company, and KPMG, an auditing firm. Professionally, Haig has been an active leader of the Institute of Internal Auditors, a 190,000-member worldwide organization. Her service to IIA has included membership on its New York City chapter advisory board, its North American board of directors, and its global board of directors. Among her numerous papers and conference presentations for the IIA are two award-winning articles in Internal Auditor magazine: “Breaking Through,” on women and leadership in the internal auditing profession, and “The Importance of Our Standards.” Haig has also put her professional skills to work as a member of the St. John’s University Internal Audit Advisory Council and the Financial Advisory Committee for the Village of Ridgewood, New Jersey.

Nancy Haig is married to fellow Wagner alum Rich Haig ’75 M’81. They have two daughters, Allison Haig and Dana Malluk.

Richard Byrne '85 - Theatre

Richard Byrne ’85 of East Meadow, New York, graduated from Wagner College in 1985 with a B.A. in speech and theater. His most memorable Wagner teacher was theater professor Randy Alderson.

Richie Byrne is a longtime veteran of stage, screen, and stand-up. He’s been the warm-up comic for The Dr. Oz Show since its inception in 2009, and he recently performed at Radio City Music Hall as the opening act for The Dr. Oz Health & Happiness Summit. He is an accomplished actor and singer with a long resume of theatrical and television credits, including Sex and the City, The Sopranos, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. He can be seen in the 2007 independent film Goodbye Baby, where he served as featured actor, comedian, and adviser, and wrote material for the leading character’s stand-up routine. He also writes, produces, and stars in his own musical variety series, The Richie Byrne Show, which can be seen at Gotham Comedy Club in Manhattan.

For the last 30 years Byrne has performed weekly for various charities, including Comedy Cures, which provides joy-filled, therapeutic entertainment to kids and grown-ups living with illness, depression, trauma, and disabilities. Founded in 1999, Comedy Cures has affected the lives of over one million patients, family members, and caregivers throughout the world. He has also performed with the USO for American troops serving overseas.

Byrne is a member of the Friars Club, SAG/AFTRA, and Equity.

Andrew Dick M'02 - Microbiology

Andrew Dick M’02 of Bordentown, New Jersey, earned his M.S. in microbiology from Wagner College in 2002, building upon his earlier bachelor’s degree in medical technology from Kean University.

Dick says that his most memorable Wagner professor was Kathleen Bobbitt. “She was practical, engaged her students, and taught the subject matter well,” he recalled. “There was no need to memorize the content.” Since earning his Wagner degree in 2002, Dick has worked as a quality-control microbiologist, first at Colgate Palmolive, then at Johnson & Johnson, where he is currently senior manager for quality assurance microbiology and lab controls.

As a leader in developing cleaning and sanitization standards for the personal care products and pharmaceutical industries, Dick has been an active member of several professional organizations, including the Pharmaceutical Microbiology Forum, the Personal Care Products Council, and the Parenteral Drug Association, for which he recently published a book, Contamination Prevention for Nonsterile Pharmaceutical Manufacturing (2017).

Dick is engaged to Christine Massaro ’97 M’99, who earned a B.S. and an M.S. in microbiology from Wagner College and also works in the field of sterile and microbiology quality assurance.

Nicole Giammarinaro '07 - Nursing

Nicole Filipazzo Giammarinaro ’07 of North Babylon, New York, graduated summa cum laude in 2007 from Wagner College with a B.S. in nursing and a minor in biology. She earned her M.S.N. from Molloy College.

At Wagner, Giammarinaro served for two years as president of the Student Nurses Association. She was inducted into Sigma Theta Tau, the nursing honor society, and Beta Beta Beta, the biology honor society, and was vice president of Omicron Delta Kappa. She was also involved in many theater and dance programs during all four years of her undergraduate career, a rarity for nursing students.

She says that the Wagner professor who had the biggest impact on her life was “Professor Pat Tooker, who epitomized the essence of nursing and empathy.”

“Wagner set me up for continued personal and professional success,” says Giammarinaro. “Having a holistic education provided me with a deep understanding of the science and art of nursing.”

After earning her B.S.N., Giammarinaro began her career as a bedside cardiac nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. Caring for critically ill patients, she took on the responsibilities of preceptor and charge nurse. After two years in direct patient care, she assumed the role of nurse manager of an inpatient cardiac unit. In this role, she oversaw more than 50 nursing professionals, quality, budget, engagement, and patient experience. During her time as nurse manager, her unit had the highest patient experience performance for cardiology. Giammarinaro was soon asked to join the hospital’s new Department of Patient and Family-Centered Care.

Under the leadership of her director, the hospital went from the 8th percentile to the 82nd percentile in patient experience, achieving nationally recognized success. Giammarinaro is now the director of education and research for Northwell Health’s Office of Patient and Customer Experience. She oversees cultural transformation, patient experience, education, and research efforts for the largest integrated healthcare system in New York. She presents nationally on patient- and family-centered care.

Giammarinaro and her husband, Matthew, have two daughters, Natalie and Audrey. She thanks her family for their support, including her parents, Charles and Donna, and her grandmother, Karen.

Wagner Alumni Key

For graduates of the last decade who have made extraordinary achievements in their personal and professional endeavors

Justin Joseph "Lefty" Lefkowitz '12

Justin Joseph "Lefty" Lefkowitz ’12 graduated summa cum laude in December 2012 with a B.S. in business administration with a concentration in finance. He is the son of Robin Lefkowitz M’97, who earned her MBA at Wagner.

As a student, Lefkowitz was active in a variety of clubs and programs: Tau Kappa Epsilon, Greek Senate, Student Government Association, WCBG Radio, Hillel, and the Wagner Student Investment Group. “I took great pride in the few times I was invited back to Wagner College to participate in senior business classes or some other kind of talks — I love being close to Wagner,” Lefkowitz says. “I even became a mentor to several Wagner alumni at my Wall Street position. I wanted to connect my Wagner grads with everyone!”

Lefkowitz made the Dean’s List every semester and was inducted into Delta Mu Delta, the international honor society for business studies. His semester abroad was spent at the Universiteit van Amsterdam in the Netherlands. After Lefkowitz graduated from Wagner, he pursued a career in finance in Manhattan. In 2016, however, he fell ill with Lyme disease. He also began to develop a previously hidden talent for visual art. His style is something he calls “contemporary satirism” or “Americana art.”

“I wanted to paint for a cause, and I donate pieces for charity sales,” he says. “I started by working with the Building for America’s Bravest program, which builds smart homes for troops who were severely injured in combat. More recently, I have worked with the Islanders Children’s Foundation and the Staten Island Heart Society.”

In February 2017, while Lefkowitz was showing his work at the Staten Island Jewish Community Center, local cable news channel New York 1 named him its Staten Islander of the Week for his courage in the face of Lyme disease and his charity art work. In September, Lefkowitz’s “Americana Art” exhibition went on display in the Spotlight Gallery at Wagner College’s Horrmann Library. “There was no better feeling than getting the chance to return to Wagner to have my second-ever art show,” Lefkowitz says.

Jamie Lynn Macchia '13

Jamie Lynn Macchia ’13 of Eltingville, Staten Island, was a Wagner College Honors Program student who graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in arts administration and a marketing minor in 2013.

Macchia was part of the Wagner College Dance Team for her entire undergraduate career, and an Alpha Omicron Pi sorority member for her last three years. She was inducted into two honor societies: Omicron Delta Kappa, for leadership, and Alpha Mu Theta, the arts administration honor society.
Her most memorable Wagner professor was President Richard Guarasci, who teaches a seminar each year with George Rappaport on thought leaders. “It was an honor and I will never forget it,” Macchia says.

For six years, Macchia was deeply involved in the Miss America organization, winning two local crowns (twice each) before taking the Miss New York title in August 2015. Because the Miss America competition always involves issue advocacy, Macchia gained extensive experience in raising funds and awareness for a variety of causes: the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, Light the Night, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Inspiring Action Against Pediatric Cancer, and the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

“I am a devoted pediatric cancer advocate campaigning for #MoreThan4, the percentage of federal funding for cancer research allocated to childhood cancers,” Macchia says. “Over the years, I have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for various charitable organizations in honor of my best friend, Dominic, whom I lost to leukemia when I was 15.”

After graduating from Wagner in 2013, Macchia became director of sales and marketing for Physicians First Messages, which provides answering services for the medical community. Since August, she has been a development officer with Staten Island University Hospital, responsible for fundraising. “It is an honor to work for SIUH as we prepare to build a brand-new Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Women and Newborn Center,” Macchia says.

Jamie Lynn Macchia is engaged to her high school sweetheart, Nicholas Homan, a New York City firefighter.

Reverend Lyle Guttu Award

For contributions to Wagner, local communities, or the world in a spiritual way

Gotfred C. Jacobsen '54

Gotfred C. Jacobsen ’54, a Wagner psychology/sociology major, has served his communities’ pastoral and mental health needs for decades. In addition, he has provided unwavering support to Wagner College, especially in the area of scholarships and choral activities.

Jacobsen, the son of immigrants, was the first in his family to attend college. He was very involved in student life, serving as his class’s secretary and treasurer, Kallista staff member and assistant editor, member of the Pre-Seminary Association, and Delta Nu member and officer, among other activities. He was named to Who’s Who in American Colleges in 1954. After graduating from Wagner, he earned his M. Div. at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and became the pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Oldwick, New Jersey.

He then worked for many years in the fields of mental health, counseling, and family therapy. He administered Valley Counseling Center in Morgantown, West Virginia, and was the executive director of the Pastoral Institute of Lehigh Valley in Allentown, Pennsylvania, for 10 years. He then moved to southern California, where he was director of Rural Family Counseling for San Diego County from 1979 to 2004.

As an alumnus, he has contributed significantly to the Wagner College Choir, and he helped organize and fund the choir’s performance at Zion Lutheran Church’s 300th anniversary in 2014. He also helped fund the Delta Nu-Roger T. Ling Memorial Scholarship and the August “Gus” Merkel Memorial Scholarship, along with his Delta Nu brothers.

Jacobsen is retired and lives in Sedona, Arizona. He has two children, Gotfred C. Jacobsen II and Priscilla R. Craig.