2019 Alumni Award Winners


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

For long and distinguished service to Wagner College

Elisabeth Cardiello '06 M'07

Elisabeth L. Cardiello ’06 M’07 has served the Wagner community with enthusiasm and creativity ever since she arrived as a freshman. She majored in business administration, with a concentration in international business and a focus on art. She was a member of the women’s soccer team, president of ODK, and director of the annual fashion show fundraiser. When she became aware of the extraordinary needs of one of her classmates, Joseph Malual Thuc ’06, one of the “Lost Boys” of Sudan, she started a fundraising effort to support his two younger brothers, helping them attain an education and professional careers.

She counts President Richard and Dr. Carin Guarasci as well as Professor Donald Crooks ’69 M’72 among her mentors. She began her Wagner education the year that Richard Guarasci became president, and she was in the inaugural class of the Accelerated MBA program led by Dr. Crooks. She joined the Alumni Association board in 2010, serving for four years as vice president. In the Nicolais School of Business, she has served as a guest lecturer and young alumni panel moderator, an executive board member of the Business Advisory Council, and a SELECTS mentor. She is on the advisory board of the Women’s Professional Network, keynoted the 2018 ODK Leadership Forum, and addressed the graduating class at Commencement 2018.

In 2010, she started the Cardiello Fund for Entrepreneurship in honor of her father. The fund annually recognizes the senior who exhibits an entrepreneurial spirit and who has had the biggest impact on the campus and community. This award is funded by a memorial soccer game that Cardiello runs on campus every year; 2019 will be its ninth straight year. In her entrepreneurial career, she has given many opportunities to Wagner students. Numerous students have interned at her company, Caffè Unimatic, and she has sponsored three in the Legacy Out Loud women’s leadership development program that she co-founded.

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

H '99 Alumni Leadership Medal

For consistent leadership and service to the Wagner College Alumni Association

Charlie Siedenburg '95

Charlie Siedenburg ’95 is one of those Waggies who “bleed green and white,” so dedicated is he to his alma mater, and especially to the Wagner College Theatre program. A Staten Island native, Siedenburg graduated from Moore Catholic High School in 1982. He took a few years to decide that he wanted a college education — but when he did, he enrolled in the arts administration program at Wagner College. Both during and after his years as a student, Siedenburg acted as an ambassador for Wagner College Theatre, publicizing WCT shows, faculty, students, and alumni to the world.

Siedenburg’s irrepressible enthusiasm for the stage, combined with his encyclopedic knowledge of musical theater, have made him an invaluable press representative for several theatrical companies and P.R. agencies throughout his career, including the Paper Mill Playhouse, Hartford Stage, Barrington Stage Company, and Surflight Theatre.

In addition to serving as Wagner College Theatre’s longtime press representative, Siedenburg has been teaching classes in the theatre department for the past several years, sharing with students his enthusiasm for Theatre Appreciation and his expertise in Press Relations for the Theatre. During Wagner College Theatre’s recent 50th anniversary year observance, Siedenburg helped bring WCT alums together for multiple events, including the big gala celebration last May in the Main Hall auditorium. He also helped the alumni office coordinate two cast reunions in the past year, bringing former Waggie cast members back to enjoy Hair and Pirates of Penzance along with pre-show and post-show receptions with current cast members.


Distinguished Graduate of Wagner

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

Anita Carroll Sabatino '69

Anita Carroll Sabatino ’69 used her Wagner degree in mathematics as a launching pad for a successful career of nearly 50 years in information technology, banking, and global business development. She also earned an MBA from Fordham (1974). She names math professors Sydney Welton and William Horn as her most memorable Wagner mentors. As the captain of the cheerleading squad and president of Alpha Delta Pi sorority as well, Sabatino is a great example of how Wagner’s academic and social programs prepare an individual to make a difference the world.

After graduating from Wagner in 1969, Sabatino joined IBM as a systems engineer for financial services. Over the next 21 years, she also served in sales, business development, management, and executive roles. She was the top regional manager, overseeing over 1,000 people and bringing $1 billion in annual revenues to IBM. In 1990, she joined Citibank, which had been one of her IBM clients. She developed the bank’s global cash management into a $3 billion annual business. She also launched the first e-commerce sites for consumers and businesses, winning awards from Citibank and representing the bank at US Treasury conferences.

In 2003, she rejoined IBM as it reinvented itself. Her focus was on clients and innovation, and she worked with Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, First Data Corp., and Bank of China. Her innovative solutions for global payments and her work to build trust with each client earned her awards from IBM. She lived in Beijing from 2013 to 2016 to repair IBM’s relationship with the Bank of China, resulting in over $1.3 billion in revenue over three years and the highest level of customer satisfaction. “I was the first international assignee to be so successful in China — using my leadership skills and ability to develop strong customer partnerships,” she says. She retired in 2018. Sabatino adopted a daughter, Nikki Xinyan, in Wuxi, China, in 1999. Sabatino’s clients appreciated her love of Chinese culture, shown by her making China a second home to herself and her daughter. Nikki is now a junior at Boston University.

Wagner Alumni Key

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

Monette McKay '07

Monette McKay ’07 came to the Wagner College Theatre program from her home in New Jersey, where she had won the Paper Mill Playhouse’s Rising Star Award. She performed multiple roles in WCT productions during her college career, including Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street, which led to her nomination for a Kennedy Center theater education scholarship.

Since graduating cum laude in 2007, McKay has worked steadily and at the highest levels in American professional theater, from the national tour and the Broadway cast of Mamma Mia! to Memphis and Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark. Not content to perform at high levels herself, McKay is also committed to teaching others to excel through programs like Broadway Classroom, Acting Out!, Broadway Workshop, and Camp Broadway. She is also a regular guest instructor at Wagner, where she teaches Broadway choreography, offers workshops, gives mock auditions, and served as a judge for Dance Project 2017. McKay has been a very active alumna, most recently bringing down the house with her performance at WCT’s 50th anniversary celebration. Whenever Wagner asks her for help — be it with a lecture, a performance or an ambassadorial role — McKay always says, “Yes!”

Monette McKay is not just a working actor; she is the model of a citizen/artist/activist. She co-founded the Artists of Color Collective, which provides training, workshops, and game-based education programming to facilitate dialogue around race and racism. McKay has used this experience in lectures to a Wagner class on Race, Performance and Activism. And, in all of her press and media materials, this young star of the American theater always — and proudly — announces her roots in the Wagner College Theatre program. That endorsement is seen in Playbills wherever she performs, from Australia to Broadway, elevating our reputation alongside those of the best training programs in the country.

Reverend Lyle Guttu Award

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

Marilyn Dobbin Kinelski '69

For many years, Marilyn Dobbin Kinelski ’69 has contributed to the needs of youth in her community as well as to the spiritual needs of her church and of people around the world. Kinelski earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Wagner in 1969. She sang in the choir, following in the footsteps of her mother, Martha Pettersen Dobbin. Kinelski’s most memorable professor was Dr. Thomas Kendris, and she also became close to President Arthur O. Davidson while serving as the Student Government Association secretary. She was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority.

Her first job was as a teacher, choir director, and drama coach at Eltingville Lutheran School in Staten Island. Next, she worked in student recruitment for Wagner, covering the East Coast. Moving to New Jersey, Kinelski became licensed as a New Jersey Certified Prevention Specialist and started working with youth advocacy programs and the prevention of tobacco use and substance abuse. She helped promote drug-free and healthy futures for youth through her work for Freehold Community Counseling Service and Prevention First in Ocean, N.J. She coordinated disability services and substance abuse prevention among people with disabilities as well. She served on the Howell Drug Alliance for many years.

Recently, she wrote a children’s book, Am I Important?, which teaches both self-esteem and grammar. Kinelski has been active in the Church of the Master, UMC, for decades. She also serves as District Lay Leader for the Northern Shore District of the United Methodist Church, and she is part of the Methodist Federation for Social Action. In addition, she is active in the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem, Grand Priory of the USA, Priory of St. George, serving as a prior for the State of New Jersey. This organization’s mission is to keep the roads to Jerusalem safe and to assist Christians at risk in the Holy Land. She represents the group in the United Nations’ Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations.

She and her husband, Kenneth Michael Kinelski, have a son, Robert, a daughter-in-law, Jamie, and a granddaughter, Ruby.