The longtime chair of Wagner College’s Board of Trustees, Dr. Warren Procci ’68 H’17, has passed the gavel to Joan Nicolais, former senior vice president for business development at CBS. Procci was named a lifetime trustee along with classmate Polly Moles ’68, who previously served on the board from 2002 to 2014.
The board also named four new members: Rev. Bishop Paul Egensteiner ’79, Jeffrey Forchelli ’66, Donna Mollica New ’68 and Anita Sabatino ’69.
Warren Procci was first elected to the board of trustees in 1999 and served as chairman of the executive committee from 2012 until this year. Dr. Procci, the son of native Staten Islander and local physician Waddie Procci ’36, is a former president of the American Psychoanalytic Association. He was awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters degree by his alma mater in 2017.
“I have a deep, enduring appreciation for Warren’s contribution to the Wagner community,” said Wagner College President Joel W. Martin. “He has been a great mentor and friend, and I look forward to his support as a lifetime trustee.”
Chairwoman Joan Nicolais was first elected a trustee in 2015, where she has chaired the Academic Affairs committee and serves on the Executive, Buildings & Grounds, Business & Finance, and Trustee Affairs committees. She is also a founding member of the Nicolais School of Business Advisory Council, guiding the development of the business program named in honor of her parents, Dr. Michael Nicolais ’49 H’14 and Dr. Margaret Christie Nicolais ’49 H’14.
“In the midst of this global pandemic, Joan has already been working tirelessly for Wagner College,” President Martin said. “Her partnership will be a key factor in our success today and for the future.”
Among the four newly elected trustees is the Rev. Paul Egensteiner ’79, bishop of the Metropolitan New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Egensteiner, elected bishop last year, was pastor of Emanuel Lutheran Church in Pleasantville, N.Y. for 22 years, previously leading the Immanuel Lutheran Church congregation on Staten Island from 1984 to 1997. He earned his master of divinity degree from the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago.
Jeffrey D. Forchelli ’66 previously served on the board from 2005 to 2014, also serving as trustee vice chairman. A graduate of Brooklyn Law School, in 1976 he founded the law firm known today as Forchelli Deegan Terrana, where he serves as managing partner. The practice concentrates on complex real estate and land-use matters. Forchelli is a trustee of Brooklyn Law School and previously served as counsel to the New York State Assembly and a director of Security Title & Guaranty Co. He served as a captain in the U.S. Army Reserves Judge Advocate General Corps.
Following the graduation of Donna Mollica New ’68 from Wagner College, where she was a member of Alpha Delta Pi, she earned a master’s degree in secondary education from Richmond College, known today as the College of Staten Island. In 1971 she moved to San Diego County where she was employed as the first female account executive for the Xerox Corporation. While at Xerox, she obtained her California real estate brokers license. In 1980, having been employed as an account executive for Pacific Bell since 1978, she was asked to move to the newly formed headquarters of American Bell in Morristown, N.J., where she served as the assistant to the vice president of marketing. In 1982, homesick for San Diego, she returned to California and put her real estate license to work. She remains an active managing partner in Donway Partners, a real estate brokerage firm in San Diego, Cal., which has to date “flipped” some 2,000 residential properties in San Diego County. New previously served on Wagner College’s Board of Trustees from 2003 to 2012, when she chaired the Buildings & Grounds Committee (during the reconstruction of Main Hall), was a member-at-large of the Executive Committee, and served on the Strategic Planning and Business & Finance committees. After leaving the Wagner College board, she joined the board of the San Diego Rescue Mission, where she served 5 years. She has been a very active member of Wagner College’s Alumni Association and was named the 2020 John “Bunny” Barbes ’39 and Lila T. Barbes ’40 Wagner Alumni Laureate, Wagner’s highest alumni service award.
Anita Sabatino ’69, a member of Alpha Delta Pi, graduated from Wagner with a degree in mathematics and earned an MBA from Fordham. Her long record of business leadership included service to IBM and Citibank before rejoining IBM as a managing director in 2003. She lived in Beijing for three years, where she helped repair IBM’s relationship with the Bank of China. She set up the first global mentoring program for top talent in IBM China and was a member of IBM’s executive team. She retired in 2018. Last year, Sabatino was named a Distinguished Graduate of Wagner by the college’s Alumni Association.
Polly Peck Moles ’68 has been named a lifetime trustee. A member of Alpha Delta Pi, she was an elementary education major and English minor at Wagner College, where she participated in the Bregenz study-abroad program during the 1965-66 school year. She taught elementary school in Connecticut and New Jersey before dedicating many years to volunteer service and leadership in her community. While serving on Wagner’s Board of Trustees from 2002 to 2014, she served on various committees and chaired the committees for Institutional Advancement and Buildings & Grounds. She was a founding member of the Alpha Delta Pi Scholarship Fund. Big supporters of Wagner athletics, she and husband Tom Moles ’65 H’00, a lifetime trustee, were instrumental in raising the funds for the Dr. Gregory P. Knapp ’66 H’00 Strength Room in the Spiro Sports Center. In 2015, the offices of the coaching and athletic administrative staff in the Spiro Sports Center were named the Moles Athletic Offices in recognition of the continuing support of Polly and Tom Moles. In 2018, the Alumni Association gave Polly Moles its highest honor, naming her that year’s John “Bunny” Barbes ’39 and Lila T. Barbes ’40 Wagner Alumni Laureate.
“Our new trustees are people of high character and great talent, and they will bring immeasurable value to the college,” President Martin said. “They are leaning in to support Wagner during a crucial moment in our history. Their commitment is an attestation to Wagner’s promise and an expression of continued confidence in our mission.”