Communication Department Honors Four Alumni

The Communication Department honored four University graduates for their personal and professional achievements during an induction ceremony into the Alumni Academy’s first inaugural class.

Each of the four inductees shared the impact that their communication degrees from the University made on their careers.

Haskell Berman, the Senior Vice President of State Affairs for the HealthCare Institute of New Jersey, said he uses the communication skills he learned every day in his profession.

Alitia Faccone, 1986 alumnus, told the audience she carries a “pearl of wisdom” with her from every communication class she took at the University.

Berman said on a day to day basis he is drafting legislation, writing speeches, and working on campaigns, government relations and public affairs, which he said he learned while attending the University.

“These are skills which I first learned at Monmouth,” said Berman. “And where I was presented with opportunities to practice, such as The Outlook, on WMCX and student government, to name a few,” he continued.

Communication skills are valuable to every student, regardless of their professions, Evan Krachman, who works in the Medical Division of Sony Electronics, said. “Monmouth University set the stage for me to challenge the norm and relatively think and solve problems; this is a skill that I believe all majors should utilize,” he added.

Jim Hickey, the Chair of the Communication Department Council, said each of the inductee’s speeches made it “evident that none of them have forgotten what being an MU student did for them and how the University was so instrumental in helping to shape their adult lives.”

To allow the inductees to also share their experiences and achievements with students, Chad Dell, Chair of the Department of Communication, invited the inductees to speak during the 4th annual Communication Career Fair held prior to the induction ceremony on March 3. “I think each of them stands out as someone we would like to present to our current students as an example of a life well lived,” said Dell.

Each inductee spoke on a panel during the fair and gave students advice for the future. “I consider being asked-and having the opportunity to-speak to the students a privilege,” said Faccone. College is a stressful and exciting time for students, she explained. Therefore, she hoped to ease the student’s fears of post-graduation through her guidance.

Faccone’s advice for students: work diligently toward your goals and follow your passion. “Don’t think you have to make a life decision about a career today, as your mind and career may change many times,” she said.

During the Communication Career Fair, Berman shared his thoughts on transitioning from college into the working world and advised students to enjoy their time in school. “It’s a great time … choose opportunities for the right reasons. Do what interests you and what you enjoy,” he added.

The goal in creating the Alumni Academy is to honor the graduates and create a model for students to look up to, Dell explained. The department wanted to give students a goal to aim towards and in creating the academy, they made that possible, he said.

The honorees were selected by a nomination committee of three faculty members. The candidates were chosen based on the successes they have exemplified and the examples they have created through careers, Dell said.

“We simply wanted to find a way to honor and shine a spotlight on some of the really exceptional folks who have come out of the department and graduated from Monmouth and have gone on to do amazing things,” said Dell.

The original idea to create the Communication Department Alumni Academy was delivered by Hickey. He was inducted into the communication Alumni Academy at his undergraduate college, West Michigan University, and felt the academy would be a great addition to the University.

“The Alumni Academy is a valuable and exciting way for the University and the Department of Communication to say to its alums, ‘We are proud of you when you were students and we are just as proud of your accomplishments since you graduated from MU,'” Hickey said.

The inductees were each shocked and flattered to be given such a prestigious award. “I am not worthy,” Faccone thought as Dell originally told her the good news. “After the initial shock wore off, however, I gave myself permission to be flattered and honored.”

“As I said at the induction dinner, to me there is no greater honor than to be recognized by either your peers or alma mater,” Berman said. “In the case of the latter, these are people who knew you as a young student starting out and now are saying that you have done well and achieved a level of success.”

For more on the Alumni Academy Induction, check out Evan Krachman’s account of the night.

PHOTO COMPILED by Angela Ciroalo