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Last updateThu, 21 Feb 2019 11am

News

Creator of Puerto Rican Superhero visits Monmouth

Puerto Rican SuperheroThe University community welcomed comic artist and writer Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez on Thursday, Oct. 11 in Wilson Hall Auditorium to talk about the cultural significance of the Afro-Latina superhero he created, La Borinqueña.

Miranda-Rodriguez created the fictional character to bring the often-overlooked problems facing Puerto Rico to the forefront of popular media. According to him, interest in the character’s stories grew after the recent hurricane that affected residents of the commonwealth, and his stories have now become an avenue to raise awareness and funds for the affected Puerto Ricans using local community outreach programs, through his work to create a grant program that supplies funding for reconstruction efforts.

“[La Borinqueña] is a strong, independent college student born and raised in Brooklyn, who returns to the island to conduct research for her senior thesis,” explained Paul Humphrey, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of World Languages and Cultures, who also serves as a member of the Hispanic Heritage Month Planning Committee. “While there, she becomes a superhero, La Borinqueña, whose name is a reference to the indigenous Taíno name for the island, Borinquen or Boriken.”

For Miranda-Rodriguez, this project represents a personal way of giving back to the region of his ancestry. “Although Puerto Rico does not have its own autonomy politically, I strongly felt that, as a puertorriqueño (person of Puerto Rican origin), I had the autonomy…to decide how I wanted to help my people…That is how I continue to do this work (helping with reconstruction), and it started out with one little comic book character I created because I wanted to create a conversation.”

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University Mourns Passing of Professor Eugene Simko

default article imageThe University celebrated the life of Eugene “Gene” Simko, Ph.D., in the Great Hall of Wilson Hall on Oct. 11 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Simko passed away on June 12, 2018.

Simko was a professor of the Leon Hess Business School and had a career that spanned for 40 years. He received tenure in 1984 and won the Distinguished Teacher Award shortly after in 1989. Simko was a multifaceted professional, serving on various committees including chair of the Faculty Council, Associate Provost, and the Roberts’ Teaching Award Committee. In 2018, Simko took on the role of faculty marshall for the Graduate Commencement ceremony. 

“He (Simko) loved Monmouth, and a few times I’d jokingly call him Mr. Monmouth,” reminisced Scott Jeffrey, Ph.D., an associate professor of management and decision sciences. Jeffrey met Simko about eight years ago when he started at the University as a professor. They bonded over working in the same department and often had lunch together, quickly going from colleagues to life-long friends. 

Jeffrey commented the first thing that came to mind when he thought of his friend and colleague was his voice. “You always heard his booming voice when he was talking to somebody,” remembered Jeffrey. Being an extremely well connected and an extrovert, it wasn’t uncommon to see Simko talking to faculty and students on campus.

Simko played a crucial role in the business school that is not being taken lightly by the business community. “On behalf of Beta Gamma Sigma (business honor society) and the students within the Leon Hess Business School, we would like to say that we are deeply saddened for the passing of Dr. Gene Simko,” stated Joe Firetto, a first year MBA student and president of Beta Gamma Sigma. “The cultural and academic impact he has made at our university is unparalleled with his 30+ years of experience teaching the business leaders of today and tomorrow.”

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Football to Play Rutgers in 2020

Football Rival RutgersMonmouth Athletics announced the football team will travel to Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and in-state opponent Rutgers for the first matchup in program history on Sept. 5, 2020 at HighPoint.com Stadium in Piscataway.

This game marks the first time Rutgers has played an in-state school since its last matchup with Princeton in 1980 and the first for the two schools.

“It is an indication on how we have grown as a football program since 1993,” said Football Head Coach Kevin Callahan. “It shows the growth of the program and where it is heading. We are going to have quite a challenge in front of ourselves in 2020 as the Rutgers program continues to grow and develop under Head Coach Chris Ash. It is a challenge we welcome and it is a challenge we are excited for.”

Rutgers will pay Monmouth $375,000 for the game, according to the game contract obtained through a public records request.  Morgan State, Rutgers’ most-recent FCS opponent, was paid $350,000 for its visit to Piscataway last fall. FBS opponents pay opponents for home games, like Monmouth and other Football Championships Subdivision (FCS) school. The money will go into the general revenue for athletics, according to Marilyn McNeil, Ph.D., Vice President and Director of Athletics.

Monmouth will also be allotted 400 complimentary tickets, 1,000 tickets to sell to its fans, 70 programs, 60 sideline passes and up to 15 all-access passes for VIPs. The Monmouth band, cheerleaders and mascot will also be admitted for free, according to public records.

According to McNeil, the matchup became possible after football joined the Big South Conference in 2014 after being the Northeast Conference (NEC). “It became a serious possibility when we joined the Big South when we increased scholarships. We have been always interested in playing Rutgers, but once we got the scholarships and were able to play Rutgers it was, ‘Why not play them?’”

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University Transitions to Under Armour Apparel

Under Armour Apparel 1The University has made a transition in its athletic apparel from its former sponsor, Nike, to Under Armour (UA) over the past year. The multi-year contract was announced on Nov. 30, 2016, and the transition in athletic apparel and team uniforms began on July 1, 2017.

Senior Associate Athletics Director Jonathan Roos said that when the Nike contract was coming to an end, Monmouth Athletics decided to initiate a bidding process. Nike had priority bidding, and the company wanted to renew their partnership. However, Roos said that UA’s package was much more enticing. 

This year-long bidding process was not only between Nike and UA. Roos explained that Adidas and lesser-known brands, such as Russel Athletic, were also among the potential bidders. Roos negotiated all the terms of the partnership and is now The University’s representative for UA.

Marilyn McNeil, Ph.D., Vice President and Director of Athletics commented and said, "I believe that the drive, passion and goals of Under Armour closely match what we are trying to achieve as an Athletics Department. Their commitment to constant product research and development coupled with their relentless marketing efforts will help to continue to push Monmouth Athletics to the forefront of Division I.”

McNeil explained that UA were aggressive in getting this deal done, actively recruiting Monmouth Athletics to become part of their brand. “This partnership will provide numerous benefits to our student-athletes, coaches and staff for years to come," McNeil added.

The five-year contract with UA will end June 30, 2022. The official press release on the Monmouth Athletics website states, “The partnership includes all footwear, uniforms and training footwear and apparel for Monmouth student-athletes, coaches and administrators.” 

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Founders' Day Celebrated with Social Justice Guest Speaker and Ceremony

Founders Day 1Members of the community gathered to celebrate the University’s 85th  anniversary of Founders’ Day. The Convocation Ceremony took place in Pollak Theatre on Wednesday, Oct. 10. 

Founders’ Day is a campus-wide event that celebrates Monmouth University’s founding in 1933. The first Founders’ Day was held in 1983 as a part of the University’s 50th anniversary celebration and has since become a University tradition.

The Convocation Address is delivered by a guest selected by the University each year. This year the speaker selected was New Jersey’s Secretary of Higher Education, Zakiya Smith Ellis, wherein she is responsible for policy development and coordination of higher education activities for the state. She was awarded an honorary doctorate of public service. 

“The history of Monmouth University is rich and deep, and steeped in public service,” said Ellis in her address. “It is wonderful that that spirit of service remains with the institution to this day.” 

Ellis said that the purpose of education is to prepare individuals for life as a public citizen, and that she has been able to harness her own passion for teaching others and utilize it in advising policymakers. Ellis served as a senior advisor for education at the White House Domestic Policy Council and in the U.S. Department of Education, where she proposed solutions to respond to issues like access to higher education, and college affordability and completion.

“Whatever your idea is; whatever it is that you think would make the world a better place, there’s a place to bridge your passion and that idea in public service,” she said. “Figure out your passion and figure out a way to make your own place in public service.” 

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New Washing Machines Installed in Campus Dorms

default article imageNew app-based, high tech, and high-efficiency Washlava washers and dryers were placed in all on-campus halls before the Fall 2018 semester. 

 The new laundry machines are run by an app called Washlava, a student only needs to download the app, create an account, and attach a debit or credit card. The app allows students to pay for their loads of laundry by simply holding their phones near the machine. Students are also able to reserve machines for up to ten minutes.

 The new machines cost $2.00 for one load in both the washer and dryer. Washlava determined the pricing for the machines. Jessica Aguilar, a sophomore and an Oakwood Hall resident, said, “The convenience and upgrade were necessary, but the price increase should not have happened.”

The Washlava app allows students to monitor the machine’s progress they are currently using and notifies them of the cycle completion. Gina Urbanik, a sophomore and an Oakwood Hall resident, said, “The app makes it more efficient, no longer do I need to set a timer for my laundry. The app notifies me when my load is done.”  

The new machines provided by Washlava are brand new LG commercial laundry machines. Pillar said, “The new machines are 1.5 times larger than the old ones. Therefore, students get three loads for the price of two.” 

The machines are also “HE” machines. Pillar said, “The washers are high efficiency and have advanced water technology. Therefore, students are only required to use ¼ cup of detergent or 1 “pod,” ½ to ¾ less. The machines also have smart water technology, reducing the water needed.” 

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DJ Spooky Performs at Pollak Theatre

DJ SpookyPaul D. Miller, also known as DJ Spooky, performed on Tuesday Oct. 2nd in Pollak Theatre. Miller came to the University to showcase his work on bringing music and climate change together in a contemporary approach to promoting awareness of global warming.

 The event is part of ArtNow, a performance and lecture series organized by a committee of faculty members that aims to bring events focusing on performance, technology, and art to campus. DJ Spooky’s performance at the University was also co-sponsored by The Urban Coast Institute, Honors School, Department of Chemistry and Physics, and Monmouth Review.  

The formatting of Miller’s performance included hearing passages of his book along with music remixes. Audience members also heard the method to the madness behind his book. “Tonight’s going to be a little bit about some of my written work and then part of it’s going to be a conversation between some of the places I visited and the process of writing my book,” stated Miller.

Miller was accompanied by Shadow Lawn chamber players, a string quartet that made the melodies Miller mixed possible. One of the University’s own music faculty members, Michael Gillette, a specialist professor of music and theatre arts, was one of the instrumentalists.

Tarin McGee, a senior graphic design student appreciated Miller’s artistic approach. “A concert event that was visually and sonically exciting,” noted McGee.

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Improvements Made to Athletic Facilities

Athletic FacilitiesSo Sweet A Cat Field and E. Todd Murray Track inside Kessler Stadium received new surfaces for the Field Hockey and Track and Field Programs over the summer of 2018.

According to Marilyn McNeil, Ph.D., Vice President and Director of Athletics, the cost of the new field and track were combined. The funds for the projects came from the University capital project plan, which is used for projects throughout the campus.

So Sweet A Cat Field, home to the University Field Hockey team, received upgrades over the summer that were finished in time for their home-opener against Ohio University on Aug. 26. According to Monmouth Athletics, the field is a “new water-based turf.  The Field Turf Hockey Gold Synthetic Turf System, is a tufted polyethylene surface designed for the highest levels of competition.  The player-friendly product is built with a uniquely engineered polyethylene filament to allow it to retain memory and have exceptional durability.”

“[So Sweet A Cat Field] is a showcase field and allows us to attract a high level of university competitors to Monmouth,” said McNeil. “We have scheduled teams such as Villanova, Bucknell and Vermont to Monmouth. That would not have happened with the quality of the field that we have installed. The field also helped in having an invitation extended to Monmouth to compete in the America East conference, which is one of the best in the nation for field hockey. We will begin our tenure with the America East in 2019.”

“I love [the turf] so much and the difference shows,” said senior forward Kelly Hanna. “The old turf had so many bumps and just was getting old. My fellow seniors and I are lucky to play on the new turf for our last year here.”

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University Launches New Suicide Prevention Program

Suicide Prevention 1A Competent Community Initiative, a new federally-funded suicide prevention initiative officially launched at the University on Sept. 30, after a meeting with the leadership on campus on Sept. 26. The initiative aims to strengthen and broaden infrastructure to prevent suicide on campus.  

This initiative is designed to help young adults by strengthening their bonds with general health, mental health, and substance abuse services at the University, according to Scott. This is the second time that the University has been a recipient of the Garret Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention Grant.  The award is worth $101,963 and will be renewable in three years, making the total close to eclipsing the $306,000 mark. 

The “Connect to Wellness: A Competent Community Initiative” is being led by Michelle Scott, Ph.D., Director of the SRF Suicide Prevention Research and Training Project in the School of Social Work. “The focus of that 3-year grant was training campus members, key campus gatekeepers, and on- and off- campus mental health providers as well as to develop public awareness messaging and programming regarding mental health challenges, suicide risk and help seeking,” Scott explained of the goals of the three-year grant.

“Identifying and helping students who are at risk for self-harm as a result of this stress could potentially save lives,” said Jaimie Goodwin-Uhler, Ph.D.   

Goodwin-Uhler, a specialist professor of psychology and counseling psychologist further explained the importance of suicide prevention programming “Programming and resources dedicated to preventing suicide among our students is essential,” stated Goodwin-Uhler. “Suicide remains one of the leading causes of death among university students, who are not only susceptible to all the mental health concerns of the general population, but who are also dealing with a time of great transition and, potentially, stress.” 

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Urban Coast Institute Honors Former New Jersey Governors

Urban Coast GovernersThe University’s Urban Coast Institute (UCI) honored former New Jersey Governors Thomas Kean and James Florio at the 14th Annual Coastal and Ocean Champion Awards at Wilson Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 9.

Florio and Kean received the UCI’s highest honor, the National Ocean Champions Award, for their advocacy in environmental and coastal protection in office, and their current leadership in the New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance (NJCAA). The NJCAA is a network of partner organizations dedicated to enhancing New Jersey’s capacity to plan for and respond to climate changes. 

“Governors Jim Florio and Tom Kean are well deserving of UCI’s National Ocean Champions award,” said Tony MacDonald, Director of the UCI.  He explained that Florio’s and Kean’s many actions over the years have led to, “the reduction of marine debris, the phase out of ocean dumping, opposition to offshore oil and gas development, and support for protection of the Jersey Shore we all love,” which led to the UCI’s decision to honor the governors with this prestigious award. 

MacDonald explained that for 14 years, the UCI has brought national and state leaders to the University in order to acknowledge and honor their work and commitment to coastal and ocean issues. “Hopefully, bringing leaders of this stature to campus will inspire our students and local leaders, as well as to reflect to the broader community UCI’s and Monmouth’s aspiration to be a center of expertise to inform ocean and coastal management efforts,” he said.

“As an ocean research and policy institute within ‘The Coastal University,’ we feel a special obligation to shore communities on timely marine issues. Each year this event brings nationally respected leaders and scientists to Monmouth for a valuable dialogue with students, faculty, and members of the public,” said Karl Vilacoba, the UCI’s Communication Director

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Hispanic Heritage Celebrated

Hispanic Heritage 1The University held the first ever opening ceremony for Hispanic Heritage Month on Monday, Sept. 17, marking the beginning of a series that will run through Friday, Oct. 19.

The event began with a lively musical performance and dancing in front of Wilson Hall, followed by a flag parade to Anacon Hall in the Rebecca Stafford Student Center for a keynote speech by Wilda Diaz, Mayor of Perth Amboy, and a dance performance by Alborada, a Spanish dance company based in New Jersey. 

The event was organized by the Hispanic Heritage Month Committee with the sponsorship of the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost, the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Gourmet Dining, and the Educational Opportunity Fund Program, among others. The theme of the series of events is “One Endless Voice to Enhance our Traditions.”

“One of the things I always tell students is that when you come to Monmouth University, you’re coming to get an education and a degree, but you’re also coming to broaden yourself as people and individuals,” said University President Grey Dimenna, Esq., while introducing Diaz. “One of the greatest opportunities you have while you’re here at the University is the ability to meet people from different backgrounds, different cultures, different religions, and get a better understanding of the people that make up our wonderful country.”

“I think it’s really important that we celebrate diversity and most importantly celebrate who we are as students,” said Diaz in her keynote speech, highlighting that the month of events was a great step toward appreciating the Latino culture that she proudly represents as the only Latina mayor in New Jersey. “We can’t continue to allow the [current presidential administration] to diminish and be so disconnected with the Latinos and Hispanics of this nation that only come here to live the American dream and make contributions by their hard work,” Diaz continued.

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Contact Information

CAMPUS LOCATION
The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

MAILING ADDRESS
The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey
07764

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu