CNR Alumni at Mercy College
sUMMER 2021  

Welcome to the CNR Alumni Newsletter!

Eileen Niedzwiecki, CNR SAS '72

We would like to lead this issue with a tribute to Eileen Niedzwiecki, CNR SAS '72 who retired at the end of June as Director of Development CNR Alumni Relations, Mercy College. Eileen was honored June 9th with the CNR Legacy Award at the Mercy College Trustees' Annual Scholarship Gala.

Since her graduation from the College of New Rochelle 49 years ago this spring, Eileen Niedzwiecki has embodied the best of a CNR alumna - a lifelong love of learning, devotion to family, and friends, compassion, service to others and a commitment to her faith.
For some 15 of those 49 years, Eileen worked at CNR, first immediately after her graduation as Resident Director of Maura Hall; then in the 1990s through 2005 as Director of Alumni Relations, and from 2015 on as Director of Major Gifts and Planned Giving and Associate Vice President.

In the years in between her actual employment at CNR, when Eileen and her family lived in London, Chicago and San Francisco, as well as New Rochelle, she remained an active and engaged CNR alum. And Eileen’s other professional positions - including at St. Vincent’s Midtown Hospital, the Ursuline School in New Rochelle, and Mercy Center in the South Bronx -always reflected the Ursuline motto of “Serviam” or “I will serve.”
In August 2019, as the College of New Rochelle was closing, Eileen joined Mercy College as Director of Development CNR Alumni Relations to lead the transition of CNR Alumni. Eileen was the perfect person to take on the role. She has an encyclopedic knowledge of alums, not just by name or class but also with their family connections including aunts and cousins who also are alums.

Eileen also holds dear CNR traditions, values, and memorabilia. Her vision to pass these on to Mercy College, an institution with a similar foundation in service to others, prompted her to create the CNR Legacy Council and the CNR Legacy Scholarship Fund.

These achievements will be the capstone of her remarkable career in higher education and service to CNR, as she retires from Mercy and moves to Newport, Rhode Island, with her husband, Michael. Whatever the future holds, she will bring with her the same outstanding skills and talents - hard work, enthusiasm, attention to detail and interest in others. And Eileen promises, “I will always do my best as a CNR alumna to preserve our legacy and help the program in any way I can.”

For the alums fortunate enough to know her - and there are thousands going back to the earliest graduating classes - Eileen Niedzwiecki will remain not only the face of CNR, but also the heart and soul of our beloved alma mater. Thank you, Eileen. And thank you Michael, Kate, Allison, Sarah, and Alex for sharing the gift of this remarkable woman with us for five decades.

By Patricia Keegan Abels SAS ’73



Annalinda Pandolfi Ragazzo SAS ’74, CNR Alumni Communications Committee

and committee members:

Marianne Bachand Geiger SAS’55

Mary Ann Geraci Marriott SAS’59

Christine Morrison SAS’72

Patricia Keegan Abels SAS'73

Sister Susan Conte SAS ‘73

Rosa Puleo Napoleone SAS'75 

Sr. Angela Merici Prayer



CNR Survey Results

We would like to thank the 65 individuals who took the time to respond to our Newsletter survey. Although the majority of the respondents were SAS graduates, there was a good number from both SNR(15) and GS (3) graduates. Classes from 1952 to 2019 were represented. The most popular features were the CNR Diaries, Book Club News and book recommendations, and Alumni Interview. The special feature on the creche sale was well received. In terms of what people would be interested in seeing going forward, alumni news of all types was a consistent favorite, as was reunion news and CNR memories.
We welcome continued feedback from our readers so please send your feedback about this edition and suggestions for future issues to


Alumni Spotlight: Barbara Malley SAS '56

Barbara Malley SAS 56At 15 years old, Barbara Malley SAS ’56, read about the life of St. Therese and the saint’s decision that guided her life, “I choose everything.” While reflecting upon her experiences during one of the crossroads of her own life, Barbara was struck with the realization that this phrase seemed to capture her mantra as well - “I choose everything!” Indeed, it can be said Barbara has chosen everything. Throughout the course of her life, Barbara has been an Ursuline nun, an elementary and high school teacher, a wife, a publisher, a college professor, a psychotherapist, and an actor/singer.

Barbara, who also had two sisters that attended CNR, Jeanne Malley Smith SAS ’50 RIP and Susan Malley SAS ’70 RIP, grew up in Brooklyn as the second of five children in an Irish-Catholic family. She was encouraged by her parents and other family members to develop her skills and explore different experiences. Barbara’s mother and father became members of the Greenwich Village Players, and her grandfather was a regular singer in a Lower East Side vaudeville theater. Over the years she was often prodded by her father to perform at various family and neighborhood gatherings. These were the seeds sown early that fully blossomed in later years.

When it came time for college, Barbara entered CNR as a member of the Class of ’56 along with Sr. Pascal Conforti with whom she forged a lifelong friendship. In relating her initial impressions of CNR, Barbara says she was immediately taken in by the beautiful campus and by the various professors that she describes as real scholars. One early memory is that of walking into her first religious studies class with Father Moriarity who declared that there was no Garden of Eden. To Barbara this was a turning point in her life where she realized that she was being challenged to think differently. Barbara recalls several other professors from her CNR days who encouraged her to be open-minded and to seek the truth. Evidently, in much the same way that her early life laid the groundwork for performing, Barbara’s days at CNR formed a solid foundation for a life dedicated to continual learning.

After graduating with a major in English Barbara entered the Ursuline novitiate. She taught in the Ursuline Academy in both Bethesda, MD and Dedham, MA and obtained a master’s degree in English from Catholic University. By the way, Barbara’s religious name was Sr. Therese – sound familiar?

After leaving the order in 1968, Barbara returned to Brooklyn. She worked in the publishing field for a few years, then married and moved to Long Island to begin a 20-year stint as a teacher in Port Jefferson. After teaching English for seven years, Barbara returned to graduate school for a master’s degree in Special Education and then taught various special education students for several years. Barbara earned a degree in Psychology from the Florida Institute of Technology and, during a leave of absence, did a psychology internship. She returned to Port Jefferson to teach both psychology and special education and, after Barbara’s retirement from Port Jefferson, she became an adjunct professor at both Dowling College and the New York Institute of Technology. In 1992 Barbara obtained a Psychotherapist’s license and opened her own practice.

While practicing as a psychotherapist, Barbara started taking acting and singing lessons “just for fun”. After being signed by a manager in 2008 Barbara moved to New York City to fulfill a long-held dream of retiring there. Thus began the acting and singing work which has lasted for more than a decade.

Barbara has delved into many aspects of “show business,” focusing on cabaret singing and on-camera commercials. She has had eight solo cabaret shows and was nominated twice for a MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets) award, winning it once in 2016. Barbara claims she never knew herself to be a storyteller and yet she skillfully managed to weave vignettes of her life into her solo cabaret acts. Of note are “From Brooklyn to Broadway”, “I Remember Brooklyn”, and “Out of Order”, which is based on her 12 years as a nun.

Barbara has had principal roles in several commercials and has done occasional work in TV and film. Recent roles include Goldie in the second season of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and Bubbe in commercials for the American Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

With the onset of COVID-19 and its limitations, Barbara pivoted to an alternate medium, singing at 10 virtual open mics each month and coming together virtually with singers from all over the country and beyond.

When asked what comes next for her, although Barbara said that she doesn’t really know, she mentions writing a book. She has no regrets about her life and the various paths she has taken. She shared that she has experienced a natural growth process, that when an interest was sparked, she delved into it intensely but that when another interest presented itself, she jumped into that in much the same way. Throughout she has adopted a “don’t look back” philosophy.

In a recent interview, Barbara referred to music as “music is everything.” So, it seemed fitting to ask Barbara to choose a favorite song or favorite lyrics that would best describe her life. Although she does not have just one favorite song, “Something’s Coming” from “West Side Story” comes close. “It is great music and it’s totally upbeat and hopeful.”

   “Something's coming, I don't know what it is
   But it is gonna be great”

Barbara, whenever the next “something” comes your way, everyone is certain that “it is gonna be great”!

Note: You can view the musical interlude that Barbara Malley recently prepared in gratitude for the many gifts received from CNR and in celebration of her 65th CNR reunion, which includes her performance of “Something’s Coming,” at


By Rosa Puleo Napoleone SAS‘75 



CNR Diary, Volume 2


Editor's note: CNR Diary, a feature that debuted in the March edition of the CNR Alumni Legacy e-newsletter, received rave reviews from many readers.


Several already sent in a favorite memory for our next e-newsletter. 


To keep CNR Diary a “must-read” feature, we invite alums from all graduation years, each school, campus, and major to share an anecdote, vignette or slice of life from their days at CNR.  


Don’t know what to write about? Do you have a memory of an extracurricular activity – Gospel Choir, Glee Club, or Swimphony; a favorite professor or place on a campus; a meaningful, humorous, ironic or sad experience, or a college friendship still going strong? Those are just a few possible topics. 


Space limits the number of entries we can publish. Please limit your entries to 150 words. Please email your Diary entry to and mark “CNR Diary” in the subject line. Deadline for the next issue is September 1. 


We are looking forward to reading your CNR memories. 


Thank all of you who submitted CNR Diary items for this issue. Space limits the number we can publish. For future issues, please keep your entries to 150 words.


This issue's entries:


Sophomore year our Swimphony theme was "The Bullfight", Spanish matadors swimmers and lovely land-phony flamingo dancers. Our prop designed to sit atop the diving board was a huge "Ferdinand the Bull" holding a beautiful flower. Rosie Ciancaglini and her fantastic committee worked night and day in the ship of Maura creating this character out of paper mache. It was magnificent. One problem - when we went to move it for our dress rehearsal, we couldn't get it through the door of the Sports Building. Ugh! But the great minds of the class of 1971 solved the problem. Cut the boy in half and reassemble in the Sports Building. We certainly worked together to overcome unexpected challenges, a skill that has served me well for more than 50 years. And we certainly laughed a lot. I love CNR, all my classmates and all my friends.
Marlene Tutera SAS’71

One of my favorite memories at the SNR-Brooklyn Campus was the end-of-year food celebration in each class. There were so many types of food to sample, and everyone brought their specialty dish. The conversations were always enjoyable. This celebration built a sense of community, and family support.
Joanne Thorne SNR’01

Just before I graduated from CNR in 1953, my husband Don proposed to me, on bended knee, in the living room of Maura Hall. This is a particularly poignant memory because, amidst all the COVID cases last year, he passed away on May 8th from complications from RSV, a children's disease.
Joan McAndrews Brown SAS'53

My favorite memory was Graduation Day. I had been trying to complete my education for a while and when I heard that CNR was offering that chance - I was happy, and I went to work with my studies and maintained a full-time day job and good grades. It wasn't easy but most of the students were experiencing the same challenges. I had achieved a longtime goal. All the students had a pleasant smile and that helped.
Flossie-Flo-Canada SNR’92

Spring arrives and the first sight of a crocus brings to mind a loving encounter with Mother Thomas Aquinas…
With furrowed brow and late for class, I was hurrying along the path behind the Chapel, barely admiring the crocus in the flower bed, when I was stopped by ”Quiney.” Pouring my heart out at how stressed I was, she took my hand and asked,
‘What does it all mean in the light of eternity?’
I cannot begin to count the number of times I have quoted her in 60 years!!!
Marie Porco Rossi SAS ’60 



Pat Keegan Abels SAS 73

Communications Committee

Update Info

Book Recommendations

Change: How to Make Big Things Happen by Damon Centola… Professor Centola explores and develops old and newly researched principles of social change throughout history to the present. Most intriguingly he compares how a virus spreads to the principles needed to change thinking in social settings.

How Not to be Wrong, The Power of Mathematical Thinking by Jordan Ellenberg… If projections, percentages and infection rates have your thoughts in a muddle, Professor Ellenberg will help you sort it all out with logic and humor.

Irina’s Children by Tilar Mazzeo...Tells the story of Irina Sendler, who saved 2500 children from the Warsaw Ghetto during WW2.

A Train in Winter by Caroline Moorhead… Tells the story of French women in the Resistance movement in occupied France during WW2

West With the Night by Beryl Markham…Markham’s memoir of her life in Africa and as an aviatrix

Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paolo Freire and Allegory of the Cave by Plato are two books that continue to enlighten me… Freire and Plato understood that education is more than academic thought and desired that we explore misconceptions about education and how we learn. Well worth the read.

If the Creek Don’t Rise by Leah Weiss … For lovers of southern fiction, Ms. Weiss presents a North Carolina Mountain town, peopled with the usual suspects, until a mysterious stranger turns everything upside down.

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Gregory Boyle… a compilation of inspiring essays by Fr. Boyle, Executive Director of Homeboy Industries… drawn from his 20 years of experience working with gangs in LA, this is an inspiring, redemptive read that reminds us of the unstoppable power of unconditional love.

The Broken Circle: A True Story of Murder and Magic in Indian Country by Rodney Barker… recounts “The Chokecherry Massacre” in which three New Mexico high school students were charged with the murder of two Navajo men… a riveting and informative story of the US SW, with a focus on balance through a traditional indigenous framework and  cultural insights into an alternate view of justice.

The Eyre Affair by Jaspar Fforde… This is a novel for lovers of time travel, literature and detective stories… all rolled into one creative tale… this one doesn’t disappoint.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyassi… An amazing first novel... A sweeping novel tracing 300 years in Ghana and the US. The interweaving of generations of family stories read like poetry.

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart… Set in 1980’s Glasgow, Scotland and heralded as a blistering debut novel… Mr. Stuart weaves a heartbreaking story of addiction, sexuality and love against the backdrop of the travails of a working-class family during harsh economic years.

Ask Again Yes by Mary Beth Keane… Although a saga of two neighboring, suburban families, this novel does not devolve into the standard modern melodrama. Instead, it presents a powerful tale of friendship, love and forgiveness.

This Tender Land by William Kent Kruger … Kruger’s beautiful prose overcomes any of the sentimentality that sometimes drips from the page. With nods to Huckleberry Finn and the Odyssey, the story of these traveling orphans will captivate.

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson… A unique and important analysis of American society, defined by a hierarchy of human divisions or castes… This book will upend your thought process.

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann… In the 1920s some of the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian Nation in Oklahoma and then they started to be killed off… Meticulously researched and well-written David Grann brings to life a little-known and purposefully hidden dark occurrence in American history.

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry… A profound, sweeping and deeply moving novel, which will forever change your view of happiness, acceptance and inner peace. Ms. Mistry’s beautiful prose brings to life the sights, sounds, smells of an exotic India on the brink of political turbulence.

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead… Based on the history of an actual reform school in Florida, this is not a “fun” read but it is a powerful one. Mr. Whitehead utilizes an interesting writing style as he tells a deeply moving story about these boys from a detached almost dreamlike perspective. Imparts a deeper understanding of the stultifying effect of systemic racism and its tentacles.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett… An interesting take on twin sisters who seem “identical” until they run away and their lives veer off onto divergent paths.

Mercy and CNR Online Book Club 

Our online book club continues to flourish. This Spring we concluded reading The Midnight Library by Matt Haig with a Zoom discussion led by Nancy Harkins and Annalinda Ragazzo; followed by a webinar talk with author Haig on May 20. We are currently reading The Beauty in Breaking by Dr, Michele Harper; a riveting and insightful memoir of the author’s travails as an ER physician. If you haven’t already done so join our book club now to share in this inspiring read and join the webinar with author Michele Harper on July 21. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

In case you are wondering Nancy and Annalinda are taking a break for the summer and will return with more Zoom discussions in the Fall.

Finally, I can’t thank you all enough for the outpouring of book recommendations, which we received. Your response was amazing. In order not to overwhelm our audience with too many choices, we have limited the recommendation list to 20 books. All of your recommendations have been saved and will appear in future issues of this newsletter. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

One thing is certain CNR and Mercy Alum are extraordinary readers!


CNR Legacy Council Update


The May meeting was used to reflect on the past year and to plan for the upcoming 2021-22 year. More to come.

Reunion Summary


On June 12th, Mercy College hosted The College of New Rochelle Virtual Alumni Reunion. The theme for this year's reunion was The Meaning of Serviam. If you missed the live presentation, you can find it on YouTube here. 


In addition, CNR classes 61, 65, 70, 71, 75, and 81 held individual reunions via Zoom Meetings over the course of the weekend. These Zooms were coordinated by Class Officers and hosted by the Mercy Alumni Relations staff. Special thanks to them for assisting in bringing these classes together. 

A Short Course in Courtesy -
From the 1960s Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women Newsletter


The SIX most important words:

“I admit I made a mistake.”


The FIVE most important words:

“You did a good job.”


The FOUR most important words:

“What is your opinion?”


The THREE most important words:

“If you please.”


The TWO most important words:

“Thank you.”


The ONE most important word:



The LEAST important word:


Mercy College is Hiring

Mercy College is looking to hire a Director of CNR Alumni Engagement. Applicants who are College of New Rochelle alumni receive preferential consideration. Click here for the job requirements, responsibilities, and link to apply.

  Apply Here Button  

Digital Corner: Changing your Zoom Display Name

Your Zoom display name helps identify you to the other participants in your Zoom meeting, such as your classmates. For classmates who haven’t seen each other in a while, this becomes particularly important. Display names can often automatically default to an unrecognizable email or appear as a person who previously used that account. Never fear, you don’t have to be stuck with a profile window with a funny name again.
Here are the steps to change your display name while already connected to a Zoom room:

  1. From inside of the Zoom Room click on the "Participants" icon. For desktop computers, this is on the bottom center menu bar. For iPhones, it is on the top-right. A Participants bar will appear right side of the screen. Hover over your name and a "More >" button will appear.
  2. Click on the "Rename" button that will appear after you click on the "More >" button.
  3. Enter your new name in the "New Screen Name" field.

    After clicking the blue "OK" button, your new name will appear.

Alternatively, you may request the Zoom Host to change your name once the meeting has begun.

To learn about The CNR Legacy Scholarship Fund and to make a donation, click below:

  CNR Legacy Scholarship Fund  


CNR Alumni Relations
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