The CNR Alumni Newsletter is published to keep the alumni community informed of the latest news and events. 
CNR Alumni at Mercy College
spring 2021  

Welcome to the CNR Alumni Newsletter!

“…When day comes we step out of the shade, aflame and unafraid…” Inaugural Poem, Amanda Gorman, Youth Poet Laureate, January 20, 2021

Having been fortunate enough to receive my second COVID vaccination recently, I certainly feel as though I have stepped out of the shade. And while the task of vaccinating billions of people worldwide is monumental, the task is at hand, and hope is visible and palpable in the faces and voices of so many once more.

Welcome to the second issue of the CNR Legacy Alumni Newsletter.

In addition to Legacy Council Committee updates and reunion news, this issue contains several new features we hope will become regular features: A Spotlight Interview - this time with Gayon Earle who was among the first CNR students to complete her degree at Mercy College, the CNR Diary (short anecdotal remembrances of life at CNR), and Alumni Book Recommendations. Please check out the links provided below.

Most importantly, this Newsletter is for you and about you. Please complete the short survey click here so that we can accomplish that task.

May the Redemptive Spirit of Easter bless us all!



Annalinda Pandolfi Ragazzo ’74, CNR Alumni Communications Committee

and committee members:

Marianne Bachand Geiger ’55

Mary Ann Geraci Marriott ’59

Christine Morrison ’72

Patricia Keegan ’73

Rosa Puleo Napoleone ‘75 

From the Legacy Council Leaders

We are well into 2021, and with every day the light of hope seems to be flickering brighter. Even in these unorthodox times, we are forever grateful for the ties that bind – for The College of New Rochelle – and for the Mercy College support that enables our connections to flourish.

Thank you for the wonderful feedback we received from our inaugural newsletter. We are deeply indebted to Annalinda Pandolfi Ragazzo SAS ‘74 and the Communications Committee for making this publication a reality.


We hope that you enjoy these updates and the effort to keep the spirit of CNR alive. We invite you to join any of our committees that spark your interest and encourage your participation in the diverse activities being sponsored.


In the last year, we have all learned the value of staying connected, if only from a distance. Please stay in touch with your CNR Alumni community as well!

- Marlene Melone and Rosa Napoleone




Alumni Spotlight: Gayon Earle CNR Cohort

G. Earle

Gayon Earle began her studies in the accelerated second-degree program in the School of Nursing at CNR in the fall of 2018. After five semesters of intense pursuit of her long-time goal of becoming a nurse, and with the help of dedicated faculty and caring classmates, Gayon graduated from Mercy College in May 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She soon passed the licensure exam, and now works as a Registered Nurse in the Hartford HealthCare system at St. Vincent's Medical Center in Connecticut.

“I have always wanted to be a nurse,” she declared. But her journey to that end took a circuitous route over many years. The closing of CNR after her second semester was just the most recent of many unexpected challenges that Gayon has turned into opportunities.

"This isn't a second, third or even a fourth career," she said, with a laugh.

First steps on the path were taken when her family emigrated to New York from Jamaica. At a Westchester high school Gayon aspired to become a writer, started a student literary magazine, and received literary awards then and in college. She chose Trinity College in Washington, DC to pursue her academic and career dreams on a small campus that offered a "strong experience of sisterhood." By taking advantage of the option to also attend courses at Howard University, she became one of the first women to graduate from Trinity with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration. Her first job at a bank in the DC area led to an M.B.A. and valuable career and life skills gleaned from mentors and leadership programs. But she still had her eye on nursing.

Read More

Update Info

Oral History Project Update
Last Chance! CNR Oral History Project


College of New Rochelle graduates have been effusive, recording more than 5,500 stories, uploading photos, and sharing nearly 15,000 important new contact data points! You have created a treasury that will now live forever in the Library of Congress and at Mercy College as well as in our hearts and minds. Thank you to all who have participated!

If you haven’t yet memorialized your time at CNR, call 1-888-920-1772 by April 2, 2021, to do so.

We eagerly anticipate the publication of the hard copy book in October and the digital library of stories to be featured at upcoming events.


CNR Diary, Volume 1


If you enjoy reading the “Manhattan Diary” in the New York Times weekend Metropolitan section, check out these anecdotes in our CNR Diary.  We look forward to sharing your recollections in future issues.  Just send them to with CNR Diary in the subject line.  We will include your name, school, and year to add a little context to the stories.

 “I used to play guitar for noon liturgies in the" fishbowl" at least once a week. Those liturgies were so special due to the intimacy of the space, the limited number of people who attended, and the words of the celebrant. I always felt that it was a little gift where I could "center" myself and then continue on. Providing music for those liturgies was something I will never forget as part of my CNR years. I became active in parish liturgy after I married and settled on Long Island and while providing music there was a whole different entity, those noon masses at CNR forever remain in my heart!!!!”

     - Kathy Dragone Wick, SAS '74

 I arrived at CNR in the fall of 1969, loving theatre (and rooting for the Mets). One of the reasons I was excited about living in New Rochelle was its proximity to New York City--and Broadway! My parents, who shared a love of musical theatre, had ensured that as a very young child I was humming along to Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Loewe. But it was Dr. Elizabeth Brophy, a professor in (and later chair of) the English Department, who taught me that the words of the seminal modern dramatists--Ibsen and Chekhov, Miller and Williams--could likewise sing. And she didn't stop at lectures and recitations--no, Dr. Brophy also booked transportation and brought us en masse to see classic live theatre, often productions of the Repertory Theatre of Lincoln Center. I'll never forget seeing a pre-"Godfather" Al Pacino as Kilroy in Tennessee Williams' "Camino Real." Theatre has for me remained a lifelong passion, due in no small part to Betty Brophy--a peerless educator.

     - Pat Lamb Isgro SAS ‘73

Here is a favorite CNR love story – In the summer of ‘72, my husband Michael and I moved into Maura Tower where we lived for the next four years while I was Hall Director.  In the summer of ’73, my roommate Susan McElduff whose mother was Ursula Toomey ’49 married my dear friend from high school, Tony Kiernan whose mother was Elizabeth O’Hara ’39 and sister is Ellen ’67.  Susan and Tony were married in Holy Family Chapel with a fairytale reception in a tent on Maura Lawn decorated with black-eyed susans gathered along the highways and byways of New Jersey.  It was magical and they lived happily ever after until death did them part the summer of ’21 when Tony left this earthly life for his heavenly reward.  He surely rests in peace.


     - Eileen Niedzwiecki SAS ‘72   


Have you ever given a rating on TripAdvisor for someplace you never even stayed?  If it were possible, I would give Gym Motel 5 stars. I didn't even have a boyfriend when it was introduced, but I knew it was a game-changer for my friends that did.  During the week you could buy a ticket for $2.00 which allowed your male guest the privilege of putting a sleeping bag on the floor of the gym (old Sports Building, pre-Wellness Center) and getting a towel to take a shower in the morning.  A limited number of cots were available on a first-come basis.  Boyfriends actually left the dorms before the last bell in order to be one of the lucky few.  They could then enjoy Sunday brunch in the caf which was the best meal of the week.

Amazingly this seemed like a perfectly logical solution at the time, and we were thrilled to have it!

     -Nancy Harkins SAS ‘75


A Look Back at the Creche Sale in the Castile - 2020


Just one year ago, our common trauma was the closing of The College of New Rochelle.  Who could have imagined the next 12 months?  As we look back to ponder our losses and remind ourselves of our blessings, it seems very fitting to recall that the last time we freely chatted in Leland Castle parlors was the weekend of February 28/March 1 at the sale of the Kate Canty Creche Collection, generously offered to CNR alumni and friends by Dr. Eileen Maxwell Canty, Class of 1955, beloved professor in the psychology department, friend, and role model to all.    

We roamed the tables in awe and delight at the amazing display of nativity scenes made of so many materials from so many places.  The creativity was astounding.  Ranging from humble straw and nails, to finest porcelain and precious metals; as small as a thimble or three feet high, each carefully crafted piece lovingly collected by Eileen told the story of the birth of Christ through the eyes of believers around the world.  Alumni snapped photos to email to friends who couldn’t be there.  We overheard promises to purchase the favored pieces and save them’ til they met.  One class chose a creche that neatly packed into a basket stable to set out when classmates gathered no matter where or what time of year.

Fast forward to Christmas 2020.  Holiday greetings with pics to showcase the creches in their new homes and messages expressing the joy of integrating the lovely scenes into family traditions were a touching surprise.  Thank you, Eileen Canty!  Once more, you have shared your faith and love with us.

Click here for photos. 


Reunion Update
What's Happening with Reunion?!


We are celebrating 30 classes!  Everyone in the 0s and 5s, as well as everyone in the 1s and 6s.


Because there are still so many uncertainties – state guidelines, travel restrictions, the wide range of comfort levels in groups, etc. – we will stay with the decision to celebrate virtually.  Updated class directories to facilitate your inter-class communications are now being prepared and we are beginning to meet with individual class planning committees. 


Many of you have taken advantage of the flexible opportunities that virtual meetings offer.  No cost or geographic restrictions, no travel or hotel reservations to make, hardly any need to choose between a family occasion or visiting with classmates.  Most likely you can do both!  Plans are underway for a presentation that will be available to everyone and many great ideas for each class to do their own thing are percolating.   


Keep your eyes open for communications from our office as well as from your Class Committee.  We anticipate that the reunions will be spread over several weeks in late May and June in order to accommodate everyone.  One class is even considering holding off until September.  Once again, the virtual format allows us to schedule the events on weekdays, weekends, daytime or evening, according to the wishes of the majority in the class.  Making time to be together is a very special gift you can give to one another this year.


Stay tuned!


Marlene Melone Tutera ’71
Rosa Puleo Napoleone ‘75
Nancy Harkins ‘75
Tara Alfano ‘02

Networking and Career Development

The Networking and Career Development Committee is introducing a new feature to provide alumni-owned small businesses exposure among fellow alums. We will place the postings on a page of the Mercy/CNR Alumni website that will look very similar to the community ads often seen on the back of church bulletins. If you wish to be included, email your camera-ready business card ad to with the subject line Business Ad. We want to support your efforts!

On January 14th a meeting was held with staff of Mercy College’s Career and Professional Development Office to discuss ways in which, working jointly, we can engage our alumni in raising awareness of opportunities that exist for both students and alumni in the areas of internships, job shadowing, and employment. We are currently developing the mechanism and will communicate specifics once they are in place.

Are you seeking new employment? The Office of Career and Professional Development has extended access to Mercy College's job portal, Handshake. To request login credentials, please email with the subject line: Handshake Login Request and your class year. Your login will be sent to you within 2 business days.

We remind you to watch for news of Mercy-sponsored Career Fairs, Virtual Recruitment sessions, and Career Education events which are open to all CNR alumni.

-Rosa Puleo Napoleone ‘75

Mercy and CNR Online Book Club 

Our Online Book Club continues to grow and engage. Starting in March we’ll be delving into The Midnight Library: A Novel by Matt Haig. It’s never too late to join our merry group of readers. Sign up here.

Annalinda Pandolfi Ragazzo ’74 and Nancy Harkins ’75 returned on February 16 for a live Zoom discussion of Beartown by Frederick Backman. It would be remiss not to thank Noel Melliza for the outstanding contributions he makes, not only as a reader but also in ensuring that all technical aspects run smoothly.

Finally, for those who love to read but can’t commit to a book club schedule, we have started our list of alumni-recommended books. Since March is National Women’s History month, we’ll begin with books highlighting intriguing, interesting women, and relatable women’s issues. The list will continue to grow with additional themes and your recommendations! Help us expand this resource by sending title, author, and a few sentences to say why this book is a good read to with BOOK Recommendation in the subject line. See our first suggestions below:

Notes on a Silencing, A Memoir by Lacy Crawford…A survivor’s story… Beautifully written and insightful, this is the gut-wrenching true story of a teenage girl assaulted not only by the teenage boys who brutally raped her but by an elite institution that silenced her and countless other young women.

Lady in Red: An Intimate Portrait of Nancy Reagan by Sheila Tate…Interesting portrayal and behind the scenes account of former First Lady, Nancy Reagan compiled by Sheila Tate, who served as her press secretary.

The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict… Written in first-person diary format, this historic novel tells the fascinating story of Hollywood legend, Hedy Lamarr. Well known for her beauty and acting talent, Hedy also had a brilliant mind. Most remarkably Hedy along with George Antheil co-invented a frequency- hopping spread spectrum communication for torpedo guidance.

The Indigo Girl by Natasha Boyd … A fictionalized account of another real person, Eliza Lucas. Set in the period from 1739 to 1744 and based on historical records, this novel recounts how 16-year-old Eliza, left in charge of her father’s 3 plantations in rural South Carolina, brought the indigo crop and dye process to South Carolina.

The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson … Although not the best-written book, this historical novel is worth recommending as it tells the fascinating and little-known history of the Pack Horse Librarian Program during the Depression and the Blue People of Kentucky.

Seneca Falls Inheritance by Miriam Grace Monfredo…The first in a series of six historic novels set in Seneca Falls, NY in the mid-1800s and featuring Glynis Tryon, a smart female lead character, a librarian/ amateur detective. Although at heart a detective story, using the historical backdrop of the Women’s Right Convention, and combining the fictional leads with historical figures, such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, makes this a gem of a book.

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep… An incredibly well-written and well-researched book. Ms. Cep tells the true crime story of Rev. Willie Maxwell in Alabama: a story which Harper Lee herself doggedly investigated and researched in an effort to produce her own In Cold Blood, but never did. In so doing Cep provides a unique glimpse into Lee’s world.

A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline. In this historical novel, Ms. Kline presents the story of Christina Olson, the inspiration of Andrew Wyeth’s painting, Christina’s World. This is a beautifully written story of friendship, family, love, disappointment, and survival.

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell. In her incredible debut novel, Ms. Russell makes no excuses for anyone’s behavior, she leaves it up to the reader. What I found so wonderful about this book is Vanessa’s journey in dealing with the damage that the subtle bullying of a pedophile can have on a conflicted, insecure teenager.

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy. For the artist that dwells in each of us…

If you just have a few moments and want to renew your spirit, get a copy of this beautiful book. It is a collection of simple reflections on life, loneliness, fear and friendship with thoughtful and touching illustrations. You can open to any page at any time to find food for thought whether you are "eight or eighty".

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. Brought me back to my tiny 7th grade school library where I discovered Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca. I thought my insight was brilliant until I saw a similar comparison on the back cover! I couldn’t put either book down for the twists and turns of family secrets and forbidden spaces. Another deep dive into hidden strengths and complex personalities. I was engrossed and you will be too. A great first novel, it’s also a BBC movie available online.

The Skylark’s Secret by Fiona Valpy. Looking for a romance? If you are hooked on WWII stories and love descriptions of the Scottish countryside, try this story of an independent mother and then her daughter who each found their own paths to happiness. Details of the war effort, the entrenched British class system, and village life in the Highlands offer pleasant entertainment while we still stay at home.


Service and Outreach

For the month of March, the Mav Market is collecting baby item donations. If you are interested in helping the Mav Market with this initiative, please shop directly from their "Biggest Needs" Amazon or Target wish lists. Top items are baby formula, baby food (jars, pouches, and snacks), wipes, and diapers.

Class Notes
Send us Your News - We'll Spread the Word

We are eager to hear what you are doing! Send us your professional class notes with news of new jobs, promotions, reflections on your industry, volunteer work, etc. Please limit class notes of a personal nature to milestones such as marriages or births. To protect your privacy, we will not be collecting more anecdotal information until we are able to create a password-protected section of the website.  

Women's Empowerment Conference: "Women Catalysts for Change: The Journey to Empowerment", Friday, 3/19 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Register here

School of Business Executive Speaker Series with Tina Thornton, SVP, Content Operations ESPN, Tuesday, 3/23 12 p.m.  - 1 p.m. Register here

Explore Past Virtual Events Archived here for your convenience!

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