Three Honored For Distinguished Service with Frank N. Elliott Awards

Mary Kildea, administrative associate for the Department of Communication and Journalism, Harry I Naar, professor of Fine Arts, and Barbara Fruscione, assistant dean of the College
Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mary Kildea, administrative associate for the Department of Communication and Journalism, Harry I Naar, professor of Fine Arts, and Barbara Fruscione, assistant dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Education, and Sciences, received the prestigious Frank N. Elliott Award for Distinguished Service during the Opening Fall Convocation on September 3.

Rider University President Mordechai Rozanski presented citations and plaques to this year’s recipients as the award’s namesake, Dr. Frank N. Elliott, looked on from the front row of the Cavalla Room. The award, endowed by the Board of Trustees, honors the 21-year presidency of Elliott, Rider’s fourth president, who retired in 1990.

Each recipient receives a framed certificate and an award of $500, and is recognized with a plaque displayed in the lobby of the Bart Luedeke Center.

Mary Kildea received the Frank N. Elliott award for support staff. For 21 years, Kildea has been an indispensable member of the Rider community, first as support staff for the Science department, and then, beginning in 1996, as a member of the Communication and Journalism team.

In his presentation, Rozanski quoted Dr. Pamela Brown, professor of Communication and director of the Law and Justice Program, saying “Mary has the uncanny ability to remember names and faces. No matter how busy she is, she never hesitates to make herself available to offer compassion and support to a troubled student.”

In her role as administrative associate, Kildea manages the work of the chair of the department, the director of the Law and Justice Program, 13 full-time faculty members and numerous adjuncts and technology staff.

“After 21 years, I still enjoy coming to work every day,” Kildea said. “Being an Elliott award recipient is easy when you work with highly successful professionals and talented students.”

As Kildea returned to her seat in the audience, Brown and Department Chair Jonathan Millen presented her bouquets of flowers.

Rozanski next introduced Harry I Naar, professor of Fine Arts and director of the Rider University Art Gallery, who was recognized for his distinguished service as a faculty member.

Naar teaches a wide array of courses, including art history, studio courses as well as gallery management, a course that is open to all students, regardless of major. In his role as director of the Art Gallery, he has been instrumental in bringing more than 100 artists to the Lawrenceville campus, including many who subsequently donated their work to the University.

Among Naar’s many accomplishments is bringing the late artist Isaac Witkin’s sculptures to both campuses. Rider hosted Witkin’s final large-scale exhibition in 2005, and in 2008, Rider was selected to feature six of Witkin’s monumental outdoor sculptures on both campuses. Most recently, Naar was one of 30 artists chosen to participate in the Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

“Being an artist is not about creating pleasant pictures, but about problem solving and critical thinking, which transcend the walls of the classroom to the world beyond,” Naar explained. “I am acutely aware that the imag es that I create and encourage my students to create, and the way I present ideas and concepts to them, have an important impact on the way they see and think about our environment and our world.”

Rozanski then introduced the year’s third Frank N. Elliott award recipient, Barbara Fruscione, assistant dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Education, and Sciences, who was presented the honor as an administrator. Fruscione began working at Rider in 1977 as a receptionist and secretary in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences and rose through the ranks to eventually become assistant dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Education, and Sciences.

“When I started in the SLAS Dean’s Office 32 years ago, little did I know that I was embarking on a career that would be so challenging and rewarding,” Fruscione said to the audience, where her husband, Jamie, and daughter, Kara, sat in the front row. “I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with many truly outstanding and dedicated faculty, staff and administrators.”

Fruscione said she has seen first-hand the loyalty the Rider experience engenders. Last year, Fruscione encountered two families who were attending summer orientation. The parents were Rider graduates and Fruscione remembered them as students.

“To me, this was a true testament to the value of our efforts and the strength of our University,” she said. “These parents recognized what a wonderful education they received at Rider and they wanted to send their children here to experience and receive the same great education.”

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(left to right) Barbara Fruscione, Harry I Naar and Mary Kildea