Together, we can make a difference in the lives of women. You don’t have to be an Adelphi panther to join, just a panther in spirit!

From nursing to entrepreneurship to law and everything in between, our members bring varied backgrounds and experiences to the table. No matter your age or background, there is room for you in The Circle: like-minded women who would like to make an impact on the Adelphi community gather and pool their resources.

Chelsea Imbriano BS, RN '14
Chair, Women’s Giving Circle

Chelsea Imbriano BS, RN is a Cum Laude Bachelor of Science 2014 graduate of The College of Nursing and Public Health at Adelphi University. During her time at Adelphi Chelsea held numerous leadership positions that would prepare her for a career in Nursing – with a long term goal of Nursing Leadership. Beside participating in multiple campus organizations, she also served as a Resident Assistant, a Senior Admissions Ambassador and a four-year member of the nationally ranked women’s soccer team.

Chelsea validated her passion for community service when she participated in two Study Abroad opportunities with the College of Nursing and Public Health on healthcare service missions to the Village of Urubamba in Peru and the Navajo Nation in Arizona.

Upon graduating from college in 2014, Chelsea was accepted into a Critical Care Nurse Fellowship program at North Shore University Hospital in the Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit (NSCU) where she was trained by top hospital educators and mentored by the staff during her transition into her dream of critical care. Chelsea is now pursuing her passion for Critical Care as a Clinical Ladder III Registered Nurse (RN) where she has the opportunity to work alongside renowned Neuro-intensivists every day to better understand the human brain. Chelsea has gone above and beyond to ensure that she can provide her patients with the highest level of care and support that they need to reach their utmost potential. Chelsea also has had the opportunity to lead her NSCU staff to an American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) Gold Beacon distinction – which is the only Neurosurgical ICU with this distinction in New York, and only one of three in the United States!

Chelsea has made it a priority to stay connected with her Alma Matter – Adelphi University (AU). Chelsea remains active on the AU campus by serving as the current President-Elect of the Alpha Omega Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society. Chelsea enjoys chairing the chapters Community Service and Volunteerism Committee by organizing and participating in community efforts that benefit local charities like the Ronald McDonald House of New Hyde Park and NY Island Harvest. Despite her local efforts though, Chelsea continues to look for ways to bring her service abroad and has successfully done so by supporting The Promoting Health in Haiti foundation through various fundraisers and Nursing textbook drives for underprivileged students.

However, Chelsea’s philanthropic efforts don’t stop there – Chelsea also currently serves as youngest Chair of the Adelphi University Women’s Giving Circle, a philanthropic organization that is committed to impacting and enhancing the Adelphi Community, forging new relationships and uniting a diverse group of effective female philanthropists. Chelsea strives to be an active voice for recent graduates within the circle and has helped the circle increase its member size by more than 50% over the past five years.

Chelsea’s philanthropic efforts and success since graduation have not gone unrecognized. Chelsea was recognized as one of Adelphi University’s 10 Under 10 Recipients in 2017. In 2021, Chelsea was named one of the 30 under 30 “bright and dynamic young professionals across Long Island who have made significant strides in their careers. The 30 Under 30 award recognizes 30 professionals who have made remarkable achievements in their career before turning 30.” 

Chelsea strives to have a positive impact on not only the Adelphi University community, but all individuals who are around her!

Kathleen Watchorn
Vice-Chair, Women’s Giving Circle

Kathleen Watchorn, member since 2017, is a triple graduate of Adelphi, earning first an associate’s degree in 2001, a Bachelor of Arts in 2004 and then a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing in 2011. She recently celebrated her 20th year in service at Adelphi where she currently serves in the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs and as an adjunct instructor. Watchorn’s work brings her into daily personal contact with many students, undoubtedly the most rewarding part of her time at Adelphi.

Long a passionate advocate for a more sustainable environment, Watchornhas spearheaded two major initiatives at Adelphi aimed at reducing waste, re-purposing items and recycling the rest. Begun in 2005, the “Think Before You Throw” program engages students, faculty and staff in major recycling and waste reduction efforts—thus the abundance of recycling bins throughout campus and the regular collection of batteries and electronic equipment. The “Make it a Million” campaign aims to encourage refilling of water bottles, resulting in the major reduction of plastic waste. Between Adelphi’s Garden City campus, Hauppauge Center and the Manhattan Center, the 1,000,000th bottle mark was reached in November 2015. Watchorn has challenged the Class of 2020 to make it two million before they graduate and they are well on their way!

Watchorn’s interests in the environment led her to continue to create and participate in, what she calls, “Grow the Green” activities, both on and off campus, including participating in the People’s Climate Marches, developing campus Earth Day activities, and Green Expo events. She also loves to garden, travel, and spend time with her husband, four children and two grandchildren.

“I have watched with great interest, the growth of the WGC since its inception in 2011, and I am very excited to join this dedicated group of women. Giving back to the environment, to society, and to Adelphi have always been part of me. Now I join other like-minded women and look forward to what we can accomplish together.”

Deborah Ambrosio-Mawhirter EdD, RN

Dr. Ambrosio Mawhirter is an Associate Clinical Professor in the CNPH, Course Coordinator and a former Department Chair. She is a Fellow of the NY Academy of Medicine. She earned her Doctoral degree at Dowling College in Education, Administration and Technology. Her Master’s degree in Nursing Administration and baccalaureate degree are from Adelphi University. She has been an Adelphi Faculty member for over 25 years. She has had numerous leadership roles in nursing including; Technical Director of Long Island Vascular Center, Senior Performance Improvement Coordinator and various hospital administration and nursing positions. Her research interests include health care simulation, improving nursing education with technology, and pain management. She is an active member of the Society of Simulation in Health Care, and has presented frequently on her work with simulation. Dr. Ambrosio has presented her research nationally and internationally. She is the Past President of the Adelphi Nursing Honor Society, Alpha Omega Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau Inc. and the current Chair of the Scholarship Committee. She is the recipient of the Alpha Omega Chapter Mentoring Award, and Excellence in Teaching Award. Dr. Ambrosio is the Co-Chair of the Adelphi CNPH & Alpha Omega Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau’s (Nursing Honor Society) Annual Leadership for the past 12 years. The Leadership conference raises money to provide Adelphi nursing student scholarships annually. Dr. Ambrosio is an active member of the Adelphi Community as a Faculty Senator representing the CNPH, a member of the Faculty Senate Teaching and Advising Committee, a member of the CNPH Academic Standards Committee, Evaluation Committee & Faculty Mentoring Committee, as well as committee member for the Adelphi Women’s Leadership conference 2018 & 2019. Dr. Ambrosio is the recipient of the Mildred Montag Leadership Award, Adelphi Graduate Leadership award, and most recently in 2020, she was awarded the Adelphi University Student Government Association Women’s Recognition Award for Outstanding Leadership, Service and Commitment to Excellence, and the 2019-2020 Adelphi Faculty Center for Professional Excellence Teaching Fellowship where she designed a interprofessional course. Dr. Ambrosio is the Academic Liaison to Mount Sinai South Nassau’s Hospital Research Committee and a member of the Nurse Residency Program Advisory Board at Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital.

Dr. Ambrosio grew up on Long Island and loves the many beaches and golf courses. She enjoys giving back to her community and believes it is a privilege to care for patients as a nurse and teach our future nurses. As a nurse she has always been passionate about teaching and promoting nursing excellence, and lifelong learning. She is honored to be a member of the Adelphi Faculty and a member of the Women’s Giving Circle.

Ellen Bartley
Antoinette Bellomo

Antoinette Bellomo has been a member of the Women’s Giving Circle since 2017 and has also served as Vice President/Treasurer of Adelphi’s Parents and Families Association.

Bellomo was born and raised in Sicily, Italy, until the age of 13 when she moved with her family to Glen Cove in 1980.  Not speaking the English language, she was determined to learn it quickly and be as involved as possible. 

Bellomo holds an A.A.S. degree from Nassau Community College in Paralegal Studies and a Certification with Distinction in Paralegal Studies from Adelphi University. She worked as a paralegal for 11 years in both the plaintiffs’ and defendants’ fields of personal injury law until she started raising her family.

Bellomo is married and her two children have both attended Adelphi University. Her son completed his undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University majoring in Biology and Adolescent Education, and her daughter received her undergraduate degree in 2021 in Mathematics and is currently a graduate student majoring in Adolescent Education.

Mrs. Bellomo has held many volunteer positions within her local school district for over 20 years. Additionally, she has served on many Executive Boards in numerous leadership role capacities, is very active in her community and is an advocate for education.


Claudia Berkowicz
Kathy Chiddo

Kathy graduated from the School of Nursing in 1977.  She spent her career of more than 35 years as a neonatal nurse at what is known today as North Shore-LIJ Health System’s Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York.  “There is nothing better than seeing a premature baby doing well and progressing towards discharge…, being able to watch the babies I have cared for go home with their families,” she said.

Kathy never forgot the role Adelphi played in helping her find her niche and launch her career. She came to the University from a middle-class family and appreciated that the cost of tuition was covered by the scholarships Adelphi provided. “Because I received that scholarship support, I didn’t have the added pressure of stressing about how I’d pay for my education on top of classes, working, studying and completing my clinical experiences,” she said. “After graduating, I was able to start my life without worrying about loans. 

It was in that spirit, that in 2015, Kathy established a generous endowment in the College of Nursing and Public Health which provides scholarship funds to help current students specializing in Pediatric Nursing. 

“Adelphi gave me my career, my livelihood,” she said. “I want to give someone else what Adelphi gave me.”

Shayla Clarke
Social Media Chair
Carol Comerford
Diana Damilatis-Kull, MA, LHHC

Diana is the Director of the Bridges to Adelphi Program at Adelphi University.  She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor as well.

Diana received many degrees from Adelphi: BBM with a double minor in Psychology and Dance in 2010; MS in General Psychology in 2012; and a MS in Mental Health Counseling in 2014.  Being a Tridelta, Diana found the importance of having a sense of support from other women.  That led her to join the Circle where she found a welcoming and very friendly group.  She feels that within the Circle, we are able to work together to better the Adelphi community.

Maureen Devane
Christine DeNoia
Patricia Donohue-Porter, PhD, RN

Patricia Donohue-Porter obtained her PhD in Nursing from Adelphi University and is Professor and Director of the PhD Program of Adelphi University College of Nursing and Public Health. Her scholarly interests concern courage development in patients with diabetes’ complications and nursing’s role in courage development. These stem from her past clinical experience as a diabetes nurse clinical specialist. She is the Co-Principal investigator of the Improvement Science Research Network study examining “Cognitive Load, Interruptions and Distractions and their Effect on Procedural Failures and Medications Errors”. This national multi-site study examines innovative ways of improving safety in medication administration by nurses.

Her teaching at the doctoral level includes the courses Philosophical Foundations of Nursing Science and Qualitative Research Methods and she guides the development of dissertations of Ph.D. candidates. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the International Honor Society of Nursing and the New York Academy of Medicine. She has co-chaired the Theory Research Interest Group of the Eastern Nursing Research Society. She has multiple publications and presentations in the areas of courage, diabetes, leadership, nursing theory, team science and safety in nursing.

Sheila Edwards-Robinson
Maureen Finley
Arline Frankel
Ellen Gurnitz
Amy Harrison, MA ’92

Amy Harrison, the executive director of Gift Planning and Donor Relations at Adelphi University, has over 35 years of experience in higher education and non-profit Advancement work.  Harrison joined the Adelphi community in 1989 and has worked in both the academic and the administrative areas of the University. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Barnard College in 1983, and in 1992, she earned her Master’s in Education from Adelphi specializing in teaching English as a second language. Prior to joining Adelphi, Harrison was the director of Community Education and Public Information for the Epilepsy Foundation of Long Island.  As the executive director of Gift Planning and Donor Relations at Adelphi University, she is responsible for individual relationship building, planned giving, corporate and foundation relations, as well as donor stewardship.

Kaitlyn Henn-Woods, MBA ’15
Senior Associate Director of Special Events and Engagement

Kaitlyn Woods is a graduate of the Robert B. Willumstad School of Business, earning both her undergraduate degree in 2012 and an MBA graduate degree in 2015. She has been a member of the Women’s Giving Circle since February 2013, and previously served on the Circles Executive Committee . During that time, Woods helped to recreate the WGC Website and now continues to be an active member.

Woods is currently Senior Associate Director of Special Events and Engagement in Adelphi University’s Office of External Relations at Adelphi University where she is responsible for the development and execution of the University’s community relations program to meet the needs of internal and external audiences and serves as the University liaison for special events and initiatives for the President’s office.

Woods enjoys staying connected to her Alma Mater, not only as an employee of the University, but by being an active member of the Women’s Giving Circle. Woods also serves on the board of directors of the Garden City Chamber of Commerce, where she strategizes on University-Community collaborations and regularly advocates with local and state officials about the importance and needs of higher education.

In 2021, Kaitlyn was honored with a 40 Under 40 award given each year by the Long Island Business News “to future leaders on Long Island who have a proven track record of career success and are involved in mentoring and promoting their professions and find time to give back to their communities.”

Frances Belfiore Hilliard ’73, MS ’78

Following graduation from Nassau Community College, Hilliard fulfilled her long-standing aspiration and became employed as a Registered Nurse at a Long Island Hospital.  Soon, she realized that in order to advance in the profession, further education would be needed.  While she continued to work as a nurse, Hilliard attained both Bachelors and Masters degrees in nursing from Adelphi University.

After receiving her Masters degree, Hilliard worked at a well-known cardiac specialty hospital and also taught nursing on a part-time basis for several local colleges.  In 1985, she joined the full-time faculty at Nassau Community College, reaching the rank of Full Professor.  She was also active in the full-time faculty union at Nassau and held various leadership positions in this organization. She retired from Nassau in 2010.
In retirement, Hilliard has remained active in her profession and has participated in a number of volunteer activities. She is a proud member of Alpha Omega, Adelphi’s chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, an international honor society for nurses. She became an outreach worker for the Medicare Rights Center, presenting a variety of Medicare topics to community groups. Hilliard also writes a regular newsletter column on health topics for NYSUT’s Retiree Council #39 (community college retirees).


Burnetta Howell

Burnetta Howell is a graduate of the New York City Board of Education Office of Adult Continuing Education. She also attended Queensborough Community College School of Nursing, Long Island University and The Helene Fuld College of Nursing. Mrs. Howell has worked with the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, the New York City Health and Hospital Corporation (HHC), the State of New York Department of Health and also the private sector. She is a Retired Nurse. Mrs. Howell also completed theological seminary. She is a Licensed Pastor with the City of New York. She is also a Licensed Chaplain affiliated with the NYPD.

Kimberly Howell, MBA ’13
Angela M. Jaggar ’62, MA ’65

Dr. Jaggar, who holds a Ph.D. in education from New York University, began her career as an elementary school teacher in Plainview, NY. She then entered the field of higher education, teaching and conducting research in children’s language and literacy development at New York University. During more than 30 years at NYU, she co-founded the University’s Reading Recovery Project, which she co-directed for 10 years. She has held numerous leadership roles in professional education associations throughout her career.

Angela, who is a resident of Port Washington, has been actively involved in a number of not-for-profit organizations that serve children, education, and the arts. Dr. Jaggar has served on the Board of Directors of Port Washington’s historic community center, Landmark on Main Street. Elected to the Adelphi University Board of Trustees in 2008, Dr. Jaggar, who is currently on the Board of Directors of the Family and Children’s Association, has also provided her leadership to Belmont Child Care Association, Women on the Job and Literacy Volunteers of New York City. To further their support of those in need, Angela, and her late husband, Scott, established the Angela and Scott Jaggar Foundation.

Angela and Scott are members of the University’s Million Dollar Round Table and Adelphi’s Ruth S. Harley Society, which recognizes those who have made provisions for the University in their estate plans.

Susan Kessler, MA ’08, RD, CDN, CHES

A member since 2017, Susan Kessler obtained her BS in Nutrition from Hunter College, and a MA in Community Health Education from Adelphi University. Since 2004 she has taught nutrition classes for the College of Nursing and Public Health, and the Ruth Ammon School of Education. She is currently a Senior Adjunct at the College of Nursing and Public Health. Previously, she provided nutrition counseling for women and children enrolled in the Nassau County WIC (Women Infant and Children Supplemental Nutrition) Program.

Her family is a true Adelphi family. She is married to Jeffrey Kessler, the current Assistant VP and Dean of Student affairs, and their son is currently in his junior year, studying psychology. Of our university, Kessler says “Adelphi has nurtured our family and provided us with great professional and personal satisfaction”.

Since retiring Susan devotes her time volunteering at an Audubon sanctuary, the Book  Fairies, and the Bronx zoo.  Being a member of the Women’s Giving Circle has provided Susan a perfect way to give back to the University.

Marilyn Klainberg

Marilyn Blau Klainberg ‘63, MS ‘77, was a candy striper when she discovered Adelphi, and she was immediately drawn to its 4-year nursing program. As an only child from the Bronx, she fell in love with the campus and the new experiences it offered. As a student, she developed many friendships within her sorority, Delta Phi Epsilon, and in her classes. Today, Marilyn continues to stay connected to her friends from her nursing cohorts.

At the end of her sophomore year, Marilyn married Bernard Klainberg and moved to lower Manhattan, where she completed her undergraduate years as a commuter student. She continued her education at Adelphi and received her MA in community health nursing in 1977 and her EdD from Columbia University’s Teachers College in 1994. Today, she has four children and ten grandchildren–a big family that she is deeply proud of and grateful for.

Now a notable professor and encouraging mentor at Adelphi, Marilyn hopes to assist aspiring nurses “thrive in their careers and understand the importance of their education.”

On the occasion of her 50th wedding anniversary, her family and friends honored she and Bernie  with the creation of The Bernard and Marilyn Klainberg Scholarship Fund, which recognizes the couple’s dedication to education and provides resources to the next generation of nursing students. 

Marilyn donates to Adelphi every single year. “I hold Adelphi close to my heart because I feel I grew up with the University. I support Adelphi the same way I support loved ones in my life who are important to me.”

Marilyn says: “My relationship with Adelphi is a two way street – as much as I have provided for the University, it has done the same for me.”

Maggie Lally

Margaret (Maggie) Lally, associate dean for faculty and programs, was appointed to that role in January 2020. Previously, she was a tenured faculty member in the Department of Theatre. Lally has developed strong leadership skills through her work with the national Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, where she received a gold medallion in recognition of her teaching. She oversees full-time and part-time faculty programs and support; interdisciplinary courses, programs and events; social media; the new CAS newsletter, ASCEND; and diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, in addition to coordinating special CAS events, such as the interdisciplinary Fall Arts Festival, in collaboration with Associate Professor Kellyann Monaghan.


Angelina LaMarche
Judith Lev
Ruth S. Harley Society member
Diane McNeil

Diane brings 20 plus years of private banking experience and over 15 years of commercial banking experience to the role of National Practice Leader. In this role, she provides leadership and expertise on custom credit, mortgage, and deposit solutions to the private banking teamDiane and her team refine and develop Private Banking products, procedures, guidelines, and policies so CIBC Private Banking professionals can deliver a market leading client experience. She collaborates with the sales team, the client service team, credit professionals plus compliance, risk management, legal, and technology experts to provide solutions that are in keeping with markeand technology advancesShe also enjoys coaching and training the team on solutions offered.

Diane served as Regional Managing Director of the Florida and Atlanta markets for Wilmington Trust prior to joining CIBC US Private Wealth. She was selected to President’s Council two times for her contributions to the Private Banking Division. She was also a member of Chairman’s Club for top national sales results during her tenure. During her commercial banking career, she was both a middle market lender, a professional practice lender, and a corporate commercial real estate lender. She served as Chief Lending Officer, CRA Officer, and Chief Compliance Officer in the Florida market before transitioning her focus to wealth management and private banking. Diane received her formal credit training from Chemical Bank (now JP Morgan Chase Bank) in New York. 

Diane earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Magna Cum Laude, from Adelphi University with a double major in Marketing and Finance. Diane earned a master’s degree in business administration with high honors from Florida Atlantic University. Her concentration was in Legal Compliance and Risk Management. Diane has been a guest lecturer and member of the faculty for Florida Banker’s Association Trust School and Wealth Management Conference.

Diane has been active in the Palm Beach County, Floridacommunity for over 30 years. She is currently a Board member for the Ann Norton Sculpture Garden, a Board member for Neighborhood Renaissance Inc., a team chair for the Town of Palm Beach United Way Allocation Committee, the Vice Chair of the Florida Atlantic University Harriet Wilkes Honor’s College Advisory Board and the President Elect of the Greater Palm Beaches Delta Gamma Alumnae Chapter. She is a member of the Palm Beach Estate Planning Council and Executive Women of the Palm Beaches.

Patricia Muncey
Charlotte Overton-Moran
Linda Stewart
Joanne Ventura

For Joanne Ventura ’75, the transition from a campus-only station to an FM station during her sophomore year was an exciting one. She served as WBAU’s educational producer, news director and, eventually, public affairs director and director of informational programming. Among the highlights of her work were covering local elections, interviewing candidates and offering analysis, not just for Adelphi students, but for the community at large. She and her news team also covered the entire Watergate scandal, and, memorably, she was on air the night Nixon resigned.

Ms. Ventura pursued law, not radio journalism, but that doesn’t mean WBAU didn’t affect her course in life. “In law school, I was a lot more confident,” she says. “I had learned how to prepare to speak.” And that’s not all: “It also helped me lose my New York accent!” she says.

Joanne joined the Rotary Club of Cherry Hill Breakfast in 1991 and served on its Board of Directors, as club Secretary, and as President from 1995-1997. She is currently a member of the Rotary Club of Voorhees Breakfast and has served on its Board of Directors and as Club Foundation Chair.

Joanne eventually chaired the Rotary Foundation and from 2013 to 2016 she served as the District 7640 Rotary International Foundation Committee Chair.

She received the District Service Above Self Award for the Rotary year 2015-16.

She is a partner in the law firm of Neuner & Ventura LLP, in Marlton, New Jersey. She graduated from Adelphi University, Magna Cum Laude and from Rutgers University School of Law, Camden Campus. She practices primarily in the areas of Family Mediation, Estate and Real Estate Law.

Joanne is a member of the board of the Rutgers School of Law – Camden Alumni Association, having served as Chancellor from 2008 – 2012. She was instrumental in instituting the Distinguished Alumni Awards Celebration dinner, the major source of fund-raising for the Association’s Alumni scholarship activities. She is 2014 recipient of the Hon. Joseph M. Nardi, Jr. Distinguished Service Award.

Joanne’s pro bono and community service extends beyond Rotary and the law school. She is a participant in the South Jersey Legal Services Private Attorney Involvement Program and received their Equal Access to Justice Award in 2006. She was a past president of Advancing Opportunities (previously called Cerebral Palsy of New Jersey), a statewide disability agency. She received the organization’s Volunteer of the Year Award in 1997.

Joanne is married to Rotarian Steve Neuner. They are the proud parents of two adult children, Jeanette Neuner and Daniel Neuner.

Andrea Ward

Andrea (Andie) is Adelphi’s associate dean for student success and strategic initiatives in the College of Arts and Sciences.  She assumed a reconfigured leadership position on January 1, 2021, with primary responsibilities for student success (advising, petitioning, recruiting and retention) and advancing the College’s strategic initiatives, including expansion of its graduate programs, fundraising and coordination of articulation programs with community colleges and other universities.

Nicole Wong
Barbara Quinn McElroy, Esq.

Barbara Quinn McElroy, Esq., a member of the Women’s Giving Circle since 2014, has served as Secretary since 2015. She is also a member of the WGC Executive Committee formed in September 2016. Barbara has served on Adelphi University’s Arts Development Board, the Adelphi University President’s Strategic Planning Committee and was  President of the Adelphi Parents and Families Association for several years.

A native of Long Island, Barbara attended the College of William & Mary where she received a B.S. in Business Management. She then received a law degree from St. John’s University. She practiced law with the Uniondale based firm of Farrell, Fritz where she focused on Municipal Law and Environmental Litigation until she retired to raise her family.

Barbara is an active volunteer with Long Island’s Family and Children’s Association.  Barbara was President of Garden City Friends of Music. She has held many volunteer positions within the Garden City School District from 2002 through 2015.  She is active in the Garden City Anti-Racism and Social Justice Group.  

Her husband, Gavin, is an attorney at Frankfurt Kurnit, in New York City, where he is a partner in the Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations Group and chairs the Executive Compensation Group. Her two children attended Adelphi University.

“The WGC has enabled me to meet wonderful women who care deeply about Adelphi University. These women bring many different backgrounds and experiences to the Circle that then meld together as we work together to support the University. It is a personal and professional privilege to be a part of the Circle.”

Carmen Ortiz

Carmen Ortiz is Partner at Anderson Kreiger in Boston and the former U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts. Carmen is an experienced trial lawyer, investigator and crisis manager. During her tenure as the U.S.u Attorney from 2009 to 2017, Carmen oversaw the investigation and litigation of many significant and complex criminal and civil cases in matters involving financial and securities fraud, healthcare fraud, public corruption, money laundering, cybercrimes, national security, organized crime and violent crime. Among other high‐profile matters, she directed the prosecutions of Whitey Bulger and the Boston Marathon bomber. As U.S. Attorney, protecting the civil rights of the residents of Massachusetts was a top priority and Carmen implemented the District’s first Civil Rights Unit aimed at reinvigorating enforcement of federal civil rights laws. She also broadened the Office’s outreach and engagement efforts, meeting regularly with community groups on a variety of issues to promote public safety, community policing and civil rights.

Since joining Anderson & Kreiger, Carmen has leveraged her relationships and deep knowledge of government investigations to build successful Internal Investigations, Employment Discrimination and White Collar Defense practices and led in establishing the firm’s first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. She has investigated claims of sexual harassment, racial and gender discrimination, hostile environment and ethics violations for educational and medical institutions, and a fortune 500 retail company. Carmen also recently completed a review of the policies, procedures and practices of a police department and made recommendations to further promote diversity, inclusion and equitable practices within the department.

Carmen is a Vice‐Chair of the Board of Trustees for Adelphi University, also serving as Vice‐Chair of the Work/Life Committee overseeing HR and labor relations issues, hiring and retirement processes, and diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. Carmen also sits on Governance Committees for the Board of Trustees of Crossroads, and the Massachusetts Women’s Forum, as well as serve on the Advisory Board of Trustees and Governance Committee for the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.


Kathleen L. Rickard ’14
  • Bachelor of Arts, Early Childhood Education 1991, St. Joseph’s College, NY
  • US Army Reserve veteran
  • Retired law enforcement
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing Graduate 2014, Adelphi University
Christine Riordan, PhD

Read her full bio

Adelphi University President Christine Riordan, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized expert in leadership development, diversity and inclusion, and team performance. Dr. Riordan is the first woman to serve as president of Adelphi. Since beginning her appointment as Adelphi University’s 10th president in 2015, Dr. Riordan has launched a strategic planning effort that has led to a boost in enrollment, increased fundraising, greater recognition and a deeper commitment to student success and diversity and inclusion.

Rosemarie Ronde ’15

In the first half of 2015 Rose Ronde turned 50 years old and graduated from Adelphi University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Emergency Service Administration. That was a natural progression for Ronde as she retired from being a New York City Police Sergeant in 2007. Already a licensed massage therapist, Ronde went on to obtain her real estate license but found that neither massage therapy nor real estate were her passion. With 20 years of experience in protecting and serving the public, she felt that it was time to put the muscle of education behind her experience and returned to college.  Ronde commented, “It was hard to return to school at my age, but the professors, advisers and classmates were very supportive. I was grateful for the experience.”  Ronde has since enjoyed working as a public safety supervisor at an Ivy League college and with a private security firm that provides security for two local professional sports teams. Currently, she is full time at the Ivy League College as an Associate Director and has also obtained her FDNY Certificate of Fitness as a Fire & Life Safety Director.  Ronde likes to count her blessings and help out where she can.  She has participated with humanitarian efforts with Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi and Super Storm Sandy in both New York and New Jersey.  When not protecting and serving, Ronde attends services at the church she was raised in and is currently a Ruling Elder.

Deborah Viola ’84, MBA, PhD

Dr. Deborah Viola is Vice President of the Clinical Research Center at Westchester Medical Center Health Network. The Clinical Research Center promotes research across the WMCHealth Network and affiliated institutions by providing strategic, operational, and financial oversight of clinical research programs, facilities, and information systems. From 2016-2021 she served as the Vice President of Data Management and Analytics with responsibilities for information management including business intelligence, comprehensive quality reporting, strategic analytics, information governance and population health analytics.

In July 2014 Deborah joined the Center for Regional Healthcare Innovation at Westchester Medical Center as the Director of Health Services Research and Data Analytics. She directed a system-wide, interdisciplinary initiative focused on improving health care, including the quality, efficacy and efficiency of care, for the Hudson Valley region. The following year she was appointed Vice President, Community Health and Public Policy, where her efforts focused on identifying and addressing disparities in population health outcomes through the implementation of the NYS Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment program.

Prior to joining the Center, Deborah was an Associate Professor, Director and Co-founder of the Doctoral Program in Health Policy and Management and the Center for Long Term Care Research & Policy at New York Medical College. She remains on the faculty as Adjunct Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management. She received a doctorate in economics from the Graduate School at the City University of New York as a Robert E. Gilleece Fellow. She received her MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Deborah (nee Lettiere) is also an alumni of Adelphi University, Class of 1984. She was the recipient of the Phi Beta Kappa Full Tuition Scholarship and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BBA in Business. She is a founding member of the Kappa Rho Chapter of Delta Sigma Pi.

Stephanie Williams

Stephanie has been a special education teacher for the Roosevelt Public School District for 25 years.  She served as a member of Adelphi’s Alumni Council from 2016 – 2019.

Stephanie earned a BS in Education in 1997 and a MA in 1998 from Adelphi.  She is a member of Kappa Delta Pi, the international education honor society, ALPHA Upsilon Alpha, the international literacy association honor society, and Pi Sigma Alpha, the political science honor society.   She and her husband, Clarence Neely have been married for eight years.

Founding Members

Natalie Chotan '11
Founding Member
Ann Callahan-Dick ’47

Remembering Ann Callahan-Dick ’47

Member of the Cadet Nurse Corps.

Ann Callahan-Dick began her Nursing career in September 1944 in the Cadet Nurse Corps at Adelphi, one of the first in the country. The Corps had been formed by the United States Public Health Service, Division of Nurse Education. It was mainly formed to relieve the nurses who were joining the Armed Forces during World War 2.

Callahan-Dick was raised in a small village, Schuylerville, in upstate New York. Her father was a General Practitioner and several of her relatives were in the medical fields. She often accompanied her father on house calls and hospital visits, and at times was asked to “Come into the office and watch” while he treated interesting patients—who never seemed to mind—no HIPAA in those days!

Upon graduating with a BS, RN she began working at Nassau Hospital, now Winthrop University Hospital, and after two years she moved to Washington, DC, to work at Georgetown Hospital. After marriage, she and her husband moved to Houston, Texas where Ann worked at Hermann Hospital. She continued to work until the week before her first daughter was born. Eventually, she returned to New York with her four children from her first marriage. She returned to work at Nassau until a few years later she remarried, and she and her husband and their growing family moved into their home in Oyster Bay, Long Island. Over the years, Callahan-Dick raised nine children while managing a very busy household. Her husband was a Pediatrician with two busy offices, one of which was in their home. With nine children, several grandchildren and great-grandchildren, she loves hosting family parties.

Callahan-Dick and her husband loved to travel. They have been to Russia, Israel, Turkey, Greece, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, China, Cuba, and several European countries where they often attended Pediatric meetings. Unfortunately, her husband passed away in 2006. Callahan-Dick remains involved in her community, and is a founding member of the Women’s Giving Circle at Adelphi. She really enjoys meetings at Adelphi and is amazed by the growth of the campus and the University.

Judy Fleishman MA ’90, PhD ’95
Founding Member
Erin Gayron
Founding Member and Advancement Liaison

Erin Gayron earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Queens College, City University of New York. A seasoned fundraising professional, she began her career in philanthropy in Washington, DC, at the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), a national health care service non-profit. Gayron enjoyed a seven-year career at MDA, ascending the ranks until she was promoted to manage the number one market of MDA in New York City. Through partnerships she formed with institutions of higher education, her interest in transitioning her skills to higher education giving was sparked. She was hired by Adelphi in September of 2007 and has enjoyed a successful career in the Office of University Advancement. Gayron remains passionate about ensuring that a college education, specifically an Adelphi University education, remains accessible to everyone. “I worked several jobs to fund my college education. I often think if I had been more proactive about pursuing scholarships, I could have continued with my education rather than beginning my career to pay off my student loans.” A founding member and University liaison to the Women’s Giving Circle, Gayron is proud to work alongside the incredible women who continue to enhance the experience of Adelphi’s student body.

Susan Grogg
Founding Member

Susan Grogg graduated from the Goodman School of Theater at the Chicago Art Institute launching a nearly 30 year theatrical, film and television acting career. She founded the Hungry Actors Playhouse in Tucson Arizona, was a member of the noted Company of Angels theater group in Los Angeles, was on the faculty of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and has even coached University of Miami football players on camera technique. Grogg has appeared in numerous plays, television commercials, movies of the week and feature films. In 1980, Susan married Adelphi University Special Assistant to the Provost for Strategic Initiatives, Dr. Sam Grogg. Susan and Sam share an abiding interest in the arts and education. And the arts run in the family—her step-daughter, Brady Poole, is a former theatrical stage manager and her son, Zubin, is a videographer and editor. Together, Susan and Sam are continuing contributors to Adelphi University.

Donna McCoyd ’78, MS ’02
Founding Member
Melissa Murphy
Founding Member
Lynda Perdomo-Ayala ’78
Profile and Recognition Chair, Founding Member

A native of the Bronx, Lynda Perdomo-Ayala was born to Puerto Rican parents, Rosalina and Emilio. She completed her undergraduate work at Adelphi University, earned a master’s degree in Social Work from the School of Social Welfare at Stony Brook University, and has two certificates one in Conflict Resolution from Cornell University, and one in Divorce Mediation.

Lynda Perdomo-Ayala is the Administrative Department Head for the Department of Pharmacological Sciences in the Health Sciences Center at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She is responsible for the administration of the department’s policies and procedures, human resources, research, and academics as well as oversees the management of matters concerning all faculty, staff, and students, including the finances of the department.

Perdomo-Ayala has been adviser to the Latin American Student Organization (LASO) at Stony Brook University for approximately twenty-seven years, where she has worked closely with undergraduates. Her direct involvement with students and her efforts to integrate personal experiences with education, have successfully directed many of her students towards appropriate career pathways. Honored and revered by them, Lynda was inducted as the first and only Honorary Member of the Sigma Iota Alpha Sorority, Inc., Moreover, she was instrumental in the initiation of the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Center at Stony Brook University, and continues her work to promote and establish a firm foundation of support for the Center as the Chair of its advisory board. She has a strong interest in recruitment, retention, and mentoring of minority faculty, staff, and students.

In addition to her work with a wide range of student/faculty organizations on campus, Perdomo-Ayala has also worked in her immediate community to establish a series of programs and services to benefit individuals in need. With a focus on people of color, and with an underlying educational theme, she has developed bilingual programs for parents and the community-at-large within such organizations as the Long Island Education Coalition, the Stony Brook University Medical Center’s Health Initiative for Underrepresented Communities, Infant Jesus Church – La Familia Unida, The Suffolk County Hispanic Advisory Board, and a variety of school districts on Long Island.

Perdomo-Ayala has distinguished herself as a true leader within the Long Island community, and in particular the Hispanic/Latino community. She served as co-chair to the Healthcare Committee for the First Long Island Hispanic/Latino Leadership Summit convened by the National Conference of Puerto Rican Women (NACOPRW), and established to identify the major issues impacting the region’s Hispanic/Latino population. Her interest in women’s health lead her to co-chair the 2000 National Convention of the National Conference of Puerto Rican Women entitled: The State of the State of Latina Health. A convention held in New York City, that was supported by the Governor’s office, The Department of Health and Human Services, and many other notables in the tri-state area.

Lynda has served as Interim Chair of the WGC. 


Maureen Pollicino
Mary Perry, MS ’06
Past Chairwoman, Founding Member

Being part of a women’s philanthropic group is as energizing as it is inspirational. What the WGC has accomplished in such a short time is truly amazing. It is my good fortune to be a member of this outstanding group.

“The results of philanthropy are always beyond calculation” -Mary Ritter Beard

Mary graciously served as the Chair of the Women’s Giving Circle.

Rory Shaffer-Walsh
Founding Member

Retired from WGC in 2018. 

Rory served as executive director of University Advancement at Adelphi University, where she worked in a variety of capacities for the last decade. Shaffer-Walsh also held a number of progressively advancing positions in admissions at Long Island University and Adelphi.

In 2018, Rory became the VP for Intuitional Advancement at St. Joseph’s College. 

She holds professional memberships with CASE, APLI, PPGGNY and ADRP. Shaffer-Walsh has a master’s in international studies from Central Connecticut University and a B.A. in political science from Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York.

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