Kirkland Vaughans, PhD ’85, clinical director of The Derner Hempstead Child Clinic, works with Adelphi doctoral students who provide psychotherapy services to children, teens and families in the underserved community..

These boards—and their dedicated members—make critical contributions to advancing student success. For example, our Gordon F. Derner School of Psychology Advisory Board launched its first-ever fundraising initiative 10 years ago to help support PhD students from diverse backgrounds. That scholarship fund has since grown to $1.25 million.

In honor of Adelphi University’s 125th anniversary, the Gordon F. Derner School of Psychology reached its own important milestone: raising $1.25 million to support scholarships for doctoral students from underrepresented communities. This was made possible by the Derner Advisory Council, a group of esteemed alumni, faculty and industry leaders. The Derner group’s leadership is just one example of the powerful impact that advisory boards have on student success at Adelphi.

In 2012, the Derner Advisory Council created the Patrick L. Ross Fellowship Fund to honor Patrick L. Ross, PhD, a longtime professor and former associate dean of the school, in his retirement. A decade later, their efforts are going strong and continuing to impact the lives of diverse students.

“Pat felt it was important that clinical psychology be accessible to everybody, and he wanted to do whatever he could to help Derner support mental health professionals from all communities,” said Anita D’Amico, PhD ’84, who studied with Dr. Ross and is a founding member of the council and vice president of products at the Synopsys Software Integrity Group. “That’s an issue the Derner Advisory Council wanted to address from the very beginning, and it’s serving that purpose.”

Advisory Boards Across the University

The Derner Advisory Council is one of many advisory and leadership boards at the University, each committed to supporting Adelphi student success.

The College of Nursing and Public Health (CNPH) Advisory Board was established in the 1980s and has provided decades of support to students, faculty and deans. Jerry Landsberg, a founding member, has served on the CNPH Advisory Board for more than 40 years. Another member, Frank Gumper, has served for more than a decade and recently matched donations to help purchase state-of-the-art equipment for the college’s Clinical Education and Simulation Lab on campus.

The Women’s Leadership Conference steering committee and Women’s Giving Circle also empower Adelphi students through financial giving and an annual conference of learning and career networking opportunities.

“The Women’s Leadership Conference is guided by a steering committee of alumni and professionals whose collaboration and support are critical to the event’s success,” said Thomas Kline, EdD, vice president of university advancement and external relations. “We just held our kickoff meeting for next year’s conference, and we have a lot of bold plans already in the works. We look forward to seeing the impact of this work in our community over the upcoming year.”

Support Beyond Scholarships

Beyond fundraising for scholarships, the Derner Advisory Council also works to improve collaboration and communication between alumni and current students. For example, they periodically invite students and faculty to attend meetings and share their research.

“Students can learn from alumni about professional careers in mental health, and alumni can become mentors,” said Dr. D’Amico. “So when students graduate or start their internship, they have people they can call upon to help chart the course of their professional careers, especially in those first years.”

The council further helps with student recruitment, programming strategy and clinical supervision for Derner doctoral programs.

“We were very deliberate and strategic in recruiting council members who can give back in a meaningful capacity,” said Erin Gayron, senior director of advancement, major and planned giving at Adelphi. “We’ve attracted members who have a practice or see patients at a mental health care facility who can provide clinical hours for Derner students. Our members are really players in the field.”

Dr. D’Amico recently launched the Anita D’Amico Endowment Fund for Cybersecurity and Psychology Research to support research by faculty, graduate students and undergraduates. The fund has raised $90,000 to date.

“The fund is an example of how—once you see the kinds of things you can do on a council—you feel as though you can do more,” said Dr. D’Amico. “That’s one of the basic premises behind fundraising and development, and it clearly works.”

Going forward, Dr. Kline hopes Derner’s successes serve as inspiration for other advisory and leadership initiatives at Adelphi.

“Derner has provided a model for other advisory councils,” Dr. Kline said. “The group’s members are deeply engaged and deliberate in their actions. They’re providing great value, raising funds to ensure that our students are diverse and successful and go on to serve all our communities. I continue to learn from them and look forward to applying these lessons in other areas across campus.”

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