A newsletter for alumni of Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary
Fall 2016  

Welcome to Nyack Nation--a publication created just for you filled with the latest achievements and life events of Nyack & ATS alumni. Please share your news and stories on our website or by emailing them to alumni@nyack.edu. And keep the conversation going on Twitter and Facebook using #NyackNation and #NyackCollege. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Homecoming 2016: October 14-15

Join us for a fun-filled weekend back on the campus you once called home! The All-Alumni Dinner celebrating the classes of '66, '76, '86, '91, '96 and '06, Founder's Day Chapel, Annual Alumni Homecoming Concert, Running Warrior 5K Run/3K Walk, athletic games, and more await you at Homecoming 2016!

Visit www.nyack.edu/homecoming for the full schedule and online registration!
Tracking with Me
The Gift of a Four-Hour Train Ride

Did you ever have the feeling that social media will cause face to face conversations to become a lost art like...handwritten letters? Sometimes it takes a heaven-sent set-up to arrest our attention and prompt us to enjoy the people right in front of us.

Some might call it serendipity that Donna Wible Cruse and her son were unable to find seats together on a four-hour train ride home from Philadelphia to Altoona, PA. They made two aisle seats across from each other work. Donna gratefully took the seat next to the older woman enjoying her window view.

Donna, a 1978 Nyack College alumna was literally and figuratively facing a journey--her first Mother's Day and her birthday without her own mother in the upcoming week. Not exactly in the mood to engage in a lengthy conversation, she did graciously offer to get a beverage for her seatmate. The elderly woman gladly accepted her thoughtfulness, explaining that she didn't travel to the dining car because her hands shake and she didn't want to spill something on anyone as she passed through the cars.

What a surprise for Donna to learn that her seatmate, Ruth Grove Ringer, and her husband had led a pastorate near Altoona for some five decades.

Donna: Which denomination?

Ruth: Christian and Missionary Alliance.

Donna: I graduated from Nyack College!

Ruth: Me too! (A class of 1953 Missionary Training Institute grad)

They continued with a heartwarming recollection of people they both knew and chatted about hymns (including one that happened to be one of Donna's mother's favorites). Turned out that church the Ringers pastored was located in Donna's hometown of Hollidaysburg!

A friendship was born and the two still stay in touch through Facebook and privates messages. Donna passed on the news of this "chance" encounter with Nyack's Alumni Office, explaining, "It's a good feeling to know that I can keep in touch with Ruth. But better yet, I feel that I had a special little "visit" from my mom--in some strange way, a birthday gift."
The Value of Community

Ask Erica Lara what grabbed her heart when she attended Nyack College. The 2004 alumna's response is quick and simple-- community.

It's what fuels a new role she's about to play on the staff of Young Life Crown Heights, which puts her on track for transitioning to the position of Area Director for Crown Heights. "We have various outreach programs that help students grow in their faith such as clubs, campaigner groups and opportunities to attend retreats and camps. Relationships are our main focus--just meeting students right where they are and then earning the right to be heard," Erica explains.

In fact, she and her husband, Rafael ("Macho"), also a Nyack College alumnus ('07) pass the spirit of community on in their ministry. "Macho and I both experienced community during our years at Nyack. In the years since leaving the Hillside, we have sought and desired for ministry to have the same authenticity we learned there. For us, living in Brooklyn and being connected to the community at Trinity Grace Church has been shaped by these same values. These are values I bring with me as I step into this new role at Young Life.

"Youth Ministry in the urban context has been the 'sweet spot' in ministry that I've long known I've been called to do. In essence, it's what I feel I've been made for. From my years as a student at Nyack where I helped lead and then oversee Watchmen Teams that ministered in the City to subsequent ministry opportunities in cities like Pittsburgh and Brooklyn, God has woven our journeys in a way where our individual and shared calling and passions have brought us to live and minister in Brooklyn."
Walk a Mile in My Shoes...
If someone asks you to walk a mile in his shoes, you might consider it. But would you be willing to trek 780 miles from New York City to Chicago? That's what Alliance Theological Seminary alumnus Rev. Al Taylor did. The pastor at Infinity Mennonite Church in Harlem is no stranger to walking. In fact , he completed his prayer walk this past August passing through New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan, a story featured in the Summer 2016 issue of The Positive Community, a New Jersey publication.
Under the protection of police escort, he engaged with people on Chicago's South Side where more than 500 individuals have been victims of violence in 2016. Taylor's prayer walk was covered by Fox News 32 Chicago (http://www.fox32chicago.com/news/local/203332549-story).
Under the banner of "It's a Love Thing," Rev. Taylor's walk was a demonstration against gun violence. He is also the founder of "Man Up in Harlem," an outreach ministry for men that includes weekly prayer walks and a variety of community service efforts.
'57 David Shafer earned a master's degree in elementary education following his graduation from Nyack. He went on to earn a doctorate in education from New York University. He then became a nationally recognized speaker in K-12 education. He is also a competitive grant writer, having won major funds from many sources. David says, "I am always comforted by the Lord's words to Abraham, when he reached the outskirts of Ur of the Chaldees. He asked the Lord what was next. The Lord's reply, "I'll let you know, Abraham," reminding him of all that had been accomplished in his life. I am content with that rejoinder from the Lord." 
'62 Rev. Donald Zenner was ordained by Bishop Philip J. Campbell in the order of the Abundant Life Ministerial Fellowship at Lancaster, OH on June 18 at the age of 84. Prior to his ordination, Don was a barber for 58 years until his retirement in 2009 when he began working toward his ordination. He was active in lay ministry, had officiated at funerals and was guest speaker at churches.
Don met his wife of 60 years, Eleanor, at Nyack College. The couple married in 1962 and had two children. "Ordination is important to me because it was important to my family" said Zenner. "I never sought after titles or recognition, but I've been witnessing and preaching Christ all my life." (taken from the Observer-Reporter). To read more, click here.  

'64 David P. Jones recently returned from ministry in Cabinda, Angola and Portugal. In Cabinda he taught an intensive course on eschatology and the "History of the C&MA Mission in Cabinda" in the Angolan Alliance's Bible School. David is currently working on a book project on the History of the C&MA Mission in Brazil which is scheduled for publication in 2018.

'71 Donald Paine was in a life-changing and faith-affirming accident on Father's Day. His article about his experience and road to recovery, Forgiving is the key to healing, was published in Times Union. To read the full article, click here.

'74 Johnnie William Skinner, after graduating from Nyack College, attended Union Theological Seminary. He has served many churches throughout the years including Mount Bethel Baptist Church in Ridgewood, NJ, alongside Dr. Stanley Long '71; Convent Avenue Baptist Church, New York, NY; Concord Baptist Church of Christ in Brooklyn, NY; and Zion Baptist Church in Dayton, OH. In 1993 Johnnie earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary, and in 1996 his book, Seeing with the Heart, was published by Urban Ministries. He was called to Mount Zion Baptist Church in Knoxville, TN in 1991, where he is still serving as pastor after 25 years. Johnnie says, "I am thankful to God for the opportunity to serve in the African American community. Only God is great!"

'83 Mark Barnard's book,  Joseph Unrobed: Holding on to Your Dreams When Life Seems Like a Nightmare , was published in May 2016. Rev. Barnard serves as president of Blessing Point Ministries. He previously authored The Path of Revival, Diagnosing the Heart of Your Church and co-authored The Eighth Letter among other titles. He is a father, grandfather, and husband. Mark and his wife of over thirty years, Jeannie, reside in the Atlanta area. For more information, visit blessingpoint.org.
Mr. Earl Miller
'86 BS, '06 MSOL, '16 AGSC Earl Miller will be the keynote speaker at the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the West Point/Highland Falls Bicentennial Rotary Club on October 9, 2016.
'98 Stephanie (Thompson) Sondej is a teacher at Valley Christian Academy in Aurora, OH where she currently teaches middle school history. She married her husband, Jeff, in June of 2010. The couple welcomed a son, Samuel Joseph, in August 2013. The happy family resides in Cuyahoga Falls, OH.
'99 (ADCP) Patrick Center was promoted to New York Army National Guard brigadier general during a ceremony at the state Division of Military and Naval Affairs Headquarters on July 1. Patrick previously served as chief of staff of the 10,300-member New York Army National Guard. He is also a technician working for the National Guard daily as a federal civilian employee as well as an officer in the Guard. Patrick has earned a Legion of Merit , a Meritorious Service Medal, an Army Commendation Medal and an Army Achievement Medal.
'00 Ligia Cushman earned a second master's degree in professional counseling from Liberty University in July 2016. She currently oversees one of only five post-adoption services in the U.S. as well as the only post-reunification supportive service in the country.

'01 ATS Karen C. Goff  was recently named the new vice president for student life and dean of students at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA. In this role she will provide leadership to several areas of the Division of Student Life including Athletics, the Gay Johnson McDougall Center for Global Diversity and Inclusion (named for Agnes Scott's first African American student), the GuĂ© Pardue Hudson Center for Leadership and Service, (named for retired Agnes Scott College dean of students for 35 years), the Center for Student Involvement, Religious and Spiritual Life, Residence Life and the Wellness Center. Read more here.
'01 Sarah (Lindberg) Malanowski is pleased to announce her latest book, Victorious Mindset, from the Victorious Living Collection. She is currently writing her eighth book and is "looking forward to all that God has in store for it!" For more information on Sarah and her publications, click here.

'01 Shiloh (Hall) Woodard, is executive director of Child Protect of Mercer County, Inc., the front-line responders in Mercer County to reports of child sexual abuse and children who have experienced violence. Since opening their doors in 2001, Child Protect has served more than 1,982 children. The agency is preparing for its 15th anniversary celebration.
Shiloh met her husband, Benjamin Woodard '01, at Nyack. Benjamin has been working with the Princeton Police Department since 2004.
'03 Kevin Reece and wife, Santa, continue their service in Tanzania. They recently began a literacy program at the primary school in the village they serve, with the arrival of a new teacher. The literacy program coupled with the new teacher's strategies has brought forth tremendous progress and learning for the children. Kevin and Santa have been meeting with education officials and hope to have the school registered as an education center by year's end. Kevin has accepted a new challenge of teaching religion in the Kiswahili language. Kevin says this is "an opportunity to influence their spirituality that is shaped by witchcraft, traditional healers with power to harm or help people, folk Islam, animistic beliefs, ancestral worship and some form of Christian beliefs. I have no idea what to expect, but I am ready to start and see what God does."
'05 ATS William Alicea is an assistant pastor and English teacher. In 2015-2016 he traveled to Ecuador on mission trips.

'09 Jose Heredia performed with Dell-Arte Opera Ensemble in the production of  "La Traviata," at the Rose Nagelberg Theater at the Baruch Performing Arts Center. "A powerful voice and elegant style," is how Epoch Times reporter Barry Bassis describes the Nyack NYC School of Music alumnus. To read the complete review, click here.
'10 Ida Albergottie's book, Why Did This Happen?, was published by AuthorHouse in April. This book follows the lives of two young people who fall in love and explore their quest to understand the nature of heaven, hell, Jesus Christ and their own spirituality in the context of marriage and family life. Ida graduated from Nyack magna cum laude. She was ordained an elder in 2009 at Great Redeemer Church in the Bronx. She is married and currently lives in Longwood, FL.

'10 Zachariah Hummer and '10 Anna (Hebert) Hummer, moved to New England in 2014 to take over the youth and worship ministry at Church of Emmanuel in Foxboro, MA. They have three young daughters. Zach proclaims, "God is good!"
'10 Christopher J. Smith has been a volunteer with iMentor for four years and currently supports mentoring pairs as a program manager at Business of Sports School in Manhattan, NY. Chris says, "As a mentor, it didn't take long for me to realize how much my mentee valued our relationship. I joined the iMentor staff because I wanted many more students to have that experience--to know that they had a personal champion." Chris has gone above and beyond to advocate for students and because of this dedication, was promoted to the Senior Program Manager Team at iMentor. 

'12 Samuel Castro is a youth pastor at Ridgeway Alliance Church in White Plains, NY. He is engaged to be married.
'12 BS, '16 AGSC Jasmin Torres is a full-time therapist with New York Psychotherapy and Counseling Center.

'12 BS, '15 MSOL Qian Ye  was a featured artist of the 10th  Biennial Global Mural Conference at the Woodcliff Hotel and Spa in Fairport, NY in September. Qian was among some of the world's most talented artists gathered under one giant tent, working side by side on intriguing murals that reflect the many aspects of New York state history. Qian drew a parallel between the Underground Railroad and her own country of China's struggle during the Cultural Revolution. Qian says, "All people need freedom, even if from different countries they have the same heart." To read more, click hereInterviews with Qian and other artists can be seen here.

'13 Chanel Quezada released her first music album entitled Rey de Majestad (King of Majesty). To read more about Chanel, click here.
'13 Jodel Wright is the Women's Soccer Coach at Nyack College. This summer, Jodel had the opportunity to travel to the Netherlands and Germany to learn and experience firsthand their "football" coaching methods. In the Netherlands, he worked alongside the technical director and coaching staff of Holland Football University. In Germany, Jodel reconnected with his former soccer teammate, Alex Schmidt '13, whose father, Hagen Schmidt, is head coach of Borussia Monchengladbach U-17 boys' soccer team. Coach Schmidt shared his coaching methods that provided Jodel with new techniques for pre-match preparations with the women's soccer team at Nyack. Jodel feels that because of implementation of the methods and techniques he learned this summer, the women's soccer program at Nyack has seen a heightened level of improvement.

'14 Amanda Halter is an alumna of Nyack's Women's Soccer program. Amanda left a lasting legacy of influence and leadership at Nyack, both on and off the field. She currently studies and plays soccer in Germany for USV Jena, and was a part of her team's championship victory this past season. When asked to give her advice to college student-athletes, Amanda says, "Many college athletes think that after their four years of college sports, their chances to play the game are over. The fact is, if you love the game and have the dream to continue playing past college, pursue it. Maybe the location you are at does not enable you to reach that goal, so follow it elsewhere."

'14 Jesse Williams is a volunteer youth worker serving at risk youth as well as the local community as part of a non-profit organization, The Rock, in Kilkenny, Ireland.

'15 MSOL Rynae Rasley  is the new assistant coach for the U.S. Air Force Academy's Women's Basketball staff in Colorado. Rynae had been the assistant women's basketball coach for the Nyack Warriors for the past few years. During her time at Nyack, she was responsible for the day-to-day operations for the women's Warriors, overseeing defensive strategy as well as opponent scouting and the program's recruiting efforts. To read more, click here.

'16 Gregg Siemering is currently living in Costa Rica where he is studying Spanish at a  mission ary language institute.
Congratulations to the happy couples!
'63 Ronald Wilson married Beverly McBryde on July 23, 2016 in Orlando, FL.
'64 H. Duane Ranard and Edith L. Ramirez were married on July 2, 2016 at the First Baptist Church of Orlando. 
'12 Tyler Sant and '10 Amanda Majestic were married in fall 2015. They were blessed with a baby girl at the end of September. Tyler is currently a youth pastor at Fulton Alliance Church.
Congratulations to the happy families!

'98 David Julien and wife, Gina, welcomed baby boy Aaron Henry Julien on August 31, 2016. Aaron weighed 10 lbs., 2 oz. and measured 21 inches long.  

'04 Timothy Lee and '01 Jenny (Munoz) Lee welcomed baby girl Isabelle Joy Lee on July 8, 2016. Isabelle weighed 7 lbs., 4 oz. and measured 19-3/4 inches long. Isabelle joins big brother Parker.

Condolences to the family and friends of the following deceased alumni.

Celebrating the Life of Rick Santiago (BS '95, MSOL '07)

Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary are saddened by the loss of a true Nyack Warrior-Director of Database Operations, Rick Santiago, who went home to be with the Lord on Wednesday, August 17.
"Best all-around" sums up the well-lived life of Rick Santiago. A devoted husband and father. A loving pastor. An anointed worship leader. A hard-working employee. A mentoring educator. A diligent scholar. A contemporary Christian recording artist. A faithful friend. He served in all of those roles with such love and grace.
Rick was an outstanding presenter on many topics from leadership to ministry to technology. He earned both his bachelor's degree in pastoral ministry and a master's degree in organizational leadership at Nyack College. Not long after completing his graduate degree, he began teaching in Nyack's School of Business and Leadership. He was also a member of the faculty and staff chapel worship team.
His tenure as a Nyack employee began in 1995 in the Office of Admissions as a counselor. Most recently he was the Director of Database Operations. In 2011, for consistently embodying Nyack's core values, Rick Santiago was presented with the Commitment to Mission Award at the annual year end faculty/staff luncheon (pictured with Dr. David Turk and Dr. Michael G. Scales.) He has left an unforgettable legacy in the Nyack campus community.

'54 David E. Kiser , 81, passed away on August 21, 2015. He attended Nyack in the 50's and graduated from Wheaton College in 1956. David was ordained by the C&MA. David loved being active in his church, gardening, splitting wood and taking care of his family.

'55 Donald Max Weston, Sr. passed away on August 4, 2016 at the age of 86. Following his graduation from Nyack College, he served the Lord in ministry in North Carolina and Florida. He ministered in prisons and nursing homes for over 50 years. Rev. Weston was married to Eunita Weston for 34 years.

'96 ADCP Edith Gloria Williams  went home to be with the Lord on April 8, 2016. After earning a bachelor's degree in Organizational Management from Nyack, Gloria's desire was to obtain a master's degree. At the age of 70, she began some post-degree work at ATS. Throughout her life, Gloria served in various positions, including working for the Hackensack Board of Education, Fairleigh Dickinson University and Teaneck High School, where she served for 27 years. She was ordained as a deacon on January 10, 2003 at the New Hope Baptist Church where she served faithfully. One word that has been used to describe her is "consistent," as she did everything consistently in excellence to the praise, glory and honor of God. She was the beloved wife of James L. Williams for 51 years, and mother of Mitzi Williams Rayner and Rev. Malachy M. Williams.
'98 AA, '01 BS Lavern Dantzler  went home to be with the Lord on August 18, 2016 at the age of 63. Lavern completed a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education summa cum laude at Nyack College NYC. She also studied at ATS pursuing coursework in the Master of Professional Studies program concentrating in urban ministry. Lavern was ordained as a minister by the People's Community Temple Inc. in Manhattan on February 9, 1977. She was a dedicated and committed member of Second Chance Christian Center in the Bronx since 2014. Lavern completed a chaplaincy program in 2015 with the New York State Chaplain Task Force Inc. From 2002-2005, Lavern served on the Nyack New York City campus staff as a testing and tutoring coordinator.

'05 Tunesha Crispell, 43, went home to be with the Lord on July 13, 2016. Tunesha, a vocal performance major and one-time music department secretary, is fondly remembered by Nyack NYC School of Music Dean Dr. Sue Lane Talley as "an unusually gifted and faithful woman who blessed us so much." Loved and respected in the gospel music community, her well-known talent and impact on friends and music colleagues is warmly captured here.

'16 ATS Mark X. Lewis, an alumnus of the M.Div. program, passed away in July 2016.

Emma (Peck) Howland passed away on March 25, 2016 at the age of 97.  Emma was a talented seamstress and retired from Eureka Tent Company in Walton, NY. Previously, she worked in the Walton Bakery and at the War Plant in Sidney, NY during World War II. She attended Nyack College in 1942, but graduated with a degree in domestic arts from Delhi Technical School. She enjoyed sewing and fishing. Emma was a long-time member of the United Presbyterian Church in Walton.

Douglas S. Anthony, 51, passed away on August 1, 2016. Doug attended Nyack College and later went to work for PSE&G where he was employed for nearly 30 years. A member of Allentown Presbyterian Church, he served as a Crossroads Youth Leader, was a board member on the Upper Freehold Regional School District and was involved with Allentown Boy Scouts, Troop 180. Doug was a caring and devoted husband, father and son.
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*Featured articles written by Deborah Walker