Notable alumni wall unveiled

Notable Alumni Wall

The College has installed a Notable Alumni Wall in the Humanities Building next to the Office of Career Services in an effort to create a culture of philanthropy among current students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, the Foundation Board, and supporting community members.

This display features the stories of Kenneth Pasternak ’77, Regina Calcaterra ’88, Ian Brodsky ’13, Robert Mountz ’68, ’71g, ’80 cas, Henrietta Mountz ’68, ’71g, Patrick Coleman ’90, and Maria Rodolis ’10.

Plans are to recognize New Paltz’s talented and notable alumni on an annual basis.

Kenneth Pasternak ’77
CEO and Co-founder, Knight Trading Group

It was at New Paltz that the business mogul learned the professional skills that would one day lead him to the financial capital of the world, Wall Street. “My personal journey took me from 12 Gage Hall to 12 Wall Street (the private entrance to the New York Stock Exchange),” he said.

Pasternak, who graduated from New Paltz with a degree in secondary education and a concentration in social studies, arrived in New York City confident and ready for the competitive world of business on Wall Street. In New York, Pasternak put his skill set to good use. At Spear, Leeds, and Kellogg, a specialist firm on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Pasternak created a training program for new company traders and worked his way up to director of trading for the company in 1988. Pasternak went on to become chairman, chief executive officer and co-founder of Knight Capital, a Fortune 1000 company in Manhattan in 1995.

After retiring from Knight Trading Group, Pasternak created a New Jersey-based hedge fund, Chestnut Ridge Capital, LLC and now serves as Chairman of KABR Real Estate Investment Partners LLC, a real estate firm that purchases distressed office buildings, renovates them and leases them at below-market rents.

In 2007, the Pasternak Family Foundation provided the $100,000 lead gift to the School of Business for a trading room in van den Berg Hall.

The Kenneth D. Pasternak Trading Room is a resource for business students learning about capital markets. His civic involvement is not limited to the School of Business. Pasternak was a member of the SUNY New Paltz Foundation Board from 2006 to 2012 and returns to campus to speak periodically to students and share the secrets of his success.

Regina Calcaterra ’88
Lawyer, State of New York

Regina Calcaterra grew up on Long Island, N.Y. With her brother and three sisters, they endured abandonment, abuse, homelessness, and several foster homes. Thanks to a few formative teachers, she believed in her intelligence and that education was her best tool for a better life.

Regina worked to put herself through college and then law school. She sees her current job as a way to make a difference in people’s lives. Her memoir, Etched in Sand: A True Story of Five Siblings Who Survived an Unspeakable Childhood on Long Island, became a New York Times bestseller within three weeks of its release.

New Paltz plays a significant role in the book, as it did in Calcaterra’s life.“I had these fabulous teachers…and they really opened my eyes,” she says. “It changed the course of my life.”

Today, Calcaterra is Deputy Counsel to the New York State Insurance Fund. She serves on the board of directors of You Gotta Believe, an organization that finds permanent homes for youth and teens in foster care.

Robert Mountz ’68, ’71g, ’80cas
Henrietta Mountz ’68, ’71g
SUNY New Paltz Donors

Robert Mountz and his wife, Henrietta (Thomas) Mountz, met on a blind date while attending New Paltz. Finding their life’s partners is just one of the many fond memories they have of New Paltz. They often share their stories of taking Professor Gerald Sorin’s American History class and of course, the memorable 1965 Soccer team. Robert shares, “Those four formative years helped us to grow from high school students to professional educators.”

They continue their involvement with the College—returning to campus several times each year for soccer games, alumni receptions, and other events. The Mountz’s established a charitable gift annuity to support scholarships for students in New Paltz’s School of Education. Henrietta, a first-generation college graduate, said, “I know how difficult it is to fund an education, especially in a family that doesn’t have that tradition. It makes us feel really good that we’re helping other students.” Robert and Henrietta are most excited about the opportunities offered to students and the commitment of the College to provide students from all economic backgrounds an excellent education.

Ian Brodsky ’13

Ian Brodsky played the role of Malcolm, a teenage violin prodigy, in the feature film, “Begin Again” (formerly “Can A Song Save a Life”). The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Recalling how he found his passion, Brodsky says, “My parents took me to see “Les Misérables” when I was 10 years old and that changed everything. Everything about that performance took my breath away and walking out of that theatre, I decided that musical theatre was the path for me.”

He is especially grateful for the mentorship of former New Paltz Professor Stephen Kitsakos (Theatre Arts), but says he learned from each of his teachers and classes at New Paltz.

“I have been able to take valuable lessons from each of my professors, and internalizing all of it has helped me produce better auditions. I have taken something from each production and each class. Each lesson contributed to my growth as an artist.”

Maria Rodolis ’10
Postdoctoral Research Scientist, Stony Brook University

Originally from a small rural town in the Dominican Republic, Maria Rodolis immigrated to New York where she developed a strong interest in the STEM fields. In 2006, Maria began her studies as an EOP student at SUNY New Paltz where she majored in chemistry and minored in biology. Throughout her undergraduate studies, she embarked on various research projects at SUNY New Paltz and abroad at La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica and at the Center of Molecular Biology Severo Ochoa in Spain.

“New Paltz kick-started my career as an international research scientist and exposed me to many research opportunities in various fields. Aside from giving me a phenomenal education, I made some lifelong friends and lived in one of the most beautiful places in upstate New York.” In 2010, she was awarded the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence and obtained her B.S. in chemistry. Soon after graduating, Maria Rodolis was awarded an National Science Foundation (NSF) fellowship to conduct her PhD studies at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom.

In January 2014, Maria began a funded postdoctoral research project at Stony Brook University under the supervision of Professor Nicole Sampson. At Stony Brook University, she is investigating various processes involved in mammalian fertilization.

Patrick Coleman ’90
Director, African Affairs, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative

Patrick Coleman ’90 (International Relations) has traveled around the world, negotiated trade agreements throughout sub-Saharan Africa, and served in the administrations of two U.S. presidents (George W. Bush and Barack Obama). Now, after 20 years in public service, Coleman is in the process of retiring…and preparing to start the next phase of his life and work.

It was under the administration of President George W. Bush that Coleman came to be the Director for African Affairs at the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). As the lead U.S. negotiator on trade agreements dealing with Africa, he worked to increase the trade capacity of African nations. His position continued under President Barack Obama.