Regina Calcaterra ’88 delivers moving Distinguished Speaker Series talk

Regina CalcaterraThe seventh annual Distinguished Speaker Series at SUNY New Paltz saw the return to campus of alumna Regina Calcaterra ’88 (Political Science), an attorney, advocate and New York Times best-selling author of the memoir “Etched in Sand.”

“I’m honored and humbled to have been asked to be the Distinguished Speaker at SUNY New Paltz,” Calcaterra said. “I have been speaking nationwide at colleges and other forums, but nothing has meant more to me than being asked to come back here, to come back home, and share my story, because a lot of my story happened here at SUNY New Paltz.”

College President Donald P. Christian noted Calcaterra’s contribution to the rich lineage of Distinguished Speakers who have come to address the College community over the years.

“Our Distinguished Speaker Series is a signature event for the College, connecting students, faculty and staff, alumni and community members with well-known authors, policy leaders, scientists, media experts, business people and other luminaries on our campus,” Christian said. “We are absolutely delighted to have Regina Calcaterra here with us tonight. I was deeply moved by Regina’s life story, and even more so by what she has told me about the impact her story is having on the lives of others.”

Calcaterra’s talk, entitled “The Power of Resilience,” detailed her personal story of optimism, self-determination and how small acts of kindness for a child living on the fringe of society can have ever-lasting impacts. She shared her experiences growing up impoverished, frequently homeless and subject to physical abuse, then discussed how the kindness of a few gave her the resources she needed to pull herself out of squalor and achieve personal and professional success.

Calcaterra reserved particular thanks for educators who pushed her to be diligent and persistent, including New Paltz Professor Emeritus of Political Science Lewis Brownstein and political science professors Nancy Kassop and Gerald Benjamin. “Professors Brownstein, Kassop and Benjamin did their best to propel me forward and make sure I graduated,” Calcaterra said. “I owe a lot to them; they really made a difference.”

About the Distinguished Speaker Series

Launched in 2008, the Distinguished Speaker Series aims to connect SUNY New Paltz alumni, students, faculty/staff and community members with highly accomplished alumni, authors, policy makers, leaders, scientists, media experts, business people and other luminaries. The series hosts speakers twice every academic year.

SUNY New Paltz’s 2015 Distinguished Speaker Series is supported by the generosity of the following major sponsors: Buttermilk Falls Inn and Spa, Campus Auxiliary Services, The Dorsky Family & The Dorsky Foundation, Empire State Bank, Frida’s Bakery & Café, M&T Bank, Hudson Heritage Federal Credit Union, Liberty Mutual Insurance, Viking Industries, SUNY New Paltz Foundation and Sodexo.

Learn more about Regina Calcaterra and You Gotta Believe at their websites.