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NA Alumni Association Confers Annual Alumni Awards

In a beautiful celebration of the little moments and shared experiences at Newark Academy that made a significant impact in the lives of numerous graduates, even decades later, the Alumni Association conferred its top honors for distinguished alumni during the annual Alumni Awards Ceremony at Reunion on Saturday, June 4, 2022 in Kaltenbacher Hall.

Alumni Board of Governors President Rebecca Moll Freed ’94 led the ceremony, noting that “all of our honorees have made an impact on NA during their times on campus and even beyond. “We’re grateful for all of your accomplishments, spirit and your continued effort to pay things forward.”

Rebecca began the ceremony by recognizing the Class of 1995 with the Ad Lumen Award, which honors the class that posts the largest percentage increase in gifts to the Annual Fund in a given year. The Class of 1995 increased its participation by 18 percent this past year. The Class of 1981 was also awarded, receiving the annual 1903 Cup – given to the NA class from the last 50 years whose giving embodies alumni generosity as measured by the percentage of the class that contributes to the Annual Fund. For the sixth consecutive year, the Class of 1981 was awarded the cup, with 48 percent participation in giving to the Annual Fund this year.

Individual alumni were also recognized during the evening’s ceremony. Alumni awards included the Achievement Award, Fulton H. MacArthur Award, Artistic Achievement Award, Athletic Hall of Fame Awards and the Distinguished Faculty Award.

“Without exception, these members of our Newark Academy community demonstrate daily the hallmarks of Newark Academy education and our mission,” said Head of School Donald M. Austin.

Alumni Achievement Award - Dr. Salamishah Tillet ’92

Salamishah was awarded the prestigious Alumni Achievement Award, which honors NA graduates who have distinguished themselves in their field of endeavor. Salamishah was presented the award by her former English teacher Frederick Von Rollenghagen. “Salamishah has always been a woman on the move, a fighter fighting the good fight,” said Von. “Here at NA, she was a scholar and an athlete; from early on, a person who has always given her best and relentlessly worked hard to make sure that others always give their best selves.”

Salamishah earned the honor for her work as an activist, writer and professor. Currently serving as the Henry Rutgers Professor of African American Studies and Creative Writing at Rutgers University-Newark, Salamishah co-founded the nonprofit, A Long Walk Home, alongside her sister Scheherazade Tillet ’96. The organization uses art to empower young people to end violence against girls and women. This year, Salamishah, who is a contributing critic at large for the New York Times, received the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Criticism for her essays on race in arts and culture.

“My journey to be a reader, my journey to understand the power of art to impact our lives, my journey to understand the way in which art can help us understand difficult conversations and have them with each other is in great part to the community that I had [at NA],” said Salamishah. “I really believe that I had such a powerful experience here learning to analyze and learning to critique and learning to talk and learning to love literature and art, and I’m so very grateful for my experiences here at Newark Academy.”
 
Fulton H. MacArthur Award - S. Dillard Kirby ’77

Head of School Donald M. Austin presented the Fulton H. MacArthur Award to S. Dillard Kirby ’77. The award is given to NA graduates who have distinguished themselves through loyal and dedicated service to Newark Academy through their efforts on behalf of the Alumni Association, the Board of Trustees, or in another volunteer capacity. “[Dillard] always found time and energy for NA. He served on the Board of Trustees and left an indelible mark on the Academy through his thoughtful guidance, his expectation of institutional excellence and his demonstration of generosity to his alma mater,” said Mr. Austin.
Dillard recalled his time at NA, crediting a course with former faculty member Blackwood “Blackie” Parlin for learning empathy and a love of mankind. He also reminisced about the time the entire football team came together to buy him a new Varsity jacket, since he had lost his – then subsequently awed the crowd by pulling it out and proudly putting it on.
 
Artistic Achievement Award - Peter Rundquist ’82

Arts Department Chair Viraj Lal introduced Peter Rundquist ’82, the recipient of the Artistic Achievement Award, which is presented to NA graduates who have distinguished themselves in the fields of creative, literary, performing and visual arts who began their careers with significant contributions to the arts while at Newark Academy.

“It was here at NA that the spark of creativity and composition was kindled into a flame,” said Peter, noting that he was challenged to perform publicly for the first time while in school. “At NA, I was free to make mistakes in a safe and forgiving environment. It was here that I learned music and the arts connect us with all of our passions… It was through music and the arts that illuminated and cultivated and connected me to my emotions and instilled in me a sense of resolve of purposeful perseverance.”
 
Athletic Hall of Fame Awards: Danielle Schwartz Auerbach ’01, Ralph Pellecchia ’62 and Whitney Russell ’62

The Alumni Association presented the Athletic Hall of Fame Awards to Danielle Schwartz Auerbach ’01, for her prowess on the tennis courts, and to teammates Ralph Pellecchia ’62 and Whitney Russell ’62 for their performance on the football field, basketball courts as well as in track and field and baseball, respectively. 
Upper School Principal and tennis coach Dr. Richard DiBianca introduced Danielle for her Hall of Fame accolade – the two formed a close bond during Danielle’s time at NA, as Dr. D would frequently advise her athletically, academically and socially.
 
“What I remember most of all is the incredible school spirit,” Danielle said. “There was always such an extraordinary sense of pride representing Newark Academy and everything it is known for: its long history, rich traditions, outstanding reputation for academic excellence, athletic successes and NA’s focus on developing future community, national and global leaders.”

Pat Ciccone ’62, a 2007 NA Hall of Fame inductee, presented his former teammates and lifelong friends Ralph and Whitney with their Hall of Fame accolades, mentioning that he was always inspired to work harder to meet their expectations of him. “I made many lifetime friends, and I think that’s the best thing about [my Newark Academy experience],” Ralph said. Whitney added, “This evening is stunning in the fact that there’s such excellence growing in the school in so many areas and ways.”
 
Distinguished Faculty Award - Bob Mallalieu

After 37 years of service to Newark Academy, Bob Mallalieu was presented with the Distinguished Faculty Award by Head Librarian and his colleague of 26 years Jean Moroz. The award recognizes an NA faculty member who has a significant impact upon the educational development of students. Over his tenure, Bob served as the director of library media services, Summer Session director, department chair, administrator, coach, advisor, public speaking teacher and more. Most memorably, Bob was part of The Watchung Mountain Boys, a beloved Morning Meeting performance group.

“When I first came to NA, I found it to be a place that provided opportunities to grow and to give, and often, in unexpected and uncharted ways,” said Bob. “Life at Newark Academy was and is very good, and for that, I am indeed thankful, grateful and blessed.”
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