From nursing to entrepreneurship to law and everything in between our members bring varied backgrounds and experiences to the table. No matter your age or background, there is room for you in The Circle. Like minded women who would like to make an impact on the Adelphi community gather and pool their resources. You don’t have to be an Adelphi panther to join, just a panther in spirit!
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Being part of a women’s philanthropic group is as energizing as it is inspirational. What the WGC has accomplished in such a short time is truly amazing. It is my good fortune to be a member of this outstanding group.
“The results of philanthropy are always beyond calculation” -Mary Ritter Beard
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A native of the Bronx, Lynda Perdomo-Ayala was born to Puerto Rican parents, Rosalina and Emilio. She completed her undergraduate work at Adelphi University, earned a master’s degree in Social Work from the School of Social Welfare at Stony Brook University, and has two certificates one in Conflict Resolution from Cornell University, and one in Divorce Mediation.
Lynda Perdomo-Ayala is the Administrative Department Head for the Department of Pharmacological Sciences in the Health Sciences Center at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She is responsible for the administration of the department’s policies and procedures, human resources, research, and academics as well as oversees the management of matters concerning all faculty, staff, and students, including the finances of the department.
Perdomo-Ayala has been advisor to the Latin American Student Organization (LASO) at Stony Brook University for approximately twenty-seven years, where she has worked closely with undergraduates. Her direct involvement with students and her efforts to integrate personal experiences with education, have successfully directed many of her students towards appropriate career pathways. Honored and revered by them, Lynda was inducted as the first and only Honorary Member of the Sigma Iota Alpha Sorority, Inc., Moreover, she was instrumental in the initiation of the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Center at Stony Brook University, and continues her work to promote and establish a firm foundation of support for the Center as the Chair of its advisory board. She has a strong interest in recruitment, retention, and mentoring of minority faculty, staff, and students.
In addition to her work with a wide range of student/faculty organizations on campus, Perdomo-Ayala has also worked in her immediate community to establish a series of programs and services to benefit individuals in need. With a focus on people of color, and with an underlying educational theme, she has developed bilingual programs for parents and the community-at-large within such organizations as the Long Island Education Coalition, the Stony Brook University Medical Center’s Health Initiative for Underrepresented Communities, Infant Jesus Church – La Familia Unida, The Suffolk County Hispanic Advisory Board, and a variety of school districts on Long Island.
Perdomo-Ayala has distinguished herself as a true leader within the Long Island community, and in particular the Hispanic/Latino community. She served as co-chair to the Healthcare Committee for the First Long Island Hispanic/Latino Leadership Summit convened by the National Conference of Puerto Rican Women (NACOPRW), and established to identify the major issues impacting the region’s Hispanic/Latino population. Her interest in women’s health lead her to co-chair the 2000 National Convention of the National Conference of Puerto Rican Women entitled: The State of the State of Latina Health. A convention held in New York City, that was supported by the Governor’s office, The Department of Health and Human Services, and many other notables in the tri-state area.
Immediate Past Chairwoman
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Elizabeth Gross Cohn, Ph.D., RN
A Robert Wood Johnson Nurse Faculty Scholar, Dr. Cohn, graduated from Columbia University and completed a summer fellowship and the National Institutes of Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health. At Columbia, Dr. Cohn was the founding director of the Diversity and Cultural Affairs at the School of Nursing, the Associate Director of the Community-Engagement Core of the NIH-funded Clinical and Translation Science Award, and the co-chair of the Patient-Centered Outcomes/Comparative Effectiveness Research Consortium, an interdisciplinary collaboration between New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University.
Dr. Cohn has current funding from the National Human Genome Research Institute, the National Institute for Neurologic Disease and Stroke, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She is an appointed member of the New York State Minority Health and Health Equity Council, a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine and the New York Academy of Sciences. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, on National Public Radio, in Men’s Health and Esquire Magazine.
Member of the Cadet Nurse Corps.
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Ann Callahan-Dick began her Nursing career in September 1944 in the Cadet Nurse Corps at Adelphi, one of the first in the country. The Corps had been formed by the United States Public Health Service, Division of Nurse Education. It was mainly formed to relieve the nurses who were joining the Armed Forces during World War 2.
Callahan-Dick was raised in a small village, Schuylerville, in upstate New York. Her father was a General Practitioner and several of her relatives were in the medical fields. She often accompanied her father on house calls and hospital visits, and at times was asked to “Come into the office and watch” while he treated interesting patients—who never seemed to mind—-no HIPAA in those days!
Upon graduating with a B.S., RN she began working at Nassau Hospital, now Winthrop University Hospital, and after two years she moved to Washington, DC, to work at Georgetown Hospital. After marriage, she and her husband moved to Houston, Texas where Ann worked at Hermann Hospital. She continued to work until the week before her first daughter was born. Eventually, she returned to New York with her four children from her first marriage. She returned to work at Nassau until a few years later she remarried, and she and her husband and their growing family moved into their home in Oyster Bay, Long Island. Over the years, Callahan-Dick raised nine children while managing a very busy household. Her husband was a Pediatrician with two busy offices, one of which was in their home. With nine children, several grandchildren and great-grandchildren, she loves hosting family parties.
Callahan-Dick and her husband loved to travel. They have been to Russia, Israel, Turkey, Greece, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, China, Cuba, and several European countries where they often attended Pediatric meetings. Unfortunately, her husband passed away in 2006. Callahan-Dick remains involved in her community, and is a founding member of the Women’s Giving Circle at Adelphi. She really enjoys meetings at Adelphi and is amazed by the growth of the campus and the University.
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Jennifer Ganley is currently the Director of High School and Pre-College Programs at Adelphi University. In this role, she helps provide current high school students with rich educational opportunities. She brings students together from all over the world to live, learn and explore all that Adelphi University has to offer. She is responsible for program and curriculum development, enrollment, financial growth and stability of the High School and Pre-College Programs. Each fall, Ganley helps welcome incoming Panthers as an instructor for the Freshmen Orientation Experience. Jennifer has served as a mentor in Adelphi’s Mentoring Program since its inception in 2014. She also serves on Adelphi’s Diversity Committee, First Year Experience Committee, and the AU Community Reads Selection Committee. Ganley previously worked as the Coordinator of the Learning Center. She received her M.A. in Psychology in 2013 and her B.A. in Communications in 2009 from Adelphi University and is currently working towards an advanced graduate certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders.
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Erin Gayron earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Queens College, City University of New York. A seasoned fundraising professional, she began her career in philanthropy in Washington, DC, at the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), a national health care service non-profit. Gayron enjoyed a seven-year career at MDA, ascending the ranks until she was promoted to manage the number one market of MDA in New York City. Through partnerships she formed with institutions of higher education, her interest in transitioning her skills to higher education giving was sparked. She was hired by Adelphi in September of 2007 and has enjoyed a successful career in the Office of University Advancement. Gayron remains passionate about ensuring that a college education, specifically an Adelphi University education, remains accessible to everyone. “I worked several jobs to fund my college education. I often think if I had been more proactive about pursuing scholarships, I could have continued with my education rather than beginning my career to pay off my student loans.” A founding member and University liaison to the Women’s Giving Circle, Gayron is proud to work alongside the incredible women who continue to enhance the experience of Adelphi’s student body.
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Susan Grogg graduated from the Goodman School of Theater at the Chicago Art Institute launching a nearly 30 year theatrical, film and television acting career. She founded the Hungry Actors Playhouse in Tucson Arizona, was a member of the noted Company of Angels theater group in Los Angeles, was on the faculty of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and has even coached University of Miami football players on camera technique. Grogg has appeared in numerous plays, television commercials, movies of the week and feature films. In 1980, Susan married Adelphi University Interim Provost, Dr. Sam Grogg. Susan and Sam share an abiding interest in the arts and education. And the arts run in the family—her step-daughter, Brady Poole, is a former theatrical stage manager and her son, Zubin, is a videographer and editor. Together, Susan and Sam are continuing contributors to Adelphi University.
Amelia Harrison, the director of Special Events and Constituent Engagement in Adelphi University’s Office of External Relations, has over 30 years of experience working in academia and for not-for-profits.
Harrison joined the Adelphi community in 1989 and has worked in both the academic and the administrative sides of the University. She had graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Barnard College in 1983, and in 1992, she earned her Master’s in Education from Adelphi specializing in teaching English as a second language. Prior to joining Adelphi, Harrison was the director of Community Education and Public Information for the Epilepsy Foundation of Long Island.
As the director of Special Events and Constituent Engagement, she is responsible for the branding and strategic use of large-scale campus events as a means to further engage alumni, parents and the local community in the life of the University.
University Campus Happenings and Events Liaison
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Kaitlyn Woods is a graduate from the Robert B. Willumstad School of Business, earning both her undergraduate degree in 2012 and an M.B.A. graduate in 2015. She has been a member of the Women’s Giving Circle since February 2013. Woods helped to recreate the WGC Website and is a member of the WGC Executive Committee.
Woods is currently Senior Associate Director of Special Events and Constituent Engagement in Adelphi University’s Office of External Relations at Adelphi University where she is responsible for the development and execution of the University’s community relations program to meet the needs of internal and external audiences and serves as the University liaison for special events and initiatives for the President’s office.
Woods enjoys staying connected to her Alma Mater, not only as an employee but by being an active member of the Women’s Giving Circle.
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Gayle D. Insler is currently Professor of Biology, has held a wide range of positions since joining the University in 1977, and is one of the founding members of the Women’s Giving Circle. From 2008 through 2016 she served as the University’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, and from 1997 through 2016 as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. As Provost, she oversaw a highly successful Middle States decennial visit, helped the university earn the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement as well as a place on President Obama’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction. In 2011, with oversight and inspiration from Dr. Insler and her team, Adelphi launched a new Center for Health Innovation—designed to create and facilitate the development of practitioner-focused, interdisciplinary academic programming, research, community partnerships, and leadership to meet current and emergent healthcare needs.
She has been widely published in the fields of biology and parasitology, and is an active member in several professional organizations. Her area of scholarly interest is the physiology and biochemistry of tapeworms – an area which lends itself to interesting biological questions of growth, competition and survival.
Dr. Insler has served as Secretary on the NuHealth Foundation Board—the philanthropic board of Nassau University Medical Center, as well as the Rockville Centre Education Foundation. She graduated from Hunter College High School in New York City, received her B.S. in biology, cum laude, from SUNY Stony Brook, and her M.S. and Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Dr. Insler has been married to Harris Insler for 43 years and they are the proud parents of daughter, Rachel, their son-in-law, Gil, and son, Zach.
Angela M Jaggar*
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Dr. Jaggar, who holds a Ph.D. in education from New York University, began her career as an elementary school teacher in Plainview, NY. She then entered the field of higher education, teaching and conducting research in children’s language and literacy development at New York University. During more than 30 years at NYU, she co-founded the University’s Reading Recovery Project, which she co-directed for 10 years. She has held numerous leadership roles in professional education associations throughout her career.
Angela and her husband Scott, who are residents of Port Washington, have been actively involved in a number of not-for-profit organizations that serve children, education, and the arts. Dr. Jaggar has served on the Board of Directors of Port Washington’s historic community center, Landmark on Main Street. Elected to the Adelphi University Board of Trustees in 2008, Dr. Jaggar, who is currently on the Board of Directors of the Family and Children’s Association, has also provided her leadership to Belmont Child Care Association, Women on the Job and Literacy Volunteers of New York City. To further their support of those in need, the Jaggars established the Angela and Scott Jaggar Foundation.
Angela and Scott are members of the University’s Million Dollar Round Table and Adelphi’s Ruth S. Harley Society, which recognizes those who have made provisions for the University in their estate plans.
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Donna McCoyd graduated from Chestnut Hill College in Pennsylvania in 1966 with B.A. in Sociology. She later attended Adelphi University and earned and B.S. in Nursing in 1978 and a M.S. in Behavioral Health Nursing in 2002.
In the years after completing her studies at Adelphi she provided Childbirth Education and Parenting skills instruction to families in her home, in a physicians’ office and at a charitable institution. She also conducted self-esteem workshops and assertiveness training lessons for women.
In addition, McCoyd has been active in her community, serving as a Board member of the Center for Family Resources and as a volunteer for Mercy hospice and Long Island Rotacare. She is a member of the Stewardship Committee in her church and is a founding member of the Adelphi Women’s Giving Circle.
McCoyd is married and has three grown children and nine grandchildren. More than anything else, she enjoys spending time with her family.
She is grateful for the education she received at Adelphi and feels that being a part of the Women’s Giving Circle has enables her to continue to be of service to others.
Barbara Quinn McElroy, Esq.
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Barbara Quinn McElroy, Esq., a board member since 2014, has served as Secretary since 2015. She is also a member of the WGC Executive Committee formed in September 2016. Mrs. McElroy serves on Adelphi University’s Arts Development Board, the Adelphi University President’s Strategic Planning Committee and is a Vice President of the Parents Association.
A native of Long Island, McElroy attended the College of William & Mary where she received a B.S. in Business Management. She then received a law degree from St. John’s University. She practiced law with the Uniondale based firm of Farrell, Fritz where she focused on Municipal Law and Environmental Litigation until she retired to raise her family.
McElroy is President of Garden City Friends of Music. She has held many volunteer positions within the Garden City School District from 2002 through the present. McElroy is also very active in her church.
Her husband, Gavin, is an attorney at Frankfurt Kurnit, in New York City, where he is a partner in the Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations Group and chairs the Executive Compensation Group. Her two children currently attend Adelphi University.
“The WGC has enabled me to meet wonderful women who care deeply about Adelphi University. These women bring many different backgrounds and experiences to the Circle that then meld together as we work together to support the University. It is a personal and professional privilege to be a part of the Circle.”
Kathleen L. Rickard*
Bachelor of Arts, Early Childhood Education 1991, St. Joseph’s College, NY
US Army Reserve veteran
Retired law enforcement
Bachelor of Science in Nursing Graduate 2014, Adelphi University
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Christine Reslmaier is currently Web Content Strategist for Adelphi University’s Web Communications Team. She has been working in Adelphi’s Office of Information Technology since 2007. Reslmaier earned an M.A. in Community Health Promotion at Adelphi in 2016 and holds a B.A. in Psychology from Binghamton University. In her career, she has worked as an editor for several publications as well as in e-commerce, including AARP magazine, Golf magazine, cbsnews.com, lifetimetv.com and Lane Bryant.
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Rory Shaffer-Walsh earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Hartwick College and her Master’s degree in International Studies at Central Connecticut State University specializing in the Soviet Commonwealth and Eastern Europe. Heading to Washington, DC after graduation she started her career in the non-profit world working for the Congressional Youth Leadership Council.
After getting experience in Washington, DC, Shaffer-Walsh found herself drawn to working in higher education. She was hired as an international admissions counselor and thus began her career in higher education. Shaffer-Walsh had a 10 year career in University Admissions working at Adelphi, LIU Southampton and LIU Post after which she was recruited back to Adelphi to work in the Office of University Advancement. Fundraising major and planned gifts to help support Adelphi University and especially student scholarships truly resonates with Shaffer-Walsh. “Part of my college education was generously funded by a donor scholarship…Without the scholarship, my student loans would have been doubled, so I am forever grateful.”
As a founding member, and former University liaison to the WGC, Shaffer-Walsh is proud to be supporting Adelphi in such a powerful and unique way with a great group of like-minded, smart, dedicated, generous and creative women.
Coordinator of Programs and Projects, Division of Student Affairs
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Kathleen Watchorn, member since 2017, is a triple graduate of Adelphi, earning first an associate’s degree in 2001, a Bachelor of Arts in 2004 and then a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing in 2011. She recently celebrated her 20th year in service at Adelphi where she currently serves in the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs and as an adjunct instructor. Watchorn’s work brings her into daily personal contact with many students, undoubtedly the most rewarding part of her time at Adelphi.
Long a passionate advocate for a more sustainable environment, Watchornhas spearheaded two major initiatives at Adelphi aimed at reducing waste, re-purposing items and recycling the rest. Begun in 2005, the “Think Before You Throw” program engages students, faculty and staff in major recycling and waste reduction efforts—thus the abundance of recycling bins throughout campus and the regular collection of batteries and electronic equipment. The “Make it a Million” campaign aims to encourage refilling of water bottles, resulting in the major reduction of plastic waste. Between Adelphi’s Garden City campus, Hauppauge Center and the Manhattan Center, the 1,000,000th bottle mark was reached in November 2015. Watchorn has challenged the Class of 2020 to make it two million before they graduate and they are well on their way!
Watchorn’s interests in the environment led her to continue to create and participate in, what she calls, “Grow the Green” activities, both on and off campus, including participating in the People’s Climate Marches, developing campus Earth Day activities, and Green Expo events. She also loves to garden, travel, and spend time with her husband, four children and two grandchildren.
“I have watched with great interest, the growth of the WGC since its inception in 2011, and I am very excited to join this dedicated group of women. Giving back to the environment, to society, and to Adelphi have always been part of me. Now I join other like-minded women and look forward to what we can accomplish together.”
Communications and Social Media Chair
President of the Nursing Class of 2014
Honorable Mention Recipient of the 2014 Women’s Giving Circle Courage to Inspire Strength to Empower Essay Contest
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Chelsea Wollman B.S., RN a graduate of the College of Nursing and Public Health Class of May 2014 joined the circle after being awarded the Women’s Giving Circle Courage to Inspire, Strength to Empower Honorable Mention Essay Contest in 2014. Chelsea has helped to re-create the new WGC Website and is a member of the WGC Executive Committee formed in September, 2016.
During Wollman’s time at Adelphi University, she was a four-year student-athlete of the Women’s Soccer Team as well as an Admissions Ambassador, Resident Assistant, and served a two-year term as President of the Student Nurses Association (SNAP) on Campus during her Junior and Senior year. Wollman had the opportunity to travel abroad twice with the College of Nursing and Public Health on two mission trips to the Villages of Peru as well as the Navajo Nation in Arizona which encouraged her to travel more upon graduation.
As a native of Northford, CT, Wollman moved to New York permanently upon completion of her Bachelors of Science in Nursing and accepted a full-time position as a Critical Care Nurse in the Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit at North Shore University Hospital within the Northwell Health System, while also working per diem at Winthrop University Hospital.
Wollman enjoys staying connected with her Alma Matter and has recently been elected as President of the Alpha Omega Chapter of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Adelphi University after serving as the President-Elect in 2015.
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