Elegant Evening of Recognition, Celebration and Reflection
On Wednesday, November 8, 2023, members of Farmingdale State College’s (FSC) campus community joined John S. Nader, PhD, president of FSC, for the 2023 President’s Gala, an elegant evening celebration of FSC’s past, present and future.
Over 280 FSC alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends gathered at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury for the gala event, which included dinner, dancing, a silent auction, and a fabulous variety of raffle prizes. In total, nearly $200,000 was raised for the Farmingdale College Foundation, to support scholarships and critical resources for FSC’s students.
“The gala has been become an evening for both recognition and celebration and tonight I want to add a little bit of reflection,” said President Nader. “Because how we position the College for the success that we will have in the years ahead is a result of what we are doing tonight. Reflecting back only a very few years, it is worth noting for a few minutes, how far we have come.”
President Nader highlighted FSC’s Center for Criminal Justice Studies; Division of Computer Science and Information Systems; Student Activities Center; two graduate programs; Research Aligned Mentorship (RAM) Program; business partnerships in manufacturing, design, bioscience, technology, and healthcare; robust branding and marketing campaign; $250 million in planned renovations; and $75 million commitment for a new computer science building. FSC’s most recent accomplishments include doubling the number of student scholarships awarded, adding model programs for underserved students, and a fully funded Honors Program for all four academic schools.
Additionally, in seven years FSC has increased from 645 donors to 1700 donors and from under $1 million raised per year to over $5.5 million raised in 2023.
“Farmingdale State College is on a trajectory like no other college or university in our region fueled by an industrious, ambitious, genuine and supportive campus community,” said Matthew Colson, FSC vice president for development & alumni engagement. “We are the engine of opportunity for Long Island and beyond because of your investment in us, which empowers our students to reimagine what’s possible."
The 2023 President’s Gala event recognized six honorees for their positive impacts on the College and its community:
- The Ram’s Horn Award for Corporate Leadership: Enzo Biochem, Inc.- Kara Cannon, CEO
- The President’s Award for Alumni Leadership: Joseph Rothenberg ’64
- The President’s Award for Academic Leadership: Professor Lori Goodstone, DHEd., RN
- The President’s Award for Academic Leadership: Michael Goodstone, PhD
- The President’s Award for Professional Leadership: Dylan Gafarian, EdD
- The President’s Award for Student Leadership: Kenia Sanchez ’25
“Our honorees reflect the core principles of who we are and what we do, which are vital to the College’s success,” said President Nader. “Each honoree personifies the characteristics that exemplify the shared values of our institution and the communities we serve. I congratulate each of them.”
When accepting the Ram’s Horn Award on behalf of Enzo Biochem, Inc., Cannon announced an additional $50,000 gift to support FSC’s Bioscience Department.
“A good partnership is bidirectional, and Enzo is proud to participate in such a relationship with Farmingdale,” said Cannon. “We hope to continue to have access to the local talent being developed through the robust Farmingdale State College programs, especially in the STEM and technical areas. And we look forward to expanding our partnership to collaborate on scientific projects where possible and collectively support common community goals.”
During his award presentation, Rothenberg noted his remarkable career, “would not have been possible without the education and mentoring I received during my studies at Farmingdale, that provided the critical foundation I needed.” Rothenberg, who was involved in 17 space shuttle missions, served as director of the Goddard Space Flight Center, and had the distinct honor of pinning the NASA Space Flight Medal on space pioneer and former U.S. senator, John Glenn. Rothenberg also noted the unwavering support of his wife of 60 years, Fran, who he married between semesters in his senior year at FSC.
Lori Goodstone, who joined FSC’s faculty in 2008, was honored for her work leading FSC’s Nursing Department, especially through the complex challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Talk about a leadership challenge,” said Lori Goodstone, a 2019 Chancellor’s Award recipient. “Our faculty and students were brave and steadfast in their quest to continue their education and serve the public in a time of crisis and need.
“Lead by example,” she added of her management strategy. “Don’t ask others to do what you are unwilling to do yourself and embody the character and traits that you want others to emulate. In other words, be a nurse.”
Lori Goodstone shared the Academic Leadership Award with husband, Michael Goodstone, who joined FSC’s faculty over 25 years ago and helped create FSC’s Applied Psychology Program.
“As the coordinator of FSC’s most recent re-accreditation process, I was immersed in our student outcome statistics for several years and I think most people do not realize the unique success of our model,” said Michael Goodstone. “This is a unique institution because we blend the liberal arts and sciences rigor of a classical education with the targeted applied learning that leads to employment. FSC is a proven engine of the social mobility that everyone speaks of, but we find so elusive in our society. It has been my honor to be a part of this endeavor for the past 27 years.”
“I am incredibly honored and grateful to be standing in front of you this evening to accept the president's award for professional leadership,” said Gafarian, director of FSC’s RAM Program and TheDream.US Scholarship Institutional Coordinator. “While I would love to stand up here and tell you how great I am,” Gafarian quipped, he instead recognized, “the great work my team in the RAM Program does on a daily basis,” and also thanked, “the love of my life,” his dog, Betty Bite, and his wife, Laura (in that order).
“Farmingdale State College holds a special place in my heart,” said Sanchez, a science, technology, and society major and Newman Civic Fellowship recipient. “It’s vibrant community, coupled with a commitment to excellence in education, has provided me with an environment where I can thrive academically and personally. The opportunities for growth, with a faculty and staff dedicated to student success, create an enriching learning experience that is truly unparalleled.”
To enjoy more from the event, including a digital copy of the gala journal, please visit the 2023 President’s Gala webpage.
View more photos from the 2023 President’s Gala on our Flickr Gallery.