Between the stately Verrazzano Hall and majestic Hudson River, 19 teaching faculty at Mercy College, who accepted an early retirement package offer, had refreshments and were honored at a small ceremony.
Though technically still summer and lacking multi-colored foliage speckling the trees and ground, it could not have been a more picture perfect fall day this past 13th of September.
The setting was beautiful with the sun reflecting warmly off the shimmering dimples of the river and soothing ambient temperature. The mood was jovial as the honorees, members of their families and faculty munched on food, sipped wine, and joked about their careers at Mercy College and life happenings.
As the final page to a chapter in life ends and a new one commences, a couple of honorees share some of their highlights, plans for what is next, and even advice for current staff.
John Tucciarone, professor of mathematics, had been at Mercy College a total of 50 years almost to the day when he accepted the package (August 31, 1962-September 1, 2012). He attributes his acceptance of the retirement package to timing and not monetary incentives.
“I never would have stayed at Mercy this long if it were based on money,” he jokingly says. “Teaching is not about money.”
Tucciarone then transitioned to a demeanor with a more a serious tone.“The school has grown tremendously since I have been here both in staff and student body, and it is that interaction, being able to touch and connect with so many, that I value dearly, and frankly I would have kept teaching until they put me in a box,” says Tucciarone.
Now 75, Tucciarone is no way retiring because of his acceptance of the retirement package. He is also a lawyer and plans to continue working.
“The package came along at a great time and taking it was simply a matter of natural progression of things,” Tucciarone says.
When asked about what advice to give current and future college staff, Tucciarone had a few words of wisdom to pass on.
“Stay focused on the students and providing the mentorship and guidance that will help them to succeed. This is what makes Mercy such a special place.”
Though having a tinge of regret about taking the retirement offer because he will miss teaching, Tucciarone was not the only honoree who felt the retirement package came at a perfect time.
Robert Postman, Professor of Childhood Education, was accompanied by his wife Betty An. The two of them wore nothing but smiles as they stood next to one another, happily reflecting on the career of Postman at Mercy.
“The package came at a perfect time and gives me time to concentrate on other things,” says Postman.
Postman has been on staff at Mercy since 1976. He is an author and has written books on the subject of mathematics. He says that the highlight of his time at Mercy was when he served as dean of education at the college. He loved his involvement with students and believed that he benefited from it just as much or more than the students did. Postman received his doctorate from Columbia University and is a veteran of the United States Air Force where he served as an air and weather specialist. Most importantly during this time, he says this is when he met his wife Betty An, as the two nudge each other and smile.
Interestingly with all his accomplishments, Postman admits a surprising fact from his history.
“I never even took the SAT.”
With his writing and traveling between North Carolina, where he and his family have another home, Postman stays pretty busy. His wife even says “I don’t think he will ever retire.”
This is a sentiment expressed by many of the attending honorees. Whether because of the current economic crush in the United States or the drive to continue with careers that were in addition to staff positions held at Mercy, labeling this buyout a retirement would be a general misnomer for most of the 19 honored staff members.
The following is a listing of the staff that accepted the retirement offer:
Joshua Berrett, Music and Fine Arts
Agnes Cameron, Library
Howard Canaan, English Literature
Gilda Carle, Business Administration
Wayne Cioffari, Business Administration
Hind Rassam Culhane, Behavioral Sciences
Delia Marx, Mathematics and CIS
Donald Morales, English Literature
Rosemarie Murray, English Literature
Elaine Paris, Mathematics and CIS
Robert Postman, Childhood Education
Alfred Romeo, Business Administration
Frederick Shiels, Political Science and History
Lynn Tepper, Behavioral Sciences and Psychology
John Tucciarone, Mathematics and CIS
Lawrence Ward, Business Administration