Remembering Lavern Dantzler, Nyack Alumna and Staff Member

Posted by Deborah.Walker on Tuesday August 23, 2016

Nyack College/Alliance Theological Seminary (ATS) received news of the passing of alumna (’98 AA, ’01 BS) Lavern Dantzler on Thursday, August 18, 2016 at Montefiore Moses Hospital in the Bronx.

Lavern completed a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education summa cum laude at Nyack College NYC. She also studied at ATS pursuing coursework in the Master of Professional Studies program concentrating in urban ministry. From 2002-2005, Lavern served on the Nyack New York City campus staff as a testing and tutoring coordinator.

Lavern was ordained as a minister by the People’s Community Temple Inc. in Manhattan on February 9, 1977. She was a dedicated and committed member of Second Chance Christian Center in the Bronx since 2014. Lavern completed a chaplaincy program in 2015 with the New York State Chaplain Task Force Inc.

Family members who will cherish her memory include her father, Zinnie Dantzler, Sr.; grandmother, Mrs. Annie Robinson; her brothers, Zinnie Dantzler Jr. (wife, Myra Dantzler) and Ronald Dantzler; her sister, Sherry Wise;  godmother Evangelist Beatrice Neal; her goddaughter Minister Heather Anderson (husband, Frank Anderson); godson Everton Rashaud; sister in the Lord and best friend Minister Deborah Harris (her husband, Ernest Harris and daughter LaWanda Abel); as well as a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, uncles, aunts, friends and colleagues.

A service celebrating Lavern’s life will be held on

Thursday, August 25, 2016 at 6:00 pm

Marcus Jackson Funeral Home

3362 Boston Road

Bronx, New York 10469


Please keep Lavern’s family and friends in prayer.

Amanda Halter, A Lady Warrior in Germany

Posted by Deborah.Walker on Tuesday August 23, 2016

Nyack’s Head Coach for Women’s Soccer, Jodel Wright shares his recent conversation with Amanda Halter, a 2013 Nyack College graduate. Amanda was an integral part of the development of Nyack’s women's soccer program during her two years of NCAA collegiate soccer. She graduated from East High School in Cheyenne, Wyoming in 2009 and played at Laramie County Community College, before transferring to Nyack College in the fall of 2011.

Coach Wright says that Amanda “left a lasting legacy of influence and leadership. During her time at Nyack, Amanda (pictured above left) was a tremendous leader both on and off the field. Despite setbacks with a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury, her character and fight to play again endures as a story of resilience within the women's soccer program.

Here’s a transcript of his conversation with her.

Coach Wright: Recently, Amanda and I had the opportunity to discuss her post-Nyack soccer career. Like many of our alumni, she refuses to hang up her cleats, all for the love of the game. Currently, she plays and studies in Germany and was part of her team's championship victory this past season.

Coach Wright: What team do you play for in Germany?

Amanda: I currently play for Universitätssportverein Jena (USV Jena, a German sports club).

Coach Wright: How has your experience playing in Germany enhanced your performance?

Amanda: Playing in Germany has been an insightful and meaningful experience for me. As language is a big part of the game, I had to overcome the barrier with my coach and teammates. Some of the players speak English, but it is not the language that the team utilizes during training or games, and the coach definitely only speaks German. Therefore, I was pushed to really focus and try to understand new drills, tactics, and approaches to a game that I thought I knew so well. It has been fun and challenging to see the game from a whole new perspective, not only with the language barrier, but also with different coaching theories, methods, and style of play. Additionally, it is really awesome to be in a country where soccer is literally the favorite sport; even moreso, is that women's soccer is so developed into many leveled leagues for all ages. I would hope that the American soccer leagues can develop like this someday.

Coach Wright: What advice would you give to a college student-athlete wanting to play professionally?

Amanda: Many college athletes think that after their four years of college sports their chances to play the game are over. The fact is, if you love the game and have the dream to continue playing past college, pursue it. Maybe the location you are does not enable you to reach that goal the easiest, so follow it elsewhere.

Coach Wright: Who is your favorite women's soccer player? And why?

Amanda: My favorite soccer player is Abby Wambach. (Mary Abigail "Abby" Wambach, retired American soccer player, coach, two-time Olympic gold medalist) She was the Mia Hamm of my generation and inspired me to push myself and my teammates, no matter the obstacles. I was saddened to hear that she decided to retire after winning the World Cup, but I know that her career is something unmatched and her legacy of impact on women's soccer and women's sports in general will continue to thrive.

On behalf of the Lady Warriors, we wish Amanda Halter all the best in her upcoming season with USV Jena.

Once a Warrior always a Warrior!


Celebrating the Life of Rick Santiago

Posted by Deborah.Walker on Thursday August 18, 2016

Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary are saddened by the loss of a true Nyack Warrior—Director of Database Operations, Rick Santiago, who went home to be with the Lord on Wednesday, August 17.

“Best all-around” sums up the well-lived life of Rick Santiago. A devoted husband and father. A loving pastor. An anointed worship leader. A hard-working employee. A mentoring educator. A diligent scholar. A contemporary Christian recording artist. A faithful friend. He served in all of those roles with such love and grace.

Rick was an outstanding presenter on many topics from leadership to ministry to technology. He earned both his bachelor’s degree in pastoral ministry and a master’s degree in organizational leadership at Nyack College. Not long after completing his graduate degree, he began teaching in Nyack’s School of Business and Leadership. He was also a member of the faculty and staff chapel worship team.

His tenure as a Nyack employee began in 1995 in the Office of Admissions as a counselor. Most recently he was the Director of Database Operations. In 2011, for consistently embodying Nyack’s core values, Rick Santiago was presented with the Commitment to Mission Award at the annual year end faculty/staff luncheon. He has left an unforgettable legacy in the Nyack campus community.

Please keep Rick's family--his wife Joy, daughters Xelena and Xylvie, other relatives, colleagues and friends--in prayer.  

Jose Heredia (NC '09) at the Rose Nagelberg Theatre in Manhattan

Posted by Deborah.Walker on Tuesday August 16, 2016

“A powerful voice and elegant style,” is how Epoch Times reporter Barry Bassis describes 2009 Nyack College NYC School of Music alumnus, Jose Heredia, and his performance with Dell-Arte Opera Ensemble. (Read the review here.)

In the production of “La Traviata,” at the Rose Nagelberg Theater at the Baruch Performing Arts Center Heredia plays Violetta’s lover, Alfredo. Bassis also calls Heredia, the first prize winner of the 2014 New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera International Vocal Competition, “clearly a talent to watch.”

The production runs through August 28 at the Rose Nagelberg Theater, Baruch Performing Arts Center, 55 Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. Click here for more information or phone 646.632.2340.

Carol Ann Freeman and Bonita D'Amil...Hearts for Hungary

Posted by Deborah.Walker on Friday August 12, 2016

Service is part of Nyack College’s DNA and stories abound about the various ways our faculty, staff, students and alumni go about serving others in our nation and abroad. More often than not the spotlight shines on the sacrificial work of faculty, students and alumni.

There are unsung heroes among us—like Carol Ann Freeman and Bonita D’Amil. Carol Ann is executive assistant to Nyack College/Alliance Theological Seminary (ATS) President Michael Scales and Bonita is executive assistant to Nyack/ATS Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. David Turk.

Mrs. Freeman is the founder and director of Hearts for Hungary, an international outreach of First Reformed Church in Walden, NY. Mrs. D'Amil (pictured here) traveled with Mrs. Freeman to Hungary to repeat their short term missions commitment. The outreach is a partnership with GoodSports Hungary; Talentum Baptist Elementary School (Debrecen, Hungary); Association of Baptists for World Evangelism; and Gyula Baptist Church (Gyula, Hungary). On this trip, they appeared in a segment of a Hungarian television broadcast.  

A Nyack employee since 2000 Mrs. Freeman, (first a School of Music assistant who transitioned to the President’s Office in 2006), has traveled to Hungary for the past decade and this year marks her twenty-second trip. As lead teacher, she writes the curriculum for the children’s English programs, creates materials, gathers teaching supplies and guides supporting teachers in classroom presentations. Lessons are theme-based, using stories, rhymes, music, drama, art puppetry and other creative arts to encourage speaking and expanding vocabulary and grammar.

“In 2007, I went to Hungary for the first time to explore the ministries that were already in place and where I would fit in,” Carol Ann explains. “I was asked to teach English for a church—the beginner adult level. When I first stood in front of that class, I was terrified! But I soon found that I loved teaching—creating lessons and watching the students' reactions as something ‘clicked’ and they could begin to communicate using the English they knew.”

So passionate about this outreach, Carol Ann Freeman has earned two master’s degrees—one at Nyack College and one at Alliance Theological Seminary. Both support her outreach work. “The thesis for her MA in Intercultural Studies (ATS, 2008) was, “An Analysis of the Cultural and Social Context for Mission in Hungary and a Strategy for Communicating the Gospel. Her Master of Science in TESOL (NC, Honors with Distinction, 2016) she was able to do most of her fieldwork and all of her teaching practicum in Hungary.

Mrs. D’Amil accompanied Mrs. Freeman in 2011 and then joined her in 2015 and again this year. “My main role is support,” she says. “Generally, I am a teacher's assistant, but I help out in whatever way is needed. This year, however, I did teach the beginner adult class in the evenings, which I LOVED! I've always been drawn to Central/Eastern Europe. It's been an amazing journey ever since—much more than I could have imagined. I never thought I would grow so attached to these people, but I now have friends half-way across the world! It's interesting that even with very different languages and cultures your hearts can still connect.”