Dreams birthed at Nyack College often go beyond the goal of earning a degree. In an environment where people from diverse backgrounds come together, lasting friendships form in community. Such was the case for two alumni, Rev. Frederick Rich and Nancy Dann, who were Nyack undergraduates in the 1970’s. Today, they are celebrating the fulfillment of shared dream … after nearly 45 years!
“When I was at Nyack, I wrote a children’s book and my illustrator, Nancy (Voglis) Dann, was a friend of mine,” Frederick Rich explains. “It wasn’t until the last three years that a publisher, Page Publishing Company in Pennsylvania, published my book and created a promotional video for it.” Joshua and I is available in bookstores and online at iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and Barnes & Noble.
Nyack College is the influence for the story on how to be a good neighbor. The author shares, “Not only does my “Joshua and I” story touch on the five core values of Nyack, but the book reflects the qualities of the wonderful professors I had like Dr. Don Kenyon, Mary Nocera, Dr. Wilson, Dr. Graymont, Dr. Woodcock, Rev. Jay Mapstone, the lovely Bonnie Persons and the leadership in the music department—Dr. Paul Liljestrand and Dr. Glenn Koponen. They laid the foundation that set my course to serve our Lord. These wonderful saints mirrored the Lord Jesus to me always!”
Rev. Rich moved from New York to California in 1977 after serving in missionary work in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He went on to become an educator for more than 40 years. Over time, he has written other children’s stories, music, poetry and his research has been published by the University of Phoenix, where he received a master’s degree in education.
Nancy Dann fondly recalls the start of the book project. During her sophomore year at Nyack, she read the manuscript and agreed to illustrate the book. “I could envision the characters in my mind. And I convinced my two brothers, who were 9 and 11 years old at the time, to help me stage a few scenes. When Fred recently contacted me to tell me he found a publisher for our book, I confessed I didn’t even remember I had completed the drawings. I never imagined that our book would ever see the light of day all these years later! And I have to pinch myself that I’ve actually held the book that I illustrated.”
With an avid love for art, her plan was to attend Pratt Institute, but a Youth for Christ friend convinced her to consider Nyack. “Only Nyack didn’t offer an art program,” she shares. “It was a hard decision because I knew art would be put on the back burner and I was responsible to pay my own way. At the time, attending a private college was considerably more expensive than going to a state college. It was definitely outside my ability to pay, but I stepped out in faith, worked three jobs, and found other ways to make extra money. One of my odd jobs I had at Nyack was drawing pencil portraits. I also illustrated posters for campus events and announcements. I was paid $2 for each poster. I worked on Homecoming floats for our class and helped create holiday decorations in Christie Hall.”
Like Frederick, Nancy is grateful for her alma mater.
“Having a four-year degree has opened many doors for me, but Nyack College was so much more than an education. It’s where I became who I am today. It was during my time on “The Hillside” that I learned so many life skills … while being a class officer, serving on Hall Council, being business manager for the yearbook and working with Campus Life, I learned valuable lessons I’ve used every day. The leadership and life skills I learned while at Nyack College carried over to all the different jobs I’ve had over the years. And it’s the place where my dream to be a published artist came true!”
Congratulations to Frederick Rich and Nancy Dann—on the publication of their book and for a friendship that stood the test of time!