Alumni Association bestows Highest Honors

Alumni Association bestows Highest Honors

The College of New Jersey’s Alumni Association presented its 2011 Alumni Leadership Awards on Friday, February 3, 2012. For information on how to nominate someone for next year’s awards, click here.


Distinguished Service Award

Wanda Kunkle Howell ’56, ’64

Wanda Kunkle Howell ’56, ’64 and Alumni Association President William Cahill ’05, ’09

Come to any Alumni Affairs event on campus and chances are Wanda Kunkle Howell added her musical touch. Wanda has been very active in planning and participating in the College’s alumni events for several decades.

Wanda began her involvement with alumni affairs in the late 1960s, and she continues to play an active role today. She served as chairman of College reunions in the spring of 1967 and 1968 and was a member of the Alumni Association Executive Board in the 1970s.

Wanda has helped organize various special retirement and memorial events for music faculty, including the retirement dinner and concert to honor Professor Stanley Austin, former director of the College’s Master’s program in music and, Emeritus Professor, Dr. Ruthanne Harrison’s memorial service. From 2006 through the present, she has planned all of the music alumni reunions and concerts. Starting in 2008, she has planned the music for the Service of Remembrance as well.

Wanda helped develop TCNJ’s Music Alumni Chapter in 2008 and served as its first president. She created the Distinguished Musician Alumni Award in the same year.

Wanda taught music in the Ewing Township Public Schools for 40 years.  During part of this time she was also part of the TSC Demonstration faculty.  Wanda currently resides in Lambertville and continues her involvement with TCNJ.

Humanitarian Award

Marilyn Stebbins ’73, ’77

Marilyn Stebbins ’73, ’77 and Alumni Association President William Cahill ’05, ’09

A teacher in Monroe Township for more than 25 years, Marilyn Stebbins’ community-spiritedness and activism extends far beyond the classroom. Her enthusiasm for education and reading are apparent through the leadership positions she has held in the New Jersey Reading Association, and in that she was a charter member of the Garden State Storytellers League. She received the New Jersey Governor’s Teacher Recognition Award in 1991–92, and was a nominee in Monroe Township’s New Jersey Teacher of the Year Program during the same time.

In addition to her roles in education, Marilyn has also served as a local community collector for the Heart Foundation and the Cancer Foundation, and as a volunteer for the auxiliary fire departments of West Windsor and Slackwood. As a volunteer docent and Make-A-Law instructor for the New Jersey State Office of Legislation, she also organizes tours for students on field trips of the state capital and teaches civics to New Jersey school students. Her passion for reading and reading education has led to her local, state and international affiliation with New Jersey Reading Association, where she has been the State Coordinator, President and Vice President.

Marilyn is also active in church activities. She served three three-year terms as an elder at Slackwood Presbyterian Church and is currently a deacon there. In 1982, she was honored as one of the Church Women of the Year.  Marilyn has continued to keep busy while living in Princeton Junction.

Alumni Citation Award

Virgil Rome, Jr. ’83

Virgil Rome, Jr. ’83 and Alumni Association President William Cahill ’05, ’09

Since graduating with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, Virgil Rome, Jr. has achieved exceptional success as well as consistently demonstrated his commitment to the College.

After graduating, Virgil completed the Prosecutor’s Detective and Investigator Training Course and obtained his Police Training Commission Certification.

Virgil worked as a detective for the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office for more than 20 years. As a detective, he took part in thousands of criminal investigations and received numerous commendations. He also testified as an expert witness in several drug cases. By the time he left the prosecutor’s office in 2005, he had been promoted to the rank of lieutenant and was responsible for the supervision of all investigative units and oversight of each investigation undertaken by the office.
Virgil then became undersheriff at the Sussex County Sheriff’s Office. As undersheriff, Virgil oversaw the Bureau of Law Enforcement, Court Operations and Execution of Civil Process.  After retiring from law enforcement in 2010, Virgil has been very active in the Township of Fredon, as the Fire Chief, Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator, and as a member of the township Planning Board.

He is a member of the Law and Justice Chapter of the Alumni Association. While working in the prosecutor and sheriff’s offices, Virgil often attended high school career day programs. At these events, he proudly discussed his positive experiences as a student at the College and promoted TCNJ to parents and students. Virgil has been an example of the type of graduate TCNJ aims to send out into the community.  He has been a contributing and successful member of society in all facets of his life.

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