This Wednesday, Ramapo College held its annual Remembrance Day. Established in 2005 by Ramapo’s Board of Trustees, the day is meant to honor and reflect upon those in the Ramapo community who passed away during the previous year. President Peter Mercer led the ceremony.
“Our honorees this year include trustees, students, benefactors, faculty and staff members,” Mercer said, “each of whom have made the College richer by their contributions and their presence.”
Following Mercer’s introduction, the College’s a cappella groupb 4GotteN SuitCase was invited on stage to perform “That Lonesome Road” by James Taylor. After the performance, Mercer returned to the podium and began speaking in detail of the honorees, while asking those in attendance to take a moment of silence after each eulogy.
Among the honorees was Professor Joseph Dallon Jr., who worked in plant sciences. Dallon’s son David described him as “a very talented man and inquisitive researcher, who taught his subject, plant biology, with passion, motivating his students and elevating their interest in plants and plant science.”
Mercer also made an announcement at the end of Dallon’s eulogy.
“I am pleased to announce as president that I will be recommending to the Board of Trustees that the campus greenhouse be named in honor of Professor Joe Dallon,” Mercer said.
A eulogy was also delivered for Eileen Byrnes, who was a staff member with the School of Contemporary Arts.
“A lover of the arts, she found her home in the school of Contemporary Arts,” Mercer spoke, “and often volunteered in Ramapo performances, handing out programs and always greeting guests with a warm, pleasant smile.”
Byrnes’ late husband John was also a member of Ramapo, working in the department of Public Safety.
Lorne W. Weems was another member of the Ramapo community honored during Remembrance Day.
“His commitments to the students and the Educational Opportunity Fund program was indisputable,” Mercer said. “Lorne was always available to students, both current and former, to offer advice and guidance.”
In memory of Weems, school of Theoretical and Applied Sciences faculty member Harold Katz performed a dedicational song, citing Weems’ impact on those around him and his influence as a role model for both students and his peers.
Other esteemed members of the college community who were honored during Remembrance Day include Frank V. AtLee III, Mark G. Becker, Henry Bischoff, Paul Garber, Emily Geltman, Valerie Akiko Henry, Lillian McPhillips, William E. Murnion, Howard Radest and Deborah C. Rios.
After the indoor segment of the ceremony, accompanied by the sound of bagpipes and braving the rain and wind, attendees moved outside to plant a new tree in Memorial Grove, located outside of the Berrie Center. The College’s website describes the outdoor ceremony as “… a simple ceremony at the site of a newly planted tree in Memorial Grove. A memorial plaque with the names of those honored each year is placed at the site.”
On the Ramapo website, galleries of past honorees can be viewed by year, and members of the college community can submit personal memories about those who have been honored during Remembrance Day.