Long-term faculty member celebrates Ramapo’s anniversary

Photo courtesy of Paul Elovitz

Since Ramapo's founding 50 years ago, there have been many faculty members that have taught here and many that have come and gone. However, Professor Paul Elovitz stands out from his peers in that he has been with this school since it was first established. To celebrate his ongoing relationship with Ramapo, he held a lecture titled “My Half Century Love Affair with Ramapo College” on Monday, Nov. 4.

Taking place in Padovano Commons, numerous people showed up to hear Elovitz speak, from current students to former faculty members to former students of his own. While everyone waited in anticipation for him to speak, a slideshow was shown displaying various images such as the creation of the A-Wing and portraits of Ramapo’s founding members. When the time came for Elovitz to speak, all audience members hushed down, ready for him to discuss how he ended up at Ramapo.

Elovitz covered many topics, including how he used to conduct historical reenactments with his students in the 1980s, how he started an Environmental Studies Week on-campus, and how he has taught over 40 courses during his time at Ramapo. Most of the classes he taught were interdisciplinary-based. 

“I love my students, even though I’m not teaching what I most prefer to be teaching. But I’m open to new challenges,” Elovitz said. “Life is an endless adventure, and I love adventures.”

While also discussing the members of Ramapo College, Elovitz also discussed a number of fun facts about the school. These included how the three main founders of the college did not have PhDs (until George Potter later received one for founding the school), how Ramapo was originally supposed to be an urban college, and how there used to be a pub on-campus. Audience members found themselves intrigued by every word Elovitz said, captivated by his viewpoint on how Ramapo had grown throughout the years.

Time was also allotted for audience members to ask questions or provide comments to Elovitz. When asked how the students of today compared to his students 50 years ago, Elovitz discussed how he has changed his teaching methods throughout the years, adding that, “The students are now more oriented for careers than when I started.” 

As for comments, one that particularly stood out was when one audience member stood up and thanked Elovitz for teaching them and his other students, which spawned a well-deserved round of applause.

Elovitz concluded his speech by bringing up Henry Bischoff, the founding Professor Emeritus in the School of Social Sciences and Human Services. In 1998, Bischoff published “Innovations and Realities: A History of Ramapo College of New Jersey: The First Quarter Century, 1971-1996,” a memoir covering the history of the first 25 years of Ramapo’s existence. Elovitz looked at the audience and asked them, “Who here is capable of writing about the next 25 years?”

“I will continue to teach because I love Ramapo and I love the students. It will sometimes be tough love, but they need to understand how competitive the world can be,” Elovitz added.

After another much-deserved applause, the event concluded with a reception for attendees, allowing them to talk, take pictures together, and celebrate Ramapo’s 50-year legacy. Professor Elovitz’s lecture showed alumni, both old and new, how far Ramapo has come and how bright its future can really be.