JUNE 2018
Jennifer Crusco
Communications Assistant

AHA President Will Lead Board of Sister Rose Thering Fund

Demarest, NJ: On July 1st, Academy of the Holy Angels President Melinda Hanlon will become chair of the board of the Sister Rose Thering Fund for Education in Jewish-Christian Studies.

Based at Seton Hall University in South Orange, the SRTF promotes understanding and cooperation among people from diverse religious backgrounds. The organization raises funds that permit educators to pursue Jewish-Christian studies at Seton Hall, and recognizes humanitarians who strive to improve interfaith relations.

The new post is a natural fit for Hanlon.

“My husband Wayne and I became acquainted with the fund in 2011 after our son Jonathan completed a Holocaust Studies course at Seton Hall Prep,” she explained. “We met some of their trustees at a program we attended with our son and began attending SRTF events.”

The Hanlons were invited to join the board in 2015, when the SRTF was honoring Holocaust survivors and their liberators. Wayne Hanlon’s late father, Kenneth Hanlon, a U.S. Army veteran of World War II, was honored posthumously for helping to liberate a Nazi camp at Mauthausen, Austria. Wayne participated in the program as the son of a liberator.

“We view our work with the SRTF board as a way to honor his dad’s memory and to advance the board’s work to raise scholarship funds for teachers enrolled in the Jewish-Christian Studies program at SHU,” Melinda Hanlon explained. “As an educator, I have always believed in the transformative power of education. The SRTF’s belief that when we fund a teacher, we impact a generation of students is very meaningful to me. There is a definite correlation to the mission of the School Sisters of Notre Dame and to that of the Academy of the Holy Angels.”

During the time she has been involved with the SRTF, Hanlon has served as vice chair of the board and co-chair of the 25th Anniversary Evening of Roses Gala. She has also chaired the annual Education Celebration and served on the organization’s fundraising committee.

“I was honored to be asked and look forward to partnering with the board to engage our young people as we continue to imagine a world without religious prejudice,” the new chair stated when asked about her new responsibilities.

The SRTF, which took root as an endowment in 1993, was established in honor of Sr. Rose Thering, O.P., Ph.D. Born in 1920, Sr. Rose joined the Dominican Order and took up the fight against anti-Semitism. Her doctoral research involved an investigation into the materials Catholics were using to teach others about people from different faiths, ethnicities, and races. In 1968, she joined SHU as a program coordinator. Between 1970 and the early part of this century, Sr. Rose organized and led 54 tours of Israel. She believed in building bridges and the importance of learning about Jews, Judaism, and the State of Israel.

In 1994, she became a founding member of the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education, one of the country’s first organizations of its kind.

Sister Rose died in 2006 at her convent, the Siena Center of the Racine Dominicans of Wisconsin.

The fund that is her legacy provides multiple outreach programs, including essay contests for middle school and high school students, a lecture series, the annual Evening of Roses fundraiser, a scholarship awards ceremony, and round table discussions for graduate students and community leaders.

Founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1879, the Academy of the Holy Angels is the oldest private girls’ school in Bergen County. While AHA is steeped in Catholic tradition, this prestigious high school serves young women from a broad spectrum of cultural and religious backgrounds. Over time, thousands of women have passed through AHA’s portals. Many go on to study at some of the nation’s best universities, earning high-ranking positions in medicine, government, law, education, public service, business, arts, and athletics. The Academy’s current leaders continue to further the SSND mission to provide each student with the tools she needs to reach the fullness of her potential—spiritually, intellectually, socially, and physically, by offering a first-rate education in a nurturing environment where equal importance is placed on academic excellence, character development, moral integrity, and service to others.


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