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Recently retired professors look toward the future

Recently retired professors look toward the future
Michael Robertson, professor emeritus of English, mentoring students. Photo by Michael Mancuso.

You might not be able to put your finger on it, but you can feel that something’s missing on campus this fall. 

Fifteen beloved faculty members retired at the end of the 2020–2021 academic year and we’re feeling a little emptier for it. We reached out to them to find out what they’re up to now that they’re not in the classroom. 

Here’s what those who responded had to say about their favorite TCNJ memories, and what they’ll conquer next:


Marcia Blicharz, nursing
“I was at a national conference some years ago and someone came up to me and said she was one of my past students and that she chose a career in holistic health because of something I mentioned in class one day. It clearly reminded me that even small things that you say can have an impact.”

What’s next: Being a beach bum and catching up on reading for fun.

Rosemary Cappelli, nursing
“What I loved most about teaching at TCNJ was the students. The quality of the students is impressive.”

What’s next: She plans to travel.

Anthony Conte, elementary and early childhood education
“One of my memorable moments at TCNJ was when the Class of 2018 chose me to be the faculty speaker at their graduation ceremony. The pomp and circumstance is something I will never forget.”

What’s next: He hopes to be back as adjunct faculty.

Alvin Figueroa, world languages and cultures
“I have taught at other places, but my students at TCNJ were unique. I learned how to honor diversity and differences in social, racial, and existential perspectives.”

What’s next: He’ll continue to study theology, which, after literature, is his other obsession.

Blythe Hinitz, elementary and early childhood education
“I’m most proud that two of my research students each won the Hoffman Prize for best article in the TCNJ Journal of Student Scholarship in 2018 and 2021. They discovered that one can have both roots and wings.”

What’s next: She’s serving on doctoral committees in Pakistan and writing a book chapter on anti-bullying.

Michael Robertson, English
“I taught at TCNJ for 28 years. Students read some of the greatest, most challenging works of the 19th century — from Emerson and Whitman and Dickinson to Hawthorne and Melville and Chesnutt — and they impressed me every time with their passion and insight.”

What’s next: He’ll work full time on his next book, a biography of the great Victorian artist, writer, and socialist William Morris.

Philip Sanders, interactive multimedia
“I have been lucky to have been able to work with a lot of really great students over the years, and we constantly led each other to new insights about ideas, projects, the process of learning and teaching, and ourselves.”

What’s next: He’ll continue with the creation of hybrid digital/physical art.

Donna Shaw, journalism 
“What I’ll miss the most about TCNJ are my students and colleagues. The students, in particular, keep you young. When I first was offered the job at the college, friends warned me that I might not like academia after my long career in news. Happily, they turned out to be totally wrong.”

What’s next: She and her husband are planning some travel, then she’ll tackle a book project.


Additional faculty members who retired at the end of the 2020–2021 academic year include Robert Cunningham, mathematics; Jo-Ann Gross, history; Nancy Hingston, mathematics;  John Krimmel, criminology; Herbert Mayo, business; Ann Marie Nicolosi, women’s, gender, and sexuality studies; and Adriana Rosman-Askot, world languages and cultures.

Emily W. Dodd ’03 and Dave Pavlak