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Rowan University Dedicates Library Room in Name of Deceased Council President Nicholas Yovnello

On September 9, 2014 Rowan University dedicated a multi-purpose room in the Campbell library in memory of former Council President Nicholas Yovnello. Nick was a beloved member of the Glassboro State College/Rowan College/Rowan University library staff for over 45 years before his untimely death in July of 2012.

Nick made many significant contributions to the University that improved the services offered to the academic community, advanced his profession and promoted the welfare of his colleagues. His long-standing title of Assistant Director for Technical Services did not fully capture the breadth of his responsibilities. By all accounts, he became the “go-to person” for almost all problems facing the library. Nick served as a driving force in the library’s adoption of computerized catalog systems, built and fostered strong relationships with the library’s vendors and played a vital role in all phases of construction for the Campbell library building.

Council VP Karen Siefring, Nick’s long-time friend, colleague and former president of the Rowan AFT Local 2373, gave warm introductory remarks for the dedication ceremony. She was followed by Rowan University President Ali Houshmand, who spoke of Nick’s dedication to the University and the many years that they successfully worked together to resolve issues on the campus. New Jersey State Senate President Stephen Sweeney recounted how he first met Nick when they were involved in local politics and the working relationship that they developed over time. He emphasized the deep respect he felt towards Nick and his sadness over his death. Rowan AFT Retirees President Rose Glassberg highlighted Nick’s early years on campus as an activist when she was one of the founding local AFT presidents. She characterized his rapid rise to union leadership positions as a tribute to his enduring legacy to the Rowan community and to his AFT family.

Robert Zazzali, Vice President/President’s Chief of Staff spoke fondly of Nick’s negotiating style and how Nick never made issues personal. It was always about the people he represented or the specific issues that needed solving.¬† Rowan librarian Marjorie Morris read stirring comments on behalf of the former Associate Dean of the library Greg Potter, who could not attend the ceremony. ¬†Rowan’s Provost James Newell highlighted Nick’s integrity.

Nick’s family offered moving tributes to their beloved brother. His sister Christine spoke of her admiration for her brother Nick that began when she was a young girl and he a young Glassboro College student showing her around campus and how proud she was of his accomplishments over the decades. Nick’s brother, Leonard Yovnello, gave a fitting final tribute before he and Senate President Sweeney unveiled the plaque for the Nicholas Yovnello room. The last sentence on the plaque states:

“Nick Yovnello was a champion of education, collective bargaining, shared governance and community engagement.”

Lourin Plant, Assistant Professor of Choral & Vocal closed the dedication ceremony in song with a heartfelt rendition of If I Had a Hammer, a fitting song about social justice that Nick would have enjoyed.

Nick’s personal warmth, sense of humor, infectious smile and laughter and his willingness to extend himself for the benefit of others secured him a special place in the hearts of his colleagues in the library and the university at large.

For more on Nick Yovnello go to: http://cnjscl.org/News/Nick%20Yovnello.html