Other NJ News

Parsippany Septuagenarian becomes NJIT's Oldest Engineering Grad

563102321c8acaabc4e2_Antholis_and_Dresnack.jpg
Antholis and Dresnack Credits: Tracey Regan
c1d14c8a3da126e0650e_Chris_Antholis_2018Commencement-012.jpg
Chris Antholis 2018Commencement Credits: Tracey Regan
d8c8ca46f0034b691bdd_Antholis_at_awards_ceremony.jpg
Antholis at awards ceremony Credits: Tracey Regan
563102321c8acaabc4e2_Antholis_and_Dresnack.jpg

NEWARK, NJ - It was about five minutes after Robert Dresnack’s Water Resources Engineering class had begun when a septuagenarian poked his head into the room at NJIT. Puzzled, the professor inquired, “May I help you?”

In fact, he could. “I’m a student in this class,” replied Chris Antholis, then 72, who was six years into his quest to earn a Bachelor of Science in civil and environmental engineering. The required course, on the increasingly urgent topic of water supply planning, had not yet been scratched off his list. He quickly took a seat at an empty desk.

A longtime building contractor who spent the past 15 years as a building and fire inspector for the town of Parsippany until retiring last year, Antholis well understood the rules and policies of his industry, but says he returned to school mostly to learn “the whys” behind his 50-year career: how engineers design foundations in flood zones and municipal planners forecast water needs a half a century into the future.

Sign Up for E-News

“I was exposed to this world for years and knew enough to do what was required, but I came back here to learn the reasons why,” noted Antholis, who earned an associate degree from Montgomery College in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. 50 years ago, but then dropped out of the University of Maryland’s engineering program after “not opening a book.”

On May 15, he could say “mission(s) accomplished.” As he took the stage at the 2018 Commencement ceremony at the Prudential Center, Antholis, at 74, was the oldest undergraduate to flip his mortarboard tassel to the left – indeed, the oldest ever in the history of the university, according to Michael Smullen, NJIT’s director of alumni relations.

“It was wonderful to see Chris on the stage,” Smullen said. “We are incredibly proud of him. He’s an inspiration to students of all ages. When you value education the way he does, there is not a moment in life you’re not learning.”

Antholis’s quest began in earnest more than a decade ago at the County College of Morris (CCM), where, like many county college and some NJIT students as well, he attended classes when he could fit them in while holding down a demanding job. Math was a bit of a struggle for about a month, but “it all came back” and he soon mastered several levels of calculus and linear algebra.

After earning his second associate degree, he applied to NJIT and “fought for my CCM Calculus 1 class” to be accepted. He failed a couple of courses along the way, but doggedly retook them and passed. Once he stayed up late and deleted half an essay on technology and politics, but no matter. He quickly rewrote it.

“I failed the midterm in my course on foundations, but I got an 90 on the final. I really studied for that class. Having been a building contractor for many years, I know how important foundations are, especially for big buildings. And in flood zones, high-level engineering is a must,” he said, adding “My professor, Vatsal Shah ('08, MS '09, PhD '14), was smart as a whip. Like so many of the nighttime instructors, he came back because he loves teaching and the school. I think these people are wonderful.”

Water Resources, as it turns out, was also one of his favorite courses.

After their awkward introduction, for which the professor notes that he “had no forewarning,” he and his senior student quickly bonded. Antholis took references to “my mature students” in stride. And Dresnack (left), now 75, in turn merely chuckled when Antholis observed that he was “my only professor older than I am.”

“We’re in this together, we two old-timers,” said Dresnack, who retired in January. Paying him the ultimate compliment, he added, “After a couple of weeks, he completely blended in with my other students. He really participated.”

“A lot of people my age don’t work their brains. It’s like riding a bicycle, the muscles are there, but you’ve got to put them to use,” he observed. “If you have a job, you often do the same thing over and over. Doing something different really wakes you up.”

At the Civil Engineering brunch after graduation, Antholis was surrounded by a sizeable fan club of professors and staff and about a dozen family members from all over the country: Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and California. One is a noted cardiovascular surgeon, another an HBO executive and another a prominent academic at the University of Virginia.

“He’s my hero,” said his cousin Virginia Dematatis, who teaches homeless children in San Diego to read and often points to Chris as inspiration that anything is truly possible.

His influence is not limited to the West Coast.

Not long ago, Dresnack overheard a cashier at Costco telling the bagger that she wished she could return to school so that she could work with animals, but couldn’t imagine it in her 50s. He piped in.

“You’re just a babe at 53! I know someone in his 70s who just earned a degree,” he told her.

As he stepped off the stage last week and began walking back up the aisle, Antholis said at least three or four people shook his hand. Of his milestone, he noted, “I felt so good about doing it. There are so many people with talent who should.”

And now, like thousands of graduates around the country, he’s contemplating his next move. “I’m relaxing for a bit, but then I’ll start looking – something to do with building.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Bloomfield

Half Days at Bloomfield Public Schools June 18 and 19

June 18, 2018

The Superintendent and BOE President have decided to ensure pupil and staff safety in the predicted heat, all Bloomfield Schools will operate on a 1/2 day schedule, Mon., 6/18/18 as well as again on Tues., 6/19/18.

Visit the school district  website http://www.bloomfield.k12.nj.us  for details. Stay cool!

Morris Canal Greenway New App and Way Finder Signs Dedication Ceremony This Thursday

BLOOMFIELD, NJ-- On Thursday at 6PM the Bloomfield Parks, Recreation & Cultural Affairs in conjunction with the Bloomfield Morris Canal Greenway Committee unveils their 30 way finder signs and related mobile app. All are invited to attend the celebration which will be located at the Wrights Field Parking Lot, 186 Baldwin Place, Bloomfield, NJ.   

Thise interested in ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_751e3cbb7935bf24ad83_mountainside_logo_meridian

Mon, June 18, 7:00 PM

Hospital Auditorium, Glen Ridge

Tour of the Birthing Center

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_ec80b979e3fb86b0f869_asm_spring2_2018_cover-small

Mon, June 18, 7:00 PM

Montclair Public Library, Montclair

Trump’s Trade War & Impact of the New Tariff Plan

Carousel_image_ee8f8baaa2b3b3f8403e_charlie-and-the-great-glass-elevator-logo-300x157

Mon, June 18, 7:30 PM

Studio Playhouse, Upper Montclair

AUDITIONS: Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator

Arts & Entertainment

Tue, June 19, 6:30 PM

70 South Gallery, Morristown

70 SOUTH GALLERY TO HOST THE WORK OF ACCLAIMED ...

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_ab09fd2d7f7110fecd4d_mountainside_bariatrics

Tue, June 19, 7:00 PM

Clifton Public Library, Clifton

Bariatric Seminar-Weight Loss That Works

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_272e62eb904d75a9b5c1_mountainside_bariatrics

Tue, June 19, 7:00 PM

Clifton Public Library, Clifton

Bariatric Seminar-Weight Loss That Works

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_d7070322e7be4f998db8_mountainside_logo_lockup

Wed, June 20, 7:00 PM

Hospital Conference Room 2 (Ground Floor), Glen Ridge

Becoming a Parent

Health & Wellness

Bloomfield Police Department Blotter June 4 to June 10, 2018

June 13, 2018

BLOOMFIELD, NJ - The following police blotter has been issued by Lt. Anthony Sisco of the Bloomfield Police Department.

Shoplifting:

6/6/18- Officers were dispatched to 351 Broad Street (Quick Check) on a report of a Shoplifting. An employee observed an unknown African American male wearing a beige shirt and carrying a black bag. The suspect placed dessert items into that black ...

McGovern's summer renovation closing party celebrates change

June 17, 2018

It always takes a few seconds for your eyes to adjust when you walk into McGovern's Tavern in Newark, a downtown fixture since 1936.

But this Friday afternoon, there were two immediate sights that demonstrated something was different.

First, most of the photos, portraits, and articles that cover the bar's walls were removed, the relics of decades of history gone.

Second, you ...

Montclair Township Animal Shelter Reopens

MONTCLAIR, NJ - After a fire swept through the dog run of the Montclair Township Animal Shelter nearly two years ago, Montclair officials commemorated a reopening of the facility with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

On Wednesday, the Township of Montclair, Friends of the Township of Montclair Animal Shelter and employees, welcomed the public to the ribbon cutting ceremony. The re-opening ...

New Jersey Teacher Gets Life-Saving Liver Transplant

June 18, 2018

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ — Maggie Heteji Grabko, a mom of two who worked this year at Westfield’s Lincoln School as a special education preschool teacher, underwent a successful liver transplant on June 13, according to an update on the family’s GoFundMe page by her husband, Shawn Grabko.

The couple lives in North Plainfield with their two children, 12-year-old Ella and ...

Rutgers-Camden students who saved man from fire honored by City of Camden

Camden, NJ—The Rutgers-Camden students who saved an elderly man from a March fire at his Cooper Street home were honored by the City of Camden Tuesday night.

Mayor Frank Moran awarded proclamations to Corey Zytko, Jonathan Perez-Gaytan, Matteo Resanovic, Vanessa Solis Palma, Sehwan Park and Tammy Meneses on Tuesday, June 12.

On the night of March 23, the students were hanging out in ...

State Lawmakers Calling on Feds to Lift Strict Limits on Fluke Fishing for This Season

June 18, 2018

TRENTON, NJ — While New Jersey anglers began the fluke season last month with strict federal catch limits still in place, state legislators are pushing to have those regulations lifted until there is better data available on the popular fish’s offshore stock.

The State Assembly is asking the federal government to suspend a 40 percent quota reduction that enters its second year ...

Manutti Marina in Belmar: Top Choice for Boating, Fishing and All-Around Family Fun

BELMAR, NJ — It’s no secret that Belmar Manutti Marina ranks among the best boating destinations along the Atlantic coast.

Tucked along the eastern shoreline of the idyllic Shark River — just a five-minute trip by boat to the ocean — the state-of-the-art marina is a top choice among boaters looking to stay for the season, enjoy a vacation or spend the weekend.

In ...

America's Celebrated Evolving Journey

June 17, 2018

This Fourth of July, the United States of America will celebrate its 242nd birthday since the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  Our Nation was conceived in liberty at its core. Together we the people, with ancestors from every part of the world, continue the struggle to live by its founding noble principles.  Namely that, “We hold these truths to be ...

The Power of Positive Engagement

To the Editor:

I wanted to share this letter from Laurie Beacham, Media Director for NJ 11th for Change, about the notable increase in voter turnout and citizens deciding to run in the recent primary election:

"The 11th Congressional District has a lot to be proud of. In the June 5th primaries, voter turnout climbed from almost 33,000 in 2014 to over 86,000. Democratic ...

Bloomfield Bengals Sports Update May 21, 2018

Volleyball advanced to the County final with wins over Science Park and Montclair. Unfortunately, Livingston got the better of the Bengals in the County Championship Match.   

At the County Track and Field Championship Meet the Girls Team had a fine showing placing 5th overall. Leading the way was Kaela Edwards-2nd in high hurdles and Aicha Naouai- 2nd in javelin. The best ...

Bloomfield Bengals Athletic Update May 14 2018

 At the SEC Championship Meet La’Shan White equaled his school record in winning the 400-meter hurdles. He also won the 110- meter High Hurdles and anchored the winning 4x400 relay team. Aicha Naouai won the Javelin with a throw of 126’6.5(#9 NJ) and the Discus with a mark of 95’5”. Warlys Lizardo won the Boys Discus at 120’.

Kristina Collins reached ...

The Jaffe Briefing - June 18, 2018

DOWN THE SHORE - If you see all those mega-mansions on the beach, and admit to being just a wee bit jealous, here's something to quietly smile about: All of those glorious homes will likely be underwater.  NJ Spotlight reports rising sea levels make the New Jersey coast particularly vulnerable, with the Garden State ranking second to Florida with the biggest chronic risk ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Steve Lenox of TAPinto Paterson

This week's feature will focus on TAPinto Paterson's franchisee, Steve Lenox. Find out how the current owner of a public affairs firm went from a former State Director for Senator Frank Lautenberg to a proud TAPinto franchisee for New Jersey's third largest city.

 

Q. When did you join TAPinto.net?

I joined TAPinto.net in September, ...

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (William Morrow, 2018)

 

A friend, whose opinion on literature I respect greatly, reported to me recently that she had just finished reading A.J. Finn's debut novel, The Woman in the Window. Of it she said, “I wish I hadn't finished it,” which I interpreted to mean, “It was so good I'm sorry that I finished it.” ...

When the Men Go Off to War by Victoria Kelly

When the Men Go Off to War by Victoria Kelly (Naval Institute Press, 2015)

Victoria Kelly's first published volume of poetry, When the Men Go Off to War, is a wonder in that poems can be written so beautifully about the subject of war. Each poem is a jewel, polished and colorful, glittering with elegant imagery, and rich in emotional wallop. The book, divided into three sections, ...

The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani (Ballentine Books, 2005)

            The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani, a New York Times best selling author, was recommended to me by a young woman who actually came from the town of Roseto, Pennsylvania, the place where the novel is set. “The author did such a wonderful job of describing how the town actually is,” said the young lady.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's Press, 2018)

            What is the “final frontier” on the Earth's surface? Many people would say Alaska, the 49th state, which was added to the United States fifty years ago. Once one has traveled to that remote land, it is impossible to forget the magnificence of the terrain and beasts. Floating by ship in Glacier Bay, surrounded by ...

Rutgers Equine Science Center Annual Summer Showcase Scheduled for July 11

June 18, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — The Equine Science Center at Rutgers University is hosting its annual "Summer Showcase" from 10 am to noon  on Wednesday, July 11 at the Equine Exercise Physiology Laboratory on College Farm Road on the George H. Cook Campus in New Brunswick. The Summer Showcase, similar to an open house, is a FREE event that is open to the public and perfect for any and ...

Horse Care Workshops at Lord Stirling Start June 23

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. — Somerset County Park Commission Lord Stirling Stable is offering Horse Care Workshop 101 for adults and youth seeking to gain experience and confidence around horses through a combination of non-riding activities and hands-on practice.

Horse Care Workshop 101 will be held at Lord Stirling Stable, 256 South Maple Avenue in Basking Ridge, NJ beginning Saturday June ...

Essex County Freeholder President Brendan Gill Proclaims June LGBT Pride Month

NEWARK, NJ – Essex County Freeholder President Brendan Gill announced that the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders passed a resolution at their last meeting, Wednesday, June 6, 2018, proclaiming June as LGBT Pride Month in Essex County.

“I am proud to stand with our LGBT brothers and sisters in recognizing June as LGBT Pride Month, and look forward to continue working ...

New Jersey Blood Services Declares Blood Emergency

New Jersey Blood Services/New York Blood Center (NYBC) has declared a blood emergency. The organization is asking people across New York City, the Hudson Valley, Long Island and New Jersey to donate blood to help replenish the blood supply for hospitals throughout the area.

In order to maintain a safe blood supply, a seven-day inventory of all blood types must be continually replenished. Right ...

Obituaries

Jul 4, 1933 - May 18, 2018
Maria A. Probst (nee: Geiger), 84 of Bloomfield passed away on May 18. Her final days were spent ...
Read more
Jul 21, 1966 - Apr 6, 2018
Sheila Rossi (nee Borges) 51, of Nutley, NJ died peacefully on April 6, 2018. Visitation will be ...
Read more

Thirty Days after the Draft

It’s been just about thirty days since the 2018 NFL Draft and the New York Jets have been working hard to build the team fans have been waiting for. Let’s recap the first round draft pick before discussing OTA’s and other Jets info.

Some New York Jets fans were certain earlier in the 2017 season that with the way the win-losses were going, Sam Darnold would be the New York ...