Joan Cammarata Receives Excellence in Teaching Award, Followed by the Annual Costello Lecture

by MADALYN JOHNSON & SAMANTHA WALLA, Staff Writer & Asst. Production Editor

On Tuesday, Sept. 25, the sixth annual Costello Excellence in Teaching Award was presented to Joan Cammarata in Kelly Commons. Following the presentation was the seventeenth annual Costello Lecture presented by the History Department and the School of Liberal Arts.

Named in memory of Brother Casimir Gabriel Costello, the Costello Excellence in Teaching Award recognizes a School of Liberal Arts faculty member who “exemplifies the excellence in teaching that characterizes Manhattan College and is central to its mission and to the mission of the Lasallian Christian Brothers,” as described by Keith Brower, Dean of the School of Liberal Arts, when opening the award ceremony.

The award is given due to the generosity of Patricia and Jack Stack, the niece and nephew of Costello.

“I can tell you that when I was looking at Manhattan College as a potential job candidate in the winter of 2014, seriously, and as a jigsaw puzzle reason for me to be attracted to the Manhattan College community, not just the college, but the Manhattan community, that began to form one of the pieces of that puzzle that I distinctly remember, that was the Costello Award,” Brower said.

He continued.

“I was impressed that it existed, that the donors had been generous enough, as well as clearly mindful and supportive enough in the role of teaching and the Lasallian Christian Brothers mission at Manhattan and School of Liberal Arts to establish and underwrite the award,” he said.

After earning her B.A. from Fordham University, Cammarata continued to get her M.A., M.Phil. and Ph.D., at Columbia University. She authored “Mythological Themes in the Works of Garcilaso de la Vega,” and still contributes to scholarly research regarding Spanish Golden Age and the literature of early modern Spain.

Brower notes that before working with Cammarata at Manhattan College, her work, particularly on Cervantes, was influential to his studies on Spanish literature.

“Joan has been an influence on me since I ever laid eyes on her,” said Brower. “I knew for years before I ever thought about coming to Manhattan College that she was a world class scholar, and know since I got here I have understood and realized and appreciated that she is a world class colleague and a world class teacher.”

Brower went on to read a handful of the student nominations.

“Dr. Cammarata is a teacher who teaches much more than the basics found in textbooks. She teaches students how to be confident in everything they do, whether it’s speaking a foreign language, especially in a foreign language literature class, applying for internships and honor societies,” he said.

The nominations continued, as read by Brower.

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Joan Cammarata, recipient of the Costello Award.

“She cares not just about students’ educations, but also about students’ lives and well being. She teaches students how to live and how to follow their dreams, even when times are difficult. Dr. Cammarata is a blessing to Manhattan College, especially to Jasper students, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to take so many fascinating classes with her,” he said.


The award nominations come from students before being reviewed by a faculty committee. The student nominations highlight the difference-making qualities of professors and recognize those that make an impact on students.

Cammarata teaches in the Modern Languages and Literatures department(s), specializing in Spanish as well as the poetry of Garcilaso de la Vega, Cervantes and the writings of Saint Teresa of Avila.

Following the award presentation, Jeff Horn, Ph.D, of the history department introduced Micah Alpaugh, an associate professor of history at the University of Central Missouri.

Alpaugh studies nonviolent protests and social movements during the French Revolution, having authored a book “Non-Violence and the French Revolution: Political Demonstrations in Paris, 1787-1795” in 2015.

“It is my very great pleasure to welcome Professor Alpaugh here today, in part because when I go to conferences I have the joy of being a talent scout. I get to go and listen not only to the things that interest me, but to the things that I think would play well to a Manhattan College audience so that I can propose that person to my colleagues,” Horn said.

Alpaugh’s lecture, titled “French Jacobin Radicalization in International Context from 1789-1794,” described the history of the Jacobin party and followed its work through the French Revolution to modern day politics around the world.

Dr. Alpaugh presented his lecture on the French Revolution. SAMANTHA WALLA / THE QUADRANGLE

Senior Melissa Revelo attended the lecture for Horn’s class “Age of French Revolution” and found this aspect of the lecture to stand out in particular.

“We actually had [Alpaugh] in class this morning,” said Revelo. “One of the interesting parts that stood out was how the Jacobin party relates to modern day political parties.”

Dr. Alpaugh talked about the importance of the French Revolution and how political movements in that particular era have had a  great emphasis on organizations and politics today.

“The French Revolution helped create a new model of social movements that’s provided much of the playbook for how campaigns are organized down to the present day. The national and regional coordination efforts of movements like Me Too and the Women’s March are still trying to bring people together seeking a greater fraternity, democratization and political participation,” Alpaugh said.