This year’s Lasallian Staff Award goes to Dan Carpenito, Senior Teaching Assistant and Supervisor of the General Chemistry Laboratory. This award is so very well deserved. Let me tell you why.
Bro. William Batt hired Dan in 1971 as the Freshman Lab Assistant and supervisor of the General Chemistry Labs. For almost 40 years
Dan has been responsible for the management of these laboratory facilities: he purchases the chemicals and equipment required for the courses taught in these labs, he prepares the dozens of solutions needed by the students, he sets up and maintains the various instruments used in the experiments, and the manages the chemical stockroom in Leo. Dan enforces safe chemical practices and hygiene in the labs, and complies with NYC Fire Department and OSHA codes for handling a large variety of chemicals such as acids, bases, oxidizing and reducing agents, etc… Dan’s performance of these chores is exemplary. The reagents and equipment used in the lab courses are always ready when they are needed, the solutions are perfectly prepared and all equipment is in first-rate working condition. This high level of performance reflects Dan’s expertise and dedication to his job.
Many people don’t know of Dan’s good work because he spends so much time in one of the most elaborate lab programs on campus. These labs run all day long, often at night, and, in the past, even on Saturday morning. Dan works from 8 am until 9 pm two or three days a week, and until 5:30 pm on the other days. One incident which shows Dan’s commitment to Manhattan College occurred several years ago. Dan injured his knee badly at home and, following surgery, could not come to work for most of the semester. In spite of being immobilized and very uncomfortable, Dan ran the lab from home. Students were hired to prepare solutions and put out equipment. Directions were emailed to the students by Dan, and he checked up on them by phoning several times a day. As his leg healed Dan had his family drive him into lab on evenings and Saturdays so that he could personally check the condition of the lab and the quality of his students’ work. The fact that we made it through that semester with no major, and only a handful of very minor, glitches is a testament to Dan’s organizational skills and desire to do a good job.
Dan also plays a very important role as an adjunct instructor in the General Chemistry, Topics in Science, and Chemistry in the Modern World lab courses. His knowledge of chemistry is excellent; he is a highly organized, clear, and effective lecturer; and he is a natural and much appreciated teacher. He clearly explains complicated procedures to entire classes, gives students individual assistance with their experiments, and carefully and thoughtfully reads and grades lab reports. Although he sets high standards for his students his emphasis is on getting every student to work to the best of their ability. Dan enforces academic honesty. He also admonishes his students to avoid academically dubious practices, and to comport themselves in a civil fashion. Dan loves teaching, but he loves the students more.
Dan is an excellent colleague: unfailingly helpful, always polite, interested in field testing new procedures, and willing and able to substitute teach when illness strikes. He is a devoted husband, father (two of his three children are Manhattan College and College of Mount St Vincent graduates), and grandfather. This is clear to anyone who has ever seen his face glow when he talks about his family. I hope you have a chance today to greet his wife, Tina, and his daughters, Dana and Michelle, who are here today. Dan is also a deeply religious man. He is a long time member of the Assemblies of God and a very active member of his congregation. He helps organize and teach the children’s Sunday school and has also run summer school programs. Dan is a council member of his church, entrusted by his pastor and congregation to pray with and otherwise minister to church members at home and in the hospital. He is also participates in Bible study groups and various church-related men’s activities. Dan’s commitment to his family, his students, his colleagues, and to his job is a way in which Dan witnesses his faith.
Presently Dan teaches 12 laboratory sections this semester. The other 18 sections are taught mostly by adjuncts, whose turnover is high. Dan is the one who directly supervises all the adjuncts hired over the past 40 years. Dan ensures that every new instructor has all the information and tools needed to be successful. New instructors imitate him. When Dan is not teaching a lab, he is dispensing equipment and chemicals from the stockroom and providing backup for the adjuncts in the labs. Since all science and engineering students take one or two semesters of lab, and all arts and education majors have at least one basic science course with lab, almost all students at MC come in contact with Dan once every week for one or two semesters. A quick calculation shows that Dan has directly impacted about 32,000 students during his almost 40 years at the College.
In summary, Dan Carpenito certainly deserves recognition for his years of outstanding performance and service contributing in an exemplary manner to the ideals and spirit of the Lasallian tradition at Manhattan College.