Speaker brings home Cabrini Day

By Jen Davis Kasey Minnick Ji
November 17, 2006

Brenda K. Colwell

At the Cabrini Day festivities, Mastronardi Award winners were given to Kathleen Grant, a senior biology major and Brenna Bangs, a senior elementary education major. Cabrini College faculty and staff then honored Father Michael Bielecki with the Cabrini Spirit Award as well as awarding keynote speaker John Cronin with the Cabrini Spirit Partnership Award on Tuesday, Nov. 14 in the Grace Hall Atrium.

John Cronin, who devotes his time to preserving the waters, was granted the position of Riverkeeper for the Hudson River in New York and currently serves as the Executive Director for the Beacon Institution for Rivers and Estuaries.

As a child, Cronin made sure to stay away from the “dirty river” also known as the Hudson back then. After traveling the United States and taking part in several jobs, Cronin knew he needed to be back near the Hudson where he came from.

Cronin believes in advancing humanity. “Doing the right thing is going to carry you farther than anyone else,” Cronin said.

Back in New York, one of his first restoration attempts came when he worked with a high school group, Student Educational Workshop and Environmental Research, to investigate a dye house for contaminating. They took samples, went to the United States Attorney’s office and ended up being subpoenaed to give their evidence in a courtroom in front of a Federal Grand Jury. Cronin and his colleague’s won the case and the company was indicted on 26 charges. This is when he knew he wanted to “get big guys in trouble.”

Days later, he was asked to be the Riverkeeper for the Hudson River, which consisted of traveling up and down the river in a boat and investigate polluters

One of his biggest cases came on his first day of the job with news cameras filming every move he made. He traveled up the river when he spotted a tanker, 30 times bigger than his boat, dumping its pollutants off of a bank. This tanker was granted permission to release these substances by Exxon.

In the end, Cronin proved the company to be guilty and settled with Exxon, which took their tankers off the banks of his Hudson River.

Cronin offers words to those of Cabrini that we too can make a difference. “There is one institution in particular, that has more of a role in this than any other institution in society, that is higher education. There is one institution in society whose mission is to be multi-disciplinary, whose mission is aimed at community critical thinking, who mission is inherently aimed at solving problems and answering questions and that is higher education.”

Jen Davis Kasey Minnick Ji

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