The Mepham Who's Who
2003 Honorees

Five distinguished graduates were inducted into the Mepham Who's Who Hall of Fame. The ceremony took place on May 4, 2003 with officers and board members presenting the honors at the Mepham Alumni Association Annual Spring Luncheon.

This program was initiated in 1964 to recognize and honor graduates who have made significant accomplishments in their fields of work and outstanding contributions to the welfare of mankind. A new plaque in the rotunda honors our one hundred thirty four previous winners and the new inductees.

If you have graduated from Mepham more than ten years ago, meet the above qualifications and would like to be considered for an award next year, send an e-mail to to receive an application. You may nominate yourself or another Mepham alumna/alumnus.

The distinguished 2003 recipients are:

Peter M. Mollica '45 - Law

Mr. Mollica received his LLB-Cum Laude and JD from St. Johns University School of Law. Peter spent most of his career in public service acting as Assistant General Counsel for the General Services Administration and as Executive Assistant to the Deputy Administrator/General Services Administration. Upon retirement in 1980, he started farming Christmas trees and has built his second career into a successful business. He now has over 100 acres of quality trees. Peter has spent ten years on the Board of Directors and then two years as President of the New Hampshire/Vermont Christmas Tree Growers Association.

Among Mr. Mollica's community activities are serving as a trustee at the Fort at No. 4 Living History Museum, Charlestown, New Hampshire. In addition he has spent seven years volunteering at the Southeast State Correctional Facility where he organized craft programs, served on the advisory board, worked on inmate morale, and helped prisoners with tax and legal problems. Peter has also employed disabled high school students for many years on his tree farm and received a special recognition award from the town of Springfield, Vermont for these efforts. He has also served as Program Chair for the Audubon Society.

Mr. Mollica is a US Navy veteran and served post WWII as an Electronic Technician. Peter and his wife Sandra now live in Springfield, Vermont and are quite proud of their three children-Peter, Paul, and Timothy.

Robert A. Israel '50 - Biostatistics

During his years at Mepham, Robert was active in Treasure Chest and House of Representatives, was president of both the photography and biology clubs, as well as manager of the wrestling and football teams. He graduated from Hofstra University in 1954 and received a masters degree in biostatistics from Columbia University in 1957. He studied at the US Dept. of Agriculture Graduate School in Analysis of Economic Trends, at the Applied Statistical Training Institute in Demographic Methods, at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 'NonParametric Statistics,' and at Temple University School of Medicine in Public Health Administration, a Management Training course at Emory University, and with the US Civil Service Comm.-a Congressional Briefing Conference for Executives.

His honors include N.Y.S. Board of Regents Scholarship, Hofstra Biology Scholarship, US Public Health Service Fellowship, PHS Sustained Superior Service Award, Director's Award, Senior Executive Service Performance Award, and many others. Robert has been selected to be on many international committees that stretched from the Caribbean to Egypt and China; among them the Pan American Health Organization, World Health Organization, US/Israel Cooperative Agreement in Health, and numerous others.

Participation in professional organizations include the American Public Health Association (Fellow), American Statistical Association (Fellow), and the International Statistical Institute. Prolific publications, articles, and presentations have earned Robert a well-deserved worldwide reputation in his field. He is listed in Who's Who in Government and Who's Who in America. He currently serves as Deputy Executive Director at the International Institute for Vital Registration and Statistics.

He has been a member of the Rancho Montana Homeowners' Association and Maricopa County Board of Elections. He balances his professional passions and interests with service to the Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and his amateur radio club.

Ira S. Jaffrey '56 - Clinical Cancer Research

As a student at Mepham High School Ira S. Jaffrey participated in science club and wrestling along with his studies and other interests. He went on to receive his BA from Columbia University in 1960, and his medical diploma from SUNY at Downstate in 1965. He spent time in the US Naval Reserve as a Lieutenant, and earned commissions as an Ensign, as well as Lieutenant. He also was General Medical Officer at the US Naval Amphibious Base in Virginia and became a Lt. Commander in the US Naval Reserve. He received postgraduate training in hospital residencies at The Jewish Hospital of Brooklyn, Mount Sinai Hospital, and Elmhurst General Hospital; serving as Chief Resident at all three hospitals.

Ira is a Diplomate of the National Board of Medical Examiners, a Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine, and also a Diplomate of the subspecialty Board of Oncology. He was an Abbott fellow in Nuclear Medicine and received the Physician's Recognition Award in Continuing Education. Ira has held numerous hospital appointments throughout the New York area, as well as Colorado, where he currently resides and practices. A member of numerous professional societies, he has written many articles and publications in the field of nuclear medicine and cancer treatment.

Residing in Basalt, Colorado, Dr. Jaffrey has also served on the Pitkin County, Colorado, Senior Services Council.

Rev. Bruce Nieli '64 - Religion

The Reverend Bruce Nieli received his Bachelor in Philosophy from St. Paul's (Washington D.C.), his Masters on Pastoral Counseling from Iona College, and was ordained a Paulist priest, May 5, 1973 in New York City. In addition to his duties as a priest, Father Nieli served as Director of Evangelization, Texas Catholic Conference and is currently a Paulist National Catholic Evangelist and Missionary. He has served on the Conference of Catholic Bishops and has been a consultant to the Ad Hoc Committee on the Observance of 500 years of Evangelization in the Americas.

Working in the community, Father Nieli was the founding Director of the Center for Spiritual Development of the Archdiocese of New York. He was also Spiritual Advisor of the Hispanic Youth Movement (CAMINO), NYC. In addition, Father Nieli has devoted his life to working with the poor especially Hispanic and African American communities with justice (death penalty), pro life, and immigration issues.

Among the many publications he has written, Father Nieli was the principal writer, MISSION: TEXAS, the Texas Catholic Bishops Pastoral Letter on Evangelization; draft writer for Papal Talk on Parish Life at Plaza Guadalupe, San Antonio, Texas; Co Author, draft for Thy Kingdom Come: A Manual for Diocesan Evangelization Staff, a columnist in several diocesan newspapers and has been an editorial writer for the Catholic Spirit, the newspaper of the Diocese of Austin, Texas.

George Ruggi '70 - Sports Medicine/Chiropractics

George has always excelled at whatever he set his mind to. At Mepham, he earned multiple letters for vocal music, Honor Society, and football (statistician). While in A Cappella Choir he also participated in All-State Chorus, Madrigal and Pop singers and was a member of the Science Club and Writers Guild.

He received his Bachelor of Science in biology from SUNY Stony Brook, going on to earn a Masters with distinction at Hofstra. It was while teaching a life science course at New York Institute of Technology that his interest in chiropractics developed; he did extensive research to debunk the profession, only to be convinced of its merits. He graduated from New York Chiropractic College with honors in 1982 and founded his practice in Wantagh in 1983. He takes 12-24 credits annually to remain current in his field of speciality, sports medicine.

George loves to sing and has been involved with several groups, frequently as a featured soloist. A highlight was a performance for Pope John Paul II with the Bellmore Catholic Chorale. He also sings with the Glen Mohr Chorale, Da Capo Chorale, and has participated in several Mepham Alumni choral reunions.

George earned a special honor recently as one of twelve Town of Hempstead residents to receive its Make a Difference award, for compassion and humanitarianism. Profoundly affected by the events of 9/11 /01-offering free treatment to any Ground Zero rescue worker at his office was not enough-he contacted the Red Cross. The result was that for eight months, he spent Friday to Sunday nights donating his services there, as well as at St. Paul's Church and the Salvation Army tent, working an additional 20-30 hours per weekend (in addition to his regular 50-60 hours in Wantagh). His selfless dedication has also been acknowledged by the NYFD, who gave him their Above and Beyond award.

Dr. Ruggi resides in Bellmore, enjoys travel, and is an avid skier.

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