Marist Magazine Winter 2013 - page 29

Remembering J. Ernest Belanger ’59, First
Coordinator of Marist Spain Program
Fifty years ago, Bro. Joseph L. R. Belanger ’48 founded the Marist
Abroad Program, the forerunner to today’s robust Marist
International Programs. Spain and France were the first focus of
his efforts, and he did not have to look far to find a qualified on-site
program coordinator for Marist students bound for Madrid’s top
universities. His brother, J. Ernest “Ernie” Belanger, had been living
and teaching in Madrid for a number of years and as a member of
the Class of 1959 was among Marist’s first Spanish majors. Ernie
took on the assignment, which lasted 17 years.
Belanger, 78, passed away this past October in Madrid, where
he had taught at the American School for many years. He held a
master’s in Spanish fromMiddlebury College and during his Marist
tenure guided the study-abroad experience of scores of students,
for each of whom he arranged a homestay with a local family for a
full academic year.
Belanger is survived by his wife of 47 years, Alicia, a son and
daughter, and two grandsons, all of Madrid.
BrendanMooney ’71 benefited from Ernie Belanger’s shepherding
as well as a friendship that lasted more than 40 years. “My relation-
ship with Ernie began 44 years ago,” says Mooney. “He was my
mentor in the Marist program in Madrid. He inspired me in ways I
never expected. His love for Alicia, for Spain, his command of the
language and culture made me want to be like him. I never did get
to move there but through many visits I was blessed to call himmy
friend. Buen camino, mi amigo.”
T. Brendan Mooney ’71 (right) visited with Ernie Belanger ’59 (left)
and Ernie’s wife, Alicia (center), in Madrid in 2008.
Ryan Hoffman ’12 and
fellow dental students
spent four weeks in
the rainforests of
Madagascar, Africa,
treating nearly 1,200
patients from all over
the country. Hoffman
is enrolled in the
School of Dental
Medicine at SUNY
Stony Brook.
Alumni Launch
When Mike ’94 and Tara (Ferina) Mostransky ’96 moved to London,
little did they know that the soft nougat they were buying every
weekend at the Italian dessert stall in the Greenwich Market would
inspire a family business.
The couple, who met at Marist, found themselves bringing the
loaves of rich, dark-chocolate nougat, hazelnuts, and almonds to
family in the States every time they visited. So they decided to start
a business, Foodie Imports, importing the confection.
“We took a crash course in import/export, created an ecommerce
Web site, and began placing products in stores inWashington State,
Long Island, and New Jersey,” Mike says. “The nougat pairs perfectly
with different wines, and another great opportunity has been to
introduce nougat in winery tasting rooms.”
Mike adds that Marist graduates can receive a discount at www. by using the promo code “RedFoxes” and can
also find foodieimports on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Mike ’94 and Tara (Ferina) Mostransky ’96 (second and third from left)
have started
family members (left to
right) Jason Scherf, Tracy (Ferina) Scherf, and Chris Ferina ’90.
Mentoring Students Who Study Abroad
While attending a conference in Havana, Cuba, Pedro L. Figueroa
’93 met with two Marist students, Shileen Cruz ’15 and Esmeralda
Diaz ’15, who were studying abroad. He treated them to dinner in
Old Havana—“I remember being an abroad student on a tight college
budget!” he says—where they enjoyed a great meal and a chance to
talk about their Marist experiences on campus and abroad. They
also discussed ways to integrate international studies into their
work experience after graduation.
Figueroa, who is vice president, International Caribbean Basin,
for American Sugar Refining, Inc., says he’ll continue to work with
the Marist International Programs office to arrange meetings with
students at his various destinations. “I think it is a wonderful experi-
ence that more alumni should take advantage of if they are traveling
on business overseas,” he says. “Great mentoring opportunities are
there, and I’m sure our fellow students would be thrilled in having
this special Red Fox exchange.”
Pedro L. Figueroa ’93 (center) met in October in Havana, Cuba, with
Shileen Cruz ’15 (left) and Esmeralda Diaz ’15, who were studying there.
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