How adoption changed a college student’s life



Jason Saldiveri, College of Saint Elizabeth Class of ’20, never planned on attending college.

In fact, the topic was never even discussed in his household growing up. After graduating from high school, Saldiveri just assumed he would follow in his biological mother’s footprints and enter the workforce.

However, his mindset began to change when he was adopted by close family friends at the age of 16.

“I was adopted during my junior year of high school and would overhear my [adoptive] mother talking to my sister about college,” explains Saldiveri. “She never forced it on me, but I started to learn about the possibility of getting my degree from her.”

While Saldiveri still initially chose to pursue a career after graduating, the idea of attending college was never far from his mind. He spent two years working three jobs before finally deciding he wanted to earn his bachelor’s degree.

“Taking time away from school helped me find my focus and discover what I wanted to study,” recalls Saldiveri. “I know my career path and I feel comfortable pursuing it.”

Inspired by his father figure and mentor, Randy Johnson, Saldiveri hopes to become a social worker. He credits Johnson with instilling in him a passion to serve others and help children who grew up in environments similar to his own.

When he learned about the College of Saint Elizabeth’s emphasis on service and newly launched men’s basketball program, Saldiveri knew the college in Morris Township was a perfect fit.

In no time, Saldiveri’s natural determination and intelligence made him a leader among his peers.

“I want to be a positive role model for my teammates and encourage them to be their best,” says Saldiveri, who is a small forward for CSE’s inaugural men’s basketball team. “I think playing sports helps guys break down barriers that prevent communication. Sports are a door to a whole new world of people and it brings deeper meaning to life.”

This season, Saldiveri became the first man to score 1,000 career points in CSE’s history and is on track to score 2,000 points before he leaves the program.

Mary Colleen Robinson has a communication degree with a concentration in journalism and is currently working as the PR/Social Media Specialist at the College of Saint Elizabeth 

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