GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP - Dorothy and Herman Saatkamp met in a freshman philosophy class in college. More than 50 years later, they are still in college together, he as president of Richard Stockton College, she as a supporter of the arts and of adults with disabilities.
This month "Dot" Saatkamp will be recognized for her leadership and commitment to volunteerism and civic engagement when she is inducted into the Atlantic County Hall of Fame. It's an honor that she said has surprised and pleased her. She has made South Jersey her home since 2003.
The special education teacher initially thought she might continue teaching when they moved from Indiana to New Jersey. She even prepared to apply for New Jersey teacher certification. But she soon realized she could not fully commit herself to teaching and fill the role of college president's wife.
"I started to see that what I could do for the college and my husband was substantial," she said. So she retired from teaching and began a second career of sorts, joining the board of the Noyes Museum of Art and The Arc of Atlantic County and serving as official first lady of Stockton.
"I got interested in the Noyes because it is a unique home of the arts in New Jersey," she said.
Her work at The Arc is an extension of her teaching career. She actively supports the organization's efforts to provide job training and homes for the disabled in the community.
"I always leaned toward inclusion," she said. "I want to find ways for (people with disabilities) to live the lives they want."
While she has never sought the spotlight, her husband has often credited her role in making friends and building community support for Stockton. Board of trustees member Michael Jacobson, who was board chairman when Saatkamp was hired, said Dorothy gave her husband an extra edge over other candidates for president.
"She's just a delight," he said.
She said the community made it easy.
"I'm a shy person," she said. "But the environment here was so open and welcoming. We love it here."
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