Ramapo College announces 2024 Distinguished Citizens Awards honorees

Businessman holding award trophy for show their victory.

The Ramapo College Foundation will honor four individuals for their professional achievement, commitment and community service at its Annual Distinguished Citizens Gala.

State Sen. Paul Sarlo, Brian & Diane Flynn, Class of 1985, and Nicole Cicalo DeCaro will be honored at the gala April 5 at the Rockleigh Country Club in Rockleigh.

State Sen. Paul Sarlo

Paul Sarlo. (Photos courtesy Ramapo College of N.J.)

Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge) is the deputy majority leader of the New Jersey Senate. He has served as chairperson of the Budget and Appropriations Committee since 2010, making him the committee’s longest serving chairperson in state history. He is a member of the Judiciary Committee and chairperson of the Joint Budget Oversight Committee, and former chairperson of the Judiciary Committee and the Labor Committee. Sarlo has been the prime sponsor of more than 300 bills that have been signed into law and has played a leading role on legislation to promote job creation and economic development. He has been the prime sponsor of bipartisan legislation that reformed the state’s school funding formula, lowered income taxes for the middle class, working poor and senior citizens, strengthened the fiscal health of the state pension fund and provided dedicated funding for the Transportation Trust Fund to finance vital infrastructure projects throughout the state. He has also sponsored bills that reformed New Jersey’s workers’ compensation system, criminalized the illegal trafficking and distribution of prescription drugs, required schools to adopt bullying prevention policies and upgraded penalties for identity theft.

Brian and Diane Flynn ’85

Brian and Diane Flynn.

Brian Flynn is a partner at PKF O’Connor Davies LLP, the leading North American firm in the PKF International network of independent accounting and advisory firms. Flynn is a member of the Executive Committee and managing partner for the firm’s New Jersey market. Flynn has more than 30 years of audit experience with closely-held corporations, educational institutions and not-for-profit organizations. He earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Monmouth University. He serves on the board of Lakeland Bank and is an active participant in numerous community and professional groups. Brian often serves as a conference leader and speaker at industry events and sits on the boards of several local not-for-profit organizations.

Diane Flynn is a Ramapo College alumna, having earned a bachelor’s degree in information systems in 1985. She has worked in human resources/employee benefits and has been an editor at Paulist Press. The Flynns have been longtime donors to Ramapo College, having made a major gift to the capital campaign to build the Berrie Center for Performing and Visual Arts. The couple also has supported the Distinguished Citizens Gala and Golf Outing. O’Connor Davies performs the annual audit of the Ramapo College Foundation. Over the years, Brian Flynn has been instrumental in securing significant corporate support from PKF O’Connor Davies for Ramapo College events and projects. The Flynns live in Wyckoff.

Nicole Cicalo DeCaro

Nicole Cicalo DeCaro.

DeCaro is head coach of the Bergen Barracudas swim team, a parent-run nonprofit organization founded in 1980 that practices on the Ramapo College campus and competes at venues across northern New Jersey. She has over 22 years of coaching experience. DeCaro is a lifetime member of the American Swimming Coaches Association and is ASCA Level 3 certified. She holds a master’s in childhood special education from Fordham University and two master’s degrees from Ohio University: a Master of Science in recreation and sports management; and an MBA. DeCaro serves on the Friends of Ramapo board as the nominating chair; she has also served as chair and vice chair of the board. With DeCaro’s assistance, the Bergen Barracudas have supported the Friends of Ramapo, Summer Concerts, Annual Fund and the Distinguished Citizens Gala. DeCaro’s husband, Lawrence, is a construction project manager.