Immaculata High School Hosts 2016 Hall of Fame Induction
Posted 10/27/2016 12:00PM

Caption:  Top Row: Sr, Mary Birster, Anita and Ed Hogan, and Helen Sanford
Middle Row:  Katie Van Doren'03 and Tom Brislin'91
Bottom Row: Msgr. J. Nevin Kennedy, Tom Gambino, and Kevin Foley'06

On Wednesday, December 7th, Immaculata will welcome its fifth Hall of Fame class. Nine individuals will be welcomed into this elite group at an induction ceremony, held at The Imperia in Somerset, NJ from 6 to 11 pm.  The event will include a video presentation, remarks by the inductees or their representatives, and a commemorative booklet, honoring the Hall of Famers with tributes and ads.

Tickets are $100 per person; deadline for tickets is Friday, December 2nd.  The commemorative booklet’s deadline is Thursday, November 10th.  Event sponsorship packages are available for this important fundraising event for Immaculata. To place an ad, order tickets or sponsor the event, go to  For more information, contact Director of Advancement Rich Ferguson at (908) 722-0200, ext. 224.

Among those honored will be the late Immaculata Director Msgr. J. Nevin Kennedy, former Principal Sr. Mary Birster IHM, former Campus Ministry Director Helen Sanford, Athletic Director Tom Gambino, benefactors Anita and the late Ed Hogan, world renowned musician Tom Brislin’91, professional golfer Kevin Foley’06 and outstanding tennis and basketball star Kate Van Doren’03. Below is a brief summary of their accomplishments. 

Msgr. J. Nevin Kennedy

Msgr. Kennedy’s first assignment as a priest was as an Associate Pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in the early 1960’s. He returned in 1985 to serve Immaculate Conception Church as Pastor and Director of Immaculata High School until his retirement in 2002.  During his tenure as director, Immaculata had two successful capital campaigns, expanding the number of buildings on campus. His generous and kind spirit and support of Spartan students and events were extraordinary. Msgr. Kennedy, Pastor Emeritus of Immaculate Conception Church, passed away on June 27, 2015.


Sister Mary Birster, IHM

During her 16-year tenure as the longest serving principal of Immaculata, Sr. Mary raised the standards of academic excellence and introduced technology into the curriculum.  The inception of our Campus Ministry program began under her guidance.  Immaculata also achieved the distinguished honor of being named a Blue Ribbon School under Sr. Mary’s leadership.  Working with Msgr Kennedy, she helped launch two capital campaigns, raising millions of dollars.


Helen Sanford

As Director of Campus Ministry from the early 1990’s through 2014, Helen brought faith formation and outreach service to a new level for Immaculata and the community.  Helen conducted countless spiritual programs, including liturgies, prayer services, and retreats and dozens of outreach efforts as reflected in the many accolades and honors that she, Immaculata, and Campus Ministry received while under her directorship.  Most notable, Immaculata’s Campus Ministry is the only program to receive the Basilica of Immaculate Conception in Washington DC’s Charity Social Service Award twice.


Tom Gambino

Tom is a member of NJ Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and NJ Scholastic Coaches Hall of Fame, posting over 500 Spartan baseball career wins. Currently, Immaculata’s Athletic Director, he was Somerset County Coach of the Year four times. In 1990, he was named Somerset County Coach of the Decade. His teams won several county championships, as well as two state titles. Tom also served as defensive coordinator for Coach Pierce Frauenheim and the Spartan’s powerhouse football program.


Ed and Anita Hogan

Past parents, Ed and Anita Hogan have been generous benefactors and supporters of Immaculata High School for over 4 decades. The founder of the Spartan Education Foundation, Ed, who passed away in 2006, opened the door for many generous contributions from parents, alumni, and parishioners, as well as corporate matching gifts and grants.   Anita previously served as an advisory council member and still remains active within the Immaculata community. In addition, they have been significant donors to the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Somerset’s Neuroscience Pavilion.  The couple were honored with the Theodore Cardinal McCarrick Distinguished Partner in Catholic Education Award.


Tom Brislin’91

After being immersed in Immaculata’s Music Department, participating in Marching, Jazz, Concert, and Symphonic bands and the Spring Musical, Tom has toured and recorded extensively with Yes, Meat Loaf, and Debbie Harry to name a few.  In addition, Tom was the founder, lead singer, and songwriter for the band “Spiraling” and has been internationally recognized for his work. A prolific singer and composer, he produced a solo album, Hurry Up and Smell the Roses.  Recently, he cofounded Accessing Music, which enables disabled individuals to perform music in groups through technology.


Kate Van Doren’03

Kate, one of the best tennis players in the school’s history, posted an undefeated season in girls tennis in her senior year.  She was Immaculata’s first tennis player, male or female, to win an individual title at the Somerset County Tournament. Her team reached the state finals, another first for the Spartans, and Kate was MVP for all four years.  In addition, she  played Varsity Basketball during which time the Lady Spartans were 3-time Mountain Valley Conference and Somerset County Champions.  As a senior, Kate was named a team captain and the Lady Spartans finished their season as New Jersey Parochial A State Champs.   Kate returned to Immaculata in 2012 to coach Freshman Girls Basketball and Girls Varsity Tennis. 


Kevin Foley’06

Kevin was a 3-time Somerset County Golf champion at Immaculata and was named NJ High School Player of the Year in 2006. At Penn State, he was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and a 3-time All-American.  He holds the school record for all-time scoring average and most individual wins. Kevin turned pro in 2010 and was named the NJSGA Champion. In 2013, he was a full-time member of the golf tour and the Panama Claro Champion.  Kevin also clinched a PGA Tour Card for the 2014 season and this year a US Open participant. 

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