Frances B. Sellers Award – Reunion 2007

Rochelle Galiber has proved that she is not afraid of change or challenge, and that she is always ready to work for the welfare of others.

Rochelle couldn’t wait to be challenged by college.  This native of St. Thomas, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, chose Drew because she could be admitted at age 16, without a high-school diploma.  After graduation, she used her chemistry major at Drew Chemical in Boonton, New Jersey.  When a paralegal course sparked her interest in the law, she pursued the J.D. at night at Rutgers Law School while continuing as a chemist.  She earned her degree in 1986 and worked in environmental litigation for almost 20 years, initially with Lowenstein Sandler in New Jersey.

Life changed again when Rochelle adopted her niece, Derryle Marie.  Seeking an optimal environment for a sheltered island preteen, Rochelle moved to Ashland Petroleum Company in Kentucky in 1990 and then to Marathon Ashland Petroleum in Findlay, Ohio.  She has wonderful memories of this time of raising Derryle, and of a fulfilling legal career with unique and challenging cases that provided opportunities to work with excellent colleagues.

An early retirement in 2003 and another major career change have allowed Rochelle to spend more time with her aging parents in the Virgin Islands and Ohio. Drawing on her memories of baking for pleasure and profit in middle school through college, she established www.AuntiesRumCakes.com.  She enhanced her mother’s recipe to produce a quality product that is rapidly gaining in reputation and popularity on line, in the Virgin Islands and in the United States.

Rochelle has never lost sight of her desire to volunteer—to “give until it hurts,… and then give some more.”  She has served on the board of many organizations, including her church, condo, the NAACP, Habitat for Humanity, United Way, Leadership Tri-State, performing arts foundations, the Lupus Foundation and the American Heart Association.  She has also initiated diversity networks and facilitated diversity initiative programs.

Rochelle continues to divide her time between Ohio and St. Thomas.  Auntie’s Rum Cakes are made for individuals and restaurants in both locations . . . the delightful aroma permeates her Findlay home and the Crystal Palace Bed-and-Breakfast.  She rejoices in new Drew connections—her cousins!   Zachary Gundel is a freshman and Tiphanie Yanique has just become assistant professor of English.  Of course, both are fans of Auntie’s Rum Cakes!