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Tragedy Pastures of poppies have grown into the newest killing fields, feeding America’s out-of-control appetite for heroin and opioids.


Alvernia’s Sara Gray ’19 cleared 1.69 meters to win the high jump at the Crusader Invitational track meet this spring. Her mark was second best in the Middle Atlantic Conference during the season and ninth in the nation. She was named first team All-MAC and finished second at the MAC Championships hosted by Alvernia in May.


Summer 2016

INSIDE On Campus

Neag professors named Justice Everywhere Pulitzer winner coming

7 9 11


Faculty making a difference 



Living proof: Sister Florence Kruczek Dogging death with Greg Chown American tragedy Milkin’ it Meet the new U

Alumni News Class Notes 

 13 24 28 36 46 51 52

Alvernia University Magazine


Chasing the American Dream For our many graduates in service professions … personal accomplishment is measured less in dollars earned than in lives changed.

Thomas F. Flynn President

4 Alvernia University Magazine

“Life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement,” so said historian James Truslow Adams more than 85 years ago. The American Dream, as it is often known, appealed to longtime settlers and newly arrived immigrants alike, “regardless of social class or circumstances of birth,” though, as we know, it was not available to people of all backgrounds. It is why many of us have ancestors who left families and friends in lands far and near to come to these shores. It’s why my own maternal forebears crossed the Atlantic both before and after the Great Irish Potato Famine of the mid-19th century to make their home in the neighborhoods of Boston (long before the Red Sox, Celts or Patriots were winning championships!). Today, however, the economic turbulence of the new millennium is causing contemporary historians and many families to doubt the core value proposition of the American Dream: hard work produces economic prosperity and material success. As economic realities pose genuine barriers to the dreams of countless families, many are less likely to look to higher education as a pathway to advancement. Sadly, the prevailing skepticism reported (and fueled) by the media and public officials about the value of a college degree causes many to forget about the exceptional return on this investment. Yet whether the economy and family finances are robust or endangered, a college education still matters. In fact, it is still a difference-maker. And private universities like Alvernia, with historic commitments to being modestly priced places of opportunity for deserving students of all backgrounds, are an often-overlooked national resource. We are inspired to nurture dreams of wonderful young women and men as they explore their talents. We seek to ignite their passions to pursue careers in health care, in social and public service, in business

and education, in the communication and fine arts, and in an array of emerging fields. This commitment to educate our students stands in dramatic contrast to prevailing skepticism. But beneath the rhetoric, high minded and otherwise, what does the data say? Quite simply, that higher education is an invaluable investment. The average hourly wage for college graduates is roughly double that of non-college graduates: $32.60 an hour for those with degrees, $16.50 an hour for those without. A study from Georgetown University shows that “good jobs” — those paying at least $53,000 annually — contributed nearly half of the new jobs added during the last economic recovery. And 97 percent of those went to guess who? Yes, to college graduates. And still other research shows that by 2020, twothirds of all jobs will require postsecondary education, although — shockingly — today only 40 percent of Americans have attained even an associate degree. Despite the benefits of investing in education for professional advancement and salary growth, the gap between the supply of workers with appropriate credentials and the jobs requiring degrees expands every year. Notwithstanding the financial benefits, faculty and staff at Alvernia view the value of a college education in broader terms. Yes, a degree is vital to professional success, measured by the federal government and

media types alike almost solely by the level of salary. But we place equal emphasis on education’s potentially transformational impact on personal and social well-being. For our many graduates in service professions like social work, criminal justice and behavioral health, personal accomplishment is measured less in dollars earned than in lives changed. Our graduates are also serving society regardless of their professions: a recent comprehensive survey confirms that 76 percent of all alumni are active volunteers in their communities. And humbly, but determinedly, many of our graduates aspire to make a moral impact — to be, as our mission statement challenges them to be, “ethical leaders with moral courage.” In many cases, they are living lives inspired by vocations as well as career aspirations. Or as the theologian Frederick Buechner has written, they have been called to “the place where [their] deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Inspiring our students to do well and to do good is what Alvernia is all about. It is why we do what we do. Countless Alvernia alumni have found their calling as pillars of change in the world and are answering this challenge. Jennifer Kaucher ’13 — who offers thoughts on the changing climate of addiction in this issue of Alvernia Magazine — is a case in point. It only takes a few minutes of talking with Jennifer about her post at the Council on Chemical Abuse to be inspired by her passion for helping others. Whether future earnings or a fulfilling life is important to you, consider a new Pew Research Center survey, “The Rising Cost of Not Going to College,” which finds that college graduates outpace those without a degree on virtually every measure of job satisfaction, career success and social involvement. As reams of research data confirm, college graduates make more money, live healthier lifestyles, and take greater action in civic and social engagement. They vote more. They volunteer more. They’re happier. As a result, the communities in which they live benefit from it all. And, if they are lucky enough to be Alvernia graduates, they are also women and men of conscience and character! Yes, they are all living the American Dream. And in my book, that’s an excellent return on an investment in an Alvernia education.


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On Campus

FLYNN TAPPED FOR LEADERSHIP ROLES Alvernia President Thomas F. Flynn, Ph.D., has been named vice chair of the board of the Association for Catholic Colleges and Universities, and will chair the Committee on Accountability as a member of the Executive Committee on the board for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU). Both organizations are based in Washington, D.C. “Tom Directors since 2014, and has a deep understanding of the issues our members face nationally and on their own campuses,” said NAICU President David L. Warren, Ph.D. “His experience as a member of NAICU’s Accountability Committee will serve him, our members and higher education well in his new position as the committee chair.” Flynn previously served on three additional national boards: the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), the Association of Franciscan Colleges and Universities (AFCU) and the American Council on Education (ACE) Board, which coordinates all of higher education, both public and private. He continues to serve on a national task force for the CIC.

6 Alvernia University Magazine

Reed named Newman Fellow Alvernia student Emily Reed, Akron, Pa., has been named a 2016 Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact. A junior studying social work, Reed is highly involved in service through the university’s Holleran Center for Community Engagement. Reed has participated in a number of service-related initiatives both on campus and in the community, including travel projects as part of regular Alternative Breaks, serving the underprivileged in places like inner-city Camden, N.J., Cincinnati, Ohio, and rural Virginia. “Emily’s kindness, her very strong leadership skills and her empathy are clear to anyone who has the pleasure of working with her, but what really shines through is the positive nature of her personality,” said Jay Worrall, director of the Holleran Center for Community Engagement at Alvernia. Campus Compact is a national coalition of nearly 1,100 college and university presidents who are committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility. Through service, research and advocacy, Newman Civic Fellows are making the most of their college experiences to better understand themselves, the root causes of social issues and effective mechanisms for creating lasting change.


has been a member of our Board of

For more news, visit

White T’s rock Spring Fling

Plain White T’s

Alvernia’s annual Spring Fling, organized and hosted by the Student Government Association, provided a range of options for students to celebrate the season in grand fashion. Events included a patio BBQ dinner, “Spring has Sprung – a Cabaret” theater production, Founders Village Festival, block party on the Quad, Glow Dance, “drive-in” movie night and volleyball tournament, among many other activities. “Spring Fling is an annual Alvernia tradition and always one of the year’s highlights,” said Vice President for University Life and Dean of Students Joe Cicala. “This semester’s activities and events made that even more so for all our students. “Our Student Government Association did a really impressive job in organizing and managing all the programs and related promotion and organization,” said Cicala. “It’s probably one of the best run four-day festivals out there and is a real point of pride for Alvernia.” Highlighting the four-day event was a concert to remember, that had students singing in the aisles of the packed Physical Education Center. Headlined by Chicago-based Plain White T’s, best known for the number-one hit song “Hey There Delilah,” that achieved platinum status and earned two Grammy nominations, the event also featured the band Up the Chain. The weekend also included the annual SGA Awards and Inductions Ceremony, at which the university celebrates the accomplishments of all student organizations, their leaders and their advisors.

DEMARCO NAMED ADVANCEMENT VP Anthony DeMarco has been named Alvernia’s new vice president of Institutional Advancement. He will report to university President Thomas F. Flynn. DeMarco’s background includes more than two decades of achievement in a variety of sectors ranging from higher education to the airline industry. Most


recently, he served as vice president

Neag Professors Named

of the Lancaster Barnstormers minor

Drs. Rosemarie Chinni and Ondra Kielbasa have

played a critical role in attracting major

been awarded the university’s prestigious Neag

sponsorships. Prior to that, he was a

Professorships for 2016–18. They are among

major gifts officer for Franklin & Mar-

the most active faculty members pursuing col-

shall College, Lancaster, Pa., where

laborative scholarly research that repeatedly

he posted an outstanding record of

engages students. Chinni, above right, named

fundraising success on a number of

Senior Neag Professor, is professor of chemistry

important projects, working closely

and forensic science, director of the Forensic

with the college’s then-President John

Science Program and chair of the Science and

Fry on major capital initiatives. “After

Mathematics Department. Kielbasa is assistant

a national search with a very talented

professor of biology and was named Junior

pool of applicants, it is very appeal-

Neag Professor. The Neag Professorships were

ing to find our new chief advance-

established in 2010 through the generosity of

ment officer right in our backyard,”

Carole and Ray Neag to expand support for

said Flynn. “The diversity of Tony’s

faculty teaching excellence as well as scholarly

success is a real strength, as is his

and creative achievement.

personable and engaging style.”

league baseball team, and was the organization’s senior executive in charge of marketing and sales. He also directed community engagement efforts and

Alvernia University Magazine


On Campus VOLLEYBALL COACH NAMED Deb Schlosser is Alvernia’s new men’s head volleyball coach. Most recently she served as the assistant men’s volleyball coach at Kean University, where the team advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III championships. Schlosser has previously assisted with the women’s program at Moravian College and is the head coach and club director of Club Lehigh Volleyball, a boys’ USAV club program. Since 2002 the club has trained dozens of athletes who have gone on to successful collegiate volleyball careers.

Justice Everywhere

NEAG SCHOLARSHIPS A new nursing scholarship program was established at Alvernia earlier this spring, made possible by a $2.25 million gift from Carole and Ray Neag. The Neag Nursing Scholarship Program will provide multiple scholarships each year to students enrolling in Alvernia’s popular nursing degree program, with the first scholarships awarded to students who will be attending Alvernia this fall. Carole and Ray Neag are among Alvernia’s most generous benefactors, with a long history of philanthropic support of the university. Carole is a former emergency and maternity nurse who also worked to implement injury-prevention standards. She previously served as a member of the university’s Board of Trustees, and is a trustee emerita. Ray is the retired co-founder, vice chairman and director of Arrow International, an innovator in the use of catheterization for diagnosis and treatment of cardiac diseases. “This is an important gift for Alvernia and it comes at a time when the university is experiencing extraordinary progress in developing its academic programs,” said Alvernia President Thomas F. Flynn. “The nursing program, truly one of the university’s flagships, attracts interest from students across the Mid-Atlantic region.”

8 Alvernia University Magazine

Martin Luther King Jr., with civil rights leaders Andrew Young, Ralph Abernathy and John Lewis, on the historic Selma-to-Montgomery march in the spring of 1965.

For more news, visit

FRANCIS FACTOR A new program aimed at encouraging service, tolerance and interfaith understanding debuted at Alvernia this spring. It’s called Justice Everywhere, a phrase immortalized by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The initiative included diversity workshops and interfaith discussions at the main Reading, Pa., campus, as well as the university’s Philadelphia and Schuylkill Centers. It also highlighted two critically important and interrelated topics: valuing diversity and ensuring a welcoming, inclusive campus community. “These areas of focus, rooted in our mission and vision statements, are always essential but have never been more timely,” explains President Tom Flynn. “All around us, in our nation and our world, we see examples of racial, religious and political tensions and related attitudes that are hostile, even hateful, toward others. “Our Justice Everywhere events helped foster an atmosphere of inclusive excellence

and of greater understanding of the diversity in our community and in larger communities to which our university contributes.” One of the highlights of the Justice Everywhere initiatives was a presentation by Sheyann Webb-Christburg, civil rights activist, author and humanitarian, who visited Alvernia’s campus to speak of her experiences as a native of Selma, Ala. Named the “Smallest Freedom Fighter” at an early age by Dr. Martin Luther King, Webb-Christburg recounted her experiences during the turbulent times of the civil rights movement. In total, more than 400 students, faculty and staff members participated in Justice Everywhere events, including several hundred who took part in the annual Martin Luther King Day of Service, which saw Alvernians volunteer at over 30 different sites across the Greater Reading community. The Justice Everywhere program will continue this fall with a number of events planned throughout the semester.

A new lecture series debuted this spring that is exploring Pope Francis and the ways he is influencing the embrace of the Gospel in the Church and wider world. The inaugural Francis Factor Lecture featured Dr. William Portier, distinguished theologian and chair of Catholic theology at the University of Dayton. Drawing on his vast knowledge and insight, his presentation, “Reflections on a Pilgrim from the Periphery,” attracted a standing room only crowd and detailed the Pope’s impact and potential influence on church and society. Portier also served as Alvernia’s Scholar in Residence in the days surrounding his lecture, allowing for engagement with students and faculty related to his perspectives on Pope Francis. The multi-year Francis Factor Series continues Sept. 14 with American Catholic journalist John Allen, who will speak in celebration of Alvernia’s Founders Day.

SENIORS COLLEGE HONORS PAIR Two dedicated volunteers were honored for their community service, teaching excellence and ongoing involvement with Alvernia’s Seniors College. This year’s Rabbi Weitzman Award, presented to an outstanding individual who, though a selfless life of service to others, has helped to make the community a better place, was posthumously presented to Ernest F. Kasprowicz, Sr. Kasprowicz volunteered and assisted with the Seniors College for 16 years and most recently helped instruct the iPad Club. Also presented was the Saint Bonaventure Award for High Distinction in Teaching, honoring Donald Smith, Jr. Smith has been an active volunteer faculty member since the inception of the Seniors College in 1998. His expertise in legal issues has made him one of the popular lecturers in the college. The Alvernia Seniors College, under the visionary leadership of longtime director Sally Reading, is in its 16th year of facilitating the pursuit of lifelong learning for its members.

Alvernia University Magazine


On Campus SPRING COMMENCEMENT Alvernia’s Spring Commencement featured two very special individuals who have been part of the fabric of the institution for many years. Sister Marilisa da Silva, the congregational minister for Bernardine Franciscan Sisters, was recognized

Award-winning performances

with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree for her significant accomplishments and contributions, both to the Bernardine Sisters as

Sr. Marilisa

well as the university. Sister Marilisa,

as she is best known, is marking her 50th year as a Bernardine Fran­c iscan sister this year. Sharing the spotlight was retiring faculty member Dr. Richard Law, associate professor of English and communication, who

Alvernia’s spring student production of “A Streetcar Named Desire” drew rave reviews for the performances of students who presented, managed and directed the classic Tennessee Williams play. For their efforts, show director Christopher Stewart and actress Chiara Marone, who played Blanche, received Certificates of Merit from the American College Theater Festival, sponsored by the Kennedy Center. The entire cast and crew also earned Certificates of Merit for their work as an ensemble. Actors Anthony Wilson and Marisa Gittleman received nominations for the prestigious Irene Ryan Scholarship Award, also from the American College Theater Festival. “The production was a beneficial experience that allowed our students to

test their skills, talent and artistry with a very ambitious project,” said Dr. Nathan Thomas, associate professor of theater. “One of the great advantages of a program like Alvernia’s … is that we have the flexibility to support this kind of project.” This isn’t the first time the theater program has received acclaim. In 2015, the student production of “Low Level Panic” was selected for performance in Cleveland during the regional Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. “My pride is in the several occasions in which Alvernia has been recognized for outstanding ensemble work,” said Thomas. “The ensemble effort refers to the entire cast and crew — the whole company working together. There really can be no finer honor.”

delivered the commencement address. Law is completing more than two decades at Alvernia as a memorable teacher, mentor and scholar.

NEW BOARD MEMBERS Paul Trunk and Jeanne Savage ’88 have been appointed to Alvernia’s Board of Trustees. Trunk is president of Berk-Tek and vice president and general manager of Nexans LAN Division North America. In his role, he is responsible for the sales, marketing, operations, research and development, human resources, finance and I.T. functions. Savage graduated from Alvernia in 1988 and has taught in the Wyomissing School District while serving on various committees at Alvernia. She is cofounder of the Emma Yoh Memorial Scholarship Fund and is a past recipient of Alvernia’s Ellen Frei Gruber Alumni Award.

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Idea Challenge Winners

Alvernia business students, pictured left to right, Thomas Rymal, Julian Rodriguez, and Matt Osgoodby were named first place winners in the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce New Business Idea Challenge. Their idea, JMT Bakers Dozen, is an upscale café serving gourmet food to canines and their owners located at a beach setting. At the onset, JMT Bakers Dozen will operate in the months of May through October. This year’s competition had 41 quality business plan entries. Nine finalists were selected to compete in a Shark Tank event, including two from Alvernia. After the Shark Tank competition, the top three finalists were selected to receive monetary awards. Alvernia students have been recognized in the Idea Challenge program several times in previous years.

For more news, visit

YOGI NOTCHES #800 Alvernia’s head baseball coach, Yogi Lutz, surpassed 800 career wins in a doubleheader at Hood College earlier this spring. Lutz has been the head coach at Alvernia since 1987. He is a seven-time Pennsylvania Athletic Conference Champion and in 2011 led the Crusaders all the way to the NCAA MidAtlantic Regional Championship round. He has earned numerous coaching awards throughout his career, including ABCA/Diamond Sports Company NCAA Division III Regional Coach of the Year in 2011. Lutz is the eighth active coach in the division to reach the 800-win plateau and the 18th all-time to reach the mark.

Alvernia students perform in “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

BEHAVIORAL HEALTH NABS TOP RANKINGS Alvernia’s behavioral health program has been named one of the best small school programs in the nation by two top online rating services.

Pulitzer winner coming in fall ranked

Author and New York Times columnist Nicholas

tive small colleges and universities

Kristof, recipient of two Pulitzer Prizes for his cover-

with an undergraduate population of

age of Tiananmen Square and the genocide in Darfur,

3,000 students or less that offer a

will speak Oct. 27 at Alvernia as part of the univer-

bachelor’s degree in counseling or a

sity’s First Year Seminar program. Kristof is co-author

specialized counseling area. Schools

of “Half the Sky,” an acclaimed book that looks at

were evaluated on a range of criteria,

turning oppression into opportunity for women in

including number of degrees award-

Third World countries. The lecture is being held in

ed, selectivity, student retention

partnership with Berks Women in Crisis and is part of

and accreditation credentials. The

their 40th anniversary celebration. The event is made

behavioral health program was also

possible by the support of longtime Alvernia benefac-

recognized by BestCounselingDe-

tors Jerry and Carolyn Holleran. as one of its Top 25 Small

Alvernia’s behavioral health program #2 on its list of the nation’s top 30 Great Small College Counseling Degrees. The website examined selec-

Colleges for a Counseling Degree. Alvernia was no. 14 on the list.

Alvernia University Magazine


Periscope Alvernia’s faculty making a difference


Peggy Bowen-Hartung, Ph.D., CTS



Kimberly J. Stoudt, Ed.D.



Spencer S. Stober, Ed.D.




Tufan Tiglioglu, Ph.D.



Drs. Bertoti and Stoudt co-presented “Peer-Driven Learning in Undergraduate Senior Capstone Courses: An Investigation into the Processes and Value” at the International Journal of Arts and Sciences Conference, Florence, Italy, The pair examined evidence-based, peerdriven learning approaches to instruction. Key concepts included motivating students as an intrinsic part of teaching and encouraging students to emerge as leaders while adopting cooperative roles in a teamwork environment.



Tracey L. Brown, Ph.D. Co-presented “Community Engagement Model for Thoughtful Leadership Education” at the annual International Leadership Conference in Barcelona, Spain. Their presentation describes a model of using experiential education with students to support Alvernia’s mission to develop ethical leaders with moral courage.

Ana Ruiz

Dr. Ruiz published “Psychological Literacy, Service Learning, and the Public Good: Theory, Research, and Practice.” The book advocates for service learning, which allows students to improve academic, personal, civic and pre-professional outcomes through community engagement. Chapters provide guidelines for designing service learning courses. Faculty development, department engagement, scholarship and assessment were also examined. Co-authored with Drs. Bringle, Reed and Brown. Christopher H. Wise, PT, DPT, Ph.D.(c), OCS, FAAOMPT, MTC, ATC

Diane Kraft, MS, RDN, LDN




Kraft published “The A-Z Guide to Food As Medicine” with Ara DerMarderosian, CRC Press. It is a health professional and consumer guide listing the physiological effects and health benefits of more than 250 foods, food groups, nutrients and phytochemicals, written with a pharmacognosy colleague from University of the Sciences.


Diane Kraft

Dr. Wise published “Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy: From Art to Evidence.” The primary objective of this 900page textbook is to serve as the definitive resource on the principles and practices of this area of specialization for students, instructors, clinicians and researchers.

FACULTY AWARDS Several Alvernia faculty members were recognized at the annual Honors Convocation this spring. • Faculty for Exemplary Service Learning – Karen Cameron, Ph.D., associate professor of occupational therapy • Lindback Faculty Award – Victoria Williams, Ph.D., associate professor of political science • Saint Bernardine Faculty Award – College of Arts & Sciences – Bruce Becker, instructor of art • Saint Bernardine Faculty Award – College or Professional Programs – Holly Smith, instructor of education • Saint Bernardine Faculty Award – School of Graduate and Adult Education – Marty Korecky, instructor of business • Sr. Donatilla Faculty Award – Sister Paula Nowak, OSF, MATM, instructor of math • Teaching Excellence Award – Ana Ruiz, Ph.D., professor of psychology

Chris Wise

FOUR RECEIVE EMERITUS STATUS Four of Alvernia’s most revered and endeared faculty members — Theresa Adams, Ed Hartung, Richard Law and Joan Lewis — were awarded emeritus status this spring as they moved into retirement. It is an honor that recognizes outstanding service and extraordinary contributions to the university.

Adams’ impact on the Nursing Depart-

Hartung has had an exceptional

Law epitomizes the senior teacher-

Lewis is an outstanding role model of

ment has been significant and she has been a change agent for the health professions—especially in transcultural nursing. She recently received the prestigious Nursing Education Award from the Pennsylvania National League of Nursing.

impact on Alvernia students, personally and professionally. He has helped make criminal justice students known for their professional demeanor as well as their accomplishments. He also served effectively as faculty president.

scholar model. Beloved by students, he is an active scholar and generous colleague. No lay faculty member during the last 20 years is more praised by alumni for their expertise and dedication to students.

professionalism and informed teaching. Her contributions have been many, including two deanships, multiple department chair appointments and major faculty governance roles.

12 Alvernia University Magazine


proof By

Brad Drexler

After more than 40 years of guiding students and shaping lives, Sister Florence Kruczek, Ph.D., retired from Alvernia this spring, leaving a legacy few can ever forget.

Alvernia University Magazine



ehigh Coal & Navigation’s Mine No. 6 in Lansford, Pa., was notorious for taking more than she gave. No one knew that better than young Flossie Kruczek. The infamous colliery claimed her father in spring of 1934, when she was just 6½ and the nation was languishing in the Great Depression. Old No. 6 struck the Kruczek family again 19 years later, swallowing Flossie’s brother Joey and uncle Stan, just as it had with so many others who tapped the region’s rich coal veins for a livelihood. “Daddy was a proud Polish soldier who immigrated to America and eventually found his way to Lansford to get a job in the coal mines on the advice of some buddies he had in New York,” recalls Kruczek, who is better known around Alvernia’s campus these days as the much-beloved Sister Florence. “That was common for so many who came to the U.S. at that time.” “I remember running to greet my father as he walked home from work, covered in soot. He always had something special for me in his lunch pail — and also had such big plans for all of us.” Initially, it seemed those plans would fall by the wayside, never to be realized — or would they?

Sr. Florence first came to Alvernia to attend what was then known as Mount Alvernia High School.

14 Alvernia University Magazine

They say that when coal comes under constant pressure, diamonds are formed. And so on that gray May day in ’34 when No. 6 belched out a ton of coal, claiming the life of Stanley Kruczek, a process began that would produce a priceless gem all its own. What remained of the Kruczek family was forced to move from their home in nearby Summit Hill to the town of Lansford proper, where they lived with an aunt and uncle in the shadow of the unforgiving mine. Her father’s tragic death had left a cavernous black hole in young Flossie’s heart. It was a void she longed to have filled. “We knew and understood pain and loss very early in life. But mom told us, ‘God always provides. He took your father away, now God has to be your


A diamond in the making

father. He will take care of you.’” “When I heard that, I felt a strong sense of trust and peace,” said Sister Florence. “The concept of God being my Father filled the void in me and replaced it with His goodness and love.” Soon she was attending first grade at Saints Peter and Paul School, a Catholic parish now known as one of most prolific for fashioning future members of the Bernardine Franciscan religious order (producing more than 35 sisters). “Mom would help clean the church to pay tuition and picked up piecework to do at home from a local garment mill to make ends meet,” said Sister Florence. “Even though we were poor, I never thought of it. It just never occurred to me. We always had what we needed. Our family nourished us. The church supported us.”

A little flower blooms It didn’t take long before she crossed paths with an endeared Doctor of the Church — Saint Therese of

Lisieux — who would remain a constant inspiration throughout Flossie’s life. It was at her parish church that she came face to face with a captivating statue of the much-venerated French Carmelite nun, best known as the Little Flower. The icon became a frequent destination for the youngster. “I felt a strong connection with Saint Therese right away,” said Sister Florence. “I asked the Little Flower to ‘make me a Sister like you.’ I believed she watched over me, helped me. She was my friend.” It proved to be a fortuitous friendship. Flossie soon found herself dressing up like a nun to teach other children from the neighborhood, something that foreshadowed both her future life as a religious and her 44-year tenure as an educator. “The moms just loved it,” she said, “and so did I.” But the Little Flower was soon to bloom in her life in another way. When it came time for the third grade play, the young student who was already fluent in both Polish and English tried out and landed the lead role — a dream of her then-short life … playing none other than Saint Therese herself! (To this day she can still recite lines from the production in Polish, the language it was performed in!) Each year after that, Flossie claimed a different role in the school play, following in the footsteps of her father, who fancied himself an actor and musician. By 1941, with finances becoming increasingly tight, it was time for young Florence to move on to high school. The Sisters at Saints Peter and Paul School encouraged her, and two other girls from the area, to attend a school with a growing reputation, run by the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters in Reading, Pa., — Mt. Alvernia High School. The rest, as they say, is history. Florence left home to attend Mt. Alvernia, living in Saint Francis Home (later named Francis Hall) alongside other students as well as the orphans who called the venerable building home. “I loved Alvernia right away,” she said. “I missed home and my family, but I knew I belonged here, and mom knew it too.”

Alvernia becomes home “I was an aspirant … a sister in training, if you will,” Florence continued. “There was never any pressure to become a sister, but I already knew that the church and God were to be the center of my life.” Mt. Alvernia provided a good home and a great education, and the bilingual Florence quickly learned that she had a knack for foreign languages. “I took Latin and French, and picked up both quickly.” After graduating in 1945, she entered the Continued on page 58

Alvernia University Magazine





Technology runs my life (AND I’M OK WITH IT) Justin Padinske ’15, ACCOUNT MANAGER AT BONFYRE APP

It is 7 a.m., on a Tuesday and I have a plane to catch. I wake up to the sound of my alarm

boarding pass on my phone, and I continue on to my gate. My two-hour flight home is smooth and relaxing.

coming from my phone. As I turn it off, I see

After graduating from Alvernia, I moved to

a notification on my screen. It’s provided by

St. Louis, Mo., to work for a tech startup. I

Google Now, a personal assistant created

experience technology, especially my phone,

by the search giant to deliver, among other

radically different now, as it helps me navigate

things, the most important information to the

through many of life’s obstacles. It is easy for

home screen of my mobile device.

me to forget that

Even though I am traveling, my phone

only three years

knows my location and updates me with the

ago I did not own

latest weather report for the D.C. area. I dress for a cold, rainy day and remember to grab an umbrella on my way out before ever stepping outside. Neatly displayed under the weather notification is my flight information, including boarding passes, departure and arrival times,

I have come to terms with the fact that computers are engaged in almost every

part of my life.


terminal location and seat information.

a smartphone. My brain was shackled


forced, for 20plus


remember perform

to and


It even tells me the exact time I need to

tedious tasks that I have now delegated to

leave my hotel, based on the current traffic, of

my phone. As a result, I have more time to

course, if I want to be at the airport on time.

focus on the people and projects that truly

As I open the Uber app, I step outside onto

deserve my full attention. My life has changed

the busy, rainy streets of Washington, D.C. A

because of technology, and I cannot even

few minutes later, an Uber driver pulls up in a

imagine how it will continue to change in the

new Toyota sedan, and I am off to the airport.

next three years.

As I’m walking through the terminal, I watch

Will I be able to use my phone to arrange

crowds of people gather at the tiny screens to

for a self-driving car to pick me up? It certainly

find their flight information.

seems possible. Alphabet’s Solve for X (formerly

I smile to myself as I pull out my phone

Google X) is developing self-driving cars that

to see my own flight information, updated

have already clocked over 1 million miles across

in real time. My flight has been delayed, but

multiple states. Meanwhile, Tesla recently

all the new information I need is provided

deployed a new software update in its electric

right there on my phone, so I continue

cars, allowing the vehicle to make certain

walking toward security. Instead of fumbling

aspects of the driving experience autonomous.

for paper tickets, security just scans the

Continued on page 57

Alvernia University Magazine


I guess the best place to start would

with them in this very sterile and clean

be “Linda.” On my second day of work (at

environment, specifically designed to be

Reading’s Oakbrook Health Clinic), I was sent

absent of personality and set up for maximum

in to see Linda and take her patient history,

efficiency, while they pour out the dirtiest and

something that put me out of my depth at

most emotional facets of their lives. Before

that early juncture (it still does, but not to the

long the whole notion of separating the

same degree). Linda was a regular, diagnosed

“medical world” of clinics and hospitals from

with everything under the sun and bound

the “real world” just dissolves, because you

to be diagnosed with whatever she wasn’t

can’t possibly reconcile the two as different;

already diagnosed with at some point in her

it’s a comfortable illusion, almost set up more

life — if not by a doctor, then by herself.

for the patient than the provider.

She spoke a unique sort of fractured English

Coming up with ways to cope with stress

in which she put emphasis on any uses of

was also a fun activity. I had this crazy idea

“the” and dragged out the last syllable of every

in the early weeks of working at the clinic

sentence (“I have

that I should be doing something to separate

THE painnnnnnn.

that world from my own — build back up the

It’s in THE left

illusion to prevent myself from thinking about


the patients too much, their plights and crises.

Within five min­

This idea came from the fact that I was losing

utes she began to mention her crip­ pling depression. Within 10 minutes

But eventually I figured out the trick:it’s to

not resist.

sleep at this point, being kept awake by a few specific patient interviews. After a close friend knocked some sense into me and made me realize that the whole

she spoke of her

idea of compartmentalizing my life to minimize

suicidal ideation, and within 15 was sobbing.

thinking about patients is something that

She drew me into a hug, and I drew myself

could only eventually lead to a disaffected

inward and attempted to piece together why I

hardening of my outlook toward everything

was doing this. I’ve always been a worrywart

(which I thank him for), I gave up that tack

about rules regarding people’s personal lives

and switched to something else, or four. All

in an official setting — not so much the

kinds of dumb little rituals like journaling and

“legality” of it, but the morality. On what basis

cataloguing emotions. But eventually I figured

was it OK to send in an untrained person

out the trick: it’s to not resist.

to hear the very private life story of another

You don’t look for ways to combat the stress,

individual for educational purposes? Isn’t that,

you simply let it happen. You let every patient

on some deep-down level, callous?

break your heart. The doctor I was interning

Every sit-down with a patient is like that.

for remarked that my taking of patient histories

You’re trying to ask pertinent questions

improved over the course of the semester.

regarding their health, but before long you end

I don’t attribute that to practice because I

up as the shoulder to cry on, or the witness

know the exact moment that the improvement

to inner turmoil, or just the person who needs

happened. It was when I finally surrendered to

to be there to facilitate the patient’s venting.

the deluge and let it flow over me.

There’s a funny sort of cognitive dissonance

It’s this odd blissful feeling, a kind of

to the whole thing. You’re sitting down

Continued on page 56

18 Alvernia University Magazine





20 Alvernia University Magazine


Begin to pay attention to how many times addiction, drugs and alcohol come up in

any less serious, because they don’t involve a “drug”? I think not.

conversation with friends and family, and

As defined by the American Society of

you may be surprised. I was, when I started

Addiction Medicine, addiction is “a primary,

my job at the Council on Chemical Abuse

chronic disease of brain reward, motivation,

over two years ago. My way of talking about

memory and related circuitry.” By definition,

addiction has changed; let me tell you why.

addiction does not apply to just drugs and

We have all joked (or at least I have) at

alcohol, but anything that affects individuals to

one point or another about being addicted

the point where they cannot function without

to something, whether it is our favorite food

that substance or behavior.

or our smartphones. What I have learned is


the difference between joking and the reality of addiction. Addiction consumes a person, and the genuine suffering that happens is undeniable. Addiction has always been a part of the human condition. We have seen the devastation it is capable of, but now, more than ever, it is affecting our daily lives. With the current opioid crisis in our country, almost daily we hear about it on the news,


in the latest sitcoms, in newspaper articles,


who is addicted

An individual who is addicted to heroin and an individual addicted to gambling can have equally serious consequences because of their “drug of


to heroin and an individual addicted to gambling can have




quences because of






individual addicted to


during a presidential debate, or around the

shopping or pornography may not show

dinner table.

physical signs, but those obsessive behaviors

It may be clearer to see signs and symptoms

can still lead to isolation, unemployment,

in an individual addicted to heroin because of

homelessness and arrest, much like an

the physical characteristics that come with

addiction to drugs or alcohol.

use. But what about the person addicted to

Now, addicts cannot overdose on gam­

playing video games, being on the Internet,

bling at a casino, or watching pornography,

spending money, eating, gambling, work or

like they can overdose while using heroin or

sex? Are those any less of an addiction, or

Continued on page 56

Alvernia University Magazine




of looking bad on the Internet.) Employers

text, pictures and video in ways that were





using the Internet to gather intelligence should

unimaginable a generation ago. Parents look

surprise no one, as even ordinary people use

at their children and wonder if what they post

the Internet to find out about others.

on social media now might keep them from getting a job later. The evidence I see tells me “yes,” but that may be a good thing.

Naturally, concerned parents would see these trends and tell their children to keep their noses squeaky clean. Don’t go to parties where someone may have a beer! Don’t look ridiculous

Well-intentioned people try to tell young

in public because someone will take a picture!

people that they should avoid putting anything

Don’t live the kind of lives we did because

on the Internet that they might come to regret.

it will be on the Internet forever! And while

The challenge is that 18-year-olds have no

avoiding risks keeps children out of trouble, it

understanding of what they might regret later,

also means they miss out on the experiences,

and further don’t think those well-intentioned

and especially the mistakes, that helped their

people “get it.” The 18-year-olds have a valid


point, though not the one they intend to make.

the people they

Many parents discourage young people

are today.

from taking risks because they want to keep them from saying or doing things they cannot take back. Their defensive impulse is not always wrong, but even painful mistakes create opportunities for growth. Success is a

I do not mean to

I believe the key to success is thoughtfulness about the things you say and

do …

lazy teacher.

say people should be cavalier about what ends up on the Internet. You probably


It is more important to be thoughtful about

avoid putting up a picture of a mountain of

posting on social media rather than remaining

empty beer cans you and your friends built

silent out of fear of doing something wrong. A

after a party, even if it IS amazing. Some

controversial social media post can be such

things are better off not being documented.

because it takes a brave stand, or it can be

At the same time, people should express

controversial because it was thoughtless.

who they truly are on their social media

Thoughtlessness, not bravery, causes the

platforms. I believe the key to success is

horror stories.

thoughtfulness about the things you say and

Even a thoughtful post is not without risk.

do, which is a good guideline for living a

Over half of employers use social media and/

meaningful life in general. Post to express

or search engines to research job candidates,

your best self, not to express a self you think

per a 2015 CareerBuilder poll. (The other

people want.

half might not want to go on record for fear

22 Alvernia University Magazine


Continued on page 57




! 6 1 0 2 its






Alvernia University Magazine


24 Alvernia University Magazine

professor Greg Chown, man’s best friend is his vital link to helping families find missing loved ones — and closure.


Dogging Death

For Alvernia occupational therapy


Professor Greg Chown with his search and rescue dog Krabi.


Julia VanTine

asked with finding and recovering missing persons, search and rescue volunteers live on the edge of hope and heartbreak. Assistant professor of occupational therapy Gregory Chown makes up half of a K-9 team that participates in search and rescue operations in Berks County and beyond. Chown’s other half is his chocolate lab Krabi, certified in human remains detection (HRD). As a “cadaver dog,” 10-year-old Krabi is trained to scent and locate human remains, tissue, blood and bone in various states of decomposition. Searching on land and water, at crime scenes or disaster sites, K-9 teams like Chown and Krabi do the vital work of locating the missing and facilitating justice. “For me, it’s about helping others during difficult times,” says Chown. “These types of situations are stressful for families and loved ones. Although difficult and dangerous at times, this type of work can offer families a sense of hope, provide answers or offer closure.” Before moving to Reading in 2007, Chown specialized in hand injuries and burns at a hospital in Singapore. There, he adopted Krabi, named for a beautiful area on the west coast of southern Thailand. After his move here, looking for an activity to share with Krabi, Chown decided on search and rescue. “I didn’t want just

a pet, but a working dog,” he says. “I’d always been interested in search and rescue, and thought it would be interesting to do it with a dog.” Chown joined a group in Philadelphia called the Search and Rescue Dogs of Pennsylvania. The training involves solving “problems,” or specific search and rescue scenarios. Sometimes, the teams are given information to work with. But often, the problems are “blind,” offering no clues as to how to proceed. “It’s vital to do both types of problems to learn to read your dog and understand what he or she is trying to tell you,” says Chown. Such expertise requires frequent, rigorous training for both handler and dog. Chown has undergone hundreds of hours of training and is certified in numerous search and rescue skills by the National Association for Search and Rescue, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and local and regional search and rescue operations. Krabi, in turn, has been certified by the Pennsylvania Police K-9 Association, the American Working Dog Association and Country Class Canines Advanced Land Human Remains Detection. Chown has attended numerous advanced human remains detection workshops hosted by Bay Area Recovery Canines, an Annapolis, Md., team specializing in the Continued on page 57

Alvernia University Magazine


Plight of the

Navigator By

Maria Jiménez ’15 helps patients through the complex world of health care during the most troubling of times.

Sitting in the downtown clinic’s sparse examining room, Maritza waits nervously for the doctor to finish speaking. She heard him say the “c” word in the very beginning. Everything after that is white noise. Hearing a doctor say “breast cancer” is scary. For any woman. But for someone whose first language is Spanish, it can be even more traumatizing due to the language barrier. Enter María Jiménez ’15, breast cancer patient navigator at the Penn State Health St. Joseph Hospital

Nancy J. McCann

coordination and to offer assistance with any barriers during this difficult period of time,” says Jiménez. Initially, Jiménez does an assessment to see what, exactly, the patient’s needs are, for example: translation/interpretation, transportation or information pamphlets printed in Spanish. She answers questions, coordinates appointments and offers emotional support, too. “This helps them to be more comfortable. I like to think of it as if I’m wrapping them in angel wings,” says Jiménez. “I will take care of them.” She currently works with nine patients — women mostly between the ages of 40 and 75. Jiménez is their go-to person. Her patients depend on her, and so do their families. She provides resources for employment and childcare for family members and information on how to care for their sick loved ones. “It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to help the whole family,” says Jiménez. She also provides services, including interpretation, for non–breast cancer patients. She accompanies them to doctor appointments, informing her charges of the doctors’ instructions and translating the patients’ questions.

Oncology department in Reading. She works directly with the uninsured and often uses her bilingual skills to help an underserved Hispanic/Latina population with incomplete or suspicious mammography findings. She is part of a team that manages programs that target breast cancer screening, diagnostic mammography and follow-ups. “In my position, I become the bridge between the downtown clinic and the Bern Campus to provide these patients with the necessary treatment

26 Alvernia University Magazine

Jiménez believes finding her “intense and wonderful job” was a direct by-product of her Alvernia Bachelor of Science degree in healthcare science. As an adult learner, she spent years in the workforce before going back to school to earn her bachelor’s degree. “I had been working in manufacturing for many years, but plants kept closing. It was difficult to get jobs. I decided to go back to school because my passion is working with people. This degree was perfect for me because it combines people and sciences,” she says. The healthcare science program has flourished since students were accepted to enroll three years ago. Maria was a member of the first graduating class, in May 2015. The program was developed to address needs of the region and the growing field of healthcare, says Dr. Karen Thacker, dean of the College of Professional Programs at Alvernia.


The Healthcare Science Gap

Alvernia healthcare science grad Maria Jiménez ’15 helps women with breast cancer navigate the healthcare system.

“This program fills a gap in our community workforce,” says Thacker. “We wanted to focus on what our current and future needs are in our healthcare industry, and with the Affordable Care Act, the aging population, and all the things that healthcare systems are doing to keep people healthy and out of the hospitals. This degree gives students the tools to thrive in existing jobs and those yet to be created, supporting the many needs of our community.”

Finding her place As part of her education, Jiménez shadowed a social worker/patient navigator in the oncology department at Penn State Health St. Joseph’s hospital for four months — and loved it. “I learned the importance of

the role of a patient navigator in assisting the patients to overcome their distress and barriers when receiving treatment for a critical disease,” she says. “I also learned how to make referrals for grants and provide patients with other resources.” The hospital, using grant funds from the Susan G. Komen Foundation, was looking to hire a Spanishspeaking patient navigator. “It was perfect timing,” enthuses Jiménez. “I had an understanding of the process because I was already in the hospital doing my internship. That’s how I got hired. “I’m happy at my job, and am learning a lot every day. Between the education I received at Alvernia, being a bilingual/bicultural person, and participating in outreach events within the Reading community, I was the perfect candidate.”

Alvernia University Magazine



n the iconic film “The Wizard of Oz,” the Wicked Witch of the West conjures a field of red poppies to thwart Dorothy’s entry into the fabled Emerald City, and foil her return to Kansas. Today, poppies like those are inflicting a plague of opioids across America, feeding an addiction epidemic that doesn’t discriminate based on race or income, or distinguish legal drugs (like those that took the life of actress Judy Garland) from the illicit. But thanks to a partnership between Alvernia University and Caron Treatment Centers, there is hope for some, and training for the next generation of addiction counselors.

30 Alvernia University Magazine


Tragedy Alvernia University Magazine




Struggling with addiction, finding redemption Perhaps it is only fitting that Weissberg first did drugs in a dead end, because that’s where her life was headed over the course of more than two harrowing decades of addiction that followed, as she moved quickly to smoking crack cocaine and eventually to shooting heroin. Today, Weissberg is an addiction studies major at Alvernia and works as a case manager and recovery support specialist for TASC (Treatment Access and Services Center, Inc., of Berks County). “I want to work with people like me,”

30 Alvernia University Magazine

Opioids actually destroy that part of the brain that produces the chemicals that

make us feel good.

Caron CEO Doug Tieman

she says. “I know that’s so cliché, and that’s what all the counselors and people who work in this field say, but, truly, there’s nothing else I want to do.” For long periods since that first night, her life was a living hell. She lost almost everything: her career as a nurse, her house, her marriage, and even her daughter. And after getting her nursing license and daughter back almost 10 years ago, she lost them again when she relapsed with heroin. It may seem odd to say, but Weissberg was lucky. Despite being arrested on two felony drug charges in 2009, she committed to getting clean. It took two stays at Caron Treatment Centers in

Wernersville, Pa., and working through Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12-step program. Yet there is one simple fact, without which none of the others would have mattered. She lived. Her brother Rudy wasn’t so fortunate. He died from a heroin overdose, another casualty in what even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention call “The Heroin Epidemic.” Between 2002 and 2013, heroin-related overdose deaths have increased by a staggering 286 percent. In the past decade, heroin use more than doubled among young adults between the ages of 18 and 25. But it’s a mistake to focus solely on heroin, experts say, because the


It’s been 28 years since Jennifer Weissberg first got high. But she still remembers every detail like it was yesterday. She was 14 years old, living on Long Island, a suburban teenager who took ballet lessons and played softball but never felt like she fit in until she started hanging out with “the rough crowd — the misfits, the people that did drugs, that smoked cigarettes, that drank, that got into trouble.” “I remember exactly where I was,” recalls Weissberg, now 42 and working on six years of living clean and sober. “It was in a dead end right up the block from my house. I wasn’t allowed to be there, it was off limits, but I went there anyway. I even had a curfew, but I made it home on time.” That night, she tried both drinking and smoking pot for the first time. “And I absolutely loved it,” she says. “I didn’t like the pot so much, but I loved the alcohol. After 20 minutes, I loved the way my legs felt. I can remember the warm feeling. I especially loved the way people asked me to do this with them. “It wasn’t like I heard, ‘Have a drink.’ It was like, ‘Be our friend. Hang out with us.’ I didn’t want to do it. I knew I could get in trouble. And who likes the taste of liquor? The smell of it was disgusting. But I did it anyway. I loved the way it made me feel. I fit in. I felt beautiful. I felt funny. I felt like I was popular. It was unbelievable. “And I couldn’t wait to do it again.”

Poppies before being processed for medicinal use and the illegal drug trade.

Alvernia University Magazine




problem goes much deeper, with skyrocketing levels of prescription opioid drug abuse and addiction. Every 19 minutes in the United States, someone dies from an opioid overdose. “Just to give you some perspective, last year, about 30,000 people died from opioid overdose,” says Douglas Tieman, president and CEO of Caron Treatment Centers, one of the nation’s largest and oldest not-for-profit addiction and behavioral healthcare treatment centers. With a sprawling campus nestled on South Mountain, Caron has worked in partnership with nearby Alvernia to help address the ever-growing problem through the university’s Addiction Studies program and new initiatives directed at students in recovery. Caron also provides on-site counseling services to Alvernia students, a service it also offers to corporations in the region.

Counting Causalities “About 20,000 of the overdoses were from pharmaceutical prescriptions; the others — a little over 10,000 — were from heroin,” says Tieman. “And that 30,000 figure represents about 60 percent of people who

32 Alvernia University Magazine

die of a drug overdose, which is right around 50,000.” According to the CDC, 45 percent of people who use heroin are also addicted to prescription opioid painkillers such as OxyContin and Percocet. There’s a good reason for that: The fact that one opioid is legal and the other is not makes absolutely no difference to your brain. “There’s this misperception that because a drug is classified as either legal or as prescribed, and it’s dispensed to you by a trained medical professional, that the drug is somehow safe or safer,” says David Reyher, a certified advanced alcohol and drug counselor who is an instructor and program director in Alvernia’s Behavioral Health Department. “That’s only true from the standpoint that you know what the dosage is. It is, in fact, no safer in terms of addictive potential than heroin. It is just as easy to become addicted to any prescription opiate as it is to heroin. That’s why we see a crossover.” In late March, the Obama administration, which earlier proposed $1.1 billion in additional funding to fight opioid addiction, offered additional new measures to expand drug treatment centers and increase the use of drugs, such as naloxone, that save lives by reversing


Caron counts a number of Alvernia graduates among its talented and committed staff, including Kate Appleman ’05, left, and Erin Goodhart ’08, center, pictured here with Caron’s Director of Young Men’s Services Luke Stopper.

the effects of overdoses from opioids. “We are seeing more people killed because of opioid overdose than from traffic accidents — I mean, think about that,” President Barack Obama said at a meeting of the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit, where he announced the new initiatives. “It has to be something right up at the top of our radar screen.” In Pennsylvania, Rachel Levine, the state’s physician general, has placed opioid abuse and addiction squarely at the top of the state’s public health radar screen, citing a coroner’s report that 2,500 people — or seven individuals a day — die of opioid overdose annually statewide. The scope of the problem is encapsulated in a statistic

Caron CEO Doug Tieman speaks to Alvernia students.

that Tieman admits “just blows me away: Americans are 5.6 percent of the world’s population. But we consume 80 percent of all opioid medications, and 99 percent of hydrocodone (a narcotic painkiller found in such popular brand-name drugs as Vicodin and Lortab). That’s alarming.” Tieman recalls that when he entered the addiction treatment field in 1983, more than two-thirds of Americans considered addiction to be a willpower issue. “There was a significant amount of stigma to it,” he says. Fortunately, those numbers have flipped over the past three decades, as the public has come to understand what leading experts have been saying since the late 1990s: that addiction is a chronic brain disease. “Opioids actually destroy that part of the brain that produces the chemicals that make us feel good,” Tieman says. When you have a nice meal, or your football team wins, or you see your child sing in a concert, your brain releases dopamine, the chemical that makes you feel good. “Opioids make you feel much better when you get high than you can possibly imagine,” Tieman explains. “The trouble is they then destroy the brain’s natural ability to make you feel good. So the only way you can even feel decent after a short period of time is to take an opioid.”

History of trouble, hope for the future For decades, heroin, specifically, and drug addiction, more generally, were widely seen from both a public and policy standpoint as “inner city” problems, attributable to weak willpower and bad choices, and treated as a criminal justice issue. A 2010 report by the National Continued on page 54

Caron names Alvernia ‘Partner in Recovery’ Caron Treatment Centers presented

“This is an important and often difficult

offer a life-changing education to patients still

Alvernia with one of its highest honors

task, but one that is always well worth the

this May, the Partner in Recovery Award,

effort. We are thankful that Caron continues

recognizing the university’s ongoing support

to partner with us in impactful ways, by

recognizes a Berks County organization that

to the organization’s mission of education,

helping provide programs that focus on

has been a significant partner in carrying out

prevention and recovery from addiction.

prevention and intervention, by joining

Caron’s mission related to addiction recovery

“Alvernia and Caron Treatment Centers

together to teach the next generation of

and prevention. Past recipients include East

share a common goal: to transform lives,”

clinical counselors and behavioral health

Penn Corp., Carpenter Technology, Wells

said Thomas F. Flynn, Alvernia’s president.

professionals, and by supporting us as we

Fargo and The Wyomissing Foundation.

finding their way through recovery,” he said. Caron’s Partner in Recovery Award

Alvernia graduate Gabriella Valenti is discovering what it’s like to work in the heart of the Big Apple, one bite at a time.

Making it in


Gabriella Valenti ’15

34 Alvernia University Magazine



By Macy


t’s 4:30 a.m., and Gabriella Valenti ’15 is already at the Fox News studio in New York, gearing up for her role in the early morning startup of two network television shows: “Mornings with Maria” and “Varney & Co.” She begins by setting up a show rundown list for the producers. Then it’s on to organizing guest research packets and other background for high-profile anchors like Maria Bartiromo and Stuart Varney — as well as for a constant influx of various Fox News contributors. All this while staying in continuous contact with the producers. As others begin to arrive, she greets and escorts show guests to hair and makeup before they go on air. And with fresh scripts and new guests cycling into the show each hour, the job never really

slows down. But that’s exactly what she likes about network television. A communication major at Alvernia with a focus in journalism and a minor in English, Valenti had her eye on Fox News long before her initial interview last fall. But popular entry-level positions can be hard to come by, and even harder to land. It took Valenti months after graduation to go through the application and interview process, but she finally won a spot and began working at the New York City location of Fox News in December 2015. “I have always been an avid viewer of Fox News and have such an admiration for the people on that network,” she said. “When this amazing opportunity arose, there was no way I could pass it up.” Though Valenti came to Alvernia as Continued on page 55

Milkin’ It

Carl and Kathy Herbein ’95 parlayed their dairy industry expertise to become cream-of-the-crop entrepreneurs.


s a young child growing up on Glen Farms in the valley of Oley Township, Pa., CPA and dairy expert Carl D. Herbein was early to rise, up at 5 a.m. — every single day of the year — to help with chores on his father’s 102-acre farm. As a 5-year-old, the only child of Carl B. and Ruth M. Herbein collected eggs. Later, he hefted milk pails and fed the cows, and by his teen years, he was driving a tractor, throwing hay bales and, of course, milking cows — the perfect dairy farm boy. Except for one thing. As he got older, Herbein wasn’t that interested in taking over the dairy farm. He wanted to go to college, work with numbers. He wanted to stray from the profession that Herbeins had done since 1707, when the first of his ancestors came from Germany to this corner of Pennsylvania to chase white gold. “There was some rebellion in me,” allows Herbein, a trustee of Alvernia University who lives in Reading with his wife, Kathleen Driscoll Herbein ’95. She is a trustee emerita and former chair of Alvernia’s board. “There was a time when I really liked being a farmer,” the founder, president and CEO of the 44-year-old Herbein + Company continues, plunging into one of his telltale yarns that revolve around individuals whose names he remembers without fail. “I didn’t know any different. Then I became friends with Earl Andrews. His parents were engineers, college professors.”


Lini S. Kadaba

Alvernia University Magazine


38 Alvernia University Magazine

having that experience and network of knowledge and contacts is crucial. It’s helped us be successful. We consider Carl an asset of the company.” In college, Herbein initially declared an economics major, until accounting professor and mentor Edgar T. Bitting talked to him after class one day. Here’s Herbein’s account: “What do you intend to do with a degree in economics?” Bitting asks. “Well, I might coach and teach, maybe a bank hire.” “Oh, I get it,” Bitting says. “You’re one of these rich kids who doesn’t need a job.” Herbein, who grew up in a penniescounting household, tells the professor he hopes to buy a car one day. Bitting declares he will never get a job as an economics major. “You’re doing well in class,” he says. “Have you considered being an accounting major? There are always jobs for an accountant.” Herbein immediately switched majors. Bitting encouraged Herbein to take an internship at then Ernst & Ernst, which turned into a first job in 1968. He also found his true love, Kathy, “this young, gorgeous woman working there” as a secretary, Herbein says. She typed his offer letter, which the couple still keeps. Ernst expected long hours. Auditing jobs often required Herbein to meet his boss at 6:45 a.m. No big deal for the farm boy. When the lovebirds got married in 1969, Ernst’s nepotism rules resulted in Kathy’s retirement. “The joke always was, Ernst made a mistake,” Herbein says. “They should have kept Kathy and sent me on my way.” Kidding aside, he thrived there. Herbein enjoyed “helping businessmen succeed, getting bank loans, paying as little tax as legally possible, developing honest trusting relationships with the clients, their suppliers and banks. They could trust and


With his father’s blessings, the young Herbein went to Elizabethtown College, the first in his family to go to a fouryear school. There, he drank pasteurized milk for the first time (“It tasted funny,” he says); ran varsity cross country, and got his degree in accounting. But even though the college man left the farm, the farm — and the work ethic ingrained in him since his farm boy days — never left him. “I learned a lot from my father, who was a very good, practical, steady, patient, successful farmer,” says Herbein, an affable man at 5 foot 6½ inches with a penchant for blue shirts in accounting’s sea of white. He still rises at 5 a.m., often bikes 10 miles to the office and works 12-hour days routinely. And he still loves all things dairy, albeit he has traded milking for advising, overalls for suit jackets. Herbein’s combination of farmer work ethic and deep dairy Kathy Herbein ’95 know-how has proven the secret sauce to the success of his kitchen-table (well porch-table) start-up, now 180 employees strong. Headquartered in Reading, Pa., with six offices across the state, the accounting firm sets itself apart with its unusual dairy niche, a third of its business at 75 clients. It also specializes in local government, school districts and nonprofits, and serves a good number of local businesses. But dairy is Herbein’s passion. He leads the dairy accounting team himself and lectures on the topic to a national audience each year in Chicago. His office windowsill attests to his roots, crammed with model dairy trucks and porcelain cows. His company is considered the go-to CPA firm in the country for dairy matters — for both bean counting skills and, even more importantly, solid advice. “Carl really stands alone in his knowledge of the dairy industry,” says John B. Rothenberger, co-owner and CFO of Clover Farms Dairy in Reading, who has been a client since 1985. “The dairy industry is very competitive,” he says. “For Clover Farms Dairy, a local, one-plant organization,

Carl Herbein, president and CEO of Herbein + Company.

I learned a lot from my father, who was a very ,

good practical, steady, patient,

successful farmer.

We have a very open-door policy, led by Carl.

He’s a leader

you can talk to.


Left to right: Daniel Waszkiewicz ’08, Justine (Fronheiser) Bauer ’10, Amy (Sikorski) Klatt ’08, M’09, Gloria Gombar ’02 and Kyle Levengood ’08, all successful Alvernia graduates on staff at Herbein + Co.

40 Alvernia University Magazine

believe in what I had to say.” From the get-go, he had a way with people. “Carl has a sly sense of humor,” says Sandy Solmon, founder and CEO of Sweet Street, Reading-based manufacturer of gourmet desserts. “He can really make you laugh unexpectedly because he looks so corn-fed and conservative. You just don’t expect it from him. Makes dealing with numbers fun.” After five years at Ernst, Herbein had a list of loyal clients. One, Robert Emig of Emig Products in Reading, asked him in 1972 why he hadn’t started his own business yet. “You have to have clients,” Herbein said. “You’d have one,” Emig replied. When a second client said he would jump to Herbein too, Carl was ready to be his own boss. But before he could get going, the elder Herbein had a heart attack, and Carl spent the next few months back on the farm, once again beginning his day with milking cows. (Nowadays, Glen Farms, which Carl and Kathy own, is leased to a neighboring farmer who grows crops.) His father recovered. Herbein opened shop later that year, on a rosewood card table out on the enclosed porch turned hasty office in the couple’s Fleetwood duplex. The nearby kitchen cabinets housed his files. “I knew exactly how to prepare reports for clients,” Kathy says, sitting across from Carl at that same table, which he keeps in his office at Herbein + Co. “We were a good team.” Carl recalled those early days. “The phone would ring and Kathy would be sitting there and I would be sitting here,” he says, tapping the table. “‘Yes, Mr. Emig. I’ll see if Carl is available.’ She’d put her hand over the phone. We didn’t even have a hold button.”

From that humble start, his business multiplied, getting manufacturers, school districts and others. The couple’s family also grew to two sons, Andrew and Peter. (Andy is a banker, and Pete owns a laundromat business. Both live in Reading and have two children each.) Early on, Herbein realized he couldn’t do everything for his clients. “I recognized the need for specialization,” he says. First on board was a tax specialist. By 1974, offices had moved to 401 Oley St. in historic Centre Park, a mansionturned-office building that the fledging company bought on a wing and a prayer. “We always just knew, instinctively, that this is absolutely right,” Kathy says. A couple years later, the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board needed a new accountant. A family friend suggested this man who knows dairy inside out, and the rest is Herbein history. “We prevail with our facts and figures,” the leading expert on milk rates says proudly. Since 1976, Herbein has spent 13,500 hours preparing for and testifying at more than 115 price hearings. He keeps meticulous diaries on how he spends his time, fodder — along with his stories — for a book he plans to write with Kathy, who studied English and psychology as an older adult at Alvernia. At the turn of the decade (1979–80), Herbein traveled to Pittsburgh for milk rate hearings. As he audited clients, he would offer tips on ways to save money on taxes or improve the bottom line. Pretty soon, the dairies wanted to hire him as their accountant. “I felt it was our obligation to tell those companies if there was some way they should be doing things better,” he says. The avid poker player adds, “I knew it was good marketing.” In 1985, Herbein + Company opened an office in downtown Pittsburgh. By the end of the decade, he had five partners and 45 employees. When the company celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2012, it boasted 17 partners, 110 employees (including daughter-in-law Sherry) and clients in all but a few states. Outgrowing Oley Street, the company moved to its current headquarters in a Reading office park about a decade ago. Over the years, Herbein has hired Alvernia graduates, and six are currently on staff. Kyle Levengood ’08, a manager in the audit department, says Herbein sets the pace. “I don’t know anybody who Continued on page 59

THRI For Cambridge-Lee CEO Andi Funk, Alvernia’s executive in residence, flourishing as a female chief executive has been second nature.

42 Alvernia University Magazine



n college, Andi Funk focused on accounting before traveling the world to audit a range of interesting companies. In the process, she mastered a critical career pivot, soon turning to analyze finances at a pharmaceutical company and then on to head a finance team at a major medical device manufacturer. Erin Negley It was time well spent. Today, the successful single mom sits atop the corporate ladder at Cambridge-Lee Industries, a growing copper tube manufacturer and distributor headquartered near Leesport, Pa. With $500 million in annual revenue and nearly 500 employees, Funk is thriving as one of the nation’s few female CEOs leading a major manufacturing business. Her company is among the largest plumbing tube manufacturers in the country, large enough to supply the copper tubing for a quarter of the buildings in America. Funk is also Alvernia’s reigning executive in residence, a role in which she spent a year working with eager business students and faculty to share her experience in the business world. It’s part of Alvernia’s strategy to give students exposure to real-world lessons and connect the


46 Alvernia University Magazine 44

campus to businesses in the region. A member of the university’s President’s Advisory Council, Funk has seen firsthand the benefits of connecting Cambridge-Lee with experts at Alvernia to help grow their business. And so for her it made great sense to return the favor by sharing her expertise with students. “I’m a big proponent of building bridges at all levels of education,” Funk said. And she has a lot to share. Funk, 46, has survived several company mergers. Plus, more than half of her career changes led to new positions tailored to her skills. Funk’s travel with Bell Atlantic was a great chance to learn about different cultures and different businesses, she said. At a pharmaceuticals company in Collegeville, she focused on operational audits and the finance side of manufacturing. While there, she enrolled in Penn’s renowned Wharton School MBA program just after having her first child. At Arrow International in Reading, Funk completed her MBA and continued working in finance. She grew to love using her finance skills to articulate and execute the company’s strategic plans. After the company was sold, she moved to Carpenter Technology, a Reading metals manufacturer, and then joined Cambridge-Lee in


Cambridge-Lee CEO Andi Funk

Left, Andi Funk stands in the manufacturing operation that she relocated from Mexico to Berks County. Below, Funk talks with Steve Jacobs, an annealing furnace operator at the plant.

I’m a big proponent of

building bridges at all

levels of education.

2010, working with former CEO Edward Kerins, Jr. “It was a great growth opportunity,” she said. By the time Kerins retired in 2013, Funk was primed for action and had learned about the manufacturer’s back office functions. And she’s not been slow to act. Since Funk assumed the CEO role, Cambridge-Lee relocated a plant from Mexico to Berks County. It was a complex $65 million project that has supported production growth. In 2013, the plant produced 3.5 million pounds of tubing. Last year, that increased to 15 million pounds. This year, the new facility’s making 2–3 million pounds a month. The company has also survived the biggest copper decline in decades, relying on data-driven decision making to guide their path, Funk said. Her work at Cambridge-Lee has not gone unnoticed. Not long ago, The Manufacturing Institute named her a Women in Manufacturing STEP Award honoree. In addition, the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania gave Cambridge-Lee the Manufacturing Achievement award. Now Funk is happy to give students a connection to the business world. Last November, she spent an afternoon talking to students from Alvernia’s growing business program and

its respected MBA program. Students wanted to know about her background, how she hires, what a CEO actually does and how many hours she works. “I don’t think I’m ever really away from work,” she said. Smartphones make it easier to stay connected outside of the office. As a single mother with three children, Funk shared how she manages work-life balance by setting priorities and making sure she meets commitments. Funk also spoke about Cambridge-Lee’s focus on culture, the importance of communicating and making sure everyone understands the motivation behind decisions. “She was very well received,” said Donald Schalk, director of business and corporate development at Alvernia. “When she completed her presentation, 20 percent of the audience stood in line to shake her hand, ask her questions and get her contact information.” The executive in residence program is sponsored by the O’Pake Institute for Ethics, Leadership and Public Service, which is dedicated to the late state Sen. Mike O’Pake. “One of the goals of O’Pake Institute is leadership and civic engagement,” Schalk said. “That is not just internal, for the university. It’s for the community.”

By Susan Shelly

46 Alvernia University Magazine


here was a time when colleges throughout the country intentionally positioned themselves as sacred ivory towers. They were bastions unto themselves, with invisible walls separating institutions from the communities in which they were located. Fortunately, under the guidance of enlightened leadership, most of higher education decided years ago to blow up the old ivory tower mentality. Today, many colleges and universities are playing vital roles within their communities, joining with other organizations, businesses and institutions to ensure the long-term vitality of their towns and regions. And that, according to a 2015 report from the National Resource Network titled “Striking a (Local) Grand Bargain,” benefits not only such “anchor institutions,” but community partners and the cities in which they reside. In Berks County and its largest city, Reading, Alvernia University is doing its part, working with area corporations, school districts, social service and community organizations to develop innovative business solutions, assist in workforce development and help organizations achieve their goals. That effort, explained Donald Schalk, Alvernia’s director of business and corporate development, is not only central to core values of the university, it’s key to helping the region return to the prosperity that

defined the area for generations. “I see it as part of our mission,” Schalk said. “We live here, and we’re not going anywhere. If we can help other organizations in this area prosper, we all win. “As a comprehensive university, we have such great resources at our disposal through our faculty, academic centers and institutes, students and facilities. It just makes sense to leverage those to support area organizations and their growth. And there is no other institution in the region as well equipped and positioned to play this role as Alvernia.” In one very recent example of this strategy in action, Alvernia partnered with Reading-based Cambridge-Lee Industries LLC, a world leader in the manufacturing and distribution of high-quality copper tubing. While the $500 million company was flourishing, it was also experiencing significant changes in leadership during a short period of time. Andrea J. Funk, the company’s CFO, replaced Edward Kerins as CEO in 2013, and other leadership changes followed. Along with new leaders came a new vision for the company. “Andi Funk almost intuitively recognized the benefits of creating a culture of inclusiveness, leveraging the intellectual capital of the company’s workforce,” Schalk explained. “They had never had a leadership team with this goal and structure.”

Meet the

New U Across the nation, integrated community and corporate partnerships are changing how higher education is shaping regional success and workforce development. Alvernia is leading the charge in its own backyard, working with the area’s largest employers to develop solutions that support business growth and employee success.

Alvernia University Magazine


I see it as part of our mission … If we can help other organizations in this area prosper,

we all win.

One outcome of the training was that Cambridge-Lee decided to invest more than $65 million to relocate a state-of-the-art cast-and-roll mill from Mexico to Berks County, with additional investments made to upgrade and improve operations. The relocation and improvements, Funk said, will ultimately result in about 250 additional jobs for the region. During the past 12 months, Alvernia has been involved in a range of other partnerships throughout the region to train and develop employees.

Distributed Systems Services

Looking to spark some major changes in strategic direction, the company’s leaders realized that external expertise would be helpful to guide their course. “We knew that we wanted to do some strategy work, but it became obvious over time that before we embarked on making significant changes we would benefit from leadership training,” recalled Lisa Johnson, a former executive with DuPont who replaced Funk as Cambridge-Lee’s CFO. “We already had a relationship with Don (Schalk,) so we knew Alvernia would be a good fit to help us.” Schalk and a team of experienced Alvernia business faculty worked with Funk and Johnson to develop leadership training designed specifically for CambridgeLee. The training was conducted at Alvernia during 2015, with nine company executives participating. As part of the plan, Schalk continues to engage with Cambridge-Lee leadership, even though the formal training is complete. “Our classroom training is over, but Don keeps in touch with us to make sure that elements of our training are being applied to our business,” Johnson said. “He holds us accountable. It’s a great approach.”

Service Access Management Service Access Management (SAM) was founded 20 years ago with one location and 15 associates. With a mission of providing human services for those in need in Pennsylvania, the firm has expanded its service area to include 31 counties across Pennsylvania and six counties in New Jersey. The company has 22 locations and about 725 employees serving more than 20,000 people. Alvernia is partnering with SAM to provide leadership training for key executives and middle management, as well as to help leaders develop the skills necessary for succession planning. Nan H. Haver, president and CEO of SAM, said the partnership has been beneficial. “Alvernia’s program offered SAM opportunities for skills development and assessment in areas that were identified as critical functions for management,” Haver said. “It’s proven to be both positive and thought provoking in terms of the levels of leadership and supervision of talent needed in our agency.”


Donald Schalk, director of business and corporate development at Alvernia.

When IT solutions and consulting leader Distributed Systems Services, Inc., was seeking external expertise regarding strategic planning support, it tapped Alvernia University to take advantage of the talent and expertise there. After working with Schalk and a team of business faculty, the company experienced improved business results while attaining its revenue goals and improving profitability, according to Ann Borza, vice president of services. “We believe the strategic planning process had some impact on our business success in 2015, and we feel more confident about achieving continued growth in 2016,” Borza said.

Brentwood Industries Plant Director Dwayne Knott is one of several employees participating in an Alvernia-led leadership development program. Alvernia University Magazine


Above left, Brentwood leadership training participants Dwayne Knott and Desiree Lewars. Above right, Greg Creswell, M’13, director of environmental, health, and safety, consults with Fred Holt, maintenance technician, at Cambridge-Lee’s facility. Left, Mike Fischetti, M’06, vice president of human resources at Cambridge-Lee Industries, speaks with Angel Berrios, Cat 1 operator.

Associates at Penske Truck Leasing Co., have been taking advantage of a unique partnership with Alvernia that allowed the university to deliver its MBA program at their headquarters in Reading. Penske associates enrolled in the program met weekly to earn their MBA, with the first cohort of students graduating this May. While Penske has a long history of promoting educational opportunities to associates, this was the first time they partnered with a university to bring classes directly to associates.

Women2Women A unique partnership between Alvernia and Women2Women (W2W) is under way with the goal of encouraging women to take college courses or complete degree programs in order to advance their careers. Alvernia is offering preferred tuition pricing, along with free counseling regarding financial aid and class scheduling, to members of W2W, an organization

sponsored by the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Karen Marsdale, the Chamber’s Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, said W2W’s collaboration with Alvernia is benefitting the entire region. “We’re lucky to have a university in our back yard that wants to help,” Marsdale said. “That’s the concept of being in community and about community.”

Brentwood Industries Brentwood Industries, headquartered in Reading, is a leading provider of thermoformed plastic solutions to a wide variety of consumer, manufacturing and environmental industries. The firm operates internationally. Alvernia is providing training to assist Brentwood in developing future leaders to support its growth plans.

Reading School District Together with the Reading School District, the university is working toward a goal of getting additional district teachers

For more information on Alvernia’s corporate education and professional development programs, contact Don Schalk at or 610-685-3254.

50 Alvernia University Magazine

certified as ESL specialists. The district faces significant challenges due to its extremely diverse population, Schalk said, and additional ESL specialists are needed to work effectively within that population.

East Penn Manufacturing Co Alvernia is partnering with East Penn Manufacturing Co., Inc., the largest employer in Berks County, to provide training for supervisors and assist the company with its succession planning. The nation’s leading producer of automotive batteries is expected to send a major segment of its management team through training led by Alvernia instructors. According to Schalk, through these and other partnerships, Alvernia hopes to continue to cultivate development of strong, ethical business leaders who will guide their organizations and contribute to a strong regional economy. “We’re fulfilling our mission of developing future leaders with strong ethics and assisting with workforce development,” Schalk said. “We believe that will drive economic development and make us a stronger community. That would benefit everyone.”


Penske Truck Leasing

Under the direction of incoming Alumni Council Chair Marty Korecki ’96, M’05, Alvernia’s Alumni Association is undergoing a renaissance, refocusing its efforts to better engage alumni and offer more relevant events and services. “The Alumni Council, which governs the Alumni Association, decided a change in the direction of the association was needed based on results from a strategic planning endeavor,” said Korecki. “We’ll still have many of our most popular events, like MargaritaVERN, Homecoming & Family Weekend and Autumn Blast. “But we want to have greater outreach to the entire alumni base. And we are working to raise the performance Marty Korecki ’96, M’05 and visibility of the Alumni Council by making it more meaningful, engaging and rewarding to participate on.” The council’s new direction includes creation of several committees designed to fulfill its new three-year action plan. New committees include those focused on Admissions, Career Development, Student & Alumni Engagement, Affinity Relationships, Advancement and Nominations/Awards. Each will be composed of alumni representatives who are interested in guiding the future of Alvernia’s Alumni Association. “These committees allow for greater outreach to the entire alumni base,” said Alvernia’s Director of Alumni and Parent Relations Julie Nolan. “Initial interest in our new direction and the committees has been very positive. “But we still have a few openings and are actively seeking alumni to serve on committees. It is an ideal way to reconnect with your alma mater, have a voice and make a difference.” Interested alumni should contact Julie at

Homecoming and Family Weekend Oct. 14–15 Join us this fall for a weekend to remember with classmates, alumni, friends, faculty and staff! • Crusader fall sports • Activities and entertainment for all ages • Autumn Blast Much more! Visit for more information.


Alumni Council ‘Re-energized’

Searching for amazing Alvernia alumni! Alvernia Alumni are exceptional and we want to celebrate that. But we need your help in identifying these outstanding individuals. Every year at the President’s Dinner, we honor alumni who are deserving of exemplary recognition. The Ellen Frei Gruber and Distinguished Alumni Awards pay tribute to those alumni for their selfless contributions to their profession or community as well as their demonstration of Alvernia’s core values and commitment to the university. Nominations are now being accepted for this year’s awards. We encourage you to nominate a special alumnus. Nomination forms can be found and completed on the Alumni website, alumniawards. For more information or questions, please contact Julie Nolan, director of alumni and parent relations, at 610-796-8212, or email

Alvernia University Magazine


Dawn (Fraser) Wanner ’02 received

Rosemary (Schaab) Deegan ’77 passed away

John Deegan ’80, and her chil-


on Dec. 23, 2015. She is survived by her husband

Nancy M. Adam ’87 passed away on Jan. 3, 2016.

Terry Cieri ’88 passed away on July 14, 2015.

Evan Spohn ’92

dren, Christopher and Elizabeth.

Kathleen (Roland) Leininger ’77 passed away on Mar. 23, 2016.

Henry Magers ’79

Daniel E. Rice ’79 passed away on Apr. 25, 1997.


passed away on Dec. 19, 2013, in Boca Raton, Fla.

Mary Lou Kline ’81 received emeritus status from Reading Area Community College. She served the business division of the college for 29 years and established the college’s relationship with the University of Reutlingen, Germany, while mentoring students to fulfill their dreams to study abroad. Mary Lou also was also a 2016 Take the Lead Honoree, awarded through the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pa.

Jeanne (Wills) Marquet ’81 passed away on Mar. 26, 2015.

David Cituk ’85 was

was appointed business manager of McCarthy Engineering Associates, Inc., where he will oversee the daily operations of accounting, administration, human resources and information technology in all of the company’s locations.

Gary Siegrist ’93 is assistant

sports director and facility manager at In the Net Sports Complex, in Palmyra, Pa.

Mark Bankemper ’95 passed away on Nov. 24, 2015.

Sharon Boria ’95, M’05 passed away on Nov. 10, 2015.

Diana Killian ’95 passed away on Feb. 29, 2016.

Lester Gray ’01 passed away.

Ernest Davis, II ’02 completed his doctorate of theology and pastoral studies from Andersonville Theological

Seminary, and a master of theological studies at Palmer Theological Seminary and Sonship School of the Firstborn. He released a second edition of his first inspirational book, “The Prodigal Returns (Reclaiming Our Wayward).” He also recently published “Formation of the Missing Man (Where Men Become Missing From God),” which is a Biblical study and discussion aid for men, along with a brief peek into spiritual psyche for women.

Robert M. Kovacs ’02, and his wife, Sandy,

a Volunteer Achievement Award from the American Cancer Society — Great Philadelphia Area East Central Division. She has been volunteering for the ACS for over 10 years. The award specifically recognized the work she has done in helping to start the Relay for Life of La Salle University. In addition, Dawn started a new job in Dec. 2015 as the psychology training coordinator in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Karie (Eckert) Good ’03 was selected as the 2015 Police Officer of the Year by the Berks Lodge No. 71 Fraternal Order of Police. She is a criminal investigator for the West Reading Police Department.

Arthur Hawthorne ’03 passed away on Mar. 9, 2016.

Dolores Richardson ’03, M’08

welcomed their second child, Colin Gabriel, on Nov. 7, 2015, in Bel Air, Md. Colin joins his brother, Kian Michael (4) in the family, and graciously shares his birthday with his mother. Robert became a senior deputy at the Harford County Sheriff’s Office in Maryland in March 2016 and continues to work as a school resource officer, having recently been placed at Patterson Mill JuniorSenior High School.

volunteered for Ruby’s Kids Holiday Party. The goal of the event is to provide a day of joy and celebration during the holidays for children in need and to give them a hot meal, a holiday gift, essential school supplies, a book and winter gear. Participants are encouraged to share the joy and give back by volunteering when they are older.

Stacy (Gantert) Linderman ’02 was

Teri Wagner ’03, M’08 volunteers to

featured in the Reading Eagle’s In Our Schools section. Stacy is a kindergarten teacher in the

teach English as a second language at the Salvation Army in Reading. She said the experience so far


re-elected for a fifth consecutive term as Reading City Auditor, serving since 2000.



Governor Mifflin School District.

has been as rewarding for her as it has been for her students.

Katherine Ketter ’05 was named regional manager of sales development for the eastern Pennsylvania region of Senior LIFE Reading. She will develop and implement strategic marketing and sales strategies to increase census growth and exceed sales enrollment goals. She is also responsible for hiring, training and development of 20 outreach coordinators in the region and will assist with marketing oversight, public relations and brand development.

Cornel Merricks ’05 has been running a youth program titled Building Beyond Basketball. The program provides free basketball skills clinics around the tri-state area working on basketball skills, such as proper footwork, shooting mechanics, defense awareness and ways to improve each player’s overall basketball IQ while promoting the importance of education and being pillars in the community. The organization also provides college tours for kids to see how college classes are taught, attend basketball games and speak with players and coaches.

Todd Stapleton ’05 and his wife Allison welcomed their first child into the world on Jan. 7,

has been capturing his journey on Instagram and selling images to fund the trip.

Michael Fischetti M’06 was named vice

Linda McEady ’12

T.J. Eltringham M’07 is Lackawanna College’s new associate vice president for enrollment management. He comes to Lackawanna with more than 11 years of experience leading enrollment management teams for a variety of colleges and schools.

Michael A. Saylor ’07 passed away on Jan. 6, 2016.

Stephanie (Garcia) Walker M’07 has been named director of admissions at Manor College.

Jess Yourkavitch M’07 has joined the wealth management division of Riverview Bank, where she will be providing financial planning and investment services to

was married on Oct. 11, 2014.

Remington James Krupiak, newborn son of Audrey (Hoffman) Krupiak ’09, M’10. customers in Berks and Schuylkill counties.

Peter Clark ’08, M’11 was featured in the Reading Eagle’s In Our Schools section for his role as a mathematics teacher at Exeter High School.

David Long ’08 and Dana Valinsky are engaged.

Danielle Reardon M’08 was recently featured in the Reading Eagle’s Business Weekly. She is on a quest to help women empower themselves by reconnecting with beauty. Danielle created a woman-to-woman business, “Discovering Your Goddess,” at the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts, where — with the help of photography and makeup — she helps women create empowering portraits of themselves. Danielle is also president of Paragon Consulting Group, LLC, a human resources consulting firm she started 10 years ago.

Victoria Spotts ’08 and Craig O’Neill are engaged.

Regina Battinieri M’09 was featured in the Reading Eagle’s In Our Schools section for her role as a biology teacher in the Boyertown Area School District.

Audrey (Hoffman) Krupiak ’09, M’10 and husband Stephen welcomed their firstborn, Remington James, to the family on April 2. At 5 pounds, 13 ounces and 19 inches long, Remi already has a best friend: Buddy the dog.

Samone Gunn ’10 received a master’s degree from the University of Maryland in May 2013. After getting engaged on July 21, 2014, she and fiancé Brian Crosson purchased their first home in November 2015 in Upper Marlboro, Md. The couple will be married on June 25, 2016, at Newton White Mansion in Mitchellville, Md.

Jamiel Hughes ’10 had a baby boy named Jayce Calixte on Sept. 14, 2015.

Dan Wehry ’10 and Lauren (Rocchino) Wehry ’10 had their

first son, Liam Daniel Wehry, on Apr. 1, at 5:27 p.m. He was 7 pounds, 6 ounces and 21 inches long.

Katie Evans M’11 was featured in the Reading Eagle’s In Our Schools section for her role as a second-grade teacher at Tyson-Schoener Elementary in the Reading School District.

Jennifer Wegman M’11 recently launched a new business, Insight Information Solutions, LLC — a firm providing research support and advising, information needs consulting and online research skills training to professional services firms to help drive business development, client management and strategic initiatives.


president of human resources at CambridgeLee Industries, LLC. Michael will be responsible for the HR management functions for CambridgeLee’s manufacturing facilities, distribution centers and management offices, focusing on talent management, employee relations, labor relations, compensation and benefits, and company engagement.

Trevor DeHaas ’12 and his rescue dog Kahlua are traveling across America. After discovering that his kidney disease was incurable, Trevor decided to quit his job and travel. The amateur photographer

Courtney (Vinson) Owens M’13 received her professional counseling license in December 2015.

Teresa Tieman M’13 and Patrick Detweiler were married on Aug. 22, 2015, in Atonement Lutheran Church in Wyomissing, Pa. A reception in Stokesay Castle was followed by a wedding trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. The couple will reside in Denver, Lancaster County.

Michael DeAntonio, Ph.D. ’15 was named Director of Education at the CSF/Buxmont Academy in Pipersville, Pa. Michael will be responsible for all functions related to the academic component of Buxmont Academy and the use of restorative practices to assist students with understanding and improving their behaviors.


2016. Baby Lilly was 10 pounds, 6 ounces and 22 inches long.

Taylor Eichelberger ’15 and Tyler Newswanger were married on Dec. 6, 2015.

Dominic Marshall ’15 passed away on Jan. 19, 2016.

Alvernia University Magazine


AMERICAN TRAGEDY | Continued from page 33 Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse found that 65 percent of all inmates in U.S. prisons and jails met the medical criteria for substance abuse or addiction, while for another 20 percent, drugs or alcohol were significant factors in the crimes that put them behind bars. That represents a combined total of 85 percent of the nation’s prison population. The number of inmates who receive treatment during incarceration? Only 11 percent. As the opioid epidemic has devastated families and communities across America — suburban, rural and urban; rich, middle class and poor — it is increasingly seen as a health issue, and there is gradual movement toward responding to it with treatment rather than jail. “A decade ago, the common misperception that addiction happens to those who are less fortunate was pretty frequent. People believed that,” says Kate Appleman, a 2005 Alvernia graduate who has worked at Caron for 13 years and now teaches as an adjunct professor in the university’s Behavioral Health Department, recently recognized as one of the best small school programs in the nation. Today, she says, opioid addiction is so pervasive across almost all demographic groups that most people understand that it transcends socioeconomic boundaries. “It is the most humbling experience to have somebody who is from Franklin Street in Reading sitting across from somebody from Park Avenue in New York City, and they have the exact same story,” says Erin Goodhart, a 2008 Alvernia graduate who started working at Caron 12 years ago as a counselor assistant and has been director of women’s services for the past five years. Whether they went from prescription opioid medication to heroin, or from drinking a glass of wine to drinking vodka straight from the bottle, Goodhart says, “It’s the same disease, and recovery works the same way for people.” And that’s the good news amid all the grim statistics and shattered lives. As Goodhart puts it: “I know that recovery works. So I’m hopeful. I think if we can help people get healthier and reduce the stigma of addiction for men and women, then I’ve done my small piece on this Earth. I truly believe that.” Caron has invested in research to prove that recovery works, partnering with the University of Pennsylvania to

54 Alvernia University Magazine

follow a percentage of alumni after they complete treatment. Instead of relying on self-reporting, which is considered far less reliable, they solicit input from families, employers, therapists and sponsors, and even conduct urine drug screens. The results one year out from treatment are impressive: 79 percent are sober at the end of the year (59 percent continuously sober; 20 percent sober at the end of the year, though they may have relapsed at some point during the year). In addition, another 15 percent may not be abstinent all the time, but feel their lives have improved. Providing addiction treatment that can transform lives is a goal Alvernia and Caron share. When Alvernia launched its addiction studies program three decades ago under the guidance of the legendary Sister Pacelli, it was one of the first of its kind in the U.S. The university has since added a master’s degree program as well. “For us, it’s been great because so many

A decade ago, the common misperception that addiction happens to those who are less fortunate was pretty frequent.

People believed that.

of our employees have been able to go to Alvernia for advanced education,” says Tieman, who serves on Alvernia President Thomas F. Flynn’s advisory board and whose oldest daughter graduated from the university’s master’s program in community counseling. “It’s also been great for us because we’ve been able to hire many graduates from Alvernia.”

A partnership that works both ways Appleman, the clinical director of the Primary Care Men’s Program, as well as the clinical coordinator of the Professionals Program at Caron, is an example of how the partnership benefits the university and the treatment center. She started at Caron at age 19, working as a receptionist in admissions on nights and weekends while going to school at Alvernia, where she got her undergraduate

degree in social work. That first job at Caron gave her a unique perspective she has never forgotten, that of “being the first face that people see” when checking in for treatment. “I really appreciated the ability to help people when they were at their worst,” Appleman says. As an experienced professional, Appleman is teaching an Assessment and Evaluation course and developing an online course for counseling techniques this year. When asked about being an adjunct professor at her alma mater, she replies, “It’s fulfilling to say the least. I’m really grateful for what other people have done for me, and to be able to go back and bring my understanding and my excitement and my experience is something that I will give back tenfold. “I see how thirsty students are for knowledge. If we can arm them with the most up-to-date information and tools and guidance, they’re going to mold the next generation. And I’m really grateful to be part of that.” Alvernia and Caron are also working together on a three-pronged project to help students in recovery pursue a college education, says Karolina Dreher, associate dean of students and director of residence life. The partnership includes: O  nline courses that young adults living at Caron can take while they are still in the early stages of recovery  Courses on campus, as well as online offerings, that students who have completed treatment can take while living in transitional housing off campus  A pilot program to provide special housing for students in recovery starting in fall 2017. Alvernia would become one of only a handful of universities nationwide offering recovery housing. A team from Alvernia and Caron visited Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., currently one of the only colleges on the East Coast with recovery housing for students, and plans to visit Augsburg College in Minneapolis, which pioneered the concept, this summer. The idea, says Dreher, is to “reintegrate students back and allow them to have a true college experience living on campus.” Luke Stopper, who was a football standout at Conrad Weiser High School and Villanova University, is the director

MANHATTAN | Continued from page 35


Caron CEO Doug Tieman discusses his new book “Flying Over the Pigpen: Tried and True Leadership Lessons From Growing Up on a Farm” during a recent visit to Alvernia.

of young men’s services at Caron, overseeing the treatment program for males aged 13–26. More than half of the young adult population he works with have some college experience, meaning they started college and had to stop or decided to quit, usually due to drug and alcohol use. “A lot of them talk about their goals and their desires and their hopes that they want to get back into school, complete their degree and be successful,” says Stopper, who made the Rutgers trip and spoke with their staff and plans to visit Augsburg this summer. “One of the things I learned at Rutgers is you have students who come in knowing they need to have a safe environment with support based on their history with drugs and alcohol,” Stopper says. “And they should have the same ability to get a college degree on the campus of an institution as anybody else.” One of the keys, in treatment and in recovery housing, is positive peer support from other students in recovery, Dreher and Stopper agree. “To connect with other people who want to be in the sober house, clean and sober,

and get their degree provides a tremendous amount of hope and belief that they can accomplish that goal,” Stopper says.

Living with addiction When Jennifer Weissberg applied to Alvernia, she wrote an essay detailing her long battle with addiction. She didn’t sugarcoat any of it, just as she hasn’t tried to hide any of it from her daughter, now 16 years old and back in her life. “People ask me, ‘Do you tell your daughter everything?’ Everything. There’s nothing I don’t share with my kid. She’s been there. I’d insult her if I didn’t,” she says. Weissberg admits that, on bad days, she thinks about the brother she lost tragically to heroin. “He doesn’t have another chance,” she says. “But I do. My daughter does. We do.” Going to school part-time, Weissberg is completing her junior year, and hopes to pursue a master’s degree after she gets her undergraduate degree. “I’m just going to keep going to school, dreaming and working my program,” she says. “That’s all I can do.”

an education major, she harbored a love for the communication field, and made the switch after discovering a passion for working on television. Immediately, her attention turned to Fox News — one of the country’s top major news television networks, currently broadcasted into 94.7 million American homes. And the station’s high-pressure, sometimes even controversial environment was more of a challenge to Valenti than a deterrent. “I always knew working in TV was where I wanted to be — and I seem to thrive in fast-paced environments, which is exactly what I got into,” explains Valenti. As she runs from one task to another, and mingles with producers, anchors and guest speakers, Valenti gains firsthand knowledge the ins and outs of all television networks. She is motivated to learn new things and soak up the full experience. And that helps her to feel a sense of pride when the shows end, knowing that she was able to help things run smoothly from start to finish. Though Valenti says she has acquired many new skills on the job, it’s always humbling to recognize that there is more to learn. So she’s grateful for opportunities to grow both professionally and personally at Fox News — opportunities that have made her dedication to the network, and her vision for the future, even stronger. “Working in a national news environment was something I wanted to see for myself years down the road after experience elsewhere,” she explained. “So to have the opportunity to start in this network, and being able to continue to work my way up, is everything I hoped for myself!” Valenti would like to remain at Fox News and advance though the company. While she is constantly striving to gain more experience in the ever-changing national news environment, her role has opened up new interests in producing and booking as well. And although she has big dreams for the future, Valenti is mostly enjoying living in the moment and taking small bites out of the Big Apple. “Right now, my main goal is to continue working hard in my position and see where it takes me,” she explained. Getting up before the sun might not sound particularly pleasant to others, but if Valenti is taking her cues from people working on “Mornings with Maria,” the show’s anchor Maria Bartiromo makes it clear that in order to be successful, “there really is no substitute for hard work.” “Don’t ever, ever, believe anyone who tells you that you can just get by, by doing the easiest thing possible,” says Bartiromo. “Because there’s always somebody behind you who really wants to do what you’re doing. And they’re going to work harder than you if you’re not working hard.”

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Reflections (continued) PATIENCE | Continued from page 19 attached detachment, with gaze focused outward rather than in. More of a Tao thing than a Zen thing, I suppose. We talk about growth a lot in relation to experiences like these, but I’m never sure what type of growth I’m supposed to be undergoing, or what to even look for in that regard. Sure, there was a lot of growth visà-vis the objective, medical side of this internship: learning proper patient history procedure; attaining proficiency in hypertension, diabetes, asthma and hyperlipidemia; looking for patient cues that could indicate different diseases. But I almost feel like the change in mindset and proper understanding trumps that in some ways. People have always walked up to me in public settings and started talking to me about their lives

ADDICTION | Continued from page 21

for as long as I remember, but now I know how to

alcohol, but the effects while engaging in drug use or a behavior are

respond to them. I can better be the ear that they so

similar. What is happening in the brains of those who have behavioral

obviously desire, and maybe even a mouth to form

addictions, such as gambling, gaming, shopping, (compulsively) eating,

words that could be useful to them.

etc., is the same as in the brain of someone getting high off of a drug.

Because really, that’s what this is all about in the

The limbic system, or what we call the pleasure center of the brain,

end. It’s not about me, it’s about Linda and her

reacts when we are doing something we find enjoyable. Addiction

omnipresent aches and pains. And Julio with his

“hijacks” the brain, and the drug or the behavior is equated with survival.

uncomfortable iron rod in his leg. And Yolanda, who’s

An individual addicted to a behavior like gambling or gaming is thinking

already quite an elderly lady but who comes in with

about engaging in that behavior more than his or her own basic needs.

her even more elderly mother, and Terrence with his

Before eating, sleeping, showering and connecting with loved ones,

gigantic head gash and paralyzed left side.

their addiction comes first.

It’s about Charla with her two healthy kids, and

We should not dismiss the addicted individual, and think it is not “as

Matt, who’s honestly really quite rude, and Emily,

bad” to be addicted to a behavior as to a drug. For someone addicted

who really needed help finding a counselor on her

to gambling, the shame, guilt and relational consequences can be very

insurance plan and for whom we finally did find one

real. As with drugs and alcohol, the addiction reaches a point where the

in a triumphant moment (albeit one not in the county).

addict no longer really enjoys the behavior, yet there is an uncontrollable,

And Henry, who comes in with a bloody rag that he

repeated urge to continue the behavior despite negative consequences.

hands to me before disclosing that it’s a specimen

Addiction does not discriminate against any person. Whether it is

of his semen because — by the way, he forgot to

gambling or heroin, when the brain reaches the point of addiction, the

mention — he’s having blood in his semen.

individual’s life will be taken over. The good news is that there is hope!

It’s this constantly rotating cast of characters who

Addiction is a treatable disease, and there is help available for those

take precedence here. They’re still rotating even now,

caught in the trap. Recovery is possible from all addictions!

their faces taking turns for top billing in my head. I don’t think I’ll ever forget them, and I don’t want to.

56 Alvernia University Magazine

SOCIAL MEDIA | Continued from page 23 Evidence






employer is searching for you on the Internet, they have already decided to talk to you. In the 2015 CareerBuilder poll cited earlier, 60 percent of employers searching for information about a person on the Internet are doing so to confirm a person will fit the role, while only a little over 20 percent want to disqualify someone. If someone seeing your real self does not feel you are a good fit, is that not for the best? The Alvernia graduate strives to be an ethical leader with moral courage. If my students always express themselves thoughtfully and courageously, I believe they will be successful in whatever they do. TECHNOLOGY | Continued from page 17 Of course this amazing technology is largely dependent on quality Internet speeds, and anyone with a phone has experienced the painfully slow free Wi-Fi at coffee shops and cellular dead zones (still better than the AOL dial-up signal). Which is why technology like LinkNYC, New York City’s initiative to turn 7,500 phone booths into supercharged free Wi-Fi stations blanketing the entire city in connectivity, is so exciting. Despite





current and future states of technology, I






societal problems, which we will need to answer. However, I would rather face those challenges head on than deal with the life I had before technology helped THEO ANDERSON (2)

me manage multiple parts of my life. I have come to terms with the fact that computers are engaged in almost every part of my life. I’m OK with it, and to tell you the truth, I want more!

DOGGING DEATH | Continued from page 25 recovery of missing persons and evidence searches. As a volunteer, Chown pays for all training and works with Krabi weekly to keep their skills sharp. Dogs trained in HRD know to bark and sit or lie down on the spot where they’ve scented remains, which can be undetectable at first glance, says Chown. “If I’m confused, I ask Krabi, ‘Where is it?’ and she’ll tap her paw on the area,” he says. “She’s saying, ‘It’s here — just look a little closer.’” In 2010, he and Krabi joined the K-9 Team at Middle Creek Search and Rescue in Ephrata, where they volunteer today. They work four to six cases a year. Some are searches, where a missing person is assumed alive. Sadly, others are recovery operations. Chown can’t comment on most cases they’ve worked — some are cold cases, while others are wending their way through the courts. However, there are a few he can talk about. In August 2015, he and Krabi traveled to Schuylkill Haven. In a discovery that made international news, a road crew had found human bones — thought to be part of a mass grave dug during the 1918 influenza pandemic — along a stretch of Route 61. When they were invited to the site to train, Chown accepted — “you just don’t get cases like this,” he says. As Krabi laid on spots where she’d scented bones, Chown marked them with flags. Ultimately, exposed bones were cleared, and those beneath the surface were left undisturbed. In September 2011, they searched for a flood victim. “My first big case,”

says Chown. “While I was ready for it, I was shocked by the magnitude of the search area and the power of what the water could do. The search area was still dangerous — a lot of debris, and water that was still high and moving rapidly. It was hard going, and I was concerned about Krabi’s safety. “At one point, she jumped in the river to swim out a bit and started to get swept away. I managed to jump in the water and snag her before that happened.” Ultimately, Krabi picked up the man’s scent. “We couldn’t see him — he was submerged,” says Chown. “But she kept telling me, ‘He’s here.’” When the waters receded the next day, the man was recovered in that area. Chown plans to retire Krabi in the next 18 months. His next dog will already be trained in HRD, and the new team will bring the same level of commitment, training and dedication to their work. “I’m on call 24/7. You have to be willing to pack up your gear and your dog on a moment’s notice to go to a search site. That call could come during the day or in the middle of the night,” says Chown. But there’s no hesitation; both handler and dog have the drive for the work. Chown’s gear — which includes a communications radio and GPS system, compass and flashlight, first-aid kit and rope, as well as food and water for himself and Krabi — is always packed and ready to go. “When Krabi sees me pack the car, and her cage comes out, she gets excited,” says Chown. “She knows we’re going to work.”

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LIVING PROOF | Continued from page 15 Bernardine Sisters order. Over the years, her studies would take her to a number of colleges and universities to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in French, with regular teaching posts at a variety of different primary and secondary schools. One particular study abroad trip was a dream come true. “I was sent to study at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. While there I also visited St. Therese’s home and convent… something I will always cherish,” she said. “She has been a constant in my life and has always been there to help and assist me. I truly have a deep love for her.” Eventually she earned her doctoral degree in French from Penn State, where she

served as a graduate assistant and also taught. Returning to now Alvernia College in 1971 at the bequest of the order’s Provincial, she soon became head of the foreign language department and later a professor of French, Latin and English as a Second Language. Her time at Alvernia gave her the chance to assume a number of roles during the decades. In addition to leading the Foreign Languages Department, Sister Florence served as head of the Division of Humanities, interim dean of students, director of mission effectiveness and later as campus minister. Up to this spring, she continued to serve in Campus Ministry as a sacristan and as sponsorship representative

President Thomas F. Flynn, Ph.D. Publisher and Editor in Chief Brad Drexler Creative Director Steve Thomas Contributing Editor Carey Manzolillo ’06, M’07 Contributing Writers Jack Croft; Brad Drexler; Dr. Thomas F. Flynn; Anne Heck ’17; Dylan James ’16; Lini Kadaba; Jennifer Kaucher ’13; Ryan Lange; Carey Manzolillo ’06, M’07; Nancy J. McCann; Erin Negley; Justin Padinske ’15; Susan Shelly; Macy Storm ’17; Gabriella Valenti ’15; Julia VanTine Contributing Photographers Theo Anderson; Jordan Kissner ’19; Ed Kopicki Alvernia Magazine is a publication of Alvernia University. Copyright 2016. All rights reserved. Correspondence should be addressed to 540 Upland Avenue, Reading, PA 19611, or email:

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on both the Alvernia Faculty Council Executive Committee and Graduate Faculty Council, where her opinions were both sought after and respected. “Sister Florence is an Alvernia treasure, and her impact can be seen in the thousands of students at all levels she has taught and ministered to,” said Provost Shirley Williams. “As a faculty member emerita, she continues to set an example for all our newer professors, most whom have heard of her work ethic and commitment to students well before meeting her.”

But for Sister Florence, who has been active as a religious and educator for 44 years, her focus has always been on a higher calling. “I have learned that nothing is yours to hold on to, for all is gift,” she said. “These gifts are to be used to spread His kingdom and to best serve others. “God is always present. He is always here. Even in our trials, He is with us. “I believe in God’s providence. He never calls you to do something without giving you the grace and courage to carry that through. And I am living proof.”

Sr. Florence retired this spring after more than 40 years of shaping students’ lives.

Kathy and Carl Herbein.


MILKIN’ IT | Continued from page 41 works harder than he does, even after all these years,” he says. “Usually, owners take a step back, but I would say Carl’s even working harder.” Herbein + Company’s lobby has a prominent compass pattern. That’s thanks to Kathy. “My concept was that Herbein would show you the direction always and keep you on your path,” she says. Even though she left Herbein’s day-to-day operations years ago to focus on community service, her influence persists, in the compass, in the old maps that line the walls and in the counsel she offers when Carl asks. It is that kind of partnership, and it is two ways. Not surprisingly, then, Herbein fell in love with his wife’s alma mater as she got involved with its board. “They really asked me to join the board

to keep in contact with Kathy,” he quips. As he contemplates Herbein + Company’s future — clients in those last few states, its wealth management arm and more — a few things will never change, he says. For one, the company refuses to merge with the bigger outfits that come calling on occasion. “We’re determined to remain independent,” Herbein says. That attitude allows the company to maintain its fun and family-centric culture, he says. Jim Michalak ’85, a partner and member of Alvernia’s Finance and Business Affairs Committee, agrees. “All those types of [corporate] firms, you’re just an employee, just a number,” he says. “Here, it doesn’t matter who you are, you’re an important member of the team.

We have a very open-door policy, led by Carl. He’s a leader you can talk to.” Even the company name, with its use of a plus sign rather than an ampersand, signals “that those that joined Herbein were making the business bigger and better,” says its founder. Joining a family, in other words. And no doubt, those values — that people matter, that hard work counts, that trust is earned — have their roots in Herbein’s own family, his farm family. “There was a time, if you asked me, `Are you a farm boy?’ I would have given you some answer where you wouldn’t be sure,” Herbein says. “But later in life, it became a big asset to me and source of pride, as it is to this day.”

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