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of Giving Rutledge Institute raises the bar on childhood education

The California University of Pennsylvania Magazine

CAL U REVIEW SPRING 2018 • VOL. 46 - NO. 1

The Cal U Review is published by the Office of Communications and Public Relations and is distributed free. Third-class postage paid at California.

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Dr. Karen M. Whitney




Cynthia D. Shapira, chair David M. Maser, vice chair; chair, Student Success Harold C. Shields, vice chair; chair, Governance and Leadership Sen. Ryan P. Aument Audrey F. Bronson Secretary of Policy and Planning Sarah Galbally, governor's designee Molly E. Gallagher Rep. Michael K. Hanna Shaina Marie Hilsey Donald E. Houser Jr., vice chair, Governance and Leadership

Barbara McIlvaine Smith Marian D. Moskowitz, vice chair, Student Success Thomas S. Muller, chair, University Success Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera Sen. Judith L. Schwank Samuel H. Smith, chair, Audit and Compliance Brian H. Swatt Neil R. Weaver, vice chair, University Success Governor Tom Wolf Two vacancies


Teacher preparation is our University’s historic mission. In school districts across Pennsylvania and beyond, generations of California graduates have set the standard for quality education. This fall, our Department of Childhood Education begins another chapter in this proud history. Through the support of two generous benefactors, Karen and Tom Rutledge, our University will embark on an ambitious project to raise the bar on early childhood education. By offering a top-quality preschool program on campus, the Rutledge Institute will make a positive difference in the lives of young children and their future teachers. More local children will have access to pre-kindergarten learning, an important first step toward school success. In addition, the institute will be a magnet that attracts the most capable and caring students to Cal U’s childhood education program. Our Rutledge Scholars will graduate with exceptional teaching skills, prepared to take their place in preschool classrooms as leaders in the field. The University is excited to be collaborating on this project with a wellrespected community resource — The Village, an accredited childhood education center based in downtown California. And I’m proud to note that the Village’s co-founder and president, its director, and many of its teachers are California alumnae. I am truly grateful to Karen and Tom Rutledge for their generosity and foresight. Their gift will have a lasting impact on the University, our Cal U students and our community’s youngest learners. I invite you to read more about the Rutledge Institute in this edition of the Review — and to enjoy memories of bygone days when studentteachers honed their skills in the Noss Hall “demonstration school.” Teacher preparation certainly has changed over the years, but California has never wavered in its commitment to educational excellence. And our future is looking brighter every day. With warmest wishes,

Geraldine M. Jones, University President Dr. Bruce Barnhart, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs Robert Thorn, vice president for Administration and Finance Dr. Nancy Pinardi, vice president for Student Affairs COUNCIL OF TRUSTEES

Annette Ganassi, chair James T. Davis ’73, vice chair Roberta M. Betza Sarah R. Cassin ’97 Sean T. Logue Larry Maggi ’79 Michele M. Mandell ’69

Robert Miner, Jr. ’78 Thomas Uram Ellen “Mari” Boyle, student trustee/secretary Dr. Karen M. Whitney, interim chancellor, ex-officio


Jesse Hereda ’04, president Ashely (Baird) Roth ’10, ’12, vice president Dante Morelli ’02, secretary Justin Binion ’11, treasurer Lynne (Moltz) Stout ’94, immediate past president Alisha Carter ’06, ’11 Robert Crall ’10, ’12 Shelly (Fetchen) DiCesaro ’94

President, California University of Pennsylvania











Mindi (D’Auria) Fisher ’07 Brendan Garay ’15, ’16 David Gwyer ’65 Erica McDill ’92 Melissa McKean ’07 Marc Quann ’88 Bryan Schuerman ’09, ’16 Tim Susick ’76, ’78

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Legacy of Giving A major gift reflects one couple's 'lifetime connection' to California and promises a brighter future for area children.

Connecting through science For the dean of the Eberly College of Science and Technology, community ties matter.


Paul Gentile ’62 Anthony Lazzaro ’55

Michael Napolitano ’68 George Novak ’55


Geraldine M. (Johns) Jones ’72, ’80 Annette Ganassi Anthony Mauro ’92, ’93

Harry Serene ’65 Barbara Hess Ryan Barnhart ’08, ’09


Ellen “Mari” Boyle, undergraduate, president Jonathan Hershey, undergraduate, vice president Cody Ambrose, undergraduate, secretary Emily Moyer, undergraduate, treasurer Ryan Jerico, ’09, alumnus Hope Cox, ’00, ’01, alumna Jordan Lockhart, graduate student Jessica Crosson, undergraduate Ashley Roth, ’10, ’12, alumna Anthony D’Agostino, undergraduate Bryan Schuerman, ’09, ’16, alumnus Justin DiPerna, ’16, alumnus Marquis Washington, undergraduate EX-OFFICIO MEMBERS

Dr. Nancy Pinardi ’94, ’96, ’98, vice president for Student Affairs Leigh Ann Lincoln, chief financial officer for SAI Larry Sebek ’90, ’94, associate vice president for Student Affairs FOUNDATION FOR CALIFORNIA UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA

Harry E. Serene ’65, president Lynne Stout ’94, vice president Donald J. Thompson, secretary Paul L. Kania ’87, treasurer Armand E. Balsano ’74 William R. Booker ’74 Chester Chichin ’63 Yvonne Chichin Therese J. Gass ’77 Jesse G. Hereda ’04 Alan K. James ’62 Zeb Jansante ’82, ’91

Jeffrey B. Jones Robert E. Lippencott ’66 Reginald A. Long ’81 John A. Lorenzi ’15 Larry Maggi ’79 Frederick A. Retsch ’62 Anthony J. Saludis Linda H. Serene ’64 William G. Stough Deborah E. Takach ’05 Thomas P. Victor Jr. (student)


Geraldine M. Jones

Look Back: Former students and student-teachers remember the Noss Demonstration School.

William R. Flinn II ’68, immediate past president Geraldine M. Jones ’72, ‘80, University President Anthony Mauro ’92, ’93, associate vice president for Development and Alumni Relations CAL U REVIEW EDITOR


Christine Kindl

Wendy Mackall Bruce Wald ’85 Kayla Kuntz


Zach Frailey Greg Sofranko

TOPS IN TURNOUT Cal U was recognized at the inaugural ALL IN Challenge Awards ceremony, which honored colleges and universities for their commitment to increasing voting rates among their students. The University received a Best in Class Award for having the most improved student voting rate among four-year, medium-size public institutions nationwide, and a Bronze Seal for achieving a student voting rate of 50-59 percent. Dr. Melanie Blumberg, director of the American Democracy Project at Cal U, accepted the award at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., and Gov. Tom Wolf sent a congratulatory letter to University President Geraldine M. Jones.

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Wisdom from the diamond At Commencement, an alumnus shares lessons learned during his Major League Baseball career.

Public servant A former Secretary of Homeland Security discusses terrorism as he accepts an honorary degree.

Super impact Cal U alumni are on the field and behind the scenes for pro football's biggest game.

A NOTE TO OUR READERS The Cal U Review is published three times a year to keep you updated with alumni news and information from all four Colleges at California University. Both the current edition and back issues, along with Cal U Review “extras,” are available online at calu.edu/review. To stay updated, alumni may send their email address to alumni@calu.edu. Email Milestones items to revieweditor@calu.edu.


Ready for school

Rutledge Institute furthers Cal U’s mission in teacher education


he largest gift in California University’s history will make a lasting difference in the lives of young children, Cal U students and the field of early childhood education. The Rutledge Institute for Early Childhood Education, founded by Karen and Tom Rutledge, extends the couple’s legacy of giving to the University. Their gift expands access to pre-kindergarten learning and creates an on-campus pre-K program where Cal U students can master teaching and leadership skills.


“California has been a leader in teacher preparation for more than 165 years,” says University President Geraldine M. Jones. “The Rutledge Institute adds a new dimension to this historic mission. “I’m so grateful to the Rutledges for all they have done over the years, both for our students and for the University. They have a passion for helping others — not just for today, but in ways that create a long-term impact. “The Rutledge Institute is one more example of their foresight: It will have long-lasting benefits for local children and their families, for Cal U students, for our Childhood Education Department, and for the future of preschool education.”

Housed in a bright, airy space inside Morgan Hall, the Rutledge Institute’s preschool program will operate in affiliation with The Village, a state- and nationally accredited early childhood education center in downtown California, Pa. Cal U education students will develop their teaching skills as they work with little learners and members of The Village staff, which includes a number of Cal U graduates. The children’s activities will focus on STREAM — experiences in science, technology, reading, engineering, art and math. “The Village strives to help all children achieve their full potential,” says its president, Cherie Sears ’81, ’17. “We appreciate being selected to work with Cal U to fulfill the institute’s mission.” Studies show that the most effective early learning programs follow “a well implemented, evidence-based curriculum,” according to a 2017 report by the Brookings Institution. Although outcomes vary, the report concluded that children who have attended quality pre-K programs are better prepared for kindergarten than those who have not. “We want to make a real difference in the lives of children, as well as Cal U students,” says Karen Rutledge, “especially those who otherwise might not have these opportunities.” To that end, the Rutledge Institute will fund annual scholarships for 20 children, ages 3-5, to attend the preschool program on campus each year. The institute also will pay tuition, fees and room costs for a select group of highly qualified students who enroll in Cal U’s childhood education program. A cohort of 10 teacher candidates per year will enter the program as first-year students and continue through their senior year. These Rutledge Institute Scholars can expect to graduate with a bachelor’s degree and Pennsylvania teaching certification for grades pre-K to 4. Their resumes will include

The Rutledge Institute will have ripple effects “ beyond what we can imagine. By investing in young

learners and their teachers, the Rutledges are making a positive change in the lives of countless children, now and well into the future.


experience gained in Morgan Hall and Cal U’s network of “professional development schools” — public schools that collaborate with the University and host field experiences and student teachers. In addition, Rutledge Scholars will take part in a structured peer-mentoring and leadership program, so they graduate with a built-in professional network of highly trained teachers. They’ll also attend a five-week summer workshop focused on innovation in teaching. “This is a unique opportunity for promising students who are committed to a future in the profession,” says Dr. Diane Nettles, chair of the Childhood Education Department. “We are looking for highly qualified candidates who are motivated by a passion for early childhood education.”

‘Lifetime connection’

Karen and Tom Rutledge, of Greenwich, Conn., are Washington County natives who first met at their high school in McMurray, Pa. As a young married couple they lived in California, raising their first child in an off-campus rental while Tom worked as a cable technician and earned his Cal U degree in economics. Today, Tom Rutledge ’77 is chairman and chief executive officer of Charter Communications Inc., the second-largest cable provider in the United States, with more than 95,000 employees and 26 million customers across 41 states. Over the years, the Rutledges’ gifts to the University have held personal meaning, reflecting their “lifetime connection” to California and, in Tom’s words, “giving back to the place where we created ourselves.” In addition to establishing the institute, the Rutledges support scholarships for Cal U students who are studying economics or raising a family while earning a degree. Rutledge Internship Awards help southwestern Pennsylvania students pay living expenses when they take internships outside the area. Education made a difference in their lives, the couple says. And it can never start too soon. “We expect the Rutledge Institute to be a model of excellence for preschool education,” says Karen Rutledge. “It’s so important to give children a strong start, so they can become lifelong learners.”

She helped to design the institute’s logo, which depicts the University’s iconic clock tower constructed from children’s blocks. “It’s wonderful to have the preschool on campus,” she says. “The children will be taught by excellent teachers — and everywhere they look, they will see grownups who are going to school and learning, just like they are.” Inside Morgan Hall, University work crews are replacing windows, laying carpets and installing pint-sized plumbing fixtures. Outdoors, a fenced area is becoming a playground. The preschool’s doors will open this fall. “This is an important moment in California’s history,” says President Jones. “The Rutledge Institute will have ripple effects beyond what we can imagine. By investing in young learners and their teachers, the Rutledges are making a positive change in the lives of countless children, now and well into the future.”  By Christine Kindl, communications director at Cal U


Excel childhood educator as a

Incoming Cal U students who aspire to careers in early childhood education may apply for scholarships awarded by the Rutledge Institute. Rutledge Institute Scholars must meet academic requirements, including a high school grade-point average of 3.5 or higher and qualifying SAT or ACT scores. Letters of recommendation and a written essay on a selected topic also are required. To learn more about applying to become a Rutledge Institute Scholar, contact Dr. Diane Nettles, chair of Cal U’s Childhood Education Department, at nettles@calu.edu or 724-938-4135.






An arithmetic lesson (undated photo).

Often what we were “ doing was above our grade level. You didn’t have to stay where you were; you could learn something more. HILA EDWARDS SAXER

REMEMBERING Teachers trained at ‘demonstration school’


s best practices in education have evolved, so has Cal U’s approach to preparing teachers for excellence in the classroom. But former students and student-teachers still have vivid memories of the Theodore B. Noss Demonstration School on campus. Dedicated in May 1930, Noss operated as a training school until around 1974. Its mission, according to the 1930 Monocal yearbook, was “to place before the students of the college through demonstration and observation lessons, arranged through the regular college courses, a very high type of teaching … .” Operated by a university or college, demonstration or “laboratory” schools like Noss allowed educators to explore theories and teaching methods. They also gave student-teachers a controlled situation in which to learn the art of teaching. Today, Cal U’s teachers-in-training work in area school districts under a Professional Development School model. “The push in the past 10 to 15 years has been to put teacher candidates in classrooms


to gain real-world experience, and to get them into these classrooms sooner and more often,” says Dr. Diane Nettles, chair of the Department of Childhood Education. “We are partners with the schools, and we work closely with administrators to be sure the students are learning.”

Music and more

Most elementary students who attended the Noss Demonstration School lived within walking distance. They enjoyed access to college faculty, who would drop in to their classes for subjects such as music and art, and for educational activities that were cutting-edge at the time. Hila Edwards Saxer, a Noss student from 1960-1966, remembers learning about the American Revolution from her role as Betsy Ross in a class play. She also recalls listening to opera, designing a yearbook, composing a fifth-grade class song with her friend (“because we thought we should have one!”), and attending theatrical events in Steele Hall. “When we got to junior high, some of the

Former Noss elementary school students (from left) Lee Greenlief, Hila Edwards Saxer and Mary Jane Fiedler Qualk '59 walk the halls and reminisce about their old classrooms.

kids called us the ‘Noss Blurters,’ because we’d always blurt out an answer or opinion. But that was encouraged at Noss. If we had ideas, our teachers encouraged them.” Music played a big role in Saxer’s Noss experience. “(Dr.) Len Colelli was a music professor at the college, and he’d come to our class and play opera music and music like ‘Peer Gynt’ that told a story, and we’d learn to recognize instruments that way. “We’d read a book but then study something more about the setting or the characters, or the vocabulary words. Often what we were doing was above our grade level. You didn’t have to stay where you were; you could learn something more.” Colelli’s children — Barbara Andree, Patricia Catanzaro ’84, Robert ’80, Richard ’86, Thomas ’84 and Leonard ’77 — also were students at Noss in the 1960s and early ’70s. “My favorite memories involved a small group of students visiting our third-grade teacher, Mrs. Ada Marsh, at her house for a Christmastime luncheon, and our fourth-

Noss students learn about money (undated photo).

grade teacher, Mrs. Lottie Alto, at her farm in the summer,” says Andree. “Our fifth-grade class, led by (Dr.) Gary Kennedy, did a great year-long project called ‘Treasure on Noss Island.’ Each student was a crew member on a ship that was following a treasure map. We had lots of adventures and met interesting characters along the way. We published the whole tale, complete with maps and illustrations, describing the journey to discover the treasure, which was actually the journey itself — education.” Andree confirms the “Noss Blurters” story and how “the Noss kids,” as they were known, felt compelled to answer all the questions asked in class — a funny detail she learned just last year, at her 45th California Area High School reunion. “Who knew?” she says. Lee Greenlief was a Noss student from 1956-1963. He remembers developing leadership skills as Captain of the Patrol, keeping the intersections in town safe as his classmates made their way from home to class and back again.

Noss students enjoy arts and crafts, circa 1940.

The Noss students contributed to campus life in other ways, too. “They used us on Homecoming parade floats if they needed kids,” Greenlief recalls. “Mrs. Merrell Holman, my fifth-grade teacher, allowed the girls to compete against the boys in baseball games,” recalls Mary Jane Fiedler Qualk ’59, a Noss student in the 1940s and later a student-teacher at the school. “The thrill of my life was when the girls beat the boys in a playoff game, and we got to walk down to California for ice cream. “As a student-teacher, we did a lot of work with reading or math circles. We developed our own lessons and had to hand them in every day. It was a mixture of observation and hands-on teaching.”

Creative instruction

“I did a unit on ancestry, where we asked the students where their families were from originally,” says Midge Warman Kennedy ’60 of her student-teaching experience. “We had a party where the students dressed in different

international costumes.” Her husband, the late emeritus professor Dr. Gary Kennedy ’59, taught fifth grade at the Noss school before joining the college’s elementary education department, which he chaired for 20 years before retiring in 1999. “There were textbooks and teacher manuals, but you could be creative,” Midge Kennedy says. “Once, I brought back seashells from the beach in Atlantic City, so we did a unit on seashells.” Today, Noss Hall houses the Office of Student Success and a variety of academic support services, including the Writing Center and Math Lab. First-year students learn that “if you’re at a loss, go to Noss.” In that sense, the attitude in Noss Hall remains similar to the one Midge Kennedy remembers. “If a kid asked a question … it was OK to stop, answer it and go with it, wherever it went.”  By Wendy Mackall, assistant communications director at Cal U


Confidence and careers


SCIENCE New Eberly College dean supports community outreach


r. Brenda Fredette says she always loved science. As a student, “everything about it was interesting. I liked learning about how things worked and connected to one another.” As the dean of Cal U’s Eberly College of Science and Technology, Fredette is still focused on connections. “For a university, community outreach is crucial,” she says. “It connects the community with campus – but it also connects the campus to the community.” Fredette came to California this spring after more than 20 years at Medaille College, a small, private, liberal arts college in Buffalo, N.Y. A biochemist, she was a professor and division head in Medaille’s Division of Veterinary and Natural Sciences, where she taught organic and general chemistry.


Then she stepped into administration, first as interim vice president for academic affairs and then as assistant vice president for student success. Medaille serves many first-generation students from low-income families in Buffalo. Fredette, a first-generation college student herself, is an enthusiastic supporter of Say Yes Buffalo, a philanthropic organization that supports college scholarships for eligible city students. And she poured her “heart and soul” into developing Science in Bloom, a fouryear outreach program that connects middle-school students with Medaille for a series of open-inquiry science classes. “These were kids who had never been on a college campus,” she says, noting that more than eight in 10 Science in Bloom students are female.

Dr. Brenda Fredette, dean of the Eberly College of Science and Technology

The program brings them into Medaille’s classrooms and labs, connects them with college-age mentors and welcomes their parents to campus. “By the time these students are done, they believe they can do science — and that can be huge, especially for young girls. And they feel like they belong. They feel like they own the campus.”

Fredette wants aspiring college students to bond with Cal U and its special mission in science and technology. “Students, especially those from underresourced school districts, sometimes come to college fearful of science,” she says. “It’s important to help them and their families view science as something attainable. We need to make them aware of the opportunities in science — the good jobs they can get with a bachelor’s degree.” Associate professor Dr. Melissa Sovak, of the Department of Math, Computer Science and Information Systems, adds that math is another STEM field where students frequently lack confidence and career awareness. “Many students feel they are not talented enough to enter a career path that requires a fair amount of mathematics,” she says. “Others believe that a math degree limits them to teaching.” Sovak specializes in statistics and data science, a field where demand is growing faster than the number of skilled job candidates. “It is vital that we create an environment where students feel they can thrive in mathand science-related fields, especially since we are seeing shortages in the workforce in these areas. Part of this includes making students aware of career options.”

Learning by doing

Fredette’s community-oriented outlook aligns with California’s emphasis on active, applied education. Cal U biology and geology students monitor water quality in local streams. Parks and recreation management classes help design community playgrounds. Seniors in the mechatronics engineering technology program work with area manufacturers to design, implement and test solutions to real-life problems. And the list goes on. In the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, associate professor Dr. Sarah Meiss and her students are building a sustainable local food system. Students tend a vegetable garden and fruit orchard at SAI Farm, on Cal U’s upper campus. In summer, they run a small farmers market on the Quad and distribute produce to subscribers who purchase “shares” in a family-owned farm. Meiss collaborates with the Republic Food Enterprise Center, which works “to bridge the gap between farm and table.” Based in Fayette County and supported by the USDA and the state Department

By the time these “students are done,

they believe they can do science — and that can be huge, especially for young girls.


of Agriculture, the center is actively building a network of family farms, food banks, distribution points and co-ops to bring fresh foods to local neighborhoods. “Again, it’s all about connecting to the community,” Fredette says. It’s gratifying for college students to see the impact of their learning on an ecosystem, a town, an organization or a business. Community-based projects can strengthen a graduate’s resume. Sometimes they kick off careers. Open doors also encourage connection. Each year Cal U welcomes thousands of middle and high school students to STEM-focused events, such as robotics competitions and Science Olympiad. The teens learn while having fun, and they get a glimpse of campus life. “We’re helping them see what college looks like,” Fredette says. “That’s important for students, and for the University.”

Head of the table

Although women have served as department chairs in the Eberly College of Science and Technology, Fredette is the college’s first female dean.

“It sends a message that the contributions of women scientists are valued,” says Dr. Kimberly Woznack. A professor and former chair of the Department of Chemistry and Physics, she’s the incoming chair of the American Chemical Society’s Women Chemists Committee. “Having a woman not just ‘at the table’ but literally ‘at the head of the table’ can empower other women to voice their concerns, opinions and perspectives. For female students, seeing this helps to widen their perspectives on future careers. “There is a saying, ‘If you can see it, you can be it,’” Woznack adds. “For all students, including young women, it’s important to have role models they can identify with.” What does the future hold for the Eberly College? Like any good scientist, Fredette starts by asking questions and defining terms. “I need to know what makes our students successful, and how we can contribute to that. And we need to define our collective vision — for new programs, grants and community outreach.”  By Christine Kindl, communications director at Cal U


HAPPINESS For Disney employee, customer service is Job No. 1


t is a big world, after all. More than 70,000 people work at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. So many that the theme park’s workforce would be the seventh largest city in Pennsylvania. But it feels small, thanks in part to a culture where you’re a cast member, not an employee, and creating happiness is Job No. 1. “Every single day, we are there to serve,” says Chelsea Getsy ’14, guest experience manager for the Tomorrowland attractions in the Magic Kingdom and Traditions facilitator for Walt Disney World Resort. Getsy says she is one of only about 60 Traditions facilitators, who teach workers new to Disney about the culture and heritage of the company and the importance of personalizing the visitor experience. “We create happiness through the immersive experiences — you get to meet the Beast, Belle, the princesses. The guests are the reason we’re there every day to bring the immersive experiences and stories to life.” Getsy had to go through auditions and interviews to be selected for the Traditions position.


“It was stressful,” she says, “but every week, I get to hand people their name tags and say, ‘Welcome to the Disney family.’ “We hope they understand that our common goal is to create happiness, and our common goal is also our greatest reward. If they know that’s their job, then we’ve done it right.” Getsy was encouraged to be bold as a student majoring in business administration. “I knew I wanted to be a leader in some capacity, so I joined Student Government and became president in my junior year. I’m grateful for President Jones — and also Missy Dunn and Kim Cuppolo, who were terrific mentors,” she says of staff in Student Affairs and the Student Association Inc. “They all told me I need to take risks, get out of my comfort zone.” “Chelsea Getsy was one of the most driven students I have ever advised,” Dunn says. “From freshman year, she was determined to take advantage of all of the opportunities Cal U had to offer.” One prestigious opportunity was Getsy’s appointment as a student member of the Board of Governors for Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. The board

oversees the commonwealth’s 14 state-owned universities. “With Student Government and the Board of Governors, I learned a lot about perspectives,” Getsy says. “You’re in a room with people who are on different paths in life, but you’re there for the common mission of making positive decisions.” Getsy interned through Disney’s College Program, a semester-long paid position as a hostess on one of the attractions, and she continued to take undergraduate classes online. A permanent position followed as a guest experience manager in custodial operations. She now works in Tomorrowland, where she supervises dayto-day operations. She is also one course away from earning her online MBA from Norwich University. Home of Space Mountain, the Tomorrowland section of the Magic Kingdom is meant to give guests a futuristic vibe. For Getsy, the future is very much now. “I’m only 24,” she says. “This is the time in my life to take risks, live life and go with the flow.”  By Wendy Mackall, assistant communications director at Cal U




Social work graduate answers new call to service


or 20 years, Daniel Merchant ’15 served his country in combat and instructor positions in the U.S. Navy. Now, he serves other veterans — active duty, National Guard and Reserve service members, too — and their families as a readjustment counselor for the Vet Center in White Oak, Pa. Part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the center serves part of Allegheny County, as well as all of Westmoreland, Somerset and Bedford counties in Pennsylvania. Merchant and the Vet Center staff provide counseling, employment assessments and referrals, treatment for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, explanations of military benefits and more. “I’m a combat veteran, so that makes it relatable,” says Merchant, who retired from the military in 2012. “And the M.S.W. program at Cal U really taught me how to communicate with someone who needs help. The ‘want to’ of helping others has always been there, but the M.S.W. program helped to refine that.” As a licensed social worker, Merchant

“deals with all the pieces of the puzzle to make a positive impact in someone’s life.” Merchant was back on campus in 2017 when director Robert Prah ’06, ’10 and his staff in the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs relocated to new office space in Residence Hall E. “Having a place for military members and veterans to go on campus is essential to their success as a student,” says Keith Medley, assistant director of the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs, a military veteran, and a graduate student in clinical and mental health counseling. Services that drive student success — study space, computer access, expert staff, a lounge for social interactions — are consolidated in the Military and Veterans Center of Excellence. “We provide them with the space to excel,” Medley says. “The office was wonderful when I was a student,” Merchant says. “Robert’s help was instrumental, and not just with making sure all the G.I. Bill paperwork went through. It helped on the personal side, to know you have an ally. “There I was, after 20 years in the

Having a place for military members and veterans to go on campus is essential to their success as a student



military, a combat veteran, looking around saying, ‘I could be your dad, and your dad, and your dad … .’ Age alone makes you feel like a fish out of water, let alone being a veteran. But Robert went out of his way to make sure everything was going OK.” Being an ally who provides personal attention now defines Merchant’s civilian career. “Our services at the Vet Center are free, and we will see any combat veteran for as long as it takes for whatever they need. That enables us to invest, to become partners, to make a connection.”  By Wendy Mackall, assistant communications director at Cal U





al U has approved early acceptance agreements with the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, creating pathways to careers in medicine, pharmacy or dentistry for Cal U biology students. Under the agreements, a Cal U undergraduate in the pre-professional biology program can be assured of provisional acceptance — in essence, a reserved seat — in LECOM's College of Osteopathic Medicine, School of Pharmacy or School of Dental Medicine, providing the student completes a successful interview and meets all academic requirements. Future doctors, pharmacists or dentists can apply for early acceptance as soon as their senior year of high school, or until the start of their third year in the biology program at Cal U. LECOM is the nation's largest medical college, with campuses in Erie, Pa.; Greensburg, Pa.; and Bradenton, Fla. U.S. News & World Report ranks LECOM among the top five U.S. medical colleges for graduating primary care physicians, and its College of Osteopathic Medicine receives more applications than any other medical school in the country. "Medical schools are highly competitive," says program director Dr. Ed Zuchelkowski. "Through the early acceptance program, our students take rigorous courses that prepare them to do well in their graduate-level studies. And they largely bypass the intense competition for (medical school) seats.”

AAUW Council member Senior Shaina Hilsey, a student member of the Board of Governors for Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education, is one of 10 students nationwide selected to serve on the 2017-2018 Student Advisory Council for the American Association of University Women. Founded in 1881, the AAUW is a grassroots organization that advocates for women, including college students. The advisory council builds leadership skills through campus action projects and advises the AAUW on student needs and views.


Hilsey traveled to Washington, D.C., last fall for a leadership retreat at the AAUW’s national headquarters. In spring, members serve as peer mentors at the organization’s annual National Conference for Student Leaders. Hilsey graduates this spring from the professional golf management program.

Pair of acting deans appointed Two Cal U faculty members are serving as acting deans during national searches to fill the positions. Dr. William Biddington, a professor in the Department of Exercise Science and Sport Studies, is leading the School of Graduate Studies and Research. He fills the post vacated by Dr. Stanley Komacek '80, who was appointed special assistant to the President for academic programs. In this role, Komacek oversees development of high-demand academic

Jennifer Ramsey (left) and Sheleta Camarda-Webb meet Pirates' community outreach coordinator Joel Gray.

Black History Month topic: Negro League Baseball

programs and shepherds them through the approval process. Biddington, a certified athletic trainer, joined the Cal U faculty in 1976 and was chair of his department from 1988-2009. Since 2004 he has been the University's NCAA faculty athletic representative. In 2015, he received the Cal U Alumni Association's John R. Gregg Award for Loyalty and Service to the University. Dr. Yugo Ikach, a professor in the Department of Music and Theatre, has been acting dean of the College of Liberal Arts since late March, when Dr. Mohamed Yamba retired after 29 years at Cal U. Ikach joined Cal U in 2004, became chair of the Music Department in 2012 and co-chair of the combined Music and Theatre Department in 2016. He is director of choirs at Cal U and, since 2005, principal conductor and music director of the Washington (Pa.) Symphony Orchestra.

Cal U's Black History Month celebration included "Long Live Their Legacy: A Celebration of Negro League Baseball," presented by Pittsburgh Pirates' community outreach coordinator Joel Gray. Pittsburgh was a hub for Negro League baseball during the first half of the 20th century and the only city in the country that had two black professional teams – the Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords. Those teams featured stars such as Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige and Buck Leonard. Gray says the Pirates are committed to celebrating that legacy with fans of all ages and backgrounds. "This presentation captures the essence of the struggle that impacted the game of baseball for at least half a century.” The University’s Frederick Douglass Institute sponsored the presentation. Other Black History Month events included the annual Day of Service and Giving, the popular soul food luncheon, and black arts festivals with music, live painting and spoken word performances.

HCAP connects the Honors Program students with historical societies and other organizations throughout the region. “We are so lucky to have a rich history in this region,” says HCAP director Robert Stakeley, who attended the premiere. “Immigration, migration, industry, women’s history, science, sports … history is our common denominator.” Since the ongoing project’s inception, Cal U students have created more than 70 digital stories based on research in seven counties in western Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia. View a collection of digital stories on YouTube at http://bit.ly/2AWVdd7.

and learn how the accurate measurement of time can have important consequences for societies and cultures. At the museum, the honors students saw a variety of clocks from around the world and heard a talk by clock repair expert Lili von Baeyer, who holds a degree in fine arts and completed formal training at the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors’ School of Horology. Baeyer, who held a contract to maintain clocks in the U.S. Senate offices, challenged the Cal U students to take a clock apart, clean it, and put it back together in four hours. Two of the nine groups were able to rebuild their clocks.

Honors excursion is all about clocks Students in the honors course Global Transitions: It’s About Time rebuilt clocks and heard from an expert in timepiece repair when they visited the National Watch and Clock Museum in Columbia, Pa. The course, taught by Dr. Swarn Gill, of the Earth Sciences Department, investigates the important influences of time on science and culture throughout history. Students explore the history of timepieces, from the first water clocks to modern atomic clocks,

Honors Program student Emily Bond shows off a timepiece at the Clock Museum.

Digital storytellers capture history For the past five years, students from the University Honors Program have been using high-tech tools to preserve bits of the past. To mark the fifth anniversary of Cal U’s digital storytelling project, 30 students debuted 13 short videos, each exploring a slice of local history. The videos were created under the direction of Dr. Christina Fisanick, of the English Department, in collaboration with the Heinz History Center Affiliates Program.

High five Kaleb Wise, 4, of Greensburg, slaps palms with Harlem Globetrotters player Antjuan ‘Clutch’ Ball before the Globetrotters 2018 World Tour appearance at the Convocation Center. Kaleb enjoyed meeting the basketball superstars before watching a fastmoving display of dunks, trick shots and incredible ball-handling skills with dad Ryan Wise ’10 and mom Ashley Wise, who earned her master’s degree at Cal U in 2013.



Dr. Melissa Sovak helps students analyze statistics.

Analysts ready to tame ‘big data’ A new bachelor’s degree program in Statistics and Data Science will teach Cal U students to manage and analyze "big data" — the estimated 2.5 quintillion bytes of information generated each day. The hybrid degree program includes on-campus and online courses that prepare students for one of the country's fastest-growing occupations. Companies such as Amazon, Facebook, eBay and Spotify were among the first to harness data to provide tailored content, advertising and personalized experiences for their customers. Now, data science is driving growth and competition in industries from finance and insurance to manufacturing and retail trade. The B.S. in Statistics and Data Science offers in-depth training in the tools used by data scientists, including software by SAS®, a recognized world leader in business analytics software and services. As part of the program, students earn a 15-credit SAS® Data Science certificate. They also learn to use Base SAS for data analysis, data cleaning and data preparation; SAS Visual Analytics to visualize data; SAS with Hadoop for processing and storing big data sets; R software for statistical computing and graphics; the Python programming language for statistical modeling; and Tableau for tasks such as identifying statistical trends. The program begins this fall.

Hand-in-Hand grant helps with child care costs A four-year grant of more than $389,000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Education is helping lowincome parents pay for child care services while they attend Cal U.


Funds obtained through the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) grant enable the children of eligible Cal U students to attend The Village, an accredited child care and preschool education program. Nancy Skobel '87, associate dean for Student Affairs and director of the campus Women’s Center, says the grant for the Handin-Hand program pays tuition costs for eight to 10 preschool children each year. Cal U officials receive roughly a dozen inquiries about child care assistance each year, Skobel says. In many cases, state programs do not offer adequate aid for low-income parents — especially single moms and dads — who are enrolled in college. Parents who are veterans will be prioritized when awarding the grants. “Education is the ultimate equalizer, and Cal U’s participation in the CCAMPIS program is helping both students and their young children,” Skobel says. In addition to providing child care, Hand-in-Hand coordinates University support services. Parenting students take part in study groups and parent-and-child activities, and Skobel meets with them to oversee their academic progress and guide them toward campus resources.

Head start for chiropractors Cal U now offers dual degree programs in conjunction with three of the nation's top chiropractic colleges: Palmer College of Chiropractic, with campuses in Iowa, California and Florida; New York Chiropractic College; and Logan University in Missouri. The "3+3" programs allow students to earn a bachelor's degree at Cal U while transitioning into the Doctor of Chiropractic program at Palmer, NYCC or Logan. Students enroll in Cal U's B.S. in Biology: Pre-professional program, where they complete at least 90 credits in chemistry, cellular and molecular biology, human anatomy, and other science and general education courses. Qualifying students then transfer to Palmer, NYCC or Logan to begin their chiropractic education. Approximately 30 credits earned in their first year of chiropractic study are accepted at Cal U, completing the B.S. in Biology degree. Students then spend about two more years at Palmer, NYCC or Logan to earn the Doctor of Chiropractic degree. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment for chiropractors to grow between 2016 and 2026 as people of all ages become interested in this form of complementary medicine.

Madden collaborated with Permyakova during his 2012 experience as a Fulbright Specialist in Russia. “I walk away from these sessions feeling very impressed by our students and your students,” Madden told her as he finished the call. “Let’s do this again.”

Website redesign puts future students first

Military Proclamation University President Geraldine M. Jones signs a document proclaiming Military and Veterans Appreciation Week at Cal U. Looking on are (from left) sophomore Tommy Boyd, a retired Marine Corps master sergeant who is studying sport management; Spec. Alexis Richardson ’17, a member of the Army Reserve who is earning a master’s degree in intercollegiate athletic administration; Capt. Robert Prah ’06, ’10, director of Cal U’s Office of Military and Veterans Affairs; and Sgt. 1st Class Jesse Maund ’11, an ROTC instructor. Cal U has been designated a Military Friendly University® for eight consecutive years.

Conversation continues with students in Russia

Social media points to successful careers

Exceptional undergrads University President Geraldine M. Jones (left) congratulates seniors Dre Ceja and Lacy McKenzie, recipients of the fall 2017 Person of the Year awards for their work on behalf of women at Cal U and in the community. The President's Commission for the Status of Women, co-chaired this year by Carol Jones (right), presents the awards each fall and spring. Ceja (second from left) was honored as an undergraduate and McKenzie as a nontraditional undergraduate. Both award recipients graduated in December.

This spring, a social media campaign turned the spotlight on students and alumni at work in Pennsylvania. Cal U contributed to the State System of Higher Education’s #Prepared4PA advocacy campaign, which emphasized how System alumni and students contribute to the commonwealth’s economic strength. Posts on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn described students’ internships and graduates’ careers. The #Prepared4PA success stories also appeared in materials distributed to state legislators during the System’s annual Advocacy Days.

Separated by more than 5,000 miles, Cal U students and their Russian counterparts continue a dialogue that began four years ago. The international studies program again hosted a video call with students from the Perm campus of the National Research University Higher School of Economics, in Russia. Program director Dr. Sean Madden moderated the conversation with Dr. Tatyana Permyakova, a professor in the Russian university’s School of Foreign Languages. Setting political differences aside, the students realized they have much in common. “I like being part of that bridge from one country to another,” says international studies major Victoria McGough, who aspires to a career in diplomacy. “As different as our countries may seem, as students we go through the same cycle every day, so it feels like there’s a natural connection.”

The University’s website now has a mobile-friendly design and a clear purpose – to help future Vulcans learn all about Cal U. It’s easier than ever for prospective students to take a virtual tour, arrange a campus visit or apply from any page, whether they are using a laptop, tablet or smartphone. The redesigned calu.edu also introduces the University’s academic programs and provides details about tuition, financial aid, residence halls and the Cal U Difference — those elements of campus life that make California University stand out. Alumni can visit calu.edu/alumni to stay in touch with the University, learn about alumni services, check out upcoming events and reunions, or make a donation online. Meanwhile, directory-style pages help current students, faculty and staff find the resources they need. “Our website is the place where many people encounter Cal U’s story for the very first time,” says Christine Kindl, associate vice president for Communications and Public Relations. “It now offers a more streamlined and engaging online experience.”


It’s all about attitude

Wisdom Major League Baseball professional pitches teamwork, effort


ack Zduriencik ’74, a former general manager for the Seattle Mariners of Major League Baseball, brought lessons from the field of play to graduates at Cal U’s 185th Commencement. Be difference-makers. Be good teammates. Work hard every day to make your organization better. “Every single one of you has been given a talent, and the responsibility to yourself is to make the very most of that talent,” said Zduriencik, a


standout catcher for the Vulcans baseball team who enjoyed a 35-year MLB career. In all, University President Geraldine M. Jones conferred more than 600 graduate and nearly 600 undergraduate degrees during ceremonies Dec. 14 and 15. “Please know that I am very proud of you for your hard work and the sacrifices you have made to reach this point,” she told the newly minted alumni.

Zduriencik’s baseball career has taken him across the country. Before his eight-year stint as Seattle’s general manager, he was the first non-GM to be named Baseball America’s Executive of the Year. That honor came while he was the Milwaukee Brewers’ vice president and special assistant to the general manager. Since 2016, Pittsburgh Pirates fans have heard Zduriencik’s commentary during pre- and post-game shows on AT&T SportsNet and KDKA-FM. “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. It will make or break you,” he told the graduates. “What’s important is what you are doing today. You have no control of the future except to give it your very best.” Many in the graduating class already are following that advice. Take Ryan Kaufman ’17, who earned his bachelor’s degree in liberal studies with a concentration in radio and television. A former news anchor for CUTV’s NewsCenter, Kaufman found his passion in producing shows. Now he’s the morning news producer for WTAP, an NBC-affiliated TV station in Parkersburg, W.Va. “Cal U was a great experience because it was a maturity moment in my timeline,” says Kaufman. “I was actually offered a higher position at WTAP than I applied for, because of my experience with CUTV. When I think about graduating from Cal U I do get a bit emotional, because it has been such an important part of my life.”

Next stop: Grad school

Laken Ganoe ’17, an Honors Program graduate with a degree in environmental studies, moved directly into a graduate assistantship at Penn State University. She’s continuing her research with fishers, small carnivorous mammals in the weasel family. “I chose Cal U because it was one of the few schools in Pennsylvania that offered a major in wildlife and fisheries and had a student chapter of The Wildlife Society,” she says. “Every faculty member that I had the opportunity to work with was extremely helpful. I am so grateful for the many opportunities I’ve had.” Laura Cook ’17 believes the connections she made at Cal U, especially with the Delta Zeta Sorority, Cal U Dance Ensemble and the Psychology Department, paved her path to success. Cook earned her degree in psychology and held leadership roles with the Psi Chi international honor society. She’s starting her career as a therapeutic staff support specialist at Community Alternatives Inc. “Cal U offered me so much more than just an education,” she says. “It offered me

President Jones confers degrees at the University's 185th Commencement.

Theatre faculty greet Maya Tomlin, of Bowie, Md., who received her bachelor's degree in liberal arts.

Global Online student Connor Borowski, of Bradford, Pa., lines up to receive his master's degree in exercise science and health promotion.

Hugs are in order for new graduate Louis Stamerra Jr., of Pittsburgh, Pa. His degree is in sport management studies.

What’s important is what you are doing “ today. You have no control of the future except to give it your very best. ” JACK ZDURIENCIK ’74

lifelong friendships, leadership, education, connections, and a work ethic that I will always have with me.”

Lifelong bonds

The tradition of paying it forward continued during the undergraduate ceremony when Briana Hendricksen ’17, chair of the Senior Gift Drive Committee, presented a check for more than $18,000 contributed by graduating seniors and their families. More than $120,000 has been raised for an endowed scholarship since the first senior class donation was delivered at the Spring 2010 Commencement. “Those of us who worked on the 2017 Senior Class Gift Drive certainly embrace the idea of a lifelong relationship with Cal U,” Hendrickson says.

President Jones acknowledged Natalie Barrick and Rachel Elizabeth Hanzes for earning bachelor’s degrees with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average. Eight other students earned two degrees simultaneously. The President also acknowledged veterans and service members, as well as Global Online graduates who traveled to attend Commencement. Among them was Skye Sankey ’11, ’17, of Tampa, Fla., a master trainer and gymnastics instructor who added a master’s degree in exercise science and health promotion to her Cal U bachelor’s degree in sport management. “It was the convenience and awesome instructors that made an impact,” says Sankey, who also is a marketing director for a nutrition company. “I’m very busy, but I didn’t have to quit my life to earn my master’s degree.” 







Please be sure the Office of Alumni Relations knows how to reach you, so we can share information about new activities and initiatives. Let me know how I can make your experience as a California alumnus more enjoyable and rewarding! There are many ways to stay connected:

Still smiling Basketball Alumna of the Year Miki Glenn ’17 (center) beams as she accepts her award from women’s head coach Jess Strom (left) and assistant coach Katie Tetzlaw at the Basketball Alumni Day celebration. Glenn, a former All-American, led the Vulcans to a national championship in 2015.

Engage with us on social media.


Read the new ‘Vulcan Gazette.’

Support students in need.

Back on the court Tom Graney ’77 (left) accepts the 2018 Basketball Alumnus of the Year award from men’s head coach Kent McBride during the annual Basketball Alumni Day. Graney has been president of the men's basketball 6th Man Club for the past four years.

Alumni Relations has partnered with the Office of Student Affairs to support the Cal U Cupboard, an on-campus food pantry and resource for students. Based in the Natali Student Center, the Cal U Cupboard welcomes donations of classroom supplies such as pens, highlighters and notebooks, as well as toiletries and personal care items. To learn how you can help, email alumni@calu.edu.




Let the good times roll! Athletic training grads from across the country connect at the National Athletic Trainers Association’s annual conference in New Orleans, La. Stay tuned for details.




Alumni from the NYC metro area spend a summer evening at Citi Field, where the Nationals take on the hometown Mets. The fun starts with a reception at 5:30 p.m. before the Alumni and Family Night game at 7:05.


The only thing better than cheesesteaks and baseball is a night out with Cal U friends! Meet us at 5:30 p.m. for a pre-game reception, then watch the Alumni and Family Night ballgame at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.

Check the digital Vulcan Gazette for details about these and other alumni events. To learn more, or to RSVP, contact Alumni Relations at alumni@calu.edu or 724-938-4418.

VULCAN FEST Love on ice

Director of Alumni Relations



Summer is a great time to get together, and we have a full calendar of events. Whether we’re on the road or “at home” in the Kara Alumni House, I hope to see you soon!

Ryan Barnhart ’08, ’09



Make time for happy hour at Studio AM in Homestead, Pa., known for its unique art gallery. Join us for hors d’oeuvres and drinks at the cash bar, and find out how you can join the Allegheny County Chapter of the Alumni Association.


Support the Athletic Scholarship Fund at our 37th annual golf outing — a Cal U tradition! You’ll spend a great day on the links while supporting our Vulcan student-athletes.

To update your information or learn more about alumni events and services, visit our website, calu.edu/alumni. Or reach us by email at alumni@calu.edu.



Cal U will be there for an East Coast contest at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Connect with us for a pre-game reception, followed by Alumni and Family Night at the ballpark in Baltimore.


Look for @calualumni on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, or find “California University of Pennsylvania Alumni” on LinkedIn.

Don’t miss out! To ensure that you stay informed, update your info (especially your email and postal address) at calu.edu/alumni.



Whether you live across the country or just down the road, keep in touch with the Office of Alumni Relations through your favorite social media channels.

We’ve relaunched our digital alumni newsletter — it’s now the Vulcan Gazette. This online publication is your source for the latest news about networking and mentorship opportunities, events for alumni, and what’s happening at Cal U.




Meet us at the Union Grill in Washington, Pa., for hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar and lively conversation. Find out how you can become part of the Washington County Chapter of the Alumni Association.

Hello, fellow Vulcans! I am pleased to introduce myself to you as the new director of Alumni Relations. As a proud member of our Cal U alumni network — a group that’s 54,000 strong — I’m eager to engage with as many California graduates as possible. I look forward to meeting you at the Kara Alumni House, an on-campus event or an alumni gathering near your home.


Kelsey DeNardo ’16, ’17 says ‘yes’ to Stephen Oberly ’12, ’13 after he proposed to her on the ice at Rostraver Ice Garden. The former Vulcan hockey players became engaged at the 2018 Alumni Hockey Game.

OCTOBER 12-14 Visit Washington County for Cal U Homecoming Festivities and More!





Cal U program that balances creativity with business savvy helped Patrice Resch ’12 design her New York City dreams. “I have always excelled at projects rather than test-taking,” says Resch, who earned her degree in graphic communications – a program now known as graphics and multimedia technology. “I enjoyed putting my creativity to the test, and this major was the perfect combination of creativity and hands-on experience.” Resch says her work as a student lab assistant allowed her to dive deeper into the graphics production process. And getting involved in extracurricular activities opened doors to professional development. One of her favorite Cal U experiences was attending the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) conference with the Screen Printing Student Association. “The SGIA conference showcases print technologies, companies and innovative


ravel opened up a world of possibilities for alumnus Robert Horrell ’03, ’07, whose career path eventually led to the ski slopes of western Pennsylvania. Horrell earned his bachelor’s degree in international studies, then added a master’s in legal studies through Cal U Global Online. As an undergraduate, he traveled to Spain and Mexico – experiences that made a lasting impression. “Travel opens you up to new perspectives. Now I have a deeper appreciation for people, cultures and cultural experiences.” At Cal U, Horrell was an active member of the International Club and worked in the Modern Languages Department. The late Dr. Iraldo Parascenzo, who taught Spanish 101, became a mentor and friend.


“His teaching had a profound impact on me,” Horrell says. “Dr. Parascenzo had a charisma and passion for the Spanish language. He was an incredible teacher, and he brought the language to life.” After graduation, Horrell spent 10 years in corporate telecommunications before deciding it was time for a change. “My volunteer service led me to the career of my dreams working in the outdoor hospitality industry,” he explains. Through his weekend work as a volunteer with the National Ski Patrol, he found an opportunity in the human resources department at Seven Springs Mountain Resort. Now he’s the safety and training manager for Seven Springs, Hidden Valley and Laurel Mountain ski areas. He trains resort employees, ensures the safety of workers and guests, and promotes a positive guest experience.

industry trends,” she explains. “It was uncommon for students to attend this professional conference, and it was an eye-opening experience.” Resch has attended the conference as a working professional, too. After relocating to New York City, she worked as an associate manager of marketing production for specialty apparel brands including Ann Taylor, LOFT and Lou & Grey. Now she’s a program manager for a creative branding company, where she oversees strategy and project timelines for 3-D and 2-D designs. Resch credits her Cal U education with giving her a competitive advantage. “The graphics and multimedia technology major has given me a leg up against the competition when interviewing for print production roles,” she says. “I had a strong knowledge base in graphics, screen-printing and photography before I got into the industry.” She enjoys her urban lifestyle and has


Travel opens you up to new perspectives. Now I have a deeper appreciation for people, cultures and cultural experiences.


“Every day is different on the mountain,” he says. “One day I’m in the classroom onboarding new employees through our guest experience training, and the next day I’m engaging guests throughout the resort property to ensure we’re exceeding their expectations. “As a resort family, we’re looking to ensure that when our guests visit the mountain, they are enjoying a personalized and unique experience.” 

a few words of wisdom for Cal U graduates looking to thrive in the Big Apple. “Don’t settle until you find a career you are passionate about. New York City is a huge place with ample opportunities, especially if you have a specialized skill set.”  By Kayla Kuntz, social media manager at Cal U

Photo: Baltimore Ravens


ucked away until the timing was right, a musical dream has come true for Marc Levin ’09. Levin, who earned a Cal U degree in elementary education with a minor in psychology, is a proud member of Baltimore’s Marching Ravens. The band, with more than 150 musicians and crew members, is “the largest musical organization associated with the NFL,” the Baltimore Ravens’ website says. The Marching Ravens have performed at Philadelphia’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, and President George W. Bush’s inaugural parade. “I have always had an interest in doing it,” Levin says. “I’ve played the trumpet since fourth grade — more than 20 years. It finally worked out with my job and availability.” Musicians must audition to join the Marching Ravens. It’s a paid position that requires commitment. Tryouts are held in March. From then till the end of football season the band rehearses for three hours every Wednesday in Owings Mills, Md. Levin lives near Philadelphia and is a staff coordinator for HomeHelpers Home Care. (He works for alumna Patti Ansell Soisson ’92, who earned her master’s degree in social work.) It’s a two-hour drive, each way, to do what he loves. For Levin, a marching band has always been worth the effort. In 2009 he worked with music professor Max Gonano, who’s now retired, to have the Cal U Marching Band perform

during halftime of a Pittsburgh Steelers game. “The best part of the Cal U band experience was going to Allentown, Pa., for a collegiate marching band festival,” Levin says. “There were 10,000 people there.” Levin played in the marching band, jazz band and concert band while he was at Cal U, and his passion for music continues. “One of my dreams was to do this,” he says of the Marching Ravens job. “I wanted people to see that if you put your mind to something, you can do it.”  By Wendy Mackall, assistant communications director at Cal U

By Kayla Kuntz, social media manager at Cal U



Civil rights investigator is paying it forward


ou have to leave your parents’ house at some point,” says Alisha Carter. But first, you have to do some learning and growing. Cal U felt like home to Carter, and for good reason. Her mom, Cynthia Jansante Carter, earned degrees in 1981 and 1984. Her dad, the late Walter A. Carter Jr., had a 30-year career at the University as an associate professor in the Department of Modern Languages and as assistant director of admissions. He also earned his M.S. Reading Specialist degree from California in 1976. Carter herself earned two degrees here — a bachelor’s in criminal justice in 2006 and a master’s in legal studies in 2011. She was a graduate assistant in the University’s Office of Social Equity, and then a full-time staff member in that office. “I enjoyed the best learning experiences of my life at Cal U,” she says. “I had the opportunity to learn about compliance regulations at a public, state-owned institution, which are complex. That has been a valuable experience.” Carter left California in 2013 for a job as diversity and compliance program coordinator in the Office of Diversity and Compliance at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. She returned to the Pittsburgh area in 2015 as a civil rights investigator in the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion at Community College of Allegheny County. At CCAC, Carter is responsible for investigating student and employee complaints of harassment and

discrimination, as well as educating faculty, staff and students about their rights and responsibilities. “It can be challenging to make sure everyone has civil rights protections without making others feel that their rights are being taken away,” Carter says. “Our job is to make sure everyone has a voice without impacting the voices of others.”

“I grew up at Cal U. Whenever I can, I try to come back and to give back,” says Carter, who is a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors. At CCAC, she has worked with the Men of Merit Initiative, which provides social and academic support to male students of color. The program is similar to Cal U Men United, which Carter was involved with at Cal U. “Before there were organizations like Cal U Men and Women United, my dad was providing support and encouragement to students. He taught me the importance of education, as well as the need to pay forward what was paid to me.” In his memory, Carter has established the Walter A. Carter – Cal U Men and Women United Scholarship. “My dad was my foundation; I feel close to him because I get to advance his legacy by working in higher education and serving students,” she says. “I feel it’s our social responsibility to give back. Education is power. Education is freedom.”  By Wendy Mackall, assistant communications director at Cal U

Donations to the Walter A. Carter – Cal U Men and Women United Scholarship can be made online at www.calu.edu/giving. Checks, payable to “Foundation for Cal U,” may be mailed to University Development and Alumni Relations, 250 University Ave., Box 112, California, PA 15419.




S E R VA N T Former Secretary of Homeland Security accepts honorary degree


he nation’s first Secretary of Homeland Security, former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge, holds an honorary degree from Cal U. Ridge was awarded a Doctor of Public Service, honoris causa, at a formal academic ceremony organized in conjunction with the Department of Criminal Justice’s 10th annual Homeland Security Conference. Ridge delivered the keynote address at the conference, “A Community-Based Approach to Fighting Terror Crime.” In his talk, Ridge recalled his appointment as Assistant to the President for Homeland Security in 2001, when the country was “still feeling the aftershocks” of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security was created in 2003, and President George W. Bush selected Ridge to lead the Cabinet-level department.

Prior to 9/11, Ridge had represented Pennsylvania’s 21st District in the U.S. House of Representatives and served two terms as governor. After leaving public service he founded Ridge Global, which works with corporate leaders to decrease security risks. Speaking to an audience that included Cal U students, criminal justice faculty and law enforcement professionals, Ridge stressed the importance of local law enforcement, then and now, in keeping the nation safe. “We may have great federal law enforcement agencies, but ultimately you can’t beat terrorism from inside the (Washington, D.C.) Beltway,” he said. “Local police know the rhythm of the communities they serve. Until we connect the federal government with the local government, we will never maximize our ability to combat terrorism.”

He urged the audience to ignore the most strident voices on cable TV and social media. “We shouldn’t be breathless about any of these challenges,” he said. “Yes, there are risks, but they are manageable.” Before conferring the honorary degree, University President Geraldine M. Jones noted that Ridge had spoken to graduating students in 1996, at the University’s 149th Commencement. “We can never repay Secretary Ridge for all he has done and continues to do for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and our country,” President Jones said. “It is our hope that this honorary degree will serve as a reminder to all that California University of Pennsylvania truly appreciates his devotion to public service.” 





Three inducted into Athletic Hall of Fame

There is no higher honor for a former Vulcan athlete than induction into the Cal U Athletic Hall of Fame. Following a tradition dating to 1995, University President Geraldine M. Jones honored three Vulcan standouts by adding their names to the Hall of Fame roster.

Cal U alumni fly with the NFL’s top team


Inga Chilingaryan-Babakhanyan ’06, ’07, ’08 starred for the women’s tennis from 2005-2006 through 2007-2008, chalking up an 85-9 career singles mark and an 80-10 career record in doubles. A three-time Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) All-American, she was the 2008 ITA Senior Regional Player of the Year, and the 2006 and 2007 PSACWest Women’s Tennis Athlete of the Year. She helped the Vulcans compile a 71-14 cumulative record during her time with the team, including a 54-5 mark over her junior and senior seasons. And she led Vulcans tennis to its first two PSAC team championships, starting a streak that lasted until 2016. Babakhanyan came to Cal U from Yerevan, Armenia. Today, she’s a private tennis coach and a broker with JohnHart Real Estate, headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif. She and her husband, Mike, live in Burbank, Calif. The couple has two children, Alexander, 3, and Bella, 1.

Ishmieal Kamara was a three-year starting all-conference guard for the men’s basketball team from 1999-2000 through 2002-2003. The 2003 PSAC-West Player of the Year, he finished his career with 1,421 points — 11th best in school history — while shooting 78.4 percent from the foul line (326-416) and producing 354 rebounds, 213 assists and 80 steals. Kamara helped the Vulcans compile an 88-31 cumulative overall record and a 35-13 PSAC-West mark during his fouryear career. The team won or tied for three PSAC-West championships during that time. After leaving Cal U, Kamara played five years of professional basketball in the Continental Basketball Association and the International Basketball League. Today he’s a personal trainer, fitness instructor and owner of MiLegacyMyLife, which offers wellness programs and clinics for companies in the Washington, D.C. metro area, as well as school-based fitness programs. He resides in Laurel, Md.

Joe Ruggiero was a four-year starter and three-time all-conference quarterback for the Vulcans football team from 2004 through 2007. Despite a season-ending injury early in his first year, he finished his career with 7,462 passing yards and 67 touchdown passes — totals that still rank second in school history. Those figures, along with his 63.4 career completion percentage, 611 completions and 963 attempts all rank among the conference’s top 20. During Ruggiero’s final three seasons, the Vulcans compiled a 29-6 cumulative record and a 16-2 PSAC-West mark. In 2005 he led the offense to a schoolrecord 42.1 average points per game — and Cal U won its first PSAC-West football title in 21 years. The team repeated as PSAC-West champions in 2006. Ruggiero then led the 2007 Vulcans to a 13-1 overall record and the national semifinals, the team’s first NCAA Division II playoff appearance. Ruggiero now lives in Westland, Mich., where he works for the Coca-Cola Co.

Super Bowl referee Gene Steratore '88, shown here with coach Mike Tomlin at a Steelers training camp, officiated Super Bowl LII.

either team’s uniforms were Vulcans red and black, but Cal U alumni were part of the action when the Philadelphia Eagles vanquished the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. Football fans nationwide saw NFL referee Gene Steratore ’88 announcing rulings on the field at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn. And behind the scenes, five Cal U alumni, plus a former instructor, handle front-office duties for the Eagles. Steratore has been a referee for 12 of his 15 years as an National Football League official. This was his 12th post-season game and his first Super Bowl assignment. He is the first Cal U graduate to serve as the Super Bowl referee, and the third alumnus to officiate the big game. His older brother, Tony Steratore ’87, was the back judge for Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005, and for Super Bowl XLVI in 2012 — a point of pride for their mother, alumna Jean Steratore ’87. Athletics Hall of Fame inductee Dale Hamer ’60 was the head linesman for Super Bowl XVII in 1983 and Super Bowl XXII in 1988.

Off the field

This year’s Super Bowl win was a high point in the career of Paul Lancaster ’95. He’s the Eagles’ director of player engagement, the same role he played for 16 years with the Buffalo Bills. It’s Lancaster’s job to be an off-the-field mentor for players, preparing them for life in the pro football spotlight and supporting their transition to post-NFL careers. “Our players did such a phenomenal job,”

Lancaster says. “For my family and me to go to the Super Bowl my first year here, after not getting a whiff of the playoffs for 16 years, is really beyond words.” Four more alumni, all graduates of Cal U’s exercise science programs, are part of the Eagles’ Sports Science team: Shaun Huls ’16, director of high performance; Joe O’Pella ’09, assistant athletic trainer; and Keith Gray ’13 and Ben Wagner ’15, assistant strength and conditioning coaches. Chris Peduzzi, head athletic trainer for the Eagles, has been an instructor for graduate and undergraduate programs in Cal U’s Department of Exercise Science and Sport Studies. “I have been very fortunate to work closely with many of these professionals, and I know how important they are to the success of the Eagles this season,” says Dr. Barry McGlumphy, who developed Cal U’s online master’s degree program in exercise science and health promotion. Each year McGlumphy also works as an athletic trainer for NFL teams, including several Eagles training camps and some regular-season games. McGlumphy tracks the success of his program’s graduates, who have found work in the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball, National Hockey League and Major League Soccer, along with countless minor league organizations and intercollegiate teams. Many still keep in touch. “As proud as we are of these graduates,” McGlumphy says, “they are equally as proud to represent Cal U each day in their pursuit of excellence.” 

Paul Lancaster '95, director of player engagement for the Eagles.

By Bruce Wald ’85, information writer at Cal U

To learn more about the 23rd Athletic Hall of Fame class and past honorees, or to nominate a former player, visit calvulcans.com and choose “Inside Athletics.”




Buckets of baskets Senior Shatara Parsons, a forward on the women’s basketball team, is putting her name in the record books. Parsons’ 663 points is the fourth-highest single-season total in school history, and her field goals (261) and blocks (82) both rank fourth. Parsons finishes her intercollegiate playing career ranked third in blocks (187), ninth in scoring (1,501 points), eighth in field goals (613) and 11th in rebounds (727). A first-team all-conference selection who averaged 21.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, Parsons received PSAC-West Player of the Week honors six times in 2017-2018.


ete Curtis is the new head coach for women's soccer. Curtis spent the past 11 seasons as the head women's soccer coach at Washington & Jefferson College. He guided the Presidents to a 132-69-17 mark, highlighted by three straight President’s Athletic Conference Championships and three consecutive appearances in the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Senior Luke Hrapchak and Taylor Nikithser ’16, ’17 earned D2Football.com All-America honors. Hrapchak, a linebacker, made a career-best 118 tackles this season, with 12 tackles for losses, 3.5 sacks, one interception, two forced fumbles and two blocked kicks.

Before moving to W&J, Curtis spent six years as the head men's soccer coach at NCAA Division I Cleveland State. He was named Horizon League Coach of the Year in 2002 after helping the Vikings record their most successful season in over a decade. Curtis also served five seasons as head coach at Charleston (W.Va.), from 1995-1999. There he led the Golden Eagles to a 68-30-8 cumulative record and an appearance in the 1999 NCAA Division II semifinals.

Luke Hrapchak

From 1990-1995, he was the head coach at Marietta (Ohio), a NCAA Division III program.

Curtis, who played professional soccer for three British teams, was a four-year intercollegiate starter at Alderson Broaddus (W.Va.), from 1983-1987. He was a senior and team captain when the Battlers achieved a No. 1 ranking in the NAIA.

"Pete Curtis is a proven winner, and Cal U is excited to have him join our athletics department," says athletic director Dr. Karen Hjerpe.

“I'm very happy to be given the leadership of a program that I feel has the potential to achieve great things in the coming years,” Curtis says.

"He has a great vision for the program, and his overall experience will bring an elevated level of competitiveness to our women's soccer program."

“I was very impressed with the vision President Geraldine Jones and the administration have for the program, and I’m committed to making that vision a reality.” 

Nikithser, a center, started all 35 games over the past three seasons. He helped to lead the Vulcans to consecutive NCAA Division II playoff appearances and a 20-4 cumulative overall record during the past two years. He also was the Division II recipient of the Rimington Trophy for the nation's most outstanding center.

Taylor Nikithser

A two-year team captain and two-time first-team all-conference pick, Nikithser earned his master's degree in business administration with a 3.91 cumulative gradepoint average.

Coach’s career record climbs Only one women’s basketball coach can claim more Vulcan victories than Jess Strom.

Track teams take three titles Cal U’s men’s and women’s track teams won two individual and one relay-team title at the 2018 PSAC Indoor Championships. Junior Jae´Len Means won the 200-meter dash for the second consecutive year, with a season-best time of 21.54 seconds. He now has four combined conference championships, including two outdoor relay titles. Senior Julie Friend claimed her ninth conference title, winning the 3,000-meter PSAC championship for the first time in her career. The women’s distance medley relay team won the PSAC championship for the fifth consecutive year. Friend and senior Summer Hill, along with sophomore Alicia Collier and junior Jacyln Reinbold, claimed first place in the event for the third straight season.

Jae´Len Means


Julie Friend

Two named football All-Americans

Friend and Hill also were part of the conference-winning distance medley relay team as first-year students.

This season — her seventh year as head coach — Strom moved ahead of the late Paul Flores, a 2003 Cal U Hall of Fame inductee whose teams won 152 games. She owns a 165-46 (.782) career record. Strom trails only 2015 Cal U Hall of Fame inductee Darcie Vincent, who scored 212 wins. Cal U has made the NCAA postseason tournament 10 times during Strom’s 12 years on the coaching staff. In 2015, she coached the Vulcans to the NCAA Division II National Championship.

Cross-country runners compete at nationals For the second time in three years, the women’s cross-country team qualified for the NCAA Division II National Championships and finished in 25th place. The Vulcans earned the trip with a thirdplace finish at the NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional. Leading the way was senior Julie Friend, who became the program’s first NCAA Division II All-American. She finished 22nd out of 247 runners at the national championship 6K run, held in Evansville, Ind. Friend — also a two-time track and field All-American in the 3,000-meter steeplechase — became the first Cal U woman to win the Division II Atlantic Regional individual title in cross-country. She is only the second women’s crosscountry runner (and the first in 37 years) to win the PSAC individual championship for the Vulcans. Senior Summer Hill also competed at the national championship, after finishing third overall at the regional competition and 14th at the PSAC Championships. It was Hill’s third national championship appearance. She finished in 96th place.



50s Raymond Murphy ’54, who majored in education at Cal U, is retired. He and Violet Murphy live in Greenville, S.C. Donald Shockey ’57 lives in Meyersdale, Pa. He writes, “I played football from 1953-57, had many great friends at Cal U. … I will be 83 (in March 2018). Best wishes to all alumni!”

70s Thomas Hoak Jr. ’70 and Ruth Ann Hoak live in Westmoreland City, Pa. Thomas is a retired social studies teacher, having taught in the Norwin School District in Westmoreland County, Pa. Ken Alrutz ’72 teaches upper middle school English, coaches girls and boys tennis, coordinates international students and advises the literary/arts magazine Mimesis at Saddle River Day School in New Jersey. He and his wife of 38 years, Kellylee, live in Nanuet, N.Y. Tony Barbetta ’73 is a retired teacher and coach. He majored in secondary education at Cal U. Tony and TJ Barbetta live in Clarksville, Pa. Sister Emmanuel Shoaf ’73, a former education/ industrial arts major from Hamden, Conn., is maintenance supervisor for Apostle of the Sacred Heart, in Hamden. David Fenoglietto ’77 is national chairman of the Lutheran Services in America board of directors. Lutheran Services in America, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., is a health and human services network of more than 300 nonprofit organizations. David has served as CEO and president of Lutheran SeniorLife, based in Mars, Pa., since 2004. Joe Czuchan ’79 is a member of the Uniontown (Pa.) City Council. He is a supervisor with SuperValu in New Stanton, Pa.

Dr. Helen McCracken ’77, of Waynesburg, Pa., is superintendent of the Central Greene School District in Greene County, Pa. She retired as superintendent of the Canon-McMillan School District in 2012, and also was an assistant professor at Cal U in the Department of Secondary Education. Mark Caffrey ’78 recently earned his 400th win as a high school wrestling coach. He is in his 27th year at McGuffey High School, in Claysville, Pa. Mark earned his Cal U degree in education.

80s Cheryl Carney Richards ’80 and Eric Richards ’80 live in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. Thomas W. Jones ’74, ’82 was elected as a Berlin, Pa., council member in November 2017. He is a retired educator from the Rockwood Area School District and a small-business owner in Somerset County, Pa. His graduate studies included Earth science and school administration. He is the son of former Washington County (Pa.) Commissioner Frank Jones Jr. Carl Bezjak ’77, ’82 is retired as superintendent of the Albert Gallatin Area School District in Fayette County, Pa. He had served in that position since 2010. Nick Mazzarella ’87 is regional vice president for Associa, a community management company. Previously, he was general manager, vice president and division director, executive vice president and president of the Community Management Corp. for Associa. John Hay ’89 is manager of the 84 Lumber facility in Bridgeville, Pa. He majored in business administration at Cal U and was a member of the football team.

David Wenger III ’02 is the assistant district attorney for Mercer County, Pa. At Cal U, he was involved in Greek life, student government, forensics and the Writing Center. Patrick Dennison ’03 is a member of Jackson Kelly Attorneys at Law. His law practice focuses on litigation, coal, and occupational health and safety. Photo: Braun Film and Video, Inc.

Timothy Camus ’84 is retired after 32 years of federal employment. Before leaving his position as deputy inspector general for investigations at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, he was awarded a Service to America Medal. He was honored for his work as leader of a multiagency investigation and public awareness campaign to stop a massive tax-fraud scheme.

90s Chris Pegg ’91 is the superintendent of the Albert Gallatin Area School District, Fayette County, Pa. Barry Niccolai ’93, of California, Pa., is executive director of Centerville Clinics. He earned his master’s degree in community/agency counseling from Cal U, and also worked at the University as executive director of Student Association Inc., associate vice president for Student Development and Services, and dean of Student Life.

Lt. Gen. Alan R. Lynn ’79 retired from active duty with more than 38 years of service in the U.S. Army. Since July 2015 he had served as director of the Defense Information Systems Agency and commander of the Joint Force Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network. He was the DISA vice director from September 2013 to July 2015 and the DISA chief of staff from July 2007 to October 2008. Lynn returned to Cal U in 2016 to address graduates at the University’s 181st Commencement.


Kimberly Novsek Bizik ’04, an eighth-grade language arts teacher at Lafayette Middle School in Uniontown, Pa., was chosen by leadership in the Uniontown Area School District as the district’s Herald-Standard Excellent Educator for 2017. Mark Shires ’04 is an assistant trainer for the Baltimore Orioles of Major League Baseball. He is in his 20th season as an athletic trainer in the organization. Dr. Larry Horath ’02, ’04, of California, Pa., has been appointed district deputy grand master for Masonic District 31. He is a professor in the Department of Applied Engineering and Technology. Johnstown, Pa., resident Jordan Ochoa ’05, of Somerset Trust Co. trust and investment management, has earned the designation of chartered mutual fund counselor. He majored in business administration with a management concentration at Cal U.

Christopher O’Brien ’95 is dean of Health Sciences at King’s College, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. He earned his master’s degree in athletic training at Cal U and lives in Jessup, Pa.

Jay Taylor ’05, of Mooresville, N.C., is executive director of college and career readiness at Rowan Cabarrus Community College, in Salisbury, N.C.

Chris Bradford ’95 is a hockey writer for DKPittsburghSports.com.

Bob Tarpey ’05 is the athletic trainer for the Buffalo Bisons, the AAA affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays of MLB.

John Andursky ’83, ’95 is the acting president and CEO of Highlands Hospital, in Connellsville, Pa.



Sarah Arbogast ’04 is director of communications for Serra Catholic High School, McKeesport, Pa.

Don Cabrera ’00 is the chief executive officer of Cabrera Companies, based in Wildwood Crest, N.J. He is past president of the Greater Wildwood Chamber of Commerce and has served as commissioner of public works, recreation and tourism in Wildwood Crest. Megan Lorah ’00, of New Oxford, Pa., is a social worker for the WILMAC Corp. at Hanover Hall Nursing Home. She majored in gerontology at Cal U, where she was a member of the Gerontology Club and Phi Sigma Sigma. Dan Kuhn ’00 owns Ton Pottery, a studio in Millvale, Pa. He earned his Cal U degree in fine arts. Timothy Sobota ’02 is a graphic designer for Atrium Innovations at RIDC, a provider of dietary and health supplements.


The Foundation for California University presents its annual awards.

Dr. David L. Amati ’70, a past president of the foundation’s board of directors, received the Job Johnson Award. Named for one of California’s founders, the award recognizes alumni for excellence, innovation, community service or other notable achievements outside the University. Amati is the founder and president of Global Business Associates LLC, which provides business development, strategic planning and corporate representation for local, national and global organizations. A member of the Steele Society, Amati established the David L. and Nancy M. Sivek Amati Early Childhood/Elementary Education Scholarship in memory of his late wife, Nancy.

Emeritus professor Dr. Richard Cavasina received the Dixonians Award for service to the University. It is named for John N. Dixon, the "Grand Old Man" among Cal U’s founders, who served on the Board of Trustees for 46 years. Cavasina taught for 28 years in the Psychology Department and was director of the school psychology clinic. A liver transplant recipient, he has drawn on his experience in the mental health arena as director of the patient advocacy program at the Pittsburgh-based Abdominal Transplant Institute. He also chairs the Cavasina Endowment for Transplant and Research, which researches psychological issues involved with transplantation.

Christopher Kemp ’05 is a geologist. He and his wife, Kayleen, live in Lake Hughes, Calif. Jeremy Bryson ’05 is a business teacher at Laurel Highlands High School, in Fayette County, Pa. He was chosen by his school district as a Herald-Standard Excellent Educator. Jessica Curran ’06, of North Salt Lake, Utah, is a professor at Salt Lake Community College. She studied graphic design at Cal U. Dr. Johannah Vanatta ’07 is assistant superintendent of the McGuffey School District, in Claysville, Pa. She earned her principal certification from Cal U. John Kelly ’07 is a retired police chief who earned his master’s degree in legal studies from Cal U. John and Tina Kelly live in Greenville, Pa. William Mincer ’08 was a candidate for Lock Haven (Pa.) City Council. He earned his degree in sport management studies from Cal U and is director of sports camps at Penn State University.

Emerita professor Dr. Annette Kaleita ’55 received the Society of 1852 Award, which recognizes philanthropy. Its name refers to the date of the school’s founding. Kaleita taught for 25 years in the Communication Disorders Department and developed the Language and Learning Center, where undergraduate and graduate students work directly with children as part of their clinical experience. A class leader for the Class of 1955, Kaleita is a member of the executive committee for the Emeriti Faculty Association.

The foundation is an affiliated yet independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports the mission of the University and its students. Officers for 2018 are Dr. Harry E. Serene ’65, president; Lynne Stout ’94, vice president; Dr. Donald J. Thompson, secretary; and Paul L. Kania ’87, treasurer. Three new members have joined the board: Dr. Chester Chichin ’63, Yvonne Chichin and Jeffrey B. Jones. IN THE PHOTO: University President Geraldine M. Jones '72, '80; award winners Dr. Annette Kaleita ’55, Dr. David L. Amati ’70 and Dr. Richard Cavasina; and William R. Flinn ’68, past president of the Foundation for California University.


CAL U M I L E S T O N E S Dr. Rueben Brock ’08, a psychology professor at Cal U, was a Democratic candidate in Pennsylvania’s 46th congressional district. Lauren Zufall ’07 is a research administrator at the University of Pittsburgh. Lauren majored in philosophy with a minor in music at Cal U, where she was in the marching band, University choir, string ensemble, Philosophy Club, Kappa Kappa Psi and the Honors Program. She also was a Community Assistant. Lauren and Matthew Zufall ’08 live in Pittsburgh, Pa. Steven Henry ’08 is associate legislative director for the Paralyzed Veterans of America in Washington, D.C. His portfolio consists of disability, education and employee benefits. He and Jennifer Henry live in Bowie, Md. Robert McCarney ’09, a senior lead technician for SMT (SportsMEDIA Technology Corp.), played a role in producing the Super Bowl LII broadcast from Minneapolis, Minn. In 2017, he operated the graphics tracking system for one of two SkyCam camera systems during the Thursday Night Football contest between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans. Rob reports that this was the first time a professional football game was viewed from that angle.

Joey Greany ’08 is a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association and a certified performance enhancement specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Joey earned his master’s degree in exercise science and health promotion from Cal U. He is a strength and conditioning coach in the Kansas City Royals organization of Major League Baseball.

Ashley Darkenwald ’17 has written a book, Living Wellness for Growth Groups. The nutrition, fitness and faith-based workbook addresses whole-body wellness. Ashley earned her master’s degree in exercise science from Cal U. The book is available at amazon.com and lwgg.org. David “D.X.” Ferris ’95, ’01, an adjunct professor at the University of Akron, is the author and producer of The Story of Donnie Iris, an extensively researched oral history that documents the 60-year career of the Pittsburgh rock icon. This is D.X.’s sixth book; his previous work includes a volume in Bloomsbury’s prestigious 331/3 series. D.X. wrote for the Cal Times as an undergraduate and served as its editor-in-chief as a graduate assistant. He has written for Rolling Stone and Alternative Press. Ivette Garcia Davila ’00 is the author of I’m the One Pushing: A Practical and Renegade Guide to Choosing Your Own Motherhood Adventure. The book uses her and others’ experiences with choices moms face — baby gear, nutrition, labor and more. Info: www.imtheonepushing.com.

10s Marylloyd Claytor ’07, ’10 participated in the inauguration of Chatham University President Dr. David Finegold. She is vice president of Chatham’s Alumnae Association Board, having earned her master’s degree in liberal arts from the school. Marylloyd earned her master’s degree in education and her superintendent letter of eligibility from Cal U. Ben Iannacchione ’10 is the director of sports performance at the University of Wyoming athletics department. He earned a certificate in sports counseling from Cal U. Bethany Nicolai Lukart ’10, of Lawton, Iowa, completed a mission trip with Sunnybrook Community Church, on Sioux City, Iowa, as part of Many Hands for Haiti. At Cal U, Bethany was involved with the women’s hockey team. Dr. Josh Eachus ’09, ’10 earned his Ph.D. from Louisiana State University in December 2017. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Earth science with a concentration in meteorology and his master’s degree in sport management, both from Cal U. He is chief meteorologist for WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge, La. Sean McGowan ’11 is the assistant registrar at West Virginia University. He majored in communication studies at Cal U. Sean and Jamie McGowan ’14 live in Washington, Pa. Wanisha Green ’10, who earned her bachelor’s degree in social work, is a teen-parent advocate at Pittsburgh (Pa.) Westinghouse Academy 6-12. Her work at the school is part of Pennsylvania’s ELECT (Education Leading to Employment and Career Training) program. Wanisha is on track to complete her Master of Social Work degree at Cal U this spring, Channing Brown ’11, of McKeesport, Pa., is a program specialist for Lioness Community Care. Steve Santia ’11 is the wrestling coach at Southmoreland High School, in Alverton, Pa. Janet Harkness ’11, who majored in legal studies at Cal U, lives in Dublin, Calif. Robert Jolley ’11 is retired as the police chief of Dallas Township, Luzerne County, Pa. He is pursuing a Doctor of Criminal Justice degree from Cal U.


Vincent Wilson ’12 is a development coordinator for Dartmouth College, in Hanover, N.H. He majored in sport management at Cal U and was involved in track, Omega Psi Phi fraternity, Cal U Men United and the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. Jerad Cypher ’12 was seeking the nomination to represent the 48th Legislative District in Pennsylvania. Jerad is part of the familyowned Cypher Group of Washington, Pa., which specializes in talent acquisition and business brokering. Stephanie Shumar ’12 is a graduate student at the School of Medicine West Virginia University, where she is conducting research into enzymes and blood-sugar regulation. She has received a grant from the National Institutes of Health for the two-year investigation. Stephanie studied biological and environmental sciences at Cal U. Tara Friel ’12 is event operations coordinator for ShowClix, an event technology company based in Pittsburgh, Pa. She majored in communication studies and art at Cal U. Theresa Bush Kramer ’12 is a global management assistant for Mine Safety Appliances. She and Clay Kramer ’11 live in Zelienople, Pa. Tyronne Hayes ’13, who majored in sport management at Cal U, is athletic/recreation coordinator for Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland, Ohio. Tyronne and Kenetta Hayes live in Cleveland. Teresa Stepanik Brown ’13 is a math teacher at Frazier Middle School, in Perryopolis, Pa., and was chosen by officials in the school district as the Herald-Standard Excellent Educator for 2017. Teresa earned her degree in middle level education from Cal U. David Hodgson ’13 will return for his second season as an assistant to head coach Denise Reddy for Sky Blue FC of the National Women’s Soccer League. He earned his master’s degree in exercise science and health promotion, with a concentration in performance enhancement. Wesley Sheets ’13 is a deputy chief for police and public safety at Penn State’s Altoona, Fayette, Greater Allegheny and New Kensington campuses. He earned his bachelor’s degree in justice studies at Cal U. Kyle Petty ’13 plays for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. Kyle majored in sport management at Cal U and was a member of the Vulcans baseball team.

Michael Regan ’11 is head women’s soccer coach at North Dakota State University.

Bridget Bielich ’13 is the head women’s volleyball coach at Point Park University, in Pittsburgh, Pa. She studied sport management at Cal U.

Rochelle Gillen ’12 is a human resources adviser for Sherwin-Williams. At Cal U, she was a member of Phi Sigma Sigma, the History Club, Equestrian Team and Gamma Sigma Alpha.

Emily Ostrom-Graham ’13 is the principal at Rock L. Butler Middle School in the Wellsboro Area (Pa.) School District. She earned her principal certification from Cal U.

Michael Lash ’13, a certified advanced alcohol and drug counselor and nationally certified counselor, has joined Cognitive Dynamic Therapy Associates. He earned his master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling from Cal U. Amy Dunn ’14 is a teacher for the School District of Hillsborough County, in Florida. Amy majored in early childhood and special education. At Cal U, she was an orientation leader and a worker in the Welcome Center. She also was involved in Best Buddies, the Council for Exceptional Children and STAND campus ministry. Linebacker Jeff Knox ’14 signed a free-agent contract with the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Natasha Dirda ’14 is principal of Markham Elementary School, in the Mount Lebanon (Pa.) School District. She earned her principal certification from Cal U. Chelsea Ratica ’14, a business administration graduate, was promoted to branch manager for Enterprise in Cranberry Township, Pa. Tyler Barth ’14 is the assistant principal at Andrew Jackson Primary School in Williamsport, Pa. Lindsey Mintenko ’15 is the national team managing director for USA Swimming. She earned her master’s degree in sport management studies from Cal U. Timothy Brown ’15 is a financial adviser for Laurel Highlands Wealth Advisory Group in the Uniontown, Pa., office of Janney Montgomery Scott LLC. Timothy earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration. He also played forward for the Cal U hockey club, where he was team captain and an Academic All-American. Matt Shorraw ’15 is the mayor of Monessen, Pa. When he took office in January 2018, at age 26, he became the youngest mayor in the history of Westmoreland County.

OUT LOUD Trevon “Trey” Jenifer ’16 is the subject of a podcast about his amazing, inspiring story. Trevon, who earned his master’s degree in legal studies from Cal U, was born without legs due to a rare disorder and became a two-time Paralympian in wheelchair basketball, winning bronze in London in 2012 and a gold medal in Rio in 2016. He grew up in Maryland, where he was a wrestler in high school, and also co-wrote a book, From the Ground Up, as a high school student. His collegiate wheelchair basketball career began when he was a student at Edinboro University, and he was selected multiple times to play for the U.S. Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Team. Listen to the podcast at soundcloud.com/ punishers-basketball/episode-onetrevon-trey-jenifer.

John Kmiecinski ’15 is the owner of Elite Edge Athletics in Centre County, Pa. He earned his master’s degree in exercise science and health promotion, with a concentration in performance enhancement and injury prevention.

Haley Henderson ’15 is a certified public accountant for KPMG. Haley, of Arlington, Va., studied accounting at Cal U, where she played soccer and was in the International Club.

Margaret Troutman ’16, of Camp Hill, Pa., is an outpatient therapist for Pennsylvania Counseling Services. She earned her master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling at Cal U and was a member of the Student Counseling Association.

Brian Phillips ’15 is the director of sports performance at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He earned his Cal U master’s degree in exercise science with a concentration in performance enhancement and injury prevention.

Nia Sullivan ’16, of Makeni, Sierra Leone, is a field officer/social worker for the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone. Nia majored in social work at Cal U, where she was in Student Government, the University choir and Alpha Phi Omega.

Bryan Kline ’15, of Murrysville, Pa., was a candidate seeking to represent the 54th Legislative District in Pennsylvania. Bryan is the Westmoreland County (Pa.) Clerk of Courts; he earned his master’s degree in legal studies with a concentration in law and public policy from Cal U.

Zach Fehl ’16 is co-manager of the Metal Edge, an online radio stream of hard rock and heavy metal music launched by The River’s Edge Media. At Cal U, Zach majored in business administration and was a manager at WCAL-FM.


CAL U M I L E S T O N E S Senecca Stromberg ’16 is an associate professor of sports medicine at Eastern Arizona College. She earned her Cal U master’s degree in exercise science and health promotion, with a concentration in performance enhancement and injury prevention.


Amanda Hann ’16 is director of secondary education for the Donegal School District, in Lancaster County, Pa. She received her superintendent letter of eligibility from Cal U. Eric Knolles ’16 is superintendent of schools for the Waverly (N.Y.) Central School District. Eric earned his superintendent letter of eligibility from Cal U. Adisa Hargett-Robinson '16 is working in the Washington, D.C. metro area as a multimedia journalist for Defense News, a news source for defense decision-makers around the world. Adisa studied political science and public relations at Cal U. She went on to earn a master's degree in broadcast journalism from American University in Washington. Daniel Carmichael ’15, ’16 is a high school representative for Triangle Tech, with degrees in business and political science. At Cal U, he was involved in the Student Activities Board, Underground Café, BSU, WCAL, the Cal Times and athletic promotions.

Photo: Mon Valley Independent

James Zell ’39, originally from Monongahela, Pa., turned 100 years old on Jan. 20. Jim was a football, basketball and tennis star who played at Cal from 1935-1939. He was inducted into the Cal U Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997 and was the 2012 men’s basketball Alumnus of the Year. Jim, a World War II veteran, lives in Florida. He is a former manufacturer representative who also owned his own engine-parts warehouse.

Amal Haidar ’17 is a teacher for the Islamic Society of Milwaukee. Amal earned a bachelor’s degree in Arabic language and culture. He lives in Cudahy, Wis.

Heather Berkebile ’17 and Logan Lichvar ’17 are engaged. Heather studied business administration with a human resources concentration; she now works as a human resources recruiter at Somerset (Pa.) Hospital. Logan majored in environmental studies with a concentration in fisheries and wildlife; he works for R.C. Newman. They are planning a September 2018 wedding.

Tyesha Marshall ’17, of Temple Hills, Md., is a child care worker for the Board of Child Care, with headquarters in Baltimore, Md. Tyesha earned a master’s degree in exercise science and health promotion from Cal U. Wade Messner ’17 is an activity therapist at Life Skills and Transition Center in Grafton, N.D. He earned his master’s degree from Cal U. Theresa Kulasa ’17, of Coulter, Pa., is a special education assistant at McKeesport (Pa.) Area School District. She majored in biology/premedicine with a minor in chemistry and was in the marching band, SABUG, the Medical Interest Club, Women in Science Club, Alpha Lambda Delta, and Beta Beta Beta. She also was a Peer Mentor. Brian Fritsch ’17, who graduated with a degree in Sociology: Social Deviance, completed an internship with state Rep. Bud Cook.

ENGAGEMENTS Thomas DeSimone ’16 and Stephanie Kendall are planning a summer 2018 wedding. Thomas earned his master’s degree in athletic training at Cal U. He is a certified athletic trainer for Bassett Healthcare Network and an assistant athletic trainer for the State University of New York at Delhi.


Also turning 100 is Angeline ‘Angie’ Serinko ’40, whose birthday was Jan. 28. Angie taught first and third grades for more than 30 years in what are now the Monessen and Belle Vernon Area school districts in Pennsylvania. Her husband, the late Rege Serinko, was a professor at Cal U and worked in various capacities, including as acting dean of faculty and academic affairs and as executive assistant to the President.

Brittany Kusniar '15 and Donald "DJ" Jellison Jr. '12, '15 were engaged while on a two-week cross-country road trip in June 2017. Brittany and DJ both graduated with a B.S. in Earth Science with a meteorology concentration. DJ continued his education at Cal U and earned a master’s degree in teaching while Brittany obtained her M.A. in Student Affairs in Higher Education at Slippery Rock University. While at Cal U, Brittany was involved in the University Honors Program, Meteorology Club and Alpha Lambda Delta, and she worked in the Career and Professional Development Center. DJ was the educational outreach coordinator for the Meteorology Club. Brittany works as an employer relations specialist at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. DJ works at Millennium Charter Academy in Mount Airy, N.C. Their wedding is set for June 2018.

Jared Long ’17 and Jen Babiak ’14 are engaged. Jared studied mechatronics engineering technology, and Jen studied communications at Cal U. Jen is a public affairs officer for the City of Virginia Beach EMS Headquarters and Training Center. Jared is an automation technician for STIHL Inc. They met at Cal U in 2013, while Jen was speaking to Jared’s department about the Peer Mentoring program. They are planning a May 2019 wedding at a vineyard in Pennsylvania.



Leah Sasko ’07 and Karl Reitz were married July 28, 2017. Leah earned a dual degree in elementary and special education and is a learning support teacher at Rostraver Elementary School, in the Belle Vernon (Pa.) Area School District. Karl is the manager of financial planning and analysis at Net Health in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Steven Roszak ’08 and Jessica Roszak welcomed a daughter, Rylee, in September 2017. Steven is an elementary school teacher for the JeffersonMorgan School District, in Greene County, Pa.

Ashley Arison ’14 and Eric Abraham were married in July 2017. Ashley earned her master’s degree in education and is a special education teacher with the Uniontown (Pa.) Area School District.

Jessica Lelich Schoss ’07, ’09 and Evan Schoss, of Pittsburgh, Pa., welcomed a son, Emmitt Evan Schoss, on Dec. 19, 2017. Jessica is a fifth-grade teacher in the Monessen (Pa.) City School District.


Amy Fauth ’12 and Justin Bourquin ’11 are engaged to be married in August 2018, after a proposal at Walt Disney World. Amy earned her bachelor’s degree in sport management, with a health and wellness concentration. Justin earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology.

Sarah Hamilton ’08 and Barry Hinchliffe were married Aug. 12, 2017. Sarah is a custom framing manager, and Barry is a lighting design specialist. They live in Hopewell, Pa. Megan Pierson ’06, ’09 and Benjamin Dunaway were married in May 2017. Megan earned her degrees in speech pathology and works for Advantage Care Rehabilitation.

Tamba Marenah ’10, ’13 and Paige Rape ’13, both of Charlotte, N.C., are engaged to be married in September 2019. Tamba was a member of the men’s soccer team and is a manager for Workout Anytime. Paige is a substance abuse social worker. Brent Carbonara ’09 and Kristin Gaydos and are engaged. Brent is a senior electrical supervisor at Murray Energy in West Virginia. They are planning a wedding for October 2018.

KirkRyan Alexander McFarland ’13, ’14 and Valerie Bauer are engaged. KirkRyan majored in exercise science and works as an elite trainer, union actor and print model in New York City. They are planning July 2018 wedding. Sarah Howart ’11 and Zachary Dice ’13 are engaged. Both studied education at Cal U and are elementary education teachers. They are planning a summer 2019 wedding.

Kevin Provance ’14 and Kaitlyn Miller are planning an August 2018 wedding. Kevin studied business administration with a marketing concentration at Cal U; now he is a police officer with the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C. Rachel Shojaie ’10 and Tyler Cole are engaged. Rachel majored in communication studies and is a dance instructor at Extreme Dance Center and an office administrator at Jaden’s Catering in Monroeville, Pa.

Annetta Walker ’12 and Desmond Russell were married Nov. 11, 2017. Cristina Yorke ’11 and Glenn Testen were married in December 2017. Cristina studied communication disorders and works as an audiologist. They live in Lyndhurst, Ohio.

Dominic “Nick” Antonelli ’84 Michael T. Bosnyak ’73 Michael J. “Mike” Boyza ’77 Col. Ernest M. Breuer ’61 Eileen Lorraine Dillon Britt ’95 Carol S. “Sue” Revala Chambers ’64 John Conn ’07 Judith L. Hammitt Creevey ’82 Joanne Casacchia Dempsey ’93 Milton P. “Dink” Diaz ’62 Dr. Robert Dickie,* emeritus professor, Department of Special Education; editor, Journal Education and Teaching of Children at Cal U William A. Dukstein ’75, ’77 Elizabeth Mary Dzurinko ’67 Mary Anne Cairns Ermlick ’69 Patricia D. Gross ’80 Margaret R. Lee Halavick ’61 Dr. James Ray Kennedy ’53, a member of the Cal U Athletic Hall of Fame Thomas Y. King ’86 Thomas Joseph Matthews Jr. ’91 Mary Alice Overand McCulloch ’90 Jody Hughes Menni ’77 Bryan Anthony Nahaj ’95 Dr. John F. Ogurchak ’70 Dr. Karen L. Polkabla ’71, ’75 Barbara Ann Boyd Rankin ’82 James Reamer’73 Carmen Jennings Roberts ’52 Joseph Fred Ruffolo ’83 John William Sloan ’58 Mary L. Caterino Spizzirri ’40 Robert N. Tirpak ’68 Dr. Lorraine G. Vitchoff ’74, former board member of the Foundation for California University of Pennsylvania and past president of the Cal U Alumni Association board of directors John Vojnovich ’51 Donna L. Clarke Zimmerman ’64 *No class year available or on file






Their gifts reflect donors' degrees


athy and David Rohm have fond memories of their time together on campus. He left southern Lancaster County to study industrial arts at “Cal State.” She followed him to California more than a year later, enrolled in the communication disorders program, and took extra classes so they could graduate together in 1978. David put his degree to work in business. He eventually started Educational Solutions Enterprises, which supplies equipment and furniture for technology education programs and career and technology schools. Cathy spent 34 years as a speech pathologist for Intermediate Unit 12, teaching thousands of York-area children to improve their speech and language skills. She continues to work part time at York Hospital as a pediatric speech therapist. “We both loved our majors and believed in them,” David says. “And we both had good careers.”

Now they are giving back. The couple has endowed the Cathy and David Rohm Scholarships Fund. Each year the fund will support two scholarships — one for a student in technology education or applied engineering and technology, the other for a communication disorders oreducation major. Rather than including their gift in an estate plan, the Rohms decided to endow the scholarships in their retirement years. There are tax benefits, David explains, along with the satisfaction of seeing their gift at work. “I believe that success breeds success,” he says. “We want to do things now, so we can see the benefit. We want to share in the excitement.” To learn more about endowed scholarships and other ways to support Cal U students, visit our website at calu.edu/alumni, contact the Office of University Development and Alumni Relations at 724-938-5775, or email Associate Vice President Tony Mauro at mauro@calu.edu.



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Aerial view Start with a dusting of late-season snow, then add a dash of drone technology. The result is this striking image of students hurrying along the sidewalks in front of Old Main.


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