Page 1

Gwynedd-Mercy College

Spring 2013

President’s Message

Spring 2013

Wearin’ the Green


s the days of March unfold, including the mid-March feast of Saint Patrick, I can’t help but recall memories of my home town’s annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade and the city’s tradition of coloring the Chicago River a bright shade of emerald green. While my cultural heritage is only fifty percent Irish, Saint Paddy’s Day was always a day of celebration in our family and a day-off from whatever I happened to be giving up in Lent for that particular year. As a parent, I remember telling stories to my sons on Saint Patrick’s Day, which had them looking for the Leprechaun that might lead them to a pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow. While they were almost always certain that they saw the magical Leprechaun leaping across the yard, they were never quite quick enough to catch the Leprechaun or find that pot o’ gold. I, on the other hand, am here to tell you that I have seen the Leprechaun and found the pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow. Our pot o’ gold has been shaped by generations of Leprechauns including Sisters of Mercy, alumni, students, faculty and staff, as well as all our friends and benefactors, who enable the College to provide the high quality learning our students need to succeed and thrive in an era of global interconnection and rapid societal and economic change. Before the end of the calendar year, we will open our new academic complex that will demonstrate our commitment to innovation and advanced educational practices with opportunity to enhance faculty-led creativity, systemic change, and higher levels of student achievement. I invite you to watch the construction progress in real time by visiting the GMC webpage [] and clicking on the “Construction Cam.” You will see our state-of-the-art, technologically enhanced, environmentally sensitive academic center that will be home to our Schools of Education and Business. Over the next many months, the Frances M. Maguire School of Nursing and Health Professions will introduce the College’s first doctoral degree program, i.e. the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. The College has a long history and strong traditions in preparing highly effective nurses to serve urban and suburban Philadelphia, the Lower Delaware River Valley and beyond. As we strive to meet the evolving healthcare needs of our local and larger geographic region, our DNP program will prepare the next generation of advanced practice Mercy nurses in a program that fosters intellectual rigor, ethical competence, a global perspective along with the Mercy focus on advocacy directed toward social change. My guess is that many of you believe that you have never met a Leprechaun or seen the pot o’ gold at rainbow’s end. Now it’s true that the traditional Leprechaun of Irish folklore is disguised as a shoemaker; however, my experience includes encounters with Leprechauns from a broad range of fields, professions and trades, including all of you. Your loyal, ongoing and generous support is evidence that you know where to find the Leprechaun’s pot o’ gold…it’s Gwynedd-Mercy College and our Distinctive Mercy Graduates.

Kathleen Owens, PhD President

Contents Gwynedd-Mercy College Today is published twice a year for the alumni and friends of the College. Your comments and suggestions are welcome. Gerald T. McLaughlin Vice President for Institutional Advancement

Carol’s Troupe 2


Hurricane Sandy 5 Conventional Wisdom 9

Editor: Anthony Stipa Assistant Editor: Shani Berler


Creative Director and Production Manager: Donna Smyrl

President’s Message Campus News

Contributors: Daniel Bencardino ’13 Dan Freed ’13 Teresa Harris Brittany Smith ’08 Design: Kim Austin Design Photography: Shani Berler Rob Gregor ’13 Linda Johnson Hunter Martin Chris Panter Jim Roese Donna Smyrl Anthony Stipa

Inside Cover





Alumni News A Dose of Haitian Hospitality Britany Smith ’08


“A Zoo Story” Nancy Grzesik ’70


Class Notes


On the Cover: Nancy Grzesik ’70, visits with a newborn giraffe at the Brevard Zoo.


Carol’s Troupe After two decades of musical memories, assistant professor of music Carol Evans and her local vocal group is all grown up. By: Anthony Stipa On November 30, 2012, Gwynedd-Mercy College’s Voices of Gwynedd performed their Christmas Memories concert in Julia Ball Auditorium. It was significant not only because the room swelled beyond capacity, but for the fact that it marked twenty years of the “Carol Evans Era.” The animated and fearless assistant professor of music signed on to lead a rag-tag troupe of singers late in the spring of 1992. Known simply as “Glee Club” at the time, Evans rejuvenated a little-known program into a community staple and globetrotting entity.

2 Today Campus News

“I came to their spring concert—no lie—the whole audience was 12 people,” Evans said. “There might have been 20 people on the stage. It just looked like this random group of people. I went home and said to my husband, ‘What did I get myself into?’” It took a highly-motivated and ambitious personality to establish a presence on campus. Add Evans’ patience and perseverance to the equation, and the Voices of Gwynedd would soon be headlining performances in Ireland, Italy, and Canada. They’ve been featured at New York City’s Carnegie Hall and at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center. The Philadelphia Flyers, Eagles and Phillies have all been entertained by the (varying in size) 100-piece ensemble.

For Evans, who has a master of music degree in music performance, there was never really a question of finding success, but how long it would take to attain. Her formative years were spent pounding the piano keys and belting shower solos, until it was evident that music was more than a healthy obsession. Passing these passions onto others was where she would excel. At William Penn High School in York, Pa. Evans was the architect of an award-winning choir for five years. She would move to Philadelphia in order to pursue teaching and voice coaching at the collegiate level. Evans’ trademark style helped her gain wide acclaim as she worked at Villanova University, Temple

University, and Haverford College along the way. By 1992, Gwynedd-Mercy College knew they were getting someone with the talent to usher in a new era. Evans concentrated on recruiting more males to a primarily female-dominated endeavor. It promoted diversity and brought bass to the burgeoning group. Evans believes there is no such thing as a prototypical singer, and still hasn’t found anyone she can’t “cure” of their melodic deficiency.

“I don’t even know her name, but she said ‘I just heard all of [Branson’s] Christmas shows and your show was better than any of the ones I heard out there’,” Evans recounted. “I was just so pumped when I heard that, and so proud of the Voices.”

Five Unforgettable Memories By: Carol Evans


Basilica—it was simply magical. It was well over 100 degrees, with humidity and no air conditioning, but none of that mattered. As we sang, more and more people piled into the church. Every piece got better and better, and as we sang through the program my eyes filled with tears as I could feel every note that we

“I take anybody,” Evans beamed. “Once I teach them how to hear it, it works for everyone. Even for those singers that think ‘Oh my goodness, I’m never going to get it’, they get it.”

sang. At the end of the concert the feeling was mutual for all the members as we hugged and celebrated a fantastic performance.


But, as Evans will tell you, it’s not about her. The Voices of Gwynedd, collectively, have built relationships beyond the stage. The Gwynedd Valley community has been a backbone of support throughout the years, turning out in record numbers to hear annual performances. The ensemble also incorporates Gwynedd-Mercy College alumni, creating a fraternal camaraderie. “The older, non-traditional singers inspire the younger ones,” Evans said. “Sometimes they even give my younger ones jobs. It is great networking and so enriching that they have something to give to each other.” Marie Blasetti ’01 has been a member for sixteen years, “making magic” and learning about the legendary composers and unique cultures of the world. She’s performed in Italian chapels, and went with the group to Carnegie Hall in the spring of 2004. Blasetti cites lasting friendships and a stabilizing presence through the highs and lows of her life.

One of my favorite tour stories was singing in Florence, Italy in the Santa Maria Maggiore

A funny story—one of our singers lost his passport when traveling to Italy. It fell out of his backpack and was left on the former flight at Heathrow Airport (London). We had to travel to Italy for our actual concert tour, so he had to become a British citizen for 24 hours until they

Compliments are rewarding, but only additional incentive to produce exceptional music. Evans is actively aware of this, and back to molding a group of dedicated vocalists. Each semester the goal is to blend new arrivals with an experienced core of veteran voices. It can be an intimidating workload, and students are naturally perturbed by the challenging musical pieces they have to master. However, by the time of the Spring Musicale—the 20th anniversary performances will be held on April 17 and April 19—it’s a complete team effort. Evans is direct and curt with her approach.

got the passport back to him. In addition, since he traveled light, he checked all the girls’ uniforms with his luggage and therefore, we had no uniforms until the very last concert on tour.


Another very moving experience was singing God Bless America, I’m Proud to be an American, The Navy Hymn, and the national anthem over the Grand Canyon on July 4, 2007. So many veterans came up to us with tears in their eyes thanking us for singing and making them feel proud to have served our country.


We have traveled to and sung in Ireland two times, in 1998 and 2008. We made a pilgrimage to Ireland on both the 50th and 60th anniversaries of Gwynedd-Mercy College. A highlight of those tours was singing for the

“Like any family, we celebrate each other’s joy, whether it be celebrating a couple’s engagement, or celebrating the birth of a new child,” Blasetti said. “And we also come together to support one another in times of sorrow. The love shared by Carol and the entire choir is the most special part of this ensemble.”

Sisters at the Mercy International Centre, sharing stories from home and also enjoying a “comfortable cup of tea” with people from all around the world. On our most recent tour to Ireland in 2008, we sang on the top of a mountain at the very northern coast of the country while seeing Scotland in the distance.

It was a little more than a decade ago that Evans’ had a moment of realization after a Voices of Gwynedd Christmas concert. A patron approached her after the show to offer high praise. She had just returned from a trip to Branson, Missouri—a vibrant hub for Music Theatre—and decided to catch a local performance on campus.

What a stunning sight and magnificent

“Look guys—I set the bar really high for you, I know you can do this, but it’s because I love and respect you,” Evans imitates herself. “Every year, they surprise me and exceed expectations.”



One last experience was the Christmas concert after September 11, where we started the concert with the national anthem—I think it sent a chill down the spine of everyone there.

Today 3

This spring and summer, the Voices of Gwynedd will also continue the tradition of taking their act on the road. They’ve been to more than a dozen destinations, soon adding performances in Vienna, Prague and Austria to an illustrious list. The “Sound of Music Tour”—as it’s being billed—is a journey back to both classical music’s roots and the famous Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. “Prague is one of the hottest cities for music right now,” Evans said. “This trip is so special because it has gorgeous cathedrals and venues for great performances,” she added. The Voices of Gwynedd’s symphonic sound has amplified the reputation of Gwynedd-Mercy College. Whether echoing off of the walls in Julia Ball Auditorium, the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica in Florence, Italy, or the basin of the Grand Canyon, they have served as ambassadors both near to and far from campus. The challenge now is getting an ever-growing fan base to fit inside the confines of Julia Ball Auditorium. ❂

In 2007, the Voices of Gwynedd toured the southwestern portion of the United States. During Memorial Day Weekend, they sang patriotic songs atop the Grand Canyon.

Voices of Gwynedd Tours 1995 1996 1998 1999 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013

Williamsburg, Va. Washington, D.C. Ireland San Diego, Calif. (spring) Columbus, Ohio (fall) Nashville, Tenn. London, England Canada/Niagara Falls Orlando, Fla. New York City, N.Y. Italy Washington, D.C. Southwest United States Ireland Boston, Mass. Alaska New Orleans, La. Philadelphia, Pa. Prague and Austria

Every spring for nearly a decade, the Voices of Gwynedd have performed on the Philadelphia Art Museum steps to kick-off the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure event, benefitting breast cancer.

In the early years, the group was comprised of a couple dozen singers. Shown here is a practice at Julia Ball Auditorium circa 1995.

The Voices of Gwynedd have performed the national anthem at Philadelphia Eagles, Flyers and Phillies games. Here, they share a colorful moment with the Phillie Phanatic.

4 Today

(Left to right) Matt Smollinger ’05, Jason McCully ’00, Carolyn Dwyer ’05, Jaclyn Dwyer ’04, Bridget Mscisz ’05, and Jen Lorine ’06 appeared in a special performance of the opera “Vanqui” at Franklin & Marshall College in 2003.

(Left to right) Sam Lockerby, London Harmon, Brittany Keller ’11/’12, and Matt Agos prepare to go on stage before the 2011 Spring Musicale at Julia Ball Auditorium.


Hurricane Sandy left its mark on land, and a deep impression in the hearts and minds of many in the Northeast Corridor of the United States. The “super storm”—considered the largest Atlantic seaboard hurricane in recorded history—crippled the region, leaving 125 fatalities and damage estimates of $65.5 billion. Though Hurricane Irene in 2011 was detrimental and costly in its own right, it was responsible for only one-fourth of the damage and half of the fatalities as Sandy. Gwynedd-Mercy College students and staff felt the impact with a loss of power,

heat, and hot water resulting in class cancellations. Large trees tumbled across campus, and although they have been cleaned up, the memories of a traumatic time frame still linger. Dr. Cheryl Lynn Horsey, vice president for enrollment and student services, remembers the height of the storm on Monday, Oct. 29, 2012. “The College didn’t have hot water, electricity or heat,” she said. Addressing student and parent concerns about campus safety was GMC’s first priority. Rick LaRosa, director of resident

life, was responsible for students who remained in the residence halls. “When we dealt with Hurricane Irene in [August] 2011, there wasn’t much of an impact,” LaRosa said. “We had asked students to move into the residence halls a little early to avoid delays, but we didn’t lose power so classes began as scheduled,” he said. About 25 trees were uprooted when Hurricane Sandy blew through, requiring a collective cleanup effort. A large tree was uprooted adjacent to The Griffin Complex, requiring several weeks to remove.

Today 5

Senior suitemates Mary Beth Popelak, Rosie Kowalski, and Michelle Haggerty (left to right) huddled together in their residence at St. Brigid Hall during the height of the storm. Power outages crippled the building and the girls played card games to pass the time.

Hurricane Sandy had presented a bigger challenge for the campus this time around. The residence halls were open, but due to the outages, the library was closed and dining services were limited. “There were 207 students in our residence halls without power as of Monday at 8:30p.m., and we had to come up with a plan to keep them safe, fed and warm,” LaRosa said. “Parkhurst Dining Services delivered meals to the main lounges of the residence halls so that students didn’t have to risk walking around on campus during the most dangerous parts of the storm.” Mary Beth Popelak, a senior radiation therapy student from Pennsauken, N.J., recalled a feeling of uncertainty during the storm’s onslaught. “When the power went out Monday night, I dragged my mattress to move in with my suitemates since my roommate had gone home. My suitemates and I tried to preserve our food by keeping the refrigerator doors shut, but ended up throwing everything out on Tuesday,” she said.

Horsey and LaRosa expressed their gratitude to the students and staff during the storm. They commended their patience and understanding during a stressful time, also citing the work of dining services and public safety. “This whole experience has opened our eyes and started discussions about future emergency plans. The students can always count on us doing whatever is in their best interests,” Dr. Horsey said. While the storm’s ramifications on campus were manageable, the nightmare was just beginning for some of the College’s commuter students. Senior human services major Mary McGrath endured setbacks of her own. “My family lives in Hatboro, Pa., and we experienced a power outage for about a week. We also didn’t have hot water and ended up using a neighbor’s bathroom to take showers at one point. I felt like a homeless person.” The McGraths kept an ice-filled cooler for food, and went to the laundromat to

“I thought about going home to Pennsauken on Sunday, but didn’t think the storm was going to be as bad as it was. Once they started closing the bridges, I didn’t think it would be worth the trouble, so I stayed,” she said. LaRosa and public safety personnel reviewed proper evacuation plans with students, fortunately, it wasn’t necessary to enforce. Campus was able to resume to somewhat normal activities by Wednesday, Oct. 31.

6 Today

Senior radiation therapy major Mary Beth Popelak peers out the window of her room in St. Brigid’s during the superstorm.

wash clothes, and charge their cell phones. Listening to a battery powered radio helped keep the family abreast of storm related updates. “I really didn’t get any homework done and missed some of my internship. I was able to go to my classes during the day but at night it was all about staying warm and finding something to eat. My professors were very understanding though and had changed their syllabi to accommodate for the lost time during the storm,” she added. Dee Simms, a junior computer information science major and staff member from Quakertown, Pa., lost power at home for several nights. However, Lourdes Library offered a small sample of relief by way of hot coffee during work. “I was able to use the library computers to do some of my work during my shift, but getting work done at home was pretty much impossible at night. After cleaning up from the storm, I spent the next two weeks catching up on my schoolwork,” she admitted. Though Gwynedd-Mercy College was able to resume normal activities soon after the storm, it did not forget about those still struggling with daily survival due to huge losses and displacement. True to the history and heritage of the Sisters of Mercy, the GMC Mission and Values Committee collected donations at their Thanksgiving Ecumenical Celebration. As a result, more than five hundred dollars was given to the Sisters of Mercy for the Hurricane Sandy Response Fund to help with the relief effort. ❂

IBC Foundation and Maguire Foundation

Invest in Local Healthcare The Independence Blue Cross Foundation and The Maguire Foundation partnered to provide $183,488 in funding to Gwynedd-Mercy College’s Adult Health Center in Lansdale, Pa. The IBC Foundation allocated $75,000. The Maguire Foundation graciously matched that figure, with $33,488 additionally set aside for student scholarships. It was a commitment to the present and future of nursing. “We are honored to once again partner with The Maguire Foundation in support of the Gwynedd-Mercy College Adult Health Center, which area residents depend on for vital health services and quality care,” IBC Foundation President Lorina Marshall-Blake

said. “We’re also proud to support nursing students at the College through our Foundation’s Nursing for Tomorrow program. The new health care law will bring many changes and challenges and the need for highly skilled nurses is going to be more important than ever before.” The Adult Health Center has been a stable entity that has supported the local community for more than a decade, serving underinsured patients who have financial obstacles to overcome. The facility averages 3,500 patient visits per year, with about 100-130 visits per week. A challenging economic environment has increased the significance of contributions like this one.


Announced for 2012-2013

Two new members have joined Gwynedd-Mercy College’s Board of Trustees in 2012-2013. Mary Anne Francisco ’66/’76 and David Mallach each bring a variety of strengths and experiences to the Board. Mary Anne Francisco recently retired as a Certified School Nurse in the Pennsbury School District. She was responsible for meeting mandated requirements for almost 1,500 students, facilitating programs for healthy behaviors, mentoring school nurse interns and routinely interfaced with government agencies, school administration, students and community members. During her 42 years in the nursing profession, her work included various positions as a professional nurse throughout the Delaware Valley and Connecticut. Francisco holds numerous certifications and degrees including master’s degrees in nursing and education from The College of New Jersey and Villanova University. Francisco is active in Sigma Theta Tau (Iota Kappa Chapter), which is the international nursing honor society, and the National Association of School Nurses. Some of her

many distinctions include the American Cancer Society’s 1990 “Nurse of Hope” recognition for smoking cessation programs in schools, as well as the “National Best Paper Award” in 1991 for student-aged psychosocial research. In 2007, Francisco served as a delegate to China on a People to People Ambassadors Program trip, traveling to Beijing, Shanghai, Guilin and Hong Kong in order to compare nursing philosophies. David Mallach has been at Merrill Lynch since 1973, where he currently serves as a wealth management advisor and is the managing director of investments in the Elkins Park, Pa. office. He has authored several wealth management books, including “Moneywork$,” “Investment Secrets,” “Dancing with the Analysts,” “Walking with the Analysts,” and “Running with the Analysts.” In 2006, Mallach earned a spot in Research Magazine’s Hall of Fame, and in 2007 he was selected as Registered Representative Magazine’s Outstanding

“Gwynedd-Mercy College is unique due to its history of improving the health and well-being of at-risk populations,” said Dr. Andrea Hollingsworth, dean of the Frances M. Maguire School of Nursing and Health Professions. “We are honored that the Independence Blue Cross Foundation and The Maguire Foundation support our traditions of service to society and student enlightenment.” The College has been gratified by continued generosity from the two organizations. Last year, the IBC Foundation and The Maguire Foundation each donated $50,000 to the same cause. ❂

Advisor of the Year. For the past three years, Barron’s Magazine has named Mallach to a list of America’s top 1,000 advisors. He has lectured extensively in Europe, Scandinavia, the Middle East, South and Central America as well as the United States. Mallach’s philanthropy has led to several admirable endeavors, one of them being the establishment of the University of Pennsylvania’s Mallach House in Botswana, South Africa. The residence is used as a dormitory for doctors, nurses, and medical students who are conducting HIV research and administering treatment. In 2011, Mallach was the recipient of Merrill Lynch’s Brady Award, given to an employee worldwide who continually enhances the lives of their colleagues, clients and communities in which they serve. Mallach spent much of his youth growing up in France, Germany and England and is a graduate of Troy University’s business program. “Mary Anne and David each have had great professional success and we are extremely pleased to have them join a devoted team of board members,” President Kathleen Owens, PhD, said. “We appreciate their commitment to Gwynedd-Mercy College and to our students.” ❂

Today 7

GMC Students with Car Sharing

By: Teresa Harris

Colleges across the country are differentiating themselves through the adoption of convenient and economical car-sharing programs for students. Eliminating the need for a personal car at school helps reduce emissions and the amount of cars in campus parking lots. Gwynedd-Mercy College’s partnership with the UhaulCarShareSM car rental program, launched in 2010, achieves all of those objectives. Though the cars are located on GMC’s campus, UhaulCarShare is also available to the general public. The hourly car-sharing program was introduced by Dr. Cheryl Lynn Horsey, vice president for enrollment and student services at the College. “Initially, I was looking for a way to help and serve our students,” Dr. Horsey said. “Since the College is located in a suburban area, students don’t have as much access to public transportation as some do in the city. Providing them with an inexpensive and sustainable way to get around town with UhaulCarShare seemed like a perfect fit,” she said. Since most car sharing plans are located in major cities, Gwynedd-Mercy College is one of the few suburban colleges in the area to offer such a program. A recent study by Northcoast Research Partners indicates that there is a 20-30 percent growth rate among U.S. colleges that adopt car-sharing programs, making it a more mainstream transportation option. The survey was conducted among 35 participating colleges across the nation. Dr. Horsey reports that the cars at GMC are rented almost daily while weekend rentals for other participating campuses are most popular.

8 Today

Three easy steps put drivers behind the wheel of an insured energy efficient car—register, rent and drive. Rentals are self-accessed by registering online and by selecting the Gwynedd Valley, Pa. location. There is a one-time fee of $25.00 and a low hourly rate starting at $4.95. Drivers pay as they go with an additional $0.59 per mile, making it very affordable for most. A silver Nissan Cube and white Ford Focus are the two cars available in the GMC UhaulCarShare program. In addition to superb fuel efficiency, they also include MP3 plug-in capability to help personalize the driving experience. Once registration is complete, it can be a matter of hours before a user can punch in their code on the car door and be in the driver’s seat. “The Car Share program is a great thing to have here at GMC,” senior baseball player Justin Keith said. “It’s nice to know that if I need something for class or practice, the car is available. It is great for emergencies and very reliable.” Anyone over 18 years of age with at least two years of driving experience may qualify. Car maintenance, insurance and gas are covered in the rental price. In the event of a flat tire or accident, help can be obtained by calling the UhaulCarShare customer service line. “The ease and affordability of the UhaulCarShare program has helped many students get to nursing clinicals, student teaching assignments and shop for personal items,” Dr. Horsey said. “I’m sure there are local people who could also benefit from this service if they knew about it, so we are looking to expand our program community-wide. Getting a couple of friends to share with you is fun and can cost as little as a dollar an hour,” she added. For more information about the UHaulCarShare program log onto or call 1-877-990-8227. Follow UHaulCarShare on Twitter @UhaulCarShare and Facebook for discounts and updates. ❂

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Conventional Wisdom

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Two Gwynedd-Mercy College students were thrust into the political frenzy that comes with a presidential election.

The 2012 Presidential Election was a decisive point in American politics. The delicate and essential vetting process leading up to it can also be an exhausting one. The long campaign trail makes a plethora of stops, the most significant being each major candidate’s convention. That’s where Gwynedd-Mercy College seniors’ Dan Freed and Daniel Bencardino come in. The two were able to witness and participate as the “wheels of democracy” were in motion. Freed traveled to Tampa, Fla. from Aug. 27-30 for the Republican National Convention, while Bencardino was in Charlotte, N.C. from Sept. 3-6 for the Democratic National Convention. Political ideologies aside, this is what they learned.

★ ★

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

By: Dan Freed

By: Daniel Bencardino

When I was told I would be representing Gwynedd-Mercy College at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., I was probably the happiest person on campus. I have always had an interest in politics, mostly because both of my parents stay up-to-date with the political happenings in America. It was almost too exciting for me to handle because I had never flown on an airplane or even stayed at a hotel before.

My experience at the Democratic National Convention can best be described as eye-opening. From first arriving in Charlotte, N.C., to the final night in the hotel, each day was a learning experience. Charlotte is a very beautiful city. Its metropolitan epicenter was polished and spacious, as opposed to the streets of Philadelphia which I’m more accustomed to walking. The first week, during the lecture portion of my seminar experience, my time out of the classroom was spent exploring the surprisingly artistic business-oriented city. From the “Pride” festival on the day of my arrival, to the insights provided to me by tour guides from the University of North Carolina, the city contained culture and diversity between the suited businessmen and daily commuters.

When I arrived, The Washington Center—the institution sponsoring an academic seminar that would lead up to the convention—prepared a weeklong educational briefing for approximately 140 students. We heard from a number of professors, local Florida politicians, and even Aaron Brown the CNN journalist who covered the September 11th terrorist attacks. By far the best part of my time in Tampa was the fieldwork assignment with the Pennsylvania Republican Party. Three other students and I helped to prepare Pennsylvania’s appointed hotel for the arrival of the delegates. Along with about a dozen other staff members, we assembled gift bags, prepared credentials, and stocked the hotel hospitality suite with drinks and snacks. When the delegates finally did arrive, I’m pretty sure they were even more excited to be there than the interns were. I was honestly nervous about meeting them, but almost all of them were a lot of fun to be around. I worked almost 14 or 15 hours a day for the delegation, making sure everyone boarded the right bus and had the proper credentials. We were responsible for keeping things organized, and I tried to ensure that everyone was content and comfortable. The other interns and I didn’t do much sleeping that week, but it was completely worth it. I was thrilled to be able to get into the convention each of the three nights it was held. We had been told that we might only get into the convention one night, but to be able to attend all three nights was truly special. I was able to see speakers Marco Rubio, Clint Eastwood, and Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney. However, my favorite memory of being inside the convention hall was when I accidentally walked into political analyst George Will and knocked him into a wall. Now I can say that I literally bumped into a celebrity!

The second week was a fast-paced and exciting exposure into the world of politics. I worked with the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, and assisted with the travel, events, and registration needs of the delegates who attended the convention. I was involved in sharing information, directing guests where to go, what to see, and what paperwork they needed to help their morning routine run as smoothly as possible. However, there was always something to test our patience and ability to adapt. Whether it was protesters blocking the city’s public transportation, or finding our way around a motorcade at any given time, it was up to the team of interns and professionals to problem solve. At the end of the second week, I had slept approximately eight hours in five days, and I was incredibly exhausted. The late night events and early morning meetings kept us busier than I’ve ever been, but in the end the hard work was rewarding. The professionals organizing the events came to trust me with important tasks like leading busses to pick-up points for the delegates, and eventually allowed me to sit with the delegation on the last day of the convention. I had a front row seat to see many of the speakers, and even had the opportunity to witness President Barack Obama’s speech live. It was tiring and often thankless work, but the payoff was the experience and connections made by the virtue of my determination and skill. I’ll never forget my time in Charlotte, and the countless memories made during my trip. ❂

Dan Freed (left) and Daniel Bencardino (right) appeared on CBS 3 to discuss their impressions of President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney after a presidential debate in October 2012.

Today 9

The Unconventional


Fleet-footed junior Brett Kubiak is a unique individual—and not just because he’s achieved a program first for the cross country team. By: Anthony Stipa 10 Today Sports

A twenty minute conversation with junior cross country runner Brett Kubiak will leave you scratching your head. The recently named All-American is a quirky character, who doesn’t need acknowledgement to keep his legs constantly churning. He’s never stopped long enough to reflect, or appreciate the fact that he’s the first Gwynedd-Mercy College cross country athlete to earn such a distinction. But, don’t let a cavalier façade fool you; there’s a deep-seated competitiveness lurking inside of him. That’s why you’ll see him, rain or shine, galloping through parking lots and fields around campus—because he hasn’t quite reached his destination. “People have been saying it so much that it’s been getting old,” Kubiak said. “You can’t ride on that forever. If you just think about that the whole time, you’re not going to think about reaching more goals.”

form is better, he looks effortless, he’s just had one injury after another,” Dager, who also coaches men’s and women’s track and field, added. Most professional distance runners are programmed to run anywhere from 80-100 miles per week. Kubiak began his Griffin career on a much stricter regimen, monitored by Dager who understood it takes time to build a relentless motor.

When he elevated his strength and conditioning, Dager took off the “harness.” The results speak for themselves. Last fall, Kubiak finished third during NCAA Regionals held near Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., notching a time of 25:26 in the 8,000-meter (approximately five miles). The mark earned him a trip to Terre Haute, Ind. for the 2012 NCAA Division III National Championships on Nov. 17, 2012.

Kubiak claims he’s never actually put on his All-American medal until posing for this picture. Here he proudly displays it around his neck, along with a plaque recognizing the impressive feat.

In the early days, running was just an escape from the ordinary, and a chance to challenge his twin brother Joe—who also runs for the College. The two raced around after watching a few too many Rocky movies, and decided to pursue cross country after just one year of running for The Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Pa. “I knew that Brett was really raw and hadn’t done a lot of running,” men’s and women’s cross country head coach Mike Dager said. “Mechanically Joe is better than Brett, his

Today 11

“It was lonely up there without the team,” Kubiak halfheartedly joked. “I’m used to going to every single meet with the whole team. I hope that more people make it next year.” Kubiak ended his cross country season 33rd at Nationals, where he managed to run a personal best 25:03 in the 8,000-meter. He crossed the finish line just 37 seconds after the first place finisher. “I didn’t have a sense of accomplishment, it was weird,” Kubiak said. “All the hard work, I was kind of expecting it. I was mad I didn’t do better at Nationals.” Runners don’t enjoy the luxury of an offseason, and Kubiak—who owns four program records with his brother—participates in indoor and outdoor track and field as well. It’s the kind of versatility that can be a coach’s dream, or nightmare. Kubiak wants to attempt the steeplechase, an Olympic race that can

12 Today

have dire consequences if approached lackadaisically. “If you hit a steeplechase barrier, your season could be over. I don’t think he understands that. You break your leg,” Dager said. “He’s good at anything he tries [but] it’s like driving a Ferrari down a dirt road—not something you want to do.” Kubiak’s philosophy is either the measure of a consummate team player or an obsessive superstition. He’s able to adjust his body for any type of event. “He just puts me in and I race,” Kubiak succinctly said. This summer will be crucial if Kubiak wants to reach his preliminary goals of winning NCAA Regionals and placing inside the top ten at Nationals. Logging 10 miles per day won’t cut it. Kubiak isn’t quite sure what he’s capable of, but his coach has a pretty good idea.

“He’ll probably have every track record [at the College],” Dager said. “He’s the last person to leave the training room every day. He’s dedicated to being the best he can be.” Whether he’s chatting up an opposing runner during a meet, or debating the effects of “runner’s high,” Kubiak isn’t afraid to, as Dager puts it, “say some kind of off the wall things.” He is a successful student who is scheduled to leave Gwynedd-Mercy College with a degree in computer information science next year. Kubiak’s not exactly positive if a professional running career is in his future, but it can’t be ruled out. He has an unconventional, but effective, way of figuring these things out. ❂

Kubiak breaks away from the pack at the Colonial States Athletic Conference Championships on Oct. 27, 2012. Despite sloppy conditions, he would place first overall among 86 participants, propelling the team to a championship in the process.


The tradition of honoring past athletic achievements continued on Sept. 29, 2012, as six new members were inducted into the Griffins’ Hall of Fame. The ceremony, which took place during Homecoming Weekend, was held at Julia Ball Auditorium. Recognized for the precedents they set, and legacies they left behind were Steve Troy ’02, Jenn (Kratowicz) Robinson ’04, Cindy (Hansen) Mumford ’04, Rachel (Pearson) Bodick ’00, Will Carter ’01, and Sue (Davis) Crathern ’83.

The “Lineup”: Steve Troy specialized in shutting down opposing offenses, taking the mound for 182 innings during his tenure on the baseball team. He is the program’s all-time leader in complete games (14) and lowest batting average against (.236). The four-year team captain led the Griffins to the NCAA Tournament in 2000 and 2001, pitching a memorable 2-1 complete game win over Elizabethtown College in the second appearance. Troy was an all-conference selection in both 2001 and 2002. Jenn Robinson was the volleyball team’s captain for two seasons, earning

all-conference honors during three seasons. She ranked nationally in kills for all of Division III in 2002 and 2003, cementing a reputation for tenacity and hard work. Off the court, she was a two-time Mid-Atlantic Region Academic All-American. She was known as a role model and team player to those who had the opportunity to compete with her. In a record-setting four years, Cindy Mumford was part of women’s soccer’s first ever Pennsylvania Athletic Conference (PAC)* Championship and NCAA Tournament Qualifier in 2001. Her leadership and reliability on defense produced three consecutive first team all-conference selections. The three-year captain was also honored for her work in the classroom, earning an Academic All-American Regional award in 2002 and 2003. Rachel Bodick earned PAC All-Conference honors in four years as a Griffin, en route to being the fifth all-time leading scorer in women’s basketball history. A three-time co-captain, she helped spearhead the team’s first ever conference championship in 1999, leading to an NCAA Tournament berth. The following season, she would be named the

PAC championship game MVP as Gwynedd-Mercy College returned to the NCAA Tournament. With 1,832 career points at Gwynedd-Mercy College, Will Carter was an offensive machine for the men’s basketball team. He led the program to their first ever PAC Championship in 1999. Carter was a first team all-conference selection in 1999, 2000, and 2001, leading the Griffins in scoring during those seasons. For four seasons, the success of the women’s basketball team hinged on Sue Crathern, who led the Griffins in scoring during each year of her career. She produced 2,061 career points, finishing with a scoring average of 35 points per game. In 1983, Crathern was selected to the Philadelphia Daily News’ All-Area Basketball Team. A memorable highlight was notching a program record 56 points in a single game. These six transcendent athletes will have their plaques displayed prominently in The Griffin Complex next to previously enshrined hall of famers. ❂ *PAC became the Colonial States Athletic Conference in 2008.

Today 13

Volleyball Under first year head coach Tim Kilian, the volleyball team had some expected growing pains. Still, they gelled with strong wins against Cheyney University (Sept. 18), Rosemont College (Sept. 29), and Keystone College (Oct. 13). Senior Kristen Gambone anchored a young squad, finishing first in team assists and second in digs. She was also named to the CSAC All-Sportsmanship Team. Junior Michelle Carrieri also completed a strong season, finishing with a team high 140 kills.

Men’s Soccer

Field Hockey

The Griffins sputtered in the beginning of the season, but rebounded nicely to accumulate momentum for a 2013 campaign. A 2-2 draw against rival Cabrini College on Oct. 3 marked a turning point in which the team would rattle off wins in four of their next six games. Colonial States Athletic Conference Second Team honors went to sophomore Ryan Roedel and junior Trevor Sotell. Junior Dan Panepresso was awarded an honorable mention, while senior Nick Stangler was voted to the CSAC All-Sportsmanship Team.

The celebration was twice as sweet for the field hockey team, who won the CSAC Championship for the second straight year. A 13-5 record propelled the Griffins into the postseason, where they steamrolled Marywood University in the semifinal and Cabrini College in the title game, respectively. Two goals and an assist secured the CSAC Tournament MVP for junior Sarah Jackson, who also earned first team all-conference and all-region acknowledgment. The win resulted in a trip to the NCAA Tournament, where the team would ultimately fall to Christopher Newport University. Postseason accolades also went to seniors Kelsey Deveney, Erin Gorenflo, junior Brianne Kline and sophomore Kelley Kruk, who were added to the list of CSAC First Teamers. Second team credits went to junior Maria Karidas, and sophomore Brooke Oliver, while juniors Caitlin Donohue and Brittany Wilson received honorable mention.

Women’s Soccer The women’s soccer team made a surprise run through the CSAC Playoffs as a five seed, knocking off top-seeded Marywood University in the semifinal to advance to the championship for the first time since the 2001 season. The Griffins’ streak came to an end with a loss to Cabrini College in a battle of penalty kicks in the deciding game. It was a year of promise fulfilled for a maturing group of players. Five Griffins earned CSAC Second Team recognition, including seniors Meghan Bojanowski and Christine Michalski, junior Maura Gifford, freshmen Keri Petroski and Jess Tadley. Senior Justine Bednarz earned an honorable mention for her work on defense. Leading the team in points was Gifford, who combined with her younger sister Megan for 42 total points.

14 Today

Women’s Tennis It was an unusual finish to the Griffins’ season, as they failed to win the CSAC crown for the first time since 2007. They were seeking to become the first team to ever win five straight conference championships, but fell, 5-3, to Marywood University on Oct. 20. However, it was a remarkable campaign as the team finished 14-2, even beating a Division I school (La Salle University) in the regular season finale. Junior Rachel Fein continued to make an impression, surpassing 100 wins for the program, and becoming the CSAC Women’s Tennis Player of the Year. Conference awards also went to senior Chelsea Jones, junior Kellie Booth, and sophomore Gabby Muller, who took home first team honors along with Fein.

Women’s Cross Country The Griffins set the tone early in the season with a third place finish in the CSAC Preview Meet at Marywood University on Sept. 1. They would continue to improve throughout the fall with another third place finish at the Elizabethtown College Invitational on Oct. 20. In the CSAC Championships, the women placed second, qualifying for NCAA Regionals. Sophomore Christina Smith was awarded first team all-conference honors for finishing seventh overall, with fellow sophomore Holly McGarrity earning second team accolades for finishing ninth overall.

Men’s Cross Country For the fifth straight year, the men’s team ran through the CSAC, winning the title and advancing to NCAA Regionals. Senior Brett Kubiak outpaced everyone with a 26:46 time in the 8,000-meter, winning the individual title. Senior Tyler Rooke, junior Joe Kubiak, and sophomore Joe Joiec also automatically nabbed first team all-conference honors by finishing in the top seven. The team would go on to finish 11th out of 49 teams at regionals, with Brett Kubiak finishing 33rd overall and cementing himself as the College’s first ever cross country All-American.



WRAP-UP Today 15

A Dose of Haitian Hospitality By: Anthony Stipa & Britany Smith ’08

Britany Smith ’08 is providing care to the children of Haiti, a fulfilling and challenging endeavor she depicts in an online blog.

Many people have traveled to third world Caribbean countries to enjoy the spacious beaches, tropical climate, and exotic cultures. However, other than a ride from the airport to the resort, the extreme poverty that engulfs the population is often overlooked. Finding clean drinking water and modern medical care are daily struggles. It’s something that Britany Smith ’08 understands, and she’s been living secluded in Haiti without easily accessible amenities since November 2012. At the age of 13, Smith acquired a taste for service when she traveled to Romania to visit her aunt and uncle, who are missionaries there. Years later, it was only fitting that she found solace during Gwynedd-Mercy College Alternative Spring Break trips to Ohio, New York City, and Texas. Smith earned an associate of science in nursing, and completed a bachelor’s of science in nursing at Drexel University. The degrees and extracurricular involvement parlayed into a job in the Adult Oncology Unit at Abington Memorial Hospital in Abington, Pa. She eventually transfered to Duke University Hospital in Durham, N.C. to work in a similar division, and gain further experience. It was there that she voluntarily joined Newhope Church and the Hope Missions Team, first establishing a relationship with Haiti during a mission trip in early 2012.

Britany always has her hands full around the office, caring and nurturing for children who have been neglected or even orphaned.

Bohoc, Haiti provided Smith with a personal education and endearing connection to the people of a small, but proud independent nation. A bond was formed during her weeklong visit, and Smith immediately realized her work was far from finished. It took only a few months of searching before she found a full-time registered nurse position with an organization called

16 Today

God’s Littlest Angels, Inc. (GLA). The non-profit, founded in 1994, is a nursery and toddler house in the Kenscoff Mountains, towering above the capital city of Port-au-Prince. The goal is to provide care, shelter and proper nourishment for premature newborns and children who would otherwise battle to sustain health and well-being. Smith uses her training to watch over the neonatal intensive care unit, as well as the main house nursery. Duties include coordinating vaccination schedules, taking inventory of pharmaceuticals and supplies, treating common cold ailments, and traveling to outlying clinics to transport sick children. Smith teams with the nursing staff to manage these various tasks, but everyone overlaps and collaborates when necessary. At a child’s birthday party, Smith even baked cupcakes and helped to facilitate the event. It’s not always glamorous, and the workload can be overwhelming, but nursing a debilitated infant to full strength is an incomparable reward. Smith does have internet capabilities, and runs a blog from her location titled, “Love. Serve. Inspire.” It paints a portrait of her daily routine and the common interactions she has with patients and other community members. In a post dated February 16, 2013, “Progress—From Survive to Thrive,” she details an aforementioned scenario with two babies teetering between life and death. The names have been changed to preserve their anonymity. The following is an excerpt.

The God’s Littlest Angels’ main house can accommodate approximately 75 children ranging from infants to three-year-olds. Britany lives, works and blogs from this complex.

“Paul is a seven-month-old baby boy who first came to us in late December. All of the GLA staff worked together to get him to a healthy weight of 8lbs 5.5oz. Five days after he left, he came back to us...because he had diarrhea and vomiting while he was back with his mama. Mama fed him one meal of boiled plantains that he vomited and then she had not fed him again. On arrival January 30th, his weight had dropped to 7lbs 3.5oz. (Yes, more than a pound in 5 days). Now, February 16th he is gradually gaining weight and is at 8lbs 4oz. Thankfully, he is becoming the happy baby we had seen glimpses of before. Chris was also referred to us by [a relief organization]. Mom says he’s one, but he is a big boy…length wise! Mother has breast fed him his entire life. However long that is, we still do not know. Chris is such a sweet boy and his smile has captured my heart. We have been practicing standing and trying to gain muscle strength in his arms, legs and back. When he came to us he couldn’t bear weight at all; I know it doesn’t seem long but he is able to stand for 15 seconds while holding on to the edge of the crib. He just needs help to stand himself up! Chris was 17lbs 4 oz. on arrival January 30th and he is now up to 18lbs thanks to “Medical Mamba” (protein enriched peanut butter), love from his nannies, nurses, volunteers, staff here at GLA and God. Paul and Chris are two very special little boys. They continue to need a lot of extra attention, love, support and physical therapy. Both of them are currently at GLA for assistance and will eventually return to their families. Please pray for them as they continue to grow and learn how to thrive, not just survive.”

Work can be difficult, but picturesque scenes like this accompany short walks after the day is complete. The God’s Littlest Angels’ facility is in the Kenscoff Mountains, above the capital city of Port-au-Prince.

To follow Smith’s progress, you can visit the site She updates frequently, and has no timetable for her return to the United States. ❂

Today 17

By: Shani Berler Nancy Grzesik ’70 is not your typical Chief Financial and Operating Officer; she is the CFO and COO of Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, Fla., which coincidentally is not your typical zoo. Nancy and her husband, Ben, “retired” to Melbourne in 2005 for the warmer climate. However, retirement got “real old, real fast” and five months after their move Nancy happened to notice a “CFO Wanted” advertisement in the newspaper for the zoo, a few minutes from their home. It was fate that brought her to Brevard Zoo. Nancy, who graduated with a degree in business education, personifies the sense of community and Mercy values that the College strives to instill in students. Her values shine through when she talks about her work at the zoo and the relationships she has with the people with whom she works. It is apparent that Brevard Zoo and Nancy Grzesik were compatible from the very beginning; she was hired because of her chemistry with the people at the zoo and was actually interviewed by the people who would later be reporting to her.

18 Today

decorated by and represent each volunteer. In fact, the zoo still has a pool of over 350 volunteers that regularly help out at the zoo and love being there. One would not rush to the conclusion that the duties of a CFO and COO are exactly “fun,” but Nancy can’t help but love her job. Working with people that are also passionate about their work, makes it a pleasure to “clock in” every day.

The Brevard Zoo embodies community, something that Nancy is familiar with. It has been billed as “The World’s Largest Volunteer Community Build” with over 16,000 volunteers that shared a dream to have a zoo in their backyard. The personalized bricks in the entrance and along the paths of the zoo were

Nancy sums up her responsibilities by describing them as all of the financial and risk management aspects of the zoo operations along with assisting in strategic planning and forecasting, but this description does not justify Nancy’s obligations or those that she elects to take on. She has taken initiative on many fronts and as a result, these days filled with “typical CFO/COO duties” have proven to be rewarding, evidenced by the zoo’s immense expansion during the past eight years. In 2005, there were 70 employees and presently there are nearly 170 to tend to zoo operations. When you have 600 animals of 140 species, you can use a lot of extra hands.

Despite remarkable accomplishments from behind her desk, Nancy prefers the busy days. “We do what we have to do to get the job done,” Nancy said. When her staff calls for help you can find her anywhere — from helping with ticket sales at the gate, behind the register at the snack shack, helping cook, or doing the dishes to help the housekeeping crew. Nancy enjoys working alongside her staff since this enables her to know what those that report to her do on a daily basis, and as a result, she can make sure they have what they need to do their jobs to the best of their ability. Nancy’s

Today 19

compassion for her staff is as evident as is her love for the zoo. About once a month, Nancy serves as the Saturday “manager on duty.” This is another day she loves because she gets to roam the zoo and interact with people rather than work in her office. The morning begins with a stroll to make sure the zoo is ready to welcome guests for the day. She makes sure everything is intact to ensure the visitors are going to have a memorable time visiting the zoo. How could they not? This zoo offers something for people of all ages and the experience goes beyond just seeing animals. Each exhibit at Brevard Zoo is unique. Expedition Africa features more than just African wildlife; guests are able to get up close and personal with the giraffes, kayak down the Nyami Nyami River where they

will float past primates, antelopes and other animals, and even participate in an encounter with a rhinoceros. The Cape to Cairo Express train ride travels through the “Australasia” (Australia and Asia) loop, which also has a free flight aviary where visitors can feed birdseed sticks to the cockatiels or nectar to the parrots. LaSelva is like a walk through the jungle and the Wild Florida exhibit is the place to see 250-pound crocodiles, tour the restored wetlands in a paddle boat and to visit the newly added “Art of Sand” exhibit. Adventure is everywhere at the zoo, but the main attraction for those looking for an exciting way to experience nature is Treetop Trek. Comprised of tightropes, jungle bridges, crab walks, nets and zip lines, this is the best way to tour the zoo from above. Whether you’re flying over the alligators or trekking across the bridge with

the monkeys nearby, there are great thrills for people of all ages. Paws on Play is yet another fun area in the zoo for kids to play in the water on hot summer days, where they can experience pitching a tent and pet a variety of animals. Fun at the zoo also comes in the form of education, which is important to Nancy, as she has been an adjunct associate professor for the University of Maryland, University Park since 1999. She continues to teach accounting for the University through a virtual classroom. The zoo has exciting classrooms on the grounds such as the treetop classroom and a cave classroom. Teachers are invited to come teach their

20 Today

Check out for more pictures from our visit with Nancy at Brevard Zoo.

The Brevard Zoo is much more than a place to see animals; it is a conservation hub that provides people with a place to learn about and interact with the species that we share our planet with in the most exciting ways possible. The zoo is a “dream come true” for the Brevard County community. While it began with the vision of a small group of people, a community came together to make it a reality, and a dedicated team of employees and volunteers has helped it flourish in unimaginable ways. Like anywhere else, there are tough days at work, but Nancy is in the ideal place to unwind when she needs to step away from the office. She enjoys walking around the zoo, visiting with the animals (especially feeding the giraffes!) and loves kayaking. The opportunity to see a baby giraffe two

hours after it was born is not something many people get to experience, but it is another perk of being a member of the team at the zoo. Retirement – for real this time! – is not on Nancy’s mind at the moment. She is looking forward to the exciting projects on the horizon and celebrating the zoo’s 20th anniversary next year. Nancy is humble about her role and contributions to the zoo’s evolution, but it is obvious her eight year investment will have a lasting and far reaching impact on Brevard Zoo. ❂

classes at the zoo for six to eight weeks rather than in the traditional classroom setting. During this time the kids report to the zoo everyday and teachers take advantage of all of its features to teach all of the subjects to their students. The gift shop is the perfect setting for a great lesson in mathematics and the animals are ideal for biology classes. The Wildlife Detective Training Academy provides another area for learning. Kids interact with animals, solve mysteries and can watch live videos streaming from the animal hospital on the premises where regular procedures are performed to care for the animals.

Today 21

Updates from the Office of Alumni Relations

1 1. Students, faculty and staff gathered to sign the final beam placed in the frame of the newest academic building that will be home to the School of Business and School of Education. 2. All Alumni Reunion at Homecoming 2012. 3. Alumni gathered for an afternoon at Citizens Bank Park on June 24, 2012. Following a reception at McFadden’s, everyone enjoyed listening to the Voices of Gwynedd singing the national anthem before the game. 4. GMC hosted an alumni reception at the shore on July 21, 2012 in Avalon, N.J. at the Golden Inn Hotel & Resort. 5. Alumnae gathered at the College for their 25th and 50th reunions. 6,7&8. Dr. Owens was on the road in Florida during the week of February 11, 2013 hosting alumni receptions in St. Petersburg, Naples, West Palm Beach and Vero Beach. Alumni had a great time mingling and reminiscing.


3 22 Today

Upcoming Alumni Events:

Dear Alumni,

June 1, 2013 . . . . . . . . . . GMC at the Phillies*

The Office of Alumni Relations has been reaching out and providing more opportunities for our alumni and friends to interact with students and stay connected.

July 20, 2013 . . . . . . . . . . GMC Down the Shore – Sea Isle, N.J.* September 27-29, 2013 . . . Homecoming October 20, 2013 . . . . . . . 25th & 50th Reunion Celebrating the Classes of 1988 and 1963 *Register online at

In the last year, the Office has worked with the Alumni Board to support student programming; worked with Career Services to organize student/alumni networking events; held receptions during Homecoming; held the 25th & 50th Class Reunion; honored Distinguished Alumni; traveled to the New Jersey Shore for an alumni reception; met alumni in Boston, Mass.; worked with several athletic teams to bring alumni back; and, just recently held alumni events in St. Petersburg, Naples, West Palm Beach and Vero Beach, Fla. To stay in touch, check out the alumni webpage for upcoming events ( and please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and MERV’s Alumni Connection (access available from the website). You can also stay in touch by updating your contact information either by calling the Alumni Office or completing the update form on the alumni webpage so that we can communicate upcoming alumni events and opportunities. Feel free to share your ideas on ways to stay connected and events and programs that would be of interest to you and other Gwynedd-Mercy College alumni.


It has been a pleasure serving you and I look forward to the many exciting opportunities ahead. Gianna F. Quinn, Director of Alumni Relations 215-641-5554,

5 7

8 6 Today 23


Class Notes 1950


Janet Allen, of Ormond Beach, Fla., wanted to say “Hi” to her graduating class. Friends are welcome to come visit her and her husband.

Pat Holmbeck, of West Chester, Pa., recently moved back to Pennsylvania from Florida. She is enjoying time with her eight grandchildren.



Eleanor Eason, of Ocean City, N.J., is very proud of her daughters and all of their accomplishments.

Patricia Bruce, of Lansdale, Pa., attended the Gwynedd-Mercy College study abroad trip to London and Paris with her husband. The trip was sponsored by the English and business departments.


Mar y Elena Ziccardi, from Voorhees, N.J., is currently in her 18th year working at the Medical Office of Allied Health at Camden County Technical School. She is married with 3 children and 8 grandchildren.

1972 Cathy Kreitzer, of Crownsville, Md., is a nurse manager at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md.

1981 Anita Timmins, of Gilbertsville, Pa., worked for Johnson & Johnson for 20 years and Boiron Homeopathics for five years. She is also a grandmother of four.

1986 Rebecca Br yan, ’84/’86, of Cherry Hill, N.J., works at The Wellness Center Urban Ministries in Camden, N.J., which is an organization she founded.

Mary LaRouech, of Calabash, N.C., misses all of her 1958 and 1959 classmates and is enjoying the weather in North Carolina.

1966 Nanette Sciolla Carney, of North Wales, Pa. While in school, Nanette played field hockey and organized the “after parties” following school dances. She learned through her family to be accountable, and that a belief in God, the Sisters of Mercy, and education would grant her the credentials for meeting the challenges of finding a job.

24 Today Class Notes

After graduating with a business degree, Nanette had a successful career working in administration at the IBM Corporation, and later left the corporate world to raise a family of seven children. In 1992, Nanette and her husband, John, decided to take charge of their destiny and start their own company, The Carney Group. Their recruitment and placement firm helps individuals stay marketable through the decades of their lives. The Carney Group can provide staffing utilizing all the hiring strategies that companies need in today’s marketplace: consulting, direct hire and temporary in the corporate sector. In addition, they champion those individuals looking to establish themselves in second and third careers. The Carney Group is located in Blue Bell, Pa., and their reputation has grown by leaps and bounds over the last 20 years, as they pride themselves on integrity and care for their clients. The company services the

Greater Philadelphia region and places candidates in positions nationally. In the past year, Nanette’s dedication to her clients was recognized as she was named to a list of Philadelphia Business Journal’s Women of Distinction 2012, as well as winner of SmartCEO’s 2012 Brava! Award. The two very prestigious awards are annually bestowed on enterprising women in the Philadelphia area. The Carney Group was also named to Philadelphia Business Journal’s Philly 100, the top locally-growing businesses. In addition to her accolades, Nanette serves on the Gwynedd-Mercy College Alumni Board and is a Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. She also is a member of Mount Saint Joseph’s Academy Board of Directors, the Penn Suburban Chamber of Commerce, the chair and founding member of the North Penn Chamber of Commerce Women’s Network, and is a committee member of the Society of Professional Women.

Veronica is married to Harley Smith, a retired attorney. She is the mother of Christopher H. Paquet and the grandmother of William (age five).

1974 Dr. Veronica Hilyard, of University City, Mo. Veronica came to Gwynedd-Mercy College as a Sister of Mercy. While at GMC, she loved the ideals of kindness, service, intelligence, spirituality, and hospitality that were passed down by Catherine McAuley. Veronica always knew that she wanted a career in education, graduating with a bachelor’s of science in elementary education. Throughout her career, she practiced the philosophy of lifelong learning. Veronica obtained a master’s degree in gifted and talented education and a doctorate in educational leadership. Using her education, Veronica worked as an elementary and middle school teacher, teacher of gifted and talented children, a principal, curriculum coordinator, director and superintendent of schools.

After retiring in 2008, Veronica began to look for a creative outlet for her singing, acting and dancing skills, while helping others. The Cameo Club of Missouri offered just that, but to join she had to participate in their pageant in July 2012. Singing “O Mio Babbino Caro,” a Puccini aria, she won the title of Ms. Senior Missouri. As a result, Veronica qualified for the national Ms. Senior America pageant in Atlantic City, N.J. in October 2012, placing in the “Top Ten.” As Ms. Missouri Senior America, Veronica visits various venues across the state including senior centers, women’s groups, conferences, and conventions. She speaks to ‘women of elegance’ and shares talents and stories with all. Veronica sang for lawmakers in Jefferson City, Mo. and judged dance contests at the state fair. Away from her duties as Ms. Senior Missouri, Veronica enjoys spending time with her husband, son and grandson. She teaches as an adjunct professor at Maryville University in St. Louis and serves as the chairperson for the School of Education’s Leadership Council. Veronica is also a vocal advocate for gifted and talented children speaking on issues at local, state and national conferences.

2000 Helen Kluver, of Philadelphia, Pa., finished her master’s degree in education and structural systems at Penn State Great Valley in December 2012.

2005 Susan James, of Black River, N.Y., has been working for the Mercy Volunteer Corps since September 2012. Cara Knaster, of Gilbertsville, Pa., recently completed her doctoral degree in clinical psychology at Chestnut Hill College. She is also working toward state licensure in psychology.

2008 Kalik Booker, of Philadelphia, Pa., began working at the DC Preparatory Academy in Washington D.C. in August 2012. John Zatlokovicz, of Dover, Del., is pursuing a master’s degree in mechanical engineering.

Gwynedd-Mercy College invites you to attend an

Alumni Reception at the Shore Saturday, July 20, 2013

2 - 5 p.m.

The Springfield Inn 43rd Street & Pleasure Avenue Sea Isle City, NJ 08243 Tickets are $30 per person and include open bar and light food

Online Registration is available at Contact Shae Berler at 267-448-1345 or for questions or to register by phone.

ACNS-BC, but Mary Ellen began her career with a BSN from Gwynedd-Mercy College. She completed a MSN from Villanova University in 1987, and followed with a PhD from Duquesne University in 2002. Additional graduate course work was completed at The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C.

1983 Mar y Ellen Smith Glasgow, of Pittsburgh, Pa. Mary Ellen was named dean at Duquesne University’s School of Nursing in August 2012. Prior to this appointment, she established herself as a premier teacher and healthcare professional in the Philadelphia region.

Mary Ellen spent many years working at Hahnemann University Hospital, eventually switching to the teaching and administrative side. The hospital would eventually become associated with Drexel University, where she would thrive in the College of Nursing and Health Professions.

Online Program. Mary Ellen believes in exposing students to real-world settings, placing them in hospitals and other sites across the region before they graduate. She is also an advocate of technology and its significance in the medical world. In 2010, Mary Ellen received the Villanova University College of Nursing Alumni Medallion for Distinguished Contribution to Nursing Education. In 2011 and 2012 she was the recipient of American Journal of Nursing’s Book of the Year Award for co-authoring the books: Role Development for Doctoral Advanced Nursing Practice, and Legal Issues Confronting Today’s Nursing Faculty: A Case Study Approach, respectively.

As associate dean for nursing, undergraduate health professions, and continuing nursing education, she spearheaded numerous initiatives, including the development of the school’s BSN Co-op Program, BSN Accelerated Career Entry Program, and the RN-BSN

Mary Ellen appreciates the ability to shape the future of nursing, and has set forth a plan to make Duquesne University one of the “most innovative Catholic schools for nursing in the country.”




Ruth McDevitt, of North Wales, Pa., recently completed her Master of Education at Cabrini College.

Melissa Smith, of Oreland, Pa., is working as an autistic support teacher at The Nexus School in Huntingdon Valley, Pa.


Aracely Thornton, ’09/’11, of Philadelphia, Pa., celebrated her son’s marriage on Sept. 29, 2012 and recently welcomed a new granddaughter.

Amelia Garris, of Narragansett, R.I., is traveling to Chile next month and will be teaching English there for nine months. She will be doing this through the English Opens Doors Program with BridgeTEFL.

A long list of acronyms are now accompanying her name, PhD, RN,

Noreen McDonough, of Philadelphia, Pa., was promoted to accounts payable coordinator at Arcadia University, The College of Global Studies.

The Griffin is a literary journal sponsored by Gwynedd-Mercy College. Its mission is to enrich society by nurturing and promoting creative writing that demonstrates a unique and intelligent voice. We seek writing which accurately embodies or reflects the human condition with all its intellectual, emotional, and ethical challenges. Like the mythical griffin, a constructed creature of fearless strength and courage, we prefer formed works rather than experimental ones. Manuscripts of literary works—poetry, short stories, short plays, reflections—are accepted for consideration for publication throughout the year. The Griffin is published once a year in the fall. To view the most recent edition and past issues of The Griffin please visit our Web site at Or, if you are interested in submitting your literary works for consideration in The Griffin, go to for the guidelines. Cover art: After a Master Project/Van Gogh by Katherine Coughlin ’13

26 Today

Amanda Price, ’11/’12, of Schuylkill Haven, Pa, was recently hired as a labor and delivery nurse at the Reading Hospital and Medical Center in West Reading, Pa. Steve Rufe of Schwenksville, Pa., is attending graduate school at Columbia University.

Congratulations! Engagements, Marriages and Anniversaries Stefanie Baehr ’08, of Warminster, Pa., married James Wood ’07 on June 2, 2012. Pictured in the wedding party were three additional alums: Kalik Booker ’08, Robert Nonemacker ’08, and Karin (Kovacik) Gaittens ’08.

Rebecca Dise ’12 and Jared Morgan ’12, of Pipersville, Pa., were engaged on May 16th, 2012 at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. Jenna Gore ’11, of Upper Gwynedd, Pa., is engaged to Michael Schenk. A winter wedding is planned. Tim Mumford ’10, of Norristown, Pa., is engaged to Annalisa Valerio. An Oct. 14, 2013 wedding is planned.

We want to hear from you! Whether it’s a marriage announcement, newborn baby or exciting professional news, let us know! We’d love to hear all of your life’s milestones. Submit your information (along with graduation year) and a photo to be included within one of the next two Today magazines. High resolution images are preferred. E-mail or call 267-448-1410. We strive to be as accurate as possible, so if there is an error or omission please contact us.

Connect with GMC Alumni Online /GwyneddMercyAlumni Featuring: Trivia Tuesday

Tim Mumford ’10 and Annalisa Valerio

Group: Gwynedd-Mercy College Alumni

Stefanie Baehr ’08 and James Wood ’07


Sean Camburn ’12, of Lansdale, Pa., married Katherine Skrzat on October 12, 2012. Mai Vy DeJoseph ’04/’05, of Wynnewood, Pa., married Terrence Alexander on June 9, 2012.

Theresa Marie Ward ’08, of Delanco, N.J., is engaged to be married to Thomas M. Lenza on April 27, 2013.

Upcoming Reunions Celebrating the


Classes of 1988 and 1963

OCTOBER 20, 2013 Today 27

Congratulations! Griffin Babies Christine Perr y ’03/’05, of Penns Grove, N.J., a daughter, Alana Christine Smith, on May 19, 2012.

Ashley (Heilman) Bilotti ’03, of Harleysville, Pa., a son, Octavian Joseph Bilotti, on Dec. 12, 2012. His older sister Jasmine was born on Dec. 12, 2010.

Donna Capone-Masci ’98/’04, of Plymouth Meeting, Pa., a daughter, Morgan, on March 7, 2012.

Alana Christine Smith, daughter of Christine Perry ’03/’05

Morgan, daughter of Donna Capone-Masci ’98/’04 Octavian Joseph Bilotti and older sister Jasmine, son and daughter of Ashley (Heilman) Bilotti ’03

Jenna (Meehan) Klaus ’07, of Pottstown, Pa., a daughter, Beth Helen, on July 26, 2012.

Tara Manco ’08, of Hatboro, Pa., a daughter, Claira Marie, on December 24, 2012.

Claira Marie, daughter of Tara Manco ’08

Tiffany Salomon ’07/’08, of Pipersville, Pa., had her first child in early 2013.

Tyler James, son of Gina (Ferriola) Smith ’05

Beth Helen, daughter of Jenna (Meehan) Klaus ’07

Gina (Ferriola) Smith ’05, of Secane, Pa., a son, Tyler James, on June 30, 2012.


Inspired by You 215-641-5550


While the Annual Fund supports nearly every facet of our campus, it also directly impacts our students. It provides the scholarship funds they need to cultivate a lifelong enthusiasm for learning in an unparalleled collegiate setting. Just last year, the College granted $14 million in scholarships, making it possible for more than 92 percent of our students to gain the best academic and practical experience and successfully follow their desired career paths. Today’s Gwynedd-Mercy students are inspired by you. Your contribution to the Annual Fund, no matter the size, makes an important difference. Support Gwynedd-Mercy College students with a gift to the 2012-2013 Annual Fund today.

In Memoriam Joanne Groller ’96, of Harleysville, Pa., passed away on January 7, 2013. Samantha Hobson ’11, of Conshohocken, Pa., passed away on December 24, 2012. Mar yann E. Hughes ’80, of Clayton, N.J., passed away on December 13, 2012. Francis Kobialka ’85, of King of Prussia, Pa., passed away on December 1, 2011. Kristy Jo Kelleher, of Brookhaven, Pa., passed away on July 5, 2012. Meredith Linde ’78, of Broad Axe, Pa., passed away on September 11, 2012. Sister Patricia Lynch ’84, of Aston, Pa., passed away on July 16, 2011. Lenore Repsher ’62, of Easton, Pa., passed away on April 18, 2011.


Feel in Your Retirement Years

Lucy Robertson ’98, of Washington Crossing, Pa. passed away on August 27, 2012. Linda Stojanovich ’78, of Eagleville, Pa., passed away on January 11, 2012. Maureen Worthington ’82, of Levittown, Pa., passed away on January 4, 2013.

Would you like to make a significant gift to GMC but you’re hesitant because you need more income now? If so, we have a solution for you: a charitable gift annuity. With a CGA you receive fixed payments for life, take a partial current income tax deduction and have the satisfaction of supporting GMC.

To find out your possible CGA benefits, contact Jill Dow at or 215-542-4661 or visit and use our planned giving calculators.

Today 29

Distinguished Alumni Awards 2012 Each year, Gwynedd-Mercy College selects a handful of deserving recipients for the Distinguished Alumni Award. With more than 17,000 hardworking alumni to choose from, it’s no easy chore. The College’s highest alumni award acknowledges the achievements of outstanding individuals whose personal lives, professional success and community service match the objectives of their alma mater. Earning the distinction in 2012 were seven deserving individuals. • Christine Winterer Ryan ’62 has been a member of the College’s President’s Council since 1986. For 38 years, she has been a relentless pioneer in the real estate business, currently working at Prudential Fox and Roach Realtors. Ryan is also on the Montgomery County, Pa. Board of Realtors, and a member at St. Anthony’s Church in Ambler, Pa. • Helen Nelson ’92/’93 was recently awarded the “Plus ratio quam vis” medal from Jagiellonian University in Poland. The illustrious honor was previously awarded to recipients such as Pope John Paul II. Nelson’s foundation, the Copernicus Society of America, works to build relationships between students in Poland and the United States, sponsoring trips both east and west of the Atlantic Ocean.

30 Today

• Dr. David Bernard ’84 and wife Christine Bernard ’83 have combined science and mathematics into successful careers in medicine and teaching, respectively. Dr. Bernard is currently the Medical Director of Clinical Pathology at the Methodist Hospital Research Institute, which is in Houston, Texas. Christine is a calculus teacher at Travis High School, in Richmond, Texas, who spends time as a co-advisor of The National Honor Society program. • Maria Foley ’73 has spent 40 years teaching in the Catholic school system, the last 35 at the St. Genevieve School in Flourtown, Pa. She has established extracurricular initiatives such as student council, a science fair, and the school’s C.A.R.E.S. program. Foley also serves as a lector and a Eucharistic Minister at parish liturgies. • Eileen Foley Guest ’68 has been teaching English and advanced placement honors courses at Abington High School for 25 years. During this time, Guest led the school’s National Merit Society, volunteered as assistant tennis coach, and sponsored the literary magazine, The Spectere. She also earned a master’s degree in English from Villanova University.

• Donald Hooten, Jr. ’04 founded the Taylor Hooten Foundation in 2004, to commemorate the life of his brother, and to raise awareness of the effects of steroid abuse. Before committing full-time to the foundation, Hooten led a successful career in both real estate and the mortgage industry. The Anne Fitzpatrick Murray Alumni Award for Distinguished Service is reserved for a person who has made significant public service contributions by sharing or volunteering his or her talent, time and resources in the spirit of Mercy. This year’s recipient was The Reverend Dr. Herbert H. Lusk, II ’87, who during his football career with the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1970s found a higher calling. He is currently the pastor of the Greater Exodus Baptist Church in North Philadelphia, and has a firm presence in local charities. Rev. Dr. Lusk participates in Habitat for Humanity, NBC10’s Corporate Alliance, and even established the non-profit organization People for People, Incorporated, to help the poverty-stricken. (Left to right) Maria Foley ’73, Reverend Dr. Herbert H. Lusk, II ’87, Helen Nelson ’92/’93, Donald Hooten, Jr. ’04, GMC President Kathleen Owens, PhD and Eileen Foley Guest ’68

Homecoming 2013 SAVE THE DATE September 27-29, 2013

More information coming soon on Homecoming activities and events. Be sure to check the alumni website for more information: Questions? Contact the Office of Alumni Relations, 215-641-5554

Today 31

Where’s MERV? Our adventurous mascot MERV has been getting his passport stamped and racking up frequent flier miles traveling to great places with our alumni, faculty and staff over the last year. He has toured Seattle, cruised Alaska, vacationed in the Bahamas and Bermuda, visited monuments like the White House in Washington, DC and King Neptune on the boardwalk in Virginia Beach, and he has been spotted in some local “hot spots” like the Philadelphia Zoo and down at the Jersey Shore in the summertime. Where will MERV pop up next? Well, that is up to you! Show everyone your Griffin pride by taking pictures of MERV wherever you go!

It’s simple…


Cutout the MERV on the adjacent page (you can also print more cutouts online at wheres-merv.html).

2 3

32 Today

Take a few pictures of MERV…Take some pictures with MERV… Be creative! Whether it is in your backyard, at a sporting event, wedding, on vacation or wherever, just have fun and strike a pose!

SHARE your fun photos with fellow alumni. You can email your photos to (be sure to tell us who you are!), post your photos directly on our GMC Alumni Facebook page at, or ‘tweet’ us your pictures @GMCin140 on Twitter.

Office of Institutional Advancement 1325 Sumneytown Pike P.O. Box 901 Gwynedd Valley, PA 19437-0901

Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage PAID Lansdale, PA Permit No. 444

GMC at the Saturday

JUNE 1 2013

Join GMC alumni for a tailgate party at McFadden’s Restaurant and a game at Citizen’s Bank Park. Tickets are $50 each and include food and unlimited beer and wine at McFadden’s tailgate party from 2-4 p.m., and entrance to the 4:05 p.m. Philadelphia Phillies vs. Milwaukee Brewers game. Already have tickets? Join us for the tailgate party at McFadden’s for just $30. Registration is required. Online registration is available at Contact Shae Berler at 267-448-1345 or for questions or to register by phone.