Eastern | Spring 2018

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EASTERN The Magazine of Eastern University



Academic ex curiosity se

xcellence is t in motion. Dear Alumni and Friends, I am honored to introduce this issue of EASTERN. Having been at Eastern for over 25 years, I am blessed and amazed at the energy and vitality of our community. A question becomes an inquiry, that leads to an idea, that suggests an opportunity, that confirms a direction, that births a program, event, or new entity, all of which can make differences for good in this wonderful and needy world. Eastern is about the movement of a community in faith, reason and justice. Eastern is about motion, e-motion, promotion, Spirit-led action pointing us to a loving God whose Son, Jesus Christ, emptied Himself and gave His life to offer salvation, forgiveness, healing, hope, reconciliation and eternal life. It’s about Spirit-led action propelling us to be sacrificial agents of reconciliation in love for our neighbors nearby and throughout the world. So I hope you will be encouraged and moved by the motion of EASTERN as we seek to flourish in the work of the kingdom of God.

With grace and gratitude,

Ronald A. Matthews, President






ACA D E M I C S 12



Nelson Bonilla’s life has been moving in an upward motion thanks to the faith-based education he has received at Esperanza College of Eastern University and Eastern’s College of Business and Leadership over the last six years.


PA L M E R 24





2017 ATHLETIC HIGHLIGHTS Men’s Hoops Returns To MAC Freedom Tourney, Distance Relays Pace Women’s Track at MAC Championships, Szenczy Ties MAC Standard with Gold Indoors, and Shelby Helps Volleyball Keep Title Streak Alive.








If you have been a part of the Eastern community over the last 25 years, you may know Dr. Ronald A. Matthews as Professor of Music and Director of Music Programs, Executive Director of the Fine and Performing Arts Division and Chair of the Music Department.

22 POSITIONED TO ADVANCE THE GOSPEL Running up and down, up and down the back stairs of the church. This was common for me. Our overflow room was in the basement, and we could fit 150 church attendees in that space.

Chief Marketing Officer & Publisher / MICHAEL THOMAS MBA ’18 PSYD Editor / DENISE MCMILLAN Creative Director / DANIEL PEIRCE Visual Director / LISA WOODS


Photographer / ELYSE GARNER ’13 COVER PhotographY / ELYSE GARNER ’13 Design / 20NINE


Please send comments or article suggestions to:

The Lamplight Society was established in 2002 to commemorate Eastern University’s 50th Anniversary. One individual is selected each year from Eastern’s family. This year we recognize former Executive Vice President, Dr. M. Thomas (Tom) Ridington ’78, MA ’81.

Palmer Seminary alumni news should be sent to:

media@eastern.edu Alumni news should be sent to: alumni@eastern.edu palmeralum@eastern.edu PUBLISHED BY Marketing and University Relations at Eastern University ONLINE AT eastern.edu/MAGAZINE


BY DOXA ZANNOU ’18 Motion: changing place or position; movement Like a marathon that cramps your muscles stone-stiff; sore. When people ask, “doesn’t it hurt?” You say: “yes but water tastes divine afterwards.” Like a hike up the highest African peak—Kilimanjaro; when people ask, "what if you fall?" You say: “anything to touch Divine mist with bare hands.” Motion: changing place or position; movement Like my 16 hour flight from West Africa to Pennsylvania; when people asked, “wasn’t it hard?” I said: “yes but dreams are Divine air currents we rise on like eagles.”


Motion: changing place or position; movement



Like my years at Eastern; propelled to grow, to find hints of the Divine in my friends, professors, who like books, had His words inked in their lives.



Like the earth that spins around the sun, so the world can have light— Like the Divine who left heaven to drench our horizons with gold.



b y K e l ly G o d d a r d D O X A Z A N N O U ’ 1 8 is a double major in

Psychology and English (Concentration in Writing). She grew up in Benin, West Africa, and has always loved writing and poetry. Her interest in spoken word was sparked by watching YouTube videos of a spoken word organization called Passion for Christ Movement. Inspired, she began doing Soundcloud recordings as a way to grow and share. Doxa’s first live performance took place at an Eastern coffeehouse during her freshman year. Following the performance, she co-founded a spoken word group on campus called Audacity with two friends, Flo Louis ’17 and MJ Smith ’19. The group focuses on helping one another improve as writers, and has also hosted on-campus performances. When asked why she loves spoken word, Doxa shares, “I really love words. As a writer, I like how through spoken word you can process the things that happen to you and understand them on a deeper level and find meaning. Without spoken word it’s easy to think we’re isolated in our experiences or struggles, but when we hear other people we realize they understand and can relate.” Doxa reflects with a smile about how a Google search for Christian psychology programs led her across the ocean to Eastern. “I knew this was where I was supposed to be,” she says with certainty. “I came without visiting.” After graduating, she hopes to pursue a master’s and doctorate in counseling with the goal of becoming a writing therapist.



Graduate Early, Save Money, Lighten Your Load. The New Eastern University FastPass™ Program by Denise McMillan

E A S T E R N U N I V E R S I T Y is excited to

The game-changing program works by

announce the new Eastern University Fastpass™

giving residential students in traditional

program. The value-laden and student centered

undergraduate programs two, tuition-free

program, which begins in the fall of 2018,

online summer classes for each year of study

is designed to offer residential students in

at Eastern University.

traditional undergraduate programs three options to graduate early, save money and lighten their load.

and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Kenton Sparks, said in announcing the one-of-a-kind offering, “If we assume that students will choose Eastern University because of the better value we offer, the end result of this initiative should be our mission of Faith, Reason and Justice being delivered to more students; and more students happy with their Eastern


two different academic qualifications. The summer online course offering will be robust and include courses from many academic departments and Eastern

student life needs and goals, students may

University’s core curriculum.

their tuition-free online summer classes.


In addition to Eastern University Fastpass™ the University is offering EU FastPass lite, which

G R A D U AT E I N 3 Y E A R S : Save

offers a discount on online summer courses

time and money: complete your “4-year”

to Eastern University Traditional Undergraduate

degree requirements in only 3 years for the

Commuter students who maintain a full-time

price of 3 years! (Most majors)

course load during the academic year. Summer


L I G H T E N YO U R C O U R S E LOA D ( A N D S T R E S S ) : Students with jobs

or vigorous extra-curricular activities will enjoy a little more breathing room.

online courses in 2019 will be $195 per credit hour, a discount of over 50%.


University experience.”


E A S I LY D O U B L E M A J O R : Pay

for college once but graduate with

Depending on their individual academic and choose from three options to capitalize on

The architect behind the concept, Provost



Turning Talk into Action and Dreams Into Reality b y D av i d H u r ta d o M B A , P H D

Listen to Nelson speak about his journey at EASTERN.EDU/NELSON

N E L S O N B O N I L L A’ S L I F E has been moving in an upward motion

He immediately knew he’d made the right choice. The environment was

thanks to the faith-based education he has received at Esperanza College

different. The sense of community was incredible. The professors were

of Eastern University and Eastern’s College of Business and Leadership

helpful and supportive. He was learning things about God he had never

over the last six years. This motion has taken him from North Philly to

known. He was learning from, and with, people he could relate to.

Center City and from the cold basement to the comfortable high-rise

He was taking courses close to home with the convenience of a

suite with a view. From long stressful hours that took a toll on his body

schedule that made studying possible. He realized he could make a

leaving little time for anything else, to working 8:30 to 5. From just

difference as long as he held on to God. It was a turning point in his life.

working, to living out his dreams.

As the time grew closer to graduation he was told about a highly

Like many hard-working Hispanics in North Philadelphia, Nelson started

competitive internship at AmeriHealth Caritas that was coordinated

working at a young age. He comes from a long tradition of tradesmen

by an Eastern alumna. Out of over 1100 applicants, Nelson was one

who work long hours under tough working conditions to make ends

of only 50 who were chosen for this prestigious internship. He grew

meet. When he was in his mid 20’s, a childhood friend told him she was

tremendously as a professional and as an individual in what became

studying at Esperanza College of Eastern University. He was shocked to

one of the best experiences of his life. After graduating as salutatorian

discover that there was a university in his barrio. The more she told him

with his associate’s degree in accounting, he landed a job in the

about her experience, the more intrigued he became with the idea that

accounting department of a big law firm where he has worked the last

a college education could change the direction of his life for the better.

three years while finishing his bachelor’s degree in business at Eastern.

After two years of talking about the idea but never taking the step

His education at Eastern opened a world of new opportunities along

because of his long work hours and the perception that he couldn’t afford

with the skills and resilience to pursue them. It’s been a tough journey,

it, a friend’s challenge confirmed what he was thinking and drove him to

but Nelson credits his faith as key to his persistence. “We all have

action. The friend told Nelson, “Your life would be different and you’d have

hardships. All these things define who we are. Are you a quitter or will

your college degree by now if you had started studying when you started

you keep moving? Take a second, pray, and sit on the bench if you need

talking about this two years ago!” Nelson quickly contacted Esperanza,

to get yourself back together. Then get back on the field.” It took him a

applied, and was accepted. With the help of the Esperanza grant and

little longer to finish, but he’s graduating in May of 2018, full of Esperanza,

government financial aid, he was able to start his studies right away.

that is hope for the future.



Holistic and Integrative: The New Online Master of Science in Nursing Program

b y L i n d s e y L av e r t y ’ 1 8




D R . C H R I S T I N A J A C K S O N is known to

Beginning this fall, Eastern University will

in hospitals, healthcare agencies and

most of the student body as the lovely and

offer a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

public health settings.

radiant Yoga/Pilates instructor and professor

available online. In light of the success of the

of the Life Fitness core course, which she has

BSN program, this is a natural next step for the

taught every semester now for 18 years. To the

nursing department and is also a response to

nursing department, she is recognized for her

many nursing alumni who have asked for a way

impressive credentials as a practicing nurse

to continue their nursing education at Eastern.

and nurse practitioner for 40 years.

The MSN program is unique due to its online

As a certified advanced holistic nurse, she

format, faith-based mission and Eastern’s

is an advocate for Holistic and Integrative

endorsement from the American Holistic

approaches and her teaching, clinical practice

Nurses Credentialing Corporation. All

and publications awarded her the national

graduate students will take core courses that

AHNA title of Holistic Nurse of the Year in 2011.

feature a holistic and integrative focus such

In reference to her work she stated,

as Theoretical Foundations of Advanced

“The holistic approach means that we take a mind-body-spirit approach to all things involving individuals, groups and communities. The necessity of self-care,

were treated by healthcare professionals was limited in that the focus was on drugs and surgery, rather than getting to the root causes of the health challenge in partnership with the patient.”

is in taking care of oneself each day, as it is

Action Research Project.

ultimately the little things done every day

Dr. Dianne DeLong commented, “This program

communities of learning and work.”

responds to the needs within our field for more

newest program announcement.

“I could see that so much of the way people

and Therapeutics, ending with a Capstone and

are essential to developing holistic

groundwork for the nursing department’s

approach became apparent:

according to Dr. Jackson. The importance

either Leadership or Educator, as chairperson

a few years back. This ultimately laid the

her interest in a holistic and integrative

The key to wellness is making it a way of life,

non-hierarchical relationships/partnerships

curriculum she wrote during her sabbatical

moment she had early on in her career when

and Collaboration, Integrative Assessment

The program will offer two separate tracks of

integrative philosophy and applied it to the

core curriculum, Dr. Jackson described the

Holistic Nursing, Advanced Communication

self-awareness [emotional intelligence] and

Dr. Jackson later took this holistic and

In reference to the expansive and versatile

that add up. Eating well, staying away from chemical products, moving, maintaining strong interpersonal relationships, all are components of health.

nurses who are prepared to educate and lead.”

Eastern University is poised and ready to

Dr. Geri Remi coordinates the Leadership Track

continue making a positive impact on the

aimed to prepare nurses to assume leadership

healthcare field, and invites interested

positions in hospitals, clinics, healthcare

applicants to follow eastern.edu/MSN

agencies and businesses of all kinds. Those who

for more information.

track in Education, coordinated by Dr. Mary Boylston, will be equipped to teach in nursing schools and function as clinical educators

To see a video of Dr. Jackson discussing the program VISIT eastern.edu/MSN


Deans’ Corner by Denise McMillan

Question: How are you In Motion?

College of Business and Leadership: DR. DOUGLAS CLARK

Professionally: I’m energized by my daily engagement with students, faculty and community stakeholder as together we are moving CBL off the blueprint and on to the map. Personally: Every day is a new adventure! My regular interactions around

1. Professionally 2. Personally 3. Spiritually

work, home and church life are a constant source of personal growth, deeper learning and exciting ideas to explore. Spritually: I’m coming to especially appreciate how one’s spiritural journey is blessed when it’s cast as a pilgrimage that is joined by others.

College of Education: DR. SUSAN EDGAR-SMITH

This year has been a particularly

College of Arts and Sciences:

"in motion" time for me as I transitioned from directing Eastern’s School Counseling

D R . J O H N PA U L E Y

and School Psychology graduate

The concept of pilgrimage has become quite important to my understanding of the life of faith. I am struck by the Psalms of Ascent...songs sung by the ancient Israelites as they were processing to the temple to worship. Implied in these psalms are three ideas: I am in a certain place; I desire to be in a different place (the house of the Lord);

programs, after 12 years in that position, to Dean of the College of Education. Collaborating with new colleagues and developing relationships with a larger number of students from a wide variety of programs and diverse backgrounds has been more rewarding personally, than I expected. I am constantly surprised by how newly formed relationships, both internal and external to Eastern, has enriched my professional and personal life.

and the journey itself transforms my experience. The very fact that my

I am so grateful this new position keeps me in perpetual motion on

steps are meaningfully leading me to the presence of the Lord enables me

the job as well as personally and spiritually. Each day brings its own

to go "from strength to strength" (Psalm 84:7). For me, the question is: "In

challenges and opportunities to listen to alternative perspectives,

which direction will my next step lead me?"

stretch my imagination, tolerate my own shortcomings, and dedicate work to glorifying God.




College of Health and Social Sciences:

Palmer Theological Seminary: D R . D AV I D B R O N K E M A


Professionally: Currently, I am in

Professionally: Gosh, I feel like

a constant state of learning from

my professional life is in constant

our faculty, students, staff, and

motion. My professional career

constituents, and it is a blessed

has evolved from clinical practice

journey, and working with them

to academia to administration. I am learning something new every day

to prayerfully discern and pursue each and every avenue through which

which makes every day exciting.

the Spirit leads to fulfill all aspects of the Seminary’s potential. And, I am

Personally: I will simply say I am now in my 6th decade of life and things have not slowed down....especially now that I have a puppy....perhaps in the 7th decade! Spiritually: Thank goodness my spiritual life has not been still and stagnant. My faith has certainly been challenged but it is during these challenges that my faith was strengthened. Nonetheless, since my life is in constant motion, I have been intentional to STOP and focus on my personal relationship with my Lord and Savior and dedicate myself to prayer.

constantly seeking ways to keep alive the research, writing, and work with organizations on the social and spiritual change side with which God has blessed me. Personally and spiritually: I am seeking to live the abundant life promised by Christ in all of its aspects. For me, this means trying to be consistently intentional and prayerful about being faithful in all dimensions of my life, using and nurturing the gifts that God has given me and taking great joy in that process (including still playing sports!); and struggling to serve my family and to respond to and create opportunities to serve those who are marginalized, share the Good News of Christ, and nurture my knowledge

Esperanza College:

of and relationship with the triune God.

Templeton Honors College:


Personally: As an immigrant, to


be in motion is a very different

Professionally: I’m still

aspect of one’s life. Motion is about

developing my role in the

displacement and relocation and a

Honors College, advancing

rhythm of these two movements.

its three programs, and

Displacement is about being removed from the familiar. To be bilingual and bicultural involves constant movement and integration or creative tension between all of these different pieces of life. Professionally: I am always open to new things in the Spirit as it is the Holy Spirit that continuously guides where I go and what form it takes. This openness keeps me in motion as I have a steady place of work as well as a continuous calling to ministering in new and diverse communities in a variety of ways. Spiritually: To be embraced and enveloped in the spirit- to abide in Christ (John 15:1-17), is a relational motion, a flow of each of the parties in the relationship with one another where they interpenetrate one another until

reconnecting with people in the North American worlds of Liberal Arts Education and Christian Ethics, my two professional fields. Personally: I’m moving a lot along the roads and hills of suburban Philly. I’m a runner but was too busy to run much in 2017. In January, I laced up my road-and-trail-running shoes again and am out 4-5 days a week, often with our dog, Luna, at my side. Spiritually: I am not moving as much as I am resting: resting in God’s gracious provision, resting in his love embodied through the people around me, and resting in his undeserved goodness.

there is transformation. This is an everlasting motion initiated by the Holy Spirit who through grace invites and keeps us in the abiding with Christ.



Dr. Ronald A. Matthews, 10th President of Eastern University Orchestrating a Harmonious Future for Eastern: A Musician in Forward Motion by Denise McMillan

I F Y O U H AV E B E E N a part of the Eastern

wholeheartedly, unabashedly grateful and

community over the last 25 years, you may

moved.” He also said, “This is all about Jesus.

know Dr. Ronald A. Matthews as Professor

It’s not about me. It’s about the Kingdom, it’s

of Music and Director of Music Programs,

about Eastern University. It’s about us pooling

Executive Director of the Fine and Performing

our collective ownership of this place to share

Arts Division and Chair of the Music

our gifts and to give glory to God and to make

Department. On March 1, 2018, The Board of

a difference throughout the whole world.”

Trustees asked Dr. Matthews to step into a new conducting role: orchestrating a future for Eastern University as the 10th President.

Married to his wife Pamela for 40 years, President Matthews said her counsel and faith played a major role during his discernment

Board of Trustees Chairman Steven Clemens

and decision to serve in this new calling.

‘91 recently said Dr. Matthews is “a known

Pamela has had a rewarding professional

consensus builder. He is able to bring together

career serving others in health care in the field

people with very disparate views, and get

of ultrasonography. She has been active in

them all moving in a common direction. His

fundraising for local elementary and middle

organizational skill and his administration skills

schools, charitable projects to Haiti, and has

are beyond reproach. He’s a great cheerleader

served with the Cherokee Indians in Cherokee,

for Eastern and we are very optimistic that that N.C. and has most recently served on a trait will allow him to make connections which

mission trip in Cartagena, Columbia. Together,

will benefit Eastern.”

Pamela and Dr. Matthews have two adult

In his sermon at Reconciliation Chapel, Dr. Matthews began by describing how he felt regarding his appointment, “This is just an amazing convergence of events that for me I can only say has been miraculous. So I am

sons, David, who works for Boston Consulting Group and Andrew, who is employed by Merck and Co. Dr. Matthews often remarks how grateful he is for the joy and support his family brings to his life.


P P R E S I D E N T M AT T H E W S has served at

effective fundraising. When meeting President

“We have to figure out, together, how can we

Eastern University since 1992 and for 13 years

Matthews one is immediately drawn in by

give appropriate resources, in the appropriate

was the Pastor of Worship Arts at Church of

his warm, caring personality. In conversation

places, to get the appropriate things

the Saviour in Wayne, PA. Dr. Matthews holds

he listens deeply, putting others at ease and

done really well. We never have to

degrees in composition, orchestral and choral

making one feel as if you are his only concern.

apologize for excellence.”

conducting, church music and organ. He is a commissioned and published composer and has studied piano since the age of four. He has performed regularly in concerts and workshops throughout the United States and Canada with his brother Rev. Dr. Gary Matthews, with whom he has also released six recordings. Dr. Matthews has also conducted, recorded, and performed in France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Switzerland and the Vatican. From the start of his Presidency, he has been open and generous with his time, and his very first interview was with student Anthony Barr

“ This is all about Jesus. It’s not abou   It’s about the Kingdom, it’s about E University. It’s about us pooling our ownership of this place to share our to give glory to God and to make a d throughout the whole world.”

’19, Managing Editor of the Waltonian, Eastern’s student newspaper. Anthony asked President Matthews to discuss his core beliefs about education and Dr. Matthews responded,

He genuinely wants to know people. Decisive

In describing his past responsibilities as a

and assured, he conveys a calm confidence and

conductor to unify towards a common goal,

is respected and loved by many in the Eastern

he said beautifully,

community. A surprising facet of his personality

“Education is transformational. Jesus links

is his quick wit and ability to tell an impromptu

learning to love (loving God with all your

joke, bringing sudden loud laughter to a room.

mind)…It is important that education is not

Also unexpected, but much appreciated, is his

isolated from relationships and life and that

ability as a composer to write thank you notes

it is not viewed as only information or skills.

to staff in poem form, with one such recipient

Education is about the process of experiencing

remarking, “it made my whole week.”

life. We were created with curiosity and learning is a part of the innate delight and task of being human.”

with all of these micro-communities; whether it be the strings, or woodwinds, or brass, or percussion they all had their identity but they amazingly transforming beauty in a world

references Jesus’s commandment that we

that is tremendously broken.”

soul, with all of our mind, and with all of our

story beginning with being born and raised in

strength, explaining that to him, that is what

Philadelphia, living in Frankford for 25 years,

Eastern is all about, and is both our history

and his subsequent love for the city. He began

and our future. Dr. Matthews said when

playing music at an early age with diverse

thinking about his role as President,

groups of people. A very relational person, he connects easily with people; a vital skill for


were together to make music. And the joy of it,

the future of Eastern, President Matthews

16th, President Matthews introduced his

D R .

economy and none of it mattered because we

all came together to collaborate to make

love God with all of our heart, with all of our


was in their identity, their ethnicity, their

When expressing his hopes and plans for

In a University-wide staff meeting held March


“… in one sense it didn’t matter what anybody

A .


Much like his considerable abilities to bring disparate people together to conduct and create beautiful orchestral music together, I believe Dr. Mathews is well-equipped to orchestrate a harmonious future for Eastern, resulting in a rich sound pleasing to God’s ear.

ut me. astern r collective r gifts and difference



Another Eastern Love Story

How a car, homemade cookies and Eastern helped create a dynamic duo of industry-leading wedding photographers. by Michael Thomas, MBA ’18, PSYD

I T A L L S TA R T E D W H E N a tall guy met a

great and a few days later I asked her out the

As a communications major, faculty at Eastern

pretty girl…and got mad at her.

manly way… over instant messenger.”

helped Tony gain experience with design

Tony and Amy laughed as they told me about

The rest is history. Yes, another Eastern

how they first met at Eastern. Amy was a

love story.

sophomore and was having car trouble, and a mutual friend asked Tony if he would help her get back to her house. “I was mad because the Sixers game was on

happily married for over a decade.

to craft his own direction.

Now love is their occupation.

More importantly than technical skills, Tony’s

reminiscing about his immaturity, and how he

capturing the love stories of others through

nearly missed the weight of the moment.

their nationally renowned photography

demeanor and wanted to rebuild social capital: she offered to make cookies for him. “I make really good cookies, so I knew it would

“I was a poor college student and loved cookies, so of course I agreed,” Tony said. “We got along



business Hoffer Photography. Their work has been featured in The Guardian, Huffington Post, Professional Photographer and many other news outlets. Their reputation precedes them and they travel around the world for their work. So how could some of the best

work,” Amy grinned.

he wanted, but he enjoyed Eastern so much he stayed and worked with his helpful professors

For the past 10 years they have been

sophomore, noticed Tony’s less-than-pleasant

transferred to another school to get the major

Cheers to Tony and Amy who have been

and I had to miss it,” Tony laughingly shared,

Amy, a gracious and relationally astute

and imagery. Tony shared that he could have

wedding photographers in the country come from Eastern?



most powerful take away from Eastern was learning to be open to new ideas and to listen to different perspectives. “It has helped with owning a business, having employees and understanding that my way of doing things isn’t always best. I can listen and incorporate the ideas of other people without compromising what we do. It has made our work far better.” Amy, an education major, appreciated the community and relational aspect of Eastern. It has informed their work and business.

“The Eastern community helped me learn to push past social awkwardness and really connect with people and get to know who they are at their core. This really helps us in what we do. We intentionally meet with our clients for a lengthy meeting before we shoot their weddings to learn about them. We want to know what makes them unique, what drew them to one another and how we can really capture that. Eastern taught us that going deeper really matters and it definitely shows up in the photos we take.� A tall guy and pretty girl met at Eastern. They received a liberal arts education at a small Christian college where their experience shaped who they are today and how they impact the world in a meaningful way. I guess sometimes car problems are good.

17 17



Tony Hoffer ’04 and Amy (LIGHT) Hoffer ’07

Q: What are your favorite shots to take? A : TONY /

A : AMY /

One time we were

Most of my favorites are either

Everything worked out perfectly.

emotional photos or photos from

That kind of stuff is the most

times we’ve traveled on trips.

memorable for me because you

the groom and his mother had a

Traveling is great for our creativity

can’t really reproduce it.

difficult relationship and they were arguing through the wedding day.

and keeps us fresh. Seeing new places helps bring out something different in our work. Some people are nervous about not having control over things when traveling, we see it as exciting.

I like ones that

Q: Favorite memory as a photographer?

are difficult to

pull off… Part of being an artist is you get tired of your own stuff pretty quickly and want to try something new. I’ve taken photos standing on a moving car, sitting in a tree and leaning off a building.

At one point he [the groom] came back and was filling the bride in on what was happening. They

A : AMY /

We have been given the honor of

A : TONY /

photographing a wedding where

stood in a room off to the side and were talking. She was listening

being with people on the most

and consoling him. I didn’t take

emotional day of their lives. Being

pictures immediately, but listened

present in their lives at these

and once I felt it was ‘ok’ I took a

times is just really meaningful to

couple shots. They actually wrote

me. We’ve been with couples who

us a thank you note specifically

have lost a parent a few days

for taking that photo. The fact

before their wedding and couples

that we had that photo of them

whose young children are part

was meaningful to them and really

of the wedding. Being able to

authentic. When we take photos of

One of my favorite photos was

sensitively capture the emotions of

a wedding, we remember that this

one we took of a couple jumping

what’s happening no matter good

is a photo for now, but also for 20

out of a canoe. We told them

or bad is really meaningful to the

years from now.

“we’ve got one chance to get this.”

people we work with.

The goal was to jump out but have the canoe remain level. It was also fun because I was in the water up to my chest.







"We have been people on the lives. Being times is just

given the honor of being with most emotional day of their present in their lives at these really meaningful to me."

S e e m o r e o f t h e i r w o r k at h o f f e r p h o t o g r a p h y. c o m 19


FIVE MORE MINUTES by Denise McMillan


with a smile that doesn’t end, biology major and pre-dentistry Leadership Fellow, Kadeem Colburn ’18, is the epitome of a scholar-athlete who knows what it means to be in various forms of motion. In addition to his academic responsibilities for his major, Kadeem found himself an internship shadowing Dr. Gulia Omene at Omene Cosmetic and Family Dentistry in Paoli, PA a couple of hours per week. He is also engaged in research with Dr. Meg Laakso in the biology department; last semester working KADEEM COLBURN '18 MEN'S LACROSSE

on a bioinformatics project and this semester working with a few other students on a plant based cloning project.

What makes this remarkable is that he does all this while playing defense for the Eastern Men’s lacrosse team, a sport he has played for all four years of his college career. He says of the coach and team, “The reason I decided to join this team was because of the tight knit family that Coach Wallace has created. The team is very understanding of one another and is always trying to strengthen bonds within the team and in the community. What I like about this team the most is that Coach Wallace pushes kids to get involved in other things on campus. He supports the character it brings to the team and likes to see athletes venturing outside of the locker room and indulging in more academic activities. This team has given me the necessary support to juggle everything that I want to do on and off the lacrosse field. There is no other team I would rather play for.” Point in fact, Coach Wallace has let Kadeem leave a team activity and run across campus to have a quick chat with me for this article, even though there was a game later that night.





While on the surface it might look as if Kadeem has always had it all figured out, he explains, “Prior to Eastern

A F T E R G R A D U AT I O N Kadeem plans to go to graduate school for a

Master’s in Oral Health at Boston University and then on to dental school.

I was quite content with just being still; however, my time at

After a family summer visit out to the west coast he fell in love with the

Eastern University has always pushed me to be in forward

state of Washington, and a long term goal would be to move out there to

motion. It has gotten to the point that I do not ever want to

practice dentistry and teach himself piano.

slow down. Eastern has given me plenty of opportunities to participate in various academic and social events that encourage constant thinking. Both major organizations that I have been a part of have pushed me to do more and further myself as a more complete person. Particularly, the Leadership Fellows Program has taught me what it means to be the best servant I can be.” Assistant Athletic Director and Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach Kevin Wallace told me, “Kadeem is a one of a kind student athlete. Kadeem has been one of our top players for the last 3 years while also going through one of the toughest majors on campus. This season Kadeem only practices two or three days a week at most, because of his labs and academics. Most students wouldn't be able to keep a high level of play with

When talking about the impact his advisor Dr. Maria Fichera had on his experience Kadeem said, “She has spent countless hours guiding me to how I can, one day, get to dental school. The beginning stages were rough, but she never showed signs of worry and continued to push me towards my goals. If anything, she showed me that, regardless of your current situation, there is always a way to achieve your goals.” When reflecting on his four years at Eastern Kadeem said when he initially came to Eastern things felt different and out of place and he was wondering if he should go somewhere more comfortable. He says, “That would have been one the biggest mistakes of my life! What is college without those eye-opening experiences? My time at Eastern has taught me to gravitate towards the uncomfortable as it builds the most

that much time missed. Kadeem is so dedicated and has

character. Conversations at Eastern spark new ideas and refine old ones

an extremely high work ethic that he still maintains his

in ways that I do not think I would have gotten at other schools. It has

high level of athletic play while missing so much time.

been humbling, and I have so much to learn from this school and not

Kadeem is what every coach wants in a student athlete. He represents Eastern Men's Lacrosse to the fullest and is going to be a great ambassador for years to come.”

Meet Kadeem and see a video of his continued movement throughout the day eastern.edu/KADEEM

enough time to do it. If I could only have five more minutes.”


Positioned to Advance the Gospel B Y C H R I S F O LW E L L

unning up and down, up and down the back stairs of the

the “green room” with the worship leaders and volunteers during this

church. This was common for me. Our overflow room was

time. Everyone seemed so tired but so fulfilled, doing great work for

in the basement, and we could fit 150 church attendees in

God. One of our worship leaders would often fall asleep in-between

that space. A small TV with a few speakers allowed those in overflow

services, and I had the privilege of waking her up for the next service.

to hear the message and experience worship. My job was to ensure

It made sense that Becca needed to take a quick nap; we would arrive

Pastor Pierre knew who was in overflow, since we always wanted to

around 3 p.m on Saturday, leave close to 9 p.m., head home for what

make sure those in the basement, watching on a small TV, felt deeply

felt like a nap and arrive Sunday morning at 6 a.m. for sound check.

loved and cared for. The year is 2004, during this time there were six weekend services at The Father’s House. Two services on a Saturday Night, four on a Sunday. We lived and breathed church.

Pastor Pierre and Marlize believed strongly in recruiting staff and leaders from the “inside” or those who were currently attending The Father’s House. Young leaders that God was entrusting to the

In 2002 Pastor Pierre and Marlize du Plessis became the Senior

church. Though we were experiencing excessive growth, we were

Pastors of New Creation Fellowship, which would soon be renamed

not recruiting staff who had the experience to lead a church of multi-

The Father’s House in Rochester, NY. By 2004 we grew from a few

thousand. Our team consisted of: a carpenter that was previously

hundred attendees to several thousand and we had run out of space

installing granite, a youth pastor that had spent one year at bible

at our current facility. The lack of space was creating tremendous

school, a staff member with a masters degree in business, a good

parking and traffic issues within our town. I can remember sitting in

friend from the health insurance industry, and a financial director.




There were a few other staff at this time,

transformational and got us “unstuck” in many

besides Pierre and Marlize, none of us had an

areas. This program has set me on the path

in-depth biblical or theological training.

to a lifelong posture of learning and being

As a staff member at The Father’s House, I would often feel “over my head.” Not as a

“ At times I would be asked questions about God, theological

There is a deeper connection between those

participating on staff at such a diverse, fast

of us who have completed the MTS program.

growing church. A church that has many guests

This program has provided us with the tools to

from multiple generations, ethnicities and

lead and pastor in a very diverse environment.

faith backgrounds. At times I would be asked

Though several of us came from different

questions about God, theological questions

backgrounds, having no in-depth theological

I struggled to answer. I saw a confidence in

training, this program has now equipped us

Pastor Pierre that I desired for myself. What

with the knowledge and strength to lead with

I needed was knowledge, deeper theological

tremendous courage and confidence. I'm so

understanding. I lacked the necessary

thankful for my Senior Pastors, Pierre and

confidence to be a meaningful contributor as

Marlize, and their desire to see each of us

the church continued to move forward.

growing into the pastors and leaders God has

It was a winter day in 2014 when Pastor Pierre pulled a few of us together to share an “educational opportunity.” Pierre spoke

questions I struggled to confidence in Pastor Pierre that I desired for myself.”

highly enough.”

result of being too busy, more as a result of

about Professor Wynand de Kock and the MTS

answer. I saw a

shaped. I cannot recommend this program

called us to be. I’m grateful for Dr. Wynand and Eastern University. Dr. Wynand’s brilliant mind, coupled with his pastor’s heart, made way for incredible learning.

program at Eastern University. Since that day in

Much has changed since we were holding

2014 seven of us have completed the three-year

a six weekend service in 2004. In 2006 we

MTS program. Several new students from The

acquired 60 acres of farmland across the street

Father’s House have joined in the last few years

from our original location. As a result of the

as well. Pastor Pierre and Marlize shared these

faithful giving of those at TFH, we were able

comments when asked how the MTS program

to construct a building large enough to allow

has impacted their life,

for fewer services. In 2009 The Father’s House

"This program was like nothing I have experienced before. Studying (and applying) the study of theology not only deepened my faith and relationship with God but doing it in community with a group of our young pastors was deeply rewarding. I believe it has enabled us to steward with wisdom and confidence the influence God has entrusted to us in this season. It also included a strategically

opened a Downtown Campus, which has now become our Life Center where we distribute food and clothing to those in need. Our beautiful Greece Campus launched in 2015, this campus is 10 minutes away from our original campus. As a result of the Palmer Theological Seminary MTS at Eastern we are positioned to continue to advance The Gospel in Rochester, NY. We are forever thankful.

designed personal journey and goals that were





fall / winter

by Dan Mouw

(from left to right: caroline shelby '21, aron szenczy '20, and Darius washinton '20)

MEN’S HOOPS RETURNS TO MAC FREEDOM TOURNEY Men’s Basketball battled through injury and early-season setbacks to claim a spot in the MAC Freedom Tournament for the second-consecutive season. The Eagles won ten league games and beat every team at least once. While the team’s nine-game home-unbeaten streak was snapped with a five-point loss to DeSales in the Semifinals, the Eagles turned in many memorable performances.




Juniors Victor Peña '19 and Darius Washington '20 both earned First-Team All-MAC Freedom honors, and senior guard Antonio Chapman '20 was named to the second team. It is the first time Men’s Basketball has had two first-team All-Conference players since joining the NCAA in 1992. Peña led the league in rebounds and averaged 13 points per game. Washington, shot 42.2 percent from behind the arc and led the league in made 3-pointers with just under three per game.

SHELBY HELPS VOLLEYBALL KEEP TITLE STREAK ALIVE Volleyball had three All-Americans graduate in 2017. With those losses, the 2018 season would prove to be a challenging one for 28-year veteran head coach Mark Birtwistle. Playing on the road in a Conference Championship game for the first time ever, the Eagles beat DeSales in four sets. First year outside hitter Caroline Shelby '21 hit an incredible .556 and put away a season-

high 27 kills to power the Eagles to a tenthconsecutive MAC Freedom Title. Shelby fought through mid-season injuries to record the eighth-highest single-season kill total in the history of Eastern Volleyball. The next weekend, she put away 24 kills in a five-set loss to No. 9 Carnegie Mellon in the NCAA Tournament. Shelby was one of seven freshmen to play a role on last fall’s team. She and junior Michelle Paulsen '19 both earned AVCA Honorable Mention All-America Honors. Paulsen is closing in on Eastern Hall of Honor member Kate [Adams] Conneen's '04 career block record.



Aron Szenczy '20 had only missed once on his way to clearing 1.99 (6’6.33”) meters at the Indoor MAC Championships in late February. When his sole remaining competitor missed his third attempt at 1.99 meters Eastern’s junior high jumper had the option to set the bar for his next height.

Led by a pair of gold medal relays, Women’s Track and Field finished fifth at the 2018 MAC Indoor Track and Field Championships. In only its third year, the program scored in 11 events and competed in seven more in the Championships.

With all the other competitions in the two-day event over, the entire meet watched as Szenczy set the bar at 2.06 meters (6’9.1”). He cleared the height on his first attempt to match the MAC record which had stood since 2011. Szenczy became the first Eastern individual to win a men’s championship event in the short history of Eastern Track and Field.

Eastern won both the 4000 meter distance medley and the 4 x 800 meter relay. Kierra Zach '19, Megan Bernotas '20, and Katelyn Bernotas '21 ran on both winning relays. Head Coach Mike Wilson '10 was pleased to see his women’s team win events and also grow in depth at this early stage in the program. The Eagles will look to build on their success through the outdoor season in the spring.

As a group, the Eastern men, in just their third season of competition, scored in 13 of 19 events and finished fifth of the 13 schools in the Championships. Frantzy Sainvil '20 finished second in the triple jump, and DaShawn Dale '21 took third in the high jump and fourth in the pole vault.




T H E L A M P L I G H T S O C I E T Y was established in 2002 to

commemorate Eastern University’s 50th Anniversary. The Society serves to honor those who have “shined the light” by making significant contributions to the life of Eastern University and in so doing leave an indelible imprint on the campus community. One individual is selected each year from Eastern’s family of alumni, faculty, administrators and staff. This year we recognize former Executive Vice President, Dr. M. Thomas (Tom) Ridington ’78, MA ’81. When asked what it means to him to be this year’s

inductee Dr. Ridington said, “I was very surprised to receive the call. I’ve been around Eastern for a while and have witnessed the qualities of past inductees. It is a great honor to be counted among them.” Dr. Ridington worked for more than three decades at Eastern spanning various areas of the University including Admissions, Development, University Relations and the President’s Office. He has also contributed to student life by teaching and coaching. Over the years he has selflessly provided strategic vision, mentorship and guidance to the University community. Of his life’s work at Eastern he said, “I was blessed to work with a lot of really great people at Eastern. We raised a lot of money for student aid for a very long time so it’s really rewarding to hear when our alumni are out there doing well and making a difference. Stepping into the Howard Center, Observatory and other campus facilities always lifts me knowing that we secured the funds for those. I partnered with faculty and Deans to launch the Openseminary and the PhD programs so it’s always fun when those students arrive for their residencies. Finally, I was privileged to be there at key moments in Esperanza College’s development from conception through branch campus.” Fellow Alumnus and Lamplight Society Inductee and Professor and Chair of the Astronomy and Physics Department, Dr. David H. Bradstreet ’76 said of Tom’s fundraising skills,“Tom Ridington was






instrumental in working closely with me in the fundraising for the

Bradstreet Observatory. He patiently and tirelessly worked to find prospective donors and put me in touch with several. Tom shared

The Lamplight Society inductee

2 0 1 8

Dr. M. Thomas Ridington ’78, MA ’81

my vision and was a fantastic encourager and supporter throughout the many years of fundraising. Ultimately, he was successful in this endeavor beyond either of our dreams, and I will be forever grateful for his steadfastness and commitment to Eastern.” I N F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8 Dr. Ridington transitioned from the University

to a new position at Eastern’s partner, Esperanza, Inc., a faith-based non-profit organization driven by the biblical mandate to care for the “least of these," where he had recently served on the Board of Directors. He said of his new role, “I am delighted to be Esperanza’s Senior Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Growth, where I serve with many talented colleagues and several long-time friends to strengthen Hispanic communities. My responsibilities include providing leadership for the college, communications and development programs.” Dr. Ridington has been in constant motion contributing to Eastern since his days as a student worker in media services. When asked to comment on being in motion now in his professional and spiritual life he explained, “I have an active imagination, so I value motion as a means for working out my creativity in the workplace. I also embrace motion in my formation, both spiritually and in all of life. When I was younger, my primary motivation was the end goal, which was to accomplish consequential things. However, as I age my understanding of legacy is moving from producing good things to goodness itself. Praying in the ancient Ignatian tradition of the examen helps my faith walk remain dynamic as I endeavor to sync the constant motion of this life with the movement of the Holy Spirit.”



Nonlinear Justice

The Alumnus of the Year

2 0 1 8 Justin Piff ’02

b y L i n d s e y L av e r t y ’ 1 8

J U S T I N P I F F ’ 0 2 continues to have a strong commitment to the

consulting as an evaluation manager at Cornell Companies. He moved

principles of faith, reason and justice years after his graduation from

to Devereux as a quality management coordinator and oversaw two

Eastern University. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in social work

residential treatment facilities and a therapeutic foster care program.

from Eastern, Piff went on to get his Master of Science in Social Work at Columbia University. From there, he became a consultant and evaluator at Equal Measure in Philadelphia, serving some of the largest foundations in the country, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Eastern University was the only college Piff applied to, saying of this decision,

Today, he works with organizations seeking to invest significant financial resources into systems and programs that improve opportunity and access to low-income youth and adults. These efforts seek to uplift underrepresented voices and increase equality in areas of health, education and employment. On receiving the news of being chosen Alumnus of the Year, Piff was humbled and added that he himself has been inspired

“I knew it was where I wanted to be—I wanted a

by so many Eastern graduates and what they have gone on to

Christian community with a strong social justice identity,

do. His pride and involvement in Eastern University is evident,

and Eastern fit that perfectly.”

through the years that he returned as an adjunct professor in

Piff shared that he looks back on his undergraduate experiences fondly, and that the friendships he developed are ones he will have for life. He appreciated and valued the diverse student body and strong sense of community on campus, and sighted his involvement in the YACHT club as having a significant role in shaping his perspective on poverty, homelessness, and injustice. Piff said,

at Homecoming. Thinking back to his student years, Piff passes on some excellent advice on his own personal experience with the unknown, stating, “It’s important to keep moving even when the path isn’t clear, and even when your movement may not be linear. In the time since I’ve graduated, nothing

“The social work program taught me how to think critically about social problems, understand how systems work and develop a broad range of skills and frameworks for working toward a more just society.”

– my career, personal, or spiritual life – has been linear, and none of it has been predictable. It’s important not to be complacent, but also not to get frustrated when the next move isn’t clear or exactly what

Following his graduate degree at Columbia University, Piff began


the Social Work department, to his consistent presence



you’d planned.”

Distinguished Young

A Life with Ripple Effects

Alumna of the Year

2 0 1 8

Lara Owlett ’09, MEd ’13

b y K e l ly G o d d a r d

W H E N A D I F F E R E N C E - M A K E R is set in motion, she not only

In addition to the physical journeys Lara takes her students on, she also

grows personally, but she brings life, energy, and transformation to those

creates activities in her classroom to broaden their understanding and

around her. Lara Owlett ’09, MEd ’13 is a teacher, mentor, and life-long

empathy for people and cultures different than their own.

learner who is living a life with ripple effects on the next generation. Lara, who was one of 12 finalists for Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year in 2017, is a French teacher in the rural school district of Wellsboro, PA. Every other year she takes her students to

“We often connect with French-speakers from around the world through written correspondences, Skype sessions, or other online platforms. As these connections promote a deeper understanding between cultures,

France, broadening their horizons and introducing them to

it is also my hope that they begin to promote

the transformational power of travel she has experienced in

peace...even in a small way.”

her own life.

While the exciting cross-cultural travel experiences

It was actually a trip to France right after high school that

and correspondence activities are definitely

sparked Lara’s own desire to become a teacher.

influencing the course of her students’ lives, Lara

"My world was expanded and I thought, 'I

finds that the small moments of connection with her

would love to open up this other world

students throughout the year may have the biggest

to students,’” she shares. Lara credits Eastern with setting her "in motion" as a French teacher, equipping her with knowledge and skills while also promoting personal growth. “At Eastern I had the fortune

ripple effect of all. “I think the biggest impact I make in the lives of my students may simply be the fact that I consistently invest in them. Last year at graduation a student who had been in my French program for four years gave me a

of being surrounded by

hug and said ‘You have no idea how many

peers and professors who

times I needed you.’ That moment made me

forced me to examine

realize that a teacher's love and respect for

social injustices in our

their students can make a bigger difference

society. I was forced to

than we'll ever know.”

decide how I could do my part to be God's love in a broken world. This set me in motion

I have no doubt that the motion of Lara’s life will continue to set others in motion in a beautiful pattern of multiplication.

to work as a mentor via Big Brothers Big Sisters and to work as an advocate for students who are often marginalized in our rural community.”

Hear more of Lara’s story at eastern.edu/lara 29


Alumni News




Eastern Alumni Class Notes

William Offutt ’63 and Ruth Anne (Davis) Offutt

Robert Adams ’68 is married to Marie “Mickey”

’63 have two children and four grandchildren.

(Bowman) Adams ’70 and they have two

1950 S

Bill’s parents are 101 and 98. Ruth’s parents

children and one grandson. Bob had a 44-year

passed away in 2013. Many may remember

career as a high school math teacher in public

Recently, Ursinus College awarded an honorary

Naomi Davis who worked as a secretary for

school and in a Christian school. The combined

doctorate to Tony Campolo ’56, BD ’60, ThM

many years at Eastern. Bill is a retired American

effort of various faculty members and the

’61 for his role in Christian leadership, helping

Baptist pastor. The faculty/staff that made an

ever-present Christian atmosphere on campus

the church to embrace a social justice agenda.

impact on Bill included: Dr. Claghorn BD ’44

were the factors that had the greatest impact

Also, World Vision Canada announced that

because he was a philosophy major under him;

on him. If not for Eastern, he never would have

Tony would receive the "Ken McMillan Heroes

Dr. Engel who made an impression and was a

pursued a career in teaching. Something his

for Children" award for outstanding work on

dramatic guy; Dr. Shinn gave him some books

classmates would be surprised to know is that

behalf of children. Tony has been responsible

that he used in class that helped him. If not

he drag-raced until his mid-60s – often the

for recruiting thousands of sponsors of children

for Eastern, both Bill and Ruth Anne said they

oldest guy at the track! The big question he’s

who, through World Vision, will be receiving

wouldn’t have met and married each other!

currently pondering is “What is ‘truth’?” It’s the

education, healthcare, along with programs

For Bill there were also the lifelong friends he

current Focus on the Family curriculum that he’s

that would facilitate the community

made like Ardell Thomas ’63, Peggy (Parker)

teaching in Sunday School.

development in those places where these

Thomas ’63, Ed Pickard ’64, Pete Bolster ’63,

sponsored children live.

Bob Plimpton ’63, and many more. Bill says there isn’t really anything that would surprise

Barbara (Liston) Lehman ’58 and her husband, Allyn, have four children, eight grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. She is a retired teacher and shares that the Christian perspective from the faculty/staff made a

his classmates as there are “no secrets hidden”, except that he has two living parents at his age. The big question Bill is pondering is deciding when and where to move into a retirement home and whether or not to move at all.

lasting impact on her life. If not for Eastern, she

Ron Heinlen ’68 has been married to Mary who was the best friend of Big Mary in their folk band during their college years and beyond. His Mary was a “groupie”. They have a daughter, Krista. Ron was a Deputy Director, County Commissioners Association of PA and President of Hidden Lake Villas Condo Association of Naples, FL. The faculty/staff that made an

never would have discovered over the years

Peggy (Parker) Thomas ’63 shared that in

impact on him was Tony Campolo ’56, BD

that it is in our relationships where we most

January, she and Ardell Thomas ’63 returned

’60, ThM ’61. If it wasn’t for him, he wouldn’t

often encounter God. The friendships formed at

from their last "Thomas-led" missions trip to

have gone into Human Services as a career.

Eastern continue to be those that have lasted a

the Dominican Republic, which they have been

Something his classmates would be surprised

lifetime and she is grateful.

doing every two years since 1995 and believe

to know is that he is considered, by some, to be

they just cannot lead another team. Ardell's

a world-class turkey caller. The big question he’s

1960 S

been doing medical teams since 1985!! The

pondering is, “will the tides be right to

pastor announced that whenever the new clinic

go fishing tomorrow?”

Terry Lothian ’63, BD/MDiv ’66 is semi-retired

is built (the wall will begin soon, but clinic is a

and living in Ocean City, NJ since 2005. He is

ways off) it will be named The Dr. Ardell

Assistant Pastor at St. Peters United Methodist

Thomas Medical Clinic.

Church of Ocean City. The faculty/staff that

Stephen Hutchison ’68, MDiv ’71, DMin ’91 and his wife Frances Hutchison ’94 will be married for 51 years in June. Since his retirement in

Dante Vincenti Jr. ’63 has been happily married

2012, he has enjoyed spending more time with

made the greatest impact on him was Tommy

to Barbara since 2005. Jean, Barbara’s older

his family (3 children and their spouses plus

Byron BD ’58. He never would have made the

sister and his first wife of 43 years, passed away

5 granddaughters). Following graduation, he

in 2004. The faculty/staff that made an impact

pastored for 13 years in Los Angeles and Santa

for Eastern. Something that his classmates

on him were Dr. Claghorn BD ’44, Dr. Love, and

Monica, CA. He also served as Chairman of

would be surprised to know is that even though

Dr. Martinez because they taught him how to

the Ordination Committee of the LA Baptist

think, analyze, and adapt. If not for Eastern, he

Association, President of the American Baptist

would not have been as successful as he was.

Ministers Council of LA, and Director for the

greatest memories and friends he has if not

he’s been a Baptist all his life, he now serves in a Methodist Church.

American Baptist Senior High Camp for the


A L U M N I Pacific Southwest. Steve was also involved in various TV and radio programs and participated in the Board of Directors for the American Baptist National Housing Ministries, and was Pastor-Counselor for the National Board of American Baptist Men. After returning to the East Coast in 1984, he served as Director of Admissions for EBTS/PTS for 28 years. During that time he established an annual “Exploring Christian Ministries” weekend conference. By the time he retired, nearly 3,000 new master degree students had been recruited. The faculty/staff that made an impact on him were Tony Campolo ’56, BD ’60, ThM ’61 who introduced him to a fuller understanding of the Christian faith and ignited a greater passion within him to make a difference throughout his life, and John Ruth ’56 who believed in him. Something his classmates would be surprised to know is that he is an introvert. The big question he’s pondering at the moment is if it’s true that Jesus really meant what He said, then when will we – assuming we’re good people – not

is that she’s finally out of her shell. The big

If not for Eastern, he probably would not have

questions she’s pondering are, “will those who

become a teacher and soccer coach, for which

call themselves Christians ever again become

he was hired at two schools. He would not have

Jesus-followers? Will she ever finish all the

had the biblical background that has guided

writing projects she has started or has swirling

him his entire life. Something his classmates

in her brain?

would be surprised to know it that he has matured and has a closer relationship with

only speak up but actually get involved with all

Steve Stewart ’68 and his wife will be

the hurts, loneliness, injustices around us by

celebrating their 49th wedding anniversary in

practicing the presence of Jesus – by maybe

June. They have a son and two grandchildren.

Reuben Wilbur ’68 is married to Shirley

taking a risk and following all His teachings,

He has been writing simple poems the last

(Teutken) Wilbur ’70 and they have two sons

especially those in the “Sermon on the Mount?”

two years for family and friends. He has also

and two grandchildren. Their children live

been accumulating/writing a few notebooks

and work overseas. Reuben served 38 years

on topics of interest. Last year, he was asked

with the United Methodist Church as a local

to teach ancient history classes at his former

church pastor and judicatory administrator.

school. He and his wife have been active in

There were several faculty/staff that made an

their church and volunteering. They both teach

impact on him. Dr. Buss who provided him with

Sunday School and he sings in the church choir.

the opportunity to work as a House Parent

Steve has spent 30 years coaching and 26 with

at the Mapleton Campus, Devereux Schools

AD work. He was voted into The Harrisburg

for his last two years at Eastern. It was great

Academy’s Athletic Hall of Fame. He also has

“on the job training” for dealing with difficult

two awards that were set up in his honor. There

individuals, as well as providing the finances

were faculty/staff that made an impact on him.

to fund his Eastern education. Mr. Mumford

Dr. Ruth ’56 was unpretentious and easy to

challenged his belief system at a crucial time

relate to. He was genuinely interested in Steve

in the development of his understanding of

as an individual. Dr. Ackley in his Old and New

what was going on in the world. Mr. Shier

Testament courses were challenging, but he

encouraged investigation into the political

learned and uses so much of them in his life.

understandings of individuals with who we

Jo Ann (Gundlach) Sherbine ’68, who is now retired, will be celebrating her 50th wedding anniversary on June 8th (which was the day before graduation 50 years ago). The newest member of her family is her grandson, Simon Francis Sherbine, to her “baby” daughter Dr. Kourtney Sherbine. The faculty/staff that made an impact on her were Dr. Ingles, because he gave her a thirst for great literature, and Dr. Ziglar, who fostered her love for Latin American history and culture. If not for Eastern, she never would have gained the confidence to speak publically and to teach in both public schools and religious settings. Something her classmates would be surprised to know




Jesus, his Lord and Savior.

interact. Mr. Love helped him quickly conclude

Rich Heller ’71, Jay Hollinsworth ’72, Karen

attempting to get cats adopted, has six cats

that becoming a math major would not be in

(Osterberg) Warriner ’72, Meredith Ellis, Tom

inside their home, and feeds and houses 12 cats

his best interest. Dr. Campolo ’56, BD ’60, ThM

Ashbaugh ’72, Phil Jenks ’71, Brenda Fortes

outside their home. The faculty/staff that made

’61 made life interesting as his lecturing helped

’72, Vince Wilkerson ’72, Gary Peck ’72, and

the greatest impact was Dr. Frederick Boehlke

sociology come alive so much so that he chose

many others, including Faye Aiello ’72 and

BD ’52. If not for Eastern, he never would

that as his major. If not for Eastern, he never

Esther (Sprowls) Ashbaugh ’72, and his Alpha

have experienced the joy of getting a college

would have met his wife who has stood by him,

Phi Omega fraternity brothers. As he has been

education. Something his classmates would be

encouraged him, and moved multiple times with

watching the Ken Burns' Vietnam War film

surprised to know is the he loves working with

him for the past 48 years. Eastern’s small size

recently, the intersection of that war and their

cats. The big question he’s pondering is “What

helped develop his self-confidence. In further

time at Eastern has been constantly before him.

else is left for me to do with my life?”

educational endeavors, he found that he was

He remembers the outside prayer gathering

well prepared to learn with others from larger,

they had after the Kent State killings, filling out

and more prestigious institutions of higher

deferment cards at registration, and at least

education. Something his classmates would be

one professor hesitating to give any

surprised to know is that after retiring from his

male student a failing grade for fear of

“professional” career, he became an appliance

such a student immediately being drafted.

salesperson, first with Sears, then at Best Buy.

He also remembers the service projects Dr.

The big question he’s pondering concerns

Campolo organized in Philadelphia at Teen

the future of the world his grandchildren are

Haven or was it Teen Challenge?

inheriting, especially political divisiveness, as well as the assault on the environment.

1970 S Earl Roberts ’72 shares that he went on from Eastern to Drew University School of Theology and is an ordained United Methodist minister. He retired in 2013 after 40 years of service and then was appointed half-time to his present church in Lattimer Mines just outside of Hazleton, PA. He and his wife, Anne, have been married for 42 years. They have two son Scott and Stephen, both artists. Scott died at 20 of a heart defect and is greatly missed. He has many memories of Eastern (Baptist) College. It was an important time of growing up for him. He thinks of Dr. Frederick Boehlke BD ’52, Dr. Larry Ziegler, Dr. Tony

Douglas Hargis ’73 is fully retired clergy but open to coming out of retirement if the Lord opens the door. He and Beth (Ballantyne) Hargis ’73, who retired two years ago, have 6 grandchildren. Their youngest son, Gregory, is a leukemia survivor of 5 years thanks to God's medical miracle (the doctor's word) and a bone marrow transplant from his older brother, Jonathan Hargis ’00. Their daughter, Emily

Blake Edwards ’73, MDiv ’76 shares that he is

Hargis ’02, is now a Vineyard pastor. If not for

still married to Ann (Steinbright) Edwards ’60,

Eastern, they both say they never would have

retired in July 2003, maintains and operates all

met each other.

of New Covenant Baptist Church's computer and projector equipment, works four days a month at two different cat rescue units

Steve Murray ’73 has three daughters and 1 grandson. He worked for Honda of America MFG, Inc. as an associate/coordinator for 31 years. He was also a soccer coach for 37 years (boys, girls, and men’s soccer). The faculty/staff that made an impact on him was Dr. Beardsley for helping him to understand media/English. If not for Eastern, he never would have searched for Jesus! Something his classmates would be surprised to know is that he loves because Jesus first loved him! It’s all grace (John 1:17)!!! The big question he’s pondering is, “why as believers are we not extending the fruits of the spirit to everyone (believers and non-believers) to a greater extent?”

Campolo ’56, BD ’60, ThM ’61, Dr. Caroline

Sandee (Becker) Wilson ’73 shares that she has

Cherry, Frau Dr. Witmer, and Dr. Earnest

been widowed for three years from her best

Ackley to name just a few of the professors

friend of 45 years, David. Together they have

who influenced him. He remembers friends,

three grown children and two grandchildren.

like: Rich Schramm ’72, Dave Laquintano ’72,

She has been a biology/science teacher, CAN,


A L U M N I pharmacy technician, Sunday School teacher, as

Ruby (Harkness) Sosa ’78 shares that she


well as an aging adult caregiver and advocate.

moved to Maine and is a CRRN, a Certified


The faculty/staff that made an impact on her

Rehabilitation Registered Nurse.

Samuel E. Appel ’53, BD ’60 / October 5, 2017 Norman R. dePuy ’53, BD ’56, DD ’88 / January 30, 2017

were the science department professors: Dr.

Ruth (Smith) Tschan x’57 / December 27, 2017

If not for Eastern, she never would have

1980 S

received such a great science education that

In February, the Racial Empowerment

was so biblically grounded. Something her

Collaborative was excited to share the release

classmates would be surprised to know is

of a TEDMED Talk by Dr. Howard C. Stevenson

Katherine “Kay” J. (Lowry) Lopez ’61 / December 12, 2017

that she married her husband whose maternal

’80. Dr. Stevenson was also featured in a CBS

Dale V. Slaght ’65 / February 18, 2018

side of the family was British and she became

Philly interview "Conversation For All People:

a lifelong Anglophile. The big question she’s

Experts Try to Find Solutions For Parents,

pondering concerns the next stage of her

Educators Over Racist Incidents".

Sayles DD ’75, Dr. Sheldon, and Dr. Kim ’61.

life after retirement.

Donald Cuomo ’83 shares that there is nothing

Roger H. Frances ’58 / January 23, 2018 Rosemarie A. (Cobb) Banks ’59 / December 5, 2017 1960S Gosch L. Ehlers ’60 / January 16, 2018

Carol (Chandler) Malcarney ’67 / October 29, 2017 Christa M. (Wilmanns) Wells ’68 / July 15, 2014 1970S Jo Ann "Lillian" (Badie) Young ’76 / February 21, 2015 1980S

Jeff Leonards ’75 shares that he recently retired

new – just less hair! If not for Eastern, he never

from a 37-year psychology practice, which he

would have joined a kazoo band. Something

Robert W. Williams DD ’81 / December 15, 2017

and his wife, Dionna, commemorated with a

his classmates would be surprised to know is


breathtaking trip to Italy. In retirement, he is

he weighs the same as when he graduated.

Thomas M. Hunter ’98 / September 23, 2017

blessed to still be biking after 43 years (140,000

He says he’s not pondering any big questions

Craig D. Moore ’98 / September 26, 2017

miles to date), playing men's league ice hockey,

because there are too many small questions

and cross-country skiing. Aside from that, he

to think about.

is spending most of his time writing a historical novel, Denounced: A Mischling's Personal Apocalypse. He is happy to report that there are two young granddaughters. It continues to be very gratifying to maintain contact with former professors, Tony Campolo ’56, BD ’60, ThB ’61 and Peter Genco, and to follow the inspiring work of Bryan Stevenson ’81, among others— all heroes to him.

Lori (Manifold-Shepherd) Manifold ’81 / November 14, 2017

Robert J. O’Neill ’98 / May 1, 2014 John J. Riley ’98 / January 30, 2018 2000S

Phyllis Cassidy ’87 retired in 2009 after 19

Gregory G. Mercier ’07 / March 7, 2018

years of working as a social worker with the

William E. Abbott x’09 / December 26, 2017

Montgomery County Aging & Adult Services,


then for Aging Services with Lower Merion/

Heather R. (Lindsay) Mosher ’11 / December 23, 2017

Narberth, a private agency. Although she says

Olivia (Heffinger) Day x’19 / February 21, 2018

she can’t remember much at 91 years old, I just


know she had some great teachers and enjoyed

Russell Peck x’20 / January 10, 2018

her time at Eastern. If not for Eastern, she never


would have possibly looked for an opportunity

A.J. Ashe - Former Trustee / July 25, 2013

In February, Scott A. Davis ’77, chair of

in medical records in a hospital setting where

the Department of Chemistry and Physics

she had worked prior to moving to eastern PA.

Economics Professor / September 23, 2017

at Mansfield University, was selected as a

Something her classmates would be surprised

Conrad Fowler - Emeritus Trustee / October 2, 2017

Pennsylvania Science, Technology, Engineering

to know is that she was a pastor’s wife for over

and Math (STEM) Ambassador. Davis, and the

20 years – her husband retired and passed away

other ambassadors selected after a state-

in 1982. The big question she’s pondering is how

Psychology / December 30, 2017

wide nomination process, are participating

she can continue serving God as she is in her

George S.Claghorn BD ’44, DD ’04, DD ’98 - Former

in a 10-month advocacy training program for

90th year and not too physically able.

leaders in business, education and/or STEM-

stakeholders and helping shape Pennsylvania policy through targeted relationships with elected officials and media.




Eric D. Jarmon MDiv ’94 - Former Admissions Counselor / October 18, 2017 Wendy Steinburg - Former Assoc. Professor of

Dean of Eastern College / February 5, 2018 William H. Gundlah - Former Librarian / February 9, 2018 Shirley A. Weinhold - Former Statistician for Girls

related fields, sharing their experiences and content knowledge with influential Pennsylvania

A. Gilbert Heebner - Emeritus Trustee & Former

Basketball / February 19, 2018

News and notes for alumni from the 1990s, 2000s, 2010s and our graduate programs, please visit alumni.eastern.edu


New Baptist Covenant was excited announce

Mary (Chaplin) Gardner ’83, MEd ’12

in February that Dr. Phaedra Blocker MDiv ’03 would be their new director of programs. Blocker is an ordained Baptist minister and has done clinical training in marriage and family therapy and is an Affiliate Professor in Leadership & Formation at Palmer Theological Seminary of Eastern University. She will continue her responsibilities at PTS while serving with the New Baptist Covenant. On November 11, 2017, the Executive Board of the West Virginia Baptist Convention, voted to hire Dr. Michael B. Sisson MDiv ’04, DMin ’10 as the Executive Minister for the West Virginia Baptist Convention. Sisson will begin his duties on April 1, 2018. Sisson is currently the



senior pastor of Crab Orchard Baptist Church (Greenbrier- Raleigh). He has served in that position for eight years. Prior to coming to Crab


Orchard, he served the pastorates of Sutton

Mary is a two-time alumna from Eastern University. She graduated in 1983 with a BA in elementary

Baptist Church (Elk Valley) and New Life Baptist

education and 2012 with a Master's in Multicultural Education. Eastern has been deeply woven into

Church in Shady Spring.

Mary's family history. Her mother attended Palmer Seminary and her twin daughters graduated from Eastern in 2010. She is also an adjunct professor in the Education Department at Eastern. Connecting with current students and parents and reconnecting with the alumni is a passion that Mary embraces. She absolutely loves serving her alma mater and will be celebrating her 12th anniversary in May 2018.

2010 S Lorain Whitaker MDiv ’13 is an Elder at Ebenezer Temple Pentecostal Church in Southwest Philadelphia under the leadership of Elder Juanita D. Rivers MTS ’96, MDiv

Palmer Alumni Class Notes

’02, Pastor and Elder David Rivers. She is a one year Chaplain Resident at the University

1960 S

2000 S

of Pennsylvania Hospital (Penn Medicine),

Evangeline (Humann) Webb MA ’64 continues

At the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Evergreen

to her resident, she completed one unit of

her involvement at Grace Baptist Church in

Association of American Baptist Churches,

CPE at Lankenau Hospital from May - August

Kansas City, MO. Her activities involve Chair

held October 14 at New Beginnings Christian

2016, and has been putting her degree in

of Mission and Caring, Co-Adult Sunday

Fellowship in Kent, WA, the members of

action by preaching, teaching, counseling and

School Teacher, ABWM. Her community

the Association agreed by consensus to call

workshops, and practicing self-care.

activities involve health teaching. She is

the Rev. Douglas Avilesbernal MDiv ’05 as

a Registered Nurse and was so when she

their second Executive Minister. This action

graduated from Eastern in 1964. Her teaching

was taken following the search committee's

is mostly encouraging seniors to exercise

nomination of Rev. Avilesbernal. He began his

on a regular basis and am certified to teach

work with the region in January 2018.

in three programs.

which became effective August 28, 2017. Prior

Clesha Staten MDiv ’14 has been certified in the field of aromatherapy since 1992. After completing seminary and chaplain residency, she began to envision ways to merge her passion of aromatherapy with ministry. As she


A L U M N I IN MEMORY BY CLASS YEAR: 1940S George S. Claghorn BD ’44, DD ’04, DD ’98 / February 5, 2018 John S. Stannard ABThB ’46 / December 6, 2017 Leland “Bud” P. Bechtel ABThB ’47, BD ’48 / December 14, 2017 Winifred C. (Bower) Wright MRE ’48 / March 24, 2015 Marilyn J. (Smith) Schaeffer BSM ’49 / December 26, 2017 David P. Wright BD ’49 / October 4, 2017 1950S Alfred Bloom ABThB ’51 / August 25, 2017 Ralph J. Kievit ThB ’51 / November 22, 2017 Norman R. dePuy ’53, BD ’56, DD ’88 / January 30, 2017 Joseph A. Browde BD ’57 / November 7, 2017 Thomas K. McInnes BD ’57, MDiv ’70 / December 16, 2017 Valery A. Copan BD ’58 / April 4, 2016 1960S Samuel E. Appel ’53, BD ’60 / October 5, 2017 1970S Donald E. Kanaley ThM ’70 / November 19, 2017 1980S Adele G. deGregoris MDiv ’82 / December 1, 2015

shifted her aromatic focus from body care

applicable to life. Every chapter attempts to

to spiritual care, she embraced becoming a

make a story or passage in the Bible simple and

Chaplain Aromatherapist; helping people create

easy to relate to.”

Philip H.Chase DMin ’85 / March 5, 2016

Randall McCaskill MDiv ’17, Pastor of Olivet


sacred space and caring for their spiritual well-being using essential oils. As a Chaplain Aromatherapist, she is able to use her skills to assist with end of life care. She is also the

Baptist Church hosted the First Annual "Peace & Unity Crusade on September 30, 2017 in

Wendell L. Baglow DMin ’84 / November 29, 2017 Charles “Chuck” R. Johnson DMin ’84 / January 22, 2018

Renee L. McCleary MDiv ’90 / October 10, 2017 Ella Louise McCrary-Sanders MATS ’90 / June 1, 2012 James M. Brown MATS ’94 / November 23, 2017

Philadelphia. He partnered with The Nasir

Eric D. Jarmon MDiv ’94 / October 18, 2017

Mosque, Imam Bilal Abdulsalam, and Shalom

Henry Baldwin MDiv ’99, DMin ‘09 / December 28, 2017

Evan Arkell MDiv ’17 is ministering to the

Baptist Church, Reverend Dr. William F.


WHOLE person! He and his wife are health

Christmas, Jr. It is his prayer that this outdoor

Beverly B. Lewis MDiv ’01 / January 24, 2018

coaches that want to lead others so we all

evangelical ministry service will bring God's

Shelley K. Potter-Abrahamsen MDiv ’03 / October 31, 2017

can be our best for God together. After Evan

people back into the church. This event was a


had experienced some health issues he knew

first in more than one way. To his understanding

something had to change. Evan was inspired

there has not been an interfaith service in the

Renee L. McCleary MDiv ’90 & Former

by Laurie Reasons and her husband Dr. Allen

Logan area. There are as many, if not more

Faculty / October 10, 2017

Reasons (Palmer WV professor).

Muslims than Christians in this community,

founder of In Your Secret Place.

Nathaniel E. Jones ’12, MTS ’17 has released his book 20 Promises With Biblical Proof! Jones states, "20 Promises with Biblical Proof is an inspirational book which intends to encourage people through the application of biblical material. Each chapter focuses on one word and links the word with scriptures that are




yet they are all affected by the same plight, and are all God's people. McCaskill stated, “Working with the members of Islam is a great opportunity to save and redeem God's people from certain fate.”

A.J. Ashe Former Trustee / July 25, 2013

Ralph J. Kievit ThB ’51 & Former Seminary Trustee / November 22, 2017

Now more than ever, YOU can make an impact.




A gift to The Eastern Fund or The Palmer Annual Fund by June 30, 2018 is a long-term investment in our students. Your dollars go directly to equip students to impact the world, both now and in the future.


19 25

1300 Eagle Road, St. Davids, PA 19087-3696


Homecoming & Family Weekend

OCTOBER 12-13, 2018



An up-to-the minute schedule will be online at: EASTERN.EDU/HOMECOMING