EASTERN The Magazine of Eastern University
Each Eachof ofus usshin shi in inunique uniqueways way
nes neslight light s.s. Dear Alumni and Friends,
In Matthew 5, Jesus calls his followers to “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” As I think of the Eastern University community, my mind is filled with the image of thousands of radiant lights beaming around the world. You are bringing light in such unique ways to your various communities and spheres of influence, even in times of great crisis.
This issue of EASTERN magazine highlights a few of those stories of light. From business to school counseling to nursing, our alumni, students, faculty, and staff are lighting up their worlds with vibrant lives of Faith, Reason, and Justice.
We are so grateful for you and for our distinctive, resplendent community of light. Thank you for supporting and living out the mission of Eastern. Proverbs 4:18 states, “The path of the just is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.” Keep shining!
With deep appreciation,
Ronald A. Matthews, President
C O N T E N T S
06 NEW CITY AVE LOCATION Eastern’s new City Ave location opened this March, featuring beautiful modern classrooms, state-of-the-art instructional technology, and a marvelously convenient location for adult students.
F E AT U R E 20
ACA D E M I C S 24
AT H L E T I C S 26
Photo by Sar ah Bruno ’21, Psycholog y major
22 HOLY MOMENTS IN THE HOLY LAND Attendees of the Palmer Seminary trip to Israel woke up on the first day of 2020 in the Holy Land. Several members of the group share some of their most impactful moments.
E A S T E R N
T A B L E
C O N T E N T S
08 REFLECTIONS ON LIGHT A theology professor and a biology professor reflect on light as both a sacred biblical theme and a sustaining force in nature.
10 FEATURE: BE LIGHT Eastern University students and alumni vividly exemplify Jesus’ call to “be light” in a variety of fields. Their passions and degrees are unique, but their lives reflect the unified kaleidoscope of colors that shine brightly from God’s children. ASSOCIATE VICE PRESIDENT / MICHAEL THOMAS, MBA ’18, PSYD Editor IN Chief / KELLY GODDARD Creative Director & Lead Designer / DANIEL PEIRCE Photographer / ELYSE GARNER ’13 ASSOCIATE EDITOR & CONTENT PRODUCER / ALLY (HOLMES) ROSARIO '14 Designer / ALAINA MOSSO ADDITIONAL PHOTO & ILLUSTRATION CREDITS / ISTOCK.COM/TITHI LUADTHONG (COVER, 11) KELLY KESTER PHOTOGRAPHY (13-15)
24 ATHLETIC HIGHLIGHTS Women’s Track and Field claims MAC Indoor Championship, Men’s Basketball enjoys historic success, and Eastern adds esports to its list of athletic offerings.
ALISA WISMER (32) Please send comments or article suggestions to: firstname.lastname@example.org Alumni news should be sent to: email@example.com Palmer Seminary alumni news should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org PUBLISHED BY Marketing and Communications at Eastern University ONLINE AT eastern.edu/MAGAZINE
B y A l ly ( H o l m e s ) R o s a r i o ’ 1 4 Personal, expressive, and honest.
consider, or care about environmental
the dance community as they seek to
Samantha Thomason ’20 embodies
concerns and impacts is a gift that
explore and experience God together.
these words as she shares her heart
Samantha cherishes. “We can spark
“Eastern Dance Ministry gives me the
and passions through the art of dance.
wonder, intrigue, and change by
opportunity to worship God through
“Dance helps us communicate different
shedding light on scientific concepts
movement alongside a community of
ideas, statements, and mindsets in a
and environmental issues through the
strong, positive women,” she explains.
creative light with the option to use few
art of dance,” she shares.
Being able to express her thoughts,
words or no words at all,” Samantha explains. “It evokes feeling, and feeling ignites change.”
Samantha’s senior thesis even incorporated environmental ideas, motifs, and inspiration, exemplifying the
As a double major in both Dance and
artful beauty of science and the impact
Environmental Science, Samantha
that we have on the world around us.
believes in the power of art to help others experience, explore, and better understand the world. She quickly found beauty in employing both the arts and sciences as vehicles for discovery. Using art to challenge others to rethink,
E A S T E R N
L I G H T
Samantha expresses not only her passion for the natural world under the lights of the McInnis Auditorium stage, but her heart for God as well. As co-president of Eastern Dance Ministry, Samantha has found fellowship within
feelings, concerns, and prayers to God without needing to articulate the right words is something that Samantha has found extremely refreshing and freeing in her faith. As a new graduate with a bright future ahead, Samantha knows that her heart is wrapped up in dance, and no matter where she ends up, she will always be dancing and discovering.
C O M M U N I T Y
city ave location B y K e l ly G o d d a r d
T H E E XC I T E D C H AT T E R A N D L AU G H T E R
Designed for adult students, the City Ave location
of students filled the air as they arrived for their very
offers a variety of accelerated bachelor’s and
first classes and the Grand Opening celebration
associate degree programs with evening and online
of Eastern University’s new City Ave, Philadelphia
classes tailored to working adults. The location is
location. A beautiful early spring day in March
conveniently located off of I-76 at the City Avenue
created the perfect backdrop for the opening of a
exit, providing easy access from anywhere in
gorgeous new EU site.
Philadelphia or the surrounding area. The site is
Eastern’s new City Ave location provides students with convenient highway and public transit access, beautiful modern classrooms with state-
also a short walking distance from SEPTA Transit bus and train stops, as well as a Panera Bread, Chipotle, and Target!
of-the-art instructional technology, a computer
Private student advising and support rooms enhance
lab, and free parking. A student lounge offers
Eastern’s mission of providing individualized
comfort and convenience to working adults, and
support for each student, with on-site services
a large meeting room provides an exciting space
meant to equip students for success through
for events and lectures.
academic advising, academic support, professional
development, and more.
With every new location, we are seeing Eastern's motto of Faith, Reason, and Justice extending into the community and beyond.
E A S T E R N
C O M M U N I T Y
“We are thrilled about the ways this new site will allow us to increase the level of excellent, dynamic education that we are committed to providing for our students,” shares Dr. Kent Sparks, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. The new City Ave location also hosts Eastern University’s Center for Community Engagement, which will provide Continuing Education courses, social justice programs like Eastern’s Prison Education Program, events, conferences, and internship experiences. Social justice-minded grassroots organizations and small non-profits now have the opportunity to partner with the CCE to host special events and meetings. Eastern’s mission has always been bigger than just the geographical boundaries of the St. Davids campus. With every new location, we are seeing Eastern’s motto of Faith, Reason, and Justice extending into the community and beyond. The City Ave location is full of promise for new partnerships and transformational education.
watch a video about eastern's new city ave location: eastern.edu/cityave
C O M M U N I T Y
R E F L EC T ION S Sacred Darkness: A Theological Perspective By rhonda burnette-bletsch, phd
WE D ON’ T H AV E TO LOOK FA R in the
God is punishing us or because we lack faith.
Bible to find a connection between God and
Such seasons are just part of being human.
light. In Genesis 1:3, God calls forth light from
Thankfully, biblical authors recognized that
primordial darkness and declares it good.
times of darkness can also be spiritually
Echoing Genesis, John’s Gospel describes Jesus as word and light made flesh (John 1:1-14). “I am the light of the world,” Jesus
light of life” (John 8:12).
thankfully, biblical authors recognized that times of darkness can also be spiritually sacred.
Many biblical authors draw a sharp distinction between light and darkness. Biblically
C O M M U N I T Y
(Gen. 15:5), and dark clouds covered
As a fourth century Cappadocian monk named Gregory of Nyssa pointed out, Moses’ experience of God began with the light of a burning bush, but as he matured in faith, Moses learned to see God in the darkness. Likewise, sixteenth century mystic St. John of the Cross encountered the divine in the complete darkness of a solitary prison cell. No matter what season we are in, the God of
speaking, light stands for things that we find
Light is with us. Here is the testimony of faith:
reassuring—truth, goodness, safety, life, and
God comes to those who walk in darkness,
the sustaining divine presence. Darkness,
because darkness is not dark to God; the
on the other hand, is shorthand for spiritual
night is as bright as the day (Ps. 139:11-12).
blindness and the many things that scare us: sorrow, pain, sickness, and death. The truth, however, is that all of us spend time in life’s darker seasons, not because
E A S T E R N
God showed Abraham the stars of heaven
descended upon it (Exod. 19:18).
will have the
life's darker seasons...
(Mark 15:33). It was on a dark night that
spend time in
earth when Jesus died on the cross
Mt. Sinai when God’s presence
not walk in
All of us
place in the dark. Darkness fell across the
declares. “He me will
sacred. Many significant biblical events take
rhonda burnette-bletsch is professor of biblical studies and chair of the undergraduate theology department at eastern university.
ON L IG H T Sustaining Light: A Biological Perspective B y r e b e c c a h ay s , p h d L I G HT IS FO UNDAT IONAL to almost all life on earth. Quite simply, life as we know it could not exist without light. Light is foundational, and yet we treat it so simplistically. We think about light in terms of what we can see, but there are so many wavelengths of light that we cannot see.
Life would be radically different in every way without light. Light not only illumines our way, but sustains the beauty of our world as we know it.
We could not exist without light, and yet we so often only think about light in the context of sunny days or lights turned on and off in our homes. Light is necessary to all life. Plants use light in photosynthesis to create sugars that sustain life. Through photosynthesis, plants, phytoplankton, and algae take light energy, and through biochemical pathways, create sugars (stored energy for later) and structural compounds. Without light, these organisms would not
because they ate those sugars. Predators, like
radically different in every way without light.
hawks and sharks, that eat the mice and fish
Light not only illumines our way, but sustains
then only grow because of photosynthesis too,
the beauty of our world as we know it.
even though it is indirect.
The importance of light becomes especially
Without light, any life that existed on earth
profound when we consider Jesus’ command for
would be quite different. There might only
us to be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14-16).
be life in hot springs and hydrothermal vents.
He calls us to illuminate the way for others and
The existence of humans, dogs, flowers, or
to sustain the beauty of the world around us —
birds would be uncertain.
just as physical light does. Our call to “be light”
be able to grow, as they would only be able
But, if by some miracle we did have humans,
to work off of their stored sugars. Plants will
there would be shocking differences. We
actually grow in different ways to get better
wouldn't need eyes to see if there was only
access to light. Animals, like mice and fish, that
darkness. There would be no color. There would
eat the plants and algae thus can only grow
be far less beauty in the world. Life would be
plays as necessary a role as light itself.
rebecca hays is associate professor of biology at eastern university.
F E A T U R E
BE Eastern students and alumni are bringing light and hope across a wide variety of fields b y k e l ly g o d d a r d
LIGHT IS POWERFUL.
and alumni who are vividly
It guides our paths, brightens our
exemplifying this call to “be
spirits, and causes new life to grow.
light” in a variety of fields. Their
Hearing Jesus call his followers
passions and degrees are unique,
to “be light” is both humbling and
but their lives reflect the unified
invigorating. Empowered by the
kaleidoscope of colors that shine
Holy Spirit, we can bring hope to
brightly from God’s children.
dark places, nurture creativity in difficult circumstances, and
Be inspired by the light that
radiate contagious joy.
radiates from these pages, and
keep shining your own. The stories gathered here display Eastern University students
12 16 17 18 E A S T E R N
I N T R O D U C T I O N
Nick & Patience Trombley '16/'17, Business Wany Deng '20, Biology Danielle Large '20, Nursing Ameera Sullivan, MA '14, School Counseling
You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand — shine! Matthew 5:14-16 The Message
F E A T U R E
Light Roast EXPERIENCING JESUS’ LIGHT THROUGH COFFEE & COMMUNITY B y A l ly ( H o l m e s ) R o s a r i o ’ 1 4 Sunlight pours through the storefront windows
Graduation loomed around the corner for Nick,
and rests on an almost-empty coffee cup.
but there was no doubt in his mind about his
The quiet hum of a coffee grinder pulsates in the
next step when he learned of 441’s newest project
background, and a steady murmur of laughter
launch: New City Café, a local nonprofit coffee
and conversation fills the air. A young barista
shop. The vision was ambitious: create jobs for
carefully passes a hot, drip coffee over to a
disadvantaged teens, provide a safe space in the
customer seated at the counter with a smile.
community, and pursue long-term, generational
Tucked away in the Beechwood neighborhood
reconciliation through relationships with God
of Rochester, New York, New City Café is a
and one another. That January, Nick accepted
glistening gem in the community.
the position of Assistant Director, and later
New City Café Director Nick Trombley ’16 and his then-girlfriend, Patience (Ackerman) Trombley ’17 first developed a passion for the Beechwood community through a wonderful volunteer opportunity that Nick had during the summer before his sophomore year. Nick was raised in a wealthier suburb of Rochester, and conversations initiated in his INST 150 class had convicted him to
E A S T E R N
F E A T U R E
became the Director of New City Café. Patience was eager to support the vision as well, and they were married in September 2017. In light of God’s faithfulness coming full circle, Nick shares that Patience will oversee 441’s Summer Meals program this coming year. “God’s providence through this whole journey is amazing,” Nick exclaims.
engage in the deep areas of poverty surrounding
The beauty of New City Café’s story is not only
his community. That summer, Nick served at 441
found in Nick and Patience’s journey to the café,
Ministries – a multi-faceted ministry committed
but also, in the birth of the café itself. Nick shares
to serving the local community. He plugged into
that New City Café was intentionally founded in
the ministry’s “Summer Meals” program – an
one of the poorest neighborhoods of Rochester.
initiative providing kids in the neighborhood with
Darkness seems to engulf every corner: drug deals
reliable and healthy meal options. Throughout the
across the street are common, truant children
remainder of college, Nick would always return
roam the neighborhood, broken relationships
to 441 Ministries and serve his community, feeling
and households abound, and hurting people are
called to dream of more for Beechwood.
searching for more.
“Our hope is that New City Café will be a light in the midst of
The nonprofit world is not for the faint of heart, but Nick believes
this darkness – that our neighbors will experience genuine
that by the grace of God, New City Café has been able to
kindness, peace, and community when they walk through our
function with excellence on a shoestring budget. The hope is to
doors,” Nick expresses.
provide rich coffee, an ambient atmosphere, the best service,
Through this intentional placement, Nick has come to see the abused find peace and freedom, basic needs met, youth cared for and mentored, and most significantly, broken and lost individuals
and a life-changing experience through an accessible, affordable, and servant-hearted vision. Razor-thin profit margins pale in comparison to partnering with God’s work.
connected to the local church and Jesus Christ. “Jesus is the
“Jesus invites us to be part of the light,” Nick explains, “not just to
light,” Nick explains, “and at New City Café, we try our best to
consume it and leave, but to take a seat at the counter and be part
reflect that light as His hands and feet in our neighborhood.”
of something bigger than any of us could be on our own.”
Nick credits much of his passion for this community to his time at
If, one day, you find yourself strolling through the Beechwood
Eastern as an Economic Development major. “I often summarize
neighborhood of Rochester, don’t miss stopping by New City Café
my major as ‘using business to alleviate poverty.’ At Eastern, I
for a freshly brewed, home-roasted drip coffee. Pull a stool up to
developed a worldview and a theological framework that shapes
the counter and soak in the sunlight as you sip your coffee and
how I live and serve my community,” Nick explains. “Faith, Reason,
experience the joy of what God is doing through his people.
and Justice are at the core of my life, and those concepts guide every decision that I make as the Director of New City Café.”
E A S T E R N
F E A T U R E
Our hope is that our neighbors will experience genuine kindness, peace, and community when they walk through
F E A T U R E
Lost Boy with A Found Purpose A Story of Redemption in the Midst of Civil War BY WA N Y D E N G ’20
I CA M E TO A M E R I CA from South Sudan
and nature. I am a biology major, and after
diseases that threaten populations in tropical
when I was young. At the young age of 4,
graduating, I intend to do research in either
climates. I saw many people die while we
civil war broke out in South Sudan, and I was
genetics or infectious diseases. I have loved
were traveling on the road to Ethiopia due
faced with many difficulties. Hope felt lost.
working in my cell biology lab here at Eastern
to a lack of doctors, medical supplies, and
My life was the life of a “Lost Boy of Sudan” –
– working with enzymes and cells has allowed
knowledge of preventive measures, which
we were young children displaced, orphaned,
me to celebrate who God is, His creation, and
caused me great pain to witness. But now,
and killed by the civil war, and at times, forced
His presence on earth.
I am ready to work hard and become a doctor
to become child soldiers.
After graduating from Eastern, I intend
in order to help alleviate the suffering of communities and people around the world.
This experience showed me how lost humanity
to pursue a career in the medical field,
is and how desperately we need to seek
specializing in infectious disease control.
For now, I will finish my studies and research
redemption. I believe that God saved me in
My desire is to help people and countries
at Eastern, and continue to serve others by
those predicaments and gave me the motivation
around the world that lack proper healthcare
volunteering with different homeless ministries.
to share my faith in my field and ministry.
and skilled doctors – countries like South
To this end, I will continue to share my faith and
Sudan, Rwanda, Zaire, and Uganda.
hope with others in this world, not as a “Lost
I came to Eastern University because I wanted to grow in my faith through Christian
Because of the health issues of my homeland,
fellowship, connection with the Word of God,
I am motivated to learn about infectious
E A S T E R N
F E A T U R E
Boy,” but a man of God with a found purpose.
W H E N I T H I N K A B O U T being light
After I graduate this spring, I hope to
in the world, I immediately think about
build up my nursing skills at a hospital
bearing the image of God. “Being light”
or community health position while
means bringing God’s freedom and justice
learning about the ways that we can
to others. For me, nursing and medical
serve communities with the healthcare
missions are the access roads that God
and education that they deeply desire.
has given me to be used by Him.
I would like to someday become a nurse
During the summer between my senior year of high school and my first semester here at Eastern, I participated in my first short-term missions trip to the Dominican
practitioner or possibly earn my master’s in global health. Eventually, I hope to that God allows. My journey up to this point has been
the next two summers — the third year as
incredible, and I would not have
an intern — I felt God putting a greater
made it this far without God and His
calling on my heart to be a long-term
faithfulness to me. I have loved being
a part of Eastern’s community, not just
has provided me with all the tools I need to bring light to those around me as a nurse, wherever I may end up. My nursing professors have done an incredible job of being God’s guiding light for me. Over the last two winters,
A Nursing Student Reflects on Bringing Light through Medical Missions
dive into the mission field in the timing
Republic with my church. After returning
My time at Eastern as a nursing major
Bearing the Image of God
BY DANIELLE LARGE ’20
academically, but also through groups like Wednesday Night Worship and the student chaplain program. In a lot of ways, “being light” to me means being present. It is both humbling and wonderful to know that I can carry God’s light and presence with me wherever I go.
I was given the opportunity to visit Haiti and the Dominican Republic with other students and a professor from our own Nursing Department. It was eye-opening and life-giving to be able to use the skills I had acquired in school so far to serve others well!
It is both humbling and wonderful to know that I can carry God's light and presence with me wherever I go.
F E A T U R E
B Y K E L LY G O D D A R D
This dedicated school counselor is creating change in a school previously ranked among the most dangerous in America. M O S T F R E S H M E N S T U D E N T S F E E L some level of anxiety
about their first day of high school. However, imagine walking down hallways lined with over 94 security cameras at a school repeatedly ranked among the most dangerous in America. Known for poor graduation rates, low academics, and elevated neighborhood crime, Strawberry Mansion High School in Philadelphia, PA had a stretch of years where it seemed to consistently make the news for violence in the community, lockdowns, and fights. However, things at Strawberry Mansion have been turning around, due in no small part to the bright light that is school counselor Ameera Sullivan, MA ’14, CAGS ’16. By building strong connections with her students and committing to stick with them,
News crew from 6abc. (Watch the video at eastern.edu/ameera.) “The most rewarding part of my job is helping students work through some of their greatest challenges and witnessing them grow up to become productive members of society,” Ameera shares. That’s not to say that Ameera’s journey has been easy. “When I first started working at Strawberry Mansion, the school was almost everything the media made it out to be,” she recalls. “Most of the staff from my first year left and moved on to other schools. I made a promise to my freshman seminar students that I would stay at Strawberry Mansion and be here to give out their diplomas.”
Ameera is helping students graduate and get into college, trade
Over the years she has interacted daily with stories that break her
schools, and impactful careers. Her positive impact even drew the
heart. Many of her students struggle to make it to school because
attention of several Philadelphia Inquirer articles and an Action
they have to work to feed or provide for themselves.
E A S T E R N
F E A T U R E
“The most difficult part of my job is watching the students act
her MA in School Counseling and a Certificate of Advanced
out due to misplaced anger,” she explains. “Over 50% of our
Graduate Studies from EU.
students have IEPs, and that’s not to say that they are incapable. They were never taught how to properly cope.”
“Going into grad school, I wasn't sure what to expect, but my experience at Eastern provided me with so much more:
Despite the heartbreak and frustration she often feels, Ameera
my purpose,” she shares. “The prayers and support from my
is encouraged by the positive changes she has seen over the last
professors and classmates really got me through the program,
and that is something I try to do with my students and
“It feels good to be the last standing teacher/counselor since the
2016 regime and to know that I kept my word to my first group of
The fluorescent lights in Strawberry Mansion hallways are bright,
ninth graders. A familiar face goes a long way to students.”
but Ameera’s light is brighter. She walks those hallways with
Ameera credits her graduate program at Eastern with wonderfully preparing her for her current work. She earned both
purpose, courage, and conviction – and the rays of her impact reflect far and wide.
ameera with some of her original students. Watch a video about Ameera's story at eastern.edu/ameera
A C A D E M I C S
A Lighter General Education Core Eastern's New GE Core Makes Life Easier for Students B y K e n t s pa r k s , m b a , p h d
Eastern is working every day to offer educational quality
T H E AV E R AG E C O L L E G E S T U D E N T
The new GE Core allows students to use some
spends about one-third of the classes they take
required major-specific credits toward their
on their General Education (GE) Core. Required
General Education credit bank, while also
by university accreditors across the nation, the
increasing the menu of classes available for
GE Core is designed to provide a well-rounded,
each GE category. These adjustments reduce
holistic educational experience across key
the required course load of “special” General
areas of study. Rather than a long list of boxes
Education Core credits that students must
to check before students move on to classes in
acquire in order to graduate — thus making life
their major, a dynamic core curriculum should be
easier for students. Required classes are divided
engaging, empowering — and easy to manage.
into three categories of Faith, Reason, and
This was our vision when we transformed our
Justice, based on Eastern’s core values.
that is also convenient
GE Core curriculum this year. The changes are
Eastern is working every day to offer educational
designed to help students better manage their
quality that is also convenient and affordable.
schedules, increase class scheduling options,
In 2018 we launched Eastern FastPass,TM which
take courses that interest them, and consolidate
provided groundbreaking new options for
core requirements — allowing students to focus
graduating early, double majoring, or lightening
on their interests and earn their degrees more
course loads through free online summer
conveniently. The revised core also makes it
classes. Our new General Education Core is
easier than ever before for transfer students to
another strong step in that direction.
seamlessly transition into Eastern’s programs.
Learn More about the new ge core curriculum at eastern.edu/general-education.
E A S T E R N
A C A D E M I C S
HOPELESSNESS TO How Esperanza College Impacted my Outlook on Life B y R i ta T h o r n , A A ’ 1 8 I CA M E FRO M O NE OF the neighboring
certification as a Medical Assistant even
offered me their gift of knowledge. After
public schools, the same schools that failed
though I was only 16 years old and the
a few semesters, I became the valedictorian
my parents, aunts, and uncles before me.
youngest student at that school. It was a great
of the December 2019 graduating class and
I did not put too much pressure on myself
accomplishment for me, but I struggled to
delivered a speech to hundreds of members
concerning my academics, since I told myself,
land a position in the medical field because
of my community. I never imagined such an
“Just get a C.” That is what I thought my
of my age. As a result, I labored in customer
highest ability consisted of. My elementary
service, waitressing, and sales associate jobs.
school was on the news two years in a row
Despite the severity of my circumstances,
because children brought drugs and a gun into
I never gave up. Then, hope arrived for me in
the school. When I was 15 years old, I saw my
the form of a college called Esperanza.
Vice Principal get shot in the hip outside of my
My journey has taught me that you must keep believing in yourself and never live up to someone else’s limitations, no matter what the situation looks like. You must keep striving
Esperanza College has made a significant
and have faith that one day God will fulfill your
difference in changing my outlook from
hopes and dreams beyond your expectations.
I eventually dropped out of high school
hopelessness to fearlessness. Esperanza
You must never give up!
because I did not want to become another
College will forever hold a special place in
statistic. I immediately enrolled in GED
my heart. The warmth I felt every time I was
courses. Once I finished, I enrolled in a
on campus was genuine and sincere. My
Medical Assistant program. I obtained my
professors were nothing short of amazing and
classroom as he tried to break up a fight.
Rita thorn is currently working at a bilingual school in North Philadelphia and earning her BS in Early Childhood Education at Eastern.
P A L M E R
Holyin theMoments holy land Pa l m e r a n d e a s t e r n at t e n d e e s r e f l e c t o n t h e i r t r i p t o i s r a e l
I T â&#x20AC;&#x2122; S H A R D TO T H I N K O F A M O R E M E M O R A B L E WAY to ring in a new decade than waking up on the first day of 2020 in the Holy Land. This is the experience that attendees of the Palmer Theological Seminary Trip to Israel had this winter. The 14-day study tour included stops in Jerusalem, Nazareth, Bethlehem, the Dead Sea, and more. Led by three biblical studies faculty members and attended by a group of 39 students, staff, and family members, the trip was a rich and meaningful experience for all involved. Here, a few attendees share some of their most impactful moments.
Learn more about the next holy land study tour, scheduled for 12/27/20 - 1/8/21, at Palmerseminary.edu/holyland
E A S T E R N
P A L M E R
impactful moment that currently comes to mind is the
experience climbing the steps to the temple mount, walking
cities on hills. Lights filled the crests of hilltops everywhere
through Hezekiah's tunnel, and praying at the Wailing/
I looked, with the space between each city and valley as
Western Wall. These moments shed so much light on the
dark as night. At that moment, the Word leapt off the pages
nearness of the eternal koinonia/community of God and my
of my Bible. This was what Jesus saw when He said those
place in it. As I climbed those steps, overlooked the city,
words! The history of God's people, our Lord's time on
burrowed through the wet tunnel, and prayed at the wall,
earth, and the lives of early century Christians sprang alive.
I could feel the presence of the “great cloud of witnesses”
At every subsequent location or historic site on our tour, my
described in Hebrews 12:1. I could hear their voices testify to
understanding and faith grew stronger.”
As I still process this epic pilgrimage, I’d say the most
As the pilot announced our approach into Tel Aviv, I leaned over to open my window shade and then I saw them...
the good news of salvation and God's sovereignty.”
— Erin Kincaid, MA '20
— Lori Banfield, mts '15, da '18
Eastern & Palmer Alumna
Yardenit on the Jordan River. We witnessed a fellow Palmer
student being baptized for the first time by two of our
we experienced the land, its history, its people, and as
professors. Several members of our tour group renewed
we worshiped and read Scripture together. I visited new
their baptisms that morning also. I saw the Spirit of God
places and returned to familiar ones, rekindled precious
descending on those who were immersed in those waters.
relationships and began new ones, and I continue to
Some smiled, some shed silent tears, and some shouted for
experience the joy of memories which enlighten my heart
joy. But the hand, and approval, of God on each one was
and mind daily as I read Scripture, pray, worship, and work.”
Perhaps the most moving experience for me occurred at
made evident. My spirit was truly touched that morning.”
— Kevin Pope, MDIV '20
For me, the Palmer Study Tour to Israel was a return to a place I once called home. The tour illuminated my life as
— Deborah watson Palmer Faculty
A T H L E T I C S
FALL/WINTER By dan mouw
WOMEN’S TRACK AND FIELD CLAIMS MAC INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIP With two tremendous days of competition, Eastern Women’s Track and Field claimed the 2020 MAC Indoor Track and Field Championship. Nicole Weenink ’20 took gold with a meet-record 5.80 meter long jump and the 4,000 Meter Distance Medley also claimed gold. Katelyn Bernotas ’21 anchored the relay
Emily Byrnes ’23 took second and third in the
The Eagles opened the MAC Freedom season at
King’s in a rematch of the 2018 Championship.
In the 60, Courtney Moyer ’21 edged Weenink for third with a new program record. Senior Co-Captain Caitlin Newport ’20 leapt to bronze with a PR in the high jump. Cara Fordenbacher ’20 and Joelle Wash ’22 scored in the Pentathlon, and Katelyn Bernotas anchored two final relays to secure the win.
Aidan Link ’23 scored the only goal to lift the Eagles. In the semifinal game, the secondseeded Eagles needed an overtime gamewinner from rookie forward Derek Buhrman ’23 to beat Misericordia. King’s upset top-seeded Stevens to set up a rematch of the 2018 final. Eastern started four freshmen and four sophomores in the Championship. After falling behind early, Nik Kokolios ’23 leveled the score
Weenink earned meet-record 12.07 meter
YOUTHFUL MEN’S SOCCER SQUAD REPEATS
Triple Jump, and was also named Field Athlete
With only one senior, Eastern Men’s Soccer
’22 secured the win five minutes later. The
of the Year. The Bernotas sisters took second,
claimed the program’s fourth MAC Freedom
Eagles gained valuable experience and should
fourth, and fifth in the Mile, and Katelyn and
Championship in the last five years.
be a very exciting team to watch in the future.
for the first of her five medals on the weekend.
E A S T E R N
A T H L E T I C S
in the 21st minute. Buhrman buried his eighth of the year in the 62nd minute and Alex McGlynn
By dan mouw
EASTERN UNIVERSITY TO ADD ESPORTS IN FALL 2020
MEN’S BASKETBALL ENJOYS HISTORIC SUCCESS
Eastern will add esports to its list of athletic
With senior Victor Peña ’19 still recovering
offerings in Fall 2020. Esports, or electronic
from injury and out for the first six games,
sports, are competitive video games across
Eastern Men’s Basketball did not hit its stride
a variety of different platforms. The most
until mid-January. A 77-73 win at FDU-Flor-
popular are multiplayer games with complex
ham started the Eagles on a six-game
environments that require players to develop
winning streak, and Coach Pruessner’s group
a knowledge base and work on strategies
finished the regular season second behind
with teammates. Collegiate esports programs
are growing in popularity both locally and across the nation.
The Eagles hosted defending-champion DeSales in the opening game. In 14 confer-
“We see esports as a great platform for
ence-tournament appearances, the Eagles
growth in our University and Department,”
had not advanced to a championship game.
said Athletic Director Eric McNelley. “I look forward to seeing us build a winning program in this exciting and popular competition.” The Eagles will compete in up to five games in the 2020-21 academic year and the University is in the process of developing a facility to be completed in 2020. eastern.edu/esports
Draig Ruff ’22 scored 23 points in a 75-63 win to lift Eastern to the MAC Freedom Championship game against Stevens. The win was the team’s 11th home win in a row.
DAN MOUW IS DIRECTOR OF ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS AT EASTERN UNIVERSITY.
WOMEN'S INDOOR TRACK & FIELD
Nicole Weenink ’20
METER LONG JUMP GOLD MEDAL & MEET RECORD
home wins in a row MEN'S BASKETBALL
A L U M N I
Alumnus of the Year James mast ’09, MA ’16
Guiding Light by Amanda (slade) lowman ’20 A S S H I P S S E E K G U I DA N C E I N T H E DA R K N E S S by way of
with thinking, feelings, and behavior continues to be an important part
a lighthouse, so Christians are called to be shining beacons of light
of my work as a mental health professional,” he shares. While continuing
in a world that, at times, feels very dark. Mental Health Outpatient
his partnership with Penn Foundation, a community mental health
Psychotherapist James Mast ’09 is a beacon of light in the mental health
organization, James is also excited to grow his new private practice in
world as he walks with his patients toward wellness while combating the
often-negative stigmas surrounding mental health. James’ goal is to create a community that removes any negative stigmas During his time at Eastern University, James was meaningfully impacted
regarding mental health in order to create what he describes as a “more
by the passion and expertise of his professors in the psychology
welcoming and healing body of believers.” By always displaying positive
department. He recounts, “My professors taught me what it means to be
regard toward his patients and seeking to demonstrate Jesus’ love for
a Christian professional, putting ethics and human dignity above all else.”
them, James radiates light through his work. “My code of ethics as a
As a follower of Jesus, James was taught to love his enemies. He says,
follower of Jesus and my ethical standards as a professional counselor
“Loving my enemies became easier when I understood the principles of
inform one another,” he shares.
psychology. The more I understood why good people can do bad things, the fewer enemies I saw in the world.”
As James looks to the future, he is excited to continue integrating his faith into his new practice — as well as watching his daughter continue
As a licensed professional counselor, James believes that the integration
to grow. By walking in love and expanding his circles, the reach of his
of his faith into his practice has made him a more effective and
light promises to continue to grow wider and brighter.
empathetic therapist. “Understanding the ways in which faith interacts
E A S T E R N
A L U M N I
Mission Without a Passport
international mission field overseas and share the gospel. However, her parents encouraged her to utilize her passion for education, so Christina entered
Eastern University and became an early childhood education major, feeling as if her call to ministry had been abandoned to simmer on the back burner.
b y A l ly ( H o l m e s ) R o s a r i o ’ 1 4
But Christina quickly learned that mission work doesn’t always require a passport and a booked flight. “Eastern equipped me with the skills I needed
“ M I S S C H R I S T I N A , M I S S C H R I S T I N A!”
to enter the education field while also teaching me how to be the hands
The shouts resonate throughout the halls of Roxy Preschool. Around the
and feet of Jesus,” she shares. “I learned and truly believe that educators,
corner, Christina (Gann) Gomez ’14 sits on the floor of a classroom, book
especially those who work at the early childhood level, can impact students’
in hand, surrounded by wide-eyed, adoring students.
lives in tremendous ways and set them up for an amazing future.”
Christina serves as the director of Roxy Education, a non-profit ministry
After graduating, Christina accepted one of the first teaching positions
providing affordable Christian education in the Roxborough community
at the new Philadelphia Project Preschool based out of The Philadelphia
through a quality preschool, supportive after-school programs, and fun,
Project and Roxborough Church. “It was my ‘dream job’ using my
interactive summer camp opportunities.
education degree for ministry here in Philadelphia,” Christina beams. “Helping start a preschool was no small task, but I can see God’s specific
Christina has always been passionate about two things: ministry and
preparation for me in each stage as I followed His will for my life.” Christina
children. Ever since she was young, Christina was eager to enter the
became the Preschool Director, and eventually in 2019, she became the Director of Education for the newly re-branded Roxy Education, overseeing all of the Project’s and Church’s education programs.
Distinguished Young Alumna of the Year
Christina (Gann) Gomez ’14, Ms Through this experience, Christina met her husband Ricky, the Children’s Pastor at Roxborough Church, and together they faithfully serve their community in various capacities. Our hope is that these students not only receive a solid foundation for success in life and school, but more importantly, that they come to know Jesus Christ, along with their families,” Christina shares. Her calling isn’t either ‘ministry’ or ‘education’, but is the perfect marriage of both. Christina’s life bears testimony to the truth that mission work doesn't always occur in distant, exotic places, but often happens as soon as you step out your front door.
A L U M N I
by Abigail brooke ’20
PA S S I O N AT E , LOV I N G , A N D D R I V E N are just a few of the ways that
Theresa Noye has been described. As the current Resident Director of Kea-Guffin Hall, Advisor of the Chapel Worship team, and Interim Director of the Office of Multicultural Students Initiatives and the Goode Scholars Program, Theresa is heavily involved in student life. She is an example and guide to countless students, making her an obvious candidate for the Lamplight Society Award.
Lamplight Society Inductee
The Lamplight Society honors those who have left a legacy of light on the
Eastern University community. The award honors an individual who is part of our alumni, faculty, staff, or administration for the contributions they made during their time at Eastern.
In every sector of her life, Theresa aims to help others see themselves as they truly are. “Light is the natural agent that stimulates sight and makes
Theresa Noye has fanned the flames of a myriad of initiatives at Eastern,
things visible,” she says. “I have walked with a countless number of students
including EQUIP, Conquer the Night, the Meet Your Majors Fair, and the
— helping them to see the unique gifts, talents, and genius they possess;
Goode Scholars Success Seminar. This July marks her 25th year at Eastern,
clearing the doubts, fears and lies that tell them they are not worthy;
where she tirelessly works to ensure that students are as prepared as possible
and challenging them to step into new arenas equipped with the tools to
for life after college — spiritually, academically, and developmentally.
believe in themselves.”
“My greatest joy is the investment I have made in the lives of students
Theresa embodies the meaning of the Lamplight Society Award through the
over the years,” Theresa shares. “They are insightful, powerful, intelligent
abundance of ways that she guides both students and others around her.
leaders serving in various sectors. I am proud to have played a role in
Eastern University and its students will be forever grateful for the bright light
that she brings to our campus.
E A S T E R N
A L U M N I
Alumni Class Notes Eastern and Palmer Alumni Class Notes
After 50 years of missionary and pastoral service,
In 2012, Earl G. Russell ’72 retired after 40 years
Robert Vance ’55 retired. At almost 87 years of
of pastoral ministry in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania,
age, he now serves as a security guard just to stay
and Delaware. He's been teaching English
busy! He meets many people during his current
Composition at Delaware State University for
forty-hour work week.
the past seven years. He also manages the
David Cutting, husband of Elizabeth (Hill)
Cutting ’58 passed away at the age of 84, on September 2, 2019, on their 59th wedding anniversary.
1960 S For 10 years, Alfred Cox ’60 has been working part-time in a family practice clinic. He is enjoying ministering to the whole person – body, soul, and spirit – with opportunities to teach people the interrelationship among physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
family history, and traveling. Reflecting back on her time at Eastern, Pamela found the most valuable experiences to be the Biology Department trip to the Florida Everglades, drama club productions, and of course, the Writing Program.
platforms for the American Baptist Churches
of Pennsylvania and Delaware. Recent summer
Donna J. (Borkowski) Speeney ’89 reports that
travels with his wife, Carol Murr Russell ’75,
her son Rich graduated from Messiah College
have included several trips abroad and a
in 2018 and her daughter Maria is currently a
10-week, cross-country camping trip. They are
sophomore at Palm Beach Atlantic University.
regional website and several social media
leading an entourage to the Oberammergau Passion Play and tour of Italy in 2020.
After 23 years of working in the field of Relief and Development with World Relief and World
Pamela Powell ’79 has retired after 33 years
Renew (formerly CRWRC), Nick M. Armstrong,
of service as photo archivist for the Chester
MBA ’89 and his wife Laura returned to Boise, ID
County Historical Society in West Chester, PA.
and started a non-profit to help mobilize, train,
She is also celebrating 25 years of marriage
and connect volunteers with refugee families
with Ronald Maurer. The couple enjoys
that came to settle in the greater Boise area.
working around their home and garden,
A L U M N I 2000 S Donna Jones-Gardner ’00 was recently married to Cliff Gardner. Alisa Laska ’01 began a new position with Chesapeake Church as the Youth Ministry Assistant in April 2019. Renee Patrone ’03 married Ted Rhinehart on December 20, 2019. Dena (Pauling) Cipriano ’05 earned a Management of Nonprofit Organizations
E A S T E R N U N I V E R S I T Y A N D PA L M E R S E M I N A R Y IN MEMORY BY CLASS YEAR:
degree in Summer 2019 from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH. Dena
also founded her own marketing company,
Lacy Hall ’50 / October 11, 2019
Paul Spohn ’90 / November 11, 2019
Erie Shore Integrated Solutions, LLC.
Vincent DeGregoris ’52 / December 31, 2019
William Levesque ’91 / July 17, 2019
Kenneth Estep ’52 / December 28, 2019
Denton Lotz ’91 / April 23, 2019
David Goss ’05 and his wife Lindsey, along
Lloyd Kenyon ’52 / July 10, 2019
Barbara Marte ’94 / June 29, 2019
with their 4 children, have moved to Dalton,
Harry Light ’52 / December 13, 2019
Andrew Schielke ’95 / December 7, 2019
Vera (Gould) Witt ’52 / February 22, 2019
William DeCarme ’96 / December 20 2019
Charles Molnar ’59 / February 13, 2019
Mary Ann (Mascioni) Summers ’98 / August 17, 2019
Samuel Hofer (PTS) / September 28, 2019
Thomas Coan ’98 / September 14, 2019
GA. David joined Associates in Orthopedics and Sports Medicine after recently completing an orthopedic foot and ankle fellowship in Columbus, OH. Chloe Bass ’06 and Jared Bass ’07 welcomed their new bundle of joy, Caleb Andrew Bass, on January 24, 2020.
1960s Elmer Johnson ’60 / July 7, 2019 William Keyes ’60 / September 4, 2019
Shelley Leaphart-Williams ’99 / May 25, 2019 Jeanne Miller ’99 / November 2, 2019 Richard Womack, MDiv ’93 / July 7, 2019
Nora Day ’63 / February 6, 2020
Blair Hills ’63 / August 24, 2019
James Hanlon ’01 / December 17, 2019
Dante Vincenti ’63 / October 19, 2019
Karen Gibson ’02 / January 6, 2020
John Kilgore ’64 / August 15, 2019
Lester Williamson ’02 / July 12, 2019
C. Victoria Brown, MDiv ’06, continues her
James Frazer ’65 / November 2, 2019
Janelle (Wilson) Nemeth ’06 / October 4, 2019
mission pastoring churches since graduation.
Joyce (Heller) Hickling ’69 / July 8, 2019
Kristen (Meitzler) Oswald ’08 / July 28, 2019
Jane (Fletcher) Higgins ’69 / April 19, 2019
Ronnie Somerville ’09 / December 18, 2019
Michael Guernsey ’07 is now serving as
Herbert Byrd (PTS) / August 18, 2019
Cynthia Swogger, MDiv ’03 / July 25, 2019
the Dean of the Archbishop's Cathedral in
Robert Hershey ’70 / September 9, 2019
Carol Heller ’71 / July 10, 2019
Karen Sellers, MDiv ’15 / July 27, 2019
Luther Gibbs ’72 / June 2019
Inez Shanks, MDiv ’15 / July 26, 2019
of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting and
Leonard Haseltine ’72 / December 19, 2019
Raul LeDuc, MDiv ’17 / August 8, 2019
Literature in May 2019 and is the newly
William Thomas ’74 / August 6, 2019
Kevin T. Padworski ’08 earned his Doctorate
appointed Director of Vocal Music at Colorado Academy in Denver, CO.
James Morrison ’75 / December 17, 2019 G. Alden Taylor (PTS) / September 18, 2019 1980s
Allan Campbell, MDiv ’08 / October 15, 2019
HONORARY ALUMNI Lois Evans / December 30, 2019 FA C U LT Y / S TA F F
Justin Tomevi, Esq. ’09 has been elected as
Doris Jean (McMurtie) Fishburn ’81 / August 9, 2019
a partner to his law firm, Barley Snyder LLP,
Kerry Martz ’84 / January 9, 2020
Dr. Helen Loeb
Richard Alberta ’89 / July 1, 2019
John Munday ’86 / October 26, 2019
which has over 100 attorneys based in Central PA, effective January 1, 2020.
E A S T E R N
A L U M N I
Maggie (McGowan) Frey ’12 married Captain
Jasmine Bullock ’15 is now the Manager of Youth
Jason Frey at the USNA on May 11, 2019 and
Programs at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.
Daniel Ison ’11 was the recipient of the
they now reside in Monterey, CA.
Outstand Sound Design Award in the 2019 Barrymore Awards for "Gem of the Ocean" at the Arden Theater Company. The Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre are a
Yvreene Pierre-Louis ’13 recently became engaged to John G, Rogers III. The wedding is planned for October 24, 2020.
Matthew Cradduck ’19 and Kara (Timmons) Cradduck ’18 were married on May 18, 2019. Trevor J. Stacey ’18 currently works at Premier Orthopaedics as an Athletic Trainer and
nationally recognized symbol of excellence for
Angelique Gravely ’13 was selected as the
recently married Victoria (Farina) Stacey ’17
professional theatre in the Greater Philadelphia
ACLU-PA 2019-2020 Frankel Adair Scholar.
on May 26, 2019.
region, honoring local artists and theatre companies while increasing public awareness of the richness and diversity of our city's thriving theatre community.
Kelsey (Zimmerman) Kratz ’13 and Evan Kratz ’14 celebrated the birth of their son, Emmett Peter Kratz, on October 26, 2019.
MEET YOUR NEW ALUMNI & FAMILY ENGAGEMENT TEAM! Our team is committed to strengthening alumni connections with Eastern and will be working on a variety of projects including class and affinity reunions, area engagement events, online webinars, Homecoming, and more!
TIM WORTHAM, JR. ’15, MS Sr. Director of Alumni & Family Philanthropic Engagement
REBECCA CHARUK, MS Director of Alumni & Family Philanthropic Engagement
Tim earned a BS in Business Administration from Eastern and an MS in
A graduate of Rollins College (Winter Park, FL) with a BA in Political
Nonprofit Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. He served
Science, Rebecca also earned a MS in Higher Education from Drexel
the University of Pennsylvania in various roles for more than 20 years
University. Before coming to Eastern, she held positions of increasing
and most recently as Director of Alumni Engagement at Penn’s Carey
responsibility in alumni relations and engagement at Drexel University
Law School. Tim is an active member of his church in South Philadelphia
and Thomas Jefferson University. Rebecca loves to travel, try new
and a proud husband and father. Tim will have oversight of our alumni
restaurants, and meet new people. She enjoys planning creative and
and family engagement efforts. He is excited to serve the Eastern
exciting events that alumni can join both in-person and virtually, and
community in this capacity.
looks forward to strengthening the connections Eastern alumni have with each other, current students, and the Eastern community overall.
Ideas or questions? Feel free to reach out to Tim and Rebecca! email@example.com.
ANSWERS AVAILABLE AT EASTERN.EDU/DIFFERENCES E A S T E R N
A L U M N I
We are better together! Support our community and students who have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic: THE EAGLESâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; WINGS FUND Eastern University has not been immune to the negative financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic with unanticipated expenses and lost revenue. The Eaglesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Wings Fund supports the ongoing needs of students, faculty, and staff related to the pandemic, such as technology resources for remote learning and student support.
THE ANGEL FUND The impact of the coronavirus has placed significant financial hardships, including unexpected expenses and lost income from employment, on many Eastern students. The Angel Fund supports students who are experiencing these unexpected circumstances that may prevent them from returning to Eastern.
Y O U R G I F T M AT T E R S
PLEASE MAKE A GIFT BY JUNE 30, 2020 GIVING.EASTERN.EDU
1300 Eagle Road, St. Davids, PA 19087-3696
FORWARDING SERVICE REQUESTED
Homecoming & Family Weekend OCTOBER 9-10, 2020
R E G I S T E R T O D AY !
HOMECOMING OPENING CEREMONY & CELEBRATION (New this year!)
PALMER ALUMNI WORSHIP & GATHERING (New this year!)
ATHLETIC EVENTS ALL CLASS & AFFINITY REUNION DINNER AT ST. DAVIDS GOLF CLUB (New this year!) AN UP-TO-THE MINUTE SCHEDULE WILL BE ONLINE AT: EASTERN.EDU/HOMECOMING