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Spring 2009

Champions Gannon’s student-athletes rise to the top, p. 20

in this issue:

Engineering an Education p. 10 • Gannon Goes Green p. 16

Volume XXII, Issue 2 • Spring 2009 Antoine M. Garibaldi, Ph.D. President Karla Mullenax Wludyga Director of Public Relations and Communications Audrey E. Starr Publications Officer and Editor (814) 871-5817 advisory committee

Kimberly Cavanagh Britt Dyer Daehnke ’98, ’05M Cathy Fresch Frank Garland Mary Carol Gensheimer Ron Kerman Jeannie Kloecker Catherine Oakley ’05M Rick Prokop, Ph.D. Nicholas Pronko Rev. George Strohmeyer Steven Ropski, Ph.D. ’78 photography

Ed Bernik James R. Kelvington, Ph.D. design

Tungsten Creative Group printing

Knepper Press special thanks

Paul J. DeSante, Ph.D. Jana Hunt Gannon Magazine is published three times annually (Winter, Spring and Summer) by the Office of Public Relations and Communications at Gannon University. Letters to the editor, class notes information, comments and suggestions are always welcome.


Editor, Audrey Starr

Believe in the possibilities. In the midst of uncertainty and hardship, this simple directive—to believe—is easier said than done. But as a Catholic university with a strong faith tradition, the Gannon community understands that it is during trying times that our faith is strengthened and new possibilities are discovered. Gannon is committed to providing support and resources for a successful future (p. 6). Thanks to Gannon’s Career Development and Employment Services, alumni and students have a multitude of opportunities for professional development and employment assistance, from résumé building to job shadowing. As many families experience challenging financial circumstances, Gannon’s Board of Trustees has authorized up to $2.6 million more this year for financial aid as part of the Gannon Stimulus Initiative to provide a quality education that is also more affordable. Many faculty, staff and students have taken advantage of opportunities to extend Gannon’s message beyond campus borders. When he traveled to Cyprus and initiated discussions with Turkey, Gannon’s Tom Hassett encouraged a diverse student body and strengthened the University’s reputation overseas (p. 4). Nearly 40 students embodied Gannon’s mission of community service by spending their spring break helping others, some traveling as far as Guatemala to provide aid (p. 5). As Gannon parent and astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper reminded us during a visit to campus in February, no dream is too out of this world to reach for (p. 2). Opportunities for educational, personal and professional growth are available across campus. While many around the country and, indeed, the world face economic woes and anxiety over the future, the opportunities available at Gannon University open a world of possibilities for those who believe.

Please note that Gannon Magazine is produced approximately three months in advance of the actual publication date. Submissions received after production has begun will be included in a subsequent issue. All submissions are subject to editing. class notes and addresses

Jana Hunt Coordinator of Gifts and Records Gannon University • 109 University Square Erie, Pennsylvania 16541 • (814) 871-7000

Gannon traveled to outer space by way of a swim cap that accompanied astronaut Heidemarie StefanyshynPiper during a recent space mission. Gannon Magazine has a fresh look, and we want to know what you think! E-mail with your comments and suggestions.


The Gannon University Magazine Spring 2009


6 Believing in the Possibilities

Keeping the Faith 12

10 Engineering an Education

16 Gannon Goes Green

Employment resources, financial assistance, enhanced academic programs: these opportunities and more are available at Gannon.

Gannon’s new technology incubator and its clients are providing more ways for students to engage in experiential learning.

The men’s basketball team celebrates after winning the NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional championship on March 17. The Golden Knights defeated Kutztown, 84-73, to advance to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight in Springfield, Mass.


on the cover

As the Gannon community recognizes National Catholic Colleges Week, students across campus celebrate their faith in different ways.

The Gannon community gets a little greener by exploring activities and initiating projects that support a healthy environment.

02 18 19 20 22 28

news notes alumni focus faculty focus sports scan alum notes end notes

News, Notes and Quotables


CNN Anchor to Give Commencement Address Reporter Suzanne Malveaux will serve as keynote speaker for the University’s Spring Commencement on May 9. Malveaux is a White House correspondent for CNN and primary substitute anchor for “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.” Based in the Washington, D.C., bureau, Malveaux joined the network in May 2002. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. She received a 1996 Emmy Award and was named one of “America’s Most Powerful Players Under 40” by Black Enterprise magazine, one of Ebony’s “Outstanding Women in Marketing and Communications” and the National Black MBA’ s “2004 Communicator of the Year.” The ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. at the Erie Civic Center, 809 French St.

Suzanne Malveaux

Nursing School Takes Top Honors Gannon University’s Villa Maria School of Nursing received a letter of commendation from the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing after its students recorded the highest percentage of first-time pass rate success on the NCLEX-RN in Pennsylvania for the October 2007 to September 2008 cycle. The NCLEXRN, or National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, is a required licensing exam for the profession. A total of 45 nursing graduates from the December 2007 and May 2008 graduating classes took the NCLEXRN exam. Ninety-eight percent of nursing students passed the exam on their first attempt.


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The Villa Maria School of Nursing begins preparing its students with standardized testing when they are freshmen. Professional nursing preparation includes an NCLEX Success Program across the curriculum that enhances test-taking skills as well as the acquisition of nursing knowledge.

Gannon Mom Rockets Into Space The mother of a Gannon University student blasted into space on Nov. 14, 2008 as part of the crew of STS-126, a space shuttle mission to the International Space Station. NASA astronaut Heidemarie Martha Stefanyshyn-Piper was one of seven crew members aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour and performed three spacewalks as the lead astronaut. Her son, Michael A. Piper, is a sophomore chemical engineering major at Gannon and is a member of the men’s water polo and swimming and diving teams. Stefanyshyn-Piper visited campus in February, speaking with students, faculty, staff and the local community during her visit. Prior to the shuttle launch, Michael gave his mother a Gannon University water polo T-shirt signed by all team members, seen here aboard the space shuttle.

“We are extremely proud to have received this honor and wish to congratulate and thank the students and faculty who made it possible,” said Patricia Marshall, undergraduate nursing programs director and assistant professor of nursing at Gannon. “This success is a combination of dedicated faculty members and students who are motivated for—and invested in —excellence.”

Courtesy of NASA

Gannon Celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day Several faculty, staff and students participated in Erie’s memorial march as part of a series of events for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 19. Gannon also hosted the citywide Memorial Service, held special liturgies and offered anti-racism training through the Pax Christi USA Anti-Racism Team.

“I tell students, don’t give up. You may stumble, something might not go quite right, but do your best and never give up.”HEIDEMARIE STEFANYSHYN-PIPER, NASA ASTRONAUT

Gannon Honored for Service Efforts Gannon’s community service and volunteerism efforts were recognized on a national level after being named to the 2008 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service. Gannon’s selection to the Honor Roll is the third consecutive year the University has been so honored.

“It is an honor for Gannon again to be recognized for our contributions to the community, but of course, our students don’t perform service for the recognition,” said Gretchen Fairley, director of servicelearning. “They take an active role in civic life because it is part of the Gannon tradition, and because they get as much out of their volunteer experiences as they give of themselves.” Gannon’s addition to the Honor Roll was also included in the 2008-09 edition of the Guide to Service-Learning Colleges and Universities, a directory of the nation’s premier servicelearning schools.

CETL Hosts Annual Technology Buffet Faculty members Dr. Erica L. DiCara, assistant professor of chemistry (left), and Dr. Troy A. Skwor, assistant professor of biology, discuss Angel, the University’s Web-based teaching and learning tool, during Gannon’s annual Technology Buffet. Held Jan. 9 in the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, more than 120 faculty and staff participated in the event, which featured technology presentations by eight faculty members.


The Honor Roll recognizes colleges and universities nationally that are committed to service and civic engagement and that support innovative and effective community service programs. During the 2007-08 Academic Year, students, faculty and staff performed 72,553 hours of service. That figure represented a nearly 24 percent

increase over the previous year, when the University recorded 58,645 hours.

Faculty and Staff Receive Honors, Awards


Turkish Ministry Recognizes Gannon Gannon University has been awarded formal recognition by YÖK, the Ministry of Higher Education in Turkey. The recognition is the result of efforts by Gannon’s Office of Admissions and by Thomas B. Hassett, the office’s director of international admissions. The Ministry of Higher Education’s decision to grant approved and recognized status to Gannon will allow for greater student mobility to the United States from Turkey, where government recognition of American colleges and universities is critical to the authentication of degrees earned from those schools, Hassett said. Because of the YÖK recognition, Gannon degrees also will carry more credibility and significance in Turkey. The University currently enrolls about 300 international students representing more than 15 countries.

W i




Women In Leadership Development

Thank you to our additional

Women Go W.I.L.D. Sponsors for Conference

Gannon’s Small Business Development Center presented its second annual Women in Leadership Development (W.I.L.D.) Conference on March 27 “to empower professional and entrepreneurial women with knowledge, energy and passion.” More than 400 women from northwestern Pennsylvania and beyond attended the conference, which featured sessions on wellness, leadership and entrepreneurship. Keynote speakers included: Dr. Terri Kennedy, a leading expert on health and productivity management; Jan Hargrave, a body language expert; and Soni Dimond, author and public speaker.

.indd 1

In addition, more than 50 businesses, either owned by or targeted toward women, had an opportunity to exhibit their products and services throughout the day. 04

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Annmarie George receives recognition from Antoine M. Garibaldi, Ph.D., president, during the 2009 Service Recognition Ceremony, where she was honored for 35 years of service to the University. Chris Dubbs, University grants writer, was interviewed along with his co-author, Colin Burgess, in the December 2008 issue of the French magazine Ciel & Espace (Sky & Space). The issue includes a four-page article/ book review/interview of Dubbs’ 2007 book, Animals in Space, which focuses on the use of animals on space flights. ▪ Annmarie I. George, associate professor of fine arts, received the 2008 Distinguished Alumna Award from Daemen College in Amherst, N.Y., for excellence in career achievement, community service and service to the college. She received a bachelor of science degree from Daemen in 1966. ▪ Thomas B. Hassett, director of international admissions, recently led a workshop in Nicosia, Cyprus. Hassett’s three-hour workshop, “U.S. Higher Education: What Students Need to Know Before They Go,” was presented to about 60 educational advisors at the high school and college levels. He discussed the college selection and admissions processes, financial aid sources and methodology and Visa issuances for international students. ▪ Renee Huefner ’97, assistant director of financial aid, was recently interviewed by a reporter for Kurier, a large, nationwide German newspaper, for a story about how American college students are finding financial aid during challenging economic times. ▪ Villa Maria School of Nursing faculty Karen A. Lumia, M.S., R.N., Lisa A. Quinn, Ph.D., M.S.N., C.R.N.P. ’82VMC and Sharon J. Thompson, Ph.D., R.N., M.P.H. ’87VMC, ’89VMC, ’94M presented at the 33rd annual Women’s Health Conference held in Atlantic City, N.J., in February. The three gave a platform presentation on their study, “Framing History: The Meaning Parents Ascribe to Bereavement Photographs Following Perinatal Loss.” ▪ Berwyn M. Moore, associate professor of English, had a collection of poems, entitled O Body Swayed, accepted for publication later this year by Cherry Grove Collections. ▪ Dr. Rick Prokop, assistant professor of marketing, was named chair of the board of directors of the Erie City Mission. ▪ Dr. Troy A. Skwor, assistant professor of biology, had two manuscripts chosen for publication. The first, a study of the ocular disease trachoma, was published in the July 2008 issue of PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. The second study looked 1/29/09 1:38:25 PM at human genetic polymorphisms that might influence disease progression and was published in PLoS One in October 2008. ▪ Dan Teliski ’97, director of athletic media relations, was named 2008 Men’s Sports Information Director of the Year for the Southern Division of the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA). Chosen by the CWPA director of communications, the award is presented to those offices which have achieved notable excellence in the field of water polo communications during the past academic year. ▪ Dr. Karinna M. Vernaza, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, was honored as a Minority Achiever by Minority Opinion magazine, published by LJS Publishing. The theme of the celebration was “A Vision of Diversity in Higher Education.” LJS Publishing annually sponsors the event to recognize African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans and Asian-Americans who have distinguished themselves in their professions and in their communities.

Lady Knights Shoot Hoops for Breast Cancer After a successful event last year, the women’s basketball team again raised money for breast cancer research and awareness by hosting a Pink Zone (formerly Think Pink) game on Feb. 21 against Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The Pink Zone initiative was started in 2007 by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. Gannon’s event was sponsored locally by the Center for Breast Health, Northwest Savings Bank, Hamot for Women, Silkscreen Unlimited and WJET-TV and WFXP-TV.

Organizers met their goal amount and raised $15,000 for the Erie chapter of the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. Last year, more than $10,000 was raised. Funds came from the sale of Pink Zone T-shirts, candles and gift basket raffle tickets, and team members wore special pink jerseys that were sold after the game, which drew a crowd of 2,635.

Alternative Break Service Trips

While spring break is traditionally a time of rest and relaxation in faraway locales, nearly 40 students added community service to that description when they traveled to destinations around the country and the globe during Alternative Break Service Trips 2009. Sponsored by the Gannon University Center for Social Concerns, the trips are one of many ways Gannon helps students embrace the University’s Mission of service to one’s neighbor. Now in its 15th year, this year’s trips included stops in New Orleans, New York City, Immokalee, Fla., and San Lucas Tolimán, Guatemala.


New Orleans

“My spring break was dedicated to serving other people, and I have never had a better time!” LINDSEY KURTZ, NEW YORK CITY



New York City

Believing in the Possibilities Want a degree that will make you competitive in the global job market? Explore Gannon’s newest academic major in entrepreneurship. Need help improving your résumé or networking with employers? The University’s Office of Career Development and Employment Services will make sure you’re fully prepared to begin a job search. Searching for additional ways to fund your education? Gannon’s Board of Trustees has devoted $2.6 million more than last year to helping students receive a quality education at an affordable price. From education to employment and everything in between, Gannon University has more possibilities to explore than ever before.

Preparing for Possibilities During his 22 years at Gannon, Jim Finegan ’81, ’90M, director of Career Development and Employment Services, has seen enough ups and downs in the job market to know one fact: you might not be able to control outside variables, but you can control how you react to them. “We have not been able to and we will not be able to control the economy, but we can teach students how to conduct an effective job search regardless of the state of the economy,” Finegan said. “Our graduates have been successful despite difficult times in the past, and they will continue to be successful in the future because of the preparation they get at Gannon.” Finegan’s office employs two main strategies for helping students prepare for life after graduation: individual connections and active engagement. “Most of what we do involves direct one-on-one connections with students: developing résumés, conducting mock interviews and charting job search plans. We keep in contact the same way employers would, through appointments, e-mails, phone calls,” Finegan said. “We’re proactive rather than trying to be reactive.” Communication is key in connecting students with opportunities and resources, but it also helps them strengthen one of the most valuable skills employers desire.

Sophomore Mack Ochs gets valuable career advice from alumnus Robert Howden ’93M.

“Communication is not just the number one skill an employer is looking for; it’s something we’re doing all the time to keep students informed and connected,” Finegan said. “Our office sent 25,000 e-mails to students last year alone. We have a monthly newsletter. When we receive job notices, that information goes directly to faculty to share with their students, so there’s a constant flow of information.” Between cover letters, interviews and business etiquette, a job search can appear daunting to many students. Career Services staff present more than 50 Career Road Show workshops to over 800 students each year, with several academic majors including these workshops as part of their semester syllabi. “We build on what they’ve learned in their major. If I’m working with a physical therapy student, I’ll ask them what steps they take in creating a treatment plan for a patient. Then we look at their job search as a treatment plan,” Finegan said. As a result, placement rates for Gannon students who secure employment or continue their education after graduation have consistently remained above 90 percent since the early 1990s. “We believe educating students on how to get a job is what’s most important,” Finegan said. “If we teach you how to do your job search well, you’ll do it well now and in the future. You can carry these skills with you throughout your life.”

Encouraging Entrepreneurship Gannon University believes that people can change the world one great idea at a time. Whether you are interested in starting your own business or nonprofit organization, joining a family business, working for a small or mid-size company or becoming a change agent within a larger corporation, Gannon’s new entrepreneurship program can help you turn that dream into a reality. Students who choose this new academic major or minor develop an understanding of how to create value by recognizing attractive opportunities and identifying the unique resources needed to exploit them. They will learn that being a successful entrepreneur requires not only having a complete understanding of all the individual business functions, such as accounting, marketing and management, but more importantly how they all need to work together to create a successful venture. After graduation, students will be fully prepared to enter one of the fastest-growing and dynamic business environments. According to the United States Small Business Administration, small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employers, and they provide 60 to 80 percent of net new jobs annually. For more information on Gannon’s entrepreneurship program, contact director Kurt E. Hersch at

(opposite) Dan Heher ’75, manager of operations at Penelec, offers business tips to Taylor Corn, a sophomore mechanical engineering major. (below) Nicholas Christopher ’05 helps senior Hannah Kirby locate the resources she needs for a successful interview.

Creating Possibilities Luke 12:48 states, “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” Gannon’s alumni have taken this verse to heart, giving of their time and resources to help current students and fellow alumni reach their career goals. Cheryl Rink ’92, ’95M, assistant director of the Center for Experiential Education, emphasizes the benefit of students preparing for and experiencing realworld career settings. “The mock interview program in particular has seen strong alumni participation. We have a wonderful group of employer

Nicholas Christopher ’05, an engineering graduate who currently serves as AC legacy reliability model leader at GE Transportation in JOHN C. WHITE ’95 Erie, credits the mock interview program with reinforcing participants who truly enjoy working with his bond to his alma mater. the students in helping them refine their “The mock interview program is one interview skills,” Rink said. Since 2004, avenue for me to stay connected to 30 employees—14 of whom are Gannon Gannon and allows me, at least to a small alumni—from 17 different organizations degree, to help in the development of its have participated. students,” he said. “Having the ability “This is a great program for students. It to meet with such top-notch students provides them with an opportunity to reaffirms my belief that Gannon students enhance their interviewing skills, and can not only compete against students at the same time, receive constructive from other, more well-known universities, input and suggestions from a business but also become very successful.” professional,” said Robert Howden ’93M, director of public relations at Shriners Discovering Possibilities Hospital for Children in Erie. “The Many career advisers report that the program gives me a feeling of personal average person will make more than satisfaction, knowing that perhaps I’ve three career changes during their helped students take positive steps working life. For alumnus John C. toward achieving their career goals.” White ’95, transitioning from a technical

“The journey is the destination, because life keeps changing. If you can enjoy the journey today—you’ll be successful.”

position at IBM into the world of student 08

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affairs entailed research, planning and making one important phone call to Gannon’s Career Services. “Career Services helped me while I was an undergraduate figure out what I wanted to do out of school, and when I switched careers out of school, they helped me figure out how to manage that change and get the training I needed,” White said. Like White, business administration graduate Kelly Handy ’05 took advantage of career resources on campus, including career assessments and internship placement, and remains actively involved today as the human resources manager at Community Resources for Independence in Erie. Both alumni agree that having a liberal arts education offers the critical thinking skills and flexibility needed to excel in the workforce or adapt to changing environments. “As a human resources professional, reliability, flexibility, punctuality, a hardworking attitude and a willingness

GU Graduate Placement Report, 5-Year Overview to learn are important qualities employees should possess, and Gannon prepares students well. Professors expect you to be on time and prepared for their classes, and the challenging curriculum helps develop a solid work ethic,” Handy said. Career Services assists alumni in a variety of career stages, from recent graduates searching for their first jobs to alumni who have been part of the workforce for several decades and now find themselves unemployed. “A colleague of mine often says, ‘It’s better to be at the bottom of the ladder of something you love than to be at the top of something you hate.’ You realize that if you’re doing what you love, you never really have to work a day in your life,” White said. As someone who has been at both ends of the employment spectrum, White—who is an independent career counselor and bartender while he pursues a position in higher education—reminds fellow alumni to look at the big picture. “For jobseekers, the economy is a concern, but it’s cyclical in nature and we’ve been through challenges before,” White said. “One silver lining is that students and alumni alike really have permission to follow their hearts, and it’s important to align yourself with the resources at Career Services to help make those dreams a reality.”

Visit Us on the Web! Networking, brochures, a résumé referral service—you’ll find all these essential job-search resources and more online. Career Development and Employment Services The Center for Experiential Education Office of Alumni Services

Funding the Future with the Gannon Stimulus Initiative Six of the top 10 fastest-growing occupations identified by the United States Department of Labor require at least an associate degree, emphasizing the need for quality higher education. Gannon University’s Board of Trustees recognizes that today’s difficult economic times require a strengthened commitment to financial assistance for students who may not otherwise be able to afford higher education and has authorized up to $2.6 million more this year for financial aid as part of the Gannon Stimulus Initiative. The Gannon Stimulus Initiative increases Gannon’s total financial aid to $26.6 million for the 2009-10 Academic Year. Additional financial aid will be available to current and prospective students, particularly those whose economic circumstances have adversely affected their ability to pay tuition. “Many of our students and their families are unfortunately experiencing challenging financial circumstances,” said Antoine M. Garibaldi, Ph.D., University president. “This is not a time for any student to forego or defer his or her education. Therefore, Gannon is implementing the Gannon Stimulus Initiative to provide a quality and affordable education, just as Archbishop Gannon did more than 80 years ago when he founded the University.” Gannon has been ranked as a “Best Value” by U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” for four consecutive years, a direct result of the University’s focus on providing aid to the majority of its students. More than 95 percent of Gannon students receive some form of financial aid, and nearly 42 percent are first-generation college students. “The Board of Trustees wants to reemphasize its commitment to ‘Best Value,’ reaffirm student support as a priority and demonstrate its sincere interest in being a community partner by providing quality higher education at affordable rates to those who desire it and need it in this economy,” said Board of Trustees Vice Chair Joseph T. Messina, Esq. ’63. The Gannon Stimulus Initiative is in addition to the numerous financial aid opportunities already available to Gannon students. Gannon Stimulus Initiative funds will be distributed based on need, which will be determined on a case-by-case basis. For more information or for qualification requirements, visit

These days, everyone is looking for ways to save. Many are increasing their savings accounts and planning for the future, while others are looking for new ways to renew the environment and save natural resources. Gannon engineering students are helping to save time, money and even lives through their work with ImmersiMap building mapping technologies. Founded by Tom Stankiewicz, a former SWAT team member and bomb squad commander, the company helps bridge the gap between existing technology and its inability to provide sufficient information to first responders. Thus, ImmersiMap was born to create a

proprietary technology for 360 degree panoramic video mapping of building interiors to help guide emergency and law enforcement personnel through unfamiliar territory. Responders can plan routes to trouble zones quickly upon arrival at an incident and have access to time- and lifesaving information for faster and betterinformed decisions. ImmersiMap got its start on campus in 2005, when Stankiewicz began working with Gannon’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to develop a business plan and marketing and sales strategy. In August 2008, the company became one of the first tenants in the new Erie Technology Incubator (ETI) at Gannon University.

While the ImmersiMap technology is allowing for more efficient responses to emergencies, it also presents faculty and students with the opportunity for experiential education in a realworld setting. “The purpose of the ETI is to provide the highest quality resources available to our client companies so that they can grow a successful and sustainable enterprise. Reaching that goal involves the partnerships of many groups and individuals, including Gannon’s SBDC, The Ben Franklin Partnership, the Erie Chamber of Commerce and Gannon’s dynamic faculty, just to name a few,” explained Russell Combs, ETI director. “Additionally, we have the distinct pleasure

of offering opportunities for students to intern, get involved in projects and interact with the businesses at ETI. All of these elements are demonstrated in the technology development at ImmersiMap.” Currently, four engineering students work on the mapping prototype and are guided by faculty like Dr. Stephen T. Frezza, associate professor of software engineering and chair of the computer and information science department.

Working with ImmersiMap has also helped students realize career goals and begin planning for their futures after graduation. “When I started working on this project, I discovered that embedded systems is my niche and I’ve chosen that as my specific domain of study. This project has allowed me to get my hands dirty and take my college career in a direction I likely would have passed by otherwise,” Smolinski said.

Creating an environment for holistic development— intellectually, personally and professionally—is a trademark of a Gannon education. As Smolinski put it, “This has made me a better programmer. The things you learn in class really sink in when you have to apply them. I am also less intimidated by the projects and programs that I work on in class, because many times I can more clearly see the solution.”

“Our students basically serve as interns on this project,” he explained. “We’ve had students involved since April 2008; 10 over the summer and then four during the academic year. The experience they get, writing code and thinking through problems, is incomparable.” Christopher Smolinski, a junior computer science major, has worked with ImmersiMap since its arrival on campus. In addition to the hands-on experience, Smolinski said that being part of an innovative and unique project helps enhance what he learns inside the classroom. “We are truly working on something completely new and groundbreaking. The challenges that we’ve come up against would be difficult to find in a textbook, but the solutions the team has come up with have shown talent and ingenuity,” he said. “I’ve been surprised by the number of times we’ve achieved goals or added features that a few months before we would have never thought possible.”

ImmersiMap founder Tom Stankiewicz guides software engineering senior Matt O’Donnell through the company’s software prototype.

Keeping the


Service. Community. Respect. Simple words, yet they hold powerful meanings as pillars of Gannon University’s Catholic Mission. Likewise, Gannon students serve as dynamic representatives of these tenets, modeling their faith from the classroom to the community.

As a Catholic, Diocesan University, Gannon blends a strong moral foundation in the Catholic tradition with a respect for diverse religious backgrounds to create an extraordinary faith community that extends beyond campus.

Although one week each year—National Catholic Colleges Week—is reserved to officially observe the University’s Catholic heritage, these seven days merely recognize the vibrant faith and sincere beliefs that Gannon students celebrate all year long.

Arlene Montevecchio (right), director of the Center for Social Concerns, helps Chaplain’s Office staff celebrate Fat Tuesday by offering hot chocolate and hot dogs to passing students.

Kelli Bowser

President, Ichthi


I’ve noticed that every college student has one thing in common: we are constantly growing. During the four years we spend as college students, every aspect of our lives is challenged, including our spirituality. It’s not an easy transition. Debate and dialogue are the foundations of our faith, and the student faith-sharing groups on campus provide a unique setting for students who are searching. At Ichthi, we celebrate the Catholic faith. We learn about the history, the traditions and the teachings of the Church by listening to speakers, studying

scripture and engaging in discussion, and we encourage unity by cosponsoring prayer services with other groups. Faith-sharing groups are like a family. We sing together, we struggle together, we pray together and we play together. Students will stay for an hour after Ichthi just to talk with one another, knowing that this is a place where they are loved, respected and supported simply because they are a child of God. They know that they will not be told what to believe, but rather encouraged to find their faith for themselves.

My three years at Gannon have taught me that there are many manifestations of respect: respect for a teacher, respect for the Church, respect for peace and justice. But the strongest is the kind that you encounter in a friendly face. You know that person respects your dignity, your worth, your opinions and your beliefs. It’s that kind of respect that can change the outlook of your life, and that’s what we try to harvest at Gannon. Because without feeling respected, you’ll never have the courage to step out on your own and make your own decisions about your faith.

sacramentality As a student at Gannon University and a resident of its Catholic House, faith is extremely central in my life. At Catholic House, we have meetings and pray together a few days a week as one way of supporting each other as we carry out our demanding college schedules.

Jackie Oesmann Catholic House Resident

Throughout my day, I find that God pops up in the little things I do and the people I see. Whether that’s something small like saying a quick grace before grabbing a sandwich from Knight’s Cove, or a big celebration like Sunday Mass at the Mary, Seat of Wisdom Chapel, faith is the thing that ties everything together. The people I have classes with are the same ones I see at church on the weekends. The friends I eat lunch with are the ones I talk to about the retreat I went on last weekend or the service project we’re doing tomorrow. And the


on, service has become During my time at Gann life. There are so an instrumental part of my e back, not only to the many opportunities to giv to people around the Erie community but also service has allowed me globe. Being involved in world around me and to learn so much about the about myself. I have been involved Over the last three years, like Hunger and in many service projects, Week, G.I.V.E. Homelessness Awareness lunteer Everywhere) (Gannon’s Invitation to Vo Club and volunteer Day, the Social Concerns izations. All of these projects with local organ to the problems in the projects enlightened me ing page) (story continued on follow

housemates I see at night are the ones who hold me up when I’m down and pray with me when I need spiritual support. Gannon has been a place where I’ve really found myself and my faith over the past three years. Home for me is six hours away in New Jersey, so sometimes it can be hard to go almost a full semester without seeing my family or going to Mass at the parish where I was baptized and raised. But now, I can see God and experience the meaning behind the sacraments everywhere I go and in everyone I interact with—students, professors and administration alike. From Masses at the chapel or prayer time at the Catholic House to service projects with my sorority or publication nights with the school newspaper, that sacramentality is everywhere, and that’s why it always feels like home.


r Laura Hunterns Club

President, Social Conce

Catholic education stands for education of the whole person, mind and heart, body and soul. We prepare

Erie area, but I also wanted to look beyond what was right around me.

our students to be successful in their professional lives, but that is not aiming high enough. We want those students to succeed in living their faith, in giving community service, and, most of all, we want them to be successful in achieving their eternal destiny in heaven. Their eternal salvation is our ultimate priority, our ultimate goal.

My most recent service adventure took me to Guatemala for an Alternative Break Service Trip in March. During my week interacting with local residents, I learned so much about the Mayan culture, the struggles of the people there and what is being done to help. Being surrounded by extreme poverty made me more aware of how fortunate we all are to have a safe house, enough food to eat and the opportunity for an education.

Msgr. Wilfrid J. Nash, the beloved and longest-serving president of Gannon University, was fond of saying publicly, “The purpose of Gannon is to save souls.” When people walk onto a Catholic college campus, they must sense a difference. The environment of that campus must radiate a respect for all life, a love of God and a love of neighbor. The Diocese of Erie is proud of the fact that we offer Catholic education from kindergarten to the university level, and we try to make it affordable for all. All students from the seven Catholic high schools in the Diocese who rank in the top five percent of their graduating class receive a $4,000 academic award for $16,000 over four years. In addition, Diocesan school and parish grants are available, meaning that qualified students may be eligible for a combined $22,000 to $26,000 over four years. All graduates from our Catholic high schools in the Diocese who meet admission requirements are given a $1,500 award, and grants of $1,000 are available to all new undergraduate full-time students who are registered members of one of the parishes in the Diocese.

Even though the Guatemala service trip has ended, I am still processing everything I learned and am trying to apply it to life here in the United States. The people of Guatemala work so hard for what little they have, yet they are still thankful. Their devotion to their faith even through all of their hardships was inspiring to all of us on the trip. I want to use all of the resources available to me to spread the message of the Mayan people and help those individuals who are struggling. I hope that with future service adventures, during my time at Gannon and beyond, I will always keep the thankful spirit of the people of Guatemala with me.

Gannon is proud of its Catholic identity, but this does not mean that Gannon Most Rev. Donald W. Trautman, is intolerant of other faith S.T.D., S.S.L., Bishop of Erie traditions; on the contrary, being a Catholic institution means being open to dialogue and having respect for all religions. Catholic universities should be schools for dialogue and growth in faith, not camps of regimentation. For those who want a God-centered, values-centered education, the best foundation for a successful, productive life and a foundation for a happy eternity, Gannon University is the place to apply. Excerpted from the speech, “The Value of Catholic Education in These Troubled Times,” given by Most Rev. Donald W. Trautman, S.T.D., S.S.L., Bishop of Erie, as part of Gannon’s celebration of National Catholic Colleges Week. 14

gannon magazine

spring 2009

Eight students and two staff members traveled to San Lucas Tolimán, Guatemala, over spring break to aid poverty-stricken residents. It was a new destination for Gannon’s Alternative Break Service Trips this year.


Robin Franz

Commuter Student Leader, LIFECORE Program

faith & reason As a seminarian for the Diocese of Greensburg (Pa.) and a college student majoring in philosophy, I find myself constantly trying to synthesize faith and reason in my daily life. My earliest memory of Gannon is summer orientation in 2006. All freshmen were asked to file into a large auditorium. As my father and I sat down, I noticed something that I had never before seen in school: a crucifix. Seeing that symbol put me at ease, knowing that Gannon took its faith seriously. As I learned soon thereafter, Gannon is not just a place of faith, but it is also an institution of reason. As Bishop Trautman said during National Catholic Colleges Week this year, “Catholic universities should be schools for dialogue and conversion experiences and growth in faith, not camps of regimentation.”

Commuting presents a different set of challenges for students, including keeping track of what is happening on campus. For me, some days it is hard enough to get to class on time, let alone know about upcoming events. As the student LIFECORE leader for the Office of Commuter Life, I keep my fellow commuters from facing the same predicament by tracking campus events and updating my fellow students via e-mail. The LIFECORE program helps students grow and develop through participation in activities and events. Commuter students participate in many different events throughout the year. We attended the Pink Zone basketball game as a group in support of breast cancer awareness and also attended a

skin cancer awareness lunch hosted by a student skin cancer survivor. We observed “National Pie Day,” participated in G.I.V.E. (Gannon’s Invitation to Volunteer Everywhere) Day, and often attend the monthly Gathering in Praise worship services. We also recognize students’ birthdays each month. LIFECORE has enabled me to be more involved with campus life and helped my faith to grow. I actively look for meaningful events to share with my fellow commuters. I take time to attend campus events and try new things that I wouldn’t do on my own, meeting new people and making new friends as I go. I constantly ask myself, “How will this make me a better person? What can I take from this experience that I can use throughout my life and share with others so that they can also benefit?”

The Rev. George Strohmeyer, acting vice president for mission and ministry and University chaplain, and The Rev. Nicholas J. Rouch, S.T.D. ’83, vicar for education for the Erie Diocese, celebrate Mass during National Catholic Colleges Week. Gannon permits students to think for themselves and generate new ideas. Exploring the vast recesses of one’s own mind and the world around him in order to discover wisdom and gain knowledge is the reason I felt called to major in philosophy. Yet, reason can only accompany a man so far in his journey until he must submit fully to the will of God. We would not be able to use our intellects unless God had gifted us with them first. My last three years have been a journey of discovering new ideas and myself. I am indebted to both Saint Mark’s Seminary and to Gannon University for allowing me to broaden my intellectual horizons and deepen my relationship with God.

Jacob Williamson

Seminarian Student

Green Gannon Goes

Gannon’s Environmental Club, a student organization that helps promote green initiatives across campus and in the Erie community, donated fresh spring flowers to the University’s Earth Day celebration.

Thanks to the efforts of 33 dedicated faculty and staff, as well as the active participation of the entire Gannon community, the University is quickly decreasing its environmental footprint and sustaining resources for future generations. The Campus Greening Committee may be one of the newest organizations on campus, but it already has a long list of projects and initiatives to help the University “go green.” Started last year by Gretchen Fairley, director of service-learning, it is helmed today by Kelley Zophy, instructional designer at Gannon’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. “The committee was formed to help develop an awareness of green issues within the Gannon community and to present ideas that are both environmentally and economically advantageous to the University,” Zophy explained. Gannon’s green initiative is far-reaching and involves many different people and departments. For example, Custodial Supervisor and Committee member Galen Adams is researching funding opportunities (such as grants awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection) to improve composting efforts across campus. A DEP grant would allow for the purchase of composting machines so food and gardening waste could be used to produce compost that could then be used to fertilize campus greenery. “I am also sampling 27 Green Seal cleaning products, which means that they meet Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) specifications and are eco-friendly and environmentally safe,” Adams said. According to Gary Garnic, associate vice president for campus services, Gannon has been active in helping the environment for the past two decades. “In 1989, we installed new boiler systems that are still so efficient today we can’t replace them with anything better. Gannon has also been recycling for the past 20 years and currently recycles 262 cubic yards of mixed materials per month,” Garnic said. “In 2000, Gannon began investing in wind energy to support and encourage the growth of renewable energy sources, and we are now pursuing our own installation of roof-top solar.” A successful green movement requires dedication, enthusiasm and teamwork. Recognizing this, the Committee has created several significant partnerships in its effort to turn Gannon green. “We’re working on an initiative to increase the use of reusable mugs and water bottles on campus,” Zophy said. “We’d like to partner with Metz & Associates, the University’s dining service, to allow faculty, staff and students to purchase drinks using these reusable containers, thus decreasing the amount of waste on campus.”

Faculty and staff of the Morosky College of Health Professions and Sciences show off their environmentallyfriendly reusable shopping bags, distributed at the beginning of the spring semester. The College was awarded the very first monthly Campus Greening Award for the effort. Collaborating with students is another priority of the Committee, Zophy said, noting that the student-based Environmental Club has become especially involved with her group’s projects. “We support each other’s activities and work collaboratively. We don’t want our efforts to be sporadic; we want to create a united front and be aware of what students are doing and find ways to help them, and vice versa,” Zophy said. The Committee is also helping students as they vacate residence halls for the summer, and has arranged for them to donate— instead of throw away—unwanted goods to four local charitable organizations. During the Committee’s largest event to date, an Earth Day celebration held in April, members of the Environmental Club volunteered their time and resources to make the day a success. “We organized the Earth Day celebration with the Committee, and the Environmental Club helped by passing out reusable shopping bags and displaying a list of things students can do to green up their lives and their communities,” said Brian Cowan, the club’s president. “The whole green movement has experienced extreme growth lately, and it really is an all-hands-on-deck situation. At Gannon, we’re trying to make our green efforts something that will really change the campus and the world.” Participating in green initiatives is easy for everyone, both groups said, and can be as simple as conserving paper waste or using energy-efficient light bulbs. “We try to keep the activities that we’re promoting small and manageable so they are simple steps toward becoming a more green University,” Zophy said. “For instance, all of the activities at our Earth Day event were very effortless, like keeping green plants in your office or growing a container garden on your porch. These aren’t things that you have to invest a lot of time or money in, but they do have a big impact.” As faculty, staff and students work to establish Gannon as a leader in green activities, Zophy hopes the results will be seen for years to come. “By building this green lifestyle and demonstrating that it can be done here at Gannon, we hope all members of the University community will adopt that energy and dedication toward green living throughout their lives,” Zophy said.

Featured Alum


“Every time I walk into a gymnasium, for the University of Pittsburgh women’s the smell reminds me of my days basketball team, the Uniontown native playing basketball at Gannon,” said (and current Pittsburgh resident) is alumna Shelley Bortz Ligashesky constantly challenging herself. ’97. “All gyms have a distinct smell. “My fondest memories of Gannon are of It’s not a bad smell, it’s just unique: playing basketball and the camaraderie a combination of sweat, tears, among the amazing women on our hard work, dedication, competiteam,” she said. “My favorite part of tion and fun.” basketball is the competition. I’m very It’s been more than a decade since competitive by nature at everything I do.” she last hit the GU basketball Most recently, Ligashesky was crowned court as a member of the Gannon Mrs. Pennsylvania America 2008, women’s basketball team, but competing against 13 other married Ligashesky still has that competitive Pennsylvania women for the state spirit. Between working in the fasttitle. She also represented the Keystone paced world of television news to State in the Mrs. America Pageant serving as public address announcer in September. “I’ve competed in only two pageants, the Mrs. Pennsylvania America pageant, which is the state qualifying pageant for the Mrs. America pageant, and the Mrs. America pageant itself,” she explained. “I really enjoyed getting to know so many beautiful, intelligent and talented women from across the country.” As Mrs. Pennsylvania America 2008, Ligashesky travels the state, using her title as a tool to increase awareness of driving while intoxicated. Fifteen years ago, she overcame devastating injuries after the car she was riding in was struck by a drunk driver.

“I feel I can be an inspiration to others because I believed in myself and overcame a tragedy by never giving up. I wasn’t taking no for an answer. I wanted something so badly, went after it and achieved it,” she said.

“The best part of being a Gannon alum is the simple fact that I’m a graduate of such a prestigious institution.” 5 Minutes, 5 Questions

What was the last book you read? Serial Killers by Jack Levin. I love true crime books. I’m fascinated by reads that take you into the minds of the most calculating murderers. What talent do you perform during pageant competition? There isn’t a talent portion in the Mrs. America system; however, if there was I would have played the piano. I’ve been playing since I was eight years old. On the weekends, you can usually find me at Pittsburgh Steelers games rooting for my husband, Bob, who is the special teams coordinator.

“My doctors told my family that if I made it through surgery, I most likely wouldn’t walk again. When I heard the prognosis, I was devastated,” Ligashesky said. “But, I wasn’t going to feel sorry for myself. I was going to do something about it.”

What was your first job after graduation? My very first job after college was an internship at FOX Sports Pittsburgh. For the past decade, I’ve been working as a television news anchor/reporter. I’ve worked at stations in Nebraska, West Virginia, Ohio, Florida and Missouri.

Eighteen months later, through hard work and sheer will—and despite five pounds of metal plates and rods in her body—Ligashesky proved the doctors wrong and was once again a starting player with the Lady Knights.

What advice would you give to current students? Cherish every minute of your college experience, as it passes very quickly. But more importantly, learn as much as possible; the principal reason for being there is to learn! The extracurricular activities are just a bonus.

“The more support we can give students, especially nontraditional students, the better off we all are as a community.” Faculty expect many things from students: class attendance, active participation, completed assignments. Karen S. Weston, ENTP ’82, ’02M, director of Gannon’s criminal justice program, wants students to lie to her. “I love forensics. Right now, I’m teaching kinesics techniques—how

Stephanie Beaman ’06 (left) walks through A.J.’s Way with Weston, who served as Beaman’s adviser and mentor during her Gannon years.

to interpret nonverbal behavior and body language, like facial expressions and gestures, so you can tell if someone is lying,” Weston explained. “It’s so interesting to study human behavior and have students interface with others using what they’ve learned.” A 13-year veteran of Gannon’s faculty, Weston emphasizes a student-centered philosophy both inside and outside her classroom. As a criminal justice professor, she actively engages students in coursework beyond their major. “What I like most about our program is that it’s interdisciplinary. Our students can go into many different areas, from criminal behavior to education to law enforcement. We approach criminal justice from different areas, and most of our students have minors in other major fields,” she said. After entering Gannon as a nontraditional student, Weston is especially attuned to the challenges facing this group and has worked to enhance students’ academic and financial aid opportunities. “Supporting nontraditional students is so important and relevant because of the many things they have to balance in their lives. They take care of their homes and their families, they have full-time jobs and they are active in the community. It’s difficult for them to schedule classes and find the money to fund their education,” she said. The Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation, which has awarded $232,000 in grants to Gannon since 1998, allows

Featured Faculty



the University to help financially support nontraditional female students through the Newcombe Endowed Scholarship Fund at Gannon. This year, the Foundation has a matching program: for every dollar donated up to $5,000 through May, the Foundation will match. “In turn, because this grant is so important to our students, I have decided to match each Gannon dollar donated up to $2,500, so together we can create $10,000 new dollars for these deserving women,” Weston said. And by focusing on students, Gannon also strengthens its commitment to the greater Erie community.

“Everything we do at Gannon, our whole mission, is about the students. We make a total commitment to the student and ask ourselves how we at Gannon University can be helpful. “When education is accessible to everyone, we all benefit,” she said.

Fields of Expertise Adolescent Behavior Disadvantaged Youth Crime Prevention Interview Interrogation Women and Crime

Activities & Committees Pi Kappa Alpha Adviser Liberal Studies Committee University Review Council

Community Service Institute of Family and Children Council Basic Service Unit for Mental Health Advisory Board Erie County Rape Crisis Advisory Board American Association of University Women Board Member

Athletic Accomplishments


BY DAN TELISKI ’97, director of athletic media relations and BRIAN VAIL, graduate assistant

The Gannon basketball teams might have received the most media attention, but the entire Gannon athletic department flourished during the 2008-09 winter season, securing championships and raising the bar for future student-athletes. Women’s Basketball


The Gannon women’s basketball team in 2008-09 produced one of the best seasons in the program’s 35-year history. The Lady

Knights tied the school record for victories (26) in a season and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in school history. Additionally, the squad won four games against nationally-ranked opponents and were ranked among the nation’s top 25 twice.

team. Nolan averaged 13.6 points and 4.3 rebounds, ending the season with at least one three-pointer in 32 consecutive games. Tabron produced 13.6 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. She recorded 10 double-doubles, accomplishing the feat in three of Gannon’s four post-season contests.

Junior Kristina Freeman was named to the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association All-Atlantic Region and All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Western Division first teams after averaging 15 points and five rebounds per game. Fellow juniors Carrie Nolan and Brittany Tabron were selected to the All-PSAC West second

Women’s and Men’s Swimming The 2008-09 season was

Thirty victories. One thousand career points. Elite Eight championship play. It was a season of significant figures and astonishing statistics for Gannon’s men’s basketball team. The Golden Knights set the school record for victories (30) and took the program’s fifth trip to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight, where senior forward Tyler Stoczynski became the 25th player in school history to score 1,000 career points. “They have a lot to be proud of because it truly was an outstanding season,” said Antoine M. Garibaldi, Ph.D.,

filled with new beginnings for the Gannon swimming and diving teams. With a new head coach and a new conference, the Golden Knights produced one of the best campaigns in school history. First-year coach Nate Walters directed the men and

president. “The men’s and women’s basketball teams combined for the highest winning percentage in the country (.862). That’s a great accomplishment by the studentathletes and coaches.” Gannon, ranked No. 5 in NCAA Division II, concluded its season at 30-4 following an 86-77 loss to Central Missouri State on March 25. The Golden Knights ended the 2008-09 campaign with the best winning percentage (.882) in school history. The squad won at least 26 games in consecutive seasons for the first time ever and posted a 56-9 record over the last two campaigns. “The unselfishness of the players really stood out; their goals were always about the team. They’re good friends and have made some lifelong friendships, and a close team is that much harder to beat,” said John Reilly ’89M, head coach. Stoczynski said he’d remember his teammates

the women to winning dual records and fourth-place finishes at the PSAC championships. The women’s team sent six studentathletes to the NCAA Division II national championships, finishing 23rd as a team. The 400-yard freestyle relay team set a school record while qualifying for the national championships, recording a time of 3:31.03 at the conference championships. Junior Rachel Rzymek, freshman Sam Bluhm, sophomore Ellie Hess and freshman Kaitlyn Bosy combined to set the record. By advancing to the national championships as a relay team, the four women also had the opportunity to swim individual events at nationals. Rzymek set a school

the most. “The friendships that I made are my favorite part. Gannon is such a great place to play because it’s so familyoriented, all the way from the fans to the team. I’m just really excited to be a part of it,” he said.

Two More Trophies

Freshman Diana Rocco and sophomore Megan Beresford qualified for the NCAA Division II national championships in diving. Rocco took ninth in the one-meter diving event and 10th in the three-meter competition. Beresford placed 11th in the one-meter and 14th in the three-meter. Both earned All-America honors twice for their finishes. The men’s team won 10 of 12 dual meets during the regular season. The Golden Knights then took fourth out of eight teams at the PSAC championships, as the relay teams led the way. The 200-freestyle, the 200-medley and the 400-freestyle relay teams each took third at the event. The 400-medley relay squad placed fourth. Junior John Krakowski had the best individual finish, touching the wall fifth in the 50-freestyle race.

Wrestling Schools around the state of Pennsylvania definitely took notice after the Golden Knights won 10 of 12 dual meets during the regular season. Individually, three wrestlers earned AllAmerica honors at the NCAA Division II national championships, marking the first time the program produced three All-Americans in the same season. Senior Jacob Tazzi, junior Kevin McElhaney, and junior Frank McGrath

In addition to other honors, junior Kristina Freeman was also named to the Division II Bulletin AllAmerica honorable mention team. qualified with strong regional performances. Tazzi won the Super Regional One title in the 184-pound division while McElhaney took the crown in the 149-pound class. McGrath was the runner-up in the heavyweight division. McGrath, in his second consecutive appearance at nationals, finished fifth. He went 4-2 and recorded his team-high 15th pin of the season. Tazzi and McElhaney each placed sixth in their respective weight classes. Sophomore A.J. Milanak also had a strong season, tying for the team lead with 33 wins in the 141-pound division. Head coach Don Henry led his squad to 10 dual victories, the second-most in program history. Only the 1996-97 team won more, with 11 wins. Gannon finished the regular season on fire, winning its final seven dual matches. Gannon finished fourth at the NCAA Division II Super One Regional, defeating local rival Mercyhurst College. The Golden Knights then finished 15th at the national championships. The success of the wrestling program wasn’t contained to the wrestling mat. McElhaney was also an Academic All-America firstteam honoree, while senior Brandon Monin was selected to the second team. Senior Michael Sanders and sophomore Ethan Swope earned Academic AllAmerica honorable-mention accolades. As a team, Gannon posted the fifth-highest team grade-point average (3.270) among all NCAA Division II programs.


The team clinched the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) championship on March 7, then advanced to capture the NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional championship on their home court with an 84-73 victory over Kutztown. The victory gave Gannon its first regional championship since the 1989-90 season and extended the program’s streak of consecutive home playoff victories to 19. The Golden Knights have not lost a postseason home game since a 71-67 overtime loss to Le Moyne in the 1988 MECC championship game.

record during the national championships with a time of 23.90 seconds in the 50-freestyle.


Gannon Universtiy Alumni

Patient Simulation Center Grand Opening & The Power To Transform Campaign Celebration May 14 • 6-8 p.m. Morosky Academic Center By Invitation Only

Buffalo, N.Y. Regional Alumni Event May 16 • 5-7 p.m. Pearl Street Grill

22nd Annual Erie Golf Outing May 21 • 10:30 a.m. Lake View Country Club

Alpha Phi Delta, Beta Rho Chapter Reunion July 24-26 • Gannon University

Oct. 23-25


For more information or to register for any events, contact Tracy Stolz at stolz005@ or 1-877-GU-Alums, ext. 1. Oct. 23-25 Visit the online alumni community at www. for additional updates.


alumnotes ’60s

Earnings Management, published in paperback form.

ROBERT M. MURPHY, PH.D. ’62 is teaching international management courses in China. He also lectures on “Managing Change at the Edge of Chaos,” most recently lecturing at the CIA.

WILLIAM R. PHELPS, M.D. ’71 joined the staff of Medical Associates of Erie.

JAMES J. RUDY ’63 continues volunteer work in Seneca, S.C. He is the public affairs officer for Flotilla 25 of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and recently became the South Carolina state coordinator for the U.S. Army’s Freedom Team Salute Program. FRANK E. HAGAN, PH.D. ’66 attended the American Society of Criminology meetings, where he chaired a session on political white collar crime and presented a paper on presidential scandal.

SISTER PHYLLIS MCCRACKEN, S.S.J. ’72VMC was honored by board members of Saint Mary’s Home of Erie with the Medaille D’Or Award. Sister Phyllis is president and CEO of Saint Mary’s. PAUL A. DESANTIS, C.P.A., M.H.A. ’73 was appointed vice president of finance and chief financial officer for WCA Hospital in Jamestown, N.Y. MICHAEL M. MURNOCK, M.ED., NCC, LPC, BCPC ’73, ’78M assumed director responsibilities at Hope Center Addiction Treatment Services of the Erie City Mission.

MICHAEL J. CAPUTO, PH.D. ’67 was named program director of Carolinas Hospital System’s Cedar View Behavioral Health.

GORDON J. HERBST ’78, ’83M was promoted to vice president of finance for Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.


JAMES T. RYAN ’79M was inducted into the Profiles International Honor Society in Fort Worth, Texas. The society recognizes members who have realized significant achievements in helping clients use the latest human resources assessment technology for recruiting, retaining and developing employees.

MICHAEL J. DOWLING ’70 was appointed CEO of Community Health Services Inc. in Meadville, Pa., in June 2008. DENNIS C. CUNEO, ESQ. ’71 was named to the BorgWarner board of directors. Dennis is an attorney with the Washington, D.C., law firm of Arent Fox LLC. JAMES E. MILLER, C.P.A., D.B.A. ’71, ’96M had his book, The Miller Ratio: A Tool to Detect for the Possibility of

KATHLEEN A. (RUTKOWSKI) WEIGAND, ESQ. ’79 was selected to fill the newly-created position of general counsel and senior vice president of human resources for Agilysys

The Knights Help Cheer on the Golden Knights Alumni returned to campus to enjoy fun, fellowship and school spirit during several alumni pre-game basketball receptions and other booster activities held this season. Here, Charles G. “Chuck” Knight Jr. ’55 and his wife, Peggy, visit with Jack Sims, Gannon’s new vice president for University Advancement, before the Feb. 26 game versus local rival Mercyhurst College. The Knights defeated the Lakers, 73-44.


gannon magazine

spring 2009

National Alumni Association President, James A. Scozzie, Ph.D. ’65 Inc., a leading provider of innovative information technology solutions.

’80s MARK DOMBROWSKI ’80 was named department manager of government relations at Erie Insurance. DIANA L. (PAGLIARI) MOZDY ’80 was promoted to manager of clinical services for Hagerstown Medical Laboratory, serving Washington County Hospital in Hagerstown, Md. Diana lives in Chambersburg, Pa., with her husband, Frank E. Mozdy, M.D. ’82, and their children. CYNTHIA L. (RENO) BALKSTRA ’81VMC was elected chair of the Constituent Assembly for the American Nurses Association, a two-year term that began in November 2008. ANNE (TURNER) KRILL ’81 is a counselor at Pyramid Healthcare Inc.’s Dolminis Methadone Clinic, where she facilitates individual and group therapy. WILLIAM E. KRILL JR. ’81 became a licensed professional counselor and a member of the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress. He is author of the book, Handbook of Youth Ministry Skills, works as a mobile therapist and behavior specialist and has a business providing parent coaching and counseling. REX L. MUNSEE ’81 retired from the Clarion/Shippenville Police Force after 27 years of service. RONA L. NESBIT ’81 is a member of an eight-woman tennis team and competed in the U.S. Tennis Association’s Middle States section finals. Rona is senior vice president of finance and administration at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. GARY R. DANOWSKI ’82 was named vice president of performance glazings for PPG Industries. Gary joined PPG in 1982.

the Alumni Association and its Board. Today, the end of my tenure rapidly approaches. A lot has happened at Gannon over that time period—an extensive review and update of the University Strategic Plan, a successful Comprehensive Campaign, significant expansion of the University’s physical footprint and a revision of the College structure and curriculum, just to name a few. Our University is on solid financial footing and we continue to see strong student enrollment even in these challenging economic times. Our Alumni Association has begun to play an even more active role as a member of the University family, and the accomplishments of the Alumni Association are many. We have expanded our group of active regions to more than 14. We developed a Partners Program that identifies alumni interested in supporting specific University needs, such as student recruitment and regional networking. We have created awards programs for distinguished alumni and senior undergraduate students. As we look to the future, we see that the structure is in place for the University to further benefit from the resources in its alumni community. We will increase involvement with admissions in recruiting the best and brightest students to the University and work closely with the Career Services team as they support not only new graduates but also the many members of the alumni community affected by the changing economy. The Alumni Association Regional Development Committee is also looking at ways our alumni can support community needs and hopes to have its first-ever “Alumni Day of Service” this fall. The structure is also in place to enable alumni to better access the resources of the University to support a number of needs and interests such as career changes, links to old friends and classmates, continuing education and expanding networks of both social and professional contacts. You are all part of the University family. Stay connected and remember to share your thoughts, concerns and ideas. With your continued interest, commitment and support, Gannon University and its alumni community will continue to prosper.


KAREN ENGRO, ESQ. ’82 was designated as chair of the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners as of April 9, 2008. Karen is the alternative dispute resolution coordinator for the U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania.

A little over two years ago, I was given an opportunity to lead

in memoriam

alumni Mary M. Archer ’40

Cornelius “Casey” Kuilman ’79

David M. Squeglia ’64, ’74M

Julius M. “Doc” Blum, Ph.D. ’77M

Joseph F. Lazorchak ’64

Gary L. Stingl ’71M

Janice A. (Hassett) Busch ’54

A. Kumpel Leri ’73

George T. “Tim” Tuschak ’57

Gertrude M. Erickson ’46

Sister Theresa Massello, S.S.J. ’48

Gary A. Wawrzyniak ’74

Alice “Kay” C. (Litzinger) Fasenmyer ’37, ’70M

John E. McCarty ’53

John P. Zeitler ’71

Joshua R. McChesney ’07

John Zuravleff Jr. ’51

Robert L. Fessler ’50 Ronald S. Fox ’90, ’92M Jane E. Foy ’48, ’69M Roseanne M. (McGroarty) Gillis ’40 Lindsay E. (Ault) Glancy ’07M

Mary Kaye (Belin) McCooey ’55 Jane (Panko) Mueller ’69M Sister Maurita Murnaghan, S.S.J. ’52 Carl W. Onda Jr., Esq. ’52

Nick R. DeLaura John S. Kanzius Mace H. Levin

Theodore H. Haberberger ’60

Sister M. Germaine Raskovsky, O.S.F. ’51

Allen G. Hemme Sr. ’52

Fred H. Rilling Jr. ’65

Peter B. Marin

Barbara J. (Brandon) Johnston ’91

Robert P. Rohde ’77M

Rev. Msgr. John W. Mignot

Frank V. Juliano, C.P.A. ’52

Barry S. Roy ’94

Laura Wallerstein

James F. Kaminsky, M.D. ’51

William J. Sanko ’62

Leonard R. Klein ’60

George M. Schaefer ’49

James F. Kolonay ’64

John J. Shimek Jr. ’71

Ronald T. Kubeja ’88

Nancy M. (Sister Angela, S.S.J.) Spaeder ’65

David W. Grzelak Returns as Executive on Campus The Gannon community welcomed David W. Grzelak ’76M, chairman and CEO of Komatsu America Corp., back to campus in April as an Executive on Campus speaker. Grzelak spoke during special sessions and in the classroom to students, faculty and staff during his visit. Grzelak graduated from Penn State University in 1971 with a B.S. in industrial engineering and then obtained his M.B.A. from Gannon University in 1976. A 2001 Gannon University Distinguished Alumnus, Grzelak joined Komatsu Dresser Company on January 1, 1991, as vice president of sales and assumed the additional responsibility of vice president of service and sales in February 1992. He has since progressed through the ranks of the company, being appointed chairman and CEO in April 2002, giving him management responsibility of five U.S. Komatsu Operations related to the construction, utility and mining industries. He is married to Diane and has two children, Mike and Meghan. The Executive on Campus program provides an opportunity for exposure and interaction between successful alumni and students, allowing executives to share their expertise and serve as role models to current Gannon students. 24


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Roy A. Lytle

FRANK E. MOZDY, M.D. ’82 achieved the degree of fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. He also was granted an MBA after completing the physician executive MBA program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in December 2007. Frank is employed as a hospitalist at Chambersburg (Pa.) Hospital. GILBERT A. ROCCO ’82M is an accountant and self-employed computer consultant. JOSEPH G. HUGAR ’84, ’87M was appointed CEO of HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital in Erie. TINA (CICCHETTI) DONIKOWSKI ’85 was the recipient of the General Electric Company’s $25,000 Chairman’s Award. Tina is general manager of propulsion and specialty services at GE Transportation. She donated the award to an endowment benefiting the Boys and Girls Club of Erie County. DR. GREGORY F. REED ’85 was named the first director of The University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering’s Power and Energy Initiative.

STACY (SHEARER) CORAPI ’88 was promoted to director of operations with DuraTite Systems LLC, which is located in the Erie Technology Incubator at Gannon University.

JONATHAN A. MILLER ’98 was named head varsity football coach at Moon High School. Jon teaches middle school English in the Canon-McMillan School District.

DARIN M. SUTTON ’88 was elected to the Franklin Silver Cornet Band’s board, serving as secretary.

SUNIL A. SAMUEL ’98, ’03M is director of admissions at Hofstra University.

’90s FREDERIC J. AMENDOLA ’90 joined iPCS Wireless Inc. (an affiliate of Sprint PCS) as district sales manager. MICHAEL A. GEITNER ’91 is electric operations manager for Allegheny Power in Weirton, W.Va. MARCO KOOLMAN ’91 was named assistant men’s soccer coach at Boston College. MAJ. WILLIAM J. KAYS ’92 was identified for early promotion to the rank of senior airman in the U.S. Air Force. William is a deputy division surgeon. T. NICK MITCHELL ’92 started a new business venture, Sohve Corp., that will focus on drug discovery. GREGORY T. BASTOW, CPA ’93 joined the firm of Appletree and Kern, P.C. JEAN (PASCARELLA) TRUMAN, PH.D. ’93M received the 2009 Chairs’ Faculty Teaching Award for excellence in teaching. Dr. Truman is an assistant professor of nursing at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. REV. TIMOTHY R. BALLIETT ’95 was ordained into the priesthood in June 2008. He is currently the parochial vicar at St. George Parish in Erie. LISA A. WATSON ’95 assumed the position of product systems engineer with the 4L60/65 program at General Motors. HEATHER L. HOUGH ’96 is an occupational therapist for the Millcreek Township School District in Erie.

SHERRI (TURNER) LLOYD, PA-C ’98 passed the boards for the Accreditation Council for Clinical Lipid Specialist in July 2008. She is now a clinical lipid specialist, one of a few physician assistants in the country to have this degree.

KATHLEEN E. (KEARNEY) YANCOSEK ’98 co-authored a workbook, Handwriting for Heroes: Learn to Write with Your Non-Dominant Hand in Six Weeks, which is designed for adults who sustain injury to their dominant hand that permanently impairs dexterity functions. Kathleen is an officer in the Army Medical Specialist Corps. JASON BETTERS ’99 joined Nello Construction Co. as a project manager.

’00s BRYAN J. LEFAUVE ’00 was promoted to director of integrated media services for SKM Group Inc. He will be responsible for media and interactive planning for all agency accounts, as well as supervision of the integrated media services department. BROOKE (MORI) RIMEL ’00 teaches English for Penn-Trafford School District in Harrison City, Pa. BERT A. COPPLE JR. ’01 was promoted to general manager of Home Instead Senior Care in Birmingham, Mich. He also became president of the Working Caregiver Initiative, a new nonprofit. MICHAEL D. PERFETTO ’01 is an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, stationed in Quantico, Va. DANIJEL PESUT ’01 was sworn in as a U.S. citizen on Sept. 19, 2008. Danijel is originally from Sydney, Australia. DAVID MORRIS ’02 was selected as one of the “Most Notable People of 2008” by the Erie Times-News. David is a behavior specialist at East High School in Erie. YVONNE W. (EWERT) LEE ’03 joined the firm of Waddell & Reed as a financial advisor. Yvonne is also a member of Young Erie Professionals. GREGORY M. RUBAN, CPA ’03 obtained his CPA credential. He is an accountant with the accounting firm of Felix and Gloekler, P.C. KRISTEN L. (MCCOMBS) BRABENDER ’04 is a life skills teacher in the North Allegheny School District at Marshall Middle School in Wexford, Pa.

Courtesy of Puremotif Photography Janelle R. Bean ’03 married Shawn Roy Gwin on Oct. 18, 2008. Michael A. Geitner ’91 married Hollie R. Plevyak on July 19, 2008. Jessica Anne Hall ’05M married Stephen David Zielinski on July 21, 2007. Kiersten Noel Joint ’08 married John Matthew Lawrence on Sept. 13, 2008. Kristen L. McCombs ’04 married R. Colin Brabender, M.D. on June 7, 2008. Megan M. Murphy ’05 married L. Antwan Fleming ’06 on Oct. 4, 2008. Mitchell A. Pittsenbarger ’06M married Kelly Lynn Colonna on July 12, 2008. Allison L. Placko ’05, ’07M married Timothy J. Krenzer ’04, ’05 on April 26, 2008. Mary Andree Poux ’87 married Lee Eric Geiger on Oct. 31, 2008. Jennifer K. Robinson ’04 married Matthew Kinzig on Dec. 31, 2008. Amy M. Ruttencutter ’01, ’02M married Jason Jacobs on Dec. 27, 2008. Amy K. Szalkowski ’00 married Anthony Glover on Oct. 18, 2008. Kelly L. Wallis ’08 married Brian T. Gains on Sept. 6, 2008. Diane Marie Vacanti ’06 married Timothy Lee Simon on Dec. 21, 2007.


MOLLY A. SAMUELS ’97 joined the staff of Meadville Medical Center as a physician assistant in the Oncology Wellness Institute.

Jessica Marie Hosterman ’08 married Michael Aaron Marino on Aug. 16, 2008.


Gianna Penelope Marie Harper (born Oct. 3, 2008), daughter of Latisha L. Pabellon ’05 a son, Larry Reed (born Dec. 9, 2008), to Amy Reed Lauer, O.D. ’98 and her husband, Larry. a son, Aidan James (born Feb. 14, 2009), to Nicole T. (Saito) McCauley ’02 and her husband, George. Aidan joins older sister Lily (born Nov. 15, 2004). a daughter, Sydney Michelle (born Jan. 1, 2009), to Danijel ’01 and Sara L. (Kitchen) Pesut ’01, ’03M.

a daughter, Corinne Jane (born July 17, 2008), to Hallie J. (Sill) Bowers ’01 and her husband, Brian. Corinne joins older sister Julie, who is two years old. a daughter, Lacie Ann (born Sept. 4, 2008), to Chrissy L. (Muzia) Fortin ’01 and her husband, Phil. a son, William Laszlo (born Nov. 5, 2008), to Jeffrey J. ’94 and Annamaria “Tunde” (Szendrey) Freiwald ’94. William joins older siblings Alex, Livia and Benjamin. a son, Nico Giovanni (born Nov. 20, 2008), to Nicholas R. ’01 and Gina R. (Fallecker) Ianelli ’99. a daughter, Chloe (born Jan. 31, 2008), to Holly D. (Hess) Kingston ’03.

JENNIFER K. (ROBINSON) KINZIG ’04 works at GE Transportation in the commercial leadership program as a market intelligence specialist. KATRINA J. (VINCENT) SMITH ’04M was promoted to vice president of the Economic Development Corporation of Erie County. CHARLES J. FERONTI, D.O. ’05 received a doctor of osteopathic medicine degree from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. He was also recommissioned as a captain in the U.S. Air Force and will enter active duty status upon completion of his threeyear emergency medicine residency at Allegheny General Hospital. KELLY M. HANDY ’05 is a human resources manager at Community Resources for Independence in Erie. HONEY L. (MARBURGER) PEZZIMENTI, CRT ’05C, ’06, ’08M received a master 26

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a son, Masyn Reilee (born Oct. 29, 2008), to Natalie A. (Nemeth) Pudis ’03 and her husband, Robert. a son, Bryce Robert (born Feb. 13, 2008), to Brooke M. Rimel ’00. a daughter, Alexandra Jaya (born Feb. 17, 2009), to Sunil A. Samuel ’98, ’03M and his wife, Blessie. a daughter, Laci Marie (born Jan. 27, 2009), to Lisa (Muto) Sanchez, PA-C ’99 and her husband, Louis. Laci joins older brother Lucas Anthony (born Sept. 19, 2005). son, Roman James (born Feb. 19, 2009), to Patty Horvath Wassink ’93 and her husband, Shane. Roman joins sister Alexis (11/13/01) and brother Hunter (7/25/03).

of education degree in curriculum and instruction from Gannon University in December 2008. JACOB A. SADON ’05 is employed at Oriana House Inc. in Akron, Ohio. DAJUAN O. SMITH ’05 re-signed with the American Indoor Football Association’s Erie RiverRats for the 2009 campaign. DaJuan is a linebacker/defensive end for the team. KIMBERLY J. (TORRELLI) ZACHERL ’05C, ’05M directed a visitor convention study for the Pennsylvania Great Lakes Region. Kimberly is an instructor of business management at Mercyhurst College in Erie. JESSICA A. (HALL) ZIELINSKI ’05M is an elementary school teacher with the Erie School District. DIANE M. (VACANTI) SIMON ’06 is a registered nurse at the Regional Cancer Center in Erie.

Clemente Fundraiser Presents “A Life in the Theater” Several of Gannon’s own faculty and staff joined forces to make the 2009 Alex Clemente Fundraiser a success. This year’s performance was “A Life in the Theater,” a comedy by David Mamet about the on- and offstage relationship between an older actor and a younger one. Directed by Jax Kubiak, technical director for the University’s Schuster Theatre, the show featured Gannon’s own Rev. Shawn Clerkin ’86, Schuster Theatre director and associate professor, and Zachary Flock ’05, e-marketing coordinator. All proceeds from this annual event benefited the Alex Clemente Fund for the Performing and Related Arts at Gannon, which helps provide opportunities for professionals in theatre and other arts to serve as “artists in residence” at Gannon on an annual basis. Clemente, a 1962 Gannon graduate, served as technical director for Gannon’s Little Theatre during the 1980s.

WILLIAM T. WARD ’07 is preparing for a career in cancer research. ALICIA J. (BERTI) ANDERSEN ’08 is an accounting manager with Career Concepts in Erie. RONALD S. CARLISLE ’08M is a fourthgrade teacher in the Shaler Area School District. KELLY L. (WALLIS) GAINES ’08 is a firstgrade teacher at Grandview Elementary School in Erie. KIERSTEN N. (JOINT) LAWRENCE ’08 is employed as a registered nurse at Hamot Medical Center. MILES W. MCFALL ’08 is spending a year teaching English in China. KIMBERLY R. VARELA ’08 is a bilingual membership services assistant at the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers.

Alumni and Friends Enjoy Lunchtime Lecture Series The former Alumni Lunch-N-Learn Series, now known as the Alumni Lunchtime Lecture Series, returned for the spring semester with a new name and fresh lineup. On Jan. 15, Dr. Steven Ropski ’78, professor of biology and director of the science program, discussed “Grizzly Bears of Yellowstone.” Ropski co-leads educational trips to Yellowstone National Park every summer and is currently planning for his 23rd trip this July. In February, Pearl Jeffries ’81 presented, “Equipping Tomorrow’s Women, Today.” The director of campus ministries and development at Gannondale School for Girls in Erie, Jeffries discussed Erie social service agencies for youth. Women’s History Month was celebrated in March with a panel discussion on entrepreneurial thinking in career paths, business or nonprofit agencies. Presenters included: Misty O’Connor, president of Point Click Learn; Beverly Fetzner, founder of Comfort Care & Resources Inc.; and Debra L. Steiner ’93, ’00M, director of Gannon University’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC). In honor of Earth Day on April 22, Don Benczkowski ’82 served as the spring’s final Lunchtime Lecture Series guest with “Becoming Green: Responsibility, Challenge or Does it Just Make Sense (Cents)? What You Can Do To Help.” As an environmental planner with the Pennsylvania Office of the Great Lakes Department of Environmental Protection, Benczkowski shared valuable information about the Lake Erie shoreline and provided ways to be greener indoors and out. Visit to watch videos of past presenters and stay updated about future guest lecturers.

Gannon Welcomes New Vice President for Advancement In January, Jack H. Sims was named as Gannon’s Vice President for University Advancement, ending a national search to fill the position. An advisory committee composed of Gannon University faculty, staff, trustees and alumni assisted with the search. Sims has more than 14 years of experience in fundraising in higher education, as well as several years of experience in fundraising for other types of nonprofit organizations. Most recently, he spent nearly five years at Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, Va., where he served as vice president of college advancement and led a comprehensive campaign that raised $40 million while also increasing substantially the college’s number of donors. Sims succeeded Susan Black-Keim, who retired in December after nine years at Gannon. “Gannon University has a rich history, outstanding teaching and research, active and involved alumni and aspiring students,” Sims said. “Gannon is very clearly moving forward, and it is my goal to help the University realize the future vision of Dr. Garibaldi.” Sims is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He graduated from Morehead State University in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and earned a master’s degree in public service/ administration from Western Kentucky University.

(from top) Dr. Steven Ropski ’78, Pearl Jeffries ’81 and Misty O’Connor

Have you recently married, changed careers, published a book or had a child? If so, let us know! You can post information and see what your friends are up to on the alumni Web site at or you can send your information to Jana Hunt at

Jack H. Sims

A Word from the President


Academic and Athletic Excellence of Gannon Student-Athletes and a Renowned AstronautParent Bring More Distinction to the University


The first few months of the Spring 2009 Semester have been memorable for students, faculty and staff, but they have been most exciting for Gannon’s studentathletes. Student-athletes on the water polo, swimming and diving, wrestling and men’s and women’s basketball teams all competed in NCAA Division II championship tournaments (p. 20). The Gannon men’s basketball team (30-4) received much regional and national attention when they not only won the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) championship in their first year in the conference but also hosted and won the NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional championship in the Hammermill Center. The Atlantic Regional championship propelled the Golden Knights into the NCAA Division II Elite Eight quarterfinals in Springfield, Mass. – the first time that has occurred since 1990. The women’s basketball team had an equally impressive season (26-5) as they advanced to the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen for the first time in Gannon history. Even more important, the Gannon men’s and women’s basketball teams received the distinction of having the best winning records in the nation – a .862 combined winning percentage. While we applaud the team and individual accomplishments of our student-athletes, the Gannon campus community knows that our student-athletes are students first, and

athletes second. Thus, it is no coincidence that Gannon’s 366 male and female studentathletes had a cumulative 3.22 Grade Point Average (GPA) at the end of the Fall 2008 Semester. Our coaches especially, but also our faculty and staff, expect academic and athletic success from Gannon’s studentathletes, and that is why the graduation rates of our student-athletes have been an average of 16.3 percent higher than the national average of Division II’s nearly 300 institutions over the last seven years. During that same time period, our student-athletes have achieved graduation rates ranging from 63 to 77 percent. Those are statistics to really cheer about! Obviously, we are proud of our student-athletes’ success in the classroom and in the sport they have chosen to play. To paraphrase the NCAA’s popular commercial, we know that most of Gannon’s student-athletes will go professional in something other than sports. On Feb. 16, we were also privileged to host a visit and presentations by a renowned Gannon parent, NASA astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, who was a member of the Endeavour space shuttle crew that went to the International Space Station in November (p. 2). Astronaut Piper, a captain in the United States Navy, is the mother of Gannon student Michael Piper, a chemical engineering major and member of the water polo and swimming and diving teams. During her very busy day on campus, Capt. Piper shared spectacular photographs, videos and insights from her second journey into space with Gannon students, faculty, staff and the general public. In all of her remarks, she emphasized the importance of science, mathematics and especially perseverance. As she conveyed

often to the various audiences, she would not have attained her dream of becoming an astronaut if she had not applied a second time. Her inspirational remarks and positive comments about Gannon coincided well with the University’s Mission and our message of “Believe in the possibilities.” The large audience for this Gannon parent’s public presentation, even on a national holiday, and the favorable media coverage brought even more distinction to Gannon University. As our students, parents and alumni bring continued recognition to the University, our consecutive U.S. News & World Report “America’s Best Colleges” distinctions as a “Top Tier” and “Best Value” University over the last five and four years, respectively, are also helping us to enroll next year’s class of first-year and transfer students. Your assistance in our admissions efforts is always appreciated; but the challenging financial circumstances that current and prospective students and their families are experiencing require extraordinary solutions. Therefore, the University established the Gannon Stimulus Initiative (p. 9), which adds $2.6 million more to the financial aid budget for next fiscal year. Your contributions to this year’s Annual Fund and gifts to the recently completed The Power To Transform Comprehensive Campaign will enable more students to realize their goal of earning a Gannon degree. I hope that I can count on distinguished alumni, parents and friends like you to convey the importance and distinctiveness of a quality and affordable education to prospective students.

President, Antoine M. Garibaldi, Ph.D.


Pass it on! If you know a student who would benefit, like you did, from a Gannon education, tell them to call us, mention your name, and we’ll waive his or her application fee. Share your Gannon experience.

I-800-GANNON-U Office of Admissions

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Believe in the possibilities.

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Before the end of a historic 2008-09 basketball season, Gannon’s Lady Knights traveled to Sedona, Ariz., to compete in the Grand Canyon Classic and hike through the Red Rock Mountains.

Spring 2009  

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