Gannon Magazine July 2019

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July 2019


Broadening the Spheres of a 30-Year Influence (Page 14) Through years of service, the Center for Social Concerns models what it means to give the gift of Gannon.

Gannon University President Keith Taylor, Ph.D., and Brian Nichols, vice president of Student Development and Engagement, joined student and staff volunteers on an Alternative Break Service Trip to the Navajo Nation in Arizona, where the group gave their time and service while becoming immersed in the Navajo culture.

from the


When life presents unique encounters with unique people and experiences different from our own daily lives, we often find that the paths we take forward from them and purposes we embrace are profoundly impacted. Gannon University’s Alternative Break Service Trips (ABST) have been vivid examples of this for many of our students, employees, alumni and also for myself. This spring, I had the pleasure of joining several students and colleagues on a trip to Navajo Nation in Arizona, where we were embraced by a loving and humble community who left a lasting impression. Beyond the truly awe-inspiring views of the red rock and privilege of working side-by-side in the vineyard and irrigation trenches with individuals who knew the meaning of sowing where one will reap, I was changed forever by the time spent learning and seeking to understand the ways and wisdom of people with such strong tradition and inner peace and acceptance. Each of us has a story of similar, memorable experiences during our time at Gannon University. They represent who we are and show the world what a quality education from Gannon can do to make a difference in the lives of others. Many students form lifelong connections and leverage

their education through such experiences, so that as they transition from students to alumni, they are propelled into successful and rewarding careers. These life-changing opportunities would not be possible without the generosity of our Gannon family and friends, especially our faithful alumni network. Many Gannon alumni are inspired to support their alma mater by memories of making friends, sharing new experiences, learning from faculty experts and serving in the communities around them. But most of all, they are moved by the desire to make possible a transformational experience for current and future students like that which transformed their lives. This edition of the Gannon Magazine recognizes the people and experiences at Gannon University that bond and connect us and makes us proud to be Golden Knights. I hope you enjoy these stories of some of the many ways our alumni and Gannon family have given the gifts of their service, expertise, financial support and compassion to nurture transformational experiences for our students. God Bless,

Keith Taylor, Ph.D., President Keith Taylor, Ph.D. President Brianna Rice Marketing and Content Strategist

Vol. XXXIII, No. 1 • July 2019 Gannon University • 109 University Square Erie, Pennsylvania 16541 • (814) 871-7000

Gannon Magazine is published by University Marketing and Communications: Mallory Bottoni ’14 Haley Figurski Michael Gorski ’11M Laura Hinsdale Matthew King Andrew Lapiska ’09M Nicole Lossie ’11 Raechel Miller Kristine Rilling

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contents Gannon Magazine July 2019


Learning Today, Transforming Tomorrow




A Reason to Give

Celebrate Gannon’s Growing Traditions

Broadening the Spheres of a 30-Year Influence


Students showcase their scholarly and creative work during a campus-wide celebration of student achievement.

04 08

Coding the Future of Cybersecurity

As Gannon launches ventures in new innovative cyber programs, one student hacks his way to a full-tuition scholarship.

Answering the Call of an Alumni Nation

Joining a network of more than 38,000 alumni, four PPOTD students are responding to the call to help transform lives.

Following the Path Back Home

“[The Lord] led me away from Gannon six years ago, and he’s led me back here now.”


Cultural Tour: Perspectives from Kenya


Class Notes

Driven to inspire a culturally rich community, one international student brings perspective from a Kenyan Luo tribe.

Keep up with the latest news from Gannon Alumni.

On the Cover: Giving From the Ground Up Gannon students participating in a week-long Alternative Break Service Trip (ABST) in Haiti support hurricane relief efforts by planting coffee trees. The Haiti ABST was built in 2016 in collaboration with Just Haiti, an organization that markets Haitian coffee to United States consumers. After Just Haiti welcomed a Gannon ABST again in 2017 and 2018, the Center for Social Concerns found itself hungry for a continued relationship with the organization to drive economic development and self-sufficiency for Haitian coffee farmers. To learn more about the growing impact of this global partnership, turn to page 14.

View the Gannon Magazine Online Edition Look for this symbol for articles with exclusive video, photo galleries and expanded content found in the Gannon Magazine Online Edition: To receive the Gannon Magazine Online Edition directly to your inbox or manage your subscription preferences, visit @gannonu #GUPOSSIBILITIES


Students from both Gannon’s Erie campus (pictured above) and Ruskin campus (pictured left) gathered to present their research and projects at Celebrate Gannon.

The University’s annual Celebrate Gannon event marked the culmination of a year’s worth of scholarship, research and academic accomplishments for more than 400 undergraduate and graduate students across Gannon’s two campuses. Students at Gannon’s Ruskin campus participated for the first time, presenting both in-person at their inaugural celebration and via satellite to the Erie campus. Projects covered a range of athletic training, occupational and physical therapy topics such as “The Effect of Thermal Ultrasound on Muscular Flexibility.” “This is a true interprofessional collaboration day to celebrate what Gannon University is all about!” said Stephanie Adams, DHSc, Celebrate Gannon chair for the Ruskin Campus and assistant professor of occupational therapy. “The students are already doing wonderful things within the community and for the profession. I can’t wait to see what they do next year!” This enthusiasm for the students’ work was shared by area business leaders representing 10 local Erie employers who attended to network with students and explore experiential learning opportunities. “It’s nice to see so much innovation and out-of-the-box thinking,” said Jeff Willis ’11, advanced lead engineer, Wabtec Corporation. “Some of these students could be real game changers in the future.”

Celebrate Gannon’s



Some of the groundbreaking innovation presented at the event included an autonomous snow-removal robot developed by an interdisciplinary team of engineering students (pictured below). The awardwinning robot simultaneously removes snow while laying a salt solution, as well as uses infrared sensors and an advanced navigation system that the students are looking to patent as they develop the robot further with the goal of bringing it to market. Criminal justice students showcased their talents with technology, using GIS mapping to conduct research on walkability and safety for grade school children traveling to and from five local schools, the physical conditions of those routes and potential safety concerns. The students’ semester-long research project is now being implemented by the schools to enhance safety for the children. Using this experience to impact the Erie community was also the goal of students presenting on behalf of Gannon’s McNair Scholars Program for the first time, following their semester-long leadership course on conducting and presenting research. The Program prepares first-generation and under-represented students for doctoral studies through research and scholarship by pairing students with a faculty mentor who guides the scholars through intentional curriculum in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. “I enjoyed presenting because research is something I love to do,” said psychology major Zy’Anne Grady. “Having resources like this help further my academic career and is a breath of fresh air, and being able to show people what I did is an added bonus.” To view a Celebrate Gannon video and read more about other special events held during this exciting celebration, visit


Day of Giving The Gannon University community came together in a big way to make the inaugural Celebrate Gannon: Day of Giving a huge success. Nearly 300 members of the Gannon Family donated during the 24-hour fundraising event on April 12, raising more than $160,000 – the largest number of individual gifts in a single day in University history. These gifts will support nearly 30 designations across Gannon’s campuses to inspire and transform the lives of students.

Day of Giving

Gannon’s first Day of Giving was a success thanks to the many donors who participated in the opportunity to express their pride, appreciation and acknowledgement of student achievement and Gannon’s impact on our lives, community and the world. The next Celebrate Gannon: Day of Giving will take place April 23-24, 2020. Save the date to participate in the annual event to show your pride for your alma mater and share why you #CelebrateGannon!

27 26 55




$160,163 111 293 56 $8,468 TOTAL AMOUNT TOTAL DONORS






Students participate in Gannon’s inaugural Hackathon Full-Tuition Scholarship Competition on May 4, 2019.

CODING THE FUTURE OF CYBERSECURITY Breaking into a multi-billion-dollar industry is seemingly no easy feat. Unless you can hack your way in, that is. Gannon University has tapped into the cyber industry with new innovative programs in cybersecurity and cyber engineering, a new facility and its first Hackathon Full-Tuition Scholarship Competition. By bringing this field of study to Gannon and infusing expert resources into the local economy, the University is creating tremendous opportunities for students- and the region- in an industry faced with a rapid need for trained experts across a multitude of professions. Students, faculty and alumni alike have matched the University’s enthusiasm for getting involved in this new venture at Gannon. 4


A Knack for Hacking Leads to Full-Tuition Scholarship Participants in Gannon’s inaugural Hackathon Full-Tuition Scholarship Competition are some of the first to engage in new opportunities as a result of the University’s venture into the cyber industry.

The University’s Hackathon platform was designed and built entirely by Gannon faculty and graduate students to enable the competition.

“I helped Dr. Liu develop the Hackathon program and wrote The Hackathon welcomed high the code to develop our site that school freshmen through seniors the students hacked on,” excitedly from 14 states and territories across and modestly said Brad Gressler, a the country to first participate in student in Gannon’s graduate software one of two virtual competitions as a engineering program. “The site we gateway for the built used a top competitors “It’s important to learn outside combination to be invited to open-source the classroom, so being able of the on-campus materials Hackathon in to introduce these students and our own May. modifications to cybersecurity has been to create the Advancing questions and rewarding.” to this level challenges were 29 skilled we wanted to demonstrate for the competitors who participated in a dayHackathon.” long event comprised of educational training and the final competition. “My classroom experience was very Aspirants learned from faculty experts helpful and I’ve learned a lot about and current graduate students to hacking and cybersecurity working gain a fundamental understanding with the professors on this project. of cybersecurity and prepare for It’s important to learn outside the the final Hackathon challenges, in classroom, so being able to introduce which students answered a series of these students to cybersecurity has questions and applied their web-based been rewarding.” hacking skills to create solutions From designing the mock platform to challenges simulating real-world to competing in the Hackathon, the cybersecurity threats. high school competitors and graduate A Michigan native and junior at engineering students all gained University of Detroit Jesuit High valuable hands-on experience with School and Academy was awarded the the necessary skills to protect real top prize of a full-tuition scholarship companies and create secure systems to attend Gannon after demonstrating to prevent cyberattacks. a skillset that set him apart from the competition, earning the highest scores in both the virtual and oncampus events. Gannon alumnus Ronald Thomas ’73 experienced firsthand how vital cybersecurity is in protecting our country throughout his career at McNeil Technologies, delivering intelligence services to government entities including the CIA and FBI. Read more about his story at #GUPOSSIBILITIES


TRANSFORMING TOMORROW Eight years ago Gannon’s Morosky College of Health Professions and Sciences pushed new frontiers of learning for the University by opening a Pro Bono Physical Therapy (PT) Clinic to provide students with an on-campus clinical environment. With leveraged capabilities, the College recently added the Little Knights Pro Bono Occupational Therapy (OT) Clinic to this structure as well. 6


(Left) Four-year-old Noah Iman makes crafts during a therapy session with OT student Emily Scifo. (Top left) Instructor of physical therapy Jonathan Ulrich, Ph.D. engages students in hands-on learning within the PT Clinic. (Top) PT students welcome community members during an event on April 26.

But students aren’t the only ones benefiting from these Clinics. The Clinics serve to meet the needs of community members who may have exhausted their insurance benefits or who may not have health benefits and cannot receive needed treatment. Others are left without treatment for weeks as their names remain stationary on a waiting list.

leading into clinical because you see patients of different populations and get a chance to [hone] your practical skills.”

The Pro Bono Clinics sit within an 800-square-foot space in Gannon’s Human Performance Laboratory and boasts a variety of equipment, ranging from treatment tables, exercise machines and biophysical “It is always Both Clinics operate agents to crayons, putty under student executive rewarding to serve and shaving cream. boards and faculty members of our Recently, the OT and PT advisors. For students community and Pro Bono Clinics celebrated working in the Clinics, provide them with a $29,000 grant from the the experience delivers Palumbo Foundation and opportunities for opportunities to learn a $21,000 Community laughter, growth clinical management, Promise Grant from the marketing strategy, and independence Hamot Health Foundation, documentation and in their lives.” respectively, to be used for functions of supporting the purchase of additional equipment patient health as faculty prepare to expand the Clinics’ operations. them to be quality professionals in the field. Students work directly with Further support for the Clinics has their clients and oversee all aspects come from a number of donors who of the evaluation and rehabilitation support initiatives to drive public processes under the supervision of health, including our alumni and licensed practitioners. students.

“The Pro Bono Clinic has been a really great experience,” said physical therapy student Jacob Van Houten. “You get a lot more exposure to patients, which is really good practice

“It is always rewarding to serve members of our community and provide them with opportunities for laughter, growth and independence in their lives,” said David LeVan,

’97, ’02M, associate professor of the occupational therapy program who gives his time and resources to the Clinic. “It's also important as an educator to form these unique learning/mentoring relationships with the students and to let them see that we are invested in them as future clinicians.” Faculty members such as Julia Hawkins, assistant professor of the occupational therapy program and lead faculty advisor of the OT Clinic, envision this continued support driving opportunities to expand resources and services to provide more interprofessional pro bono clinical services to the community. Progress toward achieving this ultimate goal would require time and additional support from benefactors who share in this vision. But for now, Morosky College faculty are pursuing one solid conviction: by supporting the educational experiences of our students today, Gannon is preparing them to transform the communities of tomorrow. To read expanded content and view exclusive video, visit #GUPOSSIBILITIES


Answering the Call of an Alumni Nation

(L-R) Lynnette Scotese-Wojtila, Carrie Jost, Mary Iwanenko and Danielle DiLuzio (far right) are honored as the first graduates of the Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate online program. Assistant Professor Michele Karnes (second to right) celebrates alongside her students.

Four Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate (PPOTD) students of Gannon University’s online program are answering the call to serve as agents of change within their communities as they seek to foster a renewed vitality in those who experience disability or injury. May 11, 2019 presented the exciting opportunity to celebrate the graduation of these students and honor them as the inaugural PPOTD cohort in Gannon University’s online program. Read as these students express their sentiments on this exciting milestone: “Gannon’s doctoral formation process has allowed me to bring [a new program for individuals with autism] into a research study, which is the first step to getting it into the body of knowledge and into the clinics and schools where it belongs. My 8


biggest accomplishment is bringing the “I saw a need to move forward in my product to life in a way that will change career and pursued a doctoral education, autism forever in a way that has changed so that I could become an agent of change me forever.” and start my own corporation.” - Lynette Scotese-Wojtila, OTD ’19 - Carrie Jost, OTD ’19 “I am hoping to use these skills and the knowledge that I’ve gained from this program to move into higher education and into a leadership or administrative position once I get a few years of teaching under my belt, [so that I can] create some really great programs for future OTD students.” - Mary Iwanenko, OTD ’19 “I graduated from Gannon in 2015 with my master’s, and after a few short years in the field, I decided to pursue higher education. It was wonderful that Gannon had just started a post-professional doctoral degree program, so I jumped on board. I always wanted to be an expert in my field and obtaining the OTD was one way to achieve that.” - Danielle DiLuzio, OTD ’15M, ’19D

In addition, Gannon’s Ruskin campus graduated its first two students of the Master of Athletic Training program in a celebratory ceremony on May 11, 2019. Speaking on behalf of a powerful network of more than 38,000 Golden Knights around the world, welcome to the Alumni Association, graduates!

For exclusive Commencement video and photos, visit



DEGREES CONFERRED Doctoral: 57 Master’s: 223 Bachelor’s: 419 Associate’s: 12

711 AS FAR AS 304 MONGOLIA 19 319,000 1,841 25 Families of graduates traveled from all over the world, some coming from


Dean’s List Students

Countries Represented

States Represented Across the U.S.

Users Reached by #GannonGrad Posts Across @GannonU on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Commencement Ceremony Livestream Views #GUPOSSIBILITIES


a reason to

At Gannon University, we have been blessed by the support of a dedicated family who shares in a vision of transformative educational experiences, expansion of knowledge and unleashed potential. Inspired by this vision, these individuals have stepped forward to generously support our students in impactful ways. This generosity comes in many forms, but what invariably characterizes the drive for donor generosity is not merely a capacity to give, but a passion to give. For President of Insurance Management Company (IMC), John C. Bloomstine, CPCU, ARM ’82 and his family, that passion manifested itself in the blurred lines between Gannon’s campus and the larger Erie community. Believing that “future growth for Gannon is future growth for Erie,” the Bloomstines have chosen not only to invest in Gannon University, but in a legacy of community-focused leaders within Erie. “Gannon is the heartbeat of the downtown. It sparks a vibe in the community,” Bloomstine said. As a Gannon University alumnus, he would know. Gannon has become a family tradition not just for Bloomstine, but for many in his family as well, including his wife, Colleen (Gallagher) ’86 and son, William ’16, the



latter of whom is now working in the industry with his father. Bloomstine credits his Gannon professors for instilling him with community-centered values. “I didn’t just see my professors in the classroom, but in the community,” he said. “These interactions made me realize it wasn’t just about Gannon or just about classes; it was what was going on in the broader community around me.” Now, Bloomstine is leaving his own legacy in that community. After graduation, he became joint owner of IMC and later took full ownership, building it into a highly reputable third-generation, family-owned commercial, industrial and institutional insurance agency.

(L-R) The Bloomstine family, John ’82, CPCU, ARM, Colleen ’86 and William ’16 pictured at their business, Insurance Management Company.

The firm has Like his father before him, Bloomstine is a generous donor earned numerous to Gannon University and has faithfully given to the quality recognitions, annual fund since shortly after graduation. In support of including the Erie educational accessibility, he and his family have provided Quality Award the Bloomstine Family Endowed Scholarship for more and Pennsylvania’s than a decade, preparing community-driven students to Keystone Quality advance Erie’s revitalization by helping local businesses Award, and is the sole manage insurance risk. insurance brokerage But Bloomstine chooses to also maximize on this financial in the United States to giving by providing hands-on, experiential learning have earned the Risk and opportunities for students. Partnering with David Smith, Insurance Management instructor of management and business administration Society’s National Quality at Gannon, Bloomstine frequently delivers in-class Award. In presentations to students in Gannon’s risk management “Gannon is the heartbeat of service to his insurance program and welcomes these classes into his community, business to promote engagement between experts and the downtown. It sparks a Bloomstine students. He additionally served as chairman of Gannon’s also served vibe in the community” Business Ambassadors. as director of the Erie Regional Chamber “We value the mission of Gannon University and want to & Growth Partnership and see the risk management insurance program grow and be participates on various non-profit sustained,” said Bloomstine of his vision for his continued boards. support. “Insurance management is about supporting local business growth, because without insurance, you can’t do much,” Bloomstine said, emphasizing the role of his business within the community.

Do you ever wonder how impactful donor giving really is? Every community has its borders, but through the generosity of alumni donors like Bloomstine and his family, Gannon is pushing those that bound Erie by preparing students to serve as experts within local and global communities.



Gannon’s 2018-19 athletic year came to an end with a fitting prize as the Golden Knights earned their highest finish ever in the PSAC Dixon Trophy standings, placing sixth out of 17 teams. A new era of men’s basketball has begun as Gannon introduced Kelvin Jefferson as the 19th head coach in program history. The Gannon baseball team reached new heights this season, earning the outright PSAC West division title for the first time and making the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history. 2 Softball continued its run of success, winning the PSAC West title and earning an NCAA berth for the second straight season. The all-girl and game-day competitive cheer squads placed third at nationals, the highest finishes ever for the program. Brent Benedict qualified for nationals in four events and grabbed All-America finishes in two for the men’s swimming program. 1 Five men’s wrestlers qualified for nationals, and the Golden Knights won their first-ever PSAC Division II dual meet championship.

FOLLOWING FOLLOWING THE PATH Acrobatics and tumbling earned their sixth trip to nationals in the program’s seven-year history. 3 Men’s golfer, Michael Marsico, became the program’s first individual qualifier to nationals since 2015, and the team finished an all-time best fourth at regionals.

This article is reported as of May 2019. For a final spring season recap, visit

The path of a college coach can be a winding one. Twists and turns, peaks and valleys—it’s rarely a straight line, whether game-to-game, season-to-season, or at the different stops along the way.




Cleve Wright’s path is no exception to that, but his did take a unique shape this spring as he circled back to Gannon to become the head women’s basketball coach for the Lady Knights for the second time. It wasn’t part of some detailed career plan, but Wright doesn’t doubt the purpose behind the move. “I’m going to go where the Lord is leading me to go,” Wright said. “He led me away from Gannon six years ago, and he’s led me back here now. If you would have told me this was how it was going to happen, I don’t know that I would have believed you.” Wright’s first tenure at Gannon saw the team reach unprecedented heights. During those 11 seasons, his teams went 233-100, including two NCAA regional championships and a trip to the Division II national semifinals. The Erie community poured their support behind those teams, packing the Hammermill Center for PSAC championships and NCAA Atlantic Region tournaments.



(Left) Cleve Wright and his wife, Diane. (Below) Cleve Wright celebrates after winning the NCAA Atlantic Regional 2013.

Cleve Wright is


Division I Eastern Illinois, Wright — and his family — felt right at home the first time they stepped back into the office he occupied for 11 years.

“My youngest daughter, Emma, she got into town at 11:15 at night,” Wright said. “I asked her if she wanted to meet me at the apartment, but she wanted to come see the office first. She walked in and was kind of in awe like, ‘This is where I grew up.’”

By: David Rung, Director of Athletics Media Relations

Wright’s teams returned that support in kind, as they were a mainstay in community service and fundraising events. They started their Pink Zone event to help local cancer survivors in 2008. In 2011, the team was honored as the the Outstanding Young Philanthropist by the American Fundraising Professionals. “We love Erie,” Wright said. “Erie is home to me and my family. We came to Erie 17 years ago because of the opportunity at Gannon. Now one of the main reasons we’re coming back to Gannon is because of Erie.”

When Wright accepted the associate head coach position at Eastern Illinois, it was with the goal of getting back into the head coaching ranks in mind. He also made a decision that he wanted his next stop to be the final one of his career, one where he could see the end of the winding path. He didn’t know that Gannon would be that place, but that’s all part of the journey.

Wright said the outpouring of support he’s received from the community since his hire was announced in April has “When I stand before the Lord, he’s not going to ask served to confirm his decision. me how many wins I had,” he said. “He’s going to ask, ‘How many people did you love?’ To be able to take this His phone didn’t stop ringing with calls and texts from platform that was given to me, I don’t understand why former players and coaches, including those from players anyone would coach for any other reason.” who came before his time at the helm. Those connections were a result of the relationships he built at Gannon and “I know it’s going to be different this time, because I’m in Erie. not the same person I was six years ago. But I know that we’re going to be impacting people, and I’m able to be a And despite a six-year gap where he was head coach at part of that.” Division I Miami (Ohio) and associate head coach at #GUPOSSIBILITIES 13


The Center for Social Concerns has provided countless opportunities for Gannon employees and students (pictured) to serve local and global communities throughout its 30-year history.




Impact is made at the crossroads of unrelenting passion and a determined purpose. With a strong embrace of both, Gannon’s Center for Social Concerns (CSC) has been helping students connect their hearts with the deep needs of the world. This image of vocation rings true as the work of the CSC, which continues to innovate to deepen through local and global partnerships. Founded in 1988 and inspired by Catholic Social Teaching, the CSC equips students and campus colleagues to engage with local and global communities through purposeful service, exploration and action for the common good. This year we celebrate the CSC’s 30-year history of impactful giving and reflect on its journey from a community service operation to a powerful, driving force behind global partnerships, societal integration, academic learning and sustainability. A defining program of the CSC is its Alternative Break Service Trips (ABST), a program that has experienced a decade of innovation to deepen and grow its impact. Through national ABSTs, reputed alumni are offering their time, resources and expertise to cultivate relationships with students during their week of service and immersion. Across the globe, the Haiti ABST is modeling the creation of mutual, global partnerships while driving learning and economic development for more than 600 Haitian families. As we celebrate the CSC’s 30th birthday, let us immerse ourselves deep into the folds of these ABSTs to learn what it means to give the gift of Gannon and how we, too, can inspire social transformation. 16


Gannon alumni and students enjoy dinner and conversation during the Detroit ABST.

FOSTERING TODAY The Center for Social Concerns (CSC) connects with neighbors across the globe through service and relationship-building. Now, to provide depth to this widening sphere, the CSC is engaging alumni in the program. Meet Joseph Bione, ’73, ’75M, president and founder of the Whitehall Group, LLC, 1999 Gannon University Distinguished Alumnnus and honoree leadership giving officer at Gannon. Devoted to organizing Detroit’s alumni network, Bione is now making strides to promote engagement between alumni and students as well. Working with Nancy Bird, director of alumni engagement, Bione hosted an alumni and student dinner within the Detroit ABST. This year marked

the second annual dinner and was inclusive of both alumni and student presentations, as well as conversations where experiences were shared and knowledge passed on.

“This interaction improved my understanding of the importance of a good education and allowed our group to have connections with those in the Detroit area.” “It’s the collegiality of being with people who have been through Gannon and who can offer mentoring, advising, networking opportunities and also friendship,” Bione said of the event.

Alumni engagement was not limited to the dinner table. Prior to the event, Bione helped students reflect on the experiences of poverty around the outskirts of the city to enhance their learning experience, which focused on food-related issues in relation to racial and economic justice. He later welcomed students into his office to discuss Detroit’s changing economics and how his Gannon experiences shaped his life, inspiring him to give back. Students appreciated the alumni support. “This interaction improved my understanding of the importance of a good education and allowed our group to have connections with those in the Detroit area,” said student leader Rachel McKernan.






Change making can be hard to measure on a short timeline. But every now and then, the Center for Social Concerns (CSC) has the blessing of bearing witness to the culmination of many years of commitment. This is why the campus-wide launch of Neg Mawon coffee this spring is such a cause for celebration. In Spring 2016, the CSC built a week-long Alternative support the economic development and self-sufficiency of Break Service Trip (ABST) program in collaboration with the farmers who had hosted them. Just Haiti, an organization that markets Haitian coffee to In Fall 2016, Hurricane Matthew destroyed nearly all United States consumers. The ABST participants were the homes and crops of coffee growers from the KDB hosted by President Kim Lamberty. With Lamberty’s cooperative that hosted the group. With the support of expertise and on-the-ground generous donors, Gannon wisdom, the CSC knew it wanted “Being a part of the process of integrating was able to purchase an to share in the organization’s “fair Just Haiti coffee on Gannon’s campus has order of Just Haiti coffee, trade plus” economic mission which was sold to members been a heart-filling experience because it to help the Haitian people help of the Gannon community. themselves. has allowed me to take the knowledge and This purchase showed Through the ABST, students love that I gained in Haiti and apply it to my support to the community studied the economics of fair in a particular time of need. campus community around me.” trade coffee and the Catholic Jack Barton, CEO of Out of Relief Services model of Integral Human Development. the Grey Coffee and tenant at Gannon’s Erie Technology Students returned to campus impassioned to find ways to Incubator at the time, developed a special roast for the coffee, named after the statue Neg Mawon in Port-au-

(Left) Students show their support of a thriving global parntership with Just Haiti. (Middle) Neg Mawon coffee is displayed in the Nash Library as students share their ABST experience. (Right) Students gather with community members during the Haiti ABST.




ITIAN PARTNERS Prince that means “The Free Man Can Never Be Destroyed.” Having had a taste of raising awareness and making a realworld impact, the students involved in this partnership were hungry for a continued relationship with Just Haiti. Just Haiti welcomed Gannon ABSTs again in 2017 and 2018. After many exploratory conversations with creative partners, a team was assembled for the sustainable launch and sales of Neg Mawon in Metz retail locations across Gannon’s Erie campus. Every purchase of a cup of Neg Mawon goes directly back to the more than 600 families connected to the work of Just Haiti, as well as countless more families who benefit from the job creation and economic development in the seven cities connected to their work.

receiver. Reflecting on the CSC’s beginnings, we joyfully celebrate those who first stepped into the community as service leaders. As we seek to continue to give the gift of Gannon, we look toward our thriving global partnerships, experiential learning opportunities and promotion of sustainability, and we stand poised and committed to continuing this model where the work of forming socially responsible global citizens also invites more people of goodwill to the banquet of justice set forth by God. To read expanded content and view exclusive video, visit

“Being a part of the process of integrating Just Haiti coffee on Gannon’s campus has been a heartfilling experience because it has allowed me to take the knowledge and love that I gained in Haiti and apply it to my campus community around me,” said student Melissa Bronder. This story illustrates the power of giving and resulting impact that occurs in the blurred lines between the giver and




Co-Written By: Sydney Oyatta and Katelyn Gourley, Students

The diversity of a university is its key to rich perspective. At Gannon University, our global students cultivate a thriving community of intellects by diluting biases and prejudices and broadening our understanding of cultural traditions, values and influences.



At the same time, the perspectives our global students bring in are concurrently sharpened by their academic experiences. That perspective is never lost, but can be traced within every footprint our global students leave upon graduation.

Oyatta recalls. “Their main aim was to make sure we got a sufficient amount of education in order to prosper. This was relatively hard since none of us spoke an ounce of English. My uncle decided to hire a tutor who would come and teach me English every single day. Was it tough? Yes, but I persisted.”

and continued his efforts until he landed on Gannon University. He was immediately drawn in. “I came from a culture that is big on community, so when I saw Gannon was very involved in the Erie community, I knew it was where I wanted to be,” he said. “And by God’s grace I was accepted.”

As it turns out, some of this perspective was brought from a small Now Oyatta is using his time as Luo tribe in Kokal, Kenya a computer and with junior Sydney science “I came from a culture that is big on community, so information Oyatta, a student whose major at Gannon passage to education to share his unique when I saw Gannon was very involved in the Erie involved nothing short of perspective with others, community, I knew it was where I wanted to be.” difficulty. finding recent success in his 90.5 WERG When Oyatta’s mother At age six Oyatta began school, radio show, “Uzuri wa Africa,” or “The was confronted by a battle with quickly advancing to become top in Beauty of Africa.” This award-winning alcoholism, his grandmother took him his class. As he prepared to graduate show tells of African traditions, music to live in a small village called Oyugis from a prestigious high school, Peponi and culture while featuring interviews along with his cousins, Neville and School in Ruiru, Kenya, Oyatta with students from the global Cynthia. Oyatta described the area as completed a test for his General community. Oyatta hopes to take this more poverty-stricken. “We could not Certificate of Secondary Education. perspective with him on an upcoming afford clothes, shoes or even food, but When the results came in, Oyatta trip to Spain, broadening the scope of my grandmother made sure we got found himself staring at a slew of his reach even further. our education and had a roof over our mortifying grades. “How was I getting heads,” he said. Driven to inspire a culturally rich into college? How would I travel to community, Oyatta plans to earn America? All these questions ran As his grandmother aged, Oyatta a master’s degree and become an through my brain like a pneumatic and his cousins went to live with his American citizen to work in the very drill,” he said. Uncle David and his wife. It was here community that helped shape him. that the drive for knowledge was first As he applied to college, Oyatta instilled within Oyatta. became dispirited by the amount Academic Involvement of rejection letters he received. “At this point I had no idea my life Remembering the words of his • Corresponding secretary, social would change drastically. David and fraternity Delta Kappa Epsilon uncle, “Sydney, education is the key his wife were both successful lawyers to success. Don’t take it for granted,” and resided in Karen, a very lavish • Public relations officer, Oyatta chose to look past each denial neighborhood in Nairobi, Kenya,” African Student Organization • Marketing chair, Global Unity • Radio show host, Uzuri wa Africa on 90.5 WERG • Vice president of technology, Student Government Association beginning in fall 2019 (Page 20) Sydney Oyatta, computer and information science major, hosts a talk show on Gannon’s 90.5 WERG. (Page 21) Oyatta pictured with Gannon students at the National Conference on Student Leadership.


SISTER PHYLLIS HILBERT, S.S.J. VMC ‘72M was presented the Charles R. and Katherine L. Scalise Community Service Award by The Housing and Neighborhood Development Service (HANDS). The award honors an individual who has demonstrated exceptional leadership in the Erie community and who has exemplified HANDS’ core values. Over the years, Hilbert taught at several schools in the Catholic Diocese of Erie and coordinated religious education programs before embarking on missionary work. Hilbert served for five years as a missionary in Arusha, Tanzania and as director of religious education for that diocese. After returning to the U.S., she focused on the needs of women at Community House for Women while serving as part of the leadership team of the Sisters of St. Joseph. She also became co-director of Bethany Ministries and founded Dwellings and Advocacy for Women in Need in Erie. In 2006, Hilbert joined the Sisters of St. Joseph Neighborhood Network as a housing and family advocate.







ROBERT M. MURPHY, PH.D. and his wife, Kathleen, have authored the book, “Manager vs. Leader: Untying the Gordian Knot.” The book was published in 2018 under the Routledge Focus series. Throughout their years of teaching management and leadership, both nationally and internationally, and with the added experience of Murphy’s military career, the Murphys have witnessed the confusion of being a manager and a leader. Their book cuts through the clutter of books to differentiate between the two and help align one’s expectations of these individuals.













THOMAS L. KIRKPATRICK is the new senior vice president and chief customer officer for American Electric Power (AEP). Kirkpatrick is responsible for Customer Services, Solutions and Business Development. He most recently served as the vice president of Distribution Asset Management and Support Services for the company. He began his career at AEP in 1980 and has worked in leadership roles for the company as vice president, Customer Services, Marketing and Distribution Services, as well as vice president, Distribution Operations.


MARK L. NELSON, PH.D. is vice president of Business and Science Development at Frontier Scientific and its subsidiaries. He has conducted research into neurodegeneration funded by the Department of Defense while serving as chief science officer at TerraNova Therapeutics in La Jolla, Calif. He recently invented two antibiotics (Nuzyra and Seysara) as director of chemistry at Paratek Pharmaceuticals Boston (40 patents) approved by the FDA. He currently lives in Park City, Utah, with his wife, Janice (Badger) of Millcreek, and daughter Catherine. Nelson was a Distinguished Alumni Award recipient in 2003 and a member of Gannon University’s Board of Trustees from 2003-2006.



CLEOPATRA (NACOPOULOS) GOURLIAS, DDS completed her pre-med program and received a Bachelor of Science in biology from Gannon University in 1985. She then completed her dental degree at Athens University in 1991. She continued her postgraduate studies, earning master’s degrees in both oral biology and periodontology in 1998. In 2005, she earned a master certificate in lasers from SOLA Laser Academy at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria. Additionally, Gourlias earned her Ph.D. from the School of Medicine at the University of Athens, Greece in 2015 and has continued post-doctoral research. Most recently, she earned a Master of Science in aesthetic medicine from Queen Mary University in London in 2017.


PETER J. ZAPHIRIS recently purchased the one-time Daka Paper building in Erie and has spent a lot of time over the past year sizing up building and land potential in the downtown area. Zaphiris is preparing to begin work on a multi-million-dollar project that will create new apartments, commercial and office space through the extensive renovation of three buildings and the construction of two others in an area along West 12th Street from State to Sassafras Streets. Zaphiris is an insurance professional and owner of Erie-based Great Lakes Insurance Services Group. 87


JULIE (SAYRE) SENITA, PH.D., RN, MSN VMC ‘94M has been named Senior Program Director for Nursing and Allied Health at Kent State University’s Ashtabula campus. Senita has served as the interim director of the nursing program since August 2017 and is a longtime nursing faculty member. KEVIN SULLIVAN won an Emmy for Best Writing for his work on Nickelodeon’s “The Loud House.” With more than 25 years’ experience in television and entertainment, his work includes production for “The 62nd Annual Academy Awards” and design of theme park attractions for The Walt Disney Company. Sullivan was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2010 for his work on “The Fairly Odd Parents” and in 2011 for two Annie Awards (the Animation Guild’s highest honor) for writing “The Fairly Odd Parents” and “T.U.F.F. Puppy.” Sullivan was also instrumental in securing animated and digital art for Nash library.


ANTHONY J. BERDIS, PH.D. has been promoted to the rank of professor at Cleveland State University’s College of Sciences and Health Professions in the Chemistry Department. He will begin his post in August. DANIEL P. WILLIAMS, PT is the new clinic director at Physical Rehabilitation Services’ Franklin Park location. Williams has more than 26 years of experience as a physical therapist in outpatient orthopedic physical therapy with elite sports medicine experience. One of his passions is baseball. As a previous consultant to the Pittsburgh Pirates, he receives an annual invite to spring training and has rehabilitated numerous professional athletes.


BENJAMIN E. BULKLEY ‘91M has been named chief executive officer of EnvisionRxOptions, a pharmacy benefit management (PBM) company and wholly owned subsidiary of Rite Aid. Bulkley was most recently chief executive officer and co-founder of Trellis Rx, a private equity-backed company that builds specialty pharmacies for health systems. Prior to Trellis Rx, Bulkley led the specialty businesses of Aetna, including its pharmacy, behavioral health and TPA businesses. His pharmaceutical responsibilities included benefit design, clinical, compliance, pharmaceutical contracting, network management, employer sales, mail order and specialty pharmacies. Bulkley also has served as chief operating officer of Allscripts, a healthcare IT platform provider focused on connected care; senior vice president of Global Commercial Operations at Invitrogen, a provider of life sciences technologies for disease research and drug discovery; and as vice president and general manager of Global Services in the IT division of General Electric’s Healthcare business.

The Circles of Distinction honors those who step forward as philanthropic leaders to pave the way for students to achieve their academic and personal goals. We thank and recognize our Circles of Distinction members whose generous contributions have inspired leaders for generations. To join the Circles of Distinction or view the Donor Honor Roll, please visit #GUPOSSIBILITIES 23


JESSICA (RAIRIE) CARTER is a finalist for the 2018 Golden Apple Teacher of the Year for Marion County, Fla. Carter is a 22-year veteran, thirdgrade gifted math and science teacher at Dr. N.H. Jones Elementary School in Ocala, Fla.

Hosted by Alumni Services to reconnect alumni in their hometowns while celebrating our Gannon family. Coming to a City Near You... Arlington & Alexandria, VA Atlanta, GA Austin, TX Buffalo & Rochester, NY Charlotte, NC Chicago, IL Cleveland, OH Dallas, TX Detroit, MI Ft. Lauderdale, FL Harrisburg, PA Jacksonville, FL Naples & Ft. Myers, FL New York, NY Orlando, FL Phoenix & Scottsdale, AZ Pittsburgh, PA Raleigh/Durham, NC San Diego, CA Tucson, AZ Washington, DC To view upcoming tour dates and a photo gallery of past events, visit



TRACEY MCCANTS LEWIS, ESQ. has joined the Pittsburgh Penguins organization as its new deputy general counsel and director of Human Resources.


KELLY D. GOEDEL is the new executive director of the Wood County Senior Citizens Association. She previously served as the executive director of the Humane Society of the Ohio Valley in Marietta for two years. She moved to the Mid-Ohio Valley nearly five years ago from the Pittsburgh area. It was there that she was a program director for Southwestern Pennsylvania Human Services for 15 years. ERIC G. LAPRICE, M.S. ‘97C, ‘99M is the Western Divide Ranger District of the Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument. His district was awarded the Region 5’s 2018 Regional Forester’s Award for District of the Year.


MATTHEW J. FRIST, ED.D. is among the winners of the 2018 CFO of the Year awards presented by the Pittsburgh Business Times. Frist is vice president of Finance and Business for Duquesne University.


SHELLEY (BORTZ) LIGASHESKY is being honored as the Outstanding Alumna at the 2019 Geibel Catholic Junior Senior High School Mardi Gras Auction Gala. Ligashesky is the all-time leading scorer with 1,977 points for the school’s basketball program, boys and girls. She

is a reporter and sports show host for WPXI TV in Pittsburgh and was the 2008 Mrs. Pennsylvania winner and 2010 Mrs. Ohio winner in the Mrs. USA contest.


THOMAS L. LENOX is among more than two dozen police officers from local agencies who are involved with the Erie Police Athletic League (PAL) program. Recently, the organization provided an outing at Play Port Arcade and Family Fun Center to reward students from seven city elementary schools for their academic achievement. The outing highlights the continued growth of PAL, which was revived in Erie in 2016 after a 40-year absence. The program is designed to develop and strengthen bonds between law enforcement and the city’s youth through after-school programs and other events. JAMES W. ROBERTS, JR. ‘98M has completed a 50-state marathon goal. After competing in the Maui Oceanfront Marathon in Hawaii on Sunday, Jan. 20, Roberts completed 55 marathons with at least one in each state. JESSICA (PULLER) WARD MS, RD, CD, CEDRD was a presenter at the 2019 International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals (IAEDP) Symposium in Palm Desert, Calif. Her presentation, “Navigating the Complexities of Significant Weight Restoration,” addressed the physical changes and symptoms that create discomfort and can be difficult to tolerate and reinforce. According to Ward, weight restoration also directly confronts many disordered eating patterns and behaviors, creating a minefield that treatment professionals must navigate to keep the patient engaged. She is the director of Therapeutic Services for Selah House in Anderson, Ind. and works to develop Selah House’s programs. Ward leads a team of dietitians, therapists, a chaplain, equine staff and educational staff. She also serves as faculty for the eating disorders course at Anderson University and has authored the eating disorder section of the Indiana Diet Manual in two revisions.

marriages Marissa M. Caroniti ’15, ’16M married Thomas Schaberl on Sept. 15, 2018. Krista Munger ’14 married Andrew Kalata ’15 on Aug. 18, 2018.



STEVE MOYER is among the modernday (after 1972) inductees into the 2019 Berks County Basketball Hall of Fame. Moyer set records for three-point shooting at Wyomissing and Gannon University. He set an NCAA career record with 442 threepointers. He scored 1,092 points for the Spartans and finished fourth all-time at Gannon with 1,684 points. He set Gannon records with 10 three-pointers in a game by converting 53.5 percent in a season. Moyer played professionally in Europe for five seasons and was inducted into the Gannon Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011.


JUSTIN Q. ZONA, ED.D. ‘06M, ‘08C has completed his Ed.D. in educational leadership from the University of Pittsburgh.


SARAH M. HOWE ‘03M has been named new varsity volleyball coach for St. John School in Ohio. Howe has been involved with the Heralds athletic program since 2007. Her 11year involvement includes coaching the junior high team in 2007-2008 and serving as junior varsity and assistant head coach from 2008-2018. Most recently, Howe served as the interim

Triple the Blessing Two college sweethearts fulfilling a winsome dream of marriage and family might be a typical love story. But Laura ’13, ’14M and Sean MacKellar ’13 are not typical sweethearts, nor do they have a typical story. After Laura underwent open heart surgery to treat a condition that would otherwise make childbirth life-threatening, the couple experienced the blessing of a newfound pregnancy. As the couple watched a sonogram of their baby, the doctor moved to a second baby and then a third. In sheer surprise, the couple rose to a crescendo of celebration. Sean and Laura welcomed their three children, Finn, Ben and Ella, on May 13, 2019.

Erin Wahl ’11 married Josh Boger ’13 on June 23, 2018. 1

coach in 2018 and guided the Heralds to the Division IV Southington district final match. Howe is also the client care coordinator for Comfort Keepers. MICHAEL J. NUNES has been promoted to senior vice president of Current Programming for the NBC network. Nunes previously served as the vice president of Current Programming for NBC, including being involved with the nation’s hit drama, “This is Us.”


REBECCA A. STYN ‘02M is the executive director of the Idea Fund and is relaunching the Innovation Erie Design Competition through the nonprofit, which provides funding and services to people who turn their ideas into businesses. The Innovation Erie Design Competition asks scientists, artists, manufacturers, engineers and designers to submit original ideas for products that could be catalysts for new businesses built in the Erie area. The regional product design competition was launched in 2008 and has among its success stories a business known as ReCAP Mason Jars, created by Karen Rzepecki ’94.

“It’s triple the blessing, and we couldn’t be more excited,” said Laura.


Richard J. Adams ’88 Elizabeth S. Adkins ’79M Ronald J. Alfieri ’69 David L. Anderson, O.D. ’65 Dorothy Jechna Angeloff ’62VMC Dennis R. Blair ’79 Ellamarie Olcese Bledsoe ’60VMC David W. Bodner ’76 John P. Brady ’66, ’71M Marietta Bryant ’02 Robert T. Bujalski ’56 Carl Cohen ’52 Mark A. Colonna ’80 Rita A. Connelly ’52VMC Daniel K. Corwin ’69 Rev. Msgr. Ernest J. Daley ’49 Ronald C. Decker ’64 Raymond E. Deegan ’64 Joseph G. Dipre, Sr. ’61

Ronald F. Duska, Ph.D. ’56 Sister Mary E. Dwyer, S.S.J. ’64VMC James D. Eckert, D.C. ’94 Timothy B. Fall ’90 Raymond W. Francis, Ph.D. ’55 Judith E. Gardner ’68VMC Genell Gaston ’84 Carl A. Giannelli ’63 Linda Krantz Goldman ’80 Shirley Robinson Griep ’46VMC Albert J. Gusky, CPA ’58 Richard D. Hockensmith ’74M Timothy M. Holland ’08 Mildred McConnell Howard ’71VMC, ’73M Edward J. Hudson ’70 Arthur D. Jesensky ’55 Georgia Conway Johnson ’63VMC, ’83M Mitchell L. Jones, Jr. ’13

Clifford W. Kern ’76 Theodore W. Krasinski ’57 William F. Liebel, Jr. ’59, ’75M Richard MacLees ’98 James Magusiak ’98 Thomas R. Malloy ’54 Timothy R. Martin ’67 Robert J. McWilliams ’67 Edmund J. Mehl, Jr. ’47 George Moldovan ’69 William J. Morschhauser ’66 Christopher E. Mozdy, USCG (Ret.) ’85 Mary McDuffie Mulvey ’42VMC Paul J. Notarian ’59 Sister Bernardine Pais ’45VMC Edward C. Pallotta ’54 Rolf L. Patberg, Esq. ’89 Sean V. Raia ’16 Audrey C. Reynard ’60VMC Robert P. Sabo, M.D. ’81

William A. Schubert ’57 Michael J. Seethaler ’64 Barnett I. Selling ’79M Jude W. Shanahan ’55 Craig M. Sheldon ’89 Linda White Shipley ’63VMC John P. Snyder ’02M C. Edward Staley ’87 Sister Marilyn Terwilliger, S.S.J. ’64VMC Roger G. Van Tassell ’57 Richard L. Venable ’58 Thomas J. Verbeck, Jr. ’69 Robert H. Vetrone ’59 Clyde W. Wasson ’57 John H. Weindorff ’51 Carolyn S. Williams ’01M Paul D. Williams ’76 John C. Wilson ’55 Basil J. Zafiropulo ’65 Joseph T. Zdunski, Jr. ’64, ’76M

George J. Dusckas, M.D. Myrtle A. Fried Ruth King Grumblatt Richard D. Hart Mildred McConnell Howard John F. Jeska Valecia Jones Marsell D. Logan Francis Mainzer Betty Graham McConnell

Jill E. McCord Harry E. Mueller, Jr. Alethia L. Olson Samuel P. Orlando Priscilla B. Pryce Allison F. Radov Thomas J. Santarelli Chester L. Sceiford Betty Grimm Schlaudecker Scott A. Schrecengost

Evelyn Schmitt Seyboldt Daniel P. Stubler Thomas D. Swab Fred E. Taylor Beverly Hoar Thompson Thomas Torti Rachel M. Vargas William E. Walker J R. Wiegle Charles J. Wyant, Sr.

in memoriam


Parents and Friends Gary P. Abatta Abdelrahman T. Aburachis, Ph.D. Marjorie Brown Thomas L. Brunot Cindy McLaughlin Chapman John C. Cray Joan Brew Cross Roger A. Czulewicz Dawn M. Dingle

BRIAN K. YORKGITIS, D.O. has been awarded the Duval County Medical Society Philip H. Gilbert Young Physician Leadership Award.


JASON M. KROH ‘03M has joined Strados Labs as its chief technology officer. He has a wide range of experience in medical electronics development, bringing more than two decades of experience to the company. Prior to joining Strados, he served as vice president of New Product



Development for Vero Biotech and vice president of Hardware and Biomedical Engineering for Sarvint Technologies. Kroh also served as vice president of R&D, Electrical Engineering for CardioMEMS where he established and managed a multidisciplinary team of engineers and technicians to design and develop the company’s proprietary electronics platform. Kroh was lead electrical engineer at Cybersonics Inc. where he developed the electronics for control and actuating mechanisms for therapeutic ultrasonic medical devices. He holds 26 issued U.S. patents and has co-authored multiple papers on sensing and actuation.

LYNEIL C. MITCHELL, DPT ‘05M, ‘07M is among the 2018 inductees into both the 54th induction class of the Butler County Sports Hall of Fame and Gannon’s Athletics Hall of Fame. Mitchell was a two-time section championship wrestler for Butler who placed second in the WPIAL his senior year. He also lettered in football and baseball. He went on to a standout wrestling career at Gannon University, where he placed second and third at the NCAA Division II championships in consecutive years.

NANCY (HEISS) MORRIS ‘15M is a 2019 “Women Making History Dynamic Dozen” award recipient from the Mercy Center for Women. Morris received the award for her work with children and the invention of her ICAN and Effortless Art Crayons, which is a line of art products designed to be inclusive and intuitive for all children. LEAH R. SAMUELS, DC is a recipient of the 2018 Women’s Business Network Inc. “Jean Walsh Scholarship” award. Samuels will be applying the scholarship to “increase her knowledge and skills in the area of hormone management.” Samuels will attend the courses Mastering Fertility, Conception and Pregnancy and Mastering Menopause to assist women struggling with hormonal imbalances. Samuels opened Align Chiropractic Wellness Center in Greensburg, Pa. in Fall 2008.


MINDY V. RICHMOND landed her dream job in Summer 2018 as the head women’s lacrosse coach for Lynn University. She is excited to take on the challenge of developing a lacrosse program from scratch. During her athletic career at Gannon, she led the nation with 88 goals, the most in Gannon history and the fourthhighest single-season total in Division II history. In her senior year, Richmond was nominated for the NCAA Woman of the Year award. Richmond started her coaching career as an assistant coach at Gannon. She then became head coach at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she led the team to six consecutive state conference tournament appearances and earned Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Coach of the Year honors in 2013.


TIMOTHY R. CAPUTO ‘09M has become head coach for the Harbor Creek softball team and is an assistant coach for the boys basketball team, primarily coaching ninth-graders. Caputo is a learning support teacher at Clark Elementary School. KRISTEN (MATLAK) GEHRLEIN ‘06 has been nominated for the Young Erie Professional’s “Young Professional of the Year” award.


DANIEL J. HEBERT was named “Young Engineer of the Year” by the Peninsula Engineers Council, receiving the Doug Ensor Award. He is an engineer for Newport News Shipbuilding and has two patents pending in additive manufacturing.


AMANDA (FLICK) KOCHIRKA, MPA ‘17M has been promoted to Program Director at Erie Regional Chamber & Growth Partnership.


CLAYTON W. ACKER was featured in a 60-second advertisement by Audi (national campaign) titled “Audi A4 The Best Man.”

The Gannon University Athletics Hall of Fame welcomed one team, one coach and five athletes as members of the Class of 2019. The 1967 men’s cross-country team became the 10th team and first cross-country team to be inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame. Members of the team included: Peter Dwyer; Anthony F. DiPasquale ’69; Jack McLaughlin, Ph.D. ’69; Daniel Pomerleau ’69; Louis Qualtiere ’69; Thomas Dwyer ’71; Gerald Grygo ’71; Matt Laskowski; Nick Petroff; and Head Coach Bud Elwell ’55 and Assistant Coach Seth Bloomquist. Individual 2019 inductees include: • Joanna (Fergus) Keller ’06, ’08M, Softball • Kyle Goldcamp ’09, ’11M, Men’s Basketball • Carrie (Nolan) Stoczynski ’10, Women’s Basketball • Lauren (Sazama) Giles ’13, Women’s Volleyball • Jerry Slocum, Men’s Basketball Coach (1996-2005) • John Yurisinec ’01, ’03M, Football


LAUREN M. DEBICK recently earned professional accreditation in public relations and received the designation of Accredited in Public Relations (APR). Debick is director of Public Relations and Communications for Ocala Health. HANNAH E. KIRBY ‘11M has been appointed by Erie Mayor Joe Schember to serve a four-year term as a member of the Erie Parking Authority. Kirby is the owner of Ember + Forge coffee shop, Gannon’s National Alumni Board president, as well as former Lord Corporation engineer.


REV. ERIC J. DINGA became the new administrator of St. John the Evangelist Parish and St. Rose Parish, both in Latrobe, Pa., this past February. LISA M. RIPPER is the Community Health Research manager at the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh in the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine. Her research focuses on violence prevention program evaluation and building strong and equitable communities where all children can thrive.


ELIJAH E. COPPOCK starred in the murder mystery “Towards Zero,” staged by All an Act Theatre Productions in Erie, Pa. The play is based on Agatha Christie’s murder mystery by the same name. Coppock is a social worker by day, but murder mystery aficionado after hours. His first show while at Gannon was “The Poor of New York,” a period melodrama. Since that production, he has performed with several theater groups around Erie. AMY MURDOCK was hired as new director of Government Affairs and Advocacy for the Erie Regional Chamber & Growth Partnership. Giles has served as director of the Erie County Department of Planning and Community Development for the past



year. She will work with government leaders on the local and state level to analyze and advocate for public policy issues that support the local economy and local business sector. LANDON E. WAHL, DPT ‘16M has opened a branch of Drayer Physical Therapy, a Hummelstownbased company in Somerset Township, Pa. Wahl serves as the clinic’s director. Wahl is boardcertified in orthopedics and has his doctorate in physical therapy from Gannon University. Services at the clinic will include cancer care, postsurgical conditions, orthopedic injuries and pediatrics. KAILYN L. BENTLEY ‘17M is a physical therapist at Pine Street Physical Therapy in Lodi, Calif. JABULANI “JABS” NEWBY has been signed by Saenz Horeca Araberri of the Liga Española de Baloncesto, also known as LEB Oro, the second division of the Spanish basketball league system. Newby began his fourth year of professional basketball with Saint John Riptide in the National Basketball League of Canada (NBL Canada). The 6-foot-3 guard then signed a professional contract with team CB Clavijo of the LEB Oro League, where he played in 10 games before moving to Saenz Horeca Araberri team. During his professional basketball career he has traveled to Canada, Mexico and Spain. BRETT R. WILER ‘14M will leave his position within Erie Mayor Joe Schember’s office to work for the new Flagship Opportunity Zone Development Corporation. The new corporation is being launched by the Erie Regional Chamber & Growth Partnership. The company was established by the Chamber to promote the eight opportunity zones in the Erie region that have been designated by Gov. Tom Wolf’s office and certified by the U.S. Treasury Department. Wiler serves as the new business development officer in Schember’s administration. His focus will be on business attraction and retention.


MARGARET M. COONEY has been promoted from law clerk to associate attorney by Pittsburgh law firm Robert Peirce & Associates after completing her Juris Doctorate at Duquesne University School of Law in May 2018 and passing the bar exam. She has been with the law firm since May 2017. LT.JG MARK A. MALMQUIST, E.I.T. was selected as the Naval Facilities Engineering Command’s (NAVFAC Hawaii) 2019 Military Engineer of the Year. Malmquist, a mechanical engineer and construction manager in NAVFAC Hawaii’s Facilities Engineering and Acquisition Division (FEAD) in Kaneohe Bay, was selected for his expertise in managing and leading construction efforts of high-visibility and critical projects for Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH), collectively valued at $39 million. His engineering acumen facilitated rapid solutions to engineering problems during project design reviews, saving the Navy and Marine Corps monetary resources during construction.


ANDREW R. PEIRSON played center in five consecutive games with the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League. He started the season on the practice roster, but was moved up to the active roster in early October. He has been given the nickname of “Little Angus” by one of the coaches who thought he resembled longtime Lions’ centre Angus Reid.


ERIKA THOMAS has joined the Youth Leadership Institute of Erie where she serves as education program manager. In that role, she is responsible for the implementation and coordination of Connected in 5, a community-based education and career training program for high school students. This specialized program provides long-term support for at-risk youth, assisting them in the completion of high school and the pursuit of postsecondary education.



Joseph Cooley ’64 Carl Carlotti, Esq. ’77 Greg Czarnecki ’89 Kelly Miele ’10, ’14M Joseph Eugene Tarquinio ’68, ’70M

109 University Square Erie, PA 16541-0001


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