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Spring 2010

The Gold Standard The Lady Knights make history, p. 8

In this Issue: Divine Inspiration, p. 12

• On a Mission, p. 14

Vol. XXIII, No. 3 • Spring 2010 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 A. Cavanagh, DHSc, PA-C Britt Dyer Daehnke ’98, ’05M Caroline J. DiPlacido ’86 Cathy C. Fresch Frank P. Garland Mary Carol Gensheimer Ron J. Kerman Jerry M. Miele ’73, ’85M Catherine E. Oakley ’05M Rick Prokop, DSL Nicholas G. Pronko Rev. George E. Strohmeyer


Editor, Audrey E. Starr

Ed Bernik Mike Gallagher Rick Klein ’84 Tim Rohrbach design

Tungsten Creative Group Knepper Press special thanks

Paul J. DeSante, Ph.D. Jana D. 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. 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 address changes

As a Catholic, Diocesan university, Gannon continues to honor its strong faith heritage. This year, the University celebrates with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, founders of Villa Maria College, and the Most Rev. Donald W. Trautman, S.T.D., S.S.L., Bishop of Erie, as they recognize milestone anniversaries (p. 12). National Catholic Colleges Week, held each year in February, expanded in 2010 with new events and increased attendance (see back cover). Gannon has long been synonymous with service and a compassionate spirit. Following January’s devastating earthquake in Haiti, student missionary Cara Black and others quickly offered the country aid (p. 14). While nearly 40 students and staff members collectively traveled more than 4,000 miles to volunteer during Alternative Break Service Trips, local grade school children helped increase literacy in the Erie community by hosting a book drive for Gannon’s Hooked on Books! program (p. 2). The University has also strengthened its commitment to environmental conservation by participating in the national recycling competition RecycleMania (p. 3).



If you’re anywhere near my house each April, you can’t miss them—my family, singing “Happy Birthday” as loud as possible to my answering machine, something they’ve done every year since I started college. Although their exuberance awoke half my dorm floor that first year of college and has never been in tune, I always look forward to this annual display of affection. We all have traditions that define who we are, remind us where we’ve been and provide a foundation for the future. Like a family, Gannon University is no different.

In March, Gannon students carried on a 16-year University tradition of service to others by participating in Alternative Break Service Trips. The New Orleans group chose to attend Mass at Blessed Sacrament – St. Joan of Arc, the home parish of President Antoine M. Garibaldi, Ph.D.

This June, Gannon Magazine will be participating in the CASE Magazine Readership Survey to get your thoughts, opinions and comments about this publication. Love to read the class notes? Wish there were more student profiles? If you receive the survey e-mail, please take a few minutes to give us your thoughts and help shape the magazine's future.

Jana D. Hunt

A tradition of success, whether on the court or in the classroom, is unmistakable at Gannon. The Lady Knights made University history this year, ending the regular season with a perfect 30-0 win-loss record and securing the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) and NCAA Division II Atlantic Region Championships for the first time in school history (p. 8). Gannon graduates also continue to succeed, like alumnus Kevin P. Sullivan ’87, who is using his accomplishments as a screenwriter to help recent Gannon graduates achieve their career goals (p. 16). From 8-Ball dances to P.R.O.M.I.S.E. photo shoots, Gannon students have shared traditions that make their college experience unique. With campus improvements, neighborhood partnerships and new academic offerings on the horizon, Gannon University will continue its tradition of Diocesan, student-centered education for generations of students to come.

Coordinator of Gifts and Records (814) 871-7469 Gannon University • 109 University Square Erie, Pennsylvania 16541 • (814) 871-7000

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The Gannon University Magazine Spring 2010

14 On a Mission

8 The Gold Standard

The Gannon community aids victims of the earthquake that devastated Haiti. BY ABBY M. BADACH

The Lady Knights reflect on the best season in program history. BY NICHOLAS G. PRONKO

12 Divine Inspiration

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania prepare to celebrate their 150th anniversary.


on the cover Gannon University’s women’s basketball team celebrates after clinching the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region Championship.

Junior Lisa Ripper displays her GU pride during an Alternative Break Service Trip to Guatemala.

02 16 17 18 20 29

newsnotes alumnifocus facultyfocus sportsscan alumnotes endnotes

News, Notes and Quotables


Students Help Design New Residence Hall As Gannon University moved forward on its first new major construction project in two decades with a new state-of-the-art residence hall, Gannon officials sought input from an important contingent: the student body. Students were able to take an active role in the design process for the new building by touring a life-sized model of a freshman suite constructed in an open area in Palumbo Academic Center. Students completed surveys and voiced their opinions of the model, which featured cardboard walls and a wooden frame to illustrate the potential suite’s layout and furniture placement. The new residence hall—which will house both freshmen and upperclassmen—will be built in the 100 block of West 4th Street, across from Carneval Athletic Pavilion. Construction is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2011.

Senior Tony DiPasqua, Student Government Association president (left), listens as Jackie Oesmann, a senior marketing major, shares her thoughts on the model suite. 02

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Hooked on Books! Hosts Book Drive at SBDC

Gannon University’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) hosted area grade schools in February for a Hooked on Books! book drive presentation. Representatives from Our Lady of Peace School, Our Lady’s Christian School and St. George Catholic School donated approximately 100 boxes of books to Dolores J. Sarafinski, Ph.D. ’50VMC, professor emerita and founder and director of the Hooked on Books! program, which is housed at Gannon. Books for both children and adults were collected as part of Catholic Schools Week.

Gannon Helps Teachers Earn Certification The Center for Teaching Excellence at Gannon University has helped 20 Pennsylvania teachers achieve National Board Certification. Certification is achieved through a rigorous, performance-based assessment that can take one to three years to complete. As part of the process, teachers build a portfolio that includes student work samples, assignments, videotapes and an analysis of their classroom teaching and individual subject knowledge. The newly board-certified teachers—including alumni Kerri L. Detsch ’02M, Joanne (Grolemund) Perry ’83, Julie A. Prokopchak ’89 and Kathleen (Heater) Waller ’04M—join 621 other Pennsylvania teachers and more than 82,000 National Board Certified teachers across the country.

“Know that wherever you go, wherever this marvelous odyssey of life takes you, your Gannon experience is there with you at your side to encourage and support you.” — Msgr. Robert Sheeran

Msgr. Robert Sheeran, president of Seton Hall University, served as Spring Commencement speaker.

RecycleMania Hits Campus Gannon continued its efforts to go green this spring with participation in the benchmark division of the national recycling competition RecycleMania. Wehrle Hall received the newly created Green Award for achieving the highest percentage of recycling change (152 percent) over the competition’s 10-week period. The award was created by Mary Carol Gensheimer, assistant professor of communication arts, and is designed to be a traveling trophy that honors Gannon offices and groups representing a commitment to the environment.

Gannon University President Antoine M. Garibaldi, Ph.D., conferred 758 degrees during spring commencement exercises on May 8, including 36 doctoral degrees, 294 master’s degrees, three post-master’s certificates, 402 bachelor’s degrees and 23 associate degrees. Including degree recipients from December, the University had a graduating class of 1,067 for the 2009-10 Academic Year. In addition, 12 students were recognized with the Archbishop John Mark Gannon Award for graduating with perfect 4.0 grade point averages: Katherina Bierbower, Amanda Dailey, Lauren Debick, Allison Eckert, Meagan Gallagher, Laura Hunter, Shane Lavin, Kelly Miele, Ian Pifer, Danielle Ramus, Derek Schimp and MacKenzie Stoner. The 2010 Gannon University Medal of Honor was presented to Tiffany Crocker. This honor is presented annually to the graduating senior who, in the opinion of the faculty and the student’s fellow classmates, has done the most to further the interests of the University, foster loyal college spirit and carry out the ideals of the Christian life. Msgr. Robert Sheeran, 19th president of Seton Hall University, served as the ceremony’s keynote speaker. Sheeran was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree during the ceremony and also concelebrated the Baccalaureate Mass at St. Peter Cathedral.


Mary Carol Gensheimer, assistant professor of communication arts (left), and Donna M. Green ’07, grants accountant and cochair of the Gannon Goes Green committee, show off the new Gannon University Green Award.

Spring Commencement Celebrates Graduates



More than 100 area college students worshiped together in Gannon’s Mary, Seat of Wisdom Chapel during the 2010 Intercollegiate Gathering.

Rosie Cooper (left) helps Shaundra Curtis calculate her body fat percentage using a handheld bio-impedence assessment tool. Both students are senior sport and exercise science majors.

Author Encourages Positive Thinking Australian author Matthew Kelly visited campus in January. Kelly, who has written four of the top 10 Catholic bestsellers, presented his public lecture, “A Call to Joy,” to an audience hailing from the tri-state region. He also led three sessions at this year’s Intercollegiate Gathering, a day-long retreat for students from area colleges and universities to celebrate and share their Catholic faith.

Wellness Fair Promotes Healthy Habits Gannon University’s JumpStart wellness committee saw a crowd of 300 at its sixth annual Wellness Fair on Feb. 2, marking the first year the event was open to both employees and students. Attendees could sample healthy foods, receive advice from one of 35 area and campus health professionals, enter prize giveaways and participate in health screenings.

Gannon Students Go For The Gold

• Four U.S. Army cadets at Gannon were ranked in the top 40 percent of the 2009 National Order of Merit List, which is composed of more than 4,700 cadets across the country. Cadets honored include (L to R) Niall “Frank” McGrath, Chase Burnett, Eric Schumacher and Jonathan Cross. Rankings are


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based upon cumulative performance of the cadets over their freshman, sophomore and junior years and include results from a Leader Development and Assessment Course they participated in last summer.

• Sophomore swimmer Kaitlyn Bosy, a native of Courtice, Ontario, ran a 300-meter leg of the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay on Dec. 16. Bosy carried the torch through a portion of Omemee, Victoria Country, Ontario. She was one of 12,000 Olympic torchbearers selected to be part of the Olympic Flame’s 106-day, 45,000-kilometer journey. Bosy was a star in the water this year, too – see p. 18.

A large crowd from Gannon participated in the citywide memorial march for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Culture Meets Compassion:

University Celebrates Diversity

• A group of faculty, staff and students braved chilly

January weather to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day by joining the citywide memorial march, held Jan. 18. Prior to the march, Gannon University’s Erie Chamber Orchestra hosted its annual Martin Luther King Jr. tribute performance, while special liturgies were celebrated at the University’s Mary, Seat of Wisdom Chapel. In addition, Parris J. Baker, Ph.D. ’92, assistant professor and director of Gannon’s social work program, facilitated an interactive training and simulation titled “Blessed are the Peacemakers: The Puzzling Pieces of Peacemaking.”

• In February, the University’s criminal justice program

Women’s History Month with several events in March. The University’s monthly ecumenical worship service, Gathering in Praise, incorporated prayers and guest speakers by, for and about women. The Gannon University Support Staff Association (GUSSA) recognized female faculty, staff and administrators with a poster collage displayed in Nash Library. Freshman Sonia Additionally, the Activities Gorakshakar enjoys her Programming Board sponsored first International Night. motivational speaker Stacy Nadeau. The former model for Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty” visited campus March 10 to discuss body image issues.

• Gannon celebrated its diverse cultural heritage

on March 27 with the University’s 22nd annual International Night. More than 500 attendees enjoyed food and performances representative of nearly 27 countries, including Greece, Japan, Libya and the Netherlands.


and Activities Programming Board celebrated Black History Month by sponsoring a panel discussion titled, “Pennsylvania Alternatives to the Death Penalty.” The event featured Rev. Adrienne Young, founder of Pittsburgh’s Tree of Hope, an organization for people who grieve the loss of friends or family who are victims of violent death, and Harold Wilson, the 122nd person to be exonerated and freed from death row. The University hosted its third annual showing of a documentary film in honor of Black History Month, By the People: The Election of Barack Obama, which included a discussion led by André Horton, director of the Erie NAACP and former chair of Obama’s presidential campaign office in Erie. A second film, For Love of Liberty: The Story of America’s Black Patriots, facilitated by Timothy M. Downs, Ph.D., dean of the College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, and Lt. Col. David P. Goodman ’04, professor of military science, was shown as well.

• Gannon honored


University Faculty and Staff Accolades

News of note about the dynamic faculty and staff at Gannon University. Villa Maria School of Nursing instructors Carol A. Amann, MSN, RN ’88VMC, ’05M and Mary Beth Moreland, MSN, CRNP ’79VMC both received their certification in geriatric nursing. Gregory M. Andraso, Ph.D., associate professor of biology and director of the premedical and related health professional programs, had an article, “How to Be a Competitive Med School Applicant,” published in the 2010 Health and Medicine Edition of Private Colleges & Universities magazine. Valerie A. Baker, APRN, BC ’79VMC, assistant professor of nursing, published a study guide to accompany the book Basic Pharmacology for Nurses. Kimberly A. Cavanagh, DHSc, PA-C, assistant professor and clinical coordinator in Gannon’s physician assistant program, recently presented a lecture, “Anticoagulation in Cardiology,” and a poster, “Development of the Program Framework for a SchoolBased Asthma Education Program for Children in Kindergarten through Grade Five,” at the 34th Annual Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants Annual CME Conference in Pittsburgh. In

addition, Cavanagh and Catherine A. Gillespie, DHSc, PA-C ’84, associate professor of physician assistant studies, presented a Heart Sounds Workshop at the conference. Professor Michael E. DeSanctis, Ph.D., completes a restoration project for St. Michael’s Church in Wheaton, Ill. Michael E. DeSanctis, Ph.D., professor of fine arts and director of the Honors Program, was engaged by St. Patrick Church in Erie to repair a life-size statue of the church’s patron. DeSanctis has done similar restoration work locally and nationwide. “The statue repair work I do is one of the professional services I’ve offered religious groups for the past 25 years in my capacity as a liturgical designer and consultant,” he explained. “I learned it from my grandfather, who was a church painter and decorator trained in Italy.” Annmarie George, associate professor of fine arts, became a member of the Erie Philharmonic Orchestra’s Board of Governors and Mayor Joseph Sinnott’s Roundtable

Longtime Employees Recognized for Service More than 80 faculty, staff and administrators were honored for milestone years of service to the University during a ceremony held Feb. 5. Combined, this dedicated group represents approximately 1,045 total years of service. (L to R) Edward E. Rogers ’61, associate professor of mathematics and director of the Math Center (45 years), Bonita K. Booker ’76M, director of the Commonwealth Academic Achievement Program (35 years) and William R. Strub Jr., physical plant staff member (30 years). 06

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on the Arts. She also served as president of the Gannon University Faculty Senate for the 2009-10 Academic Year. Thomas B. Hassett, director of international admissions, led a workshop for the Jordanian community at the America-Mideast Educational and Training Services Inc. (AMIDEAST) office in Amman. His workshop focused on the use of the essay in the college admission process. English professor Philip H. Kelly, D.A., was honored during halftime at a February basketball game for his service to Gannon University Athletics. Kelly recently stepped down as Gannon’s Faculty Athletics Representative, a position he held for 12 years. President Garibaldi (right) presents professor Philip H. Kelly, D.A., with a plaque of appreciation for his longtime work as Faculty Athletics Representative. Jeannette Q. Lee, PT, Ph.D., assistant professor of physical therapy, presented a poster at the APTA Combined Sections Meeting in San Diego, Calif., in February. The poster was titled, “Physical Performance Among Individuals with Cancer and HIV-AIDS: A Comparison with Healthy Cohorts.”

President Garibaldi Named Person of the Year The executive board of the Notre Dame Alumni Club of Erie recently honored President Antoine M. Garibaldi, Ph.D., as its Person of the Year. President Garibaldi received the award in recognition of his work with Catholic higher education and for furthering the religious and humanistic ideals celebrated by Notre Dame University. The honor was presented on March 31 during Universal Notre Dame Night, a nationwide event for more than 20 years. President Garibaldi makes a point to speak with students often, whether at Gannon or in the community. The president’s annual First-Year Student Luncheon gives freshmen an opportunity to voice their initial thoughts of the University (left), while a visit to Erie’s Emerson-Gridley Elementary School (right) allowed him to encourage younger students to achieve their goals.

Carolynn B. Masters, Ph.D., RN, CARN, dean of the Morosky College of Health Professions and Sciences, was re-elected as president of the board for the Northwest Pennsylvania Area Health Education Center. Masters, along with Keith Taylor, Ph.D., provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, presented at the Academic Medical and Health Science Centers’ annual conference in Boston, where they discussed Gannon’s new Patient Simulation Center and multidisciplinary learning initiative. Thomas G. Parthenakis, Ph.D., a retired history professor who taught at Gannon for more than 35 years, was recently named professor emeritus. He began as an assistant professor of history at

Villa Maria College in September 1971, eventually serving as chair and then director of the history program. He also served as faculty senate president during the 2002-03 Academic Year. Parthenakis retired in 2007 and was recommended for the honor by history professor Robert H. Allshouse, Ph.D.

Pamela J. Reynolds, PT, Ed.D., professor of physical therapy, presented a paper at the third International Service-Learning Symposium in Athens, Greece, on the objectives and outcomes of the Community Health Initiative course sequence in Gannon’s doctor of physical therapy program. She also had an invited editorial published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Education Retired history and wrote a book chapter professor Thomas G. in Cultural Competence: A Parthenakis, Ph.D., Lifelong Journey to Cultural was recently named professor emeritus. Proficiency, both about

service-learning. In May, Reynolds helped facilitate a workshop at the Community Campus Partnerships for Health National Conference in Portland, Ore. Homer L. Smith ’76, assistant director of Alumni Services, received the Martin Luther King Jr. Award, a new award given by the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Center in Erie. Smith also participated in Erie’s first AfricanAmerican Leadership Conference, held in January, which emphasized the importance of effective leadership and the significant roles that African-Americans have played in history.

New Vice President Joins Gannon

“President Garibaldi and the Board of Trustees have an ambitious plan for enrollment growth, and I am looking forward to joining the team and using my more than 20 years of experience in higher education to meet that goal,” said Edmondson.


William R. Edmondson has been appointed as Gannon’s new vice president for enrollment. The newly defined position reports directly to the president and oversees a staff of 48 in undergraduate and graduate admissions, financial aid, the registrar’s office and new student services. Edmondson, who joined Gannon in January, previously worked as a national consultant with Applied Policy Research in Minneapolis, Minn., and held several positions with the Cleveland Institute of Art in Ohio.


Gold Standard


by Nicholas G. Pronko


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Passion and perseverance. Practice and preparation. Teamwork and relationships. Those are six of the 13 guiding principles in John C. Maxwell’s book, Talent is Never Enough. The book has a special place on the desk of Gannon University women’s basketball head coach Cleve C. Wright. All of the book’s principles—the six above plus belief, initiative, focus, courage, teachability, character and responsibility— are prominently displayed, in large type, in the Lady Knights’ locker room.

Before the season, the players read Talent is Never Enough and discussed how its principles translated not only to the basketball court but also to working together, particularly in terms of supporting and helping each other—the “relationships” aspect from the book. Gannon also embraced two of Maxwell’s other requirements for success: practice and preparation. Wright has spent nearly 25 years coaching, eight of them at Gannon. He was named Russell Athletic/Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) NCAA Division II Head Coach of the Year in March and is Gannon’s all-time women’s basketball coaching leader in victories (166) and winning percentage (.695). Work ethic was a significant factor in the team’s success, Wright said. “Some teams may work as hard,” he explained, “but no one works harder. The team’s preseason workouts were about shared sacrifice as well as conditioning.”

“This year was a blessing from God and we are thankful...I could not be prouder of these young women.” — Cleve Wright, head coach

Each, in its own unique way, played a part in the team’s overwhelming success during the 2009-10 season, the best in Gannon women’s basketball history. The Lady Knights held the No. 1 ranking in three separate national polls and, between this season and last season, won 40 consecutive regular-season games. This year, Gannon went undefeated (30-0) in the regular season on the way to capturing its first-ever Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Championship and NCAA Atlantic Region Championship. In the Atlantic Region final, at a sold-out and electric Hammermill Center, Gannon beat Millersville (Pa.) to secure a spot in the Division II Elite Eight for the first time ever. The Lady Knights concluded the season with NCAA Division II records for most victories in a season (37) and most consecutive wins in a single season (37). With a 65-48 victory over Millersville University before a sold-out crowd, the Lady Knights won their first-ever regional championship.

Teamwork also was very evident with the 2009-10 Lady Knights. Seven players, including seniors Tiffany Crocker, Kristina Freeman, Carrie Nolan, Brittany Tabron and Kim Vargas, averaged at least 7 points per game, and nine players averaged at least 10 minutes played per game. The Lady Knights were so balanced offensively and so unselfish that four players averaged more than two assists per game. On the court as well as off, the players displayed character, another tenet of the book. Throughout Wright’s time at Gannon, community service and volunteerism have been staples of the program. The players, as well as Wright and assistant coaches Anneke G. Chewning, Kate S. Glusko The team progressed to the Elite Eight and Final Four for the first time in school history.


Senior Salute: Five players, one amazing season and countless memories. The graduating Lady Knights each share one thing that made a difference.

I Was Inspired By the heart and focus of my teammates when we had to run sprints at 5 in the morning.

and Jennifer A. Lodge, participated in University service events such as the Social Work Club’s Christmas Dinner and Wellness Fair and GIVE (Gannon’s Invitation to Volunteer Everywhere) Day. In addition, while Gannon was in St. Joseph, Mo., for the Elite Eight, the team spoke to middle school students about the importance of hard work and commitment. “If we want our players to be servant leaders and role models, they need to embrace community service,” Wright added. “They need to be active and involved.” Even though the Lady Knights drew inspiration from Talent is Never Enough, they certainly had talent. Both Freeman and Tabron were named to two separate All-American teams. Freeman also was named PSAC Western Division Player of the Year, while Tabron and Crocker earned MVP honors of the Atlantic Region and PSAC tournaments, respectively.

i will miss h

anging out and living with my best fr iends. Seein g my teamm ates every d ay made my Gannon experience pr iceless.

Prior to the season, however, not everyone was convinced of the team’s talent. In one preseason national poll, Gannon inexplicably was not ranked in the top 20 despite the fact that the Lady Knights were coming off a 26-5 season in which they had advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time in the program’s history. Wright didn’t use the relatively low ranking as a type of “prove them wrong” motivation. Ever positive and upbeat, and not one to set limits, he simply told the team they could be as good as they wanted to be. The Lady Knights were pretty darn good. The basketball team became only the second program (and third team) in school history to hold the top national ranking in its respective sport, joining the 2000 and 2001 Gannon women’s lacrosse teams in earning that distinction.

Pretty in Pink For the third straight year, the women’s basketball team again raised money for breast cancer research and awareness by hosting a Pink Zone game on Feb. 13. The Pink Zone initiative was started in 2007 by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and was sponsored locally by the Center for Breast Health/Danielle M. Duchini, D.O., Hamot for Women, WJET-24, WXFP-66, Northwest Savings Bank and Ambridge Rose Spa & Salon. Organizers exceeded their goal amount by $2,000, raising $15,000 for the Erie chapter of the American Cancer Society – Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. The Lady Knights commemorated the occasion by wearing special pink uniforms for the game, which drew a crowd of more than 2,000. Funds came from the sale of T-shirts, gift baskets and other items, including a pink basketball autographed by the players. Breast cancer survivors were also recognized throughout the game. 10

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After beating Tusculum College (Tenn.) in the opening round of the D-II Elite Eight, the Lady Knights came up short in their bid for a national championship. The season ended with a heartbreaking 97-94 overtime loss to Emporia State University (Kan.), the eventual national champion, in a nationally televised game. The loss to Emporia State was the only blemish on an otherwise perfect season and was so gut-wrenching— Gannon had an 18-point lead with less than 9 minutes left in the second half—that Wright and most of the players were speechless in the locker room afterward. “This year was a blessing from God, and we are thankful. The spotlight was shone on this team because of wins, but I am happy to know that wins are not what this program is ultimately about,” he said. “Basketball is a tool for teaching life skills, and I could not be prouder of these young women.” Pronko is media relations officer at Gannon.

I will

alwa play ing ys remember sup i n por the Ham com t we h a mer m d fr mil om atm unity l. T osph the was he G e som re a a ethi t ho mazin annon ng me g I w gam . The ill nev es is er f orge t.

I am proud

I learned that putting your


being a member of the winn ingest te am at Gann on Univer sity this yea r.

teammates first not only sets you up for success, but is a lifelong reward.

Joe ’62 and Elaine Gaeta and Susan and Harry Hain ’68 show their school spirit in Missouri.

Fan Favorites While the women’s basketball team put in hours of practice and preparation to make the 2009-10 season one for the record books, another group worked hard off the court to make the games memorable. Gannon University basketball fans are loud and proud—and loyal. When the Lady Knights traveled to St. Joseph, Mo., to compete in the Elite Eight, more than three dozen people packed up their pom-poms and braved the 18-hour bus trip to cheer on the team in person. Back in Erie, approximately 230 fans gathered in the University’s Yehl Ballroom to watch a live broadcast of the first round of tournament play. On the night of the Atlantic Region Championship, the Hammermill Center reached full capacity with a crowd of 2,800 and marked the first sellout crowd for a women’s game in the history of the program. This fan base is also diverse, including alumni, faculty and staff, trustees, community members and a boisterous student section led by “unofficial” cheerleader Everett Wensel.

Lady Knights as they began to pull away from Millersville. It was truly a great experience.” Wensel, who has pumped up fans at various sporting events during his time at Gannon, emphasizes the crowd’s commitment to the team—and vice versa. “Being involved shows that we are firmly behind our team and are supporting them 100 percent,” Wensel said. “The feedback we’ve received has been really positive, especially from parents who attend the games. They love the excitement and the noise! But my favorite comments are from the players, when they tell us how much they appreciate our support up in the stands.”

Everett Wensel with Drake, the Golden Knight

“In all the games that I have been to at the Hammermill, I have never heard that place as loud as it was during the second half of that game,” Wensel, a junior accounting major from Oil City, Pa., said of the Atlantic Region final. “It was just awesome how everyone got involved in cheering on the 11

Divine Inspiration “Stimulated by the Holy Spirit of love and receptive to His inspirations, the Sister of St. Joseph moves always toward profound love of God and love of neighbor...for whom, in the following of Christ she works in order to achieve unity…” Although the above consensus statement was written more than 40 years ago, it’s a message that still rings true today for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania as they celebrate their 150th anniversary. “What strikes me the most is that things haven’t changed; there has been no shift in who we are. We don’t seem to have varied from our beginnings. The decisions made by our founding sisters are the same decisions we’d make today,” said Sister Leonie Shanley, S.S.J. ’57VMC. A longtime educator in the Diocese of Erie, she has spent the last year researching the Sisters’ history in preparation for this milestone event.

As their sesquicentennial materials proclaim, they are women of spirit, courage and vision. The Sisters of St. Joseph trace their roots to Le-Puy-enVelay, France, in 1650, when six women came together to care for orphans and the sick, attend to the needs of the poor and strengthen the care and education of young women. American foundations began in 1836 when another group of six sisters arrived in Carondelet, near St. Louis, Mo. One of these women, Sister Agnes Spencer, later moved from Carondelet to the Northeast, arriving in Erie on May 24, 1860. She assumed direction of St. Ann’s Academy for Girls and within 20 years, there were more than 2,000 children under the Sisters of St. Joseph instruction. “From the beginning, education has been a very strong ministry, and it’s been wonderful to watch it change and grow

over the years,” said Sister Mary Rita Kuhn, S.S.J. ’60VMC, vicar for religious for the Diocese of Erie and member of Gannon’s Board of Trustees. “A Catholic education goes above and beyond academics to provide complete holistic development. That is a very critical part of who we are, to have that faith element in our lives.” The history of Gannon University is firmly intertwined with that of the Sisters. In 1925, Mother M. Helena Dillon, S.S.J. and Sister M. Stella Harrington, S.S.J. established Villa Maria College to offer a higher education option for area women. Today, there are more than 3,300 alumnae who received a degree from the College. This tradition of academic excellence remained strong as the College merged with the University in 1989 and is honored today through the Villa Maria School of Nursing, housed in Gannon’s

A look at some of the Sisters’ achievements and ministries over the last three centuries. 1884 The Sisters found Saint Mary’s Home of Erie to provide comfortable assisted living facilities for senior citizens. In 2001, they open a second facility, Saint Mary’s at Asbury Ridge. 1925 The Sisters break ground on the first building of the Villa Maria College campus, Gannon Hall (see photo above).


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1970s The Community House for Women opens, inspiring a legacy of care for those in need. Programs in operation today include: St. Patrick’s Haven, a homeless shelter for men; Erie DAWN, transitional housing for homeless women and children; and the S.S.J. Neighborhood Network, a community development program to revitalize one of Erie’s historic neighborhoods.

1982 The S.S.J. Associate Program

begins, offering opportunities for those not called to the profession of evangelical vows to share with the Sisters in faith, prayer and ministry. Currently, there are more than 200 associates.

1989 Villa Maria College and Gannon

University merge. “In recent years, President Garibaldi has done a wonderful job of recognizing the unique history of

Bishop Celebrates 25th Anniversary Most Rev. Donald W. Trautman, S.T.D., S.S.L. reached his 25th anniversary as a bishop on April 16 and will celebrate 20 years as Bishop of Erie on July 16. Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, bishops from around the country and members of the Erie Diocese marked both occasions with a Mass of Thanksgiving on April 13 at St. Peter Cathedral in Erie.

Morosky College of Health Professions and Sciences. As recently as 2004, nearly 30 Gannon faculty and staff had also worked at the Villa campus. “In fact, when Gannon first began as Cathedral College in 1933, it operated under the charter of Villa Maria as a downtown extension for men,” said Sister Leonie, who served as interim president of Villa Maria College during the merger. “The College always had a focus on enabling women to be strong leaders and giving women the confidence to believe in themselves.”

a variety of programs for the sick, the elderly and the orphaned. “Our consensus statement starts with, ‘Stimulated by the Holy Spirit,’ and I sense that’s been a part of our driving force through the centuries,” said Sister Michele Healy, S.S.J. ’66VMC, assistant professor of theology at Gannon. “We seem to be following God’s spirit of where the needs are.” For more information about the Sisters’ 150th anniversary celebration or how you can get involved, call (814) 836-4100 or visit

Although the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania began with roots in education, their ministry seeks to help anyone in need and has offered

Villa Maria College and making sure the Villa viewpoint is present. We can’t speak highly enough of him,” said Sister Michele Healy, S.S.J. ’66VMC, who experienced the merger as a theology professor at Villa.

1991 The S.S.J. Thanksgiving Dinner is born, offering a hot meal for those who are alone, in need or would otherwise not

celebrate the holiday. It is estimated that since the dinner began, more than 20,000 meals have been served. The dinner was held at Gannon University for the first time in 2009.

2010 The Sisters

celebrate their 150th anniversary. Yearlong festivities begin on May 23 with a special Mass at St. Peter Cathedral.

As a gift from the people of the Diocese, 25 days of prayer and sacrifice for the intentions close to Bishop Trautman—including priestly and religious vocations, young people and those in material or spiritual poverty—were offered. The Gannon University community contributed to the Bishop’s Breakfast, a program that provides free morning meals to those in need, and organized a cardwriting campaign for participants to express personal best wishes and promises of prayer for Bishop Trautman. In addition, several special Masses were celebrated in his honor at the University’s Mary, Seat of Wisdom Chapel. Bishop Trautman studied for the priesthood in Innsbruck, Austria, where he received his licentiate in sacred theology. He pursued higher studies in biblical languages at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and continued his postgraduate work at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, where he received his licentiate degree in scripture. He also earned a doctorate in sacred theology from St. Thomas Aquinas University in Rome. Prior to his ordination as Bishop, he taught in the seminary as professor of scripture and doctrine and served as chancellor, vicar general, auxiliary bishop and pastor in his home diocese of Buffalo, N.Y. 13

On a

Mission by Abby M. Badach

When news of the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that rocked Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in January reached Gannon University student Cara Black, she said she was deeply distressed—but willing to do whatever she could to help.


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spring 2010

Offering aid to Haiti is nothing new for the senior occupational therapy major. Black has been to the island country 10 times already, first as a high school student on church mission trips and then as an individual volunteer. She has utilized her occupational therapy training to work with disabled youth and even led groups of fellow Gannon students on service trips to help the country. Following the earthquake, Black was on call with The Bair Foundation, a Christian foster care agency in New Wilmington, Pa., as a translator for Haitian orphans who arrived at the center. She traveled to Haiti again in May and hopes to one day establish occupational therapy training programs there, allowing residents to have quality care yearround. Abby Badach, a junior journalism communications major, sat down with Black to talk about her work in Haiti.

How did you feel when you found out about the earthquake? I was devastated because the country is already so poor; it’s the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. They already had nothing, and now it’s even worse. The earthquake’s location affected the whole country because everyone gets their food and water from Port-au-Prince. So even places that weren’t directly impacted were not getting clean water, and food prices went up. Being here in the United States, I was frustrated that I wasn’t able to do enough. I just wished I was there helping, pulling people out of debris. I felt hopeless at first, but once I made plans to go down and help the refugees, I felt much better. I looked forward to that.

Black with Rene and Elaine Lewis, whom she refers to as her “Haitian mom and dad.”

The earthquake was several months ago; why is it still important for people to provide aid? I feel it is important to continue giving aid to these people because they are our neighbors and they need our help. Shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, I went to Haiti, and the people there told me they were praying for us and wished they could help. That really touched my heart. I was wowed by the fact that even if they couldn’t come physically to help us, they wanted me to know that our country was in their prayers. To me, that says a lot.

What’s the longest amount of time you’ve ever stayed in Haiti?

Strength in Numbers

I lived there in 2007 for three months and picked up some of the language. I wouldn’t say I’m fluent in Haitian Creole— I understand it more than I can speak it. The agency called and I said, “I’m not the greatest.” And they said, “Well, you’re better than us.” I call it “baby Creole;” I can get by.

Student Cara Black’s firsthand efforts volunteering in Haiti supplement the many acts of aid from the larger Gannon University community. Black and sophomore sport and exercise science major Jamie Markwell participated in a telethon, aired by local television station WSEE, that raised relief funds for the earthquake victims, while the University’s Center for Social Concerns reported that $3,000 was collected for Catholic Relief Services. Students in Gannon’s Honors Program, Student Occupational Therapy Association and Alpha Kappa Psi professional business fraternity have also initiated projects on behalf of the country.

Have you established any friendships with the locals? I have what I call my “Haitian mom and dad,” who have taken me in for the past four years I’ve travelled there. They’re like my parents. I got married in September 2009, and they flew in from Haiti for the wedding, and that was really touching for me. They have a home in Port-au-Prince, so after the earthquake when I didn’t hear from them, I was crazy. But they had just left two days before.

What kinds of volunteer work do you participate in while in Haiti? When I was there in August 2009, we were with a group of physical therapy students who wanted to work with disabled children. In Haiti, these children are treated as if they are worth nothing. They’re put on the sides of the streets and in garbage cans and left to die. So we took them in and worked with them—therapy, playing games, things like that. Most recently, my husband and I traveled to Haiti to help rebuild churches and homes, work with feeding programs and assist in medical clinics. We also held Bible studies, sharing with them that even in hard times, the hope and faith of Christ can carry them through.

“The number of students, faculty and staff who helped raise awareness and funds for Haiti earthquake relief show Gannon’s commitment to solidarity and options for the poor as a part of our Catholic mission and identity,” said Arlene F. Montevecchio, director of the Center for Social Concerns.

Badach serves as editor in chief of Edge, Gannon’s online student-produced experience, where a version of this story first appeared. Visit it at


Kevin Sullivan ’87

Featured Alum


Some of us might consider our work to be child’s play, but for Kevin P. Sullivan ’87, that’s no joke. The communications graduate spends his days giving life to popular cartoon characters as a writer for Nickelodeon Animation. “I’m a grown man, writing a cartoon about secret agent animals. This is the most fun job I could ever imagine, and it still surprises me that I get to do this,” he said. “It’s so thrilling to pitch a joke to a room full of writers and have them burst out laughing; that’s such a great feeling. What a creative and energetic way to spend the day!”

Preparation, determination—and a little bit of luck—landed Sullivan in the animation industry after graduation. “I left Gannon wanting to write for television, but never thought I’d be working in animation. I was lucky to get in at Nickelodeon; I had friends who were producers, and they helped me land an interview as a script coordinator,” he explained. Sullivan has done script work for The Fairly Oddparents, the network’s second most popular show after SpongeBob SquarePants and the third longest-running

5 MINUTES, 5 QUESTIONS My favorite cartoons are the Road Runner cartoons. Watching Bugs Bunny now is a trip; I get jokes I didn’t get when I was younger. I have a whole new appreciation for how those cartoons worked on so many levels at once. I’m also a big fan of the Charlie Brown specials, especially the Christmas one. Before I wrote cartoons, as a Gannon student I hosted the student television program Sidestreets during my junior year and edited the Comm-Art Clips, our newsletter and gossip rag. Those were fun times! Gannon was the perfect fit for me because I loved the size of the school and felt like it was an environment in which I could thrive. Coming from a small town in Connecticut, I also fell in love with the city of Erie and could see myself being comfortable there. My favorite professors were A.J. Miceli ’86M, Mary Carol Gensheimer and Bill Doan ’82. I did my senior thesis on daytime television, and at the time I’d been writing my own soap opera about all my friends at Gannon. I sat down at my thesis presentation, fearful of what these three were going to ask me in order to make me defend the thesis. But what they really wanted to know was if they were in the soap I wrote! In five years I’d like to have my own animated series or perhaps a live action show on Nickelodeon in the vein of iCarly or Big Time Rush. I also wouldn’t mind having sold a screenplay, too.

Nicktoon, as well as Danny Phantom. He’s currently writing a new program called TUFF Puppy about a dog and a cat who are spies. “In the beginning, when they needed new stories, I pitched some ideas. I was lucky to be able to write the script for each idea I pitched, which I later learned was pretty rare,” Sullivan said. “The Fairly Oddparents keeps coming back, and I’m currently cowriting a big special to mark the show’s 10th anniversary in 2011.” Even though Sullivan’s time these days is spent entertaining the age 10-and-under set—he once had a staff meeting where attendees discussed whether you could say “poop” or “caca” on national television— as a young college student, Gannon helped him mature. “My time at Gannon really forced me to grow up and started me on that path of independence. Leaving my hometown in Connecticut to attend college in Erie was far more nerve-wracking than moving to Los Angeles after college, and I think the four years I spent at Gannon gave me the confidence to strike out on my own,” Sullivan explained. Since then, this veteran screenwriter has learned firsthand that a confident attitude, strong skill set and strategic networking can equal success. “When people say, ‘It’s not just what you know, it’s who you know,’ they aren’t kidding. I got my first job thanks to a friend in Los Angeles, who was also my roommate at Gannon for two years, and I learned of the script coordinator job at Nickelodeon because another friend and Gannon graduate helped me get the interview,” he said. “Make contacts, and don’t be afraid to use them. Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. Follow your dream, and always pursue what you love—the money will follow. Maybe someday you can put words in the mouths of cartoon fairies and animal spies, too!”

“Follow your dream, and always pursue what you love—the money will follow.” 16

Featured Faculty

Education Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, 1973 Northwestern University M.S. in Electrical Engineering, 1966 Middle East Technical University – Ankara, Turkey B.S. in Electrical Engineering, 1964 Middle East Technical University – Ankara, Turkey

Professional Memberships IEEE (Technology Professional Association) Student Section, adviser Faculty Development Committee, chairperson


“The first thing we try to do [for international students] is create a family atmosphere.” After more than 30 years as a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Gannon University, Mehmet Cultu, Ph.D., is a pro at explaining algorithms and teaching proper circuit design. But what he does best, he says, is help students feel at home. Cultu, who has also served as the University’s International Student Advisor since 1999, guides new international students as they transition to life—and higher education— in the United States. “They are away from home, many of them for the first time, and they are usually homesick. So the first thing we try to do is create a family atmosphere and give them a place where someone knows them and can help solve their problems,” he explained. During the 2009-10 Academic Year, Gannon was home to 277 undergraduate and graduate international students representing 22 different countries. A native of Turkey, Cultu came to the U.S. as a Fulbright Scholar pursuing a doctoral degree and finds it easy to relate to this unique population. Along with other members of the International Student Office staff, he helps transport students upon arrival in Erie and assists them as they register for classes. “I know what they are getting into. When someone meets them at the airport and

shows them around the city, that’s huge. You’re coming to an unknown place, and here is a person who is sending you the message that we know you, we care about you and we’ll take care of you,” Cultu said. Many students, like electrical and computer engineering graduate Akbar Ali Mohammed ’07M, credit Cultu with helping them achieve academic success. “Words can’t describe how much Dr. Cultu helped me. I will never forget my early days at Gannon; I was so confused at first, but he helped me choose which classes to take and made sure I stayed on course with my studies. He inspired me to pursue a Ph.D., and I hope to be a professor myself one day,” Mohammed said. The University’s faculty-to-student ratio of 13:1 emphasizes a close-knit atmosphere, allowing faculty to interact with students on a one-on-one basis. In addition, many Gannon professors have helped educate multiple generations: Cultu is one of 28 current faculty members who have taught more than three decades of Gannon students. “Our students are receiving an education that is equal to any school, because they are getting personal attention from the professors. We know them, they know us

Outside the classroom, Cultu enjoys reading, traveling and following his favorite sport: soccer (or football, as it’s known in his native Turkey). “When my children were young, I even coached their soccer teams,” he said.

and we have a lifelong commitment to teaching,” he said. “I remember one student who was unsure about her future in engineering, but I promised her parents that with a little encouragement, she would go far. Sure enough, she graduated at the top of her class, and I sat with her family during the commencement ceremony.”

Mehmet Cultu, Ph.D.


For Cultu, entering the engineering field was also a family affair. His father was a civil engineer, and Cultu discovered he enjoyed using analytical skills to solve problems. Today, he enjoys watching former students return to campus to introduce their own children to the subject.

“I have seen some of my first students who graduated 25 years ago come back with their children to University open house events. They are surprised to see me still here, teaching as usual! It’s good to see everything come full circle.” 17

Athletic Accomplishments


BY DAN TELISKI ’97, director of athletic media relations and Brian Vail, graduate assistant

The Gannon University athletic department continued to roll during the 2009-10 winter seasons. Three of the five programs qualified for their respective NCAA Division II Tournaments, and 12 student-athletes earned All-America honors. Men’s Basketball The Gannon

men’s basketball team persevered through a 13-15 season in 2009-10. One season after winning the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) and NCAA Division II Atlantic Region Championships, the Golden Knights were forced to rebuild after losing six of their top seven scorers due to graduation. The squad, led by head coach John T. Reilly ’89M, qualified for its third consecutive conference tournament with an 8-6 PSAC Western Division mark. Gannon saw its season come to an end with a tight 62-53 loss at eventual PSAC

He shot 59 percent (32-54) from the field during that stretch. For the season, Furno shot 56.7 percent (55-97) from the floor. The Columbus, Ohio, native was named PSAC Freshman of the Week four times, including three consecutive weeks Feb. 1-22. Furno reached double digits in scoring six times, George Johnson including a seasonhigh 27 points during an 81-63 victory at Slippery Rock University. He scored 10 points or more in five of the last eight contests. George Johnson was named to the All-PSAC first team. The junior guard averaged 15.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.6 steals per game. He ranked third among PSAC players in free throw percentage (81.6), third in three-pointers per game (2.4), seventh in assists per game, eighth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3), 12th in steals per game, 12th in scoring, 14th in defensive rebounds per game (4.8) and 19th in rebounding. The Arlington, Va., native reached the 20-point plateau eight times, including a careerhigh 28 points against Daemen College.

Women’s and Men’s Swimming Despite youth across both

Tanner Furno champion Indiana University (Pa.) in the conference quarterfinals. IUP later advanced to the NCAA Division II national title game. Tanner Furno was named PSAC Western Division Freshman of the Year. Furno averaged 5.1 points and 2.6 rebounds per game, but it was his stretch run that really impressed the voters. The freshman forward averaged 10.4 points and 4.4 rebounds during the final eight games. 18

gannon magazine

spring 2010

rosters, the Gannon women’s and men’s swimming and diving teams discovered success this season. The Lady Knights produced five AllAmericans and went 8-2 in dual meets, while the men went 5-5. The women’s program sent seven studentathletes to the NCAA Division II National Championships: Megan Beresford, Kaitlyn Bosy, Ellie Hess, Sarah Lawton, Diana Rocco

Diana Rocco, Jackie Rzymek and Rachel Rzymek. As a team, Gannon finished 29th at the championships. Rocco became a three-time AllAmerican, earning honors in the one-meter dive. The 200-yard and 400-yard relay teams of Bosy, Hess, Jackie Rzymek and Rachel Rzymek earned All-America awards as well. In its second year in the PSAC, Gannon featured just four seniors. The team still got off to a good start, as the men and women both won the Westminster Relay Meet to begin the season. The women finished sixth at the PSAC Championships in February, while the men also took sixth at the conference championship meet. Twenty-seven Gannon swimmers qualified for the PSAC Championships. Jackie Rzymek set school records in the 100-yard and 200-yard butterfly events. In addition, Bosy set a school record in the 100-yard freestyle. The 200-yard medley relay team of Bosy, Lawton, Jackie Rzymek and Rachel Rzymek also set a Gannon record with a 1:46.92 swim. John Krakowski is the lone senior on the men’s team, while the women will lose Rachel Rzymek, Elizabeth Morse and Ashlee Calandra. With a lot of experience returning next season, the Gannon swimming program appears headed in the right direction and could compete for a conference title next year.

Wrestling The Gannon

wrestling team had high hopes entering the 200910 season, and those hopes were justified. In addition to tying for eighth in the NCAA Division II National Championships and placing second at East Regionals, Don Henry was named NCAA Division II East Region Coach of the Year for the second time


Jackie and Rachel Rzymek

Rachel Rzymek

By Melanie L. Cherry “Playing like we used to play/Like it would never go away/Sister, I hear you laugh/My heart fills full up.” This song—“Sister” by Dave Matthews Band— recognizes the important relationship that siblings share and is one of many favorite things two Gannon University sisters have in common. Jackie Rzymek and her sister Rachel, daughters of Mary Dale and John Rzymek, have enjoyed competing with and against each other in water sports from a young age. The Erie natives began their swimming careers together at McDowell High School and are now members of Gannon’s women’s swimming and water polo teams. Rachel, a senior science major, has been a two-sport athlete since her freshman year. She holds two school records in swimming, breaking the record for the 100-yard breaststroke in the 2006-07 season and the 50-yard freestyle record in the 2008-09 season. Jackie, an undeclared freshman, also holds two school records, breaking the 100- and 200-yard butterfly records in her first year at Gannon. The sibling pair swims only one event against each other, the 50-freestyle, and the sisters said the competition makes swimming both challenging and exciting. “We’re pretty much equal,” Rachel said. “One will have a good day, the other one will have a good day. But competing against each other is fun.”

When asked to name their proudest accomplishments, though, their focus is on the team. The team’s success at the 2009-10 NCAA Division II National Championships in Canton, Ohio, where their 200-yard freestyle event placed 12th and their 400-yard freestyle race placed 16th, earned the Rzymeks’ relay team All-America awards. “My proudest moment was going to nationals and being able to be on the same relay with my sister for the last time,” Jackie said. The sisters, one of two sibling pairs on the water polo team, said being close definitely helps their game. “We know how we work,” Jackie said. Though the swimming and Jackie Rzymek water polo teams won’t have Rachel next year thanks to graduation, the sister act will continue when Rachel and Jackie’s younger sister, Kelsey, begins her college career at Gannon in the fall. Just like her sisters, the incoming freshman was also a swimming standout at McDowell.

Cherry is a junior journalism communications major and intern in the Communications office. In addition, Bowers became Gannon’s first-ever PSAC champion. The senior won the 133-pound bracket, defeating Jay Ivanco of NCAA Division I Clarion University 4-3 in the finals. Bowers finished the season 31-8 with 11 pin falls. McGrath went 26-6 overall and 10-1 in dual action, finishing 10 bouts via a pin. Zack McKendree won 29 matches, including a 9-1 mark in dual action. McElhaney posted a team-high 12 pins.

in his career after Gannon went 9-3 in dual competition this season. Gannon sent a school-record six wrestlers to the national championships at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, March 12-13. Five grapplers earned All-America honors, also a program record. Tony Petrella finished fourth in the 174-pound division, and 133-pounder Corey Bowers and 141-pounder A.J. Milanak placed sixth. Bowers advanced to the championship semifinals before suffering his first loss.

Gannon tied for eighth place in the NCAA Division II National Championship team standings. The finish was the second-best in program history, behind the Golden Knights’ seventh-place finish in 2001. Two

weeks earlier, Gannon’s second-place finish at the NCAA Division II East Regional was the highest regional finish in school history. Eight wrestlers were regional place winners, representing another Gannon record. The PSAC Championship in mid-December was a big success for Gannon. In just their second season as a conference member, the Golden Knights finished fifth. It was the highest finish among the league’s Division II institutions as four NCAA Division I programs were the only teams that finished ahead of the Golden Knights.

Off the mat, six Golden Knights were named to the 2009-10 Division II AllAcademic Team. Gannon landed three wrestlers on the Academic All-America first team—including four-time selection McElhaney—giving Gannon the thirdmost first-team selections in the division. McElhaney, McGrath and McKendree were named to the All-America first team. Milanak and Petrella landed a spot on the second team. Chris Daniels earned a spot on the honorable-mention squad. The program will lose five seniors: Bowers, McElhaney, McGrath, Adam Green and Ted Hoag.


Frank McGrath placed seventh in the heavyweight bracket and Kevin McElhaney took eighth in the 149-pound division. Bret Terry also qualified for the meet, but did not place. Both McElhaney and McGrath earned All-America accolades for the second time in their careers.

Tony Petrella


Gannon University Alumni

’50s SISTER MARY ANN LUKE, O.S.B. ’54VMC celebrated her 25th Jubilee. She is a writer for Mount magazine and is known as “The Bird Keeper” for her care of three pineapple conures that reside at the monastery.


HOWARD “BUD” ELWELL ’55 received the 2010 Division II Athletics Directors Association Lifetime Achievement Award. He served as Gannon’s director of athletics from 1966-96.

National Alumni Board Meeting July 24 @ 8:30 a.m. Old Main Boardroom

Quail Hollow Golf Outing Sept. 13 @ 11 a.m. Quail Hollow Country Club Painesville, Ohio

Save the Date! Sept. 25 - GIVE Day Oct. 22 - 24 - Alumni Homecoming & Reunion Weekend Nov. 3 - Gannon Is All Over Cleveland

For more information or to register for any events, contact Tracy Stolz at stolz005@ or 1-877-GU-ALUMS (1-877482-5867), ext. 1. Visit the online alumni community at for additional updates.

alumnotes Frank D. Minichelli ’57 is a retired counselor from the Union City (Pa.) School District. ROBERT J. HEIBEL ’59 attended a conference in County Waterford, Ireland, where he addressed the challenges of police and prosecutors in increasingly global societies. He is the executive director of the Mercyhurst College Institute for Intelligence Studies in Erie. Constance A. (Wisnieski) Minichelli ’59VMC is a retired elementary school teacher from the Erie (Pa.) City School District.

’60s THOMAS E. LYNCH, DBA ’60 is a professor of business administration at ECPI College of Technology in Virginia Beach, Va. RICHARD D. DIBACCO, DPM ’62 was awarded the Pioneer of Podiatry award at the Pennsylvania Podiatric Medical Association’s House of Delegates banquet. He has been a member of the PPMA since 1967.

’70s THOMAS J. GAMBLE, PH.D. ’72 was accepted to the Fall 2010 Harvard Seminar for Experienced Presidents. He is president of Mercyhurst College in Erie. MICHAEL M. MURNOCK, M.ED. ’73, ’78M was named clinical director of Bethesda Children’s Home in Meadville, Pa.

RICHARD P. FIGASKI ’74 was elected Millcreek Township (Pa.) supervisor. His six-year term began in January 2010. RANDOLPH P. LACHOWSKI ’75, ’84M was chosen to serve on the Erie County (Pa.) Historical Society’s board of directors. JOHN W. ALBERSTADT JR., ESQ. ’76 is serving as president of the Erie County (Pa.) Bar Association for 2010. He is a senior partner with MacDonald, Illig, Jones & Britton LLP. CHARLES V. PITTMAN SR. ’76M is the new president of the Inland Press Association, a national trade group. He is vice president of Schurz Communications in Mishawaka, Ind. CARL M. CARLOTTI, ESQ. ’77 was elected to serve on the Erie (Pa.) Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership’s board of directors. He is currently the senior vice president of National Fuel Gas Distribution Corp. THOMAS P. PETERSON, ESQ. ’77 was elected managing shareholder for the Pittsburgh law firm Tucker Arensberg, P.C. He has been with the firm since 2002. HELEN M. SCHILLING, M.D., D.D.S. ’77 was elected to a three-year term for the Harris County Board of Ethics of the Harris County Medical Society in Houston, Texas. She was also named one of the “Top 362 Physicians in Houston” in Health & Fitness Sports Magazine’s second annual “Doctor’s Choice” edition, published in December 2009. Schilling was one of five doctors listed in the physical medicine category.

Alumni Get in the Gannon Spirit

20 gannon


spring 2010

More than 100 alumni and friends joined the Gannon University Alumni Association for pregame receptions prior to basketball action at the Hammermill Center. The events, held Jan. 27 and Feb. 24 before games against local rivals Edinboro University and Mercyhurst College, respectively, allowed alumni like Richard Weiser ’59 and his wife, Mary (seen here visiting with Cathy C. Fresch, director of Alumni Services), to show their school spirit and reconnect with classmates.

National Alumni Association President, Dana Kennedy Fallon, Esq. ’91

JEFFREY W. BOSWELL ’78 was named chairman of the supervisory board of SECO/WARWICK. DEBBIE (HUFFMAN) BURBULES ’78VMC, ’01M was named president of the new Hamot Women’s Hospital in Erie, scheduled to open in 2011. She currently serves as senior vice president of outpatient services at Hamot Health Foundation. SUSAN (JAKUBOWSKI) SMITH, RN ’79VMC is working in the Mental Health Unit at Saratoga Hospital in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. She recently passed the American Nurses Credentialing Center Exam and is certified in psychiatric and mental health nursing.

’80s SUSAN G. PAINTER, D.O. ’80 was named medical director of Jeannette QuikCare, an urgent care center operated by Excela Health Physician Practices in the Pittsburgh area. MICHAEL T. GAINES ’82 was named executive director of the Bradley H. Foulk Advocacy Center of Erie Co., formerly the Children’s Advocacy Center of Erie Co. (Pa.). ANTHONY E. KEIM ’82M was named vice president and portfolio manager for PNC Wealth Management Institutional Investment Group. SANDRA L. SHRUM ’82 is a senior writer/editor at the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. She is also co-author of the reference book, CMMI: Guidelines for Process Integration and Product Improvement (2nd Ed.), which describes best practices for the development and maintenance of products and services across their entire life cycle.

What can you give? Most people think of giving money to the organizations, charities and churches with which they associate, but that is not always the most important thing to give. Gannon alumni have a lot to give and do so often. Most of us can share stories of the experiences we had as students, volunteering our time and talents as campus leaders and participating in Alternative Break Service Trips, traditions that continue even after we leave the halls of Zurn Science Center or Beyer Hall. A special group of Gannon and Villa Maria alumni are working to represent the National Alumni Association as members of the Board of Directors. We give of our time to facilitate connections between alumni and students as a way to continue our service to the University community. The Board welcomes all alumni to help in these efforts. There are many opportunities throughout the campus to interact with students and alumni; the Partners Program, for example, outlines a few of the more popular opportunities. Hire a Gannon graduate—you know the quality of a Gannon education, so you know a Gannon grad will be a great addition to your company. If you know about job opportunities in your company, be sure to communicate with the Office of Career Development and Employment Services. They will post job announcements, at no charge, and Gannon alumni representing all levels of experience will have access to the information. This office can also help introduce you to students who are eager to get work experience through job shadowing, internships or service-learning projects, giving you the chance to mentor the next generation of Gannon alumni. In keeping with Gannon’s tradition of helping the local community, please be sure to watch for more information about GIVE Day 2010 on Sept. 25, 2010. Last year, alumni participated in volunteer events in five cities, providing 250 hours of community service. This September will find Gannon students and alumni again giving their time and effort to support charitable causes in Erie and around the country, exemplifying the community spirit that is a founding principle of our alma mater. Finally, take some time to talk up Gannon. The University will continue to grow and improve as the quality of its student body grows. Recommend Gannon to friends and family who are considering undergraduate and graduate programs, and don’t forget that as an alumnus/a, your signature on an admissions application waives the application fee.

EMILY M. BECK, CTIS ’83 earned the Certified Travel Industry Specialist designation. She is the director of tourism development for VisitErie. GARY L. CLARK ’83 was elected to serve on the Erie (Pa.) Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership’s board of directors. Gary is vice president, CFO and CAO of Snap-tite Inc.

If you have questions about the Alumni Association or how to connect with fellow alumni or students, please contact me at


GIVE Day stands for Gannon’s Invitation to Volunteer Everywhere, and everywhere includes on campus. No matter how you give back, current students benefit from the continued generosity of Gannon University’s loyal supporters. Visit the online alumni community at for more information about how you can get involved.


President, Alumnus Meet at Saudi Arabia College Exhibition Gannon University President Antoine M. Garibaldi, Ph.D., recently traveled to Saudi Arabia to encourage international student recruitment. During his trip, President Garibaldi represented Gannon at the International Exhibition for Higher Education, held Jan. 26-29, 2010, in Riyadh. During the 2008-09 Academic Year, Gannon was home to 63 undergraduate and graduate students from Saudi Arabia, and four alumni are currently residing in the country. James R. Veihdeffer ’78M (left) visits with Dr. Garibaldi at the exhibition. Veihdeffer, who received a master of arts in English from Gannon, is currently living in Saudi Arabia and teaching English to Saudi students.

MICHAEL J. DEMEURE, M.D. ’83 is one of the country’s top surgeons specializing in endocrine cancer, with expertise in cancer surgery for tumors of the thyroid, parathyroids, adrenal glands and pancreas. He is practicing at Scottsdale Healthcare in Arizona.

JAMES P. PORTER ’88 is vice president of operations for ExcelaCom in Reston, Va. He lives in Arlington, Va., with his wife, Adena, and twoyear-old son, Patrick.

REV. LAWRENCE R. RICHARDS ’83 was a featured speaker at this year’s Catholic Men’s Fellowship Conference and is the author of the book, Be A Man: Become the Man God Created You to Be.

KENNETH M. OGOREK ’90, ’91M was a guest speaker at the National Catholic Educational Association and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership annual meetings.

REV. JOHN P. TRIGILIO JR., PH.D., TH.D. ’83 presented his fifth book, John Paul II for Dummies, to Pope Benedict XVI. His eighth book, Saints for Dummies, was published in February 2010. JILL (THOMPSON) SLOMSKI ’84M spoke about marketing and strategic planning for small businesses at the North East (Pa.) Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner. RUBYE JENKINS-HUSBAND ’86M received the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Award for outstanding service, a new award given by the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Center in Erie. She recently completed her third term on the Erie City Council and is director of the Sickle Cell Anemia Program of Erie County. KENNETH J. WISNIEWSKI ’86 is a principal agent for Nationwide Insurance Company in Erie. DOUGLAS R. DALTON ’87 is regional manager for the Flo-Thru division of Zurn Industries in Jamestown, N.Y. 22

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EDITH “EDY” (OCHS) DOVERSPIKE ’91 joined the sales team at Powell & Associates Real Estate LLC in Punxsutawney, Pa.

KAREN R. RZEPECKI ’92, ’94 completed the certified yoga and meditation instruction programs at Chopra Center University. She is a registered yoga teacher with the Yoga Alliance and is the first instructor in Erie to earn the Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga certification. EMMETT T. VERDECCHIA ’92M was named vice president of surgical services at Hamot Medical Center in Erie. He will be responsible for all surgical services at the hospital, Hamot Surgery Center and the Hamot Women’s Center, scheduled to open in 2011.

Spring Business Ambassadors Meeting Gets Green The Spring 2010 Business Ambassadors meeting, held April 8, featured presenter Dennis Maloskey, director of sustainable engineering and development for the Governor’s Green Government Council in Harrisburg, Pa. Maloskey discussed how businesses can better implement greening efforts in the workplace and what state and federal funding opportunities are available. In addition to seminars and networking events, members of the Business Ambassadors Program have full access to the University’s Small Business Development Center, Cooperative Education Program and job locator service. For more information, contact Mark J. Gaeta ’87, major gifts officer, at

SISTER AUDREY BERDIS, O.S.B. ’94M celebrated her 50th Jubilee. She is service coordinator at Benetwood Apartments in Harborcreek, Pa. CATHLEEN A. FINK ’94 is owner of Creative Fitness in Pittsburgh, where she is also a personal trainer. ANNETTE FRANKLIN, MSW ’94, ’03C was the recipient of the Barbara Jackson Scholar Award and the David L. Clark National Graduate Student Research Scholar Award. She is a Ph.D. candidate at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo and is a faculty member in the social work department at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. BRADLEY A. PEGANOFF ’94 joined RTI, one of the world’s leading research institutes, as vice president of government and corporate relations. LEAH M. HILLGROVE ’95 performed the role of Sister Mary Leo in the Spring 2010 Pittsburgh CLO’s production of Nunsense. The CLO is a not-for-profit cultural organization dedicated to the preservation, creation and promotion of the American musical theater art form.

in memoriam

TEVA M. EILER ’93M was named administrative director of the Hamot Surgery Center in Erie.

Alumni Jeanne M. (Lynch) Alsheimer ’40 Joseph J. Barabas ’49 Jackie Lyn (Zochowski) Barnes ’90 Richard S. Britt ’90 Ernesto J. Caserta ’60 Joseph M. Colavecchi, Esq. ’52 Clyde J. Couse ’02 Judith A. (Madison) Sullivan Cullen ’64VMC William R. Diefenbach ’67 Sister Eugenia Dixon, S.S.J. ’64VMC Msgr. John M. Dollinger ’51 Richard C. DuMond ’49 Alfred T. Ferraro ’49 Margene M. (Schreiber) Gallaway ’50VMC Bruce C. Gilles ’62 Richard J. Glosser ’74 Mary E. (Lynch) Gray ’39VMC Thomas M. Hedderman Jr. ’68 Lt. Col. William L. Hinspeter ’56 Raymond E. Hooper, D.D.S. ’52 Joseph J. Karnes ’72 Jean A. (Kennedy) Keck ’88M David C. Kendall Sr. ’67 Christopher M. Knoll ’77, ’78M Ronald D. Komorek ’70

Tiffany D. Kornacki ’06 Rev. John A. Kuzilla ’60 Sister Lorraine Leannah ’72VMC Mary Kay (Brennen) Lucas ’73VMC Evelyn Herman Manella ’38VMC Vincent J. Marold ’53 Janet E. (Kingsley) Matts ’55 James C. Miller ’50 Edward J. Moskot Jr. ’62 Rita A. Nies ’43VMC Carol J. (Neyman) Olson ’67VMC Thomas E. Patmore ’56 Col. Robert J. Poux Jr. ’70 Martin G. Sandell ’73 Anne R. (Ryan) Scanlan ’36VMC Brian J. Shulkosky ’09 David Stoka ’85M Jerome T. Sullivan ’58 Frederick L. Tomassi ’50 Leonard J. Walkiewicz ’70, ’87M Frank L. Wierzbicki ’72 Robert A. Yadesky ’49

Parents & Friends George A. Baldwin Jerry E. Lojak Bishop Robert D. Rowley Jr.

Alumni Help with Alternative Break Service Trips Some 40 Gannon University students and five staff members spent their spring break in service to others with Alternative Break Service Trips in Florida, New Orleans, New York City and Guatemala. Sponsored by Gannon’s Center for Social Concerns, the program is in its 16th year.

important part of farm worker ministry in the area. In New Orleans, trip members spent four days working with Catholic Charities Operation Helping Hands to help rebuild homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina. A generous donation by George P. Schillinger ’75 helped finance the trip.

Students also spent the week in New York City working at Part of the Solution (POTS), a soup kitchen in the Bronx, while a group in San Lucas Tolimán, Guatemala, served with the San Lucas Mission, a Catholic mission dedicated to a variety of social concerns projects to improve the lives of impoverished Mayans.


The trips feature a different focus for each destination. In Immokalee, Fla., students worked with a variety of social service agencies in cooperation with the Coalition for Immokalee Workers, a union that organizes migrant farm workers around issues of fair wages and worker justice. In addition, the Gannon group visited with alumna Evelyn (Prenatt) Madonia ’59VMC and her husband, Batista, owners of East Coast Brokers and Packers. The company, a tomato grower and distributor, is an


BERNICE (MILES) MARTIN ’95 was elected to the Program to Aid Citizen Enterprise’s board of commissioners. She is director of development and marketing at the Association for Children and Adults with Learning Disabilities Inc., a not-for-profit in Pittsburgh. SAMUEL H. MINNEY III ’97, KELLY L. (TALBOT) MINNEY ’99 and their daughter, Mackenzie, are the 2010 Pittsburgh Chapter March of Dimes Ambassador Family. They will share their story to help increase awareness of the risk of preterm birth and raise funds to help fight serious threats to infant health. VICTORIA L. SMITH, Ed.D. ’97M is professor and chair of the occupational therapy program at Keuka College in Keuka Park, N.Y.

REBECCA L. (IRWIN) PARKHURST ’98 was granted recognition as a Multiple Sclerosis Certified Specialist after completing all the requirements of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers.

She graduated from the physician assistant program at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and is a PA with an orthopaedic surgeon at Hanover (Pa.) Orthopaedic Associates.

LISA C. (GILLETTE) WHITE ’99 is an education program specialist with the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

TODD J. PROPER ’01, ’06M is a manager for Community Resources for Independence in Erie.


MEGAN L. (HUMPHREYS) DELSANDRO ’02, ’03M became a Board Certified Hand Therapist. Megan is a licensed occupational therapist with the Hand and Upper Body Rehabilitation Center in Erie.

JANICE I. (GEORGE) BILETNIKOFF ’00 is a county planner in Boulder County, Colo. JOSEPH J. GEORGE ’00 is a computer engineer at Qualcom in San Diego, Calif. KELLY A. (PFAFF) MCNULTY, PA ’01 switched career fields, going from an elementary school teacher to a physician assistant (PA) following a family member’s life-changing diagnosis.

AIMEE L. (MOREWOOD) STEINMETZ ’02M is an assistant professor at West Virginia University. BRIAN C. MIGDAL ’03M accepted a position as senior relationship manager for PNC Wealth Management in northwestern Pennsylvania.

All the World’s a Stage for Alumni and Friends Thanks to the generous support of alumni and others, approximately $1,500 was raised at the 2010 Alex Clemente Fundraiser to support the Alex Clemente Fund for the Performing and Related Arts at Gannon University. This year’s event was held March 19 and featured a performance of An American Scrapbook, a collection of monologues and songs set in a small town during the 1820s. Jax F. Kubiak, technical director of Gannon’s Schuster Theatre, directed the melodrama, with vocal direction by Rev. Shawn J. Clerkin ’85, assistant professor and director of the theatre program. The cast was made up of students, staff, faculty and alumni.

In February, several members of the Gannon community could be seen showing off their theatrical talents in the Erie Playhouse’s production of The Wiz. While similar in plot to The Wizard of Oz, the show features a different musical arrangement and an all-black cast.The cast included: freshman theatre major Rebecca Coleman (Dorothy), junior theatre/ communications major Jessica Lauren Charlton (Ensemble), Marann K. Curtis ’09 (Ensemble), Pearl M. Jeffries ’81 (Aunt Em), Honors Program secretary Cheryl A. Jong (Addaperle), Hayes L. Moses ’80 (The Wiz), William “Bill” Williams ’83 (Lion) and Courtney V. Wyatt ’06 (Pit Singer).


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JOSEPH P. COLOSIMO ’04M was promoted to divisional senior vice president and regional manager of financial services for Northwest Savings Bank’s Northwest and New York region.

DENNIS C. MAJZLIK JR. ’02, ’04M is director of outpatient therapy at Orthopedic Rehabilitation Inc. in Beaver, Pa. MICHAEL S. NEUBAUER, CPA ’02, ’04M was promoted to manager with the regional certified public accounting firm of McGill, Power, Bell & Associates LLC. Michael has been with the firm for eight years. ELIZABETH A. RUPERT ’02, ’04M is a physical therapist for the Visiting Nurses Association of Western Pennsylvania in Butler, Pa. JOSEPH J. SEMUTA ’04M is a high school teacher with the Hazleton (Pa.) Area School District. CHRISTINE M. (WINTEMUTE) SMITH ’02 joined The Salvation Army Bradenton Corps as its new director of community relations and development. MEGAN J. (HOGAN) ALCHOWIAK ’05 joined Mirror Show Management as a brand specialist. Mirror Show Management is a premier exhibit design and trade show management firm located in Webster, N.Y.

on Aug. 8, 2009.


SEAN P. HILLIARD ’04 received a master of science in library studies degree from Clarion (Pa.) University on Dec. 19, 2009.

Maureen Marie Baer ’07 married Matthew John Parker ’07, ’09M Kelly Marie Dombrowski ’09M

married Steven James Karns on July 4, 2009. Joseph J. George ’00

married Shannon Vissers on Feb. 9, 2008. Lisa C. Gillette ’99 married Joe White on Jan. 2, 2010. Christy L. Kuhn ’05 married Louis Ralph Viola ’05, ’07M

Carolyn Marie Moncrief ’05 married Brian M. Domitrovich ’06 on Oct. 14, 2008 in Vatican City.

on March 21, 2009. Elizabeth Anne Laughlin ’07

Todd J. Proper ’01, ’06M

married James Richard Chadman on July 18, 2009.

married Jennifer Gesseck on Sept. 5, 2009.

Kelly E. McFate ’09 married

Kevin E. Rogala ’06, ’09DPT

Daniel Sullivan on Aug. 23, 2009.

married Katherine L. Laboda on June 27, 2009.

Frank D. ’57 and Constance (Wisnieski) Minichelli ’59VMC

celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on Feb. 13, 2010. Aimee Leigh Morewood ’02M

married Andrew Clemens Steinmetz on July 25, 2009.

Thomas M. Stumpf ’06 married Elizabeth Adora Wangler on May 23, 2009. Kathryn A. Trapp ’08 married Edwin A. Koch III ’09 on

Jan. 9, 2010.

Leigh-Anne Persing ’05, ’06M

Rebecca L. Zeleznik ’07

married Matthew Williams on July 28, 2007.

married Robert J. Rodgers ’07 on July 25, 2009.

JASON C. ANDERSON ’05 is employed by GE Transportation in Erie. TAMMY A. (JESSEN) ANDREYKO ’05C is the first recipient of the Dr. Mary Ravita Educational Leadership Award, which recognizes educational leadership and scholarship in the Pittsburgh area. She is the principal of Ingomar Middle School.

ADAM J. MOOK ’05, ’08M joined Strategy Solutions Inc. in Erie as senior manager of corporate and community services.

Students in Colin A. Pillay, DBA's Entrepreneurial Finance class were in for a treat when alumnus Richard E. Griffith ’70, a noted Erie businessman, stopped by to share his career experiences on Feb. 24. Griffith has been involved in real estate development for more than 30 years. He visited the class to share his background and provide practical advice for students.


CAROLYN M. (MONCRIEF) DOMITROVICH ’05 is a senior design engineer at Westinghouse Electric Co. in Cranberry, Pa.

Rick Griffith ’70 Visits with Business Students


CHRISTY L. (KUHN) VIOLA ’05 is a social worker at Friendship Ridge in Beaver, Pa. LOUIS R. VIOLA ’05, ’07M is employed by BNY Mellon Wealth Management in Pittsburgh. JAMIE M. WORTMAN ’05, ’06M is employed in the cardiothoracic surgery department of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H.

ROBERT J. CHASE ’06 received the Maitland P. Simmons Award for Outstanding New Science Teacher from the National Science Teachers Association. He is an eighth grade science teacher at Twin Rivers Middle School in Buford, Ga. BRIAN M. DOMITROVICH ’06 is a systems engineer at Westinghouse Electric Co. in Cranberry, Pa. JENNIFER M. GORMAN ’06, ’07M is employed at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. KEVIN E. ROGALA ’06, ’09DPT is a physical therapy doctor at University Hospital in Cleveland.

Alumni, Friends Enjoy Evening of Jazz A crowd of 30 alumni, faculty, students and friends enjoyed music and fellowship at “An Evening of Jazz,” held Feb. 16 as a special presentation of the spring Alumni Lunchtime Lecture Series. Allen W. Zurcher, Ph.D., adjunct lecturer in Gannon’s fine arts program, gave an informative presentation on the history of improvisation in jazz music. He was accompanied by fellow faculty David T. Blaetz Jr. ’83, communication arts instructor, and Carl A. Hultman, Ph.D., chemistry professor. The lunch series will continue in Fall 2010. Have a topic or speaker suggestion? Contact the Office of Alumni Services at 1-877-GU-ALUMS (1-877-482-5867). Couldn’t make it last fall for the Alumni Lunchtime Lecture Series events? All three speakers can be viewed on Gannon’s YouTube channel at www. gannontube.


ERIC J. ROBBINS, CFA ’05M earned the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. He is an investment analyst and portfolio manager at Robbins Wealth Management in Erie and has worked in the financial industry for 11 years.

Jake William and Adam Robert (born Nov. 3, 2009), twin sons of John W. Sinclair II ’99 and his wife, Nicole.

a daughter, Chloe Milana (born Aug. 18, 2009), to Janice I. (George) Biletnikoff ’00

and her husband, Nate. a daughter, Catherine Marilyn (born June 2, 2009), to Eric J. ’99 and Julianne I. (Mazza) Davis ’98. Catherine joins older brothers William (5) and Matthew (4). a son, Dominic Salvatore (born Dec. 23, 2009), to Nicholas R. ’00 and Gina R. (Fallecker) Ianelli ’99. He joins older brother Nico (1). a daughter, Katherine (born May 20, 2009), to Teresa Jo (Womer) Lawyer ’96 and her husband, Chad. Katherine joins older brothers Chandler (4) and Chance (2). a son, Connor Daniel (born March 23, 2010), to Mary Anne (DiVito) Meade, PA-C ’86 and her husband, Dan. Connor joins older sister Maura. a daughter, Charlotte Rene (born Fall 2009), to Ashley Jensen Von Borstel ’09. a son, Nathaniel Thomas (born Aug. 5, 2009), to LeighAnne (Persing) Williams ’05, ’06M

While each performer is an experienced jazz artist, the trio had not performed as a group until “An Evening of Jazz.” 26

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and her husband, Matthew. Nathaniel joins older sister Madolyn Elizabeth (2).

GU Athletics Hall of Fame Inducts New Members Five individuals and one team were inducted into the Gannon University Athletics Hall of Fame during a special event held Jan. 9. The latest class increased the Gannon Hall of Fame membership to 37 inductees. The 2010 inductees included: former men’s soccer star and current men’s soccer head coach Rob van Rheenen ’86; former men’s soccer standout Gerry Vandemerwe ’88, ’01M; former men’s soccer coaching great Rob Russo; former women’s basketball standout Mary Kay Lynch Poppe ’85; former men’s basketball record-breaker Harold “Butch” Warner ’85; and the 1986-87 men’s basketball team.

 Harold “Butch” Warner ’85 reminisces about his basketball days with Mark J. Richard, director of athletics. Warner is the only Gannon men’s basketball player to top 2,000 career points and helped lead the Golden Knights to NCAA Division II tournament appearances in 1983-84 and 1984-85.

Rob Russo is honored at halftime by Mark J. Richard, director of athletics, and President Antoine M. Garibaldi, Ph.D. Russo is Gannon’s all-time men’s soccer leader in coaching victories (133) and winning percentage (.772). 

▲ The 1986-87 men’s basketball team was inducted into the GU Athletics Hall of Fame. They are the only basketball team in school history to play in the NCAA D-II National Championship game.

 Five individuals and one team were inducted into the Gannon University Athletics Hall of Fame on Jan. 9.

▲ Mary Kay Lynch Poppe ’85 gives her induction speech. Poppe is Gannon’s all-time women’s basketball rebounding leader and ranks fourth all-time in scoring.  Rob van Rheenen, current head coach of the Gannon soccer team, arrives for induction festivities with his wife, Judy van Rheenen ’85, associate director of Gannon's International Student Office. Van Rheenen is Gannon’s all-time soccer leader in career assists (50) and ranks third all-time in career points (166).

▲ Thomas R. Chapman, head coach of the 1986-87 men’s basketball team, autographs one of two commemorative basketballs in honor of the team. The squad finished 28-6 overall, setting the school record for victories in a season at that time.

▲ Gerry Vandemerwe ’88, ’01M accepts his plaque from Mark J. Richard, director of athletics, and President Antoine M. Garibaldi, Ph.D. Vandemerwe is Gannon’s all-time men’s soccer leader in career points (186) and career goals (76). His 27 goals in 1985 represent the best single-season total in school history. 27

It certainly is a small world for Gannon alumni. When the Central Pennsylvania Gannon Alumni group volunteered at the fourth Annual Harrisburg Stand Down event in January, they discovered a Gannon College scarf while sorting donated clothing items. The group, including (L to R) Daniel R. DeFloria '70, Chris A. Vogt '78 and Brad P. Colwell '70, also prepared more than 50 carryout food bags for homeless veterans. Are you and your fellow alumni participating in community service activities? Let the Office of Alumni Services know at 1-877-GU-ALUMS so you can all be celebrated for giving back!

Home Sweet Home

THOMAS M. STUMPF ’06 is employed by the Thomas Organization in Oil City, Pa. The company owns and operates dozens of interests in the areas of dining, retail, social service, entertainment and real estate. JAMES D. BLYTHE ’07 is a family service worker for Keystone Human Services in Harrisburg, Pa. NICOLE M. GROUCUTT ’07 is a caseworker for the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. ANNE MARIE S. LENA ’07M is an eighth grade English teacher at Norwin Middle School in North Huntingdon, Pa. MATTHEW J. PARKER ’07, ’09M is a protective services instructor at Central Tech Career and Technical School in Erie. MAUREEN M. (BAER) PARKER ’07 is a special education teacher at EmersonGridley Elementary School in Erie. LINDSAY R. SHIELDS ’08 is an X-ray technician at Punxsutawney (Pa.) Area Hospital. ASHLEY V. ANDRASCIK ’09M is a second grade teacher at Green Valley Primary School in North Versailles, Pa. DANIEL J. HOWELL ’09 traveled to Iceland to play on a 19-day trial with several professional soccer teams, including Grotta, a member of Iceland’s First Division and the second-highest level in the country.

From Finegan Hall to Harborview House Apartments, University residence halls provide a home away from home for more than 1,200 students each year. Did you get a crash course in laundry from your friends in Wehrle? Were your leadership skills strengthened as a resident assistant? Gannon Magazine wants to hear your memories of dorm life! Send your stories and pictures to, and they may be included in a future issue. You can also help us update our records: if you know the students shown here, send us their names.


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spring 2010

KELLY M. (DOMBROWSKI) KARNS ’09M is an eighth grade social studies teacher at James S. Wilson Middle School in Millcreek, Pa. JOSEPH G. WEBER, MBA, MPAS, PA-C ’09M operates the blog, “Scalpel: Technology @ the Edge of Medicine,” for Advance for Physician Assistants magazine. He is an emergency medicine physician assistant at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland.

A Word from the President


Gannon Celebrates a Spring of History-Making Success and Recognizes Historic Anniversaries

Celebrations and tributes abound this spring as Gannon recognizes history-making success and historic anniversaries. In the category of “firsts,” our Lady Knights women’s basketball team not only advanced to the NCAA Division II Final Four game for the first time in school history, but they also set a new NCAA Division II record for both the most victories in a season and the most consecutive wins in a single season! The women’s program won both its first-ever PSAC and NCAA Division II Atlantic Region Championships (p. 8) at home at the Hammermill Center. And to top that, the team was ranked No. 1 in the country in the final three regular season USA Today ESPN Top 25 coaches polls, joining the women’s lacrosse program (2000 and 2001) in reaching the national rankings.

In late February, Gannon expanded its series of events for National Catholic Colleges Week for the third year, as you can see on the back cover of this magazine. And this spring, we celebrate 150 years of contributions from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania to this region (p. 12) and 20 years of Episcopal leadership by Most Rev. Donald W. Trautman, S.T.D., S.S.L., Bishop of Erie and chair of Gannon’s Board of Trustees (p. 12). The Sisters of St. Joseph, with the support of Archbishop

John Mark Gannon, established Villa Maria College, the predecessor of Cathedral College and Gannon College, with which it merged in 1989. More than 3,300 of the alumnae who receive this magazine received their degrees from Villa Maria College. We thank the Sisters, especially those who continue to teach on our faculty, and Bishop Trautman for their dedicated service to the University. In the summer issue of Gannon Magazine, you will see the future of Gannon in the early construction photos of the University’s first new residence hall in more than two decades. As noted on p. 2, this important project is one of many outlined in the 2008 Gannon University Master Plan. As you watch the residence hall develop on, please tell other alumni and friends to look also. We are certain that this first of many planned projects will enable Gannon to continue to provide state-of-the-art living and learning facilities to our students. Your support adds, as they say in my native state of Louisiana, “lagniappe”—a little extra. We Believe in the possibilities.

President, Antoine M. Garibaldi, Ph.D.


At the end of the season, the Lady Knights were ranked second in the country—with only one overtime loss on their record of 38 contests. The loyal Gannon fans exhibited incredible pride in the Lady Knights

during several “Spirit Days” on campus; and the enthusiasm of alumni and supporters in the Erie community and around the country was contagious. It was great to have alumni and former student-athletes return to a jam-packed Hammermill Center for the sold-out Atlantic Regional, where the decibel level was off the charts. And fans around the country not only listened on the Gannon Web site and WERG-FM, but many were also able to see playoff games covered on the Internet and cable TV by national media. In addition to the Lady Knights’ remarkable accomplishments, the women’s and men’s swimming teams and the wrestling team (p. 18) also had incredible seasons, and their team members are recognized in this issue of Gannon Magazine.


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▼ St. Peter Cathedral Tour

N C C W ’1 0

 GU versus Mercyhurst Basketball Game

Members of the Gannon University community celebrated the University’s Catholic identity and tradition by participating in a series of events in observance of National Catholic Colleges Week in February. The week’s activities, which included special Masses, roundtable discussions on faith, a tour of St. Peter Cathedral and Faith Field Day, are designed to highlight the accomplishments of Catholic colleges and celebrate the role of Catholic colleges in society. Want to learn more about Gannon's Catholic mission? Visit us online at

 Dogs in the Way Faith Field Day ▼

 Community Mass  Spiritual Journey Roundtable Discussion

Spring 2010  

Stay in touch and see the history of Gannon as it’s made! Gannon Magazine is published three times annually (Winter, Spring and Summer) by t...