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Morgan Tracey ’03 always figured she’d go to law school. She did, but that was just one milestone along an amazing path.


The House That ‘Hurst Built Polling center makes headlines Intel pioneer Heibel honored Lough promoted to Majors

Fall/Winter 2012

“Blessing” water sculpture in Munson Plaza

A Blessing

IN THIS ISSUE 1 From the president 3 Fire & Ice

Morgan Tracey’s journey

5 Hammer & Nails

The House That ‘Hurst Built

7 First Chair

Pioneer Robert Heibel

9 ‘Doing’ politics

Polling center opens

11 What’s cookin’?

Restaurant-quality facilities

13 A bird’s-eye view

Erie campus from the air

15 Arts & Culture

New institute launches

17 On top of the world

Dave Hyland at the summit

19 Opening Doors

Alum recruits interns

21 From the Hill 23 Homecoming & Parents Weekend 25 Laker Notes 27 Making the show

Laker star reaches MLB

Get more of the story, watch additional video content, check out photo albums and hear interviews online when you see this logo. Go to

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“At many schools it’s all about false dichotomies; schools with an either-or orientation. Liberal arts or professional preparation, athletics or the

From the president

arts, faith or reason, but that’s not the Mercyhurst way. Mercyhurst understands that life is essentially unified, not broken into opposing principles. At Mercyhurst it’s faith and reason, liberal arts and professional preparation, life of the mind and engagement in the world, large enough for great opportunities and small enough to know your name, ballet and football. With a Mercyhurst degree you graduate as a balanced, multifaceted individual who takes responsibility, and who can integrate apparent opposites. For a holistic education Mercyhurst is the place.”

When Mercyhurst does something, we do it all the way. How else can you account for the fact that this medium-sized school in northwestern Pennsylvania has: • • • • •

An archaeological institute renowned around the world The largest intelligence studies program in academia An opinion polling center making headlines A public health program shaping policy conversations Winning Division I hockey programs And so much more ….

As Jim Adovasio pointed out recently, no one would have expected all these things to happen at a school like Mercyhurst. His reflection came as we added yet another item to the list above – our first doctoral program. By this time next year, half a dozen students will be enrolled in our new Ph.D. program in anthropology. Mercyhurst is an institution on the move and this is just the beginning. That said, let’s not forget that what we’re doing today has grown organically from the seeds planted by the Sisters of Mercy in the early part of the last century. The mission they identified then still drives our planning today. We’re growing larger and more diverse, but we still remain committed to academic excellence, to an ethic of service to those in need and to hands-on engaged learning for all students. We prepare students for careers but also to serve – and lead – their communities. I’m extremely proud of recent developments, but I’m even prouder of the Mercyhurst spirit that has nourished them – and that animates the graduates we send out into the world. To understand what I’m talking about, all you have to do is read the cover story about Morgan Tracey ’03. Or read about how our whole community came together to create a home for an Erie family. I hope you’re as excited about where we’re heading as I am and I hope you’ll stay engaged with us as the future unfolds. Visit our website. Join the Alumni Online Community. Check us out on social media. And please come back to visit. Come for an event like Reunion Weekend or Homecoming, or just stop by for a walk around this beautiful campus and a chance to reconnect with the faculty and staff that make this such a special place. May your holidays be blessed. God bless you and God bless Mercyhurst.

Thomas J. Gamble, Ph.D.

President, Mercyhurst University Faculty Convocation Aug. 28, 2012

Thomas J. Gamble, Ph.D.

President, Mercyhurst University 1


Fall/Winter 2012

Morgan Tracey ’03 always figured she’d go to law school. She did, but that was just one milestone along an amazing path.

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: • The House That ‘Hurst Built • Polling center makes headlines • Intel pioneer Heibel honored • Lough promoted to Majors

Cover Photo: Steve Perkins


Susan Corbran ’73 (814) 824-2090 We’d love to hear from you. Send your story ideas, suggestions and comments to or mail to Editor, Mercyhurst Magazine, 501 E. 38th St., Erie, PA 16546.

Contributing Writers Susan Corbran ’73 Deborah Morton

Art Direction/Design

Steve Perkins (814) 824-3340

Class Notes Editor

Debra Tarasovitch (814) 824-2392

Director, Alumni Relations Ryan Palm ’07 (800) 845-8568 (814) 824-3320

The Office of Marketing and Public Relations publishes Mercyhurst Magazine. Send changes of address to: Mercyhurst Magazine Mercyhurst University 501 E. 38th St. Erie, PA 16546

Christ the King Chapel


Like a lot of political science majors, Morgan Tracey always figured she’d go to law school. She did, but that was just one milestone along an amazing path she’s followed since graduating from Mercyhurst in 2003.

Fire&Ice The journey took her into inner-city shelters and housing builds on a series of AmeriCorps assignments, into blazing forests as part of an elite firefighting team, into the library of Michigan’s Thomas Cooley School of Law, and to the White House where she was honored as an AmeriCorps “Champion of Change.” Today, she’s poised atop a mountain at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, N.Y., vying for a spot on the American team in the thrilling sport of skeleton. None of this surprises those who knew her as a Mercyhurst student. “Whenever somebody uses the term ‘scholar-athlete,’ Morgan is one of the people that come to mind for me,” recalls Brian Ripley, Ph.D. “She exemplifies the sort of dedication, energy, self-discipline and just good old time management skills that it takes to succeed on the field and in the classroom. You could see the leadership potential in her right from the start.” 3

Born in Champion, a small town in northeastern Ohio, she says she was drawn to Mercyhurst first by its soccer program.

John Melody, who now works in fundraising in Mercyhurst’s advancement department, was the soccer coach then and recruited her. He remembers her as an extremely hard-working, athletic and very coachable player who could play several positions both defensively and in midfield. “She was an important part of a successful team that was nationally ranked throughout her college years,” he says. “It’s no surprise that she has become successful as she has a great desire to succeed and was always very motivated on and off the field.” Tracey credits Melody for nurturing a drive for excellence in her. Off the pitch, she took advantage of all Mercyhurst offered both in and out of the classroom. Besides playing soccer, she co-founded the Young Democrats Club, served as president of the political science honor society and volunteered extensively both on and off campus.

As graduation neared, she decided to continue her service with a year in AmeriCorps. As a member of the National Civilian Community Corps, she was assigned to a team that traveled the country to tackle whatever work was needed. She built homes for low-income families, helped restore a historic building for community use, assisted a food bank, prepared tax returns and worked with the U.S. Forest Service on fire safety projects. It was during her time in northern California’s El Dorado National Forest that she saw her first forest fire and got her basic training in firefighting. Soon she had set her sights on firefighting’s most elite ranks – the Hotshots. “They’re sort of like the Special Forces of the firefighting world,” she explains. “They were the last line of defense against really devastating fires – they were out there battling to save people’s homes – and it intrigued me,” she says. There were no women in the 20-person crew she observed, motivating her even more.

She stayed with the Forest Service and eventually spent three six-month seasons as a Hotshot. Hotshot teams are dispatched all over the country when massive wildfires break out. They reach the fire sites however they can, by air, water or even on foot. They routinely work shifts of 16 hours or more, and have to be ready to survive up to two weeks in the wild with no support. The work is physically and mentally demanding, and emotionally taxing. “The work takes a toll on your body,” she says simply. So for several winters, she took classes at the Cooley Law School. Finally, in 2009-10, she enrolled full time, graduating in 2010 and later passing the bar exam in Ohio. She has yet to set up a law practice, though, instead opting to pursue another physically demanding interest – skeleton. Like the better-known bobsled and luge, skeleton involves sliding as fast as possible down an icy, tube-like course. Skeleton athletes can reach speeds of up to 90 miles per hour during the milelong course – lying prone and face-first on a sled that’s barely a half-inch above the ice. She’d watched the sport during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, and promised

herself she’d give it a try if she passed the bar. She headed to upstate New York, to the U.S. Olympic training site at Lake Placid, where tourists can experience skeleton from a lower point along the run. “I was hooked after the first run,” she says. She followed that up with a weeklong introductory camp and worked her way up to the competitive circuit. The U.S. national team competes nine times each season, which runs from October through April, on courses all over the world. But it’s a full-time year-round commitment for the athletes – like Tracey – who hope to be part of the Olympic delegation in Russia in 2014 (or in South Korea four years after that). While the U.S. Olympic Committee provides housing and food during the competition season, and athletes are able to use Lake Placid’s training facilities, most Olympic hopefuls are self-funded and moonlight where they can to pay for their sport, including thousands of dollars for their fitted sleds. “It would be wonderful to be able to just be an athlete, and not have to hold another job,” she adds. Instead, she works a lot of shifts at the nearby Whiteface Lodge resort. She’s also been able to do

some legal work thanks to corporate partnerships arranged by the U.S. Olympic Committee. The women’s Olympic field has been narrowed to fewer than 30 racers. She’s made the cut so far, but knows it won’t be easy from this point on. America sent three women to Vancouver, but will be entitled to just two competitors in 2014. Whether or not her passion takes her to an Olympic stage, Tracey expects she’ll eventually return to law. She’d love to run a nonprofit and somehow use what she’s learned through her wealth of experiences to help others. And wherever she goes, she’ll carry the Mercyhurst spirit with her. “I’ve been given these opportunities and I’m going to run with them as far as I can,” she says. “As long as I’ve left everything on the table, I’ll be satisfied.”

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Hammer &Nails Mercyhurst celebrated its new status as a university by tackling its biggest service project yet – a blitz-build that constructed a home for Rosemary Anderson and her children in just four weeks this fall.

In September of 1926, Mother Borgia Egan and her dedicated band of Sisters of Mercy pitched in to finish Old Main in time for opening day at what was then Mercyhurst College.

four years, learning everything from bricklaying to plastering. For the past five years, she’s worked in maintenance for the Erie Housing Authority. She became a U.S. citizen in 2011.

Eighty-six years later, the students and staff of what’s now Mercyhurst University spent much of September wrapping up a different kind of construction project. Some 600 Mercyhurst volunteers worked with the Greater Erie Area Habitat for Humanity to build a simple, decent family home on Erie’s eastside.

Anderson put all her experience to use this fall, since families that receive Habitat homes are expected to contribute hundreds of hours of “sweat equity” on Habitat projects as part of their down payment.

Work went right down to the wire, but the university was able to present the symbolic key to the home to Rosemary Anderson during Homecoming festivities at the end of September. Anderson and her children expect to spend the holidays in a home of their own this year for the first time in more than 20 years. A native of Liberia, Anderson was chased from her home by civil war in the West African nation. She spent 16 years in a refugee camp in Ghana before settling in America in 2006. During her stay in Ghana, she studied construction for 5

“The House That ‘Hurst Built” marked the first time an Erie-area university had assumed ownership for a local build, but a student Habitat for Humanity chapter has been active on campus for years. Each spring, a popular alternative break trip takes students south to work on a building project. Students also help with a variety of Erie-area projects and work to increase awareness of issues of poverty and homelessness. Habitat picked the site for the Mercyhurst build – on Woodlawn Ave., just west of McClelland – and it was an appropriate choice. It’s just two blocks from the House of Mercy, a Sisters of Mercy neighborhood

Project coordinator Colin Hurley welcomes Rosemary Anderson to her new home.

outreach program that offers afterschool and summer programming for children, and even closer to McClelland Park, where students regularly help with clean-up projects.

Mercyhurst’s Class of 2016 took the first shift at the construction site on Aug. 27 as part of the annual Freshman Day of Service. They were joined by President Thomas Gamble, Ph.D., and members of his cabinet. In the days that followed, groups of students, employees and alumni handled everything from framing the home to hanging and mudding

drywall to painting. Ten athletic teams turned out in force to help, as did several academic and administrative departments, a delegation from the North East campus, a group of Erie-area alumni and many individuals.

The volunteers had varying degrees of experience. For many, it was the first time they’d done construction work. But all were exhilarated by the opportunity to help build a house – and to create a home.

All told, an estimated 2,400 hours of volunteer labor from the Mercyhurst community went into the ranch house.


Engaging in every way The $10.5 million Center for Academic Engagement will deliver a cutting-edge learning environment for students for decades to come, said President Thomas Gamble, Ph.D., when the building was unveiled on Aug. 15. In this new academic space, students will engage their culinary abilities in a stateof-the-art commercial kitchen and hone their front-of-house skills in a 160-seat banquet hall and the 60-seat Marriott Café, which replaces the university’s Grotto Dining Room. They will conduct open-source intelligence analysis for real-world clients using sophisticated computer laboratories, and they will man a 30-station polling center to seek public opinion on local, state and national issues. The structure includes offices, classrooms, labs and conference rooms equipped with state-of-the-art technology, podcasting and video conferencing capabilities and the latest in wireless technologies. Classrooms are surrounded by floor-to-ceiling white boards, providing abundant space for brainstorming, instructing and communicating.

Built with high-tech computer labs and a professional presentation center for delivering products to clients, the CAE is an intel student’s dream digs. Bob Heibel can’t complain about his third-floor office overlooking campus, either.

First Chair Much has changed in the two decades since the former FBI deputy chief of counterterrorism sold the Mercyhurst administration on the merits of a program that would combine hands-on field training and a solid liberal arts core to produce first-rate intelligence analysts. He’s taught lessons on counterterrorism in a home economics classroom, complete with sink and stove. He’s inhabited an office with a “water feature” – noisy pipes from the bathroom next door. To say that Bob Heibel’s tenure at Mercyhurst University was born of “humble beginnings” would not be an understatement. Now, as the program celebrates its 20-year anniversary, Heibel stands at the fore of what has become the world’s largest fulltime academic program educating analysts for the government and the private sector. It’s also one of Mercyhurst’s most popular majors with nearly 350 students enrolled in the undergraduate and graduate programs. Among its hugely successful alumni are more than 500 students who have graduated from the on-campus


program and another 300 from its online certificate program. And, it’s the success of these students that goes to the heart of Heibel’s vision, said James Breckenridge, Ph.D., executive director of the Institute for Intelligence Studies at Mercyhurst University. They hold jobs at the CIA, FBI and NSA to mention a few, as well as Northrop Grumman Corp., Procter & Gamble, Exxon Mobil and more. The program has also established an international presence with this year’s opening of a new international center in Dungarvan, Ireland, which will serve as a European base for intelligence research, analysis and training operations. At 74, Heibel continues to be actively engaged in the enterprise he began as director of business development, but he is also at a place where he can pause to reflect. Admittedly, he’s a bit incredulous that a seed of an idea took root and continues to grow beyond his expectations. He is the first to pay homage

to the family, friends and colleagues who put their faith in him along the way. At the top of that list is his wife, Susanne, whom he credits with “allowing me to follow my own path all these years.”

Intelligence Professionals presented him with its highest recognition, the Meritorious Award, and in 2006 he received a lifetime achievement award for his work in open-source intelligence.

That path to Mercyhurst was born out of his FBI experience and the idea that the foundational skills of an entry-level intelligence analyst lay in a liberal arts education, much like he experienced at Georgetown University. In addition, he believed strongly in hands-on learning, which he built into the academic program, particularly through the formation of the institute’s Center for Information Research, Analysis and Training (CIRAT), a nonprofit organization under which Mercyhurst intelligence students and faculty produce analytical products for real-world clients.

He holds a master’s degree from Georgetown University. Heibel and his wife, Susanne, reside in North East. They have two grown sons and three granddaughters.

What he never imagined was moving into the high-rent district at Mercyhurst, but that happened just this past fall as the Institute for Intelligence Studies became an anchor tenant in the university’s new $10.5 million Center for Academic Engagement (CAE). The vision of this pioneer of intelligence analysis education has not gone unnoticed by the university, which established an endowed chair in his name: The Robert J. Heibel Distinguished Chair of Intelligence Studies. “Endowed chairs recognize the distinction of superior individuals like Bob Heibel and enable the university to attract and retain outstanding faculty who are leaders in their fields and provide our undergraduate and graduate students with unique learning opportunities,” said Mercyhurst President Thomas Gamble, Ph.D., who made the surprise announcement at the grand opening and dedication of the CAE in August. Heibel has served on the board of directors of several national intelligence associations and is a founder of the International Association for Intelligence Education. In 2001 the Society of Competitive 8

Joe Morris, D.A.

‘Doing’ politics The Politcal Science Department’s new concentration in Applied Politics is a great option for students who see themselves ‘doing’ politics in the future. The phone rings. An unfamiliar voice asks you to answer a few questions about your views. Are you thrilled at the opportunity to share your opinions, or annoyed by the interruption? The Mercyhurst Center for Applied Politics (MCAP) and its centerpiece polling operation work on the assumption that most people want to be part of the conversation on important issues. They want their opinions to be heard. Launched in 2010, MCAP has been gradually raising its profile with a series of successful polls, ranging from an independent poll that explored how Pennsylvanians feel about Marcellus shale and fracking to a poll for the Erie Times-News that predicted Mike Kelly’s 2010 victory over Kathy Dahlkemper in the state’s 3rd congressional district. 9

With a new 30-station computerized calling center that more than doubles its capacity, MCAP is poised to make an even bigger impact. An opinion poll is like a snapshot of a particular moment in time, explains MCAP Director Joe Morris, D.A. Unless it’s finished quickly, that moment is gone and the findings may no longer be accurate. MCAP can now complete more interviews in a shorter period of time, earning greater credibility, and media attention, for its results. News outlets across Pennsylvania (including the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) now report the polls. Even the respected New York Times: FiveThirtyEight Forecasts have highlighted MCAP results. MCAP is carving out a distinct niche among the myriad polling groups clamoring for attention. It’s gaining

a reputation for asking penetrating questions that reveal not only what people think, but why they think it. “We don’t just do horse-race polls,” Morris emphasizes. That fracking poll didn’t ask only whether people favor or oppose gas extraction. A dozen follow-up questions probed the thinking behind the opinions. The first major poll this election year did ask whether people backed Obama or Romney. But it also explored how much voters knew about SuperPACs, how much Romney’s Mormon religion impacted their opinion of him, and what they thought of Pennsylvania’s new photo ID requirement for voters. Students started calling on Sept. 12 and finished 522 interviews by Sept. 20. The analysis of their findings was ready by Sept. 24.

Over eight days, the students dialed about 3,000 random numbers, reaching people about 70 percent of the time. Perhaps 25 percent of them agreed to complete the interview. For the first time, callers sought out likely voters, not simply registered voters. About 100 Mercyhurst students worked the phones during this fall’s polls. Besides political science majors, dozens of freshmen studying “The Road to the White House” learned how politics works by talking with actual voters. Morris and MCAP Associate Director Rolfe Peterson, Ph.D., taught the popular interdisciplinary course with Meghan Corbin of the communication department. How did the callers convince busy people to spend 15 minutes or more answering all those questions? They quickly stress that they are students, not telemarketers or campaigners. And they emphasize how important it is that every viewpoint be represented.

Jacob Jaskiewicz

Senior poli sci major Jacob Jaskiewicz, described by Morris as “one of our superstar callers,” is MCAP’s project manager. He plans to stay with MCAP for a year after graduation before heading to law school and eventually specializing in environmental law. He supervises dayto-day operations in the call center, trains student callers and assists with question development and analysis. He says it’s an awesome experience for an undergraduate. “We’re doing stuff that we can only talk about in the classroom,” he explains. “We actually get to do social science research and analyze the data we obtain.” Junior Rachel Oest, another political science major who aspires to be an environmental lawyer, liked the job so well that she decided to stay on as a volunteer after her paid work-study assignment with MCAP ended.

She appreciates not only the insights she gains into how people view political issues, but also how much she’s been able to improve her speaking and listening skills. Jessica Denninger, a junior poli sci major, agrees. She says her involvement with the polling operation looks good on her résumé. Even more important, she reports a huge increase in self-confidence by the end of the survey and a greatly improved ability to talk easily with strangers. All three students enjoy the fast-paced, high-pressure, exciting environment of the call center, especially when the noise level rises. “It adds to the energy in the room,” Jaskiewicz says. “It makes you want to be the one who gets the next caller.” REAL-WORLD EXPERIENCE Political science has long been one of Mercyhurst’s best-known and respected majors. Many poli sci majors plan to teach or attend law school, but the new Applied Politics concentration prepares students whose goals include “doing” politics, whether running for office, managing campaigns, staffing the offices of government officials or advocating for a cause. Work on MCAP polls gives the students unique insights into the American political process. Morris says he’s dreamed of creating a research facility like MCAP since arriving at Mercyhurst more than a decade ago. He’s been a news junkie from a young age, but doesn’t want to enter politics himself. Instead, he focuses on learning why people do what they do in the political arena. MCAP, he says, has allowed him to reinvent his own career but benefits the university on a much wider scale. It offers an unparalleled hands-on learning opportunity for students. It serves the local, state and even national communities by contributing to public discussion about important issues. And, as an added bonus, it enhances the reputation of Mercyhurst University and of its Political Science Department across the state.

To learn more about the Mercyhurst Center for Applied Politics, visit

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Hands-on experience in restaurant-quality facilities is at the heart of Mercyhurst’s hospitality management programs.

What’s cookin’? To borrow a phrase – if you build it, they will come. Mercyhurst built state-of-the-art food prep facilities into its new Center for Academic Engagement, and Statler Hospitality Management Department Chair Beth Ann Sheldon is confident they’ll draw increasing numbers of students to the already-popular program. The department has been operating very successfully out of the Grotto Dining Room and its adjoining kitchen near Egan Dining Hall, but she expects the new building to kick things up to a higher level. “Although we added upgrades over the years, our old facility was more than 25 years old. In the food and beverage world, that’s a dinosaur,” she explains. “The restaurant business has changed dramatically and now we can truly say that we offer our students the kind of facilities they’ll see out in the real world. There’s equipment here that even I haven’t worked with before.” Daryl Georger, Ph.D., is the department’s expert on facilities planning. “He’s been dreaming for years about what we should have, and one look at this kitchen tells you he was finally able to do it,” says Sheldon. The teaching kitchen on the CAE’s lower level is equipped with the latest technology. Windows dominate the design of the building, creating a large, bright, airy space. Adjoining the kitchen is the Marriott Café, named for J.W. and Alice Marriott, major benefactors of Mercyhurst hospitality programs. The dining room comfortably seats about 60 guests for lunches and

dinners prepared and served by the students. The meals are open to the public – if you’re lucky enough to get a seat. By early next year, Sheldon says a smaller service kitchen, the Statler Kitchen, will be up and running on the main floor, allowing students to assist with catering events of all kinds. Eventually, she expects to resurrect the concept of Café Diem, the student-run coffee shop formerly housed in Hammermill Library. The café will serve coffee and snacks in the atrium inside the CAE’s main entrance. The new dynamic in the building also allows students to prepare for careers in catering, event planning and other upand-coming fields.

THE STATLER LEGACY Sheldon has chaired the newly reorganized Hospitality Division since January, overseeing culinary and hospitality programs on both the Erie and North East campuses. The department is now named for hotel pioneer Ellsworth Milton (E.M.) Statler. A multi-year gift of $1 million from the Statler Foundation he endowed helped create the new facilities in the CAE. The division offers different degrees on the two campuses, but they all share a focus on hands-on learning. They immerse students in the industries where they hope to work. Students at North East create and serve meals that draw sellout crowds to the Stone Chapel and Carriage Way dining rooms on campus. They work in a teaching kitchen that makes it easy for instructors to demonstrate techniques, and have a complete baking kitchen and a meat kitchen.

In addition, a unique partnership allows students to work in the operational kitchen and restaurant at the nearby Lake View Country Club. The club’s management and staff work with MNE culinary instructors to provide real-world experiences. Many North East students complete internships and externships at Lake View, and many have also landed full-time jobs there after graduation.

NEW PROGRAMS IN THE MIX After earning her own culinary arts degree, Sheldon was one of the first MNE graduates to transfer to the Erie campus and pursue a four-year degree. Now she’s been charged with making the transition seamless for other North East graduates making that move. Coming soon: a concentration in culinary arts at Erie that will allow North East transfers to keep growing their culinary skills. It will be one of just a few liberalarts-based bachelor’s degrees in culinary arts in the world. At North East, a new concentration in turf management/ landscape design that’s now in the works will prepare students to become owners and/or operators of landscape businesses or work toward golf course management. North East offers associate degrees in culinary arts and in hospitality management (including a concentration in facilities and property management for those interested in operating hotels, sports arenas and other venues). In Erie, hospitality management majors choose from concentrations in food and beverage management, hotel management and event management.

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A bird’s-eye view


Sr. Maura Smith, RSM ’48 and Judy Wieczorek ’61 worked to install this stone cairn where the Mercy Campus House (the former home economics practice house) once stood.

Photographer Steve Perkins captured this majestic view of the heart of the Erie campus from the air on Sept.12. The smaller photos highlight additions and improvements on the campus over the past year.


An overhead walkway connects the new Center for Academic Engagement to Hammermill Library. The CAE was dedicated Aug. 15. 13


The restored statue of Our Lady of Mercy in front of Old Main is now surrounded by a reflecting pool, seating area and beautiful landscaping.


Fans are enjoying a new seating area and pavilion on the hill south of Tullio Field. Alumni, parents and friends of Mercyhurst Athletics helped fund the project.


Mercyhurst University logos are gradually replacing “college” signs around campus, starting with this sign welcoming visitors near the E. 38th St. gates.


Laker uniforms, and the giant sign on the Tullio Field press box, reflect the new Mercyhurst University identity.


The Class of 2012 and Mercyhurst Student Government joined forces to redo the Great Room of the Carolyn Herrmann Student Union. 14

Greg Clepper works with students backstage

Jamie Grady and Harvey Hubbell V

Jon Lehrer master class

Arts&Culture Prospective students are always impressed when they tour the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center. Jamie Grady wants to make sure that those students make many return visits to “the PAC” once they enroll.

“I think once we get them in the doors, we’ll be able to create lifelong attendees of the arts,” he says. Grady arrived last spring to direct the new Mercyhurst Institute for Arts and Culture (MIAC), which oversees programming for the D’Angelo Center as well as other arts initiatives on campus. “We’re not changing the tradition of world-class programming that’s been built over the past 16 years,” he says. “There’s still plenty to appeal to the Erie arts community. But we’re definitely trying to get our faculty and students more involved.” Grady came to Mercyhurst fresh off a two-year stint in New Zealand, including a job managing fundraising for the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in Wellington. His career has also included both 12 years in nonprofit theater management and 10 years in academia, teaching at Pittsburgh’s Point Park University. The combination has prepared him well for his latest task – helping to bring a new generation of people to the arts. 15

He’s something of an authority on “Marketing to Generations X and Y on their Own Terms.” During the October annual conference of the Association of Arts Management, Marketing and Development Professionals, he and colleague Paige Beal presented “Under One Roof but Worlds Apart,” discussing innovative ways of attracting both Baby Boomers and Generation Y to the arts.

He’s approaching his job at Mercyhurst on many different fronts, and a conversation with Grady jumps often to yet another venture that’s in the planning stage .


The PAC’s mainstage performance series is the best-known and most visible Mercyhurst effort. This year’s programming includes outstanding jazz, classical music and dance, with big names like tap dancer Savion Glover and the family piano phenomenon The 5 Browns among those still to come. There are 10 presentations this year, and Grady hopes there will be a dozen next year, including at least a couple of major national acts. The featured artists are being chosen to appeal to student audiences as well as the community and to connect with student courses and projects. All the live shows are scheduled while students are on campus to enjoy them, and Grady’s looking for ways to draw in those students however he can.

Many of the guest artists stage special master classes for ‘Hurst music and dance students. A day before his innovative modern dance company took the PAC stage, Jon Lehrer was in the danceSpace studios introducing dance majors to his unique style. Faculty members have also been recruited to enhance some programs. In September, Voxare String Quartet performed live music to accompany a groundbreaking silent film, Dziga Vertov’s 1929 documentary Man with a Movie Camera. Beforehand, communication faculty member and film buff Brian Sheridan helped the audience understand the unique production


Mercyhurst’s film line-up remains extraordinary. Taylor Little Theater now serves as the university’s cinema space, and films have moved from Wednesdays to Fridays to encourage students to attend. “Taylor is a great venue for films,” Grady says. With a 250-seat capacity, it’s an intimate space that allows filmgoers to get closer to the screen. Its new sound system and Blu-Ray projection equipment show off films to their best advantage. The Maria J. Langer Film Series, endowed by John Langer ’95 in honor of his mother, screens documentaries and independent

and world films not available at other local theaters. “We’re looking for fresh ideas and filmmakers with good stories to tell,” Grady notes.

have the skills to move large arts projects forward, and these skills translate into any event industry.

Six times a year, Mercyhurst also brings filmmakers to campus to present their films and interact with audiences. These On Screen/In Person events are presented in cooperation with the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation.

On still another front, Grady and his assistant, Christine Olivier, are nurturing relationships between MIAC and other arts organizations on campus and all around Erie.

Early in November, On Screen/In Person welcomed director Harvey Hubbell V for a showing of his film, Dislecksia: The Movie. It was another opportunity to get the college community involved, and Susan Johnson of the education department and Dianne Rogers of the Learning Differences Program organized faculty, students and alumni to join Hubbell for a post-show discussion about the learning disability. MIAC is looking for opportunities to showcase other kinds of films, too. History Professor John Olszowka, Ph.D., for example, is saluting the 50th anniversary of the classic To Kill a Mockingbird with a festival of other films made in 1962. (Did you know that How the West Was Won, Lawrence of Arabia and the first James Bond movie, Dr. No, were released in 1962?) While films have moved across campus to Taylor, simulcasts of performances from the New York Metropolitan Opera will stay put in the PAC. A dozen operas are on this year’s schedule. “It feels just like you’re at the Met,” says Grady. He hopes to expand into other simulcasts, including ballet and theater.


Besides coordinating all these performances, Grady is also charged with developing a new major in arts management. Students will get a firm grounding in both business and the arts, plus extensive hands-on experience in the Performing Arts Center. During their first two years, they’ll work in the box office, the front of the house, backstage and in the MIAC offices.


In the fall, inspired by Voxare’s tribute to the silent film genre, MIAC teamed with the Film Society of Northwestern Pennsylvania to stage a unique silent film competition. They challenged local filmmakers to create short silent films, each incorporating a major local landmark (including Mercyhurst’s iconic front gates). Top films earned their directors tickets to several local film series – and screenings at Taylor.

“We want students to come to see our performances, but more than that we want to get them engaged. We want them to realize they too have the capacity to create art.” MIAC also becomes the umbrella for a variety of performances by Mercyhurst students in music, dance and theater. “We’re looking for ways to celebrate the achievements of our own students, and to help them draw in even larger audiences,” Grady adds. “We’re trying to create a delightful storm of activity and interest in the arts.”

MIAC is also collaborating with its neighbors on the third floor of Old Main, Mercyhurst’s Fashion Merchandising Department. On Feb. 8, the Langer Film Series will be showing Bill Cunningham New York, a documentary about the long-time fashion and street photographer for The New York Times. Before that, local camera buffs will be invited to “Be Bill Cunningham for a Day,” taking photos of fashion and style around campus and on the streets of Erie. Winning photos will be displayed at the PAC. Fashion students and MIAC are also working with the Erie Art Museum as it prepares for an exhibit of works by fashion photographer Victor Skrebneski that’s due to open in July.


“Then we’re going to kick them out,” Grady laughs. Arts management majors will do a series of internships in their areas of interest during their final two years as well as summers.

The goal of all these diverse efforts is to engage new audiences with the arts, including the college students who will be the audiences of the future.

“Essentially, we’re going to be creating producers,” Grady says. “Our students will

“It’s not just about selling tickets,” he emphasizes.

Choreographer and Broadway star Savion Glover performs at Mercyhurst on Feb. 8, 2013. Check out the rest of the season at 16

On top of the world Dave Hyland had long dreamed of taking a year off to travel and explore the world. Last year, he gradually cut all the strings that bound him to his everyday life and started planning the journey. His term as president of the Erie Faculty Senate was winding down. He passed on the role of biology department chair to Steve Mauro and took a leave from his teaching duties. He had no family in town; his belongings could be stored and his condo sublet. The last issue was his beloved 17-year-old cat. When Pesta died, it seemed like a sign. “It was like she was telling me ‘there’s moss under your feet – get out of here – you need to go”, he says. On Labor Day 2011, he headed west to Colorado to spend several weeks with his extended family. Climbs of Mt. Yale and La Plata Peak – each over 14,000 feet high – and a trip to the Cascades of Washington State to hone his ice-climbing skills began preparing him for his ultimate goal, Nepal’s 22,500-foot Ama Dablam. Ama Dablam is shorter and less famous than neighboring Everest, but it’s one of the more demanding and technical climbs in the eastern Himalayas. Hyland likes to


point out that Sir Edmund Hillary actually once deemed it unclimbable. That would be the Sir Edmund Hillary who was the first to summit Everest. Hyland met up with experienced climber Eric Larson for the trek. A professional mountain guide in Colorado, Larson earlier worked with actor Tom Cruise as he prepped for his role in Mission Impossible. Larson had first suggested the expedition to Nepal after he guided Hyland on an earlier climb in Wyoming’s Grand Tetons. The two spent several weeks in Nepal as they traveled toward Ama Dablam, dubbed “The Mother’s Necklace.” They prepared for the challenging altitude with acclimatization climbs of nearby peaks that each reached over 19,000 feet. “If ever there was a place where you are continuously filled with awe, it is the Himalayas,” Hyland says of those climbs. “The thing that struck me was just how vertical the world there it is, and how unworldly and mystical the mountains are. They seem to float above the clouds with no connection to terra firma.” Like all climbers preparing to tackle Ama Dablam, they also made a stop at the

venerable Pangboche Buddhist monastery to obtain Lama Geshe’s blessing. In a private ceremony, Lama Geshe presented Hyland and Larson with many gifts, most notably a personalized card. By tradition, climbing partners take pictures of each other holding up their cards at the summit and send the photos to the Lama upon their safe descent. Hyland’s photo now joins those of dozens of famous Himalayan mountaineers at the monastery. Despite the weeks of preparation, the climb itself proved challenging. It’s accomplished in stages, from Base Camp to Camp 1, then back down, then up to Camp 2, then back down to Camp 1, then up to Camp 3, before finally setting out for the peak. Hyland and Larson took a bit of a shortcut, skipping the stop at Camp 3 and climbing from Camp 2 to the summit in less than seven hours. That included probably the toughest part of the climb, Mushroom Ridge, a snow-covered, knife-edged ridge with a drop-off of about 3,000 feet on one side and about 5,000 feet on the other side.

Hyland describes the summit like this: “Suddenly, at 10 a.m., the slope lessened and there was no more ‘up’. We were there in the bright sunlight of a Himalayan morning on top of the world. Incredible.” There wasn’t time – or energy – to celebrate the victory. They still faced the arduous climb back down, and it would take its toll. In climbing slang, “bonking” means hitting the wall. Hyland says he ““bonked like I’ve never bonked before” after leaving Camp 2 on the descent. “I was entirely spent. I had given every piece of mental and physical energy to Ama Dablam and I had no more.“ It wasn’t until they returned to Base Camp that Hyland learned how remarkable the climb had been. Fellow climbers were amazed to discover the pair had summited (from Camp 2, not the usual Camp 3) in 6 ½ hours and then descended all the way to Camp 1 in a total of just 15 hours. “We were sprinting up and down that giant icy rock,” he says with a laugh. He did it, he says, by taking one step at a time.

“It’s the world’s oldest, simplest, seemingly trite yet most sage advice,” he says, “and so hard to carry out.” Even when he wasn’t sure he had what it took to push forward, he did. “On the mountain, as well as in life, that’s what’s important.” Did the experience change him? Hyland says he’s still trying to figure out how he’s different as a result of his adventures. He says he feels more laidback than he was before, and more footloose, but it’s more than that. “You know what you’re capable of after doing something like this,” he reflects. “Things that used to bother you, that seemed like they were blocking your way, just don’t carry as much weight as they did in the past.” Back at work now teaching in the anthropology and biology departments, he’s also working on potential travel experiences and research opportunities that he can share with his students. And he’ll definitely be climbing again next

summer, but he’ll probably travel no farther than the American West this time. After his Nepal adventure, Hyland headed to Mexico to tackle 18,500-foot Pico de Orizaba, the highest mountain in Mexico. Part of a range of gorgeous volcanic mountains in the central part of the country, it also boasts a spectacular crater more than 1,000 feet deep. Orizaba has been dormant since the 17th century, though eruptions of another volcano less than 100 miles to the west prompted large-scale evacuations earlier this year. This time his climbing partner was his nephew, Levi, who was returning to the country to resume his architectural work. It required two attempts, but they successfully summited in May and were rewarded with views that extended all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Hyland’s own chronicles describe both his trips in detail and include many photos of the mountains he conquered. Check them out at

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Photos contributed by Dave Hyland and Eric Larson.


Opening doors Steve Fiedler knows how important it is that college students get a taste of life in their chosen fields well before they enter the job market. family of magazines (Time, People, Sports Illustrated, etc.). As senior vice president and chief audit executive, Fiedler now oversees a team of more than 40 professionals at four offices in the U.S. and London. Not one to forget his roots, he today works with Mercyhurst’s Career Development Center to give today’s students a first-hand experience of life as a professional accountant – and a résumé builder to help them stand out in a very competitive job market.

As an accounting major at Mercyhurst in the early 1980s, Fiedler worked nearly full time at a small public accounting firm. He was doing it primarily to pay the bills, but the job also allowed him to “test drive” accounting, to make sure it was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. It was. On graduation in 1985, he landed a job in the Cleveland office of Arthur Andersen, then one of the Big 8 national accounting firms. During 16 years with Andersen, he also worked in North Carolina, Arkansas and Texas, eventually becoming a partner in the firm’s Audit and Business Advisory Group and working with major telecommunications companies like Verizon and GTE. The next stop on the career ladder was Time Warner Inc. Hired in 2001, he was charged with developing an internal audit function for the global media conglomerate, which includes everything from the TV and movie operations of Warner Bros., to cable TV channels like HBO, TNT and CNN, to the Time Inc. 19

For the last several years, Fiedler’s made sure that he or colleague Tony Latino visits Mercyhurst annually in search of interns. They’ve hired at least one each year, and this year recruited three for assignments throughout Time Warner’s internal audit operations. “When they arrive, we put them to work doing actual audits right away,” he emphasizes. “It’s a win-win: we get critical work done and the kids get a competitive wage to gain solid experience that looks great on a résumé.” Fiedler says he’s not in a position to hire any of the interns once they graduate; even entry-level jobs in his department require several years of experience and training. Such new-hire training, in Fiedler’s view, is better done with the Big 4 accounting firms who have made significant investment in classroom training curriculum as well as on-the-job training in the form of auditing many companies across a variety of industries. He can and does, however, tap into his extensive network of contacts in the Big 4 accounting firms around the U.S. to help successful interns find their first jobs.

“We call on others we know and put in a good word to get them into the interview cycle.” “I’d like to think that I might have a chance to get one of them to come back to Time Warner later, after they’ve got the breadth of experience we need,” he says. “In the meantime, we’re helping create a pipeline for Mercyhurst students into those major firms.” Meghan Geci ’11 landed a Time Warner internship the summer before her senior year. She worked at the firm’s headquarters at Columbus Circle in New York City, lived at nearby New York University, and was treated like a regular employee. She even traveled to Los Angeles on a two-week audit project. One of only two interns working in internal audit that summer, she says the staff genuinely cared about her and took the time to discover where she wanted to go in her career. The professional connections paid off. “Mr. Fiedler referred me to all the Big 4 firms, and even introduced me to the partner in Ernst & Young who was working on the Time Warner account at the time,” she recalls. She now works for EY at its Times Square headquarters. She expects to stay with the company for at least several years because of the excellent training it offers; she’s also one section away from earning her designation as a Certified Public Accountant. “I’m really grateful for the experience, the professional contacts and the opportunities Time Warner gave me.” Meghan’s sister Kaitlyn, now a senior accounting major, followed in her sister’s

As associate director of career services, Frank Rizzone coordinates internships for an ever-growing number of Mercyhurst students. “The word is getting out there that an internship opens the door to opportunities a student wouldn’t otherwise have,” he notes. Some Mercyhurst programs require Kaitlyn and Meghan Geci

Ian Wild

internships, including intelligence studies, fashion merchandising, interior design, communication and hospitality management.

footsteps and spent the summer of 2012 with Time Warner in New York. She was able to live in Hoboken, N.J., with her sister during her internship, though Meghan Geci has since moved into Manhattan to be closer to her job. It was actually Kaitlyn Geci’s third internship experience. “Employers are looking for experience on your résumé,” she says. “These internships gave me a head start.” Fiedler has also helped her pursue job opportunities for after her graduation next May. “It’s crazy how many connections he has,” she laughs. She has her eye on a Big 4 accounting job in Boston.

men’s lacrosse team. During his senior year he focused on football and last spring signed with the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent. Though he didn’t make the final roster, he says the possibility of a call to the NFL is “definitely still on the table.” He’s since shifted gears from his original accounting goal and now works as a financial planner with Merrill-Lynch in Pittsburgh.

Virtually all departments encourage them. “It’s an important part of the career exploration process,” Rizzone says. “Students can get experience in the field, test the waters to see if a job is a good fit for them or try out various locations and specialties. Often students discover the perfect niche for themselves.” The majority of Mercyhurst students complete internships during the summer. An added bonus: about half of them are paid for their work. Rizzone is constantly working to expand the

Ian Wild ’12 also spent the summer before his senior year with Time Warner in New York. After what he calls a “great internship with a big-name company in an awesome city,” he said he gained a deeper understanding of how businesses actually function.

list of opportunities available to students.

An outstanding scholar-athlete, Wild as a junior had been an integral part of both the PSAC champion football team and the national champion

campus for full-time or summer positions,

He’s always looking to enlist more Mercyhurst alumni to help pave the way for later generations of Lakers. If you or your company can provide an internship or would like to recruit on contact him at or call (814) 824-2424. 20

From The Hill title of “Alumni Distinguished Professor,” and she was elected to the Academy of Teaching Excellence. She also serves half time as associate dean of Virginia Tech’s graduate school. She’s done wide-ranging research through the years, with a special focus on resiliency – the quality that enables older adults to remain active and engaged in life even though they might have aches and pains, be widowed, or live on a low income. Rosemary’s latest book, due out this year, is titled Spiritual Resiliency and Aging: Hope, Relationality, and the Creative Self. Also coming out this year is a revised version of her popular textbook, Handbook of Families and Aging.

Mary Daly ’66, Rosemary Blieszner ’70, Kathleen Blieszner ’72

Three named Distinguished Alumni Mercyhurst University bestowed its Distinguished Alumni Award on three women during its annual Reunion Weekend held on the Erie campus June 1-3. Mary Daly ’66, who serves as President Thomas Gamble’s liaison to the Board of Trustees and board professional, was honored for a career spanning 46 years of service to her alma mater. Also honored were sisters Rosemary Blieszner, Ph.D. ’70, a professor of human development at Virginia Tech, and Kathleen Blieszner, Ph.D. ’72, regulatory affairs manager at Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati, Ohio. During much of her career, Daly was the highest-ranking woman executive at Mercyhurst. She left Mercyhurst only briefly, heading to Fairfield University to earn a master’s degree in corporate and political communication. Among many “firsts,” she was the first woman to serve as president of the Erie Ad Club and to earn the George Mead Award for a Distinguished Career in Public Relations and Advertising. 21

Daly introduced the concept of branding at Mercyhurst in the 1980s, launched the school’s first professional website, and founded the Mercyhurst Magazine and the Monday Morning campus newsletter. Her advertising campaigns captured many awards, including a pair of coveted silver awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. She’s well-known for the major events she managed, from graduations, Christmas parties and building dedications to the D’Angelo Young Artists Competitions and the popular Old-Fashioned Fourth of July celebrations. Outside of work, Daly’s active in a number of Catholic organizations, including the Mercy Associates, the Knights and Ladies of St. Patrick, and the Catholic Daughters of America. Rosemary Blieszner got her Mercyhurst degree in home economics, and returned to campus to teach after earning her master’s at Ohio State. Later, focusing in the emerging field of gerontology, she pursued a doctorate from Penn State and launched a 30-year career at Virginia Tech. A professor of human development, she’s one of only 10 faculty members at the Blacksburg campus to earn the coveted

Kathleen Blieszner followed a different but equally successful path than her sister. The only chemistry major in her class, she earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in organic chemistry at Ohio State. She did post-doctoral research there, and at other sites including Harvard Medical School and the University of Pittsburgh, before joining Proctor & Gamble. As a senior scientist with the well-known consumer-goods manufacturer, her work was creating, as she says, “better living through chemicals.” She worked on projects like making toilet tissue softer and stronger and baby wipes softer on skin. She also holds a U.S. patent for a silicone emulsion lotion for baby wipes. Eventually she added responsibility for regulatory affairs, handling P&G’s tissue, towel and facial products. In 2001 she moved into Procter & Gamble’s pharmaceutical division. Still specializing in regulatory affairs, she supervised relations with agencies like the FDA that work to assure quality and safety as the company developed new drugs. Today, she works especially with feminine care products that are heavily regulated as medical devices. Nominations are now being accepted for the Distinguished Alumni awards that will be presented during Reunion Weekend 2013. To recommend an outstanding graduate for recognition, contact Director of Alumni Relations Ryan Palm at (814) 824-3320 or

Trustees approve strategic plan

Alumni giving helps boost Mercyhurst in rankings Mercyhurst continues its upward trajectory among the 180 top regional universities in the North according to the 2013 rankings of America’s Best Colleges by U.S.News & World Report. “This serves as additional affirmation that the creativity, initiative and commitment of the entire Mercyhurst University family is paying great dividends,” said Mercyhurst President Thomas Gamble, Ph.D. “Such accolades are wonderful, but at the end of the day what matters most is that our students have an outstanding educational experience. We think that happens every day on The Hill.” Rankings are based on a variety of factors that are believed to reflect an institution’s quality. Significant for Mercyhurst this year is its “Average Alumni Giving Rate,” which jumped from 18 percent to 20 percent, tying with top-ranked Villanova University. Among the top 50 regional universities in the North, only Misericordia University was higher with an alumni giving rate of 24 percent. “This is a credit to our alumni who, despite tough economic times, continue to be there for their alma mater and to invest in the future of our students,” said David Livingston, Ph.D., vice president for advancement. “Our alumni participation ranking has risen in each of the past five years, with the last fiscal year finishing at over 23 percent and the current year on pace to achieve our goal of 24 percent,” added Ryan Palm, director of alumni relations and annual giving. Mercyhurst also recorded upticks in its rankings for student/faculty ratio (14:1), percentage of classes with fewer than 20 students (60), and average SAT scores for entering students (950-1160).

Mercyhurst Trustees approved the university’s 2013-2020 Strategic Plan at their Sept. 29 meeting. The approval followed discussion by several committees at the board’s May meeting, as well as an in-depth review over the summer by a special board sub-committee. The strategic planning process, which began in summer 2011, included numerous constituent meetings, focus groups and interviews on the Erie and North East campuses, as well as an online survey of alumni. More than 200 comments and suggestions were received during the last year. “We had a tremendous response from the Mercyhurst community,” said Mercyhurst Vice President Michael Lyden, Ed.D., who coordinated the planning process. “The strength of the plan is a direct result of people’s willingness to share their time and ideas.” The plan identifies initiatives in five broad areas: academic excellence, hands-on and engaged learning, the student experience, collaboration beyond the campus and organizational effectiveness. “We expect to update the plan every year as circumstances change,” Lyden said, “so we’ll be welcoming ideas from all members of the community on a continuous basis.” The plan is available for review at Comments can be sent to

Donor listings now online Mercyhurst University has replaced its former Honors magazine with a new online list of donors. The new format allows us to continue to recognize the generosity of all our supporters, but also reduces costs and environmental impact. To view the honor roll for 2011-2012, visit

Add to your collection Back by popular demand, the alumni relations team is happy to offer once again a limited edition Christmas ornament as a ‘thank you’ gift for anyone who makes a gift to the Mercyhurst Annual Fund through Dec. 14. Make your donation today at or call (814) 824-2392.

We also have a limited number of last year’s ornament, featuring the O’Neil Tower. 22


Hundreds of Mercyhurst alumni came back to campus in September when Homecoming/Parents Weekend celebrated “The Year of the University.” Though rain plagued much of the weekend, visitors watched the football team beat Slippery Rock University 38-23 before retreating to a giant tent north of Tullio Field to observe “Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day” with music by Corned Beef and Curry.

Graduates browsed through a history exhibit to reminisce about Mercyhurst’s past, and toured the campus – especially the new Center for Academic Engagement – to discover what’s been happening since they left The Hill. From organized gatherings like Friday Night Lights to impromptu get-togethers all over town, it was a chance for alumni to reconnect with classmates, teammates and fellow Lakers.

New trustees named Three new members will join the Mercyhurst University Board of Trustees when it meets in February 2013. Tom D. Dillehay, Ph.D., is a renowned anthropologist who holds the Rebecca Webb Wilson Endowed Chair as Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Religion and Culture at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. He is the leading South American archaeologist and one of the most internationally visible archaeologists of his time. He received his doctorate from the University of Texas. Jane Gerety, RSM, Ph.D., the seventh president of Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I., since 2009, is a member of the South Central Community of Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. She’s also vice chair of the President’s Council of the Conference for Mercy Higher Education. She holds an undergraduate and master’s degree in French and a doctorate in English from the University of Michigan. Andrea T. Jeffress, M.D., is a boardcertified physician affiliated with OB/ GYN Associatesof Erie. She is a scholar, published research scientist and a graduate of Yale University School of Medicine who did her internship and residency at the Yale New Haven Hospital. She is the first African-American woman and first female physician to serve on the Mercyhurst board.

Photos contributed by Jennifer Coulombe and Emily Dietrich.

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Seven trustees have recently retired from the board. Earning lifetime recognition as trustee emeriti were: Jane Theuerkauf who had served since 1971; Sister Maura Smith, RSM (since 1980); Elizabeth Greenleaf and Myron Jones (since 1987); and Bruce H. Raimy and Msgr. L. Thomas Snyderwine (since 2000). F. Brady Louis, who had served on the board ex officio since 1987 as longtime chair of the President’s Associates, has retired from the board and from his position as the university’s director of development. 24

LAKER NOTES Dina Lawson McKenna, Esq. ‘93 has joined Health Plans of Florida as chief operating officer and general counsel. Jule Gardner Banville ‘95 accepted a tenure-track position as assistant professor at the University of Montana School of Journalism. Courtney Nicolai ‘97 accepted a new position as executive director for community and youth services for the YMCA of Greater Cleveland as well as a fellowship with Cleveland Social Venture Partners. Lauren Diulus ‘98 has joined Leech Tishman’s employment practice group in Pittsburgh, Pa. Timothy Bednarski ‘99 has accepted a position as director of athletics at Cicero-North Syracuse High School. Billy Byrnes ’02 and wife Kristin, who were profiled in the last issue of Mercyhurst Magazine, sport their new Mercyhurst University shirts near their home in Nicaragua. They have a year left on their missionary assignment there.


Brian Cagle ‘04 has accepted an associate position with the law firm of Pepicelli, Youngs and Youngs, P.C. in Meadville, Pa., after serving as an assistant district attorney in York County, Pa., for two years. He and his wife, Sylvia Bluhm Cagle ‘02, relocated to the Meadville area.


Mary Costello ‘62 has retired after 20 years of teaching and 22 years of technical writing.

Margaret Burke Lucius ‘63 married James Robert Hartley Jr. on Jan. 11, 2012.

Christina DiFonzo, Ph.D. ’87 was named Educator of the Year by the Mid America Croplife Association (MACA). After earning a degree in biology at Mercyhurst, she received her M.S. and Ph.D. in entomology from the University of Minnesota. She now teaches entomology at Michigan State University and is recognized as a leader in the study of soybean aphids and other pests.

Jane Bassett Millett ‘75 and Thomas Heuer ‘76 are engaged to be married.

Kelley Moore Spaeder ‘88 has been named senior community manager with the American Cancer Society South Atlantic Division in Georgia.

Danielle Prokop ‘04 married Patrick O’Donnell Jan. 26, 2011, at Walt Disney World.

Matthew Roy Deibert Sr. ‘89 and Ian Deibert won the Travel Channel’s “Sand Wars” competition. Sean M. Fadale, MBA, FACHE ‘91 has been appointed president and chief executive officer of Community Memorial Hospital in Hamilton, N.Y. Mark Simpson, CPA, CFP, MBA ‘91 is a part-time faculty member at Mercyhurst University teaching corporate tax, income tax, auditing, estate planning and financial planning for the Walker School of Business. 25

Mackenzie Dexter ‘93 married Brad Chafin on June 23, 2012. AmandaJo Davis Briggs ‘04 was a bridesmaid and the wedding photographer was Danielle Prokop O’Donnell ‘04. Courtney Nicolai ‘97 is engaged to marry Gary Guzy in the spring of 2013. Bradley W. Sage ‘03 married Jamie L. Famiglietti ‘06 on Dec. 17, 2011, in Christ the King Chapel at Mercyhurst.

Jayme M. Sandy ‘04 married Julia Znidarsic on Oct. 15, 2011. They reside in Wickliffe, Ohio.

Carrie E. Karsznia ‘06 is engaged to marry Brandan Strickland in Minneapolis, Minn., in October 2013. Emily Whitaker ‘06 is engaged to marry Christopher Zdarko in May 2013.

Lucia Abaunza ‘07 and Brandon McLain ‘07 were married in Christ the King Chapel at Mercyhurst on Sept. 29, 2012. Charles Hutchins ‘07 married his high school sweetheart, Shamarah Thomas, on July 3, 2010. Kyle Jackson ‘08 is engaged to marry Maria Potenza. Jenna N. Golden ‘09 is engaged to marry Eric Bresnehan. The wedding is planned for August 2014. Elizabeth J. Kelley ‘09 married Ryan Brandt July 28, 2012. Ashley Scherer ‘09 was in the wedding party. Stephen Kindler ‘09 married Nicole Marasco ‘09 on June 30, 2012, in Harrisburg, Pa. Jacquelyn Pyrdek ‘09 married Stephen Woodward on Aug. 25, 2012. Emily P. Williams ‘10 married Zebariah Hursh ‘11 Sept. 1, 2012. The wedding party included Kerrie Smith ‘10 and Tim Hudak ‘12. Kara L. Kalinowski ‘11 married Michael Leone on July 21, 2012, in Erie, Pa. Bridesmaids included Jessica Valentino ‘11 and Sarah Hlusko ‘12. Katherine E. Lyden ‘12 married Zachary Krajkowski ‘12 June 30, 2012.

BIRTHS & ADOPTIONS Lisa Eckl McKay ‘93 and husband Michael had a son, Matthew Ryan McKay, on May 22, 2012. Jule Gardner Banville ‘95 and husband Lee had a daughter, Maggie Ann, on Feb. 23, 2012. Anna Hefferan Anderson ’01 and husband Mike had a daughter, Sophia Helene, on Jan. 25, 2012. Kathryn E. Widenmeyer ‘97 and husband Paul had a daughter, Nora Rae, on March 7, 2012. Nora joins older sister Ava.


Class of ’62 celebrates More than 30 classmates gathered during Reunion Weekend 2012 to mark the 50th anniversary of their graduation.

Alumni J. Anne Stout Haughney ‘41 Jeanne E. Pfadt ‘ 42 Margaret Darragh ‘45 Teresa Lennon Quinlan ‘46 Margaret A. Fournier ‘47 Hedwig Klan Garr ‘47 Catherine Williamson ‘49 Sr. Maria O’Connor, RSM, Ph.D. ’50 Mary Jo Maier ‘52 Barbara Bowen ‘55 Shirley Bennetti ‘58 Sr. Kathleen Ruzkowski, O.S.B. ‘72 Sharon Buterbaugh Concilla ‘74 Alexis J. Walker, Ph.D. ‘74 James S. Beskid ‘78 Joseph A. Pryber ‘78 John Paul Bruno ‘79

Dani Kutrufis Rudolph ‘99 and husband Brian had a daughter, Abigail Irene, on June 11, 2012. Isaac J. McPherson ‘99 welcomed second son Nicholas on July 9, 2011. Lesley Foster Appleton ‘00 and husband Mark had a daughter, Calleigh Catherine, on April 12, 2011. She joined siblings Elaina and Cullen. Travis Lindahl ‘00 and Anna Signs Lindahl ‘03 had a daughter, Erin Olivia, on May 28, 2012. Thomas J. Palmer ‘00 and Heather Weber Palmer ‘01 had a daughter, Brianna Faith, on July 11, 2012. She joins sisters Julia, Lauren and Samatha. Earle Graham ‘01 and Lynn Falbo Graham ‘01 had their first child, Natalie Rose, on March 20, 2012. Elizabeth Kahn Summers ‘01 and husband Jim had their first son, James B. Summers IV, on April 21, 2012. Elizabeth Gerschultz Payne ‘02 and husband Derek had a son, Henry Oliver, on Feb. 1, 2012. Molly Pettigrew Piercy ‘02 had a daughter, Carmella Kay, on April 30, 2012.

Michelle L. Hosford ‘02 and husband Donnie had a son, Landon Mason, on April 2, 2012. Landon joins siblings Aidan, Soraya and Mason. Peter Cuneo ‘03 and wife Jennifer had a son, Tyler Anthony, on Aug. 9, 2012. Kristin E. Graves ‘03 and husband Josh had a daughter, Kennedy Elizabeth, on July 29, 2012. Katy Delaney Yates ‘03 and husband Nathan had a daughter, Delaney Elizabeth, on Dec. 17, 2011. Jessica Sessler Alesso ‘04 and husband Andrew had a son, Daniel Phillip Michael, on May 20, 2012. Lindsay Clark Wrazen ‘05 and husband Paul had a son, Sean Michael, on Mar. 7, 2012. Erin Lenz Grammer ‘06 and husband Scott had a daughter, Samantha Lynn, on May 1, 2012. Charles Hutchins ‘07 and wife Shamarah had their first child, Gabrielle, on May 4, 2012. Elizabeth Cartwright Pettinger ‘07 and husband Ben had their first child, David Gilbert, on July 25, 2012 Amanda Placek Wood ‘08 and husband Aaron had a daughter, Zoe Joy, on Jan. 28, 2012.

Carol S. Kramer ‘89 Marcella Pietras Dristas ‘03 Joseph R. Zimmer ‘07 Husband of: Mary Alice Gensheimer ‘52 (Richard Gensheimer) Maureen P. Carroll ‘68 (Douglas Carroll) Jean Shirley ‘72 (Paul ‘Jay’ Gullo) Mother of: Jean Marie Bojalad ‘71 (Genevieve Dahrouge Bojalad) Gerald Fedor ‘73 (Janet Fedor) Antonietta Quinn ‘92 and Maria Gill ‘94 (Rosemary Tripodi) Mother-in-law of: Kimberly Torrelli Zacherl ‘85 (Shirley Zacherl) David Quinn ‘90 (Rosemary Tripodi) Father of: Richard Skonieczka Jr. ‘85 (Richard Skonieczka Sr.) Son of: Patricia M. Bluemle ‘58 (Thomas Bluemle) Brother of: Sr. Domenica DeLeo ‘59 (Joseph DeLeo) Edward McGraw ‘75 (J. David McGraw) Sister of: Sr. Rita Brocke ‘48 (Gayanne Brocke) 26

Making the show When former Laker baseball star David Lough got his shot in the majors this summer, you might say he seized the opportunity. Lough, who’s been part of the Kansas City Royals’ organization since 2007, was called up to the parent club on Sept. 1. He singled in his first major league at-bat and came around to score. Three innings later, he singled and scored again, becoming just the fourth Royal in franchise history to score two runs in his major league debut. He stole his first career base on Sept. 3 and had his first major league RBI on Sept. 5. But he made his biggest mark on Sept. 18 when his impressive backhanded catch in left centerfield topped ESPN’s list of the Top 10 plays of the day. Lough says it’s hard to put his emotions about all this into words. “As a kid I always dreamed of one day playing at the elite level with all the players I idolized. Now, I am in their shoes while young kids now look to me for that same inspiration,” he marvels. “It truly is a blessing and I am so thankful that the Kansas City Royals are giving me a shot in the Major Leagues, and thankful to all my coaches, family and friends who have been there through this journey.” 27

Lough, 26, is the third former Mercyhurst baseball player to reach the major leagues, but the first position player and the first to start a game. Pitchers John Costello (1988-91) and David Lee (1999-2004), both of whom are in the Mercyhurst Athletic Hall of Fame, appeared in relief. During his Mercyhurst career from 2005 to 2007, Lough batted .383 and had 202 hits, 16 home runs, 126 runs batted in, and 60 stolen bases. An 11th-round draft pick of the Kansas City Royals in 2007, he batted .294 in six minor league seasons, recording 62 home runs, 91 stolen bases, and 327 runs batted in. Baseball America ranked Lough 18th among the Royals’ top-20 prospects. He was batting .275 for the AAA Omaha Storm Chasers in the Pacific Coast League before the call-up. When the Royals played the Cleveland Indians late in September, his family and Mercyhurst fans (including most of the current baseball roster) headed to Progressive Field to see him play. Lough is pictured at top left with Mercyhurst coaches Joe and Charlie Spano. Ironically,

Lough, a native of Akron, Ohio, had been a longtime Indians fan. After being drafted, Lough left Mercyhurst before graduating but he’s returned in his off-seasons to take courses and is now just a couple of classes away from his degree in finance. He hopes to wrap those up during winter term – just in time to head to Royals training camp.

Photo: Chris Vleisides/Kansas City Royals


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Mercyhurst Magazine - November 2012  

Mercyhurst Magazine - November 2012