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fall 2009

University Magazine

King of

Cool Under the guidance of Roger Falloon ’97, a Philadelphia icon takes its place on the national stage.

In this issue




Calming the Storm New research on therapies used to soothe disabled children holds promise for dementia patients and their caregivers. By Brett Tomlinson


Double Act

An unlikely passion for both music and public safety define John Grillone ’88. By Carol Cool


King of Cool

Under the guidance of Roger Falloon ’97, a Philadelphia icon takes its place on the national stage.


By Richard Rys

Crossing Continents Thanks to an increasing emphasis on internationalization, growing numbers of student-athletes are calling Holy Family home. By Paul Gornowski


34 TigerTales

4 BrieflyNoted Out and about on campus

42 FamilyReunion

A message from the President

32 1000Words A visual slice of life at Holy Family

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Reports from the court, track, and field

News for the alumni community

7 GivingBack 4 Making a difference on campus 48 LastWord

Q&A with educator Maryann Molishus ’00

6 MemoryLane 4 A nostalgic trip back in time

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A message from the President


or more than 54 years, Holy Family University has served the Philadelphia region and beyond as an institution of higher learning. But the University also is a viable economic contributor and committed community partner. In the fiscal year ending in June 2008, Holy Family estimates that its economic impact on the region boosted the economy by $91.2 million based on conservative economic multipliers used by the Pennsylvania Independent College and University Resource Center. With a student population of 3,500 at academic sites in Northeast Philadelphia, Newtown, and Bensalem, and an annual operating budget of approximately $50 million, Holy Family supports area businesses through direct expenditures on goods and services, which exceeded $6 million in fiscal year 2008. In addition, through salaries paid to 307 full-time faculty and staff and 365 part-time faculty and staff, approximately $5.3 million dollars were collected and paid to federal, state, and local tax authorities, including Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery, Delaware, and Chester counties. Moreover, the $91.2 million also does not take into consideration the economic impact of Holy Family’s graduates. Many of the University’s 12,000 alumni remain in the area and contribute to the economic vitality of the region as workers, homeowners, and through community involvement. Over the last six years, the University also embarked on various capital projects exceeding $50 million. These monies all were spent with major contractors and subcontractors located within the Philadelphia region or Pennsylvania, thus providing jobs to union workers on these projects. Holy Family realizes that these difficult economic times are tough on college and university students and their families. Recessions do not affect all college students and their families equally—low- and middle-income families and students are hit harder. Consequently, Holy Family has increased its institutional and need-based student financial aid by $1 million over the prior year. This aid is from University funds and not federal, state, or local funding agencies. Although this places additional burdens on University resources, it reemphasizes Holy Family’s commitment to students and their families. Making the Case for Independent Higher Education, which was released by the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP) in 2009, shows that private colleges and universities like Holy Family received only 15 percent of total Pennsylvania funds for financial aid, despite enrolling 41 percent of the state’s college and university students and conferring 49 percent of the state’s degrees to the 2008 graduating class. As you can see, the University’s impact on the regional economy is significant. It is for this reason that I ask you to encourage our lawmakers to support aid for independent colleges and universities like Holy Family. Sincerely,

Sister Franceca Onley, CSFN, PhD ’59


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University Magazine

Editor Jennifer Zamora Art Director Jay Soda Contributing Writers Carol Cool Paul Gornowski Naomi Hall Suzanne Libenson Robert Macartney Richard Rys Brett Tomlinson Kathy Warchol Marie Zecca Contributing Artist Daniel Adel Contributing Photographers Susan Beard Design Michael Branscom Naomi Hall Robert Macartney John McKeith Kathleen Migliarese Sabina Louise Pierce President S. Francesca Onley, CSFN, PhD ’59 Vice President for Institutional Advancement Margaret Kelly Director of Marketing and Communications Allen Arndt Holy Family University Magazine is published biannually by the Division of Institutional Advancement. Please address all correspondence to: Editor, Holy Family University Magazine Holy Family University 9801 Frankford Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19114 Changes of address should be sent at least 30 days prior to the publication of the issue for which it is to take effect. The opinions and views expressed in Holy Family University Magazine do not necessarily reflect the official policies of Holy Family University. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of published information. © 2009 Holy Family University

LEARN HOW YOU CAN Make a gift and receive payments you can count on for life.

A gift that pays you? Yes–it’s Holy Family University’s Charitable Gift Annuity, and here are just some of the benefits it offers you:

• The security of lifetime annuity payments (one or two lives) • High rates of return • Capital-gains tax savings if you donate appreciated assets

• Immediate income tax deduction • Choice of immediate payments, or larger payments deferred to a future date (such as post-retirement) when you may need additional income

Let us show you why Charitable Gift Annuities are our most popular life-income gift. For more information, contact: Margaret Kelly at or 267-341-3343


Out and about on campus

Success, Achievement Celebrated During 52nd Commencement


oly Family University celebrated its 52nd Commencement May 11 at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia. Thousands attended the ceremonies to watch graduating students receive their university credentials. Holy Family conferred 342 graduate degrees during a 9:30 am ceremony, and 536 baccalaureate degrees during a 12:30 pm ceremony. Commencement was also a time to bestow highest honors to individuals who have done exemplary work on behalf of others as well as distinguished faculty and students. Joseph Bordogna, PhD, former Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer of the National Science Foundation, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters during the morning ceremony. Dr. Bordogna is an Alfred Fitler Moore Professor of Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania.


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J. Lindsey Bradley, Jr., MBA, MHCA, FACHE, President and Chief Administrative Officer of the Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics in Tyler, Texas, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters during the afternoon ceremony. Founded by the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics has received national recognition and awards.

Phillies Pitcher Jamie Moyer, Co-Founder and President of The Moyer Foundation, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters during the afternoon ceremony. Moyer and his wife Karen established The Moyer Foundation in 2000. The foundation provides life-changing support to thousands of children coping with physical, emotional or financial distress and operates a network of bereavement camps for children and teens as well as a camp for children affected by addiction in their families. Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Lloyd M. Ayers attended and personally congratulated each student who graduated from the School of Business Administration’s Fire Science and Public Safety Administration program. Professor Emeritus of Nursing Kathleen A. McMullen, PhD, who is retiring, was recognized and honored. Dr. McMullen served Holy Family in the School of

Nursing and Allied Health Professions for 27 years. She plans to retire to Rhode Island. Assistant Professor Carl P. Anthony, EdD, and his wife Professor Phyllis J. Anthony, EdD, both retiring, were honored for their years of service to the University. Dr. Carl Anthony served the university for four years in the School of Arts and Sciences. Before joining Holy Family his career as a math teacher, elementary and middle school principal, and professor of mathematics in New Jersey spanned 40 years. Dr. Phyllis Anthony served the university for 11 years in the School of Education, teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Prior to joining Holy Family, her career as an elementary and special education teacher, principal, and administrator in New Jersey spanned 29 years. The Anthonys plan to travel in their retirement. Professor Cathleen A. Jenner, RN, PhD, of the School of Nursing and Allied Health Professions was honored as the recipient of the 2008 Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching. It is the highest honor for teaching excellence awarded at Holy Family University. Dr. Jenner has taught in the School of Nursing and Allied Health Professions since 1993.

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During commencement, Alison Elizabeth Smith ’09 received the Mother M. Neomisia Award, which is given to a senior whose character and loyalty to the University merit distinction. The award is named after the University’s founding president Sister Neomisia Rutkowska, CSFN, PhD. Anastasia M. Altomari ’09 received the Alumni Senior Award, which is given to a graduating student who best represents the student body as indicated by his or her academic achievement, campus involvement, and community service. – Naomi Hall

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Out and about on campus

“Holy Family’s Biggest Fan” Shares a Lesson in Perseverance


tephanie Peters ’09 graduated in May after attending Holy Family for nine years, taking one class a semester. She didn’t mind the wait. Attending the University was her dream realized. When she enrolled in fall 2000 she promised her mother Alberta Peters that she would give Holy Family her all. It would not be easy. Stephanie, 44, of Pennsauken, New Jersey, lives with cerebral palsy— a neurological disorder disrupting muscle movement throughout the body. For Stephanie this has meant relying on others for basic care. Her mother, who worked in the Pennsauken Police Department, drove Stephanie to campus and pushed her to class in a wheelchair. Unable to take notes, Stephanie taped lectures, which she reviewed and studied at home. She carefully dictated research papers and assignments to a personal aide who typed for her. A lot of good people helped Stephanie along the way, but she is proud that the degree she earned is her achievement alone.

Stephanie Peters receives her diploma after a nine-year college career. Throughout her educational career Stephanie hungered for knowledge and academic achievement. When she graduated from high school, Stephanie wanted to go to college. But teachers told her it would be too difficult because of her cerebral palsy. Alberta recalled how Stephanie cried after graduating from high school and said, “‘Mom is this all there is? Why did you bother sending me to school?’” Alberta comforted her daugh-


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Peters is all smiles at Commencement. ter as best she could and grew determined to help Stephanie get a meaningful education. Stephanie eventually enrolled in Gloucester County College and transferred to Holy Family. Her major was Religious Studies. Stephanie says the Roman Catholic faith has played a “major, major” role in her life. At one time she even considered becoming a religious, but decided not to pursue it. Her faith in God and love for knowledge enabled her to persevere at Holy Family for nine years despite the challenges and frustrations she faced. “I just have a lot of drive,” Stephanie says. Months before graduation, Stephanie was inducted into the Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honor Society for part-time undergraduate students who excel academically while facing challenges outside of school. Her physical condition belies her internal strength, courage, and insight. Alberta says it is unfortunate that people often make judgments based on what they see. “When people first meet her, they see the wheelchair. They don’t know her,” she says. The only time Stephanie considered giving up on pursuing a college degree was in 2003 when she was diagnosed with bladder cancer. Assistant Professor Reverend Mark J. Hunt, STL, and Professor Reverend James Collins, SOED, encouraged her to return to school after taking time off to get well. She did. Cancer is not an issue for her today. “I admire Father Hunt and Father Collins,” Stephanie says. After so many years commuting to campus from Pennsauken and working with faculty, Stephanie was happy to graduate but didn’t want to leave. “She said, ‘When I’m at Holy Family, I feel like I’m at home’,” Alberta says. “I believe…there has never been a student who loves that school more than her.” Commencement was a very emotional day for both of them. Stephanie’s father, aunt, brother, sister-in-law, and a home health aide were watching in the audience as Stephanie received her diploma. After the ceremony, the family celebrated at a South Philadelphia restaurant. Now that Stephanie has graduated, she’s hoping for the opportunity to apply her knowledge in the work world. She would like to work in the Church, ideally the Camden Diocese where she lives. It won’t be easy, but Stephanie’s accustomed to facing seemingly insurmountable challenges. Her faith has helped her overcome tougher challenges than a job hunt. She has the credentials to prove it. – Naomi Hall

WHYY to Feature Holy Family Art Program


his fall keep an eye on WHYY-TV for a seven-minute feature about the University’s art program. Filming for the television feature took place on February 23 in the University Art Gallery located on the Lower Level of the John M. Perzel Education and Technology Center on the Northeast Philadelphia Campus. A production crew spent several hours filming the art gallery and interviewing art students Lindsey Kilchesty, Jessica Notis, Jeanieann Haber, Gina D’Emilio, Colleen Mangold, Victoria Grayson, Hugh Prior,

Tina Scipione, and Jeff Marzullo. Professor Pamela Flynn, MFA, also was interviewed. This seven-minute feature will be one of a dozen or more in a WHYY series called “Creative Campuses” set to begin airing later this year, according to Arthur Ellis, WHYY Executive Director of Communications and Brand Management. Each Creative Campuses segment will focus on a different artistic aspect of a university or university art program. Topics range from architecture on campus to musical ensembles to sculptures. The segments will air separately. The station has not yet determined broadcast dates for the series. Universities featured in the series include St. Joseph’s University, Widener University, Villanova University, Ursinus College, Moore College of Art & Design, University of the Arts, Temple University’s Tyler School of Art, and Drexel University. About 15 area colleges were filmed. Art in Motion, a Philadelphia business specializing in documentaries, shot and produced Creative Campuses for WHYY-TV. The company is run by Robert Stoller, a Video Producer and Co-operative Education Advisor in the School of Arts and Sciences. – Naomi Hall WHYY-TV films a segment

for Creative Campuses.

Direct from Iraq: “Counseling in Combat”


abbi Jon Cutler, a Commander in the US Naval Reserves, discussed his experience as the only Jewish Chaplain in western Iraq—and his role as the Command Chaplain for all faiths at Al Asad Air Base and the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing—before a standing-room only crowd on Thursday, April 2, at Holy Family University–Newtown. Rabbi Cutler spent 13 months in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, supervising 40 chaplains and their assistants. In addition to his work with the Marines, Rabbi Cutler has counseled those coping with some of the most life-changing events in our nation’s recent history. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, he was called to the Pentagon to counsel family members of those who were killed and work with the mortuary team. In addition he was the only Jewish chaplain serving with the Marines during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. The presentation, sponsored by the graduate Counseling Psychology program, focused on the challenges and highlights of counseling and spirituality issues in combat. More than 90 people attended the free event.

– Robert Macartney

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Rabbi Jon Cutler served as the only Jewish Chaplain in Iraq.

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Out and about on campus

Free Lecture Series Attracts History Buffs and the Curious


he story of Lincoln Highway was retold in careful detail during a free lecture called “The Lincoln Highway in Pennsylvania” held at the University in May. Melinda Crawford, Executive Director of Preservation Pennsylvania, showed historic photographs, postcards, roadside markers, and roadside attractions to an audience of 100 interested listeners as she discussed the roadway’s significance. The Lincoln Highway passes through Bucks County and links New York City to San Francisco. Some history aficionados who attended the lecture took the drive to San Francisco as an historic adventure. Brochures and road maps were provided at the lecture for those interested in making the trip. The Lincoln Highway lecture was presented as a program of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council and supported in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Holy Family University has partnered with Glen Foerd on the Delaware each year since fall 2007 to pres-

ent a free history lecture each semester. Through the collaborative efforts of Associate Professor of History Mary Carroll Johansen, PhD, and Glen Foerd Executive Director Patrick Hotard, the lecture series has grown in popularity and has developed a following. In fall 2008 the lecture series presented “Frederick Law Olmsted battles the Fairmount Park Commission,” an insightful look into the circumstances that led to the creation of today’s city parks. About 100 people attended that evening to hear an expert in national park history, Elizabeth Milroy, PhD, of Wesleyan University in Connecticut, give the lecture. Dr. Johansen and Hotard hope to secure grant funding and continue the lecture series. – Naomi Hall

University Named in Regional Autism Center


he Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare recently announced the creation of three regional autism centers to serve the eastern, western, and central regions of Pennsylvania.

Holy Family University was named as a partner institution of the Eastern Regional Autism Center. As a partnership institution the University’s School of Education may develop cur-


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riculum and train instructors who will work with autistic individuals. The centers were developed in response to the growing number of Pennsylvanians living with an autism spectrum disorder, according to the Department of Public Welfare. The centers were a primary recommendation of the Autism Task Force commissioned in 2004. Each center is a partnership of medical centers, centers of autism research and services, and universities involved in the treatment and care of adults and children with autism. Other institutions of the Eastern Regional Autism Center are University of Pennsylvania Center for Autism Research, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Drexel University, and Lehigh University. State Secretary of Public Welfare Estelle B. Richman announced the creation of these centers in April.

Longtime University Supporter George Della Pia Dies


eorge Della Pia, a longtime University friend and supporter, died on April 7. At the time of his death, Della Pia served on the Executive Committee of Parents & Friends of Holy Family University and Chair of the Ways and Means Committee. He also served on the Board of Trustees’ Development and Public Relations Committee. Della Pia made annual contributions to the University through the Parents & Friends group and was a driving force behind their annual fashion show. – Robert Macartney

– Naomi Hall

map courtesy of brian butko, stackpole books


Yellow Ribbon Program Debuts


eterans who served after September 11, 2001 and enroll in Holy Family University may qualify to receive additional tuition assistance through the new Veterans Administration Yellow Ribbon Program beginning August 1, 2009. Holy Family University recently joined the Yellow Ribbon Program, also called the Veterans Administration’s GI Education Enhancement Program. The Yellow Ribbon Program is a provision of the post-September 11th Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008.

Through the program, degree-granting institutions voluntarily agree to fund tuition expenses that exceed the highest undergraduate tuition rate of a public state university. Holy Family has agreed to contribute $1,502.50 per semester toward tuition for program participants. This is the maximum amount the University may contribute through the program. The VA, through the Yellow Ribbon Program, will match that amount. The University will extend the

University Launches Green Initiative


oly Family celebrated “going green” the week of March 16, with different events spread throughout the inaugural Green Week. Designed to raise awareness of the need for earth preservation and sustainability, Green Week was capped off with a lecture by Community Outreach Specialist Eva Burrell on March 19. Burrell’s lecture touched on recycling and green initiatives such as single stream recycling in the city of Philadelphia. In addition, during the week-long celebration, the University’s Committee on the Environment placed permanent recyclable containers in each of the buildings on the Northeast Philadelphia, Newtown and Woodhaven locations. – Robert Macartney

benefit to all eligible Holy Family students who qualify for the program as certified by the Veterans Administration. Participants in the Yellow Ribbon Program will receive the benefit each year of enrollment in good standing. Program participants are often eligible to receive additional tuition benefits from the VA that, in some cases, cover most education costs. Veterans currently enrolled may be eligible for other provisions under the Veterans Educational Assistance Act. Of the several veterans enrolled at Holy Family, three eligible participants have applied to the new program. More information on the Yellow Ribbon Program is available under “Education Benefits” on the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs Web site at – Naomi Hall

Area Executives to Advise School of Business Administration


he newly formed Holy Family University Business Executive Advisory Board held its inaugural meeting on Wednesday, March 25 in the Campus Center. Composed of 15 area business leaders, the Board will advise the School of Business Administration on curriculum, programs, and activities for students relevant to today’s business world. The Board will meet twice per year, with special committee meetings held as needed. The newly appointed members of the Board include: Kathleen Bauman, Assurance Senior Manager, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, LLP; John Biasiello ’97, President of Sukay & Associates and Biasiello & Associates; Thomas E. Bock, Vice President of Earnest Bock and Sons Inc. and President of Uno Chicago Grill Bock Group Inc.; Pete Ciarrocchi, Jr., President and CEO of Chickie’s and Pete’s; Edward Darcy ’02, President of Mealey’s Furniture and

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Mattress; Roger Falloon ’97, Vice President of Operations, Rita’s Water Ice Franchise Company, LLC; Samuel M. First, Chair of the Labor and Employment Department, Jacobs Law Group, PC; Karen Fox ’94, University Relations and Recruitment Advertising Director, Genesis Healthcare; Stephen F. Gregory ’85, Vice President of Commercial Loans, 3rd Federal Bank; Barbara Haines; Kyle Martin ’95, Internal Audit Director - Northern Region, Penn National Gaming; Normadene Murphy, Executive Security and Asset Protection Director, Carpenter Technology Corporation; Geri Swift, President of the Women’s Business Development Center and Women’s Business Enterprise Council; Edward C. Vesey, Senior Vice President of Sourcing, Crown Cork & Seal USA, Inc.; Anthony F. Visco, Jr., Attorney at Law, Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP. – Robert Marcartney

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Out and about on campus

University Signs Education Partnerships Abroad, Close to Home


oly Family University added another international partner during the spring of 2009, while celebrating an existing partnership a little closer to home. The University signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Chile’s Universidad Arturo Prat on April 8 to explore academic partnerships and the exchange of faculty and students. President Sister Francesca Onley, CSFN, PhD, signed the agreement with Arturo Prat’s Director of Research Jorge Farias Avendano, PhD. Holy Family’s School of Education Dean Leonard Soroka, EdD, and Associate Professor of Education Roger Gee, PhD, were instrumental in negotiating the agreement between the two institutions. Universidad Arturo Prat is located in northern Chile near the Pacific coast in the city of Iquique. The university offers undergraduate degree programs. Holy Family has similar international partnerships with universities in Poland, China, Philippines, Puerto Rico, and South Korea. Two weeks later, Holy Family and Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) celebrated the renewal of their transfer agreement. The agreement allows CCP graduates to transfer seamlessly to Holy Family at junior status. The two institutions celebrated the agreement on April 23 with a program

that ended in a signing ceremony led by Holy Family University President Sister Francesca Onley, CSFN, PhD, and CCP President Stephen M. Curtis, PhD. The Transfer Articulation Agreement between Holy Family and CCP helps make college an affordable choice for students in a volatile economy. About 100 students transferred to Holy Family from CCP in 2008, enrolling in a variety of University programs including Accounting, Education, and Computer Management Information Systems. Under the Transfer Articulation Agreement, a student who enrolls at CCP may complete a special transfer application form declaring the intent to transfer into Holy Family. When


ennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell recently appointed Professor of Education Geralyn Anderson Arango, EdD, to the state Special Education Advisory Panel. The 22-member panel advises the state Department of Education and Education Secretary on unmet needs of students with disabilities, corrective action plans and ways to improve coordination of services for students with special needs. The panel is composed of special education experts, teachers and parents. Members of the panel serve a three-year term. This is Dr. Arango’s second term on the panel. – Naomi Hall

f you’re searching for a late summer read, consider recent publications penned by a pair of Holy Family faculty. Associate Professor of History Cathlyn Mariscotti, PhD, published Gender and Class in the Egyptian Women’s Movement, 1925-1939: Changing Perspectives. Dr. Mariscotti’s book provides a critical reexamination of the women’s movement in light of class differences, framed within the broader economic and political movements occurring


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that student completes his or her Associate’s Degree and meets Holy Family’s admissions criteria, the student may transfer to the University at junior status in 11 different academic majors. Holy Family has similar agreements with Burlington County College and Bucks County Community College, and is developing similar partnerships with other area community and county colleges. – Robert Macartney

Professor Appointed to State Advisory Panel

On the Bookshelf


Officials from Arturo Prat and Holy Family celebrate their new agreement.

in Egypt and abroad. The title was released by Syracuse University Press in November 2008. Professor of Business Administration Anthony DiPrimio, PhD, published Corporate Communications: A Human Resource Perspective. In his book, Dr. DiPrimio provides communication management techniques helpful to corporations. The title was released by Cengage Publishing in October 2008. It is Dr. DiPrimio’s second book. The first, Quality Assurance in Service Organizations was released in 1987 by the Chilton Book Company. He currently is working on a third book to be titled: Corporate Leadership: A CEO’s Survival Manual. – Jennifer Zamora

Finishing Touches:

Construction crews work feverishly to complete the Stevenson Lane Residence. Students will move in to the new residence beginning August 22 and the building is set to be dedicated on August 25.

Students Use Spring Break to Help Others


contingent of Holy Family students, faculty, and staff traveled to Corpus Christi, Texas, the first week in March to participate in Alternative Spring Break. Fifteen students were accompanied by Assistant Professor of Psychology Megan Meyer, PhD, Student Activities Director Mike McNulty-Bobholz, and Assistant Director of Activities, Wellness, and Student Life Matt Thomas. 

 The group performed a number of tasks, including landscaping and kitchen renovations to a Habitat for Humanity property, and the rough framing on a new construction site. Group members also worked in an area Restore, an organization similar to a hardware store that takes in donated items and resells them to raise money for new homes. 

 Alternative Spring Break provides an opportunity for students across the US to help rebuild communities during time away from the classroom. – Robert Macartney

Bishop Maginnis Honored with Presidential Award


ost Reverend Robert P. Maginnis, DD, Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, received the Holy Family University Presidential Award at the Presidential Award Dinner on Thursday, May 28. 
Bishop Maginnis was ordained a priest in May 1961. In his nearly 50 years of service, he rose to Director of Youth Activities for the Archdiocese; was named a Prelate to Pope John Paul II, was appointed to the Synod of Bishops in Rome; and was appointed Administrative Overseer for the Secretariat for Evangelization. In March 1996, he was ordained Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia by His Eminence Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua. 
In addition, Bishop Maginnis received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Holy Family in 1996. 

 The Presidential Award is presented to American Catholics and international Catholic leaders who show distinguished leadership on behalf of the Church and the Catholic community in the arena of politics and public policy. The award was first presented in 1990 and has been awarded on an annual basis since 1994. Bishop Maginnis is the 17th recipient of the Presidential Award. – Robert Macartney

New Web Site to Aid First-Year Teachers


uring a teacher’s first years, challenges arise which often involve planning for instruction, managing the classroom, motivating students, dealing with individual differences, assessing student work, and working with parents. Navigating the path to continued professional development also presents a challenge. School of Education graduates now have an additional resource to help navigate those challenges. Faculty members in the School of Education

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have developed a Web site called Graduate Help and Assistance for Teachers (GRAD HAT) designed as an outreach program to serve new graduates and teachers who have completed their initial teacher certification requirements. The University assembled information on GRAD HAT as a starting place for teachers to find answers and obtain assistance. This site can be accessed through the School of Education Web site at – Robert Macartney

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Calming the Storm New research on therapies used to soothe disabled children holds promise for dementia patients and their caregivers. By Brett Tomlinson Photography by Michael Branscom




an a placid scene of a farmhouse, projected on plain beige walls, calm an agitated dementia patient? Does a simple plastic tube of bubbling water, illuminated by colored lights, have the power to stimulate elderly patients who are withdrawn and uncommunicative? Rochelle Robbins, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology, aims to find out. She is conducting research at a long-term care facility in suburban Philadelphia to examine the effects of a multi-sensory environment on people with dementia, a deterioration of cognitive function often accompanied by anxiety and agitation. Specifically, Dr. Robbins’ research centers on Snoezelen (pronounced SNOO-zeh-len), a concept developed by two Dutch therapists in the 1970s. Snoezelen introduces a variety of sights, smells, sounds, and tactile sensations—everything from aromatic oils to brightly lit sprays of fiber-optic tubes—in a controlled, calming environment. Snoezelen rooms are used broadly in Europe, and to a lesser extent in the United States, to help children with developmental disabilities, particularly non-verbal children. “These sensory stimulation devices can engage a person in a way that’s not verbal, and not social in a way that is intimidating,” Dr. Robbins explains. “These stimuli are not going to criticize you. You interact with this equipment in a way that gives you some self-effectiveness.” Given Snoezelen’s efficacy with children, some proponents believe the concept could be a useful addition to senior living centers, particularly for residents who have experienced memory loss or have difficulty communicating. So far, the scientific literature

on the therapy’s success with older patients is sparse. Only a handful of studies exist, Dr. Robbins says, and in most cases, the subjects received only brief exposure to Snoezelen rooms. Working with the staff at Southampton Estates, part of ACTS Retirement-Life Communities, Dr. Robbins is studying dementia patients in 13week cycles, with each subject visiting the community’s Snoezelen room at least once a week. Aides help patients explore the room and record data on things like behavior and attitude before, during, and after the session. From that information, Dr. Robbins hopes to paint a clearer picture of whether or not Snoezelen therapy benefits dementia patients.

An Unexpected Destination Dr. Robbins, who earned her PhD in psychology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1994, took an accidental route to her specialty of working with older adults. She traces the journey back to a single patient, an 82-year-old woman she treated during her internship at Jacobi Medical Center in New York. The woman had attempted suicide. At the time, her actions seemed odd to Dr. Robbins, who did not realize that older adults have relatively high suicide rates. Some of the tried and true coping mechanisms they relied on for years begin to break down, and that was the case with Dr. Robbins’ patient. But Dr. Robbins enjoyed helping the woman recover some of her coping skills. “I loved working with her because she had so many life experiences to draw on,” she says. Before long, Dr. Robbins found her-

self seeking out older patients and studying the specific needs of that population. When she moved to Pennsylvania a few years later, she began working in psychological services for a group of long-term care facilities. Today, she maintains a small practice devoted to older adults. Shortly after coming to Pennsylvania, Dr. Robbins discovered a parallel calling when she began teaching a course on adult development and aging at Holy Family. In 2004, she joined the full-time faculty in the Counseling Psychology program. Teaching, research, and clinical practice “work well together,” Dr. Robbins says, because real-world examples illustrate the complex challenges that mental-health professionals face. That is especially useful at Holy Family, where most of the master’s degree students already work in the field.

Putting Theory into Practice In 2007, ACTS Retirement-Life Communities began working on a pilot project using Snoezelen with older adults who have dementia. Peggy Brenner, Director of Education and Special Care Programs at ACTS, says the therapy looked promising in several areas: decreasing anxiety and agitation; addressing restlessness and pain; and encouraging more responsiveness from non-communicative residents. It also seemed like a potential alternative, or complement, to the medications used to reduce adverse behaviors. ACTS wanted to evaluate its pilot project, and for that, Brenner turned to Dr. Robbins, an academic researcher with extensive professional experience in the field. “There was little, if any, research

Dr. Rochelle Robbins demonstrates the use of fiber optic tubes in Snoezelen therapy.


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Sensory devices such as brightly colored bubble tubes may help calm agitated patients.

done on Snoezelen’s efficacy with the long-term population with dementia,” Brenner says. “We thought we could be pioneers in this arena.” When Dr. Robbins first heard the idea, she had a limited knowledge of Snoezelen, but she liked what she saw at ACTS. The staff was well-trained in dementia care, and the administrators consulted Snoezelen experts from FlagHouse, an Ontario-based company that specializes in sensory products, to make sure they were setting up the new room with the correct specifications. Brenner and her colleagues visited two other Snoezelen rooms at long-term care facilities, paying attention to major priorities, like selecting adult-appropriate equipment, and taking note of small but significant details such as paint color (walls painted in relaxing colors such as lilac, apricot, or beige are ideal, Brenner says). Dr. Robbins used the same sort of care when designing her study. But ultimately, many of the important jobs are in the hands of the staff at Southampton Estates. They work with each resident on a weekly basis, so they have to be careful, engaged observers. In the first session, a resident is encouraged to explore. Some of it is directed. The staff know whether this person needs relaxation or stimulation, and is aware of any physical limitations, such as severe visual im-

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pairment, that would rule out certain equipment. Beyond that, the idea is to let people examine whatever catches their eye. “We have all these sensory modalities, and we don’t know yet what this person will gravitate towards,” Dr. Robbins explains. Elsie Baum, a Certified Nursing Assistant at Southampton Estates, has worked with older adults for more than two decades. She says that trial and error can be discouraging to some residents. When one or two pieces of equipment fail to hold the person’s attention, the aide has to encourage that person to try another. The trusting relationship between a resident and a familiar staff member can help in those cases, Baum says. In subsequent sessions, residents of-

simple control panel. Four buttons on the panel’s perimeter—red, blue, yellow, green—control the colored lights illuminating the tube. A button in the center starts and stops the bubbles. When the bubbles stop, small plastic fish trickle down through the water. A dementia patient might not be able to articulate how the device operates, but non-verbal cues like a knowing smile can indicate pride in controlling the colors and bubbles. “They can affect these stimuli in a way that they recognize they did that,” she says. When working with patients, the staff take notes on mood, attitude, and behavior, as well as what equipment was used and anything to avoid in future sessions. On Fridays, staff members meet with Dr. Robbins to talk about the week’s results. The exchanges have been productive, according to Baum. “Shelley listens to us and she’ll take

“I enjoy…trying to understand how this person with dementia sees the world. People are doing the best they can with what they understand. They just understand things so differently than we do.” ten return to a familiar activity—working their hands through a spray of thin fiber-optic tubes, lit in brilliant shades of pink, or relaxing in a recliner, listening to music and feeling the vibrations from speakers built into the chair. Aides try to elicit some social interaction while in the Snoezelen room, Dr. Robbins says, but the idea is to stimulate the senses, not test cognition. Snoezelen, by design, is a low-demand situation. One popular device is the bubble tube, a tube of water with a

our ideas [into consideration],” Baum says. “She works really closely with us.” The study, which began in April 2008, has a relatively small cohort so far—11 residents have met the criteria for inclusion, and more than half have completed the 13-week research cycle. While the weekly data collected for those residents forms the foundation of Dr. Robbins’ research, patient charts document other useful information, such as medication taken for agitation

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The Bottom Line and attendance at group activities. Dr. Robbins says that if agitated patients show a reduction in medication and withdrawn residents begin attending more activities, those could be signs that Snoezelen has a positive effect. The research seems straightforward, but there are peripheral challenges. For the busy staff, it can be hard to carve out time for Snoezelen sessions, which sometimes last 30 minutes. Finding residents who will complete the 13week research cycle is also difficult, Dr. Robbins says, because of a sad reality of working with dementia patients: Many are nearing the end of their lives. Three patients have died before completing one month in the study.

Does Snoezelen therapy work for dementia patients? Anecdotally, Dr. Robbins says, the staff at Southampton Estates is “seeing some good results,” but the data will tell a more complete story. She has not formally analyzed the information from the first handful of cases because she does not want to bias her remaining research. If Dr. Robbins’ study shows that Snoezelen does work, it could have a significant impact on dementia care by encouraging more research, more funding for Snoezelen rooms, and a potential reduction in the medications given to dementia patients. If the data shows no measurable change, Dr. Robbins says, “That’s im-

portant to know, too, because…then maybe it’s just not for this population.” Regardless, Dr. Robbins plans to continue helping older adults. Many mental-health professionals seem to shy away from elderly clients, and when Dr. Robbins first started working with older patients, particularly those with memory loss, she admits that she also wondered if a psychologist had the right tools to help them. But over time, she found that she could make a difference by paying close attention to both behavior and environment. One must discover what’s going wrong in a patient’s environment that is triggering problematic behavior, and then find a way to change the environment. “I enjoy that—trying to understand how this person with dementia sees the world,” Dr. Robbins says. “People are doing the best they can with what they understand. They just understand things so differently than we do.” Brett Tomlinson is a freelance writer and Associate Editor for Princeton Alumni Weekly.

Home Care: Providing the Right Environment Family members caring for dementia patients at home may not have access to Snoezelen or other therapies designed to calm agitation and anxiety. But careful monitoring and simple changes in the person’s environment can make all the difference in soothing behavioral problems. •S  ome people with dementia become particularly agitated at certain times of the day. It is helpful to do things in the same place at the same time each day. •A  gitation may result from thirst or hunger. If a person with dementia forgets to eat, offer frequent snacks and beverages. •A  gitation may result from physical discomfort. Is the person feeling stressed, tired, cold, or hot? Could there be aches and pains from sitting in one place? Does he or she need to use the bathroom?

•G  etting dressed can be frustrating for someone with dementia. Try to simplify this task, for example, by using Velcro fasteners and not insisting on matching outfits. • Is there a chance for regular exercise? Walks and simple exercises are good ideas. • Is the room well lit? Good lighting can help reduce disorientation and confusion. Provide night-lights. • Is the environment too noisy or confusing? Are there too many people around? It may be helpful to use picture cues, to personalize the room, and to decorate and highlight important areas with bright contrasting colors. Source:

•D  oes the person have a regular, predictable routine? Unexpected changes or last minute rushing can cause people with dementia to become scared and disoriented.


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photo courtesy of flaghouse, inc.

Dementia patients are encouraged to explore whatever catches their attention on the first visit to the Snoezelen room.

Save The Date

Scholarship Ball


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Crystal Tea Room Wanamaker Building 9th Floor 100 Penn Square East Philadelphia, PA

Double Act

An unlikely passion for both music and public safety define John Grillone ’88.

By Carol Cool Illustration by Daniel Adel Photography by Sabina Louise Pierce



What’s the connection between La Traviata and ladder trucks? And what do either have to do with labor markets or listening mentors? They all come alive in the person of John Grillone ’88.

The Holy Family graduate has diligently pursued musical training, singing opera arias at yearly recitals, while working for the Philadelphia Fire Department (PFD) where he is now a Battalion Chief. After earning his MBA, Grillone added teaching to his already full schedule, serving as an Adjunct Professor in Macroeconomics at La Salle University. In his spare time, Grillone mentors those younger and older than himself both at the fire station and at a Center City community center. Grillone’s life is multifaceted. But it all comes together in his desires to leave a legacy and do what brings meaning to his life. “I want to leave something behind,” says Grillone. “About 10 to 15 years ago I began to ask myself, ‘Why are we here?’ The answer I came up with, which has become my motto, is, ‘We’re here for each other.’”

range from operatic arias to Broadway show tunes to ballads, the national anthem holds particular interest for Grillone, who is a baritone. “I focused on this song especially because it is difficult to sing, and many times it is performed poorly,” he says. His dream is to sing the national anthem at the Fourth of July ceremony in front of Independence Hall. In the meantime, he takes any op-

portunity to gain experience singing the national anthem. On May 15, 2009, he sang it for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s local fundraising golf tournament in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. Earlier in the month he sang harmony on the national anthem with a police officer at Philadelphia’s Annual Fire and Police Memorial Service at the Living Flame Monument at 6th and Race streets in Franklin Square.

Grillone dreams of performing the National Anthem at the Fourth of July ceremony at Independence Hall.

Following the Music Grillone began studying voice privately about 10 years ago with Judith Turano of the Settlement Music School. “John is a very, very dedicated student,” says Turano. “He is a great asset to my workshops and recitals, and a good colleague for other students.” In addition to his 45-minute weekly lesson, he practices about five hours a week and has learned songs in German, Italian, French, and English. While his musical studies


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“This was a great honor for me, especially because many family members of police officers murdered in the last year attended,” Grillone reflects. Music, he says, allows him to be creative, artistic, and to express who he really is in a more relaxed environment. And it is a part of his heritage. There have always been artists in his family—cousins, who include a lounge singer in Las Vegas and performers in New York, and his mother who sang “June in January” on the radio in Camden, New Jersey, at the age of six. “John has a fine voice,” says Turano, “and I know he enjoys it; it’s a big part of his life.”

Teaching to Learn Grillone dropped out of St. Joseph’s University as a young man because he didn’t really know what he wanted to do with his life. Joseph McGraw ’87, once Grillone’s lieutenant at the PFD and now Deputy Chief and head of the Technical Support Unit), became “the catalyst, the spark” that sent him back to school. McGraw suggested he talk with Holy Family University about what courses from St. Joe’s would be accepted toward his BA in Fire Science and Public Safety Administration. Grillone discovered that Holy Family was willing to work with him and found the teachers patient. Dr. Thomas McCormick and Dr. Bette Tokar were favorites because they encouraged him and helped him “prove to myself that I could do this.” It’s obvious he could, for he was inducted into the Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honor Society, which honors the academic achievements of continuing education students. An MBA with a specialty in Management Science from La Salle came next. Lacking a business degree, Grillone needed to take 19 courses over a seven-year period to earn his master’s. He came through with high marks and was inducted into La Salle’s Beta Gamma Sigma, an honor society for business programs. Learning new things always inter-

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ested Grillone, so when given the opportunity to teach a course as an Adjunct Professor at La Salle, he chose macroeconomics. “I wanted to teach something I could continue to learn from too,” he says. “I became a student of it again.” Grillone spent five years teaching while still with the PFD. He made it a point to give his students the time and encouragement his professors had given him. He’s still looking for opportunities to teach—and learn—as an Adjunct Professor.

Choosing to Help That young man who didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life, ended up at the PFD because of what he did know. “I knew I wanted to be helping people,” says Grillone. “And the fire department was the one profession I knew of in public safety where you never really hurt people, you only help.” Grillone started as a Dispatcher at the age of 21, moving into his role as a Firefighter at the age of 26. Over his career he has served as an EMT, a Lieutenant, a Captain, and now a Battalion Chief. He spent six years on staff as head of the Technical Support Unit,

Responding to 9/11 Like firefighters around the globe, Grillone was deeply affected by the events of 9/11. He attended some of the 343 funerals for his fallen New York comrades. Every funeral included a trip to Ground Zero, where he saw the devastation firsthand. He witnessed the grief of the workers, firefighters and police officers at the scene. He collected 9/11 books, DVDs and articles, especially those from The New York Times (NYT). On Sunday, September 23, 2001, the NYT published a two-page spread with photographs of all 343 fallen firefighters lost at the World Trade Center. Grillone was so moved by it, he contacted the publishers, asking for permission to reproduce it as a poster and frame it. The NYT went beyond that, sending him the layout on a computer disk. At the top of the spread, Grillone added the words, “The Philadelphia Fire Department honors our fallen brothers from New York lost in the attack on the World Trade Center, September 11, 2001.” Through the donation of a local printer he had posters made, which he sent to every PFD firehouse. The framed poster hangs on many station walls. Grillone then expanded his idea, asking the printer to donate another 1,100 copies. These he took to another New York firefighter

“I don’t want to be the tree in the woods that nobody hears or sees.”

charged with the purchasing of equipment and vehicles and writing policy. Then he headed back to the field forces to command the 7th Battalion, Platoon B in Southwest Philadelphia and now Battalion 12, Platoon D, located at Engine 71 Station at Cottman and Loretto Avenues in Northeast Philadelphia. “It doesn’t matter where I am, as long as my being there makes a difference,” says Grillone.

funeral and asked the officials of Fire Department of New York City (FDNY) to hand them out as they wished. Grillone also befriended the writer of the play The Guys. Ann Nelson was contacted by a FDNY fire captain who wanted help writing the eulogies needed for the eight firefighters he lost that day. Nelson’s experiences led to the play, which Grillone saw when it was produced in Philadelphia. Later, The Guys was made into a movie (“which

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was out in movie theaters for about a week,” says Grillone), starring Sigourney Weaver and Anthony LaPaglia (from the TV show Without a Trace) and produced by Nelson’s husband, Jim Simpson. Grillone broke down as he watched it, realizing that some of the scenes were actual footage from various firehouse security cameras. Debris rained down in front of the stations and firefighters left, not knowing that they were making their last call. While 9/11 was extreme, the reaction of the firefighters was not, according to Grillone. Whenever there is a tragedy, “firefighters always feel they want to be there, want to help, want to make a difference,” he says. “You experience survivor guilt.” The day after 9/11 when the PFD asked for volunteers to go to New York if needed, the positive response was almost unanimous. In the end, only the Department’s Heavy Rescue/Special Operations Team was needed.

Grillone waits in the wings at the Settlement Music School.

Impacting Others “Everyone Goes Home” graces the black wristband Grillone wears. It’s the motto of The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF), which is committed to reducing the number of firefighter deaths across the country. On average, more than 100 firefighters die in the line of duty every year. It fits perfectly with Grillone’s own commitment to his firefighters’ well-being. “My number one criterion in decision making is, ‘How will this affect the safety of my people and of the civilians?’” he says. And so he takes the information the NFFF sends out—stories of difficult cases and poor choices—and shares them with his firefighters. Recently he reinforced the lesson that firefighters cannot drive fire trucks the way they drive their cars. “We may speed in our cars, but these trucks weigh a lot. If you hit someone, they and your firefighters may end up dead. You create another emergency and never arrive at the one you were originally dispatched to.” Grillone tries to mentor the younger


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firefighters and officers. “Maybe my life, my experience can help someone else,” he says. On the professional side, he reinforces the need to not risk people for property. He admonishes them to stay focused on an emergency but gently reminds them that it’s fine to decompress once they’re back at the station discussing the lessons learned. And he encourages them to make a positive difference in the world. It’s a challenge Grillone lives. Over the years he has volunteered for community organizations like Manna, where he worked in the kitchen for seven years. In addition, he serves as a peer counselor for a local center that deals with clients of all ages. “I love to encourage others,” Grillone says. “I strive to be a good listener, and I want people in crisis to know that they will be okay, they will get

through this.” Grillone plans to continue to sing, mentor, volunteer, and teach, even after he retires from the Philadelphia Fire Department. (He is eligible now, but not yet “signed up”.) “You know that expression, ‘If a tree falls in the woods, how do we know that, if no one’s there to hear or see it?’” Grillone asks. “I thought that about myself. How will anybody know that I ever lived and tried to make a difference if I never really strived to touch people’s lives and tried to be there for others? How will anyone know how I feel about things if I can’t express it through music? I don’t want to be the tree in the woods that nobody hears or sees.” Carol Cool is a freelance writer and Principal of CoolCopy.

Each year , we plant seeds of knowledge. Help nurture their growth with a gift to the Annual Fund. Regardless of the amount, your gift directly supports students as they develop academically, personally, and spiritually.

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1. Use the envelope in this issue 2. Make your gift online at 3. Mail a check to: Holy Family University Development Office 9801 Frankford Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19114

King of

Cool Under th

e guidan

ce Falloon ’ 97, a Philade lphia ico n takes its place on the natio nal stage .

of Roger

By Ric hard R graph ys y by J ohn M cKeith



the average visitor, the view from Roger Falloon’s window is less than spectacular, and that’s being generous. Sitting inside his third floor office somewhere in a Trevose, Pennsylvania, industrial park, the Vice President of Operations for Rita’s Water Ice can gaze out across a parking lot dotted with trees and watch cars snake up a road leading to Old Lincoln Highway. It’s not an inspiring vista, but to hear the 33-year-old describe it, you’d think he could peek around his PC and see the Grand Tetons. “When we first moved here, I admit, I spent some time just staring out the window,” he says with a laugh, recalling his old windowless digs before the flavored-ice empire moved its headquarters, nicknamed the “Cool Support Center,” here two years ago. “Just seeing the sunshine is a great thing.” For Falloon, the change of perspective was refreshing, much like the frozen treats he’s been selling since joining the company in 1997. The scenery is the least of what has changed for Rita’s in the past few years. From its launch in 1984 as a way for

Philadelphia firefighter Bob Tumolo to make some extra money on the side, Rita’s became a powerhouse company with franchises all across the Delaware Valley, rising up into that rarified branding air reserved for local treasures like Tastykake. And like Xerox, whose name is synonymous with the service they provide, the Rita’s name is now bigger than the product they sell. If you’re from around here and crave a water ice on a sweltering summer day, chances are good you’ll say, “Let’s get a Rita’s.” In 2005, the company’s philosophy of slow, controlled growth changed radically when Tumolo sold Rita’s to McKnight Capitol Partners, a franchise operator whose chairman had decades of experience running everything from Wendy’s to Baskin Robbins Ice Cream. At that time, there were 321 Rita’s locations, most of which were in the tri-state area and Maryland. Today, there are 560 stores across 17 states, as far south as Florida and as far west as Texas, with total sales in excess of $100 million. Falloon swears he’s never met anyone who doesn’t like his product once they’ve tried it. “When people taste it, their eyes light up,” he says. “I call it ‘the Rita’s moment.’” But that’s the rub—how do you convince a dad from Dal-

Playful touches grace Rita's corporate offices in Trevose, Pennsylvania.


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las or a family from Boca Raton to try Rita’s when they don’t know what lies inside those red-and-white-striped awnings? Falloon illustrates the challenges his franchisees face: “People come up to the window and say, ‘Can I get spaghetti and meatballs?’” As Rita’s celebrates its 25th anniversary and continues to expand across the country, it’s Falloon’s job to help each new location figure out how to give their customers a new perspective on water ice, and inspire Rita’s moments of their own.

Humble Be B e gin n in g s Roger Falloon ’97 is what’s known by Philadelphia standards as a bona fide “guy from the neighborhood”—grew up in Mayfair, went to Father Judge High School, then on to Holy Family University, and never spent more than a family vacation’s worth of time away from home. So in 1999, when Rita’s deployed him to Ohio at age 23 to spend a year whipping their Columbus store into shape, it was a culture shock for both him and his new neighbors. It took Falloon some time to get used to strangers saying hello for no particular reason at the grocery store. Likewise, the concept of Rita’s was foreign to most of his customers. “They’d see the stripes and ‘Italian’ and think we were a pizza shop,” he says. “Multiple times a day, I’d have guests that didn’t know what we were. It taught me how you take a product that people in Philadelphia are familiar with into a new area. It’s not an overnight thing.” Helping Rita’s cement a presence in Ohio was a weighty responsibility for Falloon, who was then only two years removed from his business classes at Holy Family. During his senior year, he attended a campus job fair where Rita’s was recruiting. By coincidence, he already had a connection to the company—a friend and classmate of his, Michelle Tumolo ’96, was the daughter of Rita’s founder, Bob Tumolo. As Falloon learned when he met the elder Tumolo for his job interview, he’d already made an impression— Bob remembered him as one of the kids feeling a bit under the weather the day after Michelle’s 21st birthday party. “It made the interview a little less comfortable,” says Falloon, who can laugh about it now, mostly because he got the job. What shined through in his job interview, and what still motivates him today, is Falloon’s genuine love of the product. “The thing that drew me to Rita’s was that it’s such a great brand,” he says. “In Northeast Philadelphia, water ice is a dime a dozen. Growing up, the thing that was special was when we went to Rita’s. Instead of [your parents saying] ‘Here’s a dollar, get out of my hair, go to the deli,’ we’d

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all get in the car and go to the store. Good memories were always associated with Rita’s.” Bob Tumolo remembers being impressed by Falloon during that slightly awkward job interview. “Roger just had desire,” he says. “He wanted to work hard and learn the business.” Enthusiastic and affable, the smiling, 6’2” Falloon was, and still is, like a walking, talking billboard. To him, Rita’s water ice isn’t just a treat, it’s part of the fabric of his childhood. As an eager 23-year-old proselytizing for the brand in Ohio, Falloon could recite its history. He knew that Tumolo started the company as a way to supplement his income as a firefighter, and how Tumolo bought water ice machines from a South Philadelphia vendor, with one caveat—the man would have to pass along his secret recipe, too. Tumolo and his mother, Elizabeth, spent days experimenting with flavors, how much fresh fruit to use in each batch, and ways to make their water ice smooth and creamy. Their first store, a walk-up window on Bristol Pike in Bensalem, was

Whenever a Philadelphia company is sold, everyone says it won’t be the same. They said that about Peanut Chews when that brand was sold. There’s not much we do the same today that we did five years ago, but our recipes are the same. Roger Falloon Vice President of Operations actually the front porch of a woman’s house, and the owner, who still lives there today, could open her front door into the shop and ask for a lemon water ice. Tumolo named the company after his wife, Rita, and made $13 in sales on his first day in 1984, but finished with $70,000 by the end of his first year. By 1987, with help from his brother, John, he expanded to three locations, and what began as a side venture quickly became the family business. “I worked for Rita’s since I was 10, when my dad opened the first store,” says Michelle Tumolo, Senior Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions for Holy Family. “We

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It’s like a big family. The CEO, Jim Rudolph, has already been here four times this year. Roger is a tremendous help. It’s like a mom-and-pop feeling. Annie Bobenrieth Florida Franchise Owner often talk about how that was what our family revolved around. In the beginning, my dad put a lot of hours into getting the company running and establishing himself in the area. Sometimes we’d wait until midnight to have family dinner together. It was a lot of work, but it was fun, too.” Five years after he sold his first water ice, Tumolo began franchising Rita’s across the Delaware Valley. He kept the menu small and as he expanded into Ohio and south to Maryland, one rule was sacrosanct—any ice that was 36 hours old was considered sub-par, and must be thrown out. That’s one of the reasons you’ll never find Rita’s in the freezer of your local supermarket or the corner deli. During Falloon’s year in Ohio, he made sure the product was fresh and the service was swift. But his secret weapon then, as it still is for Rita’s franchises everywhere, was the free water ice coupon. “We gave away an obsessive amount of free coupons,” Falloon says, “to the point where they still get coupons that I gave out. That was our strategy. We just wanted people to try it.” When Falloon returned home to the Rita’s headquarters, he rose quickly through the company ranks, and credits his experience in Ohio as the key to his growth. “It gave me tremendous insight into the business, and taught me all the operational nuances about running the store,” he says. It also gave him credibility with the Rita’s franchisees, who he works closely with today, not just locally, but across

the country. “I don’t think that I know everything about running a store, but I know the pain a franchise partner would feel when someone calls out five minutes before they’re supposed to come in, or you have to recover after your busiest day of the year. It raises your credibility level when you know the things they have to do on a daily basis.”

Neighborhood Tr ea t , Nat ionwide App eal Falloon’s empathy toward the franchise owners proved invaluable in 2005. Tumolo felt he’d taken Rita’s as far as he could and was looking forward to a new chapter in his life—preferably one with less stress and more time off. That year, Rita’s was sold to McKnight Capital Partners, a franchise company with a more aggressive business plan. Whereas Tumolo preferred the slow, steady approach to expansion, the new Rita’s owners saturated the markets they were already successful in, and pushed forward into new states that didn’t know Italian ice from Italian leather (it’s worth noting that in South Philadelphia, where Tumolo grew up, the product was always called water ice, but in some areas, such as New York, it’s known as Italian ice). That first year, Rita’s partnered with 109 new franchises; the following year, that number more than doubled. New stores opened in North Carolina, Virginia, and other states that had never seen a Rita’s, and where the company was already popular, Rita’s saturated those markets. “The culture of the company changed pretty dramatically,” says Falloon, who adds that expansion has not come at the

The first Rita's, on Bristol Pike in Bensalem, was the front porch of someone's home.


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b y th e n u m b er s

Some tasty facts and figures from a quarter-century of Rita’s Water Ice

Cost of a regular water ice in 1984: $0.65 Cost of a regular water ice today: $2.20 Number Number Number Number

of of of of

locations in 1984: 1 locations in 1987: 3 locations today: 556 future locations in development: 230

Number of water ice flavors in 1984: 2 Number of water ice flavors today: 48 Number of products other than water ice sold in 1984: 0 Number of products other than water ice sold today: 8 Calories in a regular water ice: 320 Grams of fat in a regular water ice: 0

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Number of Rita’s locations in the Delaware Valley: 346 Number of new Rita’s franchise locations available in the Delaware Valley: 0 Cups of regular water ice given away on the first day of spring, March 20, 2009: more than 1.1 million Top-grossing Rita’s location: Frederick, Maryland Most popular flavor: Mango Year Rita’s debuted its jingle (“Be cool, eat a Rita’s”): 1995 Year you will get that jingle out of your head: ?

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expense of quality. “I’m very protective of the product. Whenever a Philadelphia company is sold, everyone says it won’t be the same. They said that about Peanut Chews when that brand was sold. There’s not much we do the same today that we did five years ago, but our recipes are the same. We’ve just come up with more efficient ways to produce the product.” One thing that hasn’t changed is the challenge new franchises face in states where Rita’s is far from a household name. South Jersey native Annie Bobenrieth and her husband were visiting friends in Palm Beach on a sweltering day in 2007 and realized there was no Rita’s nearby to provide the frosty relief they were craving. Like Falloon, Bobenrieth grew up on the product, and after attending a Rita’s recruiting session, her family was sold on opening one of their own. The Bobenrieths picked a location in Boynton Beach, moved with their two young children to Florida, and on the day of their grand opening—no one came. “I kind of panicked,” Bobenrieth says. “People had no idea what Rita’s was, or Italian ice. It was like speaking Japanese.” Bobenrieth swallowed her fear that she’d made a huge mistake and stuck to her business model, handing out 10,000 free ice coupons and visiting two schools a day to partner with PTA groups. The plan worked, and today, the Bobenrieths own two more Rita’s in Florida. Sales at their newest location in Lake Worth ranked in the company’s top ten after being open for just a month. Unlike the Bobenrieths, Harry Jones had never heard of Rita’s when he noticed an ad in a local Atlanta newspaper for a franchising opportunity. In 2006, he attended two seminars, then flew to Trevose with his son to meet the top brass and sample the product (Rita’s had sent ice to those seminars from Philly, but by the time it got to Georgia, Jones’s son thought it was “disgusting”—more proof that the 36-hour freshness rule is essential). Jones sampled some fresh ice, met with Falloon and other Rita’s execu-

tives, and in June 2007, opened the first Rita’s in his state. “Everyone says, ‘I wonder what it would have been like to open the first McDonald’s,” says Jones, who now owns three Rita’s in the Atlanta area. “This was an opportunity to do that. This is our third season, and we still have the same challenges, like ‘What’s Rita’s? Chicken?’ But you give them a great product and great service and you make them want to come back.” With the national economy still on life support, Falloon says Rita’s is still expanding, thanks to the trickle-down This is our third season, and effect that’s seen sales plunge at midto-high-end food chains, while profits we still have the same challenges, at more affordable, fast-food outlets like ‘What’s Rita’s? Chicken?’ stay strong. “People trade down in tough ecoBut you give them a great product nomic times,” Falloon says. “People and great service and you will cook at home, but will go out for a treat afterward. We’re benefiting make them want to come back. from that.” Jones credits the company’s attitude, and Falloon, for Rita’s continued growth. Harry Jones “Roger is really passionate about Georgia Franchise Owner what he does. Rita’s is passionate


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about our success. I can call Roger on a weekend and he’ll call back in an hour. It’s not a traditional franchise relationship.” As for any concern that Rita’s lost some of its magic after it was sold, Bobenrieth says the spirit that the Tumolos instilled remains strong. “It’s like a big family. The CEO, Jim Rudolph, has already been here four times this year. Roger is a tremendous help. It’s like a mom-and-pop feeling.”

Go W est, Y ou ng Com pany Back in his office at the Cool Support Center, Falloon talks about the new frontier for Rita’s—Texas, which is the furthest west the company has ventured. Their first store in that state opened in a Dallas suburb in April, and Falloon hopes to have as many as four locations there by the end of the year. Now, when a new store debuts, they give away free Italian ice for a week; some locations have given away as many as 10,000 ices in those seven days. There’s also the first day of spring, when every Rita’s hands out free cups of their flavored ice. “We pretty much own that day from a PR standpoint,” Falloon says. “We have high school kids doing scavenger hunts for how many Rita’s they can get to in a day. But we’re still doing sales, because people are still buying stuff,

and those people are going to come back. The key to the growth of this brand is educating people who’ve never been to a Rita’s.” Falloon still marvels at a phenomenon he noticed during his own education. While working on his MBA, Falloon found himself in classes with employees from some of the biggest companies in Philadelphia, ranging from Comcast to major banks. When those students introduced themselves, hardly anyone noticed. “As soon as I said where I worked, I got 15 minutes worth of questions,” Falloon says. “Every single class. It was unbelievable. That showed me how powerful the Rita’s brand is. When I tell people where I work, I get such a positive reaction. I never hear, ‘That must stink.’ It’s always, ‘That’s awesome.’” Despite the unimpressive view from Falloon’s office window, he couldn’t agree with them more. Success for Falloon has always been about perspective—whether he was showing Bob Tumolo his professional side during his job interview, seeing the company from the eyes of his franchisees in Ohio, helping new owners show their customers what Rita’s is about, and today, helping the company realize its vision of taking Rita’s to places it has never been before. From where he’s sitting now, Falloon likes what he sees. Richard Rys is a freelance writer. His work regularly appears in Philadelphia Magazine.

Explosive Growth Over the last 10 years, Rita's saturated the Philadelphia market with stores while simultaneously expanding in the Southern United States.

1 999 191 stores

20 09

561 stores

• Rita's water ice stores

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A visual slice of life at Holy Family

Good Karma To raise awareness for breast cancer research, the women’s basketball team sported pink gear for their match against Chestnut Hill College on February 12. The Lady Tigers defeated the Griffins 78-34.


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Your Life is Full of

Challenges Rising insurance costs needn’t be one of them! As a Holy Family graduate, you have access to: Discounted life and medical insurance from Meyer and Associates -•-

Advice and professional guidance from the Career Center -•-

Personal and career networking with the online alumni community -•-

Discounted auto and homeowners insurance from Liberty Mutual -•-

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Complimentary e-newsletter just for alumni -•-

Complimentary use of the Holy Family Library

For more information on how we can help make your life easier, visit our Web site at

The Holy Family Alumni Association - membership has its benefits!


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Crossing Continents Thanks to an increasing emphasis on internationalization, growing numbers of student-athletes are calling Holy Family home.

By Paul Gornowski Photography by Michael Branscom

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29 35


he backdrop to Fred Tuwei’s childhood could have been a typical Southern farm. He hails from a middle class, Christian family that grew sugar cane and other crops. His family also reared cows, sheep, goats, chickens, and pigs. Before attending high school, Tuwei was a youth counselor at his local church. But Tuwei’s upbringing was anything but Southern. His formative years took place almost 8,000 miles away in Nairobi, Kenya, the 13th largest city in Africa. Two years ago, he left his homeland to join Holy Family's cross country and track teams. Tuwei is a part of a small, but growing number of international student-athletes who chose to attend


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Holy Family. In 2008-2009, eight of the University’s 15 NCAA Division II sports had at least one studentathlete from outside the United States. Countries from all corners of the world are represented, including Australia, Canada, Columbia, Ethiopia, Poland, and Sweden. Tuwei knew that he wanted to get an education in the US. Through research and persistence, he decided that Holy Family was where he wanted to be. “I came to America because I wanted the highest education modern technology offered so that I could acquire new skills and technology in my area of study,” remarks Tuwei. “I choose Holy Family because of the business and athletic programs.” Knowing he wanted to attend Holy Family was one thing. But being accepted to run on the cross-country

and track teams was another story. Tuwei sent numerous e-mails to Head Coach Daryl McKeever in an attempt to get his attention. After months of persistence, McKeever broke and began the process of finding a spot for Tuwei on the teams. “Fred was very diligent and basically wore me down with his e-mails,” says McKeever. “He explained his situation and worked hard to prove that he wanted to be over here.” Once Tuwei arrived at Holy Family, he encountered a brand new set of challenges. His biggest adjustments weren’t acclimating to city life or meeting new people—it was dealing with the frigid Northeast winter. “I feel the biggest adjustment was the change in weather conditions, especially during winter when it’s too cold and snowing. It was my first time experiencing snow,” says Tuwei. “Also, food was a problem for me. The food here is different from what I am used

to eating back in Kenya.” Meeting new people is something Tuwei takes a shine to. He enjoys getting to know people of different backgrounds in the classroom and on the track. “In my first two years, meeting and interacting with new faces was hard, but I found it easy when we interact together, especially my classmates and teammates,” says Tuwei. “My teammates and other students are the most unique, innovative, and friendly people. And the professors are very cooperative and the relationships you form with them will make you a successful person in future. Holy Family is a beautiful environment with nice students and staff members.” Thanks to his cross-county background and experience attending Kenyan running camps, Tuwei had an easy time winning the respect of his coach and teammates. “Fred is more experienced than

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the other runners," says McKeever. “He’s a pleasure to coach. You just talk directly to him and he understands immediately.” Tuwei made sacrifices to achieve his goals of getting an education and running cross-country at Holy Family. “Most of all I miss my family members, friends, the fun we had with my classmates during December holidays, and my favorite food Ugali [a cornmeal product and a staple starch component of many African meals, especially in Southern and Eastern Africa], says Tuwei. Also, unlike most college students, Tuwei was not able to return to his native country during the summer. Instead, he traveled out West to visit a friend and see the West Coast. “Last summer, I visited my friend Eric in Idaho,” recalls Tuwei. “I had a

lot of fun with him. We visited some of his friends in Phoenix and Los Angeles. We also spent most of the time running in the Idaho hills.” This past season, Tuwei’s sacrifice and hard work began to pay off. At the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Championships, he recorded a seventh place finish. His finish earned him All-CACC honors, a feat that has only been accomplished twice before in Holy Family history. “It felt great for Fred because he felt like he legitimately accomplished something,” says McKeever. “I was also very proud of him. He hasn’t trained here like he did in Kenya because of his academic focus. I feel he is going to be even better.”

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Reports from the court, track, and field

Five Alumni Inducted into Hall of Fame

of his four seasons. He led NAIA Division II in rebounding twice. After graduation, he signed a profesOn April 19, the Holy Family Universional contract with USC Freiburg sity Athletics Hall of Fame Committee in Germany, becoming one of the inducted its inaugural class into the first Holy Family basketball players Hall of Fame. Men’s basketball players to play professionally. Michael Glitz ’91 and James SchuSandra Michael has served as Holy litce ’92, men’s soccer player James Family Director of Athletics since Hurley Milligan ’93, women’s basket- 1986. During her tenure, she served ball player Debbie Schopfer ’91 and as the NAIA Chairperson for District Director of Athletics Sandra Michael 19 (1989-1993), President of the M’97 made up the first class. About Central Atlantic Collegiate Confer200 family members, friends, and ence (2004-2006), Chairperson of Holy Family alumni and administrathe NCAA Northeast Regional Divitors filled the Torresdale-Frankford sion II Women’s Basketball CommitCountry Club for the occasion. tee (2004-2006), and National Chair Glitz is the leading career scorer of the NCAA Division II Women’s (2,657) and rebounder (2,067) in Basketball Committee (2006-2008).

Pictured from left to right are hall of Fame inductees Michael Glitz, James Schultice, Debbie Schopfer, James Milligan, and Sandra Michael.

Holy Family history. He was the first Tiger to earn National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) All-America recognition, being named honorable mention three times. He also earned the NAIA District 19 and Keystone Athletic Conference (KAC) player of the year awards three times. Glitz was named to the NAIA District 19 and KAC first team in each


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Michael led Holy Family University in its transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II in 2003. She is a two-time recipient of the NAIA Female Athletics Administrator of the Year award. In 2002, the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics honored her as the Athletic Director of the Year. Milligan was the goalkeeper for the

men’s soccer program in its second and third season as a sport at Holy Family. He led the team to the KAC and NAIA District 19 championships in each of those years. He garnered All-KAC and NAIA District 19 team honors in both years. In 1990, Milligan was recognized as the top goalkeeper in the NAIA with 14 shutouts and a goal against average (GAA) of 0.44, both school records. As a senior captain, he was named the News Gleaner Small College Player of the Year. He holds career records for lowest GAA and most shutouts at Holy Family. Schopfer is the women’s basketball program’s top scorer with 1,926 points. She also recorded over 1,600 rebounds during her four years in a Tiger uniform. Schopfer was awarded All-American honors three times. In her freshman season, she was named a Kodak All-American. Two seasons later, Schopfer earned NAIA All-American honorable mention accolades. As a senior, she garnered NAIA All-American third team honors. Schopfer was named the Pennsylvania Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women player of the year that same season. In addition to being a three-time All-American, Schopfer was a three-time KAC player of the year during her freshman, sophomore and senior years. Schopfer was the News Gleaner Small College Player of the Year in 1990 and 1991. Schultice is second only to Glitz in career rebounds (1,663), fourth in career points (2,110) and ninth in career assists (419). In his senior season, Schultice became Holy Family’s first NAIA All-America first team pick. He was a three-time NAIA District 19 and Keystone Athletic Conference team selection. As a junior, he was a NAIA All-American nominee. Nominations for the 2010 Athletics Hall of Fame class open on Monday, September 14.

World Series Trophy Visits Campus

The Commissioner’s Trophy made an appearance at a Holy Family University basketball double-header on February 24 as a part of the Philadelphia Phillies World Series Trophy Tour. More than 800 people packed the Campus Center to catch a glimpse and take a picture with the trophy. The Phillies defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 4-1 in the 2008 World Series.

President Sister Francesca Onley and the Board of Trustees pose with the Commissioner's Trophy at the Campus Center.

Spring Sports Roundup Women’s Basketball

awards including: Women’s Basketball The women’s basketball team record- Coaches Association and Daktronics All-America honorable mention; ed its sixth consecutive NCAA East Daktronics All-East Region first team; Region Tournament appearance and hosted it for the second straight time. Eastern College Athletic Conference The Tigers reached the East Region (ECAC) All-Star first team; and Censemi-final for the fourth time, falling to Stonehill Women’s Lacrosse College. Head coach Mike The women’s lacrosse team went McLaughlin became the 0-16 in its first year of existence fastest women’s basketball at Holy Family. Defender Jamiecoach in NCAA history Lynn Wallace was named to to reach 400 career wins. the All-CACC first team. Head The Tigers defeated the Coach Meagan DiCave was University of the Scivoted by her peers as the CACC ences on February 3 for coach of the year because the milestone win, which of the progress the team made was McLaughlin’s 459th throughout the course of the career game as a coach. season. Attack Gina Mansi led He beat the previous mark the Tigers with 34 points and by four games. Forward 36 points. Catherine Carr earned numerous post-season

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tral Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) player of the year. On Friday, May 29, Mark Miller was named as the new Head Coach of the women’s basketball team. He replaces McLaughlin who accepted the

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Reports from the court, track, and field


The softball team recorded a 22-28 season with its second straight appearance in the CACC Championship Tournament. Head coach Mickey McGroarty became a 400-game winner after a 6-1 win in game one of a double-header at the University of the Sciences on April 9. Pitcher Jody Searfoss was an All-CACC second team at-large selection. She set a new record for most strikeouts in a single season with 155. Searfoss also tossed two no-hitters in the 2009 season. Pitcher/ outfielder Angela DiBeneditto was named to the Daktronics All-East Region second team as a utility player.

head coaching position at the University of Pennsylvania in April. Miller spent the previous three seasons at Division III Norwich University. He is the program’s fourth head coach.

Men’s Basketball

The men’s basketball team concluded its season with an overall record of

8-20 and reached the CACC Championship Tournament for the second straight season. Forward Justin Swidowski was tabbed as the ECAC and CACC rookie of the year. During the course of the season, Swidowski was named the CACC rookie of the week seven times, a conference record. He also earned the conference player of the week award twice. Guard Ceazer Johnson and Swidowski were All-CACC second team selections. Guard Quincy Marshall was named All-CACC honorable mention.

Men’s Golf

The men’s golf team took sixth place at the CACC Championships held at the Frog Hollow Golf Club in Middletown, Delaware. Jonathan Radick had a two-day score of 149 to finish in a tie for 10th place. His finish placed him on the All-CACC team. Radick was the top performance for the Tigers throughout the spring. He had a fourth place finish at the St. Thomas Aquinas Invitational,


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a seventh at the Goldey-Beacom Invitational and 12th at the Peter King Invitational.

Women’s Tennis

The women’s tennis team wrapped up its season with five matches during the spring. The Tigers opened the spring with a win over Division I La Salle. However, the team lost its last four matches to end its year with an overall record of 11-8. Quena Borres and Liana Lui recorded 13 individual wins each to lead the team.

Track and Field

Latifah Porter was the top runner for the women’s track and field team with two event wins in the spring. She won the 400-meter dash at the Osprey Open and the Golden Ram Invitational. Fred Tuwei earned a victory in the 5,000-meter run at the Golden Ram Invitational. The men’s 4x400 relay team took 79th place at the Penn Relays.

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Wear it Proud Catch the Holy Family spirit at our online bookstore. Order online at Due to seasonal changes, some items shown may vary slightly in color and/or graphics.

Travel Mug 16 oz. acrylic mug with handle $9.98

Teddy Bear Plush stuffed bear $17.98 Baseball Hat Unstructured twill cap with appliqued felt logo, 100% cotton $19.98


News for the alumni community

Class Notes

What you do is news to your fellow alumni and your alma mater! Tell us if you have moved, changed your phone number, updated your e-mail address, become engaged, married, had or adopted a baby, reunited with a group of classmates, received an award, promotion, changed jobs, or just want to say “hello!” Please forward details to the Office of Alumni & Parents, Holy Family University, 9801 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19114-2009. You may wish to fax information to 215-637-2110, e-mail a message to, or post the note through our online Alumni Community at (you must be registered to access the site).


Jean Ellis ’64 has been married to Colonel William Ellis for more than 30 years, and together they raised two daughters. In addition to being a wife and mother, Jean was Personnel Director at Nazareth Hospital and then was employed for 20 years for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in management. Jean is now retired and spends much of her time doing volunteer work. Jean’s volunteer activities include Red Cross blood drives, civilian emergency response team, Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, and the Police Department Civilian Advisory Council. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the 50+ singles club in her community. Marie Coll Kent ’64 exhibited scenic paintings at the Pebble Hill Gallery in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, earlier this year. Marie recently

Reverend Jonathan J. Dalin ’95 was ordained into the priesthood by Cardinal Justin Rigali on May 16 at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. He was one of six men from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to be ordained. Father Dalin celebrated his first Mass on May 17 at Saint Charles Borromeo Church in his native Washington Township, New Jersey.

produced a new body of work in the area of oil and pastel paintings. They include landscapes and seascapes from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. Marie also paints flowers, animals, and still life. In her first competition, she won second prize in the non-pro division with her pastel “White Hibiscus.” Martha Morris Naas ’68 writes that her son Michael became a father for the second time on April 29, 2009 to Jason Joseph. Jason joins big sister Shannon. Martha

John Kirby M’06 was unanimously appointed CEO by the board of Pottstown Memorial Medical Center (PMMC) on June 29 in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. Kirby previously served as PMMC’s interim CEO and Chief Operating Officer. Prior to joining PMMC, he was Vice President of Clinical Operations at Nazareth Hospital in Philadelphia.


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now has three grandsons and one granddaughter. Her two daughters and son all live close by so they have many exciting holidays and family gatherings. Martha and husband Michael have run a dental lab for almost 30 years.


Dr. Margaret Rose (Maggie) Jaster ’73 is thrilled to continue her teaching career at Penn State Harrisburg. She has been teaching since 1975 when S. Placide helped her secure a secondary teaching job at Lower Cape May Regional High School in New Jersey. She has been the recipient of several teaching awards since then. Margaret taught at the University of Maryland at College Park and George Mason University before her current position. She has

At this year’s Commencement on May 11, Holy Family continued its new tradition of honoring the 50th anniversary graduating class. Eight out of 30 graduates from the class of 1959, along with their guests, attended the graduation program and were recognized during the ceremony by President Sister Francesca Onley, PhD. Sister Francesca is a member of the class of 1959. Following the formal ceremony, the Office of Alumni and Parents hosted a reception for the 50th anniversary graduates at the Northeast Philadelphia Campus. Past alumni board presidents and representatives from the classes of 1960 and 1961 also were invited. The class of 1960 will be honored in 2010. published numerous articles on English Renaissance drama and Irish-English interaction as well as Shakespeare and Columbo. Her book on Renaissance clothing is due to be published in 2010.


Bill Whelan, husband of Marie Massing Whelan ’80, passed away in February 2007. The couple’s 24 grandchildren rallied around their grandfather, along with their parents, during his illness. Marie feels blessed that she and her husband were married for 50 years.


Kathleen Leon ’90 M’95 was appointed Principal of Benjamin Rush Elementary School in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, in June. Previously, she served as Assistant Principal

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at Robert K. Shafer Middle School and Acting Principal at Cornwells Elementary School. In 2006, she was named Teacher of the Year at Samuel K. Faust Elementary School. Prior to becoming an educator, Leon served as a registered nurse in a Philadelphia rehabilitation hospital.

Barbara Ann Prasch ’99 and husband David have three adopted children, Mae Marie, Joy Christine, and Kirk Herbert, ages 8, 6, and 4.


Christopher Tait ’00 published his second book titled The Great Northeast in early 2009. Available

through, Tait’s novel is set at the fictional Holmesburg High in Northeast Philadelphia against the backdrop of a senior’s murder. Tait is currently writing his third novel, titled October and Everything After. His first, Under the Bridge, was published in 2008. Suanne Bernacki M’03 joined the learning and development team at Cape Regional Medical Center in Cape May Courthouse, New Jersey, as a Clinical Learning Specialist. Previously, she worked for the Holy Redeemer Health System as a Field Supervisor, Quality Nurse, and Staff Development Educator. Suanne lives in Cape May, New Jersey, with husband, Walt. The couple has two grown children. Jay Ems ’03 now owns a State Farm Insurance Agency in Skippack, Pennsylvania. As a student at Holy Family, he interned at State Farm Insurance. Tina Schuyler ’05 is engaged to Patrick Trombetta. An August 2009 wedding is planned. Tina works at TNS Telecoms in Horsham, Pennsylvania, in learning and development. Rachel Schaffer Lombardo M’06 married Nicholas Lombardo on December 27, 2008, at Olde St. Andrews Church in Newtown, Pennsylvania. Marissa Bianco Davies ’07 married Ed Davies on April 25, 2009. Marissa is an MRI technologist and husband Ed is a Philadelphia Police Officer.

In Memoriam Kathleen Moran Shannon ’64 died on April 19, 2009. Marie Hoben Inyang ’66 died on January 7, 2009. Shelia Garonski ’73 died on March 11, 2009.

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familyreunion Senior Class Tradition Revived


he Office of Alumni and Parents, in conjunction with the Office of Student Services, reintroduced the Senior Class Gift at Holy Family this year. A fundraising effort brought in close to $2,400. Those who contributed a “$20.09” donation received a commemorative senior class ’09 T-shirt. The student committee members for the campaign were: Nina Altomari ’09 and Catherine Snyder ’09 (co-chairs), Anastasia Altomari ’09, Michelle Russo ’09, and Yaroslav Varenychenko ’09. With the monies collected, the senior class voted to purchase picnic tables to be placed in the gazebo area between Holy Family Hall and the Nurse Education Building. A

News for the alumni community

commemorative plaque will be on display in honor of Father Thomas Fahy, OSB, Associate Professor of English from 1990-2008, who died in a tragic automobile accident last fall. A dedication event will be held at the beginning of the fall semester. Alumni from the class of 2009 and/or their parents can still make a contribution to the fund and receive a commemorative t-shirt by visiting: holyfamily. edu/ia and clicking on “Make a Gift.” An acknowledgment will follow with instructions on how to obtain the ’09 senior class shirt. The Office of Alumni and Parents would like to thank the senior class members, parents, faculty, staff, administrators, and friends who made

a contribution to the 2009 senior class gift. For a list of contributors, please see the Honor Roll of Donors (enclosed with your magazine).

Altomari Selected for Alumni Senior Award


lumni Association Board Member, James Morse, Sr. ’84, presented the Association’s Alumni Senior Award at Commencement to Anastasia Altomari ’09. The award is given each year to a graduating student who best represents the Holy Family University student body through his or her campus involvement, community service on behalf of the University, life experience, and academic achievements. Altomari majored in Finance and was an active member of the student community. She served as a Campus Music Ministry guitarist, a member of the Senior Class Gift Committee, a member of the Student Advisory Board for the School of Business Administration, a Student Ambassador for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, a Student Government Association Senior Class Representative, and a First-Year Experience Student Mentor for members of the freshman class. Altomari has since been appointed to serve as a member of the Alumni Association Board of Advisors.

MBA Alumni Welcome Receiver Fred Barnett


ormer Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Fred Barnett was the guest speaker at the Fourth Annual MBA Alumni and Student Cocktail Reception on May 8. Barnett spoke on leadership by example, using his own success story as


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an example of overcoming challenges and seizing opportunities. More than 60 MBA alumni, students, facilitators, and staff came together at The Union League of Philadelphia for this annual Division of Extended Learning event.

We Moved! As Holy Family continues to grow and evolve, so too does the Division of Institutional Advancement! Visit us in our new location in Bensalem.

Holy Family University


Division of Institutional Advancement Alumni & Parents Development Marketing & Communications

Division of Institutional Advancement Holy Family University — Andalusia 634 Bristol Pike, Bensalem, PA 19020


A nostalgic trip back in time

Do These Shoes Match My Outfit? Campus life was filled with rich traditions during Holy Family’s early years, and each required a special form of dress. But what does one wear to a freshman hazing? Here, a student ponders her choice of footwear, circa 1960.


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Making a difference on campus

On the Scene: Scholarship Ball ’09




enefactors danced the night away for student financial aid on April 17. Honoree Robert D. Falese, Jr., Chairman, Commercial Banking for TD Bank, was the recipient of the 2009 Corporate Leadership Award. More than $357,000 was raised for student financial aid, a 3.1% increase over last year. 1) Scholarship Ball Co-Chairs Joan E. and Robert E. Tepfer accept the Volunteer Leadership Award.


2) Mary ’92 and Robert Falese, Jr. proudly display the Corporate Leadership Award. 3) President Sister Francesca Onley calls the auction for Phillies box seats. 4) Meaghan Crawford flags down bidders for the auctioneer.



5) Vying for Phillies tickets is Board of Trustees Chairman Dennis Colgan. 6) Student Meghan Meyers teamed up with the David Christopher Orchestra to regale the crowd.



Emergency Aid Garnered for Accelerated Students


uring the recent economic downturn, working adult students completing a degree through the Division of Extended Learning (DEL) were hit especially hard. Many struggled with job losses and desperately sought ways to continue their education. DEL staff members, who watched helplessly as students were forced to withdraw from the program, decided to take action. This June, nearly 1,000 students, alumni, facilitators, and staff were asked to contribute to a new scholarship designed specifically for accelerated degree students.

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One of the first of its kind, this scholarship provides emergency funds for students who need additional financial support to complete their degree. So far, the outpouring has been tremendous. In the first week alone, students contributed nearly $2,000 to help their fellow classmates. Additionally, each DEL staff member contributed to the fund to show students their support. The DEL looks forward to awarding these scholarships next year and truly making a difference in the lives of their students. – Suzanne Libenson

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Questions and answers with…

MaryAnn Molishus ’00 The Milken Family Foundation recently honored alumna Maryann Molishus ’00 with the prestigious National Educator Award. The veteran instructor has been a second-grade teacher at Goodnoe Elementary School in Newtown, Pennsylvania, for the past nine years. She discussed the award, values in education, and her philosophy on teaching with Holy Family’s Robert Macartney. previous Milken Award winners that meets regularly to exchange ideas. Do you have a specific teaching philosophy?

I spend a lot of time thinking about what I need to bring to education. But it’s about constantly being a learner yourself, so you can teach children how to learn in a world of change. That lifelong learning component is encouraged at Holy Family. Aside from the curriculum, you want the students to want to learn, not because they have to do it. How do you infuse the values learned at Holy Family into the teaching environment?

Were you surprised to win the National Educator Award?

The Foundation went to the State Department of Education with their criteria and pulled my name out of the file. They notified the principal at Goodnoe—Eileen Dwell—and the superintendent and that was it. They planned an assembly, and it was a surprise to everyone else. Someone from the foundation came out and gave me the award. I didn’t know I had won until the moment they called me onto stage at the assembly. What led the Milken Family Foundation to you?

I think it was for a variety of things, more than any one specific thing. I am involved in the Council Rock Education Foundation, which raises money for grants for teachers. I also


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have worked with other teachers—at workshops, training sessions, etc. In the classroom, I have my students do some unusual projects—a science circus camp is one example. I take a science kit and turn it into a one-week circus “camp” where the students learn about things like balance. We pretend we are in camp for the week, writing letters “home” to their parents, and on the last day, we perform our balancing circus. How has the award affected your teaching career?

In April, I went to California for the award ceremony and the teacher advancement program, where all the winners came together for an education conference and celebration. Now I have contacts across the country, and I am part of a Pennsylvania group of

I am always helping others, thinking about what my talents are, and how I can help others do the best they can do. These things are valued at Holy Family. Whether it’s a student, their family, or fellow teachers, I make an effort to treat them all as individuals. Being kind to one another is important no matter who you are dealing with. Specifically with the children, it would be easy if I did the same thing every year, but it would not benefit my students, because they all have different interests and personalities. Do you have a favorite memory from your years in teaching?

It is hard to pick one specific moment. It’s always when the student is able to take over and be the teacher, when they develop the confidence to stand in front of their classmates and share. When I can step out as the teacher and let them facilitate the learning, those are my favorite moments.

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Holy Family University Magazine Fall 2009  

Holy Family University is a fully accredited Catholic, private, co-educational, four-year comprehensive university located in Philadelphia,...

Holy Family University Magazine Fall 2009  

Holy Family University is a fully accredited Catholic, private, co-educational, four-year comprehensive university located in Philadelphia,...