A publication for alumni and friends of Mercyhurst College
Legacies: Still building on the Mercy tradition
It still amazes me to read these magazines and see how the story of Mercyhurst has been woven together with threads of Mercy values, family legacies, ’Hurst traditions and the individual stories of our alumni, students and employees. This edition of Mercyhurst Magazine sheds light on just a few of the pieces of the history that began more than 85 years ago, and I find myself reminded, once again, that while much has changed, so much has remained the same. In the following pages, you’ll find accounts of entire families who have graduated from the Hurst, the stories behind the names of buildings and structures on campus, and the man behind the start of our North East campus, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. The issue also previews the next chapter in our history—of new majors and new buildings and of current faculty and students making their mark in the Mercyhurst legacy.
“I find myself reminded, once again, that while much has changed, so much has remained the same.”
The Mercyhurst family also remembers legacies of alumni who have passed. I want to personally recognize and honor the memory of Mercyhurst alumnus Derek Kotecki ‘93, a Lower Burrell Police Department officer who made the ultimate sacrifice on Oct. 12 when he was killed while attempting to make an arrest. The college has established the Derek Kotecki Memorial Fund to provide criminal justice majors funds for travel to present their research findings. This fund will ensure Derek’s mark on the college and in the world will live on. I wish we could provide the stories of each of our alumni to show both the diversity and the commonalities of a Mercyhurst experience. Though we can’t do that here, we are collecting personal stories at legacy.hurstalumni.org. Please join fellow alums by adding your piece to our rich history. And, as always, continue the Mercyhurst and Mercy legacy in all you do. God bless,
President, Mercyhurst College
What’s in a name
In 1920, when the Sisters of Mercy found themselves short of space at their home base in Titusville, Pa., Mother Borgia Egan proposed a move north to Erie. There, atop a hill on the southern outskirts of the city, they would create a brand-new college for women. Former college President Dr. Michael McQuillen wrote about the naming of that college: “The name Mercyhurst was used in connection with the new project ‘almost immediately.’
The Sisters had wanted the name Mercy in the college title in some fashion. How it came to be linked to ‘hyrst,’ the Old English word for ‘wooded hill,’ is uncertain. Early photos of the Lowry farm make clear the site was not particularly wooded, though Mother Borgia no doubt envisioned the many trees that would come to adorn her ‘college on the hill.’ One report claims that an appointed group of sisters, charged with finding a distinctive title for the college, selected Mercyhurst after hearing the name of the Jesuit college in England, Stonyhurst.”
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A publication for alumni and friends of Mercyhurst College
TABLE OF CONTENTS Happenings on The Hill Mercyhurst establishes Public Health Institute Lay faculty set service records Alumni return to teach on The Hill
Legacies: Still building on the Mercy tradition
’38 grad recalls campus life ‘Dr. D’ leaves a legacy MNE’s biggest supporter - Robert Miller Website hosts Merciads and more Mahoney family album Kenyan siblings study in Erie ’Hurst is in the genes for Carlow sisters Three generations continue tradition Class Notes Soccer alum helps other athletes
Cover Photo: Steve Perkins
Susan Corbran ’73 firstname.lastname@example.org (814) 824-2090 We’d love to hear from you. Send your story ideas, suggestions and comments to email@example.com or mail to Editor, Mercyhurst Magazine, 501 E. 38th St., Erie, PA 16546.
Contributing Writers Meghan Corbin ’06 Susan Corbran ’73 Deborah Morton Amanda Prischak
Steve Perkins firstname.lastname@example.org (814) 824-3340
Class Notes Editor
Lacrosse title capped special year
Debra Tarasovitch email@example.com (814) 824-2392
Senior gifts make lasting impact
Director, Alumni Relations
As new buildings and facilities have been added over the years, they’ve been named to honor those who have left their marks on the college. Notes throughout this magazine recall a few of these legacies.
Ryan Palm ’07 firstname.lastname@example.org (800) 845-8568 (814) 824-2421
The Office of Marketing and Public Relations publishes Mercyhurst Magazine. Send changes of address to: Mercyhurst Magazine Mercyhurst College 501 E. 38th St. Erie, PA 16546
Happenings on the hill
New academic building rising on front campus Construction continues on the new $10.5 million Center for Academic Engagement that will provide a hands-on, collaborative, high-tech learning environment for two of Mercyhurst’s signature programs – Intelligence Studies and Hospitality Management – as well as housing the Mercyhurst Center for Applied Politics (MCAP) and the Evelyn Lincoln Institute for Ethics and Society. Early in November, workers “topped out” the new structure. Following tradition, they raised the American flag atop the building once the highest piece of structural steel was placed. Plans call for completion of the building by fall 2012. The new academic center had been discussed for years but became a reality after then-Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell infused $3.5 million in state funds into the project in December 2010. Engage.Enrich.Envision capital campaign contributions and building reserves are covering the remainder. To watch as work continues – including the overhead walkway that will connect the building to Hammermill Library – check out the live webcam on the college website, mercyhurst.edu. During groundbreaking ceremonies for the Center for Academic Engagement on June 3, President Dr. Tom Gamble also announced the successful completion of Phase I of the college’s capital campaign a full year ahead of schedule. Phase I of the Engage.Enrich.Envision capital campaign had begun in 2009 with a goal of $13 million. As of June 1, Phase I had raised $21 million to be invested in academic buildings and laboratories. Over the next eight years, Phases II and III aim to raise $17 million toward endowed scholarships and $20 million for endowed faculty chairs.
Brown named Senior VP Dr. Gary Brown, who led Mercyhurst North East (MNE) for the past 15 years, has assumed a new post on the Erie campus as senior vice president and chief financial officer. Dr. Ken Zirkle, who had been special assistant to Brown, is serving as executive vice president on an interim basis while the college engages in a national search for Brown’s replacement. Zirkle is the past president of the University of Findlay, Becker College and Post University. Msgr. David A. Rubino, Ph.D., is serving as interim dean of Mercyhurst’s Walker School of Business. 2
Input welcome on strategic plan The strategic planning process now under way at Mercyhurst College will offer alumni and friends a chance to help guide Mercyhurst from its strong position today to even greater heights in the future. Over the next few months, community members will be asked to provide input and suggestions through focus groups, workshops and surveys. Alumni will have the opportunity to provide feedback through the strategic planning area of the alumni community website and will be asked to participate in surveys. You can visit alumni.mercyhurst.edu/strategicplan to learn more about the process and to access helpful resource information.
New academic programs this fall Mercyhurst has launched a new major in public health under the guidance of Dr. David Dausey, a Mercyhurst graduate who has become an internationally recognized expert in public health. See Page 4 to read more about his plans for the department and for the new Mercyhurst Institute for Public Health. A number of other new programs have been introduced at Mercyhurst this fall:
Catherine Walker mourned Catherine “Terry” McDonough Walker, one of Mercyhurst’s greatest friends and benefactors, died unexpectedly on Oct. 14. Her funeral Mass was celebrated the following week in Christ the King Chapel. Mrs. Walker’s special bond with the Sisters of Mercy dated to her childhood in Pittsburgh. She continued her close relationship with the Sisters – and especially with Mercyhurst College – after moving to Erie and marrying Dr. Barrett C. Walker, a long-time Mercyhurst trustee honored with the designation “trustee emeritus” following his retirement. The Walker name can be found in many places on the Mercyhurst campus. With Terry’s encouragement, Dr. Walker endowed the Walker School of Business in 1995. When college growth demanded expansion of Hammermill Library, the couple helped fund the Walker Wing to connect the library with Weber Hall. On Jan. 1, 2000, Mercyhurst dedicated the Catherine McDonough Walker Reading Room, still one of the most popular study areas on campus.
Exercise Science: The Sportsmedicine Department has launched Mercyhurst’s seventh graduate program, a Master of Science degree in Exercise Science. Designed to be completed in 12 months, the curriculum requires students to complete practicums and internships to expand their practical and clinical skills and to take part in faculty-directed research projects. Students will be prepared to take the American College of Sports Medicine’s Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist Exam™. Undergraduate students in sportsmedicine will also be able to complete a minor or concentration in exercise science. Integrated Marketing: The Walker School of Business now offers an interdisciplinary major designed to prepare students for jobs in the modern marketing industry. Increasingly, employers in the marketing field are looking for employees who have proficiency with graphic design software, web-based marketing, public relations strategies, advertising and branding, social media tools, and strategic marketing and communication campaigns. Students will take courses in communication, art and computer systems, as well as business. Business Majors: Students in the Walker School of Business used to earn degrees in business with concentrations in specific areas like accounting or finance. Now each program is a distinct major. In addition to Integrated Marketing, Walker students can major in Accounting, Business Competitive Intelligence, Economics, Finance, Human Resource Management, International Business, Management or Sport Business Management. Sustainability Studies: In keeping with its emergence as a leader in environmental sustainability among Pennsylvania colleges and universities, Mercyhurst has developed a new major in sustainability studies. The popularity of customized “contract majors” in the field prompted the college to create a separate Bachelor of Arts degree program. Mercyhurst also now offers a post-baccalaureate certificate in sustainability studies.
When the Audrey Hirt Academic Center opened in 2002, the couple helped create the Dr. Barrett and Catherine Walker Recital Hall as an intimate performance space. Even the Celtic cross that tops Hammermill Library was a gift from Dr. Walker in honor of his wife. “The Walkers have a remarkable record of generosity toward Mercyhurst,” said President Dr. Tom Gamble. “They have been helping make our dreams come true for many years. We extend our deepest sympathies to Dr. Walker and the rest of the family.”
Exercise Science Lab
One man’s passion carries global implications David Dausey returns to Mercyhurst to establish public health institute David Dausey has been known to turn a flicker into a firestorm and he’s chosen to strike the match right here at Mercyhurst College. Here - on this small, intimate campus where he met his wife playing hacky sack in Garvey Park, earned his undergraduate degree in psychology, developed a passion for knowledge and a desire to teach that even educational experiences at Harvard and Yale couldn’t match, and discovered a sense of community that, to this day, he champions as unprecedented. This fall, Mercyhurst has become more than an alma mater, a charitable contribution, or a Homecoming visit; it has become home to Dausey’s dream: the new Mercyhurst Institute for Public Health.
A Pittsburgh native and 1997 Mercyhurst alumnus, Dausey has left his role as Senior Director of Health Programs and Initiatives at Heinz College of Carnegie Mellon University to accept a position at Mercyhurst as tenured professor of public health and director of a public health initiative that will be phased in over the next several years. He retains his role as (honorary) Distinguished Service Professor at CMU, fortifying his intention to create future educational liaisons between CMU and Mercyhurst. Dausey is relinquishing a sure thing, leadership of respected programs at CMU, for the unknown, building from scratch at Mercyhurst. It won’t be the first time he has rolled the dice. In 1997, he moved to New Haven, Conn., even before being accepted into Yale’s doctoral program in public health. “I was obsessed about getting into Yale for graduate study,” he said. “It was a leap of faith to up and move there, but it paid off, and I have every confidence my work at Mercyhurst will, too.” Dausey returns to his alma mater encouraged by the support of Mercyhurst President Dr. Tom Gamble, whose administration has committed serious resources toward helping produce a well-educated public health workforce – a workforce sorely needed to deal with the health implications of behaviorally driven chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease, not to mention the continued global threat of emerging infectious diseases. According to a 2008 report from the Association of Schools of Public Health, the U.S. will need an additional 250,000 public health workers by 2020 to avert a “public health workforce crisis,” a circumstance that is driving enrollment in public health programs. Dausey said courses in epidemiology, public health and global health are hot classes on campuses around the country. “The focus of today’s students is far more global than it was 10 years ago,” Dausey said. “I think public health is going to be a good fit for Mercyhurst not only for that reason but because it is service-oriented, which is part of our mission and, also, because we are already committed to issues like sustainability and how to best maintain our society.” The hope, according to Gamble, is to pioneer a public health institute that will become an international treasure not unlike the
Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute and the Mercyhurst College Institute for Intelligence Studies. Dausey certainly has the reputation to carry it. An internationally respected public health and health care expert, he is a consultant for Rand Corporation’s Global Health Division and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He has worked closely with senior health officials in more than 20 countries and experts at international organizations like the World Health Organization and the United Nations. Domestically, he has collaborated with more than 100 state and local public health agencies and health care organizations. Over the last decade, Dausey has led externally funded research projects totaling nearly $10 million. He is the author of more than 70 scholarly publications and his work has been translated into more than a dozen languages. He has been featured by media outlets such as USA Today, The Washington Post, U.S.News & World Report and CNN. As he embarks on his new project at Mercyhurst, Dausey foresees a multidisciplinary approach to public health education, engaging, for example, biology and chemistry in the study of infectious diseases and environmental health; psychology, sociology and social work for the study of behavior and health; education and communication for public health education and messaging; sports medicine and other health sciences for community health; computer systems for public health informatics; and intelligence studies for new public health threats like bioterrorism. This fall Mercyhurst introduced a Bachelor of Arts degree in public health that leverages the expertise of many existing academic programs. By fall 2012, Dausey expects to begin filling classrooms and, as the academic department develops, eventually offer a Bachelor of Science degree, a master’s degree, online certificate programs and internships with ministries of health around the world. Graduates will be prepared to move directly into the workforce and assume jobs from front-line workers in labs testing for diseases to public health policymakers. The undergraduate program is also expected to serve as a stepping-stone degree for aspiring nurses, doctors and biologists.
Eventually, Dausey said, he envisions offshoots that include a Center for Public Health Practice that would focus on executive education and hands-on training programs and a Center for Public Health Research that would develop cutting-edge research in strategic areas. For all the challenges inherent in building a dynasty of this magnitude, Dausey is grounded by the desire to inspire, to instill in his students an unbridled passion for what they do with their lives. “You can learn all the facts in the world but if you don’t have passion for what you do, you won’t have nearly the impact you could,” Dausey said. In returning to The Hill, Dausey becomes the 28th alum on the current faculty and is proud to join them all. (See Page 7.) “Of all the places I have worked and been educated,” he said, “Mercyhurst is where I developed a passion for knowledge and a desire to teach, and I can honestly say that I have never found a sense of community quite as unique as that at Mercyhurst College.” He has only to look to his Mercyhurst mentors to draw motivation. Rob Hoff, chair, psychology department “He was my adviser and his mentorship is what motivated me to want to be a great student. He always made me feel welcome and at ease. I’d be in his office two and three times a week just talking.” Michael O’Keefe, religious studies professor “I remember he would turn back my assignments with as many responses in the margins as I had written on the pages. That level of scholarly exchange and the ability to interact so closely with faculty was inspirational for me.” Ken Schiff, associate professor, English “I’ll never forget the time he printed out the lyrics to the song ‘American Pie’ and took us through stanza by stanza interpreting its meaning. That was transformative for me.” “My motivation is to come back to Mercyhurst and be that transformative person for someone else,” Dausey said.
Lay faculty set service records Since retiring from the English Department in 2005, Barry McAndrew has continued to do the things he loves – like announcing Laker football and basketball games, performing in musical theater and teaching Shakespeare courses at Erie’s Jefferson Educational Society. This year he appeared in his 29th consecutive edition of A Canterbury Feast, the medieval dinner theater he joined in 1983. Sons Marc and Brian, ‘Hurst ’88 and ‘89, took him to Ireland as a retirement present. When McAndrew retired, he set a record for service by a lay faculty member at Mercyhurst – 41 years. Remarkably, a pair of his colleagues have broken that record. Dan Burke, chair of the art department, and Rob Hoff, chair of the psychology department, joined the faculty in September 1969 and are now in their 43rd year teaching on the Hill. Burke had made history earlier as Mercyhurst’s first male graduate. When college trustees approved coeducation in February 1969, he was nearing completion of his degree at Gannon, though he had taken all his art courses at Mercyhurst. After the board vote, he was able to graduate with Mercyhurst’s Class of 1969. An Erie native, he studied with noted artist Joseph Plavcan at Tech Memorial and then enrolled at Columbus College of Art for two years. Following three years of Army service, he used his G.I. Bill benefits to finish his education. Sr. Angelica Cummings, his teacher and mentor, quickly hired him and became his friend and confidante. Burke’s a prolific artist, most recently showing works in “SculptureX,” an exhibit by regional artists/professors at both the Sculpture Center in Cleveland and the Erie Art Museum. He’s now preparing for a one-person show in spring 2012 at the Southern Alleghenies 6
Museum of Art in Altoona, Pa. He was named to the inaugural class of Mercyhurst Research Fellows in 2010. Hoff arrived at Mercyhurst in 1969 with the mud of Woodstock still on his shoes. He had finished his master’s degree at the University of Minnesota and was close to a doctorate in experimental psychology. There was no psychology major here at the time, but student interest was so high that one was created the following year. Hoff, the Hurst’s first full-time psychology professor, became the department’s chair – and has held the job ever since, probably another record. The department now has close to 100 majors, plus additional concentrations in applied behavior analysis, the psychology of crime and justice, and neuroscience. Hoff has received many awards for his teaching, including the college’s Teaching Excellence Award in 1992. He has no plans to quit the teaching he loves or the research he enjoys equally. Areas of focus include the mirror neuron system of the brain and the perception of emotion in music. And his greatest enthusiasm is following the careers of ‘Hurst psych grads (such as Dr. David Dausey – see Page 4). At an institution so inextricably woven with the Sisters of Mercy, it’s not surprising that several Sisters were connected to the college even longer than McAndrew, Burke and Hoff. Sister Edith Langiotti, archivist for the Erie community, says Sister Helen Jean Sullivan worked at the college from 1953 to 2007 – 54 years. Just a few of the other Sister faculty with exceptionally long tenure: • Sister M. Eustace Taylor • Sister M. Angelica Cummings • Sister M. Eymard Poydock
Recognize your classmates?
All of them earned undergraduate degrees at Mercyhurst and later returned to the college as faculty members, â€œpaying it forwardâ€? to new generations of Mercyhurst students. Turn the page to see more current photos. 7
Alumni back on The Hill Allan B
elova rac Histo , Ph.D. ‘73 ry
Kathy Mara Weidenboe rner, M.Ed. ‘83 Interior Des ign
Kim Torrelli Zacherl, M.B.A. ’85 Business
kowsk rkiewicz Bu Kathleen Ju Education
Daniel Burke, M.Ed. ‘69 Art
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Marilyn Wag ner Sm Fashion Mer ith, M.Ed. ‘71 chandising
M.S. ‘08 ea Craven, Jennifer Gild chandising Fashion Mer
n, Psy.D. ‘74 Gerard Barro Psychology
Tina Fielding Frylin g, J.D. ‘92 Criminal Justice
Janice Haas, M.S. ‘02 Physical Therapy
Edward Jolie, Ph.D. ‘01 Anthropology/Archaeolo gy
Stephanie Heher, M.S. ‘05 Interior Design
Thomas Hubert, M.F.A. ‘77 Art
sner, Ph.D. Jeffrey Roes h Englis
Suzanne Denny Gushie, M.A. ‘88 Sportsmedicine
. en, M.S Magori ising skoski Erin Ko ion Merchand Fash
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M.S. ‘03 Brad Sage, icine Sportsmed ’01 eldon, M.Ed. Beth Ann Sh anagement M Hospitality
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Lee Pitonyak Belovarac, M.B.A . ’74 Business
Peter Zoho s, M.B.A. ’97 Hospitality Managemen t
re, B.A. ‘94 Brenda Moo anagement M y Hospitalit
’38 grad has fond memories of campus life Pauline O’Laughlin grew up in rural Smethport, Pa., attending a small school where two grades shared a single teacher. Always a good student, she often managed to absorb the lessons meant for both grades – and was ready to graduate from high school in 1934 when she was just 15. Her principal insisted he would send a girl that young only to a Catholic college, so soon her family packed up her belongings and drove 120 miles to Erie and Mercyhurst. She enrolled as a Latin major with an English minor and planned to become a teacher. Her fond memories from the mid-1930s confirm all those legends about life on The Hill during the early days. The girls were required to attend Mass weekly in full academic attire, she says. They were supposed to be fully dressed beneath their robes, but late sleepers sometimes tried to sneak by with pajamas. So Mother Borgia stationed herself near the chapel doors and occasionally pulled aside a gown to check. Pauline describes Mother Borgia as imposing and shrewd, but says she and her classmates respected her rather than fearing her. Formal dinners occurred every Thursday evening, she remembers. The girls “dressed for dinner,” took turns serving as hostess for their table, and were expected to carry on conversation about current events. “If you weren’t sitting up straight, Sister Clotilde would knuckle you in the back,” she laughs.
Rituals were important, especially the annual May Crowning in front of Old Main and the senior class vigil in the Queen’s Chapel on the night before graduation. Pauline speaks highly of the rare male faculty members as well, including Dr. John Donatelli and Dr. Michael Relihan. Relihan, who ran the education program, reassured her as she graduated and began her teaching career in 1938. “I say you’re going to be a good teacher, and I’ve never been wrong,” he told her. Pauline says her pastor back home had warned her to watch out for Sister Monica, saying she’d try to draw her into the convent. Instead, Pauline told the nun she planned to get married and have a large family, a pledge she kept. She married Paul Hergenrother and they raised seven children back in Smethport. Two of her daughters followed her to Mercyhurst. Karen Hergenrother Miles graduated in 1964 in elementary education with an emphasis in reading and taught in Cleveland, Ohio, area schools for more than 25 years. After teaching, Karen’s life went to the dogs…literally. She and her husband, Randy, have been instrumental in developing the Bull Mastiff Rescue Program in Ohio.
Mary Hergenrother Murosky earned an art education degree in 1975. The recession of the late 1970s made young teachers disposable so she took a position with National Fuel in 1979. She says her teaching experience and liberal arts education have played an important role in her success at NFG, where she’s now senior manager of PA Consumer Business with more than 32 years experience. Mary and her husband, Ronald, have been married for more than 32 years and have two children, Steve and Ann, and three grandchildren. Pauline Hergenrother, at 92, is one of four surviving members of her graduating class, along with Anne Morin Brown, Ellen Heintz Munson and Rita Ressler. It’s been a while since she’s been back to Mercyhurst, but on her last visit she was impressed by the growth she saw. “It’s not only bigger, but even more beautiful now than when I was there,” she says.
Every class began with a prayer she can still recite easily from memory, and she says the classes were small and the teachers excellent. For entertainment, she recalls an ice skating rink across 38th Street, trips to downtown Erie to see movies, and at least a couple of dances each year. The school also provided a smoking lounge in a renovated chicken coop known as “The Roost,” but Pauline didn’t use it. “I couldn’t afford to smoke,” she says, “and my mother would have killed me.”
Above: Pauline Hergenrother ’38 with daughters Mary Murosky ’75 and Karen Miles ’64. At right: Pauline O’Laughlin on front campus during May Day festivities.
A camera buff, he also became the de facto college photographer once the city’s professional cameramen had departed for military service during World War II. His photos illustrated the Praeterita yearbook (which he founded and advised for 11 years), The Merciad (which he advised for 13 years) and even an early “viewbook” created to describe Mercyhurst to prospective students. Titled Candle in the Dark, it showcased the beautiful campus architecture and showed students enjoying campus life.
‘Dr. D’ leaves legacy as teacher, mentor What’s in a name 10
After John Donatelli earned his master’s degree from Saint Vincent College, the Depression kept him from pursuing his dream of a medical career. Instead he took a job at Mercyhurst in 1934 and quickly fell in love with the school – and with the teaching profession, which he firmly believed was “the most important work that any human being can do.” He did that work here for 37 years before retiring in 1971. A versatile intellect equally adept at teaching English, history, Latin, sociology, psychology, philosophy and theology, “Dr. D” became a favorite among students, many of whom stayed in touch long after graduation. (Saint Vincent had recognized his many years of postgraduate study with an honorary doctorate in 1949.) He developed a special bond with Mother Borgia Egan, who relied on him to provide a man’s point of view in the days when the faculty was almost exclusively Sisters of Mercy.
Barbara Donatelli Bentze ‘60 laughingly recalls that the late Archbishop John Mark Gannon tried to entice her dad to move downtown to Gannon College, then an all-male school. But, with three daughters to educate, Dr. D stayed put at the Hurst. Besides Bentze, Mary Catherine Donatelli Fenton ’58 and Denise Donatelli ’63 also earned degrees at Mercyhurst. Bentze recently unearthed a trove of her dad’s photos that she donated to the college. The Donatelli Collection documents life on campus in the 1940s and ‘50s, especially highlighting the annual May Crowning, a staple of spring at Mercyhurst from 1932 to 1968. Many of the photos Dr. Donatelli took are featured on Alumni Services’ new Legacy Project website (see Page 14). John Donatelli’s legacy to Mercyhurst goes far beyond the photo archive, though, to the impact he had on his hundreds of students. Alvina McDermott Johnston ’45, now of Shrewsbury, N.J., eloquently describes what Dr. Donatelli’s teaching meant to her.
Many buildings named to tribute dedicated Sisters of Mercy In 1959, the west wing of the original Mercyhurst complex was christened Egan Hall to honor Mother Borgia Egan, the school’s founder, first president and guiding spirit. Mother Borgia was president for just a year, but then served as academic dean until 1956, when she suffered a stroke. Over those decades, her successors relied on her wisdom and judgment as the young college grew and developed. Originally
a residence hall, the building is now home to administrative offices and Egan Dining Hall. Preston Hall is named for Mother M. deSales Preston, who served as president of Mercyhurst College three times (1927-33, 1939-45 and 194854). Added to the southern end of Old Main in 1953, the wing first served as a convent, became a dormitory for the college’s first male students in 1970, and today houses faculty offices.
“The breadth of his knowledge was amazing. He could have taught English, theology, philosophy, psychology, photography with equal ease. Besides teaching, he had an ‘open to anyone’ informal group that met in his office between classes several times a week. He and students exchanged views during casual conversations. He often suggested certain books that might interest us ... His aim was for us to think for ourselves, with him really indirectly showing us how to think. These sessions were the most valuable gifts Mercyhurst gave me. He was a mentor and a friend … The first class I attended with him left me with the thought – this is why I am at Mercyhurst. That thought is as true today as it was in the fall of 1942.”
May Day was celebrated at Mercyhurst every spring from 1932 through 1968, beginning with the crowning of a senior girl as the May Queen, one of the most important honors bestowed by the graduating class. She in turn crowned the statue of Mary, at first in the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes and later on the front lawn (or in the chapel in case of rain). Some of the most elaborate May Days were held during the 1940s and 1950s, like these recorded by Dr. John A. Donatelli. The popular professor’s daughters were often included in the ceremonies, like Barbara Donatelli Bentze ’60, the cute flower girl in the photo at center right. May Day drew large crowds of spectators, pictured at right behind May Queen Margay Savage in 1945.
Taylor Little Theatre on the lower level of Weber Hall is named for Mother M. Eustace Taylor. A member of Mercyhurst’s first graduating class in 1929, she went on to earn advanced degrees including a doctorate in English at Catholic University. She joined the ‘Hurst faculty in 1937 and was affiliated with the college through 1993, including a term as president from 1954 to 1960 and many years on the Board of Trustees.
delighted when the Carolyn Herrmann Student Union was unveiled in 1990. It was named for Sister Carolyn Herrmann, the seventh president of Mercyhurst (1963-1972), a student advocate and a dynamic leader who steered the college through its transition to coeducation. She was the first president of Mercyhurst who was not also the local superior of the Sisters of Mercy.
Generations of students who had lobbied for a student union on the Mercyhurst campus were
In 1984, Mercyhurst’s art gallery in Hammermill Library was named for Sister Angelica Cummings,
who had taught art from the college’s opening in 1926 until 1974. When the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center opened in 1996, the gallery found a new home in its lobby and today ranks among the best gallery spaces in the region. In addition to her distinguished teaching career, Sister Angelica was a renowned artist in her own right, best known for her oil paintings. In 1974, she was named Mercyhurst’s “First Lady of the Arts,” and the Sister Angelica Senior Award honors an art student each year for creative excellence.
The story of Mercyhurst North East is inextricably intertwined with that of Bob Miller, the local entrepreneur and philanthropist who donated time, money and land even before the campus opened its doors in 1991. It’s remarkable, considering such generosity comes from a man who neither attended Mercyhurst, nor graduated from any college. Then there’s his claim that his motives are less than perfectly altruistic. “For a while, they wanted to build a penal institution, mall or nursing home there,” says Miller in reference to the former St. Mary’s Seminary, the stunning 84-acre complex that later morphed into Mercyhurst North East. “I can throw a stone there, and didn’t want any of those things on the property.” What he did want was an institution of learning in the tradition of the Redemptorist priests who studied there for more than 100 years. So Miller fronted a $50,000 deposit on the institution before helping to raise $500,000 and convincing the Mercyhurst Board of Trustees to vote in favor of purchasing a group of buildings needing all manner of deferred maintenance projects. Within a couple years, Miller’s wish came true when Mercyhurst North East welcomed 53 students into its inaugural class in 1991. His work should have been done then, but something sparked inside Miller during the process. Something that led him to assume a seat on Mercyhurst’s Board of Trustees and to donate more than $2 million to help Mercyhurst North East purchase a former First National Bank branch and to establish an endowment.
Insight from a hardscrabble past
Always MNE’s biggest supporter
To understand Miller’s commitment to Mercyhurst North East, you have to know him before he became the successful owner of Better Baked Foods, a frozen foods manufacturer that distributes its products nationally.
Evidence of Miller’s contributions to MNE isn’t hard to find. Miller Hall sits smack in the middle of the campus while the Janet L. Miller Center for Growth and Academic Excellence, named in honor of Miller’s wife, houses the school’s police academy, Public Safety Institute, nursing programs and world-class forensic anthropology and human anatomy labs. There’s also the Robert S. Miller Award that recognizes the college’s most exceptional adult student and the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, a flower-draped sanctuary that Miller beautified in memory of his mother. “It doesn’t matter if it’s flowers, kids, businesses or colleges,” says Miller. “What I love to do more than anything is to grow things.”
Miller, who likens his younger self to “a ship without anyone at the wheel,” was a poor student who abandoned a teacher-track college career to pursue a better-paying job as a cookware salesman. Unfortunately, as bad manager of both his time and his money, Miller became so broke that he couldn’t pay the rent on his house. “Money is a factor in life—I know what it’s like to work hard to keep the wolf away from the door.” To make ends meet to support a family that eventually swelled to seven children, he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a baker—though he thought his father had “worked too hard for too long for too little.” The experiences of not being college ready and struggling with money gave Miller insight and empathy toward the student who enrolls in Mercyhurst North East. “It isn’t hard for me to identify with someone who isn’t college ready,” he said. “If you don’t see the value in what you’re learning or get excited about it, you won’t learn a skill that earns you a living. At Mercyhurst North East, they’re helping smart and hard-working people who have a different way of learning discover the Godgiven talents we all have and to see that education can play a role in their lives.” Candidly, Miller continued, “I blew it in school, and I always wondered if I could help someone else.”
He was MNE’s biggest supporter on day one—and still is.
What’s in a name 12
Built in 1868, Miller Hall is the oldest structure on the Mercyhurst North East campus. Notable features of the brick Victorian Gothic building include a magnificent rotunda and an outdoor mural depicting the history of the facility. Miller Hall is named for North East businessman and Mercyhurst trustee Robert Miller, who has been the primary benefactor of Mercyhurst North East since the college purchased the former St. Mary’s Seminary in 1991 from the Redemptorist Fathers.
Perhaps the most cherished recognition Miller received came when Mercyhurst North East awarded him an honorary degree during last May’s graduation ceremonies. Outfitted in cap and gown, he received the college’s first-ever Doctor of Laws degree, honoris causa. “It was unexpected, unnecessary and humbling,” he says. “But it was very much appreciated.” Such humility defines Miller, who says his favorite fundraising projects are ones like the two challenges he issued to the community that helped raise more then $2 million. “I believe in partnerships, in joining hands and getting it done together,” he says. “My giving challenges others, and it works—instead of giving $1, people feel like they’re giving $2.” From his vineyard-laced home, Miller has a sweeping view of a campus that enrolls well north of 1,000 students this year. It’s a quantum leap from where the school stood 20 years ago, and it’s in countless ways due to one man’s “selfish” actions. “Besides being a blessing for the community, I feel good every time I see students buzzing around,” he said.
As founding director of the Mercyhurst North East theater program, Alex Clemente took on the task of restoring a fire-damaged area in the basement of Miller Hall to create a theater for the campus and the North East community. His first show there – The Lark: The Story of Joan of Arc – was in rehearsal when he died unexpectedly at the age of 59. In true theater fashion, the show went on and the cozy 98-seat venue was named Alex Theater in his honor. Clemente was a legend in the local theater community, helping to create
Recognizing the man who made it all possible
everything from the Erie Opera Theater to the Gannon theater program to the Erie Summer Festival of the Arts. Karsh Hall, home to the Mercyhurst North East Culinary and Wine Institute as well as administrative offices, originally served as an infirmary for St. Mary’s Seminary. Fittingly, it’s named for North East physician Dr. Carl Karsh, the dedicated chief physician at St. Mary’s from 1927 to 1988.
The Michele & Tom Ridge Health and Safety Building opened in 2005 to add needed classroom and office space on the Mercyhurst North East campus. The $5.5 million classroom and library building was named after the former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Pennsylvania Governor and Erie native Tom Ridge and his wife, Michele, in recognition of their contributions to the Erie area, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the nation.
Robert Miller pictured in front of Miller Hall on the MNE campus
The first Advisory Council for Mercyhurst’s new venture in North East recommended many building names that recognize the rich history of the Redemptorist Fathers and the former St. Mary’s Seminary. The Fathers House was renamed Neumann Hall after St. John Neumann, the first American Redemptorist, and Liguori Fieldhouse was named for the founder of the Redemptorist Order, St. Alphonsus Liguori. St. Mary’s Chapel, the committee agreed, would forever remain St. Mary’s Chapel. 13
Legacy website hosts Merciads and more
When Ethan Magoc graduated from Mercyhurst in May, he left behind a unique “senior gift” – online access to the history of the college as recorded by students in the pages of The Merciad. He spent months scanning and making searchable the entire 82-year Merciad archive, all 1,236 issues, all 7,630 pages. The work was tedious, but the results are impressive. You can now browse every issue online, or search the whole collection for references to names, events or topics. Ethan, the paper’s editor-in-chief in 2010-11, hopes the project will be a resource for future student reporters, putting current happenings on The Hill in historical perspective. Alumni will also love reminiscing about their days on campus, and comparing their own experiences to those of earlier – or later – generations. Where can you find the papers? Ethan posted The Merciad Collection on scribd.com where you can search the whole set. Alumni Relations is featuring the digital Merciad archive in its online Legacy Project (visit legacy.hurstalumni.org). The website is designed to add a personal dimension to college history, showcasing stories of the Mercyhurst family, especially recollections of campus life from the college’s early days to the present. Pat Liebel ’53 and Sister Domenica DeLeo ’59 have been reaching out to alumni, focusing first on the years before coeducation. They’re inviting graduates to share their memories – favorite teachers, meaningful traditions, the impact Mercyhurst had on their lives. Joe Howard ’03 created the site before departing this fall for doctoral studies at the University of Michigan. Ryan Palm ’07, who has succeeded Joe as director of alumni relations and annual giving, says the Legacy Project is very much a work in progress. He hopes alumni will visit often to see what’s been added – and perhaps to contribute some stories or photos of their own.
April Fool story headlines “Mercyhurst Goes Coed”
Merciad MILESTONES scribd.com/TheMerciad/collections 14
Merciad reporter muses “Who knows but that one day Mercyhurst may be a university?”
First issue published
Capital letters disappear from headlines.
Al Messina becomes the paper’s first male editor-in-chief.
Offset printing replaces hot lead method.
Weekly publication begins.
Ethan Magoc ’11 has enrolled in a two-year program in mass communications at the University of Florida. “It’s an enormously exciting time to be figuring out the new direction of journalism,” he says.
Rights Movement. “My years at Mercyhurst and the time with The Merciad are some of my best memories and influenced my decision to get into the newspaper business,” Bob said. “Once the ink gets in your blood ….”
Here’s a look at a handful of other editors-in-chief who went on to careers in journalism.
Brian R. Sheridan ’87 worked as a producer, reporter and anchor in radio and television before returning to Mercyhurst in 2004 as an instructor in the Communication Department (and co-adviser with Bill Welch to the current Merciad staff). Brian, who holds a master’s degree from Edinboro University, formerly anchored FOX 66 News at Ten on WFXP-TV, Erie, and still does some part-time reporting/ anchoring for WFXP and sister station WJET-TV. He has covered every type of news story and interviewed a variety of people from singer Tony Bennett to Sen. Hillary Clinton to the Dalai Lama. He was the only reporter to witness the mysterious death of pizza delivery man Brian Wells on Aug. 28, 2003. Documentary producers have since interviewed him for news programs about the so-called “Pizza Bomber” case that have aired on Fox News Channel, The Learning Channel, the BBC in England, and Fuji-TV in Japan. He also writes regularly for a variety of publications and was the editor and researcher for A Picture Palace Transformed, a 2009 history of Erie’s Warner Theatre. He and his wife, Katherine, have a son, Bennett.
Robert Parks ’73 began his newspaper career at The Herald in Sharon, Pa. After several years, he was named general manager of The Allied News in Grove City, Pa. Over a 36-year newspaper career, he has served as general manager or publisher at newspapers in Port Jervis, N.Y., Ashland, Ky., Chapel Hill, N.C., and Danbury, Ct. Since 2000, he’s been publisher of the Press-Republican in Plattsburgh, N.Y., a seven-day publication with a circulation of 21,000 that covers Clinton, Franklin and Essex counties in upstate New York. He’s married to another 1973 grad, Linda Thanos Parks, and they have three children. Arriving on campus with the first class of male students, Bob worked on The Merciad through a tumultuous period that included the change from fourtimes-a-year to weekly publishing, from hot lead to letterpress printing, and from a focus strictly on campus events to coverage of issues like the Vietnam War and the Civil
Spot color appears in The Merciad.
First color photos appear.
Jule Gardner Banville ’95 created a contract major in political journalism at Mercyhurst and worked on newspapers in Dunkirk, N.Y., and Erie before enrolling at Columbia University’s Journalism School. While there, she switched her focus to radio. Graduating with her master’s in 2000, she went to work for “The Next Big Thing,” a radio magazine about New York City that featured not only radio journalism but drama and improv comedy as well. She was the show’s associate producer when the Twin Towers were attacked on Sept. 11, 2001. That tragedy helped her decide to return to Erie and another stint with the Erie TimesNews. Following her now-husband, Lee, to Washington, D.C., she ended up in what she calls her best job to date as assistant managing editor at Washington City Paper, an alternative weekly. When Lee, who ran the website for the “NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,” joined the faculty of the University of Montana’s School of Journalism, they moved to Missoula. This fall, she’s also teaching classes in features and online news at the U. of M. Lee and Jule have a daughter, Kate, and are expecting their second child. “My journey has taken me places I never would have dreamed up when pushing copy through the waxer and pasting up pages in the old Merciad office,” she says.
Dec. 8, 1999 1,000th issue published.
The Merciad Collection Online
If you want to run searches on keywords, events, people or buildings, use the “Search this profile…” box on the top right of the page. Doing so will query all documents uploaded to The Merciad’s account.
Copies of Merciad posted online.
Jule Gardner Banville
Online edition introduced.
Mahoney Family Album When Rhonda Mahoney enrolled at Mercyhurst in the fall of 1967, she had no idea what she was starting. Brother Jim enrolled at the Hurst as soon as she graduated, and four more siblings would follow, setting the record – as far as we can tell – for the most siblings ever to graduate from Mercyhurst. By the time John graduated in 1986, Jim and Theresa Mahoney had been paying Mercyhurst tuition bills almost nonstop for 19 years. It’s little wonder they celebrated at John’s commencement with a big banner that read “Finally – The Last Mahoney.” Jim Mahoney often worked three jobs – as teacher, coach and referee – to make sure his children could have a Catholic education. From St. Gregory High School in their hometown of North East, to the Erie School District, and eventually to St. Mary’s College/ Seminary, his passion centered on youth. Long before Mercyhurst acquired the former 16
In a family portrait taken last Christmas in the chapel foyer at Mercyhurst, Theresa Mahoney (center) is flanked by Jim and Rhonda. Standing behind them are Tricia, Leann, John and Judy. Mrs. Mahoney died on Feb. 1, 2011.
St. Mary’s Seminary and began developing Mercyhurst North East, the family had close ties with the Redemptorist Fathers there. Both Jim and his wife Theresa were Redemptorist Oblates and they often hosted the seminary staff and student body for backyard picnics. Rhonda says Jim and Theresa provided “a lifetime of memories and a legacy of love” to all their children. Rhonda was a home economics major and Leann studied elementary education. The four others all majored in biology and pursued health care careers. Rhonda points out that she’s the only one of the Mahoneys who didn’t earn an advanced degree. “I had twins instead,” she laughs. The siblings left their mark on athletics on The Hill as well, especially Tricia, who starred on the basketball court. A member of the first class inducted into the Mercyhurst Athletics
Hall of Fame, she still holds the school record for most points scored in a single game – 45 in a 1981 game against Villa Maria College, years before the three-point shot was introduced. She ranks sixth on the all-time women’s list with 1,462 career points. Sister Judy was part of Mercyhurst’s first women’s crew team. The Mahoney Files: Rhonda Mahoney Schember ’71 worked as a home economist for Penn State Cooperative Extension before “retiring” to raise her three children. Her husband, Joe, a Gannon graduate she met at a Tri-College Weekend, is a PNC Bank executive and Erie City Councilman. They married in St. Mary’s Chapel and have three children: Jaime, Joe and Jodi. Rhonda still writes popular food columns for the Erie Times-News and is an active volunteer for the Barber National Institute and the Dept. of Human Services.
Jim Mahoney ’75 earned a doctor of dental science degree at Northwestern University and is now co-owner of the O’Leary Dental Group in Girard, Pa. He played basketball and golf at Mercyhurst and now serves on the executive committee of the Pennsylvania Golf Association. He and wife Donna have two sons, Kevin and Brian. Judy Mahoney Streich ’77 studied dental hygiene at Northwestern University and now works in Phoenix, Ariz. Besides rowing, she was a cheerleader for men’s basketball and played intramural basketball and tennis. She and husband Dennis married in Christ the King Chapel and have three children: Heather, Stephen and Lauren. Leann Mahoney Wolfe ’83 is a classroom teacher and Title 1 remedial reading/math teacher for the Erie School District. She earned a master’s in elementary education at Edinboro University and certification as a reading specialist at Ohio State University. She played volleyball and was the statistician for women’s basketball while sister Tricia was playing, as well as serving as assistant women’s athletic director. Leann and Dan Wolfe have two children, Michael and Angela, and one granddaughter, Taylor. Tricia Mahoney ’83 studied physical therapy at the Mayo Clinic and earned a master’s degree in health sciences at the University of Indianapolis. Besides her basketball career, she was the statistician for the women’s volleyball team while sister Leann was playing. She now lives in North East, works as a physical therapist at Shriners Hospital for Children and Community Nursing Services of North East, and is an adjunct faculty member at Gannon University. John Mahoney ’86 is a self-employed physical therapist/strength and conditioning specialist in Delray Beach, Fla., after earning a master’s in physical therapy at the University of Miami. As a lieutenant commander, he previously served as a Special Operations Physical Therapist with the U.S. Navy, including a short deployment to Iraq with SEAL Team 2 and a long deployment to Afghanistan with NATO forces. While at Mercyhurst, he was on the golf team.
Kenya to Erie When Sister Hellen Khisa arrived at Mercyhurst from Kenya in 2006, her English was good – but she couldn’t sa Sister Hellen Khisa, Juma Khi keep up with classmates whose fingers flew over their keyboards as they completed exams. Her first teacher, Dr. Richard O’Dell, gave her extra time to finish tests until she mastered typing and computer skills.
after his mother died, he put off his training regime and enrolled at Mercyhurst.
“I was touched,” she recalls. “Teachers in my country would not do that.” Now, armed with both undergraduate and graduate degrees in special education, she hopes to return to her homeland and develop a program to offer students whatever extra support they need to succeed. If she’s able to earn a doctorate, she’ll start a college program to educate other teachers.
Juma shared a Mercy Suites apartment with American roommates, worked in the college Rec Center, and continued to cycle as much as possible, thanks to equipment donated by Erie’s Competitive Gear store and other generous bikers. He, too, expects to return to Kenya once he earns his degree and to improve the computer training available there.
She lives by a simple philosophy she learned from her late father: whatever you have God has given you to share with others. One priority for Sister Hellen is working to assure that more young women have the opportunity in Kenya to obtain a good education. She notes, “If more girls have a vision for their future, they will delay marriage and motherhood until they are more mature and ready to take responsibility as parents.”
Will he enter the Tour de France one day? Definitely! But in the meantime, he doesn’t regret putting education first.
Protas Khisa would have been proud to learn of his daughter’s plans. A public school principal in Bungoma, Kenya, he pushed all six of his children to pursue education, and then to share their gifts in service to the world. He was too ill to witness Sister Hellen’s graduation in 2009, so he sent youngest son Juma to America in his place.
The Guadalupe Ministry of the Sisters of Mercy in Erie sponsored Sister Hellen’s stay at Mercyhurst. The program, which originated about 15 years ago, brings nuns to Erie from developing countries where educational opportunities are few. They receive scholarships to cover tuition at Mercyhurst and the Mercy Motherhouse offers room and board. The orders are responsible only for getting the sisters to Erie.
A competitive bicyclist then preparing for the Tour de France, Juma had been learning computer theory in Kenya, one of 300 students sharing just five computers for hands-on practice. Deciding to again follow the older sister who had helped raise him
They’ve been a support system for each other through the past two years, as Sister Hellen wrapped up her master’s degree and Juma studied computer systems. Now Juma’s on his own as Sister Hellen has moved on to her next assignment from her Order of the Little Sisters of St. Francis. Sister Hellen lived at the Sisters of Mercy Motherhouse throughout her Erie stay. While doing graduate work, she worked in both Mercyhurst’s Learning Differences Program and its Multicultural Center.
Brother and sister are full of praise for the Sisters of Mercy, college faculty, fellow students and all who have helped them to achieve the success their father always dreamed of for them.
Ministry Coordinator Sister Maria O’Connor, RSM, is already working to locate nuns to replace Sister Kade and Sister Christiana, two nuns from Liberia now studying at Mercyhurst, after they graduate. They may come from Africa, Latin America, or some other Third World region, but must be proficient in English to optimize their chances of succeeding in college. 17
’Hurst in the genes for Carlow sisters wanted their girls to become thinking women. They succeeded, with an assist from the Sisters of Mercy and Mercyhurst. Judy says she and her siblings were attracted by Mercyhurst’s liberal arts curriculum, with its emphasis on Christian values and Catholic traditions, and by the dignified architecture of the campus. Once on The Hill, she was impressed by the “esprit de corps” and cooperative spirit of the entire faculty.
Sally Carlow Kohler ’51, Judy Carlow Alstadt ’53 and Mary Pat Carlow Schlaudecker ‘64
The names of the teachers they remember flow freely when the Carlow sisters reminisce. Sister Mary Anna and Sister Loretta McHale, inspirational history teachers. Sister Philippa, who taught the best students in the toughest English classes. Miss Kelly, whose etiquette classes prepared the girls to bow to royalty. Education professor Dr. Michael Relihan who stressed the importance of always having a sound lesson plan. And, of course, Mother Borgia Egan, with her impressive voice and stature and beautiful blue eyes. Sally Carlow Kohler ’51, Judy Carlow Alstadt ’53 and Mary Pat Carlow Schlaudecker ‘64 grew up in a home that fostered a love of history and politics. All three majored in history at Mercyhurst, but each chose a career in teaching, earned a master’s degree, and contributed significantly to her community. Sylvester Carlow, a real estate broker, and his wife, Sara, a teacher, valued education and
What’s in a name 18
Sally went first. Admittedly not a straight-A student, she says her high school teachers didn’t even recommend college for her. “Mercyhurst changed my life,” she declares flatly, as the nuns recognized and fostered her abilities. She majored in history and sociology and minored in English and education. The winner of Mercyhurst’s first Carpe Diem Award, she planned to go to Washington to change the world. While she awaited security clearance for her job at Voice of America, she took a teaching post at Erie’s Harding School and decided to stay. More than 20 years later, she completed her master’s in guidance and counseling at Gannon and finished her career as a guidance counselor, retiring from the Erie School District in 1997. Along the way, she contributed to a variety of community organizations. Sally has five children and 14 grandchildren, including ‘Hurst graduates Abigail Grasinger ’09 and Tyler Grasinger ’11. Judy majored in history and English, minored in education, and enjoyed a 37-year career teaching in Erie’s public schools. She earned her master’s degree at Fordham University. The Marion Shane Multicultural Center honors Dr. Marion L. Shane, the first man – and the first layperson – to serve as president of Mercyhurst College. Following his term (1972-1980), the Shane Reading Room in the Herrmann Student Union was named for him. Today it houses programming for all students, with special emphasis on ethnic, gender and minority issues. Mercyhurst’s Board of Trustees meets in the Sennett Board Room, named in honor of Attorney William C. Sennett, a prominent Erie attorney and former Pennsylvania Attorney General who
She met her future husband, Donald Alstadt, as she walked to Harding School and he walked to the nearby Lord Corporation, the Erie company he eventually led. He was a noted scientist, and the Cellular and Molecular Biology Lab in Zurn Hall is named in his honor. Mary Pat arrived at Mercyhurst during the 1960s, when the strong, vibrant Sisters and other women teachers were joined by more men equally dedicated to promoting critical thinking. “Dr. William Garvey continues today to be one of my favorite teachers,” Mary Pat notes. “He made a great impact.” Sally and Judy were active with the National Federation of Catholic College Students. The chapter hosted events and also traveled to colleges around the Lake Erie Region. Mercyhurst held the group’s international relations chairmanship and Sally was first to serve in the role. Mary Pat became part of the National Student Association, traveling to major universities to gain a wider perspective. Mary Pat taught for nearly 30 years, first in Florida and later at Erie’s Gertrude Barber Center, returning to Mercyhurst in 1994 to earn her master’s degree in special education. She later worked as an early intervention coordinator for Erie County Care Management. She has two children and two grandchildren. Judy speaks for all three Carlow sisters when she reflects, “My years at Mercyhurst were filled with life-changing experiences, the memories of which lived on well past graduation and continue to inspire and enrich my life to this day.”
has served on Mercyhurst’s board since 1972 and chaired it from 1983 to 1987 and 1995 to 2004. Located atop Hammermill Library, the room features massive windows that offer a dramatic view of the city of Erie, Lake Erie and the surrounding landscape. The Weber Memorial, between Old Main and Hammermill Library, was built in 1953 as a library and theatre. With its cathedral ceilings and 14-foot-high leaded glass windows, Weber’s Great Room was home to Mercyhurst’s Dance Department for 25 years after the new library
Three generations continue tradition Bernadette Metzner Roche is the proud matriarch of a three-generation Mercyhurst family. A 1952 graduate, she sent three of her five children to the Hurst – and a grandson continued the tradition. As a high school student at Mercyhurst Seminary, Bernadette took part in the annual May Crowning ceremonies. She recalls the pageantry of those events once she returned to the Hurst to complete her final two years of college. A music (and English) student, she played a prominent part in the 1951 celebration. The Merciad reports, “The newlycrowned Mercyhurst May Queen walked slowly and stately to the shrine of the Blessed Mother, while Bernadette Metzner sang ‘Ave Maria.’” Bernadette taught private piano and grade school music lessons for two years before marrying Dr. Robert Roche and starting a family. Her husband, a well-known Erie obstetrician, died in 1991. Even after she left the workforce, her Mercyhurst education proved valuable, Bernadette says. “It didn’t only prepare you for a job,” she reflects. “You learned how to be a lady, and I’ve always been thankful for that.” Arthritis keeps her from playing the piano much, but Bernadette still sings with the choir at Mount Calvary Church in Erie. Daughter Tammy inherited her mother’s musical talent and graduated from Mercyhurst with a degree in music performance in 1976, recognized as the outstanding student in the creative arts. A lifelong performer, she has a was built, but is once again an impressive Reading Room that connects to Hammermill Library. Sister Mary Alice Weber, who served as registrar, and Sister Mary Rachel Weber, who headed the home economics department, offered their inheritances to build the hall in memory of their father, prominent Erie businessman Joseph J. Weber. The D’Angelo complex, added to the south side of Zurn Hall in 1988, is home to the music department and replicates on a smaller scale the famous Juilliard School of Music. Both
lengthy résumé of work in musical theater, drama, opera, liturgical music and concerts. Tammy and husband Jim Gandolfo raised their family in Erie and she worked for nine years in Institutional Advancement and Alumni Relations at Mercyhurst. They moved to Newport News, Va., in 2007, where she does vocal coaching and works as a legal assistant with McDermott & Ward, P.C. Tammy and Jim have two children, Christian and Stephanie. Mary Pat Roche Neubert graduated summa cum laude in 1981 with a major in mathematics and a minor in business administration. She lives in Reading, Pa., with her husband, George Neubert, M.D., and children Emily, Mallory, Robert and Daniel. Mary Pat had a long career with General Electric, starting as a systems analyst. After transferring to GE Aerospace in 1985, she managed conversion of financial systems during mergers with Martin Marietta and Lockheed and eventually managed financial systems support for six business divisions within Lockheed Martin. Tammy and Mary Pat both loved the small class sizes and personalized attention at Mercyhurst, as well as the beautiful campus. “I thought the campus was beautiful when I attended, but it is so much more impressive now with all the changes,” Mary Pat notes. “I am proud to call Mercyhurst my Alma Mater.” Both also fondly recall the trimester system, which at that time included a three-week intensive intersession in December. Mary Pat’s favorite memory was an intersession trip the department and the building bear the name of noted Erie heart surgeon Dr. George J. D’Angelo, who in 1980 gave the college $1 million for the building – only one of his generous gifts to Mercyhurst. The adjoining Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center, which opened in 1996, is named for his wife. Robert Munson, a retired insurance executive, was 68 when he earned his degree from Mercyhurst in 1994 and the first adult student to be a class speaker at graduation. He then found his niche at the college as a retention counselor
Christian Gandolfo ’07, Bernadette Metzner Roche ’52, Tammy Roche Gandolfo ’76
to the U.S. Virgin Islands to study geological formations, marine biology, plant life and astronomy. “The intersessions provided wonderful master class opportunities for those of us in music,” Tammy says. Bob Roche, the third of Bernadette Roche’s children to attend Mercyhurst, earned a B.S. in geology in 1984. He and his wife, Jeralinn, live in Erie, where he’s employed by General Electric’s propulsion division. Grandson Christian Gandolfo earned his degree in hospitality management in 2007. Employed by Marriott International, he was the first ‘Hurst hospitality graduate hired for the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center and now manages the front desk at Marriott’s Renaissance Washington DC Downtown property.
known as “Mr. Help” to hundreds of students. After his death in 1997, the Class of 1997 contributed funds to landscape Munson Plaza, south of Garvey Park between Zurn and Baldwin halls. The plaza’s centerpiece is “The Blessing,” a contemporary copper water sculpture that Munson himself helped finance. Munson also endowed a scholarship for deserving adult students.
MERCYHURST COLLEGE CLASS NOTES The SIXTIES Two members of the class of 1960 who weren’t able to attend their 50-year class reunion last spring met for a personal reunion to celebrate on June 11. Barbara Ayers Frederick of New Jersey and Charlotte Weinert Kundrath of Connecticut met at the home of Barbara’s daughter in Greenwich, Conn. Carolyn Ruth ‘63 has retired from teaching chemistry at Harbor Creek High School. She works part time as a chemistry instructor at Mercyhurst College and volunteers at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center. Sister Christine Vladimiroff, OSB ‘65 has been named executive director of the St. Benedict Education Center in Erie.
The EIGHTIES Andy Abramczyk ‘89 has been appointed vice president, IT operations and service management, at the Erie Insurance Group, where he has worked for the last 25 years.
The NINETIES Jennifer Munch Dilks ‘95 was selected as one of 30 emerging leaders in the nation by the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). Craig Rybczynski ‘95 served as media relations manager for Team
USA at the 2011 FIL World Indoor Lacrosse Championships in Prague, Czech Republic. Craig is the play-byplay broadcaster and vice president of communications for the National Lacrosse League’s Rochester Knighthawks and the American Hockey League’s Rochester Americans. Teena Stewart ‘95 has written a new book, Benevolence: Ministering to the Poor and Needy, published in June by Beacon Hill Press. Jason Giffen ‘97 was appointed director of planning and building for San Luis Obispo County, Calif. Since beginning his career in San Diego, he has gained extensive public service experience in land use, planning and environmental policy. Sister Patricia “Trish” Tyler ’97 celebrated her 25th Jubilee as a Sister of Mercy this year. She entered the Sisters of Mercy in 1986 and for the next 24 years was a graphic designer at Mercyhurst Preparatory School where she saw the spirit of Catherine McAuley manifested in the faculty and students. Last year, she co-founded a Rural House of Mercy in the DuBois Deanery of the Diocese of Erie, where she’s involved in works of mercy such as visiting the sick and homebound, getting to know the people living in the area, tutoring people on computers and providing a Catholic presence on the Hospice team. Eric J. Milie ‘99, D.O., F.A.C.O.I., of Erie, is a physician at Medical Associates of Erie and a clinical assistant professor of internal medicine at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM). He has been re-elected to the
board of trustees of the Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association (POMA).
The MILLENIUM Daniel J. Schuch ‘01 has joined Cozen O’Connor as an associate in the labor and employment practice in the firm’s Houston office.
Bryan Melerski ‘10 accepted a position with the Department of Defense Education Activity and will teach music at Maxwell AFB Elementary School in Montgomery, Ala.
Danielle Reznik Hessler ‘03 received National Board certification on Nov. 19, 2010. Danielle teaches first grade for Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland. David Vitale ‘03 has accepted a position as assistant director of food and beverage with SMG World at the Oklahoma City Arena and the Cox Convention Center. James H. Jackson ‘05 has joined Marquette Savings Bank’s Business Banking Division as a business banker, where his responsibilities include business development, relationship management and credit support. John Reisenweber ‘05 was named the York City Officer of the Year recently for his exemplary work ethic and stellar arrest record. Christopher Kelly ‘08 received his master’s degree in art therapy and counseling from The George Washington University in January 2011. Beth Boyd ‘10 traveled to Merida, Mexico, for six months of service at the Mission of Friendship, a mission sponsored by the Diocese of Erie. Beth worked with underprivileged girls.
After graduation from the Culinary & Wine Institute at Mercyhurst North East, Joshua Hosler ‘01 had a successful career as an executive chef before enlisting in the Marine Corps in 2007. LCPL Joshua T. Hosler served in Iraq and returned from Afghanistan in December 2010. While serving in Afghanistan, he handled two IED bomb-sniffing dogs, Tequila and Eva. LCPL Hosler was awarded the Navy and Marine Achievement Award for completing 243 missions while in Afghanistan and is currently stationed in Hawaii.
MARRIAGES Thomas Townley ‘98 and Bridget Donovan ‘03 were married in Toledo, Ohio, on Oct. 23, 2010. The wedding party included Brian Lanahan ‘98, Leslie Macko ‘03 and Lesley Fogel ‘04.
Bukowski twins were latest ’Hurst alums in extended family
Twins Justin (left) and Jordan Bukowski graduated in May 2011, joining at least a half-dozen extended family members among ‘Hurst alumni. They’re pictured with mom Kathy Jurkiewicz Bukowski and dad Dan Bukowski, who both graduated in 1975. Kathy, who earned a master’s from Edinboro University and a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, was a teacher and administrator in the Millcreek School District for 22 years before joining the Mercyhurst faculty 15 years ago.
MERCYHURST COLLEGE CLASS NOTES Betsy Donner ‘04 married Michael Carubba on Oct. 9, 2010, at St. Anthony Church in Buffalo, N.Y. Danielle Frier ‘04 was in the wedding party. Betsy and Mike reside in Boston, Mass., where Betsy works for the Hyatt Harborside as a catering manager.
Daniel Cabanillas ‘97 and wife Emily had a son on April 14, 2011. JP Cooney ‘99 ‘03 and Chrissy Macuga Cooney ‘03 had a son, Liam Patrick, on Dec. 20, 2010. Liam joins big sister Grace.
Kristina Harmon ‘04 married Ensign Grant Cassingham on May 29, 2010, in San Diego, Calif. The wedding party included Sasha Filipovich ‘04, Andrea Hashim ‘04 and Amanda Rostocil ‘04. Jordan Witt ‘09 and Beth Baxter ‘10 were married July 17, 2010, in Erie, Pa. They reside in Slippery Rock, Pa.
Gregory Snell ‘00 and wife Sarah welcomed Devin Vaughn on April 11, 2011.
Sarah Reynolds Edelman ‘99 and husband Michael had a daughter, Elyse Clare, on Nov. 2, 2010.
Victor Laurenza ‘02 and wife Alicia had a son, Nico Christopher, on Aug. 30, 2010. Nico joins big sister Sophia.
Ryan Kennis ‘99 and wife Kim had a son, Tyler, on July 19, 2011.
Todd Tevens ‘00 and wife Andrea had their third child, Trevor Kennedy, on Jan. 25, 2011.
Marissa Peduzzi McDole ‘99 and husband Brian had a son, Angelo Brian, on March 18, 2011. Angelo joins sisters Alexa and Carmella.
Toni Platte Payner ‘96 and husband Ian had a son, Ryan Thomas, on Dec. 27, 2010. Ryan joins big brother Michael. They are grandsons of Dr. Don and Rita Platte of the mathematics department.
Scott Koskoski ‘00 and wife Melissa welcomed twins, Tyler Scott and Olivia Jo, who join older brother Ben.
Chris Bouffard ‘02 and Jennifer Smolinski Bouffard ‘02 had a son, Ryan Nicholas, on Jan. 13, 2011. He joins big sister Kathryn.
Travis Lindahl ‘00 and Anna Signs Lindahl ‘03 had a daughter, Addison Cait, on Jan. 23, 2011.
Megan Flanigan-Porter ‘01 and husband Chad had a daughter, Addyson Grace, on Dec. 21, 2010. She joins big sister Cayley.
Kelly Froelich McColgan ‘02 and husband Mike had a son, Declan.
Paul Mikolaj ‘01 and wife Kerry had a daughter, Ellie Kate, on Jan. 27, 2011. Rachel Markley Bell ‘02 and husband Jerry had a son, Ryan Elijah, on Feb. 4, 2011. He joins big brother Devin.
David Young ‘00 and wife Jessica had a son, Anthony, on Oct. 19, 2010. He joins big brother David.
Kristen McCaskey Rice ‘02 and husband Seth had a daughter, Jillian Grace, on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, 2010.
She is currently dean of the Hafenmaier School of Education & Behavioral Sciences. Dan earned his master’s degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and teaches at Central High School in Erie where he directs the Culinary Arts Program. Other family graduates include Dan’s brother, Gary Bukowski ’73, a longtime Mercyhurst administrator who’s now vice president for advancement at the Barber National Institute; Gary’s wife, Roberta Donley Bukowski ’78, who retired from Mercyhurst’s Human Resources Department; Dan’s sister, Linda Bukowski Lipchik ’85, a former special education teacher in the Millcreek School District who now substitutes in local districts; and Kathy’s sister,
Lori Jurkiewicz Carmichael ’89, a board-certified Assistive Technology Specialist for a large Southern California school district who taught in Millcreek before leaving the Erie area. Jordan has moved to Richmond Heights, Ohio, after accepting a position in business management for the Dillon Products Division of Myers Industries. Justin spent his summer working on the new Batman movie (Dark Knight Rises) and had a small role as a supporting actor. He is now pursuing a business management position.
MERCYHURST COLLEGE CLASS NOTES Melissa Newell Reynolds ‘05 and Scott Reynolds ‘06 had a son, Eli Bruce, on April 11, 2011.
Danielle Reznik Hessler ‘03 and John Hessler III ‘03 had a daughter, Emma Jean, on April 23, 2010.
DEATHS Alumni Helen M. Durkin ‘38
Kate Haney Klinc ‘03 and Greg Klinc ‘03 had a daughter, Nora Anne, on Feb. 12, 2011, in Orlando, Fla. Matthew Sacco ‘03 and Karen Dudziak Sacco ‘04 had a daughter, Juliana Iris, on Oct. 29, 2010. Hannah Gehman Stream ‘03 and husband Joshua had a son, Zavier Kulp, on March 16, 2011.
James Crawford ‘87 Derek Kotecki ‘93 Matt Minnick ‘96 Timothy “T.J” Mathis ‘08, ‘10 Richard L. Froats, Jr. ‘09 Nathan Kern ‘09
Elizabeth Smith Hartnett ‘49 Mary Ann Plack Healy ‘49 Jean O’Neill Rubino ‘49 Arpena Demirjian Kahayian ‘51 Lois Thayer Vaclavik ‘51 Doris Moore Campbell ‘53 Mary H. McCarthy ‘55 Nancy Smith Hermen ‘57 Mary Anne Koss Flynn ‘60 Bernice T. Sanko ‘61 Barbara Behan, Ph.D. ‘64 Kathleen “Kitty” Bates Dilley ‘64 Mary L. Widowski Kananen ‘64 Mary Schnabel ‘64 Sister Elaine Sandy, RSM ‘68 Lenore Kobusinski ‘69 Nancy A. Crain Isacks ‘72 Maryann Celli ‘77
Greg Hischuck ‘96 (George Hischuck)
Mildred Trippe Rogala ‘48
Anita Dunston Higgins ‘02 ‘05 (Lily Dunston)
Marilyn Smith Batra ‘60 (Karam Batra)
Mary Frost McManus ‘42 Anne Devine Farnon ‘46
Sr. Trish Tyler, RSM, ‘93 ‘97 (Laverne Tyler)
Joan Schmalzried English ‘58 (Thomas R. English)
Anne Klan Matuszak ‘43
Darlene Keith Weber ‘78 (Marian Keith)
Kathleen Meko ‘64, Jeanne K. Phillips ‘68, and Roberta J. Smith ‘69 (Francis Keim)
Anne E. Crowley, Ph.D. ’41
Kathryn Guhl ‘63 Autumn Hamady Beyer ‘05 and husband Daniel had a daughter, Mylee Autumn, April 12, 2011.
Jean M. Tetuan ‘82
Jamie Krusewicz ‘07 (John Krusewicz) Richard and Robert Larson ‘09 and current student Marissa Larson (Ronald Larson) Mother of Camille Tyczkowski Schroeck ‘68 (Helen Tyczkowski) Genevieve McManus Tirpak ‘68 (Mary Frost McManus ‘42) Kathleen Kelly Smith ‘69 (Elizabeth Donovan Kelly) Rhonda Mahoney Schember ‘71, Jim Mahoney DDS ‘75, Judy Mahoney Streich ‘77, Leann Mahoney Wolfe ‘83, Tricia Mahoney ‘83 and John Mahoney ‘86 (Theresa Mahoney) Sharon Wolfe Hardner ‘72 (Dorothy Wolfe) Donelle Davey ‘76 (Gladys Davey)
Helen Crowley Anstead ‘35, Margaret Crowley Defede ‘44 and Loretta Crowley Bauer ‘45 (Dr. Anne Crowley ‘41) Mother-in-law of: Steve Borowski ‘85 (Phyllis Cullen) Grandmother of: Theresa Schroeck Smith ‘96 (Helen Tyczkowski) Adam Hardner ‘03 (Dorothy Wolfe) Friends of the College Charles H. Bracken Ruth Burton Michael Buseck Joe Cook James Cullen Florence “Betty” Kuhlman Mildred Lasher J. Douglas James Charles Schaaf Rosalie Trejchel Catherine “Terry” McDonough Walker Albert Edward Wehan III Bruce Morton Wright
Tom Hubert, associate professor of art, watched proudly last May as three of his four children graduated from Mercyhurst. Son Jeffrey received his bachelor’s degree in computer systems. During graduate school commencement, sons Matthew and Michael received their master’s degrees in Secondary Education: Pedagogy and Practice and Special Education, respectively. The Huberts still have one more Mercyhurst graduation to look forward to, as daughter Molly is a junior biology major. Pictured (left to right) are Jessie Badach Hubert, who married Matthew Hubert in July; Molly; Matthew; grandmother Jean Nies; Tom; Michael; Tom’s wife’s Maureen; and Jeffrey. Matthew is a substitute teacher living in Millcreek and a freelance writer; Michael works at the Easter Seals School in Chicago, Ill.; and Jeffrey is a program analyst for Paradigm Infotech Inc. at the Erie General Electric plant.
Soccer alum now helping other athletes to peak performance It was a combination of Mercyhurst’s successful soccer program and highly rated sportsmedicine major that drew Nick Potter ’01 to Erie. A four-year letterman in soccer, he helped the Lakers to four GLIAC championships and an NCAA national semifinal appearance in 1998. Now a renowned physical therapist, he’s still involved in his favorite sport as a consulting physiotherapist for the U.S. Soccer Federation. He’s also team physiotherapist for USA Shooting, accompanying the team to the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and hoping to head to London with them in 2012. Nick earned his doctor of physical therapy degree from Duke University in 2004 and went on to complete postdoctoral fellowships at both Sports Medicine of Atlanta and Duke Sports Medicine. Today he’s Duke’s assistant director of athletic rehabilitation, working primarily with Blue Devil basketball and football programs and consulting with the 24 other teams as needed. He also teaches in the DPT program and is the coordinator of athletic research for Duke Athletics. He not only provides treatment and rehab services for Duke athletes, but also consults with noted competitors from around the world. He has worked with athletes such as Alexandre Pato of the Brazilian national soccer team and AC Milan; Kyrie Irving, the #1 pick in the 2011
NBA Draft; and other athletes from the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLS and MLL. Nick focuses on biomechanical analysis, screening athletes to detect any subtle deficits – like weakness, tightness, muscle imbalances and altered activation patterns – that might interfere with their performance on the court or field, or even predispose them to injury. With Duke Basketball he uses video analysis to monitor each player during every game, investigating for possible areas to improve their biomechanical functioning and physical performance. Then, should an injury occur, the assessment provides the basis for treatment and progression for return to play. In 2010, Nick and team athletic trainer Jose Fonseca, a Penn State grad, helped maintain their team’s optimal health and performance through the NCAA Final Four on their quest for Duke Basketball’s fourth national championship. Nick has analyzed all the latest research on physical performance and combined it with his own extensive clinical experience to create a practical and state-of-the-art educational program to help other practitioners assess athletes and improve treatment regimens. He teaches the program widely, even addressing the World Conference on Injury Prevention and Illness in Sport, sponsored by the International Olympic Committee last April in Monaco.
That’s not the only traveling he’s done this year. In the fall, he accompanied the Duke basketball team on a tour dubbed “Around the World in 13 Days.” Besides competing against Olympic teams in three cities in China and in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the team was able to do some pretty amazing sightseeing. With stops in Alaska, Japan, Thailand, Germany, Ireland and Maine, they arrived back home just hours ahead of Hurricane Irene. Earlier in the summer he was in Italy, Germany and Slovenia for the ISSF (International Shooting Sport Federation) World Cups and taught his educational course in Osijek, Croatia, between events. Though the trip’s much shorter, Nick still enjoys visits back to Erie, especially when he manages both to play in the Alumni Soccer Games and present at sports medicine seminars for the Mercyhurst faculty members who helped shape his career, including Brad Jacobson and Sue Gushie. Keep up with Nick’s career on his website at www.nicholaspotter.us.
Nick Potter ’01 is pictured above with colleagues before Opening Ceremonies for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, and with Duke’s legendary “Coach K” (Mike Krzyzewski).
Lacrosse title capped special year for ’Hurst teams As Erie Times-News sportswriter John Dudley noted, “Just about everything a green-clad Laker touched seemed to turn gold.” He went on, “Sixteen teams qualified for league or conference playoffs. Twelve teams reached the NCAA playoffs. On the heels of the football program’s first-ever appearance in the Division II quarterfinals, the college hosted NCAA Division I hockey’s women’s Frozen Four. And its lacrosse and baseball programs capped things off with NCAA appearances, with lacrosse winning it all.” In addition, the women’s rowing team finished as runners-up to seven-time defending national champion Western Washington at the NCAA rowing national championships. The men’s lacrosse team beat C.W. Post 14-4 to advance to the championship game, then captured its first national title with a hardfought 9-8 win over Adelphi University on May 29. Mercyhurst had reached the finals once before, in 2007, but fell 6-5 on a goal by LeMoyne College with just one second left on the clock. The 2011 Lakers, all making their first championship runs, were determined to bring home the trophy this year. They did, after another nail-biter. More than 18,000 fans watched at Baltimore’s M & T Stadium as the two teams traded goals throughout the contest. The Hurst was up by one as the clock wound down, and goalkeeper Zach Nash captured the last Adelphi shot attempt with three seconds remaining to seal the victory.
What’s in a name tics
The Class of 2005 dedicated the Sister Damien Mlechik RSM ’56 Spirit Bell in Garvey Park as its legacy to Mercyhurst to honor Sister Damien, who died Aug. 20, 2004, in her 20th year of service to the college. It was an appropriate tribute to the nun who was arguably the greatest fan ever of Laker sports. She was best known for cheering on the hockey teams, banging a bell fashioned out of old airplane parts by a former student’s father against the Plexiglas® of the Mercyhurst Ice Center.
Tullio Field, home to Laker football, lacrosse and field hockey, was dedicated during Homecoming in 1996, when Mercyhurst defeated cross-town rival Gannon. It’s named for legendary Erie Mayor Louis J. Tullio, whose family helped finance the structure. Ironically, before beginning his political career, Tullio coached the first football team at Gannon College in 1949. Papers and memorabilia from Tullio’s 24-year City Hall tenure are housed in Mercyhurst’s archives and many items, including his desk, are displayed in the Tullio Room in Hammermill Library.
Senior gifts make lasting impact on campus One ring for Mercyhurst … one for the team … and one for Sister Damien. When the Sister Damien Mlechik RSM ’56 Spirit Bell rings out, it usually signals a big win by one of the Laker athletic teams Sister Damien loved so much. The bell has been a fixture on the Mercyhurst campus since 2005, funded by that year’s graduating class as a memorial to the longtime college switchboard operator who had died the previous summer. Affectionately known as “The Voice of Mercyhurst,” she was also a passionate fan of Laker sports. At the bell dedication, class spokesman John McIlroy described her simply: as “the Sister who attended every sporting event with a cowbell in one hand and holy water in the other.” Lacrosse Coach Chris Ryan recalls one memorable game against RIT when he was assistant coach.
Division II Lacrosse Coach of the Year Chris Ryan at the Sister Damien Spirit Bell. It honors the memory of Sister Damien Mlechick, RSM ’56, arguably the biggest fan ever of Laker sports. She’s pictured above with her signature cowbell.
Ian Wild led the team with four goals, including the game-winner, and was named the game’s Most Outstanding Player. He also earned “Elite 88” honors from the NCAA as the player with the highest grade point average competing in the championship. The team ended the season at 14-2, setting a program record for wins and holding all opponents to single-digit goal totals. Head Coach Chris Ryan was honored as well, named Division II Coach of the Year by the United State Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association for the second time during his 10-year tenure at Mercyhurst. His teams have compiled a 123-31 record and reached the NCAA Final Four five times.
“We had taken a big thumping from them the year before, but we were up pretty big in the game, Then RIT came back and scored the tying goal with I think 12 seconds left. We were heading into overtime. “It was a beautiful day in Erie, and we’re in the team huddle and suddenly I feel rain hitting me in the head. But it wasn’t rain - it was Sister Damien leaning over the railing spraying us all with holy water. We won the game about 40 seconds into overtime.” For more than 20 years now, each Mercyhurst graduating class has made a gift to the college as a legacy to the students who will follow them. Starting with the stained glass windows in the Mercy Heritage Room, the gifts have ranged from library books and scholarships to a gazebo behind the student union and “The Rock” engraved with the college seal that stands at the end of the front boulevard. The Class of 2011 raised funds to create an outdoor piazza on the lawn in front of Zurn Hall. It’s planned to be a gathering space and outdoor seating area at the heart of campus for students, faculty and friends. Ryan Palm ’07, promoted this summer to the post of director of alumni relations and annual giving, and Elizabeth Tobin, the new assistant director, enjoy the seating area created by the Class of 2011 as its parting gift to the college.
The Jerry McCormick Strength and Conditioning Center, a weight-lifting and conditioning facility for varsity athletes, opened earlier this year at the east end of the college’s Ice Center. Mercyhurst Trustee Owen McCormick helped fund the facility to honor his younger brother, Jerry McCormick, a noted athlete who was just 24 when he died in a 1985 car accident. The baseball field constructed at Mercyhurst North East in 1993 was named Phillip D. Hirtzel Memorial Field to recognize a North East businessman known for his philanthropy, especially helping youth of the community finance their college studies. He had been president of Electric Materials Company for more than 40 years. 25
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First in a series â€Ś Make an online gift of $20 or more to the Mercyhurst Annual Fund and receive this limited-edition pewter Christmas ornament as a thank you. Visit alumni.mercyhurst.edu/ornament or call (814) 824-2392