Susquehanna Currents: Summer 2020

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summer 2020 · vol. 88 · no. 1




summer 2020 · vol. 88 · no. 1





First Word


36 Message Board

22 People & Places

37 Class Notes

26 Scoreboard

Regional Chapter News · Deaths

30 The ’Grove Q&A · Syllabus · Kudos · Forward Thinking · Bragging Rights 54 End Notes

ON THE COVER: Front cover photograph by Kimberly Gust ’22. Back cover photograph by Heather Necessary, BlueDog Imaging.

Vice President for Marketing and Communications AARON MARTIN Editor JENNIFER YURICICH ’00 SPOTTS Director of Strategic Communications Contributing Writers RACHAEL BLAINE ’21 SAMANTHA CARPENTIERE ’20


Wade through the story behind a campus landmark created — and maintained — as a labor of love.

NAIREM MORAN Director of Athletic Communications AMANDA O’ROURKE Communications and Media Specialist JODI SWARTZ Administrative Assistant, Alumni, Parent and Donor Engagement LOGAN SWEET ’15 Associate Director of Advancement Communications Design JOSIE FERTIG Director of Design and Digital Marketing ERICA HOOVER Graphic Designer Copy Editors KATHLEEN LARSON FLORIO BETSY K. ROBERTSON Contributing Photographer GORDON WENZEL


This summer marked the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment — learn how Susquehanna students and faculty have been promoting women’s rights and feminism.

WAYPOINTS Susquehanna Launches Anti-racism Task Force Learn more about CenSUs: Everyone Counts, which aims to make every member of the Susquehanna community feel welcome and supported.

Faculty & Staff Expound on Racial Unrest Susquehannans have been lending their expertise to regional news media following recent police killings that sparked nationwide protests and further growth of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Summer 2020, Vol. 88, No. 1 ©2020 All publication rights reserved. Susquehanna Currents is published twice a year in the spring and fall by Susquehanna University, University Marketing & Communications, 514 University Ave., Selinsgrove, PA 17870. SUSQU.EDU/CURRENTS Printed by Brilliant in Exton, Pennsylvania

2020 Student & Faculty Honors See who was named valedictorian of the Class of 2020, who were named outstanding seniors and which faculty were lauded for teaching, research and advising.

Vendor to place certified appropriate FSC logo.

First Word Catalyst for Good

dear susquehan nans, We live in extraordinary times. The past few months have revealed our better angels and laid bare our failure to become a truly inclusive society. History is dotted with moments of transformative upheaval, and we are in the midst of one such moment. What we do will determine how that transformation unfolds and, in turn, will define us. We have seen hundreds of thousands of Americans, including many Susquehannans, demonstrating their support for Black Lives Matter.


The global pandemic of 1918–1920 was followed by the ratification of the 19th Amendment, granting women voting rights in the United States. Let us hope this pandemic is a prelude to another positive societal transformation, one that brings systemic racism to an end. This issue of Currents features a story about Professors Anna Andes and Monica Prince writing and producing a play, A Pageant of Agitating Women, to celebrate the centennial of the 19th Amendment. It is a rich portrayal of the women who fought for the right to vote and the many ways race has been part of the suffrage struggle. You’ll also read how Professor Coleen Zoller’s feminist philosophy class collaborated with the Blough-Weis Library to create a pop-up museum, showcasing feminism as integral to Susquehanna’s progress. You will learn how members of our community supported each other and our neighbors during the pandemic. And you will learn about remarkable achievements of faculty, students and alumni. All these stories demonstrate how education is so often the catalyst for good. These stories are really celebrations of selflessness, which we need now more than ever.

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In recent days, I find myself reflecting on Chaplain Scott Kershner’s favorite benediction. Go out into the world in peace. Have courage! Hold fast to what is good. Return no one evil for evil. Strengthen the faint-hearted, support the weak, help the suffering. Honor all people. Stay safe, take good care of each other, and honor all people.

you rs ev er,

Jonathan D. Green President

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Jack Holt, professor of biology, stands in what has become known on campus as the Fern Garden.

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PEACEFUL RETURN Traversing the sidewalks at the intersection of the most historic buildings on campus, one might notice a small pond. Scarcely visible when the surrounding trees are fully dressed in their foliage, the pond to the left of Steele Hall is home to goldfish that flit under floating lily pads. Slick green frogs squat on bordering rocks waiting for their next meal. Like many landmarks on a campus with more than 160 years of history, this little pond has a story, even though it has no official name ...


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THE FERN GARDEN To many it was known for years as Steele Pond due to its proximity to Steele Hall. Donated to the university by the Pennsylvania Chiropractic Association, it first appears in Lanthorn yearbooks in 1930 as a square pond centered by a small fountain. Subsequent yearbooks indicate that the pond evolved over the years, with the fountain eventually disappearing. When John Clark ’86 arrived at Susquehanna, the area around the little pond had become overgrown, no longer the attractive quadrilateral basin but not yet the beloved Fern Garden that Clark would create. In his late 30s, Clark was the elder statesman among his young classmates when he arrived as a student in the 1980s. “John was a thin, slightly rumpled, talkative man with a huge personality, funny sense of humor,” classmate Patty Schneider ’90 Cote recalls. She says he was also “intensely passionate for all things plants and wildlife.” Jack Holt, professor of biology at Susquehanna, remembers Clark as a bit of a rascal. “He would take notes on a single 3-by-5 card, and once he filled both sides of that card, he’d quit taking notes and just listen,” Holt says with a laugh. “But he caught on fire when it came to plants.” Clark particularly loved ferns, including the ones that grew around Susquehanna’s little pond. By the time Clark enrolled at SU, the area around the pond had become overgrown and had fallen into disrepair. The facilities department was planning to fill it in. Clark didn’t want to see that happen, and neither did Holt. Holt had become good friends with his student, who was about eight years his senior. “I went to facilities and said, ‘Let us at least try to fix it up.’ And they let us,” Holt says. This project became known as the Campus Arboretum Project. Holt, Clark, Cote and some other students took it upon themselves to spruce up the little pond and make it look less like a man-made ornamental pond and more like a naturally occurring body of water.

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“We tried to create an area in the middle of campus that would house most of the native ferns and fern-allies in Pennsylvania,” Holt says. “John spent an enormous amount of time making pockets of earth and rock outcrops that corresponded to the requirements of particular fern species. Within a year, he began to supply a trickle of plants, then more and more until he had created an island of native plants in the middle of the campus.” They surrounded it with large rocks and planted additional trees and ferns, some of which are still there today. “We planted it with native plants to illustrate they can be used and be just as beautiful as plants from China or Japan,” Holt says. He says Clark was an accomplished field biologist by the time he graduated in 1986. “John had turned around … and become my teacher,” Holt recalls, his voice beginning to trail off. “He taught me so much.” Beyond the roots Clark planted in “the fern garden,” he put down his own in the central Susquehanna Valley, networking with state offices for the protection of the area’s special plants. He became an expert in plants native to Pennsylvania and was passionate about protecting them. It was through his work with the Merrill W. Linn Land & Waterways Conservancy, which preserves land and waterways of Union and surrounding counties in Pennsylvania, that Clark met Kate Hastings, professor of communications at Susquehanna. She and Clark worked together on several grant applications that led to the preservation of more than 20 acres of wetlands in Union County. “John was a storyteller,” Hastings says. “He wouldn’t just say, ‘That’s an Adiantum.’ He would tell you when it was first identified and where you can go on a hike if you want to find a large population of them. He found peace in nature.”

Clark continued his work with the Linn Conservancy, earning its lifetime achievement award in 1998, the year before he died at age 55. “We talked about the past and future of the Susquehanna Valley as he lay dying of lung cancer,” Holt recalls. “He implored me to make sure that his plant collections, his books and his notes would be put to good and fruitful use.” A PLACE OF PEACE After Clark’s death, the pond sat largely undisturbed, and once again nature encroached. This time, Holt was slower to intervene. “I backed away,” Holt says. “I couldn’t bring myself to do it. It reminded me too much of John.” But last summer, 20 years after Clark’s death, Holt returned to the pond, clearing away overgrown brush and installing a pump to aerate the stagnant water — the funds for which were donated by Cote. “So much has changed since I graduated, but the pond is still there. It makes my heart happy,” Cote says. “Any time I am on campus during the day I have to walk by and check it out. It’s like saying hi to an old friend.” Holt planted Salvinia, an aquatic fern, and coontail, an aquatic plant. He also stocked the pond with largemouth bass, fathead minnows, frogs and mud turtles. “One thing John would be really mad about is that I put goldfish in the pond. They’re not native,” Holt says with a quiet laugh, then crouched down to brush the delicate leaves of a fern. “Certainly, the earth is a better place for his having been here. I can think of no better epitaph for a naturalist.” Editor’s note: This story includes firsthand accounts as well as excerpts from Students of Nature, written in 1999 by Jack Holt, Ph.D. Read his tribute and comparison to John Clark in its entirety at

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The photography featured throughout these articles is that of Susquehanna students from Gordon Wenzel’s photography classes. The work represents class assignments based on the impact of COVID-19 on our students’ lives. Nine pieces, including one of Wenzel’s, were accepted in the Praxis Photo Arts International Photo Exhibition: Quarantine (





NEED TO ENGAGE SPARKS FIRESIDE CHATS Unprecedented isolation and physical distancing called for nuanced ways of living. Determined to stay connected to students, faculty, staff and alumni, President Green quickly learned how to self-record videos. As the curtain raised on the spring semester’s second act set to be remote, Green launched a nine-week series of web-based fireside chats reminiscent of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s radio addresses. Both Green and Roosevelt set out to assure their audiences in times of uncertainty. Green’s became regular Sunday afternoon touchpoints with the Susquehanna community from late March to mid-May. During his chats, Green took viewers on a tour across campus, imparted some SU history lessons, discussed self-care and gratitude, and played his piano to demonstrate different modes of learning. “The campus is beautiful and very quiet,” Green said to students in his first fireside chat, recorded in front of a crackling fireplace at his Pine Lawn residence, “but it’s much more beautiful when you all are here, so we are very much looking forward to the time when we can be back together.” Each week, he left viewers with a message of hope, persistence and unity. “Be patient with those who are around you. Everyone is living with a little bit of elevated stress these days, and if we all can extend some grace and kindness to each other, we’ll all be the better for it,” he said. The chats were extremely successful on social media, with more than 31,000 total engagements: 11,981 views on YouTube and 18,659 views on Instagram TV. They resonated with students and their parents, as well as alumni.


“Thank you so much President Green for your words of wisdom and encouragement,” wrote Elizabeth Herbert ’20. “I appreciate what you do for the community at SU and beyond.”


“Such a lovely, calming message,” commented alumna Suzanne Reed ’77 Miller.


Days prior to his fireside finale, Green used his newly developed video skills to offer graduating seniors an official conferral of their degrees. On May 13, the date originally set for commencement, he conferred degrees on 497 students at the close of Susquehanna’s 162nd academic year.



“The final weeks of your time as Susquehanna students have been filled with extraordinary challenges and diverted expectations. Yet you prevailed in the face of global disruption,” Green said in his message to the Class of 2020 and their families. “Your determination to stay the course is a hallmark of your resilience, which will serve you well in your future endeavors.” He was joined remotely by Kate Hastings, faculty marshal, as well as members of the faculty who recorded themselves congratulating the newly minted graduates. While May 17 marked the end of Green’s weekly fireside chats, he has committed to monthly video messages as part of Inside SU, the university’s biweekly e-newsletter.

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NEW WAYS TO INSTRUCT, LEARN & TELEWORK The mandated campus closure brought an abrupt end to in-person instruction; however, Susquehanna’s faculty found new ways to deliver instruction and provide real-world experiences in an unprecedented time. Video Game Fosters Virtual Learning When Carl Faust first introduced Minecraft to his physics class a few years ago, he had no way of knowing how fortuitous it would be for the unexpected transition to online learning necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Faust, assistant professor of physics, combines Minecraft with Twitch to create a virtual workspace for the students in his Digital and Analog Electronics course to practice circuit-building. Minecraft is a virtual 3D Lego-like computer building game where players are free to make anything they want, while Twitch is a livestreaming platform for video gamers. “Using Minecraft, everyone can be in a virtual world together working on the same large circuit, everyone with their own individual pieces,” Faust says. Faust usually introduces his Minecraft unit after spring break, once students have learned the basics of traditional circuit-building. “If I hadn’t used Minecraft before, I don’t know what I would have done for this class,” Faust admits. “But I was at the point where I was going to switch from analog to digital, and happily, you can do all of that in Minecraft.” Chemical physics major Thayne Hummel ’21 says the online transition was well timed. “Minecraft allows us to visually see exactly what components of our build are working and to see the theory behind building. Of course, physically building would be optimal, but using Minecraft makes it as real as possible,” Hummel says. “We can even work on it with other classmates and learn along with them.” “Using Minecraft exclusively for the class has been quite a lot of fun,” says Brianna Watts ’23, a double major in biochemistry and physics. “I think Minecraft adds a level of nostalgia and fun to the assignments. Playing video games for class makes the assignments, which can be very time-consuming, less tedious and more enjoyable.”

Anthropology Students Showcase Pandemic Sentiment Videos In addition to courses going virtual, exhibits were premiered in a new format as well. Anthropology students created an online exhibition, Together Apart, a collection of personal accounts regarding the COVID-19 global pandemic. “Every time I run my Museums & Anthropology course, it culminates with a public exhibition of our work. This year we had to shift to an online exhibition,” says John Bodinger de Uriarte, associate professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology. “Each participant was invited to share thoughts about how adapting to a COVID-19 world has created positive or negative effects.” The exhibition features approximately 80 30-second videos. The subjects, who hail from all over the United States and the world, vary from students, many of whom experienced an abrupt end to their college careers, to medical professionals on the front lines of the pandemic.


“One of the videos that stood out to me was from a man working in the medical field saying that he hadn’t hugged his own children in a month,” says Carling Ramsdell ’20, a creative writing major from Burke, Virginia. “Since the time he sent that video to us, he likely hasn’t had physical contact with his family for two months now, which is heartbreaking.”

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Visitors to the online exhibition can peruse videos in nine categories: Finding the Self; Kith and Kin; FOMO When the World Is Paused; The Shape of Time; An Altered Education; Labor; Health and Wellness; A Positive

Outlook; and Physically Distant, Socially Connected. “The exhibit is called Together Apart because no one is alone in this crisis. I want people to come away with an understanding that everyone feels similar to how they themselves feel,” Ramsdell says. “Empathy is important right now, and I think we’ve all grown a lot more understanding of one another [during this time].” The exhibition can be found at Students Mentor Teachers on Going Digital Universities weren’t the only ones

forced into remote instruction during the pandemic — K-12 schools also had to find their way in moving content to a digital format. Some received a helping hand from Susquehanna education students who used skills gained from their Technology in Education course, taught by Christine Tiday, adjunct education instructor. SU students helped teachers in various grades and academic areas — many of whom were teaching remotely for the first time — convert their assignments to online work. They also ran tutoring sessions and organized story times and game nights. Katie Spracklin, a teacher intern, developed a series of lessons and

readings about women in history for Selinsgrove Area second graders. Brooke Leitzel ’23 of Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey, assisted Cheryl Heller, a sixth-grade math teacher at Jefferson Township Middle School, Oak Ridge, New Jersey. “Brooke was extremely helpful,” Heller says. “She created several online assignments from worksheets for my classes and included the examples to help my students; I gave her the worksheets and she sent me the assignments the next day! With quickly moving to distance learning, this was a huge help and such a kind gesture.”

THINGS CONTINUED … BUT IN A VIRTUAL WAY Although it wasn’t the same as attending events in person, Susquehanna’s students participated in events and activities when they couldn’t be on campus — thanks to the tireless efforts of faculty and staff who made them possible in a virtual way.


Women’s Leadership Symposium Delivered Online The Signe Gates and Dawn Mueller Women’s Leadership Symposium provided networking and mentoring opportunities for female students despite the campus closure. Originally planned for Washington, D.C., the symposium held on Zoom included events with alumni from the National Institutes of Health, National Public Radio and The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law. During the session with NIH, student participants — whose majors spanned

from biology to biochemistry to psychology — asked their alumni panelists how to choose their own career path. “I think the biggest thing is to try as many things as you can. It’s a matter of finding out what makes you want to put your feet on the ground in the morning and get up and work long, hard hours,” says Pamela Gehron ’74 Robey, senior investigator at the NIH’s National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. “Being in a lab is not everybody’s cup of tea, but there are many different things that you can do that would draw upon your science backgrounds.”


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Other participants included Maribeth Guarino ’17, law student at The Catholic University of America; Lois Heckler ’94 Lander, inquiry services manager at the NIH’s Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center; Leslie Marshall ’02, preclinical product development scientist at the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease; and Ainsley Rossitto ’13, podcast audience strategist at NPR. “By being able to hear how another woman has succeeded in my dream field, I know that I can make it too,” says psychology major Alaina King ’21. “I feel more prepared for the pace of schooling, the financial considerations and the importance of my undergraduate connections. Most importantly, I feel more motivated than ever to achieve my goals and provide this support for other women.” The symposium is funded by the Signe Gates ’71 and Dawn Mueller ’68 Women’s Leadership Fund. Dalton Scholars Present Research to Virtual Audience In spring, the Blough-Weis Library’s Sandwiches & Scholarship event became BYOS — Bring Your Own Sandwich. The gathering at the library, held once each semester as a lunchtime presentation of student research, shifted to a virtual setting in April and was attended by more than 25 members of the campus community via Zoom. Three students were chosen to present their research: •T yler Brown ’21, music and public policy major, Debate Coverage and Voter Influence.

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•B rian Herrmann ’20, German studies major, A Lost German Soldier’s Letter Home.

on what they could be doing in their houses when they might have been doing a whole lot of nothing.”

•T olulope Ilori ’20, international studies major, The Perception of Race in International Institutions.

Student broadcast personalities were aided by Zetta, WQSU’s new automation system made possible by the radio station’s underwriters. The system features advanced voice tracking that allows students to schedule programming in advance and enables remote broadcast capabilities, which are especially critical now.

Librarian emerita Kathleen Dalton started Sandwiches & Scholarship approximately 15 years ago. Upon her retirement, the Friends of the Blough-Weis Library began awarding an honorarium and certificate of achievement to participating students, naming them Dalton Scholars. Their work is celebrated each semester. WQSU Stays Live Despite being away from campus, over 50 Susquehanna students — from Philadelphia to New York to Baltimore — were still hitting the airwaves live on WQSU-FM The Pulse. They broadcast from their bedrooms instead of the studio. Mike McGimpsey ’20, a broadcasting major from Old Bridge, New Jersey, says he and his fellow radio hosts were more than ready to maintain live broadcasts. “We totally had a job to do. We have a responsibility to our community and our listeners to disseminate information and also let them know that we’re still here and put a smile on their face,” McGimpsey says. Carly Rogers ’20, a communication studies major from Muncy, Pennsylvania, hosted three shows a week. In addition to SU’s traditional mix of new and classic rock music, Rogers also offered words of advice in a time of uncertainty. “I talked a lot during my show,” Rogers says. “I gave people advice and tips

“We completed the Zetta implementation over Spring Break — right before the coronavirus really impacted our campus,” says Brady Gallese, director of technology support services in SU’s Office of Information Technology. “We’re excited for a variety of reasons, including advanced voice tracking and features such as Zetta2go that allowed zero on-site touch and remote broadcast capabilities, which were especially critical in this situation.” Additional tools provided by the Office of Information Technology further enhanced remote operations, says Kaila Snyder ’20, a creative writing and broadcasting double major from Northumberland, Pennsylvania. “None of this would have been possible without them,” she says, referring to overall IT support to install the new automation system for WQSU. News of WQSU’s efforts spread quickly, reported by The Daily Item, SECV8, The Standard Journal, WITF, WNEP, as well as industry outlets All Access and Radio Survivor.

SU — A COMMUNITY OF CARING When the global pandemic hit, Susquehannans responded in support of one another and others who were affected by its abrupt and brutal disruption. SU Alumni and Friends Provide for Students in Need Susquehanna’s community rallied to support students during the COVID-19 pandemic through the university’s Student Care Fund. The fund, administered by the Office of Student Life, ensures the full Susquehanna experience is afforded to students by providing support beyond a student’s standard financial aid package. It was invaluable as Susquehanna responded to the pandemic, helping students finish their academic semester, retain a semblance of normalcy, and most important, to be fed and cared for, according to Susan Lantz, vice president for student life. The fund was used to help students acquire the materials and technology, such as laptops or personal hotspots, needed to transition to remote online learning. It also provided grocery gift cards to students who experience food insecurity at home, and helped to stock a campus food pantry with snacks and other items for students who have remained on campus to use outside of campus dining hours. If arrangements had to be made hastily, the Student Care Fund paid for gas cards for students who could not afford lastminute travel. Alumni, parents, faculty, staff and friends of the university answered a call in December, on Giving Tuesday, and together contributed $12,000 to the Student Care Fund. They responded again in March during Susquehanna’s annual Day of Giving, OneSU, and

dozens of donors have made gifts since — helping grow the Student Care Fund to the largest it has ever been. In total, over 250 donors contributed more than $20,000 to the Student Care Fund since the drive launch in December. Artist Changes Costumes for Masks With the cancellation of Susquehanna’s spring 2020 theatre season, costumer Elizabeth Ennis put her sewing skills to utilitarian use. Ennis used fabric scraps from past Susquehanna stage productions to sew protective masks for the university’s Student Health Center and others in need in defense against the COVID-19 global pandemic. “If this weren’t happening right now, we’d be getting ready for our spring production of Seeds, which was supposed to be designed by the students in my costume design class,” Ennis says. For her efforts, Ennis used costume leftovers from shows like Pippin, She Stoops to Conquer and Silent Sky, sewing hundreds of masks using her grandmother’s vintage 1948 Singer Featherweight sewing machine. “I’m not alone in doing this,” she says. “Costume shops and fashion houses all over the country are stepping in.”

joined the United Way board in 1997 and just completed a term as board chair. Michaeline Shuman, director of the Career Development Center, volunteered with the Selinsgrove Athletic Council to deliver food to those in need. “With generous support of many businesses and donors, we were able to provide chili, cornbread, cookies, Easter candy and drinks to more than 350 individuals,” Shuman says. Meanwhile back on campus, various Susquehanna staff, including Chaplain Scott Kershner, took the time to water the plants and feed the small pets students were forced to leave behind when the spring semester took its unexpected turn. The university also donated excess medical supplies — which had been ordered at the beginning of the spring semester, both for flu season and heeding the early warnings of coronavirus — and gloves from SU biology labs to local care facilities and first responders who were on the front lines of the pandemic. The donations included: • 14,000 gloves to Geisinger Medical Center.

In fact, Ennis wasn’t alone in her efforts at Susquehanna.

• 3,000 gloves and 500 masks to Evangelical Community Hospital.

Housekeeper Angela Gemberling also sewed masks for facilities staff out of old, branded SU T-shirts. SU staff donated fabric, and Samantha Proffitt, director of First-Year Experience, sewed face masks for the Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way’s drive-thru mask distributions.

• 300 masks, 100 disposable gowns, and 24 pairs of goggles to the Selinsgrove Center.

Chris Markle ’84, senior advancement officer, continued his long tradition of service with the Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way by helping with community mask distributions. Markle

“With the remainder of the semester moved to online, we wanted these supplies to go to those who need them most in our community,” says Chris Bailey, director of facilities management

• 1,000 gloves and 60 masks to the Selinsgrove Police Department. • 60 masks to Selinsgrove’s DH&L Ambulance League.

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at Susquehanna. “This was one way we can help our local first responders and healthcare providers who continue to work diligently to keep our communities safe.”

at Selinsgrove Area High School. “I plan to use the websites to incorporate engaging media to assist with the introduction to and mastery of essential curriculum standards.”

SU’s Free Webinars Help K-12 Teachers SU professors continued to find ways to assist K-12 teachers with their professional development even after they were forced from their traditional classrooms.

Led by Matthew Rousu, dean of Susquehanna’s Sigmund Weis School of Business, the one-hour webinar showcased various clips teachers can use to demonstrate economics concepts to their students, as well as the resources where teachers can find clips to use for free.

Susquehanna’s Center for Economics, Business and Entrepreneurial Education offered a free webinar, Teaching Business and Economics Through Music, Movies and TV. “The CEBEE sessions have been a tremendous resource, providing countless opportunities to me and my business education colleagues,” says Daniel Frake, business teacher

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Rousu’s webinar pointed to lessons from TV programs like Parks and Recreation, Breaking Bad, Big Bang Theory and Modern Family, and various Broadway musicals. Susquehanna’s second free webinar, Tips and Tricks as You Move to Online Teaching, gave K-12 teachers new to

online learning helpful tips as they transition to the virtual teaching environment. Presenting were Nick Clark, associate professor and chair of the Department of Political Science; Matthew Duperon, associate professor of religious studies; and Marie Hassinger, director of project management in the Office of Information Technology. “The material was extremely helpful. I really found the variety of resources to be the most helpful, as well as the explanations that came with each,” says social studies teacher Chris Pavone, of Palmyra Area High School, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania. “As we move to more online learning through the current crisis, I will look to use these materials to prompt discussion in some classes while also providing illustration and real-world application to some complex subjects within economics.”


eventually intubation, very rapidly.” Iovoli was fortunate to have access to adequate personal protective equipment and to be able to return home at the end of every workday, changing out of his scrubs and showering before greeting his fiancé, Danielle Reber ’15, and dog Leo. In addition to the professional challenges, Iovoli also faced a personal loss, experiencing the death of his grandfather and being unable to grieve normally with his family. “It was frustrating holding a funeral where only a handful of family members could attend and stay six feet apart from each other,” he says. “This really put in perspective for me the hardships families are going through as their loved ones pass away during this pandemic.” Iovoli, who began a four-year residency in radiation oncology this July, hopes to eventually treat cancer patients.

ALUMNI ENGAGED IN RESPONSE TO PANDEMIC Feeling called to serve, Susquehanna alumni worked on the front lines during the global pandemic. Here are some of their stories. Austin Iovoli ’15, M.D.

Biology and philosophy; Resident Physician, University at Buffalo, New York

In his first year of residency, Austin Iovoli ’15 provided care for the first COVID-19 patient at the University at Buffalo hospital. “It was inspiring to see after several weeks in the ICU and a difficult battle, he was able to be successfully extubated and later discharged home,” Iovoli says. “On the other hand, we have seen many patients go from breathing comfortably to needing supplemental oxygen, and

“In the future, I can see healthcare evolving toward measures that minimize unnecessary patient-to-provider contact to better protect ourselves from events like this happening again,” Iovoli says. “We have already seen a massive shift toward telemedicine that will likely persist well beyond our current situation.” Emily Leboffe ’17

Biology; Medical Student, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, State College, Pennsylvania

In her third year of medical school, Emily Leboffe ’17 and other medical students nationwide were pulled from clinical settings to preserve personal protective equipment when the pandemic struck. Leboffe was asked instead to serve on Penn State College of Medicine’s COVID-19 Student Initiative that supports community and front-line workers. She researched current policy

changes, clinical recommendations and clinical studies, and then summarized information for a web page for frontline healthcare workers and decision makers at Penn State Health. She experienced what many college students across the country also experienced — seeing her hands-on education abruptly transition to an online format. “This is uncharted waters for my medical school, so they are doing the best that they can to make this a valuable learning experience for the next generation of doctors, but it is definitely sad to not be learning directly from patients at this point in my education,” she says. “Zoom exhaustion is real, and it is a huge challenge to stay focused in this form of learning.” In addition to supporting the front-line staff at Penn State Health, Leboffe also tried to take care of her own mental health, a process that also helped her to reprioritize what’s important to her. “Although I have a busy schedule in medical school, I know that moving forward I will prioritize staying connected with my loved ones more often because it is important to make time for those connections,” she says. Dillon Warr ’17

Biology; Medical Student, Lewis Katz School of Medicine, Temple University, Philadelphia

Like Leboffe, Dillon Warr ’17, a rising fourth-year medical student, felt pushed to the sidelines when the pandemic struck — a difficult place for someone on the cusp of beginning his career in health care. “I wanted to be useful. I know that this sentiment was shared by people across the country, notably health professions students, who watched their mentors and future colleagues brave the storm and uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis,” Warr says.

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To pitch in, Warr volunteered for the Philadelphia Medical Reserve Corps, a volunteer organization run by the Philadelphia Department of Health. At a drive-thru testing center at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, he was part of the team in the “clinical” tent, where he assisted higher-level providers in conducting and organizing nasopharyngeal swab testing. His role there lasted about three weeks before he was invited to assist in the setup of the COVID Surge Facility at the Liacouras Center, a sports and concert arena in Philadelphia, to serve as a step-down unit to care for recovering COVID-positive patients. Warr led a group of 25 medical students in converting the arena in just two weeks. “I will be forever grateful to this group of my peers for allowing me to lead them despite having no greater qualification,” Warr says. “Working in this environment and being part of this extraordinary team of students, clinical staff and administrative officials will be a defining experience of my medical career.” Jennifer Sykora ’05

Biology; Microbiologist Reviewer, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, Maryland

Like many women working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, Jennifer Sykora ’05 wore many different hats — mother, teacher, wife and microbiologist with the FDA. “Quarantine has been the second most challenging time because I also had a baby right around the same time the pandemic started hitting the United States. This is also on top of trying to help my 8-year-old daughter adjust to online learning,” Sykora says. “Luckily, everyone here has been pretty resilient.” In addition to a shift in her personal life, Sykora saw her professional work shift to focus exclusively on COVID-related drugs. She reviewed investigational

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new drug applications (IND, drugs to be tested in clinical trials), new drug applications (NDA, drugs to be manufactured for the first time and put on the market) and abbreviated new drug applications (ANDA, generic drugs). She examined the chemistry, manufacturing and controls proposed to ensure the drug products stay sterile throughout the manufacturing process and throughout their shelf life. Because the FDA was receiving more applications to start clinical trials to test new drugs to treat COVID, deadlines became tighter and reviews became more flexible. “This requires more meetings and communications between internal staff, as well as more flexibility with the research groups preparing to conduct the clinical trials,” she adds. Samantha Loh ’17

Biology; Volunteer, Fort Collins, Colorado

The silver lining for Samantha Loh ’17 is a confirmation that she’s chosen the right career path. Loh earned her master’s degree in public health from the Colorado State University in May and began volunteering with the Larimer County Department of Health and the Environment and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. On the Monitoring Task Force, Loh monitored exposed individuals through daily calls to track symptom development and provide guidance. She then moved to the Epidemiology/Investigations Task Force where she helped develop, update and troubleshoot forms and spreadsheets that collect case and contact information. Most recently, she was on the Case Contact and Monitoring Task Force, where she conducted case investigations and contact tracing, and provided disease guidance on topics such as isolation and

quarantine guidelines and general information about COVID-19. Prior to the pandemic, Loh was a full-time graduate student who also worked as a research assistant and math tutor. Though she recently was contacted about a paid position with the county, she says she was happy to put her skills to work against the pandemic without the benefit of a paycheck. “I do feel a sense of responsibility for my community, my family, my friends. I felt that I needed to help in any way possible, which is why I work as a volunteer,” Loh says. “I am not doing this for money. I am doing this because it is my responsibility as a future public health practitioner/epidemiologist to improve the health of my community.” Alysha Melnyk ’14 (biology) Ethan Kupp ’17 (business administration) Joe Muir ’80 (marketing/finance) Matt Buckey ’17 (biology) ECRI Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Four SU alumni working for the medical nonprofit organization ECRI, which focuses on protecting patients from unsafe and ineffective medical technologies and practices, saw their work change amidst the global pandemic. Alysha Melnyk ’14, who had been with the organization for six years, became focused on training clients on ECRI’s resources dedicated to COVID-19, answering questions surrounding the virus and bringing new virus-related topics to her colleagues for clinical assessment. Melnyk also assisted with sharing information on ECRI’s Instagram page, as the organization’s Resource Center is free to the general public. “Some hospitals I speak to are well equipped with staff and equipment they need. Others are panicking, exhausted and don’t know where to turn,” she says. “I am glad that ECRI can offer free resources to help individuals worldwide

during this time and can at least give them a place to start with reliable information.” Ethan Kupp ’17, a medical supply specialist at ECRI, focused on finding functional equivalent/alternative items for clients due to shortages from COVID-19 and beyond. “I do feel a sense of responsibility — seeing everything on the news about shortages really puts things into perspective and makes the bigger picture a little bit clearer for me,” Kupp says. “I’m essentially getting a full story on what these clients need and why they need these items.” Joe Muir ’80 celebrated 40 years with ECRI this year. His former duties included providing analytics, data and advice to medical device manufacturers on their business and the competitive market. That work slowed as manufacturers started “working day and night to ensure product supply (ventilators, gloves, masks, etc.) are available to the supply chain,” Muir says. “I’m very proud of the work we do at ECRI in supporting the healthcare industry and providing advice during this time of crisis,” he adds. Matt Buckey’17 worked with hospitals across the U.S., helping to take stock of personal protective equipment and COVID supplies, including managing their cost and preparing for possible shortages. He also worked with the World Bank on a procurement effort to help hospitals across the globe that are short on supplies. “My focus has shifted to more of a reactive standpoint,” Buckey says. “Now I am working to help prevent the price gouging for certain manufactures and prevent supply shortages. I am helping to procure supplies that will potentially save the lives of patients and doctors who are on the front lines.”

Though Buckey, Melnyk, Kupp and Muir all had different roles to play during this time, they seem to agree on one thing. “This pandemic/quarantine will change the way I look at connections in general,” Melnyk says. “I’ll never take for granted what we do and why we do it every day, because I know it is truly making an impact.” Courtney Lewis ’02 Dostal

Biology; Pulmonary Critical Care Physician, St. Luke’s University Hospital, Allentown, Pennsylvania

Upon returning home from work, Courtney Lewis ’02 Dostal would strip out of her scrubs and shower before greeting her husband and four young children — all in an effort to prevent any transfer of COVID-19 among her family.

“This has given me a good sense of how fragile we are as a society. It also shows how our healthcare system remains completely inadequate,” Dostal says. “There’s no safety net for most of our poor and middle-class families.” Geena Ragozine ’18

Biology; Registered Nurse, Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack, New Jersey

Geena Ragozine ’18 no sooner graduated from Rutgers’ Accelerated Nursing Program and passed her boards when she found herself in the thick of the pandemic treating COVID-positive patients in the hospital’s intensive care unit. “The hospital is located in Bergen County, the county with the highest number of people infected with the virus in New Jersey,” Ragozine explains. “My start date was April 6, right at the peak of the virus.”

Dostal had been on the ground level of COVID treatment since the pandemic struck Pennsylvania, helping her health system develop an aggressive protocol for its patients.

Ragozine believes that jumping into her career during the pandemic has been beneficial for her. Instead of being eased onto a patient floor, she says she was treating patients almost immediately.

“I have had weeks where I feel very encouraged, weeks where I see patients responding to our treatment choices and very slowly improving,” she says. “I have had other weeks where I have seen more people who won’t survive than I’ve seen people who will. On more than one occasion, I’ve had to talk to families over the phone about the dire situation their loved one is in and the reality that survival is unlikely.”

“I kept an open mind and was flexible because just about anything was thrown in my direction and you need to just adjust, especially in life-or-death situations,” she says. “At the back of my mind I kept thinking to myself, whenever I would feel doubt or stress, that I am truly changing someone’s life today.”

Behind the scenes at her hospital, Dostal says, everything changed, yet everything remained the same. Clinicians, as always, are rising to the challenge of treating a novel contagious disease while embracing new ways to treat other patients via telemedicine. What the pandemic has revealed to Dostal, perhaps more than anything else, are the inadequacies of the U.S. healthcare system.

Ragozine says the pandemic has demonstrated to this novice nurse just how important her role is. “I think this pandemic has taught me how strong of a person you have to be if you are in the healthcare field,” she says. “It also has showed me how important our jobs actually are to society. Without us, there would not be anyone to take care of people who are sick and dying.”

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Susq The ueh ann Com a mun Hon ity Fem ors inis Pre t dec esso rs


ANTICIPATION OF THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE PASSAGE OF THE 19TH AMENDMENT THIS SUMMER, STUDENTS AND FACULTY AT SUSQUEHANNA UNIVERSITY INCORPORATED NEW WAYS TO PROMOTE FEMINISM AND WOMEN’S RIGHTS, BOTH ON CAMPUS AND BEYOND. Associate Professor of Theatre Anna Andes and Assistant Professor of English & Creative Writing Monica Prince collaborated to create A Pageant of Agitating Women, a play detailing the history of women’s suffrage in the United States. The production, which was based on the 1910 play A Pageant of Great Women, by English dramatist Cicely Hamilton, made its debut in February. Prince explains that Andes “spent months trying to find an American play written by a woman that acknowledged women of color and couldn’t find a single one. So, she decided to write one.” The pair had been discussing creating a suffrage play since last summer, and over their winter break, they got to work with the help of dramaturgs Honor Ford ’20 and Erin Markham ’21. The four of them became self-proclaimed experts on suffrage and produced A Pageant of Agitating Women in the short span of two months. Prince reflected on the difficulty of researching lesser-known suffragists, particularly suffragists of color. “The experience taught me how to teach students to look for the names that are not written about. If you don’t know what something is, you don’t know how to research it,” she says.

“I wanted to show that it’s not that simple to just celebrate this,” Andes says of the anniversary. With the exception of one role, every actor in the pageant had to fit two criteria: identify as non-male and believe in women’s suffrage. The playbill featured the full cast, including many students, faculty and staff outside the theatre department — from chemistry to neuroscience and even Susquehanna’s First Lady, Ms. Lynn Buck. The actors represented more than 60 women in history. “Working in a space like that was incredibly freeing. The conversations we were able to have both during and after rehearsals as a team made for one of the strongest bonds I've ever seen within a company,” says Ford of the actors involved. The sole role for a man was that of Frederick Douglass, who was required to sit at the back of the audience and was never allowed to step onstage. Prince explained that was done on purpose. “Women were forced to stay in a particular place, communicate with specific people and stay out of sight, just as we did with Frederick Douglass,” she says. “He had to be in the audience, where it’s an inconvenience to find out who’s speaking. You care less about who’s talking then.” Looking back, Andes believes that Pageant is “the most meaningful thing [she has] done since coming to Susquehanna.”

Andes saw the production as offering a unique perspective on suffrage and racism. Unlike most literature documenting women’s suffrage in the United States, A Pageant of Agitating Women does not end with the passage of the 19th Amendment. As the play explains, this was only the end of the suffrage movement for white women; women of color were not given the same rights until decades later.

Coleen Z


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Through the production, she and Prince were able to create something that embraced the wider Susquehanna community beyond her own department. A Pageant of Agitating Women is not the only project showcasing the women’s movement on campus. Last fall, Professor of Philosophy Coleen Zoller’s feminist philosophy class collaborated with the Blough-Weis Library to create a feminist pop-up museum. Its primary focus was to showcase the ways in which feminism has come to be an essential part of Susquehanna’s campus. The class used the library archives and research from a capstone project done by Rachel Baer ’17 to find most of their information about local feminist icons such as late faculty member Susan Bowers. Bowers taught at Susquehanna from 1984 to 2014. In that time, she co-founded the university’s Women’s Studies Program and became its first director. She also served as director of the Diversity Studies Program. Throughout her time at Susquehanna, she championed feminist ideals and helped pave the way for more diversity in the faculty and student body. Bowers passed away in early 2019.

] s ’ r o s s e e f t o a r e p r a c [ o e “ t t a s i n o b i , o s s j s r pa eade m o c l l s ’ a t b o a h gl t m s d i n n i a m e f t ” . a t h u w o b a ce n i is r p —

ic mon

Through the project, Zoller also wanted to raise awareness of students suffering from imposter syndrome. “They feel like they aren’t doing enough, but they’re doing too much,” Zoller says. Imposter syndrome refers to the belief that one’s success is somehow undeserved. It disproportionately affects women, and more specifically women of color. “On average, women are excelling more. Women are carrying more than their fair share of leadership on campus to try and ‘shake off the imposter syndrome,’” Zoller says. In the future, Zoller hopes to help more people understand the impact of feminism, both on campus and off. She emphasizes how “studying feminism gives you a way around the logic of domination. All we’ve known is domination and oppression. Feminism has potential to show others another way with the ethics of mutual care and love.” And Prince agrees with those sentiments. “[A professor’s] job is to create compassionate global leaders, and that’s what feminism is about.” She hopes to see her students become advocates because, as she goes on to say, “You can’t call yourself an advocate without being a feminist.”

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Women’s Volleyball team cheering with Bromwyn Keener . MORE ON WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL, PAGE 26







Steadfast Dream Leads to Enriching Family Legacy By Amanda O’Rourke It was 1956, and Richard Derrick ’61 was determined to become the first in his family to graduate from college. “I was one of seven children and was expected to meet my own financial obligation,” Derrick recalls. The young man from Morristown, New Jersey, wanted to capitalize on his athletic abilities to secure a college scholarship, hopefully to play football. Derrick remembers his first college visit to a private liberal arts university — not Susquehanna — accompanied by his high school football coach, the late Richard “Rich” Young ’54. Young quarterbacked Susquehanna’s first undefeated, untied team in 1953 under the leadership of the famous Amos Alonzo Stagg Sr. and Amos Alonzo Stagg Jr.

Richard Derrick ’61 (left) pictured with Dick Purnell ’58

“The university coach asked me what position I played and what I wanted to study. When I told him quarterback and pre-dentistry, he said I couldn’t study pre-dentistry and play quarterback because his quarterback had to be on the field at 3 p.m. and the laboratories would prevent this. He said I could study business,” Derrick says with a laugh. “It seemed foolish to study another field just to play football.” Derrick didn’t want to study business. He wanted to become a dentist. His high school coach offered a suggestion.


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“Rich told me, ‘I know a smaller university, they’d let you come late to practice if you had a lab,’” Derrick says. And so began the Derrick family’s three-generation relationship with Susquehanna. Derrick enrolled and went on to earn varsity letters in football and baseball, and he was also a member and chapter president of Phi Mu Delta. He later graduated from dentistry school at the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to his own family, Derrick’s dental practice gave him a whole other captive audience for over 40 years. “I sent a lot of patients to Susquehanna throughout my 40 years,” Derrick laughs.

Derrick’s niece, Karen Wiss ’74 Maier, graduates from SU

Derrick’s son, Rich Derrick ’88, graduates from SU

Karen Wiss ’74 Maier’s daughter, Alexandra Maier ’12, graduates from SU

Mark Derrick’s daughter, Julia Derrick ’23, attends SU










Richard Derrick ’61 graduates from SU

Barbara Harrison ’88 Derrick, Mark Derrick’s ’89 wife, graduates from SU

Derrick’s nephew, Mark Derrick ’89, graduates from SU

Mark Derrick’s daughter, Sarah Derrick ’18 graduates from SU

Rich Derrick ’88’s daughter, Morgan Derrick ’20, graduates from SU

The Derrick Family Legacy Timeline (1961–2020)

The elder Derrick was followed to SU by his late niece, Karen Wiss ’74 Maier, and her daughter, Alexandra Maier ’12; son Rich Derrick ’88 and his daughter, Morgan Derrick ’20; nephew Mark Derrick ’89 and his wife, Barbara Harrison ’88 Derrick (sister Carolyn Harrison ’90 Huntley); and their daughters, Sarah Derrick ’18 and Julia Derrick ’23. “Susquehanna is a very nurturing environment, and I was very, very happy to have gone there. SU allowed me to reach my full potential,” Derrick says. “I’ll never forget Rich Young and what he did for Susquehanna and for me.”

Neal Rebuck, Jim Garrett and Richard Derrick

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International Internships Still a GO Earlier this year, Susquehanna’s Sigmund Weis School of Business started guaranteeing an international internship for its students. It was a novel commitment for a business school. Then the global pandemic hit. Due to its impact on business and travel, traditional in-person internships mostly came to a halt — either rescinded or postponed. Despite the disruption and ensuing uncertainty, the university’s entrepreneurial faculty and staff devised a way to continue its longstanding commitment to hands-on global business placements. The solution? Remote internships. Forty-four juniors and seniors, including two international students, are completing remote internships this summer. They’re working with companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500s, across a variety of industries, including financial institutions, marketing agencies, consultancies and health care. Remote internships, like those in-person, are based in locations worldwide, including Barcelona, Singapore, Hong Kong, London and New Zealand, and span from four to eight weeks. The business school, in partnership with the Global Opportunities program, has long had students interning around the world. These new opportunities solidify the international exposure the school provides to students at a time when global experiences are increasingly important, according to Matthew Rousu, dean of the Sigmund Weis School. “Students must understand other cultures, other environments and other economies,” Rousu says. “For business students, an international internship provides them with a tremendous experience and a major talking point when they are meeting with prospective employers, setting them up for professional success.” To support students who are interning remotely this summer, Susquehanna’s Career Development Center provides resources to help them hone their career readiness skills and global/ intercultural fluency — covering teamwork, communication, leadership, professionalism, digital technology and career management. Associate Director of Employer Engagement Alexandra Grill teaches a two-credit course that prepares

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students for this remote work and helps them further develop personal and professional skills. “Given the global pandemic brought on by COVID-19, the local, national and global workforce is in a period of rapid transformation. These students are experiencing that firsthand, both domestically and in their international internship sites,” Grill says. “Their future employers will likely ask how they’ve self-managed through the pandemic, in light of all its challenges. Tackling a remote international internship is an excellent example of perseverance and demonstrates how proactive our students are when it comes to their own professional development.” Current global circumstances require new approaches and innovation, which Susquehanna faculty and staff continue to provide, to ensure a rich and culturally diverse student experience.

“Tackling a remote international internship is an excellent example of perseverance and demonstrates how proactive our students are when it comes to their own professional development.” – Alexandra Grill

Above: from The Lanthorn, 1965. Below: from Pennsylvania History Harvest

What Lies Beneath …

Unknown to many, Gustavus Adolphus Hall once stood on the swath of land between Bogar and Selinsgrove halls. Its remains lie buried after an inferno destroyed the building in 1964. A blaze detected in the building’s basement triggered swift actions. When two on-duty guards attempted to initiate the building’s fire alarm, it didn’t work. Nearly 75 first-year male students were roused from their beds the old-fashioned way — with shouts of “Fire!” throughout a slumbering residence hall. Their lives were saved as the entire building was engulfed in flames. Financial losses at the time were estimated at $300,000 — or $2.8 million in present value (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Residents lost everything in their rooms, valued then at $40,000, as well as a place to live. Scattered, many temporarily were housed in other residence halls, fraternity houses and later two local motels. The Student Government Association initiated a fund drive to help them replace their possessions. A few weeks after the fire, the remnants of the former building were demolished and piled into the basement, covered over and planted with grass. Knowledge of the residence hall and that catastrophic night faded over time — until earlier this year, when Susquehanna launched efforts to breathe new life into what is known now

as “Bogar Lawn.” Water runoff flowing from Seibert toward Bogar has left the area bereft of topsoil. In addition to exploring options to improve the green space, the revived Bogar Lawn could include an homage to its forgotten past. When a story of Gustavus Adolphus Hall was featured on Susquehanna’s Facebook page in February, several alumni commented on their memories, including: Virginia Kratz Sharrow ­­­— GA was the social center of campus during my years there — snack bar with endless bridge games, mail boxes, student lounge with one of only two TV’s where all gathered for Bonanza on Sundays — great memories!

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#Bromwynning to the NCAAs Susquehanna volleyball set #Bromwynning as a theme in early October that led to a spike in wins and a historic season. With an assist, in essence, from 7-year-old member Bromwyn Keener, the River Hawks completed 2020 with a 32–7 record, including a first-ever victory over perennial powerhouse Juniata College in the program’s 43-year history. The team also achieved its second trip to the NCAA Division III Volleyball Championship Tournament. Battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia, Keener, of South Williamsport, Pennsylvania, was welcomed to the River Hawk family as a bona fide team member on Oct. 9. She and the team were paired through the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, an organization aiming to improve the quality of life for children battling pediatric brain tumors and other childhood cancers.

Paige Sfiroudis ’22, Brynn Kukosky ’21, Bromwyn Keener and Abby Cannon ’21


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Sydney Portale ’21, who coined the mantra, recounts how #Bromwynning became a mid-season game changer. “The team talked about how [Bromwyn] will be our secret weapon for the rest of the season. I thought ‘we are winning for her, it’s all for her,’ and all of a sudden I blurted out #Bromwynning — and it stuck!” Drawing inspiration and motivation from Keener, SU completed its first-ever undefeated conference season and hosted the conference championship for the first time, following the five-set win over Juniata in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, on Nov. 2 to wrap up the regular season. The River Hawks went on to record the program’s first NCAA victory on Nov. 15 with a shutout of Westminster College and finished the year with a program-record 32 wins. Several River Hawks were recognized off the court for their outstanding performances as 17-year head coach Kuuipo Tom mentored four All-Americans, four All-Region players, five All-Landmark selections, the East Region Player of the Year, the Landmark Player of the Year, the Landmark Specialist of the Year and the Landmark Rookie of the Year. As Keener continued her treatments during the pandemic, the team reached out via Zoom to send their love, support and reinforcements so she can be forever #Bromwynning. The River Hawks hope that Keener has found comfort and strength with them as Susquehanna looks forward to having her on the team for a long time to come.

River Hawks Grind Out First-Evers and New Records


Coronavirus — rearing its ugly head — cut short the growing list of 2019–20 accomplishments by the River Hawks as the spring sports teams never got their chance to shine. Fall sports teams kicked off the year strong.

Marissa Kleman ’21 picked up NCAA All-Mideast

Three teams field hockey, volleyball and women’s soccer — vied for Landmark Conference championships — all hosted in Selinsgrove. Though the teams didn’t capture a Landmark trophy, their seasons were marked with historical feats, such as Hunter Pitman ’20 of field hockey setting the Landmark and SU all-time records in goals and points, and women’s soccer matching the school record with 14 wins and grabbing the No. 1 seed in the Landmark tournament for the first time ever.

Regionals, while Kallan Carter ’23 landed on the

Highlights of the winter months included Sara Arbogast ’21 and Chris Petraskie ’20 qualifying for the 2020 NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships, and Eric Towse ’22 collecting Landmark titles in the 100- and 200-backstroke for the second year in a row. Arbogast and Petraskie were the first to qualify for the national championships since 2016.

Scholar-Athletes for women’s cross country and

Additionally, men’s basketball claimed the program’s first-ever Landmark title inside of a packed O.W. Houts Gymnasium. Claiming its eighth berth in the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament, Susquehanna played two games in the national tournament, knocking off Benedictine University before narrowly falling to Wittenberg University in the second round. Danny Frauenheim ’22 picked up City of Basketball Love All-Area Third Team, while head coach Frank Marcinek and his staff were named Landmark Coaching Staff of the Year.

Region honors after finishing 19th out of 349 runners at the NCAA Mideast Cross Country Mideast Region All-Freshmen Team after being the sixth first-year to cross the line for 43rd overall.

Erin Reese ’20 and Chris Petraskie ’20 were both named Landmark Conference Senior men’s indoor track & field, respectively, while Reese earned her third straight USTFCCCA All-Academic honor.

Petraskie and Sara Arbogast ’21 both qualified for the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Indoor Track & Field Championships in the heptathlon and triple jump, respectively. Although the championships were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Petraskie garnered USTFCCCA All-Mideast Region honors in the heptathlon and the long jump, while Arbogast notched All-Region awards in the long jump and the triple jump. Kate Ross ’21 tallied

Frank Marcinek with men’s basketball team

an All-Region nod in the 800m. Petraskie earned his fourth straight Landmark Indoor Field Athlete of the Year award, while Arbogast picked up the same honor on the women’s side.

Hunter Pitman ’20 earned her second consecutive NFHCA All-South Atlantic Region First Team award, while Annalee Smith ’22 was named to the Second Team. Additionally, Pitman was named the Landmark Field Hockey Offensive Player of the Year after setting the conference and school career records in goals (73) and points (164). The River Hawks advanced to the Landmark Championship game for the third time in four years.


Hashim Joins Susquehanna, Leads the River Hawks The River Hawks welcomed to the nest a new director of athletics this July when Sharief Hashim joined Susquehanna University.

“Sharief’s experience in NCAA athletics and his dedication to the DIII model, which emphasizes balancing academic achievement with athletic participation, is a perfect fit for Susquehanna University,” says Susan Lantz, vice president for the Division of Student Life. As director of athletics, Hashim provides visionary leadership, supervision and management to support the academic and athletic success of students in concert with the university’s mission and strategic priorities. At Susquehanna, he is responsible for a department consisting of 23 varsity sports, over 70 professional coaches and staff, more than 600 student athletes and a $3.1 million budget. Hashim collaborates with offices within Student Life and other key divisions, such as Academic Affairs, Finance and Administration, Admission, Marketing and Communications, and Advancement. “Sharief’s contagious energy and ability to motivate others was apparent throughout the search process, and I appreciate his demonstrated ability to mentor and advocate for students and coaches,” Lantz adds.

Hashim has worked in athletics and recreation for over 10 years. Most recently, he served as director of athletics and physical education at the State University of New York at Potsdam. Prior to his tenure at SUNY Potsdam, he was director of athletics at Southern Vermont College, Bennington. He originally joined the staff at Southern Vermont as a men’s basketball coach, athletics liaison and admissions counselor, as well as interim head women’s basketball coach. Hashim is a graduate of the NCAA Division III Institute for Administrative Advancement, a professional development program for administrators from underrepresented populations in Division III athletics. He is a member of several professional organizations, including the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, the Minority Opportunities Athletic Association and the National Association of Division III Athletic Administrators. Hashim is a graduate of Columbia Union College, Takoma Park, Maryland, and holds a bachelor’s degree in organizational management with a minor in counseling psychology. He earned his master’s degree in athletic administration from Southern New Hampshire University.

Sharief’s contagious energy and ability to motivate others was apparent throughout the search process, and I appreciate his demonstrated ability to mentor and advocate for students and coaches. — Susan Lantz


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HAWK TALK Danial Shelton ’20 garnered All-America awards from three different organizations, gaining First Team honors from the AFCA and D3football. Mike Spangelr ’88 at the 1986 MAC Championship

Spangler ’88 Inducted Into MAC Hall of Fame The Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) inducted Mike Spangler ’88 into its Hall of Fame Class of 2020. Spangler, a native of Abbottstown, Pennsylvania, is the 10th member of the Susquehanna athletics community to be inducted into the MAC Hall of Fame since the first induction in 2012. “I am truly honored. Just to be mentioned in the same breath as fellow Hall members from SU track & field who have preceded me, like Coach Jim Taylor and Dave German, will always mean a great deal to me,” Spangler said.

com while notching a Second Team nod from the Associated Press. Craig Roumes ’20 was a @TheCFBNetwork All-America First Team selection, while Da’Avian Ellington ’21 earned a Second Team award and Cole Dixon ’20 collected All-America Honorable Mention honors. The quartet guided SU to its third straight Centennial-MAC Bowl title, with Ellington nabbing MVP honors. The nationally ranked River Hawks posted a 10–1 record, marking just the third time in 120 seasons of football with 10 or more wins.

Marley Clendenin ’22 was named a USC All-Mid-Atlantic Second Team selection for the

“Being inducted into the MAC Hall of Fame brings back many fond memories of my successes all those years ago and allows me one last chance to thank all of my teammates, coaches, SU faculty, family and friends who supported and encouraged me to achieve our goals in the MAC.”

second year in a row, while Madi Welliver ’21 and

Spangler had an impressive track & field career, finishing his career as a four-time NCAA National Champion, an eight-time NCAA All-American, a 12-time MAC champion and a three-time MAC Track Athlete of the Year while being part of three MAC Team Championships. Spangler was the national champion in the 400m for three consecutive years between 1986 and 1988 while claiming the 200m national title in 1985.

Susquehanna made it to the Landmark

He still holds Susquehanna records in the 100m (10.62), 200m (21.37), 400m (46.32), 4x400m relay and 4000m distance medley relay.

Academic All-American, earning a spot on

Spangler kept the competitive juices flowing after SU, competing semi-professionally for eight years at national meets with the Shore Athletic Club in Long Branch, New Jersey, achieving much success during the indoor seasons in the 500m event. He was inducted into the Susquehanna Athletics Hall of Fame in 1993 and the United States Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Association NCAA Division III Track & Field Athlete Hall of Fame in 2008. Track & field is a family tradition, as Spangler’s wife, Angie (Bradburn) Spangler, is a four-time USA national high jump champion; his daughter Eryn ’14 is the current Susquehanna 400m record holder; and his daughter Rachel holds the high jump record at Bermudian Springs High School. Susquehanna plans to honor Spangler with his MAC Hall of Fame award at a football game.

Anna Werner ’22 earned spots on the Third Team. In addition, Welliver was voted the Landmark Women’s Soccer Defensive Player of the Year. Championship game for the third straight season.

Madi Welliver ’21 became the first studentathlete since 2017 to be named a CoSIDA the Academic All-America Second Team. Kasey Bost ’20 landed on the CoSIDA Academic All-District Volleyball First Team.

Pat Bresney ’21 and Dakota Dobrovich-Fago ’21 of men’s soccer and Erin McQuillen ’21 of women’s basketball all earned All-Landmark Second Team honors.

In the pool, Eric Towse ’22 defended his Landmark championship titles in the 100 and 200 backstroke, while Olivia Fravel ’21 was the Landmark champion in the 200 breaststroke.



Q&A Last October, Susquehanna welcomed Michael Dixon (he/him/his) as chief inclusion and diversity officer. In this new role, Dixon will work closely with the president and leaders across campus to develop and implement initiatives supporting the university’s inclusion and diversity efforts, while also educating the Susquehanna community about multiculturalism, diversity and social justice issues. Q: What attracted you to Susquehanna University? A: Diversity, equity and inclusion is on the forefront of a lot of universities. I wanted to be part of an institution where I could provide my experience, lead and make an impact, and I found that my skill set aligned with small, private, liberal arts schools. Susquehanna allowed me to be me. I knew it was a good fit, because the people are authentic and I felt like they actually wanted me to be here. I knew this was my place. Q: What role do liberal arts universities play in fostering inclusion and diversity?

Michael Dixon

Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer

A: A liberal arts education provides the soft skills necessary for you to become a well-rounded person; it exposes you to different experiences and different areas of study, which makes it easier for you to relate to other people. And, purely from a social justice and equity standpoint, an education in a liberal arts setting provides more people with more resources, helping to ensure that every student has access to any academic experience so they can choose the path they feel is best for them. Q: Is there a program at Susquehanna that stands out to you for creating an accepting or diverse community that you haven’t seen at other institutions?


30 · Susquehanna Currents · su m m er 2020

A: Study abroad is sometimes viewed only as an opportunity to go someplace cool. But Susquehanna’s GO program offers a more unique and dynamic experience, with pre- and post-reflection, that allows its participants to research, engage and reflect on a cross-cultural experience that they can apply later in their lives. Q: What advice would you give to students who may be unsure about moving to a small town in Pennsylvania? A: I would ask them what they are looking for. What are they passionate about? What resources do they want to have access to? I’d tell them to keep an open mind, because everything they could want or need is still right here. They will find a community of like-minded people, and they will find their place in that community. They’ll find the people they want to be with. You can learn more about Susquehanna’s inclusion and diversity initiatives at


Students Bring New Life to French Schoolgirl’s WWII Letters “I am certain that we can only appreciate happiness after having suffered, but does the suffering ever stop? I end up doubting so.” Written in 1942 by 15-year-old French student Louise Pikovsky, those two sentences were included in one of several letters to her beloved Latin teacher, Anne-Marie Malingrey. Six months later, Louise, who was Jewish, would be murdered at Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland along with her parents and siblings. “Louise’s letters are startlingly mature. Yet, she is a teenager, wrestling with big questions, figuring out what she believes in, frustrated to see her personal autonomy circumscribed by parents and the discriminatory laws brutally imposed by the [Nazi] Occupation government,” says Lynn Palermo, associate professor of French at Susquehanna. “Hers is a perspective we don’t often see in textbooks.” French students at Susquehanna University recently translated the letters. “We had to start by transcribing the letters so that we had a digital copy of them,” says BreAnna Cherry ’20. “The original letters are in French cursive, and we had a hard time distinguishing some of the writing at first.” Once the transcriptions were complete, most of the translation was done as a class. “This was extremely rewarding because it reminded us that we each translate things a bit differently,” Cherry explains. “Some people are stricter in their translations, whereas others, like myself, are more lenient … and prefer to focus on the flow of the sentences rather than the actual words.” Louise’s letters begin in August 1942, and consistently express a yearning for knowledge and understanding. She often muses about friendship, happiness and religion. “I firmly believe [in God] despite having long struggled with this,” she writes. “So many things displease me in people who believe and practice religions! All these practices established in other times and which have no reason to exist now.” Louise’s letters also reveal the encroaching danger she was living in. In a letter dated Sept. 19, 1942, she writes: “Tomorrow, we are not allowed out after three o’clock,” a reference to Jewish curfews. “The most important part of the translation process was making sure that Louise’s voice shined through. We could

have translated the text word for word, but so much of her personality and her struggle would have been lost,” says Julia Loudenback ’22. “She wants to know what it means to have a true friend, and, in her letters, she appears to maintain a childlike optimism for the future.” Sadly, Louise’s optimism was misplaced. Her final letter is dated January 1943. It states only, as if written hastily: “We have all been arrested. I’m leaving you the books that are not mine and some letters I’d like to find if I ever come back. I’ll think of you, of Father and Miss Arnold. All my love, Louise.” Louise’s letters were discovered in 2010, forgotten but tucked away in a cupboard inside her former elementary school. The letters eventually made their way into the hands of the school’s librarian, who traced Louise’s history as far as she could before turning them over to a reporter from France 24, a bilingual media outlet, who found Louise’s surviving relatives. Palermo first learned about the letters through Susquehanna’s Michael Thomas, assistant professor of philosophy, whose wife, Emilie Lebee-Thomas, an adjunct faculty member at Susquehanna, knew of the reporter’s work. Palermo and her students worked with the reporter, who published their English translations on France 24’s website. Read them at The translation work requires Palermo’s students to immerse themselves in language “in a way unmatched by any other teaching tool I’ve found,” Palermo says. But she added that the language is only the first dimension of translation. “I use translation as an entrée into the study of cultural history. As we translated Louise’s letters, we studied Occupied Paris and especially its impact on Jewish citizens and immigrants, the creeping incursion of authoritarian regimes, and the Holocaust, as these related to the situation of Louise Pikovsky and her family,” Palermo explains. “The goals are to situate these letters in historical context and to use the context to inform our translation. My ultimate goal is for students to make human connections with that history, so that it comes alive and no longer feels remote.” France 24’s full coverage of the Louise Pikovsky’s story, “If I ever come back: A French schoolgirl’s letter from the Holocaust,” can be found at

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Champion for Higher Education Susquehanna University President Jonathan Green was honored with the Arthur V. Ciervo Award by College & University Public Relations and Associated Professionals for his exemplary efforts in advancing the understanding of higher education. “Dr. Green is a tireless advocate for the importance of a liberal arts education and an insightful thinker of what is needed today in higher education,” says Dan Hanson, chair of the CUPRAP awards committee. Hanson pointed to Green’s blog, calling it “required reading for many of those at the highest levels of our federal government.” Green began his blog soon after assuming the presidency at Susquehanna in 2017. He covers topics including the value of a liberal arts education, challenges facing higher education, the need for inclusion and diversity efforts on campus, and the relationship between the United States’ founding fathers and the creation of the American liberal arts college. He also has issued appeals for unity during polarizing political times. “A college education has never made more sense than now, and an education built on a liberal arts foundation makes more sense still,” Green says. “Our workforce has never needed adaptable problem solvers and nimble leaders more than it does today. We hear calls for the importance of graduating students who are ‘robot proof,’ who can’t be made redundant by artificial intelligence. That is what our institutions do.” The Arthur V. Ciervo Award is named in honor of CUPRAP’s founder and first president.

Students, Faculty Earn Fulbright Awards Two recent graduates and a faculty member have been awarded prestigious Fulbright awards. Brian Herrmann ’20, a German studies major from Hatboro, Pennsylvania, and Erin Wetmore ’20, a German studies and strategic communications double-major from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, will work in Germany’s schools teaching English language and American studies in the 2020–21 academic year. Both are grateful to the university’s Global Opportunities program. “Susquehanna prepared me for this award by opening my eyes to wanting it in the first place,” Herrmann says. “My [studyabroad] experience in Germany exposed me to a new perspective of the world and imbued me with the desire to expand this perspective even further.” Wetmore’s overseas educational experience also influenced her plans. “Before [my] semester abroad, I had never imagined myself teaching, but spending time in Freiburg, Germany, showed me that I wanted to teach and help others learn how to communicate in another language,” she says. Glen Retief, associate professor and co-chair of the Department of English & Creative Writing, has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Scholar award to help develop a college bridging program in Mamelodi, South Africa. As a native of South Africa, it’s a sort of homecoming. Offered by the University of Pretoria, the program aims to leverage creative writing to build self-confidence and reading/study habits among educationally disadvantaged adults. Retief also will publish research on how teaching creative writing more generally can serve educational development. Retief grew up in a South African game park during the apartheid era and emigrated to the U.S. in 1994. His memoir, The Jack Bank (SMP, 2011), won a Lambda Literary Award and was selected as a Book of 2011 by the Africa Book Club.

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Research Finds Anti-cancer Properties of White Cedar Superior to Chemo Drug New research from Susquehanna finds that derivatives of an essential oil from the white cedar plant are toxic to three types of human cancer cells. “A Saturday afternoon on a ladder in my backyard, picking cedar buds, turned into the launching point for my current and future research projects,” says Geneive Henry, professor and chair of the chemistry department, struck by curiosity several years ago. “I thought about identifying the species of cedar, with the goal of analyzing the leaves and buds for their natural product components.”

President Jonathan D. Green, right, stands with Tom Durso, left, president of CUPRAP. Photo courtesy of Dan Z. Photography.

Henry, along with Pavithra Vivekanand, assistant professor of biology, were assisted by student researchers Matthew Dickson ’20, Anna Mykytyn ’20 and Emily Castner ’18. Together, they synthesized a series of white cedar derivatives. “Many plant essential oils are under investigation for human use and applications because of their varied biological properties,” Henry says. White cedar, known scientifically as thujone, is known to have anti-cancer, insecticidal and neurotoxic properties. Henry, Vivekanand and their students compared their synthesized derivatives to the effectiveness of etoposide, a common chemotherapy medication. Their research found that in high concentrations, thujone was more effective than etoposide at inducing cell death in human cervical, melanoma and colon cancer cells. Specifically, their research found that the cells were dying by apoptosis, the ideal manner of cell death that causes no “collateral damage” to surrounding cells, Vivekanand says. The research group also synthesized several ester derivatives of thujone, a chemical process that increases the potency of the original compound. They found that four of these ester derivatives of thujone were more potent than the parent compounds and induced cell death at lower concentrations. The same four also were toxic to melanoma and colon cancer cells.

Fulbright award winners (pictured top to bottom): Brian Herrmann ’20, Erin Wetmore ’20 and Glen Retief

Henry says that although their initial findings are unlikely to have a direct impact on cancer treatments moving forward, their work “contributes to the body of scientific knowledge, giving an idea of the anti-cancer properties of a chemically modified natural product.” Henry and Vivekanand plan to take their research further to determine the precise mechanics of cell death when exposed to thujone to ensure the least amount of damage to surrounding tissue. Henry also is continuing research on the synthesis and anti-cancer evaluation of non-psychoactive cannabinoid derivatives made from lemongrass essential oil.

Bragging Rights!

Help us CELEBRATE THE EXTRAORDINARY by spreading the word about SU’s achievements and successes!





(10 years after enrolling)




For our contribution to the public good through promotion of social mobility, research and service —Washington Monthly, 2019


For student success and learning —Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education, 2019




—Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, 2019


Called out for “top-notch” creative writing program, “outstanding” music education program and “strong” science departments —The Princeton Review, 2020


A quality education at an affordable price that helps students launch promising careers —Money magazine

—Open Doors 2018, Institute for International Education





—Washington Monthly

—Forbes business magazine


—U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 Best Colleges


The 10 Best Colleges for Jobs in Pennsylvania for 2019 —Zippia, The Career Expert


—Zippia, The Career Expert

—Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, 2019


—Fiske Guide to Colleges 2021


—College Factual, 2019

—College Magazine, 2020

Susquehanna University is a proud member of The Annapolis Group, comprising approximately 130 leading national independent liberal arts colleges.

The Sigmund Weis School of Business is among the top 5% of business programs worldwide — and one of the few undergraduate-only programs — to have earned AACSB accreditation, a mark of excellence.







CLASS NOTES Pride for our Susquehanna Community In challenging times, the Susquehanna family never ceases to amaze me. From alumni heroes on the front lines to dedicated faculty who continue to educate and inspire, I am proud to be a part of this community. There is comfort in knowing we are all in this together.

“There is comfort in knowing we are all in this together.” — BECKY BRAMER ’92 DEITRICK

While there are many SU heroes, I want to share a couple stories of those who represent the best of us in the heart of the fight against the global pandemic. Amy Shanahan ’13 is one of those heroes. Amy took a leave of absence from her position as a registered nurse in the burn unit at Lehigh Valley Hospital to take an eight-week travel nursing assignment at Hackensack Hospital, which is located in a major COVID-19 hotspot. Bobbie Ries ’13 is now studying at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, where he is the student lead on a task force researching manual rescue ventilation. Over the second half of the spring semester, hundreds of alumni, students and friends have gathered together — virtually — to take advantage of educational opportunities like Dr. Tammy Tobin’s lecture, Understanding COVID-19: Separating Fact from Fiction, and Dr. Kathy Straub’s lecture, The Climate Crisis and Coronavirus: Lessons in Resilience. It has been a boost to our spirits to learn together and strengthen our Susquehanna connection during this time of uncertainty. Finally, I want to thank everyone who contributed to the Student Care Fund. The fund has proven invaluable as Susquehanna responds to the global pandemic, ensuring that our students were able to finish their academic semester with ease, retain a sense of normalcy, and continue to be cared for both on and off campus. To all of you, each a Susquehanna hero, thank you for all that you do.

s i n c e r e l y, Becky Bramer ’92 Deitrick Assistant Vice President of Advancement

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Nancy Corton ’65 Carter published her third full-length book of poetry — A Green Bough: Poems for Renewal (Resource Publications, 2019). Her poetic quest is to hold in tension the opposites of a celebration of the natural world and, in a time of great destruction, a call for its repair. She intends to evoke “a saving love for the body mind spirit of this amazing planet that is our home.” (See her website:


Richard Moore ’67 is retired from his role as senior pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Neenah, Wis., with the designation of pastor emeritus. He served the church for 27 years and is the third-longest-serving pastor of that congregation, which was organized in 1848. He does supply preaching in area churches and occasionally fills in as a substitute organist. He is also active in the Winnebago Presbytery, serving on its Commission on Ministry, and he serves on the Unity and Relationships Commission of the Wisconsin Council of Churches.



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Janice, are now retired in Columbus, Ga., and he volunteers with the Disabled American Veterans and with the National Infantry Museum. He and Janice love to travel.


Richard Renn ’72 retired after serving more than 22 years on the York County (Pa.) Court of Common Pleas as a judge. He earned his juris doctor from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 1976 and started his own practice in 1979. He took the bench in 1998 and served as president judge from 2006 to 2011.


When Maria Asin ’74 Artieda saw a dedication in the fall 2019 issue of Susquehanna Currents to Professor Frank Chase, she vividly remembered his practicums at Lewisburg Penitentiary, Greenwich Village, Night Court in New York City, and many eye openers to sociology students at Susquehanna. He went out of his way using weekends, evenings and campouts to extend these field trips. His classes were informative and direct experiences with different kinds of social work. He was very influential in Maria’s life, and after obtaining a master’s in education at Bucknell University, she went back to her country, Bolivia, and took a job teaching world history to high school students at an international school. She was

engaged in the AP World History Readers in different areas of the United States, including Lincoln, Neb., and Ft. Collins, Colo. She’s inviting SU alumni or SU students who want to visit her country to contact her. Carlos Artieda ’05, her son, graduated from the Sigmund Weis School of Business and works in Washington, D.C. Maria says that SU definitely leaves a mark on students by guiding their careers. Even as an international student, she found a home with Mr. Chase, Dr. Mowry, Dr. Bastress, Sachiko Presser and her husband, and others. Best of friends from the Class of 1974 gathered at Smith Mountain Lake, Va., for their 2019 reunion. They enjoyed boating, swimming and eating well! Pictured below are Vicki Freeman Bomberger, Susan Lang Martin, Chere Wise McDermott, Ellen Doran Reilly, Marilynn Blend Carstensen, Nancy Wright Pinksaw, Christine Schmidt Smith, Jean Kauffman Krieser and Susan Zierdt Kirshenbaum.



Lambda Chi Alpha alumni from the Class of 1975 — Dean Bowen, Mark Haslett, Julie Rowland Haslett and Tony Miscavige — and their spouses enjoyed their annual reunion weekend in September at the Miscavige homestead in Mechanicsburg, Pa. The group toured “old-town” Mechanicsburg, took a cruise on the Pride of the Susquehanna paddleboat and lunched with Chef Ray at the Millwork brewhouse. (Photo on next page.)


After finishing graduate school, Robert Goddard ’71 volunteered for the U.S. Navy, completed flight training and was designated a naval aviator. He volunteered for duty with Helicopter Attack Light Squadron 3, known as the Seawolves, and completed a one-year tour in the Republic of Vietnam flying UH-B helicopter gunships. His awards included 28 Air Medals, the Navy Commendation Medal with V for valor and the Presidential Unit Citation. After completing his service with the rank of lieutenant, he had a varied career in business that took him to Montreal, Barbados and Atlanta. He and his wife,

cl ass note s  · Susquehanna Currents · 37


Four members of the Class of 1976 (also SAI sisters and music majors) had a reunion in August 2019 at Sherry Sheaffer Breton’s home in West Chester, Pa.

Lambda Chi Alpha alumni from the Class of 1975 — Dean Bowen, Mark Haslett, Julie Rowland Haslett and Tony Miscavige — and their spouses.

Bob Zimmerman ’76 was named Sunbury Rotary Club’s Citizen of the Year. Bob not only serves on his church council, but also has been its president, led the church’s capital campaign and sings in the choir. He was involved in Susquehanna University’s capital campaign; Sunbury Revitalization Inc.; the Albright Center, where he served as co-chair; and the Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way, serving as board president two different times. He also served on the board and as president at the Susquehanna Valley Country Club; the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Masonic Lodge, where he served as worshipful master, the equivalent of president.


A Susquehanna Supper Club was hosted by Mark Cummins ’78 at the Redstone American Grill in Plymouth Meeting, Pa.

Pictured at Winterthur Gardens, Wilmington, Del., L to R: Charlene Everett Olcese ’76, Sherry Sheaffer Breton ’76, Janet Gump Beck ’76 and Jamie Forman Dougherty ’76.

Joe Witmer ’78 of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and counsel to Chairman Gladys Brown Dutrieuille received the inaugural Ray Baum Memorial Leadership Award at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) Winter Policy Summit in Washington, D.C., in February. This annual award was initiated to honor the memory of Ray Baum, who passed away in 2018, and is given to a member of the NARUC Staff Subcommittee on Telecommunications who best reflects initiative and drive toward public service.

1979 Pictured L to R, top row: Chris Kuhn ’77, Steve Budd ’78, Mark Kuester ’78, Carl Christiansen ’78, Bill Bartle ’78, Joe Muir ’80 and Mark Nelson ’79; middle row: Dan Ditzler ’77, Mark Cummins ’78, Mike Herman ’78; front row: Chip Tanneberger ’77, Bob Campbell ’79 and Steve Barrett ’79.

38 · Susquehanna Currents · su m m er 2020

Rob Drugan ’79 earned his doctorate from the University of Colorado at Boulder and subsequent postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Health, then began his academic career at Brown University in 1988. He developed a seminar course titled Behavioral Medicine, in which he gives the students several important take-home messages:

(1) you have some control over your medical destiny; (2) there are many health benefits of exercise; and (3) don’t let chronic illnesses define or limit you in your life. After teaching this course for 31 years at Brown University and currently at the University of New Hampshire, he is taking these messages “to the streets.” He and his wife, Connie, set out on a yearlong bike tour around the perimeter of the U.S. He is doing this now rather than waiting for retirement because he has both chronic heart and lung disease. Their trip was cut short due to COVID-19, and they had to abort it in Tallahassee, Fla. Instead of heading down to Key West, they cut across the state and went to Orlando, where they rented a car and drove back to New Hampshire. Although they’re sad their journey ended early, it was the right thing to do because of his age and medical issues. Connie kept a daily blog of their bike trip at Even though they had to head home prematurely due to the coronavirus and have “unfinished business” to complete the journey in a few years after Rob retires, they feel proud they clocked 9,650 miles! (See photo page 47.)



Share your life news with us. Submit your class note to



Share your life news with us. Submit your class note to


Andrew Gekoskie ’86 was recently appointed as a Conn-Selmer national educational clinician and master teacher. After 33 years of successful teaching, Andrew now travels throughout the U.S., guest conducting and presenting clinics for Conn-Selmer Education — in addition to his professional conducting career as the music director of the orchestraXproject, a professional orchestra in South Florida. See his professional profile at: andrew-gekoskie



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Three generations of Susquehanna University alumni met up in Loyalhanna, Pa., in August 2019 to share special memories about their SU days. This was a first-of-its-kind gathering of these alumni, who all hail from the Latrobe, Pa., area and attended SU during three different decades. Pictured above, L to R: Allison Beltz ’92 Butcher, Carol Slezak ’68 Dinco and Evelyn Herbstrith ’56 Baker-Ruffing. Photo credit: Robert Beltz


Badri Ramaswami ’94, after stints in the Carolinas and California, lives with his family in northern New Jersey and works in finance in New York City. He recently published a children’s book titled Look Before You Leap, Rabbit! under the pen name BRS Bankphee. He urges you to ignore the advice in the title, throw caution to the wind and order your copy already!


The New York City and New Jersey alumni chapters provided 60 Susquehanna students with a daylong event in November to help jump-start their career leads. They visited several job sites representing various industries, and then reconvened for a special evening of socializing and networking with Susquehanna alumni at a reception, hosted by Horizon Media. This annual professional development and networking trip is not just popular with students and alumni alike, but it also has become a model for other universities who are interested in creating engaging opportunities for their own student and alumni communities.

The Philadelphia Alumni Chapter celebrated its 10th anniversary last fall. In November, Stephanie Vermillion ’97 and Stephen Porter ’97 opened their lovely home to the Susquehanna community to socialize with fellow alumni, network with special guests and learn more about the university. President Jonathan Green and his wife, Ms. Lynn Buck, attended, as did Kathy Straub, professor of earth and environmental science, and Derek Martin, sustainability coordinator. Derek and Kathy discussed the exciting things happening at the university’s Center for Environmental Education and Research, including the success of its Freshwater Research Institute, improvements to the campus garden and beehives, and updates on the university’s solar array. In December the chapter took a break from the rush of the holiday season and spent time with their fellow Susquehanna alumni at Longwood Gardens, enjoying A Longwood Christmas.


Korie A. Traver ’95, CPA, a senior executive with more than 20 years of experience in the nonprofit financial sector, is the new chief financial officer for

ALUMNI CHAPTER EVENTS Cruises, museum visits, lectures, garden tours, sporting events, concerts and more. Visit for an updated list!


NEW BUSINESS ALLIANCE SUPPORTS INCLUSIVITY FOR ENTREPRENEURS Through his drive for creating an inclusive world, Peter DeHaas ’92 founded the San Francisco Disability Business Alliance, a one-of-a-kind initiative that supports entrepreneurs with disabilities. DeHaas was inspired to pursue this project because of the lack of support for entrepreneurial individuals with disabilities in the San Francisco Bay Area. “I have been engaged with the business community here, and I wanted to ensure that folks with disabilities had the same opportunity to connect to mentoring opportunities and people who run businesses themselves,” he says. The SFDBA will create a community for business owners with disabilities to help them grow and develop their businesses — by communicating with each other, increasing the supply chain for corporations to support small business, and providing advocacy, education and a directory for everyone to stay connected.



With the idea of inclusion trending in today’s society, DeHaas says that it’s important to realize that people with disabilities are still often excluded from the inclusion equation. “Now is our opportunity to educate [people], as the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act is on the horizon,” he says. “The disability chapter of the civil rights movement … needs elevated representation.” DeHaas attributes his passion for people to his Susquehanna beginnings, where he learned how to develop real, lasting relationships. “The relationships that I made at Susquehanna have been some of the strongest, longest-lasting genuine friendships I have made,” he says. “In life and in business, it is all about making connections and cultivating relationships to help each other advance in the world.” DeHaas recalls that information technology instructor Ken Kopf and English professor Susan Albertine were his biggest mentors. Both guided and pushed DeHaas to be the most genuine version of himself. “[Kopf] was a sage as he mentored me to make good decisions and make an impact in the world,” DeHaas explains. “[Similarly, Albertine] pushed me to dig deeper with what I was trying to convey on paper but also being spirited and authentic in the world, not being afraid to express your authentic self.” The business alliance has been endorsed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is also an entrepreneur diagnosed with severe dyslexia. —Samantha Carpentiere ’20

40 · Susquehanna Currents · su m m er 2020

the American Cleaning Institute in Washington, DC. ACI serves the growth and innovation of the U.S. cleaning products industry by advancing the health and quality of life of people and protecting our planet.


Nathan Buonviri ’97 is excited to announce the release of The Subtle Side of Teaching, a book that points teachers toward sustained energy, clear thinking and a positive outlook in the classroom. The approaches and strategies outlined in this collection of essays are applicable to any subject matter and grade level.


Alton Crooks ’98 invited Judd Wright ’98 to speak on the panel How to Successfully Launch a New Fund at the CFA Society of New York. Alton is a managing director at Fidelis Capital LLC, and Judd is a partner at Grant Thorton. Pictured below, L to R, are Alton Crooks ’98, Joanna Horowitz, CFA, John Strangfeld ’75 and Jennifer Mulroy, CFA, at the CFANY Annual Dinner where John received the Irving Kahn Lifetime Achievement Award from the CFA Society of New York.

1999 Born to Kelly Ecker ’99, a daughter, Lila, Jan. 30, 2019.



Sarah Farbo ’00 is celebrating her third year back on campus leading the Susquehanna University Service Leaders (SUSL) Program, also in its third year of operation. SUSL is a scholarship program that provides intentional mentoring and service-learning through coaching, development and a four-year internship program to help get students career-ready. Students work with regional community partners to positively impact youth development. Sarah has enjoyed building and implementing the program and loves working with cohorts of students and community partners who continually inspire her!

2004 Born to Christopher ’04 and Jessica Nelson, a son, Jack Richard, Sept. 10, 2018.



Born to Jennifer Wilson ’05 and Brian ’05 Hixson, a daughter, Abigail Grace, Sept. 3, 2018. She joins big sister Sarah Elizabeth. Born to Kat McCarron ’05 and Brett Simarrian, a daughter, Brynn Elise, March 1, 2020.

President Green and Ms. Buck continued to show their support for alumni, students and prospective families at additional special events. In January they were part of an exclusive Central PA Alumni Chapter event at Theatre Harrisburg’s Krevsky Production Center for a musical production of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, written and adapted by Susquehanna alumna Stacey Mancine ’96 Koloski. The entire theatre was reserved, making this the perfect opportunity for alumni, students and prospective families to enjoy the show with other Susquehanna friends and family. A post-show reception for theatergoers followed, and they were joined by other talented alumni who were involved in the show: Kristi Gipe ’96 Ondo, director; Matt Mitra ’11, lighting designer; Hope MacMurtrie Bowling ’82, cello player; and George Diehl ’98, playing Roger Chillingworth.

In early March, Jonathan and Lynn attended an exclusive, after-hours event at The Andy Warhol Museum with the Pittsburgh Alumni Chapter. Alumni and prospective families gathered for a seated dinner in the Warhol entrance space, and afterward guests enjoyed a private, guided tour of the museum. Throughout the evening, everyone explored Andy Warhol’s work through the decades and experienced rotating exhibitions that featured deep dives into the museum’s collection and showcased contemporary artists who resonated with Warhol’s life and work.

Please consider joining an alumni regional chapter. These volunteer-based organizations build ties between alumni, students, parents and the university through both professional and social networking, events and mentoring. There are so many ways to be involved, including SU SERVE, becoming an SU Champion, networking trips and Break Through. Alumni regional chapters help keep alive those connections that made you part of the SU family in the first place. For more information, visit


ALUM’S PASSION FOR SOCIAL EQUALITY CANNOT BE SHELVED Sarah Blagg ’03 started joking with her friend and eventual business partner, Randi Hewit, in early 2017 about building a feminist clubhouse. On the heels of the Women’s March on Washington, they pondered how to carve a space in downtown Corning, New York, for other feminists — young and old — to visit, gather as a community and encourage social action. “We felt like our activism deserved a headquarters,” Blagg says. “We’ve always felt like the mission — to create a feminist future — deserved space on ‘Main Street,’ or in our case, Corning’s historic Market Street.” After several conversations, clubhouse banter evolved into a bookstore blueprint — kicked off by Googling “how to open a bookstore.” With a few keystrokes and plenty of additional research, the two friends were on their way to creating Card Carrying Books & Gifts, which officially opened its doors to the public on Sept. 5, 2017.


“A feminist future is what we hope for and what we believe in,” says Blagg. “Independent bookstores have always been associated with community-building and education, so that seemed like a great fit.” Card Carrying partners with Corning’s annual Pride event to celebrate the LGBTQ


community, and produces The Feminist Airhorn, a podcast that highlights feminist issues, female friendships, woman leaders, literature and more. The store also serves as the meeting space — or clubhouse — for Corning’s Girl Gang, a group organized by Blagg that inspires young women to reach their highest potential. Opening a politically motivated for-profit business meant that Blagg and Hewit immediately were able to give voice to the progressive ideas they saw growing in their community. “One of the most important things I learned at Susquehanna was the value of stories and the difference you can make when you share them,” Blagg says. As a student at Susquehanna, she studied theatre with an emphasis in stage management. “Theatre teaches you organization, movement, voice projection, teamwork and vulnerability. It teaches you to trust your instincts, to lead with enthusiasm and to live in the moment,” Blagg says. “I’m incredibly adaptable. I value change. I can talk about any topic with anyone.” Blagg adds, “I’m so glad I chose Susquehanna. I wouldn’t trade my years there for anything.” —Logan Sweet ’15

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Valarie Bastek ’06 has been promoted to vice president of digital operations at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. Giacomo Calabria ’06 had a book published in October called MacTrump, which he wrote under his pen name, Jacopo della Quercia, with Ian Doescher, author of the New York Times bestselling William Shakespeare’s Star Wars series. Born to Ann Barrett ’06 and Andrew Simonelli, a daughter, Abigail Rose, on May 4, 2019.


Pictured L to R: Chelsea Thompson ’07 Livingston, Luke Livingston ’07, Chris Karshin ’07, Andrew ’07 and Janelle Dennon, Spencer Paschal ’07 and Zach Rahn ’07.

Andrew Dennen ’07 married Janelle Lopez, Dec. 7, 2019, at the Harvard Club of Boston. After 12 years, Jessica Culp ’07 Umbenhauer is leaving her position as the assistant director of the Holleran Center for Community & Global Engagement at Alvernia University and will be starting as the director of programs and community engagement at Helping Harvest (formerly known as the Greater Berks Food Bank).


Sarah Burkhardt ’08 married Mark Ludzack on June 1, 2019, at A Barn in Dayton, Maine, with several Susquehanna alumni in attendance.

Pictured L to R: Mark Burkhardt ’76, James Baublitz ’08, Andrew Addison ’08, Anne Brockman ’08, Cassandra Blass ’08, Sarah Burkhardt ’08, Sara Luley ’08 Baublitz, Erica Zornig ’09, Kristen Sanchez ’08, Jenna Bennett ’08 and Ashley McConnaughhay ’08 Addison.

2009 Born to Melissa Swartz ’09 and Lance Mabus, a daughter, Frances Elizabeth, June 19, 2019. She joins big brother Lincoln.



A relationship started 10 years ago at Susquehanna University was made official on Nov. 15, 2019, when Jamilee Morgan ’10 and Chris Ushinski ’10 were married in Mystic, Conn.

Pictured L to R, front row: Julie Yeagley ’10 Andree, Melissa Jordan ’10 Flack, Chelsea Gerard ’10 Bodenstab, Jennifer Jordan ’10 Blake, Chris ’10 and Jamilee Morgan ’10 Ushinski, Amy Hoffnagle ’09 Strunck, Kristen Konski ’10, Stephanie Miller ’10; back row: Eric Perinotti ’08, Jordan Dion ’08, Pete Bodenstab ’08, Billy Toy ’09, Chad Flack ’05, Alex Flack ’09, Andrea Bianci ’10 Egan, Jeremie Greene ’10, John Ruckno ’08 and Mark Vanderburg ’09.

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EDUCATION AND GRIT LEAD TO DREAM JOB When Jessica Rubenstein ’11 moved to Washington, D.C., for her then-job as a graphic designer for Architect Magazine, she had no interest in working in politics. “I was happy designing magazine layouts,” she says. However, as the political climate began to shift in recent years, Rubenstein felt compelled to contribute using her inherent talent and landed a job as a member of CNN’s digital politics design team. “Luckily I found a way to make a difference using the design skills I’ve worked hard on for the past decade,” she says. “That’s really a turning point in your career, when you find a way to do what you love and sleep better at night knowing you’re a part of something bigger than you.” Today, Rubenstein works on the CNN website, helping with research and the design for the primary/caucus, state and general presidential election pages.


Additionally, Rubenstein has helped develop CNN Facts First, a database for journalists to share information and streamline fact-checking. Now, her team is working on making Facts First a public resource. “I’ve been conducting interviews with people across the country who hold a variety of political viewpoints to learn what they’d like to see in a tool like this, how they might use it,” she explains. “My team will take these findings and design an incredible, truly useful tool.”


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Reflecting back on her experiences at Susquehanna, Rubenstein believes her time there prepared her. “A foundation in design opens you up to so many career paths,” she says. Augmenting her degree, Rubenstein developed skills in digital design, research and marketing. She would search online for jobs that she would want in the future, note the skills they were looking for in applicants, and actively work toward developing those skills. And for her, it paid off. “I feel like you spend the first couple of years after college just trying to get your footing in your field, and then suddenly you wake up one day and all the work you’ve put in pays off and you’re qualified for the job you wanted when you entered college,” she says. —Rachael Blaine ’21


Robby Caulfield ’12 and Lauren Hendricks ’14 were married Aug. 10, 2019, in Basking Ridge, N.J. Susquehanna alumni attending were: Brandon Mash ’14, Cory Edwards ’14, Yuri Missenheim ’16, Samantha Meringolo ’14, Kate Mays ’14, Emily Kreyling ’14, Carly Neuschatz ’14, Emily Leboffe ’17, Andrew Stevens ’12, Shannon Galvin ’14, Rachel Mack ’13, Amanda Eich ’14, Michael Kelso ’12, Richie Price ’13, Sheila De Young ’14, Luke Trama ’11, Dan Martin ’12, Bibi Pnayatova ’14, Colby Brindle ’14, Jack Wynes ’13, Nancy Acker ’11 Alexander, Brandon Alexander ’12 and Joe Zamadics ’12. Jessica Ranck ’13 and Jonathan Fellin ’12 were surrounded by Susquehanna alumni — both family and friends — as they celebrated their marriage on June 15, 2019. The couple was married in Rooke Chapel in Lewisburg, Pa., and enjoyed their reception at the Pine Barn Inn in Danville.

Pictured L to R: Nate Ash ’11, Scott Thistle ’16, David Rokowski ’12, Trevor Buffington ’11, Caitlin Newman ’09 Thistle, Mia Robinson ’12, Paul Thistle ’10, Sean Thistle ’12, Amber Kessler ’12, Stephanie Stewart ’13, Matt Bruer ’15, Gabby Malick ’15 and Bill Davis ’12.

Sean Thistle ’12 and Mia Robinson ’12 were married on Sept. 27, 2019, at Kings Mills in Media, Pa. Thaddeus Yeiser ’12 and Steven Bair ’12 published their book, Age of Rust. It is available on Amazon. Born to Pete ’12 and Jordan Jones, a daughter, Ellie, May 17, 2019.


Leah Damin ’13 and Chris Zimmerman ’14 were married on Aug. 3, 2019, in Kingston, N.Y. Susquehanna alumni included friends and family of the couple. Sarah Dickerson ’13 and Brian Zuidervliet ’14 married at Natirar in Peapack, N.J., on Sept. 14, 2019. In attendance were Matt George ’14, Robbie Lamperti ’14, Dr. Michael Smith (former professor of psychology), Dr. Betsy Verhoeven (associate dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and associate professor of English and creative writing), and Kevin Zuidervliet ’14. Matt Cultrera ‘14 photographed the event. Paula Trinchera ’13 and John Steyh ’12 began their married life together on Sept. 27, 2019, at Normandy Farm in Blue Bell, Pa. Susquehanna alumni

Pictured back to front, L to R: David Zinn ’17, Mark Zimmerman ’91, Jocelyn Zimmerman ’61, Andy Zimmerman ’86, Dave Zimmerman ’85, Logan Skillman ’13, Erin Whitney ’14, Katrina Eyler ’13, Devyn Wells ’15, John Panas ’14, Henil Patel ’13, Liam Michener ’13, Donald Schuck ’11, Ross Williams ’13, Laura Zimmerman ’84, Rachel Sauer ’14, Allison Shuell ’13, Melanie McLaughlin ’14, Taylor Wamsher ’14, Chris Zimmerman ’14 and Leah Damin ’13.

who celebrated with the couple were Lynn Mosca ’80 Trinchera, Collin Botts ’18, Kate Strangfeld ’13, Matt Weikel ’12, Jay Wilson ’12, Chris Chidzik ’12, Nicole Caviris ’12, Megan Butts ’13 and Laurie Mosca ’82 Cocca. Special moments were captured by photographer Amanda Nichols ’09.


Eileen Callahan ’14 and Joey Ferraro ’14 were married Oct. 12, 2019, at Bear Creek Mountain Resort in Pennsylvania, surrounded by their SU family.

They met at SU’s Accepted Students Day in June 2010, graduated together in 2014 and got engaged at Seibert Hall (same spot where they met) during Homecoming–Reunion Weekend 2016. Melissa Lee ’14 and Dr. Aaron Gall were married on July 27, 2019, at Upper Room Christian Fellowship near Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. They celebrated with close family and friends in a western ceremony followed by a Chinese-style reception, including a Chinese buffet, a tea ceremony honoring their parents, and karaoke entertainment. Melissa started working in the administration of the Mead Witter School of Music at the University of Wisconsin-

cl ass note s  · Susquehanna Currents · 45

Madison in March 2019 as a part-time employee, which transitioned in late June of that year to a fulltime position as a financial specialist. Tara LoBianco ’14 and Peter Maki ’14 were married Oct. 20, 2019, at The Barn at Gibbet Hill in Groton, Mass. Alison Santiago ’14 married Chris Hatton ’13 on Nov. 30, 2018. Jessica Takats ’14 married Brendan Rezny ’13 on Sept. 28, 2019.



SU fun at the Alison Santiago ’14 and Chris Hatton ’13 wedding reception.

Correction: Taylor Brady ’16 and Michael Hetherington ’15 were married Jan. 12, 2019.


Shileel Foreman ’16 successfully passed and defended his research and his master’s thesis at Drexel University. He is a student services counselor at Drexel University.


Ashlee Weingarten ’17 was promoted to assistant account executive at R&J Strategic Communications, Bridgewater, N.J.


Joshua Scholl ’19 is a biology teacher at Mifflinburg Area High School in Pennsylvania.


Welcome to the newest members of the Susquehanna alumni family! Share your life news with us. Submit your class note to

Pictured L to R: Parth Patel ’14, Morgan Lutz ’14, Edward Kent ’14, Peter Maki ’14, Robert Lamperti ’14, Tara LoBianco ’14, Joshua Harrison ’14, Holly McIntyre ’14 Harrison and Nancy Heidt ’14.

GET “NOTED”! We love hearing about what our alumni are up to! Class Notes are a great way to share your accomplishments, activities and updates with your Susquehanna family. Submit your news and updates however is easiest for you. Online: Mail: Susquehanna University, Office of Alumni, Parent & Donor Engagement, Attn: Class Notes, 514 University Ave., Selinsgrove, PA 17870 Fall 2020 issue submission deadline: September 15 Susquehanna Currents reserves the right to edit Class Notes for space and clarity and to select the alumnisubmitted photos that appear in each issue. Preference will be given to print-quality photos of weddings and other gatherings that include the most alumni.

46 · Susquehanna Currents · su m m er 2020

Robby Caulfield ’12 and Lauren Hendricks ’14 celebrated with many SU friends. (See 2012 Class Note for all pictured.)

Kat McCarron ’05 and Brett Simarrian welcome daughter, Brynn Elise, to the family.


Your Susquehanna family wants to hear about and share what you and your family are up to since graduation. Submit your class note at

Sarah Dickerson ’13 and Brian Zuidervliet ’14 were married at Natirar in Peapack, N.J. Kevin Zuidervliet ’14 and Matt Cultrera ’14 photographed the event for the happy couple.

Pictured L to R: Samantha Reese ’16, Jenn Canavan ’16, Kyle Van Laar ’16, Taylor Brady ’16, Jared Minori ’16, Michael Hetherington ’15, George Pachucy ’15, Ian Murray ’15, Haley Cheetham ’15, Cody Miller ’15, Ryan MacIvor ’15, Greg Rabiecki ’17 and Casey Crotty ’17.

Rob Drugan ’79 and wife, Connie.

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August T. Kaufman Jr. ’42, Bethlehem, Pa., Jan. 9. After graduation, he enlisted in the Army. Upon completing the Army basic training course, he was selected to attend Officer Candidate School at Fort Belvoir, Va., where he attained the rank of second lieutenant in the U.S Corps of Engineer Combat Regiment throughout the Stalin campaign of World War II. He was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service. After being honorably discharged with the rank of captain in February 1946, he attended Lehigh University and graduated in 1948 with a B.S. degree in mining engineering. August was first employed by Glen Alden Coal Co. of Wilkes Barre, Pa., where he was involved in mine layout and plant design. Upon leaving there in 1953, he was employed in the Mining Engineering Department of Bethlehem Steel Corp., where his duties were plant layout and mine design for Bethlehem’s iron and limestone quarries. In 1971, he was transferred to Bethlehem Mine Corp. in Charleston, W.Va. At the time of his retirement in 1982, he was chief engineer of the Metallurgical Coal Miners assigned to the Charleston Division. He was a former member of the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers, serving on the executive board at Lehigh Valley Section for 13 years. He was also a former member of Allied Artists of West Virginia and The Palette Club of Bethlehem. August was a member of The Light of Christ Lutheran Church, formerly St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Bethlehem, where he served several terms on the church council. He was also a member of the church choir for 32 years. Locally he sang with the Bethlehem Musikfest Chorus, Camerata Singers of

Allentown, the Easton Choral Society and the Acapella chorus, Sound Celebration.


Steinie Bowser ’44 Summers, New Oxford, Pa., July 9, 2008. She was a member of First Evangelical Lutheran Church, New Oxford. She attended the Hanover Public School and graduated in 1939 from Mount Union High School. After graduating from Susquehanna University, she trained as an RN at Women’s Hospital and was a cadet nurse during WWII. She spent the majority of her working career as the first director of nursing at The Brethren Home Community in New Oxford.


Norma Hazen ’46 Jones, Inverness, Fla., Aug. 27, 2019. She taught school for several years and was active in church work in Wayne, Pa., where her husband was associated with Valley Forge Military Academy & College. Following a move to Massachusetts in 1975, Norma was employed at the Needham Bank, where she retired as assistant vice president in 1991. She remained active in retirement in Florida by volunteering at Citrus Memorial Hospital for more than 20 years. She was a 65-year member of the Order of the Eastern Star. She was also an active member of PEO for over 50 years and always appreciated the friendship and support of her Sisters in the Chapters in Wayne, Pa., and Inverness. Alumni survivor is her sister, Marianna Hazen ’48 Zimmerman. Jean Wheat ’46 Schramm, Manahawkin, N.J., May 29, 2019. She was a founding member of the Community Church in Cedar Grove. Jean returned to school at Montclair State University to obtain a teaching degree and became a high school

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teacher in both Cedar Grove, N.J., and Glen Ridge, N.J. In 1985, she moved with her husband to Beach Haven, and they subsequently moved to Manahawkin, where she volunteered at the SOCH Old & New Shop and the Ocean Community Church Food Bank. Alumni survivor is her granddaughter, Katherine Messler ’11.


Richard Lindemann ’48, Pompton Plains, N.J., Jan. 29. During World War II he served as a combat medic for the 41st Infantry Division in the Pacific. In 1949, he married his college sweetheart, Gertrude Roberts ’48 Lindemann, and settled in Pompton Plains, where together they raised two children, Susan and Gary. Richard worked as a paint salesman and retired from Sherwin Williams in 1989. He was a proud member of American Legion Post 242, where he served as chaplain and chaired the Boys State Committee for many years. He attended Jacksonville Chapel, was an avid stamp collector, loved Big Band swing music and was a lifelong Yankee fan. Alumni survivor is his wife, Gertrude. Roberta Gaetz ’48 Palmer, Middleboro, Mass., Dec. 20. Roberta loved travel, daisies, shopping for clothes, attending ballets, participating in folk dancing, studying the Bible and meeting people from other countries. Her 40 years as an educator began as a math, music and home economics teacher in rural schools for five years. She continued as a kindergarten teacher at a private school for eight years and ended her career with many years as the head librarian at a junior high school that had students from over 35 foreign countries. Her interest in seeing if she could use audio-visual aids to help non-native English speakers adjust to school more easily led her to write several ground-

breaking articles and to earn a mid-life master’s from the University of Virginia with a concentration in multimedia communication and education. Those who knew Roberta in her middle years will remember her astonishing resemblance to England’s Queen Elizabeth II. She was unaware of the likeness until her first trip to England in the mid-1950s and had no idea for several days why people were curtsying to her wherever she went. She particularly treasured the memory of a face-to-face encounter with the real queen in 1976, when the monarch looked at her and shook her head and laughed. Although Roberta had been reared in a home where dancing was forbidden, when she was in her mid-50s she went to one of the English country dances her daughter enjoyed and fellin love with all kinds of folk dancing. She particularly enjoyed making and purchasing costumes for the various period events. That led to her role in organizing costumed interpreters to be on hand during a special exhibit of the Constitution. Because of that, Roberta was slated to be interviewed on the Larry King show for five minutes. As it turned out, he kept her on the live show for the full hour, asking her about her other retirement exploits, which had included spending a night sleeping in the Concord cemetery and solo hiking glaciers in Iceland in her early 80s. Larry King told her at the end of the program that she was the most engaging and interesting person he had ever met. Many of us who are less famous than Larry King agreed with him, and the world will be much less extraordinary without Roberta Palmer.

1949 John G. Devine ’49, Ashland, Pa., Nov. 15. At Susquehanna, John played football

DEATHS and basketball and served as a captain in each sport. He did graduate work at George Washington University, the University of Maryland and New York University. He was a veteran of World War II, having served with the U.S. Marine Corps, earning ribbons for the Peleliu campaign in the South Pacific area of operations, as well as on Leyte and Samar in the Philippines, which included the World War II Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal (with three battle stars), Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, Army Presidential Unit Commendation, Battle Honors– Philippines, Philippines Liberation Medal, and the Philippines Presidential Unit Citation. Following graduation from college, he served as a teacher and football and track coach at Bladensburg High School in Maryland and later as football and track coach at Ashland High School. He was a graduate of the FBI Academy, Quantico, Va., and during a 28-year career with the FBI, he served in an investigative capacity in various divisions around the continental United States and in Puerto Rico. He also served as a firearms instructor at the FBI Academy; in the administrative and inspection divisions at FBI headquarters, Washington, D.C.; and was in charge of field divisions in Anchorage, Alaska; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Portland, Ore.; and New Haven, Conn. Following retirement from the FBI, he was appointed by Connecticut Governor Ella Grasso to the newly created position of executive director of the Division of Special Revenue for the state. In an article covering the appointment, the New York Times dubbed him the “gambling czar” in Connecticut, which at that time had more forms of gambling than any other state in the country. He went on to a 10-year career as director of security and administration for Combustion

Engineering, Inc., a multinational energy engineering company headquartered in Stamford, Conn. Upon retirement, he and his family returned to Ashland.


Raymond Caldwell ’52, Harrisburg, Pa., Sept. 11. He especially enjoyed marching band from middle school through high school, and march he did! Ray made his way to Harrisburg following college and worked in the insurance industry for more than 40 years. He sang in the church choir and the “Good News” quartet. He served in many capacities at the church, including as Sunday School teacher for several decades. He also enjoyed an active membership in the Robert Burns Lodge #464 F&AM and the Harrisburg Kiwanis Club. Ray loved people and loved to talk and laugh. He especially enjoyed his life at Homeland Center the last five years, and even after the 2018 death of his wife, Betty, he was able to put on a smiling face. Charles Zlock Sr. ’52, Doylestown, Pa., July 12, 2019. He was a resident of Bucks County for more than 55 years and had been a practicing dentist for 49 years. He was a 1948 graduate of Coaldale High School, and following his SU career, earned his D.M.D. in 1956 from the University of Pittsburgh Dental School. He was a captain in the U.S. Air Force, serving in Goose Bay, Labrador. Dr. Zlock was a member of the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania Dental School for several years. He had his offices in Philadelphia for more than 25 years and an office on North Street in Doylestown. Charles was a faithful communicant of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, an avid golfer and a member of Doylestown Country Club for more than 50 years. He was an accomplished bridge player who had a lot of card sense. Win or lose, he always had a smile. Family trips

included fishing and skiing. He loved the outdoors and found great peace, quiet and enjoyment working in his garden. He was a gentleman with a firm handshake and warm smile, and always remembered your name. Alumni survivor is his son, Charles Zlock Jr. ’80.


Pamela McKegg ’53 Doney, Boiling Springs, Pa., Feb. 11. Pam spent many years teaching in South Middleton Township, Pa., and Carroll County, Md. She was an avid dog lover, adopting many rescue dogs over the years. She leaves behind devoted companions Skippy and Meg. Pam was an active member of First Lutheran Church in Carlisle, Pa.


Nancy Krieg ’54 Currens, Harrisburg, Pa., Aug. 6, 2019. She worked for the Public Opinion newspaper in Chambersburg, Pa., and later became an owner of Daniel B. Krieg, Inc. of Harrisburg. Nancy enjoyed time with family and friends, travel, needlepoint and good conversation. She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.


C. William Ziegenfuss ’55, New Orleans, La., Aug. 18, 2019. He did graduate work at Stetson University under Paul Jenkins and received a Master of Divinity from The Nashota House Seminary. He was canon precentor and organist-choirmaster at Christ Church Cathedral for 36 years. He taught music at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, was organist for Trinity Episcopal School for 38 years and had been organistchoirmaster at St. Andrews Episcopal Church since 2006. He was a member of the Cathedral Cooking School, the

American Guild of Organists, the Association of Anglican Musicians and the Organ Historical Society. He was founder and director of the internationally known Cathedral Concerts series at the cathedral for over 30 years. Under Canon Ziegenfuss, the cathedral gained the 96 rank Goulding and Wood Organ, which is one of the largest in Louisiana, a smaller chapel organ, Steinway pianos and a beautiful memorial harpsichord.


Charlotte Meerbach ’56 Bunke, Wilmington, Del., Sept. 3. She was a retired school teacher of English and history. Charlotte later worked for Widener Law School in the financial aid department. She enjoyed watching many sports and was an avid fan of Duke men’s basketball and UConn women’s basketball. Charlotte loved gardening, reading, jigsaw puzzles and spending time with her family. Alumni survivor is her niece, Kirsten Anderson ’86.


Robert H. Kenyon ’59, Genesee, Pa., Aug. 22, 2019. Bob attended Genesee High School through his sophomore year and graduated from Wellsville Central School, then earned a degree in business administration from SU. He was a member of Genesee Boy Scout Troop #25 and was Genesee’s first Eagle Scout. He was employed by F.W. Woolworth in management, owned and operated a local business in Genesee, and was employed by Miller and Richard Masonry. He served as Genesee Township secretary/ treasurer for several years; Genesee Cemetery secretary/treasurer and caretaker; Potter County Planning Commission member; Genesee Volunteer Ambulance crew member; and Genesee Volunteer Fire Company member. Bob

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DEATHS volunteered part time at Reed’s Market in his retirement years. He was a member of the Gold Church and served as secretary/treasurer of the Men’s Community Prayer Breakfast group. Bob enjoyed cross-country skiing and canoeing, and he ran in the Potter County Marathon. Alumni survivor is his grandson, Shane Blake ’98.


Ann Hewes ’61 Yanuklis, Monroe, N.Y., Nov. 6. Ann was a 55-year resident of Monroe. As an active member of St. Paul Lutheran Church, she had the honor of being the first female elder of the congregation.


Curtis Barry ’63, Montague, N.J., Oct. 6. Canon Rudolph van der Hiel ’63, Mansfield, N.J., Oct. 29. Rudy was a local attorney and retired as senior partner from the Law Offices of van der Hiel and Chappell after almost 40 years. He served as Tioga County district attorney from 1972 to 1980. He was on the board of directors of First Citizens National Bank and North Penn Telephone Company. He was solicitor of Mansfield, Lawrenceville and Tioga boroughs, and Deerfield, Rutland, Putnam and Sullivan townships. He was a master mason at Athenaeum Lodge 247 and in Kiwanis for over 50 years. Rudy was also an Episcopal minister and served in many local churches, as well as the diocese of Algoma in Ontario, Canada. He also enjoyed many years as a church camp counselor. Rudy always supported his community with great friendliness and care, particularly focusing on children and families in need. He was the person who, whenever anything needed to be done or anyone needed help, he was there. He truly made the world a

better place. But most of all, Rudy loved spending time with his family at their cottage in Canada. He especially enjoyed cooking for and laughing with his kids and grandkids, and he was the king of all dad jokes. He was an immensely beloved husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather, best friend and neighbor. Alumni survivor is his granddaughter, Kaitlyn Hoover ’14. Sandra Troutman ’63, Herndon, Pa., Feb. 27. Sandy Troutman lived a colorful life steeped in the love, study and sharing of music. She graduated in 1959 from Mahanoy Joint High School (a precursor to Line Mountain), where she participated in district band and orchestra. She loved her fellow high school alumni and enjoyed attending reunions. She served as treasurer of her reunion committee until January 2020. At Susquehanna, Sandy earned a bachelor’s degree in music education. She went on to earn a master’s equivalency in music education at West Chester University in the late 1960s. She taught music at the Bangor, Pa., school district in Northampton County in the 1960s. She also served as Line Mountain School District choral director and assistant band director.


Susan Phile ’66 Buttimer, Bel Air, Md., June 5, 2019. She was a musician, composer and performer. Susan sang for years with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Chorus, where she was a soloist and section leader, and with the Concert Artists of Baltimore, where she also was a board member. She taught voice and piano and was a prolific composer of vocal music. She was commissioned to compose and then conduct a choral and organ piece, Make a Joyful Noise, for the 200th anniversary of her church, the Bel Air United Methodist Church. Yearly she wrote original Christmas carols,

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and she also wrote poems, sermons and meditations.


James Geissler ’68, Sylvania, Ohio, June 18, 2019. Jim served in the Army from 1968 to 1976. He played baseball and soccer at Susquehanna University and enjoyed playing cards with family and friends. For over 30 years, he was an active member of the Toledo golf community as a player and caddied for several ladies during the LPGA Marathon Classic. James spent his career at Owens Illinois and Merrill Lynch. Alumni survivor is his wife, Patricia Frost ’68 Geissler. Ralph Ziegler ’68, Glendale, Calif., Jan. 18. He served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War. After living in Guam and Denver, he settled in Los Angeles and began a successful career as an entertainment business manager for numerous celebrities, and was a chief financial officer at the Triad and ICM talent agencies. After retiring, his love of animals led him to become a trained volunteer docent at the L.A. Zoo. He was also active with the Glendale Historical Society and the Doctor’s House at Brand Park.


Barry Landis ’69, Mechanicsburg, Pa., Feb. 13. He was an Eagle Scout and loved to camp with his Aunt Dorothy, Uncle John and his cousins, Bill, Dale and Mike Wierman. He served in the U.S. Coast Guard from 1969 through 1973. Following his time in the service, he joined his parents in the family business, Landis Jewelers Inc., in Camp Hill, Pa., and worked as a jeweler for the next 25 years. He was an active member of the American Gemological Society as well as the Pennsylvania Retail Jewelers Association, where he held varied offices

including president. He was named Retail Jeweler of the Year by the Pennsylvania Retail Jewelers Association in 1986. Barry was a longtime supporter of Goodwill Industries, beginning his volunteer work with the organization in the 1970s. Since then he held many different board director positions, and he volunteered at events for Goodwill including Jubilee Day, the Silver Mile, the annual Goodwill yard sale, and the Goodwill Treasures annual dinner and auction. In his remaining free time, he especially loved boating with his family and friends at the shore, river and lake. Donald Proctor ’69, Reading, Pa., Sept. 11.


Kathleen Hummel ’73, Lewisburg, Pa., Feb. 23. After her 1969 graduation from the Shikellamy School District, Kathy majored in English at Susquehanna. She taught at Warwick Senior High School in Lititz, Pa., before returning to the area to teach English at Shikellamy High School, where she was in the uncomfortable position of having to call all her revered teachers by their first names. Besides her classroom time, she also directed plays and musicals, coached public speaking and debate, and served as the advisor to the school newspaper. She said she learned more than she taught. After completing a master’s degree in instructional technology, Kathy worked for the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit administering grant projects, providing teacher in-service programs and developing curriculum for the 17 area school districts. As fulfilling as her career was, her best days were those she spent with her family and friends. Her daughter, Abigail Kuttruff McQuiston, who lives with her husband, Robert, in Wilmington, Del., was the joy of her life, along with the Kelso kids — daughter

DEATHS Emma and son Gavin. Later in her life, Kathy met and married Richard Bonham. Together they happily lived their bucket list every day in their Lewisburg home, with the long line of dogs and cats they rescued and cherished over the years of their marriage. Though they lived far away, close in her heart were Dick’s wonderful sons and their families: Shawn Bonham and daughter Kana, who live in Tokyo, Japan; and Bryan Bonham, his wife, Jennifer Pritchard, and daughter Charlotte in Bellevue, Wash. Kathy shared that she came to the end of life with few regrets. Her main regret was that she didn’t have more time, but what she had was incredible. Donald Jacke ’73, Coatesville, Pa., April 5, 2019. Donald worked as a computer programmer in the telecom industry and was an accomplished pianist.


Scott Wissinger ’76, York, Pa., Oct. 5. After earning his Bachelor of Science degree from SU, he completed a Master of Science degree from Bowling Green University in 1979, and his Ph.D. in biology from Purdue University in 1986. Scott was a professor of biology and environmental science at Allegheny College for 32 years and an adjunct fellow in freshwater ecology at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. For 30 years, Scott headed summer research at Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL) in Gothic, Colo. He received 40 National Science Foundation grants and undergraduate research assistantships. Scott also served the science community as president of the Board of Trustees of RMBL and mentored more than 180 senior projects at Allegheny College. As a professor, he was most passionate about teaching and mentoring students during their four years at Allegheny. His love of field

research and his environmental curiosity were inspirational to countless students. Many of Scott’s students pursued advanced degrees and continue to influence biological and environmental research and teaching. In addition to his teaching, Scott’s love, and favorite hobby, was planting trees. He also loved cross-country skiing, fly-fishing, hiking, particularly during summers in Colorado, biking and birding. Scott enjoyed and supported the fine arts. He will always be remembered for his humor and love of family. Alumni survivors are his mother, Flossie Barnhart ’51 Wissinger, and sisters Diane Wissinger ’84 Hodson, Donna Wissinger ’78 and Jane Wissinger ’81.


Sherri Calabro ’84 Morrison, Lewisburg, Pa., Feb. 27. She was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Lewisburg, and an elementary school teacher for Warrior Run School District.


Kristen Hoar ’05 Polizzotto, Stoneham, Mass., Dec. 21. Kristen let her heart lead her through life. Her smile and spirit were contagious. Her beautiful blue eyes were windows to her soul, and her feelings were always well known on her wonderfully expressive face. As gentle as she was, she was a fighter and warrior, heroically battling illness for nearly five years. Kristen earned her bachelor’s degree from SU, where she would meet her husband, and then went on to achieve her master’s degree from Suffolk University. She followed her parents’ footsteps into education and coaching; over the last decade she served as a guidance counselor at Stoneham High School and coached cross country and track and field sports for many years.

Most recently she received certifications in barre, yoga and mindfulness in an effort to constantly improve herself and the lives of her students. Kristen grew up on Cape Cod and was a proud DennisYarmouth alum, beach lover and sailor. Alumni survivor is her husband, Bryan Polizzotto ’04.


Jake Litus ’15, Yardley, Pa., Dec. 30. He worked as an environmental specialist at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Jake was an avid traveler, an accomplished athlete and a passionate nature enthusiast. He loved hiking, snowboarding, camping and just about any outdoor activity. He was a lover of all things extraterrestrial and looked forward to meeting some of them. Jake loved animals, especially dogs. He had the biggest heart and was loved by all who knew him. His sparkling brown eyes and beautiful smile lit up a room. He was the life of the party wherever he went. His loyalty and love for his family and friends knew no bounds. He had worked for the National Park Service and believed that every day should be Earth Day.

eventually mentoring other children, directing, and writing original music for these programs. He won his first composition award as a high school senior. At the time of his death, Kris was employed by Sharps & Flats Music Conservatory in Ridgefield, Conn., as a teacher of piano, composition and voice, and as a cantor for Assumption/Our Lady of Fatima Church in Scarsdale, N.Y. Trained in classical voice, music composition and improvisational jazz, he freelanced as a music producer and composer, and wrote for a wide variety of genres, outlets, venues and commissions, ranging from chamber to orchestral and vocal masterworks, to jam bands. Kris scored, recorded and engineered several critically acclaimed podcasts and short films for private clients in his Brooklyn home studio. An internship at Atomic Sound in Brooklyn fueled his passion for producing, and he appeared around New York as keyboardist and producer with the band Chicken Over Rice.

Christopher McCormick ’15, Brooklyn, N.Y., Feb. 17. The cause was a sudden, severe illness, likely complicated by Type 1 Diabetes, which he fought for 24 years. At SU, he earned a bachelor’s degree in music composition, with an emphasis in vocal performance, and a master’s in music composition from The Johns Hopkins University, Peabody Conservatory of Music, in 2017. He was a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. A composer, music producer, singer, instrumentalist and actor, Kris discovered his love for the performing arts early, in school and community music and theater programs. He appeared in productions at Musicals at Richter, SUNY Purchase and Wooster,

cl ass note s  · Susquehanna Currents · 51


FRIENDS OF THE UNIVERSITY Dorla Nary, wife of the late Dr. Bruce L. Nary, died Dec. 22. A native of New York, she attended Syracuse and Northwestern universities and earned a degree. She taught music to children in Snyder County and went on to play saxophone in the Selinsgrove Area Adult Band. Dorla also was a 22-year volunteer for the American Cancer Society and played a major role in the success of its fundraising efforts.

Dorla and Bruce shared a love for the theatre and theatre arts. To honor Bruce’s 31 years of contributions to theatre as a professor, mentor and friend at Susquehanna, she created two funds to benefit the theatre department. The first is the Dr. Bruce L. Nary Theatre Scholarship, which provides scholarships for theatre students. “Bruce always wanted to be able to offer scholarships

52 · Susquehanna Currents · su m m er 2020

to students with talent,” Dorla said. “I believe he would be pleased to know that is exactly what we have set up in his honor.” The second is the Dr. Bruce L. Nary Visiting Theatre Artist Fund. Dorla said she wanted to honor Bruce’s life work by helping to enhance the educational experience of students, as well as others in the community, by creating

opportunities to participate in seminars or attend presentations by professionals in the field of theatre. Both of the funds will now include Dorla’s name.


stroke = 3pt in 425 / highlights in 3245, 15% and 100%

Susquehanna University — Building a Campus Community of


Our sense of community is one of our university’s strengths. Let’s all continue to take care of ourselves — and one another — t in 425 / highlights in 3245, 15% and 100% to spread kindness, not COVID.

#suhealthyhawks #spreadkindnessnotcovid #maskup

by Jen n ifer Serv edio

End Note

Keeping Our Community Connected in a Pandemic

When I arrived at Susquehanna in November as the new chief information officer, I knew the challenges ahead — getting to know my staff, building partnerships with many departments across campus, budgeting, and trying not to pronounce everything like a New Yorker. Then came COVID-19. Figuring out how to handle a pandemic in my first six months as CIO was an uncharted challenge, including how to accommodate the needs of 3,000 students, faculty and staff who are now teaching and learning online — all while a small IT staff of 15 also was forced to work remotely. In the weeks prior to the pandemic, the university’s crisis management team was working through an exercise that initiated a review of our technology infrastructure and the creation of an emergency phone bank. That exercise put everything in motion when it mattered most. From there we rolled up our sleeves, devised a plan of attack and did what had to be done. It was critical that everyone had access to everything they needed to telework, the lines of communication were open, and we were ready to assist.


54 · Susquehanna Currents · su m m er 2020

A workflow was created for faculty to easily submit requests for lecture recording, Blackboard assistance and video digitization. Our 25 calls-per-week call volume increased to 412 in the first week. We set up two of our student workers to remotely answer the Help Desk phone. The team worked together, stepping up and learning new things to help when workloads and priorities shifted. We really were a lean, mean, fighting machine! In addition, our team: •

Enabled virtual private network (VPN) access for all faculty, staff and students to access campus resources.

Prepared laptops for approximately 40 faculty, staff and students, many of which were mailed to students’ homes.

Assisted faculty, staff and students with home-internet access.

Installed software on employee computers for remote access to phones and messaging.

Extended software licensing for students who could no longer access on-campus computer labs.

Increased our Zoom licenses for all classes, including webinars for large groups.

Moved our health system to the cloud for the counseling center to have remote access.

Implemented LinkedIn Learning to help students enhance résumé-building skills, and for faculty and staff to access professional development.

For the IT team, it proved more important than ever to keep university systems and infrastructure running and secure. In addition to scheduled maintenance and upgrades, we kept looking for vulnerabilities, as hackers are most prevalent during uncertain times.

“I TRULY BELIEVE THAT PEOPLE ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT ASSET IN ANY ORGANIZATION. IF YOU TAKE CARE OF THEM, THEY WILL COME THROUGH FOR YOU WHEN YOU NEED THEM MOST.” Keeping my team motivated and engaged during this difficult time has been a high priority for me. We used Microsoft Teams and Zoom to stay in touch — making sure we devote a portion of our time together for laughter and water cooler talk. We also kept in touch with our student workers. As the possibility of Susquehanna’s return to campus moved further and further away in the spring, we researched ways to improve the remote teaching and learning experience as well as our virtual work and meeting spaces. So many important “lessons learned” were uncovered. While uncertainty is a new normal, I am certain that I am proud to be part of that staff of 15. They are the most dedicated, hardworking, knowledgeable group of technologists you’ll ever find. I truly believe that people are the most important asset in any organization. If you take care of them, they will come through for you when you need them most.

Jennifer Servedio is chief information officer at Susquehanna University.

su m m er 2020  · Susquehanna Currents · 55

MARK ’80 AND ELLEN KNUTSON ’79 KRAMM Mark ’80 and Ellen Knutson ’79 Kramm met at Susquehanna. Both were math majors, and one of their early connections to each other was through their coursework. Mark lent Ellen his textbook for Symbolic Logic while she waited for hers to come into the bookstore. “It gave me a convenient excuse to stop by her dorm to read the week’s lesson,” he remembers. Aside from fond memories of meeting through their shared class, both Mark and Ellen express appreciation for the unique academic experience they were able to have at Susquehanna. Soon after graduation, Mark and Ellen moved to Minnesota to pursue job opportunities in Minneapolis. Nearly 40 years later, Mark and Ellen have “grown to love” their adopted home state. They both enjoy the outdoors, especially visiting Minnesota’s beautiful state parks. Ellen also enjoys gardening, and Mark is an avid nature photographer. When it came time to do their estate planning, Mark and Ellen knew that giving to charity was a main priority for them. “Because we don’t have children, we established a trust to leave our estate to organizations important to us. Susquehanna was at the top of the list. The education and opportunities available to us at SU enriched our lives and continue to do so today.” The Kramms have decided not to restrict their planned gift to one purpose. They have only designated it to support academics, at the university’s discretion. “We are always pleased to read about Susquehanna’s continuing excellence in education and are delighted that it attracts a diverse student body,” Mark and Ellen tell us. “We hope that our gift will help continue the university’s legacy of excellence and accessibility.”

For free planning resources and to learn more about CREATING YOUR OWN LEGACY at Susquehanna, visit SULEGACY.ORG or contact our gift planning office at 570-372-4618.

STUDENT CARE FUND When we first launched a campaign to support the Student Care Fund on Giving Tuesday last December, we were blown away by our community’s response. So many alumni, parents, faculty, staff and friends answered the call. On OneSU, Susquehanna’s annual Day of Giving, you answered the call again and helped us grow the Student Care Fund to the largest it has ever been. COVID-19 has affected all of us, but your support of the Student Care Fund ensured that our students were able to finish their academic semester, retain a sense of normalcy and, most important, continue to be fed, protected and cared for.



Helped students acquire the materials and technology needed to transition to online learning.

» » »

Provided grocery gift cards to students who experience food insecurity at home. Assisted with gas cards for students who could not afford last-minute travel. Stocked a campus food pantry for students who remained on campus to use outside of campus dining hours.

The generosity of our Susquehanna community made all of the above possible. Gifts made to the Student Care Fund have proved invaluable during this difficult time, and for that we are so grateful. Our community has made sure that all Susquehanna students are cared for.

THANK YOU! If you would like to donate to the Student Care Fund, please click here.

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