Susquehanna Currents Spring 2015

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spring 2015 · vol 83 · no 1


Gary Fincke (on the cover) reflects on his 35 years at Susquehanna and the highly successful creative writing program he nurtured from infancy to adulthood.



4 A Mission, A Market and A Dream


10 Investing in People 12 Two Authors Reflect on Their Journeys 18 The Degenstein Difference


First Word

22 People & Places 34 Scoreboard 38 The ’Grove

Q&A · Syllabus · Forward Thinking · Kudos

52 End Notes ALUMNI NEWS

42 Class Notes

Message Board · Regional Chapter News · Weddings & Gatherings · Deaths

Chief Communications Officer ANGELA BURROWS Assistant Vice President, Alumni, Parent and Donor Engagement BECKY BRAMER ’92 DEITRICK Editor VICTORIA KIDD Associate Director, Advancement Communications

10 I NVESTING IN PEOPLE Trustee Signe Gates ‘71 focuses her philanthropy on Susquehanna’s human capital.

Class Notes Editor JODI SWARTZ Administrative Assistant, Alumni Relations Contributing Writers BRUCE E. BEANS EMILY GIBBS ‘18 ERIC HOLLEN ‘16 JULIA LESPERANCE ‘15 KATIE MEIER Director, Athletics Communications AMANDA O’ROURKE Digital Communications and Media Specialist MORGAN RICHARDSON ‘17 Graphic Design AMANDA LENIG ’07 Creative Services Manager COLBY WALLS Graphic Designer Copy Editors BETSY K. ROBERTSON Director, Digital and Print Communications


A civil rights icon and a young novelist reflect on their journeys for Susquehanna’s Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration.


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Learn what the must-do activities are for Susquehanna students today. A Susquehanna Welcome

See how campus welcomed the Class of 2018 for Move-in Day. The Fun Factor

Read about what today’s Susquehanna students do for fun.

comprising approximately 130 leading national independent liberal arts colleges that have similar interests and concerns centering on the values of liberal arts education that inform their missions. The Annapolis Group provides a forum for member institutions to share best practices, seek higher levels of excellence, and advance the cause of liberal arts education on a national scale.

Supporting Access to Susquehanna

Dear Alumni and Friends

Colleagues often hear me say that my lunches with students are my weekly affirmation of vocation. The lunches have been a tradition of mine since my earliest years as a college president, borrowed from the practice of one of my mentors at Texas A&M University. While the work of the presidency frequently takes me away from campus and keeps me from teaching as often as I would like, these experiences with students always remind me of what a blessing and privilege it is to serve them. The lift I get from these encounters with students is not surprising, given that I am a teacher at heart and a person who delights in seeing students transformed from tentative first-years to confident graduates. Again and again, I’ve seen that maturation in our students and, more personally, in two of my own children—my eldest will soon be a college graduate and my second daughter will soon be a rising college junior. And, although it’s been more than 30 years, I can still recall the changes that took place in me as an undergraduate at Nebraska Wesleyan University.

“A student’s ability to pay doesn’t limit his ability to obtain an exceptional college education.” —L. Jay Lemons

I am extremely proud that any high-achieving student, regardless of socio-economic background, can be admitted to Susquehanna and has an opportunity to experience this type of personal evolution. Providing access to qualified students from all financial circumstances has been part of the university’s DNA since its earliest days. We were founded as a place where students from modest means could answer the call to become Lutheran pastors. That was a pretty revolutionary notion in the middle of the 19th century, but it set the course for Susquehanna and continues to fuel our educational vision today. Given our longtime commitment to providing access and opportunity to all students, my colleagues and I were thrilled last September to see Susquehanna included among the top 10 in a New York Times list of 100 economically diverse campuses that boast graduation rates of at least 75 percent. The objective of the Times piece was to look at economic diversity among the most selective schools and we were very happy to find ourselves at the top of that very short list. To put things in perspective, there are 4,500 U.S. colleges and universities, so appearing anywhere on the Times list would have put us in a very elite group. Susquehanna’s ninth position on the list is all the more impressive considering that the other highly ranked schools have much larger endowments. At number 6, Harvard’s endowment per student of $1.52 million is more than 30 times larger than Susquehanna’s endowment per student of $50,000. Between 2012 and 2014, Susquehanna’s percentage of low-income freshmen—25 percent— was the highest on the Times list. Among the 100 schools ranked on the newspaper’s economic diversity index, only 10 had first-year classes in which more than 20 percent were Pell recipients, reserved for those from families with high levels of demonstrated need.

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Look for more details as they become available at WWW.SUSQU.EDU/HOMECOMING2015 and WWW.SUSQU.EDU/FAMILYWEEKEND2015!

Although higher education is the primary avenue for social mobility, at the nation’s most selective colleges and universities, affluent students outnumber those who are economically disadvantaged by more than 10 to 1. Contrast that with Susquehanna, where in 2014, 80 percent of the incoming class received need-based aid. Yes, here we are committed to continuing our practice of providing access to a first-rate university education to students who couldn’t afford to be here without our help. For us, this is the truest expression of democracy—that a student’s ability to pay doesn’t limit his ability to obtain an exceptional college education. Unfortunately, we cannot completely meet each student’s full, demonstrated financial need. That’s our challenge: We are better at providing access, but our modest endowment limits the resources we have to fund needy students. I’ve expanded on this dilemma in a white paper, included in this issue of Susquehanna Currents, which I invite you to read at your leisure.

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rnest Hemingway once told F. Scott Fitzgerald to “write the best story that you can, and write it as straight as you can.”

Gary Fincke, the Charles B. Degenstein professor of English and creative writing and founding director of the Writers Institute at Susquehanna University, has undoubtedly heard “Papa” Hemingway’s words and conveyed them in his own way to generations of young writers. After all, the honesty and directness espoused by Hemingway come naturally to the no-nonsense Steel City native whose blue-collar upbringing cemented his “straight talk” approach to writing, teaching and life. “Just wind me up and put me in a workshop; I’m ready,” says Fincke, in one of the more colorful ways he’s described himself. But, at its core, the statement is as true as anything that could ever be said of the man. It’s in Susquehanna’s creative writing workshop classes that Fincke found his bliss, and built a national reputation for himself and the university. Fincke’s 35-year career at Susquehanna embodies the university’s new strategic plan, aptly titled Susquehanna 2020: Thriving at the Intersections of Mission and Market, that was endorsed by the Board of Trustees last June. In it, the program Fincke nurtured from its infancy to maturity is specifically called out:

One of Susquehanna’s historical strengths has been our ability to understand the market and to develop niches where mission and market intersect. We know that many of our current successes—such as our thriving creative writing program—grew out of the entrepreneurial visions of forward-thinking faculty and staff. … The goal is to have the successes become beacons to attract and retain more students and serve as models for other initiatives. The Writers Institute has certainly become one of those beacons at Susquehanna, but like the basis for any good story, the road to success has been a long and winding one. And now, with the program where he’d always dreamed it would be, Fincke has decided it’s time to entertain the idea of retirement. In January, Fincke handed the reins of the Writers Institute over to Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing Glen Retief, and took sabbatical leave for the spring semester. He’ll return to the classroom in the fall for at least one more year of teaching because, as he readily admits, “It’s a lot to walk away from.” And Fincke has never been one to rest on his laurels. Juggling teaching, a prolific writing career and the administrative duties of an academic directorship, not to mention a family—his own and the one that grows from the writing community he and his colleagues foster—has

Fincke with creative writing major Christopher Liek ’15

been the norm throughout Fincke’s career. During that time, he also spent 21 years coaching men’s tennis at Susquehanna. “I’m genuinely curious about how I’m going to feel next fall to come back and only teach. I’ve never done just that,” Fincke says. “Theoretically, I can go play golf some afternoons, but that’s not me. “To tell you the truth, I’m not very good with leisure time,” he says, stating the obvious with the quintessential deadpan style for which he is known. Fincke began his career at Susquehanna in 1980 as director of the Writing Center, which helps students of all majors improve their writing skills. When he interviewed for the job, then-President Joel Cunningham asked him what he saw himself doing in five years. His answer: “to have somewhat of a national reputation as a writer and have the opportunity to teach creative writing … publish a book, maybe.” Today it’s clear Fincke had underestimated himself. To date, he has published 28 books of poetry, short fiction and nonfiction—the equivalent of hundreds of poems, stories and essays, many of which have been published in such notable periodicals as Harper’s, Newsday, The Paris Review, The Kenyon Review and Doubletake. His work has been recognized with some of creative writing’s most prestigious awards, including two Pushcart Prizes,

the Flannery O’Connor Prize for Short Fiction, the Bess Hokin Prize from Poetry magazine, and a PEN Syndicated Fiction Prize, as well as two national book awards for poetry and seven fellowships for creative writing from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. It was the early grant support, and the endorsement that came with it, that Fincke attributes to helping him propel forward the idea of a creative writing program. Like most new ideas, he says, “There’s no question there was some skepticism. Some people didn’t think there was a need for something like this.” Fortunately, Cunningham and Don Housley, professor emeritus of history and then-dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, were not among the naysayers. With their backing, Fincke founded the Writers Institute in 1993, followed three years later by creation of the creative writing major with, as he recalls, “nine eager volunteers.” Drawing on his experience recruiting for the tennis team, Fincke began what would eventually become a highly effective recruitment campaign that includes a summer workshop for high school students. “I followed up with every kid that even looked like he might be able to push a pen across a piece of paper,” he says with a chuckle. By 1999, Fincke’s efforts were paying off and the university approved the hiring of his first full-time

Like most new ideas, “There’s no question there was some skepticism. Some people didn’t think there was a need for something like this.” ­­Gary Fincke

Glen Retief

creative writing colleague, Tom Bailey. He says the two of them used to sit on his deck and dream about how far they could take the program—him shooting for 50 majors, Bailey insisting they could reach 100. But like Fincke’s early estimation of his own career, the pair was selling short the program—and the demand for it.

The creative writing program boasted 167 majors for the 2014–15 academic year, and it shows no sign of slowing down, though competition is heating up. “The creative writing program anticipates a lot more competition in the years ahead,” says Glen Retief, who, in addition to being named director of the Writers Institute, will become co-chair of the Department of English and Creative Writing with Professor of English Laurence Roth beginning this summer. “Our goal will be to retain the rigor and quality of our undergraduate program as well as support the richness of our student literary culture, so Susquehanna remains an extraordinary place to come and study creative writing,” Retief adds. Fincke is infinitely confident in his colleague’s ability to keep the program going strong, in part because he’s strived to pass along the healthiest program he possibly could, and in part because Retief “is organized and understands how the wheels turn.” He “understands what makes our program shine” and he’s “a diplomat in a way,” Fincke says, acknowledging the stark difference between Retief ’s finesse and his own “elbow my way into the room” approach. He and Bailey used to joke about being “wildcatters,” but as the program grew in faculty, students and reputation, the value of what they were selling became apparent. The program’s success was on full display during Homecoming–Reunion Weekend 2014 when about 100 alumni, faculty, students and friends gathered in the Lore Degenstein Gallery for alumni readings from Tributaries, an anthology of student writing produced to mark 50 years of literary magazines at Susquehanna. As one might expect, they have been expanded and enhanced through the years under Fincke’s leadership. The anthology was

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It’s a true privilege just watching prospective students come to us on the strength of the program Gary has built up. If I can take care of this program half as well as Gary Fincke has done, I’ll consider my tenure as Writers Institute director a profound success.” Glen Retief, newly named director of the Writers Institute

“My writing and this program are reflections of who I am.” ­­Gary


made possible by a gift from Robert and Susan Sarbacher ’68 Pence in honor of Suzanne Yenchko ’68, recipient of the 2013 Alumni Award for Leadership and a steadfast supporter of the Writers Institute. Following the reading, Yenchko, who majored in English literature, said her decision to support the institute was easy. “I love to read, and [the institute] encourages people to write what I want to read.” The occasion also served as a tribute to Fincke. About a dozen alumni, whose stories and poems are featured in Tributaries, took to the podium to read from their work during the homecoming celebration. Many publicly thanked Fincke for his vision and inspiration, and like any good writer, shared anecdotes about their experiences in the Writers Institute. Salvatore Pane ’07, assistant professor of English at the University of Indianapolis, summed up many of the sentiments that were shared. “Every good thing that’s happened to me is because I came here to the Writers Institute,” he said. There was also plenty of advice to go around for current students. Shana Powlus ’04 Wheeler, director of the Writing Center at Lycoming College, told the students to “hold on, because you’re in for a ride.” Afterward, she

said she wanted to give students “a sense of how profoundly their lives can change in the years following their Susquehanna experience.” The context in which they are currently writing will be completely different a decade from now, she said, noting that their creative works may even foreshadow future events. “It might be the teacher and mother in me, but I wanted to show them how the writing and thinking they’re doing now can prepare them for the rest of their lives—the gains and losses, blessings and trials.” It’s these ups and downs in life—the shared sense of humanity found in every great piece of literature—that Fincke and his colleagues teach students to express on the page. “Everybody’s carrying stories in the door with them, and boy, you give them the tools to find their way into those stories, and they just take off,” Fincke says. Yet the pragmatist in him is quick to acknowledge how slim the chances are of becoming the next Hemingway or Fitzgerald. Being a writer is “a hard thing to stay in for the long haul,” he says, noting that most make a living working a full-time job and writing on the side. But as Fincke’s career has demonstrated, it’s still a pretty good gig. “My writing and this program are reflections of who I am,” he says. “It seems to me that’s the world’s ideal job.”

Victoria Kidd is the associate director of advancement communications.




Signe Gates ’71, vice chair of the university’s Board of Trustees, counts her parents and her years at Susquehanna as the most impactful influences on her life. The daughter of an asbestos worker and a secretary, Gates was a first-generation college student whose parents could not have been more proud when she entered Susquehanna. “My parents had hard lives, but they were devoted to the happiness and success of my brother and me,” Gates says. “One of their goals was for me to go to college, and they loved Susquehanna.” Her mother would often drive up from their suburban Washington, D.C., home to visit. “Sometimes it would be for a day trip at a time when there were twolane roads between our home and Selinsgrove.” Gates, who looked at other schools but immediately fell in love with Susquehanna, was comfortable on campus from the start, easily finding meaningful extracurricular activities and connecting with professors who left a lasting impression. The liberal arts education she received at Susquehanna and the people she encountered as an undergraduate set her on a trajectory that led to a law degree from the University of Michigan and eventually to Barnes Group Inc., where she served as senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary until her retirement in 2010. Gates’ gratitude and commitment to her alma mater have led to many years of sharing her time, talent and treasure with the university. The primary focus of her philanthropy has been its people. Recently, she made a $1 million gift to establish the Signe S. Gates Fund for Excellence in Leadership. The gift is the largest from a living alumna in the history of the university. Intended as a long-term investment in the professional development of Susquehanna’s senior leadership team, the money follows Gates’ earlier contributions to 10 · Susquehanna Currents · spri n g 2 0 15

BY ANGELA BURROWS recognize faculty and staff who demonstrate exemplary performance. “Research shows that opportunities for professional development and recognition of work well done, especially when someone has gone above and beyond the norm, are among the most important things people look for from employers. It’s good to say thank you to those whose work has moved Susquehanna forward,” Gates says. Given that and the desire to create conditions necessary to maximize the contributions of all members of the university community, as spelled out in Susquehanna’s last strategic plan, Gates established an appreciation fund in 2006. The Signe S. Gates Appreciation Fund was set up to acknowledge members of the university community who exhibit exemplary performance. Consistent with her commitment to professional development, the recently established Gates Fund is focused on developing and maximizing the leadership skills of the senior leadership team so that it is best prepared to address the challenges of the coming decade. Philanthropy and mentoring have been recurring themes in her life, says Gates, acknowledging that it was a dear friend who first referred to her as a philanthropist. “I had not seen myself that way. I’ve been lucky in my life. I’ve worked hard, but I’ve also had some breaks. And I’ve tried to embrace opportunities when they’ve been presented to me,” she says. “My goal is to live with gratitude. I learned that from my parents.” Her gratitude has led to a desire to give back. Gates recalls a line from the late Charles Degenstein, businessman, philanthropist and longtime friend and supporter of Susquehanna. “Charlie said ‘giving is fun.’ He was a wise man.”

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Separated by 50 Years, Reflect on Their Journeys for MLK Commemoration Susquehanna welcomed two authors—one, a teacher and longtime civil rights activist, and the other, one of its own—as the university marked the 2015 Winter Convocation, celebrating the life and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Keynote speaker Mary Frances Berry conversed with President L. Jay Lemons before a full house in Degenstein Center Theater. A storyteller who worked alongside some of the giants of the civil rights movement, Berry shared her recollections and some advice. Meanwhile, alumnus Marcus Burke ’10 returned to campus to share the story of his own journey from Milton, Mass., just south of inner-city Boston, to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and publication of his first novel. He talked with students, faculty and staff about the important role his mother and the mentors he found at Susquehanna have played in his sometimes difficult journey.

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Although he towered over her in physical stature, Susquehanna President L. Jay Lemons told the woman sharing the stage with him for the university’s 2015 Winter Convocation and Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemoration, “I look up to you.” As the keynote speaker for the event, civil rights activist, author and University of Pennsylvania history professor Mary Frances Berry educated her audience about the decades-long civil rights struggle and the key players in the movement. Like Lemons, she is a storyteller, who shared highlights of her past and imparted words of advice to the audience of several hundred who filled Degenstein Center Theater for her address. Berry worked side-by-side for many years with the giants of the civil rights movement, fondly recalling Martin (Luther King Jr.), Coretta (Scott King), Nelson (Mandela), Desmond (Tutu) and others. She was arrested and jailed more than once for her work to support the cause, from the United States to South Africa. She has faced racism and discrimination and encountered many obstacles along the way, yet this unassuming and engaging woman, with a quick wit, is clearly a person who has not only persevered but has emerged with a clear sense of self.

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Born in 1938, Berry grew up in segregated Nashville, Tenn., with three strikes against her. She was poor. She was black. And she was a woman. Raised by a single mother, she and one of her brothers spent time in an orphanage after their father left the family and their mother struggled to make ends meet. Her earliest memories are of her brother crying because he was hungry. Despite the many challenges she faced, she went to college, earned her doctorate and law degrees and became a teacher, author, university provost and chancellor. She served as assistant secretary of education under President Jimmy Carter and was chair of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission for 11 years. “Yes, there have been times when I’ve been treated unfairly,” she said during an interview prior to her public appearance. “But when your earliest memories are of your brother crying from hunger, there’s not a whole lot worse that can happen to you.” Nonetheless, Berry has vivid recollections of two early experiences with racism. The first occurred when she was about 5 years old. She had just moved out of the

orphanage and was staying with her aunt. She and her cousins were playing in the yard when a man riding a motorcycle and wearing a police uniform drove through the middle of the yard, interrupting their play. “He stopped and asked us what day it was. We said Monday, so he said, ‘Call me Mr. Monday,’ and then he coldly laughed and drove off. I was scared as hell and he thought it was funny,” Berry recalled. The man was a police officer known for driving through black neighborhoods and intimidating both children and adults. Her second memory was of being 11 years old, working for a white family who had hired her to do ironing and take care of their baby. One day as she was ironing, she saw some records, took one down and played it. When the woman of the house got home, she asked how the day had been, and Berry excitedly shared how much she had enjoyed the music of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. The woman chastised her, saying that music was not for her. “That forever clouded my feeling about that symphony. Every time I hear it, I think of that woman,” Berry said. Although she was raised in poverty and her mother had not gone to high school, there was always the expectation

“If you really want to change the system, you have to first be noticed; make people pay attention.”— MARY FRANCES BERRY that she and her brothers would go to college. “All of our cousins had gone to college, so there was a commitment that we would go. It was something we grew up with.” She and her siblings worked from the time they were very young, one brother landing his first job when he was 6 years old. Even as a graduate and law school student at the University of Michigan, Berry taught at another university, driving 126 miles each way, twice a week, to the other campus. As provost at the University of Maryland, she also taught, and she tried, unsuccessfully, to do the same thing as chancellor of the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The first time she had only one job—one that kept her on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week—was when she worked as assistant secretary of education, which was part of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare in the 1970s. She worked with President Carter to create the U.S. Department of Education as a separate entity. Never one to tolerate injustice, Berry became a civil rights activist early, and as a student, was also involved in protests against U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Quoting Ezekiel 3:17–21, she described her desire to right injustice as a “… burning fire shut up in my bones.” That fire has taken her to so many places—from Nashville to Houston, Washington, D.C., to South Africa—to be an ambassador for social justice. One of the founders of the Free South Africa Movement in the 1980s, which instigated protests at the South African Embassy in Washington, D.C., and the successful struggle for democracy in South Africa, Berry was arrested and jailed several times for the cause. She was in Cape Town on Feb. 11, 1990, to meet Nelson Mandela upon his release from prison. For any movement to be successful, it needs a strategy and a leader, said Berry, who since 1987 has served as the Geraldine R. Segal professor of American thought and a professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania. She still misses her friend, Coretta Scott King, who played a much bigger role in the U.S. civil rights movement than most people know. Although she stayed in the background, Coretta King’s commitment to civil disobedience had a tremendous influence on her husband, Berry said. At 77, Berry continues her life’s work. Although progress has been made, there’s much more to be done onthe civil rights front. “I’m not an optimist or a pessimist. I am a realist,” she told the crowd gathered in Degenstein Center Theater. Berry said she is encouraged by the current generation of protestors, noting that it’s important to vote, but that is not enough. “If you really want to change the system, you have to first be noticed; make people pay attention,” she urged. “After all these years of struggle, here we are talking about the same old stuff. And I wonder what Martin would think. He wouldn’t think his work was in vain, because there has been some progress, but he would probably be flummoxed that we haven’t been able to do more.”

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Soft-spoken and articulate, Susquehanna University graduate and author Marcus Burke shares insights that belie his 27 years. Nine months after having his first book published, Burke returned to Susquehanna in January for Winter Convocation and the university’s Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration, meeting with students and reconnecting with faculty and staff who served as his teachers and mentors. The author of Team Seven, a novel published by Doubleday and based in part on Burke’s own experiences growing up in Milton, Mass., he’s already begun work on his second novel. His pursuit of a writing career was not what he intended when he entered Susquehanna in 2006 as a firstyear student and a forward for the basketball team. Selinsgrove was quite different from Milton, located just south of inner-city Boston, where he grew up with a mostly absentee father and a strong, faith-filled mother, Jean, who worked to support Marcus and his two sisters, Ayana and Xandria.

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By the time Burke entered college, his prowess on the basketball court had served him well. The sport and his efforts to dramatically improve his grades enabled him to leave Milton High School and enter private Brimmer and May School in Chestnut Hill, Mass. There he made connections that led him to Susquehanna, where he played basketball for head coach Frank Marcinek. Although he had been a gifted athlete since his junior year in high school, he had also found an outlet in writing. Featured in an April 2014 piece in The Atlantic,

“… every man has two educations: that which was given to him, and the other that which he gives himself.” — CARTER GODWIN WOODSON

Burke explained how a line from Carter Godwin Woodson’s The Mis-Education of the Negro helped give him the confidence to turn from sports to literature. Woodson wrote that “… every man has two educations: that which was given to him, and the other that which he gives himself. Of the two kinds the latter is by far the more desirable. Indeed all that is most worthy in man he must work out and conquer for himself.” So with the help of mentors like Marcinek, Professor of English Tom Bailey and Lisa Scott, vice president for student engagement and success, Burke embarked on his own education. It was not easy freeing himself from a basketball network that pushed him to remain a player. “People [interested in

“My mother treated us like adults. She said, ‘If you want to write, write.’” —MARCUS BURKE his basketball career] would say, ‘What do you need to make you happy?,’ but they did not want to get to know me.” Growing increasingly disenchanted, Burke decided he wanted to break free of the path he was on, but moving away from basketball to writing was scary.

of the family’s life while Burke was growing up, so he learned not to count on him. “People who grew up with two parents understand the loss when one is gone. But if you’ve never had that, you don’t miss it,” he says. Despite the challenges she’s faced, Burke’s mother, who grew up in a well-to-do Costa Rican–Jamaican family but had a hard time supporting her family in the United States, is a hopeful person. And the importance of hope is something he learned from her. “If hope dies, you die,” he says. Burke also credits his mother with instilling in him the importance of having faith in God, and for giving him the freedom to pursue writing. “I became the man of the house when I was young. My mother treated us like adults. She said, ‘If you want to write, write,’ so it wasn’t as if my writing was causing an intense rift at home.” He began his journey in the same place as the 20 friends he grew up with in Boston, but only two of his friends graduated from college and a couple are no longer alive, Burke says. But with tremendous raw talent as an athlete and a writer, a supportive mother and others who have provided guidance, he’s followed a different path. Along the way, he’s honed his considerable talents and made some courageous decisions, and the education he’s gained has been a gift to himself. “Life is crazy,” he says.

Marcus Burke with his mother, Jean.

“Dr. Bailey made a big difference in terms of anchoring me during the journey. He put so much faith and trust in me. Frank [Marcinek] took the time to know me, and Ms. Scott never let me off easily. She was like my mother at Susquehanna,” Burke says. It was Bailey who first introduced Burke to the possibility of the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Following his graduation, Burke moved into one of Iowa’s highly coveted spots. After completing the program in 2012, he chose to remain in Iowa City and recently moved his mother and sisters there as well. Burke says having a strong mother has been his greatest blessing. His father, a musician and addict, was in and out

Angela Burrows is the chief communications officer at Susquehanna University.

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great institutions have transformational champions who have made extraordinary investments in them. susquehanna would not be susquehanna without the vision, commitment and generosity of the late charles b. degenstein and the stewards of the foundation he created to extend his legacy in perpetuity. In honor of the 20th anniversary of the charles b. degenstein foundation, susquehanna currents proudly pays tribute to the legacy of charles degenstein and the foundation’s board of directors, led by charles’ trusted advisor and friend sidney apfelbaum h’09, and his sons michael h’09 and jeffrey h’09 apfelbaum.

in the beginning not long after Susquehanna’s founding in 1858, a German immigrant named Sigfried Weis and his wife, Claire, settled in Selinsgrove, Pa. They found a way to send their two sons, Sigmund and Harry, to Susquehanna University. After graduating in 1903 and 1900, respectively, the brothers went to work in their father’s general store. However, they had bigger dreams than a local dry goods business, and in 1912, they formed Weis Pure Foods in nearby Sunbury, Pa. Meanwhile, Charles Degenstein’s family was moving from his birthplace in Atlantic City, N.J., to Philadelphia, where his father established D. Degenstein & Co., a ladies’ coat and suit manufacturer. The son of Austrian immigrants David and Bertha Beckman Degenstein, Charles cut his teeth in the business world by accompanying his father on sales trips. Following graduation from Central High School in Philadelphia, Charles attended Temple University and the Charles Morris Price School of Advertising before beginning a career in business. It was in Philadelphia that Charles met and married Sigmund Weis’ only daughter, Claire Elizabeth, or “Betty,” as she was known. Shortly after their marriage, the newlyweds moved to Sunbury, where Charles joined his father-in-law in building Weis Pure Foods into the highly successful Weis Markets we know today. spri n g 2 015  · Susquehanna Currents · 19

As a native of the area, Betty inspired the generosity to the region for which Charles is so well known. This was her community, and she was committed to giving back to it. Sadly, Charles lost Betty in 1978, but his second wife, Lore H’09, became a similar source of inspiration for him. Charles married the former Lore A. Tromsdorf Stock on Jan. 3, 1980. She quickly became a staunch supporter of Susquehanna and inspired her husband’s philanthropic efforts. A 1992 addition to the Charles B. Degenstein Campus

Charles’ first major gift to Susquehanna resulted in the naming of the campus center in his honor. This was followed in the 1980s by the visionary pledge and gifts that created not only the Sigmund Weis School of Business, named in honor of his father-in-law, but an equal-sized endowment to support the liberal arts.

adding up the impact

during his lifetime, Charles made gifts of $25 million

Center included the Lore Degenstein Gallery. Since then the gallery has been the focal point of a rich and diverse exhibition program that supports academic investigations and contributes to the cultural life of central Pennsylvania. Lore continues to be engaged in the life of the university through her namesake gallery.

to Susquehanna University. And, since its founding in 1994, the Degenstein Foundation has provided an additional $25 million in gifts. The impact of these gifts cannot be overstated. Capital projects supported by Charles and his namesake foundation include Apfelbaum Hall, the studio art building, numerous residence halls, the Charles B. Degenstein Campus Center and its Degenstein Center Theater and Lore Degenstein Gallery, and Cunningham Center for Music and Art and its Stretansky Concert Hall. The program endowments and initiatives established or supported by Degenstein philanthropy includes Charlie’s Coffeehouse, the Arlin M. Adams Center for Law and Society, and The Joseph I. and Ellen Weis Goldstein Fund for Jewish Life and Learning. Endowed scholarships such as SU4U and other financial aid gifts established by the foundation support deserving students from the central Susquehanna Valley and some of Susquehanna’s top talents. Since its inception, the foundation has supported the education of dozens of local students through the SU4U program and countless more through the many named scholarships it has established through the years.

a lifelong friendship

the road ahead

and friendship grew between Charles and the company’s young corporate counsel, Sidney Apfelbaum. That relationship ultimately sparked another great friendship with Susquehanna’s 11th president, the energetic and visionary Gustave Weber. During its first 100 years, Susquehanna was a modest institution facing nearly constant challenges and little philanthropic support. By the 1970s, when Charles Degenstein became acquainted with the university, Susquehanna was at a crossroads. The student body and campus footprint had more than doubled since “Gus” Weber took the helm in 1959. But the physical and programmatic expansion, albeit necessary, came at a steep price and Susquehanna was struggling financially. That all changed a few years after Charles and Gus met.

remain at the heart of this story. What began with Charles, Sidney and Gus continues to be bound up in the everdeepening relationships between Susquehanna’s leaders and the Degenstein and Apfelbaum families. Their support not only lent the university security but underwrote programs and activities that enabled it to reach levels of institutional quality that otherwise were beyond its reach. The programs and activities made possible by this generosity have opened doors to the future and enabled the mission of the university in ways that are unimaginable without them. Since Charles began his unparalleled support of Susquehanna University, his generosity and that of his namesake foundation have benefited thousands of students. May the friendships that began more than 40 years ago endure and continue to grow well into the future.


through the years at weis markets, a great trust

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though much has changed, friendship and loyalty

Seven students, including John Rehm ’15 (pictured here), traveled to Kathmandu and the Khumbu Valley of Nepal in December 2013 for Susquehanna’s first short-term Global Opportunities (GO Short) trip to the mountain kingdom. Sherpa Life and Culture focuses on the cultural, geographical and physiological aspects of life for the Sherpa people, and challenges students to a physical experience that in itself is life defining. During the trip, students complete a high-altitude trek to Kala Patthar, located in the shadow of Mount Everest at 18,540 feet. MORE ON GO, PAGE 27

Departments PEOPLE & PLACES



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the who, what and where for all things susquehanna

Forget Location, It’s All About Destination For New Career Development Director Michaeline Shuman, assistant provost for postgraduate outcomes and director of the Career Development Center, says her top priority is “helping students find success with what we call their ‘first destination’ after graduation, whether that be entry into the work world, graduate or professional school, or compensated and competitive opportunities such as fellowships and long-term service.”

Michaeline Shuman


Students and alumni participate in a speed networking session during Break Through ... to Life After Graduation, held Feb. 2–7, 2015.

Shuman, who joined Susquehanna in July 2014, works to develop programs that transform students’ undergraduate experiences into postgraduate success. This includes helping students identify internship and job opportunities through networking and preparation programs such as Break Through … to Life After Graduation, on-campus recruiting programs, and career and graduate school advising. Among other initiatives, she helped overhaul a four-year career development plan for students and developed a guide for families. The center has offered several student workshops, including one that helps students consider how to best market their Global Opportunities (GO) experience to employers and graduate schools.

She also collaborated with faculty and the dean of the Sigmund Weis School of Business to strengthen the Professional Development course taught by members of her staff and business school faculty. Shuman says her ultimate goal is to create strong partnerships with the larger campus community, including deans, program directors, academic chairs and faculty members, as well as alumni and parents, in order to facilitate, support and inform robust career development programming and services. Shuman received her Bachelor of Arts degree in social work at Albright College in 1989. She went on to earn a Master of Science degree in education from Alfred University in 1991. Prior to her appointment at Susquehanna, she served as director of career education at Allegheny College, and taught a service-learning course in Nicaragua. Shuman was a Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica from 1999 to 2001, and has experience in nonprofit health care management. In addition, she has served as the director of residential programs at Franklin & Marshall College.

Bloomberg Trading Terminals Take Investment Center to New Level Just in time for the new finance major, the Sigmund Weis School of Business has unveiled new Bloomberg Terminals for its state-of-the-art Student Investment Center. The acquisition of the 12 terminals, made possible through an endowment from the Ortenzio family and support from Susquehanna Trustee Joseph Palchak Jr. ’71, is the latest in a series of improvements to the investment center. With support from the Ortenzio endowment, the center was redesigned last summer to enhance its use as a teaching space. While already a functioning trading room, the addition of the Bloomberg Terminals now takes the investment center—and the work students do there—to an all-new level.

“Most undergraduates have never even seen a Bloomberg Terminal, let alone been trained in how to use one.” —MARSHA KELLIHER

“Most undergraduates have never even seen a Bloomberg Terminal, let alone been trained in how to use one,” says Marsha Kelliher, dean of the business school. The terminals, which come complete with specialized keyboards, double-screen displays and the Bloomberg Professional investment software, allow students to monitor and analyze the financial markets in real time and place trades on Bloomberg’s electronic trading platform. Kelliher sums up the significance of this experience—and its optional Bloomberg certification—with one word: jobs. Practical knowledge of these industry-standard terminals will be a huge advantage for finance majors and other business students when they begin their job searches. Susquehanna Trustee Martin “Marty” Ortenzio ’83 P’10, who established the endowment with his wife, Mary Pat, and parents, Rocco and Nancy, can attest to the terminals’ importance. “We use Bloomberg Terminals in our business,” says Marty, CEO of Select Rental Corp. “I know how critical they are to business, especially in the investment area.” The Bloomberg Terminals are available to students in other disciplines as well. Several terminals are set up at other key locations on campus for use by a range of students and faculty. The Student Investment Center, located on the second floor of Apfelbaum Hall, is more than just an advanced investment trading room. It’s a learning lab where students manage a real investment portfolio, with funds allocated by the Student Government Association.

Above (top): Susquehanna Trustees Martin “Marty” Ortenzio ’83, P’10 (left) and Joseph Palchak Jr. ’71 led the effort to acquire Bloomberg Terminals for the business school’s Student Investment Center. Above (bottom): Trustee Kathi Stine ’76 Flack P’05, P’09 (left) gets a “virtual tour” of the new Bloomberg Terminals from Emily Culver ’15 during a ribbon-cutting ceremony in February. The ceremony celebrated the re-opening of the newly designed and equipped investment center.

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GETTING INVOLVED AND GIVING BACK From classroom visits and workplace tours to career-planning programs and networking receptions, Susquehanna’s dedicated alumni shared their time and talent with hundreds of current and prospective students during the 2014–15 academic year.



A prime example was Break Through … to Life After Graduation, a program introduced three years ago that brings together Susquehanna alumni and students for networking, career advice and life lessons. Since its inception, Break Through has grown to include events throughout the year, including fall bus trips to visit alumni working in some of the Northeast’s major markets. In addition, numerous alumni helped the university yield its newest class of students by attending networking receptions in Philadelphia, Bridgewater, N.J., and Rye Brook, N.Y., aimed at connecting alumni and current students with high school seniors admitted to the Class of 2019. At left are photos from the event at the Philadelphia Cricket Club, as well as photos from Break Through activities held on campus Feb. 7. While programs like Break Through and the admitted-student receptions helped students learn from the experiences of others, five alumni-supported mini campaigns gave them opportunities to learn for themselves. More than 275 contributions were made toward these “gifts of experience,” raising more than $25,000 in support of men’s rugby, psychology students, creative writing students, female business school students and the University Choir. spri n g 2 01 4  · Susquehanna Currents · 25


New Director Ushers in New Age for Blough-Weis Library You might say Katherine Ann Furlong’s introduction to Susquehanna was a bit on the frigid side. She was interviewed for the position of university librarian and director of the library during a blizzard in February 2014. “There was so much snow that I couldn’t leave town at the end of the interview, and I had to stay another night,” Furlong recalls.

Katherine Ann Furlong

Despite the frosty welcome, Furlong gladly accepted the position, effective July 1, 2014, one of the hottest days of the year and smack dab in the middle of a major renovation project, widely supported by alumni, parents and friends. It transformed the 86-year-old Blough-Weis Library into a 21st-century teaching and learning center, complete with a class-sized theater, a late-night coffee shop, individual workstations, state-ofthe-art small group study pods, a conference area, and an additional library classroom that can be reconfigured into presentation space.

Prior to joining Susquehanna, Furlong worked as director for access and technical services at Lafayette College, where she also served as project manager for Lafayette’s $22 million expansion and renovation of Skillman Library. She’s also held positions as instruction coordinator and reference librarian at Gettysburg College and user education/electronic resources librarian at the University of Maine at Farmington. Since taking the helm of the Blough-Weis Library, Furlong says she’s strived to bring enthusiasm, experience and a willingness to embrace change to the position. Indeed, change has come fast and furious since her arrival, and she says, “It’s going to be even more exciting as we move forward in this new library space.”

“It was a remarkable summer full of transitions, both personal and professional,” Furlong says.

“It’s going to be even more exciting as we move forward in this new library space.” —KATHERINE ANN FURLONG

Students study in one of the library’s new small-group study pods.

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A MILESTONE YEAR FOR GLOBAL OPPORTUNITIES (GO) Susquehanna’s GO program is celebrating something big in 2015. This year, GO surpasses the 2,000-student mark for program participation. Since its inception in 2009,













Shorter trips, led by faculty and staff during summer and winter breaks, have landed students in no fewer than 10 different European countries from Denmark and Sweden to Spain and Morocco, France and Italy to Russia and the Czech Republic. Beyond Europe, students have traveled to Australia, Canada, China, Chili, Japan, Peru, the Philippines, Nepal, New Zealand and the Galápagos Islands of Ecuador. Semester-long programs take students to locales such as Cyprus, the Gambia, Macau and London.

to see more photos, visit



facult y and staff retire from full-time employment WHAT OTHERS SAY:


Years of Service: 30

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Associate Professor of English, 1990 to 2014 Chair of the Department of English, 1997 to 2006 Assistant Professor of English, 1984 to 1990 Director of Diversity Studies, 1996 to 2006 Director of Women’s Studies, 1991 to 1996

“ The program in English owes its current shape to Susan. Not only was she responsible for hiring most of us, she has also left her stamp on everything from the curriculum to the department ethos. Without her vision and drive, we would not have the Women’s Studies Program. Her active leadership encouraged the founding of many of Susquehanna’s definitive programs, including the Writers Institute, Publishing and Editing, and Diversity Studies.” — Drew Hubbell, associate professor of English and chair of the Department of English and Creative Writing

PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENTS: Co-founding the Women’s Studies Program; helping enhance the diversity of both the faculty and student body; and serving as faculty advisor for Presidential Fellows, which she will continue to do. “I arrived as the token feminist when there were only five female faculty members. Now half the faculty is female. That has allowed for a greater diversity of perspectives, which reflects how our society and the workplace have changed. “I’ve worked with wonderful colleagues throughout the university and I’ve loved working with my students. It’s so fulfilling to be in the classroom; it’s one of the rare opportunities that humans have to interact freely and to think together. “A recent highlight was an evening course I taught with President L. Jay Lemons on novels set on college campuses. We just had a wonderful time.”

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school’s Stein International Internship Program; guiding the development of the school’s first-year Global Business Perspectives course, its capstone course and cross-cultural seminar; and doubling the number of management majors to 400 during his first four years as the department chair. “I feel fortunate to have helped launch the business school’s international focus, including being involved in the Summer Program at Oxford, the London Semester and the Stein International Internship Program. I also enjoyed developing one of Susquehanna’s first GO [Global Opportunities] programs, a servicelearning trip to Peru, and working with others to establish GO (programs). “I always viewed myself as a ‘classroom teacher’ and enjoyed the classroom discussions with our spirited, engaged students. Likewise, it was a joy to be in London and to be part of the growth and maturity our students experienced as they adapted to foreign cultures and became much more accepting of other ways of thinking.” WHAT OTHERS SAY:


Years of Service: 37

CAREER ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Associate Professor of Management, 1979 to 2014 Alan R. Warehime Professor of Business Administration, 2008 to 2014 Chair of the Department of Management, 1997 to 2003 Director of the Sigmund Weis School of Business’ International Programs, 2006 to 2014 PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENTS: Directing and expanding the business school’s London Program; developing the

“D avid’s international experiential background allowed him to develop and grow international experiences for our students that engendered an appreciation of non-American business and cultural behaviors and attitudes. In addition to his contribution to our international programs, he was the consummate professor, seeking to expand the thinking capacities of our students with a dedicated interest in their development, current and future.” — Alicia Jackson, associate professor of management and former dean of the business school

WHAT OTHERS SAY: “ Sara’s contributions to Susquehanna are innumerable. She was a driving force in the development of our strategic plans, providing both implementation oversight and resources to fund them. Her vision, drive and attention to detail are legendary. The Susquehanna we enjoy today is a reflection of her great commitment to this place.”

life requires you to keep thinking and learning. That’s what’s stimulating the book I’m currently writing for new teachers. It’s the kind of stimulation that I hope doesn’t stop happening when I am no longer on campus.” WHAT OTHERS SAY:

Senior Vice President, 2012 to 2014

“A s a teacher, Anne has always modeled the caring and nurturing she expected her students to provide their own students. Totally dedicated to their success, she cut through the state Department of Education’s bureaucracy in order to use the new requirements to do some really positive things for our students.”

Interim Vice President for Enrollment Management, 2013 to 2014

— W. Michael Nailor, director, Teachers Intern Program, Department of Education


Years of Service: 30

—L. Jay Lemons, university president


Executive Vice President for Administration and Planning, 2001 to 2012 Acting President, July 2000 to February 2001 Vice President for University Relations, 1985 to 2000 PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENTS: Handling numerous assignments for two presidents she greatly admired, Joel Cunningham and L. Jay Lemons; serving as interim president in between their two tenures; and serving on the search committee that brought Lemons to Susquehanna. “I was given so many opportunities to do so many different things that enabled me to continue to learn, grow and work with great people. “However, my first love has always been fundraising. Not only did I have the rare, wonderful chance to work with passionate trustees and terrific philanthropists such as Charles Degenstein to raise funds for the most important needs of the institution, but I also had the opportunity to work with the donors, the faculty and my colleagues, planners and architects to plan and design buildings that have transformed the campus.”


Years of Service: 15 (retiring in May) CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Associate Professor of Education, 2000 to 2015 Chair of the Department of Education, 2007 to 2013 Director of Secondary Education Program, 2000 to 2014 PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT: Guiding the department through extensive new state teacher certification requirements for various grade levels. “The requirements for the early childhood certification alone were as thick as a telephone book. But we met that challenge because our job has always been to prepare students to be successful—not only in terms of earning certification but also in getting a job and doing the job well. “At Susquehanna, I’ve met wonderful people, both students and colleagues. I also appreciate the fact that an academic


Years of Service: 28

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Professor of German, 1986 to 2014 Chair of Department of Modern Languages, 1992 to 1998 Director of International Study Programs, 1990 to 2000 PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENTS: Conducting and sharing research on minority writers in Germany; building strong connections in the region by founding the Susquehanna Pennsylvania German Group in the 1980s, and more

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NEWBEGINNINGS recently, by working with the German Heritage Society of the Susquehanna Valley, where students presented their research; and tripling the number of Susquehanna students who studied abroad. “The Pennsylvania German connection to Susquehanna University has always been strong, and it was a joy to find elders who could speak to our group in the Pennsylvania German dialect.” “Last fall some of my students were studying at the Goethe Institute in Berlin, and their instructor was very surprised at how well prepared they were. They wrote notes thanking me for teaching them how to work hard. To retire with that kind of recognition from my students is something that I’ll treasure forever.” WHAT OTHERS SAY:



Years of Service: 35

Years of Service: 23

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Special Assistant to the Registrar, 2015– Registrar, 1985 to 2014 Secretary for the Curriculum Committee, 1985 to 2014 Director of Continuing Education, 1983 to 1985 Coordinator of Continuing Education, 1982 to 1983 Assistant Director of Admissions, 1979 to 1982

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Charles B. Degenstein Professor of Communications, 1991 to 2014


“ As the sole faculty member in the German program for the past 28 years, Sue has been a wonderful and most generous colleague. She was a pioneer in internationalizing the university, not only through her teaching, research and leadership in the department, but also, as the director of International Study Programs, she connected many faculty members and students to various study abroad programs. We’re so grateful for her service and leadership.”

“A lex has just been amazing. He has an incredible memory and attention to detail, and the ability to parse through and reconcile competing priorities. He’s also extremely diplomatic. As registrar, Alex functioned almost like an air traffic controller, knowing the classes our students need to take and working with our faculty to ensure they are able to do that in the most efficient way possible. Our ability to consistently graduate a very high percentage of students in four years is a tribute to him.”

— Amanda S. Meixell, associate professor of Spanish and chair of the Department of Modern Languages

— Linda A. McMillan, co-chief operating officer, provost and dean of faculty

Chair of the Department of Communications, 1991 to 1993 Director of the Honors Program, 1993 to 1998 PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENTS: Directing the Honors Program; developing the corporate communications major, and launching the public relations major; and mentoring students in the Public Relations Student Society of America, the studentrun Sterling Communications public relations firm, the Scholars House and the Tuesday Night Film Club. “I thought the public relations sequence I created was outstanding, and developing the corporate communications program gave Susquehanna a really interesting pair of options that undergraduates often didn’t see. The capstone course created for seniors in those programs was really my signature course. “Susquehanna was just loaded with a lot of really talented, bright young students who were working practically around the clock, and I thought what we were about was really worthwhile. It was a good time.” WHAT OTHERS SAY: “ J im was the embodiment of a corporate communications professional. He brought all of his experience at AT&T in such fields as crisis communications into the classroom and had a wealth of anecdotes to share with his students. He was very accessible, meeting with his students even late into the night.” — Kate Hastings, associate professor and chair of the Department of Communications

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students—especially those who are in the midst of some important stages in their development. I’m very grateful that I have the opportunity to gradually reduce my workload over time, and so far it has been a seamless transition for all of us!” WHAT OTHERS SAY:


Years of Service: 20

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Professor Emerita, 2015– Associate Professor, 2000 to 2014 Chair of the Department of Music, 2005 to 2010 Assistant Professor, 1995 to 2000 Visiting Professor, 1994 to 1995 Faculty Affairs Committee 1999 to 2003 (Chair 2002–03)

“ Nina is an extraordinary teacher of voice. She has played an enormously important role in enhancing and maintaining the great tradition of singing at Susquehanna. We’re very fortunate that she has decided to teach here part time, so she’ll continue to be a vital part of the Department of Music.” — David Steinau, associate professor and chair of the Department of Music

PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENTS: Teaching talented students who have won competitions, gone on to graduate school and achieved successful careers as professional singers, teachers and music therapists; being recognized with the 2013 Susquehanna University Teaching Award; continuing to learn new languages and repertoire, new ideas and approaches to vocal pedagogy, and continuing to perform herself. “With its strong reputation, Susquehanna’s Department of Music attracts wonderful students from a variety of different backgrounds. It’s been so gratifying to work with these young people and to see, as their artistry and skills develop, their growing confidence and sense of accomplishment. I’ve learned a great deal from teaching them, and they have motivated me to keep my own performance standards as high as possible. “I’m currently working part time for at least another several years, since I would have been uncomfortable abruptly abandoning my colleagues or my

relations and fundraising. When I was dean of enrollment, I also loved introducing the new students to the Susquehanna community at Opening Convocation. “It has also been gratifying to speak with alumni and understand how committed they are to this place, how grateful they are for the scholarship support they received, and how willing they are to give back—both in terms of their time and financial contributions— to the next generation.” WHAT OTHERS SAY: “ I had the good fortune to work with Pamela White on both sides of University Avenue. She was the leader of a team that brought in some of the biggest and most talented classes in Susquehanna’s history, and she has been an excellent fundraiser. Pamela has always been the consummate professional and an exceptional mentor. She’s a great listener who handles challenges with grace, vision and strong judgment.” — Chris Markle, senior development officer, former director of admissions


Years of Service: 31

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Senior Development Officer, 2007 to 2014 Dean of Enrollment, 1985 to 2007 Director of Admissions, 1983 to 1985 PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENTS: Establishing the volunteer alumni-parentstudent recruitment network, APAN; growing the enrollment from 1,450 to 1,950 full-time students; and developing relationships with alumni and securing significant gifts for Susquehanna. “It was a pleasure to have the chance to start new programs and do different things, from admissions to alumni

Thanks to all of you for your dedicated service to Susquehanna University. It means so much to so many! Best wishes in the new chapters of your lives.

Stories by Bruce E. Beans

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32 路 Susquehanna Currents 路 spri n g 2 015

Helpful information for the high school students in your life.



500 CeOs HAve LiBeRAL ARts DeGRees.

mORe tHAn

9IN 10 emPLOYeRs WAnt tHeiR HiRes tO DemOnstRAte ethical judgment, integrity, intercultural skills and capacity for continued learning.

eXPeRts PReDiCt tODAY’s stUDents COULD HOLD As mAnY As

29 JOBs in tHeiR LiFetime. Liberal arts will help them pivot as needed.

ost employers want to train employees for their objectives, but they don’t want to train them how to speak effectively, to write well, or to work effectively in teams. That’s where Susquehanna University excels!

In today’s economy, focusing on job-specific skills—also known as the practical arts—sounds appealing. But technological advances and the increasingly global marketplace impact the employment landscape on a daily basis. We know the jobs of today won’t be the same as the jobs of tomorrow. How can students prepare for something that doesn’t even exist yet? A liberal arts education trains students to be adaptive and flexible. To attain skills applicable to a broad range of career fields: critical thinking, analytical reasoning, ethical judgments and effective communications. At Susquehanna University, students benefit from the academic rigor of our liberal arts and science curriculum coupled with real-world, hands-on professional experiences (internships and research)—a winning combination that prepares students for whatever lies ahead. More Civic Involvement: The percentage of four-year college graduates who donate their time to organizations is over twice as high as the percentage of high school graduates who volunteer. Higher Employment: In 2012, among adults between the ages of 25 and 64, 82 percent of those with four-year college degrees were employed, as compared to 67 percent of high school graduates. Greater Lifetime Earnings: During their working lives, college graduates earn, on average, about 65 percent more than high school graduates, and those with advanced degrees earn two to three times as much as high school graduates. In fact, findings show those with bachelor’s degrees have lifetime earnings $1 million higher than high school graduates’ earnings.

it’s A Wise investment

Sources: College Board “Education Pays 2013: The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society.” U.S. Census Bureau “Work-Life Earnings by Field of Degree and Occupation for People with a Bachelor’s Degree: 2011”

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news from crusader nation

the newest Face of Su Football On Jan. 13, Tom Perkovich was named the 30th head football coach in Susquehanna history. Perkovich, or “Perk” as he’s most often called, came to Susquehanna after spending a combined 11 seasons as a member of Muhlenberg College’s coaching staff. He served under Mike Donnelly, Muhlenberg’s winningest head coach.

“SuSquehanna iS an exciting place with the valueS i believe in.” — tom perkovich

“I am thrilled,” Perkovich said at the news conference where President L. Jay Lemons announced his appointment. “Susquehanna is an exciting place with the values I believe in. It’s a place where people value education and there’s a good sense of where the athletic piece fits in.” Muhlenberg’s offensive coordinator since 2010, Perkovich also served stints as a special teams coordinator and offensive line coach for the Mules, who finished

Become a member of the Orange and Maroon Club, formerly Varsity Club, and help enhance the collegiate experience of Susquehanna’s student-athletes! You are eligible for Orange and Maroon Club membership when you support the unrestricted athletics fund or any of the following programs: Make a gift today at

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the 2014 season with a 9–2 overall record and qualified for the NCAA playoffs. Perkovich replaces Susquehanna’s winningest head football coach, steve briggs, who moved into a new role in University Relations at Susquehanna. “I’ve been privileged to work with a great group of young men over the past 27 years,” Briggs said when his retirement from coaching was announced in December. “I’ve had an opportunity to coach them in a sport I love and to teach them life lessons along the way. I’ve had a great run, and coaching the Crusaders has been the greatest honor of my life.”

Watch Perkovich’s “Coach’s Corner” interview at

Let’s Raise the ORange and MaROOn! BaseBall *BasketBall Cheerleading Field hoCkey FootBall *golF *laCrosse

*soCCer soFtBall *swimming and diving *tennis *traCk and Field/Cross Country volleyBall * = Men’s and Women’s

X’s and O’s The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams were both named Scholar All-America Teams by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) for the 2014 fall semester.

New Digs for Athletics Susquehanna’s athletics facilities received some much-needed upgrades recently, thanks to the support of our generous alumni. This spring, men’s and women’s track and field athletes broke in a new javelin runway adjacent to Amos Alonzo Stagg Field at Nicholas A. Lopardo Stadium. The runway was on full display March 28 when Susquehanna hosted its annual Jim Taylor Invitational, the first home meet of the outdoor season. Across campus, a new scoreboard at Sassafras Fields honors the memory of the late Neil Potter, professor of chemistry. Susquehanna alumni donated $30,000 to the cause, paying tribute to the 30-year faculty member, head men’s soccer coach and football’s special teams coach. The new scoreboard was officially dedicated on Oct. 25 when the Crusader men’s and women’s soccer teams hosted Catholic University in a Landmark Conference doubleheader. Finally, the track and field teams have been enjoying the new surface in the field house of the James W. Garrett Sports Complex. The track saw its first official competition on Jan. 16 when Susquehanna hosted the Orange & Maroon Classic. On Feb. 28, Susquehanna served as host of the 2015 Landmark Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships.

Senior men’s cross country runner Alex Price qualified for and competed in the NCAA Division III championships. He was the first SU runner to compete in the competition since Ian Quinlan ’13 in 2011.

Fifty-five Susquehanna student-athletes were named to the Landmark Conference Fall Academic Honor Roll.

Junior linebacker Jim Barry ’16 finished the 2014 season as the top-ranked player in Division III for solo tackles per game. Barry averaged 8.7 solo tackles per game this past fall and finished the season with 118 total tackles.

New head football coach Tom Perkovich hired Matt Scott as the team’s new defensive coordinator. Scott spent the previous five seasons on the staff at the University of Albany. In addition, current defensive coach Alan Zemaitis was promoted to a full-time position and will coach the secondary unit

Above (top): Student-athletes try out the new indoor track in the field house of James W. Garrett Sports Complex. Above (bottom): Alumni funded a new scoreboard at Sassafras Fields in memory of Professor of Chemistry Neil Potter.

and serve as special teams coordinator. Zemaitis will also assist with the strength & conditioning program.


Men’s Rugby Looks to Build on Dominant Fall Season The men’s rugby club, under the direction of Jonathan Niles, who also serves as Susquehanna’s Mellon grant program director on the Freshwater Research Initiative, has established itself as one of the premier programs in the mid-Atlantic with an impressive campaign. Competing in the Eastern Pennsylvania Rugby Union (EPRU) of the National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO), the eighth-ranked Crusaders finished with a 9–0 record while outscoring their opponents 466–83. The team reached the EPRU finals for the third consecutive season and defeated Neumann University, 53–24, to capture its first title

“Our success has raised [Susquehanna’s] profile both regionally and nationally … ” —J onathan nileS

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in more than a decade. The victory gave Susquehanna a berth in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship, where it faced Mount St. Mary’s University on March 28 in Charlotte, N.C., for a spot in the national quarterfinals. The team is not an overnight success story, but rather a program that has been built on continuity over the last several years. As Niles notes, a strong, veteran senior class has been instrumental in the translation of hard work into results. “We have seven seniors that start and several who are in their fourth years of playing together, which is great for continuity,” Niles says. What they’ve done on the field also bodes well for the future success of the program by attracting prospective studentathletes from the mid-Atlantic, a region that is traditionally strong in the sport. “Our success has raised [Susquehanna’s] profile both regionally and nationally,” Niles says. “We’re receiving more and more applicants who have played high school rugby and are interested in continuing at the college level.”

Lemons Poised to Lead D-III President’s Council Earlier this year, Susquehanna University President L. Jay Lemons was selected to serve as vice chair of the National College Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Division III President’s Council. He will become chair of the council next year. The 18-member President’s Council is Division III’s primary governance body. In this role, Lemons will chair the council’s Strategic Planning and Finance Committee, as well as serve on the Board of Governors, the umbrella governing body that includes Division I, II and III college and university presidents. “Athletics plays such an important role in the education and leadership development of many students. Students don’t just learn in the classroom; they are also learning on the playing fields and through other cocurricular activities,” Lemons says. “I look forward to working with my colleagues on the council to advance the NCAA’s mission of encouraging students to pursue excellence in both academics and athletics, ensuring inclusivity and instilling respect for differences.” A track and field athlete at Nebraska Wesleyan University while pursuing his undergraduate degrees, Lemons was instrumental in the formation of the Landmark Conference, of which Susquehanna University is a member. He continues to serve a critical role in the growth and development of the league. He was appointed to represent the Landmark Conference on the NCAA Division III President’s Council in August 2013 and was reappointed in January with the additional role of vice chair.

“ Students don’t just learn in the classroom; they are also learning on the playing fields and through other cocurricular activities.” — l. Jay lemonS

Members of the 2014 Sports Hall of Fame were inducted during Homecoming–Reunion Weekend, Nov. 14–16, and honored at halftime during the homecoming football game. Pictured, left to right, are Megan Patrono ’03 (track and field/field hockey), Kim Anderson ’02 (soccer), Hugh Leahy ’01 (golf), Bruce Merklinger ’87 (basketball), Tom Lyons ’71 (football), and Joann and Raymond Zook, parents of the late Randy Zook ’01 (football).

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T H E ’G R O V E

stories from around campus and around town

Q&A Brent Papson, who leads the office responsible for advising student organizations on their event planning, is constantly looking for the all-important fun factor in the college experience. Susquehanna Currents talked with Papson about the work he does with the university’s student organizations.

SC: What are some of the more “off-the-wall” activities that Susquehanna has hosted for students, and how have students reacted to these offerings?

Brent Papson Director of Student Activities

BP: The Student Activities Committee hosts some exciting and exotic events every year. In fact, the more “off-the-wall” the idea, the better the event typically turns out. Animals always go over well with students, so we’ve held events like camel rides and petting zoos. Last fall, we had reptiles visit Charlie’s Coffeehouse, where students could hold a small crocodile and a variety of other reptiles. Then there are activities like stunt jumping and gyroscope rides that offer students a little stress relief between classes.


The last weekend of August 2014, we held our first large outdoor concert. It was attended by more than 1,000 students. Then, last September, TRAX nightclub attracted 300-plus students for a night of dancing in a foam pit. SC: What are some of the student activities that have become annual traditions, and why do you think they’ve become so popular among students? BP: Our biggest student traditions are the Spirit Party and Casino Night for first-year

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students; Fall Frenzy, which was celebrated with a large free outdoor concert this year; an annual Airband competition; and the Spring Weekend carnival. These events have really taken off in recent years. Airband outgrew Evert Dining Room and nearly fills the 1,500-seat Weber Chapel Auditorium. The Spring Weekend carnival is an impressive display of rides, games and food that overtakes TRAX’s parking lot. These events, and many others, are so popular because they are student-centered. Everything we do needs to come from the student, or it is unlikely to succeed. SC: From the vantage point of a student life professional, why is it important to have all these different student activities? BP: The biggest reason is student development. While the Office of Student Activities helps student groups plan and organize programs, it all comes down to the students. They have the ability to decide what happens on campus, and they learn a lot through the process. Within these organizations, students learn leadership skills and event planning, but more importantly, how to work with other students and campus offices such as facilities management, technical services and risk management. They supervise peers and have fun doing it!

SYLLABUS Students Learn How to “Wrap It Up” in Package Design Class Who designs coffee cups? Chip bags? How do they know what consumers will find appealing? Graphic design majors at Susquehanna learn just that when they take Package Design in the fall semester of their junior year. It is the first time students are asked to think about their projects three-dimensionally, rather than as a flat product, such as a logo or a brochure. Students learn how to balance design with practical function by designing products such as chip bags, beer bottles, six-pack holders, coffee cups and sleeves, DVD box sets and personal care items like shampoo. “Attention to detail and craft are taken into consideration,” says Amanda Lenig ’07, creative services manager at Susquehanna and an adjunct faculty member in its art department. Lenig teaches various sections of the class, along with Associate Professor of Art Mark Fertig. Throughout the semester, students design each project electronically, print it out and then build it from scratch. Lenig says the course is intended to teach students how to effectively consider design and functionality within a project. It helps students become more efficient and client-focused, essential skills in the professional world. Lenig says that her favorite part of the class is seeing the students grow and progress throughout the semester. Senior graphic design major Joseph Vivacqua says that Package Design is “a change of pace,” taking a different approach to the design process. Graphic design major Deborah Martin ’16 says she enjoyed the opportunity to branch out into a “new realm of the design world”—it’s a milestone in a graphic design major’s education at Susquehanna.

“The class is a stepping stone to becoming a full-fledged upperclassman graphic design student,” she explains. “It’s amazing how much I’ve grown in such a short amount of time, and I attribute that growth to Susquehanna’s great [graphic design] program.” Susquehanna’s graphic design majors consistently take home top prizes at some of the industry’s most recognized competitions, including the ADDYs and the Real Show. Graduates have landed jobs at notable design and advertising agencies, in addition to positions at ESPN, Pixar Animation Studios and the National 9/11 Memorial.

FORWARD THINKING Student and Faculty Researchers Set Out to Save the Susquehanna The Susquehanna River is the longest river on the East Coast, stretching from upstate New York to the Chesapeake Bay. In 2011, it topped American Rivers’ list as the most endangered river in the country. By last year, the Susquehanna had fallen from the Top-10 list, but there is plenty of work left to be done before the river will be considered healthy, and researchers at Susquehanna are doing their part to help it heal. At the heart of this work is freshwater ecologist Jonathan Niles, program director of the three-year Freshwater Research Initiative, which is funded by a $2.25 million grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation. The initiative seeks to gather critical data about the river system for public outreach programs. Niles and faculty colleagues in biology, chemistry and earth and environmental sciences—Jack Holt, Carlos Iudica, Ahmed Lachhab and Lou Ann Tom—and their undergraduate research assistants are continuing and expanding research projects on the health of this important ecosystem as part of the initiative. Niles even mentors a group of student researchers, several of whom conduct field studies with him over the summer. For at least one of those students, the experience has been life-changing. Dan Isenberg ’16 was only in his first year at Susquehanna when Niles approached him about getting involved in the research. At the time, he intended to become an ophthalmologist. Now, in his junior year, Isenberg has found that the river has changed his course. Continued, pp. 40

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T H E ’G R O V E “Now, in my third year of doing this research, I have changed my career path and plan to get a Ph.D. in ichthyology [the study of fish],” Isenberg says. The opportunity to conduct research at such an early point in his college career opened his eyes to a career he had never before considered. The Mellon grant has not only increased opportunities for students to conduct research, it will soon provide them with a full analytical laboratory at Susquehanna’s Center for Environmental Education and Research (CEER), located along the western border of campus on Sassafras Street. The facility will include two lab rooms and a large research area, office space and a study lounge, giving initiative partners ample room to pursue their findings.

KUDOS SU Recognized as a Leader in Undergraduate Research The Council on Undergraduate Research has recognized Susquehanna University as a leader in the field for providing more than 300 of its students the opportunity to present their research at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research. Susquehanna is one of only 57 universities and colleges nationwide named to the list, a remarkable achievement. This year’s conference, held in April in Spokane, Wash., boasted Susquehanna’s largest contingent of undergraduate researchers ever, with 40 students in attendance. Led by Associate Professor of Psychology M.L. Klotz, Susquehanna has participated in the council’s National Conference on Undergraduate Research for nearly 15 years.

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Students Named to Stanford-Directed Innovation Program

Susquehanna and Columbia Launch New Cooperative Program

Four Susquehanna University students have been named University Innovation Fellows by the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter).

Students are now able to pursue a liberal arts and science education from Susquehanna University and an engineering education from Columbia University through a new combined degree program.

Ethan Eastwood ’16, a history and political science major from Canton, Mass., Tiffany Richards ’16, a neuroscience major from St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Pierce Perkins ’16, a neuroscience major from Baltimore, Md., and Alexis Gargin ’16, a creative writing major from Newton, N.J., are the first students from Susquehanna University to receive the honor. The University Innovation Fellows is a network of student leaders working to create lasting institutional change and opportunities for students to engage with entrepreneurship, innovation, creativity, design thinking and venture creation on their campuses. The program is run by Epicenter, which is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell (formerly NCIIA).

Students can earn a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree from Susquehanna and the Bachelor of Science degree from Columbia University through the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), in just five years. Each student enrolled in the program will first attend Susquehanna University for approximately three years, completing the equivalent of three academic years, and then attend SEAS for at least two years, completing the requirements for the student’s intended major. Contributing writers to the departments are student writers Emily Gibbs ’18, Eric Hollen ’16, Julia Lesperance ’15 and Morgan Richardson ’17; Katie Meier, director of athletics communications; and Amanda O’Rourke, digital communications and media specialist.

More than 500 students took advantage of Break Through programming during the 2014-15 academic year, and from Selinsgrove to the Big Apple, alumni were there to share their experiences and offer them advice. MORE ON BREAK THROUGH, PAGE 42





CLASSNOTES Message Board

The Gift of Alumni Experience

Alumni continue to make a difference in students’ lives. From business cards to Skype sessions, alumni gave back in profound ways during Break Through … to Life After Graduation. Break Through, a student-alumni networking program that helps students see their way to—and beyond—graduation, is in its third year and continues to gain speed. This year’s program helped more than 500 students. We started the fall off with student-alumni networking trips in New York City, Harrisburg, Pa., and Philadelphia. It was great to see students learning from Rhonda Bowen ’81, a business English trainer and owner of Bells-Bowen’s English, during her Skype session from Germany in early February when Break Through’s weeklong networking conference was held on campus. During the closing reception on Feb. 7, students raved about the great advice they received from Charlie McLeskey ’68, brand medical director for Astra Zeneca, about a career in the medical field, and about the conversations they had with senior writer and producer Jason Mammon ’00 about his career at Showtime Networks.

“Thanks to all of our alumni who continue to make a difference for students.” —Becky Bramer ‘92 Deitrick

Learning about interesting career paths taken by alumni like Rhonda, Charlie and Jason helps students open their minds to the possibilities that await them. Simply displaying alumni business cards during Break Through helped to create a visual representation of these possibilities. We are still collecting business cards to showcase our alumni successes and answer the question, “What can I do with a _______ degree?” Send us your card today to Susquehanna University, Office of Alumni Relations, 514 University Ave., Selinsgrove, PA 17870. Break Through continued this spring with a Women’s Leadership Symposium in New York City. Twenty of our women students in the business school traveled to the city to connect with successful alumnae. There, they participated in networking receptions, company tours, job shadow opportunities, lectures and more. Our gratitude goes out to Susquehanna Trustee Mary Cianni, Kristen Konski ’10, Heather Moore ’12, Stacey Naugle ’05 Kornman, Lisa Ryan ’78 Burke, Amy Junger ’86, Mary Sprowls-Kaadi ’82, Katie Farber ’06 and Siobhan McCormick ’05 for welcoming the students into their workplaces and speaking at the symposium. Special thanks goes out to Chris Noah ’88 who brought us keynote speaker Susan Smith Ellis, chief marketing officer for Getty Images and former CEO of Product (RED), the global marketing company founded by Bono and Bobby Shriver to raise money to fight AIDS in Africa. Thanks to all of our alumni who continue to make a difference for students! We appreciate all that you do.

S i n c e r e ly, Becky Bramer ’92 Deitrick Assistant Vice President of Alumni, Parent and Donor Engagement

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1965 1970 1972



George Laufenberg ’72 was appointed commissioner to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.


David Coryell ’73 was honored by the American Red Cross of Central New York on Dec. 3 for his heroic actions. While enjoying a motorcycle ride June 1 on Route 13 in Dryden, N.Y., David and his friend Dennis Kinsey came upon a two-car accident with serious injuries. They provided life-saving critical care and emotional support to a mother and two small children until emergency medical personnel arrived to assist them.



Gwen Barclay-Toy ’75 retired Feb. 1, 2014, from full-time teaching. She now teaches part time for the Intensive English Program at North Carolina State University and continues to work with international students at Duke University. Karen A. Willis ’75 retired in June 2013 after 38 years as an elementary vocal/general educator, first in Kingston, N.Y., then in Baltimore (Md.) County Public Schools. She continues to work part time with the Maryland State Boychoir.


David Kammerer ’76 is now professor of music at Brigham Young University–Hawaii (BYUH), having been promoted from associate professor in October 2014. In September, he completed a six-year appointment as chair of the Department of Music and Theatre Arts and now turns his attention to an online music publishing initiative featuring print

arrangements of traditional and popular music of the Pacific and Southeast Asia. He will continue to teach music theory and world music, as well as direct the University Brass Ensemble. In October 2012, the BYUH faculty improv ensemble Crosscurrent, which Kammerer co-founded in 2009, collaborated with Grammy-winning vocalist Peter Eldridge of the New York Voices in the concert “New York/North Shore Jam.” Kammerer’s wife, Elizabeth Daum ’77 Kammerer, is enjoying her new Hawaii Department of Education assignment as a teacher-mentor after serving 20 years as director of choral activities at Kahuku High School on North Shore, Oahu.


Joe Ventresca ’77 and Jeff Snyder ’77 are co-owners of RE/MAX of New Jersey. They were assigned as roommates at Susquehanna, and as alumni, even have townhouses next door to each other. With more than 2,700 real estate professionals in nearly 165 franchise offices, RE/MAX of New Jersey is one of the leading real estate organizations in the state.


Todd B. Morgan ’78 was re-elected to his second term as St. Mary’s (Md.) County commissioner. In addition, he was reappointed for a second term to the Historic St. Mary’s City Commission by Gov. Larry Hogan. John Oglesby ’78 has a new CD, “Memories of Childhood,” being released on the Spirit Wind Records label. He plays original songs on Native American–style flutes together with Morgan Evans ’78 on guitar. John works for Suncom Industries Inc. in information technology support. Alumni in the Class of 1978 held a golf reunion in August 2014 at the Old Course at St. Andrew’s in Scotland. The classmates met in Aikens Hall 40 years ago. In attendance were Mike Herman, Donald Egge, Mark Bostic, Steve Budd, John Englert, Mark Cummins, Mark Kuester and Scott Grimm.


Tammy Lee Trotman-Gore ’79 was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership at the Dec. 13 commencement ceremony for Alvernia University in Reading, Pa. Her dissertation, “The Effects of Gender and Party in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives,” focused on community leadership. Gore currently serves as mayor of Fleetwood, Pa., where she lives with her husband and two children.



Jeffrey Lesser ’80 is the new secondary chair of mathematics, business and computer science for the East Williston School District in Old Westbury, Long Island. He credits Robert Tyler, associate professor emeritus of mathematics, for his love of math education.


Brenda Leach ’81 published the book Looking and Listening: Conversations Between Modern Art and Music, which invites art and music lovers to pursue open dialog about these creative endeavors.

1985 1988


John Dogum ’88 and three of his partners were named to the 2015 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. His firm is the most represented workers’ compensation claimant firm in Philadelphia.


Donna DeGennaro ’89 founded and directs Unlocking Silent Histories (USH), a nonprofit organization dedicated to amplifying the voices and identities of indigenous youth through the art of documentary filmmaking. Youth begin by critically analyzing the

spri n g 2 015  · Susquehanna Currents · 43

CLASSNOTES way they are represented in the media and then creatively expressing their perspectives in the films they produce. Currently, 23 youth have completed 19 documentary shorts. To facilitate local ownership of this work, USH has employed four dynamic youth leaders who are shaping the future of USH as they educate new groups of students and expand the organization’s reach with presentations in nearby communities. You can follow their journey by signing up for the USH newsletter at www. or by liking Unlocking Silent Histories on Facebook.

1990 1991


Matthew Lincoln ’91 was promoted to principal of client service at Information Resources Inc., a global marketing research company based in Chicago. He lives in Morris Plains, N.J., with his wife and their two children.



Born to Paul ’95 and Nina Callahan, a son, Paul Jacob, Nov. 29, 2014. Born to Jennifer Marshall ’95 and Kevin Lister, a daughter, Breanna Grace, Dec. 31, 2013.


Jessica Zullinger ’97 married Gary Kline on June 6, 2014, in Leesburg, Va.


Candy Brown ’98 married Don Morey, July 19, 2014.

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Born to Justin and Kimberly Ziegler ’01 Hargrove, a son, Ryker Ziggy, Aug. 7, 2014.

Jessica Chichester ’99 was named Sigma Alpha Iota’s national vice president of collegiate chapters in December 2013. She is a senior scientist in immunology at a biotechnology company in Newark, Del., working in vaccine research.

Born to Alison Griffie ’99 and Brandon Parker, a daughter, Gabrielle Christine, Feb. 10.



Torrance ’00 and Lisa Sangster ’01 Cleveland have been relocated to the Netherlands by the U.S. Army, where Torrance is a major working for NATO. Lisa continues to work remotely for The Home Depot. They gave birth to a son, Kyle, Oct. 23, 2013.

Stacy Weston ’00 married Michael Johnson, July 19, 2014.

Born to Jeff ’00 and Kathy McFarland ’00 Orlando, a daughter, Cecilia Marie, Aug. 24, 2014. Born to Katrina Lindquist ’02 and Damon Pasani, a son, Kai William, Dec. 6, 2013. Born to Leah Wyar ’00 and Nicholas Romito, a son, Axel Robert.


Allyson Ringgold ’01 Sneed released an inspirational novel about love, faith and forgiveness. Her first novel, In the Name of the Father, is about a woman’s struggle to love herself, be loved and keep her faith in God despite what she witnessed in her home and in the church.


Born to Erin Molek ’02 and Scott ’02 Bloom, a son, Sebastian David, Dec. 16, 2014.


Born to Gordon and Stephanie Young ’03 Galloway, a son, Thompson, July 5, 2014.


Stephanie Faulkner ’04 married Ezra Reinstein, Oct. 30, 2014, at the Five Bridge Inn in Rehoboth, Mass. Jillian Stokes ’04 married Carl Ziznewski Sept. 12, 2014, in Carteret, N.J.

Born to Timothy and Heather Hafer ’04 Claus, a daughter, Evelyn Elise, June 26, 2014. Born to Joseph and Adriana Sassano ’04 DiNenno, a daughter, Kennedy Laureen, Feb. 4, 2014. Born to Charles and Natalie Costa ’04 Otto, a daughter, Kennedy Lynnel, Dec. 16, 2014.



Jessica Paulshock ’05 married Brian Cody, Aug. 23, 2014.

Born to Ira Luke ’05, a son, Landon Luke, Jan. 24.


Rick Welch ’06 was nominated for the Marketers Choice Awards in the Publisher Innovators subcategory.

Class friends got together last summer for an “SU BBQ.” In attendance were Elizabeth Laub ’06 Cvejkus, Shelley Reppert ’06 Fayewicz, Brent Wallisch ’07, Megan Klinger ’06 Wallisch, Kristin Aurand ’06 Heverly, Steve Heverly ’06, Sharon Hodge ’06 Schmidt and Brian “Bud” Schmidt ’06.

Sarah Haight ’06 married Michael Herrmann, April 26, 2014, at the Bedford Springs Resort in Bedford, Pa.

Born to Jason ’06 and Amy Troxell ’08 Northridge, a son, Frederick Ronald, Sept. 16, 2014.


Matthew J. Landis ’07 has joined Russell, Krafft & Gruber in Lancaster, Pa., as an associate attorney. Matt concentrates his practice in business law, information technology, privacy and data security, real estate, and banking and finance. Katie Perry ’07 recently joined Visa as a threat and vulnerability management SME. She holds multiple IT certifications including CISSP and CEH and is a member of the Northern Virginia chapter of ISSA.

Karen Davis ’07 married Patrick Henry ’08, Oct. 18, 2014, in Alexandria, Va. Sondra Zanetto ’09 married Scott Gee ’07, June 28, 2014.

Born to Adam ’07 and Nicole Rachau ’07 Rothenberg, a daughter, Emily Grace, Jan. 28.


Sabin Mulepati ’08 is one of the authors of an article featured on the latest cover of Science magazine. He credits his start in scientific research to Susquehanna. He earned his doctorate degree in biophysics from Johns Hopkins University, where he conducted research that led to his

remarkable achievement being recognized by arguably the most prestigious science journal in the United States.

Stay connected to Susquehanna University by joining a Regional Alumni Chapter today. Chapters are

Muriel Langley ’08 married Anthony Homer, Esq., Sept.14, 2013, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Silver Spring, Md.

volunteer-based organizations that build ties between alumni, students, parents and the university through professional networking, social networking, events and mentoring. There are numerous ways to get involved through your regional chapter—SU SERVE, admissions events and Break Through programming,

Born to Justin and Rebekah Bennett ’08 Zechman, a son, Flynn, Dec. 30, 2014.


Elizabeth Rhoads ’09 Greenaway became the director of marketing and public relations at Lycoming College in September 2014. She is responsible for implementation of the college’s marketing strategies, marketing communications, media relations and public relations initiatives. In summer 2014, James Miller ’09 studied the stunning ecosystems, fascinating array of unique desert plants and the diversity of life at the Bahía de los Ángeles UNESCO World Heritage site and in the crystal blue waters of the Sea of Cortez. Miller, an educator at the Philadelphia Zoo in Villanova, Pa., took the graduate course in pursuit of his master’s degree from Miami University’s Global Field Program. John Shofran ’09 achieved the Society of Financial Examiners (SOFE) AFE certification. He is a senior accountant and member of the audit team at ParenteBeard. He presented “Reinsurance Basics: An Introduction for New Examiners and Review of Potential of Transfer of Risk Red Flags” at the SOFE National Career Development Seminar in Philadelphia. Rachel Fae-Weir ’09 Ulsh is the director of music at Hope United Methodist Church and general music and choral teacher for K-6 at Mount Carmel Area School District. She is pursuing a Master of Music, Music Education from Kent State University. She is also a private studio teacher.

just to name a few. Regional Alumni Chapters help keep alive those connections that made you part of the Susquehanna family in the first place.








For more regional chapter information visit today! During the fall, three of our alumni chapters, Central Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and New York City sponsored student-alumni networking events. From the Pennsylvania state capital to the Big Apple and the City of Brotherly Love, Susquehanna students connected with alumni and the companies that employ them. Students spent the afternoon in small groups visiting alumni at their places of employment, then reunited for evening networking receptions with members of the regional alumni chapters in each city. Thanks to all the regional chapter alumni who helped make these events such a success!

spri n g 2 015  · Susquehanna Currents · 45


Bryan Watts ’11 and Brianna Drapeau ’12 were married Oct. 10, 2014, at St. Philomena’s Roman Catholic Church in Livingston, N.J.

Four Sigma Alpha Iota sisters and music teachers from the Class of 1976 met for a summer reunion to celebrate a significant birthday year at the Downton Abbey costume display at Winterthur Museum in Wilmington, Del. Pictured left to right are: Sherry Sheaffer Breton, Charlene Everett Olcese, Janet Gump Beck and Jamie Forman Dougherty.

Hilary Grube ’14 married Alex Belohlavek ’14 in York, Pa., July 25, 2014.

Gary Lubisco Jr. ’00 married Sandra Pinheiro, June 27, 2014.

46 · Susquehanna Currents · spri n g 2 0 15

Alumni had a homecoming of their own at Kelly O’Mara ’92 Whites’ house in Ellicott City, Md. Pictured, left to right, are: Kristen Evans ’92 Waughan, Stacy L. Koppenhaver ’92, Jeffrey Hoffman ’91, Heather Maher ’92 Boedeker, Jeannette Sheaffer ’92 Jorich and Whites.

Megan Will ’09 married Benjamin Flower, Oct. 11, 2014, in Somerset, Pa. John Lunardi ‘09 and Jessica Cicioni ‘10 were married on June 14, 2014, in Reading, Pa. Sondra Zanetto ’09—see 2007

Born to Chris and Laura Gausmann ’09 Runyan, a daughter, Maci Ann, July 11, 2014.



Kathy Swope ’10, president of the Lewisburg school board, was elected president of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, where she will lead the nonprofit organization that represents more than 4,500 school board members on policy, personnel, and benefits issues and education.

Jon Snyder ‘12 married Kelsey Fitting ‘13, Aug. 9, 2014,

officer for the East and Central European Studies (ECES) program. She’ll be advising and working with American and Canadian students during their time abroad, as well as planning their excursions and cultural activities, providing orientation and revamping the program’s website. Additionally, she’ll be facilitating the UPrague program run through the University of Miami during the spring semester when those students are also in Prague. She will finish her master’s degree at Cardiff University in Wales, UK, in September. Grace Gilbert ’13 received a Master of Education in counseling and college student affairs from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. She has accepted a position at The University of the Arts as student life coordinator.

Jessica Cicioni ‘10—see 2009

lives on SU Bridge,


Rhiannon Basile ’12 received a Master of Arts in English literature from Rutgers University in May 2014. She received the English department’s Graduate Scholar Award, an award given “in recognition of outstanding achievement and potential for graduate study.”


Katie Ford ’13 accepted a position at Charles University in Prague as an international programs



read more about the milestone event in their

PLEASE SEND YOUR ALUMNI NEWS AND CLASS UPDATES TO THE OFFICE OF ALUMNI RELATIONS: SUSQUEHANNA UNIVERSITY 514 University Ave. • Selinsgrove, PA 17870-1025 Fax: 570-372-2777 • Email: OR SUBMIT YOUR NOTES ON OUR ONLINE ALUMNI COMMUNITY, SU BRIDGE, AT WWW.SUALUM.COM. Material received on campus by July 31 will be included in the fall issue. Susquehanna Currents reserves the right to edit class notes for space and clarity, and to select the alumni-submitted

Born to Nicole Heim ’12 and Kyle Krieger, a daughter, Cecilia Rose, Aug. 1, 2014.

Sept. 18–20

Kelsey Fitting ‘13—see 2012

WEB EXTRA: See more alumni photos and

Lauren Baker ’11 married Mike Wanich, Sept. 27, 2014, in Harrisburg, Pa.


Dec. 8

at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Lebanon, Pa.



photos that appear in each issue. Preference will be given to print-quality photos of weddings and other gatherings that include the most alumni. Photos not printed in the

In October, the Pittsburgh Regional Alumni Chapter met for a wild time at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. They ventured through the zoo collecting candy, enjoying the animals, and participating in

magazine can be found on SU Bridge,

other fun activities along the way. They gathered for

The orange arrow, found at the end of a class note or

lunch in the Village Picnic Pavilion, a lovely private

photo caption, indicates that there is “Web Extra” material

setting surrounded by greenery and overlooking the

for that entry. Thank you for staying in touch!

zoo’s main entrance.

spri n g 2 015  · Susquehanna Currents · 47


m e e t o u r 2 0 1 4 awa r d w i n n e r s

each year, Susquehanna University honors alumni of distinction at an awards banquet held during Homecoming– Reunion Weekend, a tradition that dates back to 1956. University President L. Jay Lemons and Becky Bramer ’92 Deitrick, assistant vice president of alumni, parent and donor engagement, represent the school during the dinner and ceremony, while the alumni association president presents the awards. Comments, accomplishments





• Master’s degree in business administration from Penn State University

• Master of Science in operations research from the University of Rochester

• Wealth management advisor, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, Bridgewater, N.J., 1983–2000

• Semi-retired business consultant

• Senior vice president, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, Aspen, Colo., 2000–Present • Barron’s Top 1,200 Financial Advisors •B arron’s Top 100 Women Financial Advisors

and career highlights are listed here for each award winner. Read their complete profiles at

“ Our relationships with our clients go well beyond investment management,” Di Ianni says of her work. “We develop close personal relationships with our clients and their families. Over time, clients’ priorities change; we may help them monetize a business, plan for a secure retirement, or create strategies to pass on wealth to the next generation.”

• Emeritus member of Susquehanna University’s Board of Trustees • 24 years in management at Eastman Kodak, retiring as a vice president in 1998 • Maryville (Tenn.) College’s director of financial aid • Vice president of operations for a Tennessee manufacturer • Twenty-three month assignment managing installation of new administrative software at Susquehanna

Throughout her career, Lehman says, her liberal arts education has served her well. Besides her math major, which engendered an analytical approach, she took logic and statistic courses. “Add all that together and you learn to look at a problem, collect data, see how the pieces fit and work together, and then you can get to a workable solution,” she says.

48 · Susquehanna Currents · spri n g 2 0 15










• Master’s degree in psychology, Bowling Green State University

• Ten years as a case worker with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare

• Master’s degree in public health, University of Virginia

• Thirty years with the Social Security Administration

• Master’s degree in global epidemiology, George Mason University

• Member of Susquehanna’s Alumni Parent Admissions Network (APAN)

• Formerly the senior vice president of product and user experience for Audax Health

• Established the Richard Janes ’69 Scholarship Endowment

• Founder and CEO of MedClimate

• Master’s degree in business administration, Florida International University • Thirteen years in Florida with the South Dade Community Mental Health Center, ultimately becoming director of the center •T wenty years at Miami-Dade College, where he taught psychology and business courses and helped establish the college’s nationally recognized service-learning program • Endowment of the David ’69 and Sharon Johnson Center for Civic Engagement at Susquehanna

“ The basic principles, values and mission of the Center [for Civic Engagement]—understanding the complexity and enormity of social issues, developing a sensitivity to the human condition, and a lifelong commitment to service—are totally consistent with the ideals that Sharon and I have had in our hearts throughout our lives,” Johnson says.

• Actively participated in the Philadelphia Regional Alumni Chapter • Instrumental in establishing the Susquehanna University Counseling Center’s weekly Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step meeting

Explaining his continued commitment to Susquehanna, Janes says, “Susquehanna gave me a sense of involvement in the community, and it was also a great place to meet people, including two roommates who are still among my best friends. ”



•M anaging partner of Emerald City Ventures

“ I work a lot of hours, but I love what I do,” says Barnes, who has been inspired by the health experiences of some of his grandparents. “With new tech companies, you don’t ask for permission from anybody, you just do it and if you build the right product, you can disrupt huge industries and really change the way healthcare is delivered.”

*Deceased; see obituary pp. 51

spri n g 2 015  · Susquehanna Currents · 49

DE AT H S Ben C. Alter ’51, Bloomsburg, Pa., July 9, 2014. He taught Spanish at Bloomsburg University from 1964 through 1986. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Mary Jo Brown ’52 Alter. George Bantley ’41, Pittsburgh, Pa., Aug. 25, 2014. He retired from Westinghouse Electric, Nuclear Power Licensing Division. He was a retired colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps who served in the Pacific theatre on the USS Alabama during WWII. He was a lifetime member of the Pittsburgh Sportsmen’s Luncheon Club and an avid fisherman. Doris Cook ’86 Blake, East Hartland, Conn., Jan. 26. She died suddenly from injuries sustained in a car accident. She worked for many years for the Anser Corp. and later became a defense analyst for an affiliated company, Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute. She graduated from the Defense Systems Management College at Fort Belvoir, Va. She later authored a book on anti-ballistic missiles. Blake and her husband, Kevin, owned Action Carpet & Floor Covering, and for the last four years, she worked as a medical contract analyst for Harvest Healthcare in Avon. William Bosch ’51, Carmel, N.Y., Sept. 10, 2014. He received his master’s degree in school supervision from Hofstra University. He was a retired principal from the South Huntington School district. Bosch served his country in the U.S. Army during WWII in both the United States and the European theater of operations. He is survived by his nieces, Robin Swenk ’79 Hilton and Alison Bird ’83 Muldoon.

George “Pete” Brosius ’40, Athens, Ga., Sept. 2, 2014. He graduated from the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, Pa., in 1943. He lived a full life of service to his church and to his country as a chaplain and pastor. He was commissioned in the U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps prior to his graduation from seminary, and began a 22-year career with the Navy and Marines immediately after being ordained in 1943. Brosius served on the USS Copahee during WWII; with the U.S. Marines in Tsingtao, China, from 1948–49; and again on the frontlines with the Marines during the Korean War. While serving as senior chaplain at the U.S. Naval Station Guam from 1955–57, he traveled throughout the islands of Micronesia, a subregion of Oceania. From 1957 to 1961 he served as senior chaplain at the U.S. Naval Station Treasure Island and aboard the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea. His “sundown cruise” in the Navy was at the U.S. Naval Air Station in Point Mugu, Calif. Following his military retirement in 1964, Brosius served as pastor at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Simi Valley, Calif., after which he served 14 years as a field service pastor for the Lutheran Council in the U.S.A.’s Division of Service to Military Personnel (DSMP), and was sent to the Lutheran Service Center in Olongapo City, Philippines. He continued his work with DSMP in San Diego, Calif., from 1969–73, a second posting in Olongapo from 1973–76, and at the International Lutheran Church in Seoul, South Korea, from 1976–81. In 1985, he began a third career in cruise ship ministry. During these years, he and his wife, Doris, travelled to China, Tibet, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Micronesia, Nepal, Sri

50 · Susquehanna Currents · spri n g 2 0 15

Lanka, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, French Polynesia, Morocco, Argentina, Russia, and numerous other countries in Latin America and Western Europe. Thomas G. Brown III ’01, State College, Pa., Oct. 8, 2014. Brown was a member of the Centre County Republican Party, and served as a 2012 Republican National Convention delegate for the 5th Congressional District of Pennsylvania, a member of the Ron Paul for President campaign, the state treasurer for the Pennsylvania chapter of the Republican Liberty Caucus, a member of the Pennsylvania Republican Party State Committee, and the 2011 Republican-elected nominee in the election for the second-ward seat on the Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors. Joseph Campana ’41, Williamsport, Pa., Oct. 1, 2014. Campana was a 1944 graduate of Temple Medical School and finished his fellowship at Pittsburgh Eye and Ear in 1956. He did two tours on the Hope Ship starting in 1963. He continued his private practice as an eyes, ears, nose and throat physician until 10 days before passing away. He was known for handing out candy kisses whenever patients left the exam room. He served in the U.S. Army, first as a private first class in June 1943, a first lieutenant from 1946–48, and a captain during the Korean War. Richard Ditmars ’60, Auburn, Ind., Nov. 9, 2014. He graduated from Tri-State University in Angola in 1962 with a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering. He became a registered professional engineer in Indiana and Ohio, and a registered professional land surveyor in Indiana.

Robert ’49 and Margaret Williams ’49 Dornsife, Harrisburg, Pa., Jan. 24 and Jan. 28. Robert served in the United States Army during World War II as a clerk and typist. They are survived by their nephew, Walter Payne ’73. Nancy Ferris ’76, Far Hills, N.J., Sept. 30, 2014. She was a corporate accountant, most recently employed by Merck before retiring in 2013. She previously worked for several other pharmaceutical companies, and was a longtime employee of GPU Nuclear in Parsippany. She also maintained a real estate license, and worked for 20 years at New Beginnings Century 21 in Berkeley Heights. Randy Gehret ’69, Harrisburg, Pa., Dec. 2, 2014. He taught band for many years at SteeltonHighspire (Steel-High) School District before moving to Central Dauphin East High to do the same. Gehret also served as chairman of the fine arts and humanities department for the Central Dauphin School District, and was principal at Chambers Hill Elementary School, as well as other schools, after receiving his master’s degree from Temple University. He is survived by his son, Mark Gehret ’99. Robert “Bob” Ginader, March 17, Bloomsburg, Pa. Ginader, director of food service, longtime Aramark employee and friend of Susquehanna University, died following a long illness. He is remembered by friends and colleagues as a gentle giant; an ethical man of great patience who cared about Susquehanna, its faculty, staff and, especially, its students. Ginader arrived at Susquehanna in spring 2005 as director of food service. A graduate of Hobart College,

Ginader found his love in culinary arts and became a chef. Early in his career, he owned a restaurant in Charlottesville, Va., and then became a food consultant in Florida before moving back to his native Pennsylvania and accepting a position with Aramark. After three years with Aramark at Bloomsburg University, he spent time as a traveling district chef the company before moving for to Susquehanna. James J. Gormley ’55, Hatboro, Pa., June 19, 2014. He attended St. Joseph’s University, where he earned a master’s degree in chemistry. Gormley was a research chemist with Rohm & Haas at its Bridesburg and Springhouse locations, but spent most of his time in Bristol. Rich Janes ’69, Ridley Park, N.J., Feb. 9. Artist, comedian and counselor, Janes was all of these things to those who loved him. His acerbic wit and refreshing candor helped bring many friends and family members through personal crises. He had an amazing ability to turn negatives into positives. He served as a hard-working volunteer and was a dedicated sponsor for many fellow AA members. His beloved Susquehanna University provided him an opportunity to mentor local youth through the college selection process, and fund a scholarship that bears his name. His substantial contributions were recognized by his alma mater in November, when he received the university’s Service to SU Award. Janes’ commitment to service also manifested itself in his chosen profession with the Social Security Administration, where he worked for several years prior to his retirement. Earl “Max” Kleintop ’57, Lakeland, Fla., Oct. 10, 2014. Max was an active member of the Lions Club in Pennsylvania and Florida, where he served as

president. He was an avid boater, mechanic and train enthusiast. He is survived by his wife, Mary Bingaman ’55 Kleintop. Emilio ’73 and Elizabeth Hollingshead ’73 Lancione, Etters, Pa., Dec. 30, 2014. The couple died from injuries sustained in a vehicle accident. Mel, as he was known, was a senior application specialist at Associated Wholesaler of York, Pa. Beth was a retired aide in the English department for Red Land High School and recently became a published author with the release of the first two editions of a children’s book series. The family is proud that her legacy will live on through The Adventures of Solomon Screech Owl. Howard A. Miller ’52, Richfield, Pa., Oct. 29, 2014. Miller worked in a hatchery, assembled telephones for Western Electric, and was a boilermaker’s helper in the rail yard at Enola before being drafted in 1943. The U.S. Army trained him in teletype repair, and he was assigned to a unit of the 832nd Signal Battalion attached to Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s headquarters. He served in Australia, New Guinea and the Philippines before being discharged in 1946. When he returned to Richfield, Miller used the GI Bill to attend college. He drove a bus to support his family while working on a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Susquehanna University. He worked for Halls Motor Transit in Sunbury, Central Storage & Transfer in Harrisburg, the Pennsylvania Fish Commission and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission before retiring in 1985. Megan Moyer ’87 Seiber, Elliottsburg, Pa., Sept. 8, 2014. She was an English teacher in the West Perry School District and the Capital Area Intermediate Unit at Loysville

Youth Development Center. She coached junior high field hockey and was an outstanding player herself. She is survived by her daughter, Samantha Seiber ’14. Daniel Newton ’82, Winfield, Pa., Sept. 21, 2014. He attended Susquehanna for a year, majoring in music, before transferring to Penn State University, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in nutrition and food science. He also studied biochemistry at the Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Edward Palkovich ’52, Stuarts Draft, Va., Oct. 21, 2014. Palkovich was originally from Coaldale, Pa., where his athletic achievements at Coaldale High School were recognized by his induction into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 2012. After serving in the U.S. military, he brought his athletic talents to the SU football field playing for Amos Alonzo Stagg Sr. and his son Amos Jr. After a career in sales and service in New Jersey’s hydraulic industry, he retired in 1993 and moved to Virginia. June Hoffman ’46 Repke, Reynoldsburg, Ohio, Jan. 7. Repke earned a teaching degree, focusing on English and history, and taught second through 12th grade, retiring from Whitehall Ohio City Schools in 1989. She was a member of the Red Hat Society and showcased her beautiful voice singing in the choir at St. Matthew the Apostle Catholic Church. Douglas Schultz ’73, Philadelphia, Pa., Sept. 18, 2014. Marvin Straub, Middleburg, Pa., Feb. 9. He retired after 44 years of service with Susquehanna University security.

School in Espy, Pa., Watsontown High School and Selinsgrove Area High School, where she was head of the business department from 1970 until her retirement in 1986. She was an adult education instructor for Williamsport Area Community College from 1975–85. She is survived by her grandson, Kyle Snyder ’07. Sharon Gloster ’75 Winters, Fruitland, Md., Dec. 19, 2014. Winters was a member of Asbury United Methodist Church. She loved knitting sweaters for her loved ones. She could often be found having her morning tea and enjoying the birds on the back porch. She will always be remembered as a loving, intelligent and compassionate woman who proudly shaped and guided her friends and family with strength and grace. Amy Winans, Harrisburg, Pa., March 23. Winans, an associate professor of English, taught at Susquehanna since 1998. She was an associate editor of the anthology Early American Writings and was the associate editor of the Profession and Pedagogy section of the scholarly journal Modern Language Studies. She also organized and taught classes on mindfulness and meditation. Robert Wyllie ’53, Fanwood, N.J., Nov. 15, 2014. He served in the U.S. Army from 1953–55. He worked as a quality control manager at Johns Manville Corp. for 32 years before retiring in 1988. He continued working part time reviewing goods for SGS Inspections. He is survived by his wife, Margaret Brady ’56 Wyllie, and his daughter, Janet Wyllie ’86 Lambert.

Emagean Pensyl ’43 Whitmoyer, Selinsgrove, Pa., Feb. 3. Whitmoyer’s career included teaching at Scott Township High

spri n g 2 015  · Susquehanna Currents · 51

End Notes

Alice in Wanderlust

by teresa hernandez ’04

R E F L E C T I O N S O F A N E N G L I S H T E A C H E R WO R K I N G A B R OA D If education is the key that unlocks the doors of opportunity to limitless choices, then English is the passport one uses to travel to uncharted destinations. At least, this has been my experience. A few years after I graduated from Susquehanna University, I found myself in a white-collar professional rut, and I started thinking about the ways in which challenging my assumptions about my own potential could be a means to revitalizing my professional life. As 2008 approached, I started to revisit my ideas about what was possible and why. What really mattered and why?

“Don’t be afraid to let the journey take on a life of its own.”—Teresa Hernandez

In early 2008, I started looking at Teach for America–type positions where a candidate could work during the day and earn a master’s degree in the evening. While pursuing a lead for such an opportunity in Philadelphia, I came across an interesting job ad from a recruiting company in South Korea. Apparently, South Korea was hiring English teachers. As I carefully combed the website, it seemed that I fit every basic qualification: I was a native speaker of English; I had a bachelor’s degree and no criminal background. The notion of traveling halfway around the world to potentially live for years seemed like the perfect way to start a new year. So with my renewed passport and Korean E-2 visa in hand, I boarded a plane for South Korea, where a teaching position at a nursery school awaited me. Just before I left, I was given the most valuable advice that I have probably received thus far on my journey: Be open to the possibilities that this opportunity may lead to in the future. In other words, don’t be afraid to let the journey take on a life of its own. In the different countries that I have visited and the different jobs that I have had, those words have echoed in the back of my mind. Two years later, when a teaching position became available in Iraq, I didn’t hesitate. By then I had learned that sometimes black is really white and up is really down, and that which seems so large and insurmountable is, in fact, quite small. When Osama Bin Laden was announced dead at the hands of the U.S. Navy SEALS, being able to see the photo of his dead face, one eye an empty socket, all over Al Arabia

52 · Susquehanna Currents · spri n g 2 0 15

“ T WO YEARS LATER, WHEN A TEACHING POSITION BECAME AVAILABLE IN IRAQ, I news was a surreal experience. When ISIS eroded the border between Syria and Iraq last summer, I didn’t have to watch CNN for the latest report. I just had to listen to my students talk about how their relatives were fleeing southern cities, some of them dying on the front lines of yet another war.


When I taught in Iraqi Kurdistan last summer and fall, nearly every student I taught had at least one relative fighting in the Peshmerga, the Kurdish military. Seeing the history of violence willing to repeat itself for the second time in 10 years reminded me that America has never left me. Her foreign policies, culture and economic practices, emulated by much of the world, have followed me along for the ride as if her DNA were embedded in the very pages of my passport.




I was reminded of her presence when the 2008 economic collapse sent the Korean Won spiraling out of control, reducing most expatriates’ salaries by 30 percent. I was reminded of her in the new housing developments and shopping mall centers of Erbil, which seemed to rise from the ashes of war. And I was reminded of her by the power vacuum created by ISIS, which most Arab Iraqis I know would say is the result of America’s failed attempt at nation building in Iraq. When I started my master’s degree program in 2011, great emphasis was placed on experiential learning, the belief that the most meaningful learning occurs through experience rather than theory. Many in the field would argue that this is precisely why so many ESL learners who memorize English grammar rules to perfection struggle with basic conversation. The quality of the experience defines the outcome of the product. This is the greatest lesson I’ve learned so far: The experience of learning, of testing out hypotheses and questioning assumptions, is where citizens of the world are born.

Teresa Hernandez is a Selinsgrove, Pa., native who graduated in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in creative writing. She’s teaching English in East Africa for the spring term.

spri n g 2 015  · Susquehanna Currents · 53


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