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Thiel College Magazine for Alumni & Friends

The Bell

BRAIN MATTERS Neuroscience Department, Greenville Neuromodulation Center partner to explore the human mind p. 22




SPRING 2015 4




BRAIN MATTERS Thiel College’s Greenville Neuromodulation Scholar in Neuroscience and Philosophy Erwin Montgomery, M.D., and Neuroscience Department Chair Greg Butcher, Ph.D., are changing the way we think … about our brains.

Rich Rock Media, LLC


A Message from the President 75 College Avenue Greenville, Pennsylvania 16125 800-248-4435 •

Dear Alumni and Friends, With spring firmly taking hold and summer fast approaching, we await the promise of renewal this time of year brings to Thiel College. I greet you having recently celebrated our 141st Commencement exercises in May. During the ceremony, we were blessed with an address by The Reverend Elizabeth A. Eaton, the first female presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Additionally, we bestowed undergraduate degrees upon 238 new graduates. These new alumni leave us prepared for the world with the strong foundation a liberal arts education provides. In early February, Greenville Neuromodulation Center (GNC) opened the new Thiel College Study Annex for Science and Medical Arts. Adjacent to GNC’s downtown Greenville location, the annex provides Thiel College faculty, staff and students access to recent medical texts in a comfortable study facility. This annex, along with the additional GNC research grant featured in this issue of The Bell, has us very excited about the possibilities the future holds. (Read more about the Neuroscience Department and their partnership with GNC on page 22.) Thanks to the generosity of Rod Wilt ’86 and Jill (Gardner) Wilt ’85, Thiel College now has its first endowed athletic coaching position: The Rod E. Wilt ‘86 Head Coach for Thiel College Wrestling. This is a first for Thiel College, but it’s also the first endowed coach in the entire Presidents’ Athletic Conference. (Read more on page 31.) Even though this semester has come to a close, there are plenty of opportunities to return to campus this summer and fall. Mark your calendars for a Business Department and Haller Award Recipients Reunion on Aug. 7 and 8. Later in the year, our “Forever Gold” Homecoming Weekend takes place on Oct. 9 to 11. Enjoy a tailgate lunch on the Alumni Stadium lawn, take in the homecoming parade and cheer your Tomcats to victory in the football game vs. Westminster College. I encourage you to take advantage of these and other alumni events to reconnect with former classmates. A full schedule is available on page 39. I hope that you enjoy this spring 2015 edition of The Bell and look forward to seeing you on campus soon!

Troy D. VanAken, Ph.D. President of Thiel College 2

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Mark Benninghoff, M.B.A. ‘82



Lynn Franken, Ph.D.


Jennifer S. Griffin, Ph.D.



Jack Leipheimer ‘74


Bob Schmoll, M.B.A.


Kurt Ashley, M.B.A.


Michael McKinney, M.S.Ed. ‘02



Kurt Ashley Dominick DiRienzo Maggie (Giel) Bovaird ‘09

Jennifer S. Griffin Roberta Leonard Ed Topoleski ‘02


Kraig Smith ‘12 PHOTOGRAPHY

Josh Ebel Leary Studios Maryanne Elder Ed Mailliard Michael McElroy

The Record-Argus Rich Rock Media, LLC Sports Information Tiffany Wolfe


Martina Thomas, VisuGroup PRINTER

Knepper Press, Pittsburgh The Bell is published in the spring and fall by the Office of Communications and Marketing, Thiel College, Greenville, PA 16125. Publication inquiries should be sent to aforementioned address, in care of the Editor-in-Chief. For Class Notes and address changes, please contact the Office of Alumni Relations at or fax to 724589-2860. Thiel College is a liberal arts, sciences and professional studies college affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Thiel Tweets We shared many Commencement 2015 memories on Twitter. Here are some of our most popular. Thiel College @thielcollege

Beautiful day for Tree Dedication. #TCgrads2015

Letters to the editor Thiel College welcomes feedback from you regarding The Bell. Letters must contain a contact number (not for publication, but to allow for verification of sender). Letters can be mailed to Thiel College Office of Communications and Marketing, 75 College Avenue, Greenville, PA 16125; or e-mailed Thiel College @thielcollege

Selfie with the President @tvanaken #TCgrads2015

to Due to the volume of correspondence, we are unable to respond to or publish all mail received. Letters accepted for publication may be edited for length and clarity.

Get connected You can find Thiel College on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram! Thiel College @thielcollege

A packed Passavant Center for #TCgrads2015 - congratulations to all of our #thielcollege graduates!





For news year-round, visit Spring 2015


Campus Highlights

Watch the tribute video on YouTube – visit thankyoudrolson

Former Thiel College President Robert Olson, Ph.D., faculty and staff honored at Founders’ Day Thiel College honored the traditions started with its founding by recognizing a former president and 13 current faculty and staff members during the annual Founders’ Day celebration on Feb. 5. Former Thiel College President Robert Olson, Ph.D. ‘60 H’09, was given the prestigious Louis and Barbara Thiel Award for Distinguished Service. A special feature of the celebration was a poignant video tribute to Olson. Forty people were filmed to say “thank you, Bob.” Dietrich Honors Institute Director and Professor of Religion Curt Thompson, Ph.D., received the Professor of the Year Award. Thompson has been a faculty member at Thiel College for more than 30 years. He has been named Professor of the Year three times.

Fatimata A. Palé, Ph.D. Professor of Biology

Tammy Shilling Administrative Assistant to the Vice President for Enrollment Management

Christopher M. Stanisky, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Chemistry

Roberta Leonard Executive Director of the Capital Campaign

Distinguished Adjunct Award

Craig Thurber Head Wrestling Coach

Distinguished Teacher Award

Joshua Myers, M.A. Adjunct Professor of English

Andy Erb, M.M. Instructor of Performing Arts – Music and Director of Bands

Jeannie Carey Accounts Payable Specialist

Six staff awards were presented. Receiving honors were:

Mike Shultz Director of Facilities

Martin Black Associate Dean of Career Development

Diane Donnelly Assistant Director of The Learning Commons

Other faculty members earning recognition were: Distinguished Service Award Melissa S. Oakes, M.B.A., C.P.A., C.F.E. ’03 Associate Professor of Business Administration and Accounting


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Distinguished Scholar Awards










1 2015 staff and faculty award winners with President Troy D. VanAken, Ph.D., and former President Robert Olson, Ph.D. ‘60, H’09 2 Martin Black (left) and alumni board president Joe Nairn, D.Mgt. ’79 3 Olson and Rae (Weiss) Johnson ’59 4 Archivist John Hauser ’71 and Diane Donnelly, M.A., assistant director of The Learning Commons 5 Betty Ann and Dr. Jim McHugh ‘62, H’02 with Olson 6 Callie Shilling ‘15, Tammy Shilling, administrative assistant to the Vice President of Enrollment Management, and Alexandra McClurg, MPAS, PA-C ’12 7 A full house sings the alma mater during the Founders’ Day ceremony 8 Attendees watch the “Thank You, Dr. Olson” video 9 Professor of Music Michael Bray, D.M.A., bows following the Thiel Choir’s performance

Spring 2015


Campus Highlights

Historic James Pedas Communication Center LEED Certification highlights annual Winter Weekend

Thiel College marked a historic first during this year’s Winter Weekend. The James Pedas Communication Center was granted LEED silver certification, established by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute in January. The new $6.8 million 20,000 square foot Pedas Communication Center is the College’s first LEED certified building. “This building project represents a milestone in the development of the Thiel College campus,” said President Troy D. VanAken. “It visibly demonstrates the College’s commitment to sustainable building practices and energy efficiency. For Thiel College to achieve silver in its first attempt at LEED certification testifies to the hard work and cooperation of many on campus along with our planners, architects, and construction firms.” The Pedas Center achieved LEED certification for site planning, water management, indoor environmental quality, material choice and energy management. By using less energy and water, LEED certified buildings save money for

All Thiel College Boards and the President’s Cabinet gather for their annual photo in the Howard Miller Student Center staircase.

families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community. “Buildings are a prime example of how human systems integrate with natural systems,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and Founding Chairman of the U.S. Green Building Council. “The James Pedas Communication Center project efficiently uses our natural resources and makes an immediate, positive impact on our planet, which will tremendously benefit future generations.”

Learn more about the James Pedas Communication Center at View photos from Winter Weekend on the Thiel College Flickr at 6

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1 Faculty and staff members gather for a photo at the Black and White Ball, with a cameo from former President Robert Olson, Ph.D. ‘60, H’09 2 Board of Trustee member Rick Huether ’74 and Shayla Cummins ‘15 3 Ronnell Hunt ’15 and his fiancée DaMarra Underwood 4 Molly Preston ‘15 and Board of Trustee Secretary G. Leah Dever ’74 5 Erin (Wright) McKinney, M.Ed. ‘02 and Vice President of Student Life Mike McKinney, M.S.Ed. ’02 pose for a photo at the Black & White Ball 6 Casey Rose ’14 and fiancée Kelly Sanzari, M.A. ‘13 7 Juniors and seniors networked with alumni and board members at the third annual Alumni & Student Networking Reception 8 Matthew Schneider ’13 and Admission Counselor Chelsea Costello ’14 9 Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees Barry Stamm, M.D. ’70, Daniel McFetridge and Christian Kafka Spring 2015


Campus Highlights

Jauhar, Hough delve into ‘Health Care Conundrum’ at Haer Family Symposium



The second annual Haer Family Symposium featured nationally recognized authors Sandeep Jauhar, M.D., and Douglas Hough, Ph.D., presenting on the “Health Care Conundrum.” Jauhar opened the symposium on March 30. Jauhar is the author of “Intern: A Doctor’s Initiation” and “Doctored: The Disillusionment of an American Physician.” NBC has optioned the book “Intern” for a television series. Jauhar departed from his standard presentation script to speak directly to students about careers in medicine and read a gripping excerpt from his best-selling book “Intern.” Jauhar, a cardiologist, has been a contributor for The New York Times for more than a decade and also has written essays for The New England Journal of Medicine, Slate, New York Magazine and The Los Angeles Times. He has appeared frequently on CNN, ABC, Bloomberg and National Public Radio. He was an American Association



for the Advancement of Science Mass Media Fellow at Time magazine and the recipient of a South Asian Journalists Special Recognition Award for outstanding stories about medicine. Hough is an associate scientist and associate director of the Master in Healthcare Management program in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University. He presented on the second evening of the symposium, March 31. His latest book is “Irrationality in Health Care: What Behavioral Economics Reveals About What We Do and Why.” He delved into questions of why people in health care, both patients and medical providers, often make illogical decisions. Hough believes the “irrationality” in health care can be traced to the field of behavioral economics. Patients demanding action when they visit their physician are similar to goalkeepers in soccer. In penalty kicks,

1 Professor of Philosophy Arthur “Buddy” White Jr., Ph.D., talks with the student panel before Hough’s presentation; left to right: Andy Gaul ’15, Mandy Slupek ’17 and Sean Oros ’15 2 Jauhar poses with the student panel: Kourtney Polvinale ‘16, Cassandra Cook ‘15 and John Riggans ‘15 3 A packed Lutheran Heritage Room for Jauhar’s presentation on March 30 4 Jauhar presents 5 Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College Lynn Franken, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Associate Academic Dean Jennifer Griffin, Ph.D., Hough, Professor of Economics and Business Administration and Norman P. Mortensen Chair of Economics David Miller, M.B.A. ‘61, Professor of Business Administration and Accounting Gary Witosky, C.P.A., C.G.M.A., M.Acc. ’79, and President Troy D. VanAken pose for a photo before dinner 6 Hough presents 7 Jauhar speaks with Associate Professor of Neuroscience and Department Chair Greg Butcher, Ph.D., and Assistant Professor of Biology Delbert Abi Abdallah, Ph.D. 8

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Volcan Masaya


research has shown that it statistically makes the most sense to stay in the middle. But most times, goalkeepers jump left or right to block the ball. Why do they move? And why do patients want a treatment, even if it’s not necessary? “Action bias,” Hough said. “Goalkeepers and providers feel like they have to do something.” Both speakers made time following their presentations to answer questions from a pre-selected student panel and then spoke to students, staff and faculty individually following the event. The Haer Family Symposium takes its name from Thiel alumni Fred Haer ’65 and his wife, Jill (Shackett) Haer ‘66, whose various companies have advanced research in neuroscience and helped to develop new neurological and psychiatric therapies. True to the College’s mission, the Haers have created opportunities for Thiel students to grow as learners and citizens.

Watch both presentations on

View photos from the event at



17th Annual Earth Week explored ‘Warm Temperature Experiences’ Grade school students to Ivy Leaguers helped celebrate Thiel College’s 17th annual Earth Week with events on April 7 and 8. This year’s theme was “Warm Temperature Experiences of the Earth.” Elementary students took part in a workshop at the Rissell-Schreyer Dome where they learned about evolution and the extreme climate differences on the planet. The Carnegie Museum supplied several activities and Beta Beta Beta, the Thiel College biology honorary society, conducted informative sessions. Three professors from other colleges attended and presented their research.

“Did Early Agriculture KickOff Anthropogenic Global Warming Thousands of Years Ago?” Feng He, Ph.D., assistant scientist at the Center for Climatic Research, the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and NOAA Climate and Global Change Postdoctoral Fellow at Oregon State University

“Sustaining Human Welfare in a Warming Planet: It Is Possible!” John Roemer, Ph.D., Elizabeth S. & A. Varick Stout Professor of Political Science & Economics at Yale University

A tree planting ceremony and a viewing of the documentary “Comfort Zone” were also part of the two-day affair.

“Cold to Warm to Warmer: Big Ice and Sea Level Rise” Patrick Applegate, Ph.D., research associate at the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute at Pennsylvania State University

View photos from the event at

Spring 2015


Campus Highlights

Anonymous donor surprises two catering specialists with named endowed scholarships Patricia Murrin and Patricia Turcic have spent nearly three combined decades at Thiel College helping students, staff, faculty, alumni and friends of the College feel at home. Now, a unique gift set up in their honor will help students in a different way. An anonymous donor and their employer, AVI Foodsystems, Inc., have donated funds to create the $25,000 Patricia Murrin Endowed Scholarship and the $25,000 Patricia Turcic Endowed Scholarship. The scholarships will help cover educational expenses for students of their choosing. The anonymous donor, impressed by the pair’s work ethic and generous nature, donated $20,000 in each woman’s name for the scholarship and AVI added $5,000 for each woman.

President VanAken, Patricia Turcic, Patricia Murrin, and AVI Foodsystems, Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer Anthony Payiavlas pause for a photo at the luncheon.

The two women were stunned by the formal announcement of the scholarship on Wednesday, April 22. They were told about the scholarship at a private luncheon, which was followed by a surprise reception with more than 100 friends, family and colleagues. Soon the two women, who have been working the annual endowed scholarship luncheon—where donors and students met each fall, will now attend the event to meet their scholarship recipients. “I don’t understand this all. I don’t know what I did,” said Murrin, 72, of Maysville, Pa. “I just love them all. I just think of them as my kids.” “This is really an honor. I can’t believe it,” Turcic, 62, of Greenville said. “This is the most wonderful thing I have ever seen.” The scholarships are a company first for AVI Foodsystems, Inc., President and Chief Executive Officer Anthony Payiavlas said. The Warren, Ohio-based company serves more than 6,000 institutions, including colleges, business and industry, and healthcare. “They so perfectly embody what our organization stands for,” Payiavlas said. “As a company, we are very proud. We’ve never had something like this happen. We are thankful to the


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Murrin (left) and Turcic (right), after the announcement, at the surprise reception.

[donor] for honoring them this way. People really do notice and appreciate when you treat them kindly.” President Troy D. VanAken said Patty and Patty are great examples of kindness being paid forward. “In many organizations, you have individuals silently making profound contributions. Patty and Patty symbolize that,” President VanAken said. “They are rays of sunshine. Their hard work, dedication and cheerful disposition are reflected in the relationships of substance they have created with students, faculty, staff and friends of the College. They are two examples of what makes the Thiel College community great.”

View photos from the event at

Executive Conference Room dedicated to longtime college trustee Andrews A renovated conference room in the Howard Miller Student Center was dedicated to former Board of Trustee member Dr. David R. Andrews ’63, H’13 on May 2. “With the attention and time Dave dedicated to our Board of Trustees, it is fitting that all future trustee meetings will be held in the Dr. David R. Andrews ’63, H’13 Executive Conference Room,” President Troy D. VanAken said.

Jennifer Andrews Foody, Sarah Foody, Mary Jo (Enlow) Andrews ’63, Megan Foody, David Foody and Julie Andrews stand in front of the portrait of Dr. David R. Andrews ’63, H’13 on May 2 during the dedication of the conference room that will carry his name.

The former computer lab was redesigned and outfitted with state-of-the-art audiovisual and teleconferencing equipment last fall. Andrews, who passed away in September 2014, had a 40-year history of volunteer service to the College. His service included serving as president of the College’s Alumni Association Board of Directors and membership on the Thiel College Board of Trustees—a role he was committed to from 1983 to 1999, and again from 2000 to 2012. Andrews served

as the Board treasurer and also the chair of the Finance and Investment Committee. David met his wife, Mary Jo (Enlow) Andrews ’63, while they were students at Thiel College.

Over 130 students, faculty and staff inducted into National Society of Leadership and Success The National Society of Leadership and Success held its spring induction on April 24. Several faculty and staff members were recognized, along with the 129 students who were inducted into the organization. Professor Karen Shaffer, M.B.A., delivered the keynote address.

Honorary Membership Awards

Excellence in Service to Students Awards

Christine Cianci, R.N., B.S.N., M.S. Director of Student Health Services and NSLS Adviser

Andy Erb, M.M. Instructor of Performing Arts – Music and Director of Bands

Jared Johnson, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of English and NSLS Adviser

Michael McElroy Production Engineer

David Miller, M.B.A. ‘61 Professor of Economics and Business Administration and Norman P. Mortensen Chair of Economics

Excellence in Teaching Awards David R. Buck, Ph.D. Assistant Dean of the Core Curriculum, Professor of History and Department Chair Ellen Lippert, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Art History and Department Chair

Jennifer S. Griffin, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology and Associate Academic Dean

National Engaged Leaders Student Awards Alessandra Corradi ‘18 Maryanne Elder ‘15 Keonna Fuqua ‘17 Sam Sesti ‘18 Charles Thomas ‘15 Aaron Wakley ‘15 Kelsey Wise ‘15

View photos from the event at 11

Campus Highlights

The Reverend Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, receives an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Thiel College President Troy D. VanAken and Board of Trustees Chair Mark Benninghoff. 12

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Graduates march past the Thiel College sign and then up Brother Martin’s Walk.

“We did it!” A group of new Thiel College alumni celebrate at the Commencement reception after receiving their diplomas.

Historic bishop, full house and blue skies send off Class of 2015 Thiel College’s 141st Commencement exercises recognized 238 graduates, honored The Reverend Elizabeth A. Eaton, M.Div., the first female presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and took place under ideal, summer-like weather. Eaton received an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree and delivered a moving keynote address that compelled the graduates to “make the world a better place.” “You are going to be sent out into the world to make the world a better place,” Bishop Eaton said. “That’s your calling. Spend your lives lavishly in service to (your) neighbor and that neighbor might be somebody here in Greenville or it may be somebody in Pakistan, in China, in Baltimore—anywhere.” Dr. Frank Maenpa, Ph.D., ’69 made the presentation for Bishop Eaton to receive her honorary degree. Senior class president Duncan J. Wingard ’15 announced the senior class gift would be a bronze Tomcat statue, and senior orator Ronnell J. Hunt ’15 addressed the more than 2,000 attendees at the William A. Passavant Memorial Center. Alexis Lynne Bump, Kayla Nicole Hibbard, Danielle Renee Massengill, Steven Morgan, Shayla Elizabeth Percy and Sara Dan’el Toombs were all recognized as valedictorians and Erika Jean Leonhard was the salutatorian. Professor of Psychology Beth Parkinson, Ph.D., was awarded distinguished emerita faculty honors. She retired after 29 years of teaching at Thiel College.

Charles F. Tindall IV ’15 poses with his aunt Kimberly (Postupack) Orseno ’99 and uncle Matthew Orseno ’99 following Commencement for the annual legacy photo in front of Greenville Hall.

Watch Bishop Eaton’s keynote address at


Faculty and Staff News

Borgia article published on impact of Kinzua Dam on Seneca supernatural stories Assistant Professor of English Melissa Borgia, Ph.D., published an article analyzing the supernatural lore of the Seneca people living near the Kinzua Dam. The article appeared in the March edition of the Oral Tradition journal. After briefly tracing the historical richness of Iroquois and Seneca stories about supernatural beings and occurrences, it offers interpretations on these stories that are pertinent to a new generation. Traditional storytellers, such as the various indigenous peoples of North America, use their tales as vehicles for instruction in their communities; an important part of this instruction is maintenance and strengthening of cultural traditions within communities and families. The building of the Kinzua Dam on the Seneca Allegany Territory in the late 1960s and subsequent upheavals in the community have deepened the tradition of stories about supernatural incidents. These old stories have gained strength and guided those removed by the dam’s construction to overcome those splits in the community. Oral Tradition is a journal of the world’s oral traditions and related forms from the ancient world to the present day. The journal is available online. Borgia has a Bachelor of Arts in Writing from Edinboro University, a Master of Science in Bilingual-Bicultural Special Education from Mercyhurst University, and a Ph.D. from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in English, Composition and Teaching English as a Second Language. 14

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Swerdlow published in professional science journal Assistant Professor of Biology and Department Chair Sarah J. Swerdlow, Ph.D., has been looking for a time-saving method of identifying mutant bacteria. In late 2014, she had her research about a breakthrough in that work published. Swerdlow’s paper was published in the December 2014 issue of the Mutation Research - Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis journal. In the traditional method, the genes had to be sequenced to find the mutations. The method discovered in Swerdlow’s paper is faster and costs less than the previous method that has been used for more than 30 years. Swerdlow has a Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology from Clarion University, Pa. and a Ph.D. from the Pathology, Cancer Biology program at Case Western Reserve University, Ohio.

Workshop aims to improve faculty’s classroom engagement with students Senior Associate Director of Northeastern University’s Center for Advancing Teaching and Learning Through Research, Michael Sweet, Ph.D., worked with College faculty in early April on teaching techniques to better challenge, educate and develop students. Team-Based Learning is an instructional strategy that both teachers and students have reported increases levels of student attendance, preparation, participation and critical thinking. This small-group learning technique has increasingly been adopted across disciplines in the last decade.

Haer family donation will fund faculty-student research institute Thiel College alumni Fred Haer ’65 and his wife, Jill (Shackett) Haer ‘66, have pledged more than $400,000 to fund the Greenville Neuromodulation Center (GNC) Faculty/Student Research Institute. The Haers are giving $135,000 per year for three years to pay for multi-year research projects and a summer research institute that will focus on connecting science and liberal arts at Thiel College. The research institute begins this summer and research projects are set to begin in January. “The Haers’ generosity to Thiel College, as well as the Greenville area, is inspiring. This is just one example of the family’s confidence in the value of a liberal arts education and the mission of Thiel College,” President Troy D. VanAken said. “The connection between students and faculty is vital. That relationship is strengthened by working side-by-side on an idea, experiment or project. The GNC Faculty/Student Research Institute will provide significant opportunities for students and faculty to learn and discover together. We are encouraged by the initial projects, excited about the long-term potential of this program and look forward to sharing the outcomes from the research that is conducted.” The institute is open to all Thiel College faculty members, but maintains an emphasis on interdisciplinary science activities. Assistant Professor of Biology Delbert Abi Abdallah, Ph.D.; Assistant Professor of Psychology Shannon Deets, Ph.D.; Assistant Professor of English Jared Johnson, Ph.D.; Assistant Professor of Performing Arts Pete Rydberg, Ph.D.; and Associate Professor of Chemistry Chris Stanisky, Ph.D., have had their research projects selected to be included in the inaugural class. Each will be doing their research in conjunction with students.

Staying current with technology requires

Communications and Marketing integration with IT provides early returns the Office of Communications and

a good deal of reading, especially from

Marketing resides within the Information

online magazines that specialize in the

Technology division. This alignment

trade. Over the past couple of years,

provides for greater collaboration,

the number of articles I have seen

and positions us to take advantage of

referencing the general state of relations

new digital marketing opportunities

between the chief marketing officer

with agility and efficiency. In the short

(CMO) and chief information officer

time since this strategic restructuring

(CIO) has increased dramatically. As a

took place, we have employed some

CIO, I personally enjoyed the title

new digital advertising mediums. Most

“Why CIOs Are Smarter than CMOs” (The

notably, we launched the College’s

Financial Brand), but the most alarming

first online radio campaign in April on

was “Time for CEOs to Step In and Stop

Pandora. We’ve also partnered with the

CIO-CMO Bickering” (CIO Magazine).

Office of Admissions on a high school

These titles hint at a growing trend; an increase in friction between marketing

outreach program that includes banner ads on local school district websites.

and information technology. The cause

While digital media will play an

of this trend is the rampant growth of

important role in our marketing efforts

digital marketing. As a result, marketers

going forward, we will continue to

are being forced to collaborate with

improve upon the traditional media

information technology professionals

we utilize. For example, this edition of

to take advantage of these new outlets,

The Bell has four more pages than our

while investments in television and print

previous standard. The number of press

media decline.

releases from Thiel College’s Office

Companies that successfully coordinate the efforts of these two areas are reaping large benefits. For their

of Communications and Marketing

has increased significantly, resulting in additional local media coverage.

sponsorship of the 2014 World Cup,

This is an exciting time to be in

Adidas created a team of marketing

technology and marketing, and I’m

and IT professionals that reported to a

fortunate to have the opportunity to

single individual. That team leader in

serve both fields with my team. We look

turn reported directly to the CIO and

forward to keeping you informed on all

CMO. This proved to be a recipe for

that is happening at your alma mater.

success, as Adidas held the highest advertising weight (by 22%) among all

Kurt Ashley, M.B.A.

sports companies at the event.

Chief Information Officer

Here at Thiel College, we are on our way towards the successful integration that Adidas modeled in 2014. As of February,

Shearer named Director of Communications and Marketing As part of the larger transition noted to the left, Jonathan Shearer was appointed Director of Communications and Marketing in early February. Shearer has more than seven years of experience in marketing. He joined the College in 2011 as a web specialist and was promoted to associate director of web development in 2014. During his web tenure, he successfully led an inhouse institutional website redesign and designed a campus portal. “We are delighted to welcome Jonathan into his new role at the College,” said President Troy D. VanAken. “Since arriving on campus, he has been an active, creative leader. His position will play an important role in the future of the College as we prepare for our sesquicentennial.” In his new position, Shearer provides leadership for all communications and brand-building efforts. His primary focus will be developing an integrated communication plan that unites print, web, video and social media. Early progress made in his tenure has included increased local media coverage, developing a print production schedule and growing the College’s YouTube presence with new video assets. Shearer earned a bachelor’s degree in fine art (graphic design) from Youngstown State University. Prior to arriving at Thiel, Shearer served as creative director of S Brand Inc. and graphic designer at Keynote Media Group in Youngstown, Ohio. He resides in Brookfield, Ohio. 15

Faculty and Staff News


The Bell

New Faculty Profile Delbert Abi Abdallah, Ph.D. By Dominick DiRienzo Thiel College is the latest stop on

research as the featured article of the

That is a vastly different experience than

a journey that has taken Assistant

month. He has been an author on 10

he had as an undergraduate.

Professor of Biology Delbert

published articles.

As his second semester on campus

Abi Abdallah, Ph.D., from the

comes to a close, Abi Abdallah is

Mediterranean Sea to Florida to

He was a guest lecturer and instructor for

actively participating with the rest of

upstate New York.

various classes at Cornell for about a year

the biology faculty to enhance the

and was an adjunct at Tompkins Cortland

department’s curriculum. The changes

Abi Abdallah’s mother, a Youngstown,

Community College in 2013 and 2014

they are making will better prepare

Ohio native, met his father while

before arriving at Thiel last autumn.

graduates for the rigors of research

visiting Lebanon. They married

work. A recently added tissue culture

and settled in Lebanon, where Abi

It’s a journey that Abi Abdallah wouldn’t

room allows Abi Abdallah and his

Abdallah grew up in the shadows of

change and has him looking forward to

students to research mammalian

the Lebanese Civil War.

what he can accomplish at Thiel College.

parasites and other topics that were

Abi Abdallah was attracted to Thiel

previously impractical.

He came to the U.S. from Lebanon in 2001 to study at Broward Community College. He graduated with highest honors, receiving an Associates of Arts in biology in 2003. The University of Florida was his second academic stop in the United States. He graduated with a B.S. in microbiology and cell science and a chemistry minor in 2005, but he had classes with hundreds of other students. “You couldn’t meet most of your professors,” Abi Abdallah said. “You couldn’t track them down.” Abi Abdallah completed his graduate studies with a doctorate in immunology and infectious disease from Cornell University. He was also a postdoctoral research associate at Cornell from 2011-2013. In 2011, the journal International Immunology published Abi Abdallah’s

College because of the opportunities to In addition to exploring the possibilities

work closely with students.

“The small school culture of Thiel College allows me to have a larger impact on the lives of students. I can do research with undergraduate students,” he said.

One of the best opportunities was his participation on the committee for

the second annual Student Research Symposium this spring. Students

selected various research topics of

their own choosing, including bacterial mutations, Caesarean births in the region, and bacteria that can be found on fish in the area. “The symposium is one example of the way Thiel College faculty can have a lasting influence on their students,” Abi

the tissue culture room offers, he is working on creating an advanced biotechnology method lab. This would support a class offered in collaboration with neuroscience and chemistry. Another curricular change he is working on is creating two separate classes for immunology and parasitology. Currently, the two subjects are offered in one class, but Abi Abdallah has heard from graduates that creating two courses would better prepare students for graduate programs. Aside from his impressive lab work, Abi Abdallah has taught courses in principles of biology, human biology, essentials of medical microbiology, medical parasitology, basic immunology, immunology of infectious diseases, and the practice of laboratory animal medicine.

Abdallah said. Spring 2015


Student News Allgeier traveling to Ireland, Shorts to India as part of Vira Heinz program Katie Allgeier, of Erie, Pa., has received $5,000 and Ivey Shorts, of Saegertown, Pa., received $5,500 from the Vira I. Heinz Scholarships for Women in Global Leadership to help pay for their study abroad experiences during this summer. Katie Allgeier

Allgeier will participate in a five-week program in Galway, Ireland while Shorts will study in several locations throughout India. Allgeier, a rising senior, studies English writing and English literature. “I’m excited to learn about the Irish way of life. I will be taught by all Irish professors, so that I will also get their perspective on things,” Allgeier said. “I’m hoping that I’ll be able to come out with a renewed understanding of who I am as a person and how to handle certain situations.” Shorts, also a rising senior, studies psychology and philosophy. “I hope that the Vira Heinz program will push me to become a better leader,” Shorts said.

Ivey Shorts


Funded by the Heinz Endowments, the Vira I. Heinz Program for Women in Global Leadership prepares women for tomorrow’s global challenges by offering a unique opportunity for international experiences, leadership development and community service. Each year, up to three women of sophomore or junior status are selected from each of 14 regional colleges and universities and admitted to the two-year leadership program. In addition, they participate in a series of retreats designed to cultivate leadership and intercultural skills and perform a community engagement experience.

Symposium showcases student research from past year The second annual college-wide Student Research Symposium was held April 18 in the James Pedas Communication Center. Wes Schmidt’s presentation discussed the effects of temperature on the germination of food crop seeds.

The symposium is an academic forum where students from a variety of disciplines have the opportunity to present the results of their research efforts. Students made more than 40 oral and poster presentations. “When students are inspired and equipped to delve deeply into a topic they have chosen and then synthesize this research into public presentations for their peers, faculty mentors, and friends of the College, we rightly celebrate these achievements as milestones of intellectual maturity,” Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College Lynn Franken, Ph.D., said.

Hunt ’15 caps academic turnaround with accolades, profile and job in field Ronnell Hunt ’15, of New Castle, Pa., capped his academic career with two accolades, some welldeserved attention and a job in his field. Hunt was honored by the Intercollegiate Broadcasting Society (IBS) as one of the top five student radio station managers in the country. He and seven other Thiel television and radio students attended the IBS’ largest conference of the year in New York City. The March 6-8 event featured more than 150 speakers, 100 sessions and tours, and more than 1,400 U.S. and international attendees. Hunt received a Golden Mic finalist trophy for being one of the top five student station managers out of more than 200 applicants.

Fellow students elected Hunt as the senior orator for Commencement. He started working at Pittsburgh television station WPXI as a production specialist in April. Hunt was featured in his hometown newspaper, The New Castle News, in a profile describing his transition from “smart, but lazy” high school student to landing his dream job.

Spring 2015


Student News

Business, History Departments create real world experiences for students By Dominick DiRienzo

Many professors face the challenge of simulating the real world in the classroom, but Assistant Professor of Business Administration and Accounting Karen Shaffer, M.B.A., is solving the problem by bringing the real world into the classroom. In her business communications class, students create resumes, tailor cover letters, develop LinkedIn profiles and start networking. They also create content across multiple mediums and participate in a panel interview. The class aids students in what can be difficult professional situations, such as the art of salary negotiations and professionally giving notice in business communications. Shaffer said executives from beyond Thiel are eager to participate in these mock panel interviews knowing it strengthens the students’ professional readiness. In her advertising course, students worked with eight local businesses to create an advertising improvement program. Student teams collaborated with each business owner on their print advertising, social media and market research strategies. “Had (Professor Shaffer) not told me this was the inaugural project of what she hopes to continue for years, I never would have known. It was well organized and [presented],” said David Schepner, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Bainbridge Kaufman Real Estate. “The students were remarkably astute and insightful.” The advertising project mirrored a similar assignment that Professor Angelo


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Giannini, M.B.A. M.B.A., and his operations management class were working on. His class was also working on a semester-long project with a local growing business. Both classes presented their research and suggestions near the end of the spring semester. Shaffer said she hopes their team projects will produce internship opportunities in the future. “This collaboration with local business creates meaningful programs for the business, goodwill for the college and a needed, real-life canvas for students to practice the art and science of business,” Shaffer said. One business has already implemented suggestions provided by the students. Greenville’s Osborne-Williams Funeral Home and Cremations Services, Inc. has the student-created tagline “Century Strong Eternally Meaningful” in place on its Facebook page.

helping to make the trip affordable for students. Near the end of the fall semester, Professor Angelo Giannini’s Strategic Management class made a presentation and plan submissions to St. Paul’s Continuing Care Community. Two plans were developed; one plan was the new transitional care program, with its scope and marketing strategy. The other plan was a cost analysis of the transitional care and impairment programs. Giannini’s class also made a presentation in late April to Datalock Inc., another local business, for operations management.

“The projects with St. Paul and DataLock are important because the students learn how to operate in a real world situation achieving business goals. For

Shaffer said her strategy is not unique. “I’m sure all the professors integrate it to real life as much as they can,” she said. “Dr. [David] Buck teaching world history and then taking people to Nicaragua, that’s a perfect example. If it has a real world application, everyone stands a little bit taller.”

the area businesses that they

The Nicaragua expedition is a service oriented experience, Buck said. The students who make the trip do charitable work; it is more about broadening cultural horizons and expanding awareness than professional development, he said. Groups from Thiel College traveled to Nicaragua in 2012 and 2014. Buck said he would like to make another in 2016 and wants to hear from students or alumni who are interested in taking the trip or

sound foundation to begin their

develop these operational plans and strategic plans, it is vitally important that the students satisfy their client (business people) objectives,” Giannini said. “These experiences give the students a professional careers.”

Allison Agona

Spring students of the month recognized Allison Agona, Elliott Beach, Alexis Bump, Cassandra Cook, Andrew Gaul, Timothy Hutton, Nicholas Jones, Zachary Macurak, Danielle Massengill and Hannah Stelmach were named Students of the Month during the spring 2015 semester. Agona, of Warren, Ohio, and Beach of Springfield, Ohio earned the recognition in February. Agona graduated in May as an English major specializing in literature with a minor in media communications. After graduation, she hopes to travel with her church on mission trips overseas and within the United States. Beach is a senior history major who will graduate in December 2015 with a secondary education certification. His postgraduation plans include both employment as a high school teacher and a graduate school program in history, with a goal of becoming a college professor. Gaul, of Slippery Rock, Pa., Jones, of Franklin, Pa., and Stelmach, of Reading, Pa., were selected for March. Gaul completed his neuroscience major this May. He interned at the Greenville Neuromodulation Center in Greenville and is doing research at the Cleveland Clinic. He plans to attend medical school to become a neurologist. Jones graduated with a degree in early childhood education/special education. Stelmach earned her degree in biology with a biochemistry minor. She plans to attend veterinary school.

Cook, of Moon Township, Pa., Hutton, of Cranberry Township, Pa., and Macurak, of Bethel Park, Pa. were honored in April. Cook graduated as a senior biology/premedicine major. She plans to take a year to gain work experience and then apply to medical school for the fall of 2016. Hutton graduated with a conservation biology degree, and he plans to pursue a career in zoo keeping, animal husbandry, and animal training. Macurak received his degree with majors in accounting and business administration – finance. Bump, of Meadville, Pa., and Massengill, of North Bend, Wash., earned the recognition in May. Bump graduated with degrees in psychology and sociology. She plans to pursue graduate school in 2016. Massengill graduated with degrees in criminal justice studies, psychology and sociology. She is pursuing graduate assistantship positions, where she can study for her master’s degree and coach softball. Massengill serves as an airman in the United States Air Force Reserve.

Elliott Beach

Alexis Bump

Cassandra Cook

Andrew Gaul

Timothy Hutton

Nicholas Jones

Zachary Macurak

Danielle Massengill

Hannah Stelmach

Spring 2015



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New Neuroscience Department growing, benefits from Greenville Neuromodulation Center partnership

Spring 2015



‘Who are we?’ The question seems so pure and fundamental. Students in Thiel College’s newest academic

GNC began working with the College in 2005 to

department are learning about the tools to answer

develop an interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program

that question and many others related to the

that built on the connection between biology and

mysteries of the brain.

psychology. The program emphasized experiential learning by requiring students to gain laboratory

“Neuroscience is wrestling with the fundamental

experience, take field trips, complete internships

question,” Thiel College’s Greenville

and present senior research projects. In doing so,

Neuromodulation Scholar in Neuroscience and

it prepared students for graduate programs in

Philosophy and Medical Director for the Greenville

neuroscience, biology, psychology, and professional

Neuromodulation Center (GNC) Erwin Montgomery,

programs in various areas of allied health.

M.D., said. “Who are we?” Both GNS and GNC offer internship and job Montgomery has treated over 10,000 Parkinson’s

opportunities for Thiel College students. The Haer

patients, performed hundreds of Deep Brain

legacy also enriches academic conversations on

Stimulation (DBS) surgeries, trained fellows in

campus with the Haer Family Symposium. In its 2014

intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring,

debut, the symposium focused on deep

and invented various hardware and software for

brain stimulation with three experts speaking on the

neurophysiological monitoring and analysis for DBS

topic. In February, GNC strengthened the partnership

surgery. Most recently, he has been using video

with the opening of the Thiel College Study Annex

conferencing to lead surgeons internationally to

for Science and Medical Arts (read more on page 27).

conduct DBS. In fall 2014, the Neuroscience Program evolved into Thiel College and GNC have been working together

its own department. It is now offering both Bachelor

for over a decade, but it’s a partnership that can trace

of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees. Newly

its roots back 50 years to when Fred Haer ’65 and his

hired Department Chair Greg Butcher, Ph.D.,

wife Jill (Shackett) Haer ’66 were on campus. They

arrived at Thiel College from Centenary College

founded FHC in 1970, and through that company,

of Louisiana, where he spent eight years as the

Greenville Neuromodulation Services (GNS) and

neuroscience program coordinator. Butcher earned

GNC were born. GNS and GNC are both located in

dual B.S. degrees in psychology and zoology from

downtown Greenville.

the University of Wyoming, and his doctorate in neuroscience from The Ohio State University. His


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graduate training focused on molecular neurobiology,

Students’ answers covered a range of possibilities,

but his research into biological rhythms employed both

including self-awareness and emotions, but Montgomery

molecular and behavioral techniques.

brought it back to the simplest level after a robust discussion. The neurons in the brain are operating on

Although their approaches come from different angles,

the same principle as a switch. They’re creating a binary

Montgomery and Butcher are both dealing with similar

code of responses that produce complex chemical and

questions. In his role at GNC, Montgomery utilizes deep

electrochemical messages. That basic switch is repeated

brain stimulation to relieve movement and personality

billions of times over in the brain, giving humans

disorders. On campus, Butcher is looking to inspire the

amazing capacities.

next generation of researchers. As students pondered the things that make the brain A recent April afternoon at GNC served as an example

unique and ultimately define us as human, Montgomery

of the benefits the partnership has yielded. Montgomery

brought it back to electricity and those switches — one

addressed a class of 22 Thiel College Dietrich Honors

open, one closed — and passing that pulse on to the

Institute students in GNC’s downtown Greenville building

next one.

(pictured above). Students listened as Montgomery lectured about advanced computers doing complex computations

“Having someone of Erwin’s stature talking to our

and outsmarting gameshow champions at Jeopardy.

students about the brain is a huge asset,” Butcher said.

He asked the students to consider what makes the human

But that is just one facet of what a neuroscientist can be

brain special.

working on. Because the questions that neuroscience Spring 2015



can answer are nearly as infinite as the brain itself,

us understand what it means to be human.”

many people are unaware of what the field and its

practitioners do, Butcher said.

“Nobody knows what a neuroscientist is,” Butcher stated. “But we are working to change that.”

Neuroscience is a field that draws knowledge and skills from many disciplines with a goal of establishing understanding of the brain and behavior. “The [department] will help students explore this fascinating area through an interdisciplinary approach,” Butcher said. “Covering topics from molecules to the human mind, its students will be studying the brain’s impact on our daily lives and help


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He said faculty members across many departments have been helpful, which is why there are a wide range of electives for fulfilling degree requirements. “Having well-rounded students is vital for a small college program,” Butcher said. This commitment to developing well-rounded students resulted in a wide variety of research projects this spring. Three of Butcher’s current students and a psychology major are collaborating on a project at St. Paul’s Continuing Care Community to study the cognitive effects of music on elderly patients (Kelly Bellia and Ryan Weldon pictured above with residents).

Meanwhile, students in Butcher’s

Greenville Neuromodulation Center provides a

Neuropsychopharmacology course tested local

unique opportunity for Thiel students interested in

water samples for different neurotoxins and

clinical neuroscience, medicine, and biotechnology.

neuroendocrine disruptors. They collected

It’s amazing for our students to have [these] options

samples from the Shenango River and Pymatuning

for internships and job opportunities. This is an

Reservoir, then returned to the lab to analyze

exciting time for neuroscience at Thiel College. “

the samples and determine the effects on neuroregeneration in planaria.

While the question of who we are may not be solved in a semester, there’s something far more crucial that

More broadly, neuroscientists are working on

can happen as the department grows.

everything from figuring out concussions to what influences the decisions to like a certain athletic team.

“The College can produce something even more valuable than students who know how to run state-of-

“Neuroscience discoveries and applications touch

the-art equipment — students who know how to ask

multiple aspects of our daily lives,” Butcher said.

the right questions,” Montgomery said.

Finishing its first year as its own department, Butcher

“It’s my belief that our Neuroscience Department will

sees growth ahead.

lead to insights into why humans do what they do and deliver innovative solutions that will enable millions of

“Neuroscience is a growing field that exemplifies

people to live longer and healthier lives,” President

the liberal arts,” Butcher stated. “Additionally, the

Troy D. VanAken said.

GNC learning annex bolsters study options for students, faculty The Thiel College Study Annex for Science and Medical Arts serves students and faculty at GNC’s downtown Greenville location. The space was dedicated on February 5. “The study annex is an excellent opportunity available to all Thiel College students,” Greg Butcher said. Thiel College faculty, staff and students have access to new neuroscience and medical texts, a comfortable study facility and a small gathering place for scientific and scholarly exchange. The initial investment in medical texts will help faculty increase opportunities to

incorporate lessons directly related to human health and disease into their classrooms. Students will also be able to interact with practicing physicians, healthcare professionals, medical industry representatives, as well as accomplished neuroscientists actively engaged in research. The learning center is open to Thiel College students, faculty and staff weekdays from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. and available by faculty request for group discussions or special events. For more information, email or call 724-588-1324.

Top: The Greenville Neuromodulation Center is centrally located in downtown Greenville. Bottom: Students enjoy the new study space at the dedication. Spring 2015



Organizers celebrate Hart’s final relay as a student, focus on event’s future Ryan Hart ’15 (center), founder of Thiel College’s Relay for Life, and his parents lead participants for a lap around the Rissell-Schreyer Dome

Brianna Tiedeman The Record-Argus (Green’15 / ville)

In its first three years, the Thiel College Relay for Life has raised almost $50,000 for the fight against cancer. That’s an impressive sum, but not nearly enough for Ryan Hart ’15. A cancer survivor and founding member of the Thiel College Relay for Life, Hart graduated in May with a degree in philosophy and a coaching minor. The Franklin, Pa. native took his final laps around the Rissell-Schreyer Dome, site of the event, as a student and organizer in April. “All the money is great, but there is still a lot more that can be done,” he said. “There is so much more I want to do since no cure for the disease is on the horizon.” To ensure more gets done once Hart leaves campus, Thiel College students Jordan Lupori ’16 and Nick McNutt ’17 have stepped into the role that Hart filled as event chairs. “We want to make sure [Relay for Life] is no longer concentrated on a few people,” Hart said. “We want to make it a community-wide event.” Finding people to fill those roles was important because Hart is going to be more than just off campus. He is going to be out of the country. Hart plans on taking graduate courses in philosophy at Leuven University in Belgium.


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during the April 11 event. Hart, a cancer survivor, graduated in May.

“Ryan implemented an amazing event,” said Amy Lynn Clark ’04 of the Mercer and Lawrence counties office for the American Cancer Society. “He has definitely given his blood, sweat and tears for the event.” Hart said the event was one of the bright spots in his time at Thiel. His goal for the inaugural event was a modest $4,000. The first event blew past that goal, raising $13,000. The three combined events have raised $47,500 for the fight against cancer. The excitement around the relay continues to grow, Hart said, and organizers are working on ideas to supplement the fundraising and to keep the event growing in popularity. “I definitely owe a debt of gratitude to a lot of people,” Hart said. “There were a lot of people who nurtured the event along.” Lecturer of Education Mary Reames, M.Ed., worked with Hart on the first event. “Ryan Hart is an amazing young man who has more passion for what he does than most I know. He is committed to life and to making those around him live life to the fullest. It is thanks to Ryan that the Relay for Life event was started at Thiel. After recovering from his first bout with cancer, he came

Ryan Hart ‘15

Ryan Hart ’15 (left) participated in his final Thiel College Relay for Life event as a student April 11. Nick McNutt ’17 (right) and his baseball teammate Jordan Lupori ‘16 will fill Ryan’s position as event chair next year.

back to campus with the idea that he wanted to give back. He and I worked very hard to recruit a small group of students who also were passionate about ‘winning the fight,’” Reames said. “The first year of the relay we were truly flying by the seat of our pants, but found that a small group of individuals were determined to make the event a success and we did.” Clark said she is optimistic the next wave of students will be committed to growing what Hart built and more outreach to faculty, staff and alumni will also help develop the event.

Briann The Record-Aa Tiedeman ’15 / rgus (Green ville)

Reames said the event has come a long way in three years and expects it to have a long life as an important campus function. “Relay is now a fixture on Thiel's campus and we hope that it will only grow over the years,” Reames said. “Amy Clark, our representative from the American Cancer Society and a Thiel grad, has helped organize our group so that I think we will be able to continue the good work that Ryan started. We hope that we can engage more faculty and staff members, along with students, to join our efforts. Ryan Hart is my hero. I am so excited about his future!”

Spring 2015



Career Development Center reveals growing internship numbers Student internship numbers are up according to Martin Black, associate dean of career development, and the department is positioned to boost those numbers even more.

Timothy Hutton ’15 interned at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium during the summer of 2014. Hutton’s was one of the 185 internships students have participated in the last academic year.

During the past academic year, students participated in 185 internships. Beginning this summer, three-credit internships will be available to Thiel College students at half the current tuition. “This change has been made in order to allow as many students as possible to enjoy the benefits of an internship and also earn three credits toward graduation,” Black said. He surveyed 16 schools in the region with similar profiles to Thiel College. He found that most schools, while more expensive than Thiel, were offering some sort of tuition discount for summer internships. Black said that while most students do some kind of paid work in the course of the summer and school year, only about 16 percent of students undertook internships. Many of these were quite impressive: environmental work in Prince William Sound,


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Alaska; Spanish-language media outlets in Miami, Florida; physics research in Germany and international marketing in Japan. Students experienced additional off-campus opportunities last year besides internships. In January, students made four site visits to Cleveland-area employers. In February, science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) students traveled to a technology interview day. In March, career development students attended five different events in Pittsburgh (two career fairs, a career workshop at Carnegie Mellon University, and visits to the University of Pittsburgh for a government internship fair and Station Square for a law enforcement fair). For the second time in as many years, a dozen students traveled to New York City to attend an event created by Thiel College alumnus Miguel Mancebo ’77.

He established the SCIP Business Summit and Career Expo for over 350 college and high school students. Ten colleges and universities across New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania participated. Encouraging students to intern and attend career-relevant events all tie into the Career Development Center’s four-year blueprint, a comprehensive plan to prepare students for the workforce before graduation. While 185 internships is a promising start, Black sees this as just the beginning. “We now encourage students to acquire three internships prior to graduation, so we still have a long way to go,” Black said. “I’d like to see these numbers double.” Alumni interested in utilizing Thiel College interns can contact Martin at to learn more!

Athletics News Historic commitment to Thiel wrestling program to be celebrated Wilts endow head wrestling coach position

Director of Athletics Jack Leipheimer ‘74, Rod Wilt ‘86 and President Troy D. VanAken. / Rod Wilt ’86 and his wife Jill (Gardner) Wilt ’85 at their home.

A historic commitment to the Thiel wrestling program will be celebrated during the 35th Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Saturday, May 30 when Thiel Athletic Hall of Fame member Rod Wilt ’86 and his wife Jill (Gardner) Wilt ’85 are recognized for making a $500,000 donation to the wrestling program.

education that will prepare them for a lifetime of success.”

It is the largest donation to any single athletic program in Thiel College history.

As a junior, Wilt set a then Thielrecord with 25 consecutive wins. After winning his first PAC title, he became an All-American by placing second at the NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships.

As a result of the gift, the head wrestling coach position will be endowed and known as the Rod E. Wilt ’86 Head Coach for Thiel College Wrestling. It is the first endowed coaching position at Thiel College and in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC). “Jill and I are thrilled to be able to make this gift to bring long-term stability and leadership to the Thiel wrestling program. We have been inspired by all of the alumni and friends of Thiel who have given so generously over the years,” Rod Wilt said. “We hope that this gift will lead to many future opportunities for student-athletes to compete at a high level while pursuing an

Wilt compiled a three-year wrestling record of 75-16, including consecutive 31-3 records his junior and senior seasons. Wrestling at 167 pounds, he was a three-time NCAA national qualifier and twice earned All-American status.

In 1986, he was selected the PAC Most Valuable Wrestler at the conference championships while again winning the 167-pound weight class. He won the NCAA Regional title and earned AllAmerican status for the second time by placing third at the national championships in 1986, the same year that he earned Academic AllAmerican status. Wilt was inducted into the Thiel College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996. Rod and Jill met at Thiel and have remained active with their alma mater throughout their

professional careers. In 1996, Rod Wilt was elected to represent the 17th Legislative District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, a position he held for a decade. Jill Wilt previously served as Thiel College alumni director and was a past member of the Alumni Board of Directors. They own a commercial real estate consulting business, and Rod is a partner in Oakmont Investment Properties, LLC that owns and manages several apartment communities. Rod Wilt has been a member of the Thiel College Board of Trustees for over 10 years. “Rod and Jill’s extraordinary generosity is a monumental statement about the commitment our alumni have to student success at Thiel College, both in academics and athletics,” President Troy D. VanAken said. “This endowed position, the first in the 60-plus year history of the conference, is a point of Tomcat pride that every student and athlete on campus can share.” The Wilts reside in the Pittsburgh area with their son, Tanner, who is attending LaRoche College and is a starting pitcher on the baseball team. Spring 2015


Athletics News

Car accident, injuries can’t sideline Stoneman by Ed Topoleski ’02 It was Black Friday 2011. Hannah Stoneman, then a senior at Hiland High School in Ohio, was about a mile and a half away from her home on State Route 39. She was returning from a very long night and morning of Christmas shopping. Stoneman was scheduled to have her wisdom teeth taken out and had not had food or drink for hours in preparation for the surgery. “I was super tired,” she recalled. Stoneman’s tired, heavy eyes eventually closed against her best efforts and she fell asleep behind the wheel of her Honda Civic, which crossed the center double yellow line. Narrowly missing a head-on collision, her vehicle sideswiped a large passenger van and spun 180 degrees. The air bag deployed. “I just remember freaking out,” Stoneman said. “It was the worst way to wake up ever. I was just really scared and out of it. I wasn’t really sure what was going on. I couldn’t really move. The whole front end [of the car] was squished up … the steering wheel was right on top of my lap and I couldn’t move. I just remember sitting there moving my toes and I was like ‘I’m not paralyzed, thank God!’” Stoneman was pried from her Honda Civic using the Jaws of Life and rushed to the local hospital emergency room. After X-rays, Stoneman was transported to Akron Children’s Hospital in Akron, Ohio via ambulance. Emergency surgery followed where doctors repaired the severed patellar tendon in her right knee and treated her for multiple lacerations on her knees; one of which went down to the bone, another which nearly went to the bone, and around her eyes.


lost muscle mass and strength in her right leg and knee. Three months of grueling physical therapy followed, and a less restrictive knee brace was eventually introduced. Throughout her accident and subsequent physical therapy, basketball wasn’t even on her mind until she received a phone call from Angie Zeuch, Thiel College’s women’s basketball head coach at the time. “[Zeuch] said she was still interested,” Stoneman said. “She was like ‘I think if you do lots of rehab and recovery, you could still do this.’ I think that was kind of the spark I needed, someone to be interested in me.” Stoneman went on to appear in 17 games with the Tomcats her freshman year and made 14 starts. A 6-foot-1 forward, she scored 44 points and grabbed 47 rebounds as a freshman. “She had a lot to overcome just to step on the court for us,” said Rob Clune, who took over as head coach of Thiel’s women’s basketball team before Stoneman’s freshman year. “She’s one of the hardest workers on the team.” She played in 17 games as a sophomore, a season in which she scored 112 points and pulled down 59 rebounds. She was the third-leading scorer on the team her junior year, netting 147 points while corralling 74 rebounds. In addition to the injuries she sustained in the car accident, Stoneman has also dealt with a bad back since high school, including chronic muscle spasms and two bulging discs.

“It was just really weird to take it all in because it happened so fast,” Stoneman said. “When you wake up from surgery, that’s when it really hits you. I remember they made me try to walk the next day [after surgery], and that was one of the most painful things ever.”

“From my standpoint, I look up to her when I see how hard she works and continues to work even through some frustrations,” Clune said. “She keeps coming back and continues to work hard, continues to make her body stronger, her legs strong. She’s a special person … and a great influence on our program.”

Stoneman was in a large immobilizer, from upper ankle to mid-thigh, for two months. Unable to bend her knee, she

Stoneman has not let her injuries prevent her from playing Division III college basketball at a high level.

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“The stuff I have, I have to deal with it for life,” Stoneman said. “So it’s gonna hurt. If I have the opportunity to play basketball, a sport I love, then I just have to do a little more work on the side to be where everybody else is at.” Stoneman brings the same attitude to the classroom and in community service. A double major in early childhood/ special education, she carries a 3.56 cumulative grade-point average. She is a student employee for the Thiel College athletics department and has been involved in the Thiel College Phonathon. The Secretary of Thiel’s chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, the international education honor society, Stoneman is also in the process of becoming a member of Thiel’s chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success. She enjoys volunteering at local elementary school classrooms and organized Thiel’s Grey Out Game for brain cancer awareness, with funds raised being donated in Lauren Hill’s name. Stoneman plans to study abroad this summer in London and Paris, and she may be interested in working for AmeriCorps, a civil society program dedicated to community service, upon graduation.

Tomcats win 21st PAC Championship

Byham, Powell shine in 2015 by Ed Topoleski ’02 The Thiel College wrestling team wrapped up its 21st Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) Championship, and four Tomcats won individual titles at the 56th annual PAC Wrestling Championships, which took place at Washington & Jefferson College in February. Thiel won the team championship with 106.5 points. W&J finished second with 93.5 points while Waynesburg finished third with 93 points. It was Thiel College’s first team title since 2012. “It was an exciting night of wrestling,” said Rod E. Wilt ’86 Head Coach for Thiel College Wrestling Craig Thurber. “It was a total team effort and I’m very proud of the guys that competed, all the guys in the practice room and our coaches.” Thurber was named the PAC Coach of the Year while Jordan Powell (174) took home the conference’s award for Most Outstanding Wrestler. Powell was one of four Tomcats to win individual titles at the conference championships. He defeated Waynesburg’s Ryan Shank 4-0 in the

Sean Byham ’15 qualified for the NCAA Division III National Championship. / Jordan Powell was named Most Outstanding Wrestler and the Rod E. Wilt ’86 Head Coach for Thiel College Wrestling Craig Thurber was named PAC Coach of the Year.

first round before pinning W&J’s Sonnieboy Blanco in 5:51 to win his third career PAC title. A senior, Powell also won conference titles in 2013 (165) and 2014 (174). Nick Sutton (141), Marco Crivelli (184) and Jerrold Roosa (197) also won individual PAC titles for the Tomcats. Sutton earned a major decision (13-4) over Waynesburg’s D.J. Grindle in the second round. He won the 141-pound title with a 10-7 decision over W&J’s Dan Pommerer. Crivelli pinned W&J’s William Oberschelp (5:41) in the first round before going on to win an 8-4 decision over Waynesburg’s Patrick Jennings for the individual championship. Roosa eked out a 2-0 win over Waynesburg’s Genarro Bonaventura before claiming the 197-pound crown with a 6-1 decision over W&J’s Zeke Stroupe. Following the PAC Wrestling

Championships, senior Sean Byham (157) went on to qualify for the NCAA Division III National Championship in Hershey, Pa. with a third-place finish at the NCAA Mideast Regional Championship. Thurber has had at least one wrestler qualify for the national championship each of his 12 seasons at Thiel. In March, Byham and Crivelli were also named Scholar All-Americans by the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA). Byham went 27-11 on the year while Crivelli went 24-9. Of the 2,900 student-wrestlers who competed at the Division III level this season, only 159 earned Scholar All-American honors from the NWCA. “Sean and Marco are great examples of student-athletes,” Thurber said. “They put forth a tremendous amount of effort in both their academics and wrestling, and I am very proud of both of them.” Spring 2015


Athletics News

Four standout student-athletes, legendary wrestling coach to be enshrined in Thiel Athletic Hall of Fame by Ed Topoleski ’02 Four standout student-athletes and a legendary wrestling coach will be inducted into the Thiel College Athletics Hall of Fame on Saturday, May 30. The Thiel College Athletics 35th Hall of Fame induction class will include: John Castaldo ’70 (football), Randy Chiquelin ’04 (baseball), Tracy (Henderson) Orner ’01 (softball, basketball, track & field), Jim Kick ’82 (football) and longtime wrestling coach Mark Vennis. “We are proud to enshrine the 35th induction class,” said Thiel College Director of Athletics Jack Leipheimer ’74. “This year’s class represents several sports over multiple eras, and each inductee is very deserving of this great honor.”

A four-year letter winner as a defensive back, Castaldo was a member of Thiel’s first PAC championship football team in 1967 and was an all-conference selection as a senior in 1969. As a senior, he recorded 26 tackles, two interceptions and a fumble recovery. He intercepted six passes in his junior and sophomore seasons.


The Bell

Chiquelin was a four-year letterman and a four-time All-PAC selection in baseball. He earned All-PAC firstteam honors in 2002 and 2003 and second-team nods in 2000 and 2001. Chiquelin was the PAC Player of the Year in 2002, the same year he earned All-Region second team honors. He was also a key player on Thiel’s 2003 PAC championship team. At the time of his graduation, Chiquelin held nine Thiel baseball records. He is Thiel’s all-time career home runs leader (31), second in RBIs (148) and third in career total bases (285).

Henderson Orner was a four-year letter winner in basketball and softball. She also competed in track & field, earning a fourth-place finish in javelin at the PAC Championships in 1998. Accomplished in basketball and track & field, Henderson was most successful in softball, where she was a four-time team MVP and a four-time All-PAC first team selection. She was the PAC Freshman of the Year in 1997 and finished as the runner-up for the conference’s Player of the Year. She went on to be named the PAC Player of the Year in 1998 and 1999.

Henderson held 18 Thiel softball records at the time of her graduation. She still holds career program records for: batting average (.460), runs scored (96), RBIs (102), triples (23) and total bases (255).

Kick was a four-year letter winner as wide receiver from 1978-81 and was an All-PAC first-team selection as a senior. During his senior year in 1981, Kick was the PAC Player of the Week after recording seven catches for 215 yards, a then school record total. He closed out his senior season with a 12-catch, 213-yard performance in a loss against Westminster. He caught 56 passes, including nine touchdowns, in 1981 for 1,147 yards. He set Thiel records for catches (56) and total yards (1,147) in a single season. In all, Kick caught 80 career passes for 1,538 yards and 13 touchdowns. He still ranks third in program history in career touchdown catches and fifth in receiving yards.

(NCAA) Regional Championships. Vennis was given the task of building the program from the ground up. In his first year as head coach the team went 0-11-1. The Tomcats went 8-6 in Vennis’ second season and 13-1 in his third season.

Vennis was vital in turning Thiel wrestling into a perennial Division III powerhouse for nearly two decades. In his 19-year tenure with Thiel College, Vennis coached 15 NCAA All-Americans, 19 National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Scholar All-Americans and 45 NCAA national qualifiers.

Vennis first joined the Thiel College Department of Athletics in 1982 as head wrestling coach and assistant football coach. Vennis compiled an outstanding 148-56-2 dual meet record. His teams won 21 tournament championships and finished as runners-up 17 times. In 2004, Vennis was selected as a member of the NWCA Division III Hall of Fame.

In 2001, Vennis coached the school’s first two three-time NWCA ScholarAmericans, seniors Sean Clark and Dustin Wilkinson. Vennis also served Thiel as head football coach (3 years), assistant football coach (12 years), head baseball coach (3 years), head women’s volleyball coach (1 year) and head women’s soccer coach (1 year).

Vennis is originally from Fairmont, W.Va. He and his wife, Diane, live in Geneva, Ohio. They have two adult children who are Thiel alumni, Todd ’91, who is a member of the Thiel College Athletics Hall of Fame, and Traci ’94. Mark and his son, Todd, are first father-son duo to be enshrined in the Thiel College Athletics Hall of Fame.

Vennis was nominated three times for the NCAA Division III National Coach of the Year award and won Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) Coach of the Year honors an astounding 11 times. He led the Tomcats to nine PAC titles. He also saw three of his teams win National Collegiate Athletic Association

The 35th Annual Athletics Hall of Fame induction ceremony and dinner will be held Saturday, May 30 at 4 p.m. in the Lutheran Heritage Room, which is located in the College’s Howard Miller Student Center.

Spring 2015


41 Tomcats named to PAC fall 2014 Academic Honor Roll 41 Thiel College student-athletes were named to the Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) Academic Honor Roll for the fall 2014 semester. The PAC Academic Honor Roll recognizes student-athletes on varsity sports teams who have earned a grade-point average of 3.60 or higher during their semester of competition. The list of Thiel student-athletes who were named to the PAC Academic Honor Roll for the fall 2014 semester is included below.



Francis Ahia (HM), Sr. Political Science Men’s Soccer Penn Hills, Pa./Penn Hills

Ray Hanzak, Jr. Web Development Men’s Soccer Madison, Ohio/Madison

Keegan Moss, Fr. Chemistry (American Chemical Society Certified) Men’s Soccer Atwater, Ohio/Waterloo

Morgan Berg (1), Jr. Early Childhood/Special Education Women’s Soccer Cleveland, Ohio/Rocky River

Alex Horvatits, So. Early Childhood/Special Education Football Lancaster, N.Y./Saint Mary’s

Mary Oakey, Jr. Binary Physics/Applied Physics Women’s Soccer Baltimore, Md./Mercy

Veronica Brueggman (HM), Fr. Communication Sciences & Disorders Women’s Volleyball South Park, Pa./South Park

Nicole Jeschelnig, Sr. Biology Women’s Soccer Madison, Ohio/Madison

Monica Ochoa, Sr. Psychology Women’s Soccer North Royalton, Ohio/Padua Franciscan

Austin Bussard, Fr. Binary Engineering Football Rural Valley, Pa./West Shamokin

Megan Kidder, Jr. Mathematics/Actuarial Studies Women’s Cross Country Worthington, Pa./Kittanning

Jennifer Rickens, So. Mathematics/Binary Engineering/Applied Physics Women’s Soccer Pittsburgh, Pa./Chartiers Valley

Nicole Carlton, Sr. Biology Women’s Tennis Beloit, Ohio/West Branch

Beverly Kozuch, So. Biology Women’s Cross Country Templeton, Pa./West Shamokin

Chey Ross, Sr. Communication Sciences & Disorders Women’s Soccer Sigel, Pa./Brookville

Amanda Cavender, Jr. Conservation Biology Women’s Soccer Warren, Ohio/Howland

Steve Kozuch, Jr. Biology Football Templeton, Pa./West Shamokin

Nick Sarratori, Fr. History Football Eden, N.Y./Eden

John Clark, So. Web Development Men’s Cross Country Morrisdale, Pa./West Branch

Zach Kubec, Sr. Computer Science Men’s Soccer Geneva, Ohio/Geneva

Jenny Shelley, So. Early Childhood/Special Education Women’s Volleyball Port Allegany, Pa./Port Allegany

Cody Covine, Sr. Criminal Justice Studies Football Cambridge Springs, Pa./Maplewood

Allen Kuechenmeister, Sr. Early Childhood/Special Education Men’s Soccer Pittsburgh, Pa./Taylor Allderdice

Rich Smallwood (HM), Sr. Accounting/Business Administration Football Aliquippa, Pa./Hopewell

Jessa Covine, Fr. Exploratory Women’s Volleyball Cambridge Springs, Pa./Maplewood

Trevor Martin, So. Accounting/Business Administration Finance Football Meadville, Pa./Meadville

Meri Steinmetz (2), Jr. Fine Art Women’s Cross Country Raritan, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan

Kristin Diegan, Sr. Early Childhood/Special Education Women’s Cross Country Hermitage, Pa./Hickory

Sara Matczak, So. Business Administration Management/Mathematics Women’s Tennis Erie, Pa./Fairview

John Thiel, Fr. Mathematics Men’s Soccer Pickerington, Ohio/Bishop Hartley

Brooke Gates, Fr. Secondary Education/Biology Women’s Soccer Middletown, Pa./Middletown Area

Christian McElhaney, Fr. Accounting Men’s Cross Country Jamestown, Pa./Jamestown

Tom Thorpe, Sr. Business Administration Management Football Charleroi, Pa./Charleroi

Danielle Gomula, So. Psychology Women’s Volleyball Northfield, Ohio/Trinity

Ashley McMillen, So. Communication Sciences & Disorders Women’s Soccer Cheswick, Pa./Deer Lakes

Summer Wark, So. Psychology Women’s Cross Country Hadley, Pa./Commodore Perry

Chase Good (HM), Sr. Biology Football Sebring, Ohio/Sebring McKinley

Lauren Mittner, Jr. Communication Sciences & Disorders Women’s Tennis New Brighton, Pa./New Brighton

Yosief Woldegebriel, Sr. Accounting/Business Administration Finance Men’s Soccer Warmister, Pa./William Tennent

Alex Hall (2), Sr. Communication Sciences & Disorders Women’s Volleyball Norwin, Pa./Norwin

Steve Morgan (1), Sr. Business Administration/Political Science Men’s Cross Country Raritan, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan

The Bell

Meet the Boards

Mark A. Benninghoff ’82 Board of Trustees, Chair

Dr. Barry Stamm ’70 Board of Trustees, Vice Chair


Cathryn Zawacki ’71


Michael G. Zawoysky ’79

Mark Benninghoff ’82, Chair

Chip Dufala ’92 Board of Trustees, Treasurer


G. Leah Dever ’74 Board of Trustees, Secretary


Dr. Frank Baker

Chip Dufala ’92, Treasurer

Antonio Quarterman ’08 Vice President

Dr. Robert O. Blomquist H’99

G. Leah Dever ’74, Secretary

Dawn Salter ’95 - Secretary

Dr. Glen R. Johnson H’88

Dr. Troy D. VanAken, Ex-Officio

Dr. James McHugh ’62, H’02


Barbara Nakles

Deborah Ajak Mogle ’75

Dr. James Pedas ’50, H’89

Michael A. Allen ’90

Edward G. Redman ‘60

Laura Broome ’92

Dr. Roy Strausbaugh H’14

Nikki Colpo ’06

Dr. John L. Vitale ’47, H’90

Chelsea Costello ’14

Dr. Howard Weyers ’56, H’11

Dr. Karen E. Ely ’84


Maggie A. Giel-Bovaird ’09

Dr. Barry Stamm ’70, Vice Chair

TRUSTEES John M. Barr ’70 Dr. Robert Burns ’74 Lewis Carbone ’71 Jason Chappell ’96 Connie Danko ’69 Dale W. Deist Rev. Brian Evans ’03 Dr. Alan Fager ’69 John R. Frangakis Fred Haer ’65 John Hudson Rick Huether ’74 Dr. Cara Hoehn-Lapic ’92

Glen Augustine

David Hummel ’83

Gary Best ’77

James M. McRoberts ’58

James D. Bittel, Jr. ’60

Michael Miller ’92

Robert C. Denove ’75

Jessica Phillips ’08

David L. Hofius ’64

Elizabeth Prada ’04

Michael J. Kuder

Allen Schreiber ’99

Chris Loutzenhiser

David S. Schreiber ’00

Eric S. Newman ’99

Dr. Fred Luchette ’76

Marion (Norris) Shoemaker ’63

Sue A. Nicklin

Dr. Frank Maenpa ‘69

Richard Smallwood ‘15

Lee Ann Nucerino ’87

Catherine V. Mott

Michael Stimac ’08

Leo M. Phillips ’84

Barry Oman ’74

Glenn C. Riley

Ronald W. Owen ’71

Paul H. Saternow, C.S.P. ’71

William V. Parker ’75

Mathew J. Saur ’11


Susan R. Snowden, Esq.

John E. Thigpen ’86

Ricardo Daley ’96

Dr. Sarah Taylor-Rogers ’69

Nicholas Travaglianti ’11

Dr. Christopher Shinkman ’62

Miles Wallace

Jeffrey Wallace

Paul Stibich ’05

The Hon. Roy W. Wilt ’59, H’85

John Wotus ’74

Rod Wilt ’86

Brianna L. Sweet-Lawn ’13 Damen L. Taylor ’95

Spring 2015


Thiel College Board of Trustees

Profile of Distinction G. Leah Dever ’74, appointed November 2013 Dever retired as the associate director of safety, security and infrastructure in the Department of Energy’s Office of Science where she had operational oversight of the federal government’s system of 10 national laboratories. During her career in the Department of Energy, Leah led organizations that managed and oversaw large scale activities at nuclear weapons facilities and science laboratories in Nevada, Ohio, New York, Tennessee, Kentucky, Washington, Maryland and California. The first ten years of her career were spent in engineering firms where she evaluated the impact of large industrial projects and recommended solutions that would mitigate environmental and safety concerns. Dever also taught courses in biology and ecology at several community colleges. Dever graduated from Thiel College in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in biology and earned a master’s degree in biology/ecology from Pennsylvania State University. Where has home been? Currently Bonita Springs, Fla. I grew up in Indiana, Pa. After grad school, I lived in Camp Hill, Pa.; Gaithersburg, Md.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Miamisburg, Ohio; Oak Ridge, Tenn.; and back to Gaithersburg, before retiring to Bonita Springs in 2006. Family? My mother lives in Indiana, Pa. I have two younger sisters, one in Scottsdale, Az., and one in Scenery Hill, Pa. I have nephews and nieces scattered around the country. I did not have children. My “significant other”, Dennis Hamby, and I have been together since 1992. Why is being a part of the Board of Trustees important to you? Being a member of the Board of Trustees is a way for me to give back to the College that provided me with an excellent education and the experiences that enabled me to have a wonderful career and life. Thiel College holds a very special place in my heart as it was the place where I grew so much as a person. It is an honor to be a member of the Board of Trustees. Why should other alumni consider giving back to their alma mater? It is important to give back to ensure that others can also have a high quality education and experiences that Thiel College provides. Ensuring that Thiel College remains strong, vibrant and nurturing is a responsibility of all alumni who succeeded in their lives and careers. I believe a large part of our successes can be attributed to the type of education Thiel College provides - small class sizes, engaged professors and caring staff. What faculty members significantly impacted your education and life at Thiel? All the Biology and Chemistry professors were important to me. Dr. Ode, in Biology, was especially important because I also worked for him in the labs and office. He was so kind and generous with his time and he willingly taught me and another


The Bell

student Invertebrate Zoology in his office. And, I took a business related class from David Miller even though biology was my major. Learning a little about economics and business served me well as I proceeded to grad school and then into my career. What is your favorite memory of Thiel? I have so many fond memories of Thiel! I can’t pick a favorite. Some of my favorites include: meeting my freshman roommate, who became a lifelong friend; becoming a ZTA and gaining so many lifelong friends; crying my eyes out at graduation because I didn’t want the experience to end. Describe your areas of interest related to Thiel College through your service on our Board of Trustees. I spent my career working on the operational aspects of industrial facilities and science laboratories; therefore, my first interest is to work on infrastructure and new building projects, safety and security issues and information technology. I am also very interested in helping advance Thiel’s academic programs. And, I am pleased to serve as the Board secretary. What advice would you be willing to offer Thiel College students pursuing their degree? Challenge yourself to do your very best in every class (even if it isn’t your favorite). Also, enjoy the experience of learning, but don’t let your studies be the only thing you do – engage in other activities. In addition, remember that you can choose your attitude when you enter your classroom or workplace. Choose to be positive, cheerful and willing. And finally, there is a big difference between management and leadership. We manage “things” such as paper and material products. We lead people and you don’t need to be a “boss” to lead -- a leader will cheer on the team and encourage everyone to do their best; a leader will shoulder responsibility for a mistake and will share the successes with everyone.

Let’s keep in touch!

Join us for an

Alumni Event

near you!

JUNE 2015 June 18 Narcisi Winery Networking Event (Hosted by Sara Narcisi ‘63) 6 – 8 p.m. Narcisi Winery − Gibsonia, PA June 26 Hersheypark Alumni Day Hersheypark − Hershey, PA

JULY July 16 Beachwood Happy Hour 6 – 8 p.m. Cedar Creek Grille − Beachwood, OH July 23 Thiel Fund Kickoff Event 6 – 9 p.m. Lago Winery − Jamestown, PA

AUGUST August 7– 8 Business Department and Haller Award Recipients Reunion Weekend Thiel College − Greenville, PA August 12 Lombard Happy Hour 6 – 8 p.m. Rock Bottom Brewery − Lombard, IL August 14 Toledo Happy Hour 6 – 8 p.m. Real Seafood Company − Toledo, OH August 16 Summer Alumni/Student Picnic (Hosted by Pittsburgh Area Alumni Club) Noon – 3 p.m. TBD − Pittsburgh, PA

August 23 Alumni Day at Kennywood Kennywood Park − Pittsburgh, PA

November 20 Light Up Night event Pittsburgh, PA


TBD New York City Express Trip Anderson Coach & Travel bus trip

September 13 Pittsburgh Pirates Game (World Series suite) 1:35 p.m. PNC Park − Pittsburgh, PA Tickets: $50 (includes pre-game family activities on Federal Street, World Series suite tickets, appetizers, drinks, and a Pittsburgh Pirates hat) September 30 Westmoreland County Event (Hosted by Dr. Jim McHugh ‘62 H’02) TBD − Greensburg, PA

OCTOBER October 9 –11 Homecoming Weekend “Forever Gold” Thiel College − Greenville, PA October 12 – 21 Special Events in 20 U.S. Cities More details to be announced during Homecoming weekend – stay tuned! October 26 – 30 West Coast Alumni & Friends Events California, Oregon, and Washington

DECEMBER December 8 Holiday Networking Event 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Duquesne Club − Pittsburgh, PA Straight No Chaser 8 p.m. Benedum Center − Pittsburgh, PA TBD Holiday Networking Event (Hosted by Ruthanne Beighley, Esq. ‘73 & Joe George)

MAY 2016 May 10–18 Alumni Trip to Ireland More details to follow!

Some dates and times may change. Additional events to be announced by the Baltimore/D.C. and Pittsburgh Alumni Clubs. For a full list of events, visit

NOVEMBER TBD Trans-Siberian Orchestra (Hosted by Carl ‘69 H’10 & Theresa Hoffman) Giant Center − Hershey, PA

Kraig R. Smith Director of Alumni Relations 724-589-2027

Spring 2015


Alumni News 1960s


GARY FINCKE ’67 has published

DOUG RUDE ’80 works for MetLife

two new books in 2015: “Vanishings,

as an IT relationship consultant.

a memoir,” from Stephen F. Austin

Doug resides in Clayton, N.C.

University, and “A Room of Rain,” his sixth collection of stories, from


West Virginia University. He is the

and partner Bob Anders III are now

Charles Degenstein Professor of

living full time in Akumal, Quintana

English and Creative Writing at

Roo, Mexico. Sherwood left his

Susquehanna University.

position as marketing manager at Cupertino Electric. The two


had been dividing time between

is now a retired U.S. Army PCUSA

their home in San Francisco and


home in Mexico. They now live fulltime in Akumal. Sherwood is


involved in animal rescue and

written two murder mystery novels,

environmental protection in

“Testing the Waters” and “Keeping Promises Can Be Murder.”



PAUL DIGEL ’84 was recently

TRUDY (DAVIS) FORBUSH ’76 continues to practice in physical therapy as a primary therapist at an outpatient clinic in Conway, Ark. STEVEN FORBUSH ’76 has attained his Ph.D. in physical therapy from Nova Southeastern University and has been working as an assistant professor at the University of Central Arkansas since 2006. VICKIE (JANOS) FISCHER ’78 and husband Robert reside in Meadville, Pa. In June 2013, after 35 years of dedicated service, Vickie retired from Crawford Central School District. The two became proud grandparents on March 10, 2015.


Akumal, and volunteers with several

The Bell

promoted to supervisory contract specialist with the Department of Justice - Federal Bureau of Prisons.

DAVID ALEXANDER, ESQ. ’87 is a senior attorney at Lenington & Parrino LLP. David resides in Washington, Pa. TIMOTHY BLACK ’89 is the corporate aftermarket manager at Z&M Ag and Turf. He is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of WCA Hospital in Jamestown, N.Y. Timothy is also the treasurer of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County and a member of the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.

1990s BARBARA (DAVIS) SENECAL ’93 is the executive minister at First Presbyterian Church of New York. Barbara resides in Brooklyn, N.Y. JUDY M. (BLAVOS) MCCAULEY ‘95 works in the IT department for a manufacturer that specializes in truck caps, lids, and tractor hoods. ALISON BOYLE ’97 is the director


of volunteer and participant services

assistant professor of fine art at

at The First Tee of Pittsburgh.

Wheeling Jesuit University. Georgia resides in Wheeling, W.Va. DAVID LOVE ’86 retired as a New Jersey state correction officer in 2003. David resides in Maplewood, N.J. LAURA (BORNES) ENDICOTT ‘88 resides in Green Creek, N.J. with her children, Courtney (24), Kelsey (11), and Jillian (7). Laura married GLEN ENDICOTT ’84 on Sept. 13, 2015.

2016 IRELAND TRIP Join alumni and friends of Thiel College on an exclusive educational travel experience in western Ireland in May 2016. Spend a week exploring historic locations like County Mayo, Galway, Westport House, Achill Island, while also enjoying the history and literature of the Emerald Isle. The tour will include attending a Thiel College Choir performance. For more information, contact Director of Alumni Relations Kraig R. Smith ’12 at (724) 589-2027 or







mathematics teacher at Allegheny-


Clarion Valley School District. Randy

his Ph.D. in

resides in Parker, Pa.

to Mark Klinger. The couple resides in Philadelphia, Pa. ROMAINE (REAGLE)

political science at Temple

ERIN HUFF ’13 is the marketing

University in

coordinator for Synergy Comp.


February 2015. Nathan began working toward his Ph.D. in 2009 while simultaneously serving as a research assistant at Temple’s Center on Regional Politics, an adjunct professor at Drexel and Neumann Universities, and correspondent for the Philadelphia Public Record. He took over as assistant professor of political science at Millsaps College in

on September


27, 2014 at

JOHN PYSHNIK ’72 to Rob Bass in

Cascade Park

2014. The two have been together

in New Castle,

for 38 years. The couple resides in


Gardners, Pa.

’10 (maid of honor), REBECCA DAWN L. BROWER-SMITH ’90 to


David Smith on October 4, 2014. The

’12, ANDY PERETIC ’12, Holt

couple resides in Fredrick, Md.

Hoffmeier (current student) were all in attendance

Jackson, Miss. in August 2014.




in Pittsburgh, Pa. Shauna works

‘09 on June 14,

for the United States Department

2014. The couple

of Veterans Affairs with medical

resides in Indiana,


Pa. Kevin is a

MATTHEW BORSA ’05 resides in Hermitage, Pa. Matthew is the assistant program specialist for Whole Life Services Inc. Matthew and his wife, Jenna, purchased their first home last summer.



pathologist at St. Andrew’s Village

Andrew Bovaird on July 26, 2014.

Senior Living Community, and Sheila


is a full-time doctoral student in

served as matron of honor along

the literature and criticism program

with SARA FARLEY ’09, Brittany

and part-time instructor at Indiana

Firman and DANIELLE KAIZER ’09

University of Pennsylvania.

who served as bridesmaids. The



’06 is now the budget manager for

Macdougal in San Francisco, Calif.

the Mylan School of Pharmacy at

on Oct. 4, 2013. LISA (KANE)

Duquesne University. Melanie and her

CAPOZZOLI ’01 was Kristin’s

husband, DANIEL HORVATH ’05,

attendant. Harry Wilson was Mark’s

reside in Wexford, Pa.

attendant. The couple resides in Lumberton, N.J.

couple resides in Pittsburgh, Pa. where Maggie is employed by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh. Her husband works with the PA Office of the Attorney General. Maggie also serves on the Thiel College Alumni Board of Directors.

UPDATE YOUR ALUMNI PROFILE Whether it’s a new email or mailing address, complete our online form to let us know how to stay in touch. Visit to update your alumni file. For more information, contact Director of Alumni Relations Kraig R. Smith ‘12 at 724-589-2027 or


Alumni News

From the desk of Professor Miller

HEROIC ACTS SCOTT RUSSELL ’71 was out for what he thought would be an ordinary day of golf on an unusually warm winter day in Utah. Scott was preparing to tee off when he spotted a plane about 100 yards away clip a tree and take a spill into a sand bunker. Scott, who is quite familiar with sand bunkers, came to the rescue and can be seen in the red shirt below saving the pilot and passenger from the plane. The pilot and a passenger were rescued and suffered mild injuries. Scott described his next tee off as “really good” for those of you wondering.


GRANT COOPER ’07 and his wife RACHEL (KICK) COOPER ‘06 with their son, Harrison James

Prof. David Miller ’61 (center), with his son Michael ’92 and wife Ruth

When I was a young boy growing up in Mercer, our neighbors had a sun dial in their backyard. On the pedestal holding the sundial was a quote: “Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be.” For some reason, I was fascinated at the time with both the sundial and the quote. As I reflect back [on 2014], this quote has taken on a very special meaning to me. When I was approached by [Thiel College’s Vice President for College Advancement] over a year ago and asked if I would lend my name to a significant fundraising initiative, I agreed without hesitation. Thiel College has been such a big part of my life, and I am so grateful that it has been so; I am always willing to do whatever I can for this great institution. It was not until late April that I was informed that part of the campaign would create an endowed chair in my name and that a special luncheon would be held in my honor to kick off the event. And I must say this was one of the most special days of my life. I was in my [office at Thiel] today and I was reflecting on the list of names of all of my former students, colleagues and friends who have contributed to the David Miller Chair. I was so moved and humbled once again, that I felt compelled to write you and say “thank you” one more time for your contribution. Warmest regards to all,

Cooper, who was born July 9, 2014. Pictured on the right are Harrison’s grandparents LAURA (CLARK) KICK ’83 and JAMES KICK ’82.

Dave Miller

Grant, Rachel, and Harrison reside in


Eighty Four, Pa. and Laura and Jim

Reunite with Professor Miller, current and former faculty

reside in Mount Pleasant, S.C. Jim

members, and other Business Department alumni at the

will also be enshrined in the Thiel

Business Department and Haller Award Recipients Reunion

Athletics Hall of Fame this May for his

Weekend on August 7 and 8. To view the full schedule and

accomplishments on the football field.

RSVP online, visit

The Bell

IN MEMORIAM Lynn Ann Adams ’83

Michael Kolesar ’49

R. Glenn Adams ’48

Joann Leckfor

Errol Anderson ’64

John H. Loncosky ’59

Blaine E. Anthony

Elsie Luke ’50

Richard B. Bennett

Geraldine Moyer Malmberg ’46

Gloria Krichbaum Bollens ’52

Paul R. Malmberg ’44, H’81

Betty Bowen

Domenick Marsiglio ’45

John T. Braughler ’47, H’68

Ivan C. Marsteller ’37

Sheryl J. Brinker

Barbara McGrath Massing ’55

William Cadman

Guy F. McCracken

Charles M. Cagno ’64

Raymond G. Millero

Patricia Murray Callan ’75

Robert Morneweck

Paul S. Clare ’60

Carl O. Nelson

Robert E. Clark ’62

George R. Oesterling ’70

Judith Szall Dinsmore ’69

Donald I. Oill ’90

Wayne Eakin

Marian Orr

Janet K. Ellwood

Robert Patton

Robert J. Firman ’36

Idalia Brisco Payne ’64

Alice G. Flemming ’43

Bruce E. Perkins

Eleanor Gordon

Winifred Gamble Powless ’53

Deborah Kling Graff ’74

Elizabeth Clepper Reyer ’37

Ethel Haag

Timothy D. Riemer ’86

Robert M. Hamilton

Deborah Yesko Smith

George M. Hanko ’60

Kathleen S. Sorber

Barbara Curley Hartman ’61

Harry G. Souders ’64

Bruce E. Hause ’79

Carol Shifler Stemple ’74

Cassandra S. Hazuda

John W. Stevenson ’61

Shirley Hellyer

Richard Stevenson

Theodore G. Hines

David Sundholm ’65

Charmaine Curry Hutcheson ’75

Carolyn A. Thieme-Busch ’70

Jack G. Johnson

Michael B. Tidd ’93

Sherman S. Jubelirer

Beatrice D. Vuocolo

Margretta Judy

Lynn Decker Vuocolo ’68

Gene B. Kather

Mark E. Walker ’77

Paul Kikel

Robert R. Weisner

Margaret Harry Klingensmith ’47

Dale A. Wenzelburger ’64

Rudi K. Klobach ’67

Peter R. Wishart

Dr. Bennett, professor emeritus of chemistry, passes Richard B. Bennett, Ph.D., ‘82, professor emeritus of chemistry, passed away March 5, 2015. Bennett taught from 1964 to 1998, and was the 1995 recipient of the Professor of the Year award. He was a resident of Greenville. He served on various committees in his threeplus decades at Thiel College. He was a member of the faculty senate, the faculty council and its executive committee, the Promotion and Tenure Committee, the Academic Standing Committee and the 1976 Presidential Search Committee. He combined his administrative responsibilities with a dedication to his students that carried on long after they graduated. “I don’t think Dr. Bennett ever forgot a student. Decades after my graduation, he still remembered me, remembered my family, and seemed to somehow know what I was doing,” said Board of Trustees member Robert Burns, M.D. ’74. “He also knew where my peers were living and what they had accomplished. He was a true Thiel gem. He made a difference in my life and in many others. He will be sadly missed and fondly remembered by countless Thiel alumni.” “I know I’m not alone when I say that Dr. Bennett was my favorite professor at Thiel. At our recent science reunion, his name came up over and over as the one who got them through organic chemistry, or the one who helped them find the right job, or the right graduate school position,” Burns said. “Dr. Bennett had a love of teaching that went beyond the classroom. His lectures were interesting and laced with his wonderful, dry sense of humor. But also, his office door was always open, and there was a steady stream of students seeking him out for advice or just a friendly chat. I don’t know how he got anything done.” The family has suggested memorial contributions be made to Bennett-Heald Scholarship Fund at Thiel College. Spring 2015


The Final Word

Thiel on the Brain Maggie (Giel) Bovaird ‘09 With our world as a whole continuing to develop, [Thiel College] has taken the initiative to advance in the world of sciences. With the introduction of Thiel’s new Neuroscience [Department], I thought I would explore how Thiel has affected my thinking and who I am today. After deliberating for some time on this fairly complex and unfamiliar field of study, I found the real question to be how Thiel hasn’t affected me. Let’s “brainstorm” on this together, so that you too can reflect on Thiel’s personal impact on your brain. Our first bubble opens us up to the cerebellum. This area of the brain controls our memories, emotions, balance, and language. Stored away deep in the cerebellum are images of stepping foot on campus at Thiel for the first time, receiving the acceptance letter and meeting your freshman roommate. These experiences brought about heightened emotions ranging from nervousness, excitement and anxiety. Through these experiences we each acquired new, lifelong friends as well as relationships with supportive faculty and staff – all of which taught us how to balance our college lifestyles and, ultimately, our careers. As a result, there is a language that only Thiel alumni understand. Painted rocks anyone? I’ll meet you at the HMSC. Next we explore the largest area of the brain – the cerebrum. This houses elements such as perception, judgment, imagination and thoughts. Perceiving the idea of deciding on a major in a specific area of study might have seemed overwhelming to some of us, but Thiel was a special place where no judgment was made and you were able to use your imagination to no end. If you dreamt it, Thiel would help you achieve it. When you think of Thiel, what stands out in your 44

The Bell

mind? I learned that deep down I have the ability to be a leader, I have the confidence to tackle whatever life may unexpectedly throw my way, and that I have since formed unique bonds with very special people. Our third and final stop in the “brainstorm” is the brain stem. This controls heart rate, digestion and ensuring the brain stays connected with the spinal cord. When you think back to your life at Thiel, when you pass the Thiel exit on the highway, or when you come across a fellow alumnus, does your heart speed up? What about digesting the nostalgia of a place that used to be on campus, but is no longer or has since evolved into something completely different? Or perhaps you simply think “Mac n’ Cheese Fridays” when you hear Thiel and digestion in the same sentence. Near or far, Thiel will always be the one solid, everlasting connection we have with one another. Now that you’ve received my crash-course on the brain, I hope you were able to reflect on some of your own experiences and how Thiel has affected your brain. Although these may seem like broad subjects, they all come from a special place in my heart and they have made me who I am today. I have grown both personally and professionally because of the knowledge, skills and optimism that I only could have gained with “Thiel on the Brain.”

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Save the Date

HOMECOMING 2015 Forever Gold

October 9 – 11

Return to campus for an exciting weekend of events and activities for all ages, including a special announcement.

Visit in late summer to RSVP online.

Profile for Thiel College

The Bell, Spring 2015  

Read the spring 2015 edition of Thiel College's magazine for alumni and friends.

The Bell, Spring 2015  

Read the spring 2015 edition of Thiel College's magazine for alumni and friends.