Widenermag sp17

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Widener Magazine Volume 27 Number 01 Spring ’17

W idener Among Top 10 Philly Univer sities 4

Africa Calling

Widener alumni combine their passion and professions to make a difference in Africa, page 6

Split ting the World Open—Together 10

ON THE COVER More than just a calling, a dedication to changing lives has inspired three Widener alumni to make a difference in Africa. By developing a mental health support network in Liberia, Williametta (Simmons) Bakasa ’04, ’08G, ’09G offers counseling where civil war and poverty have created great need. Mohamed Kakay ’11 works with the United Nations mobilizing resources to fight the raging Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, while Kathi Evans ’77, RN, provides needed medical care to the underserved in Kenya. Sharing their passions and expertise, these Widener graduates are creating positive change across the globe.

Cody Caroff working on his senior project for mechanical engineering entitled "Outdoor Robot." Photo by Keith Riess


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WIDENER UNIVERSITY Widener University One University Place Chester, PA 19013 Phone: 1-888-WIDENER Website: www.widener.edu Published by the Office of University Relations Executive Editor: Linda Durant Editor: Scott Pruden Class Notes Editor: Patty Votta


On Campus


Africa Calling

Widener alumni are making a positive impact on the world. The efforts of three graduates have improved the quality of life for countless people in Africa. 10

Splitting the World Open—Together

Widener faculty and students partner with Chester residents to share their stories on the page. The collaboration will soon be published in two books exploring the joys and pains of womanhood. 12

President's Council Dinner

Contributing Writers: Kathleen Butler Debra Goldberg Olivia Suarez ’16 Jayne Thompson

A photographic look at events honoring the university’s top donors and scholarship benefactors. 14

Class Notes

Photographers: Melanie Franz Keith Riess


The Back Page

Magazine Advisory Board: Gerry Bloemker ’98 Kathleen Butler Denise Gifford Meghan Radosh ’00, ’02, ’13 Stephen Wilhite Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ wideneruniversity.


Olivia Suarez ’16 shares a story of determination to honor a friend’s memory by expanding her service project to South America.

A NOTE FROM THE PRESIDENT Leadership is part of the culture at Widener. It is woven deep into the fabric of our university. The value we place on leadership has been handed down to generations of students since our days as Pennsylvania Military College, and it continues to set us apart from other institutions. Take, for example, our Oskin Leadership Institute, an interdisciplinary hub of visionary leadership innovation that enables Widener students to earn a leadership certificate or a leadership minor. The Oskin Leadership Institute was generously endowed by David and JoEllen Oskin. David, class of 1964, was a leader as a cadet at PMC, and his leadership for Widener continues as a valued member and a past chair of our Board of Trustees. At Widener, we develop leaders with strong character who are engaged professionals and citizens. Widener leadership is exemplified in Samantha DeCapua ’17, an ROTC cadet who was recently ranked fourth in the nation among Army Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets. Widener leadership is exemplified in Dr. Nicholas Caputo ’03, who is leading as an emergency medicine chief physician. Widener leadership is exemplified in Mohamed Kakay ’11, whose path has taken him to Sierra Leone, where he uses his international relations/sociology degree as an executive officer with the World Health Organization. You can read in more detail about all of these leaders in this issue. Widener leaders are ready to make a difference in their workplaces, their local communities, and at high levels nationally and internationally. They know leadership comes in many forms. Our commitment to supporting and preparing them for these roles has never been stronger. This year, a record more than 1,200 students participated in at least one leadership workshop through the Oskin Leadership Institute. We offered 152 workshops facilitated by faculty, staff, and even some students. We awarded 108 certificates, which is more than double the 47 awarded last year. The institute inspires our students. It helps instill the character, courage, and competencies they need to affect positive change. Our commitment to leadership adds distinctive value to a Widener degree. It helps our graduates achieve fulfilling jobs that pay well, where they succeed and make a difference. It is the hallmark of a Widener education. As I said during my inauguration address: “We will lead decisively and with consequential impact on our global community. We will be recognized nationally for this distinctive signature, and it will help us to become a university of first choice for undergraduate and graduate students.” Indeed, our national reputation in leadership is robust and growing.

Our commitment to leadership adds distinctive value to a Widener degree.

Julie E. Wollman, PhD President 3


Widener Ranks Among Top 10 Philly Universities There are more than 100 colleges and universities in the Philadelphia area, but Widener is among the best, according to the Wall Street Journal. The national newspaper recently put Widener on its list of top 10 schools for the Philadelphia area. “I personally feel a lot of pride. I also feel the notice is well due,” said communication studies major Chase Morrison. The newspaper published a rankings report last fall that narrowed the nation’s more than 4,700 schools down to the 500 best, based on a host of criteria that included engagement, resources, and career preparation. It processed its data more extensively this

month, announcing the top 10 Philadelphia-area schools. Widener was ranked ninth on that list, and 252 out of the national pool of top 500 schools. The paper undertook the rankings project in collaboration with Times Higher Education, a business entity once owned by News Corp, parent of Dow Jones & Co., which owns the Wall Street Journal. Rankings were based on four categories: school resources, engagement, outcomes, and environment. The analysis included a survey of 100,000 college students, as well as an examination of factors like student-to-faculty ratios, costs, salaries 10 years after entering the school, and more. In addition to the rankings, the newspaper gave Widener a score of 8.7 out of 10 on a question that asked students whether their Widener education will prepare them for their careers. Morrison said he had numerous options and chose Widener because of its personal approach to education, intimate class sizes, experience-focused learning, tight-knit community, and beautiful campus. “I just knew Widener was my home,” he said. “And that’s kind of the theme I hear around my friends and peers. Widener simply had all they’d been looking for as a college and as a home.”

ROTC Cadet Named Among Nation’s Top Five Widener University graduate Samantha DeCapua ’17 ranked fourth in a fall 2016 listing of the nation’s top Army Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets. DeCapua’s accomplishment is no small feat, as 5,508 ROTC seniors were evaluated for this year’s order-of-merit list, compiled by Cadet Command. Criteria for the ranking include a cadet’s grade point average, performance on the Army Physical Fitness Test, college athletic participation, and performance during college ROTC training and Advanced Camp at Fort Knox, Ky. Lt. Col. Justin Shaffer, commander of Widener’s ROTC Dauntless Battalion, said that the support Widener’s Army ROTC program receives from PMC alumni, coupled with the support it receives from the Oskin Leadership Institute, creates a unique training ground for cadets to develop into 4

exceptional, well-rounded leaders. He noted that this environment helps attract highly motivated and civicminded individuals like DeCapua. DeCapua, a dual criminal justice and sociology major with a minor in gender and women’s studies, rose to the top of the ranking largely due to her 4.0 grade point average. She also earned significant points for her extracurricular involvement at Widener. “We are developing the Army’s future leaders,” said Shaffer. “It is important they understand the value of being engaged in their communities, and Cadet DeCapua has done an outstanding job of being engaged on the Widener campus and in the community.” DeCapua competed in the heptathlon for Widener’s outdoor track and field team and the pentathlon for the indoor team. She was a mentor within the Honors Program in General Education, of which she was also

a member, and she was inducted into the Alpha Phi Sigma National Criminal Justice Honor Society. She belonged to Active Minds, a student organization working to break the stigma of mental health through increased awareness, and she wrote for Widener’s digital news site, The Blue & Gold. Within Widener’s ROTC program, she served as cadet battalion commander of the Dauntless Battalion. DeCapua says that she endeavored to diversify her activities and excel in both athletics and within Widener’s ROTC to become the best possible version of herself. “My journey was much greater than points; it was about striving to grow, learn, and develop myself and finding things that I’m passionate about to pursue.” Shaffer pointed to DeCapua’s attitude and accomplishments as proof that both Widener and the Army are recruiting the right leaders. “The Army and the nation are in good hands,” he said.


Men’s Volleyball and Women’s Golf Added to Varsity Sports

Center for Education Pilots Community Engaged Teacher Education Program Throughout the 2016–17 academic year, 19 seniors piloted the Center for Education’s new Community Engaged Teacher Education program. The teacher candidates took a group of courses that focused on their immersion in the Chester Upland School District’s Stetser Elementary School and the Chester community using interdisciplinary themes to connect the theoretical bases of their coursework with the reality of the classroom through culturally responsive pedagogy. “The overall goal of the Community Engaged Teacher Education program is to help Widener teacher candidates realize the importance of connecting with their elementaryaged students within the context of their community,” said Dr. Nadine McHenry, a professor of education who is heading up the CETE program. “Ultimately, we want to address the opportunity gap and provide our teacher candidates with the necessary tools to be successful in racially, culturally, and linguistically diverse urban communities. By preparing future teachers to be culturally responsive, we will be able to provide quality educational opportunities for the children in our community.” Widener faculty collaborated with teachers at Stetser Elementary and community members from the city of Chester to design the CETE program. The inaugural teacher candidate participants will complete pre and post surveys to measure their urban teaching intentions, perceptions of urban education, multicultural attitudes, and self-efficacy. A second study will investigate the effectiveness of the community of practice approach to developing and executing this program. Although Widener’s CETE program is in its early stages, those involved see its potential for changing teacher preparation so that both the teachers and their students achieve success.

Widener University will soon sponsor men’s volleyball and women’s golf as NCAA Division III varsity sports. Both are classified as spring sports and will begin competing during the 2017–18 academic year. The expansion will bring Widener’s total number of varsity sport offerings to 22 teams. “Women’s golf and men’s volleyball are growing sports in the Middle Atlantic Conference, and we are excited to be among the institutions that are developing these programs in Division III,” said Athletic Director Jack Shafer. “We are certainly excited to add two sports that will enhance the student experience at the university.” Widener joins Alvernia, Arcadia, Messiah, Misericordia, Stevenson, and Wilkes as Middle Atlantic Conference institutions offering men’s volleyball. The university joins 12 schools that offer women’s golf. Both coaching positions for the programs have been solidified. Donovan Anglin, who completed his 13th season as the head women’s volleyball coach at Widener, will take on the additional role of overseeing the men’s program. “Donovan has proven his abilities as a successful volleyball coach at Widener since 1994,” said Shafer. “He holds the school record for most wins in a season, he saw three of his former student-athletes become valedictorians, and he is an experienced club coach. Donovan is a great example of the Division III philosophy and an extremely competitive coach.” Jim Newlon, who was recently chosen to lead the men’s golf team, will take on the additional responsibility of piloting the women’s program. “Widener Athletics is excited to welcome Jim as our men’s and women’s golf coach,” said Shafer. “Coach Newlon brings a wealth of experience as a PGA teaching pro that will benefit these two groups of student-athletes. We are fortunate to have an exclusive staff member with such experience.” 5

By Debra Goldberg The Ebola epidemic. Civil war. Lack of clean water. They are African crises that have inspired a trio of Widener alumni to push past obstacles—from bureaucratic red tape to personal safety—to protect thousands of lives one body, mind, and soul at a time.

Williametta Simmons Bakasa ’04, ’08G, ’09G The call to help heal fellow civil war survivors.

Africa Calling

Widener alumni combine their passion and professions to make a difference in Africa


When Williametta Simmons Bakasa was a Widener sophomore, the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote about her difficult journey from her native Liberia to the United States. As her birthplace was being torn apart by civil war, Bakasa, her grandmother, and cousin walked for days to Ivory Coast. They subsisted on sugar cane until they made the tense border crossing to find safe harbor. After living there for a while and settling in, the trio were ready to leave Africa to join Bakasa’s parents in the United States. Getting papers, however, meant going back to Liberia. “I was thinking that everything had been fine living in Ivory Coast and did we really want to do this?” Bakasa says. “During the time we came back, another situation flared up. There was another war. A missile came and landed just behind our house.”

Out of Africa and Back Again Bakasa immigrated to the United States when she was 12. She graduated with a BA in psychology and a BSW from Widener in 2004, and went on to earn a doctorate in clinical psychology and a master’s in business administration. She now owns a private practice, Integrative Psychological & Consulting Services, LLC, and is a clinical psychologist at Temple University Health System. As a practicing clinical psychologist who has survived civil war, Bakasa is in a unique position to take her skills back to Liberia. The people there have suffered much—many were child soldiers, many more were victims of violence and rape. Bakasa treats a lot of women and children who have been raped. PTSD has become a sort of cultural inheritance to an entire generation of men and women with no access to mental health services. That’s where Bakasa’s medical mission work comes in.

“We did four or five radio interview broadcasts to the entire country about what this does to society,” she says. “Victims get blamed, are afraid to come forward, or a perpetrator gets locked up for a few days and that’s that. We want to change the way people look at these problems.” Bakasa is hoping to develop the sustainable relationships needed to establish a mental health support network where none had existed before. On these Liberian Medical Mission (LMM) trips, she and her colleagues, like Widener JD/PsyD student Carli McClaflin, work with Liberian health professionals to “teach the teacher”—usually nurses and social workers. “They are so grateful to have the knowledge passed on to them about depression and schizophrenia,” Bakasa says. “People are walking around traumatized, and there is no infrastructure to help them.” In the future, Bakasa is hoping to partner with Liberian hospitals and educational institutions to establish formal psychology education in Liberia. She plans a larger trip for 2018 with more volunteers and even greater outreach efforts. “When I came back to the United States and saw messages in social media—people saying, ‘This has impacted me or my family member’—I knew we made a huge impact this time around.”

Stateside Support Bakasa is also working in the United States to support the next generation of Liberian cultural and professional leaders. She helped found the Young E’nnovative Leaders of Liberia (YELL) organization in 2011 and now serves on the board of directors. With a vision to establish a cohesive, dedicated, and productive generation of young Liberians, YELL hosts an Annual

From left: A workshop in Liberia; a medical camp in Kenya

Empowerment Summit that connects young people who are passionate about changing the norms of leadership. Today, YELL is supported by more than 25 Liberian and international organizations and is the leading source of young professional Liberians in the United States. Kathi (Coles) Evans ’77 RN The call to deliver healthy babies, hygiene, and clean water.

Where Kathi Evans goes, it’s likely that babies are being born, parents are receiving new hope, and communities’ spirits are getting a lift. From age 11, Evans knew she had a calling to serve others. Doing what, exactly, she wasn’t sure. Her parents were pastors in the Salvation Army, and she moved around the country with them. When the family settled in Cherry Hill, N.J., Kathi went to high school and took Spanish classes to prepare for missionary work in Central and South America. It was during this time that her mom had surgery, and Evans discovered nursing. As a labor nurse, she began a path that

would ultimately lead to remote southwestern Kenya through Touching Lives Ministry, the Evans’s own faith-based medical mission. Their African home base is in the village of Sanjweru on Lake Victoria in the province of Homa Bay.

A Spiritual Journey Evans started her obstetrical nursing career in Wilmington, Del., and later moved to Chester with her husband. She’s been at Crozer Chester Medical Center for more than 30 years. Five years into her career, Evans and her husband started a family, welcoming a baby boy. Then came baby “Peanut,” whom they lost at 16 weeks. His story would take Evans down a path she’d never considered—that of an author. “When we lost our second baby, I truly struggled with going back to work. For some reason, I saw women and even teenagers successfully having babies destined for hard lives. For the first time in 12 years I found it hard to go into labor and delivery. Coworkers would come to me with people who were losing their babies and ask ‘Can you come and talk to them?’”


THE FIVE PROJECT COMES TO WEST KENYA Starting this July, the village of Sanjweru will choose five community leaders to start new health education programs. “We will pick five goals for those five families,” Evans says. “One goal will be that each family, after six months of education and training, will have a pit latrine installed in front of their home that will be used by all the neighbors.” Houses will be inspected, and a board member will be one of the supervisors. Award certificates will be given to families that complete the five yet-to-be-determined goals. Each time a goal is achieved, new goals will be stepped up.

She rose to the challenge. Evans could share what women went through as moms, and her husband could do the same for dads. Kathi wrote a book, Our Baby, Our Love, Our Loss, in 2007 to help other couples through such a loss.

Making Her Own Way

A big part of these goals is to attain a level of sustainability across the community. For the ministry, that means reaching far and wide—from teaching children to use hand soap all the way to family planning—and then rewarding people for what they accomplish. “The program will stop when the community feels lasting change has happened. Local health officials are excited about this program and its potential for change,” Evans says. “These are simple things that we take for granted in the United States. The goals will make a real difference here.” 8

Today, short- and long-term mission trips are an industry. But when Evans started out, the landscape was uncharted. “You sold everything and became selfless for this passion,” she says. “I didn’t know any organizations to follow. Rather than do it haphazardly, I thought maybe I’ll go to college and figure it out then.” It wasn’t until 2001 that Evans took her first mission trip to Trinidad. She also aided efforts at Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks. These were learning, helping, and fact-finding trips for her own future mission project. Evans decided to put profits from the book into her medical mission work. “I didn’t have grandiose ideas but knew we had to do something with profits from the book,” she says. The royalties weren’t enough to make a difference in the cost of mission trips, so that’s when the pursuit of a non-profit organization began. Evans describes the mission trips as “a great time of community fellowship.” Most volunteers on the trips are non-medical. “We like that because God did not call us to save Kenya,” Evans says. “These are

very intelligent, talented people. We look at the American role as one of providing resources. That’s what they need.”

Ministry, Medicine, and a Water Well Touching Lives was born in 2011. Medical camps are run by Kenyans, and there is a small health center two miles from where a new building sits. In the future, patients will be able to use this place as a follow-up facility for the medical camps. “We feel grateful we were sent to the area, because follow up is available and they are committed to the community,” Evans says. The free medical camps run by Touching Lives provide treatment for many common health issues, as well as some that are quite specific to life on Lake Victoria. They include: • Dental health and hygiene issues • Eye problems • Stomach ailments • Water-born illnesses • Malaria • Neuromuscular problems (many people carry loads on their heads) • Aches and pains • Deworming medication, anti-inflammatories (NSAID, Tylenol), and vitamins • Osteomyelitis (infection of the bone) A water well, built by Water Ministry International, is a major boon to the entire community, which needs clean drinking

From left: Williametta Simmons Bakasa speaks to a classroom in Liberia; a water well built by Water Ministry International in Kenya; Kathi Evans serves at a free medical camp in a remote mountain village in Nepal.

water and sanitary facilities. It can mean the difference between a cut healing quickly or a bone infection, life or death. Long-term plans for Touching Lives are ambitious. Plans include going into other villages (5 to 10 miles from camp) to build relationships and give free medical care. “We will get to eventually build dispensaries—a doctor’s office with a place for delivery. If a mom is not ready, she goes by ambulance to the hospital. After she’s delivered, she’ll be sent back to recover at home or the dispensary.” Touching Lives has been raising funds for this project and will start receiving bids from architects at the end of the year. Touching Lives also hopes to install a dedicated neonatal nurse practitioner who specifically pursued a PhD for Touching Lives. The nearest government hospital is interested in starting a neonatal nurse practitioner program and invited Touching Lives for a sit down. There are no neonatologists in Kenya, Evans says, “so anyone who is running any type of nursery in Kenya is a pediatrician who is not trained in preemie. To have nurse practitioners who are trained in caring for premature babies would be a boon.” Mohamed Kakay ’13 The call back home to fight a global health crisis.

“While searching for work after graduate school, I sold a lot of ties,”

says Mohamed Kakay. “One tie I sold really made a difference.” He sold that one tie to a United Nations staff member while working a retail job in New York. Months later, the connection would pay off with an interview at the United Nations. Kakay has Widener degrees in international relations and sociology and a certificate in global public health, and he has an uncommon affinity for the three countries most affected by Ebola. His father is Guinean, his mother Sierra Leonean, and some of his family are Liberians. “My father was a U.N. worker. He is my hero,” says Kakay. “I wanted to follow in his footsteps. His heart was in it.” In the early phase of the epidemic, Kakay established an online platform to raise funds for Ebola awareness. He kept selling ties. Then the United Nations called. At the height of the epidemic, he was on his way to ground zero. No time to think. Just go. “Because I was born in Sierra Leone, it was the only motivation I needed. I showed up with such energy. It was affecting the very people I knew.” Kakay shadowed a few of his welleducated and like-minded colleagues. Every day was a learning experience while mobilizing every resource possible to save lives.

“Nothing I had done or read before could prepare you for this,” he recalls. “You see so much; it’s hard to even think about yourself. Every day you know folks who are dying.” After nine intense months in the world’s eye, Sierra Leone brought its Ebola crisis under control. The mission was a success. As things were winding up, the World Health Organization (WHO) recruited Kakay to continue to work on the Ebola response and recovery phase in Sierra Leone. Today, Kakay remains with WHO as an executive officer in Sierra Leone. It’s a big job—one that involves the management of nearly $55 million in donor funding. Kakay’s work involves resource mobilization, financial management, implementation, evaluation, planning, and program development. It’s part of the next piece in Kakay’s “10-year mental contract” with the United Nations, where he’s finding great personal and professional satisfaction. “Every single day when I go home, I know that I have contributed directly or indirectly to strengthen the health system of Sierra Leone,” he says. “There is nothing like learning more and training others. …Let the work beat the drums and blow the trumpets.” W



n May of 2011, I stood inside Berlin’s Neue Wache memorial gazing at Käthe Kollwitz’s sculpture, Mother with Her Dead Son. In Germany, as part of Widener’s Greifswald University professor and student exchange, I had traveled to Berlin to sightsee and was reminded of Muriel Rukeyser’s poem about Kollwitz, an artist, pacifist, and woman who suffered great loss in a life that spanned the World Wars. This sculpture captured the horrors of war—and spoke of women’s experiences. I found it difficult to leave the space. Five years later, while sitting with young women in a juvenile facility in North Carolina, I realized that the books I had brought them, copies of a book I had worked on with men at Graterford Prison, Letters to My Younger Self: An Anthology of Writings by Incarcerated Men at S.C.I. Graterford and a Writing Workbook, were very male. We had a nice session, but nothing like the workshop I had just had with the young men who recognized themselves in the men’s pieces. I needed a book with women’s voices. I returned to Chester and my Friday night women’s writing group with a project. This night, just like every other, the women, a wonderful combination of Widener University undergraduates and Chester residents from ages 20 to 68, wrote and shared their pieces. I realized that they were all doing the same thing with their writing: splitting the world open with the truth about the joys and pains of womanhood. The World Split Open Story Collaborative was born. The World Split Open Story Collaborative has two books in production, one that records Chester women’s voices and another that records the words of incarcerated women from all over the country and beyond. The first envelope I opened for the incarcerated women’s book was from Oklahoma. I knew we were onto something when I read this:

see her beautiful baby girl be born.…The baby’s head was crowning when the EMTs came in and they misdiagnosed Cheree and said, “NO—she’s not crowning!” And they left. Within five minutes we, the locked up women, delivered a 21-inch, long-legged, dark-headed, beautiful baby girl. The umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck twice. A girl named Kathryn, who was studying to be a nurse, came over, wrapped a towel around the baby’s head, unwrapped the umbilical cord and gently pulled Patience Rose on out into the world of Caddo County jail. The EMTs finally came back about 10 minutes later and took Cheree and Patience Rose to the hospital. I am serving my sentence now, and I will soon be delivering my baby here. I will always remember Cheree and Patience Rose wherever they may be. I think about what Patience Rose’s birth certificate will read and how she will feel when she grows up and sees that she was born in jail. One day, maybe she will read this and know that her birth was a beautiful, joyous event that touched the hearts and lives of 40 women in the Caddo County jail in Anadarko, Oklahoma. —Lacy

“ W hat would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.”

It was around noon as 40 of us femme felons were in a huge cell in an Anadarko jail when one of my cellmates, Cheree, who was pregnant, started having labor contractions. She was prepped on the bottom bunk of the bed with our towels under her to catch the fluids. Cheree was Native American and Caucasian, and we were all anxious to 10

– Muriel Rukeyser, from her poem, “Käthe Kollwitz”

The Chester women’s voices are just as powerful: Father God, I just ask that You help that little 16-year-old girl who got in the car with a monster, who got in the car with a deceiver, who got in the car with a serpent, who eventually realized that she had gotten in the car with Satan. A movie trip turned into a nightmare, and her screams

The World Split Open Story Collaborative includes artists and Chester activists the Rev. Hilda Campbell '17; Teresa Flood; Arlene Geathers; Denina Hood; Lakesha Logan; Stephanie Perez; Misty Sol; Ashley DiRienzo '17 (a Widener University English and secondary education major); and Jayne Thompson, senior lecturer in English and creative writing and director of the Chester Writers House. The collaborative received a Barra Foundation Boundaries and Bridges grant through the College of Arts and Sciences. Illustration by Misty Sol

must not have penetrated the interior of his car because what he did changed her life and altered her perception of the fairytale. Innocence was destroyed in seconds and she methodically deteriorated into an obscure, insecure mockery of her former self and became unfamiliar to herself and others and would never be the same again. It would take almost a lifetime for her to recover. She walked around with an invisible gag on her mouth, never being able to muster up the courage to tell what had happened to her. And even if the thought wasn’t always there, the stifle was, as she tried to rationalize violence and its consequences. It must have been her fault because she got into his car and was taken to unfamiliar woods where she could not run. In the dark and afraid, surrounded by her own fear

and desperation, she was betrayed by love and would continue to be so for what seemed like an eternity. She stayed that monster’s hostage for decades. —Anonymous

My campus mailbox fills with women’s letters from all over the country and from my own backyard of Chester; they stun me with their beauty and truth. Constantly, I am reminded of the words of Eleanor Roosevelt: “A woman is like a tea bag—you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.” One more envelope—this one from an incarcerated woman in Idaho. I bring the cup to my lips; the dark brew sloshes, and I sip. W 11

President's Council Dinner


Scholarship Luncheon

The continued success of Widener University is due, in large part, to the generosity of our alumni, parents, friends, and corporate and foundation donors. Each year, we honor the university’s top donors at the President’s Council Dinner held in November, and scholarship benefactors and representatives at the Scholarship Luncheon held in March. The luncheon creates the opportunity for scholarship donors to socialize with scholarship recipients and see the impact of their gifts first-hand.



Eight Enshrined into Hall of Fame

Seven exemplary former student-athletes and one of the university's most successful coaches were inducted into the second class of the Widener Athletics Hall of Fame on October 14 during Homecoming Weekend. Pictured from left: Maureen McGinn Kee, Debbie Smuda Williams, Joe Fields, Tom Deery, Wally Rice, Jack Klotz, and Gail Rowe, wife of the late C. Alan Rowe.

TOM DEERY ’82 excelled as a defensive back and kick returner during the football team's glory years. He was a three-time All-American who helped lead Widener to a 42-3 record over four seasons, as well as the program's second national championship in 1981. The Baltimore Colts selected him in the 10th round of the 1982 NFL Draft.

Men’s basketball pilot C. ALAN ROWE was the winningest coach in school history in any sport at his retirement, with 536 wins from 1965 to 1988. He led Widener to the NCAA championship game in 1978 and 11 trips to the NCAA tournament. He mentored eight players who were named All-Americans and 17 who reached the 1,000-point milestone.

JOE FIELDS ’75 enjoyed a solid three-year career at the

DEBBIE SMUDA WILLIAMS ’92 is one of the most

center position, leading Widener to a 24-3 record and helping lay the foundation for future championship teams. With him, the 1973 team led the country in rushing offense. Fields played for the New York Jets, where he was an all-pro and team captain, and the New York Giants.

decorated female track & field athletes in school history. She was an All-American in the indoor triple jump in 1991 and 1992, and the outdoor triple jump in 1993. She was a CoSIDA Academic All-America Third Team selection in 1992 and a second team pick a year later.

Offensive tackle JACK KLOTZ ’56 helped the 1954 football team register a perfect 7-0 record to complete the program's first undefeated season since 1888. He helped the team average 23.7 points per game that year. Klotz was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams and also played for the New York Titans, New York Jets, and Houston Oilers.

RICHIE WEAVER ’73 excelled as a hurdler on the track and a running back on the football field. He was the national champion in the 440-meter intermediate hurdles in 1970 and graduated with 10 Middle Atlantic Conference records and 10 school records in football. A 363-yard rushing performance in 1970 is still a MAC and ECAC single-game record.

MAUREEN McGINN KEE ’82 remains the all-time leading women’s basketball scorer with 1,935 points. She was an all-league player every season she played and helped the program reach the NCAA tournament in 1982 for the first time, and claim two consecutive division titles. She was the team’s leading scorer all four years and lives in Drexel Hill.

WALLY RICE joined C. Alan Rowe’s varsity team as


a sophomore, earning all-conference and all-small college first team laurels. He was the first All-American and conference player of the year. The Boston Celtics drafted him and he exited as Widener’s all-time scoring leader with 1,493 points in three varsity seasons.

CLASS NOTES Class of 1964

Peter Pelosi, BS, business. After having three children, followed by nine grandchildren, Peter welcomed the news that his grandson, Benjamin Sibilla, is now a freshman at Widener in the School of Engineering. So far, Benjamin is enjoying school and his fellow classmates and is looking forward to graduating with the class of 2020.

Class of 1977

Robert McLaughlin, BS, management, has published a new book, Danny and Mickey, Ordinary Heroes. You can find published reviews on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. You can also go to his website, dannyandmickey.com. The back cover reads: "Danny and Mickey is the remarkable story of the life-long

friendship between Danny Murtaugh, manager of the 1960 and 1971 World Series Champions, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Mickey Vernon, seven-time American League All Star first baseman, and American League batting champion in 1946 and 1953. Danny and Mickey were boys when they met in 1927 playing sandlot baseball in a gritty part of a blue-collar city just outside Philadelphia. Their shared passion for the game of baseball draws them together as friends, teammates, rivals, and

CLASS OF '68 MINI-REUNION The 50th Reunion Committee of the Class of 1968 is planning a class of 1968 get together during the weekend of September 15–17 in Gettysburg. While classmates will have time to sit around and share memories, a battlefield tour, conducted by Tom Vossler ’68, has been arranged, and there will be a farm dinner at Mountain View Farm. For more information, visit the class website at www.pennsylvaniamilitarycollege68.com

SEND YOUR NEWS FOR CLASS NOTES You can submit your class notes and photos three ways: 1. J oin or log on to the Widener Pride Network at alumni.widener.edu 2. E -mail to Patty Votta at pavotta@widener.edu 3. M ail to the Office of Alumni Engagement, One University Place, Chester, PA 19013

finally, as champions. It is also a story of America throughout the first half of the 20th century. Set amidst one of the most turbulent times in American and world history, the boys struggle for their dreams like so many other ordinary Americans. They overcome obstacles and adversities to fulfill their boyhood promise to each other, and finally achieve together, side by side, their childhood dream and become champions at the top of the baseball world. It is the story of the powerful partnership of the American spirit and the American dream. Their story shows us the best of what we can all

experience. His focus has been working with trusts, estate and gift tax strategies, and plan execution. He has a specialization in the detailed analysis of trust documents and wills in order to file appropriate federal and state income tax returns. He can assist with annual and lifetime gifting strategies, as well as providing his experience to develop detailed plans to effectively exercise nonqualified stock options and incentive stock options.

be, Ordinary Heroes."

Tamara Dingman, BA, behavioral science, received her renewal for the National Board Certification for Teaching as a Middle Childhood Generalist. Tamara received her initial certification in 2006 and just renewed it for another

Class of 1988

Daniel Reisinger, BS, management, was recently named to chair the Committee on Associations of the National Association of Insurance & Financial Advisors (NAIFA). Dan recently served as president of the NAIFA Delaware Chapter and was awarded the Presidential Citation for Outstanding Association Leadership. He is founder and principal of Safe Investing Services, a firm that focuses on safe alternative investments for individual and institutional clients.

Class of 1993

Theodore Carlson, MS, taxation, recently joined the firm of Gunnip & Company as a manager in the tax department. He brings more than 30 years of diverse

10 years.

Class of 1995

Dr. Margaret Hamilton, DNSc, nursing, was approved as Lane Community College Board of Education’s seventh president by unanimous vote at its Feb. 8 meeting after an 11-month national search. “Dr. Hamilton is the right person for Lane going forward,” said Board Chair Sharon Stiles. Stiles said the board was “thorough and deliberative” in reviewing information, meeting with the finalists, weighing feedback from the open forums, and considering 15

CLASS NOTES how well each finalist was suited to address the challenges and opportunities awaiting Lane. She has 28 years of experience in the community college system and is currently vice president for academic affairs and institutional effectiveness and planning at Camden County College in Blackwood, N.J., a post she has held since July 2015. She brings valuable insight in funding and budgeting, enrollment management, accreditation, program review, student success, employee relations, community partnerships, innovation, institutional effectiveness and planning, technology, capital construction, and fundraising. Her background in nursing is an added plus for Lane’s thriving healthcare programs.

Class of 2000

Joseph Menedez, BS, hospitality management, general manager/COO of Radley Run Country Club in West Chester, Pa., was elected to the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) Board of Directors at its 90th World Conference on Club Management and Club Business Expo, held in Orlando, Fla. Menedez, CCM (Certified Club Manager) and CCE (Certified Chief Executive), has been elected to serve on the Board of Directors for a three-year term. Mendez has been serving as the General Manager/COO of Radley Run Country Club since 2007. Prior to that appointment, he served in three different positions including 16


The ZBT alumni for the classes of 1982–87 gathered in Atlantic City in December for their annual reunion­­—aka “Annual Shareholders Meeting.” Pictured are (front row, l to r) Greg Lorenzo ’87, Rob Laub ’83, Geoff Stedman ’84, Jim Canese ’84, Gregg Froio ’84, George Nilas ’85, Geoff Moomaw ’86, Rich Evoy ’85, Jim Muehlbronner ’86, and (back rows, l to r) Ross Hewitt ’85, John Ganley ’86, Lenny Makowski ’84, Fred Reed ’87, Frank McCloskey ’85, Steve Gerber ’86, Kevin Koller ’84, Eric Olsen ’86, and Jeff Earhart ’84. Not pictured: Jack Boselli ’84, Rusty Cahill ’86, Greg Cipriani ’86, Matt Kaplan ’86, Dave Robbins ’86, Juan Vasino ’85, and Dave Yori ’82.

assistant general manager, clubhouse manager, and food & beverage director at Whitford Country Club in Exton, Pa., from 2003 to 2006. He began his career in club management as the dining room manager at The Union League of Philadelphia in Philadelphia, Pa., in 2000. Mendez first joined CMAA as a CMAA student member in 1998 while enrolled at Widener University. He joined as a professional member in 2003. He has served on many national committees including the CMI, Chapter/Member Services, and Premier Club Services Committees. Most recently, Mendez served on the Professional Development Committee. On the chapter level, Mendez

has been active in multiple roles within the Philadelphia & Vicinity Chapter and the Philadelphia Club Foundation. He currently serves on the Philadelphia Club Foundation Board of Directors. He served as the chairman of the National Student Education Conference in 2016 and as co-chairman of the event in 2010. Outside of CMAA, Mendez has been active with the Exton Region Chamber of Commerce and the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at Widener University, overseeing the Club Management course. As a CMAA Board member, Mendez will work with members, allied associations

SEND YOUR NEWS FOR CLASS NOTES You can submit your class notes and photos three ways: 1. J oin or log on to the Widener Pride Network at alumni.widener.edu 2. E -mail to Patty Votta at pavotta@ widener.edu 3. M ail to the Office of Alumni Engagement, One University Place, Chester, PA 19013 TELL US... Who are you now? Where are you now?

CLASS NOTES and partners to further the profession of club management.

Class of 2004

Dr. Susan Condie, MSN, adult health nursing, PhD ’16, nursing, has been selected to disseminate her research on peerto-peer incivility in the nursing workplace at the prestigious Sigma Theta Tau International—Creating Healthy Work Environments Conference in Indianapolis, Ind. Condie is an awardwinning nurse administrator, consultant, and educator with greater than 20 years of diverse nursing experience. Her groundbreaking work on promoting civility in the nursing workplace has brought national attention to the controversial issues of peer-to-peer incivility in academic and work environments. Currently, Condie is the chief nursing officer/consultant for HomeHero, the largest independent home care provider in California. Condie maintains her appointment as associate dean of nursing academics and associate professor at West Coast University, Orange County, Calif., campus. Additionally, Condie was selected to serve as a nursing education consultant for the State of California, Department of Consumer Affairs. She is a current doctorate of nursing practice (DNP) student at Walden University and expects to earn her second

doctoral degree in May 2017. Condie served as a member of the task force for the American Nurses Association Professional Panel for Incivility, Bullying, and Workplace Violence. She holds numerous professional memberships and certifications spanning the administrative, education, and practice fields of nursing.

Class of 2007 David Clifton, BS, mathematics, has been named vice president of product architecture at Oracle. David drives the technical design and

Class of 2013

Robert Dowd, BS, accounting, joined Hoover Financial Advisors, PC, as a financial planning associate. His appointment was announced by Pete Hoover, CFP ®, HFA founder, and CEO. In his new position, Dowd is working with senior financial planners in a support role. In addition, he is delving into HFA’s financial planning software, eMoney, to enhance and provide greater efficiency of financial plans.

“Hoover Financial Advisors is an ideal match for my career path,” says Dowd. “I look forward to developing my craft as the company grows.” Dowd was a research financial associate at the Wilmington, Del., office of Kelmar Associates, LLC, before joining HFA. He holds a BS degree in business administration with specialties in accounting and finance from Widener University and is currently studying for a master’s degree in business administration, taxation, and financial planning from the same university. He and his wife Kelly reside in Media, Pa.

product architecture across seven industry focused businesses including Health Sciences, Financial Services, Utilities, Retail, Hospitality, Construction/Engineering, and Telecommunications products. Oracle consists of 22,000 people, 7,500 of whom are in R&D, and builds industry vertical products which are used by top businesses all around the world. https://www.linkedin. com/in/davidmclifton

Class of 2009 Kevin Brown, BS, civil engineering, ME ’14, civil engineering, was selected by the ASCE Committee on Student Members to be one of three practitioner advisors to receive the 2016 ASCE Outstanding Practitioner Advisor Award. Kevin was chosen for his outstanding work and dedication as a practitioner advisor to Temple University and Widener University ASCE

Doug Ferguson, CASE District II Chair Stephen Dare, and Awards Chair Megan Mercier Douglas Ferguson ’99, BA, communications, MPA ’02, public administration, and director of Alumni Relations for Delaware County Community College, was honored in February by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District II as the 2016 Professional of the Year. The award recognizes the outstanding contributions of members of the district, including campus leaders, advancement professionals, and volunteers. CASE is a professional association serving educational institutions and the advancement of professionals who work on their behalf in alumni relations, communications, development, marketing, and allied areas. CASE District II is the largest of the nonprofit association’s eight districts with more than 700 members. Worldwide, CASE’s membership includes more than 3,670 colleges and universities, primary and secondary independent and international schools, and nonprofit organizations.

Student Chapters. 17

CLASS NOTES Engagements

Neha Sirohi, BS, biology, and Ryan Campbell ’14L, JD, were engaged on Sept. 30, 2016, at Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. Neha is currently finishing her pediatrics residency at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C. Ryan is working as a criminal law attorney in the Poconos. Neha will be starting her allergy/immunology fellowship at Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in July 2018. The couple is planning a spring 2018 wedding and couldn't be more excited.

In Memoriam

John Schatner ’43 Herman Thomas ’43 Lewis Hutton ’46 Owen Kertland ’48 Anthony Mack ’48 Edward Harris ’49 Charles Koehler ’49 William Lowry ’49 John Covach ’50 Francisco Labarta ’50 Frederick Reel ’50 Walter Grant ’51 Edwin Jones ’51 Don Dickinson ’53 Paul Wise ’53 Alfred Grez ’54 S. Deakyne ’55 Burton Ploener ’55 Paul Wilson ’57 Albert McFadden ’58 Joel Campbell ’60 Richard Loranger ’60 John MacCausland ’60 Robert Stackman ’60 Albert Conser ’61, ’73 Ronald DiFelice ’61 Ross Cambareri ’62 Joseph Mahoney ’62 Allen Brewster ’63, ’89 Daniel Fortney ’63 Alexander Gillespie ’63 Carroll Nadig ’63 George Krummenacker ’64 Joseph Humphrey ’65

Robert Esposito ’66 James Walls ’66 Jan Zarkin ’66 Charles Burdan ’68 Robert Ciunci ’68, ’78 Robert Helms ’68 Henry Hoffman ’68 Alan Jordan ’68 Richard Karagozian ’68 Ned Rogovoy ’68 Charles Bunty ’69 James D’Archangelo ’69 C. Nedal ’70 Ernest Miekley ’73 Charles Otto ’73 Michael Burns ’74 James Sands ’74 John Francis ’76, ’87L Beatrice Clifford ’78 Rocco Borzillo ’79 William Grant ’79 Todd Hoover ’79 Christina Pluta ’79 Michele Fox-Handlin ’80 Raymond Scott ’82 Diane Porter ’83 William Fennimore ’84 William Hart ’86 Dwight Long ’86 Carl Webb ’86 Katherine Lewis ’87 Christopher Schwarz ’87 Joseph Gray ’89 John Lombardo ’89 Peter Loughead ’89

Thomas Miller ’89 Nicholas Rosato ’89 Denise Mixon ’90 Douglas Susan ’90 William Walbrandt ’92 Christopher Harris ’93 Kenneth Goodman ’94 Maureen Avila ’95 Todd Cheesman ’95 Elizabeth Morelli ’95 Gwendolyn Terrell ’95 Christine Fox ’97 Jacqueline Keller ’97, ’00 Alvin Dohl ’98 Mary McDonald ’00 Christine Hagman ’01 Maureen Travagline ’01 Susan DeRosa ’02 William Quillen ’02 Nicholas Lamina ’10 John Zackowski ’18 Friends, Faculty, and Staff Donald Bren Greg Cichocki Sholom Groesberg Charles Kramaric Louise Maletz Christopher Mascaro Cheriyath Nath Richard Phillips James Ward Herbert Watson Wayne Weldon

Save the Date for Homecoming! 2017 Homecoming/Family Weekend October 13–14, 2017 Alumni Awards Celebration October 13, 2017 Athletics Hall of Fame Ceremony and Reception October 13, 2017 We welcome all Widener and PMC Alumni! For more information please visit alumni.widener.edu 18


Alumni Spotlight Dr. Nicholas C. Caputo ’03 graduated from Widener with a biology degree. While a student, he was president of his fraternity, a resident assistant, and a member of the football team. Nick went on to earn a master’s degree in marine microbiology and, ultimately, a medical degree. He is currently director of the Emergency Department Critical Care and Adult Research at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in South Bronx, N.Y. He also serves as an assistant professor of medicine with the Weill Medical College of Cornell University and with the Columbia University Medical Center’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. At Widener, Nick was a scholarship recipient and was determined to use whatever resources he could to help others in need. While still a student, Nick established the Nicholas Dino Biology Student-Faculty Research Collaboration Award and has given generously to the fund since. Dr. Caputo also gives generously of his time to the university. In the past year, he has shared his unique insights and perspectives by speaking at the annual Scholarship Luncheon and the President’s Council Dinner.

REGIONAL CHAPTER CONTACTS Philadelphia County, PA Jeff Flynn ’04 jeffrey.t.flynn@gmail.com Delaware County, PA Jim Gentile ’77 jjgdds@mac.com Bucks & Montgomery Counties, PA Gregg Strom ’64 gstro@stonemor.com Chester County, PA Frank Pellegrini ’66 fpellegrini@maillie.com South Jersey Office of Alumni Engagement alumnioffice@widener.edu Wilmington, DE Vera Kunkel ’78 liberal@magpage.com Alaska Maureen Colon ’76 mobig33@gci.net Atlanta, GA Morrie Spang ’62 morriespang@comcast.net

Baltimore Office of Alumni Engagement alumnioffice@widener.edu California Sharon Carothers ’92 scarothe@worldnet.att.net Central PA Office of Alumni Engagement alumnioffice@widener.edu Colorado Kate (Ferreira) Bauer ’14 kf@ophaus.com District of Columbia Office of Alumni Engagement alumnioffice@widener.edu FL—East Coast Tom Dougherty ’93 tdougherty@rccl.com FL—Orlando Stephanie (Dudley) Walls ’11 smwalls029@gmail.com

FL—West Coast Office of Alumni Engagement alumnioffice@widener.edu New England Kristin McJunkins ’92 krmcjunk@msn.com NYC / North Jersey Garren Pflueger ’94 gepfinancial@gmail.com Northern Maryland Marcia Bowers ’85G marciabowers@atlanticbb.net Puerto Rico Dennis Lopez ’85 dennis.lopez@ trinityservicesgroup.com Texas Gerry Gaeta ’77 jazzsinger99@hotmail.com Washington State Alex Poblete ’89 alex@dmp-inc.us

Congratulations 2017 Alumni Award Recipients! The Alumni Awards Celebration will be held on the Friday of Homecoming/Family Weekend 2017. Outstanding Alumna Award Normajean Colby ‘87, ’91, ‘10, PhD, is a three-time graduate from the School of Nursing and a devoted faculty member. R. Kelso Carter Linda S. Durant has served Widener University for the past 14 years as senior vice president for university advancement. Alumni Service Capt. Thomas V. Chiomento Jr. ‘65 is a member of the Class of 1965's 50th Reunion Committee. Alumni Service Cynthia H. Sarnoski ‘74, PhD, has served as a member of the Board of Trustees since 2004. Geoghegan Alumni Citizenship Award Gen. John H. Tilelli Jr., USA (Ret.), ’63, ‘96H is chair of the Board of Trustees. Geoghegan Student Citizenship Award Samantha DeCapua ‘17 was a Military Science Level IV (senior) Cadet at Widener University.



Birthday Books Program Becomes an Enduring Legacy By Olivia Suarez ’16 A few years ago, a girl from Arkansas moved to Princeton, N.J. Cara McCollum had a passion for giving back and began a “Birthday Book” program that gifts children’s books to less fortunate children. One day, she decided to enter a local Miss America pageant, and she won. She became Miss New Jersey 2013 and expanded her Birthday Book program to a grander scale. Cara became an anchor on SNJ Today. On a dreadfully rainy and snowy night in February 2016, her car veered off the road. She was rushed to the hospital immediately, but soon succumbed to her injuries. She left behind a loving family, co-workers, and a sisterhood of pageant friends.


I was unable to attend the funeral services because I was attending Widener’s Study Abroad trip to Honduras, but I thought about Cara often. When the students and I reached Honduras, we were whisked away from the airport to Zamorano, a Pan-American agricultural university. Driving through the city was eye opening; poverty dwells here. Each year, Widener students provide services, including reading to the children, to the orphanage run by REMAR, a non-governmental organization for the support, promotion, and development of marginalized people. At the orphanage, a young boy ran up to me and gave me a gigantic hug. My time there was brief, but the kids left an impact. You don’t realize what poverty is until you see these

beautiful children look up at you with such loving eyes, even though they have nothing. Upon my return to the states, I knew I wanted to bring Cara’s program there. Since then, we have given more than 100 books to REMAR. Birth dates for the children at the orphanage are not documented. They choose which month they would like for their birthday and celebrate their day with a “Birthday Book” gifted to them. Currently, I am looking into the costs of buying supplies to build shelving for a library and ways to provide books all year. This year, I will be the first graduate returning to Honduras with the group, our many suitcases filled with children’s books. Giving the gift of reading to a child is one of the most important things we can do. Reading is a powerful tool.

Lasting Connections Jacie and Shijo found themselves in the same classes and labs multiple times through their years at Widener. Their friendship grew strong as they supported each other through papers, projects, and exams. Recent graduates, they are both working full time in their fields. Jacie has plans to pursue a PhD in marine biology, and Shijo has his eye on medical school. Friendships like this keep the connection to Widener alive. Your financial support helps outstanding students like Jacie and Shijo succeed and is a timeless tribute to your own personal Widener connections.

Please give now—we need and appreciate your support.





All gifts to the Widener Fund go toward financial aid.

Jacie Shuman ’17 Biology

Shijo Benjamin ’17 Biochemistry


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Gain the competitive edge you need to advance in your career with a Widener graduate degree. Today, leadership is at a premium. That is why it’s more important than ever to give yourself an edge that can take your career to the next level. With more than 60 graduate degrees, Widener University offers a robust selection of graduate programs in these fields: • Business Administration • Clinical Psychology • Criminal Justice • Education • Engineering • Hospitality and Tourism • Human Sexuality Studies • Law • Nursing • Physical Therapy • Public Administration • Social Work With full- and part-time programs available in evening, weekend, and accelerated and online formats, Widener can help you advance in your career. Visit widener.edu/graduate.

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