Francis “Ric” Rivette ’74
Blue Citation, 2014
Those who know Francis “Ric” Rivette know that he has either an Allegheny story or a car story to mark the important events of his life. In balance it is safe to say that his love of Allegheny comes close to surpassing his near-legendary love of cars. In particular, Ric’s focus since his graduation in 1974 has been to assure that the current students experience the many benefits of an Allegheny education.
Hardly a day goes by that Ric does not attend to that interest and give some of his time to Allegheny. He supports the student etiquette dinners, campus beautification, and preservation, and he responds to virtually every request from the College for his help. He has written notes to prospective students via the VISA program and, risking his early dating relationship with his now-wife, Judith La Manna, took her on some of their first dates to college nights on behalf of Allegheny. He represented Allegheny in 2002 at the inauguration of the incoming president of Colgate University. Ric and Judith have hosted gatherings of local alumni and incoming freshmen at their home in Liverpool, N.Y., and they have appeared in video and print public relations about the College. Always ready to bring people together, Ric was on the planning committee for his 25th Class Reunion as well as generational reunions. He is part of this year’s Class of ’74 40-Year Reunion effort.
In recognition of students, in 2008 in conjunction with fellow alum Dr. Jeff Leimbacher ’74, they established the annual Rivbacher Prize for the graduating Allegheny student with the most improved grades from his or her first semester. With hopes of enhancing alumni loyalty, this year he and Leimbacher created the annual Rivbacher Award for Student Philanthropy for the senior identified as most likely to give back to Allegheny. With Ric’s help as Chair of the Timothy Alden Council Executive Committee, the Annual Fund Grant Program was developed to award financial assistance to present Allegheny students and let the donors meet and interact with the students they have helped.
“For some time I have observed Ric’s passion and work on behalf of the Allegheny faculty, staff, and students,” noted Bruce Whitehair, the College’s associate vice president for advancement. “He is a person of exceptional ability, remarkable character, and high intellect. Allegheny is fortunate to have gained his commitment.”
In appreciation of his outstanding service, dedication, and support, it is fitting that on his 40th College Reunion year that Allegheny recognizes Francis “Ric” Rivette with its Blue Citation.
Richard “Dick” Fulton ’61
Gold Citation, 2014
It was at Allegheny that Richard “Dick” Fulton found the inspiration to become a physician. Since then, through his work in the medical field, and his compassion for helping others, Dick has touched the lives of countless individuals.
As a radiologist in southern California, Dick has shared his knowledge and expertise through teaching, authoring articles, and making medical presentations. This includes an educational seminar titled “Fifty Years of Medical Progress” that he presented on campus with two other physicians from the Class of 1961. The three alumni made the presentation during their 50th Reunion in 2011. He has served on several professional boards, including the California Radiological Society, his local hospital, and the American Heart Association of California, of which he was president.
In addition to professional contributions, Dick has made it a priority to give back to those who are less fortunate. In 2003, he became involved in Partners in Education, which annually provides 600 computers for fourth- through sixth-grade homes in his local public school system. He currently serves as chairman of the organization’s Career Education Committee, which places needy students in paid internships with businesses. Dick and his wife, Irene McDowell Fulton ’61, also have sponsored women athletes at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in their educational pursuits.
In 2010, Dick was appointed to the Santa Barbara County Board of Education, and he currently serves as president.
“Dick still finds time to work part time at Mission Viejo Hospital. I suspect that he will find a new volunteer position before too long,” says his wife.
Dick also has given his time and resources to the College. As an example, he and Irene served as members of their 50th Reunion Committee. The couple also established the Richard and Irene Fulton Scholarship, which provides financial aid for deserving students who have proven financial need and who have a minimum 3.0 grade point average. Additionally, Dick and Irene are members of the William Bentley Legacy Society.
“I knew Dick well at Allegheny. He was president of his fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi, and was highly respected by faculty and fellow students,” says Anne Herzog LaMotte ’61. “He is very deserving of this honor.”
After Allegheny, Dick received his medical degree from Temple University Medical School. He completed his internship at Santa Barbara Cottage and County Hospitals and his residency at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. He was on the staff at the Mayo Clinic for 10 years before returning to Santa Barbara, Calif., where he was a member of Pueblo Radiology Medical Group for 34 years, the final 11 as president. He and Irene have four daughters: Brooke ’91, Holly, Paige, and Tracy, and three grandchildren.
Nancy Morse Parker ’72
Gold Citation, 2014
Nancy Morse Parker believes that compassion is the key to making a difference in the world, and that reaching out to others in need is the right thing to do. She puts these ideals into practice through volunteerism in her local community.
Nancy and her husband, Bill ’71, moved to Manchester, Mo., in 2000. After tutoring sixth-grade reading students for three years in St. Louis, Nancy volunteered to tutor English as a Second Language to adults in the community. It is a program provided by the Parkway School District, located in suburban west St. Louis County.
“Nancy works with them to apply for jobs, pass driving tests, study for and apply for their citizenship, even accompanying them to their interviews for encouragement and celebrating with them at their naturalization ceremonies,” Bill says.
For more than 10 years, Nancy also has volunteered at the Circle of Concern, the food pantry and charity serving a large portion of the western suburbs of St. Louis. As a caseworker, her duties include evaluating family needs, advising heads of households on how to budget their incomes, providing assistance with their rent or utility bills, and directing them to other agencies with additional resources. She has just completed one year as president of the agency’s Board of Directors, on which she served for two three-year terms. She has been overseeing revisions to the organization’s bylaws, working to improve the group’s fundraising efforts, hiring a new executive director, and more.
“Nancy has found clients places to sleep, apartments to rent, and food — all while attempting to educate and encourage them to move forward in their lives, beyond needing the Circle’s services,” Bill says. “She fields phone calls well into the night for emergencies, abusive situations, and clients who just need a little support.”
“An organization could not ask for a better volunteer than Nancy; her high intelligence and leadership, along with her willingness to ‘get her hands dirty’ in the more thankless volunteer duties, puts her right at the top of any executive director’s wish list,” says Circle of Concern’s Executive Director Chris Pallozola. “But with Nancy there is even more; her passionate caring about others sets her apart. I am proud to call her my friend.”
In recognition of her efforts with both the Circle of Concern and Parkway’s ESL program, Nancy was chosen as the City of Manchester’s Citizen of the Year in 2012.
She comes from a long line of Allegheny graduates: her great-grandfather Andrew C. Ellis 1878, her grandparents Hartley 1915 and Janet Ellis Hartman 1915, her parents Daniel Morse ’49 and Anne Hartman Morse ’47, her aunt Jean Morse Swanson ’52, and several cousins. Nancy and Bill have three children and two grandchildren.
Linda “Lin” Jeffreys Wilensky ’70
Gold Citation, 2014
Linda “Lin” Jeffreys Wilensky has found a way to honor the memory of her late brother, Dave ’68, and help others in need in Florida.
Dave died in 2007 after suffering a heart attack. But for most of his life, he had battled mental illness.
Lin and her husband, Ron, are busy helping to open residences that provide mental health support services. The homes, located in Florida, are named Dave’s House in memory of Lin’s brother.
Since her retirement in 2011, Lin makes supportive housing a key part of her life. Her brother had battled one of the most menacing of mental illnesses — schizophrenia. In fact, during Lin’s freshman year at Allegheny, Dave, who was also attending Allegheny at the time, began experiencing hallucinations brought on by schizophrenia.
“Lin always looked up to her older brother. He was her role model, mentor, playmate, and friend,” says Ron. “It was only natural that Lin, two years younger than Dave, followed her only sibling’s footsteps and enrolled at Allegheny.”
Due to his illness, Dave had to leave Allegheny. Lin graduated with a drama degree and continued to look out for her older brother. His life was a series of ups and downs, trips in and out of the hospital, and he was on and off his medications. For a time, he even went missing and was homeless.
Finally, Lin found permanent, affordable housing with mental health support services for her brother. Once in this environment, Dave flourished for the last 15 years of his life.
Seeing the recuperative power of such homes, Lin co-founded, with Ron, the Brain Foundation of Florida, a nonprofit organization that purchases houses, apartments, and land for development. They opened the first Dave’s House in 2008. Since then, she works tirelessly to create residences that offer those recovering from serious mental illness a permanent place for independence and achievement, a place of acceptance and caring, and a place for living at one’s personal best. Soon there will be seven Dave’s Houses. The goal is to have 20 houses by 2020. For more information, visit www.DavesHouse.org.
“The first time I met Lin, I was overwhelmed, not only by the story of her brother, but also by the tremendous sense of compassion, support, and dedication shown to adults in central Florida struggling with severe mental illness,” says Regional Advancement Officer Jennifer Wardwell. “She truly represents the best of Allegheny, and I am honored to know her.”
Gary Brost ’74 and Willow Wilcox Brost ’74
Alumni Medal, 2014
From volunteering as reunion committee members and hosting alumni events, to their leadership and generosity to bring about the Admissions 454 House renovation and restoring the Bentley carillon, Gary and Willow Brost have left their mark on the College. Willow received her bachelor’s degree in biology and was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma and an Alden Scholar. Gary received his bachelor’s degree in economics and was a member of Phi Gamma Delta, student government, the interfraternity council, and played intramural sports.
Since graduating, the Brosts have demonstrated their Gator pride in many ways, from attending Reunion Weekends to hosting and sponsoring gatherings in and around Buffalo, one of which helped to introduce President Jim Mullen to Western New York. They are celebrating their 40th Reunion this weekend, and Willow is on the planning committee.
“Gary and Willow represent everything we hope for in our alumni — professional accomplishment at the highest level, remarkable citizenship and civic engagement, love for their alma mater. They are truly great Alleghenians who inspire us all by the example they set,” says President Mullen. “On a personal level, I value deeply their wisdom, and Mari and I feel most fortunate to enjoy their friendship.”
Gary and Willow have been loyal financial supporters, with the 454 House renovation and Bentley carillon being just two examples. They also have made gifts to update the lighting on Bentley’s roof and to restore Montgomery Gym. The Brosts are members of the President’s Society, Timothy Alden Council, and William Bentley Legacy Society, as well.
“Willow and Gary Brost, individually and as a couple, represent the spirit of Allegheny in everything they do,” says President Emeritus Richard Cook. “Their sense of love for, and service to, their alma mater is a shining example for all. Allegheny has benefited in countless ways from their loyalty through four decades.”
“Gary and Willow are two of the most dedicated, generous, and loyal alumni I have met in my 14 years with the College,” adds Vice President for Development and Alumni Affairs Marjie Klein. “They impact our daily lives at Allegheny — from the chiming of Bentley’s carillon to the creation of the 454 House, where they worked hard to honor the history of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. They consistently serve our College with grace and humor and bring practical wisdom to every discussion.”
In addition, the Brosts have been incredibly generous with their time. Willow was a trustee from 1999 to 2011 and began a new term on the board in 2012. She currently serves on the Development and Alumni Affairs and Trusteeship committees. She also has been a member of her 20th and 25th Reunion Committees, Alumni Congress (serving a two-year term as president when it became the Alumni Council), and the Building for New Generations Campaign Cabinet. In addition, she has been a Volunteer in Support of Allegheny and a Timothy Alden Council Executive Committee gift chair.
In 2003, Willow spoke at Commencement and presented their daughter, Devon, with her diploma. (The Brosts’ son, Ian, is also an Allegheny graduate.) Willow received a Blue Citation in 1994 and was featured in the spring 2013 issue of Allegheny magazine for her role on the board of Buffalo Prep, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing minority students with educational opportunities.
After Allegheny, Willow earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from D’Youville College and a master’s degree in nursing from the University at Buffalo. Her professional career spans from being a registered nurse, clinical instructor, nurse supervisor, and teaching assistant to roles as an in-service, quality assurance, and utilization review coordinator.
Since graduation, Gary has served on reunion committees, as a Campaign Steering Committee member, and as a judge for a business plan competition for students called the Gator Innovation Challenge.
He was appointed by N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo to the College Council of Buffalo State College (the largest comprehensive college in the state university system). The College Council acts as the Board of Trustees for the college. Gary previously received the President’s Distinguished Service Award from Buffalo State College and was the board chair, helping to secure $20 million in state and federal money, during planning for Buffalo State’s $35 million Burchfield Penney Art Center.
Gary now serves on the board of Bryant & Stratton College, a large, private, career-oriented college targeting first-generation, higher-education students. He also serves on the board of a large child and family services organization focusing on the needs of families and children in crisis.
Gary earned a master of business administration from the University at Buffalo and is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Program for Management Development. He started his career in the financial services industry as an accountant at a major Buffalo bank. After progressing through numerous management positions, he founded Strategic Investments & Holdings, a private equity investment firm specializing in the purchase of manufacturing companies throughout the United States, and is the chairman/CEO.
Gary and Willow are the parents of Sean Brost, Devon Brost Oskvig ’03, and Ian Brost ’09.
The Brosts’ many years of dedication, passion, and leadership to their alma mater inspire all who meet Gary and Willow. It is with deep gratitude that we bestow on them Allegheny College’s oldest and most prestigious award, the Alumni Medal.
Thoburn Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2014
Sarah Conklin, assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience, has made a major impact in a relatively short time at Allegheny. You get that impression by talking to her peers on campus:
“She brings out the best in her students and makes every opportunity a learning moment for them.” “In all aspects of her work, she contributes above and beyond what is expected and has the respect of her peers and her students.” “She helps to maintain a caring (academic) community in the fullest sense of the words.” She is “a natural in the classroom.”
Dr. Conklin arrived at Allegheny in 2007, after earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Edinboro University, a master’s in biopsychology from the University of New Orleans, and a doctorate in neuroscience from Baylor University. Following her doctorate, she completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh in cardiovascular behavioral medicine.
Dr. Conklin teaches Health Psychology, Foundations of Psychology, Foundations of Neuroscience II, Health and Psychophysiology, and a freshman seminar called Healthy, Happy Brains. Some of her former students were happy to share their observations: “She is a motivational force and a passionate educator.” “She taught me how to be a great student, leader, and scientist.” “She is a professor I would be proud to emulate.”
Dr. Conklin is committed to research. Her interests include how dietary fats are related to mood and brain function, how different types of behaviors such as eating, sleeping, and exercise can influence autonomic response to mental stress and promote feelings of well-being, and how naps might benefit young adults. Her lab is equipped with a variety of psychophysiological measurement tools such as EEG and EKG and a state-of-the-art polysomnography (sleep study) system. In the classroom, she is known for lecturing on materials not found in the textbook, which engages and inspires students and brings to light the science that is being done every day.
“Professor Conklin is the epitome of the successful teacher-scholar,” says Dr. Rachel O’Brien, associate professor of geology. “She seamlessly connects her research with her teaching and allows students to enter the dynamic world of creating new knowledge for themselves. Best of all, she does this with grace and good humor.”
Dr. Conklin and her husband, Michael Hurley, have two sons, Liam and Owen. Her hobbies include backpacking, gardening, traveling, cheering on Pittsburgh sports teams, and promoting her own neurogenesis. On her website, she proudly proclaims herself as an optimist.
Julian Ross Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2014
Passionate teaching inspires passionate learning.
Many alumni have linked that observation with Dr. Lloyd Michaels during his 42 years at Allegheny.
“No other teacher has more greatly influenced my scholarship, and through our friendship over the years, he has continued to do so,” says Harry Kloman ’79.
Dr. Michaels joined the faculty as professor of English in 1972. He also is the editor of the internationally acclaimed periodical Film Criticism, a post he has held since 1977. He has been director of the College’s freshman seminar program and served as dean of the College from 1999 to 2003. His interests include film studies, American literature, and Jewish-American literature.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University, his master’s from Ohio University, and his doctorate from the University at Buffalo.
Dr. Michaels is known and respected as a professor and colleague who doesn’t mince words and is honest to a fault. His longtime tennis partner, Professor of Political Science Shannan Mattiace, can attest to that. “He is incapable of calling a bad shot — deliberately,” she says.
“Professor Michaels encouraged us to think not only about course materials in interesting ways, but also about the kind of people we were, our sense of place, and our belonging not just at Allegheny, but in college — particularly a liberal arts college,” says Sarah Wurzbacher ’11.
“Professor Michaels was extremely tough, but fair,” recalls Christina Zanic ’10. “I pushed myself very hard because I wanted to succeed FOR him. In the end I earned my A, and I have never been so proud of myself.”
“Lloyd’s idea of student success is centered on the students’ willingness to cultivate interesting ideas and an intellectual curiosity,” says Professor Mattiace.
Professor Michaels and his wife, Mary, live in Meadville.
Professor of English Jim Bulman has the final tribute to his friend: “It has been inspirational to have him as a colleague for so many years, and I’ll miss him sorely when he retires. Even now, in fact, I can hear him from way down the hall, chastising himself at the top of his lungs for having made some silly mistake: ‘Ah, Lloyd, for cryin’ out loud!’ Today, for him, we should all answer by crying out loud ourselves, ‘Well done, Lloyd! You’ve made it. And you’ve made Allegheny a better place.’”
Saundra “Sandy” Snow
Robert T. Sherman Distinguished Service Award, 2014
Saundra “Sandy” Snow is an eyewitness to the technological revolution at Allegheny. Since first arriving at the College on May 12, 1965, she has witnessed the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs transition from one person keeping track of handwritten notes on index cards to an office of more than 30 staff members using robust computer and communications systems to engage and correspond with friends and graduates.
Among her accomplishments, Sandy compiled by hand the first comprehensive alumni directory in 1970. Now, through the wonders of technology, she keeps tabs on more than 24,000 alumni, 36,000 companies and foundations, and all the parents with whom the College communicates. In her role as senior data specialist, she receives every change of address, and announcements of births, weddings, and job changes, allowing her to develop extensive relationships with alumni throughout the nation and the world.
“She is loyal, dedicated, and devoted to her job at Allegheny, something not seen in these days of job changes and mobility,” a coworker says of Sandy. “She provides a consistent cornerstone of connectivity to our alumni as well as sharing a wealth of knowledge with her colleagues. This is not just a job to Sandy, this is a lifetime commitment.”
Sandy’s supervisor, Pamela Todd Fox, says, “Sandy has helped many of our alumni, fellow staff, and students over the years by providing reports, answering questions, and patiently assisting where she can. She is extremely proud of all her work.”
Coworkers hold Sandy in high esteem, seeking her advice and friendship. “She can always be found at her desk working and always has a smile on her face for anyone who needs her services,” says colleague Cindy Hoesch.
Linda Lees, office manager for the associate vice president of advancement, adds: “Sandy is always willing to go above and beyond her job description in helping her coworkers and anyone in need of information. She is tenacious about her work and will seek you out to make sure that she provides the exact information you requested.”
When not at work, Sandy and her husband, Jim, collect Christmas Dickens figurines and have amassed an extensive collection. She also helps her neighbors and families when they are in need.
“Sandy has worked Reunion Weekends ever since Allegheny has had them,” says Fox. “Alumni hug her when they return, remembering their days as a student working in the office with her or from other events. Sandy is kind, unflappable, and always helpful with a ready smile.”
Dr. John “Jack” Lehman ’54, P’87
Blue Citation, 2013
As medical providers increasingly find themselves confronted with moral questions and ethical dilemmas, Jack Lehman is helping Allegheny students obtain a deep understanding of and appreciation for the challenges and questions that they are likely to face.
That’s one reason why, in 2004, he and his wife, Debbie, felt strongly about establishing the Dr. John W. Lehman II Medical Ethics Fund at Allegheny. The fund provides financial assistance for course offerings, guest speakers, symposia, and related activities for the purpose of providing an understanding of, and appreciation for, ethics in the practice of medicine. The fund also established the Lehman Medical Ethics Lecture Series, which brings renowned academicians, ethicists, and physicians to campus for an annual lecture.
Additionally, the Lehmans help to fund a four-credit class in medical ethics at the College.
“The Lehmans’ continuing support of medical ethics at Allegheny is one of the most important courses we can offer our students who plan to go into a career in the health sciences,” says Linda DeMeritt, provost and dean of the College.
“Prompting discussion of ethical issues helps our students better prepare for medical professions, encouraging them to think about the patient, as well as the science of medicine,” adds Kirsten Peterson, Allegheny director of pre-professional studies and instructor in chemistry.
Jack’s volunteer and financial support extends beyond his medical ethics fund. In 2003, Jack reconnected with the College when serving on the Class Gift Committee for his 50th Reunion. The following year, he proudly represented Allegheny at the inauguration of President Kenneth Smith at Geneva College. His support as a volunteer has continued, as he served as a member of the Torchbearers Reunion Committee in 2007 and 2008. In addition, since 2008, Jack has been a member of the Timothy Alden Council Executive Committee.
“Jack realizes the importance of giving back to his alma mater and wants to help others understand how their gifts make a difference,” says Melissa Mencotti, Allegheny director of gift planning. “We are incredibly grateful for all that he has done to provide the necessary resources that allow students to excel in graduate school and the field of medicine.”
Jack is a retired orthopedic surgeon who, after graduating from Allegheny, received his medical degree from the Temple University School of Medicine. Following the completion of his residency, he returned to Beaver Falls, Pa., to set up his private orthopedic surgery practice. His keen interest in sports led to him serving as the team physician for area high schools and Geneva College and his eventual induction into the Beaver County Sports Hall of Fame. He also served on several county and state medical boards.
Allegheny is grateful to Jack for his service to the College and the countless students and fellow alumni he has helped and inspired through his continuous generosity.
Carrie Richardson Reeves ’73
Blue Citation, 2013
Although she is quick to deflect any credit, Carrie Reeves is the driving force behind the ABC (Association of Black Collegians/Association for the Advancement of Black Culture) Reunion that takes place at Allegheny every three years.
Recognizing the need to reengage alumni of color with the College, Carrie approached the alumni office in 2006 with the hope of bringing the ABC gathering that was formerly held in Pittsburgh to the Allegheny campus. She then worked with a talented group of alumni to help plan all aspects of ABC Reunion-related events.
“Carrie’s vision was to ensure that the reunion experience not only would be about building relationships and having fun, but also about facilitating an open and respectful dialogue among faculty, trustees, the Alumni Council, the College president, staff members directly involved in on-campus diversity efforts, and ABC alumni,” says Keri Fadden, Allegheny associate director of alumni affairs. “Through her hard work, she has made that vision a reality.”
“After each ABC Reunion, members of our staff comment about the extraordinary gratitude expressed by ABC Reunion participants,” adds Phil Foxman, Allegheny associate vice president of development and director of alumni affairs. “This theme of gratitude also has been a hallmark of Carrie’s work and a component of each ABC Reunion.”
As if her work with the 2007, 2010, and 2013 ABC Reunions weren’t enough, Carrie has served on the Alumni Council and as a mentor for students. She is a VISA volunteer, including being involved with the Gator Greetings holiday letter-writing effort, and attends Homecoming and regional events. Additionally, she served on her 40th Reunion Committee and is a loyal Annual Fund supporter.
Carrie is the coordinator of the Academic Achievement Program at the University of Akron. Her diverse background includes serving as the linkage coordinator for the Closing the Achievement Gap Program at East Cleveland City Schools, Shaw High School; director of health careers and the nursing summer camp for Cuyahoga Community College; government liaison for the Ohio Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel; director of the Access/TRIO programs for Case Western Reserve University; assistant director and director of Upward Bound: Special Program for Preprofessional Students in the Health Sciences at Case Western; and social worker for Ohio Boys’ Town Inc. After graduating from Allegheny, she earned her master’s degree in social administration from Case Western. She also is a licensed social worker.
For her remarkable work reigniting and cultivating the relationship between the College and ABC alumni, as well as for her ongoing and humble volunteerism to her alma mater, Allegheny is honored to recognize Carrie.
Keith Steiner ’73
Blue Citation, 2013
For many college graduates, Greek life is a part of their most treasured memories. For Keith Steiner, Greek life has played a significant role in most of his adult life — and he continues to give both his time and financial resources in honor of his beloved Allegheny fraternity.
Keith serves as the campaign chairman for the Delta Tau Delta Sesquicentennial Campaign. As chairman, he was the first donor — and he remains the lead donor. For the past three years, he has recruited, managed, and motivated Allegheny Delt alumni spanning five decades, securing more than $1 million in pledges.
“Keith’s loyalty and service to Allegheny spans multiple decades, projects, and both official and unofficial roles,” wrote 11 alumni involved in Delta Tau Delta campaign leadership. “His service is a model for the 130-plus donors, many of whom participate because of a personal request from Keith.”
“Keith was the first Alleghenian with whom I was acquainted. He made a powerfully positive impression,” says David McInally, Allegheny executive vice president and treasurer. “He is one of the most consistently positive, generous, and community-minded people I know. Above all else, Keith loves Allegheny College and never stops promoting it through his extensive network of national contacts.”
Although he has logged countless hours fundraising for Delta Tau Delta, Keith has given back to Allegheny in other ways, as well. Throughout the years, he has attended Homecoming and has served as a member of his 25th Reunion Gift Committee, as a member of the Alumni Council, and, in 1990, as a delegate for Allegheny at the presidential inauguration at Anderson University. He has generously supported the Dr. Paul A. Knights Book Fund, a fund named in memory of the late “Skipper” Knights who was the advisor for Keith’s senior comprehensive project, “A History of Alpha Chapter of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity.” He also is a loyal Timothy Alden Council member.
Keith serves as vice president-investments for UBS Financial Services Inc. and is part of the UBS Institutional Consulting Group. After graduating from Allegheny, he received his master of business administration from the University of Indianapolis. Prior to his current position, Keith served in a variety of professional staff member roles for Delta Tau Delta fraternity, including chapter consultant, resident advisor at Ohio University, director of program development, and director of chapter services. His volunteer experience with Delta Tau Delta includes serving as the north division vice president and then president; Education Foundation Board member; international secretary and member, the Arch Chapter; and Investment Committee member.
Allegheny is proud to recognize Keith for the enthusiasm he displays and the level of support he has given to the College and the Allegheny Chapter of Delta Tau Delta.
John Vanco ’68
Gold Citation, 2013
It is hard to believe that prior to Allegheny, John Vanco was uninterested in art. It wasn’t until his freshman 19th-century art history course with Allegheny Professor Dick Kleeman that his emerging curiosity blossomed into what has become a full-time career and has made a substantial impact on the cultural/arts scene in Erie and the northwest Pennsylvania region.
Since 1968, when John took the helm at what was then the Erie Art Center (now the Erie Art Museum), the organization has flourished, becoming a vibrant museum and an important cultural resource. As museum director, he has curated more than 400 exhibitions, including organizing “Made in Erie,” traveling exhibitions that have been viewed across the United States. In addition to the traditional functions of a museum, under John’s leadership, the museum now hosts projects such as “Old Songs New Opportunities.” This project, run in conjunction with local agencies and day-care centers, provides job training and internships for individuals in the city’s refugee communities and prepares them for child-care jobs in the United States.
“The Erie Art Museum is a treasure, both for what it is — an important gathering place and shelter for citizens, art, and artists — and for what it represents — the power of change, given one man’s lifetime of devotion, commitment, and hard work,” says photographer and author Mark Perrott ’68.
In 2010, the Erie Art Museum brought more positive physical and social change to the city. Under John’s direction, the museum completed an extensive renovation and expansion project that produced the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified building in Erie.
“John has done more than just celebrate and nourish the arts — he has helped change the way an entire city feels about itself,” says photographer William Owen ’74. “It’s truly difficult to imagine a more significant career in the arts or elsewhere.”
John’s dedication to the community extends beyond the museum’s walls. He has founded and curates the Erie Art Museum Blues and Jazz Festival and the museum’s Contemporary Music Series. He initiated the planning process that resulted in Discovery Square and led to the creation of the expERIEnce Children’s Museum. He collaborated with the Erie County Convention Center Authority to include public art in the Convention Center. He also has served on several boards. In 2010, John received the Pennsylvania Creative Community Art Award.
“It’s impossible to overestimate the influence John has had not only on the visual fabric of the neighborhood of the museum, but also on the countless visual artists and musicians he has worked with and championed over a 44-year span,” says artist and designer Jonathan E. “Jed” Miller ’69. “His unerring taste and attention to detail and quality are all hallmarks of his long tenure.”
Christine Scott Nelson ’73, P’14
Alumni Medal, 2013
When meeting Christine Scott Nelson for the first time, it doesn’t take long to learn that she is Allegheny loyal. Chris’ deep connection to Allegheny began as a student, when she received academic honors in Spanish and was recognized as an Alden Scholar and as a member of the Women’s Honorary Society. Additionally, Chris was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and was involved in the Allegheny Community Exchange program and Lambda Sigma.
Following graduation, Chris earned master’s degrees from Boston University and MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Her allegiance to Allegheny has never wavered. Chris has been a faithful and generous donor to the College, including the establishment of the Christine Scott Nelson Faculty Support Fund with her husband, Carl. In addition, as a way to support global learning, Chris established the Christine Scott Nelson Study Abroad Scholarship Fund and the Christine Scott Nelson Study Abroad Expense Fund.
Chris’ generosity has impacted the community and campus beautification, as well. She and Carl have given gifts for the Founders House located in downtown Meadville, the Admissions 454 House renovation, and to the Allegheny Building Restoration Fund, which is used for campus building renovations. Additionally, she served as a member, and ultimately chair, of the Timothy Alden Council Executive Committee. Chris also is a member of the William Bentley Legacy Society.
Chris, who serves as senior advisor of Cornerstone Research and founder of the organization’s East Coast practice, also has established an extraordinary record of volunteer service to the College. She joined the Allegheny Board of Trustees in 1999 and served as vice chair for three years prior to being elected chair in 2006. She was the first woman to chair the board at Allegheny.
“Chris Nelson represents all the best of Allegheny,” says Allegheny President James H. Mullen, Jr. “Her accomplishments professionally and as a citizen make her a most worthy model for our students. And, her love for this College, manifested in so many generous ways, continues to inspire every Alleghenian.”
In an effort to reconnect others with the College, Chris has served as a VISA volunteer; a member of the Alumni Council, pre-campaign planning subcommittees, and two campaign steering committees; and co-chair of her 25th Reunion Committee. Throughout the years, she also has attended numerous alumni events and hosted gatherings in her home, and has served as a mentor to students, as well as offering internships at her company. Her volunteer work continues, as she served on the Class of 1973 40th Reunion Planning Committee and as a member of the board’s Alumni Affairs and Development Committee. She also has agreed to serve as co-chair of the College’s endowment campaign. In honor of her outstanding professional achievements, Chris received Allegheny’s Gold Citation in 2000.
Chris’ many years of dedication and leadership to her alma mater inspire all who meet her. It is with deep gratitude that we recognize her with Allegheny’s oldest and most prestigious award.
Thoburn Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2013
Aimee Knupsky’s “above and beyond” commitment to student learning is evidenced by the many students she takes to conferences each year and her recent recognition by the Great Lakes Colleges Association as an expert on teaching and the ways that students learn.
Aimee, an associate professor of psychology, joined the Allegheny faculty in 2005. Her students and professional colleagues laud her for the time and meticulous attention she devotes to her classes.
“Professor Knupsky gives so much feedback on papers, which is wonderful, especially when working on the senior comprehensive project,” says former student Rachel Learned Brace ’08. “I truly think that Professor Knupsky writes more on our papers than we originally wrote!”
Adds Amelia Whitaker ’07: “Before working with Professor Knupsky, I was dreading the comp process. But in the end, I feel that with her help, the project had a profound impact on me. My experience at Allegheny would have been very different if I hadn’t gotten so much out of the comp experience and working with Professor Knupsky.”
Aimee received her doctorate in experimental psychology at the University of New Mexico with a major emphasis in cognitive psychology and a minor emphasis in linguistics. Her previous research has examined bilingual language production and the linguistic features of email. Her current research focuses on factors affecting student learning and communication, including an emphasis on the use of computer-mediated communication inside and outside of the classroom. She also serves as the mentor for the eye-tracking lab in the psychology department. Aimee teaches an introductory course on cognitive psychology, a research-methods course, and various seminars focused on sociolinguistic topics.
Aimee also serves as the chair for the Western Pennsylvania Undergraduate Psychology Conference, is an Allegheny College Divisional Teacher-Scholar Chair in Interdisciplinary Studies, was elected as a Council on Undergraduate Research councilor, and was selected as a Great Lakes Colleges Association Pedagogy Fellow. With her colleague Stephanie Martin of the economics department, Aimee also coordinated the College’s 2012-13 annual theme focused on transforming education.
Aimee’s colleagues say she is a leader in innovative pedagogy, creative course development, and exhibits a sustained commitment to student learning.
“She has been a consistent champion of student research since she arrived at Allegheny, and it has benefited our students tremendously,” says Joshua Searle-White, associate professor of psychology. “She finds myriad ways of engaging students through research articles, videos, online discussions, and in-class activities. The proof of this creativity comes in her students’ high level of understanding the research process and the many ways in which psychological research can be applied to everyday life.”
Julian Ross Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2013
Lowell Hepler challenges students to see and understand music as an art form, as a necessary component to the human experience. In his words: “That is why we teach music — not because we expect you to major in music; not because we expect you to play music all your life; not so you can relax; not so you can have fun; not so you can (run) around the football field in uniform or play concerts in formal dress. But…so you will be human; so you will recognize beauty; so you will be sensitive; so you will be closer to an infinite beyond our world; so that you will have something to cling to; so that you will have more love, more compassion, more gentleness, more good — in short, more life.”
Lowell joined the Allegheny faculty in 1974, after receiving his bachelor’s degree from Clarion State University, his master’s from Carnegie Mellon University, and his doctorate from Case Western Reserve University. He is affectionately known to his students as “Doc.”
He is professor of music and directs the 100-member Allegheny Wind Symphony and the 45-member Allegheny Wind Ensemble. He also teaches courses in music history and research, along with applied piano and tuba. Lowell is a frequent guest conductor for music festivals ranging from county through all-state levels, and he has served as an adjudicator for numerous festivals and clinics. He has served as the Pennsylvania state chairperson for the College Band Directors National Association, and he is a past president of the Pennsylvania Collegiate Bandmasters Association.
Lowell remains an active performer, playing both the tuba and piano. He is the principal tubist of the Erie Philharmonic Orchestra, and in the past performed with the Erie Chamber Orchestra, the Lake Erie Ballet Orchestra, and the Savelli Concert Band.
Most importantly, he is mentor and confidante to thousands of students who have passed through his classrooms. “Dr. Hepler is everything from an advisor and mentor to an acting parent,” says Bonnie Sands Jackson ’08. “His guidance in our coursework and dorm life were everyday experiences. Dr. Hepler, as if a musical physician, treats the whole student. Realizing that each student walks onto the stage with the baggage he or she is carrying in every other aspect of life, Dr. Hepler encourages music as an outlet for expressing ourselves, for motivating ourselves, and as a vehicle for transformation.”
Allegheny music instructor Ronald Stitt says of his colleague: “Lowell has a unique ability to connect with students at Allegheny. As their band director, he works with these young people throughout their entire tenure at Allegheny. With few exceptions, no faculty member here touches more students, and for a longer period of time, than Lowell Hepler.”
Lowell is recognized as one of the College’s top recruiters throughout the years because of his involvement as a guest conductor in high school and intercollegiate band performances.
“I am honored to say that I now work with Lowell as a colleague in the music department,” says Kelli Shellito-Leech ’93. “He has played an important role in my own philosophy of teaching. He has shown me that in order to be a great teacher, you must treat your students with respect and compassion and have them enjoy your class while they are still learning and being challenged.”
Gordon Van Cise P’95
Robert T. Sherman Distinguished Service Award, 2013
If you take a tour of one of the College’s computer labs, sneak a peek under the oak table you’re passing and you might see the initials of the man who made that desk. His name is Gordon Van Cise, and he has been a carpenter with the Physical Plant staff since 1986.
Gordon custom made those long oak desks. There are about 60 of them scattered around the campus, and he has numbered and initialed each one. It’s just part of the fine craftsmanship he has shared with the campus community. If you inspect the receptionist’s desk in the art department in Doane Hall, you’re looking at Gordon’s handiwork. If you visit the president’s home, much of the carpentry is the product of Gordon’s woodworking artistry. The restored columns that support Brooks Hall bear the marks of Gordon’s labor. And every spring when students receive their diplomas at Commencement, they are sharing one of their proudest Allegheny moments on the stage that Gordon helped build.
“Gordon is entrusted with helping to preserve the College’s physical treasures — our historic buildings and campus — but he also helps to preserve our ideals and our sense of who we are and who we can become,” says Kathy Roos, the College’s director of campus communications. “His work ethic is tremendous, his skills are unparalleled, and his kindnesses to students and colleagues have touched countless lives over the years.”
There are many stories about Gordon’s committed workmanship. A few years ago Allegheny acquired the desk of Timothy Alden through a generous gift, and Gordon was determined to find the one missing piece — a key to unlock the cabinet doors. He went to a local antiques store and sorted through hundreds of keys — about 50 pounds — to find one that would work. “That’s the kind of attention and determination and detail that Gordon brings to all of his work,” says Roos.
“His wonderful sense of humor and attention to detail have made him a valued member of the Allegheny community,” says Cliff Willis, director of Physical Plant. Gordon, a lifelong resident of Townville, enjoys researching the area’s past and serves on the College’s History and Heritage Committee. He also serves on the Carpentry Advisory Board of the Crawford County Career and Technical Center and is active in the Lyona Bible Church.
Gordon and his wife, Julianne, have raised three children, Glen, David, and Sallianne ’95.
His former supervisor, Kenneth Hanna, offers this tribute: “Gordon exemplifies the dedication and faithfulness that make him truly deserving of this prestigious award. Some are willing to go beyond what is required, that is Gordon. Some are willing to perform without acknowledgement, that is Gordon.
“Some are willing to serve when others will not, that is Gordon. Some put every effort into even the most minimal project, that is Gordon. And, even some can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, that is Gordon. Well done, Gordon!”
Peggy Toman Siegle ’70
Blue Citation, 2012
Peggy Toman Siegle is an alumna who cares deeply about her alma mater and her community. She exemplifies the Allegheny spirit by making a difference in the lives of the people she meets.
Peggy gives generously of her time and resources to the College. She helped chair three of her milestone reunions, encouraging her classmates to attend, to donate and to remember all that Allegheny has done for them and continues to do for generations of students. She flew around the country at her own expense to see and engage her classmates, urging them to join her for Reunion Weekend festivities. She also is a proud member of the William Bentley Society. A member of Alpha Chi Omega, Peggy acts as a tireless emissary for the College, whether she’s recruiting students in her home state of Maine, asking fellow alumni to provide highly valued internships or supporting the Gators’ softball team in Florida during its tournament play over spring break.
“Peggy has been the best representative of Allegheny I know since I met her during freshman year of college,” says classmate Pam Schmitt O’Brien ’70. “She united our floor (3A South) and our class with her enthusiasm and friendliness. I’d be willing to bet she knew everyone in the Class of 1970, and probably still does. She has talked the Allegheny talk since 1966. She loves our College!”
Peggy also was instrumental in forming the “Tarbell Sisterhood,” a group of women who graduated in 1970 and meet at least once a year for a long weekend in New England. “Peggy unfailingly brings us Ida Tarbell bookmarks or Allegheny pens or some other tangible way to remember those years that changed our lives,” says Pam.
Peggy is director of development at Habitat for Humanity/7 Rivers Maine. Earlier in her career, she served as development director for Youth Alternatives, Inc., a youth and family services agency in Maine; director of development for Kennebec Behavioral Health; director of special education for Lake Region Schools in Maine and as a speech pathologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland.
She has raised two children, Dave and Laura, and once owned a batting cage where aspiring baseball players could hone their skills year-round.
After graduating from Allegheny, Peggy earned a master’s degree in speech pathology and audiology at the University of Vermont. She is president of the Phi Beta Kappa Association of Maine.
Her varied interests include actively supporting cultural organizations such as professional theater groups and museums. She serves on the board of directors of the Bowdoin International Music Festival.
Peggy proudly carries the Allegheny College banner in all that she does.
Philip L. St. Moritz ’61
Blue Citation, 2012
From both a professional and philanthropic perspective, the resume of Philip St. Moritz is impressive.
Phil enjoys great success as a businessman, but his real joy comes from helping others, especially Allegheny College students, faculty and staff, a group of people for whom he cares deeply. Phil “reconnected” with the College 12 years ago when he served as co-chair of his 40th Reunion Committee. Under Phil’s leadership, the class broke a fund-raising record, presenting the College with a class gift of more than $4 million. More recently, Phil again agreed to take an active role in his 50th Reunion Committee. Not surprisingly, another fund-raising record was established.
Phil continues to serve Allegheny in every role he is asked to fill. When the College needed someone to help sponsor its annual Pittsburgh Holiday Event, Phil agreed to do it. When asked about his willingness to continue his sponsorship in future years, his response was: “You’ve got a sponsor for life.” Phil also supports the annual on-campus holiday luncheon for faculty and staff, an event he has hosted for five years.
“Phil wants to help any way he can, and almost every time we talk, he asks how he can assist and what more he can do,” says Sally Barrett Hanley ’92, the College’s director of reunion giving.
On a professional level, Phil is the quintessential “self-made man.” After graduating from Allegheny, he served in the U.S. Air Force and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. After his service, he returned to Pittsburgh and began pursuing his dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur.
It is safe to say Phil has realized that goal.
In the past 40 years, he has founded seven corporations that employ more than 3,000 people in 34 offices nationwide. He is the sole owner and chief executive officer of the St. Moritz Group, which includes St. Moritz Security Services Inc., St. Moritz Building Services Inc., St. Moritz Labor Services Inc., St. Moritz Marine Services Inc., St. Moritz Services Inc., St. Moritz Properties LLC, and St. Moritz Boardwalk. The annual sales for these companies exceed $100 million. As a dedicated alumnus, he has hired several Allegheny alumni and says he will continue to do so because of the skills, work ethic and excellence demonstrated by Allegheny graduates.
“To say that Phil is passionate about his businesses is an understatement,” says John Brady ’05, whom Phil hired two months after his graduation. “The same can be said for his passion for Allegheny and his desire to inspire graduates to get involved with their alma mater.”
Allegheny is proud to have Phil as an alumnus and ambassador and we are grateful for his unwavering dedication and commitment to the College.
Hayes C. Stover ’62
Blue Citation, 2012
Hayes Stover represents all that is good about Allegheny College. As a student, alumnus and member of the board of trustees, Hayes has devoted 50 years to his alma mater and has always been generous with his time and talent.
His classmates remember Hayes as a towering figure among the freshmen. He was an Alden Scholar and a member of Pi Gamma Mu and Phi Beta Kappa honorary societies. He also worked on the Kaldron staff. He was president of his fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, in his senior year. His friends recall that one of the smartest moves he ever made was to meet, “court” and marry Patricia Dolan, who also has been a loyal supporter of Allegheny. “That must have been a key provision in the marriage contract,” says friend Henry “Bing” Ewalt ’62.
A graduate of Harvard Law School, Hayes has had a successful legal practice in Pittsburgh, most recently as a partner at K&L Gates, where he specializes in labor and immigration law. He has been recognized by his peers as one of Pennsylvania’s Super Lawyers and is listed among the Best Lawyers in America.
Hayes is serving his third term on the Allegheny College Board of Trustees and has volunteered in many capacities, including board secretary. He has never missed a meeting during his tenure. Hayes also served on the presidential search committee that recommended the election of James H. Mullen, Jr.
Former Allegheny President Richard J. Cook recalls: “Hayes and Pat were among the very first people I met when coming to Allegheny. I sensed Hayes’ enthusiasm, passion and dedication from the very first. His service on the board has been stellar. His attendance and participation are exemplary.”
The family has established the Stover Family Scholarship Fund, presented annually to students who demonstrate financial need. As stated on the Stover Family Scholarship plaque, “You have opened the door to students now and for generations to come.” The Stovers belong to the William Bentley Society and the Timothy Alden Council.
Hayes also served on the Class of 1962 Reunion Committee. Bing Ewalt says of his classmate’s contribution to the committee: “Hayes is a valuable member. All of his suggestions are pertinent and well thought-out. His warmth and enthusiasm are contagious as he reaches out to members of our class.”
Always willing to help and offer solid advice, Hayes has served on a number of Pennsylvania and Allegheny County Bar Association panels as well as several nonprofit organizations and government agencies, including the zoning boards in the Town of McCandless and Edgeworth Borough.
The Stovers live in Sewickley, Pa., and have two adult children, Michael and Diana.
Michael M. Alch ’78
Gold Citation, 2012
In his professional life, Michael Alch invests and manages money for Fifth Third Bank in Chicago. In his “other” life as a volunteer and philanthropist, Michael invests in and helps save young lives in one of the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere.
In 2004, Michael made his first trip to Honduras to visit orphanages in the Central American nation. He was so moved by the experience that he became enthusiastically involved with All God’s Children, Ltd., a nonprofit group that exclusively supports orphanages and housing care ministries in Comyagua, Honduras. All God’s Children benefits more than 175 children at two orphanages and also supports unwed teen mothers and the mentally impaired by providing housing and medical care for them.
After Michael’s first trip, he began to recruit other members of the Chicago-area business community to travel to Honduras to assist the efforts of All God’s Children. He was able to encourage his friends and colleagues to sponsor children and donate duffel bags full of supplies. He then received approval for, and developed, an annual charity golf outing to benefit All God’s Children. Michael took on the responsibility of soliciting corporate sponsors, putting together publications, making the golfing arrangements and attending to all the details of the day’s events. To date, the All God’s Children Open has raised more than $110,000 for the organization. The event attracts more than 80 golfers from the Chicago area.
“Every year Michael does an amazing job of seeking out new supporters and participants to play a role in making the All God’s Children golf outings a success,” says his colleague Philip J. Perzek. “Through his tireless and passionate work, Michael is making a real impact not only in the lives of so many of the children but also in the hearts and minds of those in the Chicago business community whom Michael has connected with All God’s Children. I simply cannot imagine a more noble and honorable pursuit for any alumnus of Allegheny College.”
Michael is the vice president of Fifth Third Bank, a position he has held since 2009. Prior to that, he worked at the CIT Group, Banc One Leasing Corp. and C.I.T. Group Holdings Inc. He received an MBA from Sacred Heart University after earning a bachelor’s degree in economics. Michael and his wife, Debra, have a son, Harrison. They live in Bannockburn, Ill.
W. Peter Peterson ’59
Gold Citation, 2012
Dr. Pete Peterson has tended to scores of physical ailments during his decades as a physician, specializing in internal medicine and spinal cord injuries. He has helped to heal the emotional, social and spiritual wounds of his fellow man as well.
Since graduating from Allegheny, Pete’s impact on the world has been dramatic. His work for the underserved, the underprivileged and for minorities of diverse backgrounds is widely known and admired among his peers.
His informal resumé of accomplishments in service to others is impressive. Here are just a few highlights of Pete’s philanthropy: As a medical student at Harvard, he became a member of Big Brothers Big Sisters and 50 years later maintains a friendship with his “little brother.” Since his service in the U.S. Army Medical Corps in the Vietnam War, Pete has championed the causes of service veterans in the Denver, Colo., region and worked to improve the lives of several Vietnamese children whom Pete and his wife, Mary, helped raise and educate. Pete continues to tutor in Denver-area schools, concentrating his efforts on minority students. Each summer, as part of a program called Seeking Common Ground, the Petersons host teenagers visiting from the strife-torn Middle East. Pete leads social-action organizations and has been cited for his volunteerism in those groups. He has chaired Coloradans for Immigrant Rights and the Immigration Task Force for the Unitarian Church. Pete received the Unitarian Church Social Action Award in 2010 for his work on the Unitarian Task Force for Projects in Racial Harmony.
His friend and classmate Neil Abramson says: “Pete represents the best values of a physician – an educator, an investigator and a caring, empathetic deliverer of health care. His goals and objectives to contribute to the well-being of others have benefited all types of individuals … Allegheny should take pride in his accomplishments.”
On a professional level, Pete practiced internal medicine and served on the faculty of the University of Colorado Medical School. He then founded the pulmonary care departments in two Denver hospitals and established a nationally recognized center for quadriplegics. In that capacity, he acted as a consultant in two widely known cases, those of the late actor Christopher Reeve, injured in an equestrian accident, and the late Alabama Governor George Wallace, wounded by a gunman during his presidential campaign in 1972.
“What stands out to me is Dr. Peterson’s life work for social justice over and above his outstanding medical career,” says former classmate and Allegheny trustee, Dr. Herb Niles. “His extensive involvement with his wife, Mary, to bridge the gaps between African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, the Palestinian community, the Vietnamese community and members of the Jewish community within the framework of the Unitarian Church has been groundbreaking. Many, many lives have been impacted in a very positive way through the efforts of Pete and Mary.”
The Petersons live in Denver and have two children, Lisa and Eric. Their “extended” family, however, spans the globe.
Mary E. Sceiford ’54
Alumni Medal, 2012
Those who know Mary Sceiford observe that she lives modestly, but when she volunteers her time and resources, she does so in the most generous ways imaginable. Whether it’s tending to her beloved orchards in North East, Pa., or championing a cause on behalf of students at Allegheny College, Mary is passionate about the task at hand.
For the past three decades, Allegheny has relied on Mary’s vast professional knowledge in the fields of communication and education, seeking her wise advice and asking her to nurture special projects. Mary has served Allegheny tirelessly as a member of the board of trustees since 1975 (with the exception of a couple of mandated one-year gaps in service). Her work on myriad committees, including student affairs and campus planning, and initiatives such as the Task Force for Developing Strategic Partnerships in Meadville and the Region, and the Annual Giving Participation and Student Alumni Subcommittee, has had a profound impact on the campus and community. She also has served on the Alumni Council, the Timothy Alden Council Executive Committee and the Reunion Committee with energy and distinction.
Mary’s family roots run deep at Allegheny. They can be traced back generations to her maternal great-grandfather who earned his diploma in the mid-1800s. Mary followed the family tradition and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education in 1954. She has been making her impact on the world ever since. First as a teacher and then as an administrator for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting where she worked for 22 years, Mary has positively influenced scores of young lives. In 1983, Allegheny recognized Mary’s professional accomplishments with a Gold Citation.
Among her many contributions to Allegheny, Mary established the Sally Pettit Humphreys Scholarship Fund in 1983 in honor of her college roommate, travel companion and lifelong friend. The scholarship assists students annually in the study-away program. She has supported construction of the Wise Sport & Fitness Center, the Patricia Bush Tippie Alumni Center, renovations at Ford Chapel and has invested in the Cook-Lahti Projects Fund, ACCEL and the Peter and Ellen Weir Laffer Scholarship Fund.
Her affinity for Allegheny’s students is apparent to all who work with Mary. “She served on the North Village II Client Committee with students. They loved her,” says Larry Lee, the College’s senior associate vice president for finance and planning. “She encouraged them to express their feelings and be active participants. She has always been an advocate for students.”
Mary continues to sow the seeds of success for students at Allegheny in her characteristically low-profile way. She answers all calls for help from her alma mater enthusiastically and generously. Her dedication to the College and its governing board serves as an inspiration to all who meet her. It is with deep gratitude for her many years of outstanding service and leadership that we honor Mary Sceiford with Allegheny College’s oldest and most prestigious award, the Alumni Medal.
Stephen Z. Onyeiwu
Thoburn Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2012
Here is what two colleagues have to say about Dr. Steve Onyeiwu: “Steve has innovated across the board in his classes,” and “Steve is at the cutting edge.”
A highly regarded member of the Economics Department, Dr. Onyeiwu joined the Allegheny faculty in 2001 and has been an integral part of the managerial economics program, of which he is co-director. He has embraced the advantages computer technology offers in the classroom.
A measure of his success as a mentor, “is the high regard students have for him,” says Stephen D. Casler, professor of economics. “Student narratives written at the end of each semester provide a firsthand look at student perceptions of Steve as a teacher. Across the range of classes he teaches, the one word that appears most frequently is ‘enthusiastic’.”
Dr. Onyeiwu, an associate professor, teaches advanced economics courses and firstyear seminars. He also is a sought-after mentor for students working on their senior projects. His research, especially that on the Meadville-area tool and die industry and African economic development, brings acclaim to the College and opportunities for students and graduates.
“Students repeatedly praise the quality, clarity and organization of his lectures; the interaction, encouragement and engagement provided to students to offer their opinions during class discussions; and his attempts to get everyone involved in an interactive learning process,” says Dr. Casler. “Students find true value in the connections he makes between the theoretical components of class material and the applications in the world, manifested in guest speakers and field trips. In short, he has a profound effect on students.”
“The thing that I enjoyed most about Professor Onyeiwu was his ability and willingness to apply course material to the actual business world,” says Benjamin Montgomery ’05. “This was very important to me in the long run. It helped me look at the material in a different way and certainly made it more interesting and meaningful.”
Fellow economics professor Don Goldstein knows why Dr. Onyeiwu is highly regarded. “A secret to his success is the familiarity with these issues – management of technology, innovation (there’s that word again), stakeholders – created by Steve’s research, which infuses and informs his pedagogy.”
Dr. Onyeiwu’s dedication to teaching and to his students doesn’t end with his work in the classroom. He often can be seen at events for prospective students and other campus activities when there is a call for volunteers. His responsibilities include convening the Managerial Economics Board of Visitors meeting – where alumni provide advice and guidance for the managerial program – and organizing the Executive Roundtable – where business and civic leaders, mostly alumni, address critical economic issues.
Dr. Onyeiwu also stays active in the local business community, bringing the best of the Allegheny advantage to Meadville and western Pennsylvania.
William G. Bywater, Jr.
Julian Ross Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2012
Allegheny is one of the top liberal arts colleges in the nation because of outstanding faculty who encourage independent thinking and approach issues of social, scientific and philosophical importance from a variety of viewpoints.
There is no better example of an outstanding teacher and a life-shaping mentor than Dr. William “Bill” Bywater. Dr. Bywater is synonymous with Allegheny College, and as he retires from full-time teaching after 44 years, this award is a fitting tribute to his service to this institution and his deep commitment to Allegheny and the students he has taught.
Dr. Bywater’s colleague Eric Boynton estimates that “Bill has taught well over 5,000 Allegheny students and advised many hundreds.” But more importantly, according to Dr. Boynton, “Bill has altered the course of many of these students’ lives. Bill has consistently worked to expose students to under-studied, socially relevant and significant issues of injustice in both domestic and global contexts.”
Dr. Bywater, professor of philosophy, shared his all-inclusive vision early at Allegheny, helping to found the Women’s Studies Program not long after arriving on campus in 1967. One of his most far-reaching contributions has been coordinating campus-wide learning efforts. His first project, encouraging faculty to integrate ideas from critical race theory into their courses, culminated in a spring 2008 conference in which Allegheny students presented their work on current social scholars while those very scholars sat in the audience. More recently, his campus-wide efforts and conferences have focused on global citizenship and sustainability, issues about which Dr. Bywater cares deeply. These pioneering educational opportunities have developed into the College’s annual theme program. Dr. Bywater’s Allegheny legacy will carry on for years and affect many more students, thanks to a newly endowed Bywater Conference Fund.
In the teaching realm, Dr. Bywater’s classrooms are noted for being student-centered. Christopher Ames ’89 says “Dr. Bywater’s courses, such as ‘Contemporary Black Thinkers’ as well as courses in feminism and other social-philosophical movements, were instrumental in my intellectual maturation. He worked with me on two independent study courses that were among my best experiences as a student.”
Says Elizabeth Marsh ’07: “Dr. Bywater taught that self-awareness and ethical consideration of others are a part of any academic career. If nothing else, this will always stay with me.”
“His career has been marked by the complete effort to come to terms with ethical meaning for our society in our time,” says Dr. Boynton. “In the best sense of Allegheny’s values of personal integrity, justice, social responsibility, respect for individuals and acknowledging diversity, he should be hailed for his early courage, true tenacity in pursuing difficult and uncomfortable questions, for his humility in approaching questions that cut deep, for the solicitude he expresses for those on the underside of the story, and for his kindness toward the many generations of Allegheny students in his care.”
Melissa C. Mencotti
Robert T. Sherman Distinguished Service Award, 2012
Whether or not she knows it, Melissa Mencotti has a reputation – that she is among the hardest working professionals on the Allegheny campus, admired for her high level of professionalism and unfettered willingness to serve others.
Melissa, the director of gift planning in the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs, garners the admiration of co-workers across campus, and the alumni and friends of Allegheny whom she serves.
“What I find most impressive about Melissa is that she willingly gives the most valuable asset that any of us have – time – when it can benefit Allegheny College, our students, our alumni, our colleagues and our community,” says Kathy Roos, director of campus communications and College editor.
Melissa joined Allegheny in 2000 as director of development research, also working as director of prospect development before taking her current position in 2008. She recently completed a graduate degree in philanthropy – not because she saw it as a steppingstone in her career, but because she thought it would help inform her work for the College. Prior to her Allegheny career, Melissa was the assistant director of Women’s Services, Inc. in Meadville for 12 years.
Gilly Ford, assistant to the president for board relations, uses these words to describe Melissa: “Kind, compassionate, good heart, clear communicator and thoughtful, especially when it comes to how her words or actions will impact another person.”
Melissa also took the initiative to start a women’s group at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Meadville to explore spiritual issues. “It is typical of Melissa that she values the whole person as she works with people on and off campus,” says Kathy Roos.
In addition to her work in gift planning, Melissa has served on the Finance and Facilities Committee, regarded as one of the most demanding volunteer assignments on campus. “Melissa took on this extra responsibility and met it with the hard work and determination to do her best that are typical of how she approaches every task,” Kathy recalls.
Retired Allegheny employee Nancy J. Sheridan provides a little more insight: “As a board member at Women’s Services, I became close to Melissa, who never faulted in her work and went beyond the duties of her job because she is so thoughtful and such a good, dedicated worker. She is a gem!”
This brief outline of Melissa’s career is just a sampling of her accomplishments and dedication to Allegheny and the greater community. She embodies the highest ideals of what it means to be associated with the College – integrity, lack of pretension, kindness and a desire not only to do what is best for the institution but also to support alumni, students, colleagues and community members.
Gail Howe Fahrer ’56
Blue Citation, 2011
Gail “Gigi” Howe Fahrner has the special gift of making investments that yield what are perhaps the most treasured returns: lives touched and communities enriched.
Gigi has selflessly offered decades of exceptional service to Allegheny. As a class agent and a reunion committee member and co-chair, she helped to reconnect classmates to one another and to the College. Her actions and her advocacy have motivated scores of alumni to join her in supporting Allegheny through their volunteer efforts and financial support.
Gigi’s work ethic and passion for Allegheny also inspired a truly remarkable gift to the College from an unexpected source—her employer. In honor of Gigi’s 40 years of service to a private Philadelphia-area foundation, its retired chairman established the Gigi Howe Fahrner Fund to support civic engagement initiatives at Allegheny.
“I wanted to create a program that would support practical approaches to improving student education which, at the same time, would have a positive impact on the Meadville community and lasting effects on helping students develop into responsible citizens,” Fahrner explained when the fund was created.
The fund’s impact has been immediate and lasting, as evidenced by the Fahrner Fellow program that supports students who take on roles in important community programs. These talented young people have not only provided valuable contributions to the region, but also have used their talents to develop videos and websites that share the impact of these projects with the world.
The Fahrner Fund also has helped to foster innovative linkages among academic courses and the Meadville region—such as students collaborating with Ernst Conservation Seeds to investigate the use of switchgrass as a biofuel; interviewing local residents for an oral history initiative on the Great Depression; and working with area partners to incorporate public art into various projects.
Providing transformative opportunities to Allegheny students is a priority for Gigi. That dedication is reflected through her membership in the College’s Timothy Alden Council, in recognition of her generous annual contributions; in the William Bentley Legacy Society, in appreciation of her acknowledging the College in her estate plans; and in the President’s Society, in honor of her many years of remarkable support.
Through her outstanding involvement and the fund that bears her name, Gigi Howe Fahrner has inspired young people to follow a simple yet powerful principle: think first of others and not of yourself. And thanks to Gigi’s vision and dedication, Alleghenians will honor and carry forward that legacy of service at their College and in their communities.
John Herbert Niles ’59
Blue Citation, 2011
Understanding the lessons of the past is key to confronting the challenges of the present. And John Herbert “Herb” Niles has used the insights and experiences gained over his pioneering life and career to help sustain Allegheny College now and for years to come.
“As an African American constantly in the position of breaking barriers of discrimination, John Herbert Niles was more aware than many of the important difference an Allegheny education made for him,” notes classmate Yvonne Seon, who nominated Herb for the Blue Citation. “He committed to find ways to give back—whenever given the opportunity to serve the College, he does so without hesitation.”
Herb models the ideal of impressive professional success complemented by meaningful civic engagement. An accomplished obstetrician and gynecologist in Washington, D.C., he has worked tirelessly to lead initiatives to reduce infant mortality and promote the health and well being of young women. His efforts have garnered the respect and recognition of many prominent individuals and organizations, including the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association.
Even with his substantial community involvement, Herb has shown unwavering dedication to his alma mater. He served on Allegheny’s Alumni Council and then was elected to the Board of Trustees in 1992, where he has served with distinction ever since. As a member of the board’s Executive Committee for six years, he provided leadership and guidance on issues vital to the College’s success. Herb also chaired the Student Affairs Committee, helping to shape the Allegheny experience for thousands of young people.
At a trustee meeting in 2011, Herb gave a presentation on the history and significant contributions of African-American Alleghenians over the past 100 years. He began this important research when students from the Association for the Advancement of Black Culture (ABC) invited him to campus to discuss the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education.
ABC turned to Herb for this important speech because he had already, for many years, served as a resource to the organization and its student members. That dedication to helping young people inspired Herb to provide career advice to current students and represent Allegheny at high schools and college fairs in his area. Also a generous financial supporter of the College, he has established a scholarship fund to assist students of color from the nation’s capital in attending Allegheny.
Whether serving as a board leader, a mentor to young people, or a community advocate, Herb has shown how a dedicated individual, guided by experience and acting with resolve, can make a dramatic difference at Allegheny College—and change lives for the better.
John F. Sutphen ’78
Blue Citation, 2011
It’s a familiar and wonderful refrain: hearing students, alumni, and employees who say that they “knew Allegheny was home” from the first moment they stepped foot on campus. For John Sutphen, it was a visit to the College 27 years after his graduation that proved to be just as moving.
“When my daughter Christina started her freshman year at Allegheny in the fall of 2005, I experienced a profound desire to reconnect to my alma mater,” said John. “My return to Allegheny ignited memories of the special role the College played in my life.”
That spark of interest in serving Allegheny quickly became a flame, one that John has fanned with years of enthusiasm, hard work, and personal outreach to students and alumni.
John’s employer, the engineering services firm O’Brien & Gere, had a need for talented hydrogeologists. In response John reached out to Allegheny’s Geology and Environmental Science departments as well as the Career Services office. That collaboration resulted in hydrogeology internships that are offered to two Allegheny students each summer at O’Brien & Gere. The program took root and soon blossomed into full-time employment at the company for several Alleghenians.
John also shares the Allegheny story with prospective students and their families, both through informal interactions and the Volunteers in Support of Admissions program. Along with other alumni in central New York, John and his wife, Jamie Sansone Sutphen ’79, host an annual gathering for first-year students heading to Allegheny from that region.
In addition to his outstanding service as a volunteer, John emphasizes the importance of providing financial support to the College. A generous donor himself and chair of the Timothy Alden Council Executive Committee, John compellingly encourages others to support the Annual Fund.
John collaborates on giving initiatives with fellow volunteers and the College’s Development staff, traveling to alumni gatherings throughout the country to reinforce the impact of giving to the College. He also spearheaded an Allegheny-specific matching gift program for alumni working at O’Brien & Gere.
So deep is John and Jamie’s devotion that, this year, they have pledged to match dollar-for-dollar each gift from members of the class of 2010. Their goal is not only to encourage participation in the Annual Fund, but also to inspire a tradition of dedication and support among recent alumni.
Last year John organized a panel discussion for graduating seniors focused on staying connected with Allegheny. And that event captured the enduring strength of John’s commitment to the College. He not only makes an extraordinary difference today, but also sets the stage for future generations to follow in his footsteps.
Nancy Jane McCune Edelman ’50
Gold Citation, 2011
“Professional volunteer” might sound, at first blush, like a contradiction in terms. But it is the perfect phrase to describe Nancy Jane McCune Edelman, whose determination and drive to promote education have spanned communities at home and abroad.
Having served as a trustee of Allegheny College, Nancy Jane also was a school board member for 23 years with the Fox Chapel Area School District near Pittsburgh. Her distinguished achievements there included six years as board president, and Nancy’s legacy of leadership continues with a scholarship fund established in her name to support Fox Chapel students pursuing higher education.
As a board member and president of the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, Nancy Jane gained a broader perspective on learning in her region. She applied that expertise and experience at several educational organizations on the state level as well. Nancy Jane was the first woman to serve on the board of the Pennsylvania School District Liquid Asset Fund, which oversees billions of dollars in investments for school districts and community colleges.
Contact USA, the Girl Scouts of America, and the American Association of University Women also have benefited tremendously from Nancy Jane’s insights and devotion to educating others. In addition, she was a senior vice moderator in the Pittsburgh Presbytery and the first woman elder of Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church.
But Nancy Jane’s passion for enriching lives has not been confined by national borders. Through their church, she and her late husband, Bud, played a key role in raising funds for a Czech Republic church with a school assisting disabled children. Nancy Jane—who has visited 115 countries—has organized and led three mission trips to the school, providing hands-on assistance and valuable guidance.
Nancy Jane also has opened her home on several occasions to her friends from the Czech Republic, knowing that personal relationships are the best means to encourage mutual understanding and meaningful progress. As a result of this interaction and support, she has built a lasting international bond that bridges a distance of nearly 4,500 miles and brings benefit each day to children.
Nancy Jane “believes an educated citizenry is for the betterment of everyone and will raise economic opportunities,” noted Amy Edelman Carrick ’83 in nominating her mother for the Gold Citation. And Nancy Jane has translated that deep belief into action by helping people experience the opportunity—and power—of learning.
Thomas J. Sadvary ’75
Gold Citation, 2011
As president and CEO of Scottsdale Healthcare, Tom Sadvary leads the largest employer in Scottsdale, Arizona, and one of Thomson Reuters’ top 50 U.S. health systems in clinical quality and efficiency.
The scope of Tom’s responsibility is immense. A nonprofit organization, Scottsdale Healthcare includes three medical centers with 834 beds, a research institute, and home and community health services. The system’s cancer center partners with the Translational Genomics Research Institute to offer groundbreaking Phase I clinical trials of new cancer therapies, including a drug designed to penetrate and attack pancreatic cancer cells.
The demands of Tom’s work are considerable, but he has not forgotten the vital importance of developing personal connections.
“He knows every employee by name, and he greeted each as we walked through his work campus,” said Dave Charton ’75, who has visited with Tom at his workplace. “Everyone is treated with respect, and their contribution is appreciated.”
During Tom’s tenure, Scottsdale Healthcare has been recognized with several prestigious honors for its commitment to employees. Last August the organization received the Alfred P. Sloan Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility. Scottsdale Healthcare also was the only winner of the Arizona Quality Alliance’s 2010 Pioneer Award, which acknowledges outstanding workforce engagement, strategic planning, patient satisfaction, and process management and improvement.
“I enjoy making an impact on patients’ health by providing an environment for physicians, nurses and staff members to give excellent care,” Tom told Scottsdale@Work magazine in 2009. “I am energized by these people because of their commitment to our patients and organization.”
Tom also is a sought-after resource among professional organizations. He chaired a series of healthcare reform forums in six states for the American Hospital Association in 2009. In addition, the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association called upon Tom to lead its board of directors, serve as its secretary-treasurer, and chair several of its committees.
Equally impressive is Tom’s dedication to improving his community and the quality of life for area citizens. In 2009 he received the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce’s Legacy Award in honor of his two decades of exceptional service to the chamber and the greater region. In addition, Tom has served as president of the Rotary Club of Scottsdale as well as chairman of the board of the Scottsdale/Paradise Valley YMCA, where he also has coached youth basketball.
Through unflagging devotion to his community and a career filled with achievements, Tom has demonstrated strong, effective leadership—and genuine compassion for others—in all his pursuits.
Don Covill Skinner ’54
Alumni Medal, 2011
By design, students at Allegheny College learn in a variety of contexts—the classroom, campus activities, and the community, to name but a few. Perhaps no person embodies that holistic approach to education more completely than the Reverend Dr. Don Covill Skinner.
With grace and integrity, Don has served in roles spanning nearly every aspect of the Allegheny experience, including dean of students, chaplain, faculty member, and devoted alumnus. His accomplishments are as impressive in number as they are in their lasting impact on the College.
Don mentored and provided spiritual guidance to countless students, among them more than 80 international students from 35 countries. He also created and updated a range of vital policies and procedures that have shaped residential and academic life at Allegheny, including a complete revision of the College judicial system. And he helped students experience the rewards of community outreach by collaborating with them to found the Habitat for Humanity chapter on campus.
It also is notable that Don’s vision and hard work inspired many distinctive College traditions. He instituted the Matriculation Ceremony that welcomes first-year students and their families to Allegheny; he transformed the Honors Convocation to include faculty in academic regalia and the granting of departmental awards; and he conceived and crafted the liturgy for the memorial chapel service celebrated each Reunion Weekend.
Today Don continues to create a legacy by showing students the importance of giving back to their alma mater. In addition to teaching a first-year student seminar annually, he served on the College’s Alumni Council for six years, demonstrating a tremendous level of engagement and providing a calm voice of clarity and sound judgment.
Setting an exemplary standard of commitment, Don was a member of eight different Alumni Council committees, serving on some simultaneously. He chaired the committee that authored the alumni center usage policy that is still in use today, and he provided leadership for the nominations and awards committee, which selects new council members and recipients of the College’s teaching and alumni awards.
It comes as no surprise that students chose to honor Don with outstanding advisor and faculty excellence awards. The Board of Trustees followed suit, conferring the title of Chaplain Emeritus upon him for his distinguished professional contributions over 15 years. And in 1993, the year of his retirement, Don received the Blue Citation in recognition of his dedicated service to the College.
It is now with deep gratitude that we recognize Don with Allegheny College’s oldest and most prestigious award, the Alumni Medal, for his many years of steadfast loyalty and selfless devotion as an advisor, teacher, and advocate.
Gregory M. Kapfhammer ’99
Thoburn Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2011
Some teachers struggle to find a balance between teaching and research. Associate Professor of Computer Science Greg Kapfhammer has struck that balance by making rigorous, innovative research an integral part of his students’ learning experience. Nine of his many ongoing research projects have included Allegheny students, resulting in a score of publications that include students and recent alumni as co-authors.
In addition, Professor Kapfhammer led the development at Allegheny of the Applied Computing major, as well as two tracks within it: software development and management and entrepreneurship. As a result, a number of Allegheny alumni are doing graduate work in software engineering, and others are already working in the industry and making their own contributions to it.
A colleague notes that Greg Kapfhammer’s tenure at Allegheny is marked by four principles that he set for himself: “selfless service, absolute excellence, realistic expectations, and contagious joy.” Students and alumni also note Dr. Kapfhammer’s love for his subject and for his teaching, using words like “exuberant,” “exciting” and “passionate” to describe his teaching style.
“He excels at bringing advanced topics down to a level that makes them easy to comprehend,” says one alumnus. “Assignments are challenging and have a meaningful relationship to the real world.”
Another former student notes, “He demonstrated time and again that he is willing to work with students on personal projects, course work outside of his courses and go above and beyond for those in his classes. He has his students’ best interests in mind at all times, not just on campus or in the classroom.”
Students and colleagues talk not only about Professor Kapfhammer’s “phenomenal work ethic” but about his willingness to engage students on multiple levels. A student who went on to enroll at Allegheny and then graduate noted that during his visit to campus as a prospective student, “Dr. Kapfhammer took time out of his day to speak with me about not only my love for technology, but my life goals and how a liberal arts education would help me to achieve them. At this point I knew Allegheny was the right fit for me, mostly because I knew I wanted this young and enthusiastic professor to play a role not only in my education, but in my life.”
Julian Ross Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2011
Professor of Political Science Bruce Smith embodies not just the best of what it means to be a teacher at Allegheny but the best of what it means to be a teacher and mentor in a tradition that stretches back thousands of years: a tradition that, no matter the refinements and marvels of technology, still rests on the relationship between a student and a teacher.
“Giving students the chance to grapple not with one teacher but with many, Professor Smith channeled the ghosts of Plato, Aristotle, Rousseau, Locke, Marx, Mill and Machiavelli,” one former student writes. “He created an environment where the material became so immediate that even students who rarely spoke up in other classes launched themselves into the thick of the action. His were the classes that went on long after the bell had rung, because the students continued the conversation in the dorms, the dining halls and even in Meadville’s pubs.”
Time and time again, Bruce Smith’s students reference his ability to foster an engaged, passionate dialogue that creates a learning environment in which students take the conversation with them when they leave the classroom, what an alumnus calls “that rarest of academic landmarks, transcendence of the bell.” And, as with the best teachers, he taught, through his own example, that ideas come to full and meaningful life primarily in their application to the world around us. “He spearheaded campuswide efforts involving diversity, working as a change agent with faithfulness to the principles of the dialogic methods of inquiry he taught in the classroom,” an alumnus says. “The way he personified philosophy and justice in action meant a lot to me.”
Students and alumni refer to Bruce Smith’s eloquence and his agility of mind, but mostly they speak of his deep—and empowering—respect for what students have to say. “He views his students not as miniature pieces of clay to mold in his own image,” an alumna says, “but instead listens to each student as attentively as if he or she were a peer, an equal in the academic community.”
The result? Professor Smith not only gives students the opportunity to come into their own voice, but he inspires them with his vision of who they are—and who they can be—leaving them, as one former student says, “yearning to become the stellar students—not merely in class, but in life—that he believes they can be.”
Sherry Proper ’98
Robert T. Sherman Distinguished Service Award, 2011
If it weren’t for the long hours and the thickets of red tape that are part of the world of dealing with grants, loans and financial statements, one might say that Sherry Proper has the best job in the world: as associate dean of enrollment and director of financial aid, she helps make sure that qualified students can afford to come to Allegheny College, no matter their family’s financial resources.
While helping students achieve their dreams, she has also helped her alma mater to thrive. “Sherry has been a key contributor to Allegheny’s continued enrollment success,” says one longtime colleague. “We have experienced record numbers while meeting budgetary goals for student discount due to her overall development and management of the financial aid structure. At the core of all of her decisions are the people involved—how those decisions may affect the student or employee experience.”
Sherry has also helped raise Allegheny’s profile in the crowded landscape of higher education. As she presents at conferences throughout the country and volunteers countless hours to professional organizations, she has helped Allegheny become associated with the highest standards of professional development and innovative leadership.
Sherry represents not only Allegheny employees but Allegheny alumni as well. While working at the College, she pursued her own academic dreams, graduating from Allegheny in 1998 and earning her Phi Beta Kappa key, then later, in 2005, earning her MBA from Penn State. In her tenure at the College, she has worked in a number of key positions, always with the same level of commitment, expertise, selfless energy, and passion for getting it right.
She has served the College in what we might call extracurricular roles as well. In 1996 Sherry served on the presidential search committee that brought Richard J. Cook to Allegheny as the College’s 20th president, and she serves as a key adviser to the College’s Finance and Facilities Committee.
As one colleague puts it, “She sets a wonderful example of the ideal employee: reliable, adaptable, compassionate, driven and innovative.” As both an alumna and an employee of the College, she demonstrates what you can expect from Allegheny: the best.
John M. Kelso, Jr. ’66
Blue Citation, 2010
John Kelso’s volunteer activities for Allegheny have been many and varied. Ten years ago, when asked if he would be willing to speak with a student who was interested in learning more about the FBI, John not only spoke to the student by phone, but also met with him in Washington at FBI headquarters.
Since then, John has come to campus regularly to educate students about careers in the FBI. He was an FBI special agent for 32 years and served as chief of the FBI Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act section, supervising a staff of 500. He covers his own travel expenses and always includes time for one-on-one conversations with students. Thanks to the success of these programs, Allegheny now has an annual “Careers in National Security” program to help students learn about internships and career opportunities.
John has served the College in other ways. He was a member of the Alumni Council for six years and served as president in 2006-07. As president, he and his wife, Lydia, hosted the officers in their home for a two-day retreat. He emphasized communications with council members and enhanced the council’s visibility and effectiveness. The committees and task forces on which he served during his time on council would fill a page; many of his efforts were aimed at improving the College’s relationship with recent graduates; at encouraging alumni to support Allegheny, both with their time and financial resources; and at recognizing those who did. Phil Foxman, director of alumni affairs, said, “It’s important to note that John was active and involved in all of these initiatives—he always completed his tasks and did so with great depth of work, energy and enthusiasm.
Linda Palmiero ’66, a colleague on the Alumni Council, said, “John’s love and appreciation for Allegheny are apparent in his many years of commitment to the College. He contributes both financially and of his time: speaking to undergraduate classes, singing in the choir, attending and coordinating reunion weekends, and providing leadership to the Alumni Association through his tenure on the Alumni Council. He translates his pride in Allegheny College into outstanding work for the College.” Jen Daurora ’99 described John as “one of Allegheny’s greatest gifts.” She said he has “a way of bringing out the best in people and encouraging them to give their best back to Allegheny.”
John doesn’t think twice about this effort. “I’ve experienced so many blessings and good fortune throughout my life,” he said. “It feels right to be giving something back. I could play golf seven days a week, but I have to be out there doing something that matters and being of use.”
Lloyd H. Segan ’80
Blue Citation, 2010
For the past six years, Lloyd Segan ’80 has been donating his time, mentoring energy, and Rolodex of contacts to help Allegheny students discover a portal to their passions in any communications field.
Every other year, Lloyd collaborates with Ishita Sinha Roy, associate professor of communication arts, to teach a class about television and new media technologies. He uses his contacts to bring prominent media personnel—including the president of CNN International, video game designers, screenplay writers, advertising gurus, and television studio heads—into the classroom via video-conferencing technology.
After graduating from Allegheny, Lloyd earned a master’s degree in professional studies at New York University and a law degree from Whittier College School of Law. He is a principal in Piller/Segan/Shepherd, an independent content production company. He is executive producer of ABC Family’s hit series Greek and held the same role for Wildfire, the network’s first original scripted series, and USA Network’s The Dead Zone. He is a film producer as well; his film credits include Bickford Shmeckler’s Cool Ideas, Bones, The Bachelor, Boondock Saints, Judgment Night, and Blown Away.
Lloyd traveled to Allegheny in April 2009 to offer presentations on youth marketing and television, developing a television series (based on Greek), and how to make a career in television. He traveled at his own expense and provided refreshments for all the participants at each of the three talks.
He also has provided mentoring and contact lists to Allegheny students and young graduates to help them find internships and jobs. He connected Jackie Strahota ’09 with Marc Advertising in Pittburgh for an internship opportunity; Jackie Spirer ’08 with the Sesame Street Workshop, where she worked as a production assistant; and John Meyer ’04 with the Pittsburgh ABC affiliate, WTAE, where he now works as a reporter and weekend sports anchor. He also helped Matthew Dickey ’04 get settled in a job; Matt was vice president of production for Lloyd’s company, Piller/Segan/Shepherd.
Ishita Sinha Roy, who nominated Lloyd for the Blue Citation, said, “Mr. Segan has gone above and beyond the call of duty in helping Allegheny and having a true impact on education and career shaping. His commitment is making a difference in the lives of young Gators.” Matt Dickey agreed, “Lloyd brings a tremendous amount of passion and dedication to all that he does for his alma mater. I have grown as an individual from his extensive knowledge of the industry, generosity of time and overwhelming enthusiasm for life.”
Bobbie Heller Watson ’60
Blue Citation, 2010
Not one, not two, but five of Bobbie Heller Watson’s classmates from the Class of ’60 wrote to recommend her for the Blue Citation. All praised Bobbie’s enthusiasm and organizational skills, and several mentioned that she chaired not only this year’s 50th reunion for the Class of ’60, but also the 40th and the 25th reunions as well.
Sally Barrett Hanley ’92, who nominated Bobbie for this award, wrote that she is impressed with Bobbie’s devotion and loyalty to her alma mater. In fact, when Sally was a new staff member, Bobbie helped train her for reunion work. “During my 10 years working for Allegheny,” Sally wrote, “Bobbie clearly stands out as one of our most dedicated, effective, and enthusiastic alumni volunteers.”
Bobbie’s volunteer efforts are not limited to reunion work. During the 10 years between her 40th and 50th reunions, Bobbie served two terms on the Alumni Council, and she participated on a number of task forces and committees, including the Allegheny College Center for Experiential Learning’s College to Career Task Force, the Class Agent Task Force, the Future Alumni Development Committee, and the Nomination and Awards Committee, of which she was chair. She also worked on a program to measure alumni connectedness.
Ted Thoburn ’60 noted that Bobbie’s tireless work for Allegheny takes place in the Cleveland area as well as on campus, and Susan Kunca Hutchison ’60 and Gary Mitchell ’60 both pointed out that Bobbie also contributes to Allegheny and her class by helping with fundraising. In fact, John Brook ’60 wrote, “She has always been mindful of the need for alumni to financially support Allegheny, and she has exercised a leading role in that endeavor.”
When Bobbie isn’t volunteering for Allegheny, she works for the family company, Watson Power Equipment, as the accounts payable/benefits coordinator. She also spends time with her six grandchildren, whom she describes as “angelic.” Her special memories of Allegheny include “falling in love with [her husband] Ron Watson [’60].”
Perhaps Beverly Bell Minnigh ’60 described Bobbie best when she wrote that Bobbie “has been an enthusiastic, selfless champion of Allegheny College. Her insights, generosity of talents and gifts of time and organization have enabled her to keep Allegheny College’s mission relevant and reachable for future generations of students. She leads by example and is well prepared for any task she accepts. There is only one way she participates—100 percent!”
James F. Mellinger ’59
Gold Citation, 2010
Jim Mellinger ’59, the retired chair of pediatric neurology at the Mayo Clinic, represents “the very best of Allegheny’s pre-med” preparation, said Frank Feigert ’59, who nominated Jim for the Gold Citation. Frank pointed out that Jim was only the 50th person in the country to become certified in both pediatrics and neurology.
After graduating from Allegheny, Jim earned an M.D. degree from Western Reserve University, School of Medicine (now Case Western Reserve) in Cleveland. He completed an internship and residency in pediatrics at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, followed by a fellowship in neurology at the Neurological Institute of Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Jim joined the staff of the Mayo Clinic and Mayo Medical School (now Mayo Clinic College of Medicine) in Rochester, Minnesota, in 1969 and stayed for 30 years. He was chief of the division of child and adolescent neurology in Mayo’s department of neurology from 1992 to 1997.
Jim was a member of the neuroscience curriculum designing committee and a member of the neuroscience faculty at Mayo Medical School. He served as a visiting professor at Pahlavi University in Shiraz, Iran; the Dhahran Medical Center in Saudi Arabia; and the University of Jordan in Amman, Jordan.
In addition to lecturing at many medical organizations around the world, Jim has published widely in medical journals, including Neurology, Annals of Neurology, Journal of Neurosurgery and the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Jim is a devoted traveler who has visited all of the continents, including Antarctica. He has pursued foreign language studies in Spanish, French, German, and Arabic, and he also is interested in gardening, environmental protection, and genealogy. Since retiring in 1999, he has lived in Rochester, Minnesota.
Randi Weaver ’83
Gold Citation, 2010
After a successful career in financial services, Randi Weaver ’83 now dedicates herself to full-time philanthropic work. This interest started early. A native of Meadville, Randi grew up accompanying her dad when he visited disabled children to provide physical therapy. She remembers him telling her when she was three how important it was to help others less fortunate.
This idea was set by the time she reached Allegheny. During her junior year, Randi, an economics major and nationally ranked swimmer, studied in Madrid. She spent two nights a week teaching English at a reform school for teenage girls as a way to feel more involved in the community and to give back to her host country.
Following graduation, she held positions in sales, client relations and regional management with Mellon Bank, focusing on the investment management business. Her career took her from Pittsburgh to Melbourne and eventually to London, where she has resided since 1989. She was a director of Mellon Europe Limited and chief administrative officer-Europe for Mellon Financial Corporation. She was a founding member of Mellon’s Global Diversity Council and established its philanthropic program outside the U.S. Her brother, Dan Weaver ’79, who nominated her for the Gold Citation, said, “As her residences have changed, she has always found ‘homes’ in local, regional and national charities.”
In fact, Randi has 30 years of experience in the non-profit sector in a variety of leadership roles. She has worked with charitable organizations that support programs for the economically deprived, especially children, and she serves as a trustee for Employment Opportunities, a British national charity that creates routes to employment for those with disabilities and medical conditions. She also is involved with a number of organizations through prison work and literacy initiatives.
Today, Randi is a consultant in philanthropic counsel and other strategic wealth management services, building a career in the growing field of philanthropic advising. The list of her philanthropic work fills two pages, and she also supports her causes financially. “I have always tried to give both time and money,” she told her brother. “Mom and Dad always did.”
Arthur Tepper ’58
Alumni Medal, 2010
Art Tepper has been a dedicated and invaluable member of the Board of Trustees for more than two decades. With his exceptional academic credentials—including a B.A. in economics from Allegheny College and an M.B.A. from New York University—he became an expert in the financial markets early in his career. Since then he has lent his knowledge and good judgment to his alma mater, advising the College on investments and other critical financial matters.
It is noteworthy that, since Art began serving on the investment committee, the College has consistently outperformed other institutions—thanks in part to Art’s diligent work in studying reams of complex financial information and translating it into sound investment decisions.
“Art’s allegiance to Allegheny College is legend and his service to his alma mater is both long and effective,” says President Emeritus Richard Cook. “His record of a perfect 25 years of attendance at board meetings is truly remarkable and surely unprecedented. Allegheny is great because of people who believe in its mission—and Art Tepper clearly is passionate about Allegheny’s mission.”
In addition to that perfect attendance record, serving on the board’s investment committee required Art to travel to widespread locations for four additional meetings each year—and at his own expense. “Fortunately, since Art and his wife Liz are seasoned travelers, they often helped us find the best hotels, meeting locations, and more—saving the College a lot of money along the way,” notes Vice President of Finance and Planning Dave McInally.
For the last several years Art also has served as the chair of the trustee audit committee. This committee is vitally important, and never more so than in recent years, when government oversight has increased substantially. Art was a capable and dedicated leader, helping the committee to navigate detailed financial statements and making sure that the College was the best possible steward of its resources.
Art has also lent his incisive intellect, his deep knowledge and appreciation of Allegheny culture and history, and his passion for getting things right to the board’s budget and finance committee, as well as committees dedicated to student affairs, campus planning, and marketing and communications. His work has touched every area of campus and improved not only the way Allegheny does business but the way the College fulfills its mission.
It is with deep gratitude for his many years of outstanding service and leadership that we honor Arthur Tepper with Allegheny College’s oldest and most prestigious award, the Alumni Medal.
Daniel M. Shea
Thoburn Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2010
When Professor of Political Science Dan Shea teaches about campaigns and elections, he speaks from experience—and his students reap the benefits. Having worked as a campaign consultant for several years, Dan brings a unique, hands-on perspective to the classroom.
“Many people talk about making a textbook come alive, but I believe Dr. Shea has an innate ability to do this,” noted a former student. “With a combination of informative historical videos and provoking debate, the ideas of the Founding Fathers were discussed, criticized, and praised. No longer were they old documents we were reading, but relevant ideas that affected our own lives and were worth learning about.”
A member of the Allegheny faculty since 1999, Dan infuses his courses with activities that encourage students to learn from firsthand experience. In a course on the U.S. Congress, for example, students learn about the legislative process by writing their own bills and conducting a mock congressional session. In addition, Dan has developed a “pathways” approach to teaching introductory American government, motivating students to learn by exploring different routes through which political controversies might be resolved.
In Dan’s courses, students do not simply memorize facts; they perform activities that mirror those undertaken by citizens and elected officials. Dan has even taken students to Harrisburg to meet with state legislators and lobby on behalf of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania.
And nowhere is Dan’s action-oriented pedagogy more evident than Allegheny’s Center for Political Participation (CPP), which he founded in 2002 and continues to direct. Through campus programs, scholarly research, and educational outreach, the CPP encourages greater political involvement among young people.
Dan enthusiastically involves students in the CPP’s initiatives, which include voter registration drives as well as presentations and workshops that emphasize the importance of political engagement. The CPP has become, as one alumnus stated, a “research powerhouse” that provides excellent scholarly opportunities for students, including a recent national study of civility in American political discourse. Two Allegheny students are among the four authors of the study, which has received coverage by media outlets from across the nation.
Through his innovative teaching and research, Dan Shea actively involves students in learning about government and politics. In the process, Dan provides an invaluable service to our democracy, demonstrating to students just how vital an engaged citizenry is to the United States.
Terrence G. Bensel
Julian Ross Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2010
Terry Bensel has the uncanny ability to ask just the right questions of his students at just the right time and in just the right way.
“Professor Bensel constantly questioned my beliefs and opinions in really constructive ways,” wrote an alumnus, “which ultimately led to both a fine-tuning of those beliefs and a desire to continually rethink and improve in all areas of my life.”
An environmental science professor, Terry has been asking those questions and equipping Allegheny students with the tools to critically analyze their work for more than 25 years. “What Professor Bensel taught me to do was to think critically not just about solutions to problems, but to question basic assumptions about the very nature of a problem,” noted a former student.
Terry accomplishes that by explaining complex and abstract concepts in approachable ways. Drawing from his experiences in the Peace Corps, studying forestry in the Philippines, and even working at New York City fruit markets, he shows students how the many facets of environmental science interrelate.
“Terry took very large-scale problems like deforestation, the detrimental effects of our economic system, and climate change and brought them into the classroom in a way that made us understand how, on a micro and macro level, they were affecting our lives,” recalled an Allegheny graduate.
Indeed, Terry takes an interdisciplinary approach to teaching that helps to expand his students’ perspectives. In addition to teaching courses that link economics with ecological systems, he introduced the use of Geographic Information Systems to environmental science courses at Allegheny.
As a result, Terry’s students are inspired to act on environmental issues outside the classroom. For example, they have conducted an economic and ecological valuation of the Erie National Wildlife Refuge, which proved to be critical in securing funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Another student completed a Senior Project that provided the foundation to form the Northwestern Pennsylvania Woodland Association. Terry also served as the founding advisor for Allegheny’s special interest “Eco-House,” helping students develop sustainability-related programming for the campus community.
A gifted teacher and trusted mentor, Terry Bensel has struck an ideal balance between supporting his students and challenging them to move outside their intellectual comfort zones. He, as a former student stated, “truly embodies the spirit of a liberal arts education.”
Martin D. Ahl
Robert T. Sherman Distinguished Service Award, 2010
It has often been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Judging from the number of colleges and universities over the years that have sought to imitate the accounting system developed by Marty Ahl at Allegheny College, he should feel quite flattered.
As controller, Marty set up a new chart of accounts that is used by the College to track budgets and expenses. With accuracy, transparency, and clarity as guiding principles, Marty helped to revolutionize the way that financial data is entered and tremendously enhanced the ability to generate reports about it.
That system has helped the College successfully complete audits, report data to external agencies, adhere to internal controls, and comply with tax regulations and other laws. All of those functions are critical to Allegheny maintaining and improving its financial strength.
“To me a controller is a scorekeeper and official—the general ledger is the scorebook where the controller has to record all of the activity,” remarked one of Marty’s colleagues. “When the year is over, the scorekeeper has to know how to read the numbers and report the stats. Marty has made sure the College has played a great game over the years.”
Those years have included many important roles for Marty. He has served as bursar and interim vice president of finance as well as worked in student billing, budgeting, and treasury management. In all of those positions, Marty has demonstrated his adeptness at solving problems and never refusing to tackle a complicated situation.
When others have questions or face challenges deciphering a complex accounting issue, it is Marty who has consistently reached out to help. “He interfaces well with others on campus to explain what needs to be done to accurately record activity in the ledger,” wrote a co-worker. “Marty feels comfortable and confident in educating others when he sees a potential for not adhering to new rules.”
Maintaining and organizing financial records, automating the College’s inventory system, working with regulatory agencies, and ensuring compliance with a dizzying array of laws—these are not glamorous tasks.
But they are vital to the operation and health of Allegheny College, and Marty Ahl has worked for nearly 25 years to ensure that they are completed thoughtfully and thoroughly. The Allegheny community has certainly, as one colleague noted, “been a winner to have Marty as our financial scorekeeper and official.”
Kenneth L. Hanna
Robert T. Sherman Distinguished Service Award, 2010
For many high school students, the decision to attend Allegheny is sealed the moment they experience the College’s beautiful and historic campus. Whether in the lush green of spring, the rich colors of autumn, or the serenity of winter, the physical surroundings captivate visitors new and returning alike.
To be sure, it takes a host of individuals to keep campus in pristine condition, but perhaps no one has played a greater role in those endeavors than has Ken Hanna. As director of physical plant, facilities, and construction for nearly 20 years, Ken has deftly led the efforts to expand, maintain, preserve, and beautify Allegheny’s buildings and grounds.
Ken provided leadership for a dramatic campus expansion that saw the addition of 10 buildings (totaling nearly 500,000 square feet), more than seven acres of property, 100,000 square feet of parking space, and two-and-a-half miles of sidewalks. Through new construction, renovation, preservation, and beautification projects, Ken’s professional contributions have shaped the face of campus in so many positive ways.
Most striking is the caring, respectful way that Ken has interacted and collaborated with others to achieve those impressive results.
A faculty member notes that Ken “is a master of balancing competing needs and desires, and for doing so in a way that leaves everyone satisfied—or at least with an understanding of why a particular decision was the best one for the College.”
Indeed, Ken “has a wonderful ability to find a way to say ‘yes’ to virtually every request,” writes a colleague. A telling example comes from an Allegheny professor who recalls Ken sharing the tough news that new carpeting for her department’s building would not be installed as initially planned.
“As I stood looking down at the worn and dirty brown of that carpet, I have to admit that my eyes began to tear up,” recalls the professor. “Ken didn’t say a word to acknowledge whether he had seen it or not, but he got the department new carpeting on the second floor. He became the hero of the department.”
Through his negotiating skills, patience, and creative solutions to challenging situations, Ken Hanna has served Allegheny College with dedication and distinction. Allegheny has counted on Ken to find a way to get things done—and he’s done that and so much more with an ever-present smile, grace, and integrity.
Barb Pelander Hanniford ’69
Blue Citation, 2009
Barb Hanniford’s volunteer support for Allegheny has been extensive and varied. As president of the Alumni Council, she encouraged the council, and the wider alumni population, to be actively engaged in helping the College to provide the best possible education and experience for students.
“Barb provided great vision, direction and focus [in leading the reorganization of Alumni Council structure],” says Linda Palmiero ’66, “and invested so much thoughtfulness and caring. She brings much energy and knowledge to any task she undertakes. She has a comprehensive understanding of higher education in general and Allegheny College in particular. She conveys trust and cares deeply about the College.”
As vice chair and chair of the Reunions Committee, she worked to evaluate and improve Reunion Weekend. She also helped restructure the Alumni Council’s new member orientation program, and she served on the Torchbearers Task Force and the Nomination and Awards Committee. As part of the Volunteer Marketing Task Force, she worked to make it easier for alumni to volunteer for Allegheny. As a regional “campaign ambassador,” she helped host the 2003 Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Cleveland campaign events and was a featured speaker.
In addition to her Alumni Council work, Barb served on the client committee for the Tippie Alumni Center, participating in conversations about location, design and function. She co-chaired an effort with Gary Mitchell ’60 to solicit past and present council members for a gift for the Alumni Center, which resulted in the flag pole that now stands at the west side of the building. She also served as an Alumni Advisor, providing career advice, general support and guidance to students.
This year, Barb is part of her 40th Reunion Committee and is an online mentor on GatorLocator. She wrote “Gator Greetings” cards to prospective students and met with Allegheny’s strategic planning consultant to provide insight about Allegheny from an involved alumna’s perspective. Barb and her husband Glenn ’68 also provide loyal and consistent financial support to the College.
“Barb is among Allegheny’s most enthusiastic supporters and volunteers,” says Phil Foxman ’90, who nominated her for a Blue Citation. “She is generous with her time, energy and resources.” And John Kutz ’83 writes, “Barb is a loyal, passionate and dedicated alumna who has served Allegheny with pride and enthusiasm. She is a perfect candidate to receive a Blue Citation.”
Jim “Dutch” Linaberger ’59
Blue Citation, 2009
Jim “Dutch” Linaberger has chaired every class reunion for the Class of ’59 with enthusiasm and thoroughness. From his arrival on campus as a student through co-chairing his 50th reunion with Sally Stewart St. Clair ’59, Dutch has given generously of his time, talent and treasure.
As a student, he was a well respected campus leader and good friend to many. He was president of his senior class, head of Brooks Dining Hall, a student counselor and an enthusiastic member of the Four Fijis quartet. Following graduation, he has held many volunteer positions for the College. He was president of the Alumni Association during the 1970s and served as a trustee of the College from 1980 to 1988. He reached out to Phi Gamma Delta brothers, helping to effect the transfer of Fiji property to the College for a beautiful new admissions and welcome center.
He and his wife, Sandra Kenyon Linaberger ’62, are also generous financial supporters of Allegheny. She says that he firmly believes in providing for today’s students what was available to him. A member of the Timothy Alden Council for years, Dutch has served on the Timothy Alden Council Executive Committee. He endowed a scholarship in his late wife’s name (Elsa Held Linaberger ’60), and he is a member of the President’s Society.
Dutch’s wife, Sandi; two daughters, Anne ’84 and Betsy ’91; and stepdaughter, Nicole Smith Manning ’93, are among many who nominated him for this award. Sandi writes, “I have never seen anyone work harder for a reunion than this man.” Family legend has it that after one very busy reunion, on the ride home, he turned to his late wife, Elsa, and asked, “Did I have a good time?”
“His energy and work energized his class,” agrees Sally Barrett Hanley ’92, “and we have great reunion attendance from the Class of ’59 because of his special efforts.” In fact, Dutch spent so much time working on the reunion that the staff joked that he should have his own office in the Alumni Center. He made it a personal goal to contact every member of the class to encourage their attendance and support for the class gift.
Sandi writes that “I am Allegheny” reflects Jim’s devotion and commitment to his alma mater. “He is Mr. Allegheny,” agrees Phil Ness of Allegheny’s Development & Alumni Affairs Office.
Gladys Haddad ’52
Gold Citation, 2009
An historian and regionalist, Gladys Haddad is a professor of American studies at Case Western Reserve University. Her scholarship centers on Ohio’s Western Reserve, a distinctive region of northeastern Ohio. She is founder and director of the Western Reserve Studies Symposium, an annual online forum, and its successor, Regionally Speaking, a virtual symposium broadcast series. Both explore the history and culture and address contemporary issues of the Western Reserve. Gladys is also professor emerita of American Studies at Lake Erie College, where she was the academic dean and executive assistant to the president (1963-1989).
Gladys has published on the history, literature and art of the Western Reserve. She is the author with Harry Lupold of Ohio’s Western Reserve: A Regional Reader; with David Anderson of Anthology of Western Reserve Literature; and of Laukhuff’s Book Store: Cleveland’s Literary and Artistic Landmark: An Epilogue. She recently completed a biography, Flora Stone Mather: Daughter of Cleveland’s Euclid Avenue and Ohio’s Western Reserve, which received the 2008 Ohio Genealogical Society William H. and Benjamin Harrison Award for an Ohio-related family history.
A writer and producer of video documentaries, she completed a trilogy on the Mathers, a notable Western Reserve family. She also is the project archivist, researcher and author of the Case Web site, “Selected Philanthropic Families of Case Western Reserve University.”
Peggy Seib Culbertson ’52, who nominated Gladys for a Gold Citation, says she reflects honor upon Allegheny not only through her career achievements, but also through her personal characteristics. Fred McEwan ’51 notes her “sterling personal qualities…as an honest, hard-working and personable individual, with lofty ambitions (well realized) and a fine lack of hubris.” And “b.j.” (Coulston) Richardson ’52 writes that Gladys “possesses a real curiosity about the past, the energy to experience and savor the present, and an enthusiastic hope for the future.”
Carol Reardon ’74
Gold Citation, 2009
Carol Reardon is “a wonderful example of the unusual combinations fostered through an education at Allegheny,” writes Julianne Weibel Foltz, who nominated Carol for the Gold Citation. A professor of military history at Penn State University, Carol was a biology major at Allegheny, but participating in battlefield tours with history professor Jay Luvaas ’49 sparked her interest in history.
She earned a master’s degree in history from the University of South Carolina and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Kentucky. She teaches undergraduate courses at Penn State on military history, the Vietnam War, and the Civil War era as well as introductory survey courses, and she leads Penn State’s annual battlefield study tour program. In 2007, she was one of four Penn State professors awarded the George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching.
She has been a scholar-in-residence at the George and Anne Richards Civil War Era Center, a visiting professor of history at the United States Military Academy, and an adjunct faculty member at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College and the U.S. Army Military History Institute. She leads professional military education activities for the armed forces, specializing in “staff rides” to Civil War battlefields, open-air classrooms where military personnel discuss essential elements of the art of war such as leadership, logistics and decision-making in historical context.
She has published five books and more than 30 articles, chapters or speeches; written more than 40 signed book reviews; and published or presented more than 25 professional papers. Based on the critical success of her Vietnam naval aviation book, Launch the Intruders: A Naval Attack Squadron in the Vietnam War, 1972, she was appointed to a 2007-2010 term on the Secretary of the Navy’s Advisory Subcommittee on Naval History. She also is serving a second term as president of the Society of Military History.
Ray Lombra, a colleague at Penn State, writes that Carol’s “professional and personal passion for educating not only our students, but our community, on the relevance of American history makes her an ideal candidate” for the Gold Citation.
Yvonne Reed Chappelle Seon ’59
Gold Citation, 2009
Yvonne Seon, a pioneer in the field of black studies, reflects honor on Allegheny “by virtue of outstanding achievements,” writes Herb Niles ’59, who nominated her for a Gold Citation.
After graduating from Allegheny, Yvonne earned a master’s degree in American government and politics at American University as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. She then became the first American to work for the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where she advanced to the most prominent position available to a foreign citizen, managing a major dam construction project.
Upon her return to the U.S., she worked as a foreign affairs officer for the Department of State and was appointed secretary of the U.S. delegation to the 14th General Assembly of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in Paris. She was the first African-American and the second woman to hold this office in a major U.S. delegation.
During the 1970s, she began a career as an educator, serving as director of student life programs and teaching French at Wilberforce University. She completed—while helping to design—one of the earliest black studies Ph.D. programs in the country at Union Institute. She taught in the African-American studies departments at Howard University and the University of Maryland, College Park. Her doctoral work led to the articulation of a black education program at Wilberforce and to the realization of the Bolinga Black Cultural Resources Center at Wright State University.
She earned a master of divinity degree from Howard University Divinity School in 1981, and she was the first African-American woman to join the Unitarian Universalist parish ministry, founding and leading a congregation. She returned to academia in the 1990s and served as the distinguished visiting director of the Bolinga Black Cultural Resources Center after retiring from the faculty at Prince George’s Community College in Maryland.
Helping young people develop as independent and innovative thinkers ranks high among her ambitions. “We are in an era where conformity is expected, and there’s a great deal of suspicion of those who don’t conform,” she says. “Yet it is the non-conformists among us who push us beyond mediocrity to greatness.”
Linda Allison Palmiero ’66
Alumni Medal, 2009
There are those who believe that at some point during the search for Allegheny’s 21st president, Linda Palmiero developed the technology for teleportation. How else to explain how you could get a phone call from her one minute, see her escorting a candidate to an interview five minutes later, see her five minutes after that with a candidate’s spouse on a campus tour, only to return to your computer to find an email from Linda with an answer to a question you’d posed just a moment ago?
Linda’s work on the presidential search committee was nothing less than extraordinary. She organized a complex process, communicated with scores of persons, served as College liaison to the search firm, and did so with unfailing grace, patience, kindness and humor. And she agreed to the College’s request to help with the search on one condition: that she do so without compensation.
“Linda was a godsend,” presidential search committee chair Tom Slonaker says, “smoothly facilitating the introduction of candidates for consideration into the Allegheny community and always sensitive to the inclusiveness of our College’s community. She could sell Allegheny’s virtues to anyone.”
Linda’s service on the search committee was her Senior Project, if you will—the capstone experience that built on a multitude of challenging roles. In 1992 she “retired” as assistant dean of the College and registrar, only to come back to help in the admissions office. She returned again to serve as the interim director of alumni affairs.
Linda’s dedication to Allegheny seems limitless: in hosting regional alumni events, serving on reunion committees, presiding over Alumni Council, working with Kappa Alpha Theta, volunteering for admissions and career services, and mentoring students. Linda never says no to Allegheny, and in fact she often seeks out ways to help.
As a member of Alumni Council, Linda was active, engaged, innovative and hard-working. Along with her council colleagues, she believed strongly that alumni should help the College provide the best possible experience for our students. She also had a pivotal role in leading the initiative for 100 percent participation by council members in the Tradition & Transformation campaign.
“There is hardly anyone I can think of who has tirelessly touched every part of the College as Linda has: the College staff, the faculty, the students, and, for sure, the Meadville community,” says Tom Slonaker. “And she gets things done.
JW P. Heuchert
Thoburn Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2009
From the first moment of a class, JW P. Heuchert seeks to engage students in the educational experience.
“Professor Heuchert would begin each class by asking ‘Questions, concerns, remarks, observations?’” says an alumnus. “Rather than simply jumping into new material each class, he made an effort to make sure his students were up to speed on previous information or to see if they had questions or remarks about the material that would be discussed in class that day.”
In his decade as a psychology professor at Allegheny, JW has become known as an inspirational and caring teacher. Students have credited him with changing the way they view the field of psychology—and the world.
JW successfully combines a rigorous approach to learning with an inventive instructional style. “Dr. Heuchert’s passion for psychology was contagious, and he created a classroom environment of openness, support and nurturance,” writes an Allegheny graduate, now a licensed psychologist. “His coursework was designed to challenge our understanding of basic terms, and his lectures were innovative, unique and attractive to many students.”
A graduate of two universities in South Africa, JW brings an international perspective to the classroom that helps students broaden the scope of their thinking. One student notes that, every so often during class, JW would speak a phrase or sentence in South African, “perhaps to engage students in the material, to make sure that they were paying attention, or to simply to add a bit of humor to the material.”
He also has led several month-long Experiential Learning study tours to South Africa, along with one planned for India this summer. Students who participated in these tours note that JW was not only their teacher, but also a friend who shared his experiences and listened thoughtfully to their concerns, plans and hopes for the future.
An outstanding scholar with an admirable commitment to his students, JW indeed has made the Allegheny experience a meaningful one for countless students.
“Dr. Heuchert served as a professor, advisor and deeply respected mentor,” writes one student. “He helped me to define my career interests, took an interest in my education and provided me with guidance along the way.”
Julian Ross Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2009
For more than 40 years, Professor of Political Science Bob Seddig has continually pushed Allegheny students to work harder and reach higher.
“Bob fought to teach his classes in a way that would capture his students’ imaginations and get them to think about how to solve problems,” says an alumnus. “He inspires students to be thinking adults and leaders in whatever they may do.”
Hands-on learning is a hallmark of Bob’s innovative teaching style. From open forum-style debates and discussions to semester-long moot course cases, he requires students to take an active role in their education. Students often point to Bob as the professor who helped them overcome their timidity and fear of public speaking—enabling them to develop presentation skills vital for success in graduate school and their careers.
Bob has an uncanny ability to explain even very difficult subjects. “The material that he covers can be dense and difficult to analyze at times,” writes a former student. “He has creative analogies, drawings and explanations that make everything become clear.”
That sense of clarity results not only from Bob’s expertise in political science, but also his commitment to ensuring the content of his courses is relevant and timely. Even in years that relatively little had changed with the Supreme Court—one of Bob’s primary research interests—he worked to weave current events, court cases and political issues into the framework of his classes.
By challenging students to take considerable responsibility in deciding the topics of their assignments, Bob encourages them to discover new passions and re-evaluate their existing viewpoints. “Not only did this freedom allow for creativity, but it also challenged us because the topic was really our own,” says a former student.
Bob invests himself in his students’ success. A dedicated academic and Senior Project advisor, he has arranged countless trips to Washington, D.C., so students can experience firsthand the complexities and rewards of working with legislators in the nation’s capital. And Bob continues to serve as a resource and contact for Allegheny alumni in the legal and political communities.
“I do not think that words could do justice to Professor Seddig’s love of teaching and sincere commitment to his students,” writes an alumna. “I was, and still am, continually touched by his caring nature and his desire to see his students succeed.”
Robert T. Sherman Distinguished Service Award, 2009
When a question arises at Allegheny College, it’s often Marian Sherwood who has the answer—or takes on the challenge of finding it.
As director of institutional research, Marian conducts surveys, compiles statistics and performs analyses vital to Allegheny’s operation and long-term success. She has provided a decade of outstanding service, completing innovative research projects and gathering new data to meet and anticipate the evolving needs of the College. Key financial, enrollment and planning decisions are informed and aided by the research efforts that Marian spearheads for offices, committees and strategic initiatives on campus.
With an analytical mind and a creative approach to problem solving, Marian is relentlessly inquisitive and gives of her time freely and generously. “Her way of explaining things is incredible,” writes a co-worker. It is not surprising, then, that Marian has gained the respect, admiration and trust of students, faculty and staff alike.
“Marian may help you pull data you didn’t even know you need yet but will end up finding necessary when you continue through your task,” says a colleague. “She spends countless hours at her job, yet if you need help with something, she drops everything she is doing and gives you all of her attention. Her sense of humor and work ethic are truly assets to Allegheny.”
But Marian’s dedication to the College goes far beyond the responsibilities of her position. “When anyone on campus is looking for help, I believe that Marian’s name is at the top of that list,” says a fellow employee. “You ask her, and she will come gladly.”
Indeed, Marian enthusiastically volunteers at a wide variety of events, including Commencement, late-night breakfasts for students, events for prospective students, and cultural and philanthropic activities. Exemplifying Allegheny’s commitment to community involvement, Marian also is active with several local organizations, including Women’s Services, Inc. in Meadville and her church.
“Marian enjoys what she does, she enjoys those with whom she interacts, and she is willing to share her thoughts and suggestions to assist in the betterment of the campus or to help someone out,” says a colleague, “and she has a genuine interest in the projects, needs and questions that we bring to her.”
John M. Kutz ’83
Blue Citation, 2008
With seemingly endless energy, selflessness, and desire to see others succeed, John Kutz never stops looking for ways to help Allegheny.
“John’s energy has boosted so many of our initiatives,” noted an individual who nominated him for the Blue Citation. “He is a shining example of service to our College, our students, and our alumni.”
As a member and president of Allegheny’s Alumni Council, John enthusiastically shared his vision that the College should provide meaningful opportunities for alumni to give back to their alma mater. He recognizes that, for alumni involvement to be truly beneficial, it must be a two-way street—directly meeting an immediate need at the College and providing a fulfilling and rewarding experience for those who are volunteering.
John played a key role in Alumni Council’s transition from standing committees to task forces focused on completing specific projects. He helped to revamp the new member orientation process, served on the task force that led to the development of the GatorLocator online community, and assisted in the drafting of the usage policy for the Patricia Bush Tippie Alumni Center. A generous financial supporter of the College, John actively encouraged 100 percent participation in the Annual Fund by Alumni Council members.
John’s dedicated service has enhanced the Allegheny experience for countless students. He chaired the Alumni Council careers committee, emphasizing the importance of internships and other experiential learning opportunities. He arranged for his employer, KeyBank, to twice host the Cleveland Roadshow, a one-day event in which students shadowed executives from area businesses and organizations. In addition, John served as a mentor to students in the Alumni Advising Program and has assisted in the College’s admissions efforts, sending holiday cards to prospective students and advocating for Allegheny in conversations he has with others every day.
Also a member of his 25th Reunion committee this year, John is quick to credit others for their work. It is especially significant, then, that we have this opportunity to recognize John and his devotion to Allegheny College with the Blue Citation.
John H. Aldrich ’69
Gold Citation, 2008
For John Aldrich, working as a professor of political science means putting his scholarly research into action.
The Duke University professor collaborated with the Carter Center to develop democratic election procedures for neighborhood councils in China. The procedures—which allowed citizens to vote in local elections with multiple candidates and secret balloting—were subsequently implemented in townships and villages across that country. The elections were noted as a crucial step toward continued democratization in China.
The Pfizer-Pratt University Professor of Political Science at Duke, John specializes in American politics and behavior, formal theory, and methodology. He joined Duke’s faculty in 1987, with prior appointments at Michigan State University and the University of Minnesota. John, who earned a master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Rochester, also has served as a visiting professor in Harvard University’s department of government and as an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina.
John has received research and teaching grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities—a testament to the relevance and originality of his scholarship. Likewise, several Ph.D. students with whom he has worked have been awarded the prestigious Dissertation Improvement Grant from the National Science Foundation. John also has served as co-editor of the American Journal of Political Science and on the editorial boards of the major publications in his field.
Many prominent organizations have recognized John’s achievements. He has been a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences, and the Rockefeller Foundation Center in Bellagio, Italy. A prolific author, he has received several national and international honors for his books, papers, and articles—including awards from the American Political Science Association for the best book on U.S. national policy and the best paper on legislative politics.
A dedicated mentor and a respected scholar, John has reflected great honor upon Allegheny College through his commitment to teaching and research. Generations of students and society at large have benefited from his innovative scholarship and his service to the field of political science.
The Honorable Jack Mandel ’58
Alumni Medal, 2008
Mitzvah, as recounted in Jewish tradition, is a good deed, an act of kindness. A mitzvah can change a life, both for the receiver and the giver. Perhaps the mitzvah’s greatest power is how it can reverberate through lives and time, creating change on a grand scale.
Jack Mandel’s mitzvahs on behalf of students in Orange County, California, have had a profound effect not just on these young men and women and their families but on Allegheny College as well. By giving students equal parts challenge and hope, he has helped dozens of young people to realize their dreams. By making it possible for them to attend Allegheny, he has not only broadened their horizons but made our campus a more diverse and interesting place.
The “judge’s kids”—as they proudly call themselves—take leadership roles both on campus and in their chosen careers. They leave Allegheny to become lawyers, teachers, and health professionals—and to perform their own mitzvahs, knowing from their own experience that one person truly can make a difference.
Jack’s work with young, disadvantaged students in a tutoring program he started at the Santa Ana library has gained attention from media hungry for good news from areas plagued by poverty and gang culture. He recently was selected to head a new tutoring and mentoring center in Santa Ana. “I saw that Jack had accomplished so much already with no funding,” philanthropist Henry T. Nicholas III stated.
But that is just one side of Jack’s service to his alma mater. His work as a trustee, from the time he joined the board in 1977, has been extraordinary. A trusted legal guide for the College, he has always been considered a voice of reason, someone who can quickly analyze complex information and ask the questions that can better inform further discussion.
His dedication to his board service has been an inspiration to others. His passion for Allegheny is an unstoppable force, and to hear him talk about the College is to want to become as engaged as he is in the life of this institution. It is in this way—through his eloquence and his love for the institution—that he has helped reconnect many alumni, perhaps most notably the late Lenie Schwartz, to the College, both to their benefit and to ours.
It is with deep gratitude for his many years of outstanding service and leadership that we honor Jack Mandel with Allegheny College’s oldest and most prestigious award, the Alumni Medal.
Ishita Sinha Roy
Thoburn Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2008
Although some might argue that it’s impossible to teach creativity, it is certainly possible to model it—and Ishita Sinha Roy does that day in and day out in Allegheny’s classrooms. “Professor Sinha Roy was hands down the most creative professor I ever had,” says one former student. “Her teaching style was unique, engaging and, most of all, effective.”
Another student took part in a videoconference course that Sinha Roy co-taught with Hollywood producer Lloyd Segan ’80. “I met the head of the Sci-Fi network, the head of the Game Show network, two writers from ‘The King of the Hill,’ a talent agent, the director of development from the USA Network and several others,” he says enthusiastically. “All of these opportunities were made possible through Dr. Sinha Roy’s creativity.”
An associate professor of communication arts with expertise in media studies, Sinha Roy has taught at Allegheny since 2001. She is known not only for her engaging teaching style but for her challenging assignments, which demand the same level of creativity from students that she puts into her own work. “Every assignment was carefully designed to give the student the most enriching experience possible,” says an alumnus.
Another student explains: “Reading a book isn’t enough. In Dr. Sinha Roy’s world, you read the book, email the author, research the publisher, and investigate the citations.”
Other students note that Sinha Roy’s interest in their work was the same whether they were majoring in chemistry or comm arts—and extended well beyond their course work as she talked with them about their plans for jobs, graduate school, or simply their hopes for their lives.
“In my current career as a graduate student in chemistry,” says an alumnus, “I am not often—if at all—called upon to recall any factual information from my communication arts classes. Despite this, I find the lessons learned from Professor Sinha Roy to be with me as I progress through my Ph.D. work. She did not just teach information, but she taught how to think.”
Dr. Sinha Roy has modeled not only creativity but how important it is to have passion for one’s work. “Ishita has set the bar for me,” an alumna says, “and I know I can accomplish anything through her example.”
Robert K. Schwartz ’66
Julian Ross Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2008
Robert Schwartz is as solid as the rocks that fill the Alden Hall geology labs. A respected researcher, a challenging teacher, a memorable mentor, it is fitting that he received this award named for the legendary Julian Ross.
As an alumnus of Allegheny, Dr. Schwartz knows what excellent teaching is. As a professor of geology at Allegheny, where he has taught since 1979, he is committed to carrying forward that tradition.
“Bob is a shining example of how teachers should inspire interest and enthusiasm in their students,” says one former student. “He forced us to figure out what the rocks were telling us, instead of just giving us the answers. On field trips he expected us to question, observe, discover and solve the geologic questions firsthand. He was there to guide us, but ultimately we had to be the scientists.”
Another former student says, “Not thinking for yourself was never an option in Bob’s classes.” That challenge to students to think for themselves has resulted in students whose work is of such a high caliber that many of them have presented their research at professional conferences while still undergraduates at the College.
Dr. Schwartz has led students on research projects across the Appalachians, in the Rocky Mountains, along the coastal zones from New England to Georgia, and to the Caribbean.
“Bob’s quest for discovery through research and for engaging students in learning has not faltered throughout his career at Allegheny,” says a colleague. “Bob provides a learning environment for ‘doing’ science and immersed his students in experiential learning in and out of the classroom long before that phrase became part of today’s educational mantra.”
An alumna sums up the qualities that make Dr. Schwartz an extraordinary mentor and teacher. “In addition to being a brilliant scientific mind, Bob’s interpersonal relationships and interactions with students from all walks of life are remarkable,” she says. “He has an ability to relate to people in a completely unassuming manner that puts them at ease and encourages honest and open discussion. His frankness and honesty are both a source of encouragement and a reality check for students during a time in their lives when change is rapid, influences are abundant, and choices are important.”
Robert M. Tuttle
Robert T. Sherman Distinguished Service Award, 2008
Bob Tuttle has made a career of developing relationships that advance the mission of Allegheny College.
For more than twenty-five years, Bob has helped alumni and other individuals find significant ways to help Allegheny through their time, talents, and financial resources. He joined the College in 1982 as director of capital gifts, playing a key role in one of Allegheny’s first major fund-raising campaigns. Bob educated constituents about the importance of their support to the College’s ongoing success—an effort that continues to pay dividends today.
Over the years Bob also has served as director of major gifts and director of principal gifts. While his job title may have changed, his commitment to helping Allegheny’s people, programs, and places has not. Every academic and administrative department at the College has benefited in some way from Bob’s work. He has secured gifts to construct new facilities, enhance technology in classrooms, fund scholarships, beautify and preserve the campus, and provide research and experiential learning opportunities to students and faculty.
Through frequent visits, phone calls, and correspondence, Bob has developed close friendships with many alumni and friends of the College. He and his wife, Karen, often entertained alumni in their home before and after campus activities. Bob also stayed in regular contact with children and grandchildren of alumni who were attending Allegheny—taking them to lunch, inviting them to family outings, and simply making sure they were adjusting well to college life.
“During the twenty-some years of my trustee tenure, Bob was an integral part of the Allegheny family,” stated Pete Scibetta ’54. “He made giving not only a pleasure, but replete with meaning and purpose about what it means to be an Alleghenian, and to contribute one’s self to the needs of others. Bob is synonymous with Allegheny and all that it stands for; to us, he will always be an honorary alumnus who finished his term summa cum laude!”