Former Marine Corps Pilot Joins Allegheny’s Governing Board

Lt. Gen. Jon M. Davis, above left, experienced plenty of exhilarating moments during his career in the U.S. Marine Corps, launching in his Harrier jump-jet from amphibious carriers and from austere forest roads in Germany. Commanding the Marine Corps Aviation Weapons School, he flew with and taught pilots the advanced tactics they needed to win the Cold War and support the Marines on the ground.

“You have to be disciplined and precise in all you do in Marine aviation — especially in a single-seat jet strike fighter,” says Davis, who graduated from Allegheny in 1980 with an economics degree.

During his years as a military aviator, Davis never had to eject from his aircraft — and finished his career mishap free. “Not in over 4,500 hours of military flying,” he says.

In July 2017, Davis, whose call sign was “Dog,” retired after 37 years in the Marines, most recently as the Pentagon-based deputy commandant for aviation, a post he had held since 2014. The job entailed making sure the Marines’ 1,300 aircraft were equipped and prepared to support 47,000 combat-ready Leathernecks.

What does he consider the biggest difference between his first flight as a Marine aviator and his final flight this past summer from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina? “The equipment, training, and standards we have now is so far superior to what we had back then when I was here as a lieutenant,” Davis says.

While Davis and his wife, Carol VanWhy ’83, will continue to live in Virginia, he has joined the Allegheny College Board of Trustees as of Oct. 1. “I want to ensure Allegheny grows, and more importantly, that it produces students with the skills they need to be successful leaders, thinkers, and doers to keep our nation strong,” he says.

Jon and Carol Davis following a Marine Corps marathon run.

Some of Davis’ fellow Phi Delta Theta fraternity members — including Allegheny Marines, Col. (Ret.) Medio Monti ’79, Lt. Col. Steve Held ’80, and Lt. Col. Lloyd Hamashin ’81— attended his retirement ceremony in July at the U.S. Marine Corps Barracks in Washington, D.C. The group also included David “Chip” Seamans ’80, John Brautigam ’80, Lloyd Segan ’80, Dr. Steve Schwartz ’80, Brian Krzykowski ’80, and Bob VanWhy ’80. Davis’ father-in-law Al VanWhy ’54 and Davis’ sister Jodi Miller ’86 also attended.

Davis mentioned Allegheny often during his farewell address.

He credits his college education with providing the disciplined academic background he needed to succeed in the Marines. “Allegheny’s emphasis on writing, speaking and academic standards helped me advance through the good times — and more importantly, through the tough times. Jay Luvaas, Paul Zolbrod, Earl Adams, and Robert Cupper come to mind as professors who challenged me, cut me no slack, but encouraged me to apply myself.”

Among his most memorable moments in the service was being an exchange pilot with Great Britain’s Royal Air Force and being stationed at a North Atlantic Treaty Organization base near East Germany during the Cold War, he says. He considers another major career highlight leading the Marine Corps Aviation Weapons and Tactics School during the Iraq War. “It was a very dynamic time and I was very proud of how we adapted our tactics and training to meet the threat and support the Marines,” says Davis.

Davis also served as the deputy commander of network warfare from 2006 to 2008 and again as the deputy commander to United States Cyber Command from 2012 to 2014. “Cyberspace is another domain in which we must protect our national interest,” he says. “We have some deep-seated problems but also opportunities. We need to focus on making our networks resilient and how to fight through problems while operating. We need to improve how we train and focus on standards.”

As for the state of the world, Davis says: “I think we are in a period of great geopolitical instability. We will need strong alliances, a strong economy and a strong military commitment to lead with principle internationally.”

Besides serving Allegheny as a trustee, Davis says his “retirement” plans include spending more time with family, giving back to his community and country as a volunteer, pursuing some business opportunities in technology and aviation, flying his experimental airplane, fly fishing, heli-skiing, and hiking the Pacific Crest Trail with his wife, Carol.

In typical fashion, Davis chose to leave his formal retirement ceremony to the strains of Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog.” But before they could complete their march out, Carol ordered the music changed to Etta James’ “At Last.”

Semper Fidelis!

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Former Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy to Speak on Competing in 21st Century

Pittsburgh has become an international model for how a city remade itself. How did that revitalization happen? What were the ingredients and decisions that drove success? What lessons can other cities learn?

Former Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy will address those and other questions during a talk on Friday, Sept. 22 at noon in Allegheny College’s Quigley Hall auditorium. The event, “Reaching for the Future: Competing in the 21st Century,” is free and open to the public.

Murphy is an Urban Land Institute senior resident fellow and the ULI/Kingbell Family Chair for Urban Development. As a three-term mayor of Pittsburgh between 1994 and 2006, he initiated a public/private partnership strategy that leveraged Carnegie Mellon University’s academic presence to create regional economic development in technology fields and more than $4.5 billion in economic development in the city. Murphy led efforts to secure and oversee $1 billion in funding for the development of two professional sports facilities, and a new convention center that is the largest certified green building in the United States. He also developed strategic partnerships to transform more than 1,000 acres of blighted, abandoned industrial properties into new commercial, residential, retail, and public uses, and oversaw the development of more than 25 miles of new riverfront trails and parks.

Murphy’s extensive experience in urban revitalization—what drives investment, what ensures long-lasting commitment—has been a key addition to the senior resident fellows’ areas of expertise. His talk is sponsored by the Center for Business & Economics and the Law and Policy program.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Ahead of the Curve: Allegheny Infuses the Liberal Arts, Economics into Business Education

Allegheny College economics major Brett Barrett absorbed the energy as he toured the world headquarters of Bloomberg LP in Midtown Manhattan last October.

“It just had one of those atmospheres that make you want to work there,” Barrett, a senior, recalls.“You could just tell everyone was vibrant and striving to be their best.” The financial information services firm was one of four major corporations that Barrett and two dozen other Allegheny students visited on a two-day tour of New York City.

A few months later, back on the Allegheny campus, College Trustee Jennifer Daurora ’99 shared career insights with several dozen students while they munched on pizza in Quigley Hall.

“I love questions,” Daurora, director of operations for McGinnis Sisters Special Food Stores in Pittsburgh, said as she reached the end of her presentation. Daurora rewarded the first student to raise his hand with a coffee shop gift card.

Though separated by some 400 miles, Barrett’s trip and Daurora’s talk have a common thread. They’re part of a sustained effort to help prepare Allegheny students for careers in business — in particular through the business economics track in the College’s economics major and the Center for Business and Economics.

“Liberal Arts-Plus”

Why study business at Allegheny instead of a university with a traditional business administration program? That’s a question that high school students and families at admissions events often pose to Stephen Onyeiwu, Economics Department chair and Andrew Wells Robertson Professor of Economics.

Onyeiwu often frames his answer as “liberal arts-plus.” He explains that Allegheny students can take the courses they would find in business programs, such as finance, management, accounting, entrepreneurship, human resources and more. But they also gain the abilities that are hallmarks of a liberal arts education: writing and speaking well, thinking critically, integrating different areas of study in analyzing a problem, and contributing to the good of the community.

“Our students learn how to adapt and to be lifelong learners,” Onyeiwu says. “We teach them all the time that society is not static; society is dynamic. Our students learn how to reinvent themselves.”

Like all Allegheny students, economics majors in the business economics track must also declare a minor (or a second major) in another field. That breadth encourages students to approach problems from multiple perspectives and also helps them become more marketable to employers, says Chris Allison ’83, Economics Department entrepreneur in residence and Center for Business and Economics co-director.

“We’re living in a global economy so you have to be a person of the world,” says Allison, also a member of the College’s Board of Trustees. “The way you become a person of the world is to expose yourself to learn other disciplines.”

Senior Bethany Bauer is doing just that. A double major in economics and French, she became interested in globalization after an introductory course with Onyeiwu. Bauer also studied abroad for a semester in France during her junior year. While her courses there didn’t focus on business, she did observe differences between the retail sector in Europe and the United States, thanks to insight she gained through an internship with the Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle supermarket

Bauer’s Senior Comprehensive Project — which includes a chapter written entirely in French — focuses on foreign aid to Haiti. It’s a topic she developed with the guidance of her advisor, Professor of Economics Tomas Nonnenmacher ’90.

“Without Professor Nonnenmacher’s help, I wouldn’t have even thought to look at a former French colony, to look at one of them through the lens of economics,” says Bauer, who is seeking a career in international business.

A Change in Name — But Not in Rigor

Bauer is among the 50 percent of Allegheny economics majors who pursue the business economics track. Until last fall, the program was known as the managerial economics track, which was established in
2002 through the leadership of Professor Emeritus of Economics Donald Goldstein.

Initially, naming the program something other than “business” served as a differentiator among other colleges, Onyeiwu explains. However, as increasing numbers of students expressed an interest in the field, the Economics Department and admissions office saw an opportunity.

“The change in name has allowed Allegheny to connect more directly with students interested in business and more effectively share the program’s longstanding strengths with them,” says Cornell LeSane II, vice president for enrollment and dean of admissions. “We have eliminated a barrier for students and families who might not have even considered Allegheny simply because they didn’t see ‘business’ on a list of our academic programs.”

The renaming hasn’t diminished Allegheny’s emphasis on situating the study of business in the broader context of economics, Allison says. It’s a rigorous curriculum that requires students to consider more than simply what makes a business successful. They also examine its place in the overall market and how economic principles and strategies influence a company’s day-to-day operations.

“Some people in business, I think, not only do they get the answers wrong, they don’t know the questions to ask,” Allison says. “Because we’ve got that really, really strong underpinning in economics, I think our students know how to ask not only ‘why,’ but ‘why not’” when studying an issue.”

A Centered Approach

The business economics track also complemented a recent initiative to create the College’s Center for Business and Economics (CBE). Part of the Allegheny Gateway, the CBE helps connect students of all majors with business-related learning opportunities outside of the classroom.

“It doesn’t stray away from that liberal arts foundation, but rather tries to build on those ideals such that our students are ahead of the curve when they are hired because of what they’re doing here,” says
Russell Ormiston, CBE co-director and assistant professor of economics.

Helping students find internships has become a key part of the CBE’s work in partnership with the Gateway. Students in the business economics track are required to complete an internship, and many complete more than one.

Prior to his fall visit to Bloomberg, Barrett spent two summers interning with The Brown Hurray Plantz Group, a Merrill Lynch branch office in Sewickley, Pennsylvania. Three Allegheny alumni at the firm — College Trustee William Brown Jr. ’80, Andrew Niklaus ’15 and Anton Plantz III ’07 ‐ mentored Barrett and provided one-on-one help with navigating the wealth management industry.

“I was able to learn so much and ended up falling in love with the profession and am pursuing it as a career opportunity,” says Barrett, a Spanish minor. “The internships are a great opportunity, and Allegheny alumni are the best way to go about getting one because they know how qualified you’re going to be.”

Remembering Their Roots

As Barrett discovered, students pursuing business careers gain access to a powerful network of Allegheny graduates. “The alumni engagement has been tremendous,” Ormiston says. “It’s wonderful as an educator to have those kinds of resources available.”

That connection translates into alumni executives like Daurora visiting campus to teach and advise students in the classroom, on panels and through one-on-one mentoring. In addition, Allegheny graduates are opening doors at their places of employment for students, including a biennial trip to visit firms in New York City.

The New York City visit last October included meetings with John Gregory ’89, managing director at Wells Fargo Securities; Bruce Thompson ’86, an Allegheny trustee and vice chairman at Bank of America; Karen Ubelhart ’77, an Allegheny trustee and industry analyst with Bloomberg; and Jonathan Drescher ’84, senior vice president of project development for The Durst Organization.

Alumni involvement not only helps current students learn about careers and find internships, but it also supports graduates as they seek to advance in their careers. Those relationships often result in firms hiring several Allegheny graduates, Onyeiwu says.

“That is what often carries our students into that second or third job, when you have that network of alumni and former classmates,” he says. “Our students are very close — they learn collaboratively, they do things together, they work as a team. Then they use that teamwork to build a network when they graduate.”

Alumni also are providing generous financial support for business education at Allegheny. The members of the CBE Board of Visitors, an advisory group of executives, recently established an endowed fund to support internships. Additional resources, Ormiston says, expand the learning opportunities the CBE and the Gateway can offer to students.

Allison, who has taught at the College since 2006, notes that it’s especially gratifying when students he has mentored return to help current students. “That’s the best for me,” Allison says. “It’s really fun to watch them come back and see how they’ve developed into seasoned executives.”

Adds Onyeiwu: “Allegheny graduates don’t forget their roots.”

This article appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of Allegheny magazine.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Leja’s ‘Care Van’ Pitch Wins Big Idea Competition

Liana Leja,an Allegheny College senior majoring in biology, won first prize and $5,000 in Allegheny’s 11th Annual Big Idea Competition, a contest sponsored by the college’s Center for Business and Economics and modeled after ABC’s popular “Shark Tank” show.

Leja’s big idea: a mobile health care van, called the “Care Van,” that would operate in conjunction with Meadville Medical Center to provide basic health care to a mostly rural, underserved population.

Leja with Entrepreneur in Residence Chris Allison, co-director of Allegheny’s Center for Business and Economics. Photo by Sarah Holt.

Greg Bras, a senior economics major from Saegertown also earned an honorable mention in the competition for his work on additive manufacturing.

See full coverage in The Meadville Tribune here.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Allegheny, Grove City Students Pitch Their Big Ideas

The  Center for Business and Economics at Allegheny College will hold its 11th Annual Big Idea Competition on April 28-29 in Quigley Hall. The contest emulates the experiences seen on the popular CNBC broadcast, “Shark Tank”. The public is welcome to attend the final round of presentations on Saturday, April 29 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Students will present entrepreneurial concepts with the chance to receive funding through cash prizes. The ideas must fit into one of four areas: For-profit Business, Not-for-profit Social Venture, Research Project, or Community Engagement Initiative. Students work in teams and design 20-minute presentations for their ideas, which they present at the competition.

The $5,000 first place prize has been renamed The Zingale Prize in honor Allegheny College alumnus Mr. Lance Zingale ’77, who donated the funding for the prizes. In total, $10,000 in prizes and trophies will be awarded, with 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-place teams receiving trophies, monetary prizes, and honorable mentions.

Some students have re-purposed their Junior Seminar or Senior Comp projects, or have taken the Economics of Entrepreneurship II class, in order to prepare for this competition. This year, there are 27 teams of one to three students each; seven of the teams are from Grove City College.  The remaining 20 consist of Allegheny students.  Some of the students are taking entrepreneurship-focused classes such as Economics of Entrepreneurship II &  Entrepreneurship in Interactive Entertainment (Computer Science focus).

The competition will be judged by a panel of alumni, as well as two faculty members. 

Some students are able to take their projects even further and continue to develop their concepts outside of the competition. Francisco Quezada ’16, who won last year, expanded his winning proposal and eventually started a company called Volta Technologies.

Entrepreneur in Residence Chris Allison and Sarah Holt are co-coordinators of the the Big Idea competition. Allison says he sees students benefit through the experience of creating business designs.

“Students who participate learn how to build a business, social venture or community engagement project, and manage a research project,” Allison said. “They also learn how to convince executives to fund these projects, and how to put their coursework into action.”

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Students Lobby Legislators to Support Private Colleges

Jesse Tomkiewicz and Carlos Sanchez had a simple but powerful message for Harrisburg: Invest in education.

The first-year Allegheny College students were among the more than 225 students from more than 30 private nonprofit colleges and universities who traveled to the state capital on April 4 as part of Student Aid Advocacy Day, sponsored by the Association of Independent Colleges & Universities of Pennsylvania. The annual event gives students from AICUP-member institutions a chance to meet legislators and encourage them to support private colleges and universities. Allegheny has been sending student representatives for at least the past five years.

This year’s event focused primarily on opposing a 50% proposed cut in institutional assistance grants, maintaining funding of PHEAA grant program, and growing the Ready to Succeed Scholarship program to benefit more middle-income students.

Tomkiewicz and Sanchez spent the day meeting with staff members from the offices of Rep. Brad Roae, Rep. Mike Schlossberg, Rep. Peter Schweyer, Sen. Michele Brooks, Sen. Pat Browne, and Gov. Tom Wolf. At each meeting, they handed out fact sheets and information detailing how financial assistance helps students at private colleges and universities, including Allegheny, and the return on investment in higher education.

For Sanchez, an 18-year-old economics major from Allentown, Pennsylvania, the issue is a personal one.

“I receive a lot of federal and state aid. Cutting down these programs could eventually affect my tuition and what I receive in financial aid,” Sanchez said. “This (state budget proposal) is going to affect a lot of students. … This isn’t something that just affects Allegheny. This affects the whole state. I felt it was my responsibility to go and speak on behalf of the people I know and also some of the students I know here who might be affected by this.”

Investing in education just makes sense, Sanchez said.

“When you invest in school you’re investing in future taxpayers,” he said.

Tomkiewicz, 19, a philosophy and political science major from Freeport, Pennsylvania, sees the value of college degree — and the financial aid necessary to make it possible — when he looks around his hometown.

Workers at the steel mill in Freeport recently held an eight-month strike. The brick factory closed. Family-sustaining manufacturing jobs once available to high school graduates are disappearing.

“You can’t just graduate high school with a C-average, go to the steel mill and make $70,000 or $80,000 in a union with great benefits and have a great life right out of high school. You can’t really do that anymore,” said Tomkiewicz, who is a first-generation college student.

A college education is necessary, he said, but only possible for many students with the help of financial aid. In addition to the fact sheets outlining their case for funding, Tomkiewicz and Sanchez brought along student profiles to “humanize” the issue for legislators.

“It puts a face to who receives this aid,” Tomkiewicz said. “It shows that it’s not just numbers on a sheet. Funding has real consequences and real effects for people.”

Both Sanchez and Tomkiewicz said it’s important for students to get personally involved, on the issue of higher education funding or any other issue that is important to them. Communicating with legislators is one way to do that.

“If you go up to them and go up and talk to them, they see your issue,” Sanchez said.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

16th Annual Executive Roundtable: ‘The Trump Presidency: Economic Policy Opportunities and Challenges’

As President Trump and the Republican-led Congress navigate the first 100 days of the Trump presidency, there are many questions about how the promises made on the campaign trail are being incorporated into government policy. What changes in economic policy can we expect to see during a Trump presidency, and how will those policies affect Americans?

The 16th Annual Executive Roundtable at Allegheny College, hosted by the college’s Center for Business and Economics and Law & Policy Program, will bring together experts to speak on “The Trump Presidency: Economic Policy Opportunities and Challenges,” from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Monday, April 3. The roundtable in the college’s Ford Memorial Chapel is free and open to the public.

Panelists will include Karen Ubelhart ’77, senior industrials analyst for Bloomberg and a member of Allegheny’s Board of Trustees; Martin Pfinsgraff ’77, retired senior deputy comptroller for Large Bank Supervision, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, U.S. Department of the Treasury, and a member of Allegheny’s Board of Trustees; Norman Robertson, economic advisor for Smithfield Trust Company and former chief economist for Mellon Bank; and Jason MacDonald, associate professor of political science, West Virginia University.Moderating the roundtable will be Tomas Nonnenmacher, professor of economics at Allegheny.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

16th Annual Executive Roundtable to Focus on Trump Presidency and the Economy

As President Trump and the Republican-led Congress navigate the first 100 days of the Trump presidency, there are many questions about how the promises made on the campaign trail are being incorporated into government policy. What changes in economic policy can we expect to see during a Trump presidency, and how will those policies affect Americans?

The 16th Annual Executive Roundtable at Allegheny College, hosted by the college’s Center for Business and Economics and Law & Policy Program, will bring together experts to speak on “The Trump Presidency: Economic Policy Opportunities and Challenges,” from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Monday, April 3. The roundtable in the college’s Ford Memorial Chapel is free and open to the public.

Panelists will include Karen Ubelhart ’77, senior industrials analyst for Bloomberg and a member of Allegheny’s Board of Trustees; Martin Pfinsgraff ’77, retired senior deputy comptroller for Large Bank Supervision, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, U.S. Department of the Treasury, and a member of Allegheny’s Board of Trustees; Norman Robertson, economic advisor for Smithfield Trust Company and former chief economist for Mellon Bank; and Jason MacDonald, associate professor of political science, West Virginia University.Moderating the roundtable will be Tomas Nonnenmacher, professor of economics at Allegheny.

The roundtable’s expert panelists from the world of economics and politics will discuss the implications of President Trump’s initial policy initiatives and the economic opportunities and challenges that will confront him during his presidency.

“We expect that the Executive Roundtable will serve as a forum in which we can discuss the economic policies, challenges and opportunities facing the new administration with the objectivity and civility that have long defined Allegheny College,” said Russ Ormiston, assistant professor and co-director of the Center for Business and Economics.

The Executive Roundtable is supported by the Earl W. Adams Jr. Endowment, established by Allegheny College trustee William H. Brown Jr., Allegheny class of 1980, in honor of Professor Earl William Adams Jr. — teacher, mentor and friend. For more information on the roundtable, contact

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Park presents at Eastern Economic Association Annual Conference

Assistant Professor of Economics Hyun Woong Park presented his paper “Technical Change and the Rate of Profit When Output is Driven by Price-Value Deviation” on February 26, at the Eastern Economic Association Annual Conference 2017.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Hartford Speaks to Students About Career, Value of Allegheny

Terry Hartford didn’t know he’d end up at Chatham Financial soon after graduating from Allegheny College in 2011.

But when he arrived at Chatham, a Pennsylvania-based advisor specializing in real estate capital markets and risk management, he found it to be a good fit: The attributes that make for successful Chatham employees, Hartford said, are the same attributes he developed while earning his economics degree here. Chatham values employees who are intellectually curious, who can solve complex problems, who are collaborators, who have good communication skills, who can work with limited direction and who have the initiative to leverage the experiences of their colleagues, among other skills, he said.

“Allegheny ticks all of those boxes,” Hartford said.

Hartford spent a day on campus recently visiting economics classes and speaking with students about his Allegheny experience, what he would have done differently as a student, his career at Chatham, and the value of his Allegheny degree.

Over a pizza lunch in the Henderson Campus Center, Hartford told a group of students that the variety of classes offered by the college gives students a broad base of knowledge and emphasizes analysis and critical thinking, skills that have served him well at Chatham. Allegheny also prepares students to be confident communicators and presenters and to work as a team, he said.

There are intangible benefits to the Allegheny experience as well, Hartford said, including the diverse expertise of faculty, a climate that encourages and rewards intellectual curiosity, and a heavy course load.

“You really have no choice but to work hard and manage your time,” he said.

Before giving students an in-depth overview of his work at Chatham as a consultant on the Global Real Estate team — he spends much of his time advising clients on how to hedge their risks when it comes to real estate-related debt — Hartford spoke about the things he wishes he would have done differently while on campus. He told the group to be proactive in determining their future, to choose the best — not the easiest — electives, and to use all the available resources at their disposal, including the time and expertise of professors and alumni.

“Ask a lot of questions. Get as much information as you can and don’t be shy,” Hartford said.

Later, Hartford said the purpose of his talk and visit was to “give (students) a look into what’s possible with an economics degree and reassure them of the quality of an Allegheny degree.” He also said he’d like to see a formal or informal relationship between Chatham and Allegheny in the future that could result in internships or other opportunities for Allegheny students.

Hartford and other alumni who return to campus to speak about their careers and experience also help dispel myths about careers and expose students to careers they might not have considered or thought possible, said Professor of Economics Stephen Onyeiwu, who also attended Hartford’s talk.

“Sometimes you don’t know what’s involved in a particular career until you’ve heard someone talk about it,” Onyeiwu said.

One of the students who gathered for Hartford’s lunchtime talk, senior political science major Jonas Skattum, said he valued the chance to hear from a recent graduate.

“He’s been where I’m about to go,” Skattum said of Hartford. “Hearing his experiences and the challenges he faces, you learn a lot. … It gives you insight as to how we can achieve our goals.”

Source: Academics, Publications & Research