Author Archive

Grassroots Campaign Propels Allegheny College Student to Borough Council Seat

Morgan Boyd’s campaign for New Wilmington Borough Council was “as grassroots as it gets,” he said.

“It was me and a picket sign,” the 19-year-old Allegheny College student said. And a lot of walking, talking and listening.

Running as an independent, Boyd collected the most votes — 241 — in the five-person race for four open council seats on Nov. 7. The lifelong New Wilmington resident will take office in January in the 2,200-person borough, located about 60 miles north of Pittsburgh in Lawrence County.

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Allegheny College Receives $590,000 Gift to Support Center for Business and Economics, Student Scholarships

Lance Zingale

Allegheny College alumnus Lance Zingale and his wife, Karen, have made a $590,000 gift to support Allegheny’s Center for Business and Economics (CBE) and student scholarships at the college.

The Zingales’ commitment will establish a $500,000 endowment to fund initiatives at the CBE, which provides business-related internship, research and other experiential-learning opportunities for students.

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Two Allegheny College Students Awarded NOAA Hollings Scholarships

Hollings Scholarship Recipients

Allegheny College juniors Megan Hazlett and Allyson Wood have been awarded Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarships by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The competitive scholarships include two years of tuition support and paid 10-week summer internships to conduct research, resource management or education projects while working with a NOAA mentor. Hazlett and Wood are among 110 students nationwide receiving the scholarship in 2017. (more…)

Allegheny’s Center for Political Participation Featured on Civic Engagement Education Website

Allegheny College’s Center for Political Participation (CPP), under the direction of Political Science Professor Brian Harward, has been chosen as the first “civic engagement center” to be featured on a special website that focuses on teaching civic engagement.

Elizabeth C. Matto, associate research professor and director of the Center for Youth Political Participation and Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, reached out to Harward as a result of the success of the CPP and the new Law & Policy Program.

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Student-Athlete Silas Garrison Brings “Great Promise and Endless Potential”

Silas Garrison

On a January evening, Silas Garrison ’20 stood before 150 people at Meadville’s 2017 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration and Fellowship Dinner, captivating them as he expounded on five of Dr. King’s quotes. Garrison, a broad-shouldered football player, spoke at the annual event with a practiced ease that seemed at odds with his youth.

Darnell Epps, assistant director of Allegheny’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEAS) Center, suggested Garrison speak at the dinner because of the first-year student’s “great promise and endless potential to change the world for the better.” Epps was also struck by the expansiveness of Garrison’s vision, by “his ability to build bridges between diverse groups of people while helping them find common ground.”

Others have recognized Garrison’s strengths. The first was his grandfather, a church pastor and later a traveling pastor. Garrison characterized his grandfather, who died last year, as “stern, strict and fair” and credits him with his speaking skills. “My upbringing was the absolute reason why I was able to do it,” Garrison said. “It starts at home, seeing him speaking at different churches.”

Garrison also spent four years under the aegis of another inspirational speaker: Joe Pargano, his high school football coach. “He could motivate anyone; see someone (who) needed that spirit brought up, and always had the right thing to say,” Garrison said of his coach.

Silas Garrison

Silas Garrison ’20

Garrison’s love for football and his intellect carried him to Allegheny College, with initial plans of becoming a teacher. He also chose Allegheny because he felt an affinity for the college’s tradition. Tradition is important to Garrison. His grandparents, who live in DePew, New York, a suburb 15 miles east of Buffalo, infused in Garrison a “powerful sense of tradition,” rearing him in the overlapping spheres of the church, school and football.

During his first semester at Allegheny, Garrison took a philosophy class with Associate Professor Steven Farrelly-Jackson and found the class, as well as the professor, exhilarating. Said Garrison of Farrelly-Jackson: “He doesn’t make himself seem important, but you know he is, and so does everyone else.”

Apparently it was a meeting of minds. “I was immensely impressed with the quality, energy and depth of his thinking,” Farrelly-Jackson said of Garrison. “He seems to have the ability to cut to the real heart of an issue. He has genuine intellectual integrity; he doesn’t try to impress; he tries to get to the/a truth about an issue.”

Garrison also took a course in multicultural education with Heather Moore, assistant professor of community and justice studies. In 2016 she spoke with impressive verve at the MLK dinner. “Professor Moore might be the biggest role model I have on campus,” Garrison said. “I heard her speak so many times; if I could implement anything from the ways she does it, I would.”

Moore noted how receptive Garrison was to new ideas. At the end of his first semester, he confided to her that he didn’t want to be a teacher anymore. “I tried to fight it, but I’m starting to realize I want to do activism work,” Garrison told Moore. “That’s going to be my career goal.”

Moore thinks Garrison certainly can do that work. “He listens and responds,” she said. “He has the ability to accept constructive criticism. That will make him a better community worker.”

Allegheny Head Football Coach B.J. Hammer also has seen Garrison’s determination and drive. Garrison had a solid first season as a Gator, contributing as a backup in the defensive backfield and on special teams. And Hammer said Garrison is looking to be a three- year starter beginning next season and a key figure in the program’s continued growth.

“He has done a great job in the offseason to really improve him- self physically with his work in the weight room,” Hammer said of Garrison. “He’s continued to do a good job in the classroom, and he’s the perfect example of everything a student-athlete at Allegheny College should be.”

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

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
chain.

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.

Allegheny College Student Awarded Prestigious Place on Fulbright Summer Institute to the United Kingdom

Allegheny College student Allyson Wood has received a place on a Fulbright Summer Institute at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom through one of the most prestigious and selective summer scholarship programs operating worldwide.

The U.S.-U.K. Fulbright Commission is the only bilateral, transatlantic scholarship program, offering awards and summer programs for study or research in any field at any accredited U.S. or U.K. university.

Beginning in mid-June, Wood will take an intensive four-week course in field biology in Brighton, England. The seaside town, located on the country’s southern coast, offers rich opportunities for research.   (more…)

Allegheny College Student Earns Honors at American Chemical Society National Meeting

Max Steffen

As a first-year student, Max Steffen stepped forward to learn more when Allegheny College chemistry professor Ryan Van Horn mentioned a research project on polymers.

It’s a step that eventually took Steffen, now a rising junior, all the way to San Francisco. That’s where he earned third-place honors for his poster presentation at the American Chemical Society’s Undergraduate Research in Polymer Science Symposium, part of the organization’s national meeting and exposition in April. (more…)

Allegheny Community Celebrates the Class of 2017 at Baccalaureate Ceremony

Baccalaureate

The Allegheny College community gathered with the class of 2017 and their families to reflect on the achievements of graduating seniors — and celebrate their futures —at the Baccalaureate ceremony on Friday, May 12.

Clad in academic regalia, Allegheny trustees, faculty members and the graduating class processed into the College’s Raymond P. Shafer Auditorium to open Baccalaureate, the first of the official Commencement Weekend ceremonies. The Commencement ceremony, where degrees are conferred, takes place on Saturday, May 13, at 2 p.m.
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Renowned String Quartet Brings New Perspective to Study of Language at Allegheny College

Works by Mozart, Beethoven and Bartók, performed by the award-winning Alexander String Quartet, resounded in a third-floor classroom on a recent morning in Allegheny College’s Ruter Hall.
But the students taking in the performance weren’t attending a music course. Instead, they were studying German language and literature. (more…)