The Allegheny Year in Review, 2017 Edition

It was a year of accolades, academic accomplishments and astronomical wonder on the campus of Allegheny College. But where did the year go? Many of us pondered that question as winter settled in recently. With that in mind, the Office of College Relations assembled some highlights of what transpired at Allegheny during 2017:

Justice Advocate Presents Keynote Address During Celebration of the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


In January, just as students returned to campus, Naim Edwards, a former Peace Corps volunteer who is involved in the water, land and food justice movements, presented a keynote address as part of Allegheny College’s weeklong celebration of the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tibetan Buddhist Monks Construct Sand Mandala Painting

At the end of February and beginning of March, Tibetan Buddhist monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery crafted a mandala sand painting at the Art Galleries of Allegheny as part of the College’s Year of Mindfulness. Hundreds of onlookers filed through the galleries for a week as the monks constructed the mandala. Millions of grains of sand were painstakingly laid into place on a platform over a period of days to form the image of a mandala, a symbolic representation of the universe. Students also chimed in with a sand mandala of their own!

National Civility Prize Goes to Supreme Court Justices

In April, the sixth annual Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life was presented to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the family of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Allegheny President James H. Mullen, Jr. and Governor Tom Ridge, the first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security and a 2012 Allegheny College honorary degree recipient, awarded the 2017 Prize at an event in Washington, D.C.


Biology Major Wins Big Idea Competition

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


Allegheny College Celebrates 460 Graduates

In May, in its usual splendor, Allegheny honored 460 graduates at its Commencement ceremonies on the lawn outside of historic Bentley Hall. Paula Kerger, president and chief executive officer of PBS, delivered the Commencement address in the College’s 202nd year. She urged graduates to trust their intuition: “Wherever your adventure takes you, I encourage you to find your inner voice — the one that whispers to you about what you were put on this earth to do. The voice that is innately and inherently yours, not an imitation of someone else. And once you find it, never let it go.”


Chamber Choir Embarks on New Zealand Performance Tour

In May, after more than 18 months of planning, preparation and practice, 19 students from the Allegheny Chamber Choir and Professor James Niblock visited New Zealand in what was the choir’s first international performance tour since 1980 and its first-ever tour to the South Pacific. The two-week trip included performances in Auckland, Whitianga, Rotorua, Christchurch and Queenstown, along with plenty of sightseeing opportunities and an introduction to Māori culture. The journey was chronicled in the summer edition of Allegheny magazine.


Solar Eclipse Draws Gators’ Gaze Skyward

One day in August, the sky grew darker, the temperature cooled, and Allegheny students looked skyward. “It’s amazing to see,” said Taylor Cook, 18, a first-year student from Mt. Orab, Ohio. Meadville wasn’t in the path of totality for the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse, but it was still way cool to witness at Newton Observatory.


Allegheny Welcomes Class of 2021

Just days later, the incoming class was welcomed at a convocation and matriculation ceremony in Raymond P. Shafer Auditorium. The class represents 377 high schools in 37 states and 26 countries in addition to the United States. The top 10 states from which enrolled students originate are Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, California, Texas, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia and Georgia.

U.S. News & World Report Names Allegheny Sixth Most Innovative National Liberal Arts College in the Nation

In September, U.S. News & World Report named Allegheny one of the top 100 national liberal arts colleges in the nation — and the sixth most innovative. In its annual rankings, U.S. News highlighted Allegheny among a select group of schools in which students and faculty collaborate to produce intensive, original research and creative work. Allegheny also was recognized among the top 50 national liberal arts colleges in the Best Value Schools category.


Allegheny Featured in The Princeton Review’s “Guide to 375 Green Colleges”

In September, Allegheny was again featured in The Princeton Review’s annual guide to the most environmentally responsible schools. The “Guide to 375 Green Colleges” highlights schools with exceptional commitments to sustainability and includes profiles of each school’s admission requirements, cost and financial aid, and student body, as well as detailed “Green Facts” for some schools.

College Honors Alan Novak and T.J. Rooney as Inaugural Recipients of the Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life in Pennsylvania


Also, in September, President James H. Mullen, Jr. presented the inaugural Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life in Pennsylvania to Alan Novak and T.J. Rooney, former chairs of Pennsylvania’s Republican and Democratic state parties. The presentation was made during the 33rd Annual Chamber Dinner in Hershey — an annual gathering of 2,000 political, business and labor leaders from across the Commonwealth.

Allegheny Named Among Top 50 Liberal Arts Colleges in the Nation

The accolades kept coming in October as Allegheny was named among the Top 50 best liberal arts colleges in the United States in the 2018 Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education U.S. College Rankings. Allegheny ranked No. 47 among all liberal arts colleges in the nation, and No. 128 of more than 1,000 schools, colleges and universities identified in their annual student-focused rankings.

College Announces Plans to Add Field Hockey, Men’s Lacrosse

In October, the Allegheny College Board of Trustees authorized the addition of field hockey and men’s lacrosse to the school’s varsity athletic offerings. Field hockey will begin play in the fall of 2019, while the inaugural season of Gator men’s lacrosse will be spring of 2020.

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


In November, it was announced that Allegheny alumnus Lance Zingale ’77 and his wife, Karen, 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.

Allegheny Adds Business Major to its Comprehensive Curriculum

In December, following faculty approval, the College announced that it would offer business as a major beginning in fall 2018. The program will be housed in the Department of Economics, which has provided a business/managerial track within its economics major for 18 years.