President's Newsletter July 2015


While we will formally welcome new faculty and staff at the August State of the University gathering and celebrate promotions and other honors, let me call attention to some new members of our community and recognize several others.

We are pleased to welcome talented new faculty members: Allison Althouse, business; John Bindo, OT; Barbara Downing, nursing; Thomas Franek, athletic training; Antonella Merolla, humanities – language; Eric Recktenwald, biology; David Shoup, math; Joshua Smith, chemistry.

Three new doctors have been added to our faculty ranks. Dr. John Lichtenwalner, assistant professor of social work, Dr. Catherine Emery, assistant professor of occupational therapy and Dr. Cynthia Rothenberger, assistant professor of nursing, completed Ph.D. programs this spring. Congratulations to all!

We continue to attract outstanding leaders to serve on Alvernia’s board. New members include: Paula Barrett, department head of Reinsel Kuntz Lesher‘s Business Consulting Services Group; Robert Balthaser '91, vice president, development for Trust for the National Mall; and Ellen Huyett, an attorney formerly with Stevens & Lee.

Andi Funk, CEO of Cambridge Lee, LLC., will be an Expert in Residence next year at Alvernia, working with our business students and faculty to integrate best practice and real world examples into the curriculum.

Lt. Colonel Doug Etter will join us as Alvernia’s new veterans advocate in August. Colonel Etter is an Army Chaplain, currently serving in the public relations office at the Lebanon Veterans Administration Medical Center. He is enrolled in Alvernia’s Ph.D. program.

Gabriella Messina is the Student Government Association president for the 2015-2016 academic year. She is a senior chemistry major and resident assistant that served as a student government senator during her sophomore and junior years. She is also among our first SURFs!

Four long-serving Alvernians participated in a 10-day pilgrimage to Assisi and Rome in June: Mary Ellen Symanski, Jerry Vigna, Wanda Copeland and Tracy Hine. This is the third year for faculty-staff pilgrimages sponsored by the university’s Assisi Fund. A generous donor now underwrites costs of the faculty and staff pilgrimage and has enabled us to send four per year.

Alvernia had three MAC Scholar Athletes this year. This is the highest honor in the MAC, given to one student-athlete in each sport, with very few of the 17 conference schools earning more than one! Recognition is based upon the combination of athletic and academic achievements. Josh Wollaston (men’s soccer), Kaitlyn Yoh (women’s basketball) and Katie Fitzharris (women’s golf) were honored at the MAC Awards Luncheon on May 5.

After a national search, Sheila Cook was named head women’s basketball coach. Sheila comes to us from the University of Scranton, a perennial D-III Women’s hoops power, where she was an assistant coach under Mike Strong, the winningest women’s basketball coach in the history of NCAA Division III.

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president's newsletter july 2015

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