Centers and InstitutesThroughout its history, Alvernia University has aimed not only to develop students’ intellectual promise, but also to foster their ethical and moral perspectives and emphasize their leadership potential. The O’Pake Institute for Ethics, Leadership and Public Service seeks to build on this tradition. The O’Pake Institute is an expansion of the university’s Center for Ethics and Leadership, launched in 2006. It is named for longtime Alvernia board member Sen. Michael O’Pake, who passed away in December 2010. O’Pake served nearly four decades in the Pennsylvania State Senate as a champion for all those in need. The institute continues to be a nucleus for dialogue on contemporary ethical and leadership issues, with a focus on promoting interdisciplinary discourse around social justice and Franciscan values.
In 2008, Alvernia received a generous gift from T. Jerome and Carolyn Holleran, a Berks County couple with a passion for community service and a personal record of meaningful community engagement. The gift of $3 million included capital to enhance the work of the center in the Reading community as well as provisions to permanently endow it. Rooted in the Franciscan identity of Alvernia University and its mission as a teaching and learning institution, the Holleran Center identifies, cultivates and sustains strategic partnerships to strengthen both campus and community life. By making these community partnerships an essential part of the curriculum, the Holleran Center strives to foster the university mission and improve the quality of life in our community and to develop in its students a lifelong commitment to service as engaged citizens.