Alvernia University hosted its annual President’s Dinner, Thursday, Oct. 15, at 7:00 p.m., to honor organizations and individuals who have made a significant impact on Alvernia and its surrounding community. This year’s recipients were Paul R. Roedel (Franciscan Award), Berks Women in Crisis (Pro Urbe Award), and Mary’s Home/Mary’s Shelter (Pro Urbe Award).
Attended by about 250 local business and community leaders, university trustees, faculty, and administrators, this year’s President’s Dinner was held in the Physical Education Center on the university’s main campus in Reading.
The Franciscan Award honors individuals who selflessly give their time, talents, and resources to serve Alvernia, the community, and their profession. It was presented to Paul R. Roedel, retired chairman and president of Carpenter Technology. “Paul Roedel has served this community so long and so well, one might think that he came here as a missionary to serve these people and this community,” said Michael J. Pressimone, vice president of institutional advancement at Alvernia.
Although he retired from the corporate world in 1992, Roedel has been a tireless leader in advocating for women and education through the Reading and Berks County region—an interest strongly shared by Alvernia University.
“Fortunately for Berks County,” explained Pressimone, “Paul’s retirement from the corporate world did not extend to his commitment to public service. His work in the nonprofit sector over the years has made area foundations more effective and organizations stronger, enabling a more efficient delivery of much-needed community services.”
This year’s Pro Urbe Award recognizes organizations that perform significant community service and contribute to a higher standard of living in Berks County and the surrounding communities. Pro Urbe Awards were presented to two exemplary organizations: Mary’s Shelter/Mary’s Home and Berks Women in Crisis (BWIC). Both organizations are located in Reading, Pa., and share Alvernia’s mission to reach out and help make transformational change for women in need.
Mary’s Shelter/Mary’s Home assists young, pregnant, and homeless women by offering a place to live, prenatal care, and counselors who work with residents to develop attainable goals. The organization focuses specifically on achieving independent living skills so that children will be born to healthy, well-informed mothers.
“Young women—especially those without a supportive family and stable residence—may feel that there is no hope for their future. This is where Mary’s Shelter steps in to let them know that there is hope; they can still dream,” said Alvernia President Thomas Flynn. “And with the help of Mary’s Shelter and Mary’s Home, these young women start to believe in themselves and are guided on a path that leads them to a better life for themselves and their children.”
Berks Women in Crisis has worked to eliminate domestic and sexual violence in Berks County for more than 33 years, while offering a wide range of support services to victims. “At Berks Women in Crisis, the protection of victims is paramount,” said Chair of Alvernia’s Board of Trustees, Kathleen Herbein. “Various levels of support are offered to ensure safety, including an emergency hotline, the service of staff members accompanying women to the hospital and courtroom, and providing transitional housing. From the moment someone contacts Berks Women in Crisis, they know they are not alone.”