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Honorary Degrees to be conferred during May Commencement

Date: 4/22/2010

Reverend George A. Aschenbrenner, S.J., (left) and Estelle B. Richman (right) will receive honorary degrees during Commencement—May 15.

Rev. George A. Aschenbrenner, S.J., is co-founder of the Institute for Priestly Formation at Creighton University in Omaha and teaches a two-week course on the spirituality of the diocesan priesthood for seminarians and seminary spiritual directors. He continues to conduct retreats around the country and currently resides at the Jesuit community at the Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C.

Father Aschenbrenner previously taught Latin and English at Scranton Preparatory School and served as its basketball coach from 1959 to 1962. He was a novice director at Wernersville beginning in 1968 and lasting a decade. From 1979 to 1982, he served as Spiritual Director for lay faculty and facilitator of reflection on Ignatian charism at The University of Scranton. From 1986 to 1991, he served as Director of the Whole Spiritual Formation Program at the North American College in Rome. He was the rector of the Jesuit Community at the University of Scranton, Pennsylvania for several years, and previously served as Director of the Jesuit Center for Spiritual Growth in Wernersville. 

Co-founder of the Institute for Priestly Formation based at Creighton University, Nebraska, Achenbrenner has taught a two-week course on the Spirituality of the Diocesan Priesthood for seminarians and seminary spiritual directors for the past seven years. He is a nationally known lecturer and author on topics of spirituality and religious life, and is the author of Quickening the Fire in Our Midst - The Challenge of Diocesan Priestly Spirituality, and The Jesuit University Today: An Introduction to the Ignatian Vision in Higher Education.

Estelle B. Richman, is currently the Chief Operating Officer at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUB). Her career spans more than 25 years of public service, including her position as Secretary of Public Welfare. She was the first female Managing Director for the City of Philadelphia, where she was responsible fore the oversight of 13 city departments. Prior to her position as a Managing Director, Richman served as the first Director for Social Services for the City of Philadelphia.

Richman’s other previous positions held include the City of Philadelphia's Commissioner of Public Health and Deputy Commissioner for Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services; Southeast Area Director for the Office of Mental Health in the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare; and Assistant Director with the Positive Education Program (PEP) in Ohio.

She is a nationally recognized expert on issues of behavioral health and children’s services.  She has been honored for her advocacy efforts by the Alliance for the Mentally Ill, the American Psychiatric Association and the American medical Association, among others.  She was also the recipient of the 1998 Ford Foundation/Good Housekeeping Award for Women in Government.

Alvernia University’s spring 2010 Commencement ceremony will be held on May 15 at 2:00 p.m., in the Sovereign Center’s Reading Eagle Theatre. Click here for more information.

  • History: Established as a private four-year liberal arts college in 1958, Alvernia celebrated its 50th year by being awarded university status in 2008.
  • Heritage: Founded by the Bernardine Sisters, a Catholic religious order, the university embraces the Franciscan core values of service, humility, collegiality, contemplation and peacemaking.
  • Motto: “To Learn, To Love, To Serve”
  • Campus: The main campus in Reading is 121 acres, with two satellite campuses in Philadelphia and Pottsville (Schuylkill County).
  • Location: Our residential campus is situated three miles from center-city Reading, in the scenic Blue Mountain area of Eastern Pennsylvania.
  • Enrollment: 3,000 students attend Alvernia including 1,500 traditional undergraduates, 600 continuing education students, and 780 graduate students. Over 77% of first-year students live on campus.
  • Faculty: Our professors are accomplished scholars, experts in their fields, and supportive mentors. The student-to-faculty ratio is 14:1. Most classes are 20 students or fewer.
  • Athletics: NCAA Division III, member of the Commonwealth Conference of the Middle Atlantic States Athletic Corporation and member of Eastern College Athletic Conference, 8 men’s and 10 women’s intercollegiate sports.