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Neag’s endow professorships at Alvernia

Date: 9/28/2010

Pictured (left to right): Alvernia President Thomas F. Flynn, Provost Shirley Williams, Associate Professor Donna Yarri, Ray and Carole Neag


Alvernia University announced its first Neag Professorship endowed faculty position on Friday, September 24, in a small ceremony in the university’s Franco Library. Named for Ray and Carole Neag, the appointment will first be awarded to Dr. Donna Yarri, Associate Professor of Theology at Alvernia.

“I truly feel honored to have the distinction of being the first faculty recipient of this award,” said Yarri. Most recently, Yarri co-edited a book on Kafka’s animals and co-authored a provocative book entitled God, Science and Designer Genes with another Alvernia Professor, Spencer Stober, Ph.D.
“Donna is a respected and accomplished teacher, diverse in her interests and versatile in the range of courses offered,” said Alvernia President Thomas F. Flynn. “She has an impressive and sustained record of disciplinary and interdisciplinary scholarship -- with three books already to her credit, numerous shorter pieces, and, at all times, an array of new and emerging projects.”

The Neag Professorships are awarded to new or continuing faculty members who have demonstrated excellence in their scholarly work and distinction in their teaching, whether in undergraduate liberal arts education or in graduate and professional education. The professorships are part of a comprehensive effort to expand support for our faculty’s teaching excellence as well as scholarly and creative achievement.

The Professorships are the latest investment from a couple that has a long history of giving to Alvernia. In recent years, the Neags have contributed to Alvernia’s Student Center campaign, established a scholarship to support undergraduate students interested in pursuing a Franciscan education at Alvernia (2004), and established the Neag Nursing Faculty Development Fund (2005).

In 2002, the Ray and Carole Naeg received the university’s Franciscan Award, recognizing their outstanding contributions to the community.

“The Neags’ generous support has helped Alvernia to blossom on so many fronts. We owe them a large debt of gratitude,” said Michael J. Pressimone, Vice President of Insitutional Advancement. “Alvernia has certainly made large strides in the past few years to advance as an institution, and I dare say we would not be in the favorable position we are in today without the Neag’s help and leadership.”

  • 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.