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Celebrate the life of Sen. Mike O'Pake

Date: 3/18/2011

Many from Berks County and beyond will join together at Alvernia University at 3:30 p.m., on Friday, April 8 to celebrate the life of the late Sen. Michael A. O’Pake — one of the state’s most celebrated statesmen and public servants. The event is free and open to the general public. It will be held in the University’s Physical Education Center.

Alvernia President Thomas F. Flynn will host several invited speakers including Sen. O’Pake’s former Chief of Staff Thomas Gombar. In addition, Bishop John O. Barres, Albert Boscov, Rev. John Gibbons, and Kevin Murphy, president of the Berks County Community Foundation, will share personal memories. Reading Central Catholic’s choir, soprano Jennifer Michalik and performer Deanna Reuben will provide musical accompaniment. The event will also feature a video tribute to the Senator, recalling his many contributions to the area and its citizens. 

“Alvernia had a long and wonderful relationship with Sen. O’Pake and many across the region owe him, as we at the university do, a debt of gratitude for a lifetime of service,” said President Flynn. “So it is fitting that his many colleagues, friends, and admirers gather to remember him not only for his outstanding accomplishments but also for his marvelous combination of wisdom, wit, and virtue, and always, his warm, engaging smile.”

Sen. O’Pake served as a member of the Board of Trustees at Alvernia for close to 20 years and in 1999, received the University’s highest honor, the Franciscan Award, commemorating his years of service to the community and university. Upon his death, O’Pake bequeathed his entire collection of political memorabilia to Alvernia University. The collection contains nearly 42 years worth of political papers, including citations he gave, awards he received, details about his legislative legacy, and items related to community projects.

  • 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.