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Alvernia benefactors receive national honor

Date: 1/6/2012

Jerry and Carolyn Holleran, two of Alvernia’s most generous patrons and dear friends of the university for more than 25 years were recognized with a national distinction on Friday when they received the 2012 Individual Award for Philanthropy from the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC). 

The award was presented for their exemplary service, support and inspiration to independent higher education. Formal presentation of the award was made by CIC President Richard Ekman and the Chair of the CIC Board of Directors, George Martin, president of St. Edward's University. 

“The Hollerans are role models, heroes and good friends of private higher education, and they are both admired and beloved for their passionate championing of academia along with their generous philanthropic leadership,” said CIC President Richard Ekman.

Actively involved with Alvernia since 1986, both Hollerans are emeritus members of Alvernia’s board of trustees with Carolyn having served as its Board Chair and Jerry as Vice Chairperson and Chair of the Trusteeship Committee. In addition, they led a successful campaign to build a new student center at then Alvernia College in 1995. 

“We are grateful for the Hollerans’ support of our Franciscan ideals and commitment to Alvernia as an outstanding educational resource for the community and as an independent university worthy of national acclaim,” said Alvernia President Thomas F. Flynn. “There are few donors in the country who have demonstrated their belief in the value of higher education in the way the Hollerans have and it is rewarding to see that generosity recognized at this level. It is a well-earned distinction.”   

Currently Jerry and Carolyn serve as honorary chairs of Alvernia’s first-ever comprehensive Values and Vision campaign to which they made a significant monetary commitment in 2008, creating the highly successful Holleran Center for Community Engagement. In 2009, they again made a generous gift to the university by providing their historic Cedar Hill Farm as a president's house and conference/retreat center.

“The loyalty and generosity the Hollerans exhibit toward Alvernia, in addition to the passion they feel for their own colleges is extraordinary,” said Flynn. “We feel that Alvernia is essentially their shared alma mater.”   

The couple’s passion for service and community engagement has made a true impact at Alvernia, according to Flynn. “The Holleran Center for Community Engagement brings our students closer to the local Reading community everyday through successful programs like the South Reading Youth Initiative and community partnerships that expand community-based learning of all types — including internships, field experiences, and service-learning projects.” 

As a Pittsburgh native, Jerry earned his undergraduate electrical engineering degree with scholarship support from a caring Carnegie Mellon University donor. He went on to earn a master’s degree in industrial administration from Carnegie. Carolyn is a graduate of Connecticut College, where she eventually served as its Board Vice Chairperson. 

Jerry is co-founder and chairman of Precision Medical Products located in Denver, Pa. In 1975, he co-founded Arrow International, a medical device manufacturing company, which went public in 1992 and was sold to Teleflex International in 2007.  

Carolyn, a retired economics educator, manages the Jerlyn Foundation, the Hollerans’ family foundation that has generously supported dozens of Greater Reading organizations and arts programs throughout the years. She is also a retired director of Fulton Financial Corporation and a retired executive director of the Pennsylvania Council on Economic Education.   

The couple has served on multiple boards in Reading, inspired young people to be engaged as active global citizens through the establishment of their two Holleran Centers, and continue serving attentively as emeriti trustees for their alma maters. 

At Connecticut College, the Hollerans’ generosity made possible the Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy, a program that embodies the college’s mission to educate students to put the liberal arts into action as citizens in a global society. In 2007, Carolyn received the Connecticut College Medal, conferred on individuals who have enhanced the college's reputation and nourished its growth. It is the highest honor the college confers. 

About the CIC Award for Philanthropy
The historical and literal definition of “philanthropy” is the “love of humankind.” This award celebrates an individual or individuals who demonstrate this love through consequential giving—either in volunteer service or financial support, or both—to independent colleges and universities that share the mission of the Council of Independent Colleges. The award honors those who, by their example, provide a beacon of generosity for others to follow.

Though every independent college and university president can identify individuals whose contributions have been significant in the life of a particular institution, CIC seeks with this award to recognize individuals who have been important to more than one college or university. Recent recipients include individuals who have provided major support to several different institutions, to all of the private colleges and universities in one state, or to a number of institutions affiliated with a specific religious denomination. In addition, these philanthropists have often distinguished themselves by sustained commitment or by drawing attention to critical needs not yet well supported.

Previous Award Recipients
1988    George Argyros
1989    Charles W.L. Foreman
1990    Joel Weiner
1991    Bill and Camille Cosby
1992    C. William Pollard
1993    Joseph and Kathryn Albertson, Willie and Gloria Gary, Sir John Templeton
1994    Orville and Ruth Merillat, Aubrey Richardson
1995    Alan Pifer
1997    Robert S. Jepson Jr.
1998    Corella A. Bonner
1999    Millard and Linda Fuller
2000    Julie J. Kidd
2002    John and Constance Vucurevich
2003    Elizabeth Perkins Prothro
2004    Stanley M. and Helen Jensen Howe
2006    Maynard and Carolyn Sauder
2007    Marvin J. Suomi
2008    H.P. (Gerry) and Marguerite Lenfest
2009    Craig R. Dykstra
2010    William T. Young, Jr. and Barbara Smith Young
2011    Red and Charline McCombs

The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) is an association of more than 600 independent, liberal arts colleges and universities and more than 70 higher education affiliates and organizations that work together to strengthen college and university leadership, sustain high-quality education, and enhance private higher education’s contributions to society. To fulfill this mission, CIC provides its members with skills, tools, and knowledge that address aspects of leadership, financial management and performance, academic quality, and institutional visibility. The Council is headquartered at One Dupont Circle in Washington, DC. For more information, visit www.cic.edu.

 
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  • 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.