Interfaith dialogue has been an important area of focus at Alvernia, rooted in the inclusive mission of the institution’s founding sponsors, the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters. Building on its heritage of inclusivity and recent efforts to emphasize interfaith dialogue, the university not long ago began expanding related programs through a multi-year initiative.
Coordinated by the school’s Holleran Center for Community Engagement, the initiative is geared to promote mutual respect, understanding and appreciation of diverse faith traditions.
So it was with great excitement that Alvernia announced on Sept. 11 that university trustee Michael Fromm, CEO of Fromm Electric Supply, and his wife Susan, have generously created the Fromm Interfaith Award through their support of the school’s Values & Vision capital campaign.
This recognition, underscoring the Fromms’ interest in influencing young people to be voices of unity, will be presented annually to an Alvernia student who demonstrates leadership in interfaith dialogue. The award includes a grant to support associated work.
“Susan and I share a passion for promoting respect among Christians, Jews and people of all faiths,” said Michael Fromm. “We are especially proud to have our family's name attached to such a meaningful initiative.”
“We are honored that through their support Mike and Susan are entrusting Alvernia to be a leader in developing interfaith dialogue,” said Thomas F. Flynn, Alvernia’s president. “The Fromm Interfaith Award is an important next step in reinforcing interfaith dialogue as a distinctive element of our university.”
The Fromms have a long tradition of leadership, both in the Jewish community and in the wider civic arena. Michael’s father Bernie Fromm served on the Alvernia Board of Trustees from the late 1980s into the early ‘90s, including a term as Board Chair. He was among the first Berks County business leaders to step forward and assist the Bernardine Sisters in building then Alvernia College into a thriving institution, and his involvement reflected the Sisters welcoming embrace of women and men of diverse backgrounds.