Vern Vibe Newsletter

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Holleran Center

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Save the Date – the 2014 St. Francis Day of Service will take place on Saturday, September 27th from 9:00am-2:00pm. We’ll return to the spud fields and harvest potatoes for the Greater Berks Food Bank. Transportation, t-shirt, lunch and french fries included! Join us to help beat last year’s total of 33,600 lbs. of potatoes!

Don’t forget to submit your summer service hours!
Summer service hours are due by September 15th. Go online to to complete the form. Don’t wait until spring semester your senior year to complete this important graduation requirement!

Chinese Language Studies at Alvernia

Alvernia University is pleased to welcome visiting scholar Luo Huan from Wuhan University in the People’s Republic of China. Professor Huan will be teaching in the fall CHIN 190: Elementary Chinese Mandarin I scheduled MWF 9:00 – 10:00 am. Elementary Chinese Mandarin II will be offered spring semester. This class is open for enrollment through self-service. Completion of both Chinese language courses satisfies the General Education world language requirement. Moreover, Chinese language studies represent an impressive credential on a student’s transcript.

The campus will be hearing about many opportunities to engage in Alvernia’s Global Learning initiatives in the upcoming academic year.

Returning Students

Check in for returning students who will be living on campus is Sunday, August 24th between 12:00pm and 4:00pm in the Veronica Hall Lobby.  If you're a fall athlete (men’s and women’s soccer, field hockey, women’s volleyball and cross country), move in day is Friday, August 15th.  If you have specific questions regarding athlete check-in please contact Athletics. 

We are not able to accommodate early arrivals due to staffing limitations and liability reasons.  Our staff and keys will not be available until Sunday afternoon.

As you prepare to return to campus please remember to bring your Student ID with you.  Your card will be automatically activated for the building that you are assigned to for the fall.  Keys will be in the Veronica Hall Lobby at the check in tables.  Also remember that you must register your vehicle with Public Safety.  When you arrive please be cautious while driving around campus.  The freshmen are new and this will be a big change for them.  Please be careful!


Residence Hall Association is looking for building council members to represent each building. If interested in running, you may email the advisor, Don Brennan, at or let your RA know at your first floor meeting. Elections will take place during the second week of the semester. Our exciting events this fall include more Quack Attack Days (ducks are hidden around campus for students to find and win prizes), Alvernia Squares, Humans vs. Zombies, and a Quidditch Tournament taking place at the end of October. We are really looking to make some magic this fall so get involved by creating a Quidditch team or by decorating your hall for Trick-or-Treat night. Look for more information when you arrive on campus.

More New Faces at the Vern

Amy Banner, Ph.D – will serve as Assistant Professor in the Psychology department.  Dr. Banner comes to Alvernia from Scranton University where she taught numerous courses in Community Counseling and supervised undergraduate internships in Human Services.  She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Furman University, her Master of Arts in Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy Program from East Tennessee State University and her Doctoral degree in Counseling and Counselor Education from Greensboro College.

Scott Batz, MSN – though not new to the classroom, Mr. Batz will serve as an Instructor of Nursing.  His workload will include clinical supervision, classroom teaching and on-campus nursing lab supervision.  Mr. Batz has nineteen years leadership experience as Assistant Nurse Manager, PACU and twenty-seven years direct PACU/ICU patient experience.  Mr. Batz received his BSN & MSN from Alvernia College.

Catherine Hasson MSN, RN, DNP – will serve as an Assistant Professor in the nursing department.  Most recently, Ms. Hasson worked at Gwynedd Mercy University where she served as an Assistant Professor/Adjunct in the School of Nursing.  She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Temple University, her Master of Science degree in Nursing from Villanova and her Doctor of Nursing Practice from Chatham University. Ms. Hasson brings over 30 years of nursing experience to Alvernia University.

Mark Kaufman, Ph.D. – will serve as Assistant Professor in the English and Communications department.  Dr. Kaufman recently taught at Bentley University.  He earned a Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Art degree in English from Colorado State University, and a Doctoral degree in English from Tufts University.

Carol Kish, Ph.D., RN, CNE – will serve as an Assistant Professor in the nursing department.  Most recently Dr. Kish worked at Cedar Crest College where she served as an Assistant Professor of Nursing.  She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Albright College, her Master of Science degree in nursing from Southern Nazarene University and her Doctor of Nursing from Oklahoma City University.  Dr. Kish brings over 30 years of nursing experience to Alvernia University.

Amy Thomas OTD, OTR/L – will serve as an Assistant Professor in the Occupational Therapy department.    Most recently, Dr. Thomas worked as an Occupational Therapist at the New Story School in Wyomissing, PA.  Sher earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education at West Chester University, her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy at Alvernia University and her Doctor of Occupational Therapy at Chatham University.

Ohenewaa White, MSW – will serve as an instructor of Social Work on a part-time basis at the Philadelphia Center.  Previously she has served as an adjunct member of the Social Work department at Temple University as well as an adjunct member of the Alvernia social work department.  She earned a Bachelor of Social Work & a Master of Social Work degree from Temple University.

Rachel Zeleny, Ph.D. – will serve as Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric.  Dr. Zeleny most recently taught a wide range of writing courses as well as Literature courses at the University of Delaware.  She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art and English from the University of Delaware, a Master of Arts in English Literature from James Madison University and a Doctoral degree in English Studies from the University of Delaware.

Graduate and Adult Education Spotlight

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Cilia Torres (1st row, 2nd from left)

In October 2013, Alvernia University welcomed 26 new students from Penske Truck Leasing, LLC, into our Master of Business Administration (MBA) program. The office of Graduate and Adult Education coordinates this cohort of students with our business faculty offering courses on-site at Penske’s headquarters in Green Hills. One of the students, Cilia Torres, is an Alvernia alumna who graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice in 2009. While Cilia found that field of study to be very interesting, she reports having ambitious goals to move up the corporate ladder at Penske. She currently serves as a new project manager for the company’s used trucks product line (with a fleet of 215,000 vehicles, Penske is among the largest resellers of trucks in the country). Through the new tools Cilia will acquire in the MBA program, she “endeavor[s] to further develop the department’s project management and process management processes that will positively affect the vehicle sales process”.

Student Spotlight – Rob Waller

Robert Waller

Rob Waller is a junior accounting major with a minor in sustainability from Vacaville, California.

Before becoming an Alvernia student and campus leader, Rob Waller has seen and experienced a great deal.  After graduating from high school, Rob enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in Iraq as a Mortar Tube Specialist.

Upon completing his tour, Rob enrolled at Alvernia to study accounting.  Almost immediately upon arriving to campus, he began to embrace the Franciscan vision of service to those in need.  Rob signed up to volunteer at St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia through Campus Ministry and began to see how small acts of service can make a huge impact on the lives of others.

Rob has continued to step in positions of leadership around campus.  He has participated in our Alternative Break program as a participant at the Oscar Romero Center in Camden, NJ and as a student site leader for trips to Cincinnati and Tennessee.  Rob is also working this summer as one of the ‘lead farmers’ for the Alvernia garden run by the Holleran Center.  Lately, he has been instrumental in the development of our soon to open Veterans Center in Bernardine Hall.

Rob has become a wonderful example of how Alvernia students can always find time to serve others.  His experiences thus far have shaped the future direction of his career.  After graduating, Rob plans to open a self-sustaining soup kitchen and shelter for families experiencing homelessness who need a place of transition.  This career path will combine his accounting degree, his sustainability studies and experiences with the Holleran Center, his exposure to homelessness via the Alternative Break program, and his discipline and hard work ethic gained through his military service.

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