Alvernia University’s Seniors College will present the 2018 Rabbi Alan Weitzman Award for Community Service to retired Reading Eagle Editor, Harry J. Deitz, Jr., and will honor longtime faculty member Marybeth DeMeo with the 2018 Saint Bonaventure Award in Teaching.
In honor of the late Rabbi Alan Weitzman’s remarkable life-long commitment to addressing the needs of others, as well as his service as longtime director of the Alvernia Seniors College, the Rabbi Alan Weitzman Award recognizes civic-mindedness, and those who inspire others through exceptional service to the community.
Following his father into the newspaper business, Harry J. Deitz, Jr., joined the Reading Eagle as a sportswriter in 1978 and retired this year after serving for a decade as Editor. In addition to serving in leadership roles with numerous community and church groups, Deitz impacted the community though columns that shared personal experiences, faith, and opinions on community and social issues. He also created an investigative reporting team that led statewide coverage of unsolved murders, the death penalty, the heroin crisis, suicides, lead contamination and the quality of nursing home care.
The Saint Bonaventure Award in Teaching honors the personal commitment of Alvernia Seniors College volunteer faculty members. Marybeth DeMeo has taught Seniors College courses since the organization’s founding in 1998. Recent topics have included the poetry of Robert Frost and Edna St. Vincent Millay, Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening,” and a number of Shakespearean plays.
A member of Alvernia’s English faculty for more than 36 years, DeMeo has also been a longtime chair of the university’s English and communication department and advisor to the university’s chapter of the Sigma Tau Delta English honor society. Having advised Sigma Tau Delta’s international Board of Directors as Eastern Regent and President, DeMeo earned the organization’s highest honor, the Delta Award, in 2010.
Sponsored by Alvernia University, the Seniors College offers senior citizens an opportunity for life-long learning, covering a myriad of topics such as classic literature, finance, religion, history, art and technology. Seniors College members attend lectures, athletic events, and use the library and fitness center at the university. Volunteer teachers come from Alvernia faculty, area professionals, and the community at large.