Mercyhurst Magazine Spring 2014


Securing the future ‘Hurst trains next generation of intelligence leaders

Also inside: 2 Sisters of Mercy still on staf Chittister Archive opens Chapel to get facelift

’ I came to Mercyhurst full time in 1997, so I don t personally remember the days when the Sisters of Mercy were everywhere on campus – but I ve always felt that Mercy spirit. Even though the number of Sisters here was dropping by the time I arrived, you couldn t miss the legacy they had built here. You felt it everywhere, and I continue to be grateful for it. There are only two Sisters of Mercy working with us full time now. I ve told both Sister Lisa Mary and Sister Pat that they re not allowed to retire, but there s a real possibility that at some point there might not be any Sisters left on our staf. The question that needs to be addressed ’ ’ ’ ’ ’ A message from the president

“ is: How can those of us who follow them ensure that the Mercy spirit and tradition live on at the university the Sisters created? One school of thought is that we need to create a Mercy community to take on that responsibility. I hope you’ll take a moment to read the story on page 15 that outlines this idea, as well as profles of our two remaining Sisters. ” ’ I thought I knew our Trustees pretty well, but I learned a bit more about 15 of them who are Mercyhurst alumni in Mary Daly s feature story in this issue. Mary, who very capably handles Board of Trustees matters now, is also Mercyhurst s longest-serving employee. She remembers all these Trustees from their student days and has some interesting stories to tell. It s fun to look back, but of course most of our time is spent looking forward, positioning Mercyhurst for the future and working to ensure that our students get the kind of hands-on, real-world experiences that prepare them to succeed. ’ ’ ’ You’ll read about these eforts in this issue, too. We re especially proud that Erie native Tom Ridge has agreed to lend his name to an exciting new initiative for our intelligence studies department, already one of our best-known and most successful programs. We ofered our frst January-term (J-term) at the beginning of the year, and many of our faculty developed and taught exciting new courses for this intensive, three week time frame. For some, it was the perfect time to lead groups to destinations all over the world. We opened an archival center this spring to help make the works of Joan Chittister, OSB ’62, one of our most distinguished alumni, available to our students and to the public. We re extremely grateful to the family of another Mercyhurst graduate, Helen Loebelenz Boyle ’34, for helping us honor Helens very dear friend. There s much more inside, including stories about just a few of our alumni who are impacting the world in all sorts of ways. I hope you’ll enjoy reading their stories, and will let us know about other stories we can tell in future issues. God bless you, and God bless Mercyhurst University. - ’ ’ ’

Thomas J. Gamble, Ph.D. President, Mercyhurst University

ON THE COVER: Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge chats with Justine Chopp (left) of Billings, Montana, and Olga Bugera of Erie during the announcement of the Tom Ridge School of Intelligence Studies and Information Science. Both women are completing master’s degrees in applied intelligence at Mercyhurst.


The Ofce of Marketing and Public Relations publishes Mercyhurst Magazine twice a year. Editor Susan Hurley Corbran ’73 (814) 824-2090 Contributing Writers Abby Badach Susan Corbran ’73 Mary Daly ‘66 David Leisering ‘01 Deborah W. Morton Allison Seib Mary Hembrow Snyder, Ph.D.

What’s inside this issue







Design/Photography Jennifer Cassano (814) 824-3022





Contributing Photographers Breanna Bertolini ‘09



Matt Durisko ‘14 Rich Forsgren ‘84 Ed Mailliard





Vice President for External Afairs Monsignor David Rubino, Ph.D. (814) 824-3034 Associate Vice President for Advancement Ryan Palm ’07 Director, Alumni Relations Tamara Walters (814) 824-3350 Class Notes Editor Debra Tarasovitch (814) 824-2392 (800) 845-8568 (814) 824-3320 We’d love to hear from you. Send your story ideas, suggestions and comments to . Send changes of address to: Alumni Relations Mercyhurst University 501 E. 38th St. Erie, PA 16546





























By Debbie Morton

“In recent months we have witnessed the disappearance of a large international airliner, the annexation of Crimea by Russia, the rapid spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa, an alarming number of heroin deaths from Vermont to western Pennsylvania, a cyber-attack on a major American retailer, and a landslide in Washington state. All these events were preceded by warning signs, signals that would indicate a certain likelihood of occurrence.” So how do you make sense of all this, asked James Breckenridge, Ph.D. , in delivering his remarks to a full house gathered for the April 11 dedication of The Tom Ridge School of Intelligence Studies and Information Science . How do you separate the signals from the noise and reach some understanding of what it means so that we are not continually surprised and, therefore, less competitive, less safe and less secure? The answer, he profered, is in the interdisciplinary approach that the new Ridge School will take in merging the skill sets of the intelligence professional, the mathematics and computer systems expert, and the communications specialist to produce a career professional comfortable in all three domains. The intel hybrid – already a pioneer among academic institutions worldwide – has taken the name of another world-class pioneer: Tom Ridge , the nation’s frst Secretary of Homeland Security, the 43rd governor of Pennsylvania and Erie’s native son. In accepting the honor, Ridge told the crowd gathered in the board room of the Center for Academic Engagement in April that he was both humbled and fattered to be associated with a program that is already so well known. “This program is widely recognized and acclaimed in Washington regardless of who it is named after, and that’s a fact,” he said. Ridge credited the vision of Robert Heibel , who founded the program, and the ambitious new direction taken by Breckenridge, dean and architect of the Ridge School, as “revolutionary.” And in gratitude, Mercyhurst President Tom Gamble, Ph.D. , said, “We are deeply honored that Governor Ridge is lending his name to an innovative program that has helped catapult Mercyhurst University onto the world stage, and we look forward to graduating individuals who aspire to combine keen analytic skills with a commitment to genuine human fourishing in the manner of Governor Ridge.”


’ Mercyhurst s intelligence studies program educates students for careers in national security, law enforcement and business and is the university s top major and leader in distance and online ’ learning. It draws students from across the nation and abroad. From its European headquarters at Mercyhurst Ireland in Dungarvan to its role in educating partner nations of the U. S. Department of State in intelligence analysis, its reach is global. ’ In recognition of its growth and as a vehicle by which it can best structure bold new objectives, the department recently reconfgured to become the university s seventh school, incorporating not only intelligence studies, but mathematics, computer systems and communication. The amalgam of disciplines is in direct response to the extraordinary volume, complexity and variety of data in the world today: from the billion social- media posts every couple days to the more than 1 million customer transactions Walmart handles every hour. There is a compelling need to assimilate, analyze and extract information from data to assist corporations, government and law enforcement in making critical decisions going forward. “ Mercyhurst has the opportunity to fll an exploitable educational niche, provide exciting career opportunities for our students, and meet the security and business demands of the 21st century environment, Breckenridge said. Currently, no higher education institution in the United States has developed an equivalent initiative. ” “ ” “ In closing, Breckenridge said, We have only to look at 9/11, WMD, the recent fnancial crisis, disease outbreaks and an aggressively competitive global environment to know that the information and analytic skill set requires constant revision and new learning. Our curriculum, teaching and research approaches will not – and in fact cannot – remain the same. As prevailing practice incorporates new and better ways of doing business, those new and better ways should also be taught to the next generation of intelligence practitioners. But the frst task is to identify those better ways of doing business. Governor Ridge personifes this approach and our new school embodies this spirit of educational innovation. ”


Globetrotting students enjoy first J-term By Allison Seib

There was a lot going on during the university’s inaugural J-term session in January. The switch from trimesters to semesters opened the door for a three-week accelerated term. It wasn’t just Erie’s campus that was lively with students enrolled in courses both old and new — four faculty-led excursions sent dozens of students around the world where they experienced life beyond Mercyhurst’s gates. GUYANA Spending 11 days in Georgetown, the capital and largest city in Guyana, allowed Dr. Laura Lewis’ group of 10 students to learn more about social welfare outside the United States, specifcally the injustices of the political and socioeconomic system, as well as the challenges the Third World country in South America faces due to a lack of available resources. Mornings were spent listening to speakers who helped the group better understand Guyana, its people and its culture, while afternoons were spent volunteering at several organizations. Students engaged with children at the Bosco Boys Orphanage, the local Mercy Hospital, Sisters of Charity Daycare, a nursing home and a school for students who were deaf or had other disabilities. One highlight of the “Guyana Experience” was the opportunity to converse with their Amerindian tour guides as they kayaked down a tributary in the Amazon Rainforest.

IRELAND Yet another Mercyhurst group journeyed across the Atlantic to Ireland during J-term. While the 18 students led by English professor Dr. Heidi Hosey spent some time at Mercyhurst’s Irish base in Dungarvan, the trip revolved around the study of Irish mythology and its indigenous and Celtic roots. Students spent three days on campus reading several Irish narratives before spending more than a week roaming across four of the fve mythological regions in Ireland (Lenster, Mide, Munster and Connacht). The adventure also took the group to several Neolithic sites, including Newgrange in the east and Poulnebrone Dolamn in the west. They also visited several “Age of Kings” battlement sites and castles, all the while immersing themselves in Ireland’s rich history and culture.


- Mercyhurst Service Learning thought the three week J-term was the perfect time to increase volunteer hours. During J-Serve, here s how the Mercyhurst community gave back: “ ” ’


HOURS of community service



prepare meals at two shelters

VIETNAM It was a trip of a lifetime for everyone in Dr. David Dausey’s War and Public Health course, which examined the long-term public health consequences of war, specifcally in Vietnam. Before spending nearly two weeks in southern Asia, students not only studied the American-Vietnamese War, but other conficts like World War II and the three Indochina wars that impacted the social and public health infrastructures of the country. From landing in Vietnam’s largest city of Ho Chi Minh to bicycling through a remote village in Hoi An, Dausey and the group of 20 students trekked all over the country. Stops at the Imperial City in Hue, the underground Củ Chi tunnels (used by Viet Cong soldiers during the Vietnam War), and a ride via traditional Asian longboats down the Mekong Delta to shop in the foating market were just some of the highlights of the trip.


taught English to

non-native speakers


packed for Erie City schools

Erie students volunteered during J - S erve

U.S.-MEXICAN BORDER Even though the 13 students in Humanigration, led by assistant professor of political science Dr. Natasha Duncan , didn’t actually set foot in Mexico, they spent fve days learning about immigration, factors that infuence policy-making and border history through BorderLinks, a nonproft, educational organization based in Tucson, Ariz. Students met with activists, nonproft and charitable organizations and listened to speakers who shared perspectives on both sides of immigration law. Students examined the human component of immigration, while also focusing on the people caught in the crosshairs, their human rights and their overall humanity.

packed for Second Harvest Food Bank

165 towels 31 hand towels DONATED 550 sock pairs 84 wash cloths

In addition, students got an up-close view of a portion of the immense barrier at the U.S.-Mexican border in Nogales, Ariz.; participated in a community beautifcation service project in Tucson by painting a grafti-covered fence; and even learned how to make Pupusas, a Salvadoran dish consisting of a thick corn tortilla stufed with cheese and beans.

student-athletes DONATED warm clothing to an Erie shelter


Remember when they were students There is something to be said for sticking around to see your alma mater change and grow and its graduates grow right along with it. It’s a great place to be when asked to write a refection piece on alumni of Mercyhurst who are now Trustees of our university. It’s been a walk down memory lane, looking back on them as students, young adults and successful professionals. Some vignettes are serious, others lighthearted, and still others about them and me together. Each is true. My appreciation to these Alumni-Trustees who allowed me to recall memories of them. What good sports they were! And so the story begins, as I celebrate a common thread among us – our love and loyalty to our alma mater.

By Mary Daly ‘66

TRUSTEE MARY ELLEN DAHLKEMPER ’73 President, Mercyhurst Prep School, Erie, Pa. • Trustee since Dec. 15, 2005

She graduated in 1973, a member of our frst freshman class of women and men. They considered themselves “pioneers.” Mary Ellen Dahlkemper was part of the infamous class that insisted on being the frst to have an outdoor graduation. There was no Plan B and it poured. They were brave pioneers, all right. Between squishes and splashes, the graduating class ran to Saint Luke Church in soaked gowns and curled mortarboards only to listen to the worst graduation speaker ever. There’s never been another outdoor graduation or outside speaker at an Erie graduation. We thought we had all but erased that graduation from Mercyhurst memory until October 1997 rolled along. Seems workmen were taking up the hardwood fooring in Weber Hall that had absorbed the leaps of ballet dancers for a quarter-century to restore it as the library great room. There they discovered small pieces of masking tape on black tile with names on each, lined up like ducks in a row. They were names of the graduates of 1973. Mary Ellen had returned to Mercyhurst in 1996 as director of our adult college and graduate programs. I was probably one of her many calls that day. “I found my name, I found it!” she squealed in a voice you might expect had she won the Powerball jackpot. “You must see it. I’ll meet you there,” she insisted. Sure enough, there it was and probably still is, now covered by carpeting. Mary Ellen’s mark is on Mercyhurst, in more ways than one.

TRUSTEE ROSEMARY D. DURKIN, ESQ. ‘77 Shareholder, Stark & Stark, Attorneys at Law, Princeton, N.J. • Trustee since Oct. 16, 1997

You couldn’t miss Rosemary Durkin as a young student. She stood out with her faming red hair and she married classmate Jef Best, also a carrot-top. She was feisty, determined, fun-loving, and had already decided to follow in her Aunt Catherine’s footsteps as an attorney. Catherine Durkin ‘36 was a charter member of the 1963 lay advisory board that later became the board of trustees. She left a big footprint on the Mercyhurst landscape when she retired in 1987. Ten years later, it was Rosemary’s turn to take up the baton. She is as dependable as a trustee as she was as a student. She took on the job of writing the governance history of the institution and its frst nondiscrimination policy, and is currently in the thick of trustee leadership on the question of whether Mercyhurst campus police should carry frearms. She’s never left Mercyhurst since graduation in 1977. In fact, Rosemary and Jef might hold the record among us. They’ve missed only two Homecomings. Like mother (and father), like daughter. Rosemary’s daughter, Deirdre, who graduated from Mercyhurst this spring, is engaged to a ‘Hurst classmate. A few months ago I was at an Irish shop in South Bufalo and saw a plaque that reminded me of the Best-Durkin family. It reads: “A face without freckles is like a sky without stars.” I said to the store owner, “This is perfect. Wrap it up!”


TRUSTEE SISTER MARY FELICE DUSKA RSM ‘64 Executive director, Mercy Terrace Apartments, Erie, Pa. • Trustee since May 3, 2003 Little Lucille Ann Duska wanted to be a nun when she was in 8th grade, or before, at Holy Family grade school, but her parents would not let her join the Franciscan Sisters who stafed the school until she graduated from high school. Lu went to Mercyhurst Seminary and there she met the Mercies. In 1952 she became one of them. She couldn’t take the name Lucille, as there already was a Mercy Sister by that name, so she submitted three names to the superior. One was the French variation of Felix, her dad’s name. She remembered his nickname, Felix the Cat, and would have none of that, but Felice had a soft sound and it was close enough to still honor him. It was 13 summers later before Sister Mary Felice would

fnally graduate from Mercyhurst College. She recalls it wasn’t much of a celebration, a dinner in the State Dining Room without any fanfare presentation, and without any diploma at all. It hadn’t yet arrived. Today she is on her second career as executive director of the Mercy Terrace Apartments, a senior living complex adjacent to the motherhouse. I used to say, “When I’m old enough, I’d like to live there.” It’d be like Cinderella’s glass slipper, the perfect ft for me being right next to the Sisters. There’s always a long waiting list to get in, but I haven’t even put my name on the list. Instead, “Frannie” and I are staying put. My pooch put the kibosh on that move.

TRUSTEE JOHN HENRY LANGER ‘95 President, H. Jack’s Plumbing and Heating Co., Cleveland, Ohio, and Erie, Pa. • Trustee since Feb. 22, 2014 Of the feld he was quiet and reserved. On the feld he was a terror. That’s John Henry Langer, who for four years wore his #73 jersey on the Laker football squad. He had it all: the size, speed and strength to be a defensive lineman in the NFL. That’s how good he was, recalls his former head coach, Joe Kimball. “He was a leader and one of the best players I ever had.” John was team captain and MVP for two years and for years held the record in the football weight room. His mother kept the sport in perspective and would tell John he needed to prepare for life after football. She wanted him to broaden his horizons and gain an appreciation for the arts and culture that are so much a part of her. He knew she had his best interest at heart and listened to her wisdom. It’s almost 20 years later and a successful entrepreneur has emerged. John turned in his cleats for custom-made suits to ft his rugged frame that of-the-rack clothes won’t

TRUSTEE JOSEPH G. NECASTRO ‘78 Chief administrative and fnancial ofcer, Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc., Knoxville, Tenn. • Trustee since Oct. 22, 2011

Young Joe NeCastro crushed the 1978 Pennsylvania CPA exam, ranking 1st on the test. I remember the president saying, “This is big news for our business department. Get something out immediately.” He added, “Keep an eye on that young man; someday he could make a great trustee.”What a prophecy that was. A few years ago I

went back to school (again) and one of the program’s prerequisites was accounting. There are three “Withdraws” for Acct 101 on my Mercyhurst transcript and you’d fnd another from Owens County Community College where I tried it online. I fnally succeeded in 2008-2009, having registered for an 8 a.m. Saturday course taught by an adjunct who wouldn’t know me. We had three 1-1/2 hour tests without computer software. It was our frst test and I was still struggling with the frst problem when one of the male students got up to use the men’s room, or so I thought. Wrong. He had completed the exam. I sat twisting my hair and using my eraser. Finally I got everything to balance, but, of course, was last to leave the classroom. “Think you got it, Mary?” the prof asked. “I think so” and then asked, “Mr. Jackson, that fellow who fnished lickety- split. Any chance his last name is NeCastro? I’m wondering if Joe NeCastro, one of our graduates, has a son at Mercyhurst now. If so, did you know his dad ranked #1 on the CPA exam?”The president of United Way of Erie County said, “I don’t know of anyone who’s ever done that.” I replied, “Well, our Joe did. He’s brilliant.” Got that right on the ledger.

ft. When you meet this newest Mercyhurst trustee, you would suspect he was a football player in an earlier life. His 6’3”/285 lb. playing weight is a giveaway. I remember our Sister Damien telling me, “I’m going

to the Langers for dinner. I’m a good friend of John’s mother and grandmother, you know.” Actually, I hadn’t. I always wondered how she met the Langers. Chances are it was her cowbell and raucous cheerleading at John’s games. I didn’t dare ask!


TRUSTEE MARLENE DITULLIO MOSCO ‘68 Regional president, Northwest Pennsylvania, PNC Bank, Erie, Pa. • Trustee since Oct. 19, 1995

Along came Marlene who rocked the boat. We were a small department. In my class only three of us were business majors with sights set on teaching. Two years later there were fve business majors and one was Marlene DiTullio. But Marlene was cut from a diferent cloth. She wanted to be a business

TRUSTEE ROBERT S. MILLER ‘11 Chairman, NEFoods, Inc., North East, Pa. Trustee since Oct. 22, 1991

Bob Miller knows how to make a great pizza. He’s been nationally recognized for his innovation and creativity in the pizza industry. In fact, he invented French Bread Pizza. There was no Shark Tank back then where aspiring entrepreneurs could make business pitches to a panel of potential investors. Bob’s a sharp businessman and I doubt he would have given up proft margin on his serious comfort food, regardless. More likely, he’d wait it out, go it alone or with a partner, and let the chips fall where they may. And that’s exactly what he did. He sold the rights to French Bread Pizza to Stoufer’s. Today he is a self-made man and the major benefactor of our North East Campus and the McAuley College where associate degree and certifcate programs are headquartered. He knows how to wager a bet. He used his own money to hold the 84-acre complex in North East until the board of trustees could approve its purchase in 1991. It took bold vision to roll the dice. We call him the “Father of Mercyhurst North East” and Miller Hall, the landmark administrative building, is named in his honor. Bob received an honorary doctorate from Mercyhurst in 2011 in recognition of his strategic vision on behalf of the institution. Still, I can’t write about Bob without mentioning his pizza days. After all, Mercyhurst is part of a college town and serves slices of pizza on its cafeteria lines every day. Yogi Berra once said: “You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.”That’s my kind of thinking.

woman, not a business teacher, and took classes at Gannon to fll the gaps in administration and management. It was a man’s world out there in the ‘60s. Marlene saw it otherwise. If she could get a foot in the door, she’d control her own destiny. She got

that break right out of college and became a training director at a hometown bank where she later moved up to director of marketing and public relations. For 30 years she steadily climbed the corporate ladder, survived the merger of two fnancial institutions, and in 1998 was named the frst female regional president of PNC Bank. She had been elected a trustee of her alma mater three years prior and made board history as the frst graduate of Mercyhurst elected chair of the board. From her years as a student to her days in the corner ofce, Marlene has known how to play to her strengths: an enviable personality, a self- confdence like no other, and a ferce determination to pave the way for the next generation of women. I’ve been thinking about a mug from another time in my life that reads “Queen of the Hill.” I’m going to gift it to Madame Chair. She’s in the catbird seat now.

TRUSTEE FRANK B. VICTOR ‘87 Chair, FRALO Industries, Inc., Erie, Pa. • Trustee since April 27, 2000

He wears snappy clothes, drives a truck to work, a silver convertible to board meetings, and owns three prime real estate homes. Frank Victor lives the good life. He knows he was abundantly blessed at a very early age and it makes him unpretentious. I remember when, still in college, he bought the University Club in downtown Erie, gave it a facelift, and named it “Michaeleno’s.” It opened the night he was to graduate in 1985, but instead, there was Frank, in the kitchen, serving his classmates with Victor hospitality. Maybe it’s his combined business and hotelier background, but Frank knows how to make a person feel important. He always calls you by your frst name, tells you that you’ve done a good job, and is ready with a phone call to share himself with his alma mater. “I’ve been part of Mercyhurst since I was 17 and my heart has never left. My daughter, Madison, is a sophomore at the Hurst and I couldn’t be prouder.” For 13 years he was the youngest trustee on the board. Since his election in 2000, nine other lay alumni have been added, in large part because of Frank’s push for more alumni trustee involvement. He has a winning smile, crystal blue eyes, and a personality that is always on. He’s charismatic, polished and fun to be around. Make no mistake about it: he’s a business magnate and a young urban professional still trying the world on for size. I just wish he’d reopen a university club and bring back the Vodka Gimlet. It was my drink as a young Mercyhurst professional.


TRUSTEE SISTER MARY ANN BADER, RSM ‘73 Local Leader – Erie Sisters of Mercy, Erie, Pa. Trustee since Oct. 28, 2010

TRUSTEE ELLEN HAMMOND RYAN ‘64 Community volunteer, fundraising consultant, Naples, Fla., and Petoskey, Mich. Trustee since June 25, 2009 Times were tough. My dad lost his job in the summer of my junior year. The Sisters accepted my Hammond Organ in lieu of my tuition. It wasn’t the only Hammond at Mercyhurst, but I didn’t know that. Come to fnd out Ellen Hammond was a senior home economics major that fall and was doing her six-week stint in the original farmhouse on the back campus, taking care of an infant from Saint Joseph Orphanage. That’s where she was Nov. 22, 1963, when President Kennedy was shot. Those were the years when Sister Rachel Weber was in her heyday, heading up the home ec department by day and playing the pipe organ in Christ the King Chapel at night. She used to take me to the loft with her, knowing I had trained on the pipe organ at Villa Conservatory. Funny the things we remember. A few weeks ago, Ellen told me about a faculty member from her student days at Mercyhurst. She had only one elective and took an art appreciation course from John Locktefeld. It was a tipping point and shows the powerful infuence one teacher can have on a life. As

Sometimes I call Sister Mary Ann Bader the small town girl who made good. Other times, I tell her she’s Erie’s head honcho. Leadership titles changed among the Mercies when the Erie, Pittsburgh, Bufalo, Rochester and Philippine congregations merged in 2008 to form the New York, Pennsylvania, Pacifc West Community of Sisters of Mercy. Sister Mary Ann has changed right along with them. In 2014 she was tapped to be local leader of the Erie Sisters. Years ago the title would have been president and, before that, superior. The down-to-earth Mary Ann is way more

comfortable with the 21st century title when relating to the aging Erie sisters, many of them her teachers in times past. Once numbering 220, the Erie sisters have dwindled to 41 and Sister Mary Ann is the only one of the fve postulants who entered in the “January 1968 crowd” still in religious life. “Alums of my class year won’t even remember me,” she said. “I should have graduated in 1971, but I was a novice in canonical year.” She was a teacher, music educator and principal at Saint Patrick’s in Franklin until she returned to Erie in 1995 to work at the Mercy Center for Women, then at the Diocese of Erie for six years as director of teacher personnel, and then as president of Mercyhurst Prep for 11 years. She is greatly admired by the sisters for her gentility, warmth, kindness and compassion. They would say about her, “The quality of mercy is not strained.” I would say she’s a keeper.

the years unfolded, Ellen has become deeply involved as an advocate, afcionado and leader of fundraisers to support the arts in her communities. That’s the kind of story Mother Borgia had in mind when she founded her liberal arts college. It’s 50 years later and I’m fnally able to close a heartbreaking chapter from my young life: a Hammond is still part of my Mercyhurst.


TRUSTEE LEV J. KUBIAK ‘88 Director, National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, Washington, D.C. Trustee since Oct. 26, 2013

No other trustee has Mercyhurst roots to match those of Lev Kubiak. He is the son of Dick Kubiak, the colorful professor of history at Mercyhurst for 36 years, and of Liz Yonushonis ’63, the tall, striking brunette cadet teacher. Their romance was a Mercyhurst frst. The Polish Prince was fnally smitten and, of course, as young girls, we couldn’t get enough of it. Mercyhurst had its own “Richard and Elizabeth” story. Ten months later Lev was born and given the Polish name meaning “lion.” He has the voice and academic mind of his dad and the class and fnely chiseled features of his mother. From them both he’s blessed with an inquisitive mind, great sense of humor, strong work ethic, and an instilled respect for authority. Lev has always been proud of his Mercyhurst heritage and storybook parents, but never rode their coattails. They had given him all he needed to carve his own history in today’s world. It didn’t take him long to cast his own long shadow after graduation. He is with the Department of Homeland Security in Washington and director of its National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center. He credits his Mercyhurst education in the liberal arts for providing him the foundation for his success. He’s thoughtful in his analysis, probing in his questioning, and highly articulate in his phrasing. It’s a long road from Mercyhurst to Washington, D.C., but whichever Hill he is on, Lev Kubiak is as impressive as they come.

TRUSTEE PATRICK J. WESCHLER, ESQ. ‘78 Shareholder, Buckingham, Doolittle, Burroughs, Akron, Ohio Trustee since Oct. 28, 2010 His father was the bishop’s page at the laying of the cornerstone at Mercyhurst and his aunt, Sister Mary Charles Weschler, is a Mercyhurst legend. Closing in on their heels and blazing a trail of his own is Patrick Weschler. The year was 1976 and I had requested a work-study to help with the Golden Anniversary of the college. Patrick, then a junior, applied. Our multi-media ad campaign, “Fifty Years of Class,” swept awards that year on the local, regional and national levels. It even took a “Best of Show.” When it was announced that we were the Big Kahuna of the night, I told my bright-as-they-come work-study, “Go up and accept, Patrick.” “Me? You sure?” I said, “I’m sure.” Afterward he kept saying, “But this is yours.” I said lightheartedly, “When you

TRUSTEE MATTHEW J. ROBASZKIEWICZ ‘88 Membership Services Coordinator and Meeting Planner National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, Inc., Washington, D.C. Trustee since Oct. 28, 2010

When you’ve been taught by the Sisters of Mercy during your formative years of high school and college, mission and service are a natural part of your life. Matthew Robaszkiewicz is one of those people. He wears his heart on his sleeve when it comes to Mercyhurst, Mercy values and Mercy mission. He was named to the board of directors

of the Mercyhurst National Alumni Association in 2007 and has been its president since 2010. As such he is the voice on the board of trustees for the university’s more than 17,000 alumni. While he enjoys the honor, he takes his responsibilities seriously and speaks out and speaks up on their behalf. He is at every alumni function and steps up and digs in to fne-tune details. He’s the frst to arrive and the last to leave. But that’s nothing unusual for him; it’s

become a famous lawyer, boss lady gets one free consultation in return.” He said, “It’s a deal.”Twenty-three years later I was taking a business law course in mortuary school. I was stumped on a trial and remembered “the deal.” I called our alumni ofce to track down Attorney Weschler. He answered the phone. “Patrick, it’s boss lady. Remember our deal, one free consult?” Of course he remembered. I continued. “Can you tell me the right answer?” and I told him the legal case. He said, “That’s a famous one. I remember it from law school. It’s a tricky one.” Then he shared the answer. The next week the law professor announced, “Class, there was only one correct answer to last week’s case study. Good work, Ms. Daly!”

a carryover from when he was a student doing the meet and greets, always promoting Mercyhurst. He graduated with a major in hotel restaurant management and worked in the feld for a year until he answered a higher calling to faith ministry. For the past eight years he has been afliated with the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry and arranges conferences and meetings throughout the country. Matthew epitomizes the words, “Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.” It’s the rule book by which this Mercyhurst alum and trustee lives his life.


TRUSTEE RICHARD A. LANZILLO, ESQ. ‘83 Shareholder, Knox McLaughlin, Gornall and Sennett, Erie, Pa. Trustee since Oct. 16, 2003 1983 was quite a year. The Internet ofcially began and the frst cell phone, Microsoft Word program and computer mouse were introduced to the public. Richard Lanzillo and the 10th four-year class of male students at Mercyhurst who graduated that year changed forever the mischievous image the Philadelphia “Bonner Boys” had left behind. We all knew when he graduated the only thing between him and trusteeship was a matter of years to attend law school and time to settle into practice. Rich was the frst to win back- to-back terms as student government president and was the hands-down favorite to receive the Carpe Diem Award. He was well-mannered, well-groomed and well-respected, and his crop of dark curly hair was the envy of his middle- aged professors. Rich was never at a loss for ideas on how to make student life better and never shied away from getting those ideas of the drawing board. One of those memorable determinations was when, as student government president, he hired a plane and dumped 1,000 numbered ping pong balls over our baseball feld for students to fnd winning numbers for big-ticket prizes. It was hard to keep up with his creativity, and

TRUSTEE SISTER JOANNE K. COURNEEN, RSM ‘64 President, New York, Pennsylvania, Pacifc West Community, Sisters of Mercy, Buffalo, N.Y. • Trustee since Dec. 12, 1989 I try to be my own person. However, I fnd myself saying, “If I could be more like Sister JoAnne Courneen, I might be dancing to diferent music.” She’s measured in her words, while I ought sometimes to bite my tongue. But as time wears on, I am getting better. Well, sort of. Since July 1, 2012, Sister JoAnne has been president of the New York,

Pennsylvania, Pacifc West Sisters of Mercy, emerging as the leader from Erie, the smallest of the regional Mercy communities. I couldn’t make it to Bufalo that year for the April Assembly, but I watched the streaming of the vision statements on religious life in today’s world by the candidates for the Mercy leadership positions. Miss Sister JoAnne’s? Not on your life. She’s one special Mercyhurst graduate. I like the way she handles herself in every situation. She’s always personable, attentive, wise, humble, bright, hospitable, and a marvelous facilitator. She’s a person who brings reason to emotion, calmness to controversy, and laughter to tense situations. She’s always upbeat and gracious, appreciative and sincere, and the room is hers when she walks in. I didn’t think there would ever be anyone who could fll Sister Carolyn’s shoes, but more and more I can feel her spirit when I’m around JoAnne. I studied Sister Carolyn’s mannerisms as a young professional and picked up a lot of

he could easily have written a 365 New- Ideas-a-Year calendar. For Rich Lanzillo, the student leader and now trustee, life has always been about putting

students frst. The name Richard is derived from Germanic elements “ric” (ruler, leader, king) and “hard” (strong, brave), together meaning “powerful leader.” That certainly nails it when describing our Richard.

pointers from her. I know that a part of Carolyn rubbed of on me. I’m hopeful part of JoAnne rubs of on me as well. She’s the total package. Let the music begin.

Mary Daly is President Tom Gamble’s liaison to the board of trustees. She remembers as a young PR person saying to President Sister Carolyn Herrmann, “Don’t you think I’d be good at handling the board of trustees? I do.” Carolyn was fond of the upstart and must have gotten a kick out of her naiveté. She answered in wisdom and directness, “Mary dear, you need a little seasoning.” Mary was the founding editor of Mercyhurst Magazine , during which time one of her best-read features was a series titled “Remember when...” In her college days she was a four-year representative on student government, junior year social chair, senior class president, and senior outstanding day student of the year. Remember her?


’ Just a year later, though, Jane left the cadet program and entered the Sisters of Mercy, becoming Sister Lisa Mary McCartney . She wore the long black dress and net veil of a postulant as she continued her college studies and prepared to take her vows. She taught 7th grade English at St. Luke School adjoining campus, and realized, while teaching 5th grade geography and music, she wasn t cut out for an elementary school classroom. She switched her major to English and, after graduation in 1970, taught literature for fve years at Mercyhurst Preparatory School. Two remaining Sisters model Mercy spirit By Sue Corbran LISA MARY MCCARTNEY, RSM When Jane McCartney enrolled as a freshman at Mercyhurst, it was the frst time she had the opportunity to attend a Catholic school. She joined the Cadet Teaching Program, in which students spent two of their college years teaching full time in Catholic schools in return for their tuition.


PATRICIA WHALEN, RSM Mercyhurst Registrar Sister Patricia Whalen, RSM , works in a frst-foor ofce in Old Main – on the same corridor she walked as a high school student back in the ‘50s, at what was then called Mercyhurst Seminary. She stayed on to earn her degree in elementary education at Mercyhurst College. And, except for a few years teaching in diocesan schools and a year at Pitt to earn her master’s degree in reading, she’s been here ever since. Sister Pat had her frst teaching experience while she was still in college. With just a year of classwork under her belt, she was asked to teach the sixth grade at neighboring St. Luke School. She returned to full-time studies after that year, but working so closely with the Sisters of Mercy had planted a seed. “I was struck by their intelligence, their warmth and welcoming, their dedication to education, and it gradually emerged in me that I’d like to join this group of women and serve.” By her senior year, she was a postulant with the Erie Community. She taught at St. George School in Erie and St. Patrick School in Franklin, and spent a semester as principal at St. Patrick before beginning her graduate work. She joined the faculty in 1970, developing and teaching courses in elementary curriculum and methods and coordinating the Pre-Teaching Internship Program from its inception through Spring 1996. She also oversaw Mercyhurst’s Cadet Teaching Program. The cadet teachers spent their junior and senior years teaching in diocesan schools, and she made sure they were ready, creating a two-year sequence that gradually increased their responsibility for students. She also put a lot of miles on her car to observe cadets in schools all over the Erie Diocese. In 1987, Sister Pat gave up her regular teaching load when she was elected to the leadership team for the Erie Community, but she continued to supervise the cadets and their pre-teaching experiences. When her term ended in 1996, she came back to the college as assistant academic dean. She took over the registrar’s job three years later, running the ofce during a critical period when Mercyhurst was steadily growing and adapting to new technology. She says her dedicated staf and their close partnership with Information Technology staf have been the keys to her success there. Education hasn’t been Sister Pat’s only vocation. She’s also been part of Mercy ministries in Erie’s inner city, like Hope House, a residence for women and their children that evolved into the Mercy Center for Women. Today she lives at the House of Prayer, a center for spirituality run by Sr. Rita Panciera, RSM. For more than 30 years, she’s also regularly visited inmates at the Erie County Prison. “Every ministry I’ve had has prepared me for the next one,” she says.

She then headed to the University of Notre Dame to pursue a master’s degree. Encouraged to set her sights higher, she stayed on for fve years, working as a teaching assistant while she earned her doctorate. She joined the faculty at Mercyhurst in 1982, when the English department had only three full-time teachers and a handful of majors. She chaired the English department and the humanities during some of those years. There were 11 full-time English faculty and about 70 majors and minors by the time she left in 2004 to become vice president of the Erie Regional Community of the Sisters of Mercy. In a sad milestone, she was the last Sister of Mercy to teach full time at Mercyhurst.

Over the next four years, she and President Sister Bernadette Bell prepared the Erie community to

consolidate with Mercy communities in Bufalo, Pittsburgh, Rochester and the Philippines. The move was prompted by the dwindling numbers of women religious – an issue that Sister Lisa Mary is still confronting today as Mercyhurst’s frst vice president for mission integration. She took the post at Dr. Tom Gamble’s invitation in 2008 and has been working to ensure that the legacy of the founding Sisters of Mercy continues to fourish on The Hill, for she and Sister Pat Whalen are the only Sisters working full time at the school today. One of her goals is to ensure Mercyhurst “hires for mission,” interviewing new faculty and administrators to discover whether they’re ready to participate in the Mercy mission. “The question isn’t just about whether they’re Catholic,” Sister Lisa Mary notes. “Today, it’s more about whether they can appreciate, respect, understand and participate in our Mercy and Catholic mission.” She cautions that her position – though important – is only a step toward a solution. Preserving the mission isn’t a job for just one person. Instead, she hopes a larger “mission community” will evolve on campus, with many people sharing the responsibility (see next page) .


It takes a community By Sue Corbran When Lisa Mary McCartney entered the Sisters of Mercy, she soon discovered that Erieites were a bit unclear on the sisters’ identity. They thought she’d joined the Sisters of Mercyhurst. It was a natural mistake – for several decades, the Sisters and the college they had founded in 1926 were so intertwined that it was hard to determine where one stopped and the other began. The order’s Mother Superior automatically served as president of the college, and Sisters flled nearly all the teaching jobs and administrative posts. They lived on campus, some supervising the residence halls. The college didn’t even keep separate books, and the Sisters living in convents all over northwestern Pennsylvania sent every extra penny home to Erie to support the young college. The Sisters owned the land where the college stood. But in the decades that followed, the physical presence and infuence of the Sisters of Mercy on campus gradually declined. The Sisters kept their leadership roles even as the number of men on the faculty rose during the ‘60s, but fewer of them lived on campus. Many had moved to the new Mercy Motherhouse, and others into individual homes to ofer direct service to their neighbors. And by the time men were admitted to Mercyhurst in 1969, some traditions the Sisters had cherished – like the annual May Crowning and weekly formal dinners – had disappeared. The number of religious women was at its highest point ever when Sister Lisa Mary joined the Sisters of Mercy in 1968, but in just a few years the number of Sisters plummeted. The efects of this worldwide phenomenon were soon felt at Mercyhurst. With more and more options open to them, fewer women were choosing religious life. Those who did also had more options in the years following Vatican II. Sisters still took a vow of obedience, but they were encouraged to recognize and nourish their own gifts. Many chose parish work and ministry to the poor over teaching and nursing. When Sister Carolyn Herrmann retired as Mercyhurst’s president in 1972, there was no Sister of Mercy waiting in the wings to succeed her. For the frst time, the college looked outside its founding order to fnd a new president and hired Dr. Marion Shane – the frst lay person, the frst man, and the frst non-Catholic to lead the school. Every president since has been a lay man. Sister Carolyn had launched a lay advisory board to help as the college grew. It evolved into today’s Board of Trustees, which must include fve Sisters of Mercy, according to its bylaws. As the successors of the founders, the Sisters still wield persuasive infuence and the other 30 or so trustees still consider “What do the Sisters think?” But the order no longer controls the direction that Mercyhurst will head. The Sisters have a voice, but not a veto. Only two Sisters – Vice President for Mission Integration Sister Lisa Mary McCartney and Registrar Sister Patricia Whalen – work full time at Mercyhurst now. Both believe it’s an important part of their jobs to be sure that Mercyhurst refects their Catholic tradition and Mercy charism even after they’re gone.

They think that John R. Wilcox – writing last fall in America magazine – may have come up with a workable solution to an issue that afects so many religious schools. His proposal: a “mission community,” a group of administrators, faculty and staf who commit themselves to the future of Catholic higher education at their universities. In the same way that “it takes a village” to raise a child, perhaps in the future it will “take a community” to keep the spirit of the Sisters of Mercy fourishing at Mercyhurst. “The genius of the founding congregations was their ability to have a presence across the entire campus,”Wilcox wrote. With few or no religious left on campus, “there is a need to create a new, living endowment,

one that will transform the sharply reduced living endowment of the founding congregation.”

How that might look, he’s not sure. But he envisions a mission community – open to anyone with an interest – that would “meet regularly, pray in a manner that respects diversity, provide mission education for administrators, faculty, staf and students, ofer reviews of college policy and strategic planning and foster a palpable Catholic culture as shaped by the religious heritage of the founders.” The “mission community” conversation is just getting started, but the Sisters believe it’s crucial. “Without our faith-based mission, we’re no diferent than hundreds of other mid- sized universities,” Sister Lisa Mary says. “Our mission and heritage are what make us unique.”


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