Mercyhurst Magazine Fall 2013


fall 2013

Taking education beyond the gates.

parnTership wiTh booker T. washingTon cenTer offers new opporTuniTies in erie’s cenTer ciTy

Inside this issue: goggle glass on campus sTudenTs sTudy addicTions esTaTe gifTed To mne homecoming/family weekend 2013

from the president.

Penal Cross Belonged to Sister Maria O’Connor, RSM

’ i became a grandfather not long ago. That s the kind of milestone that prompts one to think about the future.

’ i don t imagine i’ll be president of mercyhurst when paxton is ready for college, but i m confdent there will still be a strong, healthy, vibrant mercyhurst university here on the hill that he can be proud to attend. ’ i want him to be able to see mercyhurst as i see it – as a community of learners, of people dedicated to the growth and transmission of knowledge and culture; as a place where goodness and mercy still matter; as a place of beauty and warm hospitality.

“ no university can aford to be complacent in these days of economic uncertainty and shrinking numbers of high school graduates. but mercyhurst has never been complacent; mercyhurst has been open to new ideas since its earliest days. after all this is what carpe diem means, right? indeed, i often describe mercyhurst as an institution on the move, and the stories in this issue explore just a few of the reasons. ” - four years ago we headed two miles north of our gates to launch a new campus in center city erie, a partnership with the booker T. washington center that s making college possible for more students every year. ’ longtime benefactor bob miller generously donated his property to expand our north east campus. The sustainable farming operation also moved to north east over the summer, opening up exciting new opportunities for our culinary students. ’ our faculty are known for the strong relationships they develop with their students, but they re scholars as well. you’ll read here about one whos among the frst in the nation to use google glass, and another whos working with his students to investigate the mechanisms of addiction. ’ ’ ’ we earned our highest ranking yet from U.S. News & World Report , refecting our growing reputation for academic excellence. and we re honored to be part of two partnerships that will bring exciting new resources to our campus and our students. mercyhurst is now home to the Thomas J. and michele ridge collection, an archive of historic material documenting their service to our region, the state and the nation. Through the generosity of former Trustee John boyle, his sister mary and their family, mercyhurst will also house the helen boyle memorial archives, named to honor former trustee and board ofcer helen boyle of oil city. The archives will honor helens friend, Joan chittister, osb, one of our most prominent graduates as well as one of the most infuential religious leaders today. ’ as we move forward, we always recall with gratitude the strong foundation laid for us by the sisters of mercy. we honored their legacy this fall by installing mercy and celtic crosses in the classrooms of old main, the building the sisters constructed in 1926. The crosses (pictured at left) remind us daily how blessed we are to be the benefciaries of their vision and hard work.

Celtic Cross Donated by Heidi Hosey, Ph.D.

Saint Bridgid’s Cross Donated by Sister Patricia Whalen, RSM

Mercy Cross Created and donated by Thomas Hubert

Mercy Rosary Cross Created and donated by Daniel Barricklow

god bless you, and god bless mercyhurst.

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


in this issue: 1 FRoM the PReSident 3 ReaChing FoR the StaRS sr. mary matthew baltus 5 honoRing diStinguiShed aluMni 7 exPloRing addiCtionS laboratory fosters student research 9 aluMni SPotlightS 11 gRowing gaRdenS and CollegeS The miller estate 13 aluMni SPotlightS 15 SPoRting the ColoRS alumnus spreads laker pride 16 hoMeCoMing/FaMilY weeKend 2013 17 BReaKing BaRRieRS mercyhurst at the booker T. washington center 19 PeeRing into the FutuRe mu prof gets google glass 21 wRaPPing uP the SPRing SPoRtS SeaSon 23 athletiCS hall oF FaMe 25 MaKing headlineS what’s happening at mercyhurst 29 aluMni noteS On the cover: Students Jaci Davis, Vivian McCullum and Natasha Stewart are pictured in front of Mercyhurst’s newest campus at the Booker T. Washington Center. See page 17 to learn how the initiative is making higher education an option for a very diverse group of students who might otherwise never have attempted college. View this issue online!

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 meghan corbin ‘08 susan corbran ’73 allison seib Design/Photography Jennifer cassano (814) 824-3022

Vice President for External Afairs monsignor david rubino, ph.d. (814) 824-3034 Assistant 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: Mercyhurst Magazine mercyhurst university

501 e. 38th st. erie, pa 16546


Reaching for the stars. SR. MaRY Matthew BaltuS haS Been ReaChing FoR the StaRS all heR liFe. and, duRing MoRe than 40 YeaRS on the MeRCYhuRSt FaCultY, She’S helPed geneRationS oF StudentS diSCoveR the BeautY and MYSteRY She SeeS in the SKieS.

Story by Sue Corbran

Sister Mary Matthew Baltus, RSM, helped design the observatory when Zurn Hall opened in 1968. It was named in her honor in 1993.


launChing an aStRonoMY PRogRaM

’ during world war ii, she followed her brother s lead again. george, an aircraft designer with curtiss-wright, told her the government was training women to replace male engineers who were heading of to war. he convinced nancie to interrupt her chemistry studies at mercyhurst to pursue an associate degree in aeronautical engineering at cornell university. she also kept up her fying lessons, though. when the airport in ithaca was closed, she hopped on a bicycle and pedaled to the nearest airfeld – 26 miles away – to continue fying. she absorbed her fascination with the skies from older brother george, frst her partner in helping neighborhood kids craft airplanes out of balsa wood and rubber bands, and later her instructor as she learned to fy the real thing – a biplane george had refurbished. nancie baltus was 15 when she took her frst fying lesson. ’ problems. Though she came within a few hours of completing the required practice time, she never did get a pilot s license. with her degree in hand, nancie went to work at curtiss-wright, helping to prepare engineering drawings for the c-46 cargo planes and p-40 pursuit planes manufactured at its bufalo plant. as her experience grew, she also found herself crawling inside planes on the assembly line to identify and solve EDITOR’S NOTE: At a recent fundraiser for Mercyhurst Prep, Sr. Mary Matthew bid on a fight in a fully restored 1943 open- cockpit biplane. When the price quickly rose beyond her budget, a Mercyhurst University trustee who’d like to remain anonymous stepped in to match the winning bid and secured a fight for her. This fall she’ll enjoy a 30-minute ride over Presque Isle with pilot Scott Allen in a plane much like the one in which she learned to fy. “ instead, in 1944, nancie changed course dramatically, joining the sisters of mercy who had so impressed her during the year and a half she studied at mercyhurst. i considered them the greatest women i had ever met, she says now. all the time i was at cornell and bufalo, i kept in touch with the sisters of mercy. i had a strong desire to join them and to share my life with them in service to the church. soon sr. mary matthew baltus was teaching in catholic grade schools, and returning to study at the hurst each summer until she completed her degree in math in 1950. ” “ ” ’ Then came more teaching, this time math and science at the high school level, while earning two graduate degrees: a master s in math from the university of pittsburgh (1957) and, with help from the national science foundation (nsf), a second master s from rensselaer polytechnic institute (rpi). when she got that degree in physical science in 1961, she joined the mercyhurst faculty. ’ ’ besides teaching her original specialty, math, she went on to found the school s earth science department and astronomy program. an engaging teacher, she quickly turned astronomy into one of the most popular courses on campus and helped develop one of the school s signature scientifc facilities – the observatory atop Zurn hall. ’

’ sr. mary matthew recalls the early years of the astronomy program. when the russians jump-started the space age by launching sputnik in 1957, the Erie Daily Times asked sr. mary charles weschler to help stage a photo. she set up the college s small refractor telescope atop preston hall and gathered a few students to pose with it. The publicity stunt prompted a scathing note from dr. John ruiz, an astronomer from ossining, n.y., pointing out the girls could not follow a satellite using that equipment. but it also led to a long-term relationship between mercyhurst and ruiz, who donated a better telescope and came to erie to install it. he eventually moved to erie, lectured at mercyhurst often, and continued to donate equipment. “ in 1967, when the college built Zurn hall to house the arts and sciences, dr. ruiz worked with sr. mary matthew to design the observatory. in order to be vibration free, the pier for the telescope had to be anchored in solid earth rock, she explains. when the basement level of Zurn was poured, a pier extended 30 feet below the foor and extended above the fourth foor. sr. mary matthew tapped her engineering background to supervise installation of the observatory and its 16-foot rotating dome and ruiz helped select a 10-inch refector telescope with clock drive and solar flters. ” “ ” - when the 26-year old observatory was renovated in 1993, mercyhurst took the opportunity to rename it the baltus observatory in sr. mary matthew s honor. ’ ’ SR. Matthew’S ManY RoleS The observatory may be sr. mary matthew s most tangible legacy, but it s only one facet of her contributions to mercyhurst. besides her long teaching career, sr. matthew s roles ranged from dean of students to interim academic dean, from frst president of the college senate to advisor of mercyhurst student government, from founder of the earth science department to chair of the science and math division. ’ ’ when mercyhurst introduced the intersession in 1967, she teamed up with dave Thomas and sr. eymard poydock to organize annual trips to the Virgin islands that allowed students to explore geology, astronomy and marine biology. she was a lifelong student as well, earning nsf grants to study at major universities around the country, doing astronomical research at major observatories, traveling the world to observe solar eclipses, visiting egypt and greece on a fulbright scholarship to study their cultures and landmarks, and taking elderhostel courses. Though she worked part time in later years, sr. mary matthew remained active on the faculty for some 40 years. even after her retirement in 2001, she continued to tutor adult students in math, gathering them around the dining room table of her home. ’ located on the hill south of mercyhurst (next door to mercyhurst prep), the home s décor features a number of sr. mary mathew s watercolors and the backyard boasts a thriving garden that she tends. she s also an accomplished knitter and only recently gave up kayaking, another favorite hobby. ’ ’

’ even at 90, the sky s still the limit for this remarkable woman.


Honoring our alumni. MeRCYhuRSt honoRS Five outStanding aluMni duRing Reunion weeKend FeStivitieS

’ CaSSandRa KuBa, Ph.d. ’97 cassandra kuba received a pair of awards on June 1. mercyhurst presented her with the distinguished alumni award for contributions to her chosen feld – anthropology – while california university of pennsylvania gave her its president s gala award for outstanding service. she s been chief forensic anthropologist and assistant professor of anthropology in the department of Justice, law & society at cal since 2007. ’ ’ she earned a master s degree in human biology at the university of indianapolis, focusing on skeletal biology and dna analysis, and a ph.d. in anthropology from arizona state university, where she focused on biological variations – the quirks that diferentiate individuals within groups. when cassandra arrived at california, she helped develop a growth plan to save an anthropology program that faced elimination. it now enrolls 60 majors. outside the classroom, cassandra devotes much of her energy to community outreach, spreading the word about what anthropology is and what it can do – especially to young people in local schools. she and her students get involved in many pro-bono projects near their campus, from helping historic york seek out a roadway leading to a revolutionary war pow camp to locating a stockade house that once protected a farmhouse dating to 1805.

niCholaS PotteR, dPt ’01

’ nick potter, who was recognized with the distinguished young alumni award, earned a doctor of physical Therapy degree from duke university in 2004 and completed several postdoctoral fellowships. hes now assistant director of athletic rehabilitation at duke, teaches in the dpT program and coordinates research for duke athletics. he focuses on biomechanical analysis, identifying and correcting small defcits in normal, healthy athletes to prevent injury and enhance performance. nick shares his expertise at conferences of major athletic training organizations worldwide.

’ he was on the training staf for the u.s. mens basketball teams for the 2008 and 2012 olympics. he was with usa shooting as team physiotherapist at the beijing olympics in 2008 and in london last year. nick does team consulting with the national football league, english premier soccer league and the national hockey league, as well as working with individual athletes, from brazilian soccer star alexandre pato to kyrie irving, the #1 nba draft pick in 2011. “ more recently, nick rehabbed premier quarterback peyton manning through his recovery after neck surgery. manning came to duke for several months, where nick worked on restructuring his throwing motion and mechanics. earlier this year, nick ran what he calls an nfl mini-camp at duke for peyton and eli manning and their receivers. ” nick plans to marry ciara connolly in may 2014. an irish student who graduated from mercyhurst in 2002, ciara has been managing events for fve-star hotels in europe, the middle east and africa.

’ she consults for many agencies and recently became a technical consultant for some of TV s fctionalized forensic programs. it s a perfect job for cassandra, who enjoys creative writing in her limited spare time. she s worked on episodes of csi, bones and rizzoli and isles. ’ ’ “ ”“ ” “ ” - cassandra and her husband, anthony Vincequerra, have a two year old son, maximilian Xavier. -


’ alexiS walKeR, Ph.d. ’74 a distinguished alumni award for contribution to one s chosen feld was presented posthumously to alexis walker, who died in 2012 of chronic lymphoma at the age of 60.

’ PieRRe PRieStleY ’81 pierre priestley s loyalty and service to his alma mater earned him the distinguished alumni award for contributions to mercyhurst.

“ moritz college of law. after a decade working in corporate tax management, he settled into the niche area of taxation known as like kind exchanges. in 2004 he joined investment property exchange services, inc. (popularly known as ipX Ten-Thirty one) in chicago, where he ” - ’ serves as senior vice president and general counsel. he runs the frms personal property division. pierre studied accounting and political science at mercyhurst, and then graduated from the ohio state university

’ became the frst student to sit on mercyhurst s board of Trustees. she received the carpe diem award at graduation. a home economics and psychology major, alexis went on to earn a master s degree in child development and family ’ as president of mercyhurst student government, then known as the representative union of students, alexis

’ promoted to professor in 1992, she went on to serve as director of osu s program on gerontology; co director of the graduate program in human development and family sciences; Joanne l. petersen chair in gerontology and family studies; and, since 2008, chair of the department of human development and family sciences. - life from purdue university and a doctorate in human development and family studies from penn state in 1979. after teaching for several years at the university of oklahoma, she joined the faculty of oregon state university in 1984. alexis was a gifted teacher and mentor of undergraduate and graduate students and a talented researcher of family relationships. active in the national council on family relations, she served as its president, edited the leading family studies journal and co-founded the section on feminism and family studies. she also published 44 scholarly articles in peer-reviewed journals, edited a book, and contributed 18 chapters to books edited by others. “ bob was the last student to complete the cadet Teaching program at mercyhurst and through his early teaching jobs discovered the special rewards of working with at risk children. ” ’ for the past eight years, he s taught for the erie city school district, frst providing support for children with learning diferences at wayne school, and now teaching special education math and english at east high school. he s been a mentor and role model to his students, from coaching sports to directing the champs after-school enrichment program. ’ BoB MeRSKi ’99 mercyhurst honored bob merski with the distinguished alumni award for service to his community, recognizing his work as a special education teacher, a neighborhood organizer, an erie city councilman and more. a lifelong democrat, bob became active in local politics during the 2008 presidential campaign. he ran for ofce himself in 2011, becoming the youngest person ever to win a seat on erie city council.

“ pierre has remained frmly allied with mercyhurst, regularly attending homecoming, serving as a class agent, returning to lecture during alumni on campus events, and representing the hurst wherever he could. ” ’ he joined the board of the alumni association in 1994-95, beginning a commitment that would last until 2011. he served as the associations president from 1996 to 2002, making numerous trips to erie every year for meetings of the association board and the college s board of Trustees. ’ a certifed exchange specialist, he also earned an mba from the university of chicago in fnance and business policy in 1993. as an alumni leader, he worked to ensure that all alumni remained connected, encouraged diversity on the board and reached out to younger alumni through social media. pierre also serves as chair of the executive board for phi alpha delta, a legal fraternity and service organization.

’ a frm believer that we can improve our city one neighborhood at a time, bob co-founded the south east hills neighborhood watch group in 2007 and helped create the south east erie farmer s market to promote local farm goods in erie. . he meets regularly with other residents of his neighborhood near the mercyhurst campus. bob, who is completing a master s degree in educational development and strategies at wilkes university, is engaged to marry fellow laker emily mosco, a 2004 graduate of mercyhurst. ’


Explorin g addictions. whY do SoMe PeoPle BeCoMe addiCted to toBaCCo, while otheRS don’t? whY Can SoMe SMoKeRS quit and otheRS Can’t? aRe theRe waYS to PRediCt iF SoMeone will BeCoMe an addiCt?

Story by Allison Seib


- CRedit CaRd StudY in the credit card study, weaver and team leader kist looked specifcally to college-aged students since credit companies often target 18- to 24-year olds. The team predicted that adolescents and young adults with higher credit card debt would be more impulsive than those with lower debt, and that credit cardholders in general would be more impulsive than their non-card-carrying counterparts. They questioned about 30 students, many of them freshmen, about their history with credit cards and administered two personality questionnaires to measure impulsivity. “ The fnal test – known as a delay discounting test – asked volunteers if they would prefer a small reward now or a larger reward later. essentially, the test measures the participant s ability to wait before fnally receiving a reward. ” ’ ’ The end results contradicted the teams hypothesis: data indicated that students with credit cards were actually less impulsive than non-cardholding students. and, among the cardholding students, credit card debt was fairly low. ’ updated fndings at the american psychological associations annual convention this summer. my students are completely imaginative and hard working. Jessica and Jordan really drove the research home, while i guided them and provided a frm foundation, says weaver. The insight and the dedication all started and ended with the team leaders and the assistants. while i was defnitely present to help, mostly the students derived the “ ” “ ” interpretation and outcomes. overall, it was a dynamic, creative experience for everyone. They now suspect that the cardholders – many of whom had credit cards before college – may have learned responsibility under the supervision of their parents. weaver and his team will also be continuing this study by including even younger subjects. weaver points out that humans learn the most during the frst stages of life, so studying younger people may help the team to distinguish when and why someone develops a habit or an addiction that continues into adulthood. while he supervised the teams, weaver notes that students researched, developed and followed through with these studies. he specifcally credits braymiller and kist, both of whom presented their research at the western pennsylvania undergraduate psychology conference in april and plan to present

’ postdoctoral associate at the university of pittsburgh. That work opened the door for him to head mercyhurst s new laboratory on addiction and impulsive behavior. last spring, weaver and student team leaders Jessica braymiller ’14 and Jordan kist ’15 launched the labs frst two studies. one compared social and dependent smokers, while the second probed the connection between impulsive behavior and credit card debt. ’ “ students are highly involved with these studies, explains weaver, who received the b.f. skinner foundations early career researcher award in 2013. i ve been blown away by the students response in lab. working in teams has been a collaborative and dynamic process. ” ’ “ ’ ’ ” ’ with an estimated 163,000 americans dying each year from smoking-related illnesses (and another fve million worldwide), braymiller s team questioned why adults continue to smoke despite widespread information about the negative health efects caused by tobacco products. The student researchers started with the hypothesis that external cues – like a familiar environment or a pack of cigarettes – can cause smokers to subconsciously crave tobacco. They set out to determine whether social smokers react diferently to those cues than dependent smokers do and whether smokers respond diferently depending on how much nicotine is present in their systems. “ ” ’ The researchers frst divided their 19 test subjects – smokers aged 19-58 – into social smokers and dependent smokers. The researchers then compared participants heart rate, skin temperature and craving before and after the test. during the test the researchers showed the smokers cues, in this case photos of popular outdoor smoking spots on the erie campus. models in some held cigarettes, while in others the same models held more neutral objects, like cell phones or car keys. ’ The subjects were tested once right after smoking a cigarette, and on another occasion when they hadn t smoked for at least four hours. The results surprised the students, who had fgured that only the dependent smokers would crave cigarettes. They found that all smokers, regardless of dependence level, craved a cigarette after four hours of abstinence. even more surprising, the dependent smokers reported craving cigarettes after they were exposed to the cues even when they had just smoked a cigarette. Thus, it appears that dependent smokers are more afected by the cues than non-dependent smokers. by characterizing the relationship between smoking cues and dependence level, the group hopes to help prevent social smokers from turning into dependent smokers, and help those who are already dependent smokers. These are questions psychology professor matthew T. weaver, ph.d., explored during several years as a


Spotlighting our alumni.

ReCent gRad BReaKS into FilM woRld for some people,

’ failure isn t an option. and smart ones like aspiring director Caitlin MacBride ’13 know you sometimes have to start at the bottom. This summer, caitlyn worked as a production assistant (pa) on the set of Captain America 2 in

anChoRS taMe Blowing BlanKetS

’ The key to building a successful business is fnding the right niche, a need that no one is flling. Dawn Adams ’92 thinks that shes identifed two such opportunities. dawn left erie the day she graduated with her hospitality management degree, excited to start managing a cleveland- area restaurant. since then, a series of jobs has taken her all over the country and today she maintains residences in both brooklyn and florida. The two businesses she created are the blanket anchor®, a patent-pending device she invented to keep blankets frmly anchored in the sand at the beach, and christ

’ it wasn t her frst production experience. as a senior at mercyhurst, caitlyn wrote and directed her frst movie, 100 , which took frst place in the communication department s annual scriptwriting contest. ’ - during summer 2012, she logged more than 600 hours as an intern for producer Tyler davidson on the set of Kings of Summer , formerly named Toy’s House . That connection helped caitlyn land her behind-the scenes position for the Captain America sequel. despite exhausting 14-hour days in extreme weather conditions — including freezing temperatures in early June — she has only good things to say about her post graduation temp job. - “ i have had such positive experiences working on sets, despite pretty much doing the grunt work for anyone who needs it, said caitlyn, who credits her mercyhurst education for her hard work ethic and production experience. ” “ my professors instilled in me that i can do anything. you may have to work 10 times harder, because it s not always about what you know but rather how professional you act. ’ ” - did caitlyn get to meet any of the stars of the anticipated box ofce smash? she didn t get to meet scarlett Johansson, samuel l. Jackson or robert redford, but she did get to see captain america himself, chris evans, from afar. ’ even better, she was able to help a very lucky fan, a young boy with down syndrome, and his mother and sister get an autograph and photo with evans. she says it was her favorite moment on the set. ’ macbride doesn t know where her future will take her; however, she is willing to put in the hard work, as well as relocate to make her dreams come true. cleveland, ohio. for three weeks, the ohio native was one of 50 assistants who helped with crowd control.

couture™, a casual christian apparel line.

’ she and her new partner errol bailey spend 12 to 16 hours a day managing operations for the two product lines, but she s extremely determined because she feels that working for oneself makes a huge diference. “ ” “ The florida location is perfect for her blanket anchor® business. you have to have sand to launch a beach product, right?” she laughs. she says she frst saw the need for the product in 2011 after enduring fying sand and blowing blankets during a trip to bermuda. her simple solution: a set of four plastic pegs with 6-inch coiled shafts that twist into sand or grass, topped with serrated clamps that hold a blanket or towel securely in place. blanket anchors® can be customized and a signature flag line branded with a variety of national fags is already available. dawn says she’ll be partnering with a sporting goods company and distributing blanket anchors® in conjunction with international soccer competitions in spring 2014. The line has expanded to include other branded beachy accessories such as blankets, towels and sarongs. “ ” “ The two companies are based in both brooklyn and florida. i feel it is imperative to keep an active new york footprint because it s the epicenter of business, she says. it s also a good base for her christ couture™ clothing line, billed as a brand worn by believers. she s relaunching her website and promoting the line using entertainers and celebrities in new york city. ’ ” ’ “ ” ’ “ dawn says she owned a plethora of t-shirts featuring nonsense and musical entertainers, and felt god should have a classy line that people would wear in public and not just on sundays. i thought, god, why don t you have a cool line? why can t i represent you on t-shirts that are cute?’ she quickly designed the christ couture™ logo with the T in couture symbolizing the cross. The simple, yet subtle, logo is emblazoned on t-shirts, tanks, hoodies and other everyday items for both adults and children. we just want to ofer people the option to wear their faith on their sleeves, literally, she explains. ‘ ’ ’ ” “ ” “ ” “ ”

on the web: and


aluM SoaRS in tRee- CliMBing ConteStS if climbing trees gets you closer to heaven, as the old saying goes, Brian Krawczyk ’95 must be near paradise. after a decade in the hospitality industry, brian branched out into a new career as a certifed arborist, a calling that combines his love of nature and the outdoors with his natural athletic ability.

FoRMeR laKeR exCelS in inline hoCKeY a nasty concussion took a year-and-a-half bite out of Jackie Jarrell’s ice hockey career at mercyhurst, but she managed to fnd a silver lining in the disappointment. while she was rehabbing, she launched a new career in inline hockey. as a member of Team canada, she’s medaled at seven world championships, starting with a silver in her frst outing in 2006 and peaking with a gold in 2012 in colombia (she was the top scorer in the entire tournament). in 2010, Jackie earned mVp honors and scored the only goal as canada lost to the czechs in the gold medal game. her team – which also includes former laker teammates Michelle Bonello and Samantha Shirley – lost another close match to the united states in this year’s fnals in california. inline hockey is a very challenging game but does not have as much physical contact as ice hockey, Jackie explains. “inline hockey is more about puck control and puck possession, being a more spread-out game,” she says. “you don’t take the same pounding as you do in ice hockey.”Teams play 4-on-4 with no ofsides or icings. a forward from belleville, ontario, Jackie had a strong performance for the lakers in her freshman season, 2003-04, and was leading the team in scoring 10 games into her sophomore campaign when she was sidelined by injury. Told at frst she might never be able to return to physical activity, she beat the odds thanks to her own determination, some amazing doctors and strong support from her family and from the mercyhurst community. “i am so grateful for the opportunity to be able to still play hockey,” she says. inline hockey helped keep her in shape and she was cleared to return to the ice for the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons. all told, she played 99 games for the hurst, scoring 21 goals and 18 assists. she fnished her degree in sports medicine in 2008. returning to canada, she earned an education degree and taught high school for a few years, while also working as a personal trainer, working primarily with athletes, and helping with her family’s business, rJ farms, a large dairy farm recognized for its excellence in breeding. last fall, Jackie came back to mercyhurst to pursue a master’s degree in exercise science. That meant long commutes from ontario to erie to pack all her course requirements into a single year. during that year, she attended and assisted at the nhl combine. despite the heavy academic load, she also made time for strenuous workouts in preparation for this year’s world championships. The canadian women play in men’s leagues in Toronto. “playing against the men helps us become quicker and stronger,” she says. while her goal is a career as a teacher and training high-level athletes, she also expects to skate for Team canada for years to come. The team already has its sights set on another gold medal at the 2014 world championships in france. and she hopes that one day her sport will fnd a home in the summer olympics or the pan- american games. Pictured with the silver medals they won at this year’s FIRS (Fédération Internationale de Roller Sports) World Championships are former Lakers Jackie Jarrell ‘08, Samantha Shirley-Harris ’06 and Michelle Bonello ‘07. Sam, who married Brad Harris on July 7, 2012, works as a sales manager for Adidas Group Canada; Michelle is training to become a frefghter. Both Sam and Michelle live in Mississauga, Ontario.

The speed, skill and precision he’s developed in his job with birchcrest Tree & landscape, located in the rochester, n.y. area, have propelled him to the top in competitive tree climbing circles. in June, he won the new york state Tree climbing championship for the fourth time, each win sending him on to the

international Tree climbing championship, sponsored by the international society of arboriculture. This year’s contest in Toronto in august brought together the best professional tree climbers from 19 countries. brian placed 12th among 44 entries. competitors perform fve events that test their ability to professionally and safely maneuver in a tree while efciently performing work-related tree-care tasks. brian says he entered primarily to learn more about his craft and to meet new friends, and was amazed when he captured his frst two state titles. even a debilitating accident couldn’t keep brian grounded for long. he was ice climbing atop frozen angel falls in upstate new york in march 2008 when he tumbled to the bottom of the gorge, breaking both ankles, his pelvis, two vertebrae and fve ribs and sufering internal injuries. he was bedridden for three months and spent several more months in full-time rehab – but in 2009 he not only competed again, but also won his third state title. That devastating free-fall was due to his own error, he concedes – he failed to do some routine safety checks that would have revealed the problem with his rigging. “because of that, everything i do now is safer. i double and triple check everything,” he says. with wife colleen and kids clare and Quinn waiting at home for him, that emphasis on safety is especially important. These days he doesn’t do much climbing except in his beloved trees, but he says he never contemplated giving that up. even when he feared he might lose his foot, he swore he’d fnd a way to climb again. “This is who i am. without it i’d be lost. i wouldn’t know who i was. Quitting just wasn’t an option,” he says.


Growing gardens and colleges.

Miller gift creates new learning lab for culinary students at North East

Story by Abby Badach



’ PaSSion FoR gRowing a cool breeze futters the drooping limbs of weeping cherry and crabapple trees. fat, fuzzy bumblebees linger on vibrant rhododendron blossoms. it s a stunning array of fora – in fact, more than 1,000 specimens of plants and trees, impeccably planned so something will always be in bloom from may through september. you know, it would be nice if these trees could tell stories, miller says, strolling through the lush gardens. “ ” ’ if they did, they d have a lot to say. when miller and his family moved to the property from westfeld, n.y., they brought with them two chest-high evergreen trees to transplant. when a large tree limb fell and hacked of the evergreens small branches, miller gently tended them back to health, reshaping them with wire and strategically placed weights. looking at the towering, sturdy evergreens now, one would have no idea of their traumatic past. ’ “ i like to grow things, bob miller says. gardens, kids, businesses, colleges. ” “ ” There were no gardens on the property when the family moved in, but miller planted perennials – accented with annuals – each year, transforming the yard into a verdant retreat. between the gardens and the fve acres of concord grapes, mercyhurst students will experience hands-on opportunities in horticulture, landscaping and viticulture. “ it was a lot of fun creating it, miller said. it will be exciting to see it continue to grow as a great asset for mercyhurst. Continuing a legaCY miller s generosity has been a key piece of the ” “ ” ’ mercyhurst north east story since it opened in 1991, thanks to his backing. since then, miller has continued to help propel the campus to new heights with two $1 million challenge grants through the robert s. and Janet l. miller family foundation, frst to establish an endowment that has since surpassed $2 million, and then to open the Janet l. miller center for growth and academic excellence (formerly the first national bank building on station road). students at both the north east and erie campuses will have access to the miller estate labs. georger says this unique facility will give students hands-on opportunities unparalleled by any school in the region. “ mr. miller is one of the fnest men i ve ever met, he said. i m not only excited because of the facilities that are being constructed, but also what s already on this gorgeous piece of property. The miller estate can help us fulfll the mission of the university and give us the newest, brightest learning opportunities for our students. ’ ” “ ’ ’ ”

’ industrial laundry lab. This unique hands- on learning opportunity will open many doors for mercyhurst students, notes daryl georger, assistant professor of hospitality. The housekeeping class won t just memorize the most efcient way to clean a room – they’ll walk through one, based on time motion studies that analyze efciency in sanitation and cost savings in labor. hospitality engineering students will learn from the inside out how things are specifed, delivered and set within a room – and what to do if something malfunctions. - “ ’ we ve been really blessed to receive these kinds of donations, georger said. between this and the newly constructed center for academic engagement on the erie campus, our culinary and hospitality programs will continue to be world-class. ” “ ” tRanSFoRMing a hoMe into a laB for 25 years, the millers and their seven children lived at the 12-acre residence. The property, valued at more than $1 million, features a 5,600-square-foot home, gorgeous gardens, spacious garage and a rustic barn. The miller estate will become an interactive culinary and hospitality learning lab with high-end, professional-grade equipment. The plan will roll out in two phases. first, thanks to a donation from hilton worldwide, the university will install a demo hotel room with real hilton furniture, fxtures and equipment, as well as an

Thanks to a generous gift from a university friend, trustee and

– philanthropist, mercyhurst university The north east campus is growing once again. The culinary and hospitality associate degree programs will have a new home at nearly nine acres of the miller estate, 1640 freeport rd. in north east, a gift of robert and Janet miller. ’ The estates location – across the street from campus, close to the newly relocated mercyhurst farm and next door to the north east public schools – will prove especially valuable, says dr. ken Zirkle, chief operating ofcer and associate provost at mercyhurst north east. “ This picturesque property will help us develop culinary and hospitality programs that will receive national recognition, Zirkle said. furthermore, it will allow us to expand partnerships with the north east school district – our neighbors, right next door. ” “ ” “ The partnerships that will take root here will promote the growth and development of young people through hands-on learning opportunities, he said. That will, ” “ miller noted that one of his main motivations for gifting the property was to increase collaboration between mercyhurst and the north east community. ’ The miller estate, ofcially gifted to the university in 2012, has already been the setting for the university s popular series of community cooking classes. in turn, beneft the growth and development of the community. ”

- The second phase of the plan, still in preliminary development, will modernize the barn into a state of-the-art culinary instructional kitchen – think food network style. initial plans include a demonstration kitchen and a conference room for classes, meetings or events. The conference room will also be outftted with small sinks and faucets for wine tastings. “ sheldon notes that the proposed open foor plan of the new culinary hub will allow students to have a clear view of their instructors and fellow students. “ in the kitchens, students enhance their learning in lab by observing each other as well as their instructors, she said. chefs learn many tricks of the trade from each other. ” “ ”

“ mr. miller has always been so supportive, said beth ann ”

“ sheldon, director of the hospitality management programs on the erie and north east campuses and the culinary and wine institute. not only is this an absolutely gorgeous piece of property, it s in the perfect location to become a cornerstone and a bridge between the university and the community of north east. ’ ”


Spotlighting our alumni. ReMeMBeR when? CeC walK-a-thon, MaY 1975

winning on the PoweR PlaY

‘ ’ The power play burger at the ale n angus pub proved a big hit with fans of the syracuse crunch hockey team – and an even bigger hit with judges when the new york beef industry council

“ The mel brooks classic Blazing Saddles came out in 1974. so when three mercyhurst students set out on a really long walk the following spring, it was probably inevitable that the Merciad account would be titled blazing feet. ” ’ The overheated feet belonged to Bob Dubik ‘78 , Mike Carrig ‘79 and Joe Pacinelli ‘78 , students in the cadet Teaching program and members of the council for exceptional children (cec). To help fll the clubs cofers and provide scholarships, the trio decided to walk from erie to meadville and back.

’ sought out new york state s best burger.

- manager, to accountant, to cook. he says his mercyhurst education prepared him for all those roles, providing solid background in business and management techniques, food and beverage pricing, labor and food costs, working with the public, and day-to day running of the facility. matt launched the power play burger – an 8-ounce angus patty topped with 3 ounces of thinly sliced prime rib and american cheese – by giving away coupons at crunch games. fueled in part by the popular sandwich, matt says he s seen his sales soar. he also credits his use of high quality beef and fresh produce and bread from local suppliers, ’ ’ his large selection of beers, and his focus on friendly customer service for the restaurant s continuing growth. matt and his wife, amanda, have two sons, 4-year old eli and 3-year old seth, and a bulldog named schmitty. in his spare time, he enjoys golf, snowmobiling and lacrosse. - - The burger, created by pub owner/manager Matt Beach ’03 , just captured its second straight state title. matt will return to las Vegas in november to take another crack at the world food championships after fnishing 12th out of 50 contestants in 2012. when matt fnished the hospitality program at mercyhurst and went to work for the bob evans restaurant chain, he already knew he wanted to start his own business within fve years. he opened his traditional american pub in downtown syracuse (not far from the home arena of the american hockey league crunch) in 2005. he wears a variety of hats at the pub, from human resources manager to food and beverage on the web: and

Teresa Fiumara Dubik ‘75 and Bob Dubik ‘78

“ The student paper reported, bob explained the situation. when they started out, they set a pace for themselves of 10 minutes of running and 10 minutes of walking. The pace degenerated to 10 minutes of running and 20 minutes of walking. by the time they reached ashtabula, they were walking steadily (?). There s no byline on the story, but bob says the author was Teresa Fiumara ’75 – whos now his wife. ” ’ ’ ’ Though Joe developed knee problems and couldn t fnish the walk, bob and mike left early the next morning to make the return trip. a cheering crowd met them at the mercyhurst gates around 9 p.m. having run a couple of marathons now, i know the whole thing was kind of foolish, bob laughs. it was like running back-to-back marathons. he also notes they ignored advice from some of their friends in roTc and walked in sneakers instead of combat boots. “ ” “ ” others had already walked that walk, though, so they upped the ante and hiked to ashtabula, ohio – a roundtrip of well over 80 miles. They headed west from mercyhurst at about 5 a.m. on friday, may 9, and reached ashtabula that evening. according to the Merciad , they then called a cab to take them out to dinner. pledges from students, faculty and neighboring businesses raised some $850, according to the Merciad . bob says the money created the brian mchugh scholarship fund to honor the cec advisor and long-time special education professor at mercyhurst. for several years, the fund provided $100 scholarships to help special ed majors pay for their books. bob, capping of a long career in teaching and administration, has been superintendent of the cazenovia central school district near syracuse, n.y., for the past decade. he plans to retire at the end of the 2013-2014 year. he and Teresa have two children: coy and cole. he serves on the board of directors of the mercyhurst university alumni association.


theateR PRogRaM taKeS ‘diS’ out oF diSaBilitY Mary Hofman ’74 and mary ellen lieb (wife of mercyhurst fnance director Jim lieb ’74) were a bit uncomfortable stepping into the spotlight last spring to accept their rave award as adult Volunteers of the year from the Junior league of erie. The two usually prefer to watch from the wings while their students – dozens of adults with special needs – take center stage in their annual musical productions. This year’s Fiddler on the Roof was the 26th show in a series they call “inspire.”

gaRden naMed FoR enviRonMental PioneeR

a lot has changed on the environmental front in the more than four decades since Sr. Maura Smith, RSM ’48 , was hired to teach biology at mercyhurst college. mercyhurst now has a sustainability ofce, a sustainable agriculture program at the north east campus, academic programs in sustainability studies, and

mary and mary ellen, both now retired

an annual weeklong celebration of earth day (the frst of which in 1970 was organized by sister maura herself). now, a new garden on campus honors the sister of mercy who paved the way for all these thriving sustainability initiatives. The sr. maura smith peace garden was created to celebrate the mercyhurst sustainability award presented to sr. maura in 2009. it was an appropriate tribute to the bufalo, n.y., native whose upbringing on her family’s dairy farm cultivated her passion for farming and gardening. Though she was honored by the award, sr. maura asked that any gift be given back to the university. “i’m just happy to be remembered for my part in the environmental movement,” said sr. maura. “i think the more we can do for the earth, the better. The planet doesn’t owe us anything; we owe mother nature, and we must pay our dues.” The sr. maura smith peace garden is located behind warde hall on the mercy walkway, a path that leads both to mercyhurst preparatory school, where sister maura was principal from 1977 to 1987, and to the sisters of mercy motherhouse, where she now lives. The garden features many edible plantings, including a dwarf apple tree – a tribute to the nearby apple orchard that predated mercyhurst on the property and sr. maura once helped tend. also featured are a dwarf cherry tree, strawberries, blueberries, onion and oregano, as well as a colorful assortment of sr. maura’s favorite fowers, including violas, pussy willows, holly, hydrangeas, junipers, phlox, peonies, day lilies and hostas. as a professor, sr. maura was passionate not only about the environment but also about social justice more broadly and the cause of world peace. as she taught about environmental issues, she helped students and colleagues grasp the connections between, for example, the degraded state of the environment and social injustice. in 2000, sr. maura worked with new history professor dr. chris magoc to launch the mercyhurst green Team. now known as the sustainability committee, the group of students, faculty and administrators has produced impressive results, including dramatically increased recycling rates on campus; a 100 percent investment in wind energy; installation of a green roof on the ceramics lab in Zurn hall; establishment of an organic and sustainable gardening program now housed at mercyhurst north east; and the launch of on-campus composting in 2012. appointed to the university’s board of Trustees in 1980, sr. maura still serves as a Trustee emerita and continues to weigh in on matters that can positively impact the campus environment.

as special education

teachers with the millcreek Township school district, teamed up

Mary Ellen Lieb and Mary Hofman ’74

in the 1980s to make sure their students would have opportunities even after they graduated. The night school class they created soon morphed into a unique theater company. it takes most of spring term to prepare each show. “we extract the songs from the plays and the kids – some as old as their 50s – act out the songs to the best of their ability,” mary explains. “a narrator tells the rest of the story in between numbers.” community gifts and many dedicated volunteers help provide costumes, props and simple backdrops. for Fiddler , students performed all the popular songs from “Tradition” to “sunrise, sunset” to “if i were a rich man,” but the narration downplayed darker aspects of the plot. “i have worked with people with special needs my entire life and their self-expression is simple, beautiful and enviable,” mary says. “i enjoy their perspective on life – that everything is beautiful and that is the way it should be.” by the time next year’s show rolls around (it may be Godspell ), mary will have been teaching several of the cast members for 40 years, since they were in her frst elementary school class. “it’s so cool to see these kids fourish as people,” she says. “it takes the ‘dis’ out of disability and just shows of their abilities.” it’s a magical experience for the 800 or so people who pack the auditorium each year. mary downplays talk about her contributions. “This is the best thing i’ve ever done for me,” she insists.


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