Alumni Leadership Awards Presented by Seton Hill University
On June 2, 2012, Seton Hill presented the University’s Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award to 14 alumni who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and leadership in one (or more) of the following areas: education, business and professions, science and technology, arts, voluntary services and philanthropy. The alumni honored include: Patricia Cabrey (SHU ’62) of Bridgeville, Pa., Mary Lou Cronin Kintz (SHU ’57) of Pensacola, Fla., Marianne Drott Squyres (SHU ’62) of Glen Mills, Pa., Lisa Farrell (SHU ’72) of Washington, D.C., Jane Gilchrist (SHU ’72) of Alexandria, Va., Christin Hanigan (SHU ’02) of Baltimore, Md., Martha Mesmer Helzel (SHU ’42) of Westlake, Ohio, Helene Karasek Paharik (SHU ’87) of Greensburg, Pa., Joan Pignocco Ebert (SHU ’42) of New Alexandria, Pa., Ellen Steward Pentz (SHU ’72) of Staunton, Va., Nancy Stoner (SHU ’57) of Ruffs Dale, Pa., Sister Edith Strong, S.C., (SHU ’67) of Greensburg, Pa., and Lieutenant Colonel Bridget Widdowson (SHU ’82) of New Alexandria, Pa. The Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award was presented posthumously to June Kushon Campbell (SHU ’52), formerly of Greensburg, Pa.
Patricia Cabrey (SHU ’62) of Bridgeville, Pa., had a 28-year career with the
Pittsburgh Intermediate Unit. During her tenure with the Intermediate Unit, Patricia acquired administrators’ credentials. When she retired in 2003, she was the assistant executive director and managed a staff of more than 100 employees. From 1993-2003, Cabrey served as a member of the Superintendent’s Cabinet for the School District of Pittsburgh and was president of the Pennsylvania Association of Nonpublic School Service Administrators and the Pennsylvania Association of Student Assistance Professionals. She sat on the executive board of the Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Unit Executive Directors, Pennsylvania Association of Federal Program Coordinators and Pennsylvania Association of Supervision and Curriculum. Cabrey assisted the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on a Joint State Government Commission report on Intermediate Units in Pennsylvania. On the federal level, Cabrey served on the Rules Development Committee for No Child Left Behind and chaired many school district program audit committees on behalf of the Federal Programs Compliance Office. Cabrey earned her Master of Arts degree in counseling from John Carroll University and her Doctor of Philosophy degree in administrative policy studies from the University of Pittsburgh.
Mary Lou Cronin Kintz (SHU ’57) of Pensacola, Fla., was an educator for more than four decades. Kintz was named the Teacher of the Year in 1982 for the Catholic Schools in Pensacola and received the Pensacola-Tallahassee Diocesan Medal for her contributions to Catholic education. In 1999, Kintz was selected as the WalMart Teacher of the Year. Kintz is now retired but remains active in Catholic education and parish work. She tutors, works in the parish office and facilitates funeral receptions.
Marianne Drott Squyres (SHU ’57) of Glen Mills, Pa., most recently served as the chairperson of “Legacies and Lessons: Western Delaware County Presents the Civil War at 150,” a special committee of the Concord Township Historical Society. Under Squyres’ leadership, the local effort gave area residents opportunities to learn about the Civil War and to have a voice in the national conversation about the War and its effects, then and now. Squyres is active with the American Historical Association, History of American Foreign Relations, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and Delaware County Historical Society and is a past faculty member at Neumann University in Aston, Pa. While Squyres pursued her Master of Arts degree, studying American history, she worked as a research assistant to Dr. Richard Storr who was writing the history of the University of Chicago. Squyres completed doctoral course work at Bryn Mawr College.
Lisa Farrell (SHU ’72) of Washington, D.C., has had a 40-year career, working with two presidential administrations, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, serving two Secretaries of State, The Honorable Madeline Albright and The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, and managing several federal departments. In 1981, Lisa founded Details, Inc., a firm specializing in meeting planning and event management consultation; clients included nonprofit organizations, the private sector and government organizations. Today, Lisa is the coordinator of the Office of Risk Management. She is responsible for developing a comprehensive vetting program to ensure that Department resources are not diverted to individuals or organizations with links to terrorism.
Jane Gilchrist (SHU ’72) of Alexandria, Va., serves as the Young Readers Center director at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. In 1978, Gilchrist earned her Master of Arts degree in library science specializing in children and young adult literature from The Catholic University of America. Gilchrist has been called upon to represent the children’s aspect of the Library’s institutional initiatives, including the International Children’s Digital Library, National Book Festival, National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Program, American Library Association, International Board on Books for Young People and Young Readers Center.
Christin Hanigan (SHU ’02) of Baltimore, Md., is a postdoctoral fellow at The Johns Hopkins University. During her thesis research, Hanigan discovered a novel mutation in a colon cancer gene which leads to a resistance to a certain class of drugs. Hanigan’s thesis dissected the mechanism related to resistance. In 2008, Hanigan earned her Doctor of Philosophy degree; she continues to research epigenetics but is focused on understanding a dysregulated pathway in cancer, polyamine catabolism. Hanigan was also recognized for co-founding the Araminta Freedom Initiative, an organization established to awake, equip and mobilize volunteers to eradicate domestic minor sex trafficking in the Baltimore region.
Helene Karasek Paharik (SHU ’87) of Greensburg, Pa., is the director of the Office of Human Dignity in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Paharik obtained her Master of Arts degree in theology from Saint Vincent Seminary. For a number of years, Paharik led the Campus Ministry team at Seton Hill. She also served as the pastoral associate at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Greensburg and at Mount Saint Peter Parish in New Kensington. In 2005, Paharik, with husband James Paharik, Ph.D., professor, sociology, and coordinator, Human Services Program at Seton Hill, co-founded the Beit Benedict Foundation which supports the Beit Benedict Peace Academy in Jerusalem. In recognition of their work, the Pahariks received the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh’s Humanitarian Award in 2006. For her work with the Bethlehem Project, a program facilitated by Blessed Sacrament Cathedral to prevent homelessness in Westmoreland County, Paharik received the Salt and Light Award for the Outstanding Human Service Organization from the Diocese of Greensburg. In fall 2011, Paharik and her husband received a papal honor and were conferred as a Knight and Lady of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
Martha Mesmer Helzel (SHU ’42) of Westlake, Ohio, had a 32-year career with PPG and made contributions in the area of wet chemical methods development, gas chromatographic analysis of seeds and bubbles in glass and spectrometry. Because of her expertise in instrumentation and methods for measuring color, transmittance and reflectance of all types of materials, Helzel also served as an internal consultant to all branches of PPG Industries. In 1998, Helzel retired from the corporation as a Staff Scientist, Level VIII. While at PPG, Helzel continued her educational pursuits and completed postgraduate work in all areas of spectrometry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology , Vanderbilt University and Rensselaer Polytechnical Institute.
Joan Pignocco Ebert (SHU ’42) of New Alexandria, Pa., continued her education at The Catholic University of America and earned her Master of Science degree. While attending The Catholic University, Ebert worked as a research associate at the National Bureau of Standards in Washington, D.C. She had the opportunity to work on many research programs, including one that led to the establishment of the American Petroleum Institute Research Project 44, under which data sheets were prepared on the physical and thermodynamic properties of hydrocarbons and related compounds. Ebert co-authored the reference book “Selected Values of Properties of Hydrocarbons” and has been quoted, and published, numerous times in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. When Ebert and her family returned to Pennsylvania, she became involved in the community. She was a Parent and Teacher Association (PTA) president and devoted more than 35 years of service to the New Alexandria Home Economics 4-H Club and the Westmoreland County 4-H program. Ebert is a past member of the Derry Area School Board and the Eastern Westmoreland Area Vocational Technical School Board.
Ellen Steward Pentz (SHU ’72) of Staunton, Va., completed her doctoral program in 1978 at The Johns Hopkins University and was awarded a postdoctoral position at at Johns Hopkins where she added modern molecular biology skills to her developmental genetics training. In 1980, Pentz was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship. Later, Pentz redirected her molecular biology and genetics expertise to groundbreaking research. She discovered many cell types that have the ability to change their identity and function when necessary to stabilize blood pressure. Pentz completed research in the Division of Pediatric Nephrology and received awards for her research, including the Battle Research Award in Nephrology.
Nancy Stoner (SHU ’57) of Ruffs Dale, Pa., had a career with the Connellsville School District that spanned more than four decades. Upon graduation from Seton Hill, Stoner became a home economics teacher with the Connellsville School District. For more than 10 years, Stoner taught students the importance of good nutrition and food preparation. In 1971, the need arose for a guidance counselor in the district. Stoner transitioned from teaching to counseling and began a 30-year career as a guidance counselor. While serving as a counselor, Stoner earned her Master of Education degree as well as certifications in elementary and secondary counseling from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She also completed coursework in a doctoral program.
Sister Edith Strong, S.C. (SHU ’67) of Greensburg, Pa., is a medical social worker for MediHome Hospice and serves the residents of Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland Counties. During her early ministry assignments, Sister Edith taught at elementary and high schools. She then transitioned to Seton Hill and taught math and computer science. While at Seton Hill, Sister Edith earned a Master of Arts degree in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin. After a decade of service to Seton Hill, Sister Edith became the second director of Seton Hill Child Service, Inc., a Westmoreland County nonprofit founded that annually served 400 children in 10 child care and Head Start sites. In 1995, Sister Edith earned the Master of Social Work degree from West Virginia University. At this time the Sisters of Charity began a ministry in Webster County, W.Va., a rural region in the Appalachian Mountains. Sister Edith worked in that community as a therapist for the only mental health provider in the county. Sister Edith was elected to the Provincial Council of the United States Province of the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill in 2002. For five years, she worked to further social justice efforts and raise the consciousness of the Province regarding environmental advocacy needs.
Lieutenant Colonel Bridget Widdowson (SHU ’82) of New Alexandria, Pa., works for the Office of the Chief Counsel for the Internal Revenue Service in Pittsburgh, Pa. LTC Widdowson, who fought the global war on terror in Afghanistan, began her military career with an enlistment in Company C, 28th Signal Battalion in Latrobe. LTC Widdowson served in various staff positions within Post Mobilizations Directorate of the United States Army National Guard Headquarters, State Area Command before assuming command of the Adjutant General Company in March 1992. In 2004, LTC Widdowson transferred to the Joint Forces Headquarters, Pennsylvania National Guard to become the Secretary to the General Staff and in 2006 she assumed responsibilities as the Executive Officer. In 2009, LTC Widdowson was named the coordinator for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s reintegration initiative, “Yellow Ribbon Program,” designed for veterans who face social challenges upon their return from overseas combat duty. LTC Widdowson has received numerous federal and state accolades for her work including Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, U.S. Army Commendation Medal, U.S. Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terror Service Medal, Pennsylvania Meritorious Service Medal, Pennsylvania Commendations Medal, Pennsylvania Major General Thomas R. White Medal, Major General Thomas J. Steward Medal and The Governors Unit Citation.
The Distinguished Alumna Leadership Award was presented posthumously to June Kushon Campbell (SHU ’52), a former resident of Greensburg, Pa. Following graduation, Campbell began a 30-year teaching career with the Hempfield Area School District, instructing students in both music and elementary education. During that time, Campbell earned her Master of Education degree from the University of Pittsburgh and completed doctoral credits at Penn State University. For nearly 60 years, she served as an organist and vocalist for various Catholic churches, weddings and funerals. Campbell was the past president of the Westmoreland Chapter of the Seton Hill Alumni Corporation and chaired summer picnics, participated in the Annual Fund phonathon, assisted with mailings to alumni and welcomed new students to campus. Under Campbell’s leadership, the Westmoreland Chapter began the gardening program and maintained the courtyard, area around Reeves Library and Our Lady’s Grotto. June also shared her green thumb at Caritas Christi, the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill. Additionally, Campbell was an avid supporter of the Westmoreland Symphonic Winds.