Alumni Leadership Awards Presented by Seton Hill University
On June 8, 2013, Seton Hill presented the University’s Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award to 12 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: Charlene Trichtinger Dorrian (SHU ’58) of Silver Spring, Md.; Rosemary Scott Suess (SHU ’63) of Kerrville, Texas; Mary Ann Corbo Connors (SHU ’64) of Easthampton, Mass.; Sister Mary Ann Winters, S.C. (SHU ’67) of Greensburg, Pa.; Jeanne Gruber Bratsafolis (SHU ’73) of Morristown, N.J.; Claudia Kovach (SHU ’73) of Kennett Square, Pa.; Cathy Plesha (SHU ’73) of Mars, Pa.; Carmen Rivera-Bauza (SHU ’83) of Rogers, Ark.; Denise Troll Covey (SHU ’83) of Pittsburgh, Pa.; Kathleen Garde (SHU ’88) of Anacortes, Wash.; Sally Bosco (SHU ’03 and SHU MFA ’11) of St. Petersburg, Fla.; and Krista Boyer (SHU ’03 and SHU MBA ’07) of New Stanton, Pa.
Charlene Trichtinger Dorrian (SHU ’58) has been a homemaker, educator, editor and accomplished musician. After her graduation from Seton Hill, she married and provided loving devotion to her husband and four children. During the years her children were in school, Charlene worked as a substitute teacher and edited the high school parent newsletter. When her children started college, Charlene began a 23-year career at her church parish as editor of the Saint John the Baptist weekly bulletin. Although she has retired, she continues to write the front-page reflection on the weekly scriptures at the request of her pastor. Charlene’s special talent is in liturgical music. She is an accomplished musician and singer and served as leader of her church music group. She now works with musical liturgists throughout the metro region as director of the Washington D.C. chapter of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM), where she has served as writer, editor and contributor for the chapter newsletter. Charlene received the Archdiocesan Order of Merit on December 15, 2002.
Rosemary Scott Suess (SHU ’63) has worked as a college admissions counselor and high school counselor as well as an active volunteer. After graduating from Seton Hill, Rosemary worked as an admissions counselor and traveled to high school and college fairs to meet prospective students. She then earned an M.A. in counseling at the University of Wisconsin and began working as a counselor at James Madison Memorial High School. There she met her future husband, Gene. After their children, Cathy and David, were born, Rosemary focused on volunteer work. Over the years in Madison, she has volunteered to provide meals to the hungry, visiting hospice patients, volunteering in the public schools, serving as an officer in the Wisconsin Calligraphers’ Guild and the Madison Watercolor Society, chairing a neighborhood bicentennial celebration and organizing and implementing hospital art exhibits. Today, she heads the Notre Dame Church Environment and Art Committee, which prepares the church for liturgical seasons. She headed a three-year search committee that commissioned a noted Italian sculptor, Livio Conta, to create a statue for the narthex of the church. She also volunteers in the Christian Assistance Ministry of Kerr County. She also serves as president of the Kerrville Art Club, which twice named her Artist of the Year.
Mary Ann Corbo Connors (SHU ’64) has influenced and educated countless students in her six-decade career in mathematics education in private, public, parochial and military institutions at the elementary, secondary, college and university levels. Mary Ann was among the first group of laywomen to earn a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Notre Dame in 1967. She went on to receive a doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1995 and was among the first group of civilian women mathematics professors at West Point in 1997. Mary Ann, who is currently a professor of mathematics at Westfield State University, has written numerous papers, contributed to a variety of national publications and has presented at many conferences and seminars from the local to international level. She has been married to her mentor and best friend, Dr. Edward Connors, for 43 years. The Connors have two grown children, James and Kathleen.
Sister Mary Ann Winters, S.C. (SHU ’67) has served students as a chemistry professor and her fellow Sisters of Charity in various leadership positions. After graduating from Seton Hill in 1967 with a degree in biochemistry, Sister Mary Ann earned her doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Pittsburgh. She began teaching chemistry at Seton Hill in 1972 and also served as department chair. Sister Mary Ann was elected to serve the Sisters of Charity in 1981 as a member of the leadership council and then as Major Superior from 1985 to 1993. Throughout those years, she made great strides in engaging the congregation in collaborative decision making. This gave rise to the formation of the Korean Province, the beginnings of what is now Caritas Christi, the dedication of local communities as peace sites and the initiation of a development office. While serving with the Sisters of Charity, Sister May Ann served on Seton Hill’s Board of Trustees as well as o the Jeannette District Memorial Hospital Board and Ethics Committee, the tri-diocesan Sisters Leadership Council, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and the Federation of the Sisters of Charity. IN 1993, she returned to her home state of Arizona where she served her local church as Chancellor for the Diocese of Phoenix. Today, Sister Mary Ann serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Chemistry Program at Seton Hill, a pastoral ministry at Caritas Christi and a formation ministry director for the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill.
Jeanne Gruber Bratsafolis (SHU ’73) answered a call to serve others after her graduation from Seton Hill, dedicating nine years to teaching high school social studies. Following her teaching career, Jeanne fulfilled a childhood dream to attend law school. She has since become an accomplished corporate attorney. Jeanne is active in her community. She is on the Board of Trustees for the Court Appointed Special Advocate Association in her hometown. She volunteers at Eva’s Village, a Catholic soup kitchen, homeless shelter and rehab facility, where she helps clients in the rehabilitation program develop resumes, conduct job searches and prepare job applications. Last summer, Jeanne volunteered at the All Star Project, a leadership training program for disadvantaged youth. Jeanne’s daughter, Alex, has followed in her mother’s footsteps and is also a lawyer. Jeanne married her husband, Todd Poland, 10 years ago and now has four stepchildren and two grandchildren.
Claudia Kovach (SHU ’73) has worked in higher education for more than 30 years. Following her graduation from Seton Hill, she married her husband, Ronald Smorada, and went on to complete her Ph.D. in comparative literature from Purdue University. She then served as professor of English and French and then as Dean of Arts and Sciences at Neumann University. Claudia has been published throughout her career. She served as an executive committee member for Delta Epsilon Sigma and now works as co-editor of the Delta Epsilon Sigma Journal. She has also been recognized with many professional honors. In her personal life, Claudia and her husband adopted their two daughters from China. She now participates in dance lessons with them. When she was in her 50s and learned that she had almost no muscle tone and was experiencing bone loss, Claudia took up competitive figure skating, something she had dreamed of doing since she was a child. She now competes and has won medals at state and national competitions. She also studies Tang Soo Do karate with her husband and children and has received medals at the regional level of competition.
Cathy Plesha (SHU ’73) built her career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, examining Soviet bloc espionage, health care fraud and kidnappings. After graduating from Seton Hill with a major in art and a concentration in photography, she joined the FBI in Washington D.C. as a photographer for various cases and events, including the Patty Hearst kidnapping and the review of the Kennedy assassination by the U.S. Congress. She ultimately worked as a special agent for the FBI and was assigned to offices in Omaha, Neb. and Boston, Mass., along with temporary assignments throughout the United States and Eastern Europe. She focused primarily on investigating white-collar crime and health car fraud. She served as the lead agent when the U.S. Justice Department settled the largest criminal and civil settlement of more than $700 million for Medicaid fraud. After the events of Sept. 11, 2001, Cathy conducted the first interviews in the historic investigation. She retired from the FBI in 2008, and has been honored for her work on several occasions. Cathy has established the Anthony Plesha Jr. Scholarship at Seton Hill in memory of her brother.
Carmen Rivera-Bauza (SHU ’83) came to Seton Hill from Puerto Rico to fulfill her dream of being educated in the United States. She overcame many obstacles during her first year of college, showing a remarkable determination to learn English and excel in her classes. Carmen recorded all of her lectures and translated them in the evening to help her learn words she did not know. After graduation, Carmen embarked on a retail career that has spanned 30 years, working with companies such as Walt Disney, Bath and Body Works, Dress Barn and her current employer, Wal-Mart. She gained valuable experience in planning, product development and general merchandise management. Carmen is involved in community service, working with the Dress for Success organization, which provides women with the necessary training to help them enter the workplace, as well as Mi Futuro, a program that mentors middle school Hispanic students. Carmen has received many awards during her career, including Latina Executive of the Year from Latina Style Magazine and One Who Made a Difference from National Mass Retailer Magazine. She has been married to her high school sweetheart for 29 years.
Denise Troll Covey (SHU ’83) became a Seton Hill student after starting a family and designed her own major in creative intelligence. She went on to receive her Master’s Degree in rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon University and then pursued her Ph.D. in the same area of study. She went to work at CMU as a human factors researcher for a digital library project and worked her way up from head of library information technology to associate dean. In 2004, Denise retired from administration to focus on research. In the past decade, she has worked to transform scholarly communication by leveraging technology, changing public policy, supporting more affordable business models for publishing and encouraging faculty and students to be more aware of copyrights. Denise’s greatest professional honors include two very special speaking opportunities. The first was in 2005 at s symposium honoring political activist Larry Lessig and the second was at Yale Law School in 2010. During her career, she was consulted by various government agencies, including a librarian for the U.S. Supreme Court. In one three-year span, her work was downloaded almost 17,000 times from Carnegie Mellon’s repository. She and her late husband, Preston Covey, have three children.
Kathleen Garde (SHU ’88) was a heavily recruited western Pennsylvania high school athlete who excelled in three sports at Seton Hill. She was a powerful hitter in volleyball, and exceptional rebounder in basketball and the offensive star on the softball field. She earned All-Conference awards for each sport. Chemistry major at Seton Hill, Kathleen earned her Master of Science Degree in nutrition in 1990 and her Doctor of Medicine Degree in 1994 from Case Western Reserve University. She is the chief of staff-elect at Island Hospital in Anacortes, Wash., and will assume the chief of staff position in June 2014. At the hospital, she also serves as the chair of the Obstetrician/Pediatrics Committee. A practicing obstetrician/gynecologist at Fidalgo Medical Associates, Kathleen also gives back to her community. She serves on the governing board of the Westminster Presbyterian Church, where she is chair of the Stewardship Committee. She also volunteers as a math teacher once a week at Island View Elementary and coaches club volleyball for seventh and eighth grade students.
Sally Bosco (SHU ’03 and ‘11 MFA) graduated from Seton Hill’s Master of Arts in Writing Popular Fiction program while working for Verizon as a graphic designer. She wrote and published her first young adult horror novel, “AltDeath.com,” in 2004. She went on to publish several more books, including her thesis novel, “Shadow Cat.” It received a four-star review by Romantic Times Magazine. Following that success, Sally retired from Verizon to concentrate on writing. She received her Master of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction in 2011. She makes school visits to encourage other writers and has taught at the annual “In Your Write Mind” writers’ workshops at Seton Hill. Sally volunteers with the Friends of Strays organization and has given youth writing instruction at the Metropolitan Ministries in Tampa, and organization that helps homeless families.
Krista Boyer (SHU ’03 and ‘07 MBA) earned both her undergraduate and MBA degrees from Seton Hill before receiving a Master of Science degree in counseling psychology. She recently received her doctoral degree in psychology from Carlow University. She teaches at both Carlow and Chatham while working in private psychology practice. She created an outreach program and delivers individual, group and family therapy to a wide range of clientele. Krista engages in volunteer and outreach opportunities aimed at reducing mental health stigma and has begun promoting the awareness of ageism. She prepares future counselors to understand the unique needs of a growing geriatric population. Krista is a sought-after professional, who has presented papers at numerous conventions and appears frequently on a regional television show that addresses that topic.