Seton Hill Presents Distinguished Alumni Leadership Awards
On June 7, 2014, Seton Hill presented the University’s Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award to 11 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, military service and philanthropy. The alumni honored include: Joan Truax Avioli (SHU ’54) of Kiawah Island, S.C.; Sister Jean M. Boggs, S.C. (SHU ’59) of Greensburg, Pa.; Sally Conroy Fullman (SHU ’64) Murray Hill, N.J.; Carole A. Barrett (SHU ’69) of Bismarck, N.D.; Joanna Pietropaoli Stillwagon (SHU ’69) of Greensburg, Pa.; Kathryn Loughran Cala (SHU ’79) of Murrysville, Pa.; Terri J. Erisman (SHU ’94) of Kailua, Hawaii; Annie Urban (SHU ’99) of Ligonier, Pa.; Matthew Galando (SHU MBA ’04) of Pittsburgh, Pa.; and Lorin E. Schumacher (SHU ’09) of Omaha, Neb. JoAnne Woodyard Boyle (SHU ’57) was honored posthumously. JoAnne served as Seton Hill University’s president for 25 years. She died on November 1, 2013. In addition, Mary Ellen Lawrie Cooney-Higgins (SHU ’64), of Chicago, Ill., was presented with an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree that had been authorized during Spring 2014 Commencement Exercises on May 17, 2014.
Joan Truax Avioli (SHU ’54) has been a wife, mother, teacher, mentor, writer and nonprofit volunteer since graduating from Seton Hill with degrees in biology and chemistry. In 1969, she received her master’s degree in teaching and began educating junior high school students. Years later, she was invited to be part of the English department at McCluer North Senior High School in St. Louis County, Mo. – the first court-ordered desegregated school in the state. After Joan’s husband, Dr. Louis V. Avioli, died in 1999, she moved to their home on Kiawah Island and began her work as a nonprofit volunteer. She quickly advanced to vice chair and then chairperson for the Kiawah Island Conservancy. Joan also became involved with the Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach, which has ties to the Sisters of Charity. She is currently completing her second board term with the organization. Joan has also served on the board of the Kiawah Island Community Association.
Sister Jean M. Boggs, S.C. (SHU ’59) has been associated with Seton Hill in myriad ways. After graduation, Sister Jean taught art in various local elementary schools as well as in Seton Hill’s art department. She then moved to the administrative side of the university, serving in leadership roles in development and admissions – including 13 years as the college’s director of admissions. Sister Jean brought her expertise home to the Sisters of Charity, where she served as director of development for nine years. Since 1997, she has been providing the Sisters with administrative support, including assistance with computers and technology. Sister Jean also has four aunts who attended Seton Hill: Sr. Rose Irene Boggs ’25 (who preceded Sr. Jean in admitting students to the college), Sr. Mary Boggs, RSM ’25, Helen B. Boggs ’29, and Elizabeth B. Boggs ’33.
Sally Conroy Fullman (SHU ’64) spent two years studying in France on a Fulbright Fellowship after her graduation from Seton Hill. Another fellowship allowed her to continue her studies at Rutgers University, where she earned her master’s and Ph.D. in French literature. Sally spent 10 years teaching at the college level and then moved from academia to the world of business. Sally worked for Xerox, serving in management at AT&T and Lucent Technologies. In 2005, Sally was diagnosed with osteoporosis. She set out to educate herself on bone health and ended up educating many others. She served on the state level with the New Jersey Interagency Council on Osteoporosis, the Project Healthy Bones program, a research grant at Rutgers, and Whole Foods; as well as on the national level with the National Osteoporosis Foundation, the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program, and Eli Lily.
Carole A. Barrett (SHU ’69) has centered her life’s work on teaching, particularly those in vulnerable communities. After graduating from Seton Hill, Carole earned her master’s in English and then a Ph.D. in teaching and learning. Carole taught at the St. Francis Indian School and the University of South Dakota. She served as a placement officer for the United Tribes Technical College and as college coordinator for the Indians Into Medicine Program prior to obtaining her current position as professor of American Indian studies and student support services academic coordinator at the University of Mary in 1982. Carole has also received the distinction of serving as a Fulbright Scholar during the 2012-2013 academic year. In addition to authoring or participating in numerous publications, book reviews and documentary films on the topic of social justice - particularly as it applies to native Americans - Carole has also served as the chair of the North Dakota Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
Joanna Pietropaoli Stillwagon (SHU ’69) served junior and senior high school art students as a teacher at various schools throughout southwestern Pennsylvania in which she instilled a love and appreciation for art in her students. Her 25-year teaching career ended with the Ligonier Valley School District. In addition to teaching art, Joanna always encouraged her students to get involved in volunteer projects, including art projects with Head Start children, acting as peer mentors, making bowls for the Bethlehem Project, and designing cards for veterans at the VA hospital. Joanna has received awards for her teaching from Bethany and Saint Vincent colleges. Married with two children and nine grandchildren, Joanna continues to work as an artist while also devoting significant time to her community and her alma mater. Joanna and her husband, Richard, who are members of Our Lady of Grace parish in Greensburg, Pa., received the Diocese of Greensburg Salt and Light Humanitarian Award in 2012 for their dedication to helping others.
Kathryn Loughran Cala (SHU ’79) came to Seton Hill in the footsteps of her mother, Seton Hill alumna Patricia Robinson Loughran ’55, and two of her three children, Kevin Cala ’13 and Megan Cala ’14, make up the three-generation Seton Hill family. After Kate graduated from Seton Hill with a degree in English and certifications in early childhood and elementary education, she continued her academic career by attending graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh. She has taught in a variety of schools in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas and has also been active in the literacy movement, creating and/or teaching in Family Literacy Programs at the Dayton Public Schools in Ohio; Debra House in Pittsburgh; and the Forbes Career and Technology Center in Monroeville, Pa. Currently, Kate serves as executive director of East Suburban Citizen Advocacy, a nonprofit in Murrysville, Pa. that supports individuals with developmental disabilities. Kate has also devoted much of her time to volunteer activities as well, including serving on the board and as president of the United Services for Effective Parenting; as a Seton Hill Alumni Association board member, and with the Clelian Heights School for Exceptional Children. She is also an active member of Mother of Sorrows parish in Murrysville, Pa.
Terri J. Erisman (SHU ’94) earned her law degree with honors from the University of North Carolina School of Law after graduating from Seton Hill. She earned her Master of Laws in Military Law degree at the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School in Virginia. As Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army, Terri has served as both a prosecutor and defense attorney. During her deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, she prosecuted the first civilian contractor under the military justice system since the Vietnam War. Terri has served 16 years in the Army and has earned numerous awards, including the Bronze Star medal, Meritorious Service medal, Army Commendation medal, Army Achievement medal, Global War on Terrorism campaign medal and the XVIII Airborne Corps combat patch. This summer, she will become the staff judge advocate for the United States Army Special Forces Command, making her the senior attorney for the Command. Terri is married to Retired Army Lt. Col. Kerry Erisman, with whom she has two sons.
Annie Urban (SHU ’99) worked full-time in various hotel management positions while earning her college degrees: an associate’s degree in business management from Westmoreland County Community College, a bachelor’s degree in business management/marketing from Seton Hill, and a master’s degree in tourism administration from The George Washington University. In 1999, the year she graduated from Seton Hill, Annie became the executive director at the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau. In 2008, she was named the director of marketing and development for Fort Ligonier, an organization for which she currently serves as executive director. After her brother Philip was diagnosed with cancer in 2009, Annie organized “Phil’s Phighters,” a Ligonier Relay for Life team that raised more than $25,000 for the American Cancer Society. Additionally, Annie and her other siblings carried out one of Philip’s final wishes by creating the Patricia A. Urban Memorial Scholarship, a lasting legacy in honor of their mother. This annual scholarship supports Ligonier Valley High School seniors who wish to attend college. Along with her best friend, Mamie Garver, Annie also co-owns a Ligonier gift shop. She is a member of the Ligonier Rotary Club and Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Ligonier, and serves on the boards of the Ligonier Valley Chamber of Commerce and Pennsylvania Association of Travel and Tourism. She is a former president of the YWCA of Westmoreland County and the Ligonier Valley Endowment Board of Governors.
Matthew Galando (SHU MBA ’04) began his career at the global law firm of K&L Gates as a college intern. In the 12 years since, he has advanced into a global management role with responsibilities ranging from curriculum development and global associate training to managing the firm’s continuing education accreditations and lawyer compliance. In addition to serving on the Seton Hill Board of Trustees and Alumni Association Board, Matthew is active on the board of the Edgewood Symphony Orchestra and with Pittsburgh’s City Theatre. In 2011, he participated in a three-day, 60-mile walk, raising nearly $5,000 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Matthew is also a musician, having played the trumpet since fourth grade. Matt was introduced to the trumpet by Annette Russell, a Seton Hill alumna and music educator, who continued to guide Matthew’s playing through grade school and high school. His music – and collaborative leadership style - has also been inspired by Kathy Campbell, alumna and professor of music at Seton Hill. In 2012, Matthew was honored with a “40 Under 40” Award from Pittsburgh Magazine and PNC Bank for being one of 40 individuals under the age of 40 making an impact on the Pittsburgh region.
Lorin E. Schumacher (SHU ’09) measures her success by the accomplishments of the students she has influenced so far in her career. During her time as a Peace Corps volunteer in Madagascar, Lorin taught English to young people in the eighth poorest country in the world. One of her former students works for an American-led organization where his English-speaking skills are crucial for communicating with his co-workers and another has been admitted to a university’s English teacher preparation program. Since her service with the Peace Corps, Lorin has gained experience teaching at the preschool, middle school and high school levels, and she most recently worked at the Small Miracle Preschool and Childcare and the Huntington Learning Centers in Omaha, Neb.
JoAnne Woodyard Boyle (SHU ’57) served as the ninth president of Seton Hill, holding the post from 1987 until her retirement in 2013. Prior to becoming president, JoAnne served as professor of English at Seton Hill and chair of the English department. In 2013, Seton Hill’s board of trustees named JoAnne president emerita. JoAnne guided Seton Hill's transition from a small women's undergraduate college to a coeducational university with an enrollment of almost 2,500 students. Under her leadership, the university expanded its offerings to include more than 80 undergraduate programs, 13 graduate programs, an adult degree program, online courses, several advanced certifications, and academic partnerships with universities and educational institutions around the globe. During JoAnne’s tenure, Seton Hill strengthened its international faculty and student exchange programs; expanded its campus into Greensburg's downtown historic district; and established the National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education (featuring The Ethel LeFrak Holocaust Education Conference), the E-Magnify Women's Business Center, the Center for Family Therapy, the Center for Orthodontics, the Wukich Center for Entrepreneurial Opportunities and the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) at Seton Hill.? As the result of JoAnne’s leadership, Seton Hill’s Mobile Learning @ the Hill initiative – which provides mobile technology to faculty and students, a campus-wide wireless network and technological infrastructure, and in-depth faculty training – received national acclaim. JoAnne received a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh in English, an M.A.T. from Harvard University, and a B.A. from Seton Hill. She served on numerous boards and was the recipient of many honors and awards. She also brought up seven children with her husband, Arthur Boyle, Jr., a Saint Vincent College alumnus.
Honorary Doctoral Degree Recipient Mary Ellen Lawrie Cooney-Higgins (SHU ’64) graduated from Seton Hill with a degree in English. Cooney-Higgins served as a teacher and realtor before establishing The Cashel Foundation in Chicago in 1997. The foundation is committed to social programs that directly address the educational needs of disadvantaged children, the need for long-term community supported homes for children, and the need for providing high-quality care and service to medically fragile children and their families. Cooney-Higgins is also a member of the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists Foundation, Inc. in Chicago, a national volunteer women's organization that helps graduate and undergraduate students in the United States by providing scholarships in natural sciences, medicine and engineering. In 2011, Cooney-Higgins was named the foundation’s Person of the Year. Cooney-Higgins serves on the Board of Advisors of Aid for Women, a Chicago-based nonprofit that provides positive alternatives for women facing unplanned pregnancies, as well as on the Women’s Board of Chicago’s Adler Planetarium. She is also an avid supporter of the Hinsdale Junior Women’s Club. At Seton Hill, Cooney-Higgins’ philanthropy established The Mary Ellen Lawrie Cooney-Higgins ’64 Endowment Fund for the Future of Seton Hill College Students. She was Seton Hill’s first million-dollar donor, and, with her recent six-figure commitment to the JoAnne Woodyard Boyle Health Sciences Center, her lifetime giving to Seton Hill totals nearly $2 million. She served as a member of the University’s Board of Trustees and participated as a member of the Student Interests Committee where she helped enhance the quality of academic and social experiences for all Seton Hill students. She also served on the President’s Advisory Council to help Seton Hill achieve two Kresge Foundation challenge awards for the construction of the Katherine Mabis McKenna Center and the Performing Arts Center.