Seton Hill University Presents Distinguished Alumni Leadership Awards

On June 2, 2018, Seton Hill presented the University’s Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award to 10 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: Mary Frances Senita Zadzilko (SHU ’68) of Ebensburg, Pa.; Gloria Fiorelli Pollock (SHU ’68) of Gibsonia, Pa.; Patrice A. Tedescko, Esq. (SHU ’73) of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Ellen Katter, MS Ed (SHU ’73) of Murrysville, Pa.; Johnette Zappone DeRose (SHU ’73) of Latrobe, Pa.; Patricia A. Smiy (SHU ’78) of Irwin, Pa.; Kathleen Rylander Sarniak-Tanzola (SHU ’78) of Irwin, Pa.; Allegra Stasko-Slick (SHU ’88) of Johnstown, Pa.; Walter M. Grushesky (SHU ’98) of Murrysville, Pa.; and Sean T. Garrity (SHU ’08) of Munhall, Pa., who received a special Award for Service. In addition, alumna Clare Berenato (SHU ’13) of New York, N.Y. will receive the Young Alumna Achievement Award at a special ceremony at a Seton Hill alumni gathering in New York later this year.

Mary Frances Senita Zadzilko (SHU ’68) has served others in numerous ways, including as an elementary school teacher, a Girl Scout leader and by giving of her musical and theatrical talents. Mary Frances, who earned a master’s degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, worked as a teacher in both the Fox Chapel and Central Cambria school districts until her retirement in 2006. A lifetime member of the Girl Scouts of America and a member of its Gold Award Alliance, Mary Frances served her community as a troop leader and as a member of the Talus Rock Girl Scout Council Board of Directors. Mary Frances has also given of her talents as a performer with a variety of arts organizations in her community, including the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra Chorale, Cresson Lake Playhouse and Saint Francis University Chorus and theatre. A cantor at Saints Peter and Paul Byzantine Catholic Church, Mary Frances graduated from the Metropolitan Cantor Institute and was honored by the Byzantine Catholic Serra Club for more than 20 years of service to the church. Her years of singing at church and in the community led her to an opportunity to sing at the White House in 1994. And Mary Frances supports Seton Hill students through the establishment of the Mary Frances Senita Zadzilko ’68 and Honorable Raymond J. Zadzilko Scholarship.

Gloria Fiorelli Pollock (SHU ’68) began her path to a career as an artist and teacher with a single art class during her sophomore year at Seton Hill. Gloria joined the Pittsburgh Public Schools as an art teacher after her graduation. For 35 years, Gloria taught students in elementary, middle and high school as well as those with special needs. Gloria also taught at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Education and spent nine years teaching adults at the Carnegie Museum of Art. She was also a Consultant for Special Exhibitions at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Most of her teaching centered around pottery, and Gloria learned her craft through ceramics workshops throughout the country with contemporary potters such as Sarah Yeager, Molly Hatch, Linda Arbuckle and Richard Zakin. After retiring from teaching in 2004, Gloria opened Featherfield Pottery Studio as a way to continue to extend her love of ceramics to people of all ages. She offered scholarships to students who wanted to attend classes but could not afford them. Gloria’s works can be found in many private collections around the country, but she takes great pride in the one-of-a-kind clay pieces she has created for charity fundraisers, including pieces for Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh, Arts in the Garden, Kids Voice and the Butler Women’s Club. Gloria is currently serving her community at VA Butler Healthcare, where she helps veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction problems share their thoughts and fears through art.

Patrice A. Tedescko, Esq. (SHU ’73) is an accomplished real estate attorney in south Florida who has been committed to helping her community. Patrice earned her law degree from the University of Dayton and began her career as a Federal Law Clerk – first for a United States District Court Judge and later for a United States Bankruptcy Court Judge in Ohio. For more than 30 years, Patrice has practiced as a real estate attorney with some of the top law firms and developers in South Florida. She currently is an attorney with Myron E. Siegel, P.A. practicing in the areas of business formation and real estate both domestically and internationally. She is also Vice President and a Managing Attorney of Guaranteed Florida Title, Incorporated, where she oversees all aspects of closing services for residential and commercial real estate transactions. Patrice has also made time to serve her community and her church. Patrice was appointed to the Community Service Board of the City of Fort Lauderdale whose charge was to distribute City funds to support operations of worthy local charities. She served as President of Outreach Broward, which provides residential facilities for troubled youth. She was also President of Chapter AU, PEO International, which raised funds for college scholarships for girls. Patrice offered her legal expertise pro-bono to her children’s schools and her church. She also served as a Trustee of her church’s multimillion-dollar Endowment Fund and as a member of the Vestry. 

Ellen Katter, MS Ed (SHU ’73) has worked in the healthcare industry for the past 38 years with a particular emphasis on managing volunteer services for Excela Health. Ellen, who holds a Master’s Degree in Education from Duquesne University, has served patients and their families on a variety of fronts including the LIFELINE® program, a personal emergency response program that has kept seniors and medically in-need individuals in their homes safely. Ellen initiated and managed volunteer initiatives such as Pre-School Vision Screening in local preschools and kindergartens, which screened more then 50,000 children for visual impairments leading to early detection and treatment, and the infant CUDDLER program, in which volunteers cuddle and rock infants who are born addicted. Ellen currently serves on the boards of the Westmoreland County Food Bank, the Mental Health Association of Southwestern Pennsylvania, and the Advisory Board of Saint Vincent College SSR-TRIO program, a student support services group.  She also served Seton Hill on the Alumni Association Board and was a past board president for the YWCA Westmoreland County. She has been honored by the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, Mental Health America of Southwestern Pennsylvania, and has been a recipient of the Winners’ Circle, Central Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce Award for Community Service.

Johnette Zappone DeRose (SHU ’73) dedicated herself to improving the lives of the children she encountered as a teacher and administrator at Valley School of Ligonier. Johnette, who earned a Master’s Degree in Reading from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, began a 39-year career in education at the Valley School of Ligonier in 1977 as a classroom teacher for fourth and fifth grade students before beginning her tenure as Admissions Director. In 1992, Johnette began her service as Head of the Valley School of Ligonier’s Lower School, a position she held until her retirement from education in 2015. Though she is no longer working in a school setting, Johnette continues to serve young people through Puppy Liza, a pen pal service she founded in 2010. Children who subscribe receive monthly letters in the mail detailing Puppy Liza’s adventures and encouragement toward developing a love of reading and learning. Johnette gives back to her community in a number of ways. She serves as a board member of Faith in Action, Action for Animals and the Latrobe Area Hospital Aid Society. Johnette also serves as a member of the Strategic Leadership Council for Valley School of Ligonier and is a Master Gardener through the Penn State Extension with 50 hours of community service.

Patricia A. Smiy (SHU ’78) has dedicated herself to service to her parish, diocese, community and alma mater. A 1978 graduate of Seton Hill, Patricia worked for 28 years in retailing for Joseph Horne Company and Lazarus before her retirement. A parishioner at Immaculate Conception Parish in Irwin, Pennsylvania, Patricia is a member of the parish’s Christian Mothers/Women’s Guild and the Comfort Blanket Ministry, and coordinated several projects, including the parish cookbook and its 150th anniversary stamp. She has served the Diocese of Greensburg in numerous ways. She was an honorary co-chairwoman for the diocese’s “Today’s Challenge ~ Tomorrow’s Hope” capital and endowment campaign and serves on the Bishop’s Commission for the Diocesan Heritage Center, where she coordinated the Heritage Quilt project. Patricia is also a member of the National Diocesan Council of Catholic Women and is a Lady Commander in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. These efforts led the Diocese of Greensburg to award Patricia the 2017 Communities of Salt and Light Award for philanthropy. Patricia has served the greater community through volunteer work at the former Jeannette District Memorial Hospital as well as the Norwin Hills Health Care Center for the former Mercy-Jeannette Hospital. She currently serves on the boards of the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra and the Paul and Anne Smiy Family Foundation. She has also established the Patricia A. Smiy Foundation to provide grants to educational, cultural or religious non-profit organizations in her community. Patricia also provides generous leadership support for Seton Hill student scholarships, most recently for students enrolled in the University’s Sacred Music Program.

Kathleen Rylander Sarniak-Tanzola (SHU ’78) has had two careers in her life – both challenging but only one requiring a pink hard hat. A 1978 graduate of Seton Hill, Kathleen spent 25 years as an executive in the cosmetic and fragrance industry with such organizations as May Company, Cosmair Inc. and Yves St. Laurent. In 2003, Kathleen joined Jeannette Specialty Glass to launch Oceana Glass, a line of products that is now in over two thousand showrooms around the world. Her success with the Oceana line led to Kathleen’s rise through the company, from President and Chief Operating Officer to her current position as CEO.  The only manufacturing plant still producing glass in Jeannette, Pennsylvania, the company’s three divisions make glass for the lighting, scientific, health and wellness and kitchen and bath industries. She takes great pride in the growth she has achieved at Jeannette Specialty Glass because of the direct impact it has had on the lives of people in her community. Kathleen has been honored for several awards including the Pittsburgh Business Times 2012 Manufacturer of the Year, the 2013 Business Women First Award and the 2013 Westmoreland County ATHENA Leadership Award. She has given back to her community as a member of the boards of the Blackburn Center, the Greensburg Cultural Trust and the Women’s Leadership Council of the United Way, and has supported a variety of efforts at Saint Mary of the Mount Parish in Pittsburgh.

Allegra Stasko-Slick (SHU ’88) has worked to improve the lives of generations of young people during her career as an educator and as a leader. After graduating from Seton Hill in 1988, Allegra began her career in education as a math teacher at Bishop McCort High School. She later worked as a Department of Defense teacher in Camp LeJeune, North Carolina then as a homebound instructor for students on leave from school for medical reasons in the Greater Johnstown School District. In 2004, Allegra continued her teaching career as an adjunct instructor at Pennsylvania Highlands Community College teaching Math and later Early Childhood Education classes. Allegra has taught over 100 academic classes and also creates and teaches non-credit cooking and baking classes for adults in the self-enrichment program at PHCC. Since 2005, Allegra has served as executive director of Mom’s House, Inc. of Johnstown. She oversees all day-to-day activity as well as budget, fundraising and staff management. Mom’s House, which celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2017, offers support to single parents who are in school or a job training program by providing child care and other services at no cost to the parent, allowing the parents to remain in school, graduate, and become productive members of the community. Allegra has transformed Mom’s House from a daycare into a top-rated, child care facility and pre-school program. She has created a program that has received the highest rating of a child care facility in Pennsylvania from OCDEL – the Office of Child Development and Early Learning – a STARS 4 rating. Allegra gives back to her community as a board member of the Community Action Partnership of Cambria County, a Policy Council Board Member for Early Head Start, a United Way volunteer, and as a former board member of the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority and the Johnstown Planning Commission.

Walter M. Grushesky (SHU ’98) spent 30 years working in manufacturing before deciding to continue his education at Seton Hill for an opportunity to advance in his career. Walter began working at Kennametal, Inc. in 1966 as a mechanical draftsman while attending Greensburg Institute of Technology. In the 1970s, Walter enrolled in a continuing education program to earn his engineering certification, which led him to be promoted numerous times, and, ultimately, to Senior Manufacturing Engineer. Walter’s next focus was to move into management. In 1994, he began attending Seton Hill’s adult degree program on Saturdays to earn a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Management. The degree he earned in 1998 led him to promotions at Kennametal, where he served as Senior Lean Enterprise Manager before his retirement in 2013. He implemented programs that saved the company $10 million over 10 years and served as benchmarks for other facilities. Walter continues to work in the manufacturing arena as a consultant and as a council member with the Gerson Lehrman Group, which offers expertise to corporations around the world. Walter has served his community through volunteering for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, Lutheran Senior Life’s Gala and Grandparents Run and Kennametal’s Day of Caring. And, Walter’s affinity for Seton Hill and the Sisters of Charity and his lifelong connection to Greensburg have led him to create The Walter M. Grushesky ’98 Endowed Scholarship to provide future generations of Setonians the financial assistance they need to attain a degree.

Sean T. Garrity (SHU ’08) has dedicated himself to service in his career in the healthcare industry and in his community. After graduating from Seton Hill in 2008, Sean began his career with the international accounting firm KPMG, completing auditing and advisory work across various industries, including healthcare, manufacturing and financial services. In 2014, Sean left public accounting to join Highmark Health. In 2017, Sean transferred into a new role with the Allegheny Health Network as a Senior Project Manager in the company’s Strategy Transformation Office. Throughout his career, Sean has made service a priority. Sean’s participation in the Cook Forest River Ride for Bike MS has helped raise thousands of dollars to support the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. In his professional roles at KPMG and Highmark Health, Sean also committed time to implement wellness and environmental sustainability programs. At Seton Hill, Sean served on the Graduates of the Last Decade Alumni Council and recently joined the Alumni Advisory Council and currently serves as President Elect. He has participated in many mentoring programs for current students, including Career Connections, and has organized service projects for alumni at a variety of Seton Hill events. Sean was also among a core group that began organizing weeklong alumni service trips for Habitat for Humanity. The idea came to fruition in 2013 when 25 Seton Hill alumni, faculty and staff traveled to New Orleans to repair houses damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Sean has helped organize subsequent service trips to Durham, North Carolina and Cape May, New Jersey where alumni have donated their vacation time and personal funds to serve communities in need.

Clare Berenato (SHU ’13) has turned her experiences as a student-athlete into a career in college athletics.  Clare, a 2013 graduate of Seton Hill, self-designed her major in Communications and Entrepreneurial Studies with a specialization in Sports Management, while playing basketball and serving as captain of the women’s team during her final two seasons. Since graduation, Clare has held leadership roles with women’s basketball programs at Lackawanna College and Fordham University. At Lackawanna, Clare served as assistant women’s basketball coach. Among her responsibilities was ensuring that the student-athletes received proper academic support, including group study hall and tutoring opportunities. In 2014, Clare joined the staff at Fordham University where she is the Director of Women’s Basketball Administration and Special Assistant to the Head Coach. Clare oversees marketing, fundraising and game day programming efforts for the team in addition to managing day-to-day operations and facilitating community service outreach for the players. Her efforts have helped to increase attendance at home Fordham games by more than 100 percent over three seasons. Clare earned her Master’s degree in nonprofit leadership from Fordham in 2016. She is a member of Women Leaders in College Sports, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and the Young Nonprofit Professional Network.


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