Project Director, Bayfront East Side Taskforce
This Mercyhurst University grad isn’t afraid to look at things differently. “It’s easy for people to associate the East Side with crime and decay, but as a resident and employee in the East Bayfront, I see a different picture – one of vibrancy and community.” That vision, says the woman who’s notched bachelor’s degrees in both criminal justice and sociology and is now working on her master’s in social administration with a concentration in community practice for social change at Case Western Reserve University, is one worth sharing with Erie. When Paige isn’t at the Bayfront East Side Taskforce, endeavoring to transform the Historic East Bayfront into a neighborhood of choice for individuals, families, and businesses, she can be found either spending time enjoying two of her favorite things in life – cats and craft beer – or “throwing down in the kitchen.” Young people living in Erie, she says, shows potential in the city, adding: “For many of us, the decision to stay is more than affordability or job security – it’s a shared vision of a livable, thriving city.”
Executive Vice-President-Business Operations, Lake Erie Speedway
Once he arrived in Erie by way of I-90 from Elyria, Ohio, Branden never looked back. Because really, he didn’t have a the chance to. The internship he landed at Lake Erie Speedway while completing his degree in business management and sports administration at Mercyhurst University turned into a job that took him to the apex of day-to-day operations in local racing. Since then, Lake Erie Speedway has become an important community asset offering affordable family entertainment. Branden says the size of the community, as well as the energy and vision of young leaders and entrepreneurs, makes Erie a city worth investing in. “Erie has the benefit of a ‘big city feel,’” he observes, “and I believe that the energy, creativity, and passion of the young talent will allow Erie the opportunity to continue to evolve, grow, and remain an exceptional place.”
Attorney, Vendetti & Vendetti
As an assistant public defender and practicing lawyer at the Vendetti & Vendetti law firm, Emily knows how to dance around a courtroom. But she’s also light enough on her feet to co-chair the 50th Annual Barber Christmas Ball and participate in the Celebrity Dance Competition for Catholic Charities. And all the while she is swaying to the music, she’s helping out as the Vice-President of the Mercyhurst University Alumni Board of Directors, a member of the Mercyhurst Prep Alumni Board of Governors, a member of the Mercy Center of the Arts Board of Trustees, and a member of the Mercyhurst Institute for Arts and Culture. She’s also on the Young Erie Professionals Board of Directors, the Neighborhood Art House Development Committee, the Catholic Charities Ball Planning Committee, and was the 2014 Chairperson for the Perry Square Alliance Party Off the Park. It takes some pretty fancy footwork to do all that. If anyone can get Erie up out of it’s seat and moving to the music, it’s Emily.
Director of Instrumental Music, Mercyhurst Prep
This Erie native likes to joke that he’s been on the same city block since 1999, when he started his freshman year of schooling at Mercyhurst Prep. Four years later, he “walked down the hill” to start college studies at Mercyhurst University, then, in 2007, walked back up to become a teacher at MPS. To him, teaching’s as much about preparing tomorrow’s community leaders as it is showing kids how to perform. That work’s about fostering creativity and providing outlets for all that local arts have to offer. That’s his part, among other native young professionals, in erasing the worn-out notion that ‘there’s nothing to do in Erie.’ “I think it says a lot about our city that myself and others have chosen to continue to make Erie our home,” he says. “It’s nice to see my generation realize we play an integral role in sustaining what was true all along: Erie is a vibrant community with something for everyone.
President/Chief Development Officer, Hamot Health Foundation
Some of Ann Tredway’s friends and colleagues were surprised when she decided to move to Erie after spending 12 years in Washington, D.C., but the decision was an easy one for her.“I knew that I wanted to return to Erie,” says the New Bethlehem, Pa. native. “Here you can truly be a part of a community and that’s really special. I have met so many talented and passionate young professionals, and we all have a similar story.” The Mercyhurst College graduate has made an impact in Erie as the president and chief development officer of the Hamot Health Foundation, where she oversees the operations of the organization and provides leadership for all philanthropic programs. In addition to her success in the workplace, she also met her husband Tom just two months after returning to The Flagship City. “I could have lived in Chicago, Boston, or D.C., but I chose Erie because I can make a difference here and I love it.”
*All quotes and images taken from the Erie Reader
I’m a bullet point-type of guy. Whether reading a business report or the Bible, I like when information is condensed into the key takeaways and messages I need.
That’s one reason why the Beatitudes, in Matthew’s Gospel, have long been one of my favorite biblical passages. The Beatitudes, the opening of Jesus’ famous “Sermon on the Mount,” are not only a brilliant “bullet point” summary of how to live a blessed life, but they describe mercy – and living mercifully – to a tee.
The fifth Beatitude states, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Matthew 5:7).
I listened to someone recently say “Mercy is when you withhold something from someone even though they deserve it – like not giving a fast driver a speeding ticket.” I couldn’t disagree more.
To be merciful is to show forgiveness and compassion to those in need in a way that doesn’t hold back something, but provides something. Jesus frequently spoke of this trait. In the Lord’s Prayer, He says, “Forgive us our sins, as we also have forgiven those who sin against us” (Matthew 6:12). In Matthew 9:13 Jesus instructs the Pharisees, “Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’
Living with mercy in our hearts means to live proactively in the spirit of assuming good intent in others, openly forgiving others, and realizing that human interactions are a series of “deposits” and “withdrawls.” To live mercifully is to seek opportunities to make emotional and mental deposits in our peers, not to look for ways to withdraw their assets and drain their hearts.
As Mercyhurst University celebrates Mercy Week 2015, I wish all Lakers everywhere a year filled with overwhelming joy. Carpe Diem! Now, I’ve got some bullet points at work to get back to.
–Scott Koskoski ’00
Mercy, what an interesting word. It’s one that isn’t frequently used in today’s social context, yet as a graduate of Mercyhurst University, it’s a word that strongly resonates with me for obvious reasons. As a 2005 graduate, it’s been close to 10 years since I left the gates, ready to embrace the next chapter of my life. I entered school with a strong faith foundation – thanks to my family, and Catholic upbringing – and gratefully left with a more clearly defined and strengthened set of individualized values, and a faith that was deepened from where I originally began. After investigating the true meaning of “mercy” I uncovered many definitions and meanings. However, when reflecting on how it was best illustrated in my immediate world, I found “mercy” most closely connected to kindness.
After living in New York City for almost eight years, everyday living is filled with interesting visuals, sounds, and moments shared (sometimes for better or for worse). But what continues to keep me inspired and hopeful for our world are the acts of kindness that I see, surprisingly more often than you would anticipate. Strangers extending their umbrellas to a fellow New Yorker caught in the rain, a hurried businessman stopping mid commute to assist an elderly gentleman down the subway stairs, a couple on their way home from dinner who stops to hand their leftovers to a homeless person who is in need of a warm, tasty meal. It’s incredible the signs of love and kindness, or mercy in this case, that are ever-present, especially in a city that often is criticized for being too harsh, fast-paced and essentially merciless. I think it’s a solid reminder that all around us, regardless of where we may be physically located, mercy is indeed ever present and thriving.
–Emilee Ballaro ’05
I sit here in my office in Egan Hall (which is just two doors down from what was my room during my freshman year) and look out onto the front of Old Main/Egan and smile knowing that right where I sit is where all of this began. From the vision of the Sisters of Mercy, to the labor of the men and women who put the buildings together, to the dedication of all those who came after to help it all grow, here we are today with a rich history and a bright future – all thanks to the people who make up Mercyhurst.
We know, that this 75 acres of land and the people that make it a Mercyhurst community, is just one small part of larger Mercy impact…but the work and the education that takes place at Mercyhurst is important and something to be proud of. I personally, am proud to be a part of the Mercyhurst community and believe that it is all of our duties to carry on the Mercy traditions and heritage that was set by the Sisters of Mercy so long ago.
The Mercy mission is something that has greatly impacted me from the first moment I encountered the Sisters of Mercy. Mercy runs deep for me as I received a wonderful Mercy education for a total of 10 years strait – four years of high school at Mercyhurst Preparatory School, four years of undergrad at Mercyhurst University and two years of grad school at Mercyhurst University as well as (going on) two years of employment here at the Hurst!
To say that I owe SO much to the Mercy community is an understatement. In these Mercy institutions, I have come to meet my very best friends, my future husband, some of the hardest working colleagues around, and employees and professors who show relentless commitment. I have received an education that is second to none, it was challenging, enlightening, faith-based, and significant to the work that I do today. I sincerely love this community and its people!
As time goes by and the foundations set by the Sisters of Mercy become more distant, let us, the alumni, the employees, the friends of Mercy and Mercyhurst, carry on that foundation of service, education, hospitality, and care for all. Let us all celebrate, honor and live the spirit of Mercy not only this week during Mercy Week, but every day, in all that we do!
When I arrived at Mercyhurst in fall 2003, I fully expected that my four years at the college would have a profound impact on my life. I looked forward to growing academically, watching a few hockey games, and making some good friends. While I did all of those things and enjoyed them immensely, to this day I remain in awe of how much my Mercyhurst experience strengthened my faith, perhaps more so than any other element in my life.
From my very first experience with the Sisters of Mercy, I was amazed at their dedication to their work. Whether their ministries in health care, education, or caring for the sick and homeless, they truly are an incredible group of powerful women. I think that it is critical that all in the Mercyhurst community periodically think back to the days when Mercyhurst was being built, and the sisters literally finished the construction of Old Main because the workers when on strike. From that very moment the Sisters of Mercy have laid a strong foundation for Mercyhurst rooted in Catholic faith, the Mercy charism, and a wonderful acceptance of all who enter through those special gates.
I think anyone passionate about the Sisters of Mercy has a favorite quote or prayer from Catherine McAuley. While there are many I have saved in different places, my all-time favorite is a short snippet from her letter to de Sales White in February 1841 – “The simplest and most practical lesson I know … is to be good today, but better tomorrow.” I believe the Sisters of Mercy have exemplified this lesson through the history of Mercyhurst, and we in the faculty, staff, and administration owe it to them to keep pushing Mercyhurst forward always focused on being better tomorrow.
— Ryan Palm ’07 is the associate vice president for advancement at Mercyhurst University.
Everyone here at Mercyhurst Alumni was so happy and excited to be a part of the HOTC Alumni Rowing event this past weekend in Boston Massachusetts. We had a great time and congratulate you on your successes!
“The Mercyhurst University women’s and lightweight men’s rowing programs traveled to Boston this past weekend for the largest regatta in the world, The Head of the Charles. The Lakers had a strong showing with the Women’s Collegiate Eight finishing fourteenth while the Men’s Lightweight Eight finished thirteenth.” – Jamie Francis Mercyhurst Assistant Coach
July Alumni Board update – we say farewell to Six Alumni Board members.
“I recall walking in to the campus of Mercyhurst as an adult, pushing 40, single mother, recently unemployed and wondering how to improve my career prospects and fulfill a need that I had to do what I hadn’t done when I graduated from High School many years prior. I was nervous and afraid of what the future would hold; but from the moment I met the staff of the adult college, I felt at ease. It was Fall, but within weeks I was enrolled and had financial aid and student loans lined up and was sitting in my first classes. What an experience being in classes with students almost 20 years younger. Taking Algebra of all things! Seriously? It had been 20 years since I had to figure out “X.” Anyway, I survived the first trimester with flying colors. Found out I loved college. Got a job and transitioned into MAP (Mercyhurst Accelerated Program) offered by Adult College and began attending in evenings and on weekends, in what were lovingly called the ‘marathon’ classes by the students. 4 hours on Saturday a.m. and Sunday eve and Wednesdays. What a great way to get a degree. I could work my day job and attend classes and study during what seemed like every other waking hour.
Even though I was a ‘natural’ at school, I do have to thank all the professors who were willing to give of their times to make these special classes successful. Since it was a new program, we all were participating in a great experiment. Many went well beyond the call of duty, especially during my second year when I literally almost died of a pulmonary embolism within weeks of the end of term. The professors gave me every opportunity to finish, even if it meant dropping off classwork at my home. That’s dedication! I had to take one term off, but was back full force the next… Another change of job… Then there was no stopping. I had a mission and a personal goal to do the best I could. Graduated suma cum laud with a degree in Risk Management and was honored by the college with the Bishops Award for Academic Excellence. It was a very special experience to have my parents and my children at my graduation. In fact, my daughter and I graduated with our Bachelor Degrees two weeks apart.
What I didn’t anticipate was missing attending classes and learning. So, of course, when they started the Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership, I jumped right in. What some may not realize is, at that time, it was started as a Certificate program, totally dependent upon the success of the program and the enrollment. We were only promised that if we committed to a year, that we would get a certificate. It turned out that the program was well accepted and Mercyhurst continued us ‘pioneers’ into the full M.S. It still warms my heart when I hear of new graduates to that program, knowing that I and my cohorts had a hand in the success of the program being a permanent part of Mercyhurst.
At this point I would like to give a special thank you to Dr. Gamble, who was my thesis mentor. His guidance really made that dreaded experience a success. I can’t say enough good about all the professors I had. From opening my world to classical music and English classics to accounting and statistics, to trying to resolve the issue of brucellosis in Bison to financial management, I was exposed to many interesting and practical topics.
In the brief interval between graduating with a B.S. and starting the M.S., I found I missed participating in the college experience. When I mentioned this to Mary Ellen Dahlkemper, she suggested the Alumni Board and made a recommendation. That is how I became a member. That was 18 years ago. I still can’t believe it’s been that long. I’ve seen many changes in the board, the administration, and Homecoming in those years. My favorite activity to help with at Homecoming was the ‘Comfortable Cup of Tea’ at the Motherhouse. It was such a warm experience to see the alums visiting the Mercy Sisters, and I know the feeling was mutual on both sides. I also had the great honor for many years of welcoming the Adult Students into the alumni association at a reception prior to graduation. My most heartfelt experience, though, was being able to present the Distinguished Alumni award to Mary Ellen on behalf of the Alumni Board. She had been such a blessing to me and all the Adult College ‘non-traditional’ students.
One of the changes on the Board is the institution of Term Limits, so I must bid farewell to the Board, but not good-bye to the University, which will remain part of me and always be held close to my heart. This retirement coincides with my retirement from the PA Dept of Revenue. So, now I’ve come full circle from starting college, new career, to being able to retire. Looking forward to many new opportunities coming my way! Those of you just beginning…. Remember to give it your best and Carpe Diem!”
By: Amy Lombardo `94, `96, `01
We would also like to say farewell to longtime board member Jeanne Phillips `68, as her final term expires. Jeanne has been a staple at our Erie alumni events and helping us to educate students and recent alumni about the importance of giving back to your beloved alma mater.
In addition, we say goodbye to the always hardworking and creative genius networking team chair and co-chair, JP Ratajczak `02, `04 and Kristen Hudak `05 as they continue to move forward with family, work and life adventures. We also thank Bob Dubik `78, Mary McKenna `90 for their board service, as their terms expired as well.
Thank you for your years of service.
We have a bit of a race going on through our FACE campaign – many of you have made gifts in honor of those who have made an impact on you and several people have honored longtime Mercyhurst employee Mary Daly ’66.
One alum who honored Mary indicated that she was one of his strongest and most guiding influences at Mercyhurst as a student. He said “As advisor to the Merciad, Mary insisted on mentoring with quality, style and showed me the charm and character of Mercyhurst.”
With multiple gifts that honored Mary, she is a front-runner to be the winner as our “Ultimate FACE of MU” – thank you Mary for making such an impact on our alumni, you are a wonderful asset to Mercyhurst!
Who do you think should be in the lead? Make a gift and honor someone that you think deserves to be the “Ultimate FACE” online at giving.mercyhurst.edu/FACE or by clicking the green button below!
She stated, “I’m making my gift in honor of Fr. Sullivan. Fr. Sullivan was the first chaplain at Mercyhurst, from 1926-1933, but also served as professor, farmer, landscape designer and supervisor of the grounds. It was at the height of the Great Depression when he recruited stone masons and workers to construct the Mercyhurst grotto from the line of unemployed men who were being served food from the Mercyhurst kitchen. I love this picture of Fr. Sullivan, as he is surrounded by all of the stones and boulders that were found on the Mercyhurst campus; an undeveloped spans of land at the time of 1932.”
Fr. Sullivan and MANY other Mercyhurst FACEs have made a huge impact on our school – help us reach 501 more donors and show your support before the end of the fiscal year (May 31) to help us reach an alumni participation rate of 20% – give now online at giving.mercyhurst.edu/FACE or by clicking the green button below!
In the business world, one of the most important ways to measure success is “ROI” – Return On Investment. We treasure the concept of getting far more back than we put in, and really, why not? It’s just good business sense.
For this week only, ending May 26, Mercyhurst University alumni like you and I can get perhaps the biggest bang for our buck ever when we decide to support our alma mater. And when I say “buck,” I mean $1.
If you could give Mercyhurst $1 and see it turned into $51, that would be pretty amazing ROI, right? That’s the deal – this week only! I’m reaching out to Hurst alumni near and far because deals like this just don’t come around every day, and because Mercyhurst grads like us are smart, we know a good deal when we see one.
Between now and May 26, the university is on a mission to welcome 501 new donors to this year’s Annual Fund. (You know, the really important fund that provides valuable financial aid; ensures strong academics, athletics and arts programs; strengthens the library and keeps the Mercy mission going strong.) Why 501 new donors? It’s in honor of the street address you and I used to call home: 501 East 38th.
Here’s all you have to do: Head to giving.mercyhurst.edu/FACE before May 26 and give any amount you’d like – as little as $1 – to your favorite area of the Annual Fund. (You can even honor a favorite Mercyhurst faculty member, administrator, coach or employee through the FACE Campaign.) When you give, Mercyhurst’s Board of Trustees will add $50 to your gift. It’s that simple! But hurry – this offer is only good for the first 501 new donors to take advantage!
If you aren’t sure whether you quality as a “new donor,” think back to your last gift to Mercyhurst. If it was before May 31, 2013, you are a new donor this year. If you last gave after May 31, 2013, then here’s a perfect opportunity to give again before the fiscal year ends May 31, 2014. And if you can’t remember ever supporting Mercyhurst, I guarantee there’s never been a better time. It’s a free $50 to help you give back – Carpe Diem and give before May 26!
By: Scott Koskoski ’00, Alumni Board Member