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Hurst Happenings

`65 Mercyhurst Alum Receives Women’s Initiative of Central Massachusetts Award

grayEach year the Women’s Initiative of Central Massachusetts honors two local women that embody the leadership and values of its co-founders Lois Green and Meridith Wesby and whose deep commitment and dedication make a meaningful difference in the community. The awards are presented at the Stepping Up for Girls event.

This year’s recipient of the Lois B. Green award was Mercyhurst alum Maureen Gray`65.  Maureen holds a lifelong dedication to motivating young people to learn and achieve, to community service and to financial empowerment for women and girls.

Maureen earned her BA from Mercyhurst University and went on for a Master’s from Assumption College in French and Education. She then launched a 21-year career as a teacher and administrator at Bancroft School, teaching foreign languages and English. During her time there, she co-authored the textbook, The Phenomenon of Language, an exploratory language skills program for Middle School students. At her retirement from Bancroft, she was awarded the school’s Carpe Diem Award for excellence in teaching.

In 1990, Maureen prepared to pursue a second career in financial planning. For the last 26 years, she has advised clients on investments, retirement savings, insurance and budgeting in her profession as Senior Wealth Strategist for the Gray Group at UBS Financial Services in downtown Worcester.

Maureen has served on the boards of several nonprofit organizations, including Seven Hills Foundation, Junior League, Worcester Historical Museum and Girls Inc. She is a Trustee of Seven Hills, a Corporator of the Worcester Art Museum and a member of the Financial Literacy Committee for the Women’s Initiative. She has enjoyed speaking at conferences and events designed to teach young women about finance, careers in finance, fundraising and governance.

For these and other efforts, she was awarded the Robert W. Stoddard Award for Outstanding Community Service by Bancroft School in 2015.

Maureen is known as someone who works behind the scenes connecting people to organizations to help make the community thrive. In her mind so many have latent leadership talent and are ripe for mentoring in order to be effective on boards and committees. She has a personal and professional mission to help others make well-informed financial and philanthropic decisions.

Maureen lives in Worcester with her husband, Bob Gray, and is the mother of three sons and the grandmother of seven, six girls and a boy.

Congratulations Maureen!

Reunion by the Sea III

reunion-by-sea-iii-groupA group from the Class of ’65 had another get-together in Maine this September.  They dubbed it Reunion by the Sea III.  Once again, the gang enjoyed the hospitality of Maureen Gray and her son Rob at their summer homes in Cape Porpoise. The days were spent catching up, sightseeing, going to the beach, and eating great seafood, but mostly reminiscing about their years together at the Hurst.  A special treat was having Mary Ann Finnerty Belladonna and Nancy Ferraro Santola join the ladies, as they had not seen them since graduation, 51 years ago.

The group also raised over $300 for the Class of 1965 Scholarship by raffling off a beautiful painting of a Cape Porpoise harbor scene done by a classmate Barb Kramer Brozich.  Barb had sketched the scene on a previous trip to Maine and generously donated a giclee print of the resulting painting for the fundraiser.

The fourteen ladies who attended Reunion by the Sea III include: Maureen Aleci Gray, Carol Klein, Maryce Jaeger Cunningham, Liz Cicholski Vargo, Anne Ledoux Erwin, Ann Kleindinst Abbate, Bonnie Morris Gerace, Mary Ann Finnerty Belladonna, Kathie Mahaney Baumeister, Nancy Ferraro Santola, Ann Sheridan Kreider, Peggy Hock Heetmann, Ginny Gorsak Degironimo, and Sue Smith Beidler.


Crowdfunding effort spurs four new projects

Rowing_CoverURLExperience_CoverURLMercyhurst University, through its advancement office, launched an inaugural crowdfunding platform ( last month to raise money for four mission-driven and university-supported projects. The takeaway: each was fully funded and then some!

“Our office saw this as a way we could help our faculty, staff and students bring important projects to fruition,” said Caleb Pifer, vice president for external affairs and advancement. “Research has shown us that Millennials are more likely to support specific causes and projects than they are to support a general non-specific donation.”MakerBot_CoverURL4thVow_CoverURL
Thirty-eight donors contributed $4,500 to purchase a MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer for the graphic design department. Their goal was $4,000. Another over-the-top fundraising effort was achieved by the rowing team, which raised $5,375 toward the purchase of a wakeless training boat to replace the old aluminum boat currently used by coaches. That project was funded at 107 percent of its $5,000 goal, thanks to contributions from 41 donors.

read the full article at

Katlyn & Hank’s Homecoming Engagement

engagementHomecoming 2016 was a fun-filled weekend- one of the major highlights was a pair of our alums getting engaged during the Saturday alumni baseball game! On their first alumni weekend together, back on Mercyhurst campus where it all began, Hank Morrison `16 asked Katlyn Heitzhaus `15 to marry him! The pair met when Hank was a freshman and Katlyn was a sophomore. Both were Laker athletes- Hank played on the baseball team and Katlyn played field hockey.

Surrounded by friends and family at the alumni game, Katlyn says “it was even more special that it happened here [at Mercyhurst] where it all began…Hank and I always looked forward to being back at school because we knew we’d see each other every day.” The pair is very thankful for their experience at Mercyhurst and it bringing them together, as well as all the people who were there to support them. Katlyn says “Mercyhurst will always hold a very special place in our hearts, and in our relationship as a whole!”

We wish Hank and Katlyn all the best!

Dan Altavilla, Future Bullpen Ace?

Article retrieved from:
By: Kate Preusser

Dan Altavilla, Future Bullpen Ace? – Lookout Landing

Dan Altavilla, Future Bullpen Ace? – Lookout Landing

n 2014, the Mariners drafted Dan Altavilla in the fifth round out of tiny Mercyhurst College in Erie, PA. No one paid a lot of attention to this pick. The only reason I paid attention to this is my mom is a Mercyhurst alum, from the days back when the school was a single-sex institution (she majored in Home Ec and lived in the Home Ec house, where there was an actual baby from a local orphanage who the students took turns taking care of—the 60s, man). It turns out Mercyhurst, a Division II school, has produced a few major leaguers (John Costello, David Lee, David Lough) along with Altavilla, who became the school’s highest draft pick ever when the Mariners took him 141st overall.

Altavilla has a list of pitching accolades dating back to high school that’s about as long as my arm; most significantly, he was named the ABCA/Rawlings National Pitcher of the Year in 2014. After initially struggling his sophomore year after being shifted into the rotation from the bullpen, Altavilla rebounded his junior year to strike out a school record 129 batters in 80.1 innings. Altavilla isn’t the tallest guy—he’s listed at 5’11”, which seems generous—but he’s got a big, broad chest and is incredibly muscular. I’ve seen the word “stocky” thrown around in scouting reports but that sort of undersells how chiseled Altavilla is. I mean, it takes a lot to be able to stand next to Tyler O’Neill, Mr. Canada Jr. himself, and hold your own …

Click the link above to read the full story!

Welcome, Nick Cianci `14

Nick Cianci joiCianciNick_webned Mercyhurst as director of athletic development on June 6.

Nick is a native of Greenville, Pennsylvania, and a 2014 Mercyhurst University graduate. He earned dual bachelor of arts degrees, graduating magna cum laude, and was a finalist for the “Outstanding Senior Award” in the School of Social Sciences.

He will complete a master’s degree in educational leadership from Edinboro University in August 2016. While a student at Mercyhurst, Nick was a member of the baseball team. He also co-founded nationally recognized Mercyhurst Youth Retreats and Catholic Leadership Education (MYRACLE), and served with programs such as the Bayfront Maritime Center, Carpe Diem Academy and Harborcreek Youth Services.

Before returning to Mercyhurst, Nick worked as director of enrollment for the Kennedy Catholic Family of Schools in Hermitage, Pennsylvania. He is eager to join the talented staff in the Office of Institutional Advancement, and contribute to the work of the university.


Welcome, Nick!

50 Years of Class – Reunion Weekend by Judy Emling `66

Picture1Reflecting on my 50th Class reunion, I want to re-live it.  The events were flawlessly executed; the weather was perfect, and the renewed friendships…PRICELESS. The variety of activities left me speechless.


One of the highlights for me was the Golden Diploma Ceremony (video below), a formal presentation and slide show held in the Little Theatre. President Victor spoke about events on Campus in the ‘60s and included a personal quip about each of us. Our senior class photos “magically” appeared on screen as we received our Golden Diploma and a yellow rose.


I want to thank the Mercyhurst Team for providing the opportunity to “come home again.”  New President, new direction! I am looking forward to becoming a Torch Bearer in 2017


-Judy Emling `66


IMG_1878 (2)“It runs in the family” is a saying that rings very true for the Klobuchars: all three siblings are current or former Mercyhurst Lakers! Drew Klobuchar`14 and Sarah Klobuchar`16 were both social work majors. Rebecca Klobuchar will begin her studies this Fall, however, she will not be following her older brother and sister in her major choice. Instead, Rebecca will be pursuing an Intelligence Studies degree.

When asked how he felt about his sisters both attending Mercyhurst, Drew was not at a loss of words- ” I feel thrilled…like a self-starter comparing myself to Steve Jobs…overly protective, and very honored”. Drew is also quite certain the Klobuchar family holds the title of #1 chicken quesadilla customers at the Laker, as well as Rhonda’s favorite Mercyhurst family.

Welcome New Mercyhurst Alumni!

Graduates and guests joined faculty, alumni relations staff, and fellow classmates on Friday in celebration of graduation and becoming part of the Mercyhurst University National Alumni Association! Food, drinks, memories, and laughs were shared. As new members of the alumni association, graduates were presented with alumni pins and encouraged to stay in touch with their Alma Mater- alumni events happen throughout the country! Congratulations again to the Mercyhurst Class of 2016, Carpe Diem!

new onepinned



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