Wilkes University Spring 2024

Wilkes logo
50 years with the sordoni art gallery
Spring/Summer 2024

Wilkes University Spring 2024

Wilkes logo
50 years with the sordoni art gallery
Spring 2024


Celebrations, Innovations and Renovations Highlight an Incredible Year at Wilkes


e are in a season of celebration.

This fall, we honored the golden anniversary of the Sordoni Art Gallery, an integral part of not only the Wilkes campus but the greater northeastern Pennsylvania community. Since it was established in 1973, the Sordoni Art Gallery has brought high-caliber art and artists to the region through exhibitions, special events and all-ages lectures and activities.

As you’ll read in this issue, exceptional Colonels have also been hard at work this academic year embodying the spirit of our brand, At Wilkes, You Will, through many exciting developments.

people standing on either side of a sign that portrays a timeline of different art galleries
At the Sordoni Gallery’s 50th Golden Anniversary Celebration, from left: Gallery founder Andrew J. Sordoni III, gallery director Heather Sincavage, past Wilkes president Christopher Breiseth, and President Greg Cant.

Gene Chu ’89 made a generous $1 million gift to establish the Chu-Wiendl Scholarship, which honors former trustee Joseph A. Wiendl, and will provide annual funding for a native Chinese student to attend Wilkes — a true story of paying it forward.

One cannot help but be inspired by the stories of our engineering students turning problems into opportunities, a new partnership that will reshape downtown Wilkes-Barre and the SHINE program, which offers after school STEAM-based activities for young learners and was recently awarded with a generous contribution from AT&T.

Wilkes Logo

    • University President
      Greg Cant
    • Associate Vice President of Marketing Communications
      Kerianne Geist ’00
    • Editors, Contributors and Marketing Communications Team
      Kelly Clisham MFA ’16
      Mya Corcoran, Marketing Intern
      Patricia DeViva MEd ’23
      Brie Friedman ’10
      Mandy Pennington MA ’23
    • Design
      Kara Reid
    • Digital Production
    • Marketing Communications
      Bella Barberio
      Brad Barry
      Cory Burrell
      Ashleigh Crispell ’15
      Jacki Lukas Eovitch ’11
      Caroline Hayduk ’22
      Cody Raspen ’06

    • Executive Assistant to the President & Executive Director Events & Engagement
      Bridget Giunta ’05

    • Vice President of Advancement
      Kevin P. Boyle
    • Director, Advancement and Campaign Operations
      Mary Balavage Simmons ’10, MBA ’16

    • President
      Michael Noone, Esq. ’97
    • First Vice President
      John Sweeney ’13
    • Second Vice President
      Neal McHugh ’86
    • Secretary
      Mauri Lawler ’85
    • Past President
      Ellen Stamer Hall ’71
    • Historian
      Matthew Berger ’02
Wilkes magazine is published by the Wilkes University Office of Marketing Communications, 84 W. South St., Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766. Please send a change of home address or email address to the Office of Alumni Relations at alumni@wilkes.edu.

Wilkes University is an independent institution of higher education dedicated to academic and intellectual excellence in the liberal arts, sciences, and professional programs. The university provides its students with the experience and education necessary for career and intellectual development as well as for personal growth, engenders a sense of values and civic responsibility, and encourages its students to welcome the opportunities and challenges of a diverse and continually changing world. The university enhances the tradition of strong student-faculty interactions in all its programs, attracts and retains outstanding people in every segment of the university, and fosters a spirit of cooperation, community involvement, and individual respect within the entire university.




Gene Chu ’89 has given a significant and meaningful gift that will establish an annual life-changing scholarship for native Chinese students.
Celebrating its 50th year, the Sordoni Art Gallery has showcased both local and world-renowned artists, and has been an invaluable wellspring of creativity for the campus and community.
The computer science curriculum is evolving to prepare students for success in an ever-changing digital landscape.


Have a story idea to share?
Contact kelly.clisham@wilkes.edu or brie.friedman@wilkes.edu
Wilkes magazine, 84 W. South St., Wilkes-Barre, Pa. 18766
Wilkes Cover Spring 2024
For the Sordoni Art Gallery’s 50th anniversary, the cover features just a small sampling of the many beautiful works that have adorned the gallery’s walls over the years. The cover includes selections from:

Andy Warhol, 15 Minutes: from Image to Icon, October-December, 2017

Selections from the Sordoni Collection of American Illustration and Comic Art, April-May, 2018

Loud Silence: Expressions of Activism, October-December, 2018

Peasant War and Sacred Sisters, January-March, 2019

Lit by Lyn Godley, June-August, 2019

Rust Belt Biennial, August-October, 2019

Drawn to Abstraction: Prints from the 1960s and 70s, August-November, 2020

The One Rose: Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Rose O’Neill, August-October, 2023

For more information on current and past exhibits, please visit wilkes.edu/sordoniartgallery.


AT&T Gives Local Students the Power to SHINE

group photo of adults and children in a classroom setting while one woman holds a large check from AT&T
SHINE after school program Executive Director Carol Nicholas holds a check representing $30,000 donated by AT&T, along with 100 laptop computers, during an announcement at Hanover Area School District’s Lee Park Elementary School. To the left of Nicholas is Wilkes University President Greg Cant, right is AT&T Pennsylvania President David Kerr, along with SHINE program teachers and students.
As a leader in telecommunications for more than 140 years, AT&T excels at helping people stay connected. Now, with a generous contribution to the Luzerne County SHINE program, the company is helping to bridge the digital divide for SHINE students and their families.

The company’s donation of $30,000 and 100 laptops provides SHINE students with access to DreamBox, a game-based software that delivers math and reading activities uniquely tailored to each student’s needs. By completing an average of five lessons each week, students can increase their proficiency by as much as one and a half grade levels.

The laptops will enhance connectivity for both SHINE students and their families. More students will be able to log on to DreamBox and The Achievery, AT&T’s online learning platform for grades K-12. Families can use the laptops to engage with their children’s education and access community resources and job training opportunities.

woman sitting on table in classroom setting while smiling
“Wilkes had the best program for my needs, allowing me flexibility so I could continue working and providing for my family,” said Yoshie Gonzalez. “It was a wonderful experience filled with useful knowledge and self-discovery.”

Wilkes University Aims to Address Teacher Shortage with Master of Arts Degree in Teaching

According to the state Department of Education, Pennsylvania will need thousands of new teachers by the start of the 2025-26 school year. Wilkes University aims to help address this critical shortage with its new accelerated master of arts degree in teaching.

“We believe every student deserves access to a high-quality education,” said Deborah Zbegner, dean of the College of Health and Education at Wilkes. “The shortage of teachers poses a formidable challenge and Wilkes is committed to delivering this creative and transformative master of arts in teaching program.”

Designed for people who already have a bachelor’s degree but are not currently licensed to teach, the master of arts degree in teaching (MAT) offers a path for college students and recent graduates who have developed an interest in teaching, as well as working professionals who want to pursue a new career path.

Lecture Events Bring Notable Speakers to Campus

Throughout the past academic year, experts across the fields of international relations, literature, biology and chemistry visited Wilkes to speak to the campus community and encourage greater conversation. University settings are important for sparking conversation and it has been Wilkes’ pleasure and privilege to bring prominent leaders across disciplines to campus to share their unique insights and experiences while facilitating discussion on important issues.
Marie Yovanovitch headshot

Marie Yovanovitch

Alison Bechdel headshot

Alison Bechdel

Leah Vernon headshot

Leah Vernon

Daniel Torday headshot

Daniel Torday

Shahid Naeem, PhD headshot

Shahid Naeem, PhD

Anne Valentine headshot

Anne Valentine

inside of the new Building Blocks Learning Center

Living and Learning at 116 South Main Street

Following D&D Realty’s successful renovation of the upper-level floors of 116 South Main Street into high-end residential space, Building Blocks Learning Center opened its new South Main Street Early Learning Academy on the first floor of the property. While D&D Realty retains ownership under a sales agreement with the University, the Building Blocks facility offers benefits for Wilkes students, faculty, staff and the community as a whole.

The new South Main Street Early Learning Academy marks Building Blocks Learning Center’s 13th location in the region. The center can accommodate approximately 120 children from infants (six weeks old) to pre-kindergarten.

In an email to campus announcing the project, Wilkes President Greg Cant explained that the introduction of an early learning center in close proximity to campus realizes a long-held University goal.

“For many years, we have contemplated campus-based childcare for those in our community who are parents or caregivers. Under this new agreement with D&D, Building Blocks Learning Center will provide affordable, convenient and quality care to our employees and students, making a Wilkes education even more attainable,” said Cant.

students Frank Yuscavage (left), Molly Yuschock ’22 (center) and Miquela Langan ’21 (right) sit side by side smiling as Frank Yuscavage holds one of the group's flexible, collapsible hair clips
Frank Yuscavage (left), Molly Yuschock ’22 (center) and Miquela Langan ’21 (right) worked with classmates to develop a flexible, collapsible hair clip (pictured below, Right).

Engineering Students Turn Problems into Products

close view of a two flexible, collapsible hair clips in white and red

“To be able to put an idea into a tangible form, really making something solid and not just imagining it, is great,” said Nickerson DeMelfi, a graduate bioengineering student from Newbury Park, California. Making ideas into reality is what graduate and undergraduate students do in BEGR 411 Integrated Product Development, taught by Jamal Ghorieshi, professor of mechanical engineering.

“It is simple, you learn by practicing. For instance, you learn how to drive a car by actually driving one,” said Ghorieshi. “I think product development is the type of course that provides an opportunity for students to learn by practicing.” The students agree.

“Thinking about something that felt impossible and making it possible feels amazing,” said Alexis Vélez, a graduate mechanical engineering student from Caguas, Puerto Rico.

One of the most unique parts of this course is how subject matter experts from a variety of disciplines are brought in to enrich the already hands-on experience, working with students to design plans for bringing a product to market. This innovative teaching approach helps Wilkes University’s College of Business and Engineering stand out.

“We have a nice mix of creatives and engineers in our group,” said Miquela Langan ’21, a bioengineering graduate student from Hanover Township, Pennsylvania. “The interdisciplinary aspects of this course have been awesome.”

Kerianne Geist ’00 Named Associate Vice President for Marketing Communications

professional headshot of a Kerianne Geist, a smiling woman with he dark brown to black shoulder length hair pushed back behind one ear and wearing a hot pink blouse beneath a black blazer
When Kerianne Geist was named the associate vice president for marketing communications, it was a homecoming for the marketing graduate, resident assistant and standout softball player. She comes back to campus with expertise in marketing campaigns, communications, brand awareness, public relations and strategic initiatives.

“As I return to my alma mater after 24 years, I am honored to join our talented Marketing Communications team,” said Geist. “I am deeply committed to contributing my extensive experience to build and enhance the Wilkes brand. I look forward to collaborating with colleagues, alumni and the community to further elevate the University’s reputation and impact.”

Before coming back to campus, Geist led the marketing department at Andesa Services, Inc., an employee-owned provider of policy lifecycle solutions for the life insurance and annuities industry. She previously served in leadership roles with Diversified Foodservice Supply, LLC, BSI Corporate Benefits, LLC, Rita’s Franchise Company, LLC, Arc Worldwide and Ryan iDirect Wilton.

In addition to her leadership and marketing skills, Geist displays a commitment to her community. She’s been honored with the U.S. President’s Volunteer Service Award, the Lehigh Valley Business Forty Under 40 Award and the Lehigh Valley Business Women of Influence Award.

Since returning to northeastern Pennsylvania in December 2023, Geist has completed Leadership Northeast’s executive leadership program, an initiative designed to help acquaint professionals with the local community.

Norman Mailer Room and Study Share a Literary Legacy

The Eugene S. Farley Library holds hidden literary treasures on the second floor — the Norman Mailer Room and the Mailer Study — that offer a glimpse of the author’s impact on 20th century American literature and commemorate the literary giant’s relationship with Wilkes University’s low-residency creative writing program.

Mailer’s creative work spanned novels, newsprint, magazine, stage and screen. He produced 39 books, including 11 novels, in addition to plays, screenplays and essays. Mailer was awarded the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for his 1968 work The Armies of the Night and earned a second Pulitzer Prize for The Executioner’s Song, published in 1979. Mailer passed away in 2007 at the age of 84.

The original Norman Mailer Room was dedicated in 2000, and the relocated room and full collection of artifacts were rededicated in 2019. Photographs of the renowned author and a large portrait donated by his daughter Danielle mark the entrance to these rooms on the second floor of the library.

LaFleur Small, PhD Named Associate Provost for Academic and Diversity Affairs

headshot of LaFleur Small, a smiling woman with her twisted hair pulled into a high bun and wearing a cross hatch patterned black and white wool blazer, a black blouse, medium sized hoop earrings, and a grey and black beaded necklace
For LaFleur Small, the chance to join the administration at Wilkes was an ideal combination of academic work and dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion. As she learned more about the University, the culture sealed the deal. “Wilkes is student-centric and people-focused,” Small said. “That really spoke to my values.”

Since her arrival on campus in February 2024, Small has been collaborating with key stakeholders and getting to know students, faculty and staff. In her role, she provides leadership for the E.S. Farley Library, the Office of Institutional Research and the Office of Diversity Initiatives. She also represents the Provost’s Office on the Academic Standards Committee and the Council on Diversity, Inclusion and Equity and serves as the University’s liaison with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Before coming to Wilkes, Small held the position of vice provost for academic administration and faculty affairs for the University of Toledo, where she previously served as the academic inclusion officer and a professor of public health. She was also vice provost for faculty, chair of the department of sociology and anthropology and director of the applied behavioral sciences master’s program at Wright State University.

Small earned a doctorate in medical sociology/epidemiology and master of arts degree in sociology from the University of Miami. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in sociology/pre-med from Trinity College.

Paying It Forward

Paying It Forward
Gene Chu Establishes Chu-Wiendl Scholarship
By Kelly Clisham MFA ’16
Gene Chu ’89 headshot
Gene Chu ’89.
Backed by stock market success, Gene Chu awards a $1 million gift to make the dream of a Wilkes University education a reality for native Chinese students.
When Gene Chu ’89 left his native China to pursue a college degree in the United States, he carried $300 and a cardboard box of his belongings. Nearly four decades later, he carries a heart full of gratitude and a determination to honor the opportunities made possible by Wilkes University and the late Joseph A. Wiendl, former member of the Board of Trustees.

According to Chu, he was motivated by a Chinese proverb that, paraphrased, says, “When you’re thirsty and someone gives you a drop of water, you pay it back with a bucket.” That bucket comes in the form of the Chu-Wiendl Scholarship, supported by a $1 million gift that will provide annual funding for native Chinese students to attend Wilkes.

As a young man in China, Chu wasn’t sure what his future held. Though he was selected to train as a fighter pilot, his grandfather determined that Air Force service was too dangerous. Chu passed the national entrance exam to go to college, but the Chinese government ended his academic career in retaliation for his withdrawal from the pilot program.

If These Walls Could Talk

By Kelly Clisham MFA ’16

If These Walls Could Talk by Kelly Clisham MFA ’16 typography; the number 50 made out of pieces of framed artwork on a wall; people walking around a gallery
the number 50 made out of pieces of framed artwork on a wall; people walking around a gallery
Past Wilkes University president Christopher N. Breiseth and Theresa Karambelas view pieces from The One Rose: Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Rose O’Neill during the 50th Golden Anniversary of the Sordoni Art Gallery.


If These Walls Could Talk

If These Walls Could Talk typography
By Kelly Clisham MFA ’16
Past Wilkes University president Christopher N. Breiseth and Theresa Karambelas view pieces from The One Rose: Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Rose O’Neill during the 50th Golden Anniversary of the Sordoni Art Gallery.

50 Years with the Sordoni Art Gallery typography
If the walls of the Sordoni Art Gallery could talk, they would share 50 years of stories — of doors that opened in a city fighting to rebuild after a devastating natural disaster, gratitude for five decades of support from an area family who made their very existence possible and dedicated art advocates who gave their time, talents and donations to keep the lights on. The walls would boast of work from artists around the world bringing visitors to see comic strips, soup cans and pictures of presidents.

While the walls can’t talk, the 50-year history of the Sordoni Art Gallery speaks for itself. The gallery opened in 1973 in Stark Hall. The first exhibit, George Catlin: Painter of the Indians of the Americas, featured paintings by the self-taught artist who was born in Wilkes-Barre in 1796. Catlin’s paintings of Native Americans now hang in the Smithsonian.

Heather Sincavage, director of the gallery, still pays tribute to this moment in the gallery’s history. “When I think about programming, every year I want to represent a Pennsylvania-born artist,” said Sincavage. “It’s always been a touchstone and a way to show the professional growth of artists in our state.”

The grand reopening of the gallery in 2017 treated guests to more than 15 minutes with works by Pennsylvania native and pop culture icon Andy Warhol. Andrew J. Sordoni III shared pieces from his collection of American illustration and comic art. Two presidents came to town with Pete Souza, White House photographer for Reagan and Obama.

In just the past 10 years, the gallery has seen significant changes with a move to a larger, more prominent space in the Karambelas Media and Communication Center on South Main Street and the establishment of an endowment to host exhibits by artists of national and international renown.

Programmed for Success

Changing Computer Science Major Prepares Students for Workplace
By Vicki Mayk MFA ’13
Wilkes students taking the computer science course CS 125/120 Fundamentals of Programming in fall 2023 received an international experience without leaving campus. During their final class project, they were mentored by advanced students at the Dr. Bhanuben Mahendra Nanavati College of Home Science, a women’s college in Mumbai, India.
The programming class is a required course for both computer science majors and for students majoring in digital design and media arts (DDMA). The international assignment and a focus on women in the computer science field reflect changes in curriculum and the introduction of two new majors in the Math, Physics and Computer Science Department.

The students in Fundamentals of Programming worked in cross-disciplinary teams to develop final projects using the Python programming language. Teams were required to create a graphical user interface with elements such as buttons, icons and other visuals to help users navigate through the on-screen experience. Twelve Indian students worked with 12 teams of Wilkes students to complete projects that included a computerized recipe book, a trivia game and a seat reservation system, among others.

Working with the Indian students had multiple benefits, said Nate Martes, a first-year computer science major. His team was paired with a student named Gauri.

“Working with Gauri has shown me that certain parts of a project may be difficult, but working as a team can make them easy,” Martes said. Also, since Gauri is across the world, time management and communication on both ends of the project were extremely important.


A Landmark Year

A new conference, new leadership, significant upgrades in facilities and history-making athletes highlighted a landmark year for Wilkes University athletics.
In the fall, student-athletes gathered in front of the “At Wilkes, You Will” newly-branded Martz buses and represented their teams.

Significant Upgrades and a New Look!

  • A new turf field at Schmidt Stadium
  • A beautiful new floor in the Henry Gymnasium (see below)
  • Be on the lookout for beautiful, bright “At Wilkes, You Will” branded vehicles on the road:
    – Shuttles that bring students to the field
    – Martz buses that bring athletes to games
After a 75-year membership with the NCAA District III Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC), Wilkes announced in 2023 that it would be moving to the Landmark Conference. The strategic move to Landmark, an intercollegiate athletic conference affiliated with the NCAA’s Division III, has positioned Wilkes to compete with an echelon of institutions that are similar in size, scope and philosophy, offering research-intensive programs from bachelor’s through doctoral levels. For the 2023-24 academic year, 19 of the 23 varsity sports joined Landmark, with men’s and women’s ice hockey, wrestling and men’s volleyball continuing to compete independently.

Own a Piece of Wilkes History

From April to August of 2023, the Henry Gymnasium in the Arnaud C. Marts Center underwent a full renovation to modernize the facility and provide student-athletes with higher-quality experiences. The enhancements include a new playing surface and flooring, bleachers, LED lighting, paint, scoreboards and a new sound system — a nearly $1.2 million investment.
Henry Gymnasium in the Arnaud C. Marts Center
collected and repurposed floor panels salvaged from the old gymnasium floor
The University collected and repurposed floor panels salvaged from the old gymnasium floor, rich with history and memories of triumph, determination, perseverance and good old-fashioned fun. On these floors, many Colonels have challenged and pushed themselves, encouraged and celebrated with the teams, and forged long-lasting friendships.

For a donation of $250.00 or more, alumni and friends can own a 12 x 12 piece of the old gymnasium floor. All proceeds will benefit the Colonel Club, which provides support for all student-athletes at Wilkes.

The repurposed floor pieces are customized with a vinyl Wilkes “W” and a golden nameplate that reads “Wilkes University Henry Gymnasium.”

Supplies are limited, so make your donation today.

Contact Paige Gallagher ’18, MBA ’21 at 570-408-2510 or paige.gallagher@wilkes.edu. Please note: one or two days after you order, an email with pick-up or delivery instructions will be sent to you.

Three Student-Athletes Achieve All-American Honors

Three athletes received All-American honors this year, with a women’s ice hockey player as the first in her sport to achieve that status. “Just watching these three athletes compete this year was amazing,” said athletic director Scott Musa. “Not only are they talented on the ice and on the mat, but also in the classroom; they’re great students. All three have certainly brought a lot of recognition to Wilkes University, and the fact that all three are coming back next year is even better,” he added.
Haylee Bouchard on the ice playing hockey

Haylee Bouchard ’27, women’s ice hockey

Cameron Butka during wrestling match with referee raising his hand

Cameron Butka ’25, wrestling

Cole Jungwirth on the ice playing hockey

Cole Jungwirth ’25, men’s ice hockey

David Biever with the Wilkes football team

Biever Named Head Football Coach

David Biever was named head coach of the men’s football team in January, succeeding Jonathan Drach, who is continuing his career at Union College in New York. Biever joined the football program in 2014. “I am very excited about the opportunity to lead the Wilkes University football program into the future,” said Biever. “Our players had a great spring and we are ready to add our new class to the football family for a successful fall season.”

Scott Musa, director of athletics, said of Biever’s new role, “With his hard work and dedication to the team and recruitment, we knew David earned his shot as head coach. And that’s proven to be the right decision because he’s done a phenomenal job already, and the team and the community really love him.” Musa added, “It’s been a very smooth transition.”


Welcome New Alumni Board of Directors Elected 2023

In February 2023, the Alumni Association Board of Directors elected five new directors. The Board welcomed Corey Hauser ’18, Doug Lane ’89, MBA ’96, Lauren Pluskey McLain ’06, MBA ’10, Mark Rado ’80 and Sandra Akromas Thomson ’76 to the board! Read more about them below.
Corey Hauser headshot

Corey Hauser ’18

Doug Lane headshot

Doug Lane ’89, MBA ’96

Lauren Pluskey McLain headshot

Lauren Pluskey McLain ’06, MBA ’10

Mark Rado headshot

Mark Rado ’80

Mark Rado headshot

Sandra Akromas Thomson ’76

Meet Our 2023 Alumni Scholarship Recipients

This year’s Alumni Association Scholarship was awarded to two well-deserved students: Abigail “Abby” Lewis ’24 and Lily Hebda ’25. Abby is a neuroscience major with a minor in psychology and Lily is majoring in English and secondary education.

Learn more about the alumni and their families, their inspiration and more about who they are individually in the Q&A below!

Abby Lewis smiling next to her mother
Abby Lewis (left) and her mother, Margaret Lewis ’01 (right).

Abby Lewis ’24

What are your major(s), expected graduation year and clubs/involvement on campus?

I am majoring in neuroscience and minoring in psychology. Graduating in the Spring of 2024, I am currently involved in the Honors Program, Tri Beta (biology honor society), and I am a Wilkes Adventure Education enthusiast. I am an honors peer mentor and e-mentor, while also being the treasurer for the neuroscience club. Previously, I had been an intern at the NeuroTraining Research center, I was the vice president for the junior class for the 2022-23 year and I have had two years of experience running on the Wilkes women’s cross country team.

Lily Hebda with her grandmother
Lily Hebda (left) and her grandmother “Nanny”, Cecilia Rudolph Williams ’73 (right).

Lily Hebda ’25

What are your major(s), expected graduation year and clubs/involvement on campus?

I am an English/secondary education double major expecting to graduate in spring 2025. I’m involved with The Inkwell Quarterly, the English department’s literary magazine, and I work in the Writing Center.

Who is your Wilkes legacy family member(s)?

My family is truly a Wilkes family. My grandmother, Cecilia Rudolph Williams, graduated with degrees in English and secondary education, the same degrees I’m pursuing, in 1973. Two of my aunts, Carrie Williams Timko ’96 and Sarah Williams Leng ’05, graduated from Wilkes with degrees in biology and sociology, respectively. I also have two uncles who received degrees in English and pharmacology from the University.



  • 62

    FLORENCE “FLOSSY” BILLINGS FINN, founder and coach of the Lake Lehman High School (LLHS) softball team, was honored at a ceremony on May 12, 2023, when a new turf softball field was dedicated as “Flossy Finn Field.” Finn’s record while coaching at LLHS was 242 wins and 63 losses. She earned three district championships and participated in two Pennsylvania state quarterfinals. She was named Coach of the Year four times in the Wyoming Valley Conference. In addition, she worked with the Dallas Kiwanis in developing the annual women’s all-star game, which has existed for 43 years. Finn also received the Kiwanis Award for Promotion of Women’s Sports and is a member of the LL Softball Hall of Fame and the Luzerne County Sports Hall of Fame.

  • 67

    EDWIN “EDDIE DAY” PASHINSKI was recently inducted into the Luzerne County Arts and Entertainment Hall of Fame. Pashinski began his musical journey as a teenager in the early 1960s, and his career path and public service have helped expand music education to thousands of children in Pennsylvania. Because of his contributions, Pashinski is recognized as one of the most important figures in Luzerne County’s long history of musical influence. He was a singer in two major musical groups in Luzerne County: first the Starfires and then Eddie Day and the Nightimers (later known as Eddie Day Groop). Pashinski became an important figure in the local area by becoming a teacher, choral director and union leader in the Greater Nanticoke Area School District. After his teaching career, he dedicated his time to public service. He was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, advocating for the expansion and conservation of music programs in public schools.

  • 68

    BILL STINGER qualified for the USA Triathlon National Championships, held in August 2023 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

  • 69

    JOSEPH “JOE” B. FRAPPOLLI, known as the Dean of South Jersey Football, was recently recognized by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and former NFL quarterback Michael Vick for his contribution to the sport. Frappolli is the head football coach at Florence High School in Florence, New Jersey, and is now in his 50th and final year leading the Flashes. He has led the team to win six state championships, and is also a native of Florence and played on the Florence High football team growing up. He began as assistant head coach after he got married and soon became head coach. Now, his son coaches and his grandson is the quarterback. Once retired, Frappolli plans to travel with his wife.

  • 70

    1CALEB MCKENZIE, Hoboken, New Jersey, was invited to be the judge of the Wyoming Valley Art League Juried Show in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of the League acquiring the Circle Center Building. McKenzie is an artist, collector and former art dealer. For this special show, he chose 51 works out of over 100 submitted. From this group, he selected the Juried Show finalists. The winning pieces included sculpture, photography, painting, drawing and mixed media. McKenzie is a member of the Directors Circle at the Sordoni Art Gallery. He and his brother Jeff sponsor the Beryl and Cromwell Thomas Engineering Scholarship at Wilkes University. He is also a Director of USL in New York City.

  • 71

    DANIEL “DAN” ALTERS was recently elected as trustee on the Board of the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation.

  • 73

    THOMAS “TOM” SWANTKOWSKI, MD, FACG was recently elected to a three-year term as North Carolina Governor – American College of Gastroenterology.

Portrait close-up indoor photograph view of Caleb McKenzie glancing at something off into the distance as he is in a black business blazer suit and light blue button-up dress shirt underneath as he holds a what appears to be a notebook document of some sort
Portrait close-up indoor photograph view of Dana Shaffer in business attire smiling posing alongside another gentleman in a suit and bowtie plus another woman in a dark green dress as Dana was recently honored by the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME) with the Santucci Award, which is the highest honor the NBOME bestows, given to members of its board, staff or committees with 10 or more years of service for their outstanding contributions to the mission of the NBOME; NBOME is an independent, nonprofit organization that provides competency assessments for osteopathic medical licensure and related healthcare professions.

In Memoriam

  • 1939

    Ms. Darina J. Tuhy

  • 1948

    Mr. Joseph Panzitta

  • 1950

    Ms. Nancy Byerly Lorsong

  • 1951

    Mr. Delbert J. Cragle

  • 1953

    Sandor Yelen, Esq.

  • 1954

    Mr. Barry J. Iscovitz

  • 1956

    Mrs. Marianna Kraynack Banash
    Mr. Donald H. Covey
    Mrs. Constance Kamarunas Schaefer

  • 1957

    Mr. Charles R. Abate
    Dr. Arthur N. Meyer
    Mr. John H. Milliman
    Mrs. Irene Stone

  • 1958

    Mr. John Morenko

  • 1959

    Dr. Richard Aston

  • 1960

    Mr. Emmanuel J. Ziobro

  • 1961

    Mr. Robert J. Hewitt

  • 1962

    Mr. Ken Naparsteck

Wilkes logo
Thanks for reading our Spring/Summer 2024 issue!