Legacy of Leadership 2012
Otis graduated from West Chester University in 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. He then went on to Temple University where he earned his law degree in 2004.
Otis' call for leadership and public service began at West Chester, where he served as president of The Black Student Union. He also served as secretary of the Latin American Student Organization and as a member of the Student Action Committee. As a law student, Otis interned with the Defenders Association of Philadelphia, Temple Legal Aid, Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project, and the Federal Defenders Association.
Otis' story has been featured in Chicken Soup for the African American Soul where he describes how he used his chess skills to learn how to deal with everyday life. These skills have certainly brought him far in life and influenced his decision to open his own law practice, focusing in the areas of zoning and land use, criminal and family law. Believing that the city could do better, Otis served as the outreach director for the Nutter for Mayor campaign - helping it from last place into overwhelming victory. Otis now serves as the executive director of the Mayor's Office of Community Services, a community action agency whose mission is to provide leadership that strengthens and coordinates the City's anti-poverty efforts. As executive director, Otis helped to transform the Mayor's Office of Community Service into an agency the provides effective and efficient service to the City residents.
Otis currently resides in the Strawberry Mansion section of North Philadelphia, not far from his former middle school, with his wife Donna.
Gloria graduated from West Chester University in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and went on to complete the Executive Administration Program at the University Of Pennsylvania in 2005.
While a student at WCU, Gloria was active in student government, served on the Commission on the Status for Women and was a leader in LASO (Latino American Student Organization) for three years. Recently, Gloria was a speaker at the WCU Center for Women and Gender Equity speaker series, "Lunch and Learn. She spent time with WCU students and inspired many of them to embrace social justice advocacy.
As a founding member of the House of Manolo Blahnik, and member of the Board of Director of Bread and Roses Community Fund, she is a distinguished community leader whose work has focused on improving the lives of Philadelphia's most underserved and at risk populations. Among her numerous accomplishments, Gloria was the executive director for The Gay and Lesbian Latino AIDS Education Initiative (GALAEI) for 9 years. As a leader in public health, Gloria grew GALAEI's programs, staff and more than tripled the agency's operating budget. She has initiated and developed nationally recognized programs serving transgender people and gay men of color.
Gloria currently serves as the director of LGBT Affairs for the City of Philadelphia. The Office of LGBTQ Affairs develops priorities for the City on issues including public safety, education, economic development, health and City services, and civil rights. Gloria joined the staff of the Mayor's Office in 2008 and is the principle advisor to the Mayor on areas relating to LGBT communities. Tonight, Gloria adds another recognition to the long list of honors for her leadership and community service. From serving as the grand marshal in the Philadelphia LGBT Pride Parade, organizing the first Philadelphia Dyke March, and OUT Magazine recognizing her as one of the Most Influential Leaders of the New Millennium to most recently with the Heroes award from the Delaware Valley Legacy Fund and Community Service Award from Dignity Philadelphia, Gloria has been a leader in her community.
Gloria currently resides in South Philadelphia.
Giovanni graduated with Honors from Murdoch University in Western Australia with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and then went on to receive his Ph.D. in 1993. After completing his Ph.D., he then went on to conduct his Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Arizona.
For the past 11 years, Dr. Casotti has served as a faculty member in the Department of Biology at West Chester University. He has served the University on endless committees in the Department of Biology and throughout the University. He has numerous publications, including more than 20 refereed and has presented more than double that number at professional conferences. As a member of the American Physiological Society and Society of Integrative and Comparative Biologists, he has served as a reviewer for 10 professional journals and the National Science Foundation. He has been awarded more than 30 research and teaching grants.
Giovanni has been honored with the WCU Honors Program Outstanding Award for Teaching seven times. He was also honored at the WCU Organizational Advisor of the Year in 2007. He is one of the most recognizable professors at WCU, serving as the advisor to the Graduate Student Association from 2003-2006, and has been the Advisor to the Friars Society since 2005. Dr. Casotti was instrumental in developing the Graduate commencement for West Chester University.
Dr. Casotti makes his home in West Chester with his wife Linda, a WCU alumna.
Dr. Michelle Filling graduated Summa Cum Laude from West Chester University in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science in English Education. While completing her Masters in English in 2004 and Ph.D in 2008, she continuously taught at the University of Delaware - where she was awarded the University of Delaware Distinguished Teacher Award in 2004.
Michelle was an active student while at WCU. She served as a Resident Assistant for 3 years and an office assistant in the Office of Service Learning and Volunteeer Programs in 2001. She was a member and leader in the Honors Student Association. She was a member of Phi Sigma Pi, Co-ed National Honor Fraternity. She participated in the Dance Production Workshop, Residence Hall Association, and the SSHE Summer Honors Study Abroad program.
While at WCU she received numerous awards and honors including, Teacher Education Council Scholar Award, Mynn White Honors Scholarship, WCU Alumni Scholarship, WCU Outstanding Volunteer Award, and Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.
In 2008, Dr. Filling began teaching at Cabrini College where she currently serves on the Faculty in the Department of English. From 2009 to 2011, she developed 10 new courses for the department. She has been actively publishing and presenting and has served on 30 campus committees including: The Information Literacy Task Force, Board of Trustees Mission and Identity Committee, and Living and Learning Community Council.
She previously served as the Dance Team Coach and Faculty Advisor where she was recognized as Advisor of the Year in 2010. She is an extremely active alumna of WCU, serving on the Alumni Scholarship Committee, WCU Dance Alumni Chapter Secretary/President, Miss WCU, and Graduate School Mentor of the Honors Program and Honors Program Alumni Committee. Externally from Cabrini, Michelle serves as the Co-Chair of the Philadelphia Writing Program Administrators and Group Leader in Christ's Church of the Valley.
Michelle currently resides in Radnor, Pennsylvania. She is engaged to Mr. Patrick Brown and will be married in June 2012.
Deirdre Kane is a 1976 graduate of the University of Dayton, where she was the first female granted an athletic scholarship to attend the school. Since then, Deirdre has continued to make her mark. Deirdre Kane is starting her 25th season as head coach of West Chester University's Women's Basketball program. She has had 17 winning seasons and won 5 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference East Division titles. She has been named coach of the year by five different associations and guided the women's hoop squad to three NCAA Division 2 Tournament berths. Kane has a 392-281 (.582) record, she has won more than 200 conference games in her career, ranking second among current head coaches in the PSAC East. Her overall coaching record is 434-315 (.579) in 27 years on the sideline. In 2008-09 she received the WBCA regional coach of the year.
Before taking the helm of the Golden Rams, Kane served coaching stints at Swarthmore (1985-86) and Salisbury State (1983-85) before taking a job as an assistant coach at Penn during the 1986-87 campaign. Kane was the assistant athletic director and head girls basketball coach at Camden Catholic (N.J.) High School from 1978-81. Her 1981 team turned in a 24-6 record earning her the South Jersey coach of the year honor.
On February 12, 1992 Kane was inducted into the South Jersey Hall of Fame to mark her career accomplishments on the court and from the sidelines. A 1976 graduate of the University of Dayton she was the first female granted an athletic scholarship to attend the school. In the fall of 2006 she was inducted into the Camden County Sports Hall of Fame in October and the Inaugural class of Paul the 4th High School Hall of Fame, where she captained the girls' basketball team to a state championship in 1972.
Deirdre has been a leader at WCU. She has served on the Sports Equity Committee, Coaches Negotiations Team, Coaches Meet and Discuss, and the Wellness Center Advisory Board.
Kane recently completed her term on the NCAA Division 2 East Region ranking committee and has served as a YES clinician at the NCAA final four.
Kane and her husband of 31 years, Tim, reside in Downingtown, PA and their son Sean is a graduate of West Chester University.
Todd Marcocci is a 1987 college graduate of West Chester University in West Chester, Pennsylvania, with a degree in speech communication with a minor in writing. While at WCU, Todd served as the color guard captain of the Golden Rams Incomparable Marching Band Color Guard, the president and choreographer of the Dance production Workshop and a DJ for WCUR.
Todd is the president of the Emmy Award Winning UNDER THE SUN PRODUCTIONS INC. based in West Chester, PA. which is a full service production company serving the special events, marching band, and color guard industries. Over the past 27 years of success, Marcocci has served in every position between costume coordinator and producer for events such as National Cherry Blossom Parade, National Memorial Day Parade, National Independence Day Parade, Philadelphia's Independence Day Parade, Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade, Daytona 500 Pre-Race Show, Philadelphia July 4th Fireworks Spectacular, World Champion-World Series Celebration Parade, both Pennsylvania Governors Edward Rendell and Tom Ridge's Inaugural Parades, Memorial Service of the crash of Flight 93 in Somerset, Pennsylvania, Tournament of Roses Parade and much more.
Marcocci's Marching Band and Color Guard Talents have been on display around the world in over 800 choreographed performances. He is also a choreographer for Marching Show Concepts in Sarasota, FL which markets his choreography and technique instructional videotapes around the globe. He is a color guard clinician for Vivace Productions, Inc. He has worked with hundreds of thousands of students and his productions have been viewed by hundreds of millions throughout his career to date.
Todd serves on the Winter Guard International Board of Directors, Tournament of Bands Board of Directors. He is one of five founders of the Atlantic Indoor Association and is the first president of the WCU Dance Alumni Association.
Todd is the son of Carolyn and Guy Marcocci or Dudley, PA. He currently resides in West Chester, PA and is a member of the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce.
Debbie received her B.S. in Business Administration in 1992 from West Chester University and earned a M.B.A. from Widener University in 2001. Debbie's business and leadership skills landed her a job with a US-based management consulting firm which provides services for the legal industry. Her ten year career allowed her to travel throughout the United States working with a variety of clients. She then left her position to focus on family life. She continues on in leadership roles both in her community and church including involvement in local politics, PTA, swim team, Girl and Boy Scouts, coaching softball and as a Sunday school teacher.
While at WCU and as an alumna, Debbie held a variety of leadership positions with the University. As an undergraduate she served as class president for her four-year tenure. She was voted in as SGA vice-president in her junior year and as president in her senior year. Debbie was an active member of the service-based Abbe Society. She continued as an active participant in the WCU Alumni Association by serving as the president of the WCU Alumni Association and participating on a number of committees.
Debbie currently resides in Wilmington, Delaware with fellow WCU '92 classmate, Bob Rhodunda, and their three young children.
Tim Wilkinson graduated from West Chester University in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communications. He went on to complete his Master of Arts in Human Services Administration at Rider University in 2000 and a second Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology in 2014.
While a student at WCU, Tim served as a senator with the Student Government Association, an orientation leader, a resident assistant, a desk assistant, and interned within the Public Relations department. Tim was a member of Sigma Pi Epsilon Fraternity and served on the Interfraternity Council. Among his many accomplishments, Tim received the Sigma Phi Epsilon Bradley Bead Outstanding Junior award and was inducted into the Order of Omega.
Tim’s career has taken him from East Stroudsburg University as the Assistant Director of Student Activities, to the College of New Jersey and Lehigh University both in fraternity and sorority life, to his present position as the Dean of Students at Wake Forest University.
Tim is truly deserving of this award as he lives out his Legacies every day by positively impacting and challenging others to be the best that they can be. He encourages his students, staff, and colleagues to be the positive change in the community and in the profession.