150 Most Influential Women of West Chester University
In 2021, the President's Commission on the Status of Women decided to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of West Chester University by celebrating 150 special women. We asked students, staff, faculty, alumni, and community members to nominate those women who, at this moment in time, represent the Most Influential Women of West Chester University. Over 350 nominations were submitted. After careful consideration, collaboration with other areas, and extensive research, the Commission is proud to present our 150 honorees.
A short ceremony was held on April 22, 2022 to honor the 150 Most Influential Women of West Chester University
Dr. Jill Biden
Jill Biden is the current First Lady of the United States and is a Professor of English at North Virginia Community College. Dr. Biden received a Master’s degree from West Chester University in 1981.
From whitehouse.gov: As a classroom teacher for over 30 years, advocating for increased educational opportunities for all students, of all ages, is close to her heart. In 1976, Jill Biden began teaching English at St. Mark’s High School in Wilmington. She then became a reading specialist at Claymont High School. At that time, she was also pursuing a Master of Education with a specialty in reading from West Chester University. She completed her first master’s degree in 1981.
In 1975, she met then-Senator Joe Biden. They married at the United Nations Chapel in New York City in 1977 and she became the mother of his two sons, Beau and Hunter. Their daughter, Ashley, was born in 1981. Dr. Biden continues her work promoting accessible, quality education for everyone.
While serving as First Lady, Dr. Biden continued teaching English and writing at Northern Virginia Community College, where she has been a professor since 2009. She is the first presidential spouse to maintain an independent career outside of the White House.
Dr. Tonya Thames-Taylor
As a first-generation college student who came of age in the state that usually ranks last in education, income, and health, I know firsthand how education can transform lives. As a grandchild of sharecroppers and domestics, I know the power of hope. I am a magna cum laude graduate of Tougaloo College, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), in Mississippi. I earned my Master of Arts in History and a Ph.D. in American History from The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). I have life memberships in both alumni associations because I know the power of supporting the institutions that trained me. I know how to lose and get back up. During a TEDx, in October 2016, I discussed “Admiring Failure." I am an environmentalist. I am member of the Governance Committee of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). I am also an active member in women organizations such as the Association of Black Women Historians, American Association of American University (AAUW), National Council of Negro Women, Women In the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (WIN), Order of Eastern Stars, and Junior League of Philadelphia (Sustainer).
Dr. Mary Crawford
Mary Crawford is Professor Emerita of Psychology and former director of the Women’s Studies Program at the University of Connecticut. As a faculty member at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, she earned the Trustees' Award for Lifetime Achievement for her research and teaching on women and gender. She has also held the Jane W. Irwin Chair in Women's Studies at Hamilton College, served as distinguished Visiting Teacher/Scholar at the College of New Jersey, and directed the graduate program in Women's Studies at the University of South Carolina. Professor Crawford received her Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of Delaware. She has served as a consulting editor for Sex Roles, an associate editor of Feminism and Psychology, and is a Fellow of both the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society. Mary Crawford has spoken and written about the psychology of women and gender for audiences as diverse as the British Psychological Society, Ms. Magazine and the Oprah Winfrey Show. In addition to more than 120 publications on women and gender, she has written or edited 10 books including Gender and Thought: Psychological Perspectives (1989); Talking Difference: On Gender and Language (1995); Gender Differences in Human Cognition (1997); Coming Into Her Own: Educational Success in Girls and Women (1999); and Innovative Methods for Feminist Psychological Research (1999), which received the Distinguished Publication Award from the Association for Women in Psychology. As a Fulbright Senior Scholar, she lived and worked in Kathmandu, Nepal, where she collaborated with Nepali NGOs to develop interventions to reduce sex trafficking. Her book Sex Trafficking in South Asia: Telling Maya’s Story (2011) is both a memoir about the experience of doing research with women in Nepal and a feminist analysis of sex trafficking in South Asia.
Dr. Martha Potvin
After completing a B.S. in Biology at the University of Connecticut in 1976, a M.S. in Botany/Plant Ecology at Michigan State University in 1980 and a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Nebraska in 1984, Martha joined the biology faculty at West Chester University in 1985. During her 16 years at West Chester University, she was promoted through the ranks to full professor, served for 11 years as Chair of the Department of Biology and for a year as Interim Dean of Graduate Studies and Extended Education. She was active in the Faculty Senate, served on numerous committees and led President Adler’s Green Campus initiative. Martha left West Chester in 2001 to become Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Dakota. In 2011 she left Grand Forks to become Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs and subsequently Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. She returned to the East Coast in 2016 to become the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Springfield College in Massachusetts where she served until her retirement at the end of 2021.
Dr. Vanessa Kahen Johnson
Vanessa Kahen Johnson is director of West Chester University’s Moon Shot for Equity mission, as well as a professor of Psychology and department chair. Drawing on over 20-years of higher education experience, Vanessa believes in the need to develop student-centered and equity-minded universities. Partnering with university leadership and her campus community to find effective pathways to closing racial achievement gaps, she has worked to identify and remediate unintended obstacles contributing to racial disproportions in student success. Vanessa has spear-headed the development and implementation of a new Doctor of Psychology program and training clinic, providing supervised clinical training for Psy.D. students and affordable mental health care to the community. Her previous leadership roles include interim Graduate School Dean and co-chair of WCU’s Equity Scorecard team. She also serves as a consultant for the WCU COMPASS program that provides mentorship and tutoring support to Black and Latino undergraduate men experiencing academic challenges. Vanessa holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley and she completed her internship and post-doctoral training in minority mental health at the University of California, San Francisco.
Dr. Debra Bill
Dr. Debra E. Bill has a BA degree in cultural anthropology (Central Ct. State University 1976), Master’s in Public Health (University of N. Carolina-Chapel Hill 1980 health education), a Ph.D. in health education from Temple University (1988). She is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist from the National Commission on Health Education Credentialing. She joined WCU in 1995 as an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Health, and was promoted to Assistant Professor in 2004, and Professor in 2010. She retired in 2020 and received Emerita status in 2021. Prior to her work at WCU, she worked at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine as the Standardized Patient Coordinator, Greater Philadelphia Heath Action as Director of Grants and Programs, University of Ct Medical School in Farmington Ct. as Co-Principal Investigator of an NIH Grant for the Multipurpose Arthritis Center. She has numerous publications and presentations in the public health field. She has more than twenty-five years’ experience teaching at WCU in public health and in public health program development/evaluation for diverse communities. She has been a leader in applying the promotora de salud (lay health worker model) to educate migrant/immigrant communities about health in the United States and Mexico.
Dr. Jeanie Subach
Jeanie Subach is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics with over 35 years of experience. She is an Associate Professor at West Chester University of Pennsylvania where she teaches in the DPD (Didactic Program in Dietetics) and dietetic internship programs. She is the advisor to the Student Dietetic Association and creator of the Ram Chefs program, a culinary program for young adults with developmental disabilities. Jeanie earned her bachelor's and master’s degrees from Immaculata University and her doctorate from Capella University. Jeanie has an extensive background in sports nutrition, acting as team nutritionist for the Philadelphia 76er for over 30 years. She served as the team dietitian for the Philadelphia Flyers for eight years and the Philadelphia Eagles for 14 seasons. In addition to working with professional athletes, Jeanie works with area recreational, high school and collegiate athletes. Jeanie served on the Gatorade NBA Advisory Board and a was the coordinator of the NBA RD practice group. Jeanie enjoys running and paddle boarding, and is an avid skier, but find the most pleasure in the kitchen! Jeanie’s proudest accomplishment is her family, and is the proud mother of 3 daughters, and Mom-Mom to John and Whitney.
Dr. Lynn Carson
My academic preparation began with my BA degree in Liberal Arts from Neuman College (1982) and my MS degree in Health Education (1983) from Saint Joseph’s University. My Ph.D. in Health Education was completed at Temple University (1989). I hold certification in health education from the National Commission of Health Education Credentialing. In 1989 I received certification as CHES (Certified Health Education Specialist) and the MCHES credential in 2011 (Master Certified Health Education Specialist). Before my faculty appointment at WCU, I gained valuable work experience in the following positions: Coordinator – Graduate Health Education Program Arcadia University (1989/1990), Director Behavioral Medicine/Assistant Professor Department Family Medicine Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (1987/1989), Educational Coordinator/Health Educator I University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Osteopathic Medicine (1984/1987), Director of Education/General Practice Residency Training Program, Metropolitan Hospital System Philadelphia, PA (1983/1984). My career at WCU started in the Department of Health in 1989 as an adjunct assistant professor. I was appointed to assistant professor in 1990 with tenure and promotion to associate professor in 1995 and promotion to full professor in 2005. My thirty years of service to WCU was recognized with Emerita status in May 2021.
Eileen established the Eileen Glenn Veterans Support Fund. She agreed to a $1 million donor independently managed advised fund. These funds go towards hiring a part-time Veterans Counselor and other needs to be determined by the Veterans Center. The family foundation has also made two gifts totaling $32K to the Veteran's Center Operating Fund. Her dedication and support to Veteran’s affairs here at WCU has certainly earned her the honor of one of WCU 150 most influential women.
Lynn Klingensmith, Esq.
B.A. Juvenile Corrections and M.Ed. Higher Ed Administration (Kent State University), J.D. (Temple University) Have worked in Higher Education over the last 30 years in a variety of roles and at public and private institutions; Residence Life, Student Conduct, Campus Programming and now in a compliance and inclusion-oriented role. Teach as an adjunct at University of Delaware teaching a Diversity and Inclusion course for Human Resources majors. Have been involved in service in my community (Rotary, Planning Commission, School Board) for over 20 years. Have two grown children (son -Sr. Engineer at Microsoft, daughter - Large Animal Vet) and an awesome son-in-law.
In my dreams, I have been a Golden Ram almost all of my life. My beloved elementary school music teacher, Barbara (Bobbie) Manone Mina was an alum and I wanted to be just like her. She is the one that cultivated my love for music! It is because of her I am a proud Golden Ram. In 1987, I earned a BS degree in Liberal Studies and a minor in Music Education. I earned a BA in Theology from Jameson Christian College, a master’s degree in Theology from the International Christian College and a life coach certification from Transformation Academy. I am an inspirational speaker, certified life coach, author of the inspiring book, "You Are Enough: Keeping It 100 With Yourself 2.0", Pastor of Divine Liberty Ministries, President/CEO of LM Bryant Consulting, LLC, co-host of the internet show, "Food For The Body and Food For the Soul" and an Adjunct Professor in the Communication & Media Department at WCU. I am the Chaplain of the Epsilon Omega Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc, serve on the WCU Cottrell Entrepreneurial Leadership Center Advisory Board and the Past President of the West Chester University Alumni Association.
Dr. Stacey Schlau
Hired to teach Spanish and Latin American cultural studies, as well as to direct the Women's Studies Program, from the beginning of my employment at WCU, I worked to not only integrate the two academic areas in my own teaching and research, but also to ensure that diversity and equity were valued and concretely implied in WCU's curriculum and co-curricular activities. As a teacher, I mentored many, many students and developed and taught dozens of courses toward that end. As a scholar, I published numerous books and many articles highlighting women's cultural production in Spain and Latin America, both historically and in the present. As a colleague, I informally mentored others, established a women faculty mentoring program, chaired the general education committee of CAPC for several years, and served on innumerable other committees, including the women's commission, as well as serving as a faculty leader, not only of the Women's Studies Program, but also the Spanish section of the Department of Languages and Cultures.
Dr. Susan R. Fiorentino, Esq.
My roots at WCU run deep. I grew up in the shadow of WCU, and attended the Demonstration School, housed in what is now the Bull Center. In the 1980’s, I graduated from WCU with a degree in Political Science, and then got a Master’s Degree from Villanova University in Political Science. In the 90’s, I was an adjunct in WCU’s Political Science Department, where I taught introductory courses in American Government. In 2004, I earned a law degree from Villanova, and became a litigator in employment and labor law. After a decade of practice, I returned to WCU as a fulltime faculty member. In 2016, I helped launch a new Master of Science in Human Resource Management, and currently serve as the Faculty Coordinator to that program, where I teach as well. It has been professionally and personally rewarding to watch the program grow from a mere 2 students in 2016, to over 175 students in 2022. Finally, in 2016, I became the First Spouse of WCU, when my husband, Chris, became its 15th President. It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve in this unique role, as ambassador for WCU to external and internal constituents.
During my nearly 40-year career, I worked a series of high-profile jobs for Fortune 500 companies. I was a project engineer and subcontract program manager working on classified government contracts for General Electric/Lockheed Martin’s aerospace division in King of Prussia. Then, for what is now GlaxoSmithKline, I served first as senior director of global strategic projects for GSK’s consumer healthcare division; then as chief of staff for its legal management team. I was the only non-lawyer on the executive team that oversaw the firm’s legal operations, which involved 650 people in 49 different countries. In retirement, I am the Rector's Warden for Christ Church, Ithan (Episcopal in Villanova), chair the advisory board for the Dean of the WCU School of Business, co-chair the WCU150 Forward campaign, and volunteer with the DAR.
Dr. Madelyn Gutwirth
Dr. Gutwirth's career as a tenured professor (1969-1991) was spent at West Chester University, where she taught eight courses a year, ranging from elementary French language to twentieth-century literature. Before being hired at West Chester, she taught part-time at three different institutions (1958- 1966). Despite this itinerancy and demanding teaching load, not only did she manage to do research and to publish, she also founded the Women's Studies Program at her home institution and served ASECS and the Modern Language Association in a number of capacities. Dr. Gutwirth's concern to bring about a more just and compassionate academe, so evident in her commitment to professional service, also informs her scholarship. She produced much of the rich body of work that we now recognize as indispensable. In 1992 she retired as Professor Emerita from West Chester. That was also the year that saw the publication of one of her most powerful and influential books: The Twilight of the Goddesses: Women and Representation in the French Revolutionary Era.
Dr. Sandra F. Pritchard Mather
Sandra “Sandie” F. Pritchard Mather earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education in 1964 and a Master of Education in Geography in 1968 from West Chester State College. She continued her education at the University of Oregon, earning a Ph.D. in Geography in 1982. Her dissertation, “Geographical Landscape Changes to Summit County, Colorado, from 1859 to the Present, An Historical Geography,” introduced her to the variety of topics in her subsequent publications.
Sandie taught second grade in West Chester’s Laboratory School before accepting a position in the Department of Earth and Space Sciences teaching geology, meteorology and geomorphology on both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Upon her retirement from West Chester State College in 1999, she received the designation Professor Emerita.
Dr. Mildred Joyner
Mildred C. Joyner, DPS, MSW, BSW, LCSW Mildred “Mit” C. Joyner, DPS, MSW, BSW, LCSW is President of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) that has 55 chapters throughout the United States and its territories. In 2011, she retired from West Chester University as a full professor and created MCJ Consultants specializing in organizational change and achieving equity. Professor Joyner is the recipient of numerous awards. She will again be recognized as her name will be placed among several luminaries on the Wall of Honor in the School of Education and Social Work at West Chester University in November 2021. Awards received include: the AGE-SW and BPD Gerontology Leadership Award for stellar national leadership in gerontology; the BPD Lifetime Achievement Award; Living Beyond Breast Cancer Founders Award for leadership and stewardship; the first Dr. Inabel Burns Lindsay Award from Howard University School of Social Work; the Central State University Hall of Fame Award as a Distinguished Alumni; the First William Culp lecturer from Abilene Christian University School of Social Work; the CSWE Lifetime Service and Leadership Award, and the prestigious NASW Pennsylvania Chapter Phyllis Black Lifetime Achievement Award for her leadership and commitment to social justice and the quest for obtaining equity for all.
Dr. Tammy James
Dr. Tammy C. James is a Professor in the Department of Health at West Chester University, the Coordinator of Academic Support Services for Student Athletes and most recently the Coordinator of COMPASS, an academic support and retention program. She has been on the faculty at West Chester University for the past 28 years. As a 1st generation college graduate, Dr. James believes strongly in the power of teaching and learning. She has a passion for working with college age students and is driven by a desire to help students become college graduates. In addition to having a passion for teaching, she also believes in volunteering and serving the community. Some of her past work with community agencies include Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Chester County Maternal and Child Health Consortium, Planned Parenthood, and the American Cancer Society. In her most recent role, she was recently selected to serve on the NACADA NCAA Advisory Board. Her recent selection to join the Kent State Alumni Board of Directors for a 3-year term is one of her biggest accomplishments to date. Today, her professional work focuses on retention and graduation efforts of underrepresented students.
Head Gymnastics coach at WCU from 1972 – 1994. 1968 Southern Conn. graduate, 1978 Master’s from WCU Trained for 1968 Olympic Gymnastics Team and National Squad Member 1967, 1968 Coach of USA Gymnastics Team at 1981 World University Games in Bucharest, Romania Coach and judge at numerous international gymnastics meets including Pan American Games, World University Games, Olympic Games. Judged numerous USA National Championships WCU Gymnastics Team competed in four National Championships, Six All-Americans NCAA Committee Member and staff for National Championships 1986- 1998
Dr. Joan Woolfrey
B.S. from North Dakota State University, M.A. in Philosophy from the New School for Social Research, Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Oregon. Chair of Philosophy from 2008-11, director of the Peace & Conflict Studies program from 2008 to 2014. Grad Coordinator for PHI 2005-07 and 2014-17. Current Chair of Women's & Gender Studies, since Spring 2020, Faculty Ombuds since March 2020. Regularly teach the Intellectual Roots of Western Feminism, and Medical Ethics. Helped ensure the inclusion of the ethics-emphasis general education requirement and currently run workshops and one faculty seminar (so far) on how to develop ethics-emphasis courses. Ethics Chair of the General Education Council. Member of Sustainability Council since 2001, and current co-chair of its Transportation Committee. Published on hope as a virtue and the moral value of contempt, as well as on human cloning and physician-assisted suicide, and the early French feminist Olympe de Gouges, amongst other things. Was Interim Book Review Co-Editor (2017-2020) for Hypatia Reviews Online (Hypatia is the leading feminist philosophy journal in the world.) Current co-editor of the journal Social Philosophy Today.
Barbara J. Lappano ’67, M’73 served as a faculty member in the West Chester University Department of Kinesiology from 1970 -2004. Within that department, she taught dance education, technique, and theory courses. After initiating and implementing a dance minor for the department, she served as the coordinator of dance until she retired. In addition to teaching many styles of dance, she produced numerous dance concerts and served as the choreographer for the musical theatre program. Founder of the University’s Dance Production Workshop (1974-2004), she has also served as the executive director of the Alumni Dance Chapter since 2007. She is presently director of WCU’s annual Winter Dance Festival which benefits the Barbara J. Lappano Dance Scholarship, given annually to a full-time dance minor. Recently, a recipient of the Presidential Medallion for Service in 2019 and the Presidents Circle Award in 2021.
Dr. Margaret Ervin
Dr. Ervin received her BA in History at Harvard University and her PhD in Writing, Teaching, and Criticism from the State University of New York at Albany. She serves half time in the English Department, teaching a course in tutoring as well as first-year writing and courses in the English major. She also serves half time as Director of the University Writing Center. Her research focuses on writing center tutoring and rhetorical genre. She is also active in the faculty union, currently serving as President of the West Chester University chapter of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF).
Cherie Fishbaugh is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She earned her M.A. in special education with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis from The Ohio State University. Cherie has worked with individuals from the age of 18 months to adulthood. Her experience includes working at the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at Nationwide Children's Hospital, the May Institute, and assisting with program and clinic development for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Autism Resource Center (SPARC). In 2016, Cherie joined West Chester University as the Director of Autism Services and developed the Dub-C Autism Program (D-CAP). During her time at WCU, she has become very active in increasing employment opportunities for neurodiverse individuals. Cherie is a co-founder of the Neurodiversity Employment Network, on the steering committee for The Alliance for Autism College to Employment Programs, member of the Council for Neurodiversity, and Co-Chair of the program committee for the College Inclusion Summit. Cherie's clinical and research expertise are in the areas of behavior analysis, autism spectrum disorders, behavior management, social skills training, and positive behavior supports.
Anne M. Goshen
Anne M. Goshen was a professor emeritus of education, psychology and pedagogy at West Chester State College. She was the former psychology chair and a public education specialist. The residence hall, Goshen Hall, was named after Anne and was built in 1966.
Carol A. Eckman, considered the "mother of the women's collegiate basketball championship," coached West Chester University women's basketball from 1967 to 1972 when West Chester University was West Chester State College. Eckman earned this title due to her help in organizing the first college women’s basketball championship tournament in 1969, consisting of 16 teams. Eckman's team, the Golden Rams, was undefeated that season, then went on to win the tournament for the next three years. Eckman authored a 68-5 record in her five seasons along West Chester’s sideline. She was the recipient of the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women's Merit Award for Leadership in 1982. Additionally she coached women's basketball for Indiana University of Pennsylvania (1973) and Lock Haven State College (1974-1977). In 1999, she was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. The Women's Basketball Coaches Association presents the Carol Eckman Integrity in Coaching Award each year to a member coach who best reflects Eckman's character traits of courage, ethical behavior, honesty, sportsmanship and commitment.
Dr. Carolyn B. Keefe
Dr. Carolyn B. Keefe, Professor of Communication Studies, served for over two decades as the director of the Speech/Forensics team at West Chester University bringing national distinction and reputation to the institution through the students she coached and mentored. In 1979, she received a distinguished teaching award. She also won forensic coaching awards for her achievements as director of forensics and assistant debate coach at West Chester. Dr. Keefe promoted membership in the national Forensic Honor Society, Pi Kappa Delta, served in National Leadership within the Organization, was inducted into their Hall of Fame and published in national journals. Dr. Keefe wrote numerous articles and poems as well as seven books, including, 'Freedom for Me and Other Human Creatures.' Until her death, she served as advisor to the Pi Kappa Delta WCU alumni chapter which helped host and run the fall speech tournament named in her honor. Dr. Keefe also served for over a decade (until 1992) as Parliamentarian for the Council of Trustees.
English professor, Purple and Gold faculty advisor, Quad Angles faculty advisor, playwright, author and archivist. Dorothy Ramsey served as an Assistant Professor of English from 1928-1961 at West Chester University. She was the faculty advisor to the student literary magazine, The Purple and Gold, and then later for the new student newspaper, Quad Angles, now The Quad. She wrote, directed, designed, and made costumes for many student shows and was a distinguished author, playwright, and poet, with several of her works found in the Francis Harvey Green Library. Dorothy Ramsey was also a Shakespearean scholar, in 1952 becoming the curator of the college’s recently acquired Shakespeare Folios, writing a very informative guide for the college still used today. She was a strong advocate and supporter of student diversity. She additionally wrote for the President, President Swope, for ceremonial and special events. Dorothy Ramsey was awarded the title of Professor Emeritus in 1966 in honor of her outstanding work and devotion to the institution. She was one of the most respected and popular faculty members among colleagues and students alike. A new dormitory, Ramsey Hall, was named in her honor in 1967 and stood on the grounds where the Student Recreation Center now stands.
Affiliated with WCU 1899-1900
Edna Smith was the first confirmed Native American woman to graduate from the Normal School. She would go on to teach at the Indian School in Pine Ridge, North Dakota.
Dr. Elinor Z. Taylor
Elinor Z. Taylor is a West Chester University graduate, faculty member, and administrator. Dr. Taylor began her professional association with West Chester University in 1955 as a faculty member in the Health and Physical Education department and progressed to become an Assistant Dean of Students and Dean of Administration. As an alum, she was an exceptional athlete, a strong advocate for women athletics, and was voted into the Chester County Sports Hall of Fame. She became the first women elected to the West Chester Borough Council and was also elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. In the House, she took part in several leadership roles including serving in the Higher Education Committee. She was able to influentially advocate for WCU appropriation and facility capital funding. This funding also supported the Frederick Douglass initiatives. Thousands of students throughout Pennsylvania were able to receive scholarship grants from PA State Grant (PHEAA) during the years that she was chairperson of this organization, which became a national model. In her spare time, she also served on the University Council of Trustees and the Alumni Board of Directors.
S. Elizabeth Tyson, “Miss Tyson,” as she was known across her adult years, earned her undergraduate degree from what was then known as West Chester State Normal School. "Miss Tyson" served four decades on faculty at WCU as Assistant Professor of English (1922-1962). She became widely known and respected as the property closet coordinator for the campus theater, a costumer for festivals and operas, and a coach of the university debate team. In addition to her commitment to the arts, “Miss Tyson” was determined to address both oral and written communication needs of not only the students in her own classes on campus but, for anyone who could benefit from her expertise. Toward this end, she opened the front porch of her home in West Chester to local school children for after-school “speech lessons” to enhance their skills. In Fall Semester 1923, she established what she called the “Speech Clinic” on the university campus – a facility that became one of the oldest university-based clinics in North America and the basis for what, over time, evolved into the current Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at West Chester University. In her 1923 accomplishment of the establishment of the “Speech Clinic,” she also was responsible in 1927 for the creation and instruction of the “Speech Problems” class and for its adoption as a requirement in the K-8 curriculum. After "Miss. Tyson's" death and with her foundation laid, the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology came to be, offering an undergraduate and graduate degree in speech-language pathology. The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders continues to remember "Miss Tyson" as incredible pioneer in their discipline. She is remembered by "Tyson Hall" on campus.
Ella Ehinger, a womens' sports pioneer, built the foundation for the Physical Education Department. Along with her husband Clyde Ehinger, the two laid the foundation for what has evolved into the current College of Health Sciences at West Chester University. During the years of 1890 to 1921, the couple was hired as the joint Directors of Physical Training, a precursor to today's college of Health Sciences. Dr. and Mrs. Ehinger were highly recognized in their field and often spoke at conferences and wrote articles. The campus' first gym was built that August, the first gymnasium in the country with an indoor track. When the two left, men and women's sports were well established and the two are honored with the Ehinger Gymnasium today. Additionally, the Spanish-style home the Ehingers built is still standing at the corner of West Rosedale Avenue and Cerado Avenue in West Goshen.
Gertrude A. Dunn
Gertrude Alice Dunn, known as Gertie, was born on September 30, 1933, in Sharon Hill, PA to Victor and Gertrude Dunn. After high school, she was a shortstop for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League from 1951 to 1954, and played for the Battle Creek Belles and the South Bend Blue Sox. She was Rookie of the Year in 1952 and was fourteenth among players in the league in career batting average at .261.
After the League folded in 1954, Dunn attended West Chester University, which did not have a women’s intercollegiate baseball or softball team. Instead, she excelled at lacrosse and field hockey. She majored in Health and Physical Education, and graduated in 1960.
After graduation, Dunn played on the US national teams for both lacrosse and field hockey. She also served as an umpire for 20 years in the Philadelphia Women’s Lacrosse Association, and worked as a physical education teacher for many years.
She was inducted into the U.S. Field Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988 and the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2007, and in 2012 she was the first lacrosse player inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame.
She passed away at the age of 71 on September 29, 2004, when the single-engine aircraft she was piloting crashed shortly after take-off.
Ms. Gloria Casarez, known as an activist in civil rights, and advocate for LGBT and public health concerns, graduated from West Chester University with the class of '93. Gloria earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice. During her time as a student, 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. She spent time with WCU students and inspired many of them to embrace social justice advocacy. In the Philadelphia region, Gloria was an influential community and professional leader. Gloria was the executive director for The Gay and Lesbian Latino AIDS Education Initiative (GALAEI) for 9 years and has focused on improving the lives of Philadelphia's most underserved and at-risk populations. She acted in numerous leadership positions with Prevention Point Philadelphia, the Bread and Roses Community Fund, the Philadelphia DKYE March, Drag King, and the House of (Manolo) Blahnik. Gloria served as the director of LGBT Affairs for the City of Philadelphia. Gloria was the recipient of numerous honors and awards. These include, the Philadelphia Out Proud Award, the 2001 Philadelphia LGBT Pride Grand Marshal, the NAACP's Annual Community Service Award.
Dr. Irene Shur
Dr. Irene Ginsburg Shur is considered a pioneer in the field of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at West Chester University since founding the program at WCU in 1978 with an undergraduate course on the Holocaust. She was the director of the program until her death in June 2003. Dr. Shur was a faculty member and professor of history as early as 1956. She also was a Member of the West Chester School Board since 1979. Thanks to Dr. Shur, WCU now offers a master's degree in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, a certification program, an undergraduate minor, a regional education center, and a library collection. She received a local Emmy for her work on the film CANDLES – The Story of the Mengele Twins in 1990. Dr. Shur also authored 'Reflection on the Holocaust and Mr. Puckle's hat.
Dr. Marjorie "Kat" Ellis
Marjorie Kathleen Ellis – PhD; was known as "Dr. Kat" at West Chester University. Dr. Kat began teaching at West Chester University in 2009. At the time of her death, she was the Director of the American Sign Language and Deaf Studies Programs in the Department of Languages and Cultures. She was the Committee Chair for Peer Review, and a member of the Committees for Program Evaluation and ADA Advocacy. At the time of her passing in 2020, the program was as big as it ever was, reaching students from every corner of the university. While working on her PhD, she taught courses in her field at Michigan State University, and also taught undergraduate and graduate courses in her field of Kinesiology and Deaf Education at Michigan School for the Deaf, also setting up a brand new athletic program while she was there. Dr. Kat has long supported the Special Olympics. The students she left behind created a scholarship in her honor, so that students to come are reminded of her fierce love for both the program and her students. She was an advocate for Deaf culture, disabilities, and civil rights her whole life. She made and undeniable impact on the communities she was a part of.
Dr. Pamela Hemphill
Dr. Pamela Hemphill was the first director of the Women’s Center which was established in 1974.
Dr. Patricia Gratsy-Gaines
Patricia Grasty-Gaines, an exceptional student at West Chester State Teacher’s College, returned to teach at WCU as a professor in the Early Childhood and Reading Department within the School of Education. Dr. Grasty-Gaines taught up until the time of her death in 1999. She was part of the founding team of the Frederick Douglass Institute and visionary leader in the field of multicultural education. Dr. Grasty-Gaines pushed the Education department and the campus as a whole more towards multiculturalism and succeeded against the odds. http://blackstudentslives.org/archives/exhibits/show/patriciagrasty
Ruby Johnson Jones earned her bachelor’s degree from West Chester University in 1940 and joined the West Chester State College faculty in 1961 as a teacher in the campus’ Demonstration School. The Demonstration School opened in 1899, as an elementary school providing opportunities for West Chester’s early teachers-to-be to observe classrooms and to practice teaching. The school served kindergarten to sixth grade and remained in service until the 1980s. The building was named in honor of Ruby Jones in 1977 and is a testament to the University’s beginnings as a teachers’ college. Jones became an Assistant Professor of Education and supervisor of Student Teachers in 1968. She was the first black faculty member. She retired in 1973. Professor Ruby Jones was actively involved with the NAACP, the YWCA and the American Association of University Women, she has been described as an educator, humanitarian, and civic leader. The annual Ruby Jones conference is designed to create an educational environment where students can engage in learning that will raise awareness and promote action-oriented dialogue about racial, cultural, and social issues that impact how they experience life on campus, in communities, and in society.
Named after Elsie O. Bull, the E. O. Bull Center for the Arts is located at the intersection of Rosedale Avenue and High Street. The building was newly renovated for the Fall of 2011. The E.O. Bull Center for the Arts now houses the Departments of Art as well as Theatre & Dance.
Grace Deitrich McCarthy
Grace Dietrich McCarthy was a member of WCU’s English Department from 1910 to 1944. Grace served as the Chairman of the English Department, and was the first Dean of Women. It was through her travels that she serendipitously wound up at the West Chester State Normal School, as WCU was called then. She was hired to teach English at West Chester. Her dedication to her own education and to her work at West Chester led to her being appointed the first Dean of Women in 1919. She was known to be popular with the students – the class of 1923 dedicated their yearbook to her. In addition to being instrumental in developing the Women’s Student Government Organization, she spent several years as the faculty editor of the student publication Amulet and was the faculty advisor to the Book Club. In 1927, she traded her position as Dean of Women for the Chairmanship of the English Department, and continued to provide leadership in that capacity until her retirement in 1944. In 1960, a new women’s dormitory, McCarthy Hall, located on Sharpless Street between High Street and Church Street, was dedicated to her.
Agnes Speakman was a long-time employee of the house keeping department and then Head of Housekeeping during a time when the staff tripled.
Esther Groome was an art teacher at the Normal School as well as an influential impressionist artist. She studied with many of the great painters of the 1900s and organized an art show on campus. She also used funds to purchase paintings and grow the school's art library.
Dr. Bessie Lawton
Bessie Lee Lawton, Ph.D., is a Professor of Communication and Media. She was born and raised in the Philippines, received her BA and MA in Communication from the University of the Philippines, and her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. She has been at WCU since 2004. Her most relevant service to the university is through the Faculty Senate, which she has been a member of since 2011. As Faculty Senate President in 2019-2021 and member of the Senate Executive Committee since 2013, she has advocated for faculty participation in shared governance processes and worked to elevate diversity, equity, and inclusion concerns especially for faculty of color. She was part of faculty leadership who worked with management in the Covid-19 response team and continues to advocate on campus climate issues as Senate Past-President. She regularly teaches a diversity course (Intercultural Communication) and enjoys teaching general education courses such as Public Speaking. Her research relates to intercultural communication as well as minority voices and identity negotiation. She is a Co-Director of the DNA Discussion Project, which has been featured in academic and popular media outlets. A co-authored book based on this project, Who am I: DNA in the Age of Consumer DNA testing, won the 2022 Textbook and Academic Authors Association’s Most Promising New Textbook award.
Dr. Rui Li
Rui Li holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Instructional Technology from the University of Texas at Austin. She joined West Chester University in 2011 as the inaugural Executive Director of Distance Education and Instructional Design. Currently, she serves as the Assistant Vice President for Digital Learning and Innovation. Under her leadership, the Office of Distance Education has supported the development of more than twenty online programs, ranging from degree-completion offerings to doctoral programs. She has led numerous campus wide initiatives in digital learning and educational technology, including Quality Matters, eTextbooks, and Digital Learning Innovations.
Dr. Li has a deep-seated commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access. She is the Principal Investigator on a U.S. Department of Education grant to establish the Pennsylvania Alliance for Design of Open Textbooks. In this role, she leads a collaborative effort across four PASSHE institutions to lower the cost of attendance by developing 20 open STEM-H e-textbooks.
Dr. Li has taught nationally and internationally in person and online for more than 20 years. Her research and scholarship focus on online education and technology effectiveness, impact, and management. She publishes regularly in peer-reviewed journals and is a frequent presenter at a variety of national and international conferences.
Jennifer Rossi Long
Jennifer Rossi Long is leading the continued efforts of fostering a culture of equitable career development at West Chester University as the Director of the Twardowski Career Development Center. She is a proud alumna of West Chester University, with a bachelor's degree in Philosophy. Majoring in Philosophy still ranks in the top three best decisions she’s made in her life. She also has her Master of Education in Student Personnel Services and Counseling in Higher Education from Widener University.
Outside of her role at WCU, Jennifer serves as the Immediate Past President of the Eastern Association of Colleges and Employers, as well as consults for college career centers looking to evolve, grow, modernize and/or integrate into their campuses in strategic and meaningful ways. She is also a regular contributor to KYW’s “In Depth” podcast on the evolving workforce and the impacts of the pandemic on careers.
Dr. Jacqueline (Jackie) Hodes
Dr. Jacqueline (Jackie) Hodes currently serves West Chester University as a professor and graduate coordinator in Higher Education Policy and Student Affairs in the Department of Educational Foundations and Policy Studies. She teaches courses that prepare graduate students for positions as student affairs educators and higher education practitioners. She is currently serving as the co-director of WCU’s Ed.D. program.
Dr. Hodes has worked at WCU since 1986, starting her career in student affairs as the director of alcohol and drug education. Over 26 years as an administrator, Dr. Hodes served in many different capacities including director of the wellness center and the assistant to the vice-president for student affairs. Most notably, Dr. Hodes served for 18 years as the inaugural coordinator for LGBTQA services.
Her scholarship is varied and includes both writing and presentations on understanding the professional identity development of student affairs practitioners, graduate student success, creating change via collaboration in higher education and student affairs that leads to student success, and strengths-based leadership and practice.
Dr. Hodes was presented with the WCU Civility Award in 2005 and the WCU Legacy of Leadership Award in 2013. She has been recognized by students with the WCU Advising Award.
When she is not working, she can be found going to movies, reading a good book, exploring new places with her partner, enjoying spinning, spending time with her 8 nieces and nephews or tackling an interesting crossword puzzle!
Gertrude Schmidt was there when the department of music was established at West Chester Normal School. She was hired as the first assistant director of music in 1921 and served in various roles until 1951. She greatly expanded the offerings of the music department.
Emilie K. Asplundh
The Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall is named after and dedicated to Emilie Kessel Asplundh, class of 1927, who donated a substantial amount to the renovation of the Philips Building and its concert hall. It is located in the Philips Memorial Building at West Chester University and was built in 1927. The building originally served as a chapel and lecture hall as well as a performance area for many student organizations. Renovations were completed in January 2000.
Muriel Leach was a professor in the Department of Health and Physical Education from 1931-1962. Leach also received the Retirement Recognition Award in 1962 by the Association for her years of service.
Diane D’Arcangelo has been a member of the West Chester community since 2010. As the interim Assistant Vice President for Student Development, she has oversight of The Center for Civic Engagement and Social Impact, The Dowdy Multicultural Center, Student Leadership & Involvement, and The Twardowski Career Development Center. In this role, she serves as the academic liaison, collaborates on the First-Year Experience with faculty and staff, Chairs West Chester’s First steering committee, serves on the Student Success and Retention Council, the Committee on Advising Excellence, and the New Faculty Orientation Committee. She created a sustainable Division of Student Affairs onboarding course using D2L. She assisted with a theoretical framework for the division’s staff and faculty social justice training curriculum. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Kutztown University and a Master’s of Counseling and College Student Personnel from Shippensburg University. Diane will earn a Doctorate of Education in Policy, Planning, and Administration in May 2022 from West Chester University. Her doctoral research is on new professional retention in student affairs.
Mildred "Mimi" Greenwood joined the West Chester University faculty in the Health and Physical Education Department in 1965, teaching in the elementary division, supervising student teachers and coaching the third and fourth field hockey teams and varsity badminton squad. She also served as the coach of the third and fourth women’s basketball teams during the late 1960’s.
Additionally, Greenwood also started the West Chester University women's volleyball program in the late 1970s, serving as the program's first head coach. Greenwood’s athletic administrative career occurred at an important time for women’s athletics. She was the second advisor to the Women’s Intercollegiate Program (Women’s Athletic Director), the first Director of Equal Opportunity in Sport, and a charter member of the Philadelphia, Eastern and National Associations for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW). She was the voting representative for West Chester in these organizations.
Greenwood was also the advisor to the WIAP when West Chester hosted the first National Women’s Basketball Tournament, the Regional Intercollegiate Swimming & Diving Championship and the National Field Hockey Tournament.
Vonnie was probably the greatest Field Hockey Coach for the United States. Her teams at WC won the first two National Championships (AIAW). She was equally successful in lacrosse. Her teams never lost - period. Vonnie moved on to become the Coach for US Field Hockey, and took the team to bronze medal in 1984. Vonnie has been compared to John Wooden. She was innovative, creative - she changed the game of field hockey game. She is such a legend here at WC that the field hockey field was named after her.
Dr. Jane Swan
Dr. Swan made important contributions to the history department as a scholar of Russia. She was also instrumental in the founding of the university's Women's Center. She earned her doctorate in Russian history from the University of Pennsylvania.
Barbara Leighton Karas
In college, Leighton Karas earned 13 varsity letters in five sports and was later inducted into the WCU Athletic Hall of Fame. She was also the tennis team’s No. 1 player in both singles and doubles and was so good in field hockey, she was named to the U.S. National team in 1967 along with teammate Vonnie Gros.
From 1966-74 she coached the WCU swim team to the national title as well as a runner-up finish in 1971. Leighton Karas was a big part of an amazing record as the West Chester women did not lose a dual meet from 1960-75.
And as the head coach of the tennis team for 21 seasons, the Rams were 109-68-1 and were the PSAC champs in 1982 and qualified for the NCAA Tournament five times. Leighton Karas also worked on NCAA Tennis Selection Committee for eight years, chaired the Northeast Region Women’s Tennis Committee (1982-88) and was a site coordinator for Middle States Tennis Association.
She was also an accomplished equestrian rider and long distance runner. In 1970, Leighton Karas finished fourth out of 10 to become one of the first women to run in the Boston Marathon. She was awarded the West Chester University Globetrotter Award for running what was equal to one and one-quarter times around the earth.
An avid horsewoman and fox hunter, Leighton Karas rode with the West Chester, West Bradford and Brandywine Hunts. In 1965, she was credited with starting one of the first high school equestrian programs in the country.
Liz has been part of West Chester since her time as a student. A member of the class of 1969, Former Director of the Career Development Center, 1983-1984 Faculty Merit Award, and Legacy of Leadership class of 2016, she worked endlessly to help make WCU the place it is today. Even though she has retired, you can still find her living in West Chester, walking through campus, and attending events.
Dr. Madeleine Wing Adler
Madeleine Wing Adler is President Emerita of West Chester University, West Chester, Pennsylvania. As President of WCU for 16 years, Dr. Adler pioneered the “distributed leadership” approach to university administration in an institution with 13,000-students and a $200 million annual budget. Previously she was Vice President for Academic Affairs at Framingham State College (Massachusetts) and a long-time faculty member and administrator at The City University of New York, including Queens College and the CUNY Central Office. She has also taught at American University and Pennsylvania State University.
For a decade after retiring as a university president, Adler was a Senior Associate at the AASCU-Penson Center for Professional Development. Her consulting focused on transitions and change in universities, leadership coaching, top management team building, strategic planning, presidential assessment, and board/president relations. She also coordinated the executive coaching component of AASCU’s Millennium Leadership Initiative.
Adler has also served as: Chair of the Board of Directors of the Chester County (Pennsylvania) Community Foundation; Member, Board of Directors, American Association of State Colleges and Universities; Member and Vice-Chair, Board of Directors, Chester County Historical Society Museum and Archives; Member, Board of Directors, Danforth Museum of Art (Massachusetts); founding Member, Board of Directors, Chester County Fund for Women and Girls; Member, Board of Directors, Willow Financial Bank; New York City Comptroller’s appointee to the Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation, and Staff Member, Joint Committee on the Organization of the U.S. Congress.
A sought-after speaker, her presentations range from “Presidential Leadership” presented at the HERS/Bryn Mawr College Summer Institute for Women in Higher Education in six different years and to “Women Leading Change” at the ARAMARK Corporation’s Women’s Summit in Charleston, SC.
She is author or co-author of a wide variety of publications, including: “Governors and Public Policy Leadership” (in Governors and Higher Education [Education Commission of the States]), Decentralization at the Grassroots: Political Innovation in New York City and London (Sage), and “Higher Education and the Politics of Investment” (Vital Speeches of the Day).
A native of Ohio who currently resides on Cape Cod, Madeleine Wing Adler holds a baccalaureate from Northwestern University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Dr. Margaretta Carey
Dr. Carey, Faculty Emeritus, earned her Master's degree in music from the University of Rochester Eastman School of Music and her Ph.D. from The Pennsylvania State University. Her field was music education and she served as music advisor and coordinator of the Arts for the Commonwealth of PA, Department of Education. She was a member of the George Morris Philips Society and donated the piano in Asplundh Hall. A scholarship was established in her name. She retired as a faculty administrator at West Chester University.
Dr. Patricia C. Johnson
Patricia ("Pat") was Professor of History. She served as one of the first women department chairs at the university, an interim Dean and was the first WCU Associate Provost (during the tenure of mathematician Richard Brandt's term as Provost). Her leadership on campus was pioneering and she mentored many colleagues and inspired many students.
Dr. Angela Howard
Dr. Howard, Associate Provost for Global Engagement, has been a member of the WCU community since 1993. Dr. Howard serves in the Global Engagement Office as the Principal Designated School Official and Responsible Officer coordinating the institution’s compliance with immigration policies, practices, and other legal requirements. She has co-led a graduate workshop in Italy, titled International Higher Education. In addition, Dr. Howard has led alternative spring break study abroad programs to England and Italy. She has presented abroad on topics such as experiential learning theory, institutional barriers in education abroad, and diversity and inclusion strategies focused on increasing participation of underrepresented students in international experiences. Dr. Howard was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and traveled to Japan to study the higher education system, structure, grading system and academic program offerings. Dr. Howard is a member of NAFSA, Association of International Educators and the Fulbright Association. She serves on the board of the American College of Norway and is a past board member for the Volunteer English Program in Chester County, having served as Board Secretary and also served on the board for the West Chester University Alumni Association. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and collecting celebrity autographs.
Mary Ellen (known as Mell) Josephs was actively involved at West Chester University for 40 years. Mell began as the Assistant Director of Student Activities. She later moved on to become director of Sykes Student Union, where her implementation of Sykes’ organizational structure is still being used today. In 1986, Mell became the first Executive Director of Student Services Incorporated, SSI. Among her contributions to the university, Mell brought food services to Sykes, improved the SSI bookstore, implemented the Ram E-card for the university, and ran the check cashing and ticketing services. Mell also supported and worked with the Student Government Association and was the Chair of the committee that erected the ram statue. The statue currently stands on the corner of South Church Street and West Rosedale Avenue. Mell retired from WCU in 2015.
Josephs has also played a huge part in her community. She has served on numerous boards of Chester County organizations, including the Chester County Hospital Board of Directors from 1996 to 2013 and the Chamber of Commerce of Greater West Chester Board of Directors, from 1987 to 1992. Her involvement was also on the board and committees for Neighborhood Health Services in West Chester, WCU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts and the Delaware Theatre Company in Wilmington. In 2007, the March of Dimes recognized Josephs for her excellence in the Field of Public Service. She was also a supporter and committee member of the 25th Annual Salute to Chester County Women of Achievement that took place on in 2014.
Mary McCullough, a trained social worker and counselor, became the director of the Center for Women and Gender Equity in 1983.She held the position until the fall of 1986. She was a faculty member in Communication studies. She was heavily involved in getting Women’s Studies as a program up and running, and taught the first Lesbian Studies course at West Chester University.
Dr. Helen Reid
Associate Professor of Chemistry (retired, deceased March 2020): Helen Reid conceived and developed the B.S. Forensic & Toxicological Chemistry program at WCU and was instrumental in that program achieving accreditation (as one of only 5 programs in PA) by FEPAC (the Forensic Education Program Accreditation Council). In order to learn what students needed to be taught, Dr. Reid worked for no salary at a variety of police, medical examiner and toxicology laboratories in the area during the summer for several years, and developed & gained CAPC approval for the Forensic Chemistry courses CHE & CRL 371; her contacts also enabled students to complete for-credit (CHE 451) professional internships at state and local police labs, medical examiners’ offices, and commercial toxicology laboratories as a required part of their degree program. The continued tremendous popularity of this major is due to her selfless dedication to serving our students for many years.
Dr. Diane Casegrande
Dr. Casagrande joined West Chester University in 1968 as an instructor and retired in 2001 as a full professor. She was a founder of the graduate program in West Chester's Department of Communication Studies and its first graduate coordinator. She was her department's representative on the faculty union.
In the 2009-2010 academic year, she was a member of the board of trustees of the West Chester University Foundation, a fund-raising body.
In 2001, she and her husband set up the annual Casagrande Scholarship to help pay tuition for a communication or pre-engineering student.
Dr. Casagrande and her husband were the authors of Oral Communication in Technical Professions and Businesses, from Wadsworth Publishing in 1986. She served on such college committees as faculty search and faculty evaluation and worked with the debate team and the forensics team, among others.
Dr. Carmela Cinquina
Dr. Cinquina began her association with West Chester University in 1961 as a part-time instructor of anatomy/physiology, and microbiology. Two years later, she became a full-time professor in the department of Biology. Dr. Cinquina has served as the Assistant Chair and the Graduate Coordinator of the Biology Department, and the Acting Director/Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. She was instrumental in the development of many new courses within her department and served on numerous campus committees. She also was the recipient of the Certificate for Exceptional Academic Service from the Pennsylvania Department of Education for the 1975-76 academic year and was the leader and founder of the Faculty Senate at WCU.
In her nearly 40 years at WCU, Judith S. Finkel saw teaching technology grow from the 1970s “teaching machines” that helped K–6 children learn to read to today’s apps and the iPad. She began her career in 1968 in what is now the Department of Early Childhood and Special Education, eventually chaired that department, and also served as interim dean of the School of Education (now the College of Education and Social Work). “The lab school was an unusual setting for the 1970s,” she recalls. “Third, fourth, and fifth grades were open classrooms. We had teaching machines that prepared our students for computer assisted instruction” — a natural progression since the Laboratory School shared space with the computer center in Bull Center at what was then West Chester State College. In the late 1990s, Finkel came full circle and established a center to link tech-savvy and forward-thinking educators across the region: the WCU Educational Entrepreneurship and Excellence (3E) Institute.
Dr. Marci Major
Dr. Marci Major serves as Associate Professor and Department Chair of Music Education and Music Therapy at West Chester University. Additionally, she founded and directs Music Service Learning, a non-profit organization that provides music teachers with support from college students who collaboratively create resources, plan events, and give an extra hand where needed. At her philosophical core, Marci aims to use music as a vehicle to build connection and community with musicians and music enthusiasts of all ages.
Marci believes strongly in the power of collaboration to creatively solve problems, develop programs, increase DEI, and constantly adjust to meet the ever-changing needs, cares, wants, and concerns of all stakeholders. Through her work, Marci has facilitated hundreds of partnerships resulting in increased teacher support, more musical access for K-12 students, the development of cutting-edge collegiate curriculum, and the creation of new paid hands-on experiences for pre-service teachers. She does this while simultaneously keeping an active artistic life as choral conductor and music education researcher.
Marci earned her B.S. from West Chester University, her M.M. from Michigan State University, and her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. Marci resides in West Chester, Pennsylvania, with her husband, son, and daughter.
Ms. Robin Garret came to the University as a faculty member in the Department of Nursing. She then served as the Director of Women's Center in the Division of Student Affairs for approximately 25 years. Over the years the Women's Center was a critical office on campus for women students who needed assistance, information, and support. Robin's passion, kindness, and leadership over the years provided this "safe space" for that to occur. Resources, programs, on-campus/off-campus referrals, and personal assistance were offered on a daily basis. Robin was always a campus voice for all social equity issues however her role with the Women's Center helped provide needed awareness about issues that were directly related to women such as sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual assault. In many ways, these were challenging issues on campus but Robin found a way to engage people and open the door for honest discussion that would result in improved campus policies and procedures. She really made a difference at WCU! She now volunteers for the hotline for Crime Victim Center of Chester County, which is an extension of the collaborative work I did with them while at WCU.
A lifelong West Chester resident and co-owner of Kelly's Sports, Addy donated freely of her time, money and talents for the betterment of athletics in and around the West Chester area for most of her adult life. She and her husband, Alvy, started Kelly's Sports Ltd. in West Chester in the 1970s and showed strong devotion and commitment to the community and to West Chester University. Kelly contributed and worked alongside Mimi Greenwood in starting women's intercollegiate athletics at West Chester University. Mrs. Kelly was one of the Golden Rams most avid cheerleaders and fans. In addition to joining Al in attending almost every football game, she assisted in the creation of the WCU Women's Athletic Hall of Fame, was a founding member of the Rams Athletic Association, and was active in the Golden Rams Football Club. In 1995, an annual award created in her name was first presented at the WCU Women's Hall of Fame banquet. Each year an individual exemplifying her commitment to WCU women's athletics receives the honor.
Dr. Anne Dzamba
Dr. Anne Dzamba began her career at West Chester University in 1968 and throughout her career, she established herself as an accomplished teacher and scholar on this campus and around the region for over thirty years. She has made significant contributions to her discipline of History and in Women's Studies. As a professor in the history department, she taught a full range of history courses as well as courses in Political Science, German Culture, Women's Studies and the Honors Program. She was thought of as one of the history department's most effective teachers.
Her work as a University leader of the Women's Studies program is renowned. Her concern for women's rights and issues brought about effective change and helped to build a strong women's community at West Chester University. The Women's Studies Program, A Women's Center, a day care center, A Women’s Coalition were all a result of the effectiveness of Dr. Dzamba's defense and support of gender equity in the classroom, on campus and in the region. Dr. Dzamba directed the Women's Studies Program for five years and during that time, she organized the Mid-Atlantic Women's Studies Association conference on the West Chester University campus. Within the Women's Studies Program, she developed and taught several courses. She taught Women and Politics, European Women's Biography, and Women Today. She was a dedicated professor and interested in fostering the concept of equity within the classroom and in every area of life.
Senator Carolyn T. Comitta
Senator Carolyn T. Comitta is a leader in championing communities, defending the environment, and working to ensure a safer, cleaner, and brighter future for the next generation of Pennsylvanians and beyond.
Elected to the Senate in 2020, she serves as minority chair of the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and on the Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Education, Health and Human Services, and Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committees.
Before being elected state Senator, Carolyn served two terms as State Representative for the 156th Legislative District. Carolyn was first elected to office in West Chester Borough where she served on borough council. Later, she was elected Mayor of West Chester, where she was the first woman and first bipartisan-elected official to hold the seat. An educator by trade, Carolyn has combined her passion for teaching with the need to address the climate crisis threatening our planet. She is an active member of World Information Transfer, a nonprofit United Nations NGO focused on educating people and communities about the connection between our environment and public health. Beyond her legislative work, Carolyn is Vice President of Thomas Comitta Associates. She is also actively involved in a number of community efforts, including the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club of West Chester, the League of Women Voters, and has served on various boards at West Chester University. Carolyn lives in West Chester, Pennsylvania with her husband, Tom. They have two grown children and two young grandchildren with another grandchild on the way.
Geneva Henderson Bost
In 1932, Mrs. Bost was accepted by West Chester State Teachers College, now West Chester University, but the acceptance letter was withdrawn once the admissions staff realized she was African American. "She was just devastated," her niece said.
Angered by the move, Trimalla Henderson, Mrs. Bost's mother, marched into the dean's office and demanded that the acceptance letter be reinstated. There was a contentious exchange, Mrs. Bost would later tell family. But her mother stood firm, and Mrs. Bost entered the school that fall as a freshman.
Because of her race, she was not allowed to live in the dormitories or eat in the dining halls. But some fellow students helped ease the way, sneaking her into the dorms so she could change clothes in preparation for her evening recitals at the school. Eventually, she became friends with the dean who had blocked her admission.
Mrs. Bost's musical talent endeared her to faculty, especially her voice teacher. In 1935, she was chosen to sing "O Holy Night," the honor solo at the university's holiday concert, becoming the first African American student selected. She graduated in 1936 with a bachelor's degree in music education.
Marsha Haug served as WCU Director of Admissions from 1986 until her retirement in 2018. She was awarded a Bachelor’s degree in History at Westminster College (Pennsylvania) and a Master’s degree in Student Personnel Administration at the State University of New York, Brockport. She started her WCU career in 1978 as Assistant Director of Admissions. During Marsha's tenure, WCU enrollment nearly tripled. Under her leadership the Admissions Department transformed its mission from processing applications to actively pursuing diverse, qualified enrollment. Her success was a significant factor in elevating the status of WCU to one of the top public regional universities.
Mary Anderson was hired as the director of news and communications at West Chester University. She was named director of public relations and marketing in 1994. A native of Albany, N.Y., she earned an associate’s degree from Hudson Valley Community College and a bachelor’s degree in communication from the State University of New York in Plattsburgh. She was a journalism intern at the United Nations for two semesters.
Dr. Bronwyn Martin
Bronwyn Martin earned her Master’s Degree in Business Administration from West Chester University in 2000. In 1994, Bronwyn graduated from Boston University School of Medicine earning her Doctorate in Biochemistry. Bronwyn holds multiple publications in the Biology field, in addition to being published across journals in the tax and estate planning sectors. During the years of 2009 to 2016, she was a member of WCU’s Women in Leadership & Service Committee and was welcomed as a Guest Lecturer to speak at WCU’s Fall 2020 Retirement Planning. Among her other professional accomplishments, Bronwyn is currently a Guest Financial Columnist for the Daily Local news and was the Ameriprise Bank Advisory Champion from 2007-2011. She was a volunteer Exam Writer for the Fi360 AIF® in 2020 and for the NAIFA LACP® in 2017.
Bronwyn is currently on the Chester County Estate Planning Council and has served in varying positions during her tenure there since 2013, this includes her time as president from 2021-2022. Bronwyn is actively involved in her community. She is currently on the MDRT Foundation Grant Committee and a Board Member for the Alzheimer’s Association in the Philadelphia Region. In addition to this, she has been named one of PA’s Best 50 Women in Business and holds several awards for her contributions to the Rotary Foundation.
Pattie Diggin earned an MBA degree from West Chester University in 1996. She joined West Chester University in 2011 as an Adjunct Professor of Marketing and currently serves as the Director of The Cottrell Entrepreneurship Center. Pattie sits on the Board of Directors at The Fund for Women and Girls where she heads up the Marketing committee and is past chair of the Development Committee. She is also a member of the Ambassador and Education Foundation committees at the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce and sits on the i2n Board of the Chester County Economic Development Council. Since 2014 she has been a SCORE volunteer and works collaboratively with organizations in the region that are committed to expanding the impact of entrepreneurship programming and supporting development of small businesses.
One of Pattie’s proudest accomplishments as Director of The Cottrell Center is the Annual WCU Women’s Entrepreneurship Conference which is a collaboration between the University and SCORE of Chester & Delaware Counties with annual attendance of almost 200 and a must event for women entrepreneurs.
This fall she launched the first Social Innovation Competition at WCU in collaboration with The Office of Sustainability, Office of Civic Engagement & Social Impact and PRME.
Dr. Anita Foeman
Dr. Anita Foeman received her PhD from Temple University in 1982 in Communication. She was one of the first in her field to publish on diversity in the workplace as a positive development. Her co-authored article “Ethnic Culture and Corporate Culture” published in 1987 articulates a positive image of workplace diversity. For the past almost two decades, Dr. Foeman’s research has examined identity based on ancestry DNA data. Her first publication on this work was “Science and Magic: DNA and the Racial Narratives that Shape the Social Construction of Race in the USA,” published in 2006, followed by a series of works including publications in Communication Monographs, Communication Quarterly, the journal Identity and the open access journal Genealogy plus a co-authored intercultural text in 2015. Her work has received coverage in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Here & Now on NPR, and others. Her coauthored book Who Am I? Identity in the Age of Consumer DNA Testing was released in February 2022 won the most promising book award. She competed a series for the Great Course organization entitled Identity in the Age of Ancestry. Her collaborative work is now exploring the experience of people having a non-parental event.
Dorothy “Dottie” Shafer
Born and raised in Upper Darby, PA, Dottie graduated from high school and went on to Philadelphia School of Office Training. She secured a position with Drexel and Co. working in the Research Department. Drexel merged into Burham and her office was moved to NY. Being married and living in Havertown, I got a job with Sealtest Foods and worked for the National Sales Manager. I was there for 5 years and had my first son, Sam. I then got to be a stay-at-home mom for 10 years, having Andrew and Doug along the way. I then worked as the secretary for the 9th and 10th grade Dean at Penncrest High School for a year. Karen Morelli asked me to interview to work at WCU in the English Department for Kostas Myrsiades, the chair. I was in English for about five years and moved to be an administrative assistant for the Associate Provost, who was Fran McNairy at the time. I stayed there till I retired, having about 13 different bosses as AP and their assistants, of whom many were faculty filling the positions, and was given a manager position. I also worked with the CAPC committee for many years and got to know and work with so many wonderful faculty members in that capacity and learn so much about each of the curriculums and departments. This was the greatest privilege of working at WCU. Where my boys all got their degrees from WCU, I feel I earned the best one learning from all these wonderful professors and bosses. My 23 years at WCU was a lifetime education across all the disciplines and learning from working with the Deans and administration.
Dr. Gwenelle O’Neal
Gwenelle Styles O’Neal attended Spelman College, New York University and Columbia University Schools of Social Work and has worked in social welfare, mental health, and education. Her areas of interest and research include group work and using the cultural resources of communities for academic performance, capacity building, and civic participation. She has worked in Atlanta, Ga, New York, NY. Philadelphia and West Chester, Pa.
Dr. O’Neal is passionate about the development and use of multicultural resources in curricula across disciplines. Racial and cultural socialization strategies that incorporate resources produced by members of diverse groups offer opportunities for people to learn about cultural strengths and to utilize these in policy development and decision making. Her multicultural resource database designed to facilitate students’ exposure to diverse authors’ and researchers is located in the resources of the Frances Green Library. She is the author of the textbook, From oppression to inclusion: Social workers advancing change.
Dr. O’Neal’s focus on democracy, economic development, and macro social work practice, is connected to experiences in civic participation, community recreation, community mental health, and active learning techniques. She serves on several initiatives to promote inclusion and innovation at West Chester University.
Dr. Melissa Cichowicz
Dr. Melissa Betz Cichowicz earned her BS in Chemistry from St. Joseph’s College and her PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Maryland, College Park. After working in Exploratory Agricultural Products research at Rohm & Haas Company for two years, she came to WCU in 1986. Dr. Cichowicz was awarded tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in 1992, and has served the University in a variety of roles including: Director of Sponsored Research, Associate Dean - College of Arts & Sciences, Pre-Medical Program Director, Chemistry Department Chair and Assistant Department Chair. She served as the founding faculty advisor to Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity, Alpha Epsilon chapter, and advisor to other groups such as Women in Science, Pre-Medical Student Association and the Equestrian Club. Dr. Cichowicz has served the chemical community for over 30 years as an elected member of the Board of Directors, Philadelphia Section of the American Chemical Society, including a 3-year term as Chairman of the Board. She has also served as a National Councilor with appointments to CEPA (Committee for Economic & Professional Affairs) and MAC (Membership Activities Committee), and is also a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemists. She has won both Meritorious and Distinguished Service awards from the Philadelphia Section ACS, as well as “National Advisor of the Year” from Phi Sigma Pi and WCU’s “Outstanding Faculty/Administrator of the Year” and in 2006 was selected for WCU’s “Legacy of Leadership” class. She has engaged in research with numerous students on projects related to organic synthesis of natural products, or development of novel synthetic methodology, and has over 30 papers and presentations on those results at regional and national conferences.
Diane M Lokey
Diane Lokey earned a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Leisure Management from Lock Haven University in 1987 where she played field hockey. She earned her Master's of Science Degree in Sport and Athletic Administration from West Chester University in 2010. Lokey was inducted into Elizabethtown High School's Hall of Fame in October 2010. Lokey has coached 19 impressive seasons at West Chester University as head coach of the school’s softball squad.
With Lokey’s leadership, the WCU Softball Team has won four regional crowns with an accompanying trip to the national semifinals, including three straight years in 2018, 2019 and 2021. The team has won six consecutive divisional titles. Lokey has also been named Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Eastern Division Coach of the Year five times (2008, 2010, 2016, 2018, 2019). She recorded her overall 600th win during the 2021 campaign. Lokey captured PSAC East Coach of the Year accolades for the second year in a row and the third time in the last four years while also earning ECAC DII Softball Coach of the Year honors and NFCA Atlantic Region Coaching Staff of the Year recognition for the second season in a row. Lokey has single-handedly resurrected a sport at West Chester that was perennially a second-division resident, which had not had a winning season in a decade before Lokey came to West Chester’s campus.
Terry Graboyes was born and raised in Philadelphia. She Graduated Philadelphia High School for Girls in 1970 and received her bachelor's degree in political science from West Chester University in 1974.
After college Terry moved to Harrisburg PA where she served as Legislative Liaison for the Department of Public Welfare in the administration of Governor Milton Shapp. She went on to become the Director of Government Affairs for the Pennsylvania Retailers Association, one of the first women business lobbyists in the Commonwealth.
Ms. Graboyes founded Graboyes Commercial Window Company in 1984, which became one of the state's largest woman owned companies and union glazing contractors. She retired after 33 years as President, CEO and Consulting Director.
Terry was founding Board Chairperson of 1812 Productions 25 years ago, Philadelphia’s all comedy professional theater company. She continues to serve on their Board of Directors. Her previous Board service includes Society Hill Synagogue; Walnut Street and Arden Theaters; Philadelphia Chapter of American Jewish Committee; Architectural Glass and Metal Association; Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC). Terry also served on the Pennsylvania State Apprenticeship and Training Council for 12 years having been appointed by 3 Governors.
Ms. Graboyes has lived in the Washington Square neighborhood of Philadelphia for over 40 years. She was married to the late Ronald Herman. Their son Noah Herman lives in Swarthmore PA with his wife and 3-year-old daughter.
Dr. Lisa Calvano
Dr. Lisa Calvano is a first-generation college student and the incoming Dean of the Graduate School. She currently serves as the Associate Dean of the College of Business and Public Management and is a Professor in the Management Department. She has held numerous leadership roles at WCU including Interim Dean of the College of Business and Public Management, Assistant Chair of the Management Department, Provost’s Assistant for Philadelphia Programs, and Director of General Education Assessment. She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in human resource management and business and society, and served on Doctor of Public Administration dissertation committees. As an advocate for adult learners on campus, Dr. Calvano has conducted research on creating supportive a learning environment, and partnerships with community colleges. Her management research focuses on the social and environmental impact of business on employees, families and communities, and business ethics education. Dr. Calvano earned a Ph.D. in Organization and Human Resource Management from Temple University, an M.B.A. from Temple University, an M.S. in Housing Policy from the London School of Economics and a B.S. in History and Politics from Drexel University.
Alison Donley’s love of yoga began at age 16, after reading Iyengar's Light on Yoga. She continued her practice throughout the next 4 years of NCAA competitive gymnastics at WCU with coach Sandra Thielz.
In PEA fitness classes in 1999, Alison taught yoga on occasion. Students began regularly requesting yoga so she (jokingly) invited them to start a petition. A student submitted a petition with over 100 signatures that very day. Alison immediately created the syllabus that is still in use, thanks to encouragement from Barbara Lappano and Monita Lank.
What started as a portion of a fitness class grew to upwards of 25 yearly sections with 4 instructors teaching invaluable life-changing skills via Yoga I, II & III and a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification Program. The same determination and passion that fueled Alison’s continual pursuit of yoga knowledge allowed her to develop these programs and author the workbook, Yoga: A Path to Wellness while serving as an adjunct instructor for 23 years and Wellness Advisor for Unite for HER.
She will cherish the experiences and the letters from her students regarding the transformative experience of yoga education. Alison’s greatest accomplishment in life has been to raise two children, Rachel and Trevor, with husband Dean, all WCU alums.
Dr. Monica Zimmerman
Monica A. Zimmerman PhD, CPA is a Professor of Management in the College of Business and Public Management at West Chester University. She teaches MBA courses on Strategic Management and undergraduate courses on Entrepreneurship. Dr. Zimmerman is the Founding Director of WCU’s Dr. Edwin Cottrell Entrepreneurial Leadership Center and currently serves as the center’s Executive Director. She is the faculty advisor of the Entrepreneurship Minor and the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization of WCU. Dr. Zimmerman chairs the College of Business and Public Management’s Strategic Planning committee. She served as interim Associate Dean of the WCU College of Business and Public Affairs. In 2010, WCU selected her to attend the HERS Leadership Institute. Dr. Zimmerman has published and presented many studies addressing initial public offerings (IPOs), angel capital, management teams, and women entrepreneurs. She is also active in the community having served on non-profit boards and economic development committees. She earned a PhD in strategic management, an MBA, and a BS in accounting. Dr. Zimmerman is a CPA licensed in the state of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Sally Winterton
Sally Winterton, Ed. D. (UPenn), Professor Emerita, West Chester University of Pennsylvania served as Coordinator of Field Experiences in the Department of Elementary Education, Interim Director of the Teacher Education Center; Interim Associate Dean of the College of Education; and Associate Professor in the Department of Early and Middle Grades. Her research interests are learning styles, Co-Teaching, and integrating technology in teacher preparation. Sally now serves on the WCU’s CESW Advisory Council and on the university New Faculty Orientation Committee. Prior to joining WCU she taught elementary school, was as an assistant middle school principal, an elementary school principal, and director of personnel in Pennsylvania public school districts.
Sally is a Past President of the Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Teacher Educators and a member of its Board of Directors. She is a Past President of the Immaculata University Alumni Association and as such is a member of its Past President Advisory Committee.
Sally and her husband, John, are longtime residents of Chester County where she has served on their township’s Historical Commission, and a 25-year member and currently chair of the Planning Commission. Sally’s avocations include horseback riding which she does regularly, gardening, and travelling.
Dr. Sandra Fowkes-Godek
Dr. Sandra Fowkes-Godek is a Professor of Sports Medicine and Director of the HEAT Institute at West Chester University. She received a BS degree from Penn State University, an MS degree from the University of Colorado and a PhD from Temple University, both in exercise physiology. At WCU she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in athletic training/sports medicine and serves as the Director of Physician Services in Sports Medicine maintaining her clinical involvement with varsity athletes.
Dr. Fowkes-Godek is on the editorial board for the Journal of Athletic Training, is a grant reviewer for the NATA Research and Education Foundation and is a reviewer for various journals including Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Journal of Sport Rehab, and the Journal of Muscle and Nerve. In 2006 she was awarded the Council of Trustees’ Distinguished Faculty Award at WCU and was the 2013 Recipient of the Ted Quedenfeld Award honoring her outstanding contributions to the field of Sports Medicine in the Philadelphia area.
Dr. Fowkes-Godek was interviewed by Brian Williams live on MSNBC in August 2001 and has appeared on the CBS Evening News, the web show NASA 360 and on numerous local television and radio programs. Since 2003 she has served as a researcher and consultant to the Philadelphia Eagles and Flyers and frequently works with professional marathoners and triathletes.
Dr. Linda Lamwers
Dr. Linda L. Lamwers earned her PhD in experimental developmental psychology from Rutgers University and completed a post-doc at the University of Illinois. At St. Cloud State University (Minnesota), she was a tenured professor, Honors Director, director of the program for high risk new students, Assistant Dean and Associate Academic Vice President. Selected for the prestigious American Council on Education Fellowship, Dr.Lamwers spent a year at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, responsible for their diversity planning. She founded the American Indian Center at SCSU.
Dr. Lamwers was Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at West Chester University from 1995-2015. During that time, she also served as Acting President and Interim President. She oversaw development of the first doctoral programs, international partnerships, and assessment of student learning outcomes. She was responsible for accreditation, strategic planning and transformation with regard to student success and program excellence.
After retiring from WCU, Dr. Lamwers provided leadership at PASSHE for academic policy development on general education and transfer.
Dr. Lamwers served on the Boards of Chester County Futures and Peace Island Institute.
Dr. Lamwers is the wife of Dr. Leonard Soroka, mother of Nicholas (a West Point grad and vet) and grandmother of 3-year-old Alice Wren
Dr. Geetha Ramanathan
Geetha Ramanathan taught in the Comparative Literature and Women’s Studies Programs where she created curricula to diversify the course offerings. Some of the courses she designed were in World Literature, African American Film, and Women’s Literature.
Professor Ramanathan was the chair of the committee that ushered in the university’s Diversity requirement. She served as Coordinator of Comparative Literature, Director of Women’s Studies, and Director and Facilitator of the Curriculum Integration Project. She spearheaded the establishment of the Madelyn Gutwirth Women’s Studies Endowment. She contributed to, and was chair of the Committee of Social Equity.
Dr. Ramanathan is the author of several books. Among these are Sexual Politics and the Male Playwright, Feminist Auteurs, Locating Gender in Modernism, The Female in German Modernisms and The Black Essai Film. The book was chosen to be included in the Black Liberation Reading List created by JSTOR and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
Geetha Ramanathan has been an invited speaker at many venues, including the Berkeley Art Museum, and London University. Her efforts were recognized by the State Department and the international academic community when she was named the Fulbright Distinguished Chair of Gender Studies in Klagenfurt, Austria.
Lillian L. DeBaptiste
Lillian L. DeBaptiste was officially sworn in to serve as the first Black female mayor of the Borough of West Chester in Pennsylvania on January 3, 2022. She’s following in the footsteps of her father, Dr. Clifford E. DeBaptiste, who served two terms as the first African American mayor in West Chester starting in 1994.
Mayor Lillian DeBaptiste moved to West Chester at an early age, with her parents Clifford and the late Inez E. DeBaptiste. Graduating from Henderson High School, she matriculated to West Chester State College—now known as West Chester University—with a degree in Psychology. Lillian is a believer in the power of education, which was instilled by her mother and father who were both first generation college students.
In 1973, Mayor DeBaptiste joined the family business as a licensed Funeral Director and remains the President and Director of DeBaptiste Funeral Home and of Milestone Events.
Through the years, Mayor Lillian DeBaptiste has been involved with multiple community organizations. She has previously served on the board of The Chester County Community Foundation, Planned Parenthood and The Charles A. Melton Arts and Education Center. She recently became a Board Member of Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center. Mayor DeBaptiste is also a founding member of the Valley Forge Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta.
Lillian’s greatest treasure is spending time with her family. She shares five children and 4 grandchildren—her life’s true source of joy—with her husband, Thomas E. Lambert Sr.
Mayor DeBaptiste’s family, friends, and community inspire her to continue to work for cultural diversity, environmental initiatives, and racial and social justice.
Jenna Birch began her career managing marketing efforts for McDonald’s Corporation’s company owned stores in the Philadelphia region. Within two years of joining the organization Jenna was executing promotional programs for 22 company owned restaurants. While many achievements stand out, her proudest moment remains coordinating an annual Friendsgiving event providing free meals and entertainment on Thanksgiving for families and children in resident at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Child Life Department.
Upon her departure from McDonald’s, Jenna joined La Salle University’s Office of University Events where she provided logistics for 125+ events annually, including commencement weekend, open houses, homecoming, and class reunions. Though she was satisfied engaging diverse populations, Jenna found a true passion for hosting alumni on campus. It was while listening to their every word of youthful memories and feeling the love that remained in their heart for their alma mater that she found most enjoyment. Those stories led Jenna home to where she belonged.
Today, Jenna serves as director of West Chester University’s (WCU) Office of Alumni Engagement. She is a proud member of WCU’s Edwin Cottrell Entrepreneurial Leadership Center Advisory Board, Resource Pantry Advisory Board, Corporate Relations Council, and spirit champion for 120,000+ fellow alumni worldwide. Jenna received her B.A. in Communication Studies from WCU and M.B.A. from La Salle University.
Dr. Eleanor Shevlin
Joining West Chester University’s Department of English in 2001, Eleanor F. Shevlin has made the university and its students a central part of her life for over two decades. She earned her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and worked in publishing and then political and market research for ten-plus years before attending University of Maryland for her master’s and doctorate. At Maryland, she developed a love of teaching and working with students, a deep commitment to research, and unwavering dedication to service. At West Chester, this love, commitment, and dedication flourished.
For students, Professor Shevlin has aimed to inspire a penchant for life-long learning, independent thinking, the drive to address inequities, and a confidence in one’s abilities and self. A recipient of various national and international grants including Kluge and NEH fellowships, Dr. Shevlin has authored several books as well as numerous chapters and articles on topics ranging from law and the novel, book history, and postcolonial fiction. Her work with students and on countless WCU committees and taskforces and organizations and boards elsewhere has been characterized by an inability to say “no” and an eye for achieving results. Eleanor calls Washington, DC, and the Philadelphia area her home.
Dr. Angela Clarke
Dr. Angela Clarke is a Professor of Psychology and the founding Director of Clinical Training for West Chester University’s APA accredited Doctor of Psychology program. Since joining the WCU faculty in 2007, Dr. Clarke has written successful federal, state, and private foundation grants totaling over $2 million dollars to fund graduate and undergraduate student training in mental health service development and delivery. Dr. Clarke was the first WCU faculty member to be awarded a National Institute of Mental Health K23 Career Development Award. Dr. Clarke's research focuses on the use of culturally responsive, partnership approaches to develop community-based interventions to prevent mental health disorders among youth living in communities of concentrated poverty. Much of her work centers on Black adolescents in low-income, urban communities who are at increased risk of developing mental health problems due to the impact of cumulative poverty-related stressors and racial discrimination. Dr. Clarke received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2002 and completed her post-doctoral fellowship in Clinical and Community Psychology at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in 2004, where she worked as a Staff Psychologist until joining the WCU faculty.
Lillian is a decorated military veteran who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from the United States Air Force Academy, and a Master of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University. She has more than 10 years of national and international Business Management experience and has overseen numerous multi-million dollar acquisition projects for the Department of Defense.
She has been with WCU for the past 8 years and currently serves as the Director of the West Chester University Veterans Center. She is also a School Certifying Official. Lillian is heavily involved in several outreach initiatives involving the support of our veterans and their family members, including 4 years as a board member for congressional nominations to the 5 service academies. Lillian is married, has 6 children and 3 grandchildren.
Yogananda D. Pittman
Assistant Chief Pittman has served as Assistant Chief for Protective and Intelligence Operations since October 2019. In that role, she is responsible for all operations concerning the safety and security of the U.S. Capitol, Members of Congress, staff and visitors to include threat detection and prevention as well as the physical security systems throughout the Capitol Complex. From January 8, through July 22, 2021, she served as Acting Chief of Police.
A native of Cambridge, Maryland, Assistant Chief Pittman graduated from Morgan State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology in 1999. She earned her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, in May 2019. She is currently working toward her Ph.D. in Public Administration from West Chester University.
Assistant Chief Pittman completed the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy in December 2018, and graduated from the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives’ CEO Mentoring Program in July 2018. She is a member of Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE), the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA), the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, and Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority Incorporated.
Diane DeVestern retired from WCU after 28 years as Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs (1991-2013) and Associate Dean of Students (1985-1990). Prior to coming to WCU she held Student Affairs positions in Ohio at Miami University and Bowling Green University. Over the years Diane supervised a variety Student Affairs Departments: Career Development Center, Sykes Student Union, Commuter/Off-Campus Services, Judicial Affairs, Multicultural Affairs, Service-Learning and Volunteer Programs, Recreation and Leisure Programs, Greek Life and Student Organizations, Wellness Center, and New Student Orientation Programs. Divisional responsibilities included coordination of the assessment/program review process for the Student Affairs, Who’s Who Awards program, Campus Media Board, Multicultural Student Success Committee, and a variety of student leadership programs. She also was the Co-Project Director for the new Student Recreation Center (1998-2012), Multicultural Center (2005-2006), and renovation/expansion of Sykes Student Union (1990-1995). Served as the Academic Affairs Liaison to the Provost/Division of Academic Affairs and was on the Academic Affairs Council in addition to being a member of the General Education Faculty Seminar Project, New Faculty Orientation Committee, Academic Advising Committee, Assessment Advisory Board, Honors College Council, and Middle States Accreditation Steering Committee. University-wide she was Chair of the Presidential Task Force on Sexual Harassment (1994-95), Co-Chair (with President Adler) of the Women’s Summit Conference, "Lifting as we Climb: Women Leading in the 21st Century,” (2000-2001) and a member of Presidential Search Committee (2007-2008). She received the WCU Civility Award (2001) and Frederick Douglass Society’s Anna Murray Douglas Circle Award (2013). In 2012 an endowed “Diane DeVestern Ethical Student Leadership Award” was established. Diane’s articulated motto has been: “Leadership is about inspiring others, thinking future possibilities, making a difference, and doing so with integrity and compassion.”
Kathy Krannebitter was named the associate head coach for women's lacrosse at Swarthmore College in the 2020-21 school year and has been an assistant coach with the program since 2011-12. She retired after a 26-year career, coaching both Division I field hockey and lacrosse (12 years) at West Chester University. A 1982 graduate of West Chester University (WCSC), Krannebitter was a starter on the 1978 national championship field hockey team, and played for the 1982 lacrosse team that finished seventh in the AIAW National Tournament.
In 1985, Krannebitter returned to West Chester to coach field hockey and lacrosse coach from 1985-97. Following the 1997 season, she stepped down from the lacrosse program to concentrate full time on the Division I field hockey program. While coaching lacrosse, she led the program to eight straight Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Championships, and an ECAC Championship (1991). She was the PSAC Coach of the Year twice (1994,1997), and the IWLCA Division II Coach of the Year in 1987.
Her field hockey teams qualified for the NCAA Division I Field Hockey Championships in both 1986 and '87. Her '87 team was ranked as high as No. 2 nationally. During the time they were in the A10, the Golden Rams twice captured the Atlantic 10 Regular Season Championship ('97, '98), and qualified for six A10 playoff appearances. In 2006, she captured her 200th career victory.
Krannebitter also had extensive experience with US Field Hockey, coaching many years in the US Developmental Program. She was a member of the Coaching Committee for US Hockey, chairing it for several years. In 1994 she led her team to the gold medal in the United States Sports Festival in St. Louis.
Dr. Susan Cusack
I began my career as a critical care/trauma nurse after receiving my bachelor's degree in Nursing from Widener University. I returned to Widener a few years later to obtain an MSN. During these early years of my career, I was focused on nursing and held many leadership roles. As I continued to grow in leadership roles, I recognized the need to have a better financial acumen and obtained my MBA from West Chester University. In 2012 I completed my education journey by graduating from the University of the Sciences with a PhD in Health Policy.
My MBA from West Chester allowed me to take on the role of Chief Nursing Officer and eventually a CEO. In 2019 I stepped down from my role as CEO of Mercy Catholic Medical Center. Currently I am an adjunct professor at local universities including West Chester University.
In addition to my work life, I have served on a variety of boards or community organizations. These have included Barclay Friends, Together for West Philadelphia, West Chester University Advisory Board. Community Advisory Board for West and Southwest Philadelphia, and the Advisory Board for the Institute of Clinical Bioethics at St. Joseph’s University.
The school's all-time winningest women's basketball coach, Kane won 447 games during her 27-year coaching career along the Golden Rams' sideline. She led West Chester to the postseason 16 times during her tenure, including the NCAA Tournament four times. She won 20 games in a year seven times as well, including a school-record 25 wins in 1992 while leading the Lady Rams to the ECAC Division II championship. A five-time PSAC coach of the year and three-time regional coach of the year, Kane ranks third all-time in PSAC history in coaching wins and 55th all-time in NCAA Division II history. She authored a .590 overall winning percentage during her coaching career and a .663 percentage in conference play.
Besides her success on the court, Kane produced a family atmosphere surrounding her program, which still exists today amongst her alumnae. She is most proud of that legacy.
Kane was also a member of the first negotiations team that brought State System Coaches under the umbrella of The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties. This inclusion provided security, improved working conditions, and compensatory equity - a victory for all coaches across the state!
Margaret (Maggie) Tripp was part of the Student Affairs staff from 1987 until her retirement in 2012. She had previously been in student services at Frostburg State University and Illinois State University where she received her Bachelors and Masters degrees.
At West Chester University she established the Office for Service Learning and Volunteerism which developed relationships between community and non-profit organizations and students, student organizations, faculty and staff in all disciplines. The office eventually coordinated efforts with over 100 non-profit organizations and earned recognition on a national scale, receiving the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll and The Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement Classification for Curricular Engagement and Outreach and Partnerships.
Other accomplishments include the WCU Civility Award, the WCU Athletic Hall of Fame Addy Kelly Award for service, Alumni Association Award, WCU Legacy of Leadership and advisement of numerous student organizations, including the Abbes, Off Campus Student Association and Zeta Tau Alpha.
Maggie also represented West Chester University at professional conferences and served the American Red Cross, American Cancer Society, West Chester Food Cupboard and Volunteer English Program through membership on their committees and boards.
Dr. Tori Nuccio
Dr. Tori Nuccio is the Deputy Director of Financial Aid at West Chester University as well as a proud alumna of West Chester University's Doctor of Public Administration. During her tenure Dr. Nuccio has created a financial literacy ambassador program, co-coordinated the WCU Resource Pantry, and developed a campus support program for homeless and foster youth known as the WCU Promise Program. Dr. Nuccio's research and advocacy on supporting foster and homeless youth in post-secondary education has provided opportunities to spotlight West Chester University's programs in state and national conferences and media outlets while working with multiple coalitions focused on supporting students' basic needs.
Dr. Karen Schwarz
Dr. Karen Schwarz is a professor of astronomy in the Department of Earth&Space Sciences. She is also the director of the Sandra F. Pritchard Mather Planetarium. Dr. Schwarz received her B.S. in physics from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and a Ph.D. in astrophysics from Arizona State University. She worked for several years at the Biosphere 2 Center in Oracle, AZ with the Universe Semester program run by Columbia University. Dr. Schwarz conducted research on interacting binary stars for several decades before moving into the area of astronomy education research. She now focuses on how informal education settings, such as the planetarium, can best support learning of astronomical topics. Public education and outreach have always been important to Dr. Schwarz. Beyond her regular planetarium presentations, Dr. Schwarz has organized several large-scale public events for special astronomical events such as the solar eclipse of 2017 and the Apollo 50th anniversary. She also runs Super Science Saturday – a one day workshop for middle and high school girls designed to encourage them to pursue careers in STEM.
Dr. Elise Triano
Elise received her BA from Gettysburg College and her Ph.D. from Thomas Jefferson University. A professor in the Biology Department at West Chester University since 1985, she additionally, worked as a visiting professor of pharmacology at several institutions and served as Director of the West Chester University Pre-Medical program from 1996-2002. Elise focused much of her energy toward research on breast cancer, which has been published and presented nationally to the American Association of Cancer Research.
Dr. Mary Keetz
Professor Keetz was a faculty member in the Department of Literacy for more than 27 years. Her administrative experiences are legion. She served as Director of the Women’s Institute, Director of the School of Education, Chairperson of the Teacher Education Council, and President of the Women’s Consortium of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. She was a critical force in the area of student teaching, managing the certification office and coordinating student teaching activities. Professor Keetz is remembered as a master teacher. She taught at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and traveled to both China and Indonesia for different teaching opportunities. She contributed significantly to the reading profession. She wrote and delivered dozens of articles and reviewed numerous books for her colleagues. Professor Keetz is remembered as a teacher who contributed greatly to West Chester University as an administrator, teacher, grant writer, and scholar.
Dr. Tammy Hilliard-Thompson
Dr. Tammy Hilliard-Thompson, a first-generation graduate has served over 24 years in Education including Resident Director and Director in Residence Life, Associate and Interim Director in Multicultural Affairs, Associate Director/College Retention (Non-Profit Organization), Assistant Director in Student Conduct, and adjunct faculty in the Higher Education Policy and Student Affairs Graduate Program in Fall 2020. She has also served on a variety of committees.
Serving in the Army Reserves has empowered her to mentor future leaders through experiential learning workshops including conflict resolution for student leaders, college success for parents, self-care for colleagues as well as senior seminar at Temple University, and academic success workshops at the Community College of Philadelphia for high school seniors. She has mentored Sistah’s United, Black Men United, Latino American Student Organization, Black Student Union, and established the Multicultural Organization Advisor Board (MOAB) for programmatic collaboration. Adjudicating over 3,000 cases throughout her career as a Hearing Officer she educates students on the impact of decisions on future aspirations.
Dr. Tammy Hilliard-Thompson has earned a B.S. degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies from Montclair State University, a M.A.T. in Education from Sacred Heart University, and an Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership, Learning, and Innovation from Wilmington University.
Dr. Joan Kaminski
Joan Kaminski is a 1969 WCU alum with a B.A. in Chemistry. After graduating from WCU, she went on to receive a PhD in Organic Chemistry from Drexel University in Philadelphia. Then, after a 3-year postdoctoral fellowship at the United States Department of Agriculture, she worked at Mobil and then ExxonMobil for 39 years in Research and Engineering. She had various assignments at the Paulsboro, Princeton and Clinton, New Jersey sites and at Notre Dame de Gravenchon, France. She was awarded 40 patents in areas of study related to Lubricant Technology and was involved in a wide variety of new product development. She has had the opportunity to travel all over the world as part of her job responsibilities. She was also founder of the “Women’s Interest Network” and the “Introduce a Girl to Engineering” initiatives at the Paulsboro site. Currently, Joan is a member of the Board of Trustees for West Chester University Foundation in the roles of Interim Vice-President and Chair of the Development Committee. She is also a member of the WCU College of Sciences and Mathematics Advisory Board. Joan has established an endowment that provides scholarships for Chemistry students.
Deirdre Bigley is a Board Member, Investor and Advisor. Ms. Bigley was with Bloomberg, L.P., a global business and financial information and news leader, joining in 2009 and serving as the Chief Marketing Officer from 2013 to 2021. Prior to joining Bloomberg, L.P., Ms. Bigley spent thirteen years at International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), serving in several capacities, including Vice President of Worldwide Advertising and Interactive, and Vice President of Worldwide Brand. Ms. Bigley serves on the Boards of: Shutterstock, a global supplier of commercial imagery, video and music since May 2016 (Chair Compensation Committee); Wix.com, a cloud-based development platform, since November 2017; Taboola, an advertising company that powers recommendations for the open web, since April 2021; and Sportradar, a sports betting and sports entertainment company, since April, 2021 (Chair Compensation Committee). Ms. Bigley holds a B.A. in English from West Chester University.
Deborah “Deb” Chase
Colonel Deb Chase served in the Army for more than 27 years as an aviator and program management professional. Deb participated on the team of senior officers who modernized the Army’s aircraft fleet in response to rapidly changing needs at the onset of the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Deb then spent 10 years as Director, Program Management at Raytheon Company where she led a team that designed, installed, and maintained the sophisticated perimeter security system for four New York City airports. She also worked on the program that provides integrated air defense for more than 11 NATO countries.
In 2013, Deb was inducted into the WCU Sturzebecker Hall of Fame. She delivered the commencement address for the WCU College of Health Sciences in 2018 and was a guest lecturer at the Center for Contemplative Studies. She served on the Foundation Board of Trustees for 7 years, ultimately as vice president. Deb currently serves on the College of Health Sciences Dean’s Advisory Council. Deb earned a BS, Health and Physical Education, from WCU; a MS, Aeronautical Science, from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; and a MS, National Resource Strategy, from the National Defense University, Industrial College of the Armed Forces.
Annette serves as Senior Vice President&Chief Human Resources Officer for West Pharmaceutical Services Inc.
In her role, she leads West’s Human Resources (HR) organization and elevates team performance through innovative HR programs. Annette also serves as the President of the Herman O. West Foundation, which supports West team members through scholarship and matching gift programs. Prior to joining West in 2015, Annette spent more than 25 years at IBM where she last held the position of Vice President, Global Talent Management. As a local resident of the West Chester community, Annette serves on West Chester University’s Presidential Board of Advisors and the Chester County Economic Development Council. In 2018, she was named one of the Philadelphia Business Journal’s Women of Distinction.
She holds an MS in Human Resources from the University of South Carolina and a BA in Psychology from the University of Georgia.
Bessie Ann Rustin Le Bon
Bessie Ann was the aunt of the town of West Chester's own Bayard Rustin. She won the 100-yard dash in the interschool track meet and was regarded as papers such as The Phoenix as the "first of her race to defeat white competitors".
From the 1917 yearbook: I am thinking; just now of the saying, " 'Tis often the small things that count in life," and am won. Bessie is a tiny body, standing three feet six inches in her high-heeled shoes and weighing about 95 pounds. Bessie is quite a singer and anyone who hears her once is anxious to hear her again. You will all join me in wishing her success in every walk of life. Her motto: "If at first you don't succeed; try, try again."
Tina Sloan Green, M.Ed., is co-founder and president of the Black Women in Sport Foundation which is celebrating its 30th Anniversary. She’s coming out of retirement to coach in the 2022 World Lacrosse Tournament. A West Chester University alumna, she graduated Cum Laude (1966) with a B.S. in Health&Physical Education. She played Field Hockey, Lacrosse, and Badminton, earning All-American honors in Field Hockey. She is professor emeritus in the Temple University College of Education. Was co-principal investigator of Sisters in Sports Science, a National Science Foundation funded program; and, director, TU National Youth Sports Program.
Coaching: First African American head coach in the history of women's intercollegiate lacrosse; Head Coach, Temple University Women's Lacrosse Team 1973-1992; Career Coaching Record: 207-62-4 with a .758 career winning percentage; Three National Championships; 11 consecutive NCAA Final Four appearances
Accolades: First African American Player--US Women's Field Hockey Squad (1966); Competed on US Women's Lacrosse Team (1969-1973); IWLCA created The Tina Sloan Green Award; Lifetime Achievement Award, National Association of Women Athletic Administrators (2008); Lifetime Achievement Award, National Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association; Honor Award, National Association for Girls and Women in Sport; Sam Lacey Award, National Association of Black Journalists Sports Task Force 2012
Mrs. Betty Silfa, wife and mother, and resident of Chester County for the past 30 years has been an active member of our community. As a Board member, Betty Silfa has served on many non-profit organizations with only one goal in mind: to help improve the lives of those in need—especially the women of Chester County. Only mentioning a few involvements, she served on the Women Referral Network of Chester County, Carelink, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Chester County Futures, and Currently she is a member of YMCA and West Chester Council of Trustees.
The professional expertise of Mrs. Silfa spans over 40 years in the Financial Service Industry including years spent at Citibank, Santander and her current role as Senior Vice President and Senior Commercial Lender with Malvern Bank.
Mrs. Silfa, child of immigrant parents from the Dominican Republic, speaks of her early years growing up in New York City where she learned her adopted country was a land of opportunity as long as one takes personal responsibility for his or her growth and advancement. As a Council of Trustees of the West Chester University, Mrs. Silfa’s combined experience of life and work has culminated into being one of the most influential women of West Chester University.
Dr. Tahany Naggar
Tahany Naggar is an Emerita Professor of Economics. She is a dedicated professor at West Chester University. She began her teaching career at WCU in 1977 as the Assistant Professor of economics, and currently is a professor of economics. She has been an MBA program director as well as the Director of the School of business. She was Chair of her department from 82’ - 84’ following right after as Interim Dean to faculty of Professional Studies from ‘84 - ‘86. In 2015, she became a Trustee to the West Chester University Foundation and continues in that role to this day. She has dedicated more than a quarter century to West Chester University and is most deserving to be honored of one the 150 Most Influential Women of WCU.
Sabrina Rightmer has been a part of the West Chester University community since 2001. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a minor in Women’s Studies in 2006. Her passion for student affairs and engagement began as an involved student leader and paraprofessional which translated to a career working here at WCU. She began working professionally at the University in 2010 within the Sykes Student Union as a reservationist. In 2018, Sabrina was appointed as the director of communications and marketing for Students Affairs. In this role, she promotes the work and accomplishments of the division’s mission and vision while educating students about opportunities to enhance their co-curricular portfolios. Sabrina is the proud on-campus advisor and alumni member of The Abbé Society, an honorary community service organization at WCU. To further support WCU’s educational mission, Sabrina serves on the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, the Spirit&Traditions task force, the Women’s Leadership Development Series, West Chester’s First (a first-generation student initiative), Student Conduct hearing advisor, the Ramboree and Homecoming planning committees, and any event where t-shirts and WCU giveaways will be distributed. As a loyal Golden Ram, you can often find her snapping pictures for the Student Affairs social media accounts, high-fiving Rammy, or giving hugs to Muddy Puddles. She is honored to be recognized and looks forward to continuing to work amongst this community of educators and students.
Dr. Carol Eggert, BG(R)
Dr. Carol Eggert is Senior Vice President of Military and Veteran Affairs at Comcast NBCUniversal, leading initiatives and programs engaging the military communities.
For over 30 years, Carol has worked in the government, private, and nonprofit sectors. She served in various command and staff positions during her military career, including a tour supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom as the Senior Liaison to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
She is the recipient of numerous military awards, including the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart. Carol is a graduate of the U.S. Army War College, where she also served on the faculty and as Deputy Commandant. She holds two master’s degrees in instructional design and strategic international studies and a doctorate in organizational leadership. Carol serves on the Corporate Advisory Board for West Chester University and the Boards of the Philly POPS, PsychArmor, Concussion Legacy Foundation, and the Patton Veterans Project. She is the founder of the Pallas Athene scholarship for women veterans at West Chester University.
Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Women Veterans listed Carol on its 2021 Women Veteran Trailblazers list. Her leadership in the private sector has also been widely recognized, including by Variety’s 2020 Salute to Service Impact List, Cablefax’s 2020 Most Powerful Women, and We Are The Mighty’s 2018 Influencers Supporting the Military Community.
Dr. Eve Atkinson
Dr. Eve Atkinson served for 12 years as Professor and Graduate Coordinator of the Master of Public Administration (MPA) with Graduate Certificate in Sport Management and Athletics at West Chester University and was awarded Emerita status when she recently retired. Her love for the University started as an undergraduate where she graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Science in Health and Physical Education. As an undergraduate, she was a 12-time All-American in Swimming and the team won the National Swimming and Diving Championship defeating Arizona State, Penn State and other NCAA Division I schools. She also competed for many years on West Chester State College’s varsity Field hockey and Lacrosse teams. Later, she earned her Master of Science in Health and Physical Education at West Chester. At Temple University, Atkinson earned the degree of Doctor of Education with a Concentration in Sports Administration and Emphasis in Business and Computers.
In the professional world that spanned over 45 years, Atkinson was a coach, professor, and athletic administrator at The University of Massachusetts–Amherst, Yale University, Hofstra University, Temple University, Lafayette College and finally ended her career at WCU. Atkinson was the first woman in the USA to hold the Director of Athletics post of a men’s and women’s program at the NCAA Division I level with Division I-AA football. She also was the first women president of a collegiate football organization. She credits all these accomplishments to great parents and WCU professors that mentored her and she is forever grateful!
Carol began her working life as a middle school math and science teacher in south Los Angeles, which shaped her lifelong commitment to helping children access the knowledge and the skills they need for adult life.
For more than 40 years, Carol has been active in both public and private school education. She is past president of the Pennsylvania Association of Councils of Trustees, past chair of the Council of Trustees of West Chester University and past president of the Tredyffrin Easttown Board of School Directors. She is a current member of the board of trustees of Delaware Valley University and the Pennsylvania State Board of Education. In 2015, Carol joined the staff at West Chester University to help establish the Center for Community Solutions, a community-university partnership to connect campus resources and expertise with community needs and find solutions. Carol was the first female Chair of the Council of Trustees.
From 2011 to 2015, Carol served as Secretary of the Commonwealth for the Corbett administration where she led the Pennsylvania Department of State and served as the chief election official for the Commonwealth. Before joining the Corbett cabinet, Carol served on the Chester County Board of Commissioners. In 2010, she was one of three commissioners in the nation individually recognized by the National Association of Counties to receive a Courthouse Award for her leadership in Landscapes2, a nationally acclaimed example of innovative and fiscally responsible governance. Under her leadership, the County was awarded three Triple-A bond ratings for excellent financial management practices. Before serving as commissioner, Carol was the first woman controller of Chester County and served as president of the State Association of County Controllers. Carol is a graduate of Cornell University with a degree in economics. She and her husband, Steve, live in Malvern and have three children and eight grandchildren.
Dr. Carol Ware Gates
Carol Ware Gates grew up in Oxford and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing with a B.S.N., R.N. After several years spent in Cleveland, Ohio and subsequently Boise, Idaho, Carol returned to Pennsylvania in 1986. She has dedicated her life to improving well-being in its many dimensions.
As President of the 1675 Foundation, Carol has made special efforts to develop the philanthropic impulse in her three children, encouraging them to volunteer and donate in their early years, and involving them strategically in the family foundation decision making as early as possible.
Carol has made many of her philanthropic contributions anonymously, in an effort to maintain family privacy and fulfill her desire to undertake good works quietly. Her publicly known philanthropic accomplishments touch only the tip of a very generous iceberg.
In 2007, Carol received the President's Award for outstanding service to West Chester University. Among her numerous other awards are Arthritis Hero Award, the YMCA Volunteer of the Year, YMCA Triangle Club, and Chester County Education Foundation Award for work in special education. Carol serves on the Advisory Board for the Harvard School of Divinity. In 2008, Carol received the University of Pennsylvania 2008 Alumni Award of Merit.
Carol takes humble pride in her role as a founding board member of the Chester County Community Foundation. Carol clearly understands and advocates for the unique role community foundations play in building legacy philanthropy, so that people from all walks of life can make a difference in their communities, now and forever. In 2006, in recognition of her stellar service, Carol was named an Emeritus Board Member of the Community Foundation. In 2008 she agreed to serve as Honorary Co-Chair for the Community Foundation's "Campaign for Independence II;' and in the first year quiet phase of the campaign, Carol assisted in doubling the endowment.
In addition to her many accomplishments, Carol has provided wise counsel to scores of community organizations. Through her actions she has been a tireless advocate of public service, creating a permanent legacy of philanthropy that has touched thousands of lives. Carol Ware Gates has remembered her Chester County roots, and she has chosen to stay committed for a lifetime of philanthropic good works.
Carol Ware Gates and her foundation, 1675 Foundation, generously donated to name the Ware Recital Hall. (Inside of Swope Music Building)
Dr. Chris Karpinski
Dr. Christine Karpinski is an exercise physiologist, registered dietitian, and board-certified specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD). She is a Professor and Chair of the department of Nutrition at West Chester University. In addition to her teaching and Chair responsibilities, Chris has developed a comprehensive Sports Nutrition and Fueling program as part of Student Athlete Support Services program at WCU. Under the supervision of Dr. Karpinski, a combination of undergraduate students, graduate students, and dietetic interns provide nutrition education and fueling for the WCU athletes and conducts research in this area. The WCU Sports Nutrition Education and Fueling Program promotes a food first, evidence-based approach that helps guide student-athletes towards making healthier food choices that will properly fuel them for their specific sport. The Fueling Program involves distributing healthy snacks to the athletes either at practice or for games and “Go Bags” for healthy snacking on the bus for away games – or for athletes who are running from practice straight to class for the evening. The Nutrition Education Program includes: Q & A sessions, team talks, individualize counseling, cafeteria tours, grocery store tours, restaurant/ convenience store lists, cooking demos, kitchen makeovers, diet analysis, calculation energy/ macronutrient needs, dietary supplement reviews, and Bod Pod testing/interpretation. She is the editor-in-chief for “Sports Nutrition: A Handbook for Professionals”, 6th edition. Chris served as the Chair of the Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition dietetic practice group (SCAN) in 2020-2021 and is a member of ACSM, PINES, and CPSDA. She has presented many times to many different groups on the topic of providing collegiate sports nutrition services on a budget, advocating for the critical need of sports dietitians in all college programs. She is currently collaborating with other sports RDs on an emerging area of research - food insecurity in collegiate athletes, which may help support efforts to find funding for nutrition services to collegiate athletes. Chris earned her BS at West Chester University in exercise science and played field hockey and lacrosse. She earned her Master’s degree from Immaculata University and her PhD from Rutgers University with her doctoral research project involving the athletes at WCU.
Dr. Cynthia Benzing
Dr. Benzing was one of the first tenured female faculty members in the School of Business. She served as Chair of the Economics&Finance Department and was instrumental in leading the School of Business through its first AACSB accreditation process. She served as a role model for new faculty, exemplifying teaching excellence, scholarship and service.
Cindi worked as a secretary for the social work department for decades, but she was so much more she was a change agent. Cindi worked with me personally to help raise funds for the Frederick Douglass Statue, she was an influencer on all matters related to equity. Cindi held key roles in the AFSME Union at the university and on the state level. She was the voice for so many who needed assistance to maneuver the maze of injustice. A person who was highly respected by her peers, the administration, and faculty which enabled her to receive numerous awards and other accolades at the university. Often times we honor those who are in the forefront but all of us know that it is those behind the scenes that make change possible. Cynthia Strengari is one of those rare people I know because I watched her grow, achieve her goals as an artist, change policies that were unjust, advocate for others, mentor students, do the necessary follow up to complete tasks. I recommend Cynthia Strengari as a person who helped develop West Chester University over the last 150 years.
Dr. Darla Spence Coffey
Former chair of Undergraduate Social Work, then Associate Provost, currently President of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). https://www.cswe.org/About-CSWE/Staff-Directory/Darla-Spence-Coffey-PhD,-MSW; Civility Award 2010-11
Dr. Deborah Mahlstedt
Dr. Deborah (Debbie) Mahlstedt joined the Department of Psychology at West Chester University in 1988. In her 32 years of service, she has made numerous contributions and positively transformed the Department and the University. She qualifies as one of the 150 most influential women because her work formed the foundation of many of the equity efforts that are still growing on our campus today. Dr. Mahlstedt has had twin, inter-related concerns that have motivated her contributions. First, she is a prolific mentor and supporter of fellow faculty and staff across the university. In this regard, one of Dr. Mahlstedt’s most visible contributions was her critical leadership to the Curriculum Integration Seminar and Project for 18 years. This project brought together faculty from across the university to discuss diversity, and to teach faculty how to incorporate diversity into their curricula in meaningful ways, appropriate to their specific disciplines. In the 1990’s, the Middle States Review named the CIS Project as one of three “Clusters of Excellence.” In the Department of Psychology, Dr. Mahlstedt served more than 15 years on the tenure and promotion committee, 7 years as chair. For the majority of her career, Dr. Mahlstedt’s main line of scholarship has been an innovative action-research methodology for sexual assault prevention in fraternity men. Through 25 years, this research project educated and trained peer educators to conduct sexual assault prevention programming for incoming students, fraternity men, residence hall students and for courses in diverse disciplines at WCU. Her research program resulted in publications, presentations, invited talks and the 45-minute documentary video “Men’s Work: Fraternity Brothers Stopping Violence,” first released in 1999, and re-released as a DVD in 2006 by Insight Media. This two-year video project followed 12 WCU fraternity men during their 9-month training seminar to become sexual violence prevention peer educators.
Denice Vélez serves as the Associate Director of the Dowdy Multicultural Center. In the absence of a director, Denice has worked tirelessly to ensure the Center has continued to support students in their academic journey. In her role she works with the Dowdy Multicultural Center Mentoring Program, Brothers of Excellence Conference, and outreach to the larger WCU community. She was born and raised in Southern California (San Gabriel Valley/LA County-626). She received a B.A. in Ethnic Studies and Chicana/o Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and an M.A. in Higher and Postsecondary Education and a Master of Public Policy both from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She served as the Coordinator for the Chicana&Chicano Resource Center at California State University, Fullerton. Prior to that, she served as the Program Coordinator for the Cross-Cultural Center at the University of California, Irvine. She is passionate about addressing social justice issues impacting marginalized communities.
Dr. Elizabeth Larsen
English, Honors Program. Co-founder and second director of the Honors College 1991-1994
Major: Communication Studies
Minor: Human Resource Management and Business Law Favorite Leadership Quote: "Let your smile change the world. Don't let the world change your smile."
Best piece of advice on HOW to get involved: Your college experience is what you make of it, so jump in and try out different organizations to see what is the best fit for you. By doing this, you meet other student leaders who often will point you towards other opportunities that are best fit for you and your leadership journey at West Chester University. Consider each new opportunity that comes your way, but also do not be afraid to say no.
Dr. Francine McNairy
McNairy was the first in her family to attend and graduate from college earning bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees from the University of Pittsburgh. She is the daughter of a steelworker with an eighth-grade education and a mother, who, despite not having had the opportunity to attend college herself, became the president of the Pittsburgh Public Schools Board of Education and served as a member of the Pitt Board of Trustees.
She served as a faculty member and dean of academic support services at Clarion University, an associate provost at West Chester University, and eventually became provost and then president at Millersville. The university honored her many contributions by naming its library the Francine G. McNairy Library.
She was the first African American woman to head one of Pennsylvania’s 14 state-owned universities. She has received numerous awards, including having been named a University of Pittsburgh Legacy Laureate.
Dr. Georgann Cullen
Prof. Georgann Cullen served as a faculty member at West Chester University from 1964-1998. She began when West Chester was a State Teachers College in the then Department of Sciences and was one of the original faculty in the department of Biology. In her tenure at West Chester, she was instrumental in recruiting high quality students to the department in her role as Assistant chairperson, which she held for over 20 years. She taught courses in Zoology, Embryology, Animal Development and Microtechnique and routinely provided financially supported research experiences for students. In recognition of her excellence in teaching and service she was awarded the title of Faculty Emeritus upon her retirement by the University. Since retiring she has continued her work on human brain development and is finalizing an e-book on the original research of Dr. Charlotte Weaver (who was a pioneer in Cranial Osteopathic Medicine). Prof. Cullen is also the founder and president of the non-profit (501c) Dr. Charlotte Weaver Foundation. The Foundation has many goals, two of which are is to preserve and advance the work of Dr. Charlotte Weaver through publication of her research and awarding scholarship funds to deserving students and scientists.
Virginia “Ginny” Martino
Now entering her 24th season on the sidelines, West Chester University women’s lacrosse head coach, Ginny Martino has built the Golden Rams’ program into a perennial Division II national power while becoming the all-time winningest head coach in the NCAA at the Division II level.
Martino, the longest tenured head coach in the PSAC as well as at West Chester University, has led her charges to the Division II national title game 10 times in her previous 23 years on the Golden Rams' sideline - averaging a trip to the national finals nearly once every other year. The NCAA hardware crowding Martino’s trophy case is evidence of the dominance the Golden Rams have displayed both nationally and within the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference during her administration.
In 23 seasons at West Chester, Martino has authored a 346-78 (.816) record overall and a 217-20 (.916) mark against PSAC competition. She became the all-time winningest women's lacrosse coach in Division II history in 2012 and pushed past the 300-win plateau in 2018. Additionally, Martino has authored a 28-9 (.757) record in the PSAC Tournament and an 18-13 (.581) record in the NCAA Division II Tournament - 18-15 overall, counting the two seasons that Martino participated in the Division I Tournament (1998, 1999).
Martino's .816 career winning percentage is the sixth-best in Division II history and seventh-best among women's lacrosse coaches at any level. Her 346 career victories rank seventh at all levels of coaching.
Grace has been part of the West Chester University family for almost twenty years. Prior to coming to WCU, Grace worked for Wyeth Laboratories as an administrative assistant and pharmaceutical data entry operator. She came to West Chester University in July of 1986 and worked as the secretary's assistant for Dr. Kenneth Perrin, president of WCU. She then went on to work for Student Services, Inc. as an administrative assistant for Ms. Mell Josephs, executive director. For the past fourteen years, Grace has worked as the administrative assistant to Dr. Madeleine Wing Adler, president, and Mr. Lawrence A. Dowdy, executive deputy to the president.
Grace has been the faculty advisor for the Gospel Choir for as long as anyone can remember. Her work with the students is unmatched. She received the WCU Advisor of the Year Award in 2002. She has also been honored by receiving the Distinguished Service Award from the Frederick Douglass Society and named Secretary of the Year by the West Chester Chamber of Commerce. Grace also works with the Angels of Divinity liturgical dance team, which is part of the Gospel Choir.
In the community of West Chester, Grace is active in St. Paul's Baptist Church. She writes the church newsletter that is given to all visitors to the church. She also volunteers her time at the House of His Creation, a home for pregnant teens. Grace lives in West Chester with her husband, Roy. Her two children are alumni of WCU, Rhonda '96 and Ryan '05. Her two grandchildren, Justin (3) and Kennedy (6 months) bring her great joy.
Dr. Heather Schugar
Dr. Schugar has been an instrumental member of the literacy department, working tirelessly with graduate students in both the Masters and Doctoral programs at West Chester University. As an instructor and as an advisor, she provided around-the-clock support and guidance, going above and beyond to provide students with detailed, rigorous feedback. Dr. Schugar's work ethic and dedication to the university and to her students are truly unparalleled.
Dr. Jana Nestlerode
Dr. Nestlerode was the first female Chair of Criminal Justice and first female President of the Faculty Senate. She was hugely influential when Chester County was modernizing its election system in making sure we kept traceable paper ballots -- she in effect spared us the trauma that hit many places in 2020.
Dr. Jen Bacon
Dr. Jen Bacon is the Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities and a former professor of English and chair of the Department of English. Most recently, she served the institution as Interim Associate Provost for Academic Affairs, where she directed the WCU programming at the Philadelphia campus, provided data tools for tracking faculty hiring and workloads for the Provost, and acted as the Provost’s designee for decisions related to undergraduate academic policy, including issues related to academic standing, academic integrity violations, and grade appeals. She currently serves as the co-chair of the Budget Review Committee, and chairs the Women's Leadership Event Series. During her 17 years at West Chester, she has also served as Director of Women's and Gender Studies, as Director of the university's writing center, and as a member of both local and state-wide APSCUF Executive Committees. She is a member of the LGBTQA Advocacy Committee, the Honor Code Committee, and the PASSHE Diversity Summit planning committee.
Dr. Joan Welch
Dr. Joan Welch has made significant contributions to West Chester University over the course of her career as a faculty member of the Geography&Planning Department, especially in advancing teaching, scholarship, and service in sustainability and the environment. She was hired as the second woman faculty member of Department of Geography and Planning in August 1990, served as the Director of the Women's Institute from 1998 to 2009, helped establish the university's Environmental Council (now the Sustainability Council) and served as its co-chair from 2001 to 2011, and most recently established a Campus Tree Advisory Committee which she chaired from 2011 to 2019. Dr. Welch has mentored students both undergraduate and graduate in scholarly activities with 4 peer-reviewed publications with students: two undergraduate women, and two graduate men. She has co-presented at professional meetings with students at 35 conferences, directed over 20 Master’s degree theses, served on over 15 Master’s degree committees, advised 6 independent Master’s degree research projects, and been requested to serve as an external member on two doctoral dissertation committees. As Director of the Institute for Women (1998-2009), Dr. Welch administered the Scholar in Residence program where a successful WCU alumna was invited back to campus to meet with women students, provide a keynote address that was video-recorded and archived in the library. She also administered grant application and reporting, and raised over $250,000 in funds for Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation scholarship grants to mature and second-career women.
Milliner currently chairs the Sports Equity Committee and serves as co-chair to the Athletics Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She has chaired the hiring committees for the Assistant Athletics Director for Compliance, the Head Men’s and Women’s Swimming coach, the Assistant Swimming coach/Pool Manager, Head Field Hockey coach, and Head Men’s and Women's Track&Field coach. In addition, she is a member of the Student Leadership Project Team and the Campus Climate Intervention Team. She has represented the Department on the Campus Climate Advisory Committee, the WCU Anti-Racism Work Group and the WCU President’s Commission on the Status of Women.
While at West Chester, Milliner has been instrumental in the development of the Student Athlete Success (SAS) program. SAS provides services, leadership training, professional and personal development programming designed to engage, prepare, and inspire student-athletes off the field.
Outside of WCU, Milliner serves on the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics and its NCAA Social Justice subcommittee. She is a member of Women Leaders in College Sports and has completed both the Women Leaders (formerly NACWAA/HERS) Institute for Administrative Advancement and Leadership Enhancement Institute. Milliner has also completed the Athlete Development Professional Certification Program through the Aresty Institute of Executive Education at the Wharton School of Pennsylvania. She is also a member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA).
Laurena Tolson Zeller
Laurena Tolson ’10 is in her fifth year as principal of Add B. Anderson School. Prior to becoming principal, she was a middle school special education teacher, teacher leader, and manager of special education within a charter school network. It was during her time at the charter school that Tolson realized there was an overrepresentation of Black males in special education classrooms. In order to impact systematic change, she knew that she had to pursue school leadership; however, she missed teaching so much that she became an adjunct professor at Drexel University for two years while also a principal.
Tolson has been an anchor of visionary leadership at Anderson, displaying a passion to develop children no matter their socioeconomic or academic background. In just five years, the school has witnessed tremendous growth including the development of several non-profit and community partnerships; growth in ELA and math state test scores; a 20% increase of students reading on grade level; increased family involvement; and a 250% decrease in serious incidents. In addition, Tolson acquired nearly $1 million in grant funding to build a state-of-the-art playground for the school community. In 2017, she was recognized by the Philadelphia Tribune for her work at Anderson and for being the youngest African American principal in Philadelphia.
A native Philadelphian, Tolson earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education from West Chester University in 2010. During her time at West Chester, Tolson was active in Black Men United, Gospel Choir, Best Buddies, the Multicultural Recruitment Team, GEAR UP, the Rho Alpha Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and was a resident advisor.
As a proud West Chester University alumna, Tolson has collaborated with current WCU faculty to help launch the Community-Immersive Semester for Educators (CISE). CISE is a semester-long program for undergraduate education majors in early grades preparation (including those dual majoring with Special Education) to take an entire semester of coursework in a community setting.
Dr. Leslie Slusher
Professor of Biology and Founding Director of the Pharmaceutical Product Development (PPD) Program: Dr. Slusher was a long-time member of the Pre-Medical Committee and in the early 2000’s worked with Dr. Madeleine Wing Adler and Dr. Jim Geddes (of Endo Pharmaceuticals) to establish the PPD Program to address workplace demand issues, for technically-trained scientists who also had sufficient expertise in the business areas to take jobs as entry-level managers in the pharmaceutical industry. She created the curriculum and got new program approval from PASSHE and curriculum approval through CAPC; she recruited and worked closely with students to retain them in the major, and constantly worked with contacts in the pharmaceutical industry to provide paid internships for PPD students. Many of those internships evolved into job offers for WCU students and they have gone on to successful careers. An industry advisory board was established and used met regularly to provide ongoing feedback and review of the program, with suggestions for revisions as the local pharmaceutical and biotech industries continued to evolve. This unique program continues to bring positive attention to WCU and is a legacy of her immense efforts in the early years of the PPD Program.
Lisa Yannick has provided leadership to create a data-driven West Chester University. During her tenure in Institutional Research, she has overseen the creation of the Enrollment Management Dashboards and has provided training and support to hundreds of users of these dashboards. These dashboards have contributed to greater transparency and access of data across campus. In addition, she provides modeling that is unmatched by any external agency, and she and her team provide excellent analysis for projects. Some say that "big data" is the future of university planning, and Lisa Yannick is a leader in providing that data and helping users interpret and utilize that data.
Dr. R. Lorraine Bernotsky
Dr. R. Lorraine (Laurie) Bernotsky is Executive Vice President and Provost at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, the largest university in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. In her role as Provost, Dr. Bernotsky leads the Academic Affairs Division, which is comprised of five colleges offering more than 100 academic degree programs and houses the Office of Institutional Research, the Global Engagement Office, the offices of undergraduate admissions, enrollment management, financial aid, The Graduate School, and undergraduate student support services. Roughly 850 faculty serve more than 17,000 students, 3,000 of whom are graduate students. In her role as Executive Vice President, Dr. Bernotsky leads in the areas of Budget as well as Labor Relations.
Prior to assuming this role, Dr. Bernotsky served as Associate Provost and Dean of The Graduate School at WCU, providing leadership in the areas of curriculum development, general education, new program development, program review, assessment, regional and specialized external accreditation, articulation agreements with other 2- and 4-year institutions, academic policies, and faculty development. During the past several years, she led the approval of WCU's four doctoral programs, the Doctor of Nursing Practice, the Doctor of Public Administration, a Doctor of Education, as well as the Doctor of Psychology.
Dr. Bernotsky is also the founder of WCU's Center for Social and Economic Policy Research. As the Center's founder and first director, her efforts in development yielded over $3 million in funding from state, foundation, corporate, and nonprofit sources to sustain the Center's research activities. The Center has strong connections with government and nonprofit organizations in the region and has prepared and disseminated dozens of technical research reports, presented findings in a variety of public and community venues (radio, print media, television, and live events), and maintained an active research, evaluation, and policy expertise presence on behalf of WCU for local and regional nonprofit, public, and private organizations.
Dr. Bernotsky earned an M.Phil. and a D.Phil. in Politics from the University of Oxford and an M.A. in Sociology from Temple University. She has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in politics, research methods, and public administration. Her research interests and publications include women in politics, race, class and gender theory, economic development, as well teaching and learning. Her professional publications include policy papers and evaluation studies. Her community and professional activities include founding WCU's Legislative Fellows program, serving on the Leadership Chester County Board of Directors, and serving on the Chester County Economic Development Council Board of Directors.
Dr. Margaret Ottley
Dr. Margaret Ottley is a Professor of Sport&Exercise Psychology at West Chester University (WCU). She received her Ph.D. and MA degree from Temple University in Sport&Exercise Psychology, a second MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (WCU), and a BA degree from Spelman College in Child Development&Family Studies. She completed her post-doctoral training at Purdue University focusing on Curriculum and Instruction in physical education. She is an Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) Fellow and Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC). She is also a National Certified Counselor (NCC) in the field of clinical mental health.
Dr. Ottley competed in field hockey at Caribbean regional and international levels for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (RTT) for a period in excess of 14 years. She is the founder and Chair of SanKofa HP (HyPower Performance) LLC, Head In The Game, which provides culturally specific mental performance training to a diverse number of athletes and sport practitioners. As the Anglo-Caribbean’s first sport psychology consultant, Dr. Ottley was commissioned by the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Sports (2009-2013), to implemented two 3-year national sport psychology programs for sport administrators, coaches, and elite athletes. Dr. Ottley, also held Caribbean Sport Psychology Conferences in 2010, 2011 and 2013. She traveled with medical teams and also worked with many sporting bodies—track&field, cycling, boxing, gymnastics, shooting, swimming sailing, rugby, netball, soccer and field hockey. She did four Olympic Games (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016) and a number of Commonwealth and IAAF sanctioned games, since 2002. In 2008, she was the sport psychology consultant for USA Track and Field’s Beijing Olympic team. She also serviced USATF at other international games—world youth, world juniors and Pan Junior American Games (2005-2008; 2017/2019). For the RTT, Dr Ottley traveled to three Olympics in 2004, 2012 and 2016. She’s also worked with RTT’s national women’s soccer (CONCACAF and World Cup Qualifier) teams as well as the U-19 cricket teams.
Dr. Ottley is also the mental performance and wellness consultant for the National Scholastics Athletic Foundation’s (NSAF) National Indoor and Outdoor Youth Championships (track&field), Caribbean Invitational Scholastic Games, javelin and triple jump projects in the US and Cuba. She is on the board of the Black Women in Sport Foundation (BWSF) and co-author of the companion Mentoring Manual for the highly acclaimed BWSF’s Amazing Grace documentary. Amazing Grace - Black Women in Sport Foundation. In 2016, she had the honor of working on DOVE’s “My Beauty My Say” campaign as the mental performance consultant.
For the past 12 years, Marian has served on the board of West Chester University, an institution that has become a shining example of delivering quality education in a community setting. For her dedication to improving our schools, Governor Tom Wolf named Marian to the Board of Governors for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.
As a community developer, Marian oversaw the adaptation of an abandoned factory in Phoenixville into a one-of-a-kind education and business hub known as Franklin Commons. This award-winning project was applauded by the community for providing learning opportunities for children 3 months of age and up to adults obtaining an associate degree or certificate.
Recently, Marian was named president of the historic Colonial Theater in Phoenixville, which has been a beloved entertainment venue for generations. Marian also serves as chair on the Chester County Economic Development Council and has previously served on the Phoenixville Community Health Foundation.
Dr. Mary Ann Maggitti
Dr. Maggitti's career at West Chester University spanned thirty-seven years. Over her long career, she held many positions and served West Chester University with dedication and integrity. Her contributions in teaching, administration and service are many.
Through her tenure at West Chester University, in addition to her full-time faculty position, Mary Ann also held the following positions: Associate Director of the Child Studies Group, Assistant to the Provost, Coordinator for NCATE reaccreditation preparation, Chair of the Department of Childhood Studies and Reading where the undergraduate and graduate programs were among the largest in the University. In 1995, Mary Ann was asked to serve as Interim Associate Provost, and she served effectively in this position for two years. A reorganization of departments within the School of Education took place in 1997. Mary Ann joined the early childhood faculty as part of the Department of Early Childhood and Special Education. From 1998-2000, she also served as chair of the University's Council on Academic Policies and Curriculum (CAPC). In 1999, she was asked to serve as Interim Associate Dean for the School of Education. In 2004, Mary Ann became the Coordinator of the early childhood program's off-campus degree completion program for T.E.A.C.H. scholarship students in Philadelphia. The last five years of her career were dedicated to excellent teaching and advising in the early childhood program in the College of Education. She was awarded Professor Emeritus status in 2008.
Mary Beth Henley
Mary Beth Henley grew up in Gillette, Wyoming and graduated from Montana State University - Bozeman with a BA in Media/Theater Arts – Film & Television. She moved to New York City in 1997 to intern for the Late Show with David Letterman which led her to a career in film publicity working for 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures. Before moving to Chester County, Mary Beth lived on the Big Island of Hawaii managing a boutique wine shop. Mary Beth has worked at the West Chester University Foundation since May 2016. She is co-chair of the 150th Celebration Committee.
May received her MBA from West Chester University in 1989. She credits her education at WCU as a factor for her successful corporate career. After retiring early from Agilent Technologies, where she held several executive level positions including the position of Vice President and General Manager, she dedicated her time and efforts in advancing business leadership and ethics and women's rights and protections.
May taught four years as an adjunct faculty at the College of Business and Public Management. During her tenure, she co-founded the Women in Leadership program where selected female leaders planned, organized and put on an annual forum where women business leaders shared their insight on various topics. In addition to serving on the business school advisory board for many years, May supported the capital campaign efforts of the new CBPM building. May also served as a trustee of the WCU Foundation for many years. In honor of her mother, May established eight years ago the Helen Man scholarship where a female minority student in need receives an annual scholarship.
In line with her values of advancing women's rights and protections, May served and consulted on several non-profit boards focused on girls and women's issues such as Domestic Violence Center of Chester County and Funds for Women and Girls. She tries her best to practice daily her motto "Align your actions with your values."
Dr. Monica Lepore
I am committed to empowerment of people with disabilities to have full opportunities in every aspect of life. My goals are to educate college students to provide inclusive physical activity opportunities to children and adults with disabilities.
- West Chester University M.Ed. in Special Education 2015
- New York University Ed.D. in Leadership in Adapted Physical Education 1991 Dissertation: Training aquatics instructors to teach individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury
- University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse M.S. in Adapted Physical Education 1979 Thesis: Posture remediation and adults with developmental disabilities
- College of Mt. St. Vincent and Manhattan College B.S. in Physical Education 1978
- Lehman College (1974-76) Major: Physical Education
- Instructor Training: Aquatics for Individuals with Disabilities
- Inclusive Postsecondary Higher Education: Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities
During their first day at WCU, alphabetical seating meant that Keith Beale was sitting directly behind Nancy Alexander in their music theory 101 class. By the spring semester, Nancy, a pianist, was accompanying Keith during his voice lessons, practices, and recitals. Two months after they both graduated in 1977 with B.S. degrees in music education, they married and have been in love with each other — and with music — ever since. Initially, both taught music in public schools. Preferring to teach piano one-on-one, however, Nancy soon decided to teach privately — at their home, at Cairn University, and at the Beales’ church, the Church of the Open Door (COD) in Ft. Washington, PA, where they live. She also has accompanied vocalists, instrumentalists, and ensembles at several school districts, served as a children’s theater musical director, and judged some Miss America state pageants and the Miss WCU pageant.
Nancy has encouraged many of her students to attend WCU. Several took her advice and graduated with WCU degrees in music, including their niece and nephew. Long-time WCU supporters, the Beales say they “owe a lot to West Chester for giving us the education and skills for our professional and music careers, as well as enabling us to meet each other,” said Keith. The Beales spoke at the groundbreaking for the Swope Music Building and Performing Arts Center and, when it opened in 2007, funded the main lobby and several practice rooms. In 2006, they jointly received the WCU President’s Award for Donor Recognition and, in 2008, the Distinguished Music Alumni Award. They have also endowed five annual music scholarships and plan to fund more. “We know the value of an education at West Chester and the value of encouraging and supporting young people to pursue their music careers,” said Nancy.
~Portions from WCU Magazine
Norma was a staff member to the President's office. She is known for her work in development. - Retired WCUF Planned Giving Staff. John - Alum '63, BS Music, Retired Development Officer, University of Delaware. Donors, C/SOMP Performing Arts Center, BPAC, CVPA-School of Music, Class of '63 Scholarship.
Phaedra graduated from WCU in 1999. She founded the Hope Institute of Science for Girls in Philadelphia to engage preschool girls in STEM topics at the very start of their educational journeys. The institute has already become part of a growing movement to proactively engage girls in STEM. Phaedra also serves on the WCU College of the Sciences and Mathematics Advisory Board.
Sandy served West Chester University for nearly 33 years. She began at WCU in 1987 as the Director of the Children’s Center providing childcare services for children of students, faculty, and staff members. She has also served as the Assistant Director to Sykes Student Union. In 2014-15, the Off Campus and Commuter Services Department was created to serve as an advocate and resource for West Chester’s commuter and off campus student population, as well as work to promote positive campus/community relations. Sandy and her department supported over 70% of undergraduate and graduate population at WCU until her retirement.
Susan Yoder Schick ’88 is the Senior Vice President Content and Broadcast Production at QVC, the pioneering multi-platform digital retail giant. In that role, she oversees the management and development of the Host team, as well as the production strategy to drive customer engagement through impactful storytelling, both on-air and on digital platforms.
Ms. Schick joined QVC in 1992 and has held roles of increasing responsibility over the past 28 years. She was most recently the VP of Talent, where she oversaw the talent management teams, as well as the overall strategies to leverage QVC’s program hosts to support growth on both existing and evolving platforms. Prior to then, she held a variety of roles within the areas of Digital, Category Production, and our QVC International business. At QVC, she additionally served as a co-lead on the Diversity and Inclusion team and the Women’s Resource group.
While Ms. Schick’s numerous contributions to QVC are woven deeply into the company’s fabric, she is recognized for building effective teams through leadership excellence and for having a strong connection to QVC’s corporate values. Working chiefly in the areas of digital, category production, and talent, she brings a unique perspective gained through experience across the business.
Ms. Schick has deep connections to West Chester University. She is a member of the University’s corporate advisory board and frequently engages WCU students to serve as interns at QVC. Daughter of the late Honorable Dick Yoder ’59, Ms. Schick’s connections to WCU reach literally to her childhood, one that included many days spent on the campus long before her enrollment as an undergraduate. Mr. Yoder’s indelible presence on the campus spanned decades as WCU’s director of athletics, chair of kinesiology, acting associate dean of the School of Health Sciences, and football coach, as well as two-term mayor of West Chester Borough.
Ms. Schick earned her bachelor’s in marketing, with a minor in French, from West Chester University.
Dr. Susan Slaninka
Dr. Slaninka began her career at West Chester University in 1976 in the Department of Nursing. During her tenure, she served as Assistant Department Chair, Department Chair and as a member on various University committees. Dr. Slaninka taught both undergraduate and graduate courses and she developed many of these courses. She revised a course entitled "Care of the Inner Self and an article was published in Advance for Nurses explaining this innovative course. She is also responsible for creating Quantitative and Qualitative Research graduate courses. She developed an undergraduate course entitled "Coping with Cancer". This course allows cancer survivors to participate as guest speakers and presents students with an opportunity to listen to real life stories. She was awarded the School of Health Sciences Faculty-Student Research Grant in 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2004 and Dr. Slaninka was awarded the Faculty Development Award in 1994,1995, 1996,1997, and 1998. She was awarded the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award in 1999 and the Medallion for Distinguished Contributions to Nursing Education by the College of Nursing at Villanova University. Dr. Slaninka has been published in various professional journals including but not limited to the Journal of Cancer Education, Journal of Gerontological Nursing, Death Studies, and Cancer Nursing and she has presented her research both regionally and nationally. She served the University extensively through her participation on various committees such as CAPC, the Wellness Center Advisory board, the AIDS Quilt Committee, the Charlotte Newcomb Scholarship Committee, the Minority Mentor Project and the Flourish Project. Dr. Slaninka's service also reaches the community. She is an active participant in the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the Race for the Cure and Brian's Run.