Archive for the ‘Alumni Updates’ Category


Widener Open House for Lifelong Learners

August 20, 2014
Exton pic

Widener’s Exton Campus

By Khalil Williams ‘16

Are you interested in learning about wine, becoming technologically savvy, or understanding history?

If yes, Widener’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) in Exton, Pennsylvania, is offering classes on these topics and many more starting in the fall semester.

All are welcome at an open house from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, August 28, at the Exton Campus at 825 Springdale Drive in Exton. Attendees can learn about lifelong learning classes being offered this fall, meet the instructors, tour the facility, and register for classes. Call 484-713-0088 to reserve a spot.

With more than 60 courses available in a wide range of subjects, field trips, a speaker series, and more, OLLI provides unique, socially engaging programs for mature adults who want to experience the joy of learning. Topics covered include current events, history, travel, literature, genealogy, wine appreciation, music, philosophy, psychology, and religion. Non-credit courses are offered at the Exton Campus and off-site locations in Chester and Delaware counties. For more information, visit


Join the Tradition of Widener-PMC Class Notes

June 16, 2014

expositor1In the most recent issue of Widener Magazine, I wrote about the long-running tradition of class notes in this institution’s publications. The earliest class note the Widener University Archives have on record is from an 1865 edition of the P.M.A. Daily Expositor, as the Pennsylvania Military Academy publication was known. Since then, thousands of class notes have been published in Widener Magazine, the PMC News, and other publications.

If you want to be a part of this collective story and send a class note for our fall 2014 issue, the deadline is Monday, June 23. You can submit your class notes and photos three ways:

1. Enter on the Widener Pride Network at
2. E-mail Patty Votta at
3. Mail to the Office of Alumni Engagement, Widener University, One University Place, Chester, PA 19013.

Whether you are class of 1934 or 2014, we’d like to hear from you.

And if you want to search for old class notes, visit the  Wolfgram Memorial Library Digital Collections at There is a wealth of history there.

–Sam Starnes, Editor


Widener to Commemorate MLK Through Service

January 17, 2014
Crozer Old Main

Widener’s Old Main is not the only Old Main in Chester. Monday’s wreath-laying in honor of MLK will take place at the Old Main building on the Crozer-Chester Medical Center campus.

By Maria Klecko ’15

A full schedule of events on Monday will include members of the Widener and Chester communities honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. where King began his ministry education.

A wreath-laying ceremony will take place in Crozer-Chester Medical Center’s Old Main building at 1 p.m. to memorialize Dr. King’s time studying in the Crozer Theological Seminary. Another event will be held on the Crozer campus at 2 p.m. in Clark Auditorium featuring a presentation by Reverend Clifford Johnson of Shiloh Baptist Church and his church choir from Wilmington, Delaware. Both of these events are open to the public.

The Widener community will celebrate King with a full slate of other service-oriented events: a mural arts project and various activities including health clinics provided by students from Widener’s Institute of Physical Therapy Education at the Boys & Girls Club of Chester; sorting clothes at the Better Living Center; reorganizing the library at Stetser Elementary School; treating needy residents at a health clinic run by the School of Nursing and the Widener Community Nursing Clinic at Cityteam; painting areas and updating bulletin boards at the STEM Academy at Showalter High School; designing puzzle pieces as part of a “We’re All Widener” activity in the University Center Atrium; and holding an annual commemoration of King’s life sponsored by the Black Student Union in Alumni Auditorium.

For more information about Widener’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day events, please visit the complete agenda.


Tell Your Story in Widener-PMC Class Notes

June 5, 2013

2013 grad class notes

I often hear from readers of Widener Magazine that Class Notes is the first section they read. I believe it’s because there are so many good stories from our more than 59,000 living alumni out in the world who are graduates of PMC and Widener. We added 900 new graduates to that roster recently, so each year there’s an even larger pool.

If you have a story you want to tell in the fall issue of the magazine, you have a little time left. The deadline for submitting Class Notes to make the fall issue is June 15.

You can submit your class notes and photos three ways:

1. Enter on the Widener Pride Network at
2. E-mail Patty Votta at
3. Mail to the Office of Alumni Engagement, Widener University, One University Place, Chester, PA 19013

For an example of previous Class Notes, here is a link to the spring issue.

–Sam Starnes, Editor


Presidential Photographs by Morris Martel

May 23, 2013

While researching the story of President Eisenhower’s 1963 visit to Pennsylvania Military College for the recent Widener Magazine, a number of fascinating color photos jumped out at me in the University Archives in Widener’s Wolfgram Memorial Library. All were taken by Morris Martel, a Delaware County supermarket owner who became an excellent photographer in his retirement. PMC hosted an exhibit that included Martel’s photos in 1967.

Martel took many pictures of Eisenhower on campus in 1963. The first one below features Robert Lofts, a junior cadet, standing behind President Eisenhower who sits between PMC President Clarence Moll and Maj. Gen. William Sheppard Biddle, PMC’s commandant of cadets. Martel, a resident of Haverford, also photographed Eisenhower’s return to campus to speak to the Greater Chester Foundation in 1965. I also found photos he took of President John F. Kennedy. The backs of these prints are stamped November 1963, the month Kennedy was assassinated. I haven’t been able to discover the backstory to the images, but if you know more about these, please post a message in the comments field.

–Sam Starnes, Editor

Ike with frame

Martel 1Kennedy


Remembering Widener Professor Robert Melzi

January 31, 2013

Melzi_at_Chalk blog

Dr. Robert C. Melzi, a professor emeritus of romance languages, died on March 5, 2012, at the age of 96.  Rosemary Cappello ’83, editor of the literary journal Philadelphia Poets, offered this remembrance.

By Rosemary Cappello ‘83

I first met Bob in 1979, when I started college at Widener and studied Italian with him. We had an instant rapport, for I was struck by his similarity to my father, John Petracca, who also was an Italian immigrant. But mainly I appreciated Bob’s integration of Italian culture, notably its literature and music, with the study of the language. Also of note were Bob’s eager demeanor, his ready smile, and effervescent sense of humor, all of which can be summed up as a zest for life.

It took me a while, after graduation from Widener, to refer to him as Bob, so great was my respect for him. After all, his career in Widener’s Romance Language Department spanned 30 years and the briefest conversation with him left one feeling that here was an outstanding scholar, erudite on many subjects. He retired in 1990, having also taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Saint Joseph’s University, Villanova University, and Bryn Mawr College.

Read the rest of this entry ?


Widener Alumna Pursues a Sweeter Science

January 11, 2013

A photo of owner, artist Kristin Weldon PeriKristin Weldon Peri, a 1998 Widener management alumna who graduated from Widener Law in 2001, will appear on the third season of the Food Network’s pastry chef competition show Sweet Genius.

The Delaware County Daily Times reported that Peri spent several years as a trial attorney before she opted for a career in cake design, starting the company Divine Cakes.

“When I decided to do this, there were some people who couldn’t understand moving from practicing law to this business, but my family and friends didn’t blink an eye,” she told the newspaper.  The show featuring Peri starts at 10 p.m. EST Thursday, January 17.


Widener Alumnus Named to Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30: Marketing and Advertising List

December 18, 2012

MatthewsChris Matthews, a 2008 Widener communication studies graduate and former lacrosse standout who also served one year as an assistant coach, has been named to Forbes magazine’s list of high-achieving marketing and advertising professionals under the age of 30.

Matthews, 26, was recently named a senior brand strategist for Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, a full-service integrated ad agency, in New York.  For more, see the Forbes’ piece, and a press release from Widener Athletics.


When the Eagles Perched at Widener

July 26, 2012

By Erin Sylvester ’13

Forty years ago, a student of what was then called Widener College wrote an article for the school newspaper, The Dome, announcing the exciting news that the rumors about the Philadelphia Eagles making the move to Widener for their summer training camp were true.

This past weekend marked the beginning of this year’s training camp for the Eagles as they headed back to Lehigh University for the 17th summer. From 1973 to 1979, the Birds trained at Widener.

Though the team didn’t experience much success during that period, Mike McCormack, the Eagles’ head coach at the time, said that “Everything about [Widener was] first rate,” and Jim Gallagher, the Eagles’ former director of communications, recalled that the people “were so nice and pleasant and glad to have us there. They made us feel comfortable and welcome.”

For more information about this period in the histories of Widener University and the Philadelphia Eagles, please see the article in Widener Magazine’s Spring ’07 issue and the recent press coverage in the Delaware County Times.

If you happen to have access to any photos of the Eagles during their time at Widener, please post them as a comment, or send them to Erin Sylvester at



The Night Old Main Burned Down: Feb. 16, 1882

February 16, 2012

One hundred and thirty years ago today, a fire started in the chemistry lab on the fourth floor of Old Main that consumed the landmark edifice.

“A Smoldering Ruin” read the headline in the Chester Times. A New York Times story with a Chester dateline began this way: “The large and handsome building that stood on a prominence just back of and overlooking this city, known as the Pennsylvania Military Academy, was destroyed by fire this evening between 5 and 9 o’clock.”

A sketch by then 16-year old Helen deLannoy, the daughter of PMA Professor Felix deLannoy, completed the day after the fire.

The Times story reported that the 143 cadets who represented “nearly every state in the union” were outside doing drills when the fire began.  They formed a “bucket gang” to pass water to the flames, but their efforts were futile as the fire spread. Fire engines were delayed by the bad condition of the streets, and a horse drawn wagon from The Hanley Hose Co. became stuck in the mud while trying to fight the blaze. “At 9 o’clock nothing remained but the blackened walls,” the Times reported, adding that most cadets were able to save their “most valuable personal effects.” There were no serious injuries, and losses were estimated at $200,000, part of which was covered by insurance.

Cadets were summoned and given money for their trips home by Col. Theodore Hyatt, PMA’s president. Hyatt soon sought temporary quarters for the school in  Ridley Park Hotel, leasing the hotel two miles away that was ready for occupancy on March 8, 1882. The rebuilt “Main Building” was finished by September 1882, just in time for the cadets to move in for the beginning of the 1882-1883 academic year, only seven months after the fire.


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