Posts Tagged ‘Widener’


Start 2014 with a Widener Magazine Class Note

December 20, 2013


1983 Commencement

Class notes — the blurbs updating what has been going on in the life of our Widener and PMC alumni — have been included in campus publications since at least 1865.

If you want to join in this long tradition in 2014, you have a little time left. The deadline for submitting Class Notes to make the spring issue is January 2.

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, check out the fall issue.


New Chester Grocery Watering ‘Food Desert’

October 2, 2013

aisle_photo_Fare__Square1By Maria Klecko ’15

An award-winning story in the spring 2011 Widener Magazine reported the efforts of a Center for Social Work Education program to create maps documenting the lack of food options in Chester — deemed a “food desert” by the USDA — and develop ways to fill those needs.

For a dozen years, residents of the city had been without a grocery store and had few options for fresh and healthy food. That void was filled on Saturday when Philabundance opened the Fare and Square, a nonprofit grocery.

Construction on the store began last year in the vacant section of the building housing Family Dollar on the 3100 block of West 9th Street. As a nonprofit grocery store operated by a food aid group, it is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation.

A second grocery store, this one commercial, is slated to open in Chester in 2014. Bottom Dollar will be located at 15th Street and Edgmont Avenue, near Widener University.

Establishing Fare and Square in Chester was a project set forth by Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2), a national initiative created by the Obama administration in July 2011, and supported, in part, by Widener. The initiative’s goal is to aid distressed cities like Chester by “strengthening local capacity and sparking economic growth in local communities.”

“There is no significant quality of life without proper food and nourishment,” said Arto Woodley, one of Chester’s two SC2 fellows who works out of an office in Old Main on the Widener campus. “The market helps elevate the quality of life. It’s a huge win for this region.”


Alum Praises Widener at March on Washington

September 5, 2013
Fred Maahs Headshot

Fred Maahs ’84

By Maria Klecko ’15

A 1984 Widener graduate praised the university’s accommodating attitude toward his disability in a speech at the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington.

“When I left the hospital to begin my new life, college remained out of reach,” said Fred Maahs, who suffered an injury 33 years ago after a diving accident left him paralyzed from the chest down. The incident occurred days before Maahs was set to begin college and affected his path to a higher education as he struggled to find wheelchair facilities in public places.

“The campus was not accessible,” he said in his speech on August 28.  “I thought that the doors to a fulfilling life had slammed shut. Fortunately, Widener University in Delaware was welcoming. I helped adapt the campus to make it more accessible and I was the first chair user to attend and graduate.”

Maahs received an associate’s degree in business from Brandywine College of Widener University.  He is now director of national community partnerships at Comcast Corporation and vice president of the Comcast Foundation.

Maahs is also the chair of the American Association of People with Disabilities. He discussed the challenges that people with disabilities face in society and encouraged the crowd to support the ratification of the Disability Treaty that would broaden the scope of the Americans with Disabilities Act across the globe, level the playing field for U.S. businesses working internationally, and increase access for U.S. citizens traveling overseas.


Last Call for Alumni Awards Nominations

August 29, 2013

Time is running out to submit your nominations for the 2014 Widener University-Pennsylvania Military College Alumni Association Awards.

These annual awards include the Outstanding Alumnus, Alumni Service Award, and the John L. Geoghegan Alumni Citizenship Award. If you know an outstanding alumnus or alumna, please send nominations by Friday, August 30. You can submit nominations online. For more information, please visit Widener’s alumni engagement page.

2013 Alumni Awards

2013 Alumni Awards winners pictured include Outstanding Alumnus Gregg A. Strom ’64 (center); Alumni Service honoree Jennifer Stonerod ’00, ’05L (second from right); and John R. Stoeffler ’63, John L. Geoghegan Alumni Citizenship recipient (far right). To read about the 2013 Alumni Awards winners, click on the picture.


Students Share Multicultural Psychology Lessons

April 15, 2013

By Maria Klecko ’15

Kevin Shaddock made a self-discovery while volunteering in a kindergarten class at Columbus Elementary in Chester. The experience opened his eyes to a cultural context that he hadn’t known growing up in a middle-to-upper class area.

“I found a desire to give back to the community,” said Shaddock, a sophomore psychology pre-physical therapy major. “Performing community service changed my life.”

Shaddock participated in this service learning project for his Multicultural Psychology class during the fall 2012 semester. He and two other students, Michael Corcoran, a senior psychology major, and April Gucene, a sophomore psychology pre-physical therapy major, said various class activities taught them more information than can be found in a textbook.

Dr. Lori Simons, an associate professor of psychology, teaches the Multicultural Psychology course. “The goals of the class are to teach multicultural awareness, knowledge, and skills,” Simons said.

multicultural class

Students in a Widener University Multicultural Psychology said a yarn exercise showed how everybody is connected.

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Snowy Start to Spring at Widener

March 21, 2013

freedom's pride in show

I snapped this shot in front of Old Main on the way in this morning amidst a brisk snow flurry on the second day of spring. The snow on Freedom’s Pride, a bronze sculpture of an eagle from the Japanese Meiji period (1868-1912), was much lighter than in January a year ago.  Believe it or not, commencement, set for May 18, is less than two months away.  –Sam Starnes, Editor


Widener Alumna to Speak About Liberia

February 14, 2013

SimmonsBy Maria Klecko ’15

When Williametta Simmons was a Widener sophomore twelve years ago, the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote about her difficult journey from her native Liberia to the United States.  On February 25, Simmons – who now holds doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Widener – will speak on the Chester campus about an effort to aid her home country in West Africa.

As part of Widener’s Black History/Women’s History month, Simmons will give a lecture from noon- 1 p.m. in the Webb Room in University Center about a medical mission trip to Liberia she is participating in this March.  The purpose will be to provide medical and mental health services for Liberians; Simmons is also running a baby bottle drive.

Her presentation will include a brief history of Liberia that involves noting its connection with freed U.S. slaves and spotlighting influential Liberian women. Simmons survived the country’s civil war.

Simmons immigrated to the U.S. when she was 12. She graduated with a bachelor’s from Widener in 2004, and went on earn a doctorate in clinical psychology and a master’s in business administration. She is currently a clinical psychologist at Temple University Hospital-Episcopal Campus and works as an adjunct professor at Temple University School of Medicine.


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.

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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.


Alumna in Bahrain Freed, Colleagues Convicted

June 14, 2012

A court in Bahrain has overturned the 15-year-prison sentence of Rula Al-Saffar, a 2000 master’s graduate of the Widener School of Nursing who was jailed for providing medical aid to protestors in her home country, but the court convicted a number of her colleagues.  “This is a black day for doctors and medical professionals,” Al-Safar told The Associated Press. (AP reported nine were convicted, while the organization Human Rights First reported there were 11 convicted.)

A video of Al-Saffar commenting on the verdicts is available online, and more video coverage of the case is available on the ITV News page.  She will be featured in the fall issue of Widener Magazine to be published in September.


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