Archive for December, 2011


Happy Holidays from Widener University

December 22, 2011

It has been a fruitful holiday season at Widener: the Presidential Service Corps collected a record-number of toys for the Salvation Army and CityTeam Ministries; University College organized its annual giving tree; and the library staff donated to the Loaves and Fishes Food Bank, adopted a family through the Salvation Army, and contributed to the Chester Senior Center Holiday Gifts for the Homebound Program.

The Delaware Campus also adopted five families in need, providing them with food, clothing, and toys. These are just a few of the many ways the university has aimed to give back and spread cheer.

In the video below, sophomores Michelle Callaghan and Robin Lavery, both members of Widener Chorale, perform for their fellow resident assistants at a staff dinner on Dec. 9., 2010.   Best wishes for the holiday season!


Widener-PMC Class Notes From 90 Years Ago

December 14, 2011

I’m researching the 150-year history of the School of Engineering for the spring magazine and found a fascinating look at early alumni and ex-cadets for Widener predecessor institutions Pennsylvania Military Academy and Pennsylvania Military College.

Published in 1921, “Who’s Who — Thumbnail Sketches of Many Graduates and Ex-Cadets, Showing How They Have Been Engaged Since Leaving P.M.C.” is part of Henry Buxton’s Pennsylvania Military College: The Story of 100 Years, 1821-1921.  The entire article can be viewed online in the Digital Collections of the Widener University Archives.  The 34-page article has short biographies of many, certainly more than I can cover in a blog post, and I encourage you to scroll through it.

Here are three of the notes I found fascinating, and I added some information in italics with links I found elsewhere.

Russell Kelso Carter

— Russell Kelso Carter, Class of 1867: Married; author and preacher. Mr. Carter was connected with the faculty of the Pennsylvania Military College for 21 years. Critics have said that Mr. Carter’s historical novel, “Amor Victor,” is on a par with “Quo Vadis” and “Ben Hur,” “and as strong as anything of like nature in literature.” Home address, 713 St. Paul Street, Baltimore, Md.

Carter also wrote many well-known hymns.  You can read more about him in this biography or see his hymns here.

— J. Howard Lewis, Class of 1881. Widower, three children; Mr. Lewis was very prominent in college athletics, he being one of the star football and baseball players in 1880-81.  His Alma Mater takes exceeding satisfaction in his reputation as a horseman of international fame without, in the judgment of many, and equal in the world.  Home address, Elkins Park, Pa.

He was posthumously inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 1969.

–Carroll A. Devol, Class of 1878, Married. Military Record-Lieutenant, Infantry, 1879; captain, Quartermaster, 1896; major, Quartermaster, 1902; lieutenant colonel, Division Quartermaster General, 1909; colonel, Assistant Quartermaster General, 1911; brigadier general, Quartermaster Corps, 1913; major general, retired, 1916. General Staff, 1906-08. World War, on active duty, June, 1917. D. S. M., 1919. Also awarded Spanish-American War and Philippine Insurrection medals. Home address, Menlo Park, Cal.

He is listed in the Military Times Hall of Valor; he also served as quartermaster for the Panama Canal Project and is listed on our Distinguished Alumni Page.

Also noted in the Who’s Who are actor Burt Mustin (class of 1903), at the time noted as an “automobile salesmen” in Pittsburgh who was “prominent in Pittsburgh amateur dramatic circles”; and Sylvanus Griswold Morley (class of 1904), cited as a “noted archaeologist” and resident of Santa Fe, N.M.  He is the subject of the 2009 book, The Archaeologist Was a Spy: Sylvanus G. Morley and the Office of Naval Intelligence.

If you do peruse the online pages, note that there is no alphabetical or chronological order to the list.  Also, the files are large and can take some time to download, but it’s well worth it!

–Sam Starnes, Editor


Recalling Landmark Visits to Widener-PMC

December 7, 2011

What do Cecil B. DeMille, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Barry Goldwater, Bob Hope, Bruce Springsteen, and Barack Obama have in common? All have appeared on the Main Campus of Pennsylvania Military College or Widener.

Those are some of the ones we know about.  Help us find others. Please send us your memories of notables visiting campus – be they politicians, military leaders, artists, entertainers, writers, scientists, or others of influence. You can send a note via the comments field of this blog post, on Facebook, or in an e-mail to (And make sure you tell us the year of their visit. )

There is more information on the visits by DeMille, Eisenhower (pictured in 1963 with PMC cadet John Lance Geoghegan), Goldwater, and Springsteen in the Connections Timeline in the Digital Collections of the Wolfgram Memorial Library’s Widener University Archives.


Widener Sources Needed on Breast Cancer

December 5, 2011

We are planning a story for the spring issue of Widener Magazine focusing on biomedical research into new methods of fighting breast cancer being conducted by a faculty member.   Dr. Bin Wang, an assistant professor  in the School of Engineering, is working to develop therapies for patients who resist chemotherapy.

In addition to Dr. Wang and medical doctors being interviewed, we want to hear the stories of alumni, their families, and others in the Widener community who have battled breast cancer.  If you would like to discuss your story, please contact Jennifer Dublisky at or 610-499-1329.


In Search of … 1950s PMC Promotional Video

December 2, 2011

Ronald Litwack in 1956

Harry Litwack distinctly remembers staying home from the second grade to watch his older cousin Ronald Litwack – a cadet at Pennsylvania Military College in the mid 1950s – appear on a television spot that aired in the Philadelphia area promoting the school.

Ronald Litwack graduated from PMC in 1956 and went on to medical school and ultimately opened a pediatric practice in Willingboro, N.J., that he maintained for 30 years.  He retired in the late nineties and died in January 2003 (Click here to see his obituary.) Since his death, a granddaughter and grandson have been born.

Harry Litwack is hoping to find the video of his cousin to share with the family.  He remembers that it aired on one of the network-affiliated Philadelphia stations.  If you remember the spot or know where video of it can be found, please post a comment on this blog or e-mail me at

— Sam Starnes, Editor