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Alumni News

Alumni Association Elects New Leaders

The Alumni Association Board of Directors recently held its annual election and welcomed both new and returning members to the organization.  Longtime volunteer Cindy Charnetski ’97 was named president.  “I am so honored to have been chosen by this amazing group to be president of the Alumni Association. Wilkes has been a part of my life since I was very young due to my dad being a professor and my involvement has never stopped. I am proud to live in the community where Wilkes University continues to grow and advance our area. It is such an exciting time under the leadership of President Leahy, and I am very excited to be part of developing new opportunities and initiatives for our alumni,” she says.

Ellen Stamer Hall ’71 was elected vice-president and Tony DaRe ’00, Matthew Berger ’02 and Cheryl Jaworski MBA ’09 will begin terms as new board members.  Outgoing president Tom Ralston ’80, who has served the Alumni Association in this role for the past three years, remains on the board as historian and Kathy Heltzel ’82 MBA ’85 was appointed to the role of secretary. These individuals will begin their terms in June 2014. If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about the Alumni Association board and committees, contact the alumni office at alumni@wilkes.edu or (570) 408-7787.

Share the Spirit With Wilkes At Homecoming, Sept. 26-28, 2014

Alumni celebrate Homecoming.

Alumni celebrate Homecoming.

In addition to annual favorites such as Pints with Professors, the Tailgate Tent and the Twist and Stout Downtown Bar Tour, we have some new plans in store for you this Homecoming:

  • The George Ralston Golf Classic – On Friday, Sept. 26, Wilkes University and the Wilkes-Barre Rotary will combine efforts to present a new tournament in honor of George Ralston.  “It makes perfect sense for our institutions to work together on the tournament. Wilkes and the Wilkes-Barre Rotary were two of my dad’s passions, and I think he would love the idea of bringing them together in this way,” says Tom Ralston ’80.  The tournament will be at 9:30 a.m. at Edgewood in the Pines in Drums, Pa., and proceeds benefit the Osterhout Library.
  • Share the Spirit: A Celebration of Athletics at Wilkes – Join former athletes and coaches, current student-athletes, alumni and friends for a casual evening of fun in the Marts Gym on the evening of Saturday, Sept. 27. Our guest of honor will be Bo Ryan ’69, University of Wisconsin men’s basketball coach and member of Wilkes Athletic Hall of Fame.
  • Reunions at the Tailgate Tent – if you’re a member of one or more of these groups, we look forward to celebrating with you this fall!  Class years ending in 4 and 9, A-List, The Beacon – celebrating 80 years, communication studies, lettermen and letterwomen, political science, psychology, the Sidhu School of Business and Leadership and WCLH – celebrating 40 years.


Alumni celebrate Homecoming.

Alumni celebrate Homecoming.

In a few weeks, you’ll receive a registration brochure in the mail that lists all of the weekend’s activities.  In the meantime, check www.wilkes.edu/homecoming and www.facebook.com/WilkesAlumni for the latest homecoming information.

Third-Generation Colonel Receives Alumni Scholarship
tara_familyMore than 200 members of the Wilkes community gathered in the Henry Student Center on March 27, 2014, for the University’s annual Scholarship Luncheon. Tara Giarratano, a freshman English major from Mountain Top, Pa., was this year’s recipient of the Alumni Association Scholarship.  A third-generation Colonel, Tara was joined at the luncheon by her mother, Barbara Michael Giarratano ’89, and her grandfather, Anthony Michael ’74, pictured at left. Tara lives in Waller Hall, which is the same mansion her mother lived in when she was a Wilkes student.



Giving Back

Leaving A Legacy Through Scholarship Giving

Patricia A. Patrician '82, right, is seen at her wedding with her parents Frank and Anna Markiewicz, in whose honor she has established a scholarship for nursing students at Wilkes.

Patricia A. Patrician ’82, right, is seen at her wedding with her parents Frank and Anna Markiewicz, in whose honor she has established a scholarship for nursing students at Wilkes.

Attending college can be a challenge for any student.  Thanks to the support of her parents and guidance from her high school counselor, Anthony Perrone, and encouragement from Wilkes faculty, Patricia A. Patrician ’82 graduated from Wilkes with a nursing degree while also being a single parent. She became a lifelong learner, earning additional degrees and success in her professional endeavors. Currently the Banton Endowed Professor of Nursing at the University of Alabama School of Nursing, Patrician now gives back to Wilkes through a scholarship she created in honor of her parents: the Frank and Anna (Elchinski) Markiewicz Memorial Scholarship.  It will be awarded to a nursing student from the Wyoming Valley who demonstrates financial need with first preference given to a single parent.  In the following interview, Patrician talks about her scholarship.

Why did you decide to start a scholarship for Wilkes students?

There is a growing need to support education for the next generation.  With the rising costs of tuition, there are a lot of talented individuals who cannot afford to go to college. I believe the best gift we can give to the next generation is a quality education.  This is not just a one-time gift; an endowed scholarship is akin to leaving a legacy.  

Why did you choose to name it in honor of your parents?

My parents instilled in me a strong work ethic and a love for family. While in high school, I was married, had my daughter, and became a single parent, all before high school graduation.  When things did not work out in my marriage, my daughter and I moved into my parents’ home and they helped me out a great deal while I finished high school and then college.

They did not have much to give monetarily – both had only eighth grade education levels because they had to quit school and work to help their respective families. My Dad was my biggest cheerleader throughout my life and encouraged me to go further and further in my education and my career.  I think he was especially proud that I went into the Army as an officer and earned the rank of colonel before retiring after 26 years of service.  So I want to leave a legacy bearing my parents’ names so they will not be forgotten and live on in some way long after I am gone.

How did the opportunities you received by attending Wilkes shape you as a person?

I want to give back to Wilkes because I was given an excellent start in life to pursue my dreams and instilled in me the gift of a desire for lifelong learning. Wilkes was ahead of the time in nursing education in the 1970s and 1980s. I joined the Army Nurse Corps soon after graduating in 1982, and met brand new nurses like me, from all over the country.  I felt that my education at Wilkes was superior because I had perfected many technical skills that my new colleagues had not had the opportunity to practice due to fewer clinical opportunities.

Another important lesson from Wilkes was the value of research.  We had a research course in the nursing program and the assignment was to prepare a research proposal. Not many other undergraduate programs had such a focus on research at that time. Interestingly enough, the topic of that research proposal was quality of patient care, which has been the focus of my program of research for the past 14 years. Continuing to acquire knowledge was valued by my instructors and professors – they lived it!  I still keep in touch with two faculty members from Wilkes: Marianne Saueraker, who is now retired, and Ann Marie Kolanowski, who is a professor at Penn State. They were two of my favorite teachers!


Patricia A. Patrician ’82, Birmingham, Ala., and Rising Fawn, Ga.

Bachelor of Science, Nursing, Wilkes

Master of Science, Nursing, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio

Doctorate, University of Pennsylvania

Career: Donna Brown Banton Endowed Professor, University of Alabama at Birmingham

How can you give back?  Did you know that there are nearly 200 scholarships at Wilkes?  Scholarship giving is a great way to match your interests and experiences with a student who needs financial support in order to make a Wilkes education possible.  To learn more about what scholarships are available and how you can contribute, contact Evelyne Topfer at 570-408-4309.



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