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Alumni News

Alumni Association Welcomes New Board Members

The Alumni Association Board of Directors welcomes five new directors elected to the board at its February 2017 meeting. They began their three-year terms in June.

The five new directors share their favorite memory about their Wilkes experience.

Kathy Kautter ’72

Independent arts and crafts professional

kautterI spent six years getting my undergraduate degree, starting full time and ending up going part time — nights, summers — while working full time. With that frantic schedule, I found a little oasis of quiet and comfort in the old Kirby Hall Library. On one of the upper floors, tucked away behind some bookshelves, was a little room with a solitary chair — a big old comfortable chair — that looked out over the Commons. I like to think that I spent a lot of time reading and studying in that chair, but I think I often dozed off to get some much needed rest.   I am so happy to see the direction that Wilkes University is taking in 2017 and beyond. When I was a student in the late 60s, it was not a university at the time, rather being known as Wilkes College. I was a commuter student, living at home in Kingston and either riding my bicycle, taking a bus, hitching a ride, or at times, even walking, to get to campus. Wilkes University is on the map, and I am proud to be a part of it. I want to do whatever I can to help any student who wants to succeed at this great school.

Brian Palmiter ’13

Civil designer, Borton-Lawson Engineering


It is difficult to pick my absolute favorite thing about my Wilkes experience because I loved everything about my four years at the University. … If I had to point out one thing that sticks out though, I would have to say (it would be) my freshmen year living in Catlin Hall. At the time, “the Cat” was a freshmen dorm for men only. As to be expected, putting two dozen men in such a close-knit environment led to frequent fun … I still keep in close touch with several people from Catlin Hall and they are among my best friends to this day. … My point of all this is that life at Wilkes is amazing, not just in the classroom, but around the entire campus. You feel like you are a part of a community … that not only prepares you for life in the real world, but also lets you have a little bit of fun along the way! Being a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors allows me to give back to the University that treated me so well. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for Wilkes, and I want to do all I can to continue to say thank you.

Fred Pierantoni ’80

Judge, Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas

pierantoni As a student I enjoyed my time at Wilkes as I received a quality education, which provided an opportunity to achieve my career goals while developing many lasting friendships. I also enjoyed the co-curricular activities. I particularly cherish the time I spent as a disc jockey and station manager at WCLH. As a proud legacy parent, I am honored to serve on the Alumni Association Board of Directors, mentor current students and provide internship guidance while encouraging other graduates to share their own experience and become involved in the Wilkes community.


Alyssa Stencavage ’15

Marketing Coordinator, Aramark

stencavage.jpg This might sound cliché, but I loved the tight-knit connection that exists in the Wilkes community and the relationships that form between students and professors and all others on campus. The professors knew me personally and I could always go to them with a question or concern. Not only did this serve me well during my time at Wilkes, but it has also been beneficial in my post-graduate life while job searching and considering graduate school down the road. … I’m excited about the opportunity to serve on the Alumni Board because it allows me to come back to campus with a fresh and different perspective and also see things in a slightly different light. There’s been a lot of change since I graduated in 2015. It’s nice to be able to share my experiences since graduation, gain something new as a graduate, and give back to the community in ways I hadn’t before.

Kate Thomas ’15

Assistant director of undergraduate admissions, Wilkes University

Thomas My favorite thing about Wilkes is that there are so many opportunities on campus to get involved and allow yourself to grow. As a student, I met some of my closest friends by getting involved in different activities through my classes, sport and student clubs. As an admissions counselor, I get to work with prospective students and share my story, as well as work with enrolled students who share the same passion for the University that I do, which makes me even more proud to represent the Alumni Association. I feel like working here is a way of giving back by helping current students have the same great experience I had when I attended Wilkes.

Meet the 2017 Alumni Scholarship Recipient, Nicole Cumbo

nicole cumbo

Nicole Cumbo ’18 was awarded the Alumni Association Scholarship for the 2017-2018 academic year. Nicole’s father, Joseph Cumbo ’90, MS ’01, received two degrees from Wilkes, both in electrical engineering. Nicole is a biology major with a minor in chemistry. She is an active student on campus through her involvement in the women’s softball team, Beta Beta Beta Biology Honor Society, the dance team, Pre-Professional Society, and the Badminton Club. In addition, Nicole is a first-year student E-Mentor and is involved with research with Linda Gutierrez, associate professor of biology. Nicole also holds a position as a nursing assistant at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center. Learn more about Cumbo at www.wilkes.edu/alumnischolarship.