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Memorable Moments

Athletics Hall of Fame Inductees Recall Their Favorite Memories

The last time an athlete walks off Wilkes’ athletic fields or exits the gym, he or she takes a host of memories and lessons. It’s true for the six alumni inducted this year into the Athletics Hall of Fame. Honored during a January ceremony following a Freedom Conference basketball double header, the 23rd class of inductees represents six sports.

Here they share memories and talk about the lessons they have carried forward into their lives after Wilkes.

Brian Gryboski ’99 — Men’s Basketball


Brian Gryboski ’99 MEN’S BASKETBALL

Where he is now: Gryboski is a territory manager for Boston Scientific Neuromodulation, a medical device company.

Colonels sports career: Gryboski was an integral part of three Middle Atlantic Conference Championships and four straight NCAA tournament teams, including a Sweet 16, Elite 8 and Final 4 run. An All-ECAC selection, he stands as the all-time leader in games played with 116 and career wins. He ranked seventh in field goal percentage (50.1), sixth in free throws with 313 made and 11th in rebounds with 623. He finished his career with 1,120 points, good for 25th on the school’s all-time scoring list.

Most memorable Wilkes moment: “My most memorable moment as an athlete was during my junior year basketball season when we defeated Rowan and Hunter on consecutive days at the Marts Center to earn a spot in the Division 3 Final Four for the first time in school history.” Continue reading

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A Brief History of Marlon James


Marlon James MA ’06 and Wilkes graduate creative writing program faculty member Kaylie Jones met to discuss his success since coming to Wilkes from Jamaica. PHOTOS BY EARL AND SEDOR PHOTOGRAPHIC

Wilkes Creative Writing Professor Kaylie Jones Talks with the Man Booker Prize Winner

By Kaylie Jones

When Marlon James MA ’06’s novel A Brief History of Seven Killings was selected in October 2015 as the Man Booker Prize winner, it catapulted the Wilkes creative writing alumnus to literary stardom. As the first Jamaican to win the international prize, James now is in the company of such notable authors as Salman Rushdie, Hillary Mantel, Philip Roth and Alice Munro.

James’ prize-winning novel is an epic 686 pages with 75 characters and voices. Set in Kingston, Jamaica, where James was born, the book is a fictional history of the attempted murder of reggae artist Bob Marley in 1976.

In this conversation with novelist Kaylie Jones, the Wilkes creative writing faculty member who discovered him and brought him to study at the University, James, who teaches at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minn., discusses the biases in publishing, his writing process and handling rejection. Continue reading

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Emergency Maestra


Vilma Schifano Milmoe ’76 plays a key role in education and training for the Federal Emergency Management Administration, working at the Emergency Management Institute at the National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, Md. PHOTO BY STEPHEN BARRETT

Vilma Schifano Milmoe ’76 Found Inspiration at Wilkes For Public Service Career

 by Helen Kaiser

Ask Vilma Schifano Milmoe ’76 what inspired her to seek a career in public service and emergency management and she traces it to events in June 1972.

It was the summer before she was to join her two older sisters, Josephine Schifano Finlayson ’73 and Ann Schifano Nista ’74, at Wilkes College. A native of nearby Pittston, she was excited to be an incoming freshman majoring in political science.

The forces of nature intruded, in the form of Tropical Storm Agnes, giving the young woman a real-world education about disaster management and recovery before she even entered a classroom. Described then as the nation’s worst natural disaster, more than a hundred people were killed and at least 387,000 people were evacuated. Wilkes-Barre was the hardest-hit community in Pennsylvania.

“It was traumatic,” Milmoe recalls. “My father’s restaurant was destroyed by water which had risen eight feet over the roof.” Continue reading

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Environmental Protector

Greg Turner ’94 Champions Bats and Other Endangered Species

By Krista Weidner


Turner shows off his favorite bat species-the Virginia big-eared bat-in the Hellhole Cave in West Virginia. The cave houses 50 percent of the known species population. PHOTO BY: CARL BUTCHKOSKI, PENNSYLVANIA GAME COMMISSION

Greg Turner ’94, a wildlife biologist for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, isn’t easy to track down. If he’s not monitoring the state’s population of rare small mammals such as water shrews or spotted skunks, he might be rappelling down a cliff to band peregrine falcons or into a cave to count and identify hibernating bats.

As leader of the endangered nongame mammal section of the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Bureau of Wildlife Management, Turner’s primary focus is to survey, monitor, and manage Pennsylvania’s protected mammals. “That includes everything you don’t trap and shoot—chipmunks, squirrels, wood rats, shrews, bats,” he says. “Yeah, I’m the bats and rats guy. It’s a good place to be: Of the world’s 5,000-some species, a third are rodents and a quarter are bats. That’s where all the diversity is. Only so many people can specialize in lions and tigers.”

Within the past several years, Turner, who lives in State College, Pa., has come to be known as one of the nation’s foremost authorities on white-nose syndrome—a fungal disease that has destroyed large segments of the bat population in the Northeast and has spread to the central United States. In Pennsylvania, the bat population has suffered a 99 percent decline, with the once-common little brown bat declining 99.9 percent. Continue reading


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