The Online Edition

On Campus

Words of Wisdom

Real-life Lessons in Leadership Highlighted In Wilkes President’s Seminar

Bob Bruggeworth ’83 explains to a group of Wilkes students that sometimes failure is necessary in business – especially among innovators. But he adds an important caveat: “I tell the team, let’s fail fast.”

Bruggeworth, CEO of Qorvo Inc., a global developer of radio-frequency technology, addressed the President’s Seminar in Leadership, taught by Wilkes President Patrick Leahy in spring 2017. His advice didn’t end with the two-word dictum about failure.

“What I mean by that is, I’m okay with failure. Just fail faster,” he explains. “The problem is we learn too late and spend too much money. Part of innovation is failing. I define innovation as having an idea, creating something and making money with it sooner than your competition.”


Bob Bruggeworth ’83, CEO of Qorvo Inc., shares career insights with students. (Photo by Ryan Wood)

Bruggeworth was one of seven speakers who brought lessons about leadership to Wilkes students. It offered them the chance to hear from leaders in fields as diverse as technology, child care, investments and retail. Guest speakers also included Frank Joanlanne, president of Borton-Lawson; Dan Cardell ’79, chairman of the Chicago Quantitative Alliance; Bill Miller ’81, president of Galison/Mudpuppy; Tara Mugford Wilson, CEO of Power Engineering Corporation; Carl Witkowski, COO of Guard Insurance; and Bill Grant MBA ’86, founder of Hildebrandt Learning Centers.

Structured as a conversation, each class began and ended with questions posed by Leahy to spark discussion. These included what Leahy calls the “lightning round,” a succession of questions designed to elicit one-word responses that give a snapshot of the speaker. Questions posed are as diverse as “What is your favorite word?” and “What is your most irrational indulgence?”

The most important information shared, Leahy says, has to do with achievement after Wilkes.

“These distinguished individuals have much to share with our students about leadership and success,” Leahy says. “The alumni bring the unique perspective of discussing how their Wilkes experiences prepared them for the roles they now fill.”

Miller and Leahy

Wilkes President Patrick Leahy hosted BIll Miller ’81 at the President’s Seminar in Leadership. (Photo by Curtist Salonick)

“I really felt like I grew up at Wilkes,” Bill Miller ’81, president of Galison/Mudpuppy, a stationery and gift company tells the group. Noting that he gained experience just as they did – writing for The Beacon and serving in Student Government — he also shares that summer jobs at the retailer Pomeroy’s paved the way to his selection to Macy’s Management Training Program upon graduation. From those early experiences, Miller became a retail marketing guru for industry giants like FAO Schwarz and Barnes and Noble.

His networks supported him through his career transitions, prompting Miller to tell the students, “One lesson that I learned early is to create your own networks.”

Emphasizing that he learned many facets of each company where he’s worked, Bruggeworth lauded the value of teamwork. “That’s why I’m a big fan of collaboration. It’s also interesting to get different people’s perspectives to make a good decision, because everybody sees the world differently,” he says. “I’ve been a big fan of bringing together people who are cross-functional.”

Miller teaches

Bill Miller ’81 discusses his role as president of Galison/Mudpuppy. (Photo by Curtis Salonick)

He also encouraged students to become life-long learners. “We’re the only asset that appreciates in business. We become worth more over time if we keep investing in ourselves and bringing more to the part,”  he says.

Senior finance major Aaron Sadowsky of Robesonia, Pa., says he rearranged his schedule to take the leadership seminar. He’s glad he did. “Presidents don’t decide to teach a class unless they are going to do it to presidential standards,” Sadowski says. He especially appreciated hearing the perspectives of Frank Joannlane and Dan Cardell, who both had successful careers in finance.

Among the biggest takeaways for students? “There isn’t one roadmap to success: It’s what you make of your education and experiences,” Sadowski says.

Scott Stolte Appointed Dean of Nesbitt School of Pharmacy

stolte scott pic

Scott Stolte joined Wilkes this fall as pharmacy dean. (Photo by Earl & Sedor Productions)

Scott Stolte, Pharm.D., has joined Wilkes University as dean of the Nesbitt School of Pharmacy.

Anne Skleder, Wilkes provost and senior vice president, praises the breadth of Stolte’s experience in pharmacy education.

“We are fortunate to have Dr. Stolte at the helm of the Nesbitt School of Pharmacy. Our outstanding pharmacy program is poised to move forward to educate the next generation of pharmacists,” Skleder said. “I couldn’t be more excited to work with Dr. Stolte and support his vision on behalf of the University.”

Stolte says, “I am humbled and honored to lead the Nesbitt School of Pharmacy. I am excited to work with our outstanding faculty and staff members and student pharmacists to improve the health and well-being of the citizens of our community. I look forward to meeting with our alumni and local leaders to discuss how the school can have the greatest impact in northeastern Pennsylvania.”

Prior to joining Wilkes, Stolte was professor and dean of the College of Pharmacy at Roseman University of Health Sciences in Henderson, Nev. He began his career in pharmacy education in 1998 at the Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va. During more than a decade at Shenandoah, he rose through the faculty ranks and served in a variety of leadership positions, including department chair and associate dean of academic affairs.

Stolte has an established national reputation in pharmacy education. He is active in the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, serving on a number of national committees and as a leadership fellowship facilitator. Stolte earned a doctor of pharmacy degree from Purdue University. He completed a postdoctoral residency in community pharmacy practice at the Family PharmaCare Center, Inc., and Purdue University. He also completed an Academic Leadership Fellowship with the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.

Meet the Class of 2021

Wilkes’ Class of 2021 has 632 students, making it the second largest class in Wilkes history, as well as the strongest academically. What else do we know about the newest crop of Colonels?


Wilkes Welcomes New Members to Board of Trustees

Ellen Hall

Ellen Hall

Ellen Hall ’71 earned a degree in English from Wilkes and has served as a member of the Alumni Association board of directors since 2010.  She became president of the Alumni Association in March 2017 and previously served in leadership roles including vice president and secretary.  In addition, Hall chairs the board’s Homecoming Committee mentors current Wilkes education students.  Now retired, Hall taught elementary school in the Northwest Area School District for 34 years.




Seymour Holtzman

Seymour Holtzman ’57 graduated from Wilkes with a Bachelor of Science in business administration. He is the president and CEO of Jewelcor Inc., which operated a chain of retail stores throughout the United States. He was previously the chairman of the board and CEO of Gruen Marketing Corp., a company involved in the nationwide distribution of watches. Holtzman also serves as chairman and CEO of Jewelcor Management Inc., an investment and management services firm. He owns C.D.Peacock Inc., a retail jewelry store in Chicago, Ill., and the Rolex Boutique Luxury Swiss in Miami, Fla. Holtzman is chairman of the board of Destination XL Group Inc., the nation’s largest specialty retailer of big and tall men’s apparel. He is also the owner of Homeclick.com Inc., an internet retailer specializing in luxury brands for the home.


Greg Mac Lean

Gregory MacLean

Gregory MacLean ’78 graduated from Wilkes with a Bachelor of Arts in art. He was the founder and CEO of Magestic Systems Inc., located in Westwood, N.J. The company provides integrated manufacturing software solutions used worldwide by leading manufacturers in the aerospace, transportation, energy, defense, industrial and construction industries.



A Regal Return At Homecoming 2017


Among the alumni returning to campus for Homecoming from Oct. 6-8 was Gloria Dran Elston ’57, the University’s first-ever homecoming queen. Crowned in 1955, Elston traveled to Wilkes from her home in Salt Lake City, Utah, to celebrate her 60th class reunion. Elston did the honors, crowning this year’s king and queen during halftime of the football game against Widener University at the Ralston Athletic Complex. She’s pitctured, left, with this year’s royal couple, Nancy Ramirez and Dylan Fox. (Photo by Knot Just Any Day)


Honors Students Gain Global Perspective At Conference in Thailand


Another Grand Palace

Wilkes honors students attended the 2017 University Scholars Leadership Symposium in Bangkok, Thailand, where they gained an internatinal perspective that they shared with first-year honors students. Pictured from left to right are attendees Dean of Students Mark Allen, Raeva Mulloth, Angus Fortune, Nicole Hart, Maria Lerch and Christine Walsh. (Photo Courtesy Christine Walsh)


“Think global, act local, and start personal” was the big take away for five Wilkes University honors students who attended the 2017 University Scholars Leadership Symposium. The students traveled to Bangkok, Thailand with Mark Allen, dean of students and adjunct professor, Sidhu School of Business and Leadership, for the week-long training session. The event draws 1,000 of the world’s most promising leaders from 90 universities and colleges around the world.

The students included neuroscience major Raeva Mulloth; management major Christine Walsh; nursing major Angus Fortune; environmental engineering major Nicole Hart; and psychology major Maria Lerch.

Held at the United Nations building in Bangkok from Aug. 1-7, 2017, attendees heard speakers and participated in group discussions surrounding the topic of “Causes that Matter,” and completed workshop sessions to put their plans into action. Students also spent one day completing community service working with local schools and planting in mangroves.

“Being in the U.S., problems such as famine and widespread disease are not seen as everyday problems. However, for some of the people that I met, these are struggles they face every day in their communities,” says Mulloth. “The symposium not only opened my eyes to the vast and differing amount of problems around the world, it also inspired me to look at the problems I see in my own community.

The Wilkes students attended the symposium as part of an honors course, International Leadership. The students will be graded on their attendance at the symposium and three presentations about their experience at the event that will be given to the honors sections of First Year Foundations classes during fall semester. The honors course continued through fall 2017.

It was the second year that Wilkes honors students attended the symposium. In Aug. 2016, four students attended the event in Hanoi, Vietnam. These two international events have created a chance for students and administration to network across the globe. The connections may lead to the development of new curriculum at Wilkes as soon as January 2018.

 More on the the Web – A conversation with Jay Sidhu

Leahy and Jay Sidhu

Wilkes University President Patrick F. Leahy listens to a response from Jay S. Sidhu MBA ’73, Chairman and CEO of Customers Bancorp. (Photo by Lisa Reynolds)

President Patrick Leahy continued the leadership conversation in fall 2017 when he hosted Jay S. Sidhu MBA ’73, Chairman and CEO of Customers Bancorp, Customers Bank, BankMobile, a division of Customers Bank, and BankMobile Technologies. The Jay S. Sidhu School of Business and Leadership was named in his honor. To view a video and highlights from Leahy’s conversation with Sidhu, go to www.wilkes.edu/presidentialconversation.

History Majors Bring The Past Alive In The Present

A young Luzerne County soldier’s draft notice for the Union Army sits in the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pa. The fragile piece of paper took a son away from his family, possibly pitting him against friends. The draft notice was one of the artifacts researched by Wilkes senior history major Sarah O’Hara during an internship at the center.

O’Hara and fellow history major Jeffrey Stanford both held internships in which they were responsible for researching and recording American history. History majors at Wilkes are required to complete at least one internship. It reflects the department’s interdisciplinary approach to studying, preserving and sharing the past.


Senior history major Sarah O’Hara interned at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, where she is seen in Signers Hall, posing among life-sized states of the signers of the Constitution. (Photo by Dan Z. Johnson)

O’Hara of Doylestown, Pa., researched artifacts from the Civil War at the Constitution Center, such as a newspaper describing the death of Abraham Lincoln, medical supplies from battlefield hospitals and fans used as Victorian mourning accessories. She also picked out new artifacts to add to the collection and created packets to be used this fall for retraining the museum programs staff. O’Hara put lessons learned in her material culture class with Diane E. Wenger, associate professor and co-chair of global cultures, to good use when writing summaries and questions regarding the objects.

“I liked creating something that I knew would be useful and instrumental in helping people learn and connect to the past,” O’Hara says. “I also loved being able to interact and talk with visitors when I had time to work on the floor.

Stanford took inventory of a 1950s diner, Valentine Diner, at the Antique Auto Club of America Museum in his hometown of Hershey, Pa. He described around 400 objects or more, including duplicates, to create digital records.


History major Jeffrey Stanford spent the summer as an intern at the Antique Auto Club of America Museum. (Photo by Ashleigh Crispell)

“I would try to accurately describe how old an object is and what the condition was,” Stanford explains. “My only real tools to do this were the objects themselves and the internet. There were objects like a rearview mirror above the stove so the cook could see what was happening behind him. Objects like that helped me gather information on the diner.”

Both students credit Wilkes for developing their research skills needed for the internships. Stanford used skills learned in his Wilkes classes to research the manufacturing stamps on the back of objects such as plates. The stamps would help him to identify where the objects were produced.

“I think it is important to make sure people have something digital to look at. We live in a digital age and we have to integrate history into that so people can tell stories and connect more with the past,” Stanford says.

Washington Monthly Ranks Wilkes Among Top School Contributing to Public Good

Wilkes is among the nation’s top colleges and universities included in Washington Monthly’s annual rankings of higher education institutions and what they are doing for the country.

Wilkes is ranked in two categories: contribution to public good and best bang for the buck. The University is the highest ranked institution from northeast Pennsylvania in the best bang for the buck category, which looks at schools that help students pursue a marketable degree at an affordable price. Wilkes ranked 83 of 384 institutions in the northeast.

In the contribution to public good category, Wilkes ranked 129 of 632 master’s institutions, jumping 15 spots since 2016. Wilkes is the only institution in northeast Pennsylvania to improve its ranking in the category this year.

“We have always taken issue with rankings that focus on prestige as opposed to outcomes. We look for and value rankings that celebrate our unique, access-based mission,” says University President Patrick F. Leahy. “We’re pleased to be recognized by a respected publication like Washington Monthly, which celebrates our enduring commitment to first-generation and high-need students.”

Enhancements Improve Safety And Beautify Campus

New sidewalks, lighting and tree plantings have been installed on streets bordering the Wilkes campus, funded by a $1 million grant from the Pennsylvania State Transportation Alternatives program. Work was completed this summer and fall to enhance pedestrian safety on West South Street between South River and South Franklin streets and on South Franklin between West South and East Northampton streets. A new pedestrian crosswalk was installed in front of the Henry Student Center.

In addition to the streetscape improvements, the first phase of a planned $8 million renovation to Stark Learning Center will be completed by the end of fall semester. The building will have a new façade facing the Fenner Quadrangle, a project that precedes significant interior renovations. The project is funded in part by a $3 million RACP grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with matching funds from the University. Wilkes also saw the completion of the first phase of a three-part project to improve signage on campus.

Terese Wignot Appointed Associate Provost for Enrollment Management

Wilkes has announced key leadership appointments to the University’s enrollment management team. They will lead efforts to recruit students to the University on both the undergraduate and graduate levels.


Terese Wignot

Terese (Terri) Wignot will serve as the associate provost for enrollment management. Wignot brings 28 years of experience as a faculty member and university leader to the position. During her career at Wilkes, she has served as chair of the Chemistry Department, interim provost, associate provost, and in several interim dean roles.

In announcing her appointment, University Provost and Executive Vice President Anne Skleder said, “Dr. Wignot has been instrumental in recruitment and retention at Wilkes, serving as a liaison between the faculty and admissions, and leading the development of our innovative WilkesEDGE program. I am confident that her leadership will be instrumental in reaching our ambitious enrollment goals.”

John Baum

John Baum

Joining Wignot on the enrollment management team is John Baum, who was appointed executive director of undergraduate enrollment.  Baum successfully led the Wilkes Air Force ROTC program since 2015 after an exemplary career as a U.S. Air Force aviator. Baum retired in 2017 at the rank of colonel. Under his leadership, the University’s ROTC detachment grew substantially in size and the number of academically prepared and successful cadets increased.