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Wilkes Dedicates Mark Engineering Center


Robin and Randy Mark ’81, pictured left, celebrate the unveiling of the sign for the Mark Engineering Center at the Sept. 14 dedication. Joining them in marketing the occasion are, from right of the sign, Wilkes President Patrick F. Leahy, state Sen. John Yudichak and state Rep. Eddie “Day” Pashinski ’67.

Wilkes University’s newest facility, the Mark Engineering Center, officially opened with a dedication ceremony on Sept. 14. The dedication is the culmination of a 16-month,  $8 million renovation to the engineering facilities in Stark Learning Center, creating flexible lab and learning space in disciplines that include nanotechnology, additive manufacturing and bioengineering.

The center is named in honor of Randy’ 81 and Robin Mark, who made a leadership gift to support the project. Randy Mark earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Wilkes.. He is the owner and president of Pulverman, a global manufacturer of precision metal components located in Dallas, Pa. He has served on the university’s board of trustees since 2013.

“The growth and success of Pulverman is the culmination of great education, a community that fosters entrepreneurship and many dedicate and innovative people.”

“We are humbled to be part of the Wilkes University community. The growth and success of Pulverman is the culmination of a great education, a community that fosters entrepreneurship and many dedicated and innovative people,” Mark said. “It is our hope that the Mark Engineering Center will inspire innovation and encourage success among Wilkes students for years to come.”

The center was also funded by a $3 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Legendary Athlete, Author and Activist Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Visits Wilkes 


Wilkes President Patrick F. Leahy, left, interviewed the legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar about his career as an athlete, author and activist during the 2018 Rosenn Lecture.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Basketball Hall of Fame center, author and activist, was interviewed by Wilkes President Patrick F. Leahy for the Max Rosenn Lecture in Law and Humanities. The conversation between Leahy and Abdul-Jabbar encompassed key highlights from the athlete’s life. They included reflections on growing up in Harlem, his time playing at UCLA with legendary coach John Wooden and his eventual transition from being the NBA’s highest scorer to his current role as writer and humanitarian. Abdul-Jabbar also offered thoughtful comments about issues of race in America.


Basketball team

The Wilkes men’s basketball team had an opportunity to meet the sport’s all-time leading scorer.

During his Sept. 30 visit, Abdul-Jabbar took time for pictures with Wilkes students and signed books after the lecture. The event was attended by more than 800 people, one of the highest for an on-campus lecture in recent University history.



Stacks of Abdul-Jabbar’s memoir, Becoming Kareem, are ready to be autographed at the book signing after the lecture.

*Photos by Knot Just Any Day


Allan P. Kirby Center for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Marks 25th Anniversary 


The Allan P. Kirby Center for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship celebrated 25 years as a force for economic development in the region with a Nov. 16 dinner at the Westmoreland Club. The event celebrated the center’s successes during a quarter century on the Wilkes campus.

The center and its location on West South Street were established in 1993 through a generous gift from Allan P. Kirby Jr. Working with then-Wilkes President Christopher Breiseth and the University’s chief financial officer, Paul O’Hop, Kirby established a center that would promote free enterprise and entrepreneurship as central to American society. The center was named in honor of Kirby’s father.

The center’s earliest focus was academic, providing the region’s first undergraduate major in entrepreneurship at Wilkes. Arlen Lessin served briefly as its first director. In 1996, Jeffrey Alves became director and distinguished professor of entrepreneurship. An established leader in entrepreneurship education, under his leadership the University established majors and minors in entrepreneurship in the Sidhu School of Business as well as a concentration in the Master of Business Administration Program and interdisciplinary programs with other departments on campus.

During the 25-year history of the center, the Allan P. Kirby Lecture Series has been one of its most successful initiatives, bringing to campus leaders in a variety business-related fields. The day before the anniversary celebration, the Allan P. Kirby Lecture, was to be delivered by Jake Wood, founder and CEO of Team Rubicon, a nonprofit organization that trains and deploys military veterans to disaster zones in the U.S. and around the world. Wood spoke about “The One and the Nine: Building Teams and Organizations that Win.” Past lectures included Steve Forbes, chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media, Andrew Ross Sorkin, author of Too Big to Fail, Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, and Martin Eberhard, founder and former CEO of Tesla Motors, among others.

With the advent of Rodney Ridley in 2014 as executive director and distinguished professor, the center developed a new focus, providing support and services designed to help start-up businesses to grow. Support provided to businesses includes office space in the Allan P. Kirby center’s business incubator, and a full range of services provided via a network of volunteer business mentors. These services include accounting, marketing, technology and legal services. Twenty-four businesses received support in the 2017-2018 academic year, with 15 started by Wilkes students, faculty and staff.

Wilkes students derive additional benefits from the center via the Kirby Scholars program. This group of student is selected via a rigorous application process among Wilkes’ academic departments. They benefit from networking and mentoring opportunities. Most importantly, they add valuable experience to their resumes via the work they do with the businesses associated with the center.

Sidhu Student Michelle Lehman Wins 2018 TecBRIDGE Business Plan Competition 


Michelle Lehman ’18 became the first Wilkes student to win TecBRIDGE business plan competition, earning $10,000 for her business, RAE SLEEVES. Photo by Patty DeViva

Wilkes University student Michelle Lehman graduated in May 2018 with more than a diploma. The marketing major in the Jay S. Sidhu School of Business and Leadership earned $10,000 and $100,000 in in-kind services as the winner of the collegiate division in the annual TecBRIDGE annual business plan competition. She beat out students from Marywood, East Stroudsburg, the University of Scranton, Lackawanna College and Penn State Worthington-Scranton to win the collegiate prize.

Lehman began studying for her Master of Business Administration degree at Wilkes in August. She is also preparing for a product launch around the same time.

“Education is extremely important to me,” Lehman says.” To ensure that I am managing RAE SLEEVES to the best of my ability, I will be completing my MBA at Wilkes as a graduate assistant for the Allan P. Kirby Center for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship.”

Lehman was awarded the prize based on her business plan for her company, Rae Sleeves. With the money, Lehman started manufacturing her women’s clothing line. Lehman has designed a form-fitting shirt that allows the wearer to transform the look of any outfit by adding one of her garments – which she calls sleeves – to create a long-sleeved look for any dress or top.

“Winning the TecBRIDGE Business Plan competition and gaining $10,000 and $100,000 of in-kind-services from generous sponsors, advanced RAE SLEEVES tremendously,” she says. “I was able to begin the process of manufacturing the product for retail. I am in the final steps of finalizing a manufacturing agreement, sourcing fabric, and completing all the technical papers associated with making RAE SLEEVES available for women around the globe.”

Lehman is the first Wilkes student to take first place in the business plan competition. The tecBRIDGE Business Plan Competition is a regional event that celebrates entrepreneurship, innovation and potential in northeast Pennsylvania. The competition includes collegiate and non-collegiate divisions that allow aspiring entrepreneurs to showcase their business ideas, start-ups, and early stage ventures to compete for cash and in-kind services.

 Edward Ciarimboli ’95 Joins Wilkes Board of Trustees


Edward Ciarimboli ’95

Edward Ciarimboli ’95 has been appointed to the University’s Board of Trustees. He graduated from Wilks with dual degrees in political science and engineering and applied science. A graduate of the Duquesne University School of Law, he was admitted to the Order of Barristers for Excellence in Courtroom Advocacy and was named a national semi-finalist in the American Trial Lawyers Association Moot Court Competition while in law school.

Ciarimboli became a named partner at Fellerman & Ciarimboli in 2005 where his practice focuses on truck and car crash litigation and medical malpractice. He serves on the board of governors for the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, the board of governors of the National College of Advocacy, the board of regents of the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys and the board of governors for the Northeastern Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association.

He has been named a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer since 2005.Ciarimboli was recently named one of the Top Ten Attorneys – Pennsylvania Trucking Trial Lawyers Association, The Nation’s Top One Percent, National Association of Distinguished Counsel and The National League of Renowned Attorneys.

Meet the Class of 2022


New Majors and Minors Expand Student Opportunities

Wilkes increased opportunities for its students with new degree programs, majors and minors that expand career options after graduation. They included three programs that allow students to acquire a master of business administration degree in the Jay S. Sidhu School of Business and Leadership while completing degrees in other schools and colleges. A 4+1 bachelor’s degree/MBA program gives students the opportunity earn both a bachelor’s degree and M.B.A. in five years. A Pharm.D./M.B.A. program introduced in the Nesbitt School of Pharmacy allows student pharmacists to earn two advanced degrees six years. These options join a program in which students can earn a bachelor’s degree and M.B.A. in industrial and organization psychology in five years.

The Sidhu School also added a new undergraduate major in hospitality leadership. Other new programs include a bachelor of fine arts degree in integrative media, art and design, a theatre design and technology major and minors in sport psychology and actuarial sciences, all in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

 Q&A With New Honors Program Director: Christine Muller, Assistant Professor, American Studies


Christine Muller3

Christine Muller


B.A., History, Psychology, Villanova University

M.A., English, Villanova University

Ph.D., American Studies, University of Maryland, College Park

What positions did you hold before joining Wilkes?

Residential College Dean for Saybrook College and  Lecturer, American Studies at Yale University

What attracted you to the job at Wilkes?

As a student, then an administrator, in Villanova’s honors program, honors education has long figured significantly in my understanding and value of a university education.  I welcomed the opportunity to collaborate with campus colleagues to provide Wilkes students with similarly rich and rewarding curricular and co-curricular experiences.

Can you describe your responsibilities as honors program director?

The role engages students and colleagues from throughout the university, from admissions and marketing to all of the academic departments and disciplines in which our undergraduates are involved.  In collaboration with the Honors Advisory Council, a cross-disciplinary faculty body supporting the work of the program, the director administers program operations ranging from curricular planning to grant funding for student’s co-curricular opportunities to community events.

Will you be teaching at Wilkes as well as directing the honors program?

Yes.  Through the History Department I am teaching Producing the History of 9/11 and through the First Year Foundations program I am teaching What We Can Learn from the Zombie Apocalypse.

If you could tell people three things about the benefits of being in the honors program, what would they be?

First, the program is guided by faculty and administrators who truly care about the students.  We all share a heartfelt investment in manifesting the potential of this talented community.  Second, the program is designed to support students’ enhancement of their education, through funding for experiences such as study abroad and research.  Third, the students have each other – this highly-motivated, highly-achieving, interdisciplinary group can offer one another camaraderie and collaboration as they each pursue their own unique version of a Wilkes education side-by-side with their peers.

If I was not teaching, I would be….

…Writing the great American novel.

Right now I’m reading……

Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale

People would be surprised to learn that I….

…hadn’t traveled on an airplane until I was 23 years old.

Nursing Graduate Student Dana Hatwig Named Tillman Scholar 


Wilkes University graduate nursing student Dana Hatwig, a lieutenant in the United States Navy Nurse Corps, was named a 2018 Tillman Scholar, selected from 3,000 applicants nationwide. Photo courtesy Tillman Scholars Program.

Wilkes graduate nursing student Dana Hatwig of Jacksonville, Fla., was named a 2018 Tillman Scholar. Hatwig, a lieutenant in the United States Navy Nurse Corps, is among 60 scholars selected from 3,000 applicants nationwide. She is pursuing her master of science in nursing as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.

This is the second year a Wilkes student has earned the honor. Jason Homza, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Wilkes, was recognized in 2017 as a student at the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine.

After her father’s untimely death, Hatwig began volunteering as a long-term care companion at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in Illinois. The mother of five and business executive was given the opportunity to develop and launch “No Veteran Dies Alone,” a federally sanctioned veterans affairs initiative designed to provide emotional and spiritual support to actively dying veterans. She went on to earn her nursing degree and was commissioned as a Navy Nurse Corps officer.

Hatwig coached patients and families through their most challenging days as an emergency nurse. Deployed to Afghanistan, her trauma-nursing role was twofold; first to save lives, later to save minds. While stabilizing an injured unit following a VBIED attack, Hatwig experienced patients’ overwhelming anguish and knew she could make the most significant impact as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. Identifying the acute need for mental health providers, Hatwig will continue her military service after credentialing as a nurse practitioner. Hatwig’s goal is to assist service members and their families live healthier and balanced lives.

“To have two Tillman Scholars from a small university like Wilkes in back-to-back years is humbling, and speaks volumes to the quality of our students. Wilkes University fills an important place in the nation as an institution that prides itself in making a major difference in the lives of our veterans and to those who are still serving our nation like Dana,” said retired Lt. Col. Mark A. Kaster, Wilkes veterans counselor.

Founded in 2008, the Tillman Scholars program supports our nation’s active duty service members, veterans and military spouses by investing in education and professional development. It provides academic scholarships, a national network and professional development opportunities, so Tillman Scholars are empowered to make an impact at home and around the world.

Wilkes Names Hall In Honor of Jack Miller ’68 


Sarah Wise Miller, center, wife of the late Wilkes alumnus John B. (Jack) Miller ’68, attended the dedication of Miller Hall, named in her husband’s honor. She is pictured with Dan Cardell ’79 left, chair of the University’s Board of Trustees and University President Patrick F. Leahy, right.

Wilkes honored the late John R. (Jack) Miller ’68 with the dedication of Miller Hall. The building at 32 West South Street that house the finance department was named for Miller in recognition of his many years of service to the University. Miller was a member of the University Board of Trustees from 199 until his death in 2016 and served two terms as board chair. He also served as vice chair and chair of the governance committee. Miller, who earned a bachelor’s degree in commerce and finance from Wilkes, retired in 2005 as partner and vice chairman of KPMG LLP. Miller’s generosity to Wilkes included naming a geology lab and office suite in the Cohen Science Center, sponsorship of the Miller Conference Room in the Henry Student Center and the establishment of the KPMG/John R. Miller Scholarship, which is awarded to a Wilkes accounting major.

Spring Lectures Bring Luminaries to Campus

Two of the University’s annual lecture series will bring thought leaders to campus during spring semester 2019. Both events are free and open to the public.

Award-winning author Dave Eggers will speak in the English Department’s Allan


Author Dave Eggers will speak at Wilkes on Feb. 28.

Hamilton Dickson Spring Writers Series on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019.  The lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Dorothy Dickson Darte Center for the Performing Arts.  Eggers is the founder of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing company based in San Francisco that produces books, a quarterly journal of new writing and a monthly magazine. He also is the founder of 826 National, a network of youth writing and tutoring centers around the United States. Eggers is the author of ten books, including, A Hologram for the King, which was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award and the memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Bryan Stevenson -- credit Nina Subin

Author and activist Bryan Stevenson delivers the Rosenn Lecture on April 4.

Bryan Stevenson will be the featured speaker at the spring Max Rosenn Lecture Series in Law and Humanities. Stevenson’s lecture, “American Injustice: Mercy, Humanity and Making a Difference” will take place on Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 2 p.m. in the Dorothy Dickson Darte Center for the Performing Arts. Stevenson is an attorney, human rights activist, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, and author of Just Mercy. The Max Rosenn Lecture Series in Law and Humanities, established at Wilkes University in 1980 in recognition of Judge Max Rosenn’s exceptional contributions to public service.

Check Out the Latest On News@Wilkes News@Wilkes

Alumni and friends of the University can check out the latest about Wilkes on a new web site. News@Wilkes is the official news site of the University. It publishes stories – in print, video and multi-media formats – that reflect the dynamic community that is Wilkes. The site is committed to publishing new, original content that goes beyond news releases to capture the programs, people and events at the University. Check it out any time at http://news.wilkes.edu