Wilkes

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Safeguarding Safety

Samantha Sonnett ’04 Works for the New York Police Department’s Counterterrorism Division

By Koren Wetmore

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Samantha Sonnett ’04 rides a radiation detection boat in New York harbor – one of the tools she uses in work detecting chemical hazards. Photo by Dan Z. Johnson

Samantha Sonnett ’04 recalls the moment that changed the course of her education and career: It was Sept. 11, 2001, during a public speaking class at Wilkes. Her instructor switched on a television and Sonnett watched in horror as the Twin Towers fell.

“It angered me so much,” she says. “Right after 9/11, I decided to focus my career on ensuring that something like that doesn’t happen again.”

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Gateway to the Future

Wilkes Launches Public Phase of $55 Million Fundraising Campaign

Left, University Trustee Jason Griggs ’90 addresses attendees at the launch of the Gateway to the Future Campaign on Homecoming weekend. Center, Wilkes President Patrick F. Leahy shares his vision for making Wilkes one of the finest small universities in the nation. Right, Wilkes vocalists sing the alma mater at the campaign kickoff. Photos by Knot Just Any Day.

Homecoming Weekend 2018 – often a time to remember the past — kicked off with a celebration of Wilkes University’s future. Alumni, faculty, staff and students gathered for the Gateway to the Future Campaign Kick-Off Celebration.  The event, held in the in the McHale Athletic Center, launched the public phase of the $55 million fundraising campaign that will help to transform the University. The kickoff highlighted the development goals for the upcoming years for Wilkes, brick by brick, opportunity by opportunity and student by student.

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Animal Advocate

Attorney Garry S. Taroli ’76 Works Tirelessly For Animal Rights

By Andrew Seder

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Garry S. Taroli ’76 confers with Big Mama, one of the dogs whose cases he has defended for the Luzerne County SPCA. Photo by Earl and Sedor Photographic

The curtain has come down on the world’s largest circus. Sea World has stopped breeding orcas in captivity and states have cracked down on puppy mills. There are laws stipulating how long dogs can be kept outside in extreme weather. Garry S. Taroli ’76 has applauded the decisions, seeing each as a victory, not just for animals, but for humans, too.

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Coming Attractions

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Campus Projects Are Transforming Wilkes

Wilkes is in the midst of a $100 million campus enhancement plan that will help the University achieve a decades-long dream of building a traditional, residential campus fully integrated into the City of Wilkes-Barre. These unprecedented investments will create a cohesive look and feel on campus, while improving safety and alleviating traffic congestion. Here is a look at some of the projects that will take place over the next two years. Continue reading


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Global Innovator

Bob Bruggeworth ’83 Finds Success Managing and Motivating in High-Tech Industry

By Kelly Clisham ’12 MFA ’16

If you’ve sent a text from your phone, read a book on your tablet, used Wi-Fi on your laptop or even turned on the TV with a remote control, Bob Bruggeworth ’83 has had an impact on your life. He’s president and chief executive officer of Qorvo, a communications chipmaker headquartered in Greensboro, N.C.

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Qorvo’s headquarters in Greensboro, N.C., is home base for Bob Bruggeworth ’83, who travels the globe as the firm’s president and chief executive officer. All photos in this story are by Todd Bowman.

While Qorvo may not be a household name, it specializes in RF, or radio frequency, solutions, manufacturing amplifiers, switches and filters that connect individuals, households and businesses all over the globe. “We’re in a great market that’s growing by double digits, being fueled by the consumers’ insatiable demand for data, which means you need more of the parts we make,” says Bruggeworth. “If you name a phone, we’re probably in it – or any of your access points.”

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Wild Card

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Wilkes Political Scientists Examine Role of President Trump and Other Factors Influencing Midterm Elections

By Hilary Appelman

Donald Trump isn’t on the ballot in November, but how much he gets involved in the midterm elections could be a key factor in determining the outcome, according to Wilkes University political science professors Thomas J. Baldino and Kyle L. Kreider.

The stakes are high: control of Congress. Republicans will attempt to hold on to their majorities in the House and Senate, while Democrats hope to ride a wave of opposition to Trump and his policies to take control of one or both houses.

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Crisis Intervention

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Wilkes Faculty, Students and Alumni Lead the Charge Against the Opioid Epidemic

By Vicki Mayk MFA’13

When Tom Franko talks about the impact of the United States’ opioid epidemic, he likens it to an image from a popular 1980s film. “It’s like the picture of the family from the film Back to the Future,” says Franko, as assistant professor of pharmacy practice in Wilkes, Nesbitt School of Pharmacy. “As people look at the picture, one person’s image fades until it disappears. That is what addiction is like. It is a disease of isolation, separating people from their families, their jobs, everything that is important to them.” Franko says he and his colleagues in pharmacy are uniquely positioned to play a key role in the deadliest drug crisis in American history.

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