b2ap3_thumbnail_Headshot.jpgWaynesburg University held its annual commencement exercises honoring approximately 600 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students Sunday, May 18. Laura E. Ellsworth, a partner at Jones Day and vice chair of the board of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, delivered the commencement address.

Kaitlyn Grace Berkebile, an early childhood education major from Friedens, Pa., was named one of five valedictorians of her class. She is the daughter of Scott and Susan Berkebile of Friedens, Pa.

“I am incredibly grateful for the amazing people who have helped me to achieve this honor,” Berkebile said. “It is a blessing and truly shows how commitment and dedication pay off.”

During her studies at Waynesburg, Berkebile was vice president of Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education and a member of the University’s Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) student group. She was a member of DRUS Honorary Society for women and served on the University’s Student Activities Board. 

Active in service, Berkebile attended two University service trips to Urban Promise Ministries in Camden, N.J., and participated in local service initiatives. She was a recipient of the A.B. Miller Scholarship, the Class Scholarship Award and the Outstanding Academic Excellence Award. 

“I have grown both mentally and spiritually during my time at the University,” she said. “Waynesburg has helped me to establish a solid foundation and a variety of skills that will help me to succeed both inside and outside of the classroom.”

Berkebile hopes to continue to grow professionally and ignite curiosity and a love for learning in young children. 

The 2014 Valedictorians include:

•Kaitlyn Grace Berkebile, an early childhood education major from Friedens, Pa.

•Alyssa Brooke Crile, an early childhood education major from Washington, Pa.

•Daniel Vincent Czajkowski, a criminal justice administration major from Frederick, Md.

•Corin Rae Schipani, a digital design major from Duquesne, Pa.

•Hannah Michelle Szymanik, an early childhood education major from Mount Holly Springs, Pa.

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Contact: Ashley Wise, Senior Writer/Editor

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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WCTV, the Waynesburg University student television station, recently earned a bronze award from the 35th annual Telly Awards for its piece titled “The Buzz: November 11, 2013.” 

Waynesburg’s piece stood out among nearly 12,000 entries from all 50 states and numerous countries.  

“The Buzz” is a show that focuses on feature stories in Waynesburg, the nation and the entertainment world. It began in the fall of 2013 under the direction of Kelly Witas, a 2014 communication (electronic media) alumna and former general manager of WCTV.

“This is such a big honor for WCTV,” said Witas. “So many of us put our hearts into these shows, and it’s great to get recognition for that work. It’s also a great end to my college career.”

The winning episode of “The Buzz” featured stories about a 10-year-old boy who suffers from Aspergers, the Boston Red Sox winning the Major League Baseball championship and the Waynesburg University fall play. 

The Telly Awards was founded in 1979 and is the premier award honoring outstanding local, regional and cable television commercials and programs, video and film productions and online commercials, video and films. Winners represent the best work of the most respected advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators and corporate video departments in the world.

A prestigious panel of more than 500 accomplished industry professionals, each a past winner of a Silver Telly and a member of The Silver Telly Council, judged the competition. The Silver Council evaluated entries to recognize distinction in creative work. Entries do not compete against each other but are judged against a high standard of merit.  

“The Telly Awards has a mission to honor the very best in film and video,” said Linda Day, executive director of the Telly Awards. “WCTV’s accomplishment illustrates their creativity, skill and dedication to their craft and serves as a testament to great film and video production.”

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Contact: Ashley Wise, Senior Writer/Editor

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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b2ap3_thumbnail_whiteman.jpgDr. Kimberly Whiteman, assistant professor and co-director of the Graduate and Professional Studies (GAPS) Nursing Program and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program at Waynesburg University, recently published an article in Critical Care Nurse, a peer reviewed journal. 

The article, “Choosing the best evidence to guide clinical practice: Application of AACN levels of evidence,” was published in the April 2014 edition. 

The article was a result of the work of the Evidence-Based Practice Resource Work Group for the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN). As a member of that group, Whiteman shares authorship.

“The group was charged with revising the organization’s level of evidence hierarchy in 2011,” Whiteman said. “During the revisions, the group also decided to include a visual pyramid with the levels. Most of the research was around other organizations and their levels compared to AACN’s and on the current trends in evidence-based practice.”  

The level of evidences and evidence-based care pyramid will be introduced at the organizations National Teaching Institute in Denver, Colo., May 18 through 22.  

AACN is the world’s largest nursing specialty organization with more than 100,000 members. Most of the members are directly related to patient care, either as bedside nurses or supporting bedside nurses. 

“The organization strives to give the membership the tools that are needed to provide care for patients that is based on current evidence,” Whiteman said. “Projects such as this one permit nurses to use a common language to critique and apply evidence.” 

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Contact: Ashley Wise, Senior Writer/Editor
724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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b2ap3_thumbnail_strouse.jpgGrant Strouse, a junior chemistry major at Waynesburg University, shared his story of cancer survival at the University’s annual mini-Relay-for-Life Sunday, April 27, 2014. 

Strouse was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a blood cancer that attacks the lymph nodes, as a sophomore in March of 2013. He withdrew from classes for two semesters and underwent six rounds of chemotherapy during a 23-week span.

During that time, Strouse said he was encouraged by the Waynesburg University community. 

“Shortly after I was diagnosed, I received multiple emails, texts and cards from friends and fellow students asking if there was any way that they could help,” Strouse said. “It made me feel like I was part of something bigger, part of a family here in Waynesburg.”

After a strenuous battle with many “bumps in the road,” Strouse was declared in remission August 15 of the same year. He is expected to graduate from Waynesburg University next December.

“When you’ve beaten cancer, graduating college doesn’t seem like that difficult of a task,” he said. “Being a cancer survivor isn’t just an achievement, but a mindset. We celebrate the many survivors of this horrible disease, we remember those who we have lost and we strive for the day when cancer is no more.” 

At Relay, he spoke about the initial mourning process he underwent when he learned he had cancer. 

“I experienced a complete flood of confusion, denial and anger,” he said. “Specifically, I was angry with God. I was at a point in my life where I thought that I had everything figured out. I was going to graduate on time and start my life.”

He told the crowd that his feelings of confusion and anger ceased when a close atheist friend began attending church to pray for Strouse’s recovery. 

“Then the realization hit me. As Christians, we are called to deny ourselves, to lay down our bodies to be used for the furthering of His Kingdom, no matter the circumstances we are under, no matter where we are in our lives,” Strouse said.

He said that cancer taught him that when God is really all you have, He is all you need. Strouse believes that the Lord brought him through the worst time of his life, and promised others that God would do the same for them. 

“As a cancer survivor, I have learned more about life and death than most 22 year olds should know; the glaring realization that we are not, in fact, invincible,” Strouse said. “I’ve also learned that strength and perseverance are not about how much you can lift or how far you can run, but it is a measure of your endurance, the ability to stare down a daunting task and overcome it.” 

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Contact: Ashley Wise, Communication Specialist
724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Don-wilson1.jpgRev. Dr. Donald P. Wilson was reelected to the Waynesburg University Board of Trustees during the February 2014 board meeting. Wilson previously served as a member of the University’s Board of Trustees almost every year since 2000 and as the interim director of Christian life at Waynesburg University. He will begin his new term in May of 2014.

“Reverend Wilson has a long history of faithful counsel and involvement at Waynesburg University,” said Waynesburg University President Douglas G. Lee. “We appreciate his longstanding commitment to Waynesburg’s mission and are pleased to welcome him to the University’s Board of Trustees once again.” 

Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1964 from Waynesburg University and a Master of Divinity degree from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. 

In 1992, Waynesburg University awarded Wilson an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree for his professional achievements, his community service activities and his significant leadership and involvement with the University. He also served on the University’s Alumni Council from 1991 to 1999.

Wilson served for more than 30 years as the pastor of Lebanon United Presbyterian in West Middlesex, Pa. He fulfilled interim appointments as the Executive Presbyter of Washington Presbytery and pastor of First Baptist Church of Waynesburg, First Presbyterian Church of Waynesburg and Hewitt Presbyterian Church in Rices Landing.

He also served as the Protestant Chaplain at the Northwest Regional Correctional Facility of Mercer, Pa., where he developed a drug and alcohol self-help program. For more than 20 years, Wilson served the West Middlesex Area School Board and has acted as a consultant to the County Courts in Youth Services for a number of years.

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Contact: Ashley Wise, Communication Specialist

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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