b2ap3_thumbnail_5-15Ohio-Honors_Payne-Wissler.jpgWaynesburg University has selected Payne Wissler of Chillicothe, Ohio, as the recipient of the Jeffrey and Regina Taussig Ohio Honors Scholarship. 

The prestigious award is given to one Ohio high school student interested in a career in mathematics or one of the sciences, and pays the complete tuition, room and board for the student’s four years at Waynesburg University. Through this scholarship, more than $120,000 is awarded to each recipient over the course of his or her four years at Waynesburg.

In addition to being an Ohio resident, recipients must display extraordinary academic, service and leadership skills. The recipient must also major in one of the areas of math or science.

Wissler demonstrates the ways in which he parallels the University’s commitment to faith, learning and service through his involvement with a number of extra-curricular and volunteer activities including Fellowship of Christian Students; national honor society; orchestra; student council; athletics; 4-H; Young Life; and tutoring and mentoring students in high-risk, low-income neighborhoods, among many others. In addition, Wissler holds a 4.267 GPA, which includes a number of honors courses. 

An active member of Walnut Street United Methodist Church for more than 10 years and a Sunday school teacher and Vacation Bible School leader for more than six years, Wissler has proven his natural gift of leadership, his commitment to his faith and the importance he places as serving as a positive role model.

“He is loved by children, respected by adults, and looked up to by his peers,” said Lori Lossie, Lead Pastor at Walnut Street United Methodist Church.

For Wissler, being selected as the recipient has changed the way he views his undergraduate education, he said.

“Because the scholarship covers both room and board, I will be able to focus on advancing my education, my faith and my service to the community without many of the burdens that college students typically face,” he said.

Wissler calls the scholarship an “enormous blessing” and is inspired by donors Jeffrey and Regina Taussig.

“Their generosity is life changing and their belief in Waynesburg University is one of the many reasons I chose Waynesburg University,” he said. “I hope to one day be able to set up a scholarship for a student as a legacy like the Taussigs were generous enough to do for me and many others. The words ‘thank you’ cannot completely capture the gratitude I wish to express to the Taussigs, but through my hard work and dedication while at Waynesburg I will strive to honor their generous blessing.”

Wissler credits the university’s “state of the art science facilities, acclaimed faculty and staff, and authentic and friendly students,” as additional reasons for his choice and confidence in Waynesburg.

“I am so excited to begin this next chapter of life at Waynesburg University,” Wissler said. I look forward to spending the next four years diving into all that Waynesburg University has to offer.”

Upon graduation, Wissler plans to pursue a career in dentistry.

Wissler is the son of Eric and Vicki Wissler. 

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Ashley Wise, Senior Writer/Editor

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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During the spring semester, a Waynesburg University education student designed and implemented a hands-on, educational program for a local preschool class as a service project, providing students with an out-of-the-box learning experience. 

Abigail Standley, sophomore early childhood education major from Gahanna, Ohio, combined a former graduate student’s memorial and the support of the Department of Education to create a sustainable program for children in the Community Action Southwest preschool program at Jefferson-Morgan Elementary School. 

Standley designed and presented a supplemental gardening unit for her preschool classroom, during which the students planted flower seeds and took a field trip to a nearby greenhouse, where they learned about gardening and growing plants.

The project began with a conversation between Standley and Pam Abbe, tutor coordinator and director of the Knox Learning Center at Waynesburg. Abbe’s daughter, Leah Abbe Zwerver, passed away June 14, 2008, after completing graduate studies at the University. Abbe developed a fund in her daughter’s memory with the goal of providing support to Waynesburg University Student Services for one-on-one cultural and environmental experiences between University students and public school students.

Standley decided to honor the goals of this memorial fund with her service learning project at the preschool. She worked closely with Debra Clarke, chair of the Department of Education and assistant professor of education, to develop and carry out the idea. Clarke attests that the process, in addition to working toward an admirable cause, helped Standley grow immensely as a student and servant.

All education majors at the University receive field placements each semester in a local classroom, where they are expected to assist the classroom teacher and complete tasks assigned by the teacher. 

“The project was intended to provide a special experience for the children at the field placement and to honor the memory of a former Waynesburg University student and local community member,” said Clarke. “Many, many hours of service were dedicated to the project planning and implementation. Standley learned a lot as she worked on the special service project.”

While field placements for sophomore level education students only require 12 weeks of twice a week, two-hour sessions in their assigned classroom, Standley plans to continue her service project for the duration of her time at the University.

“My entire goal of this project for this semester was to start out small and grow big by the time I graduate in 2017,” said Standley. “My ultimate goal is to have this be a permanent service project on campus in which all University students can participate. This would consist of University students going into local school districts to give them out-of-the-box opportunities within their educational experience.”

According to Clarke, Standley has exemplified the goals of the Department of Education, which aims to reflect the University’s mission of faith, learning and service in all activities.

“The Department of Education’s mission is to prepare teachers who embrace learning and dedicate themselves to service and leadership in the profession,” said Clarke. “Standley certainly embraced learning and developed quality leadership skills as she dedicated her efforts to the service activity."

As Standley continues to strengthen the relationship between the University and local schools, Clarke foresees the benefits of the initiative both for Standley’s future and for the future of the Department of Education.

“Standley learned to persevere, to be flexible, and to be open to the ideas of others. Overall, she acquired numerous planning and preparation skills that she will use as she completes her final two years of study in the Department of Education and prepares to move into her own classroom,” said Clarke. “Her project will serve as a role model for future students as they work to maximize the learning and service opportunities provided through the Department of Education's field experience requirements.”

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

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b2ap3_thumbnail_fire-dept.jpgOn May 6, Waynesburg University presented the Waynesburg-Franklin Township Volunteer Fire Company with a $10,000 check, the third of five installments totaling $50,000, to offset the $417,000 cost of the company’s 2013 Sutphen Rescue Pumper fire engine. 

This donation, along with the previous two, was given in memory of Robert W. Fox, a member of the Waynesburg-Franklin Township Volunteer Fire Company from 1948 to 2011, who died on May 15, 2012, at the age of 83.  Remarkably, Mr. Fox was still actively answering fire calls until 2009. Fox served in many leadership capacities within the fire company during his 62-year tenure including president for 28 years.  His father was a member of the company from 1941 to 1965, and Robert’s four sons and four of his grandsons are active members of the fire company.

Waynesburg University President Douglas G. Lee, along with Heidi Szuminsky, Executive Director of Institutional Advancement, presented the donation to Jeff Marshall, fire chief. 

This donation to the fire company from Waynesburg University continues the University’s long-standing support for fire safety in the community. Previously, the University had presented the company with $50,000 for the purchase of the Fire Simulation Training Trailer and $30,000 toward a new fire truck.  

The University also donated over $430,000 to the Waynesburg Borough for the purchase of new police cars, improvements to borough infrastructure, downtown beautification projects, contributions to the Borough Master Plan, recreational fields and parks maintenance and construction equipment.  

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Ashley Wise, Senior Writer/Editor

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_8784.JPGWaynesburg University’s campus rang with a celebratory sound during this year’s Commencement exercises, thanks to the generosity of the Class of 2015.

The senior class gift funded the restoration of the bell that once hung in the cupola of Hanna Hall, and on Sunday, the Class of 2015 became the first class to have that bell mark their graduation in more than a century.

Cast in 1875, the bell once proclaimed each new day of learning at Waynesburg University – welcoming both men and women to an institution of higher learning that was one of the first in the nation to educate both equally. Today, Hanna Hall remains one of the two oldest buildings in America with that historic distinction.

Now on display next to Hanna Hall in Cusick Court, the bell was removed from the cupola more than a century ago because it was too heavy for the structure. Emblazoned on the bell is the Latin phrase “Pro veritate et virtute,” which translates to “For truth and courage.” A plaque will accompany the bell in its new, permanent location to explain its history, the meaning of the Latin phrase and the significance of the generosity of the class of 2015.

“The whole thing behind the bell is that it ties our history into the present day,” said Joshuah Dains, Student Senate president and a member of the senior class gift committee. “To me, this reaffirms the school's mission by returning a landmark to our campus that existed in the University’s early years and connects current students to that rich past.”

Vincent Allen Inc. Metal Restoration in Pittsburgh returned the bell to its original state by shining the bell’s metal surface and removing the grime that developed during years of storage.

“I'm extremely proud and overwhelmed by how many seniors and their families have given to make this project possible,” said Vikki Beppler, assistant director of Alumni Relations. “We’ve had more student gifts given than in years past. I'm really proud of the seniors stepping up and raising the money on their own.”

This year’s senior class gift of $8,000, which included donations from future alumni and their families, funded the entire project.

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

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b2ap3_thumbnail__OR_8252.jpgWaynesburg University held its annual Commencement exercises Sunday, May 3, honoring approximately 730 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students.

The Most Rev. David A. Zubik, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, delivered the Commencement Address. During the ceremony, the Bishop received a Papal Blessing from Pope Francis as well as an Honorary Doctorate degree from the University.

The special blessing from the Pope, presented to Bishop Zubik by Waynesburg University President Douglas G. Lee and Laura Ellsworth, a University trustee and partner at Jones Day, honored Bishop Zubik on the day that marked the 40th anniversary of his ordination, which was May 3, 1975. 

Presented with the blessing was a letter from Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, from which Ellsworth read a few lines:

“On Sunday, May 3, you will celebrate your 40th anniversary of priestly ordination as you also give the Commencement Address at Waynesburg University and receive an honorary doctorate. It is a great pleasure for me to offer you fraternal congratulations on this day that renews for all of us the joy of your ordination and at the same time to offer heartfelt best wishes as you receive this distinguished academic recognition.”

During his Commencement Address, Bishop Zubik referenced the University’s motto, Fiat Lux, or “let there be light,” and urged graduates to never forget that as their calling. 

He also referenced Pope Francis’s top ten tips for bringing greater joy to one’s life, which include working for peace, respecting the beliefs of others, letting go of negativity, respecting and taking care of nature, investing in youth, keeping the Sabbath holy, developing a healthy sense of leisure, proceeding calmly in life, being giving of yourselves to others and to live and let live.

“To sum up Pope Francis’s top ten tips to bring joy into life – Fiat Lux,” Bishop Zubik said. “My hope and prayer for all of you is that you truly live the motto of this great institution.”

The Bishop also encouraged graduates to strive to live in God’s grace.

“Every day is a point of grace, and grace will be encountered in the people we share that day with. You and I live in a world that challenges us each and every day. The key is to not let those challenges overwhelm us.

b2ap3_thumbnail__OR_7983.jpgThe following graduates were named valedictorians:

  • John Evan Allison, a biology (pre-med) graduate from Hickory, Pa.
  • Isaiah Antoine Cochran, a biology (pre-med) graduate from Akron, Ohio
  • Sara Marie Faiad, a psychology graduate from South Fork, Pa.
  • Quincy Alexander Hathaway, an environmental science graduate from Jefferson, Pa.
  • Carolyn May Highland, a biology (pre-med) graduate from Allentown, Pa.
  • Jeremy Scott Hinkle, a forensic accounting graduate from Washington, Pa.
  • Gina Marie Robinson, an English (literature) graduate from Lower Burrell, Pa.

Cochran delivered the valedictory on behalf of the valedictorians. Laura A. Smith, who received a Master of Arts degree in clinical mental health counseling, represented the graduate program students.

Prior to the commencement exercises, The Rev. Dr. Peter J. Paris, the Elmer G. Homrighausen professor emeritus of Christian social ethics at Princeton Theological Seminary, delivered the Baccalaureate Address, “On Becoming a Good Person.”

He urged graduates to consider how they can embody the mission of the University in their respective careers and to strive to use their achievements for the good of the world at large.

“The good you achieve for yourself can also be for a greater good – the good of others – the greatest good a human can do,” he said.

b2ap3_thumbnail__OR_7917.jpgRev. Dr. Paris encouraged graduates to never underestimate their power as young individuals, stating that the young have the energy and vision necessary for constructive social change.

Rev. Dr. Paris was awarded an Honorary Doctorate degree for the ways in which he parallels Waynesburg University’s mission of faith, learning and serving.

The University awarded the following degrees to graduates:  Doctor of Nursing Practice, Master of Arts, Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Business Administration, Master of Education, Master of Science in Nursing, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Management and Leadership, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology and Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

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

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