By Samantha Werkheiser
The 2016 ESU Alumni Awards and Reunion Banquet was just one way that the university welcomed back its former graduates for Homecoming this past weekend.
The event was held in the Keystone Room and brought over 140 attendees.
The annual Alumni Awards are usually always held on Homecoming weekend and are organized by the Office of Alumni Engagement and the ESU Alumni Association.
The class of 1966 was honored this year, with many of the past graduates reminiscing about their times at ESU (which was East Stroudsburg State School at that time).
“It’s great being back, so much is the same but there are so many differences too,” says George Stockman, a 1966 math education graduate.
“I feel confident that no matter what decade you attended classes or what you called ESU in your day, that the Warrior spirit has and will continue to remain with you your entire life,” said President Marcia G. Welsh when welcoming the alumni back.
“Homecoming is such a very special time on the university campus. We have the opportunity to reconnect with classmates, reminisce, share stories, and of course, share a few laughs with good friends,” said Welsh later.
There are currently eight awards given by the ESU Alumni Association.
They vary from the Distinguished Alumni Award to other awards like the Dr. George Thompson, Jr. Award or the Great Teacher Award; both of which honor alumni that have given back their services to ESU.
One of the two recipients for the Distinguished Alumni Award was Justice Christine Donohue, who currently serves on the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
“I left this university without any notion that I had to take a backseat or second row to anyone in my professional life,” says Justice Donohue of being a female political science graduate of ESU in the 1970s.
“East Stroudsburg gave me so much more than a college degree, this university and the professors gave me confidence and delegation.”
The other recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award was the late Dr. Enzo Cafarelli, who earned both a bachelors and masters in physical education in 1969 and 1970 respectively.
His wife and daughter accepted the award on his behalf.
The recipient of the Great Teacher Award was ESU’s Carol Miller, who graduated in 1981 and has taught hospitality, recreation and tourism management at the university for 26 years.
“I’d like to thank ESU for providing me with the phenomenal opportunity and privilege to teach here, it truly is a privilege to teach here,” said Miller when receiving the award.
Bernard “Bud” Cole, class of 1966, received the Helen G. Brown Award, which recognizes a graduate who has brought honor and pride to the university with their life accomplishments.
Cole is a nature journalist and educator; he has won awards from the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association and the Professional Keystone Newspaper Awards several times.
“The last two or three years, I’ve had some major health problems so this is such a highlight getting this award,” says Cole, after recently recovering from hernia surgery complications.
The other award winners were Patricia Tross Danaher with the Jim Barniak Award, Monsignor John J. Bendik with the Dr. George Thompson Jr. Award, L. Patrick Ross with the Conrad “Skip” Idukas Award, Robin Smith with the Young Alumni Achievement Award, and current student Louis Wein with the George Ockershausen Student Service Award.
The night ended with alumni Robin Smith singing the school’s alma mater and a closing statement from Frank Johnson, class of 1974 and president of the ESU Alumni Association.
To find out more information on the ESU Alumni Awards or to nominate someone, visit http://www.esualumni.org/.
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