Seton Hill’s class of 1977 presented a check worth $10,575 to the Sr. Lois Sculco Scholarship on Saturday, June 3. The donation was a gift to celebrate the class’ 40th reunion during the 2017 Alumni Weekend, which took place June 2-4.
Members of the class presented the check following President Mary Finger’s “State of the University” addressed to SHU alumni over the weekend during their Saturday brunch. During her speech, Finger discussed the current state of and future plans for the university.
Finger reflected on the growth of the university from its days as an all women’s college that became one of the first to offer science degrees to women, to the mobile technology program that marked SHU as the first university in the country to offer iPads to all of its students.
Alumni were very surprised to hear that this year’s graduating class consisted of the largest yet with over 500 students. Each year the campus continues to grow, with this year’s incoming class to be the largest yet at 450 students.
“We continue to be a small school with a big footprint,” said Finger as she noted some of the recent successes for many of the students at SHU. She included the dance program’s opportunity to work with the Pittsburgh City Ballet and the four students who were invited to the e-Fest Business Plan Competition.
Finger also mentioned the success of the student-athletes, both on the field with state and conference championships, as well as off the field with this year marking the third in a row that SHU student-athletes had the highest GPA of any school in the region’s athletic conference. Athletic teams have existed on the Hill for more than 90 years, but male teams were only introduced 15 years ago after the switch to a co-educational campus.
Finger recognized Sister Susan Yochum, SHU provost and member of the class of ‘77 for “leading the effort to expand and enhance Seton Hill’s academic programs.” She said that SHU’s growth is “indicated by the number of new academic programs including cyber security, data analytics, health science and an online MBA program.”
In addition to new programs marking growth at SHU, Finger noted the additions to academic buildings on campus, which alumni were given the opportunity to tour during the weekend. These included the JoAnne Woodyard Boyle Health Sciences Center and the Visual Arts Center. She also noted the additions made to non-academic spaces on campus, such as the new lounge, formerly the old clay studio, that embody SHU’s “dedication to the whole student.”
Finger discussed the importance of partnerships the university has with the other institutions. She mentioned the recent contract with Salus University that allows students to come to SHU to get a degree in pre-audiology and then go on to get a doctorate at Salus. “These kind of creative, across departmental programs are the future and we are so happy that we have this history that enables us to be creative and to adjust to that future,” said Finger.
Finger also mentioned the importance of the relationship between SHU and Greensburg, noting its recognition as a model for town-grown relationships.
“We continue to have a wonderful impact. A recent study by the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pa. indicated that SHU contributes more than $70 million to the economy of Greensburg and is also the third largest employer,” Finger said.
Finger ended her speech by thanking the many alumni who donate to student scholarships, contributing to the 95 percent of students at SHU using some form of financial aid. Following her speech was a video that reflected on current students’ gratitude for the donations made by alumni to the scholarship programs. The “State of the University” during the brunch was just one of many activities held over the course of the weekend.
Later that night alumni gathered in Cecilian Hall for the Distinguished Alumni Leadership Awards Ceremony. President Finger awarded 11 alumni from various classes for their “individual achievements, contributions to their industry or profession or service to their community and loyalty to the university.” The award was established in 1987 and is one of the highest honors given by the university to a graduate.
“We have been holding Alumni Weekend for many years in an effort to bring our alumni together and engage them in the current life and programs at the university as well as celebrate their earlier days at Seton Hill,” said Mary Ross Cox, director of alumni relations at SHU. “We have much to learn from all the memories they share about the university. The more we can educate our alumni about our students, programs and facilities, they become the best ambassadors for our university.”
Other events over the weekend included dinners, brunches, tours and an alumni art exhibition at the Visual Arts Center. “The events vary slightly from year to year,” said Cox. “We annually celebrate the 50-year anniversary class with a Friday night dinner with President Finger.”
This year marked the 50th anniversary for the class of 1967. They joined with members from the classes of ‘47, ‘52, ‘57 and ‘62 for a dinner hosted by Finger on Friday night. Following that dinner was the kick-off BBQ for all alumni to come together and catch up on memories.
“Alumni weekend is a chance to look forward to fun, fellowship and food,” said Genia Owens, class of 1992. “Honestly, for me, I came to catch up with some old friends.”
“What I have learned about Seton Hill during my short time here is that whether you graduated 10, 20, 50 years ago or even a few short weeks ago, the experience of Seton Hill remains strong and bided,” said Finger.
Update: This story has been updated to clarify how long male and female athletics have existed at Seton Hill University.