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Preview: Westminster College: leading liberal arts college, New Wilmington, PA

Westminster College: leading liberal arts college, New Wilmington, PA

Founded in 1852 and related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Westminster College is a top-tier liberal arts college and a national leader in graduation rate performance, according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster is also ranked as the num

Last Build Date: Fri, 30 Sep 2016 18:42:12 EST

Copyright: Copyright 2016 Westminster College, New Wilmington, PA

Westminster College Science and Technology Programs Secure $3 Million in Pennsylvania State Funding

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 15:54:00 EST

(image) State Senator Elder Vogel, State Representative Parke Wentling, and Westminster College President Dr. Kathy Brittain Richardson today announced that $3 million in state funding has been secured for a major expansion of the college’s Science and Technology programs.

The funding, provided through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP), will significantly support the college’s expansion of science facilities.

The entire project— estimated to be a $15-$25 million undertaking—is part of Westminster’s commitment to refocusing its academic program on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

“This is fantastic news for Westminster College, prospective students, and our entire area. STEM careers are essential to the economic future of Western Pennsylvania,” Senator Vogel said. “This funding will help ensure that Westminster College remains a national leader in higher education, and I’m proud to have played a role in securing it.”

“Westminster College has been among the colleges leading the charge in bringing STEM disciplines to students. With STEM-related jobs on the rise, students are seeking out colleges that can deliver degrees that will earn them good-paying jobs,” Wentling said. “This grant will aid Westminster’s mission of creating tomorrow’s workers, who will be leading contributors to Pennsylvania’s economy.”

“We are grateful to Senator Vogel and Representative Wentling for this grant assisting in our efforts to expand our science facilities,” said President Richardson. “We appreciate them and many others who championed the cause on behalf of Westminster College and the students and region we serve. Westminster College has a very strong national reputation, particularly as it relates to our STEM programs that are grounded in the liberal arts. This grant will help us continue the progress that is enabling our facilities to reach the caliber of our exceptional faculty and students.”

RACP is a commonwealth grant program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects. 

Westminster College Accounting Students Attend Networking Event

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 10:24:00 EST

(image) Ten Westminster College accounting students and three faculty advisers attended a networking event sponsored by the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) at Station Square in Pittsburgh.

A casino night theme was used to promote the accounting profession and to raise awareness of career opportunities in accounting.

The evening began with a more traditional networking activity: interaction between the students and representatives from CPA firms, accounting graduate schools and CPA exam course sponsors.

“Recruiters shared that they value a sense of poise, attentiveness and confidence in candidates,” said David Smith, Westminster associate professor of accounting, who accompanied the group. “Academic ability can be demonstrated on a résumé but, because the profession is heavily client-service oriented, the ability to think on one’s feet, work in a team and relate well to a vast array of clients is at the top of the list of employers’ hiring criteria. This atmosphere allowed our students to showcase those characteristics.”

In the second portion of the evening, casino games provided an opportunity for students to mingle with faculty and recruiters in a non-academic, non-job search related environment, providing students with a more casual environment to demonstrate their interpersonal skills.

In addition to Smith, Westminster School of Business faculty Keith Bittel and John Geidner attended with the group.

Contact Smith at 724-946-7161 or email for additional information.

Humans of Westminster: Meet Chris

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 14:07:00 EST

(image) Dorm Life

It’s funny, most people wouldn’t think to put 5 lamps and 7 plants in their room, but somehow I’ve made it work. After a long day, all I want to do is go back to my room because it’s my sanctuary. It’s the place where I feel the most relaxed, and it gives me the ability to recharge and tackle everything on my “to do list.” I've never been afraid to put something out of the ordinary in my room, hence the antique barn shutter leaning against my wall.

Chris Isreal is a senior business administration major.

Westminster College Orchestra to Present Concert

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 13:11:00 EST

(image) The Westminster College orchestra will present “Night of the Dance” Friday, Oct. 21, at 7:30 p.m. in Orr Auditorium. The concert is free and open to the public.

The program includes: Dvořák’s “Prague Waltzes,” “Danse Macabre” by Saint Saëns, Respighi’s “Ancient Airs and Dances for Lute, Suite I” and “Dance of the Tumblers” by Rimsky-Korsakov.

In addition to the Westminster students, the orchestra includes community members as well as Westminster faculty Dr. Robert Knop, associate professor of physics, playing viola and music adjuncts Robin Hasenpflug playing cello and Cory Palmer playing bass.

The orchestra is under the direction of Dr. Melinda Crawford Perttu, assistant professor of music.

Contact Crawford Perttu at 724-946-7271 or email for additional information.

Westminster College Religion Professor to Deliver Lectures in Italy

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 14:33:00 EST

(image) Dr. Bryan Rennie, Westminster College professor of religion and philosophy and Vira I. Heinz Chair in religion, will deliver a series of invited guest lectures during a research trip to Italy in October.

Rennie, a globally recognized scholar on the life and works of Mircea Eliade and the relationship of religion and art, will present “Eliade’s Concept of the Sacred” and “Skill and the Sacred” at the University of Salerno.

The following week he will deliver “The Ethology of Art and Religion” at La Sapienza University of Rome. He has been asked by the editor-in-chief of SMSR, the flagship journal for the history of religions in Italy, to submit the text of this talk for publication.

Rennie, who has been with Westminster since 1992, earned an undergraduate degree, master’s degree, and Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.  His research interests focus on the works of Mircea Eliade, about whom he has authored four books and numerous articles; the relationship of religion and the creative arts; and the ethology (the study of behavior as an evolved trait) of art and religion.

Contact Rennie at 724-946-7151 or email for additional information.

Humans of Westminster: Meet Carmelina

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 13:39:00 EST

(image) Working With Staff and Students

I get the chance to interact with many students while working in the Mail Room. I have students that work with me for three to four years of their college career. I get to know them well and have developed special relationships. Some call me their “Westminster Mom." Several relationships have lasted beyond their time here at WC. I truly enjoy the friendship with the students and my staff. It’s nice to see a sense of balance between the working relationship and friendship that is encouraged in the Mail Room and at Westminster. There is always something to learn from so many different personalities. Each year brings new lessons!

Carmelina Shockey is the mail room supervisor.

Westminster College to Host Shale Waste Disposal Workshop

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 16:37:00 EST

(image) Westminster College will host “Shale Waste Disposal Workshop: Community Concerns” Thursday, Sept. 29, from 5:30-7:45 p.m. in the Witherspoon Lakeview Room of the McKelvey Campus Center. The event is free and open to the public but reservations are appreciated.

The evening’s agenda includes a networking dinner, panelist presentations and community and teacher action discussion. Participants will understand the techniques of shale gas extraction and how waste is generated; be aware of the environmental, health and social concerns associated with the process; learn about the role of civic participation in addressing how the waste is handled and processed; and, for educators, consider ways to implement the topic into their classes.

Presenters include:

* Dr. Helen Boylan, Westminster professor of chemistry: “The Science of Shale Gas Extraction”

* Rachel Huff, Westminster junior computer science major: the Lawrence and Mercer ALLARM website

* Dr. Jay Parrish, former Pennsylvania state geologist: “Shale Waste Disposal, Geology and Seismicity”

* Dr. Ted Auch, FracTracker Great Lakes program coordinator: “Injection Wells, Water Use and Produced Brine in Ohio”

* Chad Nicholson, Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund: “Injection Wells, Laws and Community Rights”

* Stacy Wanchisn Long, Grant Township supervisor: “Local Government, Laws and Regulations”

* Photographs of shale gas extraction from the local region by the Marcellus Shale Documentary Project

The workshop can offer two Act 48 hours to educators.

Co-sponsored by the Lawrence and Mercer Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring Program (ALLARM), the workshop is presented as part of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania’s “Straight Scoop on Shale” initiative, supported by a Colcom Foundation grant to the League’s Citizen Education Fund.

Contact Boylan at 724-946-6293 or email for additional information or to make reservations.

Westminster College to Host Gallery Reception, “Standing in Place: Recent Landscapes”

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 13:06:00 EST

(image) Westminster College’s Peggy Cox, professor of art, will speak about her current art exhibition “Standing in Place: Recent Landscapes” from 5-6 p.m. on Sept. 28 in Foster Art Gallery, Patterson Hall. The reception is free and open to the public.

Cox’s inspiration came from studying the landscape and wooded areas around the college.

Cox has been at Westminster since 1985. She received a bachelor’s degree in studio art from University of Louisville, and a masters of fine art from the University of Pennsylvania.

Contact gallery director, Summer Zickefoose, at 724-946-7267 or for additional information.

Humans of Westminster: Meet Scott

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 09:58:00 EST

(image) Alumni Support

I'm always blown away from the words of encouragement I receive from alumni. Not long ago, I received a letter from a former player from the class of '06 and was blown away by his pride for Westminster College and Westminster football. In that letter, Chris told me that he loves wearing his Westminster gear in Pittsburgh and is stopped by people who say, "how about those Titans!" He ended his letter by offering to talk to any senior in business, accounting or finance who want to talk about the world of careers after college. The alumni family is what makes Westminster special. 

Scott Benzel is the head football coach.

Westminster College Sociology and Criminal Justice Faculty Receives SAGE Award

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 13:27:00 EST

(image) Dr. Jamie Chapman, Westminster College assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice studies, was selected to receive the American Sociology Association’s SAGE Teaching innovations and Professional Development Award.

Chapman received this award, presented in Seattle, for demonstrating her commitment to ongoing teaching and learning in sociology.

While there, she also took part in a full day pre-conference workshop, “The Relevant Syllabus.”   

Chapman is the third sociologist in Westminster College history to receive this award, the most recent being Dr. Kristenne Robinson, program coordinator for sociology and criminal justice studies, in 2011.

Contact Chapman at 724-946-6302 or email for additional information.

Westminster College Celebrity Series to Present “Stephen Schwartz and Friends”

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 13:00:00 EST

(image) Westminster College’s Celebrity Series will present “Defying Gravity: Stephen Schwartz and Friends” Thursday, Oct. 6, at 7:30 p.m. in Orr Auditorium. The show is sponsored by Huntington Bank.

Schwartz, the celebrated Oscar- and Grammy-winning Broadway composer of Wicked, Godspell and Pippin, will be joined on stage by Broadway vocalists Debbie Gravitte, a Tony winner, and rising star Scott Coulter. Featuring songs from the animated films Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Prince of Egypt as well as Schwartz’ musicals, the trio will create an unforgettable evening of musical theatre.

Schwartz studied piano and composition at the Juilliard School of Music while in high school and graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a bachelor of fine art degree in drama. Music and new lyrics for Godspell were followed by Pippin and The Magic Show. At one point, all three shows were running on Broadway simultaneously.

He collaborated with composer Alan Menken on Pocahontas, which earned him two Oscars and a Grammy; The Hunchback of Notre Dame; and most recently, Enchanted. He provided songs for The Prince of Egypt, winning an Academy Award for “When You Believe.”

His most recent musical, Wicked, opened in 2003 and is currently running on Broadway as well as in national and international productions. When the musical reached its 1,900th performance on Broadway, Schwartz became the only songwriter in Broadway history to have three shows run in more than 1,900 performances.

Gravitte won a Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, a Drama Desk Award nomination and the New York Showstopper Award for her performance in Jerome Robbins’ Broadway. She has taken her nightclub act worldwide, including performances in Atlantic City where she shared the stage with Jay Leno, Harry Anderson and the legendary George Burns.

Coulter, one of New York’s most honored vocalists, has earned five MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs) Awards, five Bistro Awards and two Nightlife Awards. He regularly performs in concert both as a solo artist and with a variety of performers including Tony winner Ben Vereen and Grammy winner Sheena Easton. His symphony concerts include San Francisco, Baltimore, Seattle, Phoenix, Winnipeg, St. Louis and Calgary.

Ticket prices start at $35, with special pricing for school- and college-age students.

Contact Georgene Gib, box office manager, at 724-946-7354, email or visit for additional information or to purchase tickets.

Humans of Westminster: Meet Brian

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 11:55:00 EST

(image) Campus Architecture

I’m amazed by time. It can move but also stand still. When I arrive to campus every morning, I feel a new appreciation and understanding for the eloquence and history that time has presented to me – for us. Since its founding in 1852, so much time has passed. With that time, the economy, social climate, and technology of Westminster has changed, but the architectural elegance and sophistication of the buildings, campus, and surrounding community remains beautifully sustained. As I walk passed Old Main’s prominent Gothic exterior or by McKelvey Campus Center’s window laden view of Lake Britain, or when I think about the soon-to-be-constructed Tiny House, I can’t help but stand in awe and appreciation for what was, what is, and what is yet to be built. 

Brian Petrus is an instructor of business administration and the marketing program coordinator.

Humans of Westminster: Meet Hannah

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 10:38:00 EST

(image) Surrounding Area

Upon initially seeing the desolate roads of New Wilmington, it is probably easy for new students to think Westminster wouldn’t have much to offer. However, after running those roads for miles, they now hold a special place in my heart. As an untraditional athlete, I joined the cross county team here my sophomore year and gained an unexpected blessing in finding one of the best teams and college experiences I could ask for. I have since seen so many others find their place at Westminster, and am proud to be a part of such a warm and inviting college community.

Hannah Kappel is a senior accounting major.

Humans of Westminster: Meet Anne

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 10:32:00 EST

(image) Westminster Community

I challenge anyone at Westminster to try and go from one side of campus to the next and not say hi to someone on your way. I bet you can’t do it. Everyone is just too friendly, and that genuine friendliness is contagious; you can’t help but wave and ask how someone’s day is going. Whether you run into another student, professor, or staff member, you always feel like a member of this community.

Anne Tillie is a senior political science major.

Westminster College Announces 2016 Homecoming Activities

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 10:14:00 EST

(image) Westminster College will celebrate its annual Homecoming and Reunion Weekend Oct. 6-9 with a variety of activities.

Westminster’s Celebrity Series will present Defying Gravity, the Music of Stephen Schwartz to kick off the weekend. Visit or call 724-946-7354 to purchase tickets.

Friday’s schedule includes campus tours, an open house at McGill Library, Golden Tower Society hospitality area for alumni from 1930-1966, and Alumni Council’s awards reception and dinner.

Saturday is a full day beginning with Purchase with a Purpose: A Fair Trade Market; a worship service led by the Class of 1966; “’90s TV Shows”-themed parade; reunion luncheons, dinners and photos; decade tents; Titan football vs. the St. Vincent Bearcats; varsity volleyball; and crowning of Homecoming royalty.

Sunday features meditation walks at the Sandy Edmiston Memorial Labyrinth and evening vespers.

Throughout the weekend, alumnus Doug Gefvert ’71 will provide music on Old Main’s carillon.

Many of the weekend’s events require reservations. Visit for a complete schedule and to register for activities.

Contact Linda Wilson in the Alumni Relations Office at 724-946-7364 or email for additional information.

Westminster College to Honor Distinguished Alumni at Reception and Dinner Oct. 7

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 09:56:00 EST

As part of Westminster College’s Homecoming and Reunion Weekend, its Alumni Council will host the annual Alumni Citation Awards reception and dinner Friday, Oct. 7, at 6 p.m. in the Witherspoon Room of the McKelvey Campus Center. This year’s honorees are Laurel Phythyon, William Rankin, and Janice Twaddle. Jacklyn Gates will receive the Outstanding Young Alumni Award and Chloe Knappenberger will be recognized with the Rising Titan Award. The Westminster College Alumni Citations were created to recognize alumni who achieved significant accomplishments in their profession or made meaningful contributions to the community or Westminster.  The Outstanding Young Alumni Award recognizes alumni of 15 years or less who are making significant contributions as they build careers and serve their communities or Westminster. The Rising Titan Award honors an up-and-coming student who showcases the ability to be a leading alumnus. Phythyon is a 1974 graduate who earned an undergraduate degree in elementary education and master’s degree in education. She spent 41 years teaching in the Warren (Ohio) Area School District and other local and regional institutions. An outstanding educator, she has earned numerous recognitions, including Kent State University’s Jennings Scholar Award. She has been an active volunteer on her reunion committees and an avid supporter of Westminster’s Jerb Miller Scholarship program. She and her husband, Paul, live in Warren, Ohio, where she enjoys gardening, reading and exercising. Rankin, who graduated magna cum laude in 1960 with a degree in economics and business administration, went on to earn a master of business administration degree from Pace University in New York. He is the former vice president of employee resources for Pfizer’s Consumer Health Care Group and was instrumental in establishing its worldwide consumer organization. He served on Westminster’s Board of Trustees, has endowed two scholarships, is the lead donor for the Bill Rankin Golf Center and is a member of the Towering Titan Sports Hall of Fame. He and his wife, Carla, reside in Gibsonia, where he is active in his church. Twaddle earned her undergraduate degree in English and elementary education in 1974. She has served as the corporate relations manager for the United Way of Allegheny County for the past 22 years, donating innumerable volunteer hours for the partner agencies the organization supports. Her efforts have earned her recognition not only for her volunteerism but also as a member of the Diamond Club for her role in ticket sales for the Pittsburgh Pirates. She has served Westminster’s Alumni Council as a general member and as president. Currently, she serves on the Pittsburgh Regional Alumni Committee and assists during Homecoming. Gates is a 2004 chemistry graduate earned her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, served a postdoctoral fellowship at Germany’s Technical University of Munich and returned to Berkeley to work in the nuclear laboratory. She was awarded the 2016 Department of Energy Early Career Grant, designed to support development of individual research programs of outstanding scientists early in their careers. She serves as a campus speaker when in the area and strives to connect with Westminster students while at national conferences Knappenberger is a senior early childhood/special education major who serves as president of Westminster’s Dance Theatre and Sigma Kappa sorority and service chair for the Student Government Association. She is a member of Kappa Delta Pi, Pi Sigma Pi and Mortar Board honor societies; SPARK ([...]

Westminster College Receives National Science Foundation Grant to Support Rural STEM Students

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 09:34:00 EST

(image) The National Science Foundation has awarded Westminster College a grant of $648,670 for its project “Rural Discovery Scholars: Providing Targeted Services and Role Models to Increase STEM Preparedness in Rural Students.”

The award, which spans Sept. 15, 2016, to Aug. 31, 2021, is under the direction of Westminster faculty Dr. Peter Smith, professor of chemistry and chair of the Division of Biological, Chemical and Environmental Sciences (BCES); Dr. Erin Wilson, associate professor of chemistry; Dr. Kerri Duerr, assistant professor of biology; and Dr. Patrick Krantz, associate professor of environmental science.

“The proposed project will provide dedicated scholarships to 20 rural, low-income, academically talented and predominantly first-generation college students in the programs housed in BCES,” Smith said. “The goal is to increase the self-efficacy and academic success of these students by providing targeted support services and mentoring programs. Each participant will live on the same floor of one of our residence halls in a living-learning community and will have a peer-tutor/mentor, a faculty mentor and an alumni mentor to serve as a role model for success.”

The first scholarships will be awarded to 10 students for the fall 2017 semester. A second cohort of 10 students will matriculate in fall 2018. The students will receive financial support for all four years as long as they maintain academic standing (3.0 cumulative GPA or higher) and continue as one of the majors in BCES: biochemistry, biology, chemistry, environmental science, materials science or molecular biology.

Contact Smith at 724-946-7299 or email for additional information.

Westminster College Combined Choirs to Present “Gospel Mass” Oct. 2

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 09:22:00 EST

(image) Westminster College’s Combined Choirs will present Robert Ray’s Gospel Mass Sunday, Oct. 2, at 7 p.m. in Wallace Memorial Chapel. The worship service is open to all.

Written more than 35 years ago as an experimental work for a one-time performance, the 30-minute Gospel Mass sets the words and music from the Catholic Mass to the rhythm and harmony of African-American music. The composer believes this piece strikes an ecumenical chord that “allows people of all denominations or faith to embrace the style.”

The special Open Door Worship will feature student soloists and Westminster faculty artists Jeff Wachter, P. J. Gatch III and Mark Antonich.

The choirs are under the direction of Dr. Sam Barbara, Westminster assistant professor of music and director of choral activities.

Contact Barbara at 724-946-7278 or email for additional information.

Westminster College Professor to Present on Constitution Day

Sun, 18 Sep 2016 10:30:00 EST

(image) In honor of Constitution Day, Dr. Edward Cohen will lecture on the meaning and history of the Constitution at 12:40 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 20 in Patterson Hall 207.

Cohen’s lecture is titled, The U.S. Constitution After 230 Years.

Every year the political science and history departments take turns presenting on an important aspect of the Constitution. This year, Cohen will be discussing the goals, evolution, and interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, which is now almost 230 years old.

Federal law requires the college to have an event to celebrate the adoption of the proposed Constitution by the Constitutional Convention on Sept. 17, 1787 in Philadelphia.

For more information, contact Cohen at

Students Participate in WFMJ Fashion Show

Fri, 16 Sep 2016 14:02:00 EST

(image) WFMJ Channel 21 (NBC) out of Youngstown hosted a college student "fashion" show  at Westminster College on Wednesday, Sept. 14, on the early news segment, WFMJ Today.

Westminster College served as the backdrop with six students serving as models. Students were advised by Susan Henderson, fashion editor for WFMJ, and Michele Fraelich, manager of Dilliards Southern Park Mall in Boardman, Ohio.

Student models included, Regino FloresJordyn KeeMorgan KohlerChris IsraelMacaya Yao, and Kimu Kim.

The show was divided into three different segments including President Kathy Richardson, Brad Tokar, director of admissions, and two students to represent the Tiny House Project, Lexie Yoho and Cameron Worthing.

Students from Broadcasting and Media Production were also present to experience a hands-on look at a live broadcast production with the WFMJ crew.

The segment started at 5:45 A.M. and the final segment started at 6:45 A.M.

Three locations on campus were highlighted and Dilliards provided the clothing and fittings.

Below is a link to the segments.


U.S. News & World Report Ranks Westminster College in “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges”

Fri, 16 Sep 2016 13:12:00 EST

(image) Westminster College placed as the 119th “Best National Liberal Arts College” in the nation, according to the new edition of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges” rankings released Sept. 13.

“Being recognized annually by U.S. News is testimony to the quality education and learning experience Westminster provides to each student,” said Dr. Thomas H. Stein, vice president for enrollment and marketing. “Knowing the criteria used to determine the rankings, it is nice to observe Westminster’s position increasing as we strive to give the students high value learning experiences.”

Now in its 32nd year, the rankings present data gathered from and about nearly 1,400 colleges and universities across the nation. Schools are categorized as national universities, national liberal arts colleges, regional universities and regional colleges.

Within each category, scores for each of seven key measures of quality – graduation and retention rates; assessment of excellence; faculty resources; student selectivity; financial resources; graduation rate performance; and alumni giving – are weighted to arrive at a final overall score.

According to U.S. News, the results, in combination with “college visits, interviews and personal intuition,” can be used by prospective students and their parents as an aid in determining the best school for each student.

Visit or contact Rick Sherlock, Westminster marketing and communications director, at 724-946-7191 (email for additional information.

Humans of Westminster: Meet Shane

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 09:06:00 EST

(image) GREEK LIFE

The Greek Life community of Westminster is truly one of a kind. The members of each and every organization show such extreme compassion for one another and their college. There comes a day in the semester when independent students have an opportunity to join a Greek organization. Every bid day is special to me, but this past one was extraordinary. When my fraternity began their procession in the negative temperatures of that February morning, I could not control my emotions as I watched 14 young men begin their journey into Sigma Phi Epsilon. I knew what our fraternity would offer them in order to better themselves and their institution.

Wilson is a senior early childhood/special education major and president of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.

Humans of Westminster: Meet Thomas

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 09:00:00 EST

(image) "The Night Sky Over Westminster"
The night sky over campus can be especially dark and star-filled if the stadium field lights are off and you pick the right spot. Westminster is far from big city lights and noise, and provides a peaceful retreat. My personal favorite spots for stargazing are the Outdoor Field Station and the College Woods. Our nighttime astronomy labs are a big hit with students, and public stargazing events following planetarium shows can draw a crowd. My most memorable night was when students viewed comet Pan-STARRs through telescopes. A couple weeks later, some of the same students stayed up all night to watch the Lyrids meteor shower.

Oberst is an assistant professor of physics and the director of the Westminster College Planetarium and Observatory.

Westminster College Neuroscience Major Wins National Travel Award

Tue, 13 Sep 2016 13:39:00 EST

(image) Ashlyn Brown, a Westminster College senior neuroscience major, won a national travel award for her research and outreach efforts in teaching preschool children about the brain.

Brown teamed with Melissa Egan, a Westminster senior early childhood/special education major, to design neuroscience games and activities to engage preschoolers in learning. They visited Westminster’s Preschool Lab many times to teach simple concepts about how the brain controls behavior.

The project was an initiative of Westminster faculty Dr. Deanne Buffalari, assistant professor of neuroscience, and Dr. Sararose Lynch, assistant professor of education, to utilize targeted educational approaches to teach neuroscience to young children and to promote interdisciplinary research.

Sponsored by The Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience and the Society for Neuroscience, competition for the award is open to any undergraduate from across the country who conducts neuroscience outreach.

The sole recipient of the travel award, Brown will attend the Society for Neuroscience conference Nov. 12-16 in San Diego to present her research in two sessions and receive recognition for her outreach and accomplishments.

Brown is a daughter of Allison Winters of Avella and a graduate of Trinity High School.

Egan is a daughter of William and Diane Egan of McDonald and a graduate of South Fayette High School.

Contact Buffalari at 724-946-7358 or email for additional information.

Westminster College Students, Faculty and Staff Participate in Wilmington School Fundraiser

Mon, 12 Sep 2016 13:45:00 EST

(image) Westminster College students, faculty, alumni and staff spent an evening working alongside Wilmington Area School administrators and staff to help raise scholarship funds for Wilmington Area High School students and teachers.

The August fundraiser took place at Cedar Farm Inn in New Wilmington.

Senior educations majors, Carly Christofferson and Sarah Slonaker, volunteered with Dr. Charlene Klassen Endrizzi, professor of education, to prepare and serve food trays to those in attendance. Christofferson and Slonaker are also graduates of Wilmington Area High School.

“It was a great networking event and I enjoyed getting the opportunity to reconnect with administrators from my high school,” said Christofferson. “It was amazing to see the support that was shown for the Wilmington Area Educational Foundation.”

Westminster alumna, Jennifer Matyasovsky, manager at Cedar Farm Inn, along with George Endrizzi, Wilmington Middle School administrator, were the primary organizers and chefs for this fundraising event.

For more information, contact Klassen Endrizzi at or 724-946-7189.

Westminster College International Film Series to Open with Beatles Movie

Fri, 09 Sep 2016 14:06:00 EST

(image) Westminster College’s Jake Erhardt International Film Series will open the 2016-2017 season with A Hard Day’s Night Tuesday, Sept. 20, at 7 p.m. in the Sebastian Mueller Theater.  The program is free and open to the public.

The 1964 Richard Lester film follows a “typical” day in the life of the Beatles, arguably the world’s most famous rock and roll band, as they travel from their home in Liverpool to London for a television show.

The British film was nominated for two Academy Awards and a Grammy and won Boxoffice magazine’s Blue Ribbon Award for Best Picture of the Month for the Whole Family (Sept. 1964).

Additional films this semester are scheduled for Tuesdays, Oct. 25 and Nov. 15.

The International Film Series is named in honor of its founder, Dr. Jacob Erhardt, professor of German emeritus at Westminster College.  Erhardt, who taught at Westminster from 1968 until his retirement in 2004, served as chair of his department from 1970-1986, was named the Language Educator of the Year by the Pennsylvania State Modern Languages Association, translated into English Robert Reitzel’s Adventures of a Greenhorn, and was recognized by the National Endowment for the Humanities as an outstanding member.

Contact Dr. Deborah Mitchell at 724-946-7030 or email for more information.

Westminster Graduate Faculty Publish Blogs on College-School Collaboration

Fri, 09 Sep 2016 13:16:00 EST

(image) Two Westminster College faculty members published four blogs outlining their joint two-month inquiry between seventh-graders from Shenango Middle School and Westminster College secondary education majors.

Dr. Charlene Klassen Endrizzi, professor and coordinator of the reading specialist graduate program, and Dr. Karen Matis, adjunct faculty and seventh-grade teacher at Shenango Middle School, recently published the blogs at Worlds of Words: International Children’s Literature.

The integrated curricular exploration began with the study of the novel, The Great Trouble by Deborah Hopkinson. Westminster secondary education students in Klassen Endrizzi’s education course visited Matis’ classroom for a Skype session with author, Hopkinson.

“The opportunity to blog with Klassen Endrizzi for the Worlds of Words website was quite rewarding,” said Matis. “Klassen Endrizzi's education students and my adolescents provided a unique mix of learning opportunities. Literature needs to ‘come alive’ for adolescent learners.  Activities and real world experiences and connections meant that literature set in the 1800s could easily be connected to global issues today.”

The blogs feature insights from three Westminster College secondary education majors, Katherine St. Pierre, Cory Hughes, and Ben Gaul.

For more information, contact Klassen Endrizzi at or 724-946-7189.

Westminster College Sociology Professor Presents at Amish Studies Conference

Thu, 08 Sep 2016 15:03:00 EST

(image) Dr. Kristin Park, Westminster College professor of sociology, presented “The Perceived Influence of Amish Residents on ‘English’ Values, Beliefs, Behaviors and Interactions in a Small Community” at Elizabethtown College in June.

The presentation shared data from Park’s ongoing research involving in-depth interviews with non-Amish residents of a region with a significant Old Order Amish settlement.

“The research is discovering the perceptions, experiences and interactions that non-Amish have of and with their fellow Amish community members,” Park said. “Non-Amish participants respect the humility, willingness to live within limits and within religious frameworks, and slower pace of life of their Amish friends and acquaintances. Some participants expressed concerns about Amish racial insensitivity and examples of what they felt to be excessive and unwarranted restrictions on the life paths of their Amish friends.”

The conference, “Continuity and Change: 50 Years of Amish Society,” was sponsored by the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies.

Contact Park at 724-946-7251 or email for additional information.

“Experience Alaska” Team to Present at Westminster College Vespers

Thu, 08 Sep 2016 14:43:00 EST

(image) Westminster College students and staff of the “Experience Alaska” team will participate in the vespers service Sunday, Sept. 11, at 7 p.m. in Wallace Memorial Chapel. The worship service is open to the public.

Led by the Rev. Jim Mohr, chaplain, and Dr. Kerri Duerr, assistant professor of biology, the group spent May 16-June 2 celebrating the six components of the trip:

  • Spiritual development, which included leading worship in a Presbyterian and a Baptist church and evening reflections on the day’s highs and lows.
  • Vocational discernment, asking each other “What does God want me to do with my life?”
  • Service that included planting over 450 trees in areas that suffered from forest fires, leading worship services, learning about eco-sustainability homes, cleaning up around homes, and engaging homeless individuals at First Presbyterian Church in Anchorage.
  • Environmental concerns, including a day spent with a National Parks worker at Exit Glacier learning to think about global issues in a new way.
  • Alaskan culture through conversations with native Alaskans, including two Alaskan Secretaries of State, the founders of the Iditarod dog sled race, and the mayor of Anchorage, now a candidate for the U.S. Senate.
  • Travel that included “firsts” for many of the students: first time in an airplane or on a boat; first time eating native Alaska food; first time square dancing.

“Trips like Experience Alaska have the potential to transform one’s life as you celebrate creation, think about your life goals, meet people from other cultures and do things you never imagined you would ever get an opportunity to do,” Mohr said.

Funded in part by a Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE) Chaplaincy Implementation grant, the trip provided opportunities for personal and spiritual growth, leadership development, and conversations and reflections about vocational discernment, along with environmental sciences and conservation experiences.

“Thanks to funding provided by a Westminster family we will be able to sponsor Experience Alaska 2 during the summer of 2017,” Mohr added.

The team will make an additional presentation Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 11:30 a.m. in the Witherspoon Maple Room of the McKelvey Campus Center.

Contact Mohr at 724-946-7116 or email for additional information.

Westminster College to Host NeighborFood Picnic

Wed, 07 Sep 2016 13:25:00 EST

(image) Westminster College will host a NeighborFood Picnic from 5-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 13 in the quad on campus.

‘A shorter distance from farm to fork’ is the focus for this season’s campus dining experience. During this event, Sodexo is extending their commitment to locally sourced, fresh, clean foods with NeighborFood.

Sodexo will serve grilled burgers, chicken, hot dogs, corn on the cob, salads, fresh fruit, and ice cream sandwiches. Live music, games and prizes will be available. Meal swipes will be accepted as a form of payment.

New Wilmington Fresh Marketplace will also be open. This farmer’s market features a wide variety of local fresh produce.

Duff Dining Hall is the rain location.

For more information, contact Mona Moufid at or 724-946-7703.

Westminster College to Host First Annual Lakeside Craft Fair

Mon, 05 Sep 2016 13:51:00 EST

Westminster College’s Student Government Association (SGA) and Sodexo Dining Services will host the first annual Lakeside Craft Fair from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Sept. 17 at the Anderson Amphitheater next to Lake Brittain.

The planning team is currently seeking craft vendors. Student vendors will pay $5 and others will pay $15. Vendors will receive the use of one eight-foot table and one chair.

The event will be held in conjunction with Hunger Awareness Month. Funds from the concession stand and vendor table fees will be donated to New Wilmington’s PB&J BackPack Program.

The PB&J BackPack Program is part of the Community Food Warehouse’s BackPack Program, which feeds over 830 eligible school children on the weekends spanning throughout eight school districts. The program was started through the Community Food Warehouse of Mercer County, a non-profit organization and a member of Feeding America, the nation’s network of food banks. 

“The generosity of our volunteers and donors are what drive not only the BackPack Program, but all of our programs, to be successful,” said Lauren Beran, program and volunteer coordinator at the Community Food Warehouse of Mercer County. “We are so grateful to everyone who donates their time and energy to help us feed the hungry people in our community.”

For more information, contact Mona Moufid, marketing specialist for Sodexo Dining Services at Westminster, at or 724-946-7703.

Westminster College Professor and Student Attend National Noyce Summit

Mon, 05 Sep 2016 12:54:00 EST

(image) Dr. Amy Camardese, professor and chair of Westminster College’s School of Education, and David McCollough, Westminster junior biology major, attended the National Noyce Summit in Washington, D.C., in July.

Westminster College is one of more than 450 institutions nationwide – and one of only two programs in western Pennsylvania – to hold a National Science Foundation (NSF) Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program. Westminster’s grant, IQ:STEM (Increasing Quality Science, Technology and Math Teachers), is a competitive scholarship and training program for individuals with strong STEM backgrounds who might not otherwise have considered a career in K-12 teaching.

“It was impressive to see the scope and breadth of Noyce Scholarship programs around the country,” said Camardese. “It was affirming to realize that a small liberal arts college in rural western Pennsylvania had an NSF program that compared to those at much larger universities.”

McCollough’s experience gave him several new ideas about how to manage classrooms, get students involved in the community and cope with different situations, as well as many connections from across the country. His favorite part of the conference was the panel where past Noyce Scholars shared stories and tips from their first year of teaching.

“It was amazing to me how large the Noyce Scholars program really is,” McCollough said. “I am used to our program but, on the national scale, the program is quite impressive. It was also very interesting to learn about how each different college had their program set up and cool to see how they differed from ours.”

Contact Camardese, principal investigator, at 724-946-7183 (email or Dr. Karen Resendes, Westminster associate professor of biology and grant coordinator, at 724-946-7211 (email for additional information.

Visit for more information on Westminster’s IQ:STEM program.

Westminster College Celebrity Series to Open Season with Illusionist

Fri, 02 Sep 2016 15:44:00 EST

(image) The Westminster College Celebrity Series will kick off its 2016-2017 season Saturday, Sept. 24, with illusionist Adam Trent: The Futurist. The 7:30 p.m. show, sponsored by First National Bank, will take the stage in Orr Auditorium.

Trent, star of the Broadway hit show, The Illusionists, has appeared on “America’s Got Talent,” “Good Morning America,” Rachel Ray, the Disney Channel and the Travel Channel, among others. His interactive performances that are part magic, part concert and part stand-up comedy make him one of the most in-demand illusionists working today. He promises that audiences will leave his show feeling differently than they expected to feel after a “Magic Show.” He bets his reputation on it.

In addition to his regular television appearances and more than 300 live shows per year, Trent’s history of philanthropic work has earned him a spot as one of US News & World Report’s “Top 10 Most Influential Youths in America.”

Ticket prices start at $29, with special pricing for school- and college-age students.

Contact Georgene Gib, box office manager, at 724-946-7354 or email for additional information. Visit to purchase tickets.

Sat, 03 Sep 2016 09:02:00 EST

(image) Congratulations to Denise Guthery, winner of the most recent "Image of the Month" contest.

Are you a budding, or accomplished photographer or artist? All photographers and artists from the campus and community are encouraged to submit their images each month for a chance to be published on the department's website and earn a monthly prize package. Details are available under "Image of the Month" at the link above. Please note that while the image must in some way be connected to Westminster College, this is wide open for interpretation, and we welcome your creative ideas! Deadline to submit images for the "Image of the Month" contest this month is Sunday September 25, 2016.

To submit an image, fill out the Image of the Month Submission form here.

Westminster College Professor Shows Art in Two Exhibits

Thu, 01 Sep 2016 13:41:00 EST

(image) Westminster College’s Foster Art Gallery and the Lakeland Community College Gallery in Kirtland, Ohio will feature the works of Peggy Cox, professor of art at Westminster College, this month.

On display at Westminster College is Cox’s solo exhibit entitled “Standing in Place, Recent Landscapes.” This exhibit consists of over 20 oils and watercolors completed over the course of four years, including a sabbatical project. Cox’s artwork is open to the public and runs through Oct. 14.

The Foster Art Gallery is open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Mon. – Fri.

The exhibit at Lakeland Community College is through The Textile Art Alliance, an affiliate group of artists with the Cleveland Museum. The group’s mission is to promote the awareness of textile arts. On display is a selection of her textile related Icelandic Journal collages.

The Lakeland Community College exhibit is open to the public and runs through Sept. 9.

For more information, contact Cox at or 724-946-7266.

Westminster College Introduces Astronomy Program

Thu, 01 Sep 2016 09:17:00 EST

(image) Westminster College will introduce an astronomy minor program for the 2016-2017 school year.

The program builds on a strong array of astronomy-related resources at Westminster, including a research observatory on campus; a planetarium theater and classroom; a large collection of teaching telescopes and cameras; a recent $250,000 National Science Foundation grant for student travel and research in astronomy; and two professional astronomers on the faculty, associate professors of physics Dr. Thomas Oberst and Dr. Robert Knop.

Knop was part of a team that won the 2011 Nobel Prize in physics for discovering the acceleration of the expansion of the universe and last year was awarded a portion of the $3 million Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for that work. Oberst has co-discovered 15 exoplanets (planets orbiting stars other than the sun) in the past three years.

Of 350 small colleges within a 300-mile radius, Westminster is one of only 11 to offer an astronomy program. The minor is open to students with any major and offers both calculus and calculus-free tracks.

“This program is designed to serve students pursuing careers in astrophysics research or the aerospace industries as well as non-science majors simply seeking to satisfy a deep intellectual curiosity about the universe,” said Oberst, who is the program director.

The astronomy minor joins a major in engineering physics as the second new program introduced within the past two years by Westminster’s physics department.

Visit or contact Oberst at 724-946-7204 (email for additional information.

Westminster College Library Hosts “Oregon Trail” Meet and Greet

Wed, 31 Aug 2016 14:29:00 EST

(image) Westminster College’s McGill Library will host its second annual Oregon Trail Night for first year students from 6 - 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 1 in the library.

The Oregon Trail Night allows students to explore the floors of McGill library and meet the librarians in a fun and casual way. The event includes a western-themed photo booth, an obstacle course and snacks.

“This is the fifth year the library has hosted a ‘get to know’ event,” said Kate Ratvasky, technical services specialist at McGill. “It’s a fun, informal way of introducing the library and the library workers to the students.”

The event is a co-curricular activity opportunity.

For more information, contact Ratvasky at or (724) 946-7326.

Humans of Westminster: Meet Kristenne

Mon, 07 Nov 2016 09:53:00 EST


I had no idea how my relationship with colleagues would develop when I arrived to Westminster College in the fall of 2009. I soon learned that the most social of social scientists are the political scientists. I could write about each of them, but I am going to focus on Dr. Ed Cohen who I like to call “the hall monitor”. Ed regularly drops by my office to talk feminism, music, politics, and beer. I also find him standing in the hallways observing between classes where we get in a few sarcastic jabs or he demonstrates a new dance move. He loans me cd’s (yes, we still listen to cd’s) of his favorite bands and he even brings me small tokens from his vacations. I am appreciative of this friendship that I would not have predicted in the fall of 2009.

Dr. Kristenne Robison is an associate professor and program coordinator for criminal justice studies

Westminster College to Bring Pulitzer-Winning Author to Campus, Sept. 28

Tue, 30 Aug 2016 09:30:00 EST

(image) Westminster College will welcome Pulitzer-winning author Geraldine Brooks to campus on Sept. 28 in collaboration with the campus’ first year student inquiry program.

At 7 p.m. in Orr Auditorium, Brooks will present “People of the Book: Science, Imagination and the Liberal Arts,” an hour-long discussion that will focus on her New York Times bestseller “People of the Book.” An 8:15 p.m. book signing will follow in Witherspoon Rooms of McKelvey Campus Center.

The lecture and book signing are free and open to the public.                 

Brooks has authored “People of the Book” along with “The Secret Chord, “Caleb’s Crossing,” “March,” “Year of Wonders,” “Nine Parts of Desire,” “Foreign Correspondence,” and “The Idea of Home.”

“Brooks has a fascinating way of combining knowledge from multiple fields with a lively imagination to tell a fascinating story,” said Dr. Shannon Smithey, associate professor of political science and event coordinator. “She's a great example of what a liberal arts perspective can accomplish.”

The event is sponsored in part by an endowment from the Heinz Foundation.

For more information about the visit, contact Smithey at or 724-946-6247.

Westminster College Announces Upcoming Yoga Classes

Mon, 29 Aug 2016 14:59:00 EST

(image) Westminster College will host fall yoga classes beginning Aug. 30.

The classes are open to the public.

Instructed by Lori Allen, classes will be held from 5:45 - 6:45 p.m., Tuesday’s, Aug. 30, Sept. 6, 13, 20 in Old 77 Dance Studio at Westminster College.

Classes are $25 for four classes or $7 for individual classes. Cost for Westminster College students is $10 for four classes and $3 for individual classes.

For more information, contact Allen at

Westminster Co-Awarded $250,000 NSF Grant for Student Travel and Research in Astronomy

Fri, 26 Aug 2016 13:31:00 EST

 Dr. Thomas Oberst, Westminster College associate professor of physics, and Dr.  Phillip Reed, Kutztown University associate professor of physics and astronomy, have    been awarded a $250,000 collaborative grant from the National Science Foundation   (NSF) for student travel and research in the field of astronomy.  Between 2017 and 2020, 12 students from the two schools will visit universities in Italy,  Australia and elsewhere to conduct paid internships with some of the world’s leading experts in exoplanetary science, the study of solar systems other than our own, to learn cutting-edge research techniques and to help discover and study planets. Students entering or transferring to Westminster or Kutztown in 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 are eligible to apply, as are students currently enrolled at the two schools. “This is an incredible opportunity for students considering scientific- or engineering-related careers in astronomy or the aerospace industries,” Oberst and Reed said in a joint statement. “Even those who end up in other fields would benefit from the exposure to general research and data reduction techniques.” Students majoring in science or engineering are often unable to study abroad due to heavier or more structured course loads during the school year and the need to earn incomes during the summer. The grant resolves both concerns by paying students to travel and conduct research overseas in the summer. “International travel can be an educational and formative life experience in and of itself,” said Dr. Jeffrey Bersett, Westminster associate professor of Spanish and the travel coordinator for the grant. In the first year, students will visit the University of Salerno on Italy’s famed Amalfi coast, where they will conduct research in gravitational microlensing, the brightening of a background object due to the bending of its light by the gravitational field of a foreground object, or “lens.” First published by Einstein in 1936, microlensing is a special case in which the lens is a star or planet, which has far weaker gravity than galaxies, the traditional lenses. Scientists at the university of Salerno have played a role in several important recent microlensing discoveries, including the detection of one of the first exomoon candidates. In the second year of the grant, students will travel to the University of Southern Queensland, Australia, to study planets using the technique of Doppler spectroscopy. The third year destination is yet to be determined. Westminster, Kutztown, Salerno and Southern Queensland are connected through the Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT) project, an international network of nearly 50 observatories who collaborate to discover and study giant planets orbiting bright stars. KELT is headed by Lehigh University, the Ohio State University and Vanderbilt University. Oberst, Reed or their students ha[...]

Westminster College and the Lawrence County Mentoring Program

Tue, 23 Aug 2016 08:22:00 EST

In partnership with the New Castle Area School District, Westminster College hosted an informational meeting for students and their families who were selected to participate in the Lawrence County Mentoring Program. In January, Westminster College was approached by Dallas Hartman, P.C., to spearhead a program that matched the Westminster College mission by mentoring and supporting high school students who have potential for college success. “These are students who have the potential for college success yet may not have had the opportunity to realize their dreams,” Dr. Amy Camardese, professor and coordinator for the School of Education. “Dallas Hartman is passionate about finding avenues to support students in discovering college experience,” said Camardese. “This agreement not only helps those students to see the importance of a college education – but it also helps Westminster College students to develop mentoring relationships with high school students in our area.” The following plan was developed in consultation with Hartman and Dr. John Sarandrea, superintendent of New Castle School District. During the 2016-17 academic year, five New Castle Area School District ninth grade students will be transported by New Castle School District to the Westminster Campus once per week – 15 times per semester - 30 times per year for one and ½ hours. Westminster College students majoring in Early Childhood or Secondary Education minors will act as mentors for the New Castle students for one and ½ hours each week. Westminster mentors will have appropriate clearances and orientation for mentoring. A dinner voucher will be provided for each New Castle student to use at the Westminster cafeteria. The mentors will establish a relationship with the New Castle student in the following ways: (a) assist with homework, (b) provide tutoring in a content area of need for the New Castle student, or (c) attend a campus event with the New Castle student. During the 2017-18 school year, the five students who were mentored during the 2016-17 year will continue to be mentored as 10th graders.  Five ninth graders from New Castle will be identified and paired with Westminster College students as mentors.  Total of 10 students from New Castle will be mentored. During successive years, five ninth graders will be selected from New Castle to be paired and mentored with Westminster students in cohorts of five.  By the 2019-20 academic year, there will be 20 New Castle students meeting once a week with Westminster Students. Dr. Amy Camardese will supervise the Lawrence County Mentoring Program and provide assessment of the program.  These services will be provided as In-Kind. New Castle students were selected by the New Castle Area School District to participate in the Lawrence County Mentoring Program. For more information, contact Camardese at 724-9[...]

Humans of Westminster: Meet Ruth

Mon, 10 Oct 2016 08:00:00 EST

(image) Traveling Back in Time

When I was in grade school, my dad (class of '48) was taking often bring me, my mother and younger brother to the New Wilmington Borough Park to play while he attended his class. Little did I know that years later, I would be employed in the Business Office at Westminster, helping students with billing questions, working with faculty and support staff. The park has seen many changes since then, but the family atmosphere at Westminster remains the same. 

Ruth Curfman is a cashier / financial data coordinator in the Business Office. 

Humans of Westminster: Meet Carly

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 09:21:00 EST

(image) Brittain Lake

Brittain Lake is the best place on campus because it naturally gathers friends – it’s home. It’s a place of relaxation; a true sight of beauty. On a cool, fall evening, I love to walk down to the dock to escape and enjoy my favorite season. It’s also fun to take a canoe out and just float around. It’s always thrilling to see fireworks reflect over Brittain Lake every year at the fourth of July celebration.

Carly Christofferson is a senior early childhood and special education major at Westminster College. 

Humans of Westminster: Meet Milagros

Mon, 12 Sep 2016 08:00:00 EST

(image) "My Language" 

English will never be ‘my’ language. I’m very conscious of my accent. If I’m speaking to students, I always hear that inner, quick little voice reminding me “to articulate more,” “to concentrate” on the different sounds etc. But, somehow, during my interaction with students, I forget about the imperfections of my pronunciation and find myself submerged in conversation with them. I feel like a great swimmer moving smoothly through foreign waters. It gets even better at the end when someone shouts, "By the way, I love how you speak!” or “I like ‘your’ English!” With a big smile, I take that gold medal and whisper, “I love my students! They teach me.”

Milagros Swerdlow is a lecturer of Spanish at Westminster College. 

Westminster College Alumnus to Discuss the “Voices in his Attic,” Sept. 19

Thu, 18 Aug 2016 15:49:00 EST

(image) The history program at Westminster College will welcome alumnus Carleton Young ’73 to campus to discuss the 250 Civil War letters he discovered in the attic of his childhood home.  

The discussion at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 19 in Patterson Hall room 207 will focus on his book “Voices from the Attic: The Williamstown Boys in the Civil War.” The event is free and open to the public.

The book is a culmination of the letters written by two brothers, Francis and William “Henry” Martin, to their parents in Vermont.

“Those letters tell stories that help to personalize a pivotal point in American history,” said Dr. Angela Lahr, assistant professor of history.

Young received an undergraduate degree in economics from Westminster College and a second undergraduate degree English from Point Park University. He went on to earn a master’s degree in history from Ohio University and a Ph.D. in the history of education from the University of Pittsburgh.

For more information, contact Lahr at

Humans of Westminster: Meet Annie

Mon, 29 Aug 2016 08:00:00 EST


The relationships I've developed at Westminster are each unique and serve a distinct purpose in my life. Michael pushes me to be my best academically, Carly keeps me sane, Olivia makes me laugh, Matt and Morgan are great listeners, and Anthony really gets me. I'll probably marry Anthony some day. A few of us actually have this friendship bracelet that we pass around as a way to stay connected when we are apart. It's true what they say, I found my second family at Westminster.

Annie Walther is a junior public relations major at Westminster College. 

Westminster College Invites Community to Academic Kick-Off Worship Services

Tue, 16 Aug 2016 08:19:00 EST

(image) Westminster College will kick off the academic year with a series of worship opportunities. The services are free and open to the public.

The opening communion worship service will be held from 8 – 8:45 a.m., Thurs., Aug. 25 in the Wallace Memorial Chapel. Paula Kubik, college organist, will offer the organ prelude. Anne Bentz, associate professor of music, and William Ambert, adjunct faculty for music, will offer special music.

The message “Celebrate the Light,” will be given by the Rev. James Mohr, college chaplain.

The first vespers service will be held at 7 p.m. Sun., Aug. 28 in Wallace Memorial Chapel. Vespers is a blended-style of worship service that is open to the campus and community.

The weekly vespers service includes preaching offered by Mohr or a guest speaker. Music is offered by one of the Westminster College vocal or bell choirs and the Second Chance Praise Team.

Dr. Darwin Huey, professor of education, will kick off the semester’s first Open Door Reflection at 11:40 a.m., Fri., Sept. 2 in Wallace Memorial Chapel.

Open Door Reflection is held Monday and Friday at 11:40 a.m. throughout the academic year and includes music, prayer, scripture readings, and a reflective moment provided by a Westminster College senior student, faculty or staff member, or guest speaker

For more information, contact Diane Gabriel, executive secretary for the Office of Faith and Spirituality, at 724-946-7117 or

Westminster College Invites Community to “Meet ‘N Greet” Dr. Kathy Richardson, 15th President of Westminster College

Mon, 15 Aug 2016 08:00:00 EST

(image) Westminster College will host a welcome reception for Dr. Kathy Richardson, 15th president of Westminster College, from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m., Thurs., Sept. 15 in Witherspoon Rooms, McKelvey Campus Center on the College’s campus.

The event is free and open to Westminster alumni and friends in our community.

Reservations are required by Sept. 8 by visiting

“We are thrilled to offer the opportunity to those who care most about Westminster College to meet its newest leader,” said Kara Montgomery, director of alumni relations. “We’re confident that our alumni and friends will immediately recognize Dr. Richardson’s genuine appreciation for the campus and her students.”

Hors d'oeuvres and light refreshments will be served. 

Remarks will be made by Dr. Richardson.

For additional information, contact Montgomery at or 724-946-7363.

Westminster College and English Professor Receive $105,400 Grant for Summer Seminar Series

Tue, 09 Aug 2016 11:00:00 EST

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced today that Westminster College and Dr. Bethany Hicok, professor of English and director of the honors program, received a $105,400 grant to lead a three-week summer seminar for college and university professors on “Elizabeth Bishop and the Literary Archive.” Hicok’s grant was one of 290 humanities projects and programs funded by the NEH in a highly competitive process that selects top-rated proposals that have been examined and ranked by panels of independent reviewers. Hicok’s proposal was one of only seven selected of its type. The summer seminars are designed to bring together 16 college and university professors from institutions across the country to share ideas, explore new teaching methods, and advance scholarship and teaching in the humanities. “I am very excited about the prospect of working collaboratively with other scholars who are teaching this period of North American literature and are interested in how libraries and archives shape what we know about writers and their careers,” said Hicok. “Bishop and her archive provide an excellent case study for exploring larger questions that concern us in the humanities, such as how cultural and social forces shape artistic expression.” Hicok’s seminar will focus on the Pulitzer prize-winning North American poet Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979), her archive, and her extended literary and artistic circle. Hicok will be one of three experts to select participants for the seminar, and she will lead the seminar at Vassar College, where Bishop’s papers are housed, in June 2017. “It seemed like a perfect time to propose such a seminar,” said Hicok. “What we know about Bishop continues to change and expand with Vassar’s recent acquisition of significant new materials, such as the revelatory series of letters Bishop wrote to her psychoanalyst in 1947. And current developments in literary studies and the digital humanities suggest a strong interest in literature and the archives.” Hicok’s research has centered on poets and their archives. This grant will provide the opportunity to work with the next generation of college professors. “Archival research allows us to place a writer’s career and work in context and in dialogue and enriches both what we know about poets and their cultural moment but also how we teach them,” said Hicok. “Developments in the digital humanities allow us to make these materials more widely available and to work more collaboratively. But archival research takes time and money. This grant provides an amazing opportunity for research, collaboration and the per[...]