DeSales University holds its mid-year Commencement on Sunday, January 20
DeSales University held its mid-year Commencement on Sunday, January 20, in Billera Hall. During the ceremony, Father Bernard O'Connor, OSFS, University President, conferred degrees upon 152 graduating students. Among those processing on Sunday were 32 graduates who were awarded degrees in September 2007.
(Please note: January 2008 degree recipients totaled 152, including 86 bachelors and 66 masters. September 2007 degree recipients totaled 173, including 44 bachelors and 129 masters.)
Denise M. von Funk, vice president, commercial asset review, Sovereign Bank, delivered the Commencement address. Von Funk has over 30 years experience in the financial services industry. Previously, she served as vice president, credit analyst manger and also credit policy administrator with CoreStates Bank. Earlier in her career, she held various positions in corporate loans, loan administration and retail branches. Von Funk earned an MBA from Lehigh University and a bachelor's degree in accounting cum laude from DeSales University. Von Funk has the distinction of being the second member of her family to give a Commencement speech at DeSales. Her father, Carl J. Feichtel, retired CEO of Merchants National Bank, served as Commencement speaker at her own graduation in January 1981. Feichtel also was the DeSales Medal recipient in 1981.
In her Commencement speech, von Funk offered reflections on her years in the early ACCESS program, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. She referred to the students in the early ACCESS program as "pioneers in this educational alternative."
According to von Funk, her path to the ACCESS program took a slight detour because she chose to work first. Von Funk started as a bank teller, but realized in order to advance, she needed a college degree. After researching her options, she decided the ACCESS program best fit her needs, so she enrolled in the program.
"It was an exciting time at the college and for us students," said von Funk. "We felt truly empowered, as the college was continuously seeking our input on the program, what worked and what didn't "Everywhere else it would take eight years," said von Funk. "In DeSales' ACCESS Program, it would take four."
"Many of us considered ourselves ambassadors of the ACCESS program," said von Funk. "I can say that I continue to be an ambassador for DeSales and ACCESS."
She encouraged DeSales' newest graduates to be life-long learners, expand their horizons, continue to challenge themselves and not be afraid to try something new. She stressed the importance of positive thinking because it gets positive results.
"Find your passion," said von Funk. "Stretch yourself. The experience leads to professional and personal success. It is difficult to be successful if you are not passionate about what you do every day."
Von Funk is a resident of Schnecksville, Pa. She and her husband, John, have two children.
Jean E. Maurer, of Bethlehem, Pa., was awarded the DeSales Medal, the highest nonacademic award conferred by the University, in recognition of the outstanding contributions to the development of the University through personal service, as well as financial support. Recipients are well respected in the community at large and have been distinguished for the witness they give to the ideals most highly prized by St. Francis de Sales.
Maurer, a trained nurse, was employed at DeSales from September 1974 until she retired in May 2004. Maurer considers her 30 years at DeSales a very special time.
"The students came first," said Maurer. "No matter how sick they were, we were determined to have them leave the office with a hug and a smile."
In the beginning, said Maurer, the health service office was located in the basement of Dooling Hall. Later, it moved to McShea, where it started with two rooms then increased to three.
According to Maurer, she and her director of health services, Helen Danko, were a match made in heaven. During their tenure together, they also conducted dorm visits.
Currently, Maurer is a volunteer at Holy Infancy School, where she works with children on a variety of projects on a one-to-one basis. She and husband, Fritz, who retired from Bethlehem Steel where he managed the company's restaurants, have been married 53 years. They are the parents of four children and six grandchildren.
Melissa Lyn Sroka, of Coopersburg, Pa., received the 2008 ACCESS Award. Sroka received a bachelor's degree in elementary education. She is married and the mother of three children. The ACCESS program at DeSales is one of the most widely respected adult education programs in the region. To qualify for the ACCESS Award, the recipient must be graduating in January, have at least a 3.75 GPA and submit a one-page essay on their experience in the program. The winning essay is selected, upon review by a committee. The award includes a plaque and monetary gift.
Press Release: DeSales University holds its mid-year Commencement on Sunday, January 20 | Posted on: 1/23/2008
For more info:
Tom McNamara, Executive Director of Communications
DeSales University | 2255 Station Avenue | Center Valley, PA 18034
610.282.1100 x1219 | Tom.McNamara@desales.edu