The e-newsletter of Chestnut Hill College

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The e-newsletter of Chestnut Hill College

News & Notes

News & Notes

CHC Challenge

Join the CHC Challenge Now!

Attention alumni! Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to take part in a new and innovative way of giving known as the CHC Challenge.

Born out of a poignant yet simple message offered by Jack Gulati at last year’s Commencement, the CHC Challenge is philanthropy… but with a twist!

Similar to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge of a few years ago, accepting the challenge is easy. However, instead of pouring a bucket of water on your head, all you have to do is donate any amount to the College’s Griffin Fund. After your donation is complete, then the fun begins as you can challenge others to do the same using social media.

"Griffins are known for their ability to rise to a challenge," says Susannah Coleman, vice president for institutional advancement. "Jack Gulati recognized that in the great Class of 2015 when he asked them to remember CHC with a small gift on the anniversary of their graduation.  May 14th is just four weeks away, so my message to 2015’ers is: stand tall and take pride in taking part in the CHC Challenge and telling people about it!  Participation is so much more important than the amount of the gift."

One of these young graduates, Cristina Diaz, president of the class of 2015 and current media and community relations manager at the College, kicked off the challenge by following Gulati’s words and encouraging her classmates and fellow alumni to "write a small check” in honor of their time at CHC.

“I’m really encouraging the Class of 2015 to give, because Chestnut Hill College means so much to all of us,” says Diaz. “I felt that throughout my four years at CHC, I was so welcomed and I was always given so many opportunities to grow academically, and as a person. I gave, and will continue to give, so the College can continue providing those opportunities and even more to new students who have chosen CHC.”

As an added incentive, Gulati, a businessman and entrepreneur, has offered to match all donations made by the class of 2015 up to $50,000. And while this match only applies to the class of 2015, this hasn’t stopped graduates of all ages from getting in on the fun, as the challenge has awakened the spirit of giving throughout the entire alumni community.

“Giving back to CHC is something I try to make a point of doing and seeing the creativity in the CHC Challenge, I decided that was the perfect opportunity,” says Caitlin Kain ’13. “Without CHC, I wouldn’t have the job I have now, my best friends or any of the opportunities that I received during my four years there. I hope with my donation that it could make an impact on a future Griffin’s life to enjoy the same kind of experience I did.”

"CHC gave me so much, I had to give something back (even though it was small) as it was a way to show my gratitude," echoes Jade Thompson '14.

The challenge is open until May 14th and with many of your fellow alumni having already participated, don’t be left out. Be the latest to say, in the words of How I Met Your Mother’s Barney Stinson, “Challenge Accepted.”

For more information on how to support the Challenge as well as a quick and easy donation form, visit the CHC Challenge website.

- Marilee Gallagher '14

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Griffin Games are Coming

Attention Chestnut Hill College, friends and family. The Griffin Games are coming soon.

Organized by students in the College’s sports management event planning course and supported by the Student Government Association and Student Athletic Advisory Committee, Chestnut Hill College will sponsor Heroes on the Hill: Griffin Games on Saturday, May 7.

This year’s event, which promises family-friendly fun, will feature two obstacle courses, one for kids and one for adults, various inflatables, games and musical performances. The event is free but donations will be accepted. Attendees also will be able to purchase lunch and enter raffles for gift baskets throughout the day.

Fundraising from the event will go to support the charity, Freedom Service Dogs of America, a nonprofit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by rescuing dogs and training them for individual client needs.

More information can be found at the Heroes on the Hill website.

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Taking Matters into Her Own Hands

What do you do when diagnosed with a disease that requires one to carry around various medical supplies? If you are Monica Vesci ’04, you design a stylish bag in which to keep all necessary paraphernalia. The Camino Clutch is a stylish way to organize and carry all the necessities required by someone with diabetes. The clutch is manufactured in the United States, and Vesci — who lives in Copenhagen, Denmark, with her husband, a professor at the University of Copenhagen — says business is booming. Read more about her story in the Chestnut Hill Local, here.  And visit for more information.

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Celebrate Earth Day …

… with a screening of the film, “The 11th Hour,” produced and narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio. The 2007 documentary explores how humans impact Earth’s ecosystems and what we can do to change our course now, at the 11th hour.  The film will be shown Thursday, April 21 at 12:30 and 4 p.m. in the Redman Room and is sponsored by the CHC Sustainability Task Force

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Learning About The Ayah

All are invited to attend the faculty colloquium of Suzanne Conway, associate professor of art history as she presents "The Ayah: Intimate Intersection of Race and Class in British Colonial India." The colloquium will recount the ayah'sstory and consider several interesting questions it raises concerning the colonial experience, racism, and the post-Rosseau construct of childhood. The colloquium takes place April 13 at 2:15 p.m.

CEC hot chocolate bar
Members of CEC host the hot chocolate bar.
Marilee Gallagher '14

Students Make Hot Chocolate for a Good Cause

Members of the Council for Exceptional Children hosted a hot chocolate bar in late March, allowing students, faculty and staff to get a cup of the piping hot beverage with the toppings of their choosing for just $1 each.

All profits from the hot chocolate bar will be used to purchase children’s books that will be donated to an orphanage in Guatemala where education major Heather Darabos and her husband will be going to help teach English as part of the More Than Compassion organization.

According to the website, the group’s mission is to “seek the flourishing of Guatemala’s most vulnerable through the love of Jesus through basic needs provision, education, practical skills training and spiritual mentorship.”

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Immigration and advocacy were the themes of the lecture.
Cristina Diaz '15

Exploring Life Beyond our Borders

A grant made by The Association of Colleges of Sisters of St. Joseph (ACSSJ) allowed the College to host “Beyond Borders: Mission at the Heart of Immigration and Advocacy,” with Veronica Roche, SSJ, in March. Mary Kay Flannery, SSJ, D.Min., gave the response.

The lecture was sponsored by Campus Ministry and focused on the ways that advocacy for our immigrant sisters and brothers is at the heart of the mission of the Sisters of St. Joseph and how it is a concern for people of faith, especially in these challenging times.

The “Beyond Borders” event also included the personal testimony of Carla Estrada who emigrated from Mexico to the USA at age six.   

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Forgiveness Day
Cristina Diaz '15

CHC Wears Forgiveness

Chestnut Hill College’s Institute for Forgiveness and Reconciliation recently hosted its fourth annual Forgiveness Day. CHC had the opportunity to “wear” forgiveness with student run events during the day, and then participate in the  lecture “Stories of Transformation, Healing and Forgiveness,” later that evening, delivered by Teya Sepinuck, founder and director of Theater of Witness.

The student-led events included a path where participants were given instructions of the different steps towards forgiveness such as claiming you pain, giving up the right to get even, giving humanity to the offender and revising your feelings toward your offender. Once participants made all of the stops on the “path to forgiveness” they were given a pin to wear.

The lecture by Sepinuck featured some of the productions of Theater of Witness that Sepinuk has created. Theater of Witness is a form of testimonial performance in which the true life of those whose voices have not been heard in society, are performed by the storytellers themselves, as a way for audiences to bear witness to significant social issues.

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Professor Asmaron Legesse visits an IDHP class in March.
Professor Asmaron Legesse visits an IDHP class in March.

Learning about Eritrea

Suzanne Conway, associate professor of art history, and Sara Ellen Kitchen, J.D., welcomed a guest lecturer to their IDHP class, Art and Justice: Childhood Past to Present, on March 14.  Professor Asmaron Legesse, the father of CHC sophomore Liz Legesse, is a professor emeritus at Swarthmore College. He spoke to the class about the history of his country of origin, Eritrea, and the research he did there from 1991-94 during the border war with Ethiopia. He discussed his subsequent writings, emphasizing the effects of the war on Eritrean children and their families.

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My Fair Lady

“My Fair Lady”

The Music Department presents the classic musical, “My Fair Lady,” Friday through Sunday, April 8-10, in the College’s Motherhouse Auditorium. There will be four shows, starting Friday at 8 p.m., two shows on Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and a matinee on Sunday at 2 p.m.

“My Fair Lady” is the story of Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower seller who takes speech lessons from Henry Higgins, a professor, so that she may pass as a duchess at an embassy ball.

Primary roles are played by Penelope Pucci ’16 as Eliza Doolittle, Jason Lazrus as Freddie Eynsford-Hill, Brian Langdon ’16 as Colonel Pickering, Michael Yancey ’15 as Henry Higgins, Liz Ben-Yaacov as Mrs. Higgins and Mollie Durkin ’16 as Mrs. Pearce. The show is directed by Sarah Dugan and Emma Massey ’17, is the student music director.

Tickets are $12 for general admission and $5 for seniors, children and students. Call 215.753.3707 for tickets and more information.

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Professor Dr. Harald zur Hausen presents his lecture to a full house in March.
Professor Dr. Harald zur Hausen presents his lecture to a full house in March.
Linda Johnson

Biomedical Distinguished Lecture Series Continues

Professor Dr. Harald zur Hausen, 2008 winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, spoke at CHC in late March as part of the Annual Biomedical Distinguished Lecture Series. Dr. zur Hausen was the third Nobel Laureate to speak at CHC as part of this annual event, now in its 23rd year.

Dr. zur Hausen’s research at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, Germany, laid the foundation for the development of the Gardasil and Cervarix vaccines, which have been effective in limiting cases of cervical cancer worldwide.

He presented information about his evolving research on cervical cancer and his current research on the role of novel viruses in cancers of the colon and breast, as well as in multiple sclerosis, to a standing-room-only audience in the East Parlor.

In her introduction, Lakshmi Atchison, Ph.D., professor of biology, and the organizer of the lecture series, reminded the students that it is a “great privilege” to learn from Dr. zur Hausen and other distinguished speakers and reminded them that these scientists are “role models and successful leaders in their fields.”

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Phillies ball girls mix with students, staff and faculty during the visit.
Phillies ball girls mix with students, staff and faculty during the visit.
Marilee Gallagher '14

Phillies Trolley Makes Stop on Campus

As part of its college campus tour, the Phillies Trolley made a stop at Chestnut Hill College to help pump up students, faculty and staff for the current season. Representatives from the Phillies game day staff as well as a few ball girls, came with giveaways including signs, sunglasses, beads, rally towels and more. A few lucky students also received ticket vouchers for hashtagging #PhilliesTrolleyCollegeCampusTour on Twitter.

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Autumn Konopka, adjunct professor of English since 2011, has been named Montgomery County's Poet Laureate for 2016.

According to the county's website, Konopka's poems "manage to confront the realities of teaching in the midst of urban blight, poverty and violence with a distinctive personal voice that avoids political rhetoric. Thoughtful, self-critical, often self-mocking, they enact a lively engagement with those who are trying not merely to defend themselves, but to give their lives purpose and possibility." Later this month, the website will include a full list of the programs in which Konopka will participate throughout the year.

Visit to learn more.

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