Staff and faculty filled the Redmond Room on May 4 to say a bittersweet farewell to four retiring members of the Chestnut Hill College community. As Sister Carol said in her opening remarks, “Endings are seldom easy, but each step leads to new wonders.”
Marie Bambrick, SSJ, M.Ed., has retired after 17 years at CHC, where she was the coordinator for Teach for America and Philadelphia Teaching Fellows since 2003. Prior to that position, she was the Director of the Pennsylvania Act 101 Program that provided a summer bridge program for first-year students to ensure they were ready to begin the fall semester. Sister Marie also taught classes in the Division of Teacher Education and Leadership.
“I love the caring and supportive people of Chestnut Hill College,” she said. “And I’m so grateful to have had this wonderful place to be in God’s presence.”
Sister Marie plans to spend time in retirement doing volunteer work for the organizations she loves: The Council for Exceptional Children, Lily’s Hope Foundation and, not surprisingly, Chestnut Hill College.
Nancy Porter, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology, commented on how quickly her 19 years of service had passed and how grateful she was to have had them.
“I earned my Ph.D. later than many, and I appreciate that the College gave me the opportunity to start on a new and very fulfilling career in relative middle age!”
In addition to reading, playing golf and enjoying friends and family, Porter plans to help her husband, a well-known sculptor, manage his career, including a show
that opens at the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown in October.
Then, the 39-year career of Janice Kuklick, M.Ed., associate professor of physical education, was celebrated. Throughout nearly four decades, she was teacher, coach, mentor, cheerleader and friend not only to the students, but to faculty and staff as well.
Kuklick, a former captain of the U.S. Women’s Lacrosse team and member of their Hall of Fame, who led her teams through a 10-year undefeated streak in high school, college and into her professional career, is known across campus for her abundant energy and positivity who always encouraged everyone to be their best self.
“This was my dream job, and I went to work each morning with a smile,” said Kuklick, as she wiped away a tear. She talked about how CHC’s mission and core values have remained the same through all the changes she has witnessed over 39 years.
“I love the students and will miss my interaction with them. They are the reason for my smile. I was blessed to find my way to CHC, and I feel as if I’m leaving an old friend,” she said. “I have many, many great memories embedded in my brain, and now it is time to enjoy the fruits of my labor. What I become next will reflect what I learned here.”
Unfortunately, Denise Costello, M.Ed. — who worked for more than nine years for the Office of Institutional Advancement, most recently as the Director of Donor Relations and Stewardship — was ill on the day of the celebration. In an email, she said: “What I loved the most about the College and will miss the most are the people. There is such a sincere feeling of caring and support here that I have never experienced anywhere else.”
Costello plans to travel and spend as much time as possible with her new grandchild, due this summer.
Each of the retirees was honored with words, song and sentiment expressed by former students, colleagues and friends. In Kuklick’s case, a skit about her legendary athleticism had everyone laughing.
In addition, 14 faculty and staff who have served the College for 10 years or more received awards in recognition of that service. Sister Carol noted that the 14 represented 235 cumulative years and innumerable contributions made to the College, and then presented each one with a special gift. Those recognized were Regina Bernhardt, Marian Ehnow, Jean Faustman, SSJ, Erin Fidler, April Fowlkes, Mary Anne Galbally, Denise Merritt, Joan Mickey, SSJ, Kathryn Miller, SSJ, Ryan Murphy, Lynn Ortale, Ph.D., Rita Michael Scully, SSJ, Jennifer Thorpe and Kenneth West.
— Brenda Lange