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The e-newsletter of Chestnut Hill College

News & Notes

News & Notes



Eva Kor, standing with Marie Conn, Ph.D., points to a picture of herself as a young girl in Auschwitz.
Eva Kor, standing with Marie Conn, Ph.D., points to a picture of herself as a young girl in Auschwitz.

Auschwitz Survivor Preaches Forgiveness

Eva Kor and her twin sister, Miriam, were the only two members of their family to survive the horror that was Auschwitz. Although the two experienced pain and fear during the experiments performed on twins by the notorious Dr. Josef Mengele, Kor ultimately came to forgive her tormenters and now spreads her story of how forgiveness provided her with emotional liberation.

Chestnut Hill College and NewChurch Live will co-host a presentation by Auschwitz survivor, Eva Kor, in Bryn Athyn on February 15. Marie Conn, Ph.D., professor of religious studies at CHC, Chris Dunn ’13, director of Sunroom Spiritual Growth Groups, and Chuck Blair, pastor of NewChurch Live based in Bryn Athyn, are the event’s coordinators. Kor will speak at the Mitchell Performing Arts Center Auditorium in Bryn Athyn at 7 p.m. on Monday, February 15. The event is free and open to the public.

Kor says that in order to move forward with her life, she had to practice forgiveness, and that was the only thing that allowed her to move away from victimhood.

“Eva has taught me that in practicing forgiveness, you set a prisoner free only to realize that the prisoner was you,” says Dunn. “Eva works to transform peoples’ ideas of forgiveness. We felt that her message would benefit both institutions as well as so many others.”

The presentation will be streamed live to participants around the world. Visit for more information or contact Chris Dunn at 203-988-0896 or or Marie Conn, Ph.D., at 215-248-7044 or

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men's basketball team helps the homeless
The men's basketball team delivers clothing and other items to a homeless shelter for MLK Day of Service.

Men's Basketball Team Helps the Homeless

Always eager to make a positive impact on the local community, the men’s basketball team recently spent the Martin Luther King Day of Service delivering clothes to the Coordinated Homeless Outreach Center, located on the grounds of the Norristown State Hospital.

The team spent the preceding weeks collecting more than 20 bags of clothes and other items to donate to the shelter, which services homeless adult men and women in the Montgomery County area.

“I think it is very powerful for the student-athletes to see the way some people struggle,” says Jesse Balcer, head coach. “Nobody wants to be homeless, but it is a stark reality for some.  This project enabled the student-athletes to gather clothes and other items to comfort and keep warm people who are far less fortunate. I believe everyone took something positive away from this experience.”

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CHC Music Students Earn Top Honors at NATS Vocal Competition

Recently, sophomores Gabrielle Sciortino and Charlotte Oliva participated in a voice competition held at Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and sponsored by the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), placing first and second respectively in their VIII Lower College/Independent Studio category.

Voice students from 20 area colleges participated with all winners taking home cash prizes. As a first-place winner, Sciortino also received the opportunity to sing in an honors concert at the conclusion of the competition.

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Brittany Russell, 5th year Psy.D. student, takes her oath as she is inducted into the U.S. Air Force.
Brittany Russell, 5th year Psy.D. student, takes her oath as she is inducted into the U.S. Air Force.

CHC Student Takes Air Force Oath

Brittany Russell, a fifth-year student in the Psy.D. program, was inducted as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force in September.

She earned her bachelor’s degree at Widener and her master’s in clinical mental health counseling at Marymount University. She says that growing up in a military family encouraged her to join. Her parents were both members of the Air Force and she grew up in Germany.

“I love military culture,” says Russell. “It’s also important to me to pay it forward because the Air Force has given my family many important and unique experiences that I’m grateful for.”

She is on track to receive her Psy.D. in May 2017 and plans to work as a clinical psychologist in the Air Force where she would eventually like to be part of combat stress control teams in deployed settings.

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Amanda Monroe '16 poses with the Pope Francis exhibition at the Woodmere Museum.

CHC's Woodmere Connection

Last summer, students from the ARTH 190 American Art course visited the Woodmere Museum and the “Woodmere Welcomes Pope Francis” exhibition. The students chose one work of art, researched it and wrote a catalogue entry. They then presented their findings to their classmates and the museum staff. This project was collected and collated by the staff at the Woodmere and the project will be kept in its library as a memorial to the exhibition.

One of the students, Amanda Monroe ’16, who was working at the museum for the summer, was trained as a docent for the exhibition and Kathi Szpila, SSJ, Ph.D., assistant professor of art history, gave a special gallery tour of the exhibition.

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Sister Carol accepts a plaque from Captain Jack Fleming of the Philadelphia Highway Patrol.
Brenda Lange

Police Express Thanks

Law enforcement officers came to Philadelphia from far and wide during the pope’s visit in September. Captain Jack Fleming, of the Philadelphia Highway Patrol, was responsible for about 100 officers on the pope’s police motorcycle escort. Some came from as far away as Pittsburgh and needed a place to sleep for two nights.

Beds and welcome packages (See story in October 2015 Connections here.) were provided in Commonwealth Chateau at SugarLoaf for 13 officers thanks to Polly Teti, director of campus safety and security, and Drew Westveer, director of event planning and facilities marketing.

In December, two officers joined Fleming in presenting Sister Carol with a plaque to show their appreciation. Captain Fleming said, “We can’t thank you enough, Sister Carol. You and your people went above and beyond in your welcome to us, and we wanted to present you with this plaque to show our gratitude.”

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Join the First Annual Health and Wellness Day: A Heart Healthy Griffin at Chestnut Hill College from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, February 10, in the Rotunda.

Learn more about services offered at CHC to help you create a healthier lifestyle and enjoy activities designed to lower your stress level. The East Parlor will house a stress-free environment with soothing music, self-reflection activities, coloring, yoga, blood pressure screenings, mental health self-evaluations and more. Representatives from the America Heart Association will demonstrate CPR in the Rotunda.

A blood drive will also be held from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. in conjunction with the American Red Cross. Click here to make an appointment and use the sponsor code: Chestnut Hill College

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Students celebrate a Roman feast in November.
Students celebrate a Roman feast in November.

When in Rome ...

Kathleen Szpila, SSJ, Ph.D., assistant professor of art history, and Jacqueline Reich, Ph.D., associate professor of political science, teach a course on the politics and art of empire in which they begin their chronological study of empire with the Greeks and Romans.

On a Friday night in November, the class celebrated a Roman feast in which they dressed up in togas with a laurel leaf crown, ate authentic ancient Roman food and heard presentations about Roman works of art.

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Marvin Worthy conducts a workshop with Resident Assistants in January.
Marvin Worthy conducts a workshop with resident assistants in January.

Residence Life Staff = Agents of Change

The Residence Life staff participated in a workshop in mid-January with Marvin Worthy of Worthy Consulting & Training. During the event, he challenged the Resident Assistants (RAs) to be agents of change and taught them how to role model tolerance for their peers and in all areas of their lives. Worthy’s mission is to inspire others to include not exclude, to accept not reject, and to act not ignore.

“Marvin has run this type of workshop for us before,” says Jennifer Thorpe, director of Residence Life, “and once again, it was a powerful event. One staff member commented, “It really opened my eyes …” Thorpe, friends with Worthy for nearly 20 years, continues to be impacted by his presentation. “I hope we can have him back again soon.”

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Jayde Terio-Sbailo tutors youngsters during Urban Plunge at St. Joan of Arc.
Jayde Terio-Sbailo tutors youngsters at St. Joan of Arc school during Urban Plunge .

Ready for Any Good Work

Eight CHC students and four CHC staff members cut their winter break short to participate in the Urban Plunge service immersion trip, where they lived with and among those they served in Kensington, Philadelphia, and Camden, N.J.

The weekend began with an orientation to educate the students about poverty and immigration.

Then, the group spent four days working at eight different service sites, including La Salle Academy, Holy Name of Camden, St. Joan of Arc, St. John’s Hospice and SHARE Food Program. Students tutored small children in an after-school program, fed the homeless at the soup kitchen and served the immigrant population at the SSJ Welcome Center.

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Morris Arboretum Opens Doors to CHC Students

One of CHC’s esteemed neighbors has just offered free admission to all CHC students with a valid College ID. This offer is good weekends as well as weekdays, however does not include lectures, member events, courses, concerts or other ticketed events.

The arboretum is open every day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, contact the arboretum at 215-247-5777.

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Lawrence Little, Ph.D.
Lawrence Little, Ph.D.

Villanova Professor Makes Special Presentation for Black History Month

CHC’s History Club and Phi Alpha Theta (National Honor Society for History) will sponsor a presentation by Lawrence Little, Ph.D., associate professor of history at Villanova University to commemorate Black History Month.

The lecture, “Enforcing Apartheid: Racial Terror and Lynching in America,” is scheduled for Wednesday, February 17, at 7 p.m. in the East Parlor.

Little will analyze the causes, justifications and consequences of the racial violence and mass incarceration involved with systems of oppression from the 1840s to 1940s and attempts by African-Americas to resist them.

Little teaches about African-American History, American History, Racism and Race Relations, Civil Rights, U.S. Foreign Policy and World History. He has published several journals, and his book, “Disciples of Liberty: The African Methodist Church in the Age of Imperialism, 1884-1916,” examines African-American reaction to global events and issues at the turn of the century.

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Intercultural Foundations Certificate

Rooted in the mission of Chestnut Hill College, the Certificate in Intercultural Foundations is an opportunity for students to obtain a better understanding and appreciation of cultural differences locally and internationally.

The program is designed to challenge students to engage in a wide variety of educational, service and experiential learning opportunities to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse and interconnected world. 

“All employers are looking for intercultural skills,” says Mary Kay Flannery, SSJ, the program’s faculty advisor. “Our hope is that this will become a signature program of Chestnut Hill College, and many of our students will be able to graduate with this certificate as part of their resume.”

Because the first two required courses are part of the core curriculum, many students will be eligible to complete the Intercultural Foundations Certificate. To earn the certificate, students also will complete a Seminar in Intercultural Foundations and three other electives.

Contact Mary Kay Flannery, SSJ, at to learn more about the Certificate in Intercultural Foundations.