The e-newsletter of Chestnut Hill College

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The e-newsletter of Chestnut Hill College

News & Notes

News & Notes

Heroes on the Hill participants
Students dress as their favorite superheroes during the first Heroes on the Hill event in 2014.

Be a Hero: Help Raise Funds for a Good Cause 

  • Save the date—May 2—for this annual event

Heroes on the Hill returns to Chestnut Hill College for its second year, but this time, it comes with a twist.

The annual 5K race, walk, kids’ fun run and carnival, which was started last year by the Student Government Association (SGA) and Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC), has been organized, coordinated and executed by students in the College’s sports management program.

The students, who are all in the course Sports Management and Event Planning have already given their commitment and time outside of class toward fundraising efforts including the choosing of two charities—Make-A-Wish Philadelphia, Northern Delaware and Susquehanna Valley, and Our Mother of Sorrows/St. Ignatius of Loyola, Independence Mission School—that will split the donations.

Through a gofundme account, which is open for donations, the students already have managed to raise more than $500 toward their cause.

The race and carnival will take place on May 2. Anyone is welcome to sign up as a race participant. Individuals can also register to attend the carnival, without taking part in the race.

For more information on how to become a race participant, volunteer or sponsorship donor, visit the Heroes on the Hill website.

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Congratulations to the following faculty who were approved for the following promotions by the Academic Committee of the CHC Board of Directors at their February meeting:

·         Kelly Butler, Ph.D., from associate professor to professor of chemistry

·         Meredith Kneavel, Ph.D., from associate professor to professor of psychology

·         Joseph Kulkosky, Ph.D., from associate professor to professor of biology

                                                          * * *

Elliot Tammaro, Ph.D.
Elliot Tammaro, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics spoke at CHC in February.

Free Will Explained

The Institute for Religion and Science hosted “The Free Will Problem: Insights from Physics,” presented by Elliot Tammaro, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics, on February 16. Using the theory of determinism, Tammaro attempted to argue against the idea of free will.

“From a research standpoint, I’m looking at foundational issues in quantum mechanics, so the notion of free will really comes up rather prominently there,” he said. “I think, frankly, whenever physics can impact something that’s so near and dear to us, like free will, that’s a worthwhile thing to talk about.”

Chestnut Hill College’s Institute for Religion and Science was established in May 2011 with the goal of “promoting a dialogue that is interfaith and multi-science.” Since its inception, the Institute has hosted dozens of similar lectures at CHC, Cabrini College and Pendle Hill, and also hosts a reading circle on campus.

Patrick McCauley, Ph.D., assistant professor of religious studies, was also in attendance. “I’m a guy who studies free will all the time, it’s a subject that I’m never far from,” he said. “But I’m a philosopher and a theologian, and so it was very, very interesting and important for me to get a really thoughtful and insightful discussion of the issue from the point of view of a rigorous scientist.”

He did however, believe that there were areas in which Tammaro could have elaborated. “I think that there was room for more of a discussion of the idea that science has limitations to what it can test and what is falsifiable,” he said. 

Tammaro presented his ideas to a full house of philosophers, theologians, fellow scientists and students, and opened the floor up to a brief question and answer session at the end.

—Frances Ellison ’15

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The Institute for Forgiveness and Reconciliation will host “The Witness to Innocence Project” during its Third Annual Forgiveness Day, Wednesday, April 8, at 7 p.m. in the East Parlor of St. Joseph Hall.

Guest speakers will be Shujaa Graham and his wife, Phyllis, who will discuss their lives before, during and since Shujaa’s incarceration for the murder of a prison guard in 1973. Shujaa was wrongfully convicted and placed on death row, and he met Phyllis while he was an inmate. They are board members of Witness to Innocence, the only national organization composed entirely of exonerated death row survivors and their family members. Its mission is to abolish the death penalty. Read more about this intriguing program on CHC’s website.

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Marie Conn, Ph.D., and Manisha Shendge, D.Min.
Marie Conn, Ph.D., poses with Manisha Shendge, D.Min.
Ryan Morton

Marie Conn, Ph.D., professor of religious studies, and Manisha Shendge, D.Min., adjunct professor, were awarded fellowships in Thanatology (the study of death) from the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) in January. ADEC is one of the oldest interdisciplinary organizations in the field of death, dying and bereavement, with nearly 2,000 members including psychologists, social workers educators, clergy and others.

“This validates my longstanding interest in the constellation of issues around death, aging, caregiving, dying, death and bereavement, and is an unexpected achievement at this late stage of my academic and pastoral career,” said Conn after being named a fellow.

Conn earned her doctorate in theology from the University of Notre Dame and has taught at Chestnut Hill College for 23 years. She has written several books and is actively engaged in a variety of social justice work around the world.

Shendge, who has taught at the College for 15 years, is a pastoral counselor and licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice. She also is a clinical fellow with the American Academy of Marriage and Family.

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Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.

President Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D., was recently featured in Regions Business Philadelphia, an online business publication. She was recognized as one of nine “Women Who Lead Philadelphia,” for breaking barriers in business and serving as a role model.

Here is an excerpt:

Throughout her career, Sister Carol has always relied on teamwork, and she urges others to do the same.

“While a person may be visionary, ambitious, talented, creative, astute and intelligent, it is imperative to remember that no one succeeds alone,” she says. “One can easily fail by refusing to recognize and rely on the insights of others. Build a great team of hardworking, loyal and enthusiastic people whose talents and abilities complement one another, and then listen to them and provide the environment and tools necessary for them to be successful in their work.”

Sister Carol also would urge young professionals not to fear failure. “Failure hides lessons that will teach you how to succeed,” she says. “Cultivate an impossibly daring vision of the possible. Well-researched, carefully considered risks are meant to be taken. Never shrink from them. When you succeed, share the spotlight with your colleagues and supporters who, with you, have taken a vision and given it a face.”

Read the full article here.

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To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in 1945, CHC’s Institute for Forgiveness and Reconciliation hosted actress Susan Stein as she performed her one-woman play, “Etty,” on March 23. The play is based on the letters and diary of Etty Hillesum, a young Dutch Jewish woman in Amsterdam during World War II. Etty, who had aspired to be a writer, died in Auschwitz in 1943. Susan Stein created the play using Etty’s words, through which the young woman’s hopes and dreams can be viewed. Stein has performed her play around the world and this was her second time appearing at CHC.

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Students from Chestnut Hill College’s Graduate Instructional Technology Program collaborated with the National Railway Historical Society (NRHS) by transferring 20,000 feet of old films from their archive to modern digital formats last semester.

“We processed about 20,000 feet of films, preserving valuable historic data for future generations of researchers and anyone interested in the history of the American transportation system,” said Yefim Kats, Ph.D., chair of the computer science and information technology graduate program and instructional technology coordinator.

Thomas Paul Coughlin, Ph.D., adjunct professor, department of computer science and information technology, led the students in this project.

The NRHS was so thrilled to receive the assistance, it made a $7,500 donation to the College and CHC’s contribution will receive recognition in any subsequent releases and digital file marketing. In fact, the NRHS has already received requests to use the files for educational purposes.

The HRHS is a non-profit organization founded in 1935 by a group of rail historians and it supports train, railway and station preservation projects. It originally had 40 founding members and has grown to include more than 13,000 men and women of all ages and professions throughout the U.S. and many foreign countries, which makes it the nation’s largest rail preservation and historical society.

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Jonathan Montaldo

Jonathan Montaldo, one of the foremost scholars on the writings of Thomas Merton, spoke to the CHC community in the Redmond Room of St. Joseph Hall on March 25. The title of the presentation was “Entering the Wisdom School of Your Own Life: A Thomas Merton Teaching on Contemplative Prayer.”

Merton, well-known for his best-selling autobiography, “The Seven Storey Mountain,” which is widely regarded as one of the most influential religious works of the 20th century, was a Trappist monk and writer who died in 1968. The religious studies department sponsored the lecture in recognition of the 100th anniversary of Merton’s birth.