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Thomas J. Ahern

The Rev. William M. Bichl Volunteer Service Award honors and recognizes an alumna, alumnus or friend of the University who has volunteered a significant amount of time and energy to the Alumni Association and its programs.

The winner and first recipient of the Bichl Alumni Volunteer Service Award is Thomas J. Ahern from the Class of 1970.

Tom has served as president of the Chicago Alumni Chapter since 2013 and has volunteered with the chapter prior to taking over as president. During his tenure as president, the connection between the Chicago Alumni Chapter and the Office of Alumni Relations has truly developed into a wonderful partnership.

He has pushed the chapter to take significant strides in programming, resulting in an increased number of events, ultimately reaching more Chicago alumni than ever.

He consistently encourages his fellow volunteers and looks for ways to recognize their accomplishments.

Tom has given his time in other ways, serving with the Alumni Ambassadors program to help recruit Chicago area high school students to JCU. To quote one of this fellow chapter volunteers, “Tom is a pillar of the Jesuit dedication to the care for the person and service to others. Always the first to ask how he can help, the first to sign up to offer his time and the last to leave, ensuring the job was done well and everyone involved is happy. Tom is sincere, dependable and fully committed to John Carroll. His loyalty serves as a true example to alumni everywhere.”

Peter R. Bernardo

Peter R. Bernardo ’67, ’72G is synonymous with service – to his country, community, and alma mater. After a distinguished 20-year military career that includes numerous honors, including three Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Service Cross, Pete returned to his alma mater in 1988 and has since worked in alumni relations, advancement services, planned giving, and philanthropic relations. He also was a professor of military science and chairman of that department. At age 70, Pete is working on his third degree, a master’s of theology.

In the Army, Pete helped plan, coordinate, and negotiate the configuration management, product assurance, and safety plans for a $164 million research and development test program designed to produce and test the free world’s only non-nuclear antiballistic missile system. He helped develop, plan, and maintain all U.S. war plans in the Atlantic Theater of Operations. He also planned logistics for the invasion of Granada.

At JCU, Pete’s work in alumni relations received seven awards from The Council for Advancement and Support of Education, The Conference of Jesuit Advancement Administrators, and University Heights. The retired lieutenant colonel helped raise $30 million in planned gifts for the Greater Good Campaign, increased legacy gifts cash income from $125,000 per year to $3 million, raised more than $10 million in major and planned gifts for the Forever Carroll Campaign, and has raised more than $20 million in gifts and pledges since 1995.

Pete staffed the chain crew at home football games, coordinated transportation for freshman move-in day and supported community events such as the Fatima Family Center and Project Que. He even dresses up as Santa for JCU’s annual Breakfast with Santa event.

The Ashtabula native served on University Heights City Council, advocating for John Carroll; coordinated the University Heights Memorial Day parade for 15 years; and received two keys to the city.

Furthermore, Pete has taught adult religious education classes, coached football for the Army youth program, taught the Great Books program at Gesu, taught mountaineering to children at Blue Streaks summer camp, and provided a home for homeless boys for four years.

In service to the University, Pete once said: “There are just things that have to be done and someone needs to do it. And whatever it is that you’re doing supports the Jesuit mission.”

For his dedication to his country and alma mater, as well as exemplary civic leadership, the John Carroll Alumni Association is pleased to award the 2016 Alumni Medal to Pete Bernardo.

Andrew Costigan

John Carroll has many great alumni from a range of eras doing exemplary work, not only in their careers and with their family, but on behalf of the University as well. The Young Alumni Award recognizes outstanding leadership, career excellence and service of a John Carroll undergraduate alumnus or alumna who is 35 years old or younger.

This year’s recipient of the Young Alumni Award is Andrew Costigan, from the Class of 2008.

During his time as an undergraduate student at John Carroll, Andy was heavily involved with Campus Ministry, student government, residence life, and other organizations – all of which sparked his interest in serving others, particularly through ministry with college students. After graduating from JCU in 2008, Andy served as a Jesuit Volunteer at Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles. He has also worked for the Catholic Volunteer Network and the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities and earned his master’s degree in theology and ministry from Boston College. He currently serves on the board for multiple national service and faith-based organizations.

Andy started as a full-time member of the JCU Campus Ministry department in 2013 and is passionate about advancing the Jesuit “way of proceeding” through retreats and immersions experiences. His opportunities in Campus Ministry have taken him to retreat centers across the country and around the world. More importantly, his work has allowed him to form meaningful relationships with students, accompanying them through the most challenging questions surrounding faith and vocation. Andy considers the opportunity to work in ministry one of the greatest blessings of his life.

A native of Akron, Ohio, and graduate of St. Vincent St. Mary’s High School (Or as LeBron James calls it, “the school Andy Costigan went to!”)…Andy enjoys traveling and spending time with his joy-filled niece and wisdom-filled grandmother.

Courtney Fallon

In honor of the late Rev. William J. Millor, S.J., who served the University for more than 28 years, the senior class selects a classmate to be the only student speaker at commencement.

This year’s Millor Orator is Courtney Fallon.

Courtney, a native of North Olmsted Ohio will graduate on Sunday with a degree in Marketing and Sports Leadership from the Mike Cleary Program of Sports Leadership. Courtney’s leadership in her sorority, Chi Omega, as the Career and Personal Development Chair, her involvement in the Sports Information Department and her participation as the President of the Carroll Crazies Student Spirit Club have all defined her experience here at John Carroll. Courtney’s enthusiasm shines through in all that she does which is probably why in July of 2014 she was selected As the Cleveland Indians Fan Services Employee of the Month where she has worked for the past few years. Courtney is also a fantastic tour guide in the Office of Admission where she shares her love of Carroll with potential students and their families.

In 2016 Courtney was the recipient of the WISE scholarship which stands for Women in Sports and Events. Courtney was one of four women to receive the scholarship.

In terms of her plans after graduation, I’m happy to announce that, just within the past week, Courtney received a job offer from the Cleveland Indians!

Thomas B. Lewis

Classmates and colleagues describe Tom Lewis as the consummate Carroll man, who is known for his character, honesty, and integrity. His impressive academic credentials include his JCU undergraduate and master’s degrees, a Ph.D. from MIT, a post-doctoral fellowship at Cornell University, and the Executive Program at Stanford University.

Tom was a dayhop student whose extracurricular activities included Sodality and golf. As a physics major, he spent a lot time in the research lab and is grateful for his faculty mentors whose guidance and instruction influenced the rest of his life. Years later, Tom served on John Carroll’s Physics Advisory Board.

His career began in St. Louis as a research scientist at Monsanto, where he subsequently worked in management, then development, and ultimately became vice president/general manager of a specialty chemical division. In 1988, Tom moved to a biotech firm, Celgene Corporation, as vice president of business development and served on its executive management team. In 1992, he joined Chiral Technologies as president and CEO. Chiral was a start-up venture that expanded globally and became a highly respected supplier to the pharmaceutical industry. Under Tom’s leadership, Chiral built new facilities in Philadelphia and Strasbourg, France.

He retired in 2007, but continues to serve the Chemical Heritage Foundation on its Board of Overseers, and on the planning board for the city of Madison, New Jersey, where he lives. Previously, he was on the pastoral council for his local parish.

Tom joined John Carroll’s Board of Directors in 2011, serving on the Academic Affairs and Mission and Identity Committees. He’s also a dedicated New York City Alumni Chapter volunteer who consistently attends events, promotes student recruitment, advocates for student internships and jobs, and supports the University Advancement team.

Generous Carroll supporters, Tom and his wife, Mary (Cavanagh ’64G), are native Clevelanders who were married 51 years ago at Gesu Church. Tom was the first in his family to attend a Jesuit school, Mary received her undergraduate degree from Saint Louis University, and their children were educated at Jesuit universities. Other JCU and Jesuit ties include Tom’s sister, Madonna ’74; brothers, John ’62 (2007 Alumni Medal honoree), and Jim (Stritch Medical School, Loyola Chicago); and Mary’s brothers, Edward ’64 and Rev. Gerald F. Cavanagh, S.J., who is at University of Detroit Mercy and a fellow JCU Board member.

For his dedication to family and John Carroll University, and outstanding professional, civic, and parish leadership, the John Carroll Alumni Association is pleased to award the 2016 Alumni Medal to Thomas B. Lewis.

The Silver Quill Award recipient is distinguished by her or his dedication to the University and through service as a class columnist for John Carroll magazine. This year’s recipient is Dr. Peter Mykytyn, from the Class of 1963.

The voice of Pete Mykytyn, Ph.D., is heard clearly in the 1963 class column he writes for John Carroll magazine. His voice is defined by his age, experience, and personality. Missing very few columns since he started, which was about 1970, Mykytyn always writes a detailed, interesting, and creative column, even if he doesn’t receive information from his classmates. Not one for skimping, he takes advantage of the Web’s limitless space and expands his columns regularly while consistently encouraging his classmates to read his online-only features. This is what makes Peter Mykytyn the 2016 Silver Quill award winner.

Christine (Schomisch) Moravec

Christine (Schomisch) Moravec, Ph.D., ’78, ’84G is mending broken hearts, and the assistant dean for basic science education at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine credits two John Carroll professors for her successful career. Christine directs a research program focused on human heart failure, studying the hearts of cardiac transplant patients and testing the hypothesis that heart failure can be reversed using medical, surgical, and psychophysiological therapies.

Christine majored in religious studies at JCU and initially taught that subject at Trinity High School in Garfield Heights. Over time, she became interested in the chemistry class across the hall. That interest spurred her return to Carroll to earn a master’s in biology under the guidance of biology professor, Cyrilla Wideman, Ph.D., and psychology professor, Helen Murphy, Ph.D., ’67G.

Christine is one of the first scientists to use human hearts to research human heart failure. Previously, people studied heart failure in mice, rats, and hamsters. During the late ’80s, cardiologist Bernadine Healy, M.D., then the chair of the Cleveland Clinic Research Institute, suggested Christine study human hearts. Dr. Healy’s husband was Cleveland Clinic’s chief executive officer and head of cardiac surgery, so he helped her access human hearts from transplant patients.

Christine’s groundbreaking research included measuring calcium in human heart tissue using an electron microscope. One of her discoveries was a defect in the way calcium – which is needed for the heart to beat – moves through heart cells. The defect occurs when one or two proteins malfunction. This discovery led to gene therapy in clinical trials to put protein back into cells and cure patients. She changed what doctors know about heart failure and the way they treat and prevent heart disease.

Christine discovered that a left ventricular assist device – a pump inserted in the chest that attaches to the heart – helps the heart recover by pumping blood while a patient waits for a transplant. In tissue studies before and after the device is implanted, researchers discovered some heart issues aren’t irreversible as originally thought. Heart failure used to mean either a transplant or death because there aren’t enough heart donors. Some patients thought they were beyond hope, but cells can recover. It’s a paradigm shift in cardiac biology.

For her dedication to medical science, as well as exemplary professional leadership, the John Carroll Alumni Association is pleased to award the 2016 Alumni Medal to Christine Moravec.

David W. Short

As chair of JCU’s Board of Directors from 2009 to 2015, and a Board member since 1999, Dave Short has logged many miles over the years between his native Pittsburgh and University Heights.

Fellow Board members and classmates call him a tireless and inspirational man for others, who is dynamic, professional, and humble. Indeed, when Dave received JCU’s inaugural Loyola Presidential Medal and was Commencement speaker in 2015, he said one of the greatest lessons he learned at Carroll was humility.

As Board chair, Dave oversaw numerous campus improvements, including the renovation of Murphy Hall; the installation of Hamlin Quad; the decommissioning of Bohannon Science Center; the establishment of the Tim Russert Department of Communication and Theatre Arts; and the successful launch of the Forever Carroll Campaign, which he and his wife, Beth, very generously supported.

As a Carroll student, Dave was captain of the tennis and soccer teams; vice president of Iota Chi Upsilon (IXY) fraternity; and the Millor Orator. Sadly, his father died during Dave’s junior year. As one of six children, he knew completing his degree would be a financial burden on his family. A JCU Presidential Grant enabled him to graduate and instilled a tremendous sense of Carroll loyalty in him.

Professionally, Dave enjoyed a successful career in the financial services industry. He started at Federated Investors in 1982. Three years later, he went to work for American Funds Group, which manages more than $1 trillion for individual and institutional investors. He started in sales, moved into management, and then retired in January 2009 at age 50 as chairman and co-chief executive officer. A former colleague says Dave built and managed the best sales force in the asset management business. Because his career included extensive travel, he is grateful for the opportunity to spend more time with his family now.

The Shorts reside in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania—close to where he grew up—and have four children; their son, David Jr., is a 2014 Carroll graduate. Dave returns to campus often for Board-related commitments and comes back every fall to play in the McCarthy Alumni Soccer Game. He also remains close to fraternity brothers and helps raise funds for the IXY Scholarship.

For his dedication to his family and John Carroll University, his professional accomplishments, and a generosity of spirit and service to others, the John Carroll Alumni Association is pleased to award the 2016 Alumni Medal to David W. Short.

James E. Skerl

The Campion Shield recognizes bravery, sacrifice or acts of heroism, by members of the John Carroll University community. This year we recognize the late James E. Skerl, member of the Class of 1978.

Jim Skerl, a beloved St. Ignatius High School alumnus and theology teacher, exemplified the Jesuit phrase “men for others.” His life’s work contributed to the Jesuit tradition founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola. Jim’s contributions to various service programs provided students with ongoing life lessons right up to Oct. 3, 2014, his last day of teaching. People are still learning from his teachings and example.

Jim lived life intentionally and lovingly as he followed Christ’s teachings. He treated everyone with reverence, dignity, and love no matter who they were or how he knew them. Jim was the consummate teacher – to his students, colleagues, and friends.

During his time at St. Ignatius and John Carroll, Jim was influenced significantly by the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. After earning a degree from Carroll in religious studies and theology, he returned to his high school alma mater, helping form the character of more than 11,000 young men during his 36 years at the school. Among his hallmarks is the Christian manhood course, a night course for parents and their sons.

Jim encouraged his students to discern what God wants from them. For more than 11 years, he led students every Sunday evening to express love to the homeless of Cleveland through the St. Benedict Joseph Labre Ministry, which he co-founded in 2001. The group prepares meals and gathers before the Blessed Sacrament to pray. “Labre is about loving those we meet on the streets,” he said. Several years ago, two of Jim’s former students brought Labre to John Carroll where it remains one of our most popular and impactful service programs.

Jim also led friends with L’Arche, a ministry in which students share a monthly meal with disabled adults. Additionally, the St. Joseph of Arimathea Pallbearer Ministry has been a profoundly meaningful way for students to live the Works of Mercy as a ministry of presence and prayer through burying the dead.

Leading by example, Jim reached out to those in need or struggling. He never had a grand plan; he just followed God’s plan.

While courageously battling cancer, Jim passed away on the birthday of St. Ignatius and was laid to rest on All Saint’s Day. He approached his death honestly, transparently, and with faith and hope that inspires others to move toward the kingdom of God as members of the body of Christ in the communion of saints.

The John Carroll Alumni Association is honored to present the 2016 Campion Shield Award to the family and legacy of Jim Skerl.

Patrick Vecellio

The Beaudry Award was established in honor of the late Robert Beaudry from the Class of 1950. Each year, a graduating senior is recognized by his or her classmates for contributions in academic achievement, Christian life, leadership, and service to the University and civic community during their time as a student.

This year’s recipient is Patrick Vecellio.

Pat hails from Commerce Township, Michigan and graduates Sunday with a degree in Biochemistry and a minor in Philosophy. Pat’s commitment to his Christian values and service to others is truly exemplary and extraordinary. He received recognition for his service work last spring, when he was awarded the George B. Sweeney Endowed Campion Award for Service.

An Arrupe Scholar and member of Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit Honor Society, Patrick has made the Dean’s List every semester. He recently presented at the Celebration of Scholarship this year on the work he completed as a research student in Dr. Paul Fox’s Lab in the Cellular and Molecular Medicine Department at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute.

And Pat recently found out that he was accepted into Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine.