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Mercyhurst honors distinguished alumni

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

L-R, Allan Belovarac, Mary Hoffman, Patricia Lightner and Marcia Federici. Absent from photo is Paul Cahill.

Mercyhurst University honored five outstanding graduates as Distinguished Alumni during ceremonies at its annual Reunion Weekend, held June 6-8 on the Erie campus.

The award for Outstanding Service to Mercyhurst went to Allan Belovarac, Ph.D., who had worked at least part time at Mercyhurst ever since his 1973 graduation and retired last month after a 40-year career with the university. A popular history professor for 34 years, he previously coached the Laker crew team during its early years and served as Mercyhurst registrar and director of institutional research. He also had a 28-year career as an intelligence specialist with the U.S. Naval Reserve.

Three alumni were honored for Outstanding Contributions to their Chosen Fields.

M. Marcia Federici, Ph.D., ’72 worked in the biopharmaceutical field for more than 25 years, managing product development, quality control and manufacturing with such firms as Genentech and GlaxoSmithKline. She worked on many drugs now being used to treat cancer, growth deficiencies and stroke, including TPA for stroke patients and the cancer drug Bexxar. Since retiring from industry, she has devoted herself to teaching and mentoring the next generation of young scientists.

Patricia Clark Lightner ’81 ’84 has worked in the parole, probation and community corrections field throughout her career. After working for the Edmund L. Thomas Juvenile Detention Center, the Erie County Adult Probation Office and Gateway Rehabilitation Center, she has been a district director for the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole since 1999. In 2002, she received the Kinnane Criminal Justice Award for her career accomplishments. She is also an adjunct instructor in the criminal justice department at Mercyhurst.

Paul Cahill ’88 is Senior Vice President of Brand Management, Marriott Hotels and Resorts and JW Marriott Hotels, for Marriott International, Inc. He is responsible for developing and executing a multi-year brand strategy for both brands. He has held a variety of leadership positions within the Marriott organization, including Area General Manager of the South Orange County market, Area General Manager for Los Angeles, and Senior Regional Director of Operations for the Western Region.

Mary Hoffman ’74 received the award for Outstanding Contribution to the Community. A special education teacher with the Millcreek Township School District, she retired after 34 years there but has continued to run the theater program she and colleague Mary Ellen Lieb developed for their students who have graduated from high school. Each year they stage a musical starring their special needs students of all ages. She is also very active with St. John’s Parish in Erie.

Hundreds of Mercyhurst alumni returned to campus for Reunion Weekend, which featured gatherings of classes marking milestone anniversaries, including the 50-year Class of 1964; as well as athletes who played field hockey, football, tennis, volleyball and water polo. The Mercyhurst Athletic Hall of Fame also inducted eight new members during the weekend.