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Educated for a Full Life—Additional Content

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Web Exclusive

Educated for a Full Life—Additional Content

Read additional alumni memories of Franciscan academics from this issue’s cover story.

Summer 2022 | Lisa Ferguson and Jessica Walker

In This Article

For 75 years, Franciscan University of Steubenville has been educating men and women for a full life. Here are memories from alumni about their favorite teachers and unforgettable classes, as well as how their Franciscan University education shaped them. Faculty, past and present, also chimed in their reflections from the classroom.


Memorable Professors

We sent our recommendations together since we were both American history majors, roommates all four years, and TKE brothers.

Every teacher we had touched us in one way or another. However, we narrowed it down to four: Jack Boyde (history), Maynard Ball (political science), Tom Manack (sociology), and Father Robert Glavey, TOR (residence director). Besides demanding the very best from us in the classroom, they showed us how to apply our knowledge and experiences to everyday life. They were our mentors and listened to our growing pains in a very turbulent world. They were human to us.

Note that we graduated in four years without a student union, a fieldhouse, same portions with no seconds, no salad bar, two phones on a dorm floor, and one TV room with only three channels. We had each other, fraternities, sororities, and independents working with each other to make something out of nothing. We organized golf tournaments in the dorm halls, hand ball in the study room, intramural games, spontaneous dances, Greek week, Olympic games, Greek hymn, St. Valentine’s Day Massacre semi-formal, TKE of the Week. We laughed a lot—together.

We made memories and friendships that continue today. “Make Steubie U proud of U.” All of us are! Dedicated to all who have passed but touched our lives!

—Ed Patton Jr. ’71 and Dave “Serra” Pastrick ’71


I wouldn’t be where I am now if it weren’t for Dr. Doyle. All those afternoons sitting on his smoking bench, he passed wisdom on to me and assured me that I could do anything I wanted. He helped me realize my passion for research and analysis, and he gave me the confidence to continue.

—Felicity Moran ’20


Dr. Milo Milburn inspired me in my counseling education to push past my limits, to be creative, and to be integrated in my educational pursuits and in my work. When I heard the call to religious life before the semester ended, he encouraged me to go. I went for a year and, after much thought and prayer, returned to Franciscan University to finish my counseling master’s degree. Dr. Milburn helped me to think outside of the box and to not only enjoy my coursework but also follow God‘s promptings. I’ve been doing that ever since. Thank you, Dr. Milburn.

—Halle Wendel MA ’07


Attorney William Powell, who taught business law, made learning fun. He had a great personality and a great sense of humor as well.

—Bob Madden ’65


Dr. Matthew Breuninger had the biggest impact on my life as a student because he helped me to form and crystallize a vision of what I wished to do with my future. I was a theology major but taking Human and Spiritual Integration helped me see the importance of incorporating psychology and philosophy of the human person into the work of evangelization.

Every class was gripping and thought-provoking. They would send my best friend and me into hours of conversation afterward, just to process all the amazing insights we’d learned. That’s why many of the things we talked about still impact me to this day and my career path in healing ministry.

Not only was the class content meaningful and applicable, but Dr. Breuninger made each student feel seen, known, and heard. That is a very special gift! Our whole class was even invited to his family’s home for dinner a couple of times. He stays in touch with previous students, still cheering us on. The memories of all the great conversations we had are among some of my favorite memories at Franciscan University. He is a gifted professor, wise mentor, and faithful witness of Christ.

—Hannah (Ballo ’19) Jungles


Professor Tom Wolter, who taught International Business in Austria, taught us more than just the subject of the class. He taught us to always have balance in our lives between our spiritual, academic, social, and professional lives.

—Gina (Andronico ’18) Updike


Dr. Mark Miravalle made a huge impact on me. I didn’t see Mary as my mother until I took Mariology with him. The way he talks about Mary is truly inspiring, and I wanted to know her and have a relationship with her like he does. That class helped me bring her into my life and doing so has enhanced by relationship with God immensely.

—Margaret Ethington ’20


Tempus fugit; memento mori. This sobering statement encircles an image of a skull that graces the front of my coffee mug. As far as I’m concerned, every morning my cup of Joe is eschatologized. The bitter bean becomes a sweet reminder of God’s mercy. I’d like to thank Dr. Regis Martin for teaching me to embrace the present moment and live the adventure of “the now.” His course in Eschatology profoundly changed my relationship with Jesus Christ.

I’ve never met Dr. Martin, but such is the case for an online student. Like many Gen X Catholics, I started my Master of Theology work back when Franciscan conducted “distance learning” through snail mail. Equipped with a box of books, a course outline, and a CD containing audio lectures, I set up at the kitchen table for a solo study of “The Last Things.”

My first (and lasting) impression of Dr. Martin was his voice. If you’re going to hear about death, judgment, heaven, and hell, you want to hear about it from him. A storyteller par excellence, it seemed that he employed the full range of his larynx to describe the blood and dust of ancient times, and the mysterious transition between death and judgment. Indeed, my teacher served up a feast of thoughts to fortify my starving Catholic imagination. With razor sharp wit and impeccable delivery, Dr. Martin set before me the ironies of life and death. His observations resonate with me still. Along with Boethius, Bergman, Eliot, and O’Connor, Dr. Martin shared the best kept secret of humanity: Life is an amazing adventure, if only we accept God’s invitation to live it fully.

Perhaps this was the aspect of Dr. Martin’s teaching that surprised and even astounded me. Somewhere amid the heart-breaking poetry and eye-opening prose, I discovered an unexpected path toward spiritual healing. Understanding Christ as Eschaton opened my ears to hear the Word of God afresh. My whole perspective about mercy and forgiveness changed. No longer a wallflower, I was drawn into the dance—into “the still turning point” of a life lived in Jesus Christ.

G.K. Chesterton said, “Thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” Indeed, it is a pleasure to extend my sincere thanks to Dr. Martin who personifies the Franciscan motto: Academically Excellent and Passionately Catholic.

—Ellen Campbell MA ’20


Dr. Stephen Hildebrand was one of the most memorable professors I had. He helped me read that tedious Christ in Christian Tradition book, as well as have a functional reading level of Greek. I enjoyed his sense of humor and wrote a bunch of his random quotes in my notes.

Dr. John Bergsma gave me a love for the Old Testament and a great framework for looking at the whole of Scripture. What he taught me has been a touchstone for the theology classes and lectures I give now.

Dr. Barbara Morgan began her class by telling us that, as catechists, we need to tremble with fear about the great responsibility we have in teaching others about the faith. She reminded us of the millstone: If we cause the least of these ones scandal, it would be better for us to be cast into the sea with a millstone around our neck.

—Regina (Wright MA ’11) Fosnaugh


Dr. Benjamin Wiker had the largest impact on me, not just during my time as a student but well into my adult, post-grad career. In just a year’s time, even before graduating Franciscan, I began a successful career in politics at The Heritage Foundation on Capitol Hill. Dr. Wiker’s book 10 Books That Screwed Up The World: And 5 Others That Didn’t Help was by far the most influential for me. In every application or with every political debate, I have, without fail, mentioned this book. I have had the privilege of meeting some of the greatest thinkers and political philosophers of our time since then, and this book always has a special spot in the back of my mind.

I was the student that asked several pressing questions in each class, and I will never forget Dr. Wiker’s witty yet truthful banter that we’d exchange in front of the class. In my young career in the conservative movement, I find myself still referencing lectures and readings from this book and my class with Dr. Wiker. I see the world through the lens of my faith but also analytically. Dr. Wiker showed me it was possible to be an integrated person of faith in the real world, especially in the world of politics—a world that does not even know it lacks virtue.

When I left this class, I did not know I would pursue a career in Washington, D.C., before I even graduated, but I did leave feeling empowered to take on anything that befell my path. Dr. Wiker has an adept way of speaking timeless truths in a very modern way. I have no doubt our American founding fathers would be so proud of him and the legacy he leaves behind with each student. Because of Dr. Wiker, I have learned how to properly engage in thought experiments with close friends who are agnostic, atheist, politically moderate, and the like. I couldn’t be more convicted of the truth of Jesus Christ but also of the mystery of the success of America. I truly feel it is my vocation to work intimately in the conservative movement to do just what our class instructed: to restore virtue to the most necessary place—the public sphere.

As Dr. Wiker said on the first day of class, “The A students end up working for the B students, and the B students wind up working for the C students, and if you’re a C student, you can still be president of the United States of America.”

By the grace of God and some hard work, I did not end up with a C in his class, but I have never been more convicted of my talents and my inquisitive mind than because of Dr. Wiker. I was a theology major during my time at Franciscan, but it only took one political science class with Dr. Wiker to know my life’s calling. I couldn’t be more grateful to him and to this University for that. Thank you, Dr. Wiker, and I hope to make you proud!

—Tonianne Zottoli ’21


Dr. Robert Doyle is the reason I went on to achieve my Master of Library Science at Kent State University. I owe so much to him, both intellectually and in my family life. Thank you for everything you did to mold me, Doc!

—Zachariah Zdinak ’16


Dr. Ron Bolster provided support during a really difficult time. He helped me continue my education when I thought it would be impossible to do so. Because of that, I’m now at my dream job in a great parish.

—Jessica Lemoine ’20


Dr. Gan had the biggest impact on my first job. His Special Effects course allowed me to impress my boss with knowledge of software outside of the job requirements.

—Anthony Hightower ’21


No professor had a bigger impact on me both during my time at Franciscan and my life going forward than Dr. Robert Doyle. Dr. Doyle takes great interest in the success and future of his students. He is equal parts understanding, no nonsense, and comedian. His quick wit made even three-hour night courses engaging. He never went easy on us and always demanded our best.

That being said, he was never too harsh, and his tough-love approach was always marked by sage advice that I know many of his students, including myself, carry with them to this day. His personal experiences made his classes come alive, and his expertise in his subject areas is second to none. I was also blessed to call him my advisor.

During my time at Franciscan, he guided me and encouraged me to follow my passions, and he worked with me to develop a schedule that would challenge me academically but not stretch me too thin. Dr. Doyle is so much more than just a professor. He is an author, veteran, mentor, friend, and (in my humble opinion) a hero. Thanks, Doc, for all you do.

—Nicholas Praetzel ’19


Dr. Clint Born had the biggest impact on me and my future. I never had the opportunity to meet him personally because I was part of the online master’s program, although that is something I would like to do if given the chance. I managed to complete the online master’s in education program, even though I was and am currently living in China. Dr. Clint always encouraged me and served as a reference for another master’s program at Oxford University, where I’ve been accepted. Another professor I need to thank is Dr. George Ash. He also supported me throughout my program and as a reference.

—Daniel Eckel MA ’19


All four years, my advisor and primary professor was Dr. John Carrigg. I bonded with him because both of us loved history and teaching it. Even though I only taught high school history for a few years, I have been teaching it in sermons and conversations ever since.

However, half of what I learned as an undergraduate was due to Father Francis Martin. Even though I only took a few courses with him, no one else came close to the impact he had on me. I marvel that I had access to such a man at such a formative time in my life.

Besides getting a degree in humanities that I have used extensively, at Steubenville I learned that God is real and God loves me, that I can hear him and obey him. And that has made all the difference.

—Jay Gerhart ’84


Dr. Lewis had the biggest impact on me. He made me excited about being in communications.

—Mark Allen ’15


I don’t think there is one professor who hasn’t made a great impact on me. I’ve already taken and applied so much of what my professors have said and taught in the classroom to what I do now. Of them all though, the one professor who has made the most impact thus far in my future beyond Franciscan University is Dr. Ron Bolster

He knows how to successfully encourage his students to achieve academic excellence, as well as embrace practical methods to survive and thrive in the field. Not only this, but he also cares deeply for his students and desires them to be confident in their education. Time and time again, I allow the memory of him and his inspiring words to guide me as I coordinate religious education and youth ministry.

—Regina Schnipke ’21


Dr. Jim Harold encompassed the spirit of Franciscan University in the ’80s. He was patient and really took an interest in his students.

One such story took place during the course final. It was characteristic to fill over two blue books for one of his philosophy tests. The only classes I pulled all-nighters in were philosophy classes. I loved them. I wish I could just bring in popcorn and listen to the lectures, but instead, I hung on every word and copied all the words spoken down almost verbatim. On this particular day, I had not slept at all. I wore the same clothes and didn’t even bother to shower. I grabbed some freshly baked bread and peanut butter on my way out of the cafeteria that morning.

On the way up the hill, I implored every person I met and St. Joseph Cupertino to pray for numbers 3, 7, 10, and 14. Anyone who had Dr. Harold knew what that meant. I walked into the room, grabbed three blue books, and sat down. All those hours of study and no sleep began to wear on me. I began to confuse all the terms and questions until I heard the words spoken from the front of the room, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son…”

The class had begun, and all the thoughts left in my brain had just dissipated. There was nothing there. My head was completely blank, not full of words or even confusion, just blank. The numbers were written on the board 3, 7, 8, 9, 12, and 14. I had to pick four.

OK,” I thought, “I can do this. Three were in the bag and the fourth, I could muster up something to say.”

I picked up my pencil and still nothing came. I tried to force myself to write. After about half of a blue book, I realized that I had nothing. I knew this stuff, but nothing came. I wrote a note to the teacher, thanking him for the class, and apologized that I could not reflect back to him all that I had learned. I laid my blue book on the front desk and walked out of the class trying to hold myself together.

A classmate asked how I did, and I burst into tears explaining what had happened. She encouraged me to go talk to Dr. Harold. I didn’t know how that could possibly help as it was my own fault for staying up all night and not eating well. In the end, I did talk to Dr. Harold. He gave me three more blue books, told me to go back to my room, sleep, and then take the test after I was rested.

I was shocked. I told him I could come in the next hour to take it, but he said, “You need to sleep. Just slip it under my door by tomorrow at noon.”

I thought, “I could cheat, I could study more, and I could totally ace this.” But I did not. I slept, and I took the test without cheating or studying more and handed it in.

I passed that test, but even more, I had a renewed respect for that teacher. I learned teachers are proud when their students pass their classes because it means that they did their job. I now teach at a homeschool co-op and I tell my kids that my goal is they learn whatever it is I am teaching. If they want an A, I will do everything I can to help them get that A. I tell that story all the time. Thank you, Dr. Harold, for taking the time to trust me and believe in me.

—Cathy (Menk ’90 MA ’96) Ballard


“Dear Professor” Letters

Dear Dr. Anderson,

Your classes in Theatre Literature and Directing and working with you in the Anathan Theatre productions made a huge impression on me. While I still do have firm memories of the course content and working on the plays (who can forget Brush Up Your Shakespeare or putting together an Irish band for Playboy of the Western World), I was struck by your keen intelligence, dry wit, grace, style, and sense of humor. As I navigated the path from high schooler to professional, you struck me as the kind of woman I wanted to be. It was also very obvious how much you cared about your students and had an active interest in conversing and collaborating and bringing out the very best in people.

Thank you for being a bright light and an example I still remember to this day, and daily!

Mary-Kate Spring Lee ’09


Dear Professor Zoric,

I attended Franciscan University 1992-1996 as an international student from Lithuania just as it had escaped the grip of the Soviet Union. I majored in theology, something I never heard of growing up.

I also took your class of Macroeconomics and was an average student, sitting by the back wall and hoping to go unnoticed. I loved your class and loved learning ideas I never heard of, even if they were so simple as supply and demand. Being exposed to the concepts of free economics was so exciting after years of being raised and brainwashed by never-ending propaganda about Marxism/Leninism!

I ended up marrying and staying in the United States. I worked as a teacher in high school and then in a parish. Four years after college, I went to law school and now work for the federal judiciary. Our eldest child has graduated from Franciscan a few years ago, and one is there right now; hopefully three more will choose to go there as well.

Please know how just one semester in your class has impacted my journey from the Soviet Union to the greatest democracy on earth. But for taking your class and several others like it, I would have lacked confidence in branching out to other disciplines. I will miss hearing about your economic studies of the University’s financial impact upon the wider community. I will also miss seeing you at the head of the graduation processions.

May God reward you for all the good you’ve done at Franciscan.


Vilius Lapas ’96


Dear Dr. Sunyoger,

I had you for Freshman English and Studies in Fiction classes. I visited Franciscan in the summer of 2020 and bought your book, Life Lessons. I wanted to thank you for taking the time to share these stories. It was such a great read, and as I was reading, I could hear your voice as if I were back in class.

You wrote, “I hope that in some small way I have enabled them to become better individuals through my teaching.” Yes, I am a better person because of you. I did not want to come to Franciscan, and I am so grateful my parents forced me to try it out for one year. As a first-semester freshman who was so nervous, dealing with sadness, and struggling to find my place, your contagious joy and perpetual smile were a Godsend. I am so grateful that of all the Freshman English classes I could have ended up in, God’s Providence allowed me to have you as my teacher.

I am in temporary vows with the De LaSalle Christian Brothers, a religious order of all brothers who minister in education. Our founder, St. John Baptist de LaSalle is the patron saint of teachers. Our founder told the brothers we are not only ambassadors of Christ to our students, but we are to see Christ in each of our students. We are to learn from Christ through them. This instantly came to mind as I read your words on how your students were your teachers.

In my own teaching, I pick up different traits, characteristics, mannerisms, etc. from my own teachers. In a conversation with one of my students last year, he said, “Brother Mark, you are always so joyful.” I took that as a real compliment because I always strive to be joyful in my teaching because I know the impact that your joy had on me as a student. Thank you!

Thank you so much for the prayers, for your teaching, for your faith, and for who you are.

God bless,

Brother Mark Engelmeyer, FSC ’12


Unforgettable Classes

Father Anthony J. Mastroeni’s Christian Moral Principles class in Gaming, Austria, in spring 1998 was both unforgettable and impactful. He had a passion for the topic and taught with great conviction and clarity. He drew on sources ranging from Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas to moderns like Peter Kreeft, Patrick Lee, and, of course, St. John Paul II. Father Mastroeni wasn’t afraid to address head-on countervailing theories but explored and critiqued them in an engaging, dialectic fashion.

The course changed the way I thought about and implemented moral decision-making. It equipped students with the necessary analytical tools to tackle even the thorniest practical and theoretical challenges. Finally, it was at the beginning of this class that I first heard the Actiones Nostras prayer before study or work, which has been a go-to in the decades since.

—Peter Mansfield ’00


Since 1980, I have regularly taught a theology class, mainly to master’s students, on the Second Vatican Council (now called Church in the Modern World). This class has provided some of the best memories for me, and it has had the greatest lasting impact on the hundreds of students who have taken the class. Many students have told me after taking the course that they had all sorts of misconceptions of Vatican II until they read and studied the sixteen Council documents in this course. Others have told me how important the course was in their Church ministries. They discovered the wisdom, beauty and importance of these teachings for the Church and the world today.

With regard to memories, in the class I have had students who became bishops, a member of the U.S. Congress, founders of important Catholic ministries, and dozens of students—lay, religious, and priests— who have made an impact working in the Lord’s vineyard. A successful woman journalist visited my class and was surprised the Council had a document on social communication that we happened to be studying that day. She ended up staying for her MA Theology degree and went back to journalism with new zeal after graduating.

A student in the course asked if his father, who was a lay missionary, could visit the class and say a few words. I agreed. We were awed by what Frank Summers, co-founder of Family Missions Company, shared that day based on his experience of living out the teaching of the Vatican II Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church. Students in the Austrian Program one semester will not forget a European priest in class who relished challenging much of what the Council taught and the lively interaction this created.

I have had the joy of helping our students discover why Pope St. John Paul II called the Council “the great grace bestowed on the Church in the twentieth century” and a “sure compass” to guide us in the new millennium.

—Dr. Alan Schreck, Theology


Any “war course” with Dr. Bob Doyle was an unforgettable experience, but his course on the first World War was special because of the detailed focus he provided in covering one of the most tragic and misunderstood conflicts of the past century. That attention-to-detail and his allowance for me to develop my own research topic have remained guideposts to my own focus as an educator.

—Daniel Romeyn Davis ’13


I had Professor Kevin Miller for two courses: Introduction to Scripture my freshman year, and Catholic Social Teaching my senior year.

In Intro to Scripture, for the very first time, I understood the one story of the Bible from all the mosaic tiles or puzzle pieces I received throughout childhood. It seemed like everything snapped into place in my mind, like a string of magnets. To understand the one story of the Bible is to understand the one story of all time, the story of the whole created order, and where I fit into it. It’s also to understand how the One, All-Powerful, Creator God reveals himself within a specific time and a particular culture. The job of the Church is to perceive the truth through that cultural lens and re-present that revelation into every new age. It has been foundational for all my catechetical work.

Catholic Social Teaching was the most beautifully systematic of all my courses. We began by reading Aristotle, progressed through all the major social encyclicals of the Church, and finished with Henri de Lubac’s Catholicism and David L. Schindler’s Heart of the World, Center of the Church. I learned for the first time about the good of work as a participation in the creative work of God, complementarity and diversity in the Church, and a Catholic understanding of justice and the common good (and more).

Essentially, what this course handed me was freedom—freedom from being too closely allied with one issue, political party, or governmental system. I was handed an ability to recognize and contextualize what is good and evil, as well as what is prudential. It was so foundational for my understanding of human anthropology, ecclesiology, and my own relationship with the Church and secular world.

—Monica (Brown ’09) Aquila


I will never forget my first class at the College of Steubenville. I prepared a few notes on a yellow legal pad. But after twenty minutes, I had nothing else to say and had to dismiss the class. In recent times though, I can talk on and on, look at the clock, and say, “Oh my, we’re out of time.”

Also, I was hired during the Nixon price controls. I knew the students were going to ask me questions about the policy, so I went to the library and read all that I could about the price control program. Not one student asked me a question about the subject. That is the first lesson I learned as a teacher: No one is as interested in the subject you teach, more than you are.

—Professor Joseph Zoric, Economics (retired)


I often think back to my Philosophy of the Human Person class with Dr. Carreño in Austria. We learned how, as people, we are all body-soul composites. On a daily basis as a chiropractor, I am grateful to be able to reflect Christ’s love to all my patients as I serve them. I get to witness firsthand how people’s bodies are designed by God to heal. And I get to work with and recognize a patient as a whole person and not just as their body!

—Marcus Hummel ’17


Evangelizing Young People in the U.S. with Dr. Bob Rice is a course I have never forgotten—not just because of its rich content or the dynamism of Dr. Rice in his approach, but also because of its pragmatic nature and relevance to my pastoral ministry as a priest, especially in serving the needs of our young people with the ultimate aim of bringing them nearer to Christ and to his Church. This course helped me come to understand the psychology of our young people, especially their faith journey or experiences amidst the many challenges posed by the present youth culture. In as much these challenges undeniably influence and shape their faith experiences, they also present their own unique opportunities.

The ultimate goal of evangelizing young people is to make them fall in love with Jesus and with the Church in an intimate way. But the key to achieving this is essentially through the ministry of care and presence that must be authentic and relational. To effectively evangelize our young people, it is absolutely necessary for us to meet them where they are—that is, by entering into their own world. We must be able to sympathize and empathize with them, make them understand that we feel what they feel, provide them with a listening ear (especially to their questions), that we understand their doubts and frustrations, that we care about them, and want to journey alongside with them. This is where the Emmaus Story Model becomes the key and so very important. This relational ministry, as proposed to us in the document “A Vision of Youth Ministry,” is the most effective approach in evangelizing young people. But then, putting that in perspective vis-a-vis the challenges posed by the safe environment requirements, it absolutely demands great accountability in order to make the task of evangelizing young people a more credible project.

This course was such a great blessing for me. I am particularly thankful to Dr. Bob Rice for his passion and dedication. He did a great job with the course. The different guest lecturers he invited, interviews, and seminars really helped a great deal in providing broader insights and perspectives. Inspired by what I gained from this course, I was challenged to apply for an online Doctor of Ministry in Evangelization at the Catholic University of America. My admission is already confirmed for the 2022 summer semester.

I am very thankful to God for the formation I received at Franciscan University of Steubenville. The academic excellence and orthodoxy are unequalled. All my professors were fabulous, and I am thankful for all that they do. I am proud to be an alumnus of Franciscan University.

—Father Jude Ogheneochuko Emunemu MA ’21


Dr. Mary Ann Sunyoger’s rhetoric class particularly stands out in my mind. Even though I attended that class years ago, I use what I learned in my job as a copywriter/content marketer. I still remember to use devices like 2-3-1 method and anaphora. I still remember to qualify my absolutes. I still remember to be deliberate and introspective about every word I put on a page.

That aside, her class taught me to be introspective toward myself—to always ask “why” and to seek to understand others’ intent and motivations. Perhaps unexpectedly, I walked out of that class with a greater capacity for empathy. Rhetoric requires you to know others, not merely so your audience can hear you but so they know you understand. And if you can reach that place with another, that’s where true communication occurs.

—Catherine (Troll ’16) Connette


My husband and I began dating in Gaming, Austria, and we were in a Christian Marriage class with Dr. Donald Asci. At the time, he was a young professor with a little girl and baby number two on the way. While studying for exams together, my husband and I had long discussions about natural family planning, marital debt, and chastity. Those discussions helped us learn very quickly that we were on the same page and have led to a wonderful marriage of almost 20 years!

When we dropped off our oldest son at Franciscan this year, I started chatting with the guy behind us in line. He turned out to be Dr. Asci’s son! Our boys would now be studying at Franciscan together, 22 years after we were students in his dad’s class.

—Colleen (Sweeney ’01) Martin


And Beyond

I remember all my theology courses as they have helped shape my life. My learning experience did not only come from classes, but from my overall experience at Franciscan University of Steubenville. My spiritual growth grew so much from being there. I belonged to a household, went to Mass every day, went to the Port many times, went on SonLife, and served with Works of Mercy. It was at the Port where I realized I was sitting in the real presence of Jesus!

—Victoria Cain ’97


My current vocation and profession is as a stay-at-home mother of five children, and I homeschool my two oldest. I couldn’t have been better prepared for this chapter in my life than by Franciscan University. There are other universities that may offer the same level of education but none that offer the formation. We are formed to be disciples and witnesses, to embrace and thrive in our vocations, and we are given the tools to do so.

Also, the theology and catechetics program is unmatched! I tell people it would be like having Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Tom Hanks, and Denzel Washington as professors at an acting college. We had the best of the best professors who lived, loved, and were knowledgeable in the faith teaching us and forming us. What better to prepare me to teach and hand on the faith to my family!

—Lindsey (Webb ’07) Rutkowski


I have been a nurse for 13 years, and I recently became a nurse practitioner through Franciscan. My BSN program at Franciscan was the foundation of the sciences and humanities necessary for me to treat patients of all ages. My undergraduate prepared me well for my graduate program, despite a 10-year gap between the two.

—Emily Hosteler ’09 MSN ’21


I arrived at Franciscan University of Steubenville in the summer of 1997. Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, asked me to assume the role of University chaplain and to teach one undergraduate and one graduate course in the liturgy each semester. I fulfilled those roles until I retired from the classroom in 2018 and from the University in 2019. Those years were very happy and fulfilling for me.

Both positions of chaplain and professor of liturgy dovetailed, since the liturgy that I was teaching in the classroom came alive in the chapel. It actively engaged all students and faculty in their life of faith in the Church. I would always open each class with prayer and a sincere desire that, in my teaching, I was not simply passing on information but an actual way of life that the students would hopefully love and actively participate in. I am certain all the other professors felt the same way.

This is the mystery, the joy and the power of the liturgy which intimately involves all participants in the Paschal Mystery of Christ and its influence in every moment of our lives. I always felt very strongly that the liturgy courses I taught had the potential of being a tremendous source of inspiration and impetus for the active participation of our students and faculty in the life of the Church. I also believed that the general education and atmosphere of the University led most students to feel more fulfilled in life, and certainly happier and more confident in both heart and mind.

At each graduation, I always felt proud and confident we were sending forth into the world a wave of wonderful new disciples who, through their lives of faith, would be a great force for good in the Church and wherever fate took them. I have since heard, many times over, of how individual lives have constituted a positive influence in the lives of others and in the building of a better world for tomorrow.

—Father Dominic Scotto, TOR, Theology (retired)


I am currently a high school literature and writing teacher; however, I am making a shift into educational and instructional technology. My education at Franciscan prepared me to “wonder” and to discover the world through a Catholic lens that seeks truth, beauty, and goodness. No matter what I’m teaching or learning in this life, Franciscan University embedded into my character a respect for others and God’s creation. To put it simply: I was taught to glorify God in all things.

—Brooke Sciortino DeVille ’10


Lots of things have changed over the years at Franciscan University. For example, there are now two or three times the number of buildings on campus now than when I came in 1986. These new buildings are utterly beautiful in their Franciscan style. That beautifying unity was missing with the rather drab utilitarian buildings present when I came.

What I want to focus on now, however, is what has remained the same since I was hired by Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, some years ago. Specifically, it is the kind of people who work and attend Franciscan University.

I can remember in my very first semester at Franciscan being surprised at the seriousness and the orthodoxy of the students. Oddly enough, it was a bit unnerving. I thought, “Boy, am I in trouble now. These people are taking to the philosophy I was teaching in such a serious way.” My previous teaching stint was at a typical, nominally Catholic college, where philosophy was basically seen as a class to be endured to fulfill the college core requirements.

Then, after a year or so at Franciscan, I discovered that it was not just the philosophy and theology faculty that took religious and philosophical truth seriously, but—almost without exception—all the other professors in the other disciplines as well. Even the business and science faculty were seriously Christian and Catholic. That was remarkable. But it went further; even the administrators and the groundskeepers took their faith seriously.

It was then that I understood my initial interview with Father Michael—back when I was applying for the philosophy position—and his close questioning of me about my religious convictions. The kind of faith one finds at Franciscan was no accident.

Perhaps five years later, Father Michael introduced a mission statement for the University. I must admit to being a bit jaded when it came to mission statements in general. Almost everywhere else, such statements are contentless pablum. I did not sufficiently trust Father Michael about this one. Boy, was I wrong. It turned out to be just the opposite of what I assumed and feared.

Instead of vague virtue-signaling abstractions, what I found were direct, simple, clear, and unambiguous statements as to who we are at this University and what our Catholic mission is. It was awesome. Not only did he provide a serious ideal we continuously need to meet; he also gave us protection from potentially interfering agencies, who then had to measure us according to clear standards we ourselves set, as opposed to their own ever-evolving interpretations of what would otherwise be vague and ambiguous generalizations.

That clear and unambiguous Catholic vision has continued throughout my tenure at Franciscan University. The friars, the faculty, administration, the groundskeepers, the people washing our dishes and cleaning our buildings: they are practically all Christian and Catholic. Original and actual sin are alive and well at Franciscan, as everywhere else in this sad, fallen world. But here we have a taste of a real Catholic intellectual life and culture.

—Dr. James Harold, Philosophy (retired)


I am using my Franciscan education to its fullest serving as a counselor at the Lee Day Report Center, a community corrections organization. That said, my journey was not a straight line. I was a non-traditional, part-time student. I began my studies as a mental health and human services major. I wanted to learn more about people before furthering my studies in the MBA program and becoming a successful, team-oriented manager in the business world. A funny thing happened on my way to graduation: I took part in two internships at a domestic violence shelter, and my life changed forever.

My education prepared me to work with others, but even more, it prepared me to love people and to see them as children of God. My heart was moved by the stories of our clients, and I wanted to help as much as I could to make a positive impact in their lives. One thing I learned was how I could still share my Catholic faith while working with clients, despite the “separation of church and state.” The experience opened my eyes, enlightened my heart, and changed my educational goals. I decided to pursue a master’s degree in counseling at Franciscan instead.

While in the program, I took a class on the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition), and one of the most impactful sections was on substance abuse disorders. My heart was filled with questions about preventing this devastating disease. I had opportunities to get to know other students, and one of them suggested I apply for a position as a community development specialist for substance abuse prevention. It amazed me how God used that class and that classmate to change my career from administration to community intervention. I was working with all age groups, though concentrating in positive youth development. While in that role, I finished my degree and began putting it to use part-time as a counselor while continuing my full-time role in prevention.

With some changes in the job along the way, my career developed, and I met many other professionals. One of these colleagues, a Christian and a friend, suggested that I apply to become an extension agent at West Virginia University specializing in 4-H/positive youth development. I was part of 4-H growing up, and I felt that this new opportunity would allow me to continue to serve people while broadening my focus into a number of areas—from 4-H to mental health to agriculture. Again, I was connecting with people, and that was most important to me. God was using childhood experience and adult education and experience to have a positive impact on others.

This role came with an additional challenge—that of being a full-time faculty member through the Cooperative Extension Service System at WVU. I successfully completed my tenure bid in 2014, and I became an assistant professor. In 2021, I was promoted to associate professor. During my years at WVU, I continued to work at the Lee Day Report Center. Between the two, I thought that I would continue in those roles until I retired.

God had another plan, and COVID-19 gave me time to pause from the day in, day out of life. My heart and mind continued to be on the people. Seeing the impact that the pandemic was having on everyone, I decided to retire early from WVU and to pursue my life goal of using my master’s degree to its fullest as a counselor. I began working full-time at the Lee Day Report Center last November. When I work with my clients, I am in awe of their humanity and their trust in me to help them overcome life’s challenges. God is good, and he has used it all—not wasting a thing from my education and life experience—to bring me to this final stage of my career.

At this point in life, my heart and soul are filled with gratitude—gratitude for God’s love and his constant care and direction in my life; gratitude for the opportunity to be a counselor; and gratitude for the education I received.

—Carole Scheerbaum ’97 MA ’02


Getting to live a passionately Catholic life in an academically excellent environment—as a student, it was easy to take this combination for granted, but it is a truly rare and valuable treasure. Being educated by professors who consistently seek truth and goodness is an experience I will never forget.

—Michael O’Connor ’19


Besides the pay (too little) or the parking (not enough), there is really only one complaint I have after thirty plus years of teaching here at Franciscan University, which is that my students keep getting younger. Why this should be so is a great puzzle to me. Might it account for why they seem to know less and less each year? So young have they become that almost any allusion drawn from the last century leaves them more or less baffled. “The Gulf War? When was that? And are you telling me there were two of them…?”

If this keeps up, they may soon remember only their birth dates, before which nothing of real consequence ever happened. “He who is ignorant of what happened before his birth,” warned Cicero, “is forever a child.”

Not knowing who Cicero was, it hardly matters what he said. Or Michael Oakeshott, for that matter, who nailed it rather nicely when describing their mindset as “the sweet solipsism of youth.” But, then, they’ve never heard of him either.

Ah, but they have heard of Gilbert Keith Chesterton! And why is that? Because I keep quoting him. With a frequency in excess even of one of our former presidents, who managed to work him into every homily he ever delivered. They’ve no recollection of him, by the way.

But what about Father Michael Scanlan who, more than anyone, left his mark on this place? I’m afraid to ask. The point is, and I’m going to let T.S. Eliot—whom I quote more often than even Chesterton— state it. “We die with the dying,” he writes in that masterwork of the Western Canon, Four Quartets:

See, they depart, and we go with them.

We are born with the dead:

See, they return, and bring us with them.

The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew-tree

Are of equal duration. A people without history

Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern

Of timeless moments.

We stand on the shoulders of giants, whose wisdom, were we to break faith with them, would cast us all into a bloody ditch of ignorance. This is why I am here, this is why any of us should be here—to help our students climb onto those shoulders, and thus see the distant vistas of truth and beauty that so animated the lives of those who came before us.

—Dr. Regis Martin, Theology


The spirit of the school, and the morals and values ingrained in me from my four years there, went far beyond the textbooks. It was a spirit of wholeness and integration, with the desire of doing God’s will at the forefront of our minds. I remember countless hours praying at the Port, the “peer pressure” to attend daily Mass, and students sprawled around the grassy hills singing praise and worship songs while strumming a guitar and praying the Rosary.

We spent time discussing what we learned in Mariology, debated who was really at fault in the Garden of Eden, or what we gleaned from Kimberly Hahn’s Bible studies in her crowded basement (or peeking through from the backyard when it was too crowded) as we uncovered the definition of the ideal wife as described in Proverbs 31. Images of Lord’s Day on Saturday, breaking beer bread and drinking red wine from a huge glass jug with the Love of the Lamb Household flood my mind. It was a balanced life, free from the soon-to-be inundated world of social media, which has since changed the whole culture as we knew it.

My dream was to become an interior designer, and that is what I’ve been doing for the past seventeen years. This year, I’m pivoting. Recently, I became a self-worth strategist. I lead women on a six-month journey via Zoom to a life of wholeness and balance. My goal is to be able to “laugh at the days to come…to speak with wisdom, and faithful instruction” (Proverbs 31:25-26).

This takes place by learning about the amazing gift and power of the brain while developing awareness and skills within the eight arenas of our lives: self-image, health, wealth, relationships, intimacy, family, friendship, and contribution, as we grow in confidence and strive to become who we were created to be. Theology of the Body teaches us our undeniable worth in the eyes of God and that we are a gift to the world, with a unique, particular mission that only we can fulfill.

While I had dreams and desires of becoming a designer for the external environment, God had a different plan for me as an interior designer, as I help women design their lives and uncover their divine call from God, in true Franciscan spirit.

—Anne-Marie Klobe ’01


I can see the color draining from her face as I tell the mother of a college student, “Yes, I have a biology degree and a nursing degree, but now I’m a wedding and family photographer!” In her mind, that sounds like a mountain of debt and perhaps an ill use of time, only to arrive at a profession that seems whimsical or unsteady.

However, anyone who went to Franciscan would tell you that any time at the University was not only wellspent but life-altering. Even those who were only able to spend a semester or two have felt the effects rippling through their daily lives—often meeting spouses, discerning priestly and religious vocations, and forming life-long friendships.

As for me, I have no regrets about earning a biology degree at Franciscan. It led to my post-bac accelerated BSN I received later, and it lends itself well to my homeschooling adventures. And, yes, I accumulated debt. I don’t take that lightly (and I know that burden can be crushing to many) but I also feel the theological formation, the incredible friendships I was blessed with, the opportunities for service and growth, and meeting my own husband (and business partner!) are matters difficult to quantify.

Franciscan gave me a sturdy foundation on which to stand. From there, I was able to discern well what God asked of me. It was not a straight path, but what fun would that be? Be not afraid.

—Bernadette (Sukley ’07) Dalgetty

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