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The Providence College National Alumni Association celebrated the achievements of our honored alumni at the 2017 National Alumni Association Awards presentations. Our programs recognized the volunteer commitments, personal achievements, and community contributions of some of our distinguished reunion alumni.
Robert DiPalma, a decorated senior Naval officer who served his country for 29 years and retired as a captain, embodies the Providence College ideals of commitment, fidelity, and service. Ever-present at alumni events in the Washington, D.C., area, where he now lives, Robert is a loyal PC benefactor who has supported his alma mater through service on the regional alumni club board. Upon his retirement from the Navy, Robert began a second career in the private sector, applying his vast defense experience as a senior executive for leading companies providing technology and services to support the Armed Forces, including E-Systems, Raytheon, AGFA, IBM, Titan Systems, L-3 Communications, and McMunn Associates. Following his retirement from the private sector, he remained active by volunteering at a local hospital, briefing future joint-replacement patients, and as a volunteer at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, as a visitor services guide and docent in their Washington, D.C., and Chantilly, Va., facilities. He and his wife, Anne, are the proud parents of three sons, Matt, Tony, and Nic.
Tom Gilligan’s extraordinary career and his impact on his community bring distinction to his alma mater. Tom retired in 2006 as owner and chair of VyTech Industries, a South Carolina manufacturer of flexible vinyl films and polymer coating applications. An economics major at PC, Tom has been a loyal, engaged supporter for many years, hosting numerous events in the Boca Grande, Fla., area, where he currently lives. Tom is active in service to Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Boca Grande, Catholic Charities, and local community development and business organizations, including the Chamber of Commerce. He has provided impactful support over the years for many PC initiatives, most notably the St. Dominic Chapel project, for which he was one of the College’s most generous donors. Tom and his wife Marian are the parents of Tom, Bob, Kathy, Kim and Jeff ’89.
William Kenneally’s experience as a Providence College ROTC cadet helped launch a career of exemplary military and civilian service. A physics major at PC, Bill went on to earn two master’s degrees and a diploma from the U.S. Army War College. Through those experiences, he gained the skills and knowledge that led to acclaim for his work as an engineer and technical specialist who helped revolutionize aspects of airborne surveillance technology. His work in developing a specific radar technology led to the development of the Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS), deployed in the first Gulf War and still in use today. That work earned William the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Aerospace and Systems Society Pioneer Award in 1998. The Department of the Army also has recognized him multiple times, with its Exceptional and Meritorious Civilian Service Award and the Army Research and Development Award (twice), among others. He and his wife, Joan, will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary this summer. They have five children and 14 grandchildren.
A career that began in the Warwick, R.I., public school classrooms brought Edward McElroy to one of the most important leadership roles in American education, president of the 1.5 million-member American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, a position he held from 2004-2008. That organization added more than a half-million new members during Edward’s tenure as president, during which he was widely acknowledged as a leader who promoted the organization’s professionalism and commitment to its membership. He was at the forefront of the union’s efforts to use emerging technologies to enhance the organization’s efforts on behalf of its members. Edward previously served as interim chief executive officer of the Union Labor Life Insurance Company and currently serves on its board of directors. He also serves on the boards of several community service agencies, including Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. He and his wife, Edwina Ricci McElroy, have been married for 54 years, and two of their four children are PC alumni, Mary ’87 and Elizabeth ’94.
Ronald Stride is the retired Senior Vice President and Managing Partner for Asia of Booz Allen Hamilton, a management consulting firm where he had a 22-year career specializing in financial services. A resident of Singapore with his wife, Janet, for the past 25 years, Ron serves on the boards of several commercial and non-profit organizations, including his current work as Afghanistan International Bank’s Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. He serves also as the chairman of Food from the Heart, a grassroots organization that provides bread and non-perishable food items – which would have been otherwise discarded – to low-income people. Despite having spent many years abroad, Ron has remained engaged with Providence College, consistently and generously providing philanthropic support, and traveling great distances to participate in class reunions. He earned a degree in general studies from PC in 1962.
The good people of St. Francis Solano Church in Sonoma, Calif., have benefited beyond words from the tireless efforts of Peter Gilligan. Peter served as chair of Project St. Francis, the parish’s $3 million building renovation project, from 2011-2015, and he remains involved as a consultant as the fundraising campaign nears its conclusion. All told, Peter has volunteered more than 3,500 hours in support of this effort. This level of commitment comes as no surprise in that community, where Peter has served various volunteer roles with the St. Vincent De Paul Society, youth sports programs, and other initiatives. He finds time to support PC with enthusiasm, serving on the 50th reunion committee, participating in regional events, and supporting the Annual Fund. Peter, who majored in political science, worked for nearly 40 years as a senior manager for high-tech firms, specializing in manufacturing operations and procurement. He and his wife, Sharon, recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They are the parents of three children and have five grandchildren.
A leader of this year’s Golden Friar reunion class by every measure, John Minicucci remains immensely popular among his classmates 50-plus years after the members of the Class of 1967 arrived on campus. The co-chair of his class reunion committee, John was class president for all four years during his student days. He also served on Student Congress for four years and was a member of the Friars Club for three, setting the stage for a lifetime of leadership and impact in his beloved hometown of Naugatuck, Conn., which he has served for decades as a basketball coach and as a volunteer youth athletics leader. The citizens of that community have shown that they recognize and appreciate John’s impact, inducting him into the Naugatuck Hall of Fame, honoring him with the Edward Mariano Memorial Leadership Award for commitment and dedicated service, and recognizing him with the Raymond K. Foley Award for “outstanding service and unselfish dedication to the children of Naugatuck.” He and his wife, Marsha, have been married since 1966 and have four daughters, eleven grandchildren and one grandson-in-law.
A retired U.S. Navy captain who continued to serve his country and the communities in which he has lived since transitioning to civilian life, John Mitchell is one who exemplifies Friar pride. A regular presence at PC events on campus and off, John has attended numerous reunions, Alumni & Family Weekends, and regional receptions. A former National Alumni Association Council member, John also has served as a phone-a-thon volunteer and an alumni admissions ambassador. John and his wife, Sara, are generous Providence College donors who have been members of PC’s St. Dominic Society leadership giving circle since its inception. They are also ardent supporters of the Fr. Philip A. Smith, O.P. Student Fellowships for Study and Service Abroad. John has volunteered innumerable hours teaching reading, basic mathematics, and computer skills to adults for many years and continues to do so today. He and Sara are the proud parents of two daughters, Meg ’94 and Shannon.
Paul F. Whalen ’72 – Faithful Friar Award A dedicated volunteer and generous supporter, Paul Whalen has enthusiasm for Providence College that knows no bounds. Paul, who has never missed a class reunion, currently serves as class ambassador and a member of the reunion committee. He also was a class agent for many years and provided longtime volunteer service as a phone-a-thon fundraiser. Paul had a long and successful career in the travel industry, including 25 years working in group sales for the American Council for International Studies in Boston. He worked also in advertising sales for a local newspaper in Woburn, Mass. Paul’s service to his alma mater reflects a commitment to PC that began in his student days, when he served as a member of the Friars Club, a member of Student Congress, and as the first president of the PC Board of Governors (aka Board of Programmers). He and his wife, Nancy, reside in Woburn, Mass.
Michael Woody is a loyal and generous alumnus who is having an impact on Providence College through his commitment to initiatives promoting academic excellence. A former president, vice president, and secretary of the National Alumni Association Board, Michael also has served the Alumni Association as a class agent and a phone-a-thon volunteer. As chair of the Liberal Arts Honors Leadership Council since 2014 (and a member since 2012), Michael has been a leader in initiatives aimed at promoting teaching and scholarship through the College’s acclaimed Liberal Arts Honors Program, which honored him with its Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006. While president of the National Alumni Association Board, his vision was instrumental in establishing — and raising funds for — PC’s National Alumni Association Scholarship, an initiative that combines his passion for student success with his commitment to alumni service. He and his wife, fellow alum Joanne Speroni-Woody, reside in Cumberland, RI.
One of her alma mater’s most dedicated volunteers, Kathy Walsh Wynters has served the National Alumni Association, with distinction, as a class representative on the Alumni Council since 2013. Her other contributions to the alumni association include service as a reunion committee member, an alumni admission ambassador, and as a mentor to students as part of the Career Education Winter Shadowing Job Program. Professionally, she joined the Friar athletics team as a full-time staff member upon graduation and advanced to the rank of assistant athletic director in just two years. At the same time, beginning in 1984, she worked with Athletic Director Lou Lamoriello ’63 & ’01Hon., who was also serving as the first commissioner of Hockey East. Kathy’s first of three full-time stints at Hockey East began in 1987; she returned to the conference in 2001, and has served as associate commissioner since 2006. She and her husband, Chuck Wynters, have two children, Annie and Charles.
A member of the Providence College Board of Trustees, John Cervione is one of the College’s most enthusiastic volunteers and most generous benefactors. A former member of the National Alumni Association Council and the National Board of Overseers, John led the PC Annual Fund for three years, during
Our Moment: The Next Century Campaign for Providence College, playing a key role in the growing effectiveness and impact of annual giving. In addition to his substantial financial support, including the $100,000 challenge gift that catalyzed PC’s remarkably successful on March 28, 2017, Giving Day, John provides College personnel with sage advice and access to his vast knowledge of effective management, fundraising, and marketing techniques. Managing partner of the Blue Fin Group, a management and technology consulting firm in the healthcare industry, John holds an MBA from the Stern School of Business at New York University, in addition to his Providence College finance degree. Beyond his work, John’s activities include service as a lector at New York’s famed St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
A leading expert on the ways in which children deal with stress following disasters, Melissa Brymer is a prolific scholar whose accomplishments reflect the highest standards of academic excellence. She has served as principal investigator on 14 funded research projects, and her bibliography includes 23 peer-reviewed research papers. A psychology major at PC, Melissa has earned two doctorates and two master’s degrees while gaining widespread notice as a scholarly expert and, as a licensed clinical psychologist, a compassionate clinician. A former UNICEF consultant who served that organization in Kosovo, Melissa is the director of Terrorism and Disaster Programs at the UCLA-National Center for Child Traumatic Stress. She is also an adviser to the Newtown Recovery program at the Newtown, Conn., K-12 School District. She is one of the primary authors of two acute interventions (Psychological First Aid and Skills for Psychological Recovery), which are the most widely used interventions nationally and internationally, and has served as a consultant after more than 150 disasters, terrorism, school shootings, and other mass violence tragedies (e.g., Utoya island shooting in Norway, Hurricane Katrina, Joplin tornado).
Presented annually to a Friar of the last decade (FOLD) for exceptional achievement and significant contributions to their chosen profession, community, and Providence College.Mike Verzino’s commitment to work that advances Providence College became obvious during his student years and continues to this day. Vice president of the Class of 2007 and a member of the Friars Club, Mike embraced leadership opportunities from the start. His work as co-chair of the Young Alumni Leadership Council, as a member of his class reunion committee, and as the energetic and entertaining emcee of each year’s Friar 5K exemplifies Mike’s boundless enthusiasm for PC. After graduating with a degree in psychology and music, Mike spent a year at West Virginia University before returning to PC to earn an MBA. He worked in PC’s Office of Institutional Advancement for four years, including two as assistant director of annual giving. Mike left the PC staff in 2012 to work in Brown University’s Division of Advancement, where he currently serves as director of major and leadership giving. He and his wife, Christie Gent Verzino ’09 & ’11G, reside in Walpole, MA.