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From the Alumni Office:

Jennifer Hamlin Church, Associate VP for Advancement & Director of Alumni Relations
Jennifer Hamlin Church, Associate VP for Advancement & Director of Alumni Relations

Curtain Up! Light the Lights!

Great Theater at (and Beyond) the Heights

If you’ve been to Siena recently, you know the arts are alive and well. At this year’s Homecoming, you heard lots of music (marching band at halftime, Acapelicans at Alumni Awards, choir at Mass) and saw lots of art (John Wittersheim and Lois DeMots retrospectives in Studio Angelico, alumni art in McLaughlin, six alumni sculptures in the new Wittersheim Memorial Sculpture Park). And there’s a good chance you were humming “Day by Day” from the Theater Siena production of Godspell directed by theater program chair Doug Miller ’74. All of the arts are vital to the life and legacy of Siena Heights—enough so that Joni Warner ’83 now works officially connecting our campus with the Lenawee community through the arts.

Today, I’d like to spotlight Siena’s theater program.

For the past decade, one of our most popular alumni events (outside of Homecoming) has been the annual spring Dinner & Theater gathering. About 100 people come to campus—from as far as Detroit, Lansing, Battle Creek and many parts of Ohio—for dinner and the final production of the Theater Siena season. Some people come every year and it’s not uncommon to hear things like “Wow, I saw this once in Boston/New York/Toledo—but this was better!”

That sentiment was definitely buzzing around the Croswell Opera House in Adrian this past summer, when Siena’s Mark DiPietro ’83 directed a full-scale production of Les Miserables with a cast and crew almost half made up of Siena Heights alumni, students and faculty. “We had 300+ people audition,” said DiPietro, chair of SHU’s Fine and Performing Arts division. “They came out of the woodwork for the chance to be in the full, adult version of the show.”

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Scholar and Mentor, Prankster and Philosopher, Counselor and Friend

Memories of Sister Pat Hogan, OP

By Jennifer Hamlin Church

Pat Hogan, OP, aka Sister John Mary, began teaching philosophy and history at Siena Heights College in 1966. She went on to chair the philosophy department from 1979 until her un-expected death March 13, 1991, while at home in Chicago on sabbatical.

Pat Hogan’s legendary impact on students was never more evident than at the 2009 Alumni Awards ceremony, when three honorees—Tod Marshall ’90, now a poet and English professor at Gonzaga University; Jacob Chi ’85, now conductor of the Pueblo Symphony Orchestra and professor at Colorado State University; and Gabrielle Davis ’85, a lawyer specializing in women’s rights—all credited her with helping them find the right road to their future.

Tod Marshall remembered goofing off and skipping the reading for his independent study with Sister Pat—until the day he found her in the library “bent over her notes and poring over what we were going to talk about that day.” Startled to realize how much time and effort she was putting in “for me—just for me,” Tod reshaped his attitude. Knowing how committed she was to his education, he said, he “never again dropped the ball” on his studies.

Jacob Chi was a 28-year-old violinist, without funds and or a place to stay, when he arrived from China to attend Siena Heights in the early ‘80s. Sister Pat opened her home, as well as her heart and mind, to the talented musician. “There is no one in my entire academic life as important as Sister Pat,” he said recently, and “no other universities (as important) as Siena Heights.”

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Rising Stars—Fall 2014

“Rising Stars” is a new feature in Reflections. It profiles Siena Heights University alumni who have graduated within the past 10 years and who excel in their careers, occupations or community service accomplishments. To be considered for the “Rising Stars” piece in an upcoming issue of Reflections Magazine, please fill out the online form at Those who are selected to be included in an upcoming issue of the magazine will be contacted by the Reflections staff.

Amy Francoeur

Graduation year: 2009

Current title/position: Hospice Regional Director, Great Lakes Caring.

What Amy is doing: A Registered Nurse, she received an offer to join Great Lakes Caring’s sales/marketing team in 2007. As a Patient Care Coordinator for its Adrian branch location, she worked with the community, physicians and healthcare facilities to educate and coordinate medical home health care services. In January 2013, she was promoted to Sales Training Team Leader, and was given the opportunity to facilitate the training and onboarding of new and current sales team members. In August 2013 she was again was promoted to Manager of Business Development for GLC’s Jackson and Adrian sales teams. During her time working in Lenawee County, she has had the privilege of working with older adult population, their families and health care providers. She has been active member of the Lenawee Department on Aging’s Older Adult Coalition, chairing the Selma Larson Caregiver Conference since 2008. She also is a member of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s Committee, a Board Member of Daybreak Adult Day Services, volunteer at numerous Lenawee County Senior Center activities and is an active member of the Adrian Chamber of Commerce. In April 2014, she received another promotion to her current position for HLC’s Ohio operations. She said “it is truly an honor and a privilege to be part of such a quality, innovative and caring company.”

Favorite moment/story while a student at SHU was: The flexibility of Distance Learning allowed me to “attend” my classes anywhere, even while on vacation in Las Vegas!

Favorite person at SHU was: Former Director of Academic Advising, Rene Teater.

Ultimate goal in life: To educate everyone on what the Hospice benefit is and how it helps patients and their loved ones at the end of life so that the word is no longer feared by those who hear it, but rather embraced.

Best advice for SHU students is: Never pass up an opportunity to learn. Set goals and work hard to achieve them. You can do anything you set your mind to!

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