From the Editor:
Alumni, Keep Those Stories Coming!
I continue to be amazed at the alumni of Siena Heights University.
During the most recent Homecoming Weekend, I had a front row seat for both the alumni awards ceremony and the athletic hall of fame banquet. Those who were honored had some astounding stories to tell.
Katie Guilbault Decker, ’89 was honored with an alumni award for her work in transforming a struggling inner-city school in Las Vegas into one of the most successful in Nevada. In her acceptance speech, she talked about how the Adrian Dominicans made her Siena Heights education happen. Not able to afford the tuition, she spoke through tears about how the Adrian Dominicans stepped in and paid for her tuition, allowing her to earn her degree in teacher education, and go on to become the award-winning principal she is today.
Then there’s the story of small-town boy Adam Hartle ’06. A promising pole vaulter from the tiny farm town of Homer, Mich., he was garnering some Division I attention before he suffered a broken back. After doctors advised him that he should never compete again, most of the schools who were recruiting him left the picture. Not Siena Heights. Again, through a tearful Hall-of-Fame acceptance speech, Hartle talked about how Siena Heights and coaches Tim Bauer and Mark Dooley believed in him. The payoff: Hartle went on to become a national champion pole vaulter for the Saints. And most importantly, he earned his degree and is a successful and productive member of society.
In the pages of this issue, you have two more unbelievable examples of Siena Heights graduates in action.
Zach Bailey ’14 talks about how a college internship with Disney that almost didn’t happen transformed his life and allowed him the career of his dreams. How many 20-somethings can say they have worked with people like Prince Harry, George Lucas and J.K. Rowling?
And then there’s our cover story, Stacey Kozel. Suffering from the debilitating disease lupus since high school and living through two life-threatening accidents, Kozel considered it a major accomplishment when she could walk across the stage and receive her Siena Heights diploma in 2015. A year later, the paralyzed 42-year-old completed the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail on foot—and has become a national story doing it. Just wow.
Do you have a story to tell? If you are a Siena Heights graduate, I’m sure you do. Don’t be afraid to tell us about it. You can reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, we have online nomination forms for both the alumni awards and the athletic hall of fame, not to mention the Rising Stars piece in every issue of the magazine.
Keep those stories coming!