Your browser (Internet Explorer 7 or lower) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.


Alumni News—Fall 2013

Tell Us Your Stories about Sister Leonilla Barlage, OP

Sister Leonilla Barlage, OP
Sister Leonilla Barlage, OP

The Alumni Office wants to expand its memory bank about Siena’s early faculty. We have dates and titles, but we want your input—anecdotes of personal stories to bring those teaching legends to life. In the last Reflections, we asked about Sister Ann Joachim (see below). This time the spotlight is on Sister Leonilla Barlage.

Here’s what we know: Professor of English, Speech and Drama (1934-45, 1948-69). An innovator who directed yearly productions including the annual Lenten play. She established the “Little Theater” for productions in the basement of Sacred Heart Hall, across from the radio station she established (now SHU marketing and an adjoining faculty office) where students went on-air for a local radio station (far left, photo right,).

What can you tell us about Sister Leonilla? Bring the picture to life.

Send your stories and recollections to:
SHU Alumni Office, 1247 E. Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, MI 49221
or email to

Sister Ann Joachim, OP
Sister Ann Joachim, OP

Insights into Sister Ann Joachim, OP

Thanks to all who sent stories about Sister “AJ.” Here are a few:

“I met Sister ‘AJ’ within a week of my arrival at Siena. I was a lowly freshman. We students were eating lunch when this Dominican nun—in my eyes she was 6’ tall—came striding into Benincasa cradling a shotgun! ‘I’m gonna get that crow yet!’ she announced. Later, of course, I got to know her as an inspired political science teacher.”—Marianne Egan McKeague ‘54.

“You did not cross your legs in Sister’s class. If you forgot, her stern look reminded you immediately.”—Rose Marie Campbell Freeman ‘56.

“I was impressed seeing Sister Ann study from 3×5 cards she always carried with her as she walked everywhere. I was an immigrant from the Netherlands and Sister helped prepare me for the examination and citizenship process.”—Maggie van Staveren ‘69.

Read more . . .

Saints Athletics Feature—Donovan Campbell

Siena Heights Junior Donovan Campbell Strikes a Balance Between Football, Family

Donovan Campbell
Donovan Campbell

Editor’s Note: This is an edited version of a feature that ran in the Adrian Daily Telegram in October 2013. Used with permission. By Greg Garno—Daily Telegram Special Writer.

The story of Siena Heights University tight end Donovan Campbell begins five years ago.

Five years ago, Campbell didn’t play organized football. Five years ago, Campbell wasn’t fielding offers from other colleges to come play football. Instead, five years ago, Campbell was taking care of his youngest brother
to help his mother.

But fast forward to today. Campbell, now a junior, excels on the field as a vital part of the Saints offense. More importantly, he has been a catalyst for Siena Heights this season in arguably the toughest football conference in the NAIA.

“He affects our football team in a very positive way,” said SHU coach Jim Lyall. “You can tell the difference between him and some players is it’s not so much what you want, but how badly you want it. He wants to be the best, very badly.”

Campbell has led the Saints in receiving the past two years, including last season in which he was the only member from Siena Heights to be named the All-MSFA Mideast first team. This year, he was a preseason NAIA All-American, and living up to the billing.

Read more . . .

One on One With . . . Trudy McSorley

Editor’s Note: This is the first installment of what we hope will be a regular Reflections series. “One on One With…” starts appropriately with longtime Siena Heights fixture Trudy McSorley, who retired last summer after more than 50 years on campus. She reflects on her time at Siena Heights, as a student, faculty member and administrator.

Trudy McSorley
Trudy McSorley

1. First impressions of Siena Heights?

This can be a very involved question as I first came to Siena in 1961 when I entered the Adrian Dominican congregation. Then it was simply going to class. We were not involved in college life, as our focus was becoming Adrian Dominican Sisters. When I returned in 1973 as a faculty member, I was young (30) and a bit overwhelmed being a part of college and academic life, as I had not known it before. At the time I was privileged to work with my teacher and mentor, Sister Therese Craig. We also lived together in an apartment at Village Green where many other Sisters who were on the faculty and staff were living. There were at least 30 Adrian Dominican Sisters on campus at the time. Looking back it was an amazing time on campus in many ways. We had our first layman (Hugh Thompson) president; men were now a significant part of our student body, and there was a great effort to outreach into the community of Adrian.

2. How did you get involved in teaching, specifically drama and theater?

As I said I was an Adrian Dominican and that was the primary ministry of the Sisters at the time. I think that is one of the reasons I was attracted to the congregation; the Adrian Dominican had been my teachers since I was 6 years old in first grade. One of my teachers in high school (Rosary high school in Detroit, an all girls Adrian Dominican school) was Sister Rose Terrence (Sister Therese Craig after Vatican II). She was an incredible teacher, director and passionate educator. She led the speech and drama department where I found myself at home. When I entered the congregation I was asked what my major was going to be by Sister Bertha Homzina (the registrar at the time). I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to say something like “speech and drama” (considered a bit too frivolous). She never bat-ted an eye (at least I didn’t see it!), and I happily went on my way as a speech and drama major. Sister Therese was my teacher for many of my classes and was more than tough on me, which was great ammunition for me later in life as we became very dear friends. In 1973 I received a phone call from the Siena theater department to interview and work with Sister Therese in the child drama/children’s theater program, as it had grown more than anticipated. They offered, I accepted, and the rest is history.

Read more . . .