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Creativity in the Classroom

Spirit of Academic Innovation
Continues at Siena Heights

By Doug Goodenough

Creativity has always been a calling card in the Siena Heights classroom over the years.

In Siena’s earlier days, it was educating Adrian Dominican Sisters over the summer months to keep them teaching in elementary and high schools during the fall, winter and spring.

In the 1960s it was the genesis of the Creative Stages youth theater program that blazed new trails and connected education to performing arts like never before.

The 1970s had Siena Heights leaving the Adrian campus to teach adult and nontraditional students across Michigan and beyond.

Today, that spirit of innovation continues. One course fuses a familiar concept—food—with one a little harder to grasp—chemistry. Another combines the endless possibilities of creative writing with the new and evolving visual arts in a true liberal arts collaboration.

What it means for the Siena Heights student is learning in new—and sometimes fun—ways.

Read more . . .

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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‘The Next Right Thing’

Carolyn Donaldson ’82 Brings a ‘Zest’ for Life as TV News Anchor

By Doug Goodnough

Carolyn Welniak Donaldson ’82 is used to the spotlight – both on camera and off. The longtime news anchor for WTAJ-TV in Altoona, Pa., nicknamed “Zest” by her family, not only has a zest for the news business, but also for the community in which she lives.

“I am most gratified, as part of our news team, when we are able to bring our views and members of our community meaningful stories that have or could impact their lives,” said Donaldson, who has anchored at WTAJ for nearly 20 years. “There is no greater reward than ‘doing the next right thing’ as my husband (Robert) and I and now our grown daughters (Elisabeth and Sarah) try to embody and live each day.”

Her broadcasting career actually blossomed from a corporate sales career after she graduated from Siena Heights with a double major in theater/speech communications and business administration/management.

“My Folgers coffee sales days armed me with invaluable time management and marketing skills,” said the Toledo, Ohio, native, who first moved to central Pennsylvania when she managed a sales territory for Proctor and Gamble. “When the opportunity presented itself to move into broadcasting at the local TV station, I welcomed the challenge of reporting and anchoring weather.”

Read more . . .