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Tribute to Jennifer Hamlin Church

Jennifer Hamlin Church
Jennifer Hamlin Church

SHU Alumni Director for 20 years

Editor’s Note: Longtime Director of Alumni Relations and Associate Vice President of Advancement Jennifer Hamlin Church retired in November 2015 after more than 20 years at Siena Heights University. As a special sendoff, Reflections asked a few of her past and present colleagues to pen some personal words of tribute.

Deb Carter
Deb Carter

Deborah Carter ’15 / Hon. – Retired Dean of the College for Professional Studies

‘Classy’ and ‘elegant’ are two words that come to mind when I think of Jennifer Hamlin Church. Her elegance comes through in her beautiful writing, and she is well aware that well-crafted language has the power to evoke powerful emotional responses, make people feel that they belong, provide meaning and further Siena’s mission. The first time I heard the ‘Voices of Siena’ I knew the beautifully crafted pieces were written by Jennifer. It was my pleasure to organize two book signings for her first book, So Much to Live For, A Memoir of Love, Loss and Living On.

Jennifer understands the importance of relationship building in Alumni Relations, and developed personal connections with alums which deepened their feelings of connection to Siena. Jennifer transformed the outreach to students and alumni of Siena Heights University’s off-campus sites, creating the hugely successful annual holiday event on the west side of the state. She added off-campus graduates to the Alumni Board, and turned the conversation toward creative ways of engaging off-campus students.

Read more . . .

On the Right Path

Proving Her High School Coach Wrong Motivates Lucia Alfaro All the Way to Siena Heights

Editor’s Note: The following story appeared in the Sept. 1, 2015 edition of the Monroe News. This edited version was used with permission.

Lucia Alfaro ’17 (below middle) wasn’t exactly encouraged on her first day of cross country practice as a Milan freshman.

“She couldn’t even run a half mile,” recalls Big Reds coach Steve Porter. “I told her this is a running sport and she might want to go out for volleyball.”

Alfaro got mad and was determined to prove her coach wrong. Back then she ran the 3.1-mile cross country distance in 28 or 29 minutes and was Milan’s slowest runner as a freshman. Three years later, she was the Big Reds fastest runner and a state qualifier.

<strong>Above:</strong> Siena Heights cross country team from left to right—Ruth Ann Letherer, Elaine Johnson, Maria Fisher, Kristin Stobinski, Lucia Alfaro, Ashley Russo, Hannah Shellenbarger, Erica Oram, and Lauren McMahon.
Above: Siena Heights cross country team from left to right—Ruth Ann Letherer, Elaine Johnson, Maria Fisher, Kristin Stobinski, Lucia Alfaro, Ashley Russo, Hannah Shellenbarger, Erica Oram, and Lauren McMahon.

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Rewriting the Menu

Jackie Corser Helps Open Farm-to-Table Restaurant in Monroe

After owning two Big Boy restaurants in the Monroe, Mich., area for many years, Jackie Corser ’14 and her husband, Fred, decided it was time to “rewrite the menu” of their business.

“We knew two years before (making a change) that we were going to change the concept into a more personalized owner-
ship without a franchise,” Corser said.

Before that change happened, however, she went back to school. She completed her associate’s degree from the culinary program at Monroe County Community College, then went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Siena Heights University’s MCCC campus. The Corsers sold one Big Boy franchise, remodeled the other, and partnered with George and Maria Darany to open the Public House Food & Drink in downtown Monroe. The revamped Big Boy is now a farm-to-table restaurant and bar that serves locally grown and sourced food.

“The concept was well-accepted by our community, as well as the outside community,” said Corser, who serves as chef as well as co-owner of Public House. “It was something in our hearts that we wanted to do, and so we were going to try it. … Because of all our experiences, we have the ability and all the restaurant experience to do something cool and creative. That’s how Public House was conceived.”

Read more . . .