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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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Rising Stars

“Rising Stars” is a regular feature in Reflections. It profiles Siena Heights alumni who have graduated within the past 10 years and who excel in their careers, occupations or community service accomplishments. To be considered for “Rising Stars” in an upcoming issue of Reflections, 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.

Rob Hemmig

Graduation year: 2007, 2009/MA.

Current title/position: Corporate Partnerships Executive, Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, Mich.

What Rob is Doing: He works at Michigan International Speedway alongside many other SHU alums. His role is to find ways for companies to utilize MIS’s assets when it comes to entertainment, marketing and activation. He started as a ticketing intern in 2007 and has worked his way up to his current position.

My favorite moment/story while a student at Siena Heights was: “I think my favorite memory outside of baseball would have to be seeing the students I recruited while coaching complete their degrees from Siena Heights University.”

My favorite person at Siena Heights was: “There are so many to pick from, but Joni LeMay and Melissa Growden were always there to make sure that things were going in the right direction.”

My ultimate goal in life is: “Be successful and happy.”

My best piece of advice for SHU students is: “Create your own experiences at SHU, don’t just follow the group. Each person will and should have a different experience while in college. Get involved in activities that you normally wouldn’t do. You never know, you may find a new passion.”

Read more . . .