Lifetime Achievement Award-winning journalist, Mary Ann (Bergerson) Ahern ’76, took a nontraditional path to her career at NBC 5 News in Chicago. She started as an English teacher at an all-boys Catholic high school. But after five years—and after completing master’s degrees in education and journalism—Mary Ann took a gamble and left teaching to pursue her lifelong passion for news.
She grew up in Michigan City, Indiana, about 60 miles from Chicago, in a big family that “devoured news from Chicago” and routinely discussed it at home.
Mary Ann followed two older brothers, Marty ’72 and Michael ’74, to John Carroll, where she was known as “Little Bergy,” wrote for The Carroll News, and earned her B.A. in English. As a senior, she wrote a letter inviting comedian Bob Hope to campus as the commencement speaker (he said yes). Her brother, Marty, was friends with classmate Tim Russert, who went on to become the legendary host of NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Mary Ann started her career as a reporter/weekend anchor in Peoria, Illinois. Less than three years later, she moved to Atlanta to work as a political reporter. She says Russert put in a good word for her, and did so again in 1989 when she joined NBC 5 News in Chicago, where she became a religion reporter and was named lead political reporter in 2006.
Career highlights include traveling to Cuba to cover Pope John Paul II’s trip in 1997, reporting from Rome on John Paul II’s funeral, Pope Benedict’s selection and farewell, the selection of Pope Francis, and the canonization of John XXIII and John Paul II. As a political reporter, Mary Ann covers local, regional, and national issues and campaigns, including Barack Obama’s ascent to the highest office in the land. She also is frequently asked to file stories for other NBC affiliates nationwide.
A mother of three, Mary Ann negotiated a reduced work schedule when her children were younger—three days a week for 10 years. She says her husband, Tom, and having one amazing babysitter for 18 years made it possible for her to raise her children and excel in her career.
She has remained loyal to JCU, serving on the former Board of Regents, as an alumni ambassador, mentoring Carroll students as interns, and hosting student groups at live newscasts.
For her outstanding professional achievements, dedication to her family, and continued commitment to John Carroll University, the John Carroll Alumni Association is pleased to award the 2017 Alumni Medal to Mary Ann Ahern.
William C. Bloomstine earned his B.S. degree in business administration in 1954 from John Carroll and has been a supporter ever since. Known as a loyal, generous, and modest man, Bill has made a significant impact on his family, business, alma mater, church, and community – always leading by example.
While still a high school senior, Bill enrolled at Carroll in the spring of 1951. He was a member of the ROTC Color Guard, chairman of the ’54 Military Ball, Carillon senior class editor, a logic student of Fr. Joseph Schell, S.J., and a moral guidance student of Fr. James McQuade, S.J.
Shortly after marrying the former Carol Zipperle, Bill was stationed at Fort Eustis, Virginia. After completing his military training, he became a student liaison officer at the Army Transportation School. In 1956, Bill’s father passed away. Subsequently, Bill was released from the Army to lead the family business, the forerunner of Insurance Management Company, founded by his father in 1933.
Bill is a chartered property and casualty underwriter, associate in risk management, past president of the Pennsylvania Independent Insurance Agents, and former chairman of the Eastern Agents Conference. Insurance Management Company, by invitation, is a member of the Worldwide Broker Network and the only insurance brokering/agency to earn the Risk & Insurance Management Society’s Quality Award.
Twenty six years ago, leadership of the company was passed to three of his four children. Beth, Chris, and John lead Insurance Management Company, and grandsons Joe and Will are fourth-generation associates. Bill’s son Mark is an orthopedic surgeon who trained at the Cleveland Clinic. The Bloomstines have 12 grandchildren.
A Carroll alumni-in-admission recruiter, Bill has hosted numerous phone-a-thons and prospective student receptions such as “Make Your Own Sundae” at the Erie Yacht Club in his hometown, Erie, Pennsylvania. Bill fills in some gaps with yard and home maintenance projects, biking, and a bit of sailing. Bill is a member of the Magis Legacy Society – Bill and Carol began tithing in 1958.
Bill attends mass daily and is a charter member of The Serra Club of Erie. In 1994, Pope John Paul II designated Bill a Knight of Saint Gregory the Great. For his community work, Bill has been honored with The Erie Community Foundation Community Service Award, the Saint Mary’s Home of Erie Medaille D’Or Award, and the Erie Rotary 4 Way Award.
For his dedication to his family and John Carroll University, his professional accomplishments, and a generosity of spirit and service to others, the John Carroll Alumni Association is pleased to award the 2017 Alumni Medal to William C. Bloomstine.
Ciara, a native of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania graduated with a degree in Communication.
During her four years here at JCU, Ciara was involved in many different clubs and organizations. She was a Resident Assistant for three years and served on multiple committees within the Office of Residence Life. As a Leadership Scholar, Ciara used the skills she developed in the program to cultivate communities on campus grounded in respect and inclusion. In addition, Ciara was active in Campus Ministry, where she served as a lector, Eucharistic Minister, Sacristan, and student worker. She participated in an immersion trip to Immokalee, Florida, where she worked with migrant farmworkers and advocated for farmworkers’ rights.
Ciara was inducted into Lambda Pi Eta – the National Communications Honor Society – and Alpha Sigma Nu – the Jesuit honors society. She was also involved with John Carroll Respect for Life and The Carroll News, using her voice on campus to ensure more inclusive dining options for those sensitive to allergens. She also founded the John Carroll chapter of Students With Diabetes, a support and awareness group focused on young adults with Type 1 Diabetes.
Upon graduating, Ciara is returning home, where she will do Clinical Marketing for UPMC.
In special recognition of her exemplary service to others, and in recognition of the honor of being chosen by her classmates as the 2017 Millor Orator, the John Carroll Alumni Association congratulates Ciara Crossey
In the early 2000’s, Annie DePerro was one of the first of her college friends to start a family and leave the workforce. After visiting her one day, a few friends realized the woman who always balanced three jobs in college needed something in addition to caring for her infant in order to keep her sane. The previous columnist for the class of ’95, who was one of the visiting friends, suggested Annie take it over. She did, and she’s had it ever since.
“It became a nice outlet for me and a way to stay connected to the University that had given me so much,” she says.
When Annie writes her column, she aims to dig deep to make her columns meaningful.
Annie was especially moved by a tribute one of her classmates wrote to another who passed away last year. She was proud to have a hand in bringing the story and those memories to life through her column to the entire Class of 1995. She loves connecting with classmates and hearing how they’ve navigated life’s path. Annie likes to see how Jesuit education has influenced and inspired her fellow alumni.
For her personable, exemplary columns, and engagement of her classmates, the John Carroll Alumni Association is proud to present Annie DePerro with the 2017 Silver Quill award.
Adrianna hails from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and will graduate with a degree in Exercise Science and a minor in Biology.
Adrianna’s commitment to her Christian values and service to others is truly exemplary and extraordinary. She has been on immersion trips to Immokalee, Florida, El Salvador and Equador. Adrianna has served as a Carroll Faith Community leader for the past three years and President of the organization for the last two years.
Adrianna’s service to the university does not stop there. She is a member of Kappa Alpha Theta and has served as President as well as a Recruitment Counselor for the Panhellenic Council. Adrianna was awarded the Kappa Alpha Theta Spirit Pin and the Emerging Greek Leader award. As an admission tour guide, Adrianna once said, “John Carroll allows me to grow inside and out of the classroom in so many ways, and that is why I felt so willing to call Carroll home. I am so happy to be able to share my experiences with families each day.”
After graduation, Adrianna will go on to obtain her Physical Therapy Assistant Certification at Butler Community College and then a Master’s in Public Health.
In special recognition of her exemplary service to the university and to others, the John Carroll Alumni Association congratulates Adrianna Gradisek, on receiving the 2017 Beaudry Award.
Several alumni activities as we know them today – reunion weekend, class columnists, reunion class giving, class agents, and alumni in admission – were created under Gerry Grim ’69, ’04G.
Along with Doug Bookwalter ’60, Gerry, former director of alumni relations and the alumni fund, was instrumental in transitioning reunion to a four-day event during the summer (instead of during homecoming) in 1978. A year later, borrowing an idea from the Ivy League, he launched the class columnist program. He also started the alumni-in-admission program, which was designed to create a larger pool of prospective students throughout the country.
The 1969 class columnist is a founding member of the IChi scholarship (the University’s third largest), which was started with $25,000 in 1984. Gerry was instrumental in the success of this past year’s IChi reunion. He – along with other alumni and his wife, Dorothy ’85G – helped start the Backcourt Club, which evolved in to the Blue Gold Club.
The New Jersey native found his way to Carroll via Pittsburgh where his family moved because his father was in the steel industry. Planning to be a history teacher, Gerry started his career at St. Henry School in Cleveland. But kids came quickly, and with Dorothy staying home to raise their three children, Gerry needed more income, so he went to work for Hertz in sales.
During his career, the history major worked with General Electric Lighting, handling its incentive travel; brought the first American baseball players to the Soviet Union; and was president of two cellular phone agencies. But he realized he missed education, so he returned to Carroll as director of the annual fund and reunion giving. Subsequently, he worked in development at Mary Baldwin College, Christchurch School, Archbishop Hoban High School, and now at Beaumont School. During his 24-year career, he has raised more than $22 million dollars for education.
“Gerry has made a difference in the lives of so many people since his graduation from Carroll,” says classmate J. Patrick Herald. “He’s one of the most selfless, giving individuals I’ve ever known. His commitment to Carroll and the Cleveland community is without fanfare or notoriety.”
For his dedication to his alma mater for the past 48 years, as well as his commitment to his family and community, the John Carroll Alumni Association is pleased to award the 2017 Alumni Medal to Gerard P. Grim.
Attorney Bob Hager is recognized by his peers as an Ohio Super Lawyer with the highest possible rating in legal ability and ethical standards. As a managing partner with Brennan, Manna and Diamond, LLC in Akron, Bob practices commercial litigation and construction law. He traces his career success to his John Carroll leadership experiences and the spiritual direction of Rev. Casimir (Casey) Bukala, S.J.
“One of the classes Casey taught was existentialism,” he says. “I always look at things that way—what’s the history, where are we now, and where do we want to be?”
Bob majored in political science, and could not be more proud or appreciative of how his Jesuit education and relationships continue to shape his life. His JCU-led Ignatian Pilgrimage to Spain and Italy in 2002 was transformational and his faith formation continued when Rev. Howard Gray, S.J., led him through the 19th Annotation of the Spiritual Exercises in 2005.
Bob was recruited from Padua Franciscan High School to play football at Carroll, but a shoulder injury his sophomore year ended his sports career. He became more involved in his fraternity, Iota Chi Upsilon (IXY) and the Student Union as Senator. As IXY’s executive vice president, Bob managed two significant projects he still treasures today: Homecoming Week activities and chairing the St. Patrick’s Day float for the Cleveland parade (they won first place!)
He proudly calls John Carroll the birthplace of his family. Bob met his wife, Mary (Miralia) ’85, when he was an IXY campus tour guide and she and her mom were assigned to his group. Four years later, he proposed to her at the top of Grasselli Tower. Fr. Bukala celebrated their wedding and baptized their children—also alumni—Grace ’12, Bobby ’14, and Annie ’15.
Together, Bob and Mary have served on reunion committees and generously supported the Forever Carroll Campaign, the Carroll Fund, the 125th Anniversary Gala, and the Blue Gold Club.
Bob’s service to JCU and within the Jesuit and Catholic communities is exemplary: past member, John Carroll University Board of Directors; past chair, former JCU Board of Regents; past chair, JCU Magis Advisory Group; master member, JCU Entrepreneurs Association; past chair and member, Board of Directors, Jesuit Retreat House; past chair and member, Board of Trustees, Walsh Jesuit High School; and member and past president, Lawyers Guild of Catholic Diocese of Cleveland.
For his outstanding professional achievements, devotion to his faith and family, and continued commitment to the Jesuit mission and the University, the John Carroll Alumni Association is pleased to award the 2017 Alumni Medal to Robert A. Hager.
The recipients of The 2017 Bichl Award are Terri and George Lewandowski, both from the class of 1978.
Terri and George met in 1974 at the freshman picnic and 36 years later saw their son, Chris, graduate from the very school that brought them together. The Lewandowski’s are truly a team and throughout the years their volunteer activity at John Carroll has been both remarkable and impactful. For the amount of time they spend here on campus, some would think that Terri and George actually live in University Heights, but in actuality they reside in Columbus, where they are very active in the Columbus Alumni Chapter as well as in the greater Columbus community – in particular with LifeCare Alliance and St. Charles Preparatory School.
As a past president of the Alumni Association, Terri was instrumental in spearheading the 2015 Alumni Survey and helping to streamline THIS process – the alumni award selection process. As the president of the Alumni Board, she was the alumni association representative to the Board of Directors where she served on the Academic Affairs Committee and now, as a full member of the Board of Directors, she is the chair of the Mission and Identity Committee. Her preparation, understanding and thoughtfulness are respected by the Administration and the entire Board. Her comments at meetings indicate she has given serious thought to the issues, and she has the leadership ability to keep everyone involved.
George’s career in medicine led to an invitation to become JCU’s physician-in-residence. An invitation to join JCU in a role that would require extensive “volunteering” was a very easy decision. George recently said, “I’ve enjoyed one career where I could physically and emotionally help patients and their families through some of their darkest days. And then, I was directed onto a path where I was asked to help guide a new generation toward that same pursuit. Eleven years in training and 23 years in practice made me what I am. John Carroll made me who I am.” George not only advises students, but is instrumental in introducing JCU undergraduates to medical needs in third-world countries, particularly Honduras. During their immersion trips to this Central American country, George and Terri bring not only students, but also medical supplies to Honduras. Faculty who have joined them on these trips have marveled at the spirit of dedication of this remarkable Carroll Couple.
George is quoted on the JCU website where he referenced one of Emerson’s observations: “you cannot pay back what others have given you; you can only pay forward, the more that we give, the more we receive.”
On behalf of the John Carroll University Alumni Association, we congratulate Terri and George Lewandowski on receiving the 2017 William M. Bichl, S.J. Alumni Volunteer Service Award.
The name “Amanda Maggiotto” resonates with a vast number of JCU graduates from 2005-2011 and many members of the university’s faculty and staff. The affection that professors, colleagues, and employees hold for Amanda turns traditional professional relationships on their heads: she becomes more than an endeared student or manager—Amanda is like family to everyone she meets.
As a student, Amanda effortlessly upheld the university’s mission to excel in service, leadership, and learning. She continues to do that today. She has made a name for herself at the Cleveland Clinic’s Taussig Cancer Institute, where she is currently a research supervisor managing a team of 14 research coordinators working on clinical trials for leukemia, lymphoma, and other forms of cancer. As a cancer survivor herself, her work takes on so much more meaning and purpose. As if working to cure cancer didn’t keep her busy enough, Amanda is also pursuing her M.B.A. on the side.
Still serving the community today, Amanda co-chairs Providence House’s Friends Group and she has also volunteered as an advocate for the Cleveland Rape Crisis Hotline. This past year, Amanda was the recipient of the Cleveland 20/30 Club’s aptly named “Mover and Shaker Award.”
In the movie Much Ado about Nothing, one of Amanda’s best friends says this quote sums her up perfectly. “Though she be but little, she is fierce!” — A fierce lover of all her remarkable roles: daughter, sister, friend, boss, patient, mentor, student, aunt, colleague, and good and faithful servant.
On behalf of the John Carroll Alumni Association, we congratulate Amanda Maggiotto on receiving the 2017 Young Alumni Award.
John Marcus ’72 is an award-winning writer and producer of commercial, political, and issue advertising, working for such clients as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Department of Labor, and several presidential campaigns. He was the driving force behind last October’s Iota Chi Upsilon reunion, which brought more than 250 IChi alumni back to campus.
“John was the most important reason we got together,” said Michael Faems ’71. “We had a great time and renewed our love and devotion to our alma mater.”
“As a result of John’s hard work with the IXY reunion, I have become involved with the Detroit Alumni Club and have been recruiting students for JCU,” says James Brennan ’69. “I know many others have been so inspired by John.”
“The reunion resulted in important ramifications for the University, including IXYs being committed to making its scholarship endowment fund the largest of its kind on campus,” says James Fineran ’66.
The Detroit native has strong family ties to Carroll. He’s the son of John Marcus Sr. ’39 and nephew of Sam Marcus ’40, members of the Athletics Hall of Fame. His mother’s cousin, Billy Halloran, was the first Carroll man killed in World War II, a casualty on the USS Arizona. And his daughter, Caroline, just finished her sophomore year.
Entering JCU, the hockey and rugby player was interested in journalism. He was a communication major; worked on The Carroll News; and joined Iota Chi Upsilon, a service fraternity that emphasized leadership, initiative, and involvement.
After Carroll, the long-time class columnist attended the film school at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where he focused his interests on politics and advertising. He earned a master’s degree in 1975.
Professionally, the Silver Quill recipient has won Thoth Awards from the Public Relations Society of America; an advertising Clio; several Pollie Awards, including several in the “Best Presidential: TV” category; and Addy Awards, including those in the highly competitive national retail category.
John has been a school-board member, volunteered with the Crohns and Colitis Foundation, and has been an outstanding source for fellow JCU grads seeking internships and employment in the D.C. area. As a veteran hockey and soccer coach, he helps develop young people’s God-given potential and adheres to the principles of positive coaching.
“He epitomizes the spirit of Onward On, John Carroll,” says Michael Kowlaski ’67.
For his dedication to his family, alma mater, as well as his exemplary professional leadership and service to others, the John Carroll Alumni Association is pleased to award the 2017 Alumni Medal to John M. Marcus.
On April 16, 2015, on the Crescent City campus of the College of the Redwoods in Northern California, a student became agitated during an American government class while current events were being discussed. He left the classroom, grabbed a knife, then returned to the classroom to stab a student. Seemingly unprovoked, he pulled a folding knife on the student in class and cut his face and arm before Associate Professor Eli Naffah pulled him away, preventing additional harm to the victim. Sheriff Erik Apperson of Del Norte County (pronounced Del North) hailed Eli as a hero.
“It was a normal reaction because I noticed one student attacking another,” Eli said. “I was trying to separate them. It just felt right, but it seems like it took longer than I wanted it to.” Looking back at his notes from class, Eli hadn’t given participation points to the assailant that afternoon, indicating he likely hadn’t spoken up.
Eli, a Beaudry Award recipient and three-time class president at John Carroll, has always followed the Jesuit tradition of selflessly giving himself to serving and bettering the lives of others. Even in the act of heroism, Eli was more concerned about saving students’ lives than his own safety. One of Eli’s students said, “Professor Naffah is one of the most kind and thoughtful professors I have had.” That kindness and thoughtfulness is admirable. His bravery, sacrifice and heroism is worthy of our recognition and gratitude this evening.
On behalf of the John Carroll University Alumni Association, we congratulate Eli Naffah on receiving the 2017 Campion Shield.