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Widener-PMC Alumni Association Announces Awards

The Widener University-Pennsylvania Military College Alumni Association presented its 2012 awards during Alumni Volunteer and Excellence Weekend on April 14.

Michael S. Scales of Cape May County, N.J. is the recipient of the Outstanding Alumnus Award, presented annually to an alumnus or alumna who has brought honor, recognition and distinction to the university through service to the community, their profession or by honors received.

As associate professor of business studies at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Scales has been a strong proponent of civic engagement. He created several group service learning projects for students including Hospitality Helping Homeless, for which his class received the Atlantic City Hometown Hero Award; A Taste for New Orleans, a dinner and auction that raised money for the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund; and Feast for Families, an annual fundraiser for The Alcove Center for Grieving Children in Northfield, N.J.

For his efforts, Scales was the first faculty member to receive the Stockton Community Engagement Award, which he has since received again. He has also been named Professor of the Year at the college three times.

Scales received the Award of Excellence from the Atlantic County Institute of Technology for his work as a member of their advisory board. In addition, he serves on the board of directors of The Alcove, and is a founding member of the National Political Engagement Project, a sister project of the American Democracy Project sponsored by The New York Times and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

A graduate of Upper Darby High School, Scales attended Widener, earning his bachelor’s degree in hospitality management in 1987 and his and master’s in human resource  management in 1992. He previously served as an assistant professor in the Widener School of Hospitality Management.

Donald E. Devilbiss of West Chester, Pa., acting dean of University College at Widener, received the R. Kelso Carter Award, presented annually to a non-Widener graduate who has brought honor to the university through their acts or accomplishments.

In February 2012, Devilbiss was named acting dean of University College, responsible for the every-day operations of the college which serves more than 400 part-time adult undergraduate students in 18 different associate and bachelor’s degree programs and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Exton, Pa.

Previously, Devilbiss served as assistant dean of University College for nearly 20 years, responsible for scheduling and staffing on- and off-campus courses, monitoring the delivery of services to ensure the quality of the academic programs and student support services, and collaborating in the strategic planning for program growth.

Devilbiss is also an active member of the University Professional & Continuing Education Association and the Association for Continuing Higher Education, having presented at conferences and served on various committees. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business education from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in higher education counseling from the University of Delaware.

Sheldon “Shelly” A. Schwartz of Greencastle, Pa., a graduate of the class of 1960, received the Alumni Service Award, presented for volunteer service to the university. He was instrumental in planning the 50th reunion of his graduating class of Pennsylvania Military College (now Widener).

In addition to serving his alma mater, Schwartz is active in his community. He is a volunteer with the Washington County, Md. Court Appointed Special Advocate Program (CASA), and serves on the Pennsylvania CASA Board of Directors. He is also a volunteer with the Franklin County Area Agency on Aging Ombudsman Program and was the chairman of the Pennsylvania South Central Citizens Review Panel under the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. He is on the Franklin County Mental Health/Intellectually Disabled Advisory Board, and is a volunteer with the Pennsylvania Senior Medical Patrol.

After graduating from Pennsylvania Military College with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a commission as a 2nd Lt. in the U.S. Army, Schwartz spent seven years in the Army Reserves. He worked on the space program in California until 1969 and then the California Legislature as a consultant. He worked for a number of years for the Atomic Energy Commission/Nuclear regulatory Commission in Bethesda, Md. before his retirement in 1994.

After his retirement, Schwartz served as a consultant to public and private organizations and wrote articles on radiation matters. He spent seven years as a member, vice chair and chair of the St. Petersburg, Fla. Code Enforcement Board and was appointed special magistrate for code enforcement in January 2005.

Barry L. Purvis of Chambersburg, Pa., the award-winning principal at Chambersburg Area Senior High School, received the John L. Geoghegan Alumni Citizenship Award, which is given annually in memory of Geoghegan, a member of the class of 1963, to an alumnus or alumna who has brought honor to the university through leadership and community service.

Purvis, who received his doctoral degree in educational administration from Widener in 2002, has served as principal of Chambersburg Area Senior High School since 2003. In 2006, he was named High School Principal of the Year by the Pennsylvania Association of Elementary and Secondary School Principals, and was profiled in Jet magazine.

Previously, Purvis served as principal of the Chambersburg Area Middle School. During his seven-year tenure, the school was named a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education, and was a finalist for Pennsylvania Middle School of the Year in 2003.

In addition to his academic leadership, Purvis coached the Chambersburg Area Senior High School girls’ basketball team for 17 years. He led them to the state playoffs on several occasions, and was named Coach of the Year twice. He currently serves as president of the Pennsylvania Association for Elementary and Secondary School Principals, an organization that serves more than 4,000 school principals statewide.

Anna Miller, a senior chemistry major from East Prospect, Pa., received the John L. Geoghegan Student Citizenship Award which is given annually in memory Geoghegan, a member of the class of 1963, to a student who has brought honor to the university through academic achievement, leadership and community service.

At Widener, Miller is a member of the Presidential Service Corp (PSC)/Bonner Leaders Program, which requires members to donate 300 hours of community service. She also serves as site team leader at City Team International in Chester, where she coordinates the efforts of 10 other PSC students to help City Team better serve their clients. In recognition of her exceptional leadership skills, Miller was invited to become a member of the Bonner Advisory Board where she helps to plan and lead national conferences.

In 2011, Miller was one of only 135 students nationwide selected as a Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact, an honor that recognizes inspiring college student leaders who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country. Miller serves as the student body representative on the Widener Board of Trustees, and recently served as Widener President-for-a-Day, assuming the role of university President James T. Harris III for a day while he attended Miller’s classes and extra-curricular activities.

Miller is the daughter of Jeffrey and Christine Miller of East Prospect, Pa.

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener comprises eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate’s, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university’s campuses in Chester, Exton, and Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del., serve some 6,700 students. Visit the university website,



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