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Widener-PMC Alumni Association Presents 2013 Awards

The Widener University-Pennsylvania Military College Alumni Association recognized three alumni, a student and a faculty member during the annual awards ceremony April 13 during Alumni Volunteer and Excellence Weekend.

Gregg A. Strom of Ottsville, Pa., a member of the Pennsylvania Military College class of 1964, 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.

Strom is an active and involved alumnus. He is a past president of the Widener/PMC Alumni Association and currently serves on the board. His guidance of the annual Alumni Golf Tournament has made it one of the most successful alumni events each year. He serves as chairman of the Class of 1964 reunion committee, and has proven himself an effective fundraiser, leading his class to the highest level of support for the Cadet/Civilian statue.

As a student at Pennsylvania Military College, Strom was senior class president, president of the inter-fraternity council, played varsity football and was a distinguished military cadet. Upon graduation, Strom entered the Army where he achieved the rank of captain in the infantry before returning to civilian life.
2013 Alumni Awards
Strom is senior vice president of business development for Stone Mor Partners L.P., located in Levittown, Pa. Stone Mor is the second largest owner and operator of cemeteries in the United States, with 274 cemeteries in 26 states. Strom and his wife Carol are the proud parents of three sons and eight grandchildren.

Dr. Brian V. Larson of Rose Valley, Pa., associate professor of marketing and coordinator of the Sport Management Program 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.

Larson was selected for the award because he has distinguished himself as a professor, mentor, and a true advocate for bringing stakeholders together to enhance the university's image as a leader among sport management programs.

As coordinator of the Sport Management Program, Larson established the Sport Management Advisory Board which includes executives from small and large businesses and organizations such as the Blue Rocks, Eagles, Phillies, and the Union. The board provides resources, adjunct professors, internship opportunities and mentors to the program. He also launched the highly successful Speaker Series, now in its fifth year, which has helped build relationships with area high school students and teachers, area junior colleges, community groups and others to hear noted speakers present their views on the sports industry.

Larson earned his doctorate from Oklahoma State University in 1999. He has published more than 20 journal articles and presented his research at 35 conferences. His current research interests include assessing complex sport marketing service quality encounters. He and his wife, Lucia, have two children.

Jennifer Stonerod of Marlton, N.J., who earned a bachelor's degree in English from Widener in 2000 and her law degree from Widener in 2005, received the Alumni Service Award, presented for volunteer service to the university.

As a student, Stonerod earned more than her share of awards and accolades, and kept right on earning them after graduation. In 2007 she was honored with the Widener University School of Law Outstanding Recent Alumni Award, and she received the 2010 Robert W. Criscuolo Award from the Burlington County Bar Association for young attorneys who demonstrate significant involvement and contributions in community service and other civic activities.

Stonerod served for five years on the Widener Law Alumni Association Board of Directors and is also chair of the Widener School of Law New Jersey Alumni Chapter. She is instrumental in gathering alumni for several events throughout the year and routinely attends homecoming festivities.

While in law school, Stonerod served as president of the Moot Court Honor Society and retains her close connection to the organization by sponsoring a ticket for the current Moot Court president to attend the annual spring Philadelphia Alumni Reception.

Stonerod is a member of the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bars, and is currently working as assistant prosecutor in Burlington County, New Jersey.

John R. Stoeffler of Ballwin, Mo., a 1963 graduate of Pennsylvania Military College, 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.

After a tour of duty in Korea, Stoeffler went to work for General Electric before leaving the company in 1981 to start his own business marketing safety equipment to industry.

Politically active and a respected speaker and writer, Stoeffler and his wife Linda found a creative way to express their patriotism. In 2008, they founded the Sweet Dreams Picture Pillow Project, Inc. to help ease the pain children feel when a parent has been deployed, especially to a war zone.

Volunteers make pillows displaying a picture of the parent deployed overseas, and the pillows are given free of charge to the children. As of February 2013, these special pillows have been made for more than 5,200 children, helping them fill the void left by a parent who is missing from their daily lives.

The Stoefflers were recognized by Cabot Co-op, makers of Cabot Cheese, for their community service and were awarded an all-expense paid cruise to Alaska. They have also traveled to China, Europe, Africa, Mexico and Central America.

Sara E. McManus, a senior anthropology and chemistry major from Norristown, 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.

An outstanding student, McManus has earned a 3.94 grade point average and is a member of several leadership and honor societies including Phi Kappa Phi, Omicron Delta Kappa and was the Widener University Newman Civic Fellow Award winner for 2012.

McManus serves as an AmeriCorps Community Fellow, performing more than 300 hours of community service in the city of Chester and through the Office of Civic Engagement. Last year, she co-coordinated Widener Cares, an after-school tutoring program at local churches and youth centers in Chester.

McManus works in the Office of Civic Engagement as a liaison between community partners and those on campus seeking volunteer opportunities. She also spearheads specific service projects for the campus, planning and promoting projects for the Widener community.

She has worked in the Office of Admissions as a Pride Ambassador, serves as a PRIDE Mentor through the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, and has been active in the Widener Activities Council.

After graduation, McManus plans to serve as an AmeriCorps Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA) in Philadelphia or Chester, and her experiences at Widener have led her to pursue a life-long career of service. McManus is the daughter of Deborah and Joseph McManus.

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development, 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 6,500 students. Visit the university website,


Photo:  (left to right) Larson, McManus, Strom, Stonerod and Stoeffler