Not Your Parents’ Video Games
By John DeRosier
July 6, 2023
Collegiate esports programs are as intense and serious as other athletics programs — and perhaps more inclusive.
The first time Patrick McCool ’23 saw the esports arena on Arcadia University’s campus, boxes of expensive equipment were spread across half of the room and a mere single row of computers had been set up.
McCool, who had just arrived on campus for his first year, had responded to a University-wide email encouraging students to join the fledgling Electronic Sports (Esports) program. Four years later, the program has won several conference championships, has approximately 50 student-athletes, routinely entices top high school players to commit to Arcadia, and has an arena that’s one of the finest in the region.
“This program has come a long way in the last four years,” said McCool, who earned a degree in Computer Science. “You wonder, ‘’How do you create a video game-based team?’ It’s not like it’s a swim team or a basketball team that has practiced together for a long time; everyone was coming from computers or consoles in their bedrooms.”
A Different Kind of Program
Esports are a form of video game playing in which teams compete in a variety of genres, including multiplayer online battle arenas, real-time strategy, sports, and more.
Arcadia Lift Program
From the President
Dear Arcadia University Community,
Earlier this year, a columnist at the Rutland Herald in Vermont wrote a piece on university mission statements. He noted that mission statements should include “inspiring ideals” that “[stress] human development and well-being; a sense of purpose; improve the human condition; help students realize their highest potential; and improve quality of life for all.” The columnist noted two mission statements that capture these ideals — one of which was the Arcadia University mission statement.
While that kudos provides a bit of positive affirmation in which we can all take pride, what makes it even more special is that the columnist is David Mook, a 2000 graduate of Beaver College. David’s pride in his alma mater is a shining example of the impact that this University community can have on students and alumni, even decades after graduation.
When we look at “human development and well-being,” we are of course reminded of how important physical, mental, and emotional health are to college students these days. Many of us undoubtedly remember the pressures and stresses of our own university experiences — today’s students face perhaps even more. It is for this reason that Arcadia has increased the number and variety of mental health support resources available to our students, which you can read about on page 24.
And when we talk about improving the human condition and helping students to realize their highest potential, one needs only to look at Eleanor Workman ’54 and Elizabeth Weiss ’60, who have made an impact on Beaver College and Arcadia students for nearly 90 years combined (pg. 15); Anne Westerfield ’62 and the inaugural Beaver College Foundation trustees; and esteemed alumnae such as Hiroko Otani Kiiffner ’62, Dr. Barbara Favazza ’62, and those at our Women Who Lead event (pg. 18). These individuals have displayed an extraordinary commitment to their alma mater while making a monumental difference in their professions.
In April of this year, I celebrated my five-year anniversary as president of Arcadia University. I can say without equivocation that this has been the most rewarding experience of my professional career. Much of that fulfillment stems from witnessing the impact that Arcadia affords us to make on our students, our alumni, and on our local and global communities. I want to offer my personal thanks to each of you who helps to play a role in these efforts to fulfill our mission.
Ajay Nair, PhD
President, Arcadia University
Maya Basu Johnson, ’97
Dear Arcadia University and Beaver College Community,
In May, hundreds of Arcadia students walked across the stage in formal recognition of their earned degrees at the University’s 167th Commencement. Both undergraduate and graduate students alike celebrated this milestone with smiles, cheers, and tears of joy. They became Arcadia alumni with automatic admission into the Alumni Association.
Over the past few months my own nostalgic reflections have taken me back to my own undergraduate ceremony on what would later become Haber Green, and all the accompanying pride and excitement that filled my soul. I remember being worried that I’d miss my friends, lose my connection to this special place, and never experience the feeling of being part of this campus community. Then I discovered the Alumni Association, and my Arcadia experience began anew.
In fact, for many like me, Commencement marked a new phase of my lifelong journey with my beloved alma mater. The Alumni Association exists for exactly that purpose – to engage Arcadians throughout their lives by offering rewarding opportunities to participate in the Arcadia experience in a variety of formal and informal ways. Even better, we can support and enhance the experience of the next generation of Arcadia students in the process.
As my three-year term as President of Arcadia University’s Alumni Association is coming to an end, I want to thank my fellow Board members for their dedication and friendship. Also, I am grateful for the leadership and staff in the Division of University Advancement for their tireless efforts at engaging alumni and supporting students.
Soon I will pass the leadership baton to a trusted alumna and friend, Stacey Downey ’88. She will lead the Alumni Association into its next chapter, focused on connecting alumni to one another and the campus, while supporting the University’s students. Be assured that my Arcadia experience is not over as my presidential term ends. I will continue to remain active in the Alumni Association and will continue to see you on campus.
My final words here as the Alumni Association President should and must be about Arcadia’s students. When we were students we benefited from the time, talent, and treasure of the Beaver and Arcadia alumni who came before us. It is my belief that we owe that same commitment to current and future students. I hope you will consider supporting our students by attending events, volunteering your time, mentoring a student in your professional field, or making a financial gift.
Together, let’s keep the Scarlet and Grey flying high!
Maya Basu Johnson ’97
President, Arcadia University Alumni Association
Learn more about volunteer opportunities at arcadia.edu/volunteer.
Barbara Klein Fraser shared: “I’m still active volunteering for Granite State Adaptive Program cleaning horse buckets and sweeping barn for the Equine Program. Was Djembe drumming until Covid and hope to return soon. I’m in touch with Else Holm ‘50 and Peg Callaway Avison ‘49. Independent in own home in Wolfeboro, NH. Resort town on Lake Winnipesaukee. Love to hear from colleagues.”
Nancy Brown Duvall shared: “Had myself a posh birthday party. I hit 90 and thought I deserved it. My five grandkids are all gainfully employed or in grad school. They are truly “grand”. Life is still good for me. I am lucky.”
Carol Young shared: “A big Hello! to my friends. I am living in Rydal Park, a retirement community in Jenkintown where my husband and I moved 14 years ago. He was with me for 3 years before he moved to the Medical Center and he is now gone. My 3 children, my 5 grandchildren and my 1 great grand daughter are living nearby. Well, sort of. One son lives in Zion Grove, which is in black bear and bald eagle country. I participate in all sorts of activities both at Rydal Park and in Philadelphia, but I no longer sing since my voice is not what it used to be. I started when I was 5, so 83 years is a pretty good run! I now write regularly for the newsletter at Rydal.”
Joan Sweiger Toth shared: “Took my granddaughter, Taylor, on a trip to Amsterdam and Reykjavik in June. Recently, on a visit to family in CT, met with my former college roommate, Barbara Daugherty Jenkins. It’s been 66 years since graduation from Beaver, and we’re still going strong!”
Alumnae of the Class of 1957 met for their third-annual Zoom meeting on April 14, 2023. For them, with many having lost spouses, siblings, etc. — friends from this special time mean everything!
Emma Jane Burns shares: “On Friday, April 22nd, our class celebrated its 65th reunion. Thanks to our reunion chairs Edie Hall Neal and Ellie Perrrine Cox we got together via Zoom with the help of Andrea Reeds, Director of Class Reunion Programs. Five of us tried, sometimes unsuccessfully, to reach all the members of our class from a list supplied to us by the University. Twenty of us took part in our “get-together” including Jean Bankson Hearst, Marti Bergland Curtiss, Pat Carthage, Dotti Chapman Carney, Marci Clist Hardy, Freda Friz Schopfer, Barbara Gordon Cooke ,Edie and Ellie, Cindy Howard Hermanson, Lois MacElroy Wells, Nancy Maresca Piper, Bernie Markin Garber, Emma Jane Murphy Burns, Jean Stout Fletcher, Lois Wrigley Caldwell, Nancy Williams Galluccio, Gail Leonard Williams, and Pene Zack Riggs. Helen Viniarski Crisp sent greetings from the UK.
After hearing from each of the participants, we reminisced about our professors, chapel, trips on the yellow buses, the library above the gym, the “Hugh” pool, and the fun times we had as a class including Song Contest which was mentioned several times. We all agreed that we had the BEST class and that we had all been greatly influenced by the experiences we had had at Beaver College. We also agreed that we all look great!
We decided that we have to get together more often than every five years and are planning to do so again next year…2023! So ….update your address, phone number(s), and email address with the Arcadia. Get in touch with your classmates and prepare to be contacted early next year! We can’t wait to see more of us at our 66th!
At approximately 86 years of age travel to the campus might have been difficult. BUT this way we were able to see everyone and even giggle a bit. Of course you can send any news to Arcadia directly, too.
Jean Stout Fletcher shared: “An unusual summer as I had a knee replacement in late June, so have spent time house and deck bound, icing my knee, exercising and doing PT. It paid off as I’ve made great progress, so much so that we’re able to go to England at the end of August to visit our son Bruce and family. They live in London but have a Cotswold home too, so we’ll have a lot to see and do. Otherwise all is well. Loved the idea of our Zoom reunion, but wished some other friends had joined in.”
Mary Avakian Freericks says: “My poetry memoirs begin with “Blue Watermelon” in Tabriz, Iran, where I was born, continue with “Cheer for Freedom” including our move to the United States followed up by “Furs for a Vegetarian” focusing on my Russian, artist, mother, then “Green Eyes” about my marriage and two sons. “Swimming Through the Generations” which goes back to Pilgrims and up to f ive grandchildren is about to be published. These memoirs are page turners on Amazon and available for purchase.”
Jane Lewis Grove shared: “Granddaughter Abby Grove will start her freshman year at Brown University this fall. She was admitted under early decision -- only 7% of female applicants are admitted this way. She was valedictorian of her high school class. Grandson Nathan Grove will start his senior year at Amherst College.”
Betty Holton Weiss shared: “Three grandchildren. All off to college, a Sr at Penn State, a freshman at Pace and Muhlenberg. Still playing tournament tennis and pickleball. For our 60-61 reunion we had a virtual Zoom meeting. It was good to chat with fellow classmates. Molly Fretz Stevens was the reunion chair and I was class agent.”
Katherine Gipe shared: “I moved in Sept 2021, not downsizing but going to a townhouse where I would not have to mow, shovel, etc. I am still in East Aurora; it was a good move. I wiped out in my garage and had a spiral fracture of my femur. I missed a wedding in Tampa in March because of it, but I can do all three flights of stairs in Barnegat Light as well as get over our big dunes to get to the beach.”
Carla Chepigan Branyan shared: “I have retired as an ESL teacher, and I am continuing my singing in church as worship leader. I had a hip replacement last summer, so we are now going strong again on our day trips.”
Marion Yick Rosenbaum joined a Chamber music and Symphony orchestra at Settlement Music School, Willow Grove branch. She continues taking violin lessons and enjoys it immensely.
PBS documentary, How Saba Kept Singing, made by the son of our Beaver College alumna, Judith Glassburg Wisnia ’69, premiered Tuesday, April 18 at 10pm. David “Saba” Wisnia never told his family the whole truth about how he survived the Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. This new documentary traces a remarkable journey revealing a touching firsthand account of how David, a Polish Jewish teenager, survived nearly three years in the camp.
Helene Rolfe Ham shared: “Happy 75 classmates. This June I threw caution to the wind and participated in my first Art Fair. I sold 19 paintings which surprised the heck out of me. I am delighted to be learning more everyday and that my days are awash with beautiful colors. My husband and family are well. So very grateful.
Monique Miller shared: “It’s coming, our 50th year reunion! Co-chairing with Marie Duke. Please let us know what you are interested in doing and what will motivate you to come back!”
Mary Hobler Hyson shared: “We welcomed our 6th grandchild at the end of February, George. We are planning on flying to Kansas to meet him. Since my husband, Eric, retired after 42 years as a Radiologist we are traveling more. I continue to benefit from twice a week sessions of Pilates; daily walks; watercolor class; playing piano & now trying to organize tons of photos. I still like making greeting cards using my photos. I am eager to see two of my Beaver friends (Mary Chomitz & Ella Straw) at our 50th reunion.”
Peggy Grow ’74 and Nancy Potter ’74 met for lunch last week in Ridgewood, NJ. Peggy shared, “We had not seen each other in 11 yrs!!! Sooooo wonderful. We are going to come to our 50th reunion next year.”
Linda Mattuci Schiavone shared: What a wonderful day, volunteering at Arcadia’s 2022 Commencement AND meeting up with fellow ‘81 grad, Linda Pascal! Despite 41 years passing, we recognized each instantly. Though graduating with a BA in Chemistry from Beaver College, I have had several career changes over the years, and now am a Licensed Professional Counselor, having received my MS in Spiritually-Integrated Counseling in 2013 and my Master of Applied Positive Psychology from Penn in 2017. I work in private practice in Devon, PA. I will be married 40 years this September and together we raised two accomplished young adults, our son who graduated from Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering, and our daughter who graduated from Fordham University, is continuing her education at Thomas Jefferson University, and will be applying to medical schools. I am forever grateful for the path Beaver College set for me, in education, in life and with long-lasting friendships. I would love to hear from other members of the Class of ‘81!”
Deborah Derrickson Kossman shared: “My essay, Churn, appeared in the Nashville Review in December, 2020 and was included in Memoir Monday’s weekly roundup of best essays. It is adapted from my recently completed book, What We Hold On To. I’m also very pleased to share that in June, 2022, The Woven Tale Press published chapter 3 from my memoir What We Hold On To. It can be found here: online.flipbuilder. com/eovs/rmnj/ and starts on page 52. I have transitioned my full time private psychology practice over to telehealth exclusively which also gives me more time for my writing.”
Lorine Barone ’87: I have recently relocated from North Jersey to Toms River, to downsize and be closer to the beach. The woods are my hiking haven, but the ocean is my happy place. I divorced 10 years ago and have three grown children, Kristina/26/ NYC, Nicole/23/NJ, Michael/22/ CA (Navy). I’m still working in graphic design and marketing and have started an art class in my 55+ community. I am starting to catch up on some traveling, and have plenty of room for visitors and wayward beach buddies. God has been faithful, even through the tough times, and I can count myself blessed to still be in touch with ALL my college roommates and some special friends—NO friends like OLD friends.
Hats off to the Class of 1988’s Reunion Planning Committee! (pictured): Jan Baum ’88, Stacey Downey ’88, incoming Alumni Association President-Elect, Susan Gerhard ’88, ’07DPT, Kevin Shollenberger ’88, University Trustee, Kira (Tibbetts) Popky ’87.
Art Himmelstein shared: “December 31, 2021: The last day of the work week, the last day of the pay period, the last day of the month, and the last day of the year. That was also my last day as a member of the workforce, as I retired following 31.5 glorious years as a CPE (Computer Programmer Extraordinaire) with the State of New Jersey. In February of 2022, I received my first pension payment and Social Security payment, making it official. Also that month, I bowled my 2,000th consecutive league game, and on a different night, my 6th-best series ever, a 673. The Streak is now at 2,037 games, awaiting the new season in September. But not everything in retirement is all Social Security, pensions, senior citizen discounts, kitties, sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows. On July 21st of this year about 2:30 a.m., while trying to help my wife get Nani the tortie out of my wife’s bathroom, I slipped on a towel and crash-landed on the ridge of the shower where one climbs over to get in or out. As a result, I broke 4 ribs, which hurt big-time, and I had a partially collapsed lung. I was in the hospital for 6 days. As of this writing on 8/8, the lung is fine, I am limited to lifting 5 pounds, and the ribs hurt mainly when I sneeze, cough hard, or get into and out of bed. As broken ribs take 6 weeks on average to heal, I am hopeful of being able to bowl and continue The Streak when the season begins. Finally, to all alumni/alumnae who live in New Jersey, thank you for paying my pension, and salary before that. LOL”
Lynne Podrat ’92, is an award winning author of a memoir and now children’s book, My Sister Wants an Elephant. It launched January 10, 2023 from Atmosphere Press. My Sister Wants an Elephant is the perfect read-aloud book for nursery school-aged children and, in the vein of books like Ish by Peter H. Reynolds, explores sibling and family dynamics. This book has been 29 years in the making, through a change of careers receiving my Masters in Education, an Administrator Certification, and culminating in receiving my Career Technology Directorship.
Roseann McGrath ’94M, published “Midnight Clear at Christmas,” which is book three of her inspirational romance series.
Colleen Anderson shared: “This past September, my son Bobby (who attended the Children’s Center at Arcadia), got married and he and his wife delivered my grandson, Hudson, in June.”
Cynthia Wilson published her first children’s book titled, “The Tooth Fairy Lost Her Way” to encourage children to use their imagination. Her daughter Harmony is the illustrator.
Katie (O’Connor) O’Brien ’00: I had the opportunity to spend two weeks exploring Ireland. The last time I was abroad was 25 years ago, as a freshman, on “London Preview!” I am so grateful to have had that experience abroad with my classmates and for all the wonderful memories. I was visiting Ireland during the Phillies playoff run, so I kissed the Blarney Stone with my Phillies shirt on to try to bring them some luck of the Irish! It was raining as we were kissing the stone, but then the sun came out quickly and this beautiful rainbow appeared.
Jennifer (Cannon) Bosco ’02: Hello Class of ‘02! I was sad to miss our reunion last year but have kept in contact with many of you on Facebook. I was blessed to catch up with my former roommate Nancy Palmer ’02 in Ocean City, New Jersey, last year when I had to evacuate because of hurricane Ian. My husband and I have been living in Florida near Clearwater Beach for the past three years and we love it! We both work in education. I am working at a private K-12 school in which I teach Language Arts to kindergarten through third grade. Also, I am still teaching dance and theater during our Friday workshop programs. I am looking forward to being off this summer and doing some traveling up north. We will be staying for about 5-6 weeks at our OCNJ house. If you are there let me know and we can meet up!
Margaret Poteet shared: “I recently celebrated my second anniversary as a minister at a Presbyterian church (PCUSA), serving in Chattanooga, TN. After working at Arcadia for 12 years following graduation, I had the opportunity to attend Princeton Theological Seminary and graduated with a Master of Divinity degree in 2020. I am loving my new hometown, and am grateful for this community that I am privileged to serve!”
Maria Briones ’06, In March 2023, I graduated from Capella University with my Masters degree in Social Work. I am currently the Foster Care Retention and Recruitment Specialist at Bethany Christian Services in Jenkintown, PA.
Jade (Mostyn) Bechelli ’08 married Chris Bechelli 2018. Our daughter, Matilda Rose Bechelli, was born October 2019. In 2022, I started a new job as NJ Government Relations Director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.
Derek Wager has been working as a physical therapist since graduating in 2008. Currently Derek is the supervisor of outpatient rehabilitation for Ocean University Medical Center. In 2022, Derek graduated with a master of science in management with a concentration in healthcare administration from Wilmington University.
Amy Longo Sweeney shared: “My husband and I welcomed our first child, Callum, to the world on November 23, 2021.”
Tera Yacobacci Hare shared: “In 2022 our family welcomed our third son, Elliott John Hare.” Sarah Schwartz Hill says: “I’ve been recently promoted to Director of Content Strategy at BarkleyREI, a full-service digital agency located in Pittsburgh, PA. As part of the Experience Design team, I own the agency’s content practice and direct the team that supports it–everything from defining content strategies on behalf of clients; building and directing an inhouse and external team of content strategists, migration specialists and copywriters; and serving as the lead on SEO engagements.”
In November, 2021, Kristina Gannotta became the Director of Lifecycle Marketing at Niche.com. In her new role she leads a team responsible for communicating with students throughout their college decision process. Danielle Frank was elected to the Board of Directors for Little People of America in June of 2022, for a three year term.
Robert Migliaccio ’13: Robert Migliaccio has recently been promoted to a new position at Temple University Health System as an EPIC Application Coordinator Technician. Along with the new position he has successfully been certified in EPIC Security as well as achieving his Data Courier Mover badge from EPIC. He is grateful to have earned this promotion at TUHS and start a new adventure. He is very excited to continue his education in EPIC for more certifications and badges. He also hopes all of the fellow Class of 2013 friends are doing well.
Benjamin Hayward ’14 and Ashley (McIntyre) Hayward ’14 were married on September 17, 2022, at the Free Library of Philadelphia after meeting at Arcadia University in 2014 and spending the last eight years together!
Graduates of the Class of 2015, Matthew Tocco ’15 and Ashlee Van Boening ’15, are excited to be tying the knot on September 23, 2023, in Newtown, PA.
Alexandra Mazzo ’15: As a graduate of Arcadia University Global Media & Communications program, I am proud to share that I am now a Social Media Specialist for AtlantiCare, southeastern New Jersey’s largest healthcare system. Thanks to the well-rounded education I received at Arcadia through classes, internships and outreach opportunities, I use skills from my college years each and every day here in my workplace.
Rachel Fox shared: “Remember that throughout your studies and the craziness of the real-world, that YOU matter the most. Giving back to your needs and priorities is something you are capable and worthy of; you are special just because you’re you, and you’re here! Arcadia will allow you to learn about yourself, your peers, and what skills you want to move forward through life with. There are resources on campus to make sure you are supported and cared for—be your best advocate and ask for help; you are not alone!!” 2016 Katie Bowles Sciamanna graduated from the University of Nebraska Kearney on August 5th with an MS in biology.
Olivia (Bates) Sanderson ’18 and Eric Sanderson ’17 celebrated their love fostered through their Arcadia connection at their July 29, 2022 wedding. Olivia and Eric met in the year following her graduation from Arcadia and bonded over their University memories and careers in education. The couple wed with many Arcadia friends by their side as they celebrated their special day.
Naya Brown shared: “I own and operate my online retail business called The Fine Auntie. The Fine Auntie brand is geared towards women that love and support their nieces and nephews! The website can be viewed at the-fine-auntie.myspreadshop.com”
Tanner Pajakinas obtained his Masters in K-12 Counseling from Widener University where he also served as an Assistant Lacrosse coach for the Men’s Lacrosse Team. He has accepted a position as a Guidance Counselor in the Muhlenberg, PA School District.
Matt Reid, who obtained his Masters in Education and certification in Social Studies has just completed the 2021-22 school year at Wissahickon High School teaching Political Science, US History Honors, and African American studies as a long-term substitute. Matt has recently accepted a contracted position to teach history at Upper Merion High School. Matt has a children’s book titled ‘Who Are You?’ and a memoir titled ‘It Takes a Village to Raise a Kid: My Home is in My Head.’ Both are available on Amazon.
Christopher Saxon recently started a job at Rite Aid Pharmacy as a service associate. He also belongs to Nami Philadelphia and the Philly Transit Riders Union. Christopher recently created a website: journalistsaxon.wordpress.com.
Take a look at past issues of Arcadia.