New Students Strengthen 50-Year Bond with St. Peter’s in Glenside

By Purnell T. Cropper | August 30, 2011

By Purnell T. Cropper

Following Hurricane Irene, members of the St. Peter’s Episcopal Church Property Committee, including Jeanne Robson, were especially grateful to see 26 energetic Arcadia students arrive in the church parking lot on Monday morning, ready to work.

Arcadia students have volunteered at St. Peter’s in Glenside, Pa., since Day of Service started in 1991. However, the connection between the institutions extends even further—about 50 years.

Robson, whose mother, Jesse Severe Robson ’40, and sister, Suzanne Robson Hills ’65, attended Arcadia, credits Luther Kaufman, a prominent member of the church, and his wife, Jane, for establishing the bond in the 1960s. They provided home-cooked meals and mentoring for homesick students. Robson’s family welcomed Arcadia undergrads into their home, as well. “My mother [Class Editor for the Class of 1940] still corresponds with a few,” she said.

Speech and Debate Arcadia Theater program cover


Removing debris from a window well.

Led by Orientation Leader Emily Giovannucci ’13, the new flock of first-year and transfer students broke into teams to clean the church grounds—sweeping entrances, closing mouse holes, clearing out window wells, pulling up weeds and clipping hedges. They also did some painting, polished brass plaques and cleaned kneelers inside.

“We’ve always had a connection with the school, and we’re so glad,” Robson said. “We had a really good caretaker [who maintained the building and grounds], and he died this summer of cancer. We’ve tried to pick up all work, and it’s just been too much—really too much. This is really a big help this year, more than ever before, because there are things that we just haven’t been able to get to.”

Still abuzz from the weekend’s events, the students were remarkably cheerful while they worked. “[It’s been] really nice, really active,” said Erin Moran ’15 of Sellersville, N.J., speaking about her first few days on campus. “I’ve met so many people!”

Renee Leiby ’15 of Mechanicsburg, Pa. concurred, adding, “I thought ‘Meet Arcadia’ was pretty cool, and the dance was fun last night.”