Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Peirce Family Reunion: 2015 Spring Reception

It is only appropriate that during this extraordinary 150th anniversary year at Peirce, the 2015 Spring Reception had the feeling of a family reunion.  Alumni who returned to campus on Monday, May 18 represented eight decades of the school’s history: from Clem and Liz Piscitelli from the Class of 1948, up to and including several members of the class of 2014, over 200 guests came to catch up with old friends, meet and network with new acquaintances, and celebrate their ties to the school. 

The Spring Reception also marks the time for the Peirce College Alumni Association to recognize individuals who, by their service to their community, profession, or the College, offer an example of excellence to their fellow graduates.  Alumni Board President Reggie Waller ’04 joined Peirce President & CEO, Jim Mergiotti, in presenting this year’s awards.

The 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Thomas Heck from the Class of 1963. Tom Heck has been a loyal friend, supporter, and benefactor of Peirce for decades. He served as a Trustee of Peirce for seventeen years, providing exemplary leadership and counsel as well as guiding Peirce through transitions which resulted in the College we know and love today. A former member of the Alumni Association Board, Tom is also a member of the College’s Wall of Fame. As a student, Tom was a member of Pi Sigma Chi and a member of the basketball team.  

Tom is president of Heck Bros., which has been serving the Reading and Berks County area for over 100 years. His grandfather and his great uncle opened their first greenhouse in 1907, never imagining that it would turn into a wildly successful family business spanning three generations. Tom assumed management in 1976 and has expanded the business to two spacious state-of-the-art locations in Wyomissing and Exeter. Tom is married to his wife Kathleen and is the father of five children.

Over the years, Tom has demonstrated extraordinary service to the community in which he lives and works, including his current service on Council of Trustees, Kutztown University, a position to which he was appointed by former Governor Tom Corbett. Although it's been over 50 years since Tom first set foot on campus, his active involvement in the history of the College helped set us on course to become the institution of higher learning we are today.

The 2015 Distinguished Service Award was presented to Gene Fazzie ’70 and Carl Grozinski ’69. Through their leadership of the first-ever Peirce Greek Reunion, they galvanized their fellow alumni to reconnect with one another and the College.

During the time they attended Peirce Junior College, they were both profoundly shaped by their Greek experience: Gene is a brother of Sigma Gamma Omega and Carl is a brother of Pi Sigma Chi. Gene and Carl’s own deep bond of friendship was sealed when, after their Peirce experience, they both attended Penn State at the Harrisburg campus.

Over two years ago, Carl and Gene decided to work with their mentor, Peirce legend Ray Palzer ‘52, to put together a fraternity and sorority reunion. They spent countless hours recruiting a committee of dedicated volunteers, tracking down long lost brothers and sisters, and putting together a stellar event which drew 140 happy participants together one fine Sunday afternoon this past October.

It is important to note that the benefits of their work did not end with the conclusion of the event. Carl Grozinski and Gene Fazzie have started a chain of goodwill which has reenergized Peirce’s Greek community. A vibrant group of alumni are connected once again with each other and with the College. In reuniting their fellow fraternity and sorority members, they have also positively impacted the countless students and graduates who will benefit from the strong support of a more bonded Peirce alumni network.

The Peirce alumni community will have the chance to once again connect in person with one another as we celebrate our 150th anniversary in September. A Fun Walk and Scavenger Hunt will be held on Saturday, September 12th; a Community of Leaders Breakfast on Tuesday, September 15th; and our capstone event, a Peirce community-wide birthday party in observance of Founders’ Day on September 17th.  Please remember to save those dates and be on the lookout for more information. 

If you would like to learn more about getting involved in the Alumni Association and help create community among our graduates and students, contact me at rfconnors@peirce.edu  or 215-670-9003.

Please see below for pictures from the 2015 Spring Reception:

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The votes are in! Our 2015 Peirce Idol is …

The contest is closed and the votes have been counted! This year, we had four strong contestants share their talent with us.  For the past few weeks, friends, family, students, colleagues, and peers of our Peirce Idol contestants have cast their votes to choose our 2015 Peirce Idol. Yesterday we announced our final winner….

Kenneth Blair!



Kenneth is a graduate studies student working to earn his Master of Science in Organizational Leadership & Management.  When he is not studying, Kenneth enjoys spending time with his family and is active in his church community.  Congratulations, Kenneth!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Student Success Story: Jo-Ann Williams

Making the decision to go back to school isn’t easy. Jo-Ann Williams first graduated from Peirce with her associate degree in 1987 and started working a full time job.

Several years later, she wanted to take the next step in her career so she made the decision to earn her bachelor’s degree in Paralegal Studies. “I had the experience,” she told us. “I just didn’t have the degree to back up that experience.”

 She came back to the College because Peirce supported her needs as a working adult with flexible online and on campus class schedules. But that wasn’t the only reason. She also knew that Peirce’s program was the only paralegal bachelor’s degree in the region approved by the American Bar Association, which would help her stand out to potential employers.

She saw the value of working toward her degree as her career path accelerated.  “Peirce offers all types of career development workshops and networking events so you know that you can get the resources you need to increase your career and professional development skills,” she said. “They are the reason I was able to move from one level to the next. I started out as a legal secretary and now here I am, a supervisor with a seat at the manager’s table.  I’m able to make effective decisions for our administrative staff thanks to Peirce events and workshops.” 

After graduating with her bachelor’s degree in 2004, Jo-Ann says that she enjoyed her experience so much that she never really left – “I’m there every week!,” she says.  Jo-Ann sits on the Paralegal Studies Advisory Board, and is an active Board Member for the Alumni Association. “The world should know Peirce.  If I could stand from a mountain top and just shout about how great Peirce is, I would. ”

Today, Jo-Ann is employed with the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. In 2013, the College awarded her with the Peirce College Women in Leadership Award for her outstanding professional accomplishments and commitment to mentorship.

Jo-Ann advises prospective students not to wait: “The early bird catches the worm.  You must show up and you must show up early in the legal field. People’s lives depend on it.”

Find out more about how Peirce College prepares graduates like Jo-Ann to succeed in today’s changing professional landscape.  Learn more about our legal studies programs or contact an Admissions Representative today.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Peirce College Celebrates Commencement at the Sixth Annual Toss Your Caps Event

Each year, Mayor Nutter and the Education Task Force of the City of Philadelphia invite area universities and colleges to come together on the Art Museum steps to celebrate the 2015 college graduates with the annual Toss Your Caps event.  2015 was a particularly special occasion for this annual event as it marked Mayor Nutter’s last year in office and Peirce’s 150th birthday.

On Friday, May 8th, a group of the College’s graduating students gathered to attend and as always, it was a blast! Students were recognized by Mayor Nutter and joined their fellow Philadelphia graduates of neighboring schools to toss their caps in celebration!

Other special moments included Kathy Sledge’s performance of her hit “We are Family”, and Mayor Nutter’s special shout out to Peirce President Jim Mergiotti; President Mergiotti was the only president in attendance who held the honor of attending all six Toss Your Caps events.

Thank you to the students who participated in this event. We’ll see you at Commencement on June 11th!

View the entire album by clicking here:







Friday, May 15, 2015

Peirce Student Innovation Series: Innovation in Entrepreneurship and Small Businesses

This post is part of our new Innovative Student Series that profiles stories of Peirce students and alumni and how innovation is impacting the industries they’re studying and working in. Stay tuned to the blog for more stories highlighting the crossroads of innovation, higher education, and workforce trends.

These days, it seems as if entrepreneurship and innovation are being more closely tied together than ever before. From innovative Silicon Valley startups to small businesses to stay-at-home entrepreneurs leveraging the power of the internet to reach customers on a global scale, the opportunities to start or expand your business have never been greater.

Adam Winston
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Peirce student, Adam Winston, who is pursuing a Business
Administration Degree in our Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management program. In the interview we explore how Adam is creating his business plan based off of his part-time job, the role of technology for entrepreneurs, and the impact of Peirce on his plans for entrepreneurship.

What about entrepreneurship interests you?
I look forward to the independence entrepreneurship can provide.  I want to create a business that helps me follow my own destiny and explore my personal passions, instead of fulfilling someone else’s. By pursuing an entrepreneurial career, I’m afforded the opportunity to serve my community while doing something I enjoy.

What role do you think technology plays in entrepreneurship?
Technology is revolutionizing how we do business by allowing us to instantaneously connect with businesses and potential customers around the world. It is an essential resource for any entrepreneur who wants to compete in today’s market. 

Tell us about your business plan for ENT 401?
My business plan for ENT 401 is an opportunity to turn my animal care position into an organized and profitable venture. While attending Peirce College, I would help busy neighbors with their pets, specifically dogs.  I quickly discovered that serving this need for my community was not only profitable, but also rewarding.

ENT 401 taught me how to construct a comprehensive business plan to test the viability, feasibility, and reality of turning a fulfilling part-time job into a full-time venture. Now with the skills I’ve learned at Peirce, my business plan is a realistic road map for me to turn my part-time job into a full-time business.

How has Peirce prepared you for entrepreneurship?
The fundamental knowledge Peirce College provides has given me the confidence to take my first steps as an entrepreneur. I’ve learned how to think like an organized and ethical entrepreneur. Overall, Peirce College taught me classic frameworks that allow entrepreneurs to make methodical decisions and strategies.

Adam will walk the stage at Peirce’s 150th commencement in June.  Congratulations, Adam, and thanks for sharing your story with us!

Find out more about how Peirce College’s Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management Degree program is preparing students to succeed in today’s innovative landscape.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Is It Time for a Career Change? How to Succeed in Three Fast-Growing Fields

Technology. Healthcare. Leadership.  U.S. industries are desperately in need of professionals with knowledge in these areas, but what are the best opportunities within each field? Moreover, if you’ve thought about making a career transition, what fields show the most promise? Here are some of the top jobs in 2015 and how Peirce can help you succeed in them.

Medical coding

Medical coding professionals are in high demand as the healthcare industry prepares to adopt the new federally mandated ICD-10 coding standard this October. With more than 123,000 new codes, ICD-10 is a major update to the outgoing ICD-9 system, creating a need for professionals who are well versed and experienced in the new classifications.

Earning a Medical Coding Certificate and taking the AHIMA Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) Exam will prepare you for a medical coding career. Pursuing an associate degree in Health Information Technology or a bachelor’s degree in Health Information Administration after you earn your Medical Coding Certificate will further strengthen your qualifications. Peirce’s Medical Coding Certificate, HIT and HIA degree curricula prepares students with the knowledge they need to earn their credentials and be part of the solution health industry professionals need as they update to ICD-10. 

IT


Reports show IT industry growth will continue, which means a bright future for technology professionals of all stripes. The worldwide information technology industry is projected to grow 5.1 percent in 2015, according to CompTIA’s IT Industry Outlook 2015 report. That’s up from 2014’s 3.4 percent forecast. 

IT professionals are more essential to the workplace than ever before. According to Computerworld’s 2015 Forecast survey, IT security, cloud computing, business analytics, application development, and wireless/mobile will be some of 2015’s biggest employment growth areas. 

An Information Technology degree is almost always a required qualification for whatever IT path you choose. Peirce’s IT degree program helps students gain a complete repertoire of IT knowledge, technical and leadership skills, and hands-on experience with new and emerging technologies that makes them stand out to employers.

Integrated leadership

Leadership has always been a vital skill for career success. As workforce dynamics evolve, the definition of a leader is changing. Modern leaders must be collaborative and adaptable professionals who empower colleagues to solve problems. 

Today’s best leaders are versed in managing a global and diverse workforce, comfortable considering diverse viewpoints and making decisions, and committed to their team members, inspiring that loyalty in return. 

Earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Integrated Leadership is one way to strengthen your leadership skills. Peirce’s degree completion program lets you apply up to 90 previously earned college credits toward an Integrated Leadership degree. This approach speeds you to degree completion and arms you with modern leadership skills to advance your career.  

If you plan to continue your education on a graduate level, Peirce also offers a master’s degree in organizational leadership and management, with some opportunities to earn graduate studies credit toward this degree while you are still completing your bachelor’s.  

Building your career in an in-demand field is a great path to potential higher pay and better job security. Contact us to earn more about these careers and how you can make yourself more marketable to employers or schedule a meeting with our Admissions team for help completing Peirce’s application .

Monday, May 11, 2015

Diversity and Inclusion Event Series Prepared Students for a Global Workforce

Our Diversity and Inclusion events for March and April 2015 have come to a close, and I can tell you one thing’s for sure about the Peirce community: We are not shy about celebrating who we are! Peirce’s Diversity and Inclusion events were some of the most popular happenings around campus over the past several weeks. Each one brought a high turnout and engagement among students, alumni, faculty, and staff.

The underpinning of these educational events is to increase awareness and understanding of other cultures and backgrounds to help us all become more aware global citizens. As a college, we want everyone to feel welcome because it fosters a richer and more rewarding learning environment. In workplaces, understanding and appreciating people’s backgrounds is a gateway to forming more positive relationships, which is often the root of career success.

Here’s a recap of our recent series of Diversity and Inclusion events:

International Dance Workshop
We hit the dance floor with Philly Dance Fitness founder Deborah Hirsch to try our hands (and feet!) at a mix of Latin, Caribbean, Bhangra, and Middle Eastern dance moves. Ms. Hirsch explained the cultural and historical meaning of each dance, including what certain gestures symbolize. The event was a great workout and fantastic opportunity to connect with one another in a fun, globally focused learning environment.

Gender Awareness Workshop
Prof. Robyn Edelstein and Freddie Flippen of Peirce’s Human Resources department joined me in leading a discussion about gender diversity and awareness. Everyone came with questions and respected one another’s viewpoints. There was a lot of room for education and enlightenment around gender issues, how they impact our lives at work and home, and what should change about the traditional roles that women and men play.

Men of Color Workshop
Led by Prof. Tobo Houessou-Adin, Kareem Calliste of the Walker Center, and Edward Hill of Career Development Services, our Men of Color Workshop dove into a discussion about racial identity and awareness. We talked about how men of color are portrayed in the media, discrimination they can face in the job application process, and challenges they confront at work. We also shared ideas on how to prevent stereotypes from holding men of color back in the workplace.

LGBTQ Workshop
With the U.S. Supreme Court hearing arguments on April 28, 2015 in the historic same-sex marriage case, we, too, explored the issue during our LGBTQ Workshop. Led by Peirce College librarian John Powell, Peirce alumni Barry James ’07, and myself, our discussion covered a gamut of issues facing the LGBTQ community, including legal rights, financial issues, workplace challenges, and child custody.

Cultural Celebration: Food and Fun!
It wasn’t long before foods from around the world were devoured at our multicultural potluck.
Everything was delicious! But our event was about more than eating—it was about connecting with people on a cultural level. On hand was guest speaker Jennifer Rodriguez, Executive Director of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs of the City of Philadelphia, who presented on the ethnic makeup of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. She provided an incredible overview of the cultural shifts among Philadelphia neighborhoods over the last several decades and how those changes have made Philadelphia a more vibrant and interesting multicultural city. Attendees came away with full stomachs and a greater appreciation for why Philly’s diversity is a big source of the city’s economic strength.

There are many more events on the horizon. Keep your eye on Peirce’s Diversity and Inclusion website for updates on new events happening around campus and the Philadelphia area. You can also find videos and other information about fostering diversity and inclusion on the website.

More to come!