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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-670-9003.
Please see below for pictures from the 2015 Spring Reception: