Big Questions | Albright College

Big Questions

Big Questions

In each issue of The Reporter we explore a topic of relevance in higher education by asking Albright faculty, staff, alumni and students to share their thoughts and opinions on the subject. Do you have a topic you’d like to see discussed? Email jstoudt@albright.edu.

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What made Albright special for you?

As part of President Fetrow’s Year of Listening and Learning, she has asked alumni to share their stories. “We are all part of a common heritage, a shared educational legacy that developed and fostered the habits of practice and of mind that has guided each of us to a lifetime of service and learning. While we share in our status as Albright alumni, each of us has a unique story to tell about our time on campus and the experiences we have carried with us since then.”


I am the middle of three brothers who attended Albright.
Walt ’72, Dave ’86 and I came from a coal-region, blue-collar, economically challenged background. Our parents understood that education was the vehicle by which a better life could be achieved. As first-generation college graduates, Albright was a world unlike that in which we had been raised. While sports and classwork served as a base of  familiarity, exposure to diversity, a challenging world and political scene, a city environment, personal accountability and independence from parental rules needed to be navigated to grow and develop from high school teen to young adult. Albright holds such a dear place in my heart as I appreciate so deeply my personal transformation. Friendships were created that have lasted a lifetime. There were moments of struggle, moments of great joy, moments of learning, new thinking and eye-opening perspectives  to serve as the foundation for a life of learning and accepting challenge and responsibility. Today, I am able to share the blessings of my Albright experience with others, be it at work, at church, in my neighborhood or back serving my alma mater.
– Ronald Scheese ’83

I graduated fr om high school in 1997 and moved right into a degree program at a small, four-year institution in the Midwest. But in December 2001, after nine semesters  of trying, I dropped out. I suffered with a mental illness, and after battling it for four years, I made the decision to return to my mother’s home, where I enrolled at Reading Area Community College. After I completed my associate degree, I enrolled in Albright’s Degree Completion Program in information technology. Not only did it give  me a chance to finish what I’d started, but it also gave me the confidence to take control  of my life away from my depression. After working for several years as a systems administrator, I moved to Chicago, where I enrolled in the Lutheran seminary, received a master of divinity degree, and became a parish pastor. I had a career in professional ministry for seven years, but eventually felt called back to academia. I am now studying at Princeton for a Th.M. and Ph.D. in the Old Testament. This work is my passion, and I would not have gotten here without Albright. This wonderful little college in Reading gave me a second chance. I cannot begin to say how grateful I am for Albright’s work and educational mission. My life is so much richer for my time there. – Aaron Decker ’05

My fondest memories include activities on Kelchner Field, where as a child (and later student) I remember being part of the joyful moments that celebrated the opening of school each year with my parents, Dale and Nicki Yoder, who were graduates and teachers at Albright. Their dedication to the school has always had a warm and wonderful impact on my sense of what it looks like to embrace learning and embrace people who care about learning. Whether on Kelchner Field playing Frisbee or sports with friends and teammates, or being in the classroom with teachers like my father, my Albright fashion merchandising/art degree was accompanied by a liberal arts education that allowed me the freedom to learn inside and out at Albright. This included doing exciting internships out in the community with flower shops, sign companies, and ad layouts for a swimsuit company and others. These unique and memorable  opportunities were possible thanks to the dedication of faculty and coaches who cared. My Albright memories are warm and wonderful, and I am a grateful alumna. – Beckie Yoder Lamborn ’82

My Albright experience not only provided me with a solid foundation for my career, it also shaped my view of the USA in general. Arriving directly from Sri Lanka, I had very little knowledge about the culture even though I spoke fluent English. The faculty, staff and students were very welcoming to the handful of foreign students attending Albright, which provided the right environment for me to pursue my degree. I also attribute part of my success in the field of chemistry/biochemistry to the mentoring I received from Dr. Morgan Heller. His mentoring provided me with the impetus to continue my graduate work, ultimately leading to the position I hold now—a full professor and the director of two clinical cellular therapy/processing facilities at The University of Chicago and at University of Chicago Hospitals. – Amittha Wickrema ’82

My parents dropped me off at Albright in 1974. I was from a small town and we did not have much growing up. I was scared living away from home and did not know what to expect. I lived in Albright Court in a three-bedroom room. The friends I made in Albright Court prepared me for the world. Initially in 1974, I went home every weekend until my RA, William Arnold ’75, took me into his room and asked me why I was going home so much. He said that I needed to allow myself to make friends and experience what living away from home was like. He was right on! During my second semester, I went home a few times and by junior year, I never went home at all! My friends from Court became strong and positive for me. I had no idea that the liberal arts education that I received would be so important later in life. While I have lost track of many friends, the core group from the Court—Jeffrey Rigg ’79, Steven Dante ’79, Scott Reinhart ’79, Joseph Suarez ’79, Robert Keefer ’78 and many others—get together every year since graduation at Joe Suarez and Linda Post’s ’80 home. It is a great time to recall old times and to catch up. Albright was a great experience for me. Thanks for asking for stories. – Keith Lentz ’78

Dr. Julia Heberle, my advisor, made it possible for me to graduate with my class by helping me to take extra classes after I was unable to make it for the first semester due to my military service. I was on active duty when terrorists struck America in 2001. I was a combat medic and ended up on extended duty due to the terrorist attacks. Dr. Heberle helped me work extra classes in and supported me through my years there even when I lost one of my best friends in Iraq. When I graduated, they introduced me with my Army title. It was a very proud moment. – Mikki Anselmo ’05

Share your Albright story with us at
www.albright.edu/president/share-your-story