Grove City College is honoring outstanding alumni and a longtime member of the Board of Trustees with the 2022 Jack Kennedy Memorial Alumni Achievement and Distinguished Service Awards.
The annual awards recognize alumni achievement and laudable service to the College. Honorees have made incredible contributions to their various fields of endeavor and brought recognition to their alma mater.
“We are so excited to once again pay tribute to some of the most accomplished members of our alumni community and honor service that is above and beyond with our Distinguished Service Award,” said Melissa (Trifaro ’96) MacLeod, senior director of Alumni and College Relations. “Their achievement in so many different fields is a testament to the quality and character of Grove City College graduates and something we all celebrate.”
The recipients of the Jack Kennedy Memorial Alumni Achievement Awards are:
Dr. K. James Evans Jr. ’70 – Evans, the retired University of Pittsburgh at Bradford vice president and dean, majored in chemistry and was named Man of the Year in 1970. Commissioned through Grove City’s USAF ROTC program, he served on active duty until December 1972 while also earning a master’s degree in counseling. He earned a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration at the University of Pittsburgh and was later called to be the dean of students, later vice president of student affairs, at Pitt-Bradford, a position he held for 42 years until retirement in 2018. At Pitt-Bradford, Evans played a major role as part of the President’s Cabinet in bringing four-year baccalaureate status to the college, moving the athletics program from the NAIA to NCAA Division III, and developing the campus that now encompasses 471 acres with over 25 buildings.
Dr. Stephen “Andy” Sems ’95 – Sems, an orthopedic surgeon, is highly regarded internationally for his innovative and revolutionary approach to treating people with congenital, developmental, and traumatic limb deformities. His work repairing and regenerating malformed and broken bones has improved countless lives. At Grove City College, he studied mechanical engineering with the aim of applying that knowledge to medicine and was named Sportsman of the Year in 1995. After Grove City, Sems continued his medical training at The Ohio State University, The Cleveland Clinic, Austria, and at the University of Minnesota/Hennepin County Medical Center. Since 2005, he has been affiliated with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where he oversees the Limb Lengthening and Regeneration Clinic. He is part of a team of doctors working to repair bones, improve and restore function, and allow normal alignment of the body.
Barbara (Bentz ’83) Staniscia – Staniscia is the first female president and general manager of Bechtel Plant Machinery, Inc., in Monroeville, Pa. The materials engineering major and former Wolverine cheerleader now leads a team of 1,100 engineers, procurement professionals, and professional services personnel charged with advancing nuclear technology to support U.S. Navy nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines. Since earning her degree at Grove City College, followed by postgraduate studies at Case Western University, Staniscia has dedicated her career to supporting the nation's defense through various roles within Bechtel. She also has a passion for fostering the development of future leaders through her involvement with the BPMI Female Leaders Forum and the University of Pittsburgh’s Women in STEM program.
The Distinguished Service Award winners are:
Philip Gasiewicz – Trustee Emeritus Gasiewicz joined Grove City’s Board in 2008 and soon thereafter was elected treasurer, a post he held until 2021. During those years, he played an important role in financial decisions and on the steering committee of the Grove City Matters campaign. He is the retired vice president of operations and chief operating officer of the former U.S. Investigations Services. He graduated from Xavier University and served in U.S. Army as a Chinese Mandarin linguist and intelligence analyst during the Vietnam War. In May 2022, he was named Trustee Emeritus.
Dr. Bruce Smith ’58 – Alumni Council Member Emeritus Smith has served the College from his time in student government to working as Dean of Men for five years beginning in 1969, to reunion planning, mentoring young men on campus, being an ambassador with the Change & Commitment Campaign, and serving on Alumni Council from 2004 to 2013. After graduating from Grove City College, he received his M.Ed. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Pittsburgh. Smith served as deputy director of the Mercer County Area on Aging for 25 years after working as a high school chemistry teacher and Robert Morris University professor of math and physical science.
The College will honor awardees at a ceremony during Homecoming 2022 at Harbison Chapel on campus. It is open to the public.
The Jack Kennedy Memorial Alumni Achievement Award originated in 1964 with a class of honorees that included the College’s third president Weir C. Ketler, who graduated in 1908, legendary benefactor and Trustee Chair J. Howard Pew (1900), noted scientist George Southworth (1914), pastor and theologian Rev. F. Paul McConkey (1909) and coach and athletic director Robert E. Thorn (1916). The award was renamed in honor and memory of professor and administrator Jack Kennedy ’37, who served the College for 32 years until his retirement in 1980.
For more about Grove City College Alumni Association and Homecoming, visit alumni.gcc.edu.