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Letter: Wilson College characterization questioned

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Dear Editor:

I listened intently to the radio broadcast on March 5 on WITF-fm Radio Smart Talk: Wilson College’s decision to go co-ed with guest, President Barbara Mistick.

I grew up in Franklin County and attended Wilson College, graduating with a degree in psychology in 1994. I also decided to return to Wilson College in 2008 for pre-med requirements in order to apply to medical school. I knew that the science faculty at Wilson was top-notch and I would receive the attention I would need as someone who had been out of school for several years.

I was not disappointed by my choice in returning to school and four years later finished a second major in biology with honors.

I was, however, greatly disappointed in how President Mistick characterized the school during her radio interview. When asked about the lack of marketing, she stated, “the college has been in existence for 144 years. I’d say that’s a significant sign that people do know Wilson”.

However, those of us who live in the area know that the advertising that Wilson College has done is mediocre at best. If you go outside of Chambersburg, there are few who have even heard of the school. I travel almost an hour to work and listen to local radio stations during that drive.

I have heard many advertisements schools in our area. I listen to one of the most popular radio stations in Chambersburg and rarely hear an advertisement for Wilson.

I am also a sole proprietor and, within that role, I understand business marketing. When your numbers are down, you advertise more, not less.

President Mistick stated, “what we know is that even increased marketing efforts on average do not increase yields by more than 10 percent.” Not only does she not mention the source for that data, it also goes against multiple articles written in the financial field.

I am certainly not advocating unintelligent advertising, but when Brian Speers, the (school’s) new vice president of marketing and communication, states that he does not even know who the target pool is of potential students of Wilson College, it raises a red flag.

Dr. Mistick then states that the “marketplace has changed” and that the decision “was a comprehensive process.” Yes, businesses do have to be flexible enough to survive the flux in the marketplace, however, the recent article written by Gretchen Van Ness, Class of 1980, and former trustee of Wilson College, ( points out that the research that was gathered by the commission was never presented to the president prior to her providing her recommendations to the board of trustees.

How can those entrusted with ensuring a thriving college make such an important decision without all of the facts? Yet another red flag is raised.

In fact, even though I was on the campus for the past five years, I was not aware of the significant changes that were being proposed until my class president contacted me after she attended the first open commission meeting, in September 2012.

This is the “transparency” that has been so widely touted? Even now, I suspect that there are alumnae that will arrive on campus for reunion this June who are not fully aware of the magnitude of the decisions that were made in January.

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This lack of transparency continues even today. Questions that were asked multiple times during the commission meetings, in letters, and in face-to-face conversations remain unanswered. Alumnae have set up blogs, Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, and even a website in order to have our concerns addressed.

I was taught at Wilson to question, do my own research and to act honorably in my personal and professional life. I am continuing that tradition now in the face of this decision and the conclusion that I have reached is one in which it is obvious that the information provided by the administration at Wilson College is definitely incomplete and one-sided.

Even now, this administration is continuing an unfortunate time-honored legacy of “divide and conquer” by currently holding committee meetings during inconvenient times for its various constituencies or segregating these committee meetings.

President Mistick is correct in that it is impossible for her to predict what will happen in the future, however, at the end of the day, Wilson College will survive, not because of the questionable actions of a few, but because of the people who decided to discover the truth.

Lori A. Fedorczyk

Scotland, Pa.

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Obituaries for 09/08/1997

  • Robert Bosler, 37, of 224 W. Main St., Walnut Bottom, died Sunday, Sept. 7, 1997, in Polyclinic Medical Center in Harrisburg.

    Ewing Brothers Funeral Home, 630 S. Hanover St., Carlisle, will announce funeral arrangements when they are completed.

  • Rachel I. "Sammy" Brandt, 82, of 934 Baltimore Pike, Gardners, died Sunday Sept. 7, 1997, in her home.

    Born Jan. 15, 1915, in York County, she was the daughter of the late Joseph and Sarah Shaffer Bupp and the widow of Ralph "Dutch" Brandt, who died May 16, 1988.

    Mrs. Brandt was retired from the former Blough-Wagner Co. in Mt. Holly Springs and was a former employee of C.H. Masland Co., Carlisle.

    She was a member of the Old Bellaire Chapter Order of Eastern Star No. 375.

    Surviving are a son, Ralph Brandt of York; three daughters, Joan McNew of Gettysburg, Judy Brandt of Grantham and June Showers of Gardners; nine grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and two sisters, Pauline McCans of Hatfield and Hazel Johnson of Gardners.

    Services will be Wednesday at 2 p.m. at Gibson-Hollinger Funeral Home, 501 N. Baltimore Ave., Mt. Holly Springs. The Rev. Sandra Schultz will officiate.

    Burial will be in Cumberland Valley Memorial Gardens in West Pennsboro Township.

    Friends may call Tuesday from 7 to 9 p.m. at the funeral home. An Eastern Star memorial service will be held Tuesday at 6:45 p.m. in the funeral home.

  • Services for Glen Isaac Kunkle, 89, formerly of 5221 Cumberland Highway, Chambersburg, will be at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday in Thomas L. Geisel Funeral Home, 333 Falling Spring Road, Chambersburg.

    Masonic services will be conducted by members of George Washington Lodge 143 F&AMPAM at 11:15 a.m.

    Mr. Kunkle died Friday, Sept. 5, 1997, at Manor Care Health Services, Chambersburg.

    Born May 11, 1908, in Williamson, he was a son of the late David W. and Grace Carrie Rife Kunkle. He was the widower of Dorothy Jones Kunkle, who died Aug. 29, 1996.

    Mr. Kunkle retired in 1954 from the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C., where he had been employed since 1935. He formerly was a wood pattern maker apprentice from 1926 to 1930 at Chambersburg Engineering Co. and then worked for General Steel Corp. of Chester and Frog, Switch &AMP Manufacturing Co. of Carlisle.

    He was a member of Greenvillage Church of God, Chambersburg; Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia F&AMPAM, Washington, D.C.; and a life member of William R. Singleton Hope Lodge No. 7 F&AMPAM of Lebanon.

    Surviving is his sister, Elva Stambaugh of Chambersburg.

    The Rev. Ronald E. Dull will officiate at Tuesday's service. Burial will be in Norland Cemetery, Chambersburg.

    Memorial contributions may be made to ManorCare Health Services, 1070 Stouffer Ave., Chambersburg 17201, or to Greenvillage Church of God, 5164 Philadelphia Ave., Chambersburg 17201.

  • Services for Gerald B. "Base" Strayer, 80, of 115 S. Prince St., Shippensburg, will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Prince Street United Brethren Church in Shippensburg.

    He died Saturday, Sept. 6, 1997, at Chambersburg Hospital.

    Born March 4, 1917, in Southampton Township in Cumberland County, he was the son of the late David F. and Annabelle Eutzy Strayer.

    He retired in 1975 from the former Hershey Creamery, Shippensburg, where he worked for 40 years. After retirement he worked as a custodian at Kmart in Chambersburg for eight years and at the Beistle Co. in Shippensburg for four years.

    And for 25 years he served as the utility groundskeeper for Shippensburg Community Fair.

    Mr. Strayer was a member of the Prince Street United Brethren Church and Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie 1299, Carlisle. He was a life member and past commander of Durff-Kuhn VFW Post 6168, Shippensburg.

    He was an Army veteran of World War II.

    Surviving are his two daughters, Dixie L. Whorley and Diana B. Strayer, both of Shippensburg; a sister, Pearl Allen, of Shippensburg; three grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and a number of nieces and nephews.

    He was preceded in death by his wife, Dorothy B. Beltz Strayer, who died May 16, 1993; six brothers and two sisters.

    The Rev. George D. Strayer will officiate at Wednesday's service. Burial will be in Spring Hill Cemetery, Shippensburg.

    Friends may call from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Fogelsanger-Bricker Funeral Home Inc., 112 W. King St., Shippensburg.

    Memorial contributions may be made to Cumberland Valley Hose Company Ambulance Fund, P.O. Box 366, Shippensburg 17257 or to the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter Inc., 2325 Country Road, Chambersburg 17202.

  • Services for George K. Gerhardt, 82, of Carlisle, formerly of Bloserville, will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Hoffman-Roth Funeral Home, 219 N. Hanover St., Carlisle.

    He died Saturday, Sept. 6, 1997, at Sarah Todd Memorial Home in Carlisle.

    Born Feb. 6, 1915, in Carlisle, he was the son of the late Reuben W. and Anna W. Gilbert Gerhardt.

    He was a retired meat cutter from the former Carlisle Food Market, a member of God's Missionary Church, Bloserville, and an Army veteran of World War II.

    Surviving are his wife, Ruth A. Norrell Gerhardt; a son, Wayne Belmont of North Carolina; a brother, Eugene Gerhardt of Carlisle; a sister, Milly Gerhardt of Carlisle, two grandchildren, five stepgrandchildren, two great-grandchildren, five stepgreat-grandchildren and a stepgreat-great-grandchild.

    The Revs. Clarence E. Dupert and David D. Deetz Sr. will officiate at Thursday's services. Burial will be in Upper Frankford Brick Church Cemetery.

    Friends may call from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday in the funeral home.

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