Alumni Updates & Recognitions

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Jason Cannon
Office of Alumni Engagement

Jason Cannon '03 has been awarded the President's Distinguished Alumni Award from Neumann University

Neumann University presented its annual President's Distinguished Alumni Award to Jason Cannon '03. This award is presented to a graduate whose career is characterized by continuous and exemplary contributions to society and who exemplifies the core values of the university. Cannon earned this award for the pivotal roles he has played as a seasoned financial professional for The Eustace Foundation, The Delaney Family Foundation and as senior managing director at Cabrini Asset Management. 

Cannon earned a bachelor’s degree in humanities from Widener University, and a master’s in organizational and strategic leadership from Neumann University.

Joe Mendez
Office of Alumni Engagement

Joseph Mendez ’00 was elected as the Chairman of the Club Management Association of America Board of Directors

Joe Mendez '00 was elected the Chairman of the Club Management Association of America (CMAA) Board of Directors. Mendez currently serves as the General Manager/COO at Doylestown Country Club in Doylestown, PA. Prior to accepting that role in May 2023, he served as the General Manager/COO of Riverton Country Club, Germantown Cricket Club, and Radley Run Country Club. 

Mendez first joined CMAA as a student in 1998 and became a professional member in 2003, eventually holding multiple roles in CMAA's Philadelphia & Vicinity Chapter. He also served as the Chairman of the National Student Education Conference in 2016. As CMAA Chairman, Mendez will lead the CMAA Board of Directors and work together with the membership and national committees to advance the club management profession.

Mendez holds a degree in hospitality management from Widener University. 

Lynn Ritter
Office of Alumni Engagement

Lynn Ritter '91 has been promoted to partner at Gunnip & Company CPAs

Gunnip & Company CPAs recently announced the promotion of Lynn Ritter '91 to partner. Ritter has over 30 years of diverse tax compliance and consulting experience. She specializes in individual, trust and estate taxation and is especially skilled in helping executors navigate the estate process.

Ritter earned her Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from the University of Baltimore and a Master of Science in Taxation from Widener University. She is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the American Institute of CPAs. 

Marie Bedard
Office of Alumni Engagement

Naval Information Warfare Center Atlantic Honors Marie Bedard '84 with a Leading for Impact, Women in Leadership Award

Marie Bedard ’84 was awarded with a Leading for Impact, Women in Leadership Award from the Naval Information Warfare Center’s Defense Health Information Technology division. The Leading for Impact Award recognizes women creating a positive impact and leading organizations and strategic programs across military health, technology and consulting.

Bedard was nominated for this award because of her work leading eight integrated product teams and 560 geographically dispersed engineers and technicians who provide IT services for U.S. military medical treatment facilities where health care is provided to more than nine million military members, dependents and veterans. 

Prior to joining the command, she held several positions within both the federal government and commercial sector. Bedard holds a degree in management from Widener University.

Noel Abejo
Office of Alumni Engagement

Noel Abejo ’96 was recognized by The Philadelphia Business Journal with a 2024 Diversity in Business award

Noel Abejo '96 was recognized by The Philadelphia Business Journal with a 2024 Diversity in Business award. Abejo, who is the President of the Wells Fargo Pennsylvania Delaware Employee Impact Team for Volunteers coordinates the philanthropic efforts of over 1,000 Wells Fargo employees within the greater Philadelphia region. Abejo and his fellow volunteers have worked on projects designed to revitalize West Philadelphia neighborhoods and hosted community blood drives. He also is a founder of the Wells Fargo Philadelphia Asian Connection Chapter and serves as chair of its Diversity & Inclusion Advocacy Outcomes.

Abejo is a board member of the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia and president of the Filipino-American Community Athletic Association. He holds a degree in information sciences from Widener University and a master's degree in computer information science from La Salle University.

Chuck Porter
Office of Alumni Engagement

Chuck Porter, Jr. ’05 was promoted to Co-Director of Wealth Management at Canon Capital Management Group

Canon Capital Management Group is proud to announce the promotion of Chuck Porter, Jr. '05 to Co-Director of Wealth Management. Porter joined the Harleysville, PA-based financial and business services firm in 2006, working as a Senior Investment Advisor specializing in serving high-net-worth individuals and families. Porter will enhance strategic initiatives, guiding the delivery of exceptional client service, and fostering continued growth for the Wealth Management unit.

Porter is an Accredited Investment Fiduciary who earned a degree in Economics with an emphasis in Personal Financial Service from Widener University. Porter has also earned a Certificate in Financial Management from Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management.

Denise Napier
Office of Alumni Engagement

Denise Napier ’81 was named one of the top 50 Women Chief Executive Officers by Women We Admire

Denise Napier ‘81 is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Jefferson Health Plans. She has more than 25 years of leadership experience and manages a $2 billion care organization with operations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, focusing on Medicare Advantage plans, individual and family plans, and a nationally recognized Medicaid plan. Under Napier's leadership, the health plan puts members first, develops innovative programs to benefit communities, and creates tremendous business growth.

Napier received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Widener University and her Master of Health Administration from St. Joseph’s University. She is also a registered nurse in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. 

Grace Cavanaugh
Office of Alumni Engagement

Grace Cavanaugh '09 has been named Director of Event Services and Catering at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum in Nashville, Tennessee

Grace Cavanaugh '09 was recently promoted to Director of Event Services and Catering at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum in Nashville, Tennessee. In this role, Cavanaugh oversees the planning of 1,400 events annually, with responsibilities that include menu creation, event decor and design, and leading a team of service and catering managers. 

Since joining the museum in 2015, she has served in many positions, most recently as Associate Director of Event Services and Catering Manager. She holds a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management from Widener University.

Paid in Full by Ken Byerly
Office of Alumni Engagement

Ken Byerly ’68 published Paid in Full: Tales of Bravery and Sacrifice, featuring extraordinary graduates from Pennsylvania Military College and their service in the Vietnam War

Ken Byerly ’68 recently published Paid in Full: Tales of Bravery and Sacrifice, which chronicles the heroism, bravery, and sacrifice of eight Pennsylvania Military College graduates during the Vietnam War. Byerly explores their time at PMC, graduation, commissioning, entering the service and for some, starting a family. 

Paid in Full: Tales of Bravery and Sacrifice examines a time in our recent history when serving in the military, and especially in Vietnam, was not looked upon favorably by the American public. These eight men, answered their country’s call and served with honor and pride, and continue the PMC legacy. Paid in Full can be purchased on Barnes & 

Larry Liss '63
Office of Alumni Engagement

Larry Liss ’63 was recently awarded the Silver Star for Gallantry in Action for his service during the Vietnam War

Vietnam War veteran, Larry Liss '63, was awarded the Silver Star for Gallantry in Action for his heroic service. A captain in the U.S. Army, Liss was recognized for flying his rescue helicopter into combat six times to save his fellow soldiers; and leaving the cockpit twice with no body armor, engaging with the enemy soldiers using his personal weapons, and aiding the civilian irregular unit in getting to the helicopter for extraction – historically known as the Rescue at Cau Song Be. He received his wings as a helicopter pilot in 1966 and served as a combat pilot until 1968. He flew 650 combat missions. 

In addition to the Silver Star, Liss' awards include 25 Air Medals including one for valor, a bronze star, three Purple Hearts, the Valorous Unit Award for Extraordinary Heroism, the National Defense Service Medal, the Meritorious Unit Commendation, Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnamese Campaign Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross for Valor. He was also awarded the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry for valor twice and received the Order of St. George Medallion. 

After completing his military service, Liss founded the Flightways Corporation, a regional air carrier. He later became president of the Diversified Environmental Corporation. Liss holds a degree in English literature from Pennsylvania Military College.

The photo was taken during Liss' Silver Star ceremony and includes Widener University President Stacey Robertson, Widener University Professor of Military Science LTC James R. Pasco, Larry Liss '63 and his brother and fellow PMC alumnus, Arthur "Art" Liss '67.

Malcolm Yates
Office of Alumni Engagement

Malcolm Yates ’20 was recognized by The Philadelphia Business Journal with a 2024 Diversity in Business award

Malcolm J. Yates ’20 was recognized by The Philadelphia Business Journal with a 2024 Diversity in Business award. Yates was inspired to become an agent of change when his 5-year-old brother was a victim of gun violence in Philadelphia. Yates is dedicated to advocating for gun and drug control, and comprehensive health care. 

Yates serves as the Director of Government Relations for Public Health Management Corp., the Philadelphia nonprofit health institute that serves 350,000 individuals annually. Yates works with local, state and federal officials to support the organization's mission of improving community health through outreach, education, planning and direct services.

Yates holds a bachelor’s degree from Norfolk State University in Virginia, and two master’s degrees; from Neumann University and Widener University.

Matthew Schwiter
Office of Alumni Engagement

Matthew Schwiter ‘16 was named Engineer of the Year at Lockheed Martin

Matthew Schwiter '16 was named the 2024 Engineer of the Year at Lockheed Martin Missiles & Fire Control Archbald. This award, presented during Engineering Week, recognizes his ingenuity, leadership and passion for engineering. 

Schwiter currently works as a Senior Manufacturing & Tooling Engineer at Lockheed Martin and holds a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Widener University.

Colleen Galanis
Office of Alumni Engagement

Colleen Galanis '89 has been named Vice President of Budget and Financial Analysis at Retirement Unlimited Inc.

Colleen Galanis '89 has been named vice president of budget and financial analysis at the Roanoke, Virginia based Retirement Unlimited Inc. Galanis will oversee budgeting along with financial summaries and reporting for all properties. Previously, she worked at Brandywine Living for more than 25 years as the director of financial analysis. 

She earned her undergraduate degree in business administration from Widener University and her MBA from La Salle University.

Michael Innocenzo
Office of Alumni Engagement

PECO CEO Mike Innocenzo '88 has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer at PECO's parent company, Exelon

Exelon recently announced that Mike Innocenzo '88, who is currently President and Chief Executive Officer of Exelon subsidiary PECO, has been promoted to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Exelon. Innocenzo will oversee all utility operations and will be responsible for the Cyber & Information Security Services, Corporate Physical Security, IT, Safety, Supply, Training and Transmission Strategy & Compliance organizations. Innocenzo joined Exelon in 1988 and has served in a range of roles of increasing responsibility in electric and gas distribution operations. 

Innocenzo holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Widener University and an MBA from Villanova University.

Sheliah Yohn
Office of Alumni Engagement

Sheilah Yohn '96 has been awarded the Sheila Gealey Award for Excellence in Nursing

Sheilah Yohn '96, assistant teaching professor of nursing at Penn State University, received the Sheila Gealey Award at the Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners Conference. The award annually recognizes a nurse practitioner who is actively involved in safeguarding and improving the professional standing of nurse practitioners in Pennsylvania.

Yohn obtained her registered nurse diploma from York Hospital School of Nursing, her bachelor of science in nursing at Penn State, and her master of science in nursing from Widener University. After completing her schooling, she began work as a nurse practitioner and became part of Penn State Health in 2011, later rising to assistant teaching professor at the university.

Tifphane Riley
Office of Alumni Engagement

Tifphane Riley, Ph.D. '15 '21 has been named deputy Director of the Wanda Alston Foundation

Tifphane Riley, Ph.D. '15 '21 has been named deputy Director of the Wanda Alston Foundation, a resource focused on empowering and advocating for youth in the LGBTQ+ community. Prior to this, Riley was the Deputy Chief of Programs at Sasha Bruce Youthwork, an organization dedicated to providing services to youths in Washington DC. Riley was also the clinical director of GenPsych, providing individual and group therapy to youth in an inpatient setting. 

Riley earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and African American studies, from Temple University and a master's and Ph.D. in Human Sexuality from Widener University. 

Widener Men's Basketball Alumni Game
Office of Alumni Engagement

Widener Men's Basketball Alumni Return for Annual Alumni Day Game

On February 3, 2024, Widener University Director of Athletics, Jack Shafer, and Head Men’s Basketball Coach, Chris Carideo ’96, welcomed back former players from many eras for the team’s annual Alumni Day game. The group had a chance to meet the 2023-2024 team during a pre-game reception and several of the alumni basketball players provided a pep talk to the current team. 

Black and white photo of football player Billy "White Shoes" Johnson wearing a Widener jersey
Office of Alumni Engagement

Billy "White Shoes" Johnson '75 was inducted into the Tennessee Titans' Ring of Honor

Billy “White Shoes” Johnson '75, Houston Oilers legend, was inducted into the franchise's Ring of Honor.

Johnson was a three-time Pro Bowl and three-time first-team All-Pro selection during his NFL career with the Houston Oilers, Atlanta Falcons and Washington Redskins. He was named to the NFL’s 75th and 100th anniversary teams. Johnson was one of the top return specialists during his career and still ranks seventh in NFL history in punt return yardage (3,317). 

Devon Kay and William Orangers
Office of Alumni Engagement

Devon Kay ’17 and William O’Rangers ’18 were married in November 2023

Devon Kay ’17 recently married fellow Widener graduate, William O’Rangers ‘18 on November 4, 2023 at Union Trust in Philadelphia, PA. They are pictured with their dog Rudy, who also attended the ceremony. 

Kay and O’Rangers met while students at Widener and both participated in fraternity and sorority life, with Kay as a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma and O’Rangers a brother of Alpha Tau Omega. Kay earned a bachelor’s of science in nursing while O’Rangers earned a degree in civil engineering. Kay currently works as a psychiatric RN while O’Rangers is a structural engineer. 

Joanne Stevens Hoertz
Office of Alumni Engagement

Joanne Stevens Hoertz ’94 was appointed to the Florida Center for Nursing Board of Directors

Joanne Stevens Hoertz ’94 was recently appointed to the Florida Center for Nursing Board of Directors. Stevens Hoertz has been practicing nursing for 35 years and has worked extensively in the specialty area of rehabilitation nursing. She is currently the Senior Vice President for Nursing at Brooks Rehabilitation in Jacksonville Florida, where she provides clinical, financial and administrative oversight and leadership.

Stevens Hoertz is a member of the American Organization of Nurse Leaders, the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses, the National Association of Directors of Nursing, and the Florida Association of Directors of Nursing Administration.She earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Delaware and her master’s degree in nursing from Widener University.