Planned Giving

Inspire Future Generations

We thank all of our St. Clare Society members for creating and inspiring future generations of Alvernia students to be leaders in our community who will do well and do good.

Here are some of their stories, and the stories of the students whose lives were changed forever because of their generous support.

John Luvisi

Nursing student

The Luvisi Nursing Scholarship supports a junior or senior nursing student who has demonstrated competent and mission-driven patient care.

When John Luvisi left the health care industry and transitioned to higher education, he sought to fulfill a lifelong dream of working in education. Walking in the footsteps of his mother, aunt and uncle, he always wanted to become a teacher. However, after attending college, there were no teaching jobs available. He spent a year as a substitute teacher, but it wasn't the same. So he placed this dream on pause to return to it.

Spending most of his career in nonprofit health care organizations, John saw firsthand the important roles nurses had with their patients and families. Guiding them through difficult health situations and decisions was not for the faint of heart. The skills and knowledge needed to support the patient, doctors, physicians, surgeons and others were critical to their success.

Securing the position of Director of Grants at Alvernia, John was able to marry his passion for education and health care. Seeking funding to support academic programs and student scholarships, John was able to impact the future of our community by helping develop strong academic programs, support faculty research and provide student scholarships.

Upon his retirement, John created the John W. Luvisi Nursing Scholarship in recognition of the first grant he secured at Alvernia for nursing scholarships. The scholarship ensures that a student will receive the financial support they need to fulfill their career choice and impact those they will serve. The scholarship is provided to a junior or senior nursing student who has demonstrated competent and mission-driven patient care during their course of studies.

"John has a heart for health care workers and has contributed much over the years to secure grant funding for our nursing program," said Karen Thacker, Associate Professor of Nursing. "This scholarship is a testament to his ongoing desire to make a difference to individual students as well as the nursing workforce that provides direct care to our community."

The Luvisi Nursing Scholarship was created through a gift in his will along with annual gifts made to support students today and tomorrow. "Being able to meet the students you are impacting is a special gift," said John. "Giving annually to support the scholarship today allows me to meet and learn from the students my gift is making a difference for. Waiting to give until I pass does not offer this benefit. Combining my annual gifts with my estate gifts makes a bigger impact on students and the health care industry today."

Learn more about making a planned gift and see how it can make a difference today by contacting Meggan Kerber at 610.796.8327 or



John and Vincenza (Zena) Cenerazzo

Lauren Goug

Lauren Gough ’21, MSOT, and Taylor Gough ’21, MSOT

John and Vincenza (Zena) Cenerazzo knew the importance of ensuring that Alvernia continues to be a place of educational opportunity and excellence for deserving students of all backgrounds. A scholarship was created in 2005 through an estate gift from the late John A. Cenerazzo, a former Trustee of Alvernia University.

John’s wish was to make a gift to support students majoring in mathematics, physical or natural sciences, or secondary education with a concentration in any of those areas of study. The students should also possess academic aptitude and demonstrate evidence of financial need. John’s wife, Zena, was equally supportive of Alvernia students and faculty who studied the sciences. She established an endowment through a bequest in 2008 to benefit and support Alvernia’s Chemistry and Physics Departments.

Twin sisters Lauren Gough ’21, MSOT, and Taylor Gough ’21, MSOT, recipients of the John A. Cenerazzo Scholarship, share their appreciation: “We are so grateful to receive the Cenerazzo Scholarship! Our family finances and our educational paths were directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a true blessing for both of us to obtain the Cenerazzo Scholarship to be able to finish out our final coursework at Alvernia in the 5-year Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy Program.”

Alvernia University is blessed to have forward-thinking benefactors like John and Zena and other St. Clare Society members. They have created a legacy of student and faculty opportunity and excellence for generations. These gifts make it possible for students of all economic backgrounds to attend and flourish at Alvernia.

Bequest gifts of any size benefit our students now and in the future. Join our St. Clare Society and make an impact for generations. Contact Meggan Kerber at 610.796.8327 or for details.



Patricia Newman '76

Undretta Rivers-Ward

Undretta Rivers-Ward

Patricia Newman's estate gift to Alvernia University is transforming the lives of mature female students. An Alvernia alumna, Class of 1976, Patricia taught elementary school for many years, enjoying her summers traveling the world. Patricia's generosity allowed Alvernia, with the support of the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation, which matched Patricia's estate gift, to create the Newcombe Scholarship Endowment.

This endowment provides funding in perpetuity to the Newcombe Scholarship, which provides financial assistance for mature female students whose pursuit of a bachelor's degree is complicated by personal responsibilities or challenging circumstances.

The Newcombe Scholarship provides financial support to Alvernia women students over the age of 25 who have earned at least 60 credits toward a bachelor's degree so they can complete their degree in a timely manner.

Alvernia University has awarded 20 women Newcombe Scholarships since 2016. Undretta Rivers-Ward graduated from Alvernia in 2019 and received a Newcombe Scholarship. After graduation, she was promoted to a supervisor position of case managers for the child welfare agency where she works. She attributes her success in her profession to having the opportunity to finish her degree at Alvernia University. Her story is so inspiring that she was chosen as a guest speaker at the 2019 Alvernia Women's Council Luncheon.

Because of Patricia's commitment to Alvernia, we are able to ensure that students like Undretta have the resources to graduate. The Newcombe Scholarship Endowment and other Alvernia endowments provide a bright future for the university and create a legacy of generosity that supports our students and programs for generations.

If you would like to learn more about creating educational opportunities at Alvernia through a gift in your estate plan, please contact Meggan Kerber at 610.796.8327 or today.



Tom Minick '98; M '10 and Jamie (Brogan) Minick '98

Tom and Jamie Minick"From when we met at freshman orientation in the fall of 1994 until today, Alvernia University has had, and continues to have, a profound impact on our lives. As first-generation college students, we had no idea the impact graduating from college would have on our future. For both of us, individuals such as Gwen Williams, Yogi Lutz, Judy Warchal, Sandy Slabik and Beth DeMeo guided us through our academic and athletic journeys and provided opportunities to grow intellectually. Our Alvernia education provided us the foundation to have successful careers, and we want to give the same opportunity to future Alvernia University students."



Meggan (Hannigan) Kerber '96; M '01

Meggan KerberJust as Tom and Jamie Minick want to "pay it forward" and provide future Alvernia students with opportunities to succeed as they did, Meggan Kerber made a planned gift to Alvernia to support one of her favorite nonprofits. "No matter what age you are, you want to think about ways to give during and after your lifetime. What makes the most sense financially? A life insurance policy naming Alvernia as your beneficiary or assets from your 401(k)? You can still provide for your loved ones and support the programs you are most passionate about at Alvernia in your estate plan. By planning ahead, you decide how your assets are going to be distributed, and you are making an impact on Alvernia students for generations to come."



Jess Cwiklinski

Jess CwiklinskiWe often refer to our planned giving donors as true visionaries who create legacies for our students. A recent estate gift from a devoted donor and friend, Jess Cwiklinski, did just that.

Jess, an Alvernia University Trustee Emerita, found her love for Alvernia as a high school student who lived in the Alvernia orphanage in Francis Hall. Upon graduation, she attended St. Joseph Hospital School of Nursing and married Edward Cwiklinski, a Reading police officer. For many years, Jess practiced nursing at St. Joe's, a perfect vocation for someone with her compassion and dedication to helping others.

While working at St. Joe's, Jess earned a bachelor's degree in nursing at Kutztown State Teachers College and became a public school nurse in the Reading School District. She eventually earned her master's degree in education with a specialization in social studies.

Jess enjoyed a long career at Reading Senior High School. In addition to teaching social studies, Jess served as vice principal as well as the advisor to the United Nations Club. As their advisor, she mentored many students who are now leaders in the communities and organizations they serve.

The importance of education was paramount in Jess's decision to include Alvernia University in her estate plan. With her planned gift, Alvernia can provide financial support to the Reading Collegiate Scholars Program (RCSP).

If you would like to learn more about including Alvernia in your estate plan, like Jess did, please contact Meggan Kerber at or 610.796.8327 today.



Michael Ulrich

Michael UlrichDecreasing the impact of electronic waste on the environment is the goal of Alvernia chemistry major Michael Ulrich. Michael is building upon professor Joshua Smith’s research by looking toward new techniques to extract rare metals from electronic waste, such as LCD and LED screens. Once perfected, the technique, which uses silica-coated magnetic nanoparticles to attract the metal from the waste, will more than double the amount of metals extracted prior to waste disposal.

“When I started, I was weary about what I was working with. I didn’t understand how the particles interact with each other, and I didn’t understand what they were made of and why they look the way they do. Three months later, I’m still figuring it out. But I have a way better understanding of what’s going on,” says Michael.

Michael’s research is funded through the Alvernia Student Undergraduate Research Fellowship (S.U.R.F.) program, which awards students up to $3,000 and free housing with a kitchen for 10 weeks over the summer.

According to Michael, S.U.R.F. research has improved his understanding of the scientific method. “When you really dive into a specific idea and you blow it up over the span of weeks or months, it definitely changes your perspective on the process itself and the subject,” Michael explains.

Born in Russia and adopted by American parents at age 3, Michael has flourished in the Alvernia chemistry program. “My situation gives me a better appreciation for the opportunities I am given and have been given. Not a day goes by where I forget where I came from,” says Michael.

You can open doors of opportunity for students like Michael through a planned gift. To learn more about your options, contact Meggan Kerber at or 610.796.8327.



Tom and Helen Flynn

Tom and Helen FlynnTom and Helen Flynn know the importance of ensuring that Alvernia continues to be a place of educational opportunity and excellence for deserving students of all backgrounds. The Flynns have already made two planned gifts to Alvernia University and anticipate further support. “We recognize the importance of helping ensure that essential program support is guaranteed in perpetuity,” explains Tom.

One of the gifts will expand the endowment for the Reading Collegiate Scholars Program, and the second gift will support faculty excellence, both important to the success of the University. The latter gift, known as the Flynn-Sheimo Faculty Excellence Endowment, has been established to honor Helen’s late parents and Tom’s late mother, all of whom were teachers.

Under Tom’s transformative leadership, Alvernia’s endowment has more than doubled, while gifts to the University, including the Alvernia Fund, grants and restricted gifts have all grown exponentially. Tom and Helen remind us that “young schools like Alvernia need alumni, parents, friends, faculty and even former presidents” to make an impact on future students and faculty members.

Alvernia University is blessed to have forward-thinking benefactors like Tom and Helen, and other members of our St. Clare Society, who have created a legacy of student and faculty opportunity and excellence for generations. Their gifts, as Tom emphasizes, “make it possible for students of all economic backgrounds to attend and flourish at Alvernia.”

Make a Difference

You too can create a legacy like Tom and Helen Flynn and make a difference for Alvernia students, now and in the future. Contact Meggan Kerber at 610.796.8327 or to learn more.



Justin Gibbs

Justin GibbsStudent-athlete Justin Gibbs learned a lot about himself and how to work under pressure while playing two sports at Alvernia (volleyball and tennis) and succeeding in the classroom—achieving his first 4.0 GPA while taking all 400-level classes.

But, his college journey was not an easy one, as he attended several other colleges before choosing to transfer here in 2017.

In his senior year, Justin received the Donna J. Klinikowski Scholarship, which provided the funding he needed to graduate from Alvernia. Donna, an English and Communications professor at Alvernia, and her late husband, Ronald, established the scholarship through her estate plan prior to her passing in 2006.

"The reason why the scholarship was so important is because the school became my home away from home. I was finally proud of a school and felt like it was where I belonged. The scholarship made me feel like Alvernia was investing in me, saying 'we got your back,' which helped me focus in school," Justin says.

"I can also say, without the scholarship, I would not be where I am today—a first-generation college graduate who accomplished something for my family as well. The biggest reward I got from Alvernia are the relationships I have made with my peers, but even more importantly the relationships I have made with faculty and staff, who are first class and always available to help me academically."

You too can make a difference for students like Justin. Contact Meggan Kerber at 610.796.8327 or to learn more.



Steve Keiser '80

Steve Keiser '80Steve Keiser never planned on attending college. He had studied to be an electrician at vo-tech, and was content with that career until a down turn in the economy forced him to consider other options, including college. It took just one visit to Alvernia for Steve to realize that this was the place for him. "I was so impressed with how giving the nuns were," he said. "I had never experienced that before, and they were just awesome, really cool people."

Steve's experience at Alvernia is one he treasures to this day, and he contends that "It's not just a school you go to, it is a place you belong. The quality of education and the staff are exceptional, but even better, there is a feeling of family."

A successful local businessman, Steve had a great desire to "give back" by making a difference at the University. "I was so touched by the benevolence of the Sisters and Alvernia means so much to me, I had to do something to show my gratitude." Steve chose to include his alma mater in his estate plans, naming Alvernia as a beneficiary in his will. In fact, he made that decision decades ago, making him one of the first in the history of the institution to do so.

"Education is so important, and it is not something you can give to someone," he says. "You can provide the opportunity, but it requires their effort. I want to make sure that Alvernia continues to provide that opportunity, and my bequest is evidence of my continued appreciation for the University."

A passionate advocate for Alvernia, Steve currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees. "It is a wonderful school with so many wonderful people, and that hasn't changed over the years," he contends. "Even now, if I'm having a bad day, a visit to campus always makes me feel better. It's hard not to be happy when you're at Alvernia!"

Dr. Richard and Gloria Law

Dr. Richard and Gloria LawWhen Dr. Richard A. Law retired from the State System Of Higher Education as an English professor, he thought his days of full-time teaching were over. However, God had a different plan in mind.

Alvernia was looking for an additional adjunct instructor in the English Department, and Dr. Law applied and was invited to join the faculty. He was so impressive in the classroom and his students were so enthralled by his talents that when a full-time position opened, the then-College asked him to apply. He was hired immediately, and has, in total, spent the last 20 years teaching at Alvernia.

In that time, he has developed a deep appreciation of the University. "Alvernia is a friendly, caring community," he states, "and there is such harmony within the English Department, between faculty and students, and with the faculty and administration. In addition, I truly value the openness we have to express our Christian faith. It is one of the joys of being at Alvernia."

Dr. Law's devotion to Catholic education goes back to his childhood. He reveals that, "Of all my education, what I cherish most is my grade school experience with the Sisters of St. Joseph in Philadelphia. My life has now come full circle in an educational institution with wonderful nuns who are devoted to the Church. The presence of the Bernardine Sisters has always given me great joy."

Richard has been married to the love of his life, Gloria, for over a half century, and his face lights up at the mention of her name. The ultimate team, Mrs. Law's feelings for the University mirror those of her husband. "We appreciate Alvernia so much," he says. "Alvernia gave me a second chance at my career. I had retired from a state institution when my enthusiasm for teaching was beginning to wane, but Alvernia reenergized my career. Gloria has been very happy I am here."

Looking for a way to make their admiration of Alvernia tangible, the Laws began investigating planned giving options. They chose to purchase a Charitable Gift Annuity which pays them guaranteed income for life, a portion of which is tax-free. According to Dr. Law, "Gloria and I decided on the gift annuity because we can do something for the school while we benefit, year after year, as well. There is a mutual benefit. We appreciate Alvernia so much, and we are in a position to make this kind of gift as an expression of our gratitude."

In retrospect, how do the Laws feel about their decision about the Charitable Gift Annuity? "We love it!" he says. In fact, the ability to secure the University's future through a planned gift while receiving yearly income has resonated with the couple, especially with Gloria. In fact, less than six months after they purchased the first annuity, Dr. Law approached the University about purchasing a second one as a surprise birthday gift for his wife.

When it was mentioned that annuities are not your typical birthday gift, Dr. Law responded, "Gloria appreciated the first one, and she was pleased to see our names on the St. Clare Society print that Alvernia presented us when we made our planned gift. Her delight with the first annuity will be redoubled with the second, so it serves as the perfect birthday gift."

A gift that benefits both the donor and Alvernia? That's the beauty of a Charitable Gift Annuity. It is just about "perfect."