2005 Alumni Association Awards

The 2005 Alumni Association Awards Ceremony was held on Friday, October 21. Nearly 130 alumni, parents, and friends arrived to honor five alumni for their exceptional achievement and service.

Comenius Alumni Award
Peter L. French ’60

The Comenius Alumni Award is given in recognition of outstanding achievement in an alumna’s or alumnus’ field of work. Peter L. French received the award for his distinguished career in higher education and international relations.

After graduating from Moravian with Honors in history, French earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in international relations from Yale University. His career in higher education has included teaching positions at Syracuse University, St. Lawrence University, and Mercy College, where he also served as provost. Before retirement he spent 5 years as president of Newberry College, where he increased enrollment by 35%. Since retiring in 1999 he has held a number of interim positions. His current “retirement” position is associate vice president and dean for academic affairs at the University of South Florida.

Paralleling French’s career in higher education has been his extensive involvement in international relations with a particular focus on Africa. His work included 16 field trips to East Africa over 20 years, and consultation with numerous national and international organizations. Among his international awards is the Galileo Medal presented by the University of Pisa, Italy.

French has also been an active, loyal alumnus, serving on the board of trustees, hosting events, and chairing his reunion and reunion fund.

Benigna Education Award
Richard A. Bedics ’63

The Benigna Education Award recognizes an alumna or alumnus for outstanding contributions to the field of education. Richard A. Bedics received the award for his exceptional work in promoting the advancement of education on the local, state and national level.

After receiving his B.S. in elementary education from Moravian, Bedics earned his M.Ed. from Kutztown University and his Ed.D. from the University of Alabama. He first taught elementary education in Allentown before teaching briefly at Moravian College and the University of South Florida. In 1975 he began a 28-year career with Pensacola Junior College, where he held a variety of positions at three of the college’s campuses. He served as dean of instructional services, dean of health related education and provost at two vastly different campuses. He provided critical leadership in renovating curriculum, training faculty, regenerating and developing programs, and cultivating relationships between the college and the community. As provost, he managed the remarkable expansion of PJC’s largest campus in Pensacola, and later helped develop PJC’s rural Milton campus, where he fostered collaborative programming with low-income community youth, area high schools, and the University of Florida. In 1988 he was chosen as the Outstanding Administrator in Northwest Florida, and in 1998 he was selected as the Santa Rosa Man of the Year.

Haupert Humanitarian Award
Marjorie Flohr Weiss ’46

The Haupert Humanitarian Award honors an alumna or alumnus who has rendered outstanding service in the cause of human welfare. Marjorie Flohr Weiss received the award for her tireless efforts to make a difference in the lives of those in need.

After graduating with a B.A. in biology, she married Jim Weiss and became a stay- at-home mother, rearing their three children. She later earned her teacher certification at Kutztown University and became a substitute teacher. In 1977 Weiss began a 17-year career as director of volunteer programs for Miller Blood Center. As she worked to build the center’s strong volunteer program, she also obtained an M.S. in human services administration from the University of Scranton. From 1984 to 2003, she first co-founded, then co-led the Volunteer Management Series for the Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley. In addition, she served as president of the Society of Volunteer Administrators of the Lehigh Valley. She is the coordinator and editor of the bi-monthly volunteer newsletters for Lehigh Valley and St. Luke’s hospitals and is the volunteer trainer for St. Luke’s volunteer orientation. For the past 10 years, she has been an instructor and board member of the Program for Women and Families, where she is a strong advocate, a cheerful mentor, and a dedicated
educator to women offenders.

Emerging Leader Award
Jessica Edris ’00

The Emerging Leader award is presented to an alumnus or alumna who graduated within the last 10 years for his or her leadership and dedicated service to Moravian College. Jessica Edris was the recipient for 2005.

Edris graduated from Moravian College with a double major in business management and philosophy and a minor in financial economics. A member of the national leadership honor society ODK, she also participated in the International Economics Honor Society and the philosophy club. She served as an admissions ambassador as a member of Moravian’s Twenty-Six Points organization; and as a student advisor, she developed mentoring skills that she continued to use for Moravian students after graduation. During her frequent visits to campus as an alumna, she has served as a career mentor, a career panelist, and a table host for the Senior Breakfast and the Freshman Banquet, and has also attended numerous alumni events.

In 2002 Edris joined the Young Alumni Board. Recognizing her valuable leadership skills, the board soon elected her to become a very active vice president, and later an equally active president. She also served on the Alumni Board.

In her professional work in both the non-profit and the finance sectors, Moravian was on her mind as she used every opportunity to develop relationships with alumni and reconnect them to their alma mater.

Young Alumni Achievement Award
Sean Richardson ’97

The Young Alumni Achievement Award is presented to an alumna or alumnus who graduated within the last two to 10 years and who has achieved exceptional success in his or her profession. Sean Richardson received the award for his outstanding career in government service.

Richardson is one of the youngest chiefs of staff in the U.S. Congress, currently serving Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy. He is responsible for managing all legislative and political matters, including offices in Washington, D.C., and Rhode Island, for Congressman Kennedy.

A political science and sociology graduate of Moravian, Richardson began his political career as policy advisor for longtime Democratic leader of the House of Representatives Richard A. Gephardt. In 1999, he briefly left Capitol Hill to join the CBS News political unit as an associate producer covering the presidential campaigns of Al Gore and Bill Bradley. In 2000, Richardson returned to Congress to serve Tom Daschle, Democratic leader of the U.S. Senate.

Richardson, a veteran of numerous political campaigns, played an active role in the last two presidential campaigns as the spokesman for Al Gore and the Democratic Coordinated Campaign in Harrisburg and as an advisor to Gephardt’s 2004 presidential campaign. He also successfully engineered the re-election of Patrick Kennedy in 2002 and 2004 and has consulted on campaigns for the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.