Spring/Summer 2024 / Around the Green



Despite rain (and lots of it), the Wilson College Class of 2024 proudly celebrated their academic accomplishments during Commencement Weekend, May 3 – 5. The graduating class of 258 students, 122 graduates and 136 undergraduates, gathered on campus with friends and family for college traditions and academic recognition. The weekend also included a celebration of 120 professionals who completed their Pennsylvania teacher certification through Wilson, and the first students from Wilson College Online, with one undergraduate and 10 graduate students, completing their degrees online.




Highlights of the weekend included Ring It Forward, hosted by the alumni association (see page 40); inductions into various honor societies; nursing and veterinary nursing pinning ceremonies; and the President’s Garden Party (albeit held indoors). During Baccalaureate on Saturday, the Ten Tones performed two selections; students provided readings and participated in the lighting of the past, present, and future candles; and Daniela DiGregorio, Ph.D., assistant professor of education, shared an inspirational reflection.


On Sunday, keynote speaker David P. Lucchino ’89, senior mortgage executive and global business leader, addressed the graduating class during the commencement ceremony. Lucchino, one of the first graduates of Wilson’s then Adult Degree Program, received an honorary degree presented by President Fugate. He then shared what he believes are the keys to success—be engaged, be curious, be brave, be yourself, and be kind—and challenged the members of the class to appreciate what is in front of them in each moment.


For an event program with a list of graduates, as well as a recording of the Commencement exercises, please visit www.wilson.edu/commencement

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Event Spotlight: Connections and Camaraderie Through Song

By Sandra Huffman ‘86

a cappella • \ah-kuh-PEL-uh\ • adverb or adjective: without instrumental accompaniment

The Ten Tones have returned! This much-loved a cappella ensemble originated in the late 1950s and provided entertainment through musical performances on campus and regionally for several decades. According to its former and current members, the group embodies the core of what Wilson is: a welcoming mixture of ages, abilities, and interests that inspire, encourage, and support each other through music.

Former members of the ensemble were thrilled when they heard the news. “Ten Tones was a lifeline for me during my college years, providing the opportunity to enjoy something that was fun, challenging, fulfilling, and a source of great friendships,” said Carol Carlson Auger ’68.

Dillon Beede, director of choral activities and chair of music, explained that the new a cappella group evolved from a recruitment effort for the College’s new show choir. While the show choir was not yet ready to start rehearsals, there was enough interest to start a student a cappella group and when it came time to name the group, they collectively chose Ten Tones.

“We had been talking about a name to give the group and Dillon said the former a cappella group was called Ten Tones. Then, why would we call it something else?” said Reagan Bush ’24, a current Ten Tones member. Bush also said she likes the connection the group has with past members and in being a part of the College’s musical history.

How It Began
The first reference to the Wilson College Ten Tones appears in the April 10, 1959 issue of The Billboard, the student newspaper. The paper announced the Ten Tones would entertain during a party for prospective students. “I remember when I visited Wilson before applying to the college and heard the Ten Tones sing. I knew then that I wanted to be part of that group,” said Patricia Schuetzler Howard ’73.

The a cappella group first came together as a club in 1958, originally organized by Grace Berner Hartdegen ’59. The group, sometimes comprising 12 members or as few as five, always kept the name Ten Tones. All students were welcome to audition for the group in the spring of each year. Those selected to join brought their own thoughts on which songs to perform and their stylistic musical interpretations. “I remember being very nervous when I auditioned and thrilled when I made it,” said Holly Hord Perry ’62.

In the early years, the group often sang calypso songs, by singers such as Harry Belafonte. They sang a cappella, or with guitar accompaniment if someone in the group knew how to play. They performed on campus during special events, like dance mixers or May Day, occasionally venturing off campus to perform for
the local community.


The organization was entirely student run—from auditions to musical arrangements, recordings, and image. Club members traveled to studios in NJ and Harrisburg, Pa. to record several albums between 1960 and 1970. They also invested in their own wardrobes, which evolved from pedal pushers and madras tops to Wilson blazers, matching sweaters, or handmade dresses.

“When I joined the group, everyone dressed alike; so, each of us was given a dress pattern that we agreed upon, and that we had to sew ourselves or have made by a seamstress, each one in a different color,” said Carol Hauptfuhrer ’69.

Changing with the Times
The selection of music evolved with the changing social discourse of the late 1960s. While earlier groups concentrated on selections from the 1940s and 1950s as did most college a cappella groups of that time, the Ten Tones introduced songs such as the signature “Beacon Street Blues,” or hits like “House of the Rising Sun,” and “Blowin’ in the Wind.”

“When Carolyn Staniford Sollis ’70 and I took the lead of Ten Tones in 1969, we updated the repertoire considerably to reflect the times in which we were living. And, thanks to the musical genius of Carol Tschop ’72, we had an original song or two in the mix,” said Jill Hobson Kassis ’70.

The group also expanded its performances by accepting invitations to perform in eastern Pa., NJ, and NY, including a performance at The University Glee Club of NYC. Sometimes, they combined talents with other groups, such as two Princeton University a cappella groups, the Tigertones and Nassoons. The Princeton groups not only inspired the name Ten Tones, they also had a song called “Tigertone Blues,” which the Wilson Ten Tones of the late 1960s adapted into “Chambersburg Blues,” an audience favorite.

As the decade of the 1970s evolved, so did the Ten Tones. The group continued to add new songs to its repertoire, like the popular Crosby Stills Nash “Teach Your Children” and Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

Adventuring…to Disappearing

The Ten Tones remained strong in the 1980s when it added new renditions of songs like Billy Joel’s “The Longest Time.” They also continued to sing signature songs and Wilson favorites, like “Beacon Street Blues,” “I Wanna Go Back,” and “Il Fait Si Beau.”

Ellen Chen-Cooper ’85 shared, “Sometimes we would practice in the stairwells of Thomson Hall, where the acoustics were really good. (It) helped us fine tune our errors. We’d record ourselves on cassette tape and listen for ways to improve our sound.”

Ten Tones continued to perform for local organizations and on campus during events like Vespers and prospective student days. It also traveled to sing for Wilson alumnae groups. One highlight in the 1980s was a trip to Manhattan where the group sang at a reception arranged by the Wilson Club of New York City. Approximately 70 alumnae, trustees, and parents were present and several alumnae who had once been Ten Tones also joined the group to sing a few familiar songs.

Unfortunately, in the late 1980s, participation in the group waned, possibly because of revisions in the creative arts curriculum and changes in student interests. After 1990, the Ten Tones disappeared from the College yearbook and newspaper altogether, leaving only the concert choir to perform until Fall 2023, when the new a cappella group formed, bringing new life to the legacy of this group.

A New Mix

The current Ten Tones will study and prepare a cappella style music for seasonal performances, in addition to special Wilson College events and regional audiences, much like the old group did, but with some modern twists.

Today, the current goal is to have three ensembles running at Wilson—concert choir, show choir, and the a cappella choir. The concert choir, formerly the Wilson College Choir, is now the Cumberland Valley Chorale at Wilson College, a standard traditional choir that welcomes participants from the greater Chambersburg community. The show choir, Renaissance, is a high-energy ensemble that gives students the opportunity to explore stage craft in conjunction with singing and dancing. The style and participation in both choirs create limitations in traveling and external performances, where the Ten Tones a cappella ensemble can shine.

“I hope our group becomes bigger and that we have the opportunity to sing more often. I love performing, so I hope we do lots of that too,” said Chelsea Zimmann ’26, a current Ten Tones member.

While the Ten Tones currently exist as an extra-curricular activity, the plan is to have the group evolve into a curriculum element starting in Fall 2024. “If students are going to be here learning music and performing for things like Baccalaureate and Wilson choral concerts, students should get credit for all that work and learning that they are doing,” said Beede.

The excitement around the revitalization of the group is encouraging for its new members who love meeting and talking with former Ten Tones. “It’s nice that this is a thread—a way for those of us to connect with strong women of the past who have been part of something like this,” said Bush.

Beede agrees and says he enjoys connecting current students with those who know the lineage and tradition of the group. He and the current members would welcome alumnae to teach them some of the traditional Ten Tones songs. And it sounds like there are alumnae excited to oblige. “You will enjoy the support and encouragement and enthusiasm from those of us who have been in your shoes,” said Wilson College Trustee and former Ten Tones member Judy Kreutz Young ‘63 during a recent rehearsal.

The current Ten Tones are Reagan Bush ’24, Erin Gohegan ’26, Emily Reeder ’26, Chelsea Zimmann ’26, and Molly Proctor ’27. Their repertoire includes “I Want it That Way” by the Backstreet Boys, “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper, and the Wilson College Alma Mater.

A Few Weddings…

Winnie Plager ’60 said the Ten Tones performed at the wedding reception of Grace Berner Hartdegen ’59. “Everyone loved it as did we,” she said.

Seven Ten Tones also performed at the December 1985 wedding reception of Ellen Chen-Cooper ’85. “It was unplanned, but after my husband’s old high school barbershop quartet sang an impromptu number, we just had to upstage them with “Everybody Loves a Lover.” Pictured L-R Deborah English Hammond ’87, Ellen Chen-Cooper ’85, Cathy Schmearer Lawson’86, Brenda Shaffer ’86, Christel Bauer ’84, Cynthia Aleszczyk Murphy ’87, Alexandra Ellis Harvancik ’86.

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Athletic Spotlight: Triumph at Nationals

Julie Warnick Claims First National Title in Wilson’s History
By Chris Bailey

For the Wilson College equestrian program, the 2023–2024 season saw the realization of dreams and the shattering of records. At the heart of this journey stood Julie Warnick, a soft-spoken sophomore from New Oxford, Pa., whose quiet poise masked an extraordinary gift with horses.

From the start of the season, Western Coach Cathy Woosely Luse could see something special in Warnick. “She’s a shy and quiet person, but she observes everything and studies her craft,” said Woosely Luse. Beyond the confines of collegiate competition, Warnick dedicates herself to honing her skills, competing on her personal horse, and soaking up every lesson the equine world has to offer.

The path to the national championship was an arduous one. She first had to earn her way through regionals and then semifinals, beating out a staggering 8,000 riders to become one of the best. “Last year, we didn’t make it past the semifinals,” Woosely Luse recalled. “But that pressure and experience made us better prepared this year.”

In early May, the Tryon Equestrian Facility in North Carolina set the stage for the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) national competition and Warnick’s big moment in the Western event of reining. This event is mentally and physically demanding as it pairs riders with horses whom they have never trained. Once randomly matched, riders control the horses while pushing them to their limits with breakneck
speeds and dramatic sliding stops.

On top of the normal challenges of reigning, the footing at this facility was not conducive to sliding stops, which posed a conundrum; push the horse to perform and risk injury or put the health of her new companion first and  ride more cautiously. “I was concerned we might have been too conservative,” Woosely Luse admitted. But Warnick’s instincts proved true. She represented Wilson with striking maturity and tailored her approach to put the well-being of her mount above all else.

As the scores were tallied, the placements were announced in reverse.
10…Cathy leans over to Julie.
7…No matter the result,
5…she had been a success,
3…her hard work and care defined a
journey that she should be proud of.
1. Julie Warnick.

When her name rang out as the champion, the emotion was overwhelming. Woosely Luse, herself a former national champion, fought back tears of joy. “It was a moment for me too,” she confessed. For a program not considered in contention, Wilson had announced its arrival on the grandest stage, and Julie Warnick had
etched her name into the records of equestrian greatness.

While deserving fanfare for Warnick and Woosely Luse is in order, IHSA honored Wilson before the weekend events started by requesting several Wilson horses to be included for random matching with competing riders. “We took three horses, and of those horses, we had National Champion Horse, Reserve National Champion Horse, then the other horse was third,” shared Woosely Luse.

One of those horses, Ned, presented a unique situation when he was paired with a rival rider in the same event as Warnick. Even so, when her competition sought Wilson’s counsel on handling Ned, Woosely Luse did not hesitate. “It’s about doing the right thing for the horses and being an advocate for them,” she explained.

In that moment, the true essence of the sport shone through–a partnership between human and animal, built on trust, respect, and an abiding love for these majestic creatures.

As the dust settles on this historic season, the impact of Wilson’s success is already reverberating. “It will affect recruiting,” Woosely Luse affirmed. “We’ve proven the program.” It’s clear this championship has ushered in a new era of prestige and possibility.

Samantha Gilley Shines in Hunt Seat
Sophomore Samantha Gilley from Sykesville, Md. also made Wilson history by being the first rider since 2009 to represent Wilson at the National Hunt Seat Championships. Gilley, lead by Coach McKenna Debus, placed an impressive 5th in the individual intermediate equitation on the flat event, beating out riders from over 380 colleges across the country.

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Student Spotlight: Transforming Lives through Advocacy and Artistry

Hannah Lyons ’24

When selecting a college, Hannah Lyons ’24 knew she wanted to play softball and have a four-year collegiate experience. She chose Wilson because it was one of the few American Veterinary Medical Association accredited schools with a four-year Veterinary Nursing program. She also picked Wilson because campus felt like family from the beginning, especially after meeting the softball team. “I knew it was going to be a tight-knit school where I would know everybody, and I would have great connections,” she said.


In addition to being a member of the softball team, Hannah has also served as a Phoenix Leader, Student-Athlete Mentor, and president of the Veterinary Nursing Club. One of her favorite activities has been welcoming new students to Wilson as an admissions tour guide. “It was great showing everyone the Wilson love and giving off that Wilson vibe, sharing the open and friendly community.” She applied this same sense of hospitality to her two-year service as president of the Allies Club. “Wilson helped me find out who I am as a person and I felt free to be whoever I wanted to be here,” she said. “[As president of Allies], I just wanted a safe space for everybody to come together and to be themselves.”

During her sophomore year at Wilson, she was offered the newly created position of campus student representative for Rarebreed Veterinary Partners, an integrated network of partner practices that collaborates and shares resources for a thriving veterinary community. This position enabled her to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion around veterinary medicine.

Through a vet nursing career fair held on campus, Hannah found an internship at an emergency hospital in Philadelphia, something she never thought she would pursue. She credits her professors with encouraging students to seek new experiences when searching for veterinary nursing internship opportunities.

“It has been a pleasure to watch Hannah navigate her academic journey at Wilson College. She was always open to exploring her academic options. Hannah has been dedicated to her education and committed to veterinary nursing. I have no doubt she will make a difference in the lives of many animals,” shared Tammy Ege, associate professor of veterinary nursing.

When she is not at Wilson, Hannah works part time at Forest Avenue Animal Hospital in her hometown of Dover, Dela. She will start a full-time position there in the fall and, as an animal welfare advocate, hopes to one day own an animal hospital or rescue center. “Wilson has definitely been one of the best experiences of my life so far and I think it’s also setting me up to have great experiences throughout life.”

Eli Kababa ’24 MFA

Most people with a spinal cord injury would never think about heading back to school for a Master of Fine Arts degree in dance, especially when it has been 21 years since the last time they were in a classroom. That is what Eli Kababa, a street dance artist and educator from the New York City metro area, did. After a car accident in 2015, Eli suffered from injuries that continued to deteriorate, and he was losing his ability to walk. Then, during the pandemic, his DJ business and dance education company shut down, so he began applying for new jobs. Realizing his resume was not yielding the roles he seeked, he began researching graduate schools, driven not just by his career goal of teaching at the university level, but also by a desire for personal growth and development.

Eli began his career as a teaching artist in the New York City Ballet’s Education Department, where he also co-founded and directed the Garden State Dance Project, a hip-hop dance education company. In 2015, Eli joined the staff of The 92nd Street Y in New York (92NY), working as a facilitator for their Dance Education Laboratory (DEL) and authoring the “Hip-Hop to the Top” curriculum for K-12 students and teachers.

Eli believes hip-hop can transform lives, schools, and communities, and he has long been an admirer of hip hop artist Rennie Harris. When Eli’s DEL colleague Shakia Johnson-Barron, a 2020 graduate of Wilson’s MFA program, discovered he was looking at programs, she recommended Wilson and shared how Harris was her mentor. “The fact that Wilson had Rennie Harris was huge,” said Eli, so he applied.

Eli struggled both academically and physically when he began our graduate program. In fact, his physical challenges would require spinal surgery at the end of his first year. He also worked extensively with Joy Merchant, assistant director of Wilson’s Academic Success Center, who met with Eli once a week during his second year in the program. “Joy helped me get the resources I needed. I would not be graduating without her,” he said.

The hip hop dance circle, known as the cypher, was the subject of his research thesis. “Decipher” focused on uncovering hidden meanings and exploring the person who enters the circle, why they enter, and the story they bring to the event. He completed this work under the artistic guidance of program mentor Rennie Harris and received a grant for the performance requirement of his project.

Joshua Legg, dean of The School of Professional and Graduate Studies, said, “[During his time at Wilson,] Eli evolved as an artist and as a human being. The surgery was his catalyst. If he had delayed it, I am not sure he would have come as far as he has. His determination allowed him to not just rebound from that, but also to complete the program and receive recognition in his field. He displayed that thing that is quintessential Wilson—real grit—a critical component of our community, and he embodied it. Eli is a true phoenix.”

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