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Ventures | Summer 2018

rosewood mockup

In summer 2017, Stevenson University reached an agreement with the state of Maryland to acquire the former Rosewood Center property in Owings Mills. The 117 acre site is adjacent to Stevenson’s existing Owings Mills campus and nearly doubles the total acreage of the University.

The Rosewood project proceeds as scheduled with the completed remediation and demolition of 20 buildings on the site this spring. Stevenson’s next step will be to secure the permits needed from the State of Maryland to begin grading the site. Site grading will help us set the stage for the future development of infrastructure such as roads, athletic fields, and recreational facilities. We are excited about the possibilities that Rosewood will offer our students. Stay tuned for updates.

The Mission: I’m Home (MIH) organization is celebrating its 10-year anniversary by continuing to take Stevenson students—and alumni—to help rehabilitate disaster sites, including New Orleans, New Jersey, Staten Island, and also to serve communities in Baltimore. These relief trips give students the opportunity to spend their Spring Break helping those in need.

Today, nearly 700 students have attended 25 service trips that have helped bring more than 50 families back into their homes, according to Morgan Somerville, Director of Student Engagement. “These trips have formed lasting bonds that have led to an increase in community engagement and volunteerism,” she says. “Many alumni continue to participate in Mission: I’m Home trips because they see it as an important way to serve their alma mater and positively influence the next generation of Mustangs.”

Since the group’s founding in March 2009, it has grown from one Spring Break trip to rebuild in New Orleans with 24 participants to four programs a year with more than 100 participants, Somerville says. “Our strong relationship with the SBP, a national organization dedicated to shrinking the time between disaster and recovery, has allowed us to expand our reach to five communities devastated by natural disasters: New Orleans; Staten Island, N.Y.; Monmouth County, N.J.; Baton Rouge, La., and Houston. As a result of our students’ desire to give back to our local community, we created the Fall Serve program during the Fall Break where we partner with a number of Baltimore-based nonprofits. This March, Spring Serve was created in collaboration with the Center for Environmental Sustainability as an effort to volunteer with Baltimore-area nonprofits supporting the Chesapeake Bay.”

Participants from MIH trips report the experience as life-changing. A week of manual labor, cultural experiences, and reflections allows students to step outside of their comfort zones while learning the real impact they can have on the community. To date, five MIH alumni have gone on to serve with AmeriCorps, several work for nonprofits, and even more are actively involved with serving their communities through volunteer opportunities and serving on the boards of nonprofits.

Several alumni reflect fondly on their time with the organization. KJ Renfroe (business administration/minor in human services ’17), a master’s candidate of the Healthcare Management program scheduled to graduate in 2019, currently works as a Project Coordinator in the office of the Chief Operating Officer at Johns Hopkins Healthcare.

“I participate on Mission: I'm Home trips as a graduate to continue to grow as a person and help others do the same. This trip is all about helping others and creating lifelong bonds. I've noticed that a lot of members are graduating and leaving to do great things all over the United States, which is amazing! And even though they are all over the U.S. working hard and changing the world, I know I will still have that special bond and that special connection with each and every one of them. As an alum, I want to make sure that the new members feel that same bond and connection. Mission: I'm Home is a family and coming on these trips every year gives me a chance to meet new members of our family, and show them what we're about. I also come on these trips so I can continue give back to our community and so I can continue to understand what goes on to those around us. It is so easy to forget about the natural disasters that take place because we are stuck in our own reality. MIH trips give us a chance to understand the realities of those who've suffered from these disasters: seeing it on television and seeing it in person are two totally different things.

Aaron Milam (computer information systems, business technology management ’18), who works at Berkshire Associates Inc., also continues to participate in MIH because of “the profound impact and unique experience every year. You would think that after seven of the trips, I would have seen it all,” he adds. “But that's not the case. Each year brings about new emotional understanding, lasting friendships, a better sense of self and, most importantly, the opportunity to truly make a positive change in the lives of others.

“Participation has enhanced my professional life by making it apparent to me what's truly important in life. I now work in an environment where there's a great deal of social responsibility and I can make a difference all year long. My personal life has been enhanced by meeting lifelong friends and reaffirming existing relationships.

Shalon Edwards (biology ’10), is a Senior Research Analyst at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She calls her first Mission: I'm Home trip “a self-healing mission”; Edwards was one of several displaced students who were attending Xavier University of Louisiana when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. “This trip was the first time I'd returned to NOLA. The week we spent did more work on my heart than on my body—and the work was physically laboring—and it allowed me to reconnect with my second home, some friends I hadn't seen in years, and actually give back to a city that gave me so many warm memories.

“Since graduating, I've participated in three trips. I can—and cannot—believe it's been 10 years since the first trip! As a founding member of MIH, my connection to Stevenson is strengthened from witnessing the increased support MIH receives from the university. The number of students recruited into this cause since its inception has dramatically increased as have the number of trips to assist in the recovery of several other locations in need. Knowing that SU cares about places that aren’t part of its immediate community reminds me that I chose the right place to complete my degree.”

Today, Somerville says that the program will continue to offer students, faculty, staff, and alumni the opportunity to participate in one of the four programs serving a variety of communities throughout the United States. “We are in the planning stages of a reunion trip to New Orleans with details to be shared soon.”

For more information please visit

students at the mill

Last fall, students in the inaugural Design Center course taught in the School of Design learned firsthand how it is to work for more than one client. The course, co taught by Stephanie Verni, M.F.A., Professor of Business Communication, and Inna Alesina, M.F.A., Assistant Professor of Art, served as an integrated marketing communication agency during the fall semester, tasking students with understanding clients’ needs and concerns.

The first client of the 18 students in the course— who were business communication, graphic design, and film and moving image majors—was the School of Design itself. Their mission: to establish a new Design Center. Students researched possible names and created brand identities to showcase the in-house, student-run agency. These were pitched to faculty in the School of Design who ultimately chose the name “The Mill at Stevenson University.”

Once The Mill was established, the students focused on their second client, the Eastern Communication Association (ECA). Leeanne Bell McManus, Ph.D., Professor of Business Communication, was in charge of planning the annual convention for ECA in Pittsburgh, Pa., held April 25-29, and she worked with the students in The Mill course to promote the event. Students created collateral such as invitations, brochures, convention logos, 30-second videos, and social media messages to spread the word about Pittsburgh, ECA, and the convention.

Founded in 1910, the Eastern Communication Association is the oldest professional communication association in the United States, and Stevenson students were able to work with scholars, teachers, and other students from across the region. Students from The Mill also presented on a panel at the convention, sharing their experiences of working sharing their experiences of working with a client based on what they learned in the classroom.

Click here to view a video about their experience with helping the ECA.

buzmix event

In The Company of Alumni

As our alumni move through their careers, many choose to establish businesses of their own. These entrepreneurs seek employees who can help them to grow and achieve success, and some have recognized that the best resource is in their own backyard: Stevenson graduates.

Classmates and visual communication design graduates Bryna Stello Colley ’06 and Rebecca Smith Biello ’06 founded 2fold Collective in 2012. Their company’s mission is to help clients love their brand, and their team treats each project as an opportunity to make that brand a little more amazing. To help accomplish that goal, Colley and Biello brought two SU alumni— also visual communication design majors—onto their team: Alyson Cockrell ’14 and Alex Neric Pak ’15.

When asked why she looks toward Stevenson graduates, Colley explains, “We have a great relationship with Stevenson and meet many students at portfolio reviews and networking events. We like to support Stevenson—and the students—however we can. In addition to being great designers, Stevenson students have a well rounded liberal arts education. Being a designer isn’t just about making something ‘look pretty,’ it’s about communicating effectively and thinking about your work from a business perspective, not just a creative perspective. An education at Stevenson prepares students to approach design in this way.”

From Student to Employee

Networking, applications, interviews—remember how intimidating it can be? Before our students step into the professional world, they must be prepared to successfully navigate these crucial steps that lead to employment or even internships. Many of our graduates can attest to the important role of the Office of Career Services in helping with these skills and offering opportunities to connect with employers.

More Than a Business Investment

“ Through my relationship with clubs like ENACTUS and our partnership with the Career Center, I have been able to connect with Stevenson students and hire them into our company. At Enterprise, we believe in giving back to the organizations that support us, and one way we can do that is with the scholarship grant.” – Elizabeth Hardesty, Enterprise Holdings

Stevenson has built strong relationships with a variety of local businesses: vendors who have provided crucial services over many years, companies that offer student internships and employ our graduates, and others who recognize the benefits of collaboration. Many of these businesses have taken the next step and become members of Stevenson Partners, providing vital tuition support to our students. Nearly 30 corporate members contributed $85,000 in scholarship awards for the 2017-2018 academic year. This generosity in turn benefits those companies because Stevenson Partner members employ more than 200 SU graduates, helping students to succeed who may one day be part of their team.


If you would like information about how your company can partner with Stevenson, contact Derek Spahr, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations and Special Gifts, at or 443-334-2195.

chinese proverb tree

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.”
– Chinese proverb

We are truly grateful for the foresight and generosity of the members of the Great Oaks Society. Like those who plant a tree that will grow to maturity many years in the future, these individuals have chosen to make arrangements now for a gift that will later benefit the university through their estate plans, such as the contribution of stocks or securities, or through a charitable bequest or gift annuity. Recently, the university received three such thoughtful gifts directed to the financial and academic support of our students for years to come. While we are saddened by the loss of these friends, it is our privilege to honor their philanthropic spirit.

Kitty Franklin Cromwell ’75 Elizabeth and Robert McWethy Jeanne Cohen Savage
Kitty Franklin Cromwell ’75

Class of 1975 graduate Kitty Franklin Cromwell passed away in November 2016. A long-time supporter of her alma mater, she instructed that a portion of her estate go toward the Carolyn Manuszak Scholarship Fund in Memory of Dr. T.J. Manuszak, which provides tuition support to incoming freshmen and new transfer students with financial need. This bequest was made in memory of Carolyn Manuszak, former president of Villa Julie College. During her time as a student in the 1970s, Cromwell felt close to Manuszak and Rose Dawson, who provided dedicated leadership. She had special appreciation for Manuszak’s open-door policy that encouraged free communication with students. Cromwell became a world traveler with visits to Vietnam, China, and the British Isles. This global perspective shaped her philosophy of “working for world peace and the awareness of all life’s oneness.”
Elizabeth and Robert McWethy

Helping to create well rounded educators was the goal of Elizabeth “Liz” McWethy. As a faculty member, she developed the Preschool Education Department at Villa Julie College in the 1970s and prepared preschool teachers for the new Head Start Program. For many years, the university has recognized her spirit with an annual award to a graduating senior, the Elizabeth McWethy Award. In 2007, Mrs. McWethy and her husband, Captain Robert McWethy, established the Elizabeth and Robert McWethy Visiting Scholars Fund in Education at Stevenson University, funded through a charitable gift annuity that provided the McWethys with an income during their lifetime. In addition to being an education advocate, McWethy was a poet, artist, and environmental activist. She passed away in October 2014. Captain McWethy, a commissioned officer from the U.S. Naval Academy who enjoyed a lifetime career in the Navy, passed away in January 2018.
Jeanne Cohen Savage

Stevenson’s largest single gift from an individual came from someone with no connection to the university; she was simply looking for a deserving institution to receive a
substantial legacy. Jeanne Cohen Savage lived in Pikesville for many years before moving to Ocean City, Md. She flew her own plane, had an interest in art, and assisted with her husband’s business. When she began to investigate estate planning, an interest
in higher education led her to Stevenson. She was impressed with our career guidance and student support, which she had not received as a college student. In September 2017, Savage passed away, leaving half of her estate to Stevenson—more than $2 million. She directed this transformational gift to establish an endowed scholarship fund, to benefit many generations to come. We are proud to honor her through the Eugene and Jeanne Savage Endowed Scholarship Fund.

If you would like information about planned giving options, contact Meghan Culbertson, Assistant Vice President for Advancement, at or 443-334-2227.

claire moore

Imagine someone who has dedicated her career to her alma mater, striving to create a positive, meaningful experience for thousands of students over decades. And imagine that person leading with enthusiasm, and helping to transform a two-year junior college into a four year university. How does a community honor someone who has made such an impact? By following her example and focusing on students—by creating a scholarship in her name.

In 1982, Claire Moore ’67, returned to Villa Julie College to serve as the Director of Student Activities. Through her leadership and collaborative spirit, she developed the residence life program, established an athletics program, and helped to create the Wellness Center. After serving as Vice President of Student Affairs for more than 10 years, in 2016, Moore was selected to serve as Stevenson’s Interim President upon the retirement of President Kevin J. Manning. As Stevenson’s fifth president, she continued her unwavering commitment to our students’ success, growth, and well-being. When Moore announced her intention to retire in December 2017, the Senior Class Council decided to honor her in the most fitting way they could imagine: by creating an opportunity to help students. The Claire Moore Scholarship Fund will provide tuition support to a senior who has contributed to the Stevenson community.

Claire Moore ’67, ’03 is the person who made Stevenson a home for so many students. Throughout her 35-year career at Stevenson, she led the university with her heart and kept her focus on its students.


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Ventures Summer 2018
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Ventures is published two times each year by Stevenson University for its students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends, and benefactors. No part of this publication may be reproduced in print or digital form without prior permission from the publisher.

Questions or comments about this issue?

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John A. Buettner, Vice President, Marketing and Digital Communications
Stevenson University
100 Campus Circle
Owings Mills, Maryland 21117

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Elliot Hirshman, Ph.D.

Chair, Board of Trustees
James B. Stradtner, CFA

Vice President, University Advancement
Christopher R. Vaughan

Vice President, Marketing and Digital Communications and Publisher
John Buettner

Sherry E. Bithell

Atsuko Biars, Tiffany Reese


Chip Burkey, Cierra Colón, Alison Cuomo, Samantha Brooke Murray, Emily Reely, Tiffany Reese, Greg Royce, Brandon Seidl, Dan Walker

Advancing the Mission Contributors 

Meghan Culbertson, Judith Jackson, Allison Humphries ’11, Office of University Advancement


Maximilian Franz, Aaron Harris, Nora Long, Sabina Moran, Dan Siebenhaar, SU Photography Interns, Office of University Advancement

Ventures Online
Emily Reely, Brandon Seidl, Dan Walker

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