LATROBE, Pennsylvania – Eight alumni of the former Saint Vincent Preparatory School will be honored during Prep Alumni Reunion Weekend June 7-9.
Receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award will be Fr. Vernon A. Holtz, O.S.B., of Latrobe, and Fred L. Soisson, M.D., of Mechanicsburg, formerly of Johnstown. Receiving Alumni of Distinction Awards will be William A. Goyette of Pittsburgh (15220), Ronald G. Rosemeier, Ph.D., of Monkton, Maryland, and Gustave W. Wolf of Gibsonia. Hall of Fame awards will be presented to Richard L. Pedzwater of York, Benedict A. Lieb of Cherry Tree and Timothy E. Ungvarsky of North Versailles.
The awards dinner will take place at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 8, at the Fred M. Rogers Center on the Saint Vincent College campus. Registration is required and may be completed by calling 724-805-2568.
Archabbot Douglas R. Nowicki and Br. Norman W. Hipps, president of Saint Vincent College, will welcome the attendees at 6 p.m. Friday, June 7, in the Fred M. Rogers Center. Other activities for the weekend will include trolley tours of campus, a Benedictine Sisters’ German Buffet, special shows in the Angelo J. Taiani Planetarium, a Saturday picnic lunch and a showing of the film “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?,” an intimate biography of Fred Rogers.
2019 SAINT VINCENT PREPARATORY SCHOOL ALUMNI HONOREES
Fr. Vernon A. Holtz, O.S.B. (Lifetime Achievement Award)
Fr. Vernon A. Holtz, O.S.B., professor emeritus at Saint Vincent College, held a variety of roles at Saint Vincent Preparatory School. From 1958-72, he impacted hundreds of lives as a highly-regarded prefect, teacher, counselor, basketball and soccer coach, while he also served a six-year stint as assistant headmaster from 1962-68. After graduating from Lock Haven University with a bachelor of science degree in education, Fr. Vernon joined the Benedictine community and made simple profession of vows July 2, 1956, solemn profession of vows July 11, 1959, and was ordained a priest on June 2, 1962, in the Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica. He went on to earn a master of arts degree in counseling psychology from the Catholic University of America, a master of arts degree in theology from Saint Vincent and a Ph.D. in existential phenomenological psychology from Duquesne University. From 1971-75 he was director of the Counseling Center at Saint Vincent College, while also directing the monastic formation program for Saint Vincent Archabbey from 1971-74. From 1965 through 2018, Fr. Vernon was a renowned professor of psychology at Saint Vincent College, winning the Dean’s Faculty Award (1994), the Boniface Wimmer Faculty Award (1999) and the Thoburn Excellence in Teaching Award (2001). In 2010, he was honored by the Mental Health America Association at its annual dinner in the field of recovery counseling, while in that same year, he was instrumental in founding and implementing the popular Saint Vincent College lecture series “Aging and Spirituality,” which continues to thrive. Beginning in 1998, he was involved in ongoing research through the University of Missouri at St. Louis showing the impact spirituality has on the physical healing process while he is currently studying the relationship between psychology, spirituality and religion. In addition to the myriad teaching honors that he has received, Fr. Vernon received the Saint Vincent Preparatory School Hall of Fame Award in 2010 and was inducted into the Saint Vincent College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2011. A native of Hastings, Fr. Vernon enjoys reading contemporary issues in theology, psychology and spirituality, including a wholesome interpretation of religion. He also enjoys sports and dancing.
Dr. Fred L. Soisson (Lifetime Achievement Award)
Dr. Ferdinand “Fred” L. Soisson graduated from Saint Vincent Preparatory School in 1947 before earning a bachelor of arts in biology from Saint Vincent College in 1951. He went on to graduate from medical school at Georgetown University in 1955 and completed his residency while serving in the U.S. Air Force. Specializing in obstetrics and gynecology, Soisson delivered more than 15,000 babies during his 40 years of medical practice in Johnstown. At Saint Vincent College’s 1982 commencement, Soisson received the honorary doctor of humane letters degree for serving humanity in the practice of life-giving and life-saving medicine, as well as for his personal involvement and charitable assistance to biology and pre-med students. Following his retirement from medicine, Soisson was elected county commissioner for Cambria County, and was named Pennsylvania Commissioner of the Year in 2000. A member of the Knights of Columbus, Soisson won the Pennsylvania Medical Society’s Distinguished Service Award in 2002 and the Cambria County Medical Society and Community Foundation’s Apollo Award for Civic Service in 2003. Soisson and his late wife, Dorothy, are the parents of nine children: Andrew, Ann, Mary, Karen, Michael, Amy, Laura, Theresa and Tim, with Andrew (C’77), Laura (C’85), Theresa (C’87) and Timothy (C’94) all graduating from Saint Vincent College. Soisson is a member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish in Mechanicsburg, and enjoys fishing, hunting, tennis, reading and quilting, as well as always staying actively involved in civic and community work.
William A. Goyette (Alumnus of Distinction)
A 1961 graduate of Saint Vincent Preparatory School, William A. Goyette earned a bachelor of arts from John Carroll University before graduating with a J.D. from Duquesne University School of Law. He is a self-employed attorney with a practice in Pittsburgh that specializes in probate and estate law. A member of the Allegheny County Bar Association, Goyette, who has served on the Saint Vincent Preparatory reunion committee, is involved in a number of volunteer initiatives and sits on the board of directors of Community Living and Support Services (CLASS), a non-profit organization based in Pittsburgh that offers a variety of individualized services aimed at fostering community inclusion for people with disabilities throughout the Western Pennsylvania region. He is a member of Saints Simon and Jude Roman Catholic Parish in Greentree where he sits on the finance council and serves as a reader and Eucharistic minister. He is a Passionist Associate at St. Paul of the Cross Monastery in Pittsburgh. He and wife, Regina, are the parents of four children: John, Theresa, Mary and Patti. A standout baseball and basketball player during his time at Saint Vincent, Goyette remains a big sports fan and avid golfer.
Dr. Ronald G. Rosemeier (Alumnus of Distinction)
Ronald G. Rosemeier, Ph.D., graduated from Saint Vincent Preparatory School in 1970 before earning a degree in physics from Saint Vincent College four years later. He would continue his education at Johns Hopkins University, from which he earned a master of science degree in engineering and a Ph.D. in materials science. He is founder, president and CEO of Brimrose Technology Corporation in Sparks, Maryland, which has developed advanced technologies utilized by the Department of Defense, the NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Health and Human Services, among others. Recently, Brimrose developed the Near-Infrared Volatiles Spectrometer System (NIRVSS), which detects the nature of hydrogen it encounters. Having already been used by major pharmaceutical companies and the food industry for analysis, the spectrometer has been ordered by NASA as part of the agency’s efforts to send new technology to the surface of the moon. In 2020, the instrument will be taken by a commercial moon lander to determine the presence of water and hydroxyl within the moon’s surface to hopefully gauge the possibility for man to live on the moon. A native of Cokeburg, Rosemeier is a 2011 inductee into the Saint Vincent Preparatory School Hall of Fame. A member of St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic parish in Cockeysville, Maryland, he and his wife, Jolanta, reside in Monkton, Maryland, and have two children, Nicole and Cory, and six grandchildren.
Gustave W. Wolf (Alumnus of Distinction)
Gustave W. Wolf graduated from Saint Vincent Preparatory School in 1956 before earning a degree in history from Saint Vincent College in 1961, and he would continue to further his education. At Penn State University, he earned a master’s degree in counselor education as well as teaching certificates in German and special education, before earning a certification in school psychology from Duquesne University. He began his professional career by spending five years as a Latin and German teacher, then worked as a school and college counselor for 27 years. Wolf has served as a member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Allegheny County and as benefactor of the Elk County Community Foundation Scholarship Fund, as he sponsors the Gus and Helen Wolf Memorial Scholarship in honor of his late parents. In addition to his current work with the scholarship fund, Wolf serves as a volunteer ombudsman for the Allegheny County Department of Aging. A native of St. Marys, Wolf currently resides in Gibsonia, and is a member of St. Alexis Roman Catholic parish in North Hills. In his retirement, Wolf enjoys beach vacations, baseball, football, golf, bowling and movies, as well as spending time at his seasonal cottage in Elk County, where he maintains a vast flower garden.
Benedict A. Lieb (Hall of Fame)
A 1970 graduate of Saint Vincent Preparatory School, Benedict A. Lieb went on to graduate from Saint Vincent College in 1974 with a degree in math education. He began his teaching career at Marion Center High School, while also coaching the junior high basketball team, before changing career paths to build custom homes for 10 years. He then moved on to work as general foreman for a scaffolding company at various power plants throughout the region. In addition to his professional career, Lieb has been involved in various civic initiatives. He helped organize a local community center and traveled to Haiti for a mission trip, while for the past 35 years, he has hosted a suicide prevention picnic at his home, with proceeds going to causes dedicated to prevention. He has remained connected to Saint Vincent, as he regularly attends Steelers training camp and reunion picnics, even hosting one at his home. A native of Nicktown, Lieb was a standout soccer and basketball player while at Saint Vincent Prep, before going on to earn four letters on the soccer field for Saint Vincent College and coach Fr. Vernon Holtz, O.S.B. Lieb and wife, Susan, reside in Cherry Tree and are the parents of four daughters: Caroline, Angela, Audrey and Natalie. He enjoys hunting, fishing, kayaking and traveling, as well as undertaking woodworking projects for his daughters and spending time with his grandchildren.
Richard L. Pedzwater (Hall of Fame)
Richard L. Pedzwater is a 1965 graduate of Saint Vincent Preparatory School. Following his time at Saint Vincent, he went on to attend Duquesne University, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree in sociology. Following his honorable discharge from the Air Force and during his work career, he earned both a master of education degree in counseling from Duquesne University and a master of social work degree from the University of Pittsburgh. During his career, Pedzwater worked in counseling and social work, specializing in child welfare, mental health, academic counseling, and sexual assault and domestic violence prevention. He earned a host of honors during his career, including the Distinguished Civilian Service Award and Distinguished Career Service award from the Defense Logistics Agency. He volunteered for Allegheny County United Mental Health, starting support groups for families of the mentally ill, before spending 15 years as a volunteer for Access-York Domestic Violence Services and serving on the York County Task Force on Domestic Violence. A native of New Kensington, Pedzwater and wife, Vanessa, reside in York, Pennsylvania, while also frequenting Sun City Center, Florida and are the parents of Meagan, Devin, Dan, Georgia, Angel (deceased), and Elaina (deceased). A member of St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in York, Pedzwater enjoys painting landscapes in acrylics, collecting and listening to jazz and blues, following Pittsburgh sports, and spending quality time with his wife and family.
Timothy E. Ungvarsky (Hall of Fame)
Timothy E. Ungvarsky graduated from Saint Vincent Preparatory School in 1964 and went on to earn a degree in sociology from Virginia Tech. As an undergrad at Virginia Tech, Ungvarsky was a member of its Corps of Cadets, serving as communication and public information officer for squadron N. He was active in the Air Force ROTC, completing initial flight training and earning induction into the Arnold Air Society for outstanding ROTC cadets, while he participated in numerous service projects as a member of the Sigma Mu Sigma national service fraternity. Upon graduating from Virginia Tech, Ungvarsky accepted a position with the U.S. Social Security Administration as a claims representative in its McKeesport office, a position he held for 41 years until his retirement in 2011. Well-respected among his peers, Ungvarsky presented at numerous training sessions and seminars, both locally and regionally. He also advised the office of U.S. Rep. Joseph Gaydos on social security matters and was awarded by the office a flag that had flown above the U.S. Capitol. In addition to his extensive professional career, Ungvarsky is also a highly-respected soccer referee. At the high school level, he has officiated multiple playoff contests, including District 7 (WPIAL) championship matches and PIAA state playoff games. He is also a highly-regarded futsal (indoor soccer) referee, officiating thousands of games throughout the region over the past 20-plus years, including various regional and national championship contests across the eastern U.S. He was responsible for starting the youth soccer program in the East Allegheny Athletic Association (EAAA), introducing the game to thousands of children, many of whom continued to play throughout high school and college. He was active as a volunteer coach, official and administrator for the EAAA for more than three decades, culminating in a six-year stint as the president of the association which serves more than 1,300 children in soccer, baseball, football, softball, basketball and cheerleading. A member of St. Robert Bellarmine Roman Catholic Parish in East McKeesport, Ungvarsky and his wife, Sally, reside in North Versailles. They have three children, Christopher, Robert and Erin, and five grandchildren.
PHOTO 1: Fr. Vernon A. Holtz, O.S.B. (right), with Br. Benedict Janecko, O.S.B.
PHOTO 2: Dr. Fred L. Soisson
PHOTO 3: William A. Goyette (left), with wife, Regina
PHOTO 4: Dr. Ronald G. Rosemeier
PHOTO 5: Gustave W. Wolf
PHOTO 6: Benedict A. Lieb
PHOTO 7: Richard L. Pedzwater
PHOTO 8: Timothy E. Ungvarsky
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