LATROBE, PA – Saint Vincent College business instructor A. Mark Abramovic was named the winner of the ninth annual Saint Vincent College Projektenmacher Award in recognition of initiatives that, in the spirit of Saint Vincent College founder Archabbot Boniface Wimmer, “brought vision to reality through hard work and perseverance.” Saint Vincent College president Father Paul R. Taylor, O.S.B., presented Abramovic with the honor at the Founders’ Day Vigil and Honors Convocation on Nov. 14 in the Saint Vincent Basilica.
“Wimmer’s brother monks would sometimes ridicule him about ‘building castles in the skies’ or for being a project maker with unrealistic plans,” said Father Paul. “The nickname ‘Projektenmacher’ was originally given to Boniface Wimmer,” said Father Paul, “for someone that lived in a fantasy world. Thanks be to God, Wimmer’s dream has become a reality. Saint Vincent Archabbey, College and Seminary stand before us strong and vibrant for 173 years. We would not be here without his dreams.
“Professor Abramovic,” he continued, “saw in Saint Benedict and Boniface Wimmer the character that makes Saint Vincent strong and that unites our faculty and students in a common bond and common goal for a successful and meaningful life.”
Abramovic teaches finance courses in Saint Vincent College’s Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics and Government, including Advanced Corporate Finance, Business Policy and Strategy, Corporate Finance, Entrepreneurial Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions and Personal Financial Planning. In 2008, he received the Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education Award from the Action Foundation for Entrepreneurial Excellence, while in 2016 he was honored with Saint Vincent College’s Thoburn Excellence in Teaching Award.
Along with his distinguished teaching career at Saint Vincent, Abramovic is the founder of the College’s award-winning Benedictine Leadership Studies (BLS) program, a four-year leadership program based on foundation of SVC’s Catholic, Benedictine heritage, specifically the hallmarks of The Rule of Saint Benedict. Students accepted into the program maintain a portfolio with samples of their work and regular self-reflections while regularly taking part in retreat workshops and experiential learning projects and trips, including a week-long excursion to Rome during spring break of their senior years.
BLS fellows take cross-disciplinary courses rooted in leadership, ethics, politics, theology and Benedictine spirituality. Since its establishment, 25 students have completed the BLS program, with two more slated to graduate in December. In 2017, the BLS program was recognized with a national award for Best Practices in Student Affairs for mission integration for student activities, leadership and orientation by the Association for Student Affairs at Catholic Colleges and Universities (ASACCU).
“When I was first notified that I was going to be receiving this award,” Abramovic said, “I had mixed emotions. I was delighted that Benedictine Leadership Studies was being recognized for the good work that it has done and the benefit that it has had for those students who completed the program and to those students who are currently in the program. On the other hand, I was uncomfortable being the person to formally receive this award. Many people have been involved in making BLS what it has grown up to become.”
Abramovic thanked a number of his colleagues who were involved in the initial planning for the BLS program in 2012, including Mary Collins, vice president for student affairs; Bob Baum, dean of students; Courtney Baum, director of the Career and Professional Development Center; Kelly King, director of service learning and outreach; Jym Walters, assistant director of campus life and recreation; and Samantha Firestone, assistant to the dean of students.
Abramovic also expressed gratitude to Father Tom Hart, O.S.B., assistant to the president for mission, and Father Benoit Alloggia, O.S.B., president of the Saint Benedict Foundation. “Father Tom provided excellent counsel regarding the understanding of Benedictine heritage and the Benedictine Hallmarks. I can tell you that I spent hours in his office trying to understand them nearly as well as he did.
“Father Benoit was a key player in the development of the capstone course in Rome. For most students in the program, this is the highlight of their four-year exercises and in many ways, it has become a life-altering experience for them.”
Abramovic’s biggest thank you was for the entire Benedictine community at Saint Vincent, for its unwavering support of the program. “You have served as great role models,” he said, “by publicly living the core values instilled from the Rule of Saint Benedict, which have become the hallmarks of the Benedictine Leadership Studies program… We hope we have made you proud.”
Abramovic holds a bachelor of science degree in accounting from Penn State University and an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to joining the Saint Vincent faculty, he had a 30-year career working for four different New York Stock Exchange-listed companies in the oil and natural gas industry, including 15 years as a CFO and five years as president and COO for NUI Corporation in Bedminster, New Jersey.
He resides in Greensburg with his wife, Romaine.
PHOTO: Father Paul R. Taylor, O.S.B., presents A. Mark Abramovic with the 2019 Saint Vincent College Projektenmacher Award
For a full gallery of photos from the Founders' Day celebration, visit the Saint Vincent College Flickr account.
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