Category Archives: Campus

Swans Visit Ursuline’s Lake Elissa

trumpeter swans 2

Resident pair of Trumpeter Swans at Sandy Ridge Reservation in North Ridgeville, OH, spring 2015 Photo by Adam Preston

Post by Ursuline’s Interim Dean of Arts & Sciences, Sarah Preston, Ph.D.

On February 4, 2016 Ursuline was visited by a pair of swans. I happened to notice them just before 3pm as I looked out my office window. I immediately grabbed my office neighbor, Sr. Elaine Berkopec, who grabbed her binoculars and came to look. No one I talked to remembers ever seeing swans here before.

For most people a swan is a swan and they are content to simply leave it at that. For others, a swan sighting has spiritual significance. Sr. Diane Therese Pinchot informed me that in Native American culture the swan as a totem animal represents intuition, femininity and calm in the midst of change.   For me, as a birder and scientist, I needed to know what kind of swans they were. There are four species of swans that can be found in North America: Mute Swan, Trumpeter Swan, Tundra Swan, and Whooper Swan. Whooper Swans are only found in Alaska, so they can be ruled out. Tundra Swans migrate through Ohio in large numbers in the spring and fall. Trumpeter Swans, once nearly extinct in the 1930s due to hunting and the draining of marshes, have rebounded thanks to reintroduction programs and the conservation of wetlands including Ohio’s own Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge.

It is fairly easy to distinguish the Mute Swan from the other two possibilities. Their beaks are mostly orange, while the Tundra and Trumpeter Swans have a black beak with a small yellow spot near the eye and a completely black beak, respectively. The Mute Swan is also the only one of the three species with a graceful, curved neck. Mute Swans, not native to North America, were introduced from Europe as domestic pond dwellers and descendants of escapees have established breeding populations. An aggressive species, the Mute Swan is considered to be invasive and competes with native swans for nest sites. The eradication of Mute Swans from certain areas in Ohio is the source of much controversy. I can attest to the Mute Swan’s hostile nature since, growing up, my family briefly bred Mute Swans and, while they were nesting and raising the cygnets, you couldn’t go anywhere near the pond without a broom for protection.

Tundra Swans

Tundra Swans with cygnets at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge in Oak Harbor, OH, Nov. 2015 Photo by Sarah Preston

Looking at our visitors with binoculars, I could tell that the beaks were black with no orange and the necks were straight. This means that they were native, wild swans! My first instinct was to ID them as Trumpeter Swans since I did not see any yellow near the eye, but as any good scientist knows, a lack of evidence is not really conclusive. So later that night, I posted the best picture that June Gracyk took to the “Facebook Bird ID Group of the World” and asked for the experts to weigh in. James Coe commented, “That’s a tough photo, but from what I can make out of the beak size and shape, and the position of the eye, relative to the beak, I’d say they are Tundra. A better photo would surely be more definitive.”

The next morning I had intended to bring my camera in the hopes of getting a better picture of them, if they were still there, but I had completely forgotten about it until I was running on the treadmill in the fitness room facing the lake. They must have been on the far side because I didn’t see them for a while and then suddenly there they were: taking off, flying directly over the building. So the ID will remain a mystery and I’m not going to agonize over it too much. There’s a reason why there’s a Trumpeter/Tundra Swan entry on and that’s what I’ll end up reporting them as.


Campus Celebrity: Tiffany Wallace

Our Campus Celebrity for the month of December is Tiffany Wallace, the director of student activities!

Tiffany Wallace

What is your favorite thing about being part of the Ursuline College community?

The students!!!!!!! It is incredible to see them learn, develop and grow through learning experiences in the classroom, campus activities and leadership opportunities

What is your favorite place on campus?

I would probably have to say Pilla not only because of the students, but because I enjoy the food!

What is one thing people might not know about you?

Let’s see… I do not like being called Tiff amongst my colleagues, but I do love to change the name of others. For example, my student worker’s name is Anna and I call her Anna Canna. I love it! I secretly think she does too. If you change my name to something besides Tiffany or Tiff I will definitely answer.

How does it feel to be nominated as a Campus Celebrity?

Such an honor. I wonder who did this? Someone selected me? Who, me? Not me!

If you could give one piece of advice to Ursuline students, what would it be?

Get Involved! Have Fun! Leave Your Legacy!


Know someone on campus that needs to be recognized for all they do? Nominate them as a Campus Celebrity using this form!

Campus Celebrity: Anna Schumm!

Welcome to our brand new feature: Campus Celebrity! Each month, we’ll be featuring a student or member of the faculty or staff as our Campus Celebrity on Voices and on our social media. Say hello to our very first Campus Celebrity: Anna Schumm!

Hometown: Findlay, Ohioanna schumm CC

Major: Fashion Design & Fashion Merchandising

Year: Second Year

What is your favorite place on campus?

I love spending time in the Student Affairs Center! It’s an uplifting environment and a great place to gain relationships with faculty members and students that pass through.

Which student organizations are you involved in?

I’m the treasurer for Programming Board, a Resident Assistant, a general member of Founder’s Week, and an assistant in the office of Student Activities.

What is one thing people might not know about you?

I am a connoisseur of bread. My personal favorite: butter flake rolls topped with poppy seeds. 

What is your favorite meal in the food court?

Mashed potato bowl. It makes me feel like I’m having a home-cooked meal!

How does it feel to be nominated as a Campus Celebrity?

Surprised! I am thankful that somebody took the time to recognize my efforts on campus. I’m appreciative of all of the people who help me on a daily basis whether it is a fellow classmate, professor, or faculty member.

If you could give one piece of advice to other Ursuline students, what would it be?

Get involved! This is the best way to meet new people, build your resume, and use your talents to become a part of the Ursuline community.

What do you love most about Ursuline?

Definitely the small class sizes! As a fashion major, it’s really valuable to have personal attention from professors as I work to tailor my craft. In a large classroom setting, I would not be able get the attention I’m able to get here at Ursuline.


To nominate someone as a future Campus Celebrity, fill out this form!

The Synod – Conclusion

Written by Rick Squier, UCAP student

     Our visit to the Synod was a once in a lifetime opportunity to witness how the church is attempting to reunite culture and doctrine. Reading the interviews of Cardinals and Bishops online, and then actually meeting some of them, and talking to them about their words was surreal. In addition to the prelates of the synod, Father and I were also introduced to authors, reporters, and theologians who are significant leaders in Catholic circles. All of the people we met, whether their position is to report for the church, or elect the successor of Peter, they were very gracious with their time and words.


     As we heard varying points of view on how the church will recognize different relationships, it gives hope that there is an openness to those the various situations. Some bishops called for minimal change, while others were suggesting a significant shift from the way we recognize familial situations. Even though there isn’t consistency amongst all bishops, the fact that this Synod was formed to address issues of inclusion, shows that there is a genuine attempt to grow the church. This process gives hope for the future of the church and how it recognizes the message of Christ.

     Our Synod experience was only possible because of Bishop Murry’s invitation to spend time with him in the second week of the Synod. From unfettered access to areas of the St. Peter’s Basilica, and Vatican, to introductions to high-level decision makers of the church, this experience was only possible because of the bisjop of Youngstown . The entire experience was humbling as this Director of Faith Formation from a parish in Ohio, had the opportunity to meet leaders of the Catholic Church from around the world. Who knows what God has in store for us?

Synod on the Family, Part 2

By Rick Squier

Bishop Murry said that the Pope has been at all of the general sessions of the Synod, and was surprised in how approachable he is. He said the Pope attends the mid-session coffee breaks the same as everybody else. Bishop Murry said that several times he would be having coffee, look up, and there was the Pope wandering through the room. The image is one that the Bishop happily shared with us.

Bishop Murray and Pope Francis

Wednesday was certainly memorable. Father and I met Bishop Murry in the morning and got a private tour of St. Peter’s Basilica. It is an incredible place to wander through when it’s empty. We then celebrated Mass in the Clementine Chapel in the Necropolis, below the Basilica. The Clementine Chapel is the closest chapel to the burial chamber of St. Peter. The holiness of the space gave the prayers for our parish families a deeper emotional effect for me.

The Clementine Chapel

During a break at the Synod, Bishop Murry gave Father and I a tour of the North American Pontifical College. From the roof of the facility, we saw what must be the best view of Rome.
I can’t imagine having a better tour guide of any of the locations we visited.

Please pray for the Synod Fathers, and the direction they take the church

An Ursuline Student at the Synod of the Family

Rick Squier, a student in UCAP, is on a fabulous adventure to the Vatican this week as a guest of Father Ferraro, an attendee to the Synod of the Family. Follow along here as we get more information about his daily adventures. Here’s the first installment, from Monday, October 12:

After an uneventful, but very long flight to Rome, Father Ferraro and I found that our luggage ended up in Germany instead of Rome. Moments like this make you realize that the toothbrush and underwear in your luggage may have been a better choice for your carryon than the four bike magazines, and textbooks that you lugged through three airports. But, we are in Rome, and wearing the same clothes for more than two days means little in comparison to IMG_3658witnessing the potential that presents itself to the church with the Synod on the Family.

Monday was a spectacularly beautifully sunny day in Rome.  We saw Bishops from all over the world wandering around the Vatican area as we made our first pass through St. Peter Square. We met Bishop Murry, and in talking to him it is quite apparent why he was asked to be a Synod Father. He has such a wonderfully pastoral sense, and understanding about what it means to be a family, and the blessings and challenges that come with it. Bishop Murry addressed the synod on Saturday, in what they refer to as an intervention. The three minute intervention offers each of the 268 bishops of the Synod, an opportunity to present their view on the blessing and challenges for today’s families. Bishop Murry said that the text of his intervention will be posted on the diocesan website in the next couple days, when it is we will copy it onto our site (St. Joan of Arc Church, Streetsboro, OH) as well.


About the Synod on the Family: This meeting, formally called the Fourteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, is taking place in the Vatican from October 4, 2015 through October 25, 2015. This year, the Synod is focused on the vocation and mission of the family in both the Church and the world.


Counseling and Art Therapy students go to South Dakota on service learning trip

Written by Katherine Jackson, assistant professor, Counseling and Art Therapy department

photo 8From June 21 – 27, 2015, graduate students, alumnae, one undergraduate student, a few community members and three faculty members journeyed to Eagle Butte, South Dakota, to work with Lakota Sioux youth at the Cheyenne River Youth Project (CRYP) which is located on the Cheyenne River Native American Reservation.

Graduate students in the Counseling and Art Therapy program had suggested about a year ago that we do a service learning trip with impoverished and at risk populations in our own country, and we discovered a wonderful opportunity at Cheyenne River Youth Project. CRYP was founded in the 1980s to help give youth and teens a place to congregate where they could enjoy healthy snacks, activities and socialize. CRYP was a big success from the start, and soon after opening they were able to secure grants and funding to build a new center that could accommodate almost all of the youth in and around the Eagle Butte area. At present, CRYP serves hundreds of children, providing sports, art, tutoring, a youth run coffee shop, a sustainable organic garden, a graffiti art park and a healthy eating program which offers whole food meals every evening for any child in the community.

The Coordinator of Volunteer Service, Tammy Eagle Hunter, explained the philosophy at CRYP, which is “Don’t feel sorry for us and try to help, but rather join with us and together we will make things better.” This statement, although simple, sums up the attitude at CRYP. Everyone is encouraged to help side-by-side with the Lakota Sioux to maintain the community, work with the kids and pitch in wherever needed.

While we were there, we workphoto 4ed on cleaning, landscaping, gardening and organizing the center in the morning. In the afternoons, 30-40 youth arrived to participate in art therapy, nature activities, games, yoga and loving care from the Ursuline group. We provided support, care and lots of fun. Not only did the kids get to do art therapy and create many beautiful art creations, but they got their first taste of yoga. Yoga was a hit with many of the kids because it was so different than anything they had ever experienced.

While we were at the center, we learned first hand how alcoholism, drug abuse, child abuse, domestic violence, low socioeconomic status and poor dietary habits affect this vulnerable population. Many of the children got their only meal of the day at the CRYP center and endured parental neglect and abuse at home. Despite these hardships, the resiliency of these Lakota Sioux children is remarkable. The children embraced us with open arms and hearts, and we found a welcome home away from home at the center and in the reservation.

photo 13

We were fortunate enough to have a Lakota artisan, a bead worker, and a native storyteller and dancer work with us for an afternoon. We learned that the Lakota language is an oral language and thus is almost extinct. The Lakota people are attempting to put the language in written form to help preserve it and also to maintain important Lakota traditions. For example, in Lakota there is no word that means war, and this peaceful tradition is built right into rituals and community gatherings. Most quarrels are handled by compromise, with harmony being a prized value in the population.

One week did not seem like enough time to fully visit and get to know the people at the CRYP center and on the Cheyenne River Reservation. We are hopeful that we can return next year and make it an annual service learning trip to help the Lakota Sioux youth and continue to forge and build relationships with both the CRYP and the Cheyenne River Reservation.


Witnesses to Christ, Witnesses for Justice: Sister Joanne Gross, O.S.U., J.D.


Sr. Joanne Gross was awarded the Ursuline~St. John College Association’s Amadeus Rappe Award at the 2013 Reunion.

Written by Sr. Elaine Berkopec, O.S.U., Administrative Assistant to the Dean of Arts and Sciences

Sister Joanne Gross, O.S.U., holds a J.D. from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from CWRU’s Mandel Center. She currently serves as President of Catholic Community Connection, which promotes collaboration among the Catholic health care, senior living, social service and higher education ministries in the diocese of Cleveland. She also worked with Cuyahoga County as coordinator of domestic violence programming and funding, and served as legal services coordinator for a children’s mental health initiative.

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Witnesses to Christ, Witnesses for Justice: Sister Diane Therese Pinchot, O.S.U., M.F.A.

131010133236Sister Diane Therese Pinchot, O.S.U., M.F.A. is the artist behind the Bishop Pilla Learning Center’s stained glass window, overlooking Ursuline’s campus.

Written by Sr. Elaine Berkopec, O.S.U., Administrative Assistant to the Dean of Arts and Sciences

Sister Diane Therese Pinchot, O.S.U., M.F.A., has served as Professor in the Art Department at Ursuline College, where she has fostered and supported works of justice among students; she not only advocates for justice in Latin America by attending the annual commemoration of the martyrdom in El Salvador of the North American churchwomen, Dorothy Kazel, Maura Clarke, Ita Ford, and Jean Donovan.

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Witnesses to Christ, Witnesses for Justice: Sister Erin Zubal, O.S.U., M.A.


Sister Erin Zubal attending the School of the Americas Protest 

Written by Sr. Elaine Berkopec, O.S.U., Administrative Assistant to the Dean of Arts and Sciences

Sister Erin Zubal, O.S.U., M.A., graduated from Ursuline with a B.A. in Social Work and M.A. in Education Administration. Her work has included serving as social worker to women in Cuyahoga County Jail, theology teacher and campus minister at Beaumont High School.

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