Franciscan Way Magazine Spring 2016 Extras | Franciscan University of Steubenville
  • Extras from the issue, Winter 2016

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    Your College Decision

    We wondered why you chose Franciscan University out of the thousands of higher education options in the United States . . . and you told us!
    —Lisa Ferguson ’84, Editor


    My aunt, Diane Locascio, worked for Mr. Gaylord, who was the financial aid person, and she influenced my attending what was then Steubie U by telling me of the good education I would receive. She was right. I now am working in a private practice as a clinical social worker in Cleveland.

    The memories that stand out for me are the Life in the Spirit seminars that deepened my faith and worship under the direction of Father David Tickerhoof, TOR, and Brennan Manning. Another gift I received were the wonderful friends I still have in my life, such as Joe ’74 and Kathy (Nisonger ’74) Marotta, Rich Evans ’75, John Orsini ’73, Tom Canizzaro ’73, Augie Napoli ’74, and Father Dennis Gang, TOR ’71 MA ’85.

    Dr. Lambert pushed us in social theory class to understand the larger world in which we live. In the Psychology Department, Mr. John Korzi and Dr. Tony Golas enriched our psychological growth with introspective sessions in which we not only learned about ourselves but about how we impact others. Mr. George Gable in sociology cared about each of us students, and his spirituality affected my growth as well.

    Life has been quite the challenge, but thanks to my growing closer to God at Steubie U, I have withstood those challenges and am stronger for it

    JoAnn (Locascio ’73) Green


    I came to the College of Steubenville to play basketball. I remember my first visit, where my father and I had lunch with Coach Kuzma. My father liked Coach and there were already a couple players from my hometown on the team. It was a good fit, but the basketball program ended after my second year. I decided to stay at Franciscan due to the Catholic culture, the good friends I had made— especially my future wife.

    Paul Knorr ’83
    Business Administration


    I came to the College of Steubenville because my parents had heard of the school and its vibrant Catholic environment. I was looking for a school that had a strong Catholic culture and challenging study opportunities. I was also looking for the adventure that would come from going to college at a greater distance from Minnesota. It was a great choice.

    Paul and I married in 1984, have four children, and now live in Minnesota. Our oldest (Kyrie Knorr-Juenger ’12, early education major) also graduated from Franciscan. Our second (Caleb Knorr ’15, psychology/communication arts) recently graduated from Franciscan and is continuing there as a graduate student in counseling. Our third (Jonathan Knorr) just started this fall and plans to major in business management. Our fourth child, Joseph Knorr, is only in 9th grade, so time will tell where he goes to college. No pressure, but we’re 5 for 5, and a perfect score rests on his shoulders.

    Teresa (Seviola ’83) Knorr


    I went to the then-College of Steubenville because it was exactly what I was looking for and, more importantly, what I thought God was calling me to. It was not convenient, and it was a leap of faith. I first heard about “Steubenville” outside an evangelical church after a Christian concert! I’d heard Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, had turned a Catholic college around and had a vision of what Catholic education and formation were. There are numerous Catholic universities here in California, but a personal letter back from Father Dan Sinisi, TOR, then the Theology Department chair, convinced me that’s where I should go for graduate school. I couldn’t afford to fly, so, sight-unseen, I boarded a Greyhound bus with my backpack and typewriter for the 70-hour trip. I’ve never looked back nor regretted it.

    Deacon Craig Anderson ’84
    MA Theology


    Attending Steubenville was my choice, but I had to be tricked a bit to check it out.

    In my late teens, my parents had been sending me to youth retreats in Toronto, Canada, for a few years. Thinking that my spiritual development was progressing nicely, they had little idea I was attending them mainly to get away from my family and chase girls for the weekend.

    My mother came to me one day, asking if I’d like to go to a “retreat” at an “American university.”

    “Hmmmm,” my teenage brain thought, “I get even farther away from my parents and go chase American girls for a weekend! Where do I sign?”

    Once at Franciscan though, I found myself surprised in many ways. I was used to a retreat being composed of a dozen or so people my age, maybe more if it was a pro-life protest outside of an abortion clinic.I suddenly found myself in the presence of over 3,000young people, all on fire for God. The joy and acceptance I felt at this event was unparalleled in my life experience, and I knew I wanted to be at Franciscan University. I asked to attend, and my parents made it happen.

    It is truly impossible to overstate the impact that my attendance at Franciscan has made upon my life, and I amgratefulfor all four years I spent there.

    John McNichol ’92
    English and Theology


    I came to Steubenville mainly for the spiritual growth. Before I visited the university, I was on a path of knowing God. Two years before I attended Franciscan University, I had made two pilgrimages to Medjugorje that had awakened my faith, and I came to really know Mary through those journeys. Soon after, I had attended a conference in Steubenville that really changed me.

    I wasn’t sure where to go for college, but my sister had given me a brochure about Franciscan. It looked appealing, and I started to look into it.

    I visited Steubenville and fell in love with the University, the whole spiritual aspect. It also offered the academics I wanted. Going to a Lord’s Day, the Portiuncula, and more, all appealed to me. After I returned home, I decided to apply and got accepted. I was so excited, but my mom was not happy.

    The one obstacle I had in getting to Franciscan University was finances. I wasn’t sure how I was goingto pay for it. I kept praying for the money to go, if it was God’s will. I did get grants and loans but wasn’t sure where I was going to get the $1,700 more I needed. I kept praying and praying.

    I was involved with a young adults prayer group atthe time. They knew my situation and started to pray for me. At a gathering at someone’s house, I got a call from an anonymous donor who promised to give me the rest of the money to get to school. I was so excited! A few days after that, I received a small cedar chest with the cash in it and a note to me. The note said it was a privilege to help me go to this University. My sister was astounded. Never had she witnessed something like this. God works in mysterious ways.

    I was on myway to Franciscan University of Steubenville the next semester. I have never regretted it. Best experience of my life.

    Jeanne (Cobb ’95) Stephens
    Communication Arts


    My story begins before I ever thought about or even heard about Franciscan University. I was a freshman German/international studies major at Heidelberg College. My plan was to spend my entire junior year in Heidelberg, Germany. My best friend from high school, a student at Wittenberg, would be there.

    Unfortunately, through a series of missteps on my part, this “foolproof” plan was derailed. I was crushed, but I got a job in clothing retail and got to work figuring out my next step.

    Fast forward to three years later.

    I received a letter from Franciscan University. They said they had a program in Austria, and would I be interested in applying? Oh, my gosh! Would I ever!My mom and I scheduled a campus visit.

    We got to campus five minutes late to mass. We walked into Christ the King chapel, and there they were.People my age. Singing joyfully, hands upraised, praising God!

    The rest is history.

    Elizabeth “Lisa” (Smith ’95) Glick


    My arrival at Franciscan was all God and a leap of faith. I applied late (about mid-July) after visiting a homeschool conference and talking to the man at the Franciscan University of Steubenville table. He said it wouldn’t hurt to apply, even this late. I am so happy I did! I submitted my application, and three days later a phone call came in saying I was accepted to attend college in just under three weeks! I went downstairs to tell my parents (who didn’t know I had applied). The financial aid counselor assured my parents that we could work out the financial aspects later—just get me here for orientation weekend.

    I started college in August 2001 and graduated in December 2004 with a bachelor of science in early childhood education. I loved every minute of my time there and consider it a good investment in my future and worth the slightly higher debt of Franciscan over the local (and very liberal) community college I was going to have to attend.

    Sarah (Asher ’05) Spellman


    This memory of why I attended Franciscan University was recently revived when I noticed former admission counselor Kevin Dalton on campus with a group of prospective students. I walked over, introduced myself, and reminded him of my story.

    I had attended on-campus youth conferences all four years of high school, and my decision came down to Franciscan University or a local state school. After visiting campus with my dad during my senior year, I called Margaret Weber to cancel my enrollment. Months went by, and I attended my last youth conference. During the conference, a month before my freshman year of college was set to begin, Kevin Dalton got up and informed the men that housing was still available if anyone was interested in still attending Franciscan.

    I sat 20 feet from his booth for two hours, because I knew if I talked with him I would end up at Franciscan. Finally, through prayer, I gathered enough courage and talked with him. When I went back home to Michigan, we reactivated my enrollment, and I ended up graduating in 2005.

    My decision to attend Franciscan will always be the greatest decision I’ve ever made in my life. It gave me a solidfooting in faith, I met my wife, Maria (Torma ’08), and it prepared me for a wonderful career. And yes, I still have that cancellation letter somewhere.

    Ken Baldwin ’05, MBA ’08
    Communication Arts


    When it came time for me to look at colleges, I knew I wanted to go somewhere Catholic. I had been in public school all my life, and I was craving Catholic community. For all the advantages I had had in education, and in learning early to defend my faith against a critical and often hostile society, I wanted to be someplace where my faith could be formed in a new way. I knew instinctively that my experiences both in and out of the classroom in Steubenville would draw me into a deeper relationship and knowledge of Christ, which would enable me to live and defend my faith more passionately.

    When it came time to visit schools, Franciscan was at the top of the list. I will never forget that day. I remember standing outside the J.C. Williams Center, by the Fieldhouse, looking out over the quad. People were walking to and from class, playing Frisbee, laughing, and talking together. I knew deep down all of a sudden that this was where I wanted to be. The campus felt alive and full of love. My decision was pretty much made in that moment.

    Kirsten Larsen-Silva ’10
    Mental Health and Human Services


    I was originally planning on moving back to Minnesota to spend time with my mom, pursuing some career in a more blue-collar type job, and going to a two-year technical school. On a whim, I attended a Steubenville San Diego Youth Conference the summer before my junior year. I was really enjoying getting awesome Catholic theology that not only fascinated me but was also deepening my relationship with Christ.

    I had gone to public school since sixth grade and was always kind of made fun of for my faith. My friends respected me but I was at a loss to explain why I was Catholic, or why they should be Catholic, or at least why they shouldn’t be doing what they were doing. My dad, an atheist, constantly challenged my faith, and my mom, who I was not living with, was in Minnesota and couldn’t help me. For the first time at this conference I was around young people and cool young adults who were on fire for their faith, and they knew why! I loved it so much, and then I saw that this conference was sponsored by a college.

    Thinking it was too late to change my plans, I filled out the card they passed around to get more information. The more I learned about Franciscan, the more I loved it. I found out that my youth minister and several of the young adults who helped with my youth group were all Franciscan grads. What sealed the deal for me was my visit. I loved everything, from the bookstore, to the classes, to the people, to the cafeteria not offering meat meals on Fridays during Lent. This was where I wanted to spend the next four years. It seemed like it would be not only easier to be Catholic, but to be actually joyful!

    My dad said if I went I couldn’t be a theology major, and I had to choose a major that “actually mattered.” I started out as a chemistry major, then biology, then undeclared. I finished with bachelor of arts in theology and communications (TV/radio) and a double minor in business management and marketing.

    While my first year was really rough due to the difficulty of the classes, the loneliness that came with my inability to find the right group of friends, and probably missing home (both my friends and the weather, because I am from San Diego), I ended up staying at Franciscan for three reasons.

    At the time, my last hope for trying to make Franciscan work was joining a household. I ended up being the first inducted member of Fishers of Men. It had just started, and because of this we were a bit disorganized and didn’t see each other very much. I wanted to leave. I think they noticed, because just as I was about to drop out of household, they decided to induct me the following week, seemingly out of the blue and also to the dismay of the other guys who were in Austria. They hadn’t even informed them that they had a new intent. After the induction, we became a lot closer and spent a lot of time together, and they truly became my brothers—something I had never had. This was the first reason I stayed.

    The second was our household advisor, Father Richard Davis, TOR. Father Rich helped me to feel calm and at peace and said if I thought that going home would be the best decision for me, then that's what I needed to do. Ironically, it was this that allowed me to feel free and at peace enough to want to stay and give it at least another year, and I am so glad that I did because that following semester would be one of my best at Franciscan.

    The last reason I stayed was due to two guys from Knights of the Holy Queen. They saw me one afternoon and could tell I was depressed. They engaged me and gave me a lot of perspective. Most of all, though, they made me feel loved and at home at Franciscan.

    Choosing to go to Franciscan was the best decision I ever made, and I am so happy I stayed. It has changed my life for the better and prepared me for the times in my life that have been truly challenging. It has prepared me for the work world, given me the skills to obtain good jobs, and most importantly given me friendships that will last the rest of my life. While I may not see my friends very often, they are my family and, in many ways, the family I never had. I am eternally grateful to God for putting Franciscan in my life and to all the people at the University for all that they do and the role they played in my life.

    Now I am a theology teacher at a Catholic high school in Orange County. I find so much joy in sharing the gospel with teens, and I live with four other Franciscan grads who also work at the high school. In meeting other people who also went to Franciscan, I found an unspoken bond and understanding that I think only exists within our University. So, while I think carpentry would have been an admirable pursuit in life, which was my original plan, I am so much happier for where I am now.

    Matthew Tuszynski ’10
    Communication Arts


    My decision to attend Franciscan University was a total leap of faith, even though I didn’t realize it at the time. I knew two graduates of my California homeschool group who had gone to Franciscan before me, but I didn't know much about the school except that it was Catholic. I received my acceptance letter and an invitation to attend a scholarship competition just two weeks after I sent in my application, and I never bothered to apply to any other schools!

    At the time I couldn’t explain why I wanted to go to Franciscan, but now I see it as a prompting from God. I met my wonderful husband and made many other lasting friendships during my time in Steubenville. The academic, spiritual, and interpersonal growth I experienced might even be worth the (not too lofty) mountain of debt it incurred!

    Yvonne (Peredo ’11) Hess


    I came to the University because I met three Franciscan students at a retreat who had a deep love and joy for Christ that I had never seen before. They said they went to college in Steubenville, Ohio. I'd never heard of it. But the moment I found out what it was, I knew if a college like that existed I hadto go there! Especially after I visited, it made the waiting very hard.

    Julia Brown ’12


    When I applied to colleges, I wanted to stay close to our California home. I knew I wanted to study theology, but the nearest “orthodox” schools only had “religious education” programs, and that was far from comforting. I heard about Franciscan only weeks before the college acceptance deadline, and my ever-supportive father flew me out on a red-eye to visit the campus alone. I left late Thursday night, arriving on campus about 8:30 am. As I stepped out of the taxi onto Rosary Circle, the first thing I saw was a girl in overalls, bent down gardening. The tending to nature made me love Franciscan at first sight!

    I found my way to the Admissions Office, had a short meeting, and self-toured the campus since my last-minute visit left the ambassadors otherwise engaged. Between auditing classes, attending Mass, visiting the Port, and catching seconds of positive conversations, I knew I’d be back one day as a student.

    It took another year to get my things in order back home, and then I shipped out for the spring semester. That theology degree makes me proud when I think about how hard I looked for the right school. Thank you, Franciscan!


    Sarah Kalb ’12
    Philosophy and Theology


    My family was touring multiple colleges to help my older sister determine which one she’d like to attend, and Franciscan was one of her picks.In the end, I ended up going there instead of my sister! After that visit I knew that I was going to Franciscan. It wasn’t a huge revelation or anything like that. It was a simple and quiet certainty that I never wavered on. In fact, it was the only college I applied to!

    In the first class I attended, Dr. Gan told us to write down what we wanted to do with our lives. And with that simple, quiet clarity, I wrote down, “I want to tell stories.” Overall, Franciscan really solidified how I wanted to become a storyteller, and it also was the place where I met my closest friends because of the ability to start clubs on campus.

    I helped the Franciscan University Anime Club come into being, and I am still close friends with many of the club members I met during that time. Franciscan was where I found my friend family, and I would be lost without them.

    Catherine Morkert ’12
    Communication Arts

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Steubenville, Ohio 43952

(740) 283-3771


Franciscan University of Steubenville is no ordinary university, and a Franciscan education is no ordinary education. Rather, it's an education as rigorous and demanding as it is faithful--an education that challenges you intellectually, forms you professionally, and feeds you spiritually.


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