2019 Laker Legends Scholarship Gala Honorees

Distinguished Alumni Award for Service — Sheila Dwyer-Grove ‘75

Psychologist, Independent Practice

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Distinguished Alumni Award for Service: This award recognizes exceptional volunteer service and support to Mercyhurst Preparatory School and the Erie community.

Sheila’s commitment to service began early in life with the influence of her parents.  They taught her that when something needed to be done, don’t ask, “Why me?” but, “Why not me?”

During her high school years at MPS, she developed her gifts in academics, public speaking, music, and organization through challenging classes, forensics, theatre, chorus, and campus ministry.  After high school she earned a degree in elementary and special education from Boston College and a master’s in clinical psychology and certification in school psychology from Edinboro University.  Following college, she joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and taught on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona for two years, one of which she had an opportunity to live at a Franciscan Mission with Sisters of Mercy from Erie.

Sheila’s commitment to service only deepened as an adult.  Service is evident in her dedication of time volunteered at the Cleft Palate Clinic, Erie Together, and currently Gliding Stars Adaptive Ice Skating, at St. Peter Cathedral in Adult Continuing Education and Ministry, and of course at MPS, where she served on the Board of Trustees, soccer boosters, theatre boosters, and parent fundraiser committee.  She is a current member of the Pennsylvania Psychological Association and Northwest Pennsylvania Psychological Association. Sheila was an instructor and adjunct lecturer in both education and psychology at Gannon University. Currently she is a Psychologist in independent practice.

She and husband Bill, whom she credits with trust and support, have three children, all MPS grads:  William ’04, Ryan ’06,and Sarah ’09.

Honorary Alumni Award – Barbara Brairton

Retired School Counselor

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Honorary Alumni Award: Honorary alumnus status recognizes individuals who are not alumni of Mercyhurst Seminary or Mercyhurst Prep, in recognition of their proven friendship and service to the school.

This award recognizes exceptional volunteer service and support to Mercyhurst Preparatory School and the Erie community.

After graduating from Mercyhurst University with a BA in English and secondary education, Barbara’s first assignment was teaching at Mercyhurst Prep.  She had attended Our Lady of Mercy High School in Rochester, NY, and found the same charism at MPS that she had experienced in high school. 

Switching gears after four years, she became the financial aid director at Mercyhurst University, and during that same period, she earned a master’s in guidance and counseling from John Carroll University. Her background in education, guidance, and administrative duties led her to several positions that honed her talents and diversified her career.   Retirement came in 2004 after a 15-year stint as guidance counselor at the North East School District, but to this day, she has not retired from a lifetime commitment to community service.

Barbara has served on the Board of Trustees at Villa Maria Academy, North East Community Scholarship Program (vice president), and Mercyhurst Preparatory School.  She has delivered meals for Meals on Wheels since 2012 and continues today.  She is currently vice president of the Board of Directors for Meals on Wheels, Erie, and an advisory Board member for the House of Mercy.

She stated, “Having worked in several different schools throughout my career, I can honestly say that at MPS, there was a palpable atmosphere of care and concern for the students that I found nowhere else. I truly believe this spirit of Mercy is what formed the foundation of my own life, both spiritually and intellectually.”

Young Alumni Award – Conrad Kubaney ’10

Senior professional nurse at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh / Broke the record for swimming Lake Erie

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Young Alumni Award: The Young Alumni Award is given to an individual who exhibits leadership in his or her personal, professional, or volunteer accomplishments and also in his or her involvement with Mercyhurst Preparatory School. Alumni from the classes of 1999-2010 are eligible for the award.

On August 4, 2018, Conrad Kubaney made history when he swam Lake Erie in record-breaking time.  He began the 24-mile swim from Long Point, Ontario, to Freeport Beach in North East and finished after 10 hours, 56 minutes, 45 seconds.  The previous record was 11 hours, 15 minutes, 40 seconds. 

Mrs. Paula Allshouse, his high school swim coach, alumna Maria Tarbell ’10,and current senior Mitchell Razanauskas (Conrad’s brother), among others, accompanied Conrad across the lake as kayakers.  Conrad raised over $9,000 for the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation, where he is a senior professional nurse. 

Conrad was named a UPMC Daisy Award winner last August, which honors extraordinary nurses for going above and beyond the traditional role of nursing.  A spokesperson for the award stated, “We are lucky to have someone who works hard in and out of the hospital to make the lives of the patients and families he serves better on every level!”

Speaking about his MPS education, Conrad said,”Mercyhurst instilled in me a strong education, faith, and service foundation. This foundation has enabled me to achieve success not only throughout college as a student-athlete majoring in nursing, an intense and time-demanding undergraduate field of study, but also early in my career as a nurse at UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. Simply put, the Mercyhurst Prep experience is unparalleled in Northwestern Pennsylvania.  I am still drawing upon the many lessons I’ve learned at MPS.”

Laker Legend Philanthropy Award – Marquette Savings Bank

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Laker Legend Philanthropy Award: This award is presented by Mercyhurst Preparatory School administration to a person, family or business representing the true spirit of philanthropy in their support of the MPS vision and the Mercy charism to the benefit of our students and community.

Marquette Savings Bank is a longtime and generous friend to Mercyhurst Prep. Thanks to the bank’s loyal participation in the Pennsylvania EITC and OSTC tax credit programs hundreds of deserving MPS students have been able to attend Mercyhurst Prep when they otherwise may not have had the opportunity.

Marquette Savings Bank is the only locally headquartered bank in Erie County. As a community bank, every dollar stays here in the hometowns they serve to uniquely “Mpower™” individuals and families to prosper, businesses to succeed, communities to be better places, and employees to be their best.

In 2018 Marquette celebrated its 110-year anniversary, and fittingly, it was a year of great accomplishments.In its annual list of Best Banks to Work ForAmerican Banker Magazine ranked Marquette 37th in the nation. For the second year in a row Team Pennsylvania ranked Marquette Savings Bank as one of the Top 100 Places to Work in Pennsylvania.  Marquette is consistently ranked among the very best banks from $300 million to $1 billion, year after year.

Marquette is committed to addressing issues of education, housing, blight, and poverty. In Erie, the bank continued its $600,000 commitments to Our West Bayfront and to the Sisters of Saint Joseph Neighborhood Network. Marquette is also a leader with the Erie Downtown Development Corporation, committing $1.65 million to improve viability in Erie’s business district. Annually, the bank provides a $500,000 impact for nonprofit organizations in Erie and Crawford counties.

In all, Marquette’s commitments and investments to make our communities better places will positively change the trajectory of the City of Erie and surrounding communities.

The mission of Marquette Business Banking is to make a difference for local businesses. For the tenth consecutive year, Marquette Business Banking has enjoyed record-breaking growth.  Business customers cite the local decisions and the ability to respond quickly as reasons they find it easier to compete.

It is Marquette Savings Bank’s mission and duty to make a difference in our community. Whether it is Mpowering™families to purchase their first home, helping a local business realize its full potential or stepping up to make our communities better places, you will find Marquette taking the lead. Because, as they say, when it’s your hometown, it matters that much more.

Mercyhurst Prep is grateful for Marquette’s generous and caring contributions in our local community, most especially the scholarships provided to MPS students with true financial need.