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Duquesne University Recognizes Mind, Heart and Spirit Award Recipients

Duquesne University honored 10 distinguished alumni recipients of its Mind, Heart and Spirit Awards with a reception and dinner on campus on Tuesday, Nov. 27.

The awards are a partnership between Duquesne and the Pittsburgh Steelers Radio Network. The team’s founder, the late Arthur J. Rooney Sr.; his son, Chairman Dan Rooney; and grandson and President Art Rooney II are all notable Duquesne alumni.

The Mind, Heart and Spirit Award emphasizes the five pillars of Duquesne’s mission—academic excellence, moral and spiritual values, ecumenism, service and world concerns. One recipient is recognized at each Steelers exhibition and regular season home game. Honorees receive game tickets, their names are displayed on Heinz Field’s Jumbotron scoreboard, and recipients are mentioned in Duquesne’s Steelers radio broadcast advertisements.

The 2007 Mind, Heart and Spirit Award winners include:

Patrick J. Molyneaux, Mount Lebanon, Business 1987
Moral and Spiritual Values
A partner in a family-owned floor covering business, Molyneaux was honored for building the Catholic Men’s Fellowship (CMF) program in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. As co-executive director, Molyneaux has organized scores of parish-based fellowships in which men gain a greater understanding of their Catholic faith and how to apply its principles to the challenges they face in their daily lives. CMF also organizes an annual conference that draws thousands of men to the Palumbo Center for speakers and worship.

Dr. Vincent J. Morreale, Gibsonia, Arts 1989
Moral and Spiritual Values
After earning a degree in social communications, Morreale went on to study chiropractic medicine and now owns and operates a thriving Pittsburgh practice. His strong work ethic, steadfast family values and selfless community involvement testify to the bedrock principles the Catholic faith imparts and Duquesne seeks to extend. Morreale actively supports Christian Sports International, Christian radio station WORD-FM and Catholic education at all levels, including North Catholic High School and Duquesne University.

Ingrid Kanics, New Castle, Graduate Health Sciences 2001
Kanics was permanently disabled by an accident while training to become an Army medic. Having previously served as a church volunteer and health care worker, she found a new healing vocation in the field of occupational therapy. Her Duquesne class project—integrating therapeutic exercises with children’s play—grew into a national movement that is revolutionizing the profession. She is vice president at Pittsburgh’s Center for Creative Play.

Gary R. Ritter, Etna, Business 1985
Ritter owns and operates a Pittsburgh-area funeral home and led recovery efforts in Sharpsburg and Carnegie after the floods caused by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Last year, he spearheaded a plan to rebuild a devastated park in Carnegie. Marshaling forces ranging from the Carnegie Action Network to Home Depot employees and the Duquesne University Volunteers, Ritter helped to assemble a small army of workers that installed thousands of dollars worth of donated playground equipment in just six hours.

John A. Gannon Jr., North Hills, Business 1964
Gannon is a retired vice president with Mellon Financial Corp. Together with his college buddy and fellow honoree George D’Angelo, Gannon has spent much of the past five years traveling around the world and meeting with religious leaders to promote the United Nations International Day of Peace. His tireless efforts have enhanced interfaith understanding and dialogue, and have inspired millions to join in mediation and prayer.

Samuel Spanos, Sewickley, Business 1980
A vice president with Merrill Lynch in its Beaver, Pa., office, Spanos is active in the Greek Orthodox Church and is helping Duquesne establish a Center for Eastern Christian Studies that will provide new opportunities for interfaith teaching and research.

Linda B. Hippert, Ed.D., Upper St. Clair, Graduate Education 1997
Academic Excellence
Hippert is a graduate of Duquesne’s Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program for Educational Leaders and now serves as an adjunct professor in the School of Leadership and Professional Advancement. For the past 10 years, she has been the superintendent of the South Fayette School District in McDonald, Pa. During her tenure, South Fayette students have exceeded all proficiency standards and have consistently scored among the highest in Pennsylvania’s required academic achievement exams.

Susan M. Simmers, Green Tree, Graduate Arts 1992
Academic Excellence
Simmers is a science teacher at Beechwood Elementary School in the Pittsburgh Public School District. She was recognized for developing innovative, hands-on exercises that teach very young children scientific facts while encouraging their natural curiosity. Her methods help students to become more engaged and interested in science, preparing them for further study and perhaps even scientific careers. Simmers’ work was also honored with a 2007 Carnegie Science Center Award for Excellence in Education.

Anthony W. Accamando Jr., Eighty-Four, Arts 1966
World Concerns
Accamando served in the Army during the Vietnam War, witnessing the ravages wrought upon an already impoverished nation. He later founded Friends of Da Nang, which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to build schools and clinic,s and to provide medical treatment for the poor and injured left behind. A retired Adelphia executive, he also worked tirelessly to help fellow Vietnam veterans find jobs in the cable industry.

George D’Angelo, Ph.D., Mount Washington, Arts 1965
World Concerns
A retired Air Force Colonel who flew fighter jets in Vietnam, D’Angelo remained in the military until 1990 as a military-political officer. After retirement, he worked with the U.S. Agency for International Development and the United Nations. He was the principal coordinator and founder of the UN-sponsored International Day of Peace, which promotes worldwide spiritual observances supporting nonviolence and harmony on Sept. 21 of each year.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.