Chestnut Hill College annually presents the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Achievement Award to a graduate who has a history of accomplishments in their business or profession or in civic, philanthropic, or volunteer activities. In addition, the Eleanore Dolan Egan '28 Award for Outstanding Service is given to a graduate in recognition of her or his commitment to the College through the Alumni Association.
This year's recipients were Kathleen Shea Pié '87, '92 SGS, who received the Eleanore Dolan Egan '28 Award, and Ritamarie Moscola, M.D., M.P.H. '78, who received the Distinguished Achievement Award.
Although she didn’t know it when she graduated from Chestnut Hill College and went on to earn several more degrees, certifications and numerous awards — Ritamarie Moscola, M.D., M.P.H., ’78 learned just about everything she needed for life at the school on the hill.
“It has taken me a whole career to put together what I learned at CHC,” she says. “When I left, it was hard to go from a liberal arts atmosphere to a ‘memorize-this’ world. And now I can talk about philosophy, spiritualty and speak Spanish, a language I have often needed, and so much more, because of Chestnut Hill College.”
She sees the whole of her life as a ministry, one in which her work in medicine has joined her painting and musical skills, all under the auspices of a Catholic education and the teachings of Catholic social justice. She tells the story of Saint Rita, a peacekeeper, who sat with the dying, and of Saint Therese, The Little Flower, who espoused the belief that we humans are right where we are supposed to be in our lives — right where God has put us. And she appreciates the connections between her learning at Chestnut Hill College, these women and her life’s work.
Moscola earned her M.D. from the Pennsylvania State University and her M.P.H. from Johns Hopkins University. After completing the post-baccalaureate certificate program at the Maryland Institute College of Art, she began to integrate her painting, drawing and multi-media artistic skills with her healing profession.
Today, as the Service Line Manager for Geriatrics and Extended Care at the Veteran’s Administration Medical Center in Manchester, N.H., Dr. Moscola, the geriatrician and hospice physician, is the medical director of the facility’s inpatient and outpatient programs. Dr. Ritamarie, the artist and musician, considers her art a true ministry to help women in shelters, teen groups and hospice patients — integrating all of her roles in her work and in her life.
Responding to a request from her future mother-in-law to help with a college fundraiser, Kathen Shea Pié ventured onto the path of volunteerism for the College as a freshman and hasn’t looked back to this day. Pié went on to make calls and stuff envelopes for the Annual Fund and gave tours to prospective students as well as hosting high school students who wanted to attend a class and stay overnight. Her grandmother, Mae Renzulli, who worked in the Office of Alumni Relations for 20 years, also encouraged her efforts by volunteering her services often. “Volunteering just became a part of my CHC experience,” said Pié.
Pié worked on the yearbook staff and was its editor for two years. As an English major, with a minor in Communications, she also helped out with the tutoring club. Later, she served for several years as secretary of the Alumni Association Board of Directors and for several more as a member-at-large during the sometimes challenging era that saw the revision of the Bylaws and the move to becoming a coed institution.
Today, Pié, who earned her master’s degree in elementary education from CHC, teaches 8th grade language arts in Wilmington, Del., and fans the flame of volunteerism in her four sons through work with their parish and in various ways throughout the community. “In all areas of life, if you’re enjoying what you’re doing, you do it well.”
She calls her experience as a student a major turning point and life-defining experience. “I got an outstanding education, made wonderful, lifelong friends and gained a great husband and extended family.” She is thrilled that she continues to live close enough to the College to participate as fully as possible. These days that participation continues to include working at Reunion, which she helped organize and ran every year for more than a decade. “It was a great way to give back to the school and stay in touch with friends who were all moving to different areas — before the era of Facebook,” she remembers. “And I loved doing it!”
Before College staff were assigned to plan and manage Reunion, volunteers pretty much ran the show. Pié came in weeks in advance to set up room reservations and the dining hall, along with all the myriad little details that go into a successful event. The group of volunteers she worked with became so close that she never considered avoiding the work, even after the College’s Office of Institutional Advancement hired staff to do the bulk of the planning.
“I love working the registration desk and finding out where everyone is coming from,” she says. “That’s a lot of fun. And believe it or not, I love trouble-shooting. Along with Kathleen Quigley Grimm (Class of ’87) … if there’s a room issue, we like to fix it. Adding a last-minute guest to a specific table at the luncheon? We’ll handle it.”
Even though she moves from registration desk to other areas of responsibility throughout the weekend, she still manages to attend the dinner, the barbecue and other events. “And I love to stand at the back of the room and listen to Sister Carol’s speech and watch the award recipients.”