Father Rodgers among honorees for Alvernia Franciscan Award

Father Philip Rodgers, pastor of St. Benedict, Mohnton, was among honorees who received the Franciscan Award – the university’s top honor – Oct. 13 at the annual President’s Dinner of Alvernia University, Reading.

Father Rodgers received the award along with Elsayed Elmarzouky and Rabbi Brian Michelson.

The Franciscan Award honors individuals who selflessly give of their time, talents and resources for the betterment of others, and is presented for exceptional service to the university, the community and an individual’s profession.

Father Rodgers, Elmarzouky and Rabbi Michelson earned the award for their work in founding “A Common Heart.”

St. Benedict, the Reform Congregation Oheb Sholom and the Islamic Center of Reading established “A Common Heart” to celebrate the similarities of each faith while respecting differences.

“Together, these three men work to foster meaningful relationships among community members of differing faiths and backgrounds – something that is truly integrated into Alvernia’s mission,” said President Dr. Thomas Flynn, who presented the awards.

Other honorees were alumna Mary Lou Kline, Ellen Frei Gruber Award; Kevin DeAcosta, Distinguished Alumni Award; and East Penn Manufacturing Co. Inc., Pro Urbe Award.

Kline, Class of 1981, was honored for outstanding service and support of the university’s mission, though a long history of volunteerism with the Alvernia Alumni Association and a number of community organizations.

DeAcosta, Class of 2000, was recognized as the alumni who demonstrates the valuable contributions to their professions, community and nation. As president of the Highlands of Wyomissing, DeAcosta serves on the Board of Directors for Dayspring Home Inc., and the Muhlenberg Soccer Association. He also volunteers as a tutor for the United Way of Berks County’s “Ready. Set. Read” program.

The Pro Urbe Award is presented to an organization that performs significant community service and contributes to a higher standard of living in Berks County and surrounding communities. East Penn Manufacturing, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary, continues to grow through continuous investment in its people, their families, and the local organizations that help support them.