2005 Alumni Award Recipients

Alumni Award For Outstanding Professional Achievement

This award is presented to an alumnus who has distinguished himself through exceptional professional achievement. We are pleased to present the 2005 award to Patrick J. O’Connor, Esq. ’64.  

Patrick J. O’Connor, Esq. ’64

Patrick comes from a large Irish family whose roots go deep in the Wyoming Valley . He is one of 12 children of Patrick and Helen O’Connor. His dad passed away much too early, so Helen worked hard to raise her clan, instilling in them her Catholic beliefs, the drive to succeed and the importance of serving their community. Six of the seven O’Connor brothers graduated from King’s College

After graduating magna cum laude with a B.A. in history and government, Patrick excelled at Villanova University , receiving a J.D. in 1967. He clerked for the Honorable Thomas Clary, Chief Judge of the US District Court of Pennsylvania. He served as an associate at Pepper, Hamilton and Scheetz for five years, before founding Cozen O’Connor in 1973. He is currently President and CEO of the full-service law firm with offices in 22 U.S. cities, London and a subsidiary in Toronto . The National Law Journal ranks the firm 73rd largest in the U.S. and largest in Philadelphia in 2004. It is also #5 as a Best Place to Work in PA. Patrick was named one of the top 100 lawyers in PA.

He is actively involved in many professional, civic and educational organizations. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the American Bar Association, a member of the Supreme Court of PA’s Committee on Rules of Evidence,  and a Mediator for the US District Court, Eastern District of PA. Pat is also the Chairmen of the Board of the Mellon Private Asset Management Mutual Funds.

Numerous community activities include International Board of the American Ireland Fund, Philadelphia Police Foundation Board, Philadelphia Children’s First Fund Board, member and former Chairperson of the Board of Consultors for Villanova University School of Law and Trustee of Temple University, former chairman of the Board of Trustees of College Misericordia and a former member of the Board of Directors of King’s College. 
In 2002 Patrick was honored with the Gerald Abraham Alumni Association Award for Service by the Villanova Law Alumni Association. He is married to Marie and they have four children, Lauren, Edwin, Kara and Paul.

In recognition of your exemplary professional success, your contributions to the legal profession, and in gratitude of your continued service to higher education in general and King’s College in particular, we present to you with esteem and appreciation, the Alumni Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement on this fourth day of June in the year of our Lord two thousand five, and from the founding of the College, the fifty-ninth.

The King's College Alumni Award for Service to Society

This award is conferred upon an alumnus/alumna who has distinguished himself/herself through selfless and caring personal commitment to benefit others. This year’s honoree is Erin Burke Cirelli, Esq.

Erin Burke Cirelli, Esq. '92

Erin received her B.A. in English in 1992 and received her J.D. from Seton Hall University School of Law in 1995, where she was a Miele Scholar and Biunno Scholar. While pursuing her studies, she volunteered at the Inmate Advocacy Clinic and Disability Law Clinic and provided pro bono services at the Hyacinth Aids Foundation. Upon graduation from Seton Hall Law, Erin received a pro bono service award and the Center for Social Justice Award.

Erin served as Law Clerk to the Hon. Michael Petrolle, J.S.C. Superior Court of New Jersey and volunteered as a mediator in small claims court and in landlord tenant maters. In 1996 she became a litigation attorney in the insurance defense department of Robert M. Sanderford. Currently she is a litigation attorney at Goetz Nicholas & Conchar. The firm serves as staff counsel to the St. Paul Insurance Companies.

When Erin began her career at Goetz Nichols & Conchar in 1998, she volunteered to be a Court Appointed Special Advocate for a 15 year old girl. This involved weekly visits with the child and meetings with teachers, guidance counselor, social workers and guardians. In May of 2002 was presented with an “Excellency in Advocacy” Award for her work.

In 1998 began the Adopt a Child holiday program at the firm. Originally her idea was for the employees to purchase Christmas gifts for needy foster children rather than the traditional office gift exchange. That year presents were bought for 15 children. Erin said she thought they had done a great job until she realized how many children are in the foster care system in Essex County . Each year since then the program has expanded. They begin in August soliciting gifts from the employees of the firm, St. Paul Company employees, and several community organizations. It all culminates in a Christmas party for the youngest of the children.  Last year they served over 425 children. There are over 3,000 children in Essex County Foster Care and her goal is to have a Christmas present for every child. King’s College believes you will succeed.

Erin is married to Dino, and they were blessed with their first child, John, just 5 months ago.

Erin , your dedication to brightening the world of the youngest among us serves as a clear message to all. With esteem, affection and great admiration, we present to you the King’s College Alumni Award for Service to Society on this, the fourth day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand and five and from the founding of the college, the fifty-ninth.  

The Robert J. Ell Alumni Award For Outstanding Service to Alma Mater

Named for Robert J. Ell ’50, the first Director of Alumni relations, who served in that position until his retirement in 1991, this award is conferred upon an alumnus/alumna for extraordinary service, dedication and commitment to King’s College. One of this year’s recipients is not only a good friend to King’s College, but he is a good friend to Bob Ell as well.

Elmer "Tippy" Kozick '50

Elmer Kozick, better known as “Tippy”, served 3 years in the US Navy, including time in the Pacific Theatre during WWII. He attended Villanova University on a football scholarship in 1946, but then transferred to King’s College and King’s is glad he did. At King’s, Tippy played quarterback and was named captain of the football team. He was elected Vice President of the Class of 1950, the first graduating class, and earned a B.S. in Business Administrating/Accounting. He worked as a manufacturer’s representative for Marrison Steel until 1978 and then began his own business, retiring in 1988.

For 55 years Tippy remained an active member of the Alumni Association. With classmate John Engle, Tippy initiated the annual Basketball and Football Classic games securing local businesses as sponsors. He chaired the Alumni Golf Tournament at Wyoming Valley Country Club for many years, served as chairman of the Wilkes-Barre Alumni Association, and was a member of the Monogram Club. He is a long time member of the Women’s Basketball and the Men’s Red and Gold Clubs. He chaired his class’s 50th Reunion and Co-chaired this 55th Reunion for his class. For many years he could be found either collecting the money at the door or serving up hot dogs and wimpies during the annual Alumni Flea Market. He has volunteered at every Alumni Phonathon since 1975.

The greater Wyoming Valley also found a friend and dedicated community volunteer. He is a former chairman of the Wilkes-Barre Industrial Development Authority and former chairman of the Wilkes-Barre General Municipal Authority. For over 50 years he served the American Legion and the Knights of Columbus , where he is a 3rd Degree Knight. On many an evening and weekend, Tippy wore the black and white uniform of a PIAA referee before he retired as both a football and basketball official.

Tippy is an active member of St Therese’s Parish where he serves as an acolyte, lector and usher. Dorie and Tippy have shared a loving marriage for 56 years, and together they raised three children, Sandi, Patti and Richard. Now they are enjoying their six grandchildren.

For the years of service and dedication to King’s College and its alumni, we present to you the Robert J. Ell Alumni Award for Outstanding Service to Alma Mater on this fourth day of June in the year of our Lord two thousand five and from the founding of the College, the fifty-ninth.

Sadly, Tippy passed away on August 8, 2005. He is deeply missed.

The Robert J. Ell Alumni Award For Outstanding Service to Alma Mater

Named for Robert J. Ell ’50, the first Director of Alumni Relations, who served in that position until his retirement in 1991, this award is conferred upon an alumnus/alumna for extraordinary service, dedication and commitment to King’s College.

Lucy Wujcik Baloga '75

Lucy Wujcik Baloga ’75 graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Psychology and teacher certification. She received an M.ED. in Counselor Education from Pennsylvania State University in 1978, an MA in Psychology from Marywood University in1984, became a Certified School Psychologist in 1985, a PA Licensed Psychologist in 1987 and an NBCC Nationally Certified Counselor in 1983. With all those degrees from other institutions of higher learning, her loyalty remains with King’s.

Lucy completed her 27th year as a School Counselor, serving first at Tunkhannock Area School District , and then at Hanover Area School District . She put her advanced degrees to good use, maintaining a private practice as a consulting psychologist and as a disability examiner for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania . Lucy is a member of the several local and national Psychological, Counseling and Education Associations. She is a unit representative of the Luzerne County Counselor’s Association, where she served two terms as president.

In the community Lucy was awarded the 1985 American Business Women’s Association Wyoming Valley Chapter Community Woman of the Year. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Child Development Council, former board member of the Association for Retarded Citizens and Co-Founder of the Wyoming Area Special Olympics. Lucy served as the Pennsylvania Head Track and Field Coach of the National Special Olympic Games in 1973. She currently wears the black and white uniform of an official of the Wyoming Valley PIAA Track and Field, serving as their secretary since 1995. An active member of Holy Redeemer parish, Lucy volunteered 13 years as a CCD teacher and is a weekly lector.

Soon after graduation she answered the call of one of her classmates to volunteer at the Annual Alumni Phonathon. Every year since, she has volunteered, serving as either section or class chair. In 1994 she became the Chairperson, raising $365, 693, a record at that time. Lucy is an advocate for a King’s College education, continually reminding her fellow counselors that the jewel of higher learning in Northeastern Pennsylvania is her Alma Mater.
Lucy met John in a freshman economics class of Professor Russ Singer. They have one son, Christopher, currently attending King’s.

For the years of service and advocacy for King’s College, we present to you the Robert J. Ell Alumni Award for Outstanding Service to Alma Mater on this fourth day of June in the year of our Lord two thousand five and from the founding of the College, the fifty-ninth.

The Leo Award

The Leo Award is named for the King’s College mascot. It is awarded to a graduate of the last 15 years and suggests the energy, pride and sense of purpose, which the recipient personifies. This year’s recipient, J.J. Murphy, captures all three of these elements in his personal, professional and military life.  

J.J. Murphy '93

J.J. graduated in 1993 with a B.A. in Political Science, received a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Marywood University and is a member of Alpha Phi Sigma, the National Criminal Justice Honor Society

After graduation J.J. worked as a legal assistant for the Department of State in Harrisburg , and then was appointed Special Assistant to the Mayor of Wilkes-Barre in 1996. J.J. joined the Air Force in 1997. One of his first assignments was serving as a recruiter at our sister school, the University of Notre Dame He was base spokesperson and leader of the public affairs staff for Vandenberg Air Force Base, California , and later was assigned to the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center in Virginia . He was the unit’s primary public affairs representative during the September 11th attacks. From February 2003 to March 2004 he was mobilized as an Air Force Reservist in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

In civilian life J.J. served 18 months as the Deputy City Administrator for the City of Wilkes-Barre and also as a special liaison to the area colleges.  In that capacity he hired three King’s College students as interns. One of the initiatives he worked on included the closing of North Franklin Street for Monarch Court . In January 2004 J.J. was named City Administrator by the new Mayor, Thomas Leighton, King’s College Class of 1982.

Whether dressed for military or civil service, J.J. continually strives to do his best for the citizens of his community. Military Honors include the Air Force Achievement Medal in 1998, the 2001 Volunteer of the Year Award, the Air Force Commendation Medal in 2000, 2003, and 2004. In 2001 he founded the GOALS Foundation and serves as President. GOALS is dedicated to assisting children afford youth sports programs. Currently he is head coach for the Pittston Area High School Varsity Ice Hockey team. He has volunteered over 3,000 hours including coaching, tutoring, refereeing, training hockey officials, and coordinating visits to multiple Veterans Administration hospitals. JJ is a member of AmVets, Italian American Veterans, Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Knights of Columbus.  

J.J. and Colleen Mulroy Murphy ‘94 have 4 daughters, Katie, Erin, Emma and Ryan.

With esteem and affection, with best wishes for future success, we present to you the Leo Award on this fourth day of June in the year of our Lord two thousand five and from the founding of the College, the fifty-ninth.

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