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Gannon Announces Members to Board of Trustees, National Alumni Board

Published: 09/01/2020

The Gannon Arch

The Gannon Arch

Gannon University is honored to have welcomed new members to its Board of Trustees and National Alumni Board.

Elisabeth “Betsy” R. Monsalve ’70VMC and Howard Ward, Ph.D., joined the Board of Trustees, effective July 2020. In addition to welcoming new members, Gannon celebrated the 20 years of service of a departing trustee, Thomas J. Loftus ’56, ’74M.

Gannon’s Alumni Association also welcomed its newest members to the National Alumni Board. The following individuals will begin their three-year term in the fall:

  • Janae Butler ’11 resides in Erie, Pa. and is the communications specialist for the Erie City Public School District.

  • Sidney Coupet, D.O. ’02 is the chief medical officer and physician at Coupet Quality Clinic.

  • Bill Nacopoulos ’04, ’07M, also an Erie, Pa. resident, is an insurance producer for Great Lakes Insurance.

The National Alumni Board also saw members transition into new leadership positions. Aaron Susmarski ’09 will lead the board as president after serving as board director since 2017 and vice president since 2018. Rebecca Erwin-Cohen ’90 will now serve as vice president after holding position of secretary. Kelly (Fennessy) Meredith ’08 will fill the role of secretary.


The Alumni Association is grateful for the service and leadership of two of its outgoing members including Hannah Kirby ’10, ’11M, who served on the board for seven years, most recently as president, and Danielle King ’16, who served for three years.


Gannon President Keith Taylor, Ph.D., shared his appreciation and best wishes to these new and departing members.


“I can’t thank these terrific alumni and friends of Gannon University enough for the dedication and service to our students, faculty and staff, alumni and our entire University community,” Taylor said. “It is their incredible service and heart for Gannon that makes this community so very special and makes it possible for us all to fully engage in the Gannon experience in the hope of transforming our lives and the lives of others for years to come.”


About our Board of Trustees appointees:
Elisabeth “Betsy” R. Monsalve ’70VMC currently serves as a director at McManis & Monsalve Associates of Erie.


Monsalve began her professional career as a member of multidisciplinary primary care teams in some of the early health maintenance organizations in cities such as Detroit, Philadelphia and San Diego. In 1976, she joined the faculty of Arizona State University College of Nursing to prepare family practitioners, becoming one of the first certified nurse practitioners in the country.


Monsalve became an occupational health nurse with Kerr McGee Chemical Corporation. She soon became one of a few practitioners to transform her nursing background to become certified in industrial environmental protection with her company during the decade following the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Monsalve offers her volunteer services to the Erie Rotary Club and the Our West Bayfront.

Monsalve graduated from Villa Maria College of Nursing in 1970. She earned her master’s degree in nursing from Wayne State University in 1972. Monsalve received the Gannon University Distinguished Alumni Award in 2016.

Howard Ward, Ph.D. is the associate vice president of auxiliary services at Rochester Institute of Technology. Ward manages an $82 million annual budget and 208 employees who oversee 21 dining locations, 7,000 student housing units, a gallery, store and field house.

Ward graduated from Albion High School in Albion, N.Y. as a star football player and went on to become a successful lineman for Mount Union College where he received a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1976. Ward’s talents extended to his son, Mathew Ward ’09, a Gannon alumnus and football standout for the Golden Knights who also shared his love for the University and students as a staff member in residence life.

Ward received a master’s degree in college student personnel services and doctoral degree in higher education and higher education administration.

Ward’s 39 years of experience working for colleges and universities including Bowling Green University, Ohio Northern University and RIT in the areas of residence life, student affairs, community relations and advancement will be a tremendous asset to the Board.

Ward is on the board of Al Sigl Center for Rehabilitation Agencies, Inc. and leads a non-denominational spiritual study group at RIT. He leads discussions and forums on racial diversity and has led more than 500 diversity seminars and forums across the country.

About our departing Board of Trustee member:

Thomas J. Loftus ’56, ’74M was elected to Gannon University’s Board of Trustees in May 1999 and has served on a number of standing committees of the Board including the Executive Committee (2000-2013), the Enrollment Committee (chair, 2000-2013), the Committee on Trustees (2002-2020), the Presidential Evaluation Committee (2005-2020), and the Academic Affairs Committee (2004-2020). The University is grateful to Loftus for his incredible work as a Board member throughout these years.

Loftus has received a number of notable recognitions and awards. In 1996, he was named a Distinguished Pennsylvanian by Gannon University. He received the Innovation Award from Lord Corp. in 1997 and the Distinguished Alumni Award from Gannon in 2002. He was also the December Commencement Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipient in 2009.

Loftus is an Erie, Pa. native and 1952 graduate of Cathedral Preparatory School. He completed two years of pre- engineering at Gannon before receiving a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Detroit in 1957. He earned his MBA from Gannon in 1974. Loftus is the retired senior vice president of Lord Corp. and general manager of the Mechanical Division.

All media inquiries can be made by contacting Doug Oathout, Chief of Staff and Director of Marketing and Communications, at (814) 871-7470 or