Spring Hill recognizes alumni at Homecoming on the Hill

Tue, 04/16/2013 - 1:45pm

MOBILE, Ala. – Spring Hill College alumni Paul Cussen, class of 1989; Marshal Darryl McPherson, class of 1997; and Gina Pambianchi, class of 2011, were honored on Saturday, April 13 as a part of the college’s Homecoming on the Hill celebration.

Paul Cussen ’89

Ignatian Award – recognizes those alumni who dedicate their lives to upholding the ideals self forth by St. Ignatius Loyola through selfless acts of humanitarianism to make differences in the lives of others.

After earning his degree from Spring Hill in 1989, Cussen returned home to Cincinnati, where worked as an appraiser in the county auditor’s office. In 1990, he married Spring Hill alumna Peggy Fink ’89, and in 1993 the couple moved to Chicago. For the past 20 years, Cussen has worked for the National Bureau of Property Administration, a consulting firm handling property tax issues for manufacturing companies throughout the U.S. He now serves as the company’s executive vice president.

Since 2005, Cussen has dedicated his time to volunteering with METROsquash. The organization’s mission is to use the game squash, education, mentoring, cultural enrichment and community service to empower under-served Chicago Public School students to realize their full academic, athletic and personal potential. He has served on the executive board for six years and chairs the program committee, working with staff to improve the program and student experience. He recently assumed the role as chairman of the board and continues to help the organization with its expansion, as they now serve more 125 students in the area. For the past seven years, he has mentored two METROsquash students. This summer the Cussens will take four students to El Salvador to compete in a squash tournament.

Cussen is a fervent supporter of Spring Hill College alumni events in the Chicago area and organized the alumni golf tournament in Chicago for several years. He has served as president of the National Alumni Association and served as a member of the National Advisory Board for six years.

Darryl McPherson ’97

Gautrelet Award – presented to an individual of high integrity who has demonstrated outstanding professional achievement. The award was established in honor of Rev. Francis Gautrelet, S.J., the first Jesuit president of Spring Hill College.

After graduating from Spring Hill in 1997 with a degree in political science, McPherson served for two years as a deputy U.S. marshal in the Southern District of Alabama (Mobile). For 13 years, he served with the U.S. Marshals Service in Chicago, where he began as a deputy U.S. marshal and was later promoted to a judicial security inspector. In 2010, McPherson was sworn in as the U.S. marshal for the Northern District of Illinois. He was one of the founders of the Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force, which combines law enforcement resources throughout the Northern District of Illinois to apprehend violent fugitive offenders.

Under McPherson’s leadership, the agency participates in numerous volunteer initiatives that encourage community involvement and promote positive interaction between the public and law enforcement, including the United States Marshal Shadow Program, Just the Beginning Foundation, Readers and Leaders Program, and the Special Olympics. McPherson led the effort to form a national partnership between the U.S. Marshals Service and the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation’s Badges for Baseball program, a juvenile crime prevention initiative.

As a volunteer host for Safe Families for Children, McPherson and his family offer their home as a sanctuary where parents can safely place their children in times of need. He is also involved in the Union League Boys & Girls Club, where he has served as chair of the security advisory committee, merging his professional skills with his passion for volunteering. McPherson has received the “From the Heart Award” for his ongoing commitment to the work of the Union League Boys & Girls Club.

Gina Pambianchi ’11

Karopczyc Award – Named in remembrance of Lt. Stephen E.  Karopczyc, class of 1965, a Medal of Honor recipient killed during service in the Vietnam War, the award acknowledges young alumnus for outstanding service to the college or community.

Pambianchi graduated from Spring Hill with a degree in biology/pre-med in 2011. During her four years at Spring Hill, she was a members of the women’s tennis team, Phi Sigma Tau (International Honor Society in Philosophy), and Beta Beta Beta (National Honor Society in Biology). Pambianchi was also very active in the college’s International Service Immersion Program (ISIP), acting as a student leader twice out of the four times she served abroad. She volunteered as an English tutor and at the San Francisco de Assisi Clinica in Managua, Nicaragua for three months, at 15 Place Homeless Day Center in downtown Mobile, and at the Little Tree Preschool.

After graduating, Pambianchi was accepted into the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. She was placed in Belize City, where she teaches remedial reading to first- through third-graders at St. Martin de Porres Primary School and serves as the school’s librarian. She started a group at St. Martin in which the girls discuss self-esteem, watch documentaries, and talk about their lives in Belize. As the end of her two-year commitment to JVC approaches, Pambianchi is considering staying an additional year to become more immersed in the Belizean culture.