Together We Discover Event Celebrates Research, Innovation and Creativity

Merrimack College held a celebration in early May for the ongoing and innovative research being performed on campus and the generous investments by benefactors who keep that research going.
Merrimack News

Dr. Laurence M. Demers ’60, H’11 and Susan Demers ’62, The Anthony and Gladys Sakowich Charitable Foundation, along with James C. Zampell ’75 and Christine M. Zampell ’75, were honored for their continuing support of research at the College. The celebration, attended by more than 100 guests, included interactive demonstrations and briefings on current research being done by leading professors and students in The Casey Family Engineering Innovation Center located within the Mendel Science Center.

“I am proud to be here at an institution that does such good for so many, and that attracts such thoughtful and giving people as yourselves,” said President Christopher E. Hopey, Ph.D. “Your support means so much every day.”

Dr. Demers is a distinguished professor emeritus of pathology and medicine at Penn State College of Medicine and a former chairman of Merrimack’s Board of Trustees. Susan Demers is a former chemist for Raytheon. They established the Laurence M. Demers Professorship in Life Sciences to support scholar-researchers, which is currently held by Associate Professor of Biology Charlotte Berkes, Ph.D.

“The Sakowich name has become legendary on campus through the Sakowich Campus Center, endowed scholarships and many gifts that have improved student life,” Hopey said. Their foundation’s newest legacy includes significant endowments to create an undergraduate research center and a scholarship.

Senior Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations Sara Jane Brazda announced that Delia Cormier ’22 is the first recipient of the Anthony and Gladys Sakowich Foundation Endowed Scholarship, established with a $1 million endowment. The scholarship is awarded to students from the Merrimack Valley and New Hampshire Lakes Region and/or those who have enjoyed the services of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Cormier, of Laconia (New Hampshire) High School, who is president of her senior class, took part in extracurricular activities such as track, cross-country, and basketball, was named female athlete of the season, was homecoming queen, and carried a 3.9 grade point average. She will enter Merrimack this fall as a civil engineering major.

The Anthony J. Sakowich Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities will give students and faculty on-campus summer research experiences across all disciplines. The program promotes scholarly collaboration between students and faculty from mid-May to mid-July.

Jim and Christine Zampell are the founders of Zampell, an industrial manufacturing organization that specializes in engineering and construction of refractories, insulation, and scaffolding, as well as facilities maintenance and management in the commercial sector. Christine Zampell is a former trustee of Merrimack, and together she and Jim are vice chairs of the College’s Together for Good Campaign. On top of their generous scholarship endowments, they have endowed Merrimack’s first faculty fellowship program, The Zampell Family Faculty Fellowship, which will provide $50,000 annually in perpetuity.

Zampell Fellowships offer professional development opportunities in the form of grants to pursue research, writing, conferences, special equipment and opportunities to grow student collaborations and research. The five inaugural Zampell Family Faculty Fellows for the 2017–18 year were on hand to meet the Zampells, including: Sadegh Asgari, assistant professor of civil engineering; Isabelle Cherney, dean, School of Education and Social Policy; Anne Gatling, associate professor of education; Amelia Mallona, assistant professor of education; and James Kaklamanos, assistant professor of civil engineering.

For Brazda, the evening shined a spotlight on the generosity of Merrimack’s alumni and friends. “This amazing support allowsfaculty and students to conduct original research and creates a plethora of experiential learning opportunities for students. It also rewards faculty for their research efforts and contributes to a growth in the intellectual vibrancy of our community—ultimately enhancing the value of a Merrimack education,” said Brazda. 

Hopey used the opportunity to report that the Together for Good Campaign—the largest fundraising effort in Merrimack’s history, with a goal of $50 million—has now raised more than $49 million in total, including more than $20 million since its 2016 public launch.

“Thanks in large part to partners like those we honor tonight, Merrimack has reached new heights,” Hopey said. “And thanks to you, we know we can climb even higher, achieve even more, and shine even brighter.”


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