STEUBENVILLE -Officials, staff, alumni and students at Franciscan University of Steubenville took time during a busy homecoming weekend to honor seven graduates of the school for their outstanding professional accomplishments and service to the church and community.
Accepting awards at the school's 25th Annual Alumni Awards Banquet Friday were the Rev. Michael Gaitley, MIC 1999, recipient of the Bishop John King Mussio Award for Faithful Service to the Church; Adam Tate, a 1994 alumnus and recipient of the Dr. John J. Carrigg Award for education; Col. Laurence Burgess, 1969 alumnus and recipient of the Alumni Citizenship Award; John Fischer, a 1983 graduate and recipient of the Rose M. DeFede Faithful Franciscan Award; Dr. David Born, a 1992 graduate and recipient of the Father Dan Egan Award for healthcare; Albert "Ray" Challis, a 1967 alumnus and recipient of the Professor Edward J. Kelly Award for business; and Aaron Cunningham, a 2007 graduate and recipient of the Outstanding Young Alumni Award.
While at Franciscan University, Born served as coordinator and council representative for the In His Image household his junior and senior years, was treasurer for the Society of Biology Majors his junior year and participated in the orientation team and intramural sports.
He also was named to the Baconian Honor and Alpha Chi honor societies.
Born went on to the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and University of Cincinnati Family Practice Residency, receiving the Gross Anatomy Award for Excellence and the Margaret C. Vogel Humanitarian Award.
While in medical school, he was honor council student representative, a leader of the Christian Medical Fellowship and member of a committee that created and implemented a new practice management curriculum and a procedure committee that developed a tracking system. He served as chief resident his last year, supporting, directing, and problem-solving for other residents.
Since 1999, Born has worked at Cherry Westgate Family Practice In Granville, Ohio and has been a partner in the practice since 2001. Since 2003, he has served as medical director for Heartbeats of Licking County Pregnancy Care Center. He lives in Newark, Ohio.
A native of New York, Fischer was a member of the Theophilus household and Alpha Phi Delta fraternity. He was president of the fraternity when it was named chapter of the year and represented it at a New York gathering. He also worked as a photographer for the Baronette yearbook and the public relations office.
As a certified public accountant, Fischer created accounting software for the automotive aftermarket for a small Wintersville business. When it was purchased by a Pittsburgh firm, Fischer spent the next few years working out of Pittsburgh until the company was sold again.
Fischer went on to start his own business, Signal Software Corporation, in 1992 and co-founded another automobile aftermarket software company, OpenWebs Corporation, in 2000. There he served as vice president of sales until the company was acquired by the international firm, MAM Software, in 2002.
A Steubenville resident, Fischer and his wife Susan, a fellow Franciscan graduate, have assisted with the university's marriage preparation program on finances, and he has sat on its alumni board since 2009 as a member of the reunion committee. He has also served on the Holy Rosary school board, the Diocese of Steubenville cathedral planning commission and the cathedral finance committee.
Cunningham graduated from Franciscan University summa cum laude and in three years. Despite his heavy courseload, he was an active member of the Soldiers Under Command household and worked as a resident assistant in St. Francis Hall for two years and in the Franciscan University summer conferences office.
He went on to earn a master's degree at Chicago's Loyola University, graduating with a 4.0 grade point average and High Dean's Honors.
A certified chartered alternative investment analyst, Cunningham has been named "one of 15 professionals under 30 to watch in New York City," served as data editor and director of research and analytics for Pensions and Investments, a leading financial industry publication and was a global data analyst for Bloomberg L.P., where he was part of the team that developed comparative valuation analytics.
Cunningham has served as a junior board member for the Big Shoulders Fund in Chicago and the Inner-City Scholarship Fund in New York, teaching financial principles to inner-city youth.
Gaitley, MIC, began at Franciscan University 15-year process of study and formation that eventually led to priestly ordination for the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. He went on to earned both his master's in theology and licentiate in moral theology and was ordained in 2010, at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass, where he lives.
Known for his writing and speaking on the message of divine mercy, Gaitley has co-hosted EWTN's Divine Mercy Sunday live broadcast and is author of "Consoling the Heart of Christ," "33 Days to Morning Glory" and "The 'One Thing' is Three."
Before he was ordained, he was chosen to become Father Joseph, MIC, the honorary title for the director of the Association of Marian Helpers, a spiritual benefit society with 1.5 million members worldwide. As director of the association, he launched a new initiative for parish-based faith renewal called Hearts Afire, which has reached more than 10,000 Catholics across the country.
Three weeks after starting at the former College of Steubenville, where he studied political science and philosophy, in 1965, Burgess joined the U.S. Marine Corps' Platoon Leader Class, taking on the program's requirements on top of his class load and his role as manager for the nationally ranked Baron basketball team.
The Virginia native served as a class student council representative all four years and was interfraternity council president his senior year. He also served as a resident assistant and member of the Alph Chi Rho fraternity.
He attended Officer Candidates School at Quantico Marine Corps Base the summer between his junior and senior years and was commissioned a second lieutenant upon graduation in 1969. Burgess served around the globe, including Vietnam, Korea, Japan, and the Soviet Union.
While with the Marine Corps, Burgess graduated with distinction from numerous military colleges, including the National Defense University, the Marine Corps Command and Staff College and the Post Graduate Intelligence Program at the Defense Intelligence College.
Since retiring from active duty in 1995, he has served in several intelligence positions, including deputy director for military support for the National Reconnaissance Office and deputy undersecretary of defense in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and is a member of the CIA Senior Intelligence Service.
Born in England to a British father and American mother, Challis moved to Pennsylvania as a young child. He also studied political science at the university while entering the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps, attending Officer Candidates School over the summer and receiving his commission after graduation.
He still found time to join the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, intramural sports and service as class representative his freshman year, class president his sophomore year, and member of the interfraternity council.
His naval career took him around the world, and since leaving active duty in 1971, Challis has built a successful career in sales and management for such global companies as SignalTree Solutions and Dell Services. He is currently business development director for CGI in the Atlanta area, where he lives.
A native of New Orleans, Tate actively participated in the university's honors program and was in the first group of students to participate in its study abroad program in Gaming, Austria in 1991.
He also was assistant coordinator and coordinator of In His Image household.
Tate went on to earn master's and doctorate degrees in early American history with an emphasis on the American South from the University of Alabama and researches. writes and lectures often on the subject.
He has taught history and humanities at several colleges. Currently a professor of history at Clayton State University in Georgia, he directed its honors program from 2007-13, revising the curriculum and dramatically increasing its enrollment.