Full Bios and Remarks of Cornerstone and Distinguished Alumni Winners


Good evening.  Thank you to the Trustees and Administration of Bishop Carroll, and congratulations to all who are recognized this evening.  Saint Francis University is truly honored by this recognition.

There is a strong connection between Bishop Carroll and Saint Francis.  We are intertwined in many ways.  We are neighbors and fellow Catholic institutions drawn together with a common mission.  Many Bishop Carroll graduates have gone on to become SFU graduates.  Our respective faculty and administration in some cases are alumni of one or both schools.  Most importantly, we are members of the Body of Christ in the Diocesan Church in a relationship with the one true God.

Bishop Carroll honoring Saint Francis this evening spotlights many positives and commonalities.  First of all, we have a strong partnership.  For many years, the college in high school program has existed.  The academic rigor of the program is a selling point to parents.  An already academically challenging program at Bishop Carroll is further enhanced with the college in high school program through Saint Francis.  Parents appreciate the pathway given to higher learning  This also defrays the cost of higher ed by making this investment.

Secondly, we have the professor in residence program.  We have placed Saint Francis professors in Bishop Carroll classrooms.  This creates a mentoring connection between the students and Franciscan-hearted professors from Saint Francis.

Thirdly, there is a steady cohort of Bishop Carroll graduates that continue to Saint Francis, averaging seven to eight students per year, with last year having twelve make the transition.  Bishop Carroll graduates are well-prepared academically.  Bishop Carroll grads are role models of Catholic values to their peers.  They are the kind of students we want at SFU.

The foremost commonality is our common mission, which is to educate students in the Catholic faith.  The education is comprehensive, focusing on body, mind, and spirit.  Both institutions want their students to take their place in society as moral, upright, Catholic citizens.  Catholic education has become THE alternative to secular society.  This is nothing new in the US.  The Catholic school system was created in response to anti-Catholic sentiments and blatant discrimination.

In the 1850s, the Catholic church said, “If we don’t educate our children, no one else will.”  In the present day, the environment has evolved to, “If we don’t educate our children, someone else will.”

As I speak with parents of high school students, I affirm them for spending 18 years instilling Catholic morals and values in their children, and I assure them that we, Saint Francis University, will build upon and augment those values. The same can be said of Bishop Carroll. 

The Catholic school system supports the parents, who, as the Baptism ritual reminds us, are the first teachers of their children.  We live now in a society where George Orwell’s books 1984 and Animal Farm are no longer prophetic warnings, but instead documentaries and commentaries on life in 2022.

If we, as Catholic educators, don’t educate our students in the basics of faith, morals, and natural law, then they will learn a false version from someone else.  Bishop Carroll Catholic High School, Saint Francis University, and all of Catholic education, are the places where students can encounter the One True God, and be guided by the truth, Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life.

I thank Bishop Carroll for the honor of this recognition.  Even more so, in the name of Saint Francis University, I thank you for your noble work with us in educating our young people.  May the Lord continue to bless us.



I am here tonight representing my family and my grandparents Paul and Agnes Rhoades.  

Paul and Agnes both grew up very differently.  Paul in Nanty-Glo attending Nanty-Glo Public School, graduating from Nanty-Go High School. He was a baptized Christian with no real church affiliation.  He did attend services with a childhood friend and considered himself a practicing Baptist.

Agnes grew up in Summerhill attending public school until 6th grade, she began working as a Nanny and Housekeeper at the age of 12 and never graduated from elementary school. She came from a very devoted Catholic heritage.

Pap joined the Catholic Church to marry my Grandma; they both had one goal in mind when they started their family, to give them better opportunities than they had.

When Paul and Agnes heard about the idea of Bishop Carroll High School starting as the result of the merger of Aquinas Hall for boys and St. Joseph’s Academy for girls, they knew they had to make a decision that was best for their family.

They decided to make the move to Ebensburg so they could give their children a Catholic education.  They worked very hard each day to support their family and to maintain the goal for their children to have the best opportunities in life.

Paul and Agnes had 5 children who attended Holy Name Elementary School and then graduated from Bishop Carroll between years 1968 - 1977, 12 grandchildren who graduated between years 1998 – 2010.  With 1 great-grandchild currently attending BC.

While my mother and uncles were students at BC they were all involved with the marching band, concert band, and pep band.  My grandparents were large supporters of their children and stayed involved by participating as well.  Taking their kids to practices and attending all of the concerts, band trips and often “chairing” fund raisers.

While their grandchildren were attending, you would see Paul and Agnes still attending band concerts, plays and musicals, lady huskie basketball games, craft fairs, and “bring your grandparents to lunch” days.  They also loved listening to the radio broadcasts of the away and playoff basketball games and of all the football games.  My Grandma thought if she would come to a football game, I would get hurt, so she just stayed home, listened to the games, and prayed.  Agnes and Paul always supported BC’s fund raisers, even after their grandchildren graduated.

When we would be in the car with my grandparents driving around the school the topic always came up about the blue and white medal guard rail along Huskie Hill outside of Aquinas Hall, saying, “Paul helped build that rail when he worked for Senders Ornamental Iron Works.”

I know for myself each time I go up that hill, I think of the both of them.

Pap and Grandma always showed us that actions speak louder than words.  Be kind, honest, help others, be proud, and respect yourself and others.  I know whether they said it to us or not, they were proud of all of us and all that we did.  While we were in school, Grandma would say a prayer for us if we told her we had a test and she would ask, “Are any of your cousins taking the same test?”  If we said "no", or "I don't know", she would follow up with, "Oh hell, I will just continue to pray for all of you if anyone has a test or not."

Respect was a trait that both of my grandparents showed us by action.  Respect your elders, teachers, religious figures, and the church.  These same values were shared with this school and the education we received.

I would like to thank my grandparents for everything they have done for our family in the time they shared with us.  We know they are still watching down on us and would be very proud.

Thank you to the Bishop Carroll Cornerstone Award Committee for choosing Paul and Agnes Rhoades as one of this year's recipients of the Cornerstone Award.



Jim Vetock is a 1967 graduate of Bishop Carroll.  He was the President of the BC Spirit Club during his years on Husky Hill.  Jim was also captain of the football team and was the middle linebacker of BC’s first 7-win season.  Jim represents the athletic portion of our Distinguished Alumni Awards because of his own athletic record at Bishop Carroll, for the encouragement of his sons on their athletic paths, and his support as a business owner, clothing countless Bishop Carroll teams in spirit wear and uniforms over many years. 

Jim married Pam Miller in 1974.  They have 2 sons who both graduated from BC.  Jeb is a 1994 graduate and Judd followed in 1997. 

In 1981, Jim, Pam, and Jim’s brother Rich established Specialty Promotions.  In 1989, they broke ground for their building in the Hills Plaza where they continue to be Specialty Promotions and The Pittsburgh Gift Shop.  In 2021, Specialty Promotions celebrated 40 years in business. 

Jim is very blessed and proud of his family, which includes his 2 sons, 2 daughters-in-law, Amy and Lori, and 3 grandsons, Luke, Jackson, and Gavin.  Spending time with his family is his favorite thing to do.

Jim’s other favorite pastimes are going to any Steeler, Penguin, or Pirate game, and talking sports in his store.  I know that I have personally spent many afternoons talking sports with Jim and enjoying every minute.

Jim is very honored and humbled for his recognition tonight.  On behalf of the entire Bishop Carroll community, we thank Jim for his constant support of BC, especially BC athletics.




Father Byrnes is the son of David and Theresa Byrnes of Cresson. He completed his undergraduate degree in English Literature and philosophy at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio in 1989. He was named to the ranks of Pinter Scholars in 1987. While at the Josephinum, he completed summer studies at the Cemanahuac Institute, Cuernavaca, Mexico and served in community building and missionary work in the villages of Chihuahua.

Fr. Byrnes was assigned to studies in Rome, Italy in 1989. He completed his graduate studies in systematic theology at the Gregorian University in 1992. At the same university, he completed his licentiate in 1994, specializing in canon law.

Father Byrnes received his priestly formation at the Pontifical North American College, Vatican City. While in Europe, he served in inner-city /interfaith ministry with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, among the Punjabi community, at St. Anselm Parish in Southall, London, England.

He was ordained to the transitional diaconate by Cardinal James Hickey at Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City. He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Joseph Adamec at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Altoona, in November of 1994.

As a priest, Father has served in high school, hospital and parish ministry in Johnstown, Altoona, Cresson and Loretto. Fr. Byrnes was Diocesan Vocation Director and curator of the Prince Gallitzin Chapel House from 2002 to 2006. Father has served on the Administrative Board of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference. He served as pastor of St. Aloysius Parish, Cresson, from 2006 -2015.

Father Byrnes is a member of the Eastern Regional Conference of Canonists and the Canon Law Society of America. He serves as Judicial Vicar for the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, judge and Director of the Tribunal, as well as a lecturer in canon law for the office of Diaconal Formation.

He serves as an ex officio member of the Presbyteral Council of the diocese, the Priests’ Personnel Board as well as a member of the College of Consultors to Bishop Mark L. Bartchak.

He serves as Bishop Bartchak’s Delegate for the Cause of Canonization of the Servant of God, Demetrius Gallitzin, with duties as administrator of the Shrine of Our Lady of the Alleghenies and Prince Gallitzin Chapel House Trust.

Father Byrnes is a columnist for Proclaim! magazine, and a regular contributor to Proclaim! TV, a weekly television program spotlighting new and happenings in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.

A fourth –degree Knight of Columbus, Father serves as chaplain of the Loretto Council. Fr. Byrnes was appointed the third rector of the Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel, Loretto, on August 19, 2015.



If you have gone grocery shopping in the last 25 years, then you have most certainly seen---and probably purchased---the many different foods & beverages that adorn the grocery store shelves and have been a result of Susan McNulty-Atwater’s career as an engineer in the food industry. She has played a role in everything from General Mill’s Lucky Charms, gluten-free Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios and Gold Medal Flour to HJ Heinz’s famous ketchup. Her work as a product development engineer is found in Kraft Foods’ Stove Top Stuffing, Minute Rice, Kraft’s microwavable Mac & Cheese, and then most recently as the lead process engineer for Starbuck’s coffee & mocha lattes, Lactaid’s lactose-free milk, Walmart’s Great Value coffee creamers, Almond Breeze’s almond milk, and Tropicana Orange Juice---just to name a few. She has worked on many other brand name food & beverages, as either a product development engineer, a project engineer, or lead process design engineer. In some cases, designing the food plants from the ground up. In 2017, Susan was the lead process design engineer for HP Hood’s new 600,000+ sq.ft. Extended-Shelf Life beverage plant in Batavia, NY, which was honored with the distinguished National Manufacturing Innovative Plant of the Year Award in 2019 by Pro-Food World Magazine.

After graduating in 1995 from Bishop Carroll High School, she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural and Biological Engineering in 1999 from Penn State University, with a specialization in Food Engineering. She completed graduate studies in Grain & Milling Science from Kansas State University in 2013, and graduate engineering courses in Platform Engineering from MIT. Her career in the food industry started as a Product Development Engineer at Kraft Foods in Glenview, IL. She went on to work as a Process Engineer for HJ Heinz in Pittsburgh, then General Mills based out of Buffalo, NY, and now at HP Hood LLC as a Processing Project Engineering Manager. A recipient of the 2018 Outstanding Engineering Alumni Award from Penn State University, Susan received the highest honor bestowed by the Penn State College of Engineering, which recognizes graduates who have reached exceptional levels of professional achievement. In 2021, she was asked to serve as one of 20 engineers and FDA/USDA scientists on the national steering committee that govern all sanitary equipment designs & 3A standards for the US’s pharmaceutical & food industry.

In 2010, Susan was elected as a board member, vice president, and then president of the Penn State Engineering Alumni Society, and was appointed by the dean to serve on Penn State University’s Industrial and Professional Advisory Council (IPAC) for engineering education. She was elected to Penn State’s university-wide Alumni Council from 2010 to 2016. Currently, she serves on the board of directors for Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

Susan and her husband, Ben, also own and operate a 2,000+ cow & heifer dairy farm. They reside in Barker, NY with their two daughters: Adeline and Lydia.



Daughter of Joseph and Kathryn Hines, Elizabeth is an animal physiology scientist with 15+ years of academic training and 10 years of practical, hands-on experience in the swine industry. While she describes herself as not the most academically gifted student, Elizabeth’s persistence and willingness to do the hard and dirty work earned her experience that led to both graduate degrees throughout her career. Today, Elizabeth is working as an Assistant Professor and the State Swine Extension Specialist for Penn State University. In this role she works to utilize her combined academic and industry experience to conduct research that improves health and welfare of pigs as well as efficiency of pork production while serving to educate students and producers alike on the opportunities to serve both within and beyond the swine industry.