The University of Scranton honored an alumnus and a couple who have contributed to the local community as part of the university’s third annual Conference on Aging April 11.
More than 100 guests gathered in the school’s DeNaples Center ballroom to witness the ceremony, the culmination of the daylong conference.
Seven local colleges and universities, including Keystone College and Marywood University, sponsored the conference. This was the first year the awards were presented.
The Award for Outstanding Contributions to the conference went to Brian Duke, Pennsylvania’s secretary of aging and a university alum. Duke took contributed to the growth of the conference from the very beginning, according to Brian Conniff, dean of the school’s College of Arts and Sciences.
“Brian showed up and supported us with his wisdom his expertise,” Conniff said.
Duke expressed gratitude.
“I’m extremely humbled and honored to be honored by my alma mater,” he said.
He added that the conference is a unique in the state because of collaboration of experts from so many different areas of study and practice.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, also a Scranton alum, presented the awards and spoke about the importance of the states elderly population.
“We are lucky to have such a large population,” Kane said. “You are our history.”
Ann and Leo Moskovitz were honored with the Moskovitz Award for their “contributions to our community” and “being models of successful living.” They received a glass sculpture, crafted by artist Christopher Ries.
“We are honored and happy,” Ann said. “There are not sufficient words.”
The couple has been married for 44 years. Throughout that time they have made contributions to the charitable and cultural organizations with their time and money and show no signs of slowing.
Leo, who is 108, suffers from hearing loss, but that didn’t stop him from making a few remarks at the ceremony.
“I’ll find out what she said when I get home,” he quipped after his wife spoke, drawing laughter from the crowd.
“You have to be way up there to get all the attention I do,” Leo added.
Kane said she presented the awards because she’s a Scranton alum but also because she is friends with Ann and Leo Moskovitz.
She stressed the importance of the elderly population.
“They remind everyone that age is not a number,” she said. “They are our heroes. We need to take care of them.”
Rebecca Haggerty, director of assessment and accreditation for the institution, organized the conference.
“It really exceeded our expectations,” Haggerty said, adding that 160 people attended, the highest to date.
“It’s a great collaboration of many academic institutions to try to better serve the needs of our elders,” said attendee Marie Bonavoglia, a physician’s assistant and member of Marywood University’s nursing faculty.
The conference’s aim is to bring individuals from a variety of disciplines and professions to work toward improving the lives of the elderly population.