Winter 2016 Campus Update
TAGS: Campus Update

Dedicated to Our Community

Each of the last three years, AIC students have volunteered their services in conjunction with the College’s Office of Diversity & Community Engagement to help members of the Upper Hill/ Bay area neighborhood with fall cleanup. This year saw the biggest turnout yet, as nearly 150 students teamed up to work in nine different locations throughout the area to help homeowners who needed assistance. They collected over 500 bags of yard waste across twenty streets.

AIC’s Office of Diversity & Community Engagement seeks to unite the College with the community by engaging in outreach efforts that promote communication, foster understanding, and address area needs.

AIC Honors 163 Student-athletes

student athletes holding up yellow 3.0 Club T-shirts
163 student-athletes were honored at this fall’s 3.0 Club induction ceremony.

There was a whole lot of hootin’, hollerin’, and standing room only as more than 500 athletic team members and their coaches packed AIC’s Griswold Theatre to attend the AIC Athletic Director’s 3.0 Club Induction. The annual ceremony, held at the beginning of the fall semester, recognizes those student-athletes who achieve a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher after attending AIC for one year or more.

At this year’s ceremony, 163 returning student-athletes were inducted, translating to more than 47% of the returning athletes. “I think this speaks to the importance that AIC places not only on athletic accomplishments but on academic success as well,” says AIC Athletic Director Matt Johnson. “For many of our students, being able to maintain that balance of achievements in dual areas of their college life is important to helping them reach their full potential. They appreciate that sports and study are not mutually exclusive. Each requires dedication and perseverance.”

The purpose of the Athletic Director’s 3.0 Club is to recognize the student in student-athlete by saluting academic achievement with the hope that these young men and women will, in turn, be recognized as academic role models for all student-athletes, especially those new to AIC. Cheering and team spirit abounded as every student-athlete was called by name. Additional recognition included announcing the highest GPAs on each team and the top ten cumulative grade point averages.

AIC Remembers

American flags stuck into grass of campus quadOn September 11, students belonging to the AIC Lions Club and P.O.W.E.R. (a non-partisan political activism organization) woke at dawn to place 2,977 American flags in the AIC quad as a tribute to those who lost their lives on that tragic day fourteen years ago.

Honoring an AIC Legend

Esther Frary Hansen ’38 touched so many lives in her time at AIC.

On Saturday morning of Homecoming 2015, the College dedicated a bench in memory of Esther Frary Hansen ’38. The bench was a gift from her son Richard and provides a lasting tribute to a woman who touched so many lives at AIC over the decades. Former faculty, staff, and many alumni were on hand to celebrate her life and legacy.

In her long tenure at AIC, Hansen served as director of women’s athletics, an advisor to numerous student groups, and was the longtime registrar. But many alumni will remember her most for her role as director of admissions. It was in that position that she counseled hundreds of prospective students who went on to become AIC alumni. Hansen passed away in May 2015. Memorial gifts may be made to her scholarship fund and sent to the AIC Office of Development and Alumni Relations. If you have a fond memory of Esther you’d like to share with us, please send it our way at

AIC Named Among Fastest Growing Colleges and Universities

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently named AIC one of the fastest growing colleges in the United States for the fourth time. Among private, nonprofit master’s institutions, AIC placed among the top twenty colleges and universities in the country with a 131.5% growth rate, more than doubling its enrollment over a ten-year span, 2003–2013.

“We are extremely proud to have been recognized for our efforts,” says President Vince Maniaci. “We’re very student-centric here and believe that a college education is more than academic and intellectual growth. It includes personal, spiritual, and professional development—building a sense of community and trust among faculty, staff, and students. These ideals  coupled with the  College’s  commitment to identifying future trends as we develop programs, give our students a solid foundation on which they can build to reach their full potential, paving the way for them to compete successfully in a rapidly changing world.”

The Chronicle of Higher Education based its data on fall enrollments of full-time and part-time students and included all U.S. degree-granting programs with a minimum of a 500-student enrollment in 2003.

AIC Nursing Student Saves Her Father’s Life

nursing student Bonnie Shallbetter
Nursing student Bonnie Shalbetter and her father, John.Nursing student Bonnie Shalbetter and her father, John.

Life changed dramatically for AIC nursing student Bonnie Shallbetter ’16 and her dad, John Shallbetter, on April 25, 2015. Arriving home late that evening, Bonnie responded to her mother Mary’s urgent call for help. She raced upstairs to find her father unconscious and unresponsive in his recliner, breathing abnormally. Bonnie knew her dad was in trouble.

At that moment, Bonnie went from daughter to nurse and her training kicked in. She performed a sternal rub (a medical intervention test for consciousness) to try and bring her dad around. He regained consciousness briefly, which allowed her time to call 911. Confused and dazed, John replied, “Bonnie, I was just sleeping,” but within seconds he tensed up and turned purple.

While Bonnie knew that CPR is best done with the patient on the floor, at 112  pounds she found it impossible to move her 6 foot 2 inch, 240-pound father, even with her mother’s assistance. Unable to find a pulse, she began chest compressions in the recliner. Bonnie could hear Assistant Professor of Nursing Dina Ditmar’s voice in her head saying, “Lock your arms. Use your body. [There is] no time to get upset. Just keep going!” Bonnie performed three rounds of CPR while waiting for the ambulance, which arrived within minutes.

When paramedics arrived, Bonnie stayed at her dad’s head to ensure his airway remained open. Defibrillated eight times, paramedics ultimately got a regular heartbeat but John remained unconscious. “All I could do was say, ‘Daddy, I’m here. Stay with me.’”

Once at the hospital, her father was wheeled away. Bonnie recalled, “The situation was now out of my control which was the hardest part. I call my dad Superman. He’s a big dude, muscular. He’s always outside doing yard work and building stuff. He’s never sick.”

It was impossibly hard for Bonnie to grasp that her father’s life hung in the balance as each hour passed. He was unconscious, pale, intubated, and wrapped in a cooling blanket to preserve brain function. Meanwhile, she fretted that she had done something wrong while trying to help her dad initially.

On the contrary. The doctors assured Bonnie that CPR administered within the first three minutes of his heart attack was critical to saving her father’s life. Without early intervention, getting her dad back might not have been a possibility.

A cardiac catheter revealed four blockages. Later that week, John received bypass surgery. Following his hospital recovery and a brief stay in cardiac rehab, John went home – remarkably within just two weeks.

“This experience confirmed this is what I am supposed to be doing,” says Bonnie. She credits her medical-surgical rotation in the 2014 fall semester with helping put her classroom experience to real life use. Looking ahead to spring semester 2016, Bonnie will be studying cardiac rhythms. As Assistant Professor of Nursing Ellen Furman quipped, “She’ll be teaching the class!”

In reflecting back on the event and her relationship with her father, Bonnie says, “My dad has been my rock through nursing school. I would never have thought my super active, superman of a dad would go down like that. “That Saturday night, I bolted out of the house without saying anything. Now, I can’t leave the house without saying ‘I love you.’”

Very early in her career, Bonnie gained first- hand experience in the profoundly gratifying work of the nursing profession. Looking forward, she envisions a career in the pediatric intensive care unit. “I love kids. The work will be intense but rewarding.”

In the few months that have passed, Bonnie’s mother took a CPR course through the Red Cross, saying that she never wants to feel that helpless again. Her dad’s priorities shifted and he got a jump start on his retirement. John and Mary recently moved to Florida. Bonnie remains committed to completing her nursing degree while she gets ready to care for little lives who will soon be in her caring hands.

Men’s Rugby Reaches New Heights

mid play rugby match with long haired player passing the ballIt has been an amazing few months for the AIC men’s rugby squad. They finished the season undefeated and ranked number one in the country, and along the way Head Coach Josh Macy notched his fiftieth career win. AIC is a division-one rugby program and defeated the likes of Dartmouth, UConn, UMass, Boston College, and Clemson this season. Their average margin of victory was 69 points.