Clarks Summit resident among three honored in Keystone’s alumni awards

June 19th, 2015 9:08 am

First Posted: 10/28/2014

Keystone College honored three of its alumni during Homecoming Weekend festivities Saturday, Oct. 18.

Awards were presented to: Bernie Fornicola, ’76, Distinguished Service to Keystone; Ali Dowling Wilson ’09, Young Alumna of the Year and Sandra Major, ’74, Keystonian of the Year.

Fornicola’s association with Keystone began nearly 50 years ago when her husband, Larry Fornicola, was named interim Athletic Director and later became Keystone’s wrestling coach. When her children became school aged, she also became a student, obtaining her associate degree from Keystone in 1976 and then acquiring a bachelor’s degree from the University of Scranton.

Always giving back to Keystone, she returned to the college to work for more than 15 years in numerous positions, including secretary to the dean, alumni director, annual fund director, and coordinator of the elder hostel program, among others. Fornicola served on the Keystone Open Golf Tournament Committee for more than 15 years, helping to build the tournament’s financial success and enhance the Keystone Alumni Student Scholarship Fund.

Now retired, the Clarks Summit resident volunteers with the LPGA Girls Golf League and the Clarks Summit Election Board.

Ali Dowling Wilson is a middle school art educator in the Tunkhannock Area School District. In addition to teaching about 450 students, she is the adviser to a community service-based council of 75 students.

A 2009 Keystone College graduate, Ms. Dowling Wilson enjoys creating art inspired by the beautiful landscapes of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

She and her husband, Doug Wilson, ’09, also teamed up with the North Branch Land Trust to improve the Howland Preserve, a 669-acre nature tract on the Vosburg Neck of the Susquehanna River. The group formed Friends of Howland Preserve to make major and badly needed improvements. It renovated several historical buildings and plans to turn the barn into an event/wedding space to help raise funds for the property. There are also plans to hold art classes on nature trails and use the river for recreation and education.

Because of their hard work, the couple was recently honored as Volunteers of the Year by the North Branch Land Trust.

Major served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives since 1995, representing the 11th district, which includes parts of Susquehanna, Wayne, and Wyoming counties. She is currently serving her fourth term as Republican Caucus Chair, a position to which she was elected by her colleagues. She also serves as a member of the Committee on Committees and several legislative caucuses, and is a member of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, one of the nation’s leading student aid organizations.

In the community, she serves as member of the boards of the Community Foundation of Susquehanna and Wyoming Counties, as well as a member of the Keystone College President’s Advisory Council, the Susquehanna County Chamber of Commerce, the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce, the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, the National Rifle Association, and the First Presbyterian Church in Montrose. She is a graduate of Mountain View High School and Keystone College, and attended the University of Scranton.