Homecoming 2014: Alumni Award Winners Announced

by Maggie McNichol '16 | Sep 29, 2014

Homecoming 2014 Alumni Award Winners  

On Saturday, September 27, 2014, at DeSales University’s Homecoming four alumni received awards for accomplishments in their professional lives as well as service to their community. 

Thomas Shirley ’76 (above, far left) received the Alumni Achievement Award. Shirley was a four-year varsity athlete for the basketball team and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics.  After graduation, Shirley worked for the Ford Motor Company, but in 1981 he wasTom Shirley and Jason Barnes: Alumni Award Winners, 2014offered the position of director of athletics and head-coach of the women’s basketball team at DeSales. In eight years, Shirley accumulated 149 wins as well as the school’s first NCAA tournament bid and victory. Shirley began his tenure at Philadelphia University as director of athletics and head women’s basketball coach in 1989 and continues in that position today. To date he has 661 career victories, which ranks fourth in all of Division II and 30th overall in NCAA women’s basketball. Shirley is a member of the DeSales University Athletic Hall of Fame, now serving on the nominating committee, the Philadelphia University Athletic Hall of Fame, and the Montgomery County Coaches Hall of Fame. In 1994 Shirley was named the American Women’s Sports Federation National Coach of the Year. He lives in Harleysville with his wife of 33 years, Monica, and they have two daughters.

Jason Barnes ’04, M’07, CPA, (above, center left) received the Young Alumni Achievement Award. Barnes earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting as well as an MBA from DeSales. In 2013, he graduated from the Villanova University School of Law with a master’s of taxation (MST). He has more than ten years of experience in public accounting. Barnes is currently a senior manager in ParenteBeard LLC’s tax group. Recently, he was honored by Lehigh Valley Business as a member of the 2013 Forty Under 40 class for his strong commitment to business growth, professional excellence, and community service.  Barnes and his wife, Katie, live in Orefield, Pa. 

Elaine Fabian-Shelly ’81 (above, center right) received the Alumni Service Award. Fabian-Shelly graduated from the University’s ACCESS program with a bachelor’s degree in management and business and then earned her MBA from Moravian College in 1993. She was employed at Air Products for 24 years in various positions, lastly as an IT specialist in the company’s corporate real estate department.  After marrying her husband Kevin in 1999, Fabian-Shelly relocated to Maryland to begin a career as a self-employed piano teacher. Through Kidsave International, an organization that advocates adoption of older children, Fabian-Shelly hosted two siblings from Colombia and eventually adopted the children into her family, and the family is hosting two other Colombian sisters while advocating for their adoption. Fabian-Shelly volunteers at St. Martin’s Home, which cares for the elderly, and she directs a children’s choir at St. Augustine Parish in Elkridge, Md.

Isy Tavarez ’08 (above, far right) received the Young Alumni Service Award. Tavarez was recognized for her work advocating public health in communities in Africa and the Caribbean. She became interested in health care during her tenure as a secondary education volunteer with the Peace Corps in Guinea and Burkina Faso. In that role, she also educated young mothers about nutrition and reproductive health. Tavarez attended graduate school at the Yale School in Public Health at Yale University while volunteering with the Hopital Albert Schweitzer in Haiti and an Non-Governmental Organization in India. Currently, Tavarez is completing a nursing degree at Georgetown University as a Washington Hospital Center Scholar.

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Tom McNamara, Executive Director of Communications

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