Charter Day 2004
Distinguished Alumni Biographies

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Antoine M. Garibaldi, Ph.D.
B.A., 1973

The Right Reverend Vashti Murphy McKenzie
M.Div., 1985; Hon. D.Div., 2000

Dr. Richard K. Scher
M.D., 1955

Reverend Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.
B.A., 1968; M.A., 1969

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Antoine M. Garibaldi is the sixth President of Gannon University, a Catholic, diocesan, Master’s I Comprehensive University founded in 1925.  Since his appointment in 2001, both the number and academic quality of freshman students have increased. In Fall 2003, the University enrolled its largest class of first-year students in six years - 588 students, with an average SAT of 1049, 23 points higher than the national average. The University's ranking by U.S. News and World Report has moved up from 58th in 2001 to 44th in 2003, among over 170 universities in the northern sector of the United States. 

An educator with more than 30 years of teaching and administrative experience in education, as well as the federal government, Dr. Garibaldi is a member of the Board of Directors of the Council of Independent Colleges, and was elected in January 2004 to serve as Vice Chair of Programs. A noted scholar, Dr. Garibaldi is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the author of ten books and monographs, and more than 70 research articles and chapters. 

Prior to his present appointment, he was a Senior Fellow in the Office of the Vice President for Collaborations and Corporate Secretary at the Educational Testing Service in New Jersey. He was the first Provost and Chief Academic Officer at Howard University and a tenured Professor in the School of Education between 1996 and 2000. From 1982 to 1996, he served as Chairman of the Education Department, Dean of Arts and Sciences, and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Xavier University in Louisiana. Between 1977 and 1982, he was a federal government administrator and researcher at the U.S. Department of Education National Institute of Education (1977-1982), where he was also a staff member of the National Commission on Excellence in Education, which produced the landmark report, A Nation at Risk. 

Dr. Garibaldi received his undergraduate degree magna cum laude from Howard University in 1973, and his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Minnesota in 1976.  He is the recipient of an honorary doctorate from Our Lady of Holy Cross College (LA) and also the 2001 National Service Award from the International Salute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Washington, DC.

He is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana, and married to Carol Jupiter Garibaldi.



The Right Reverend Vashti Murphy McKenzie serves as the 117th elected and consecrated bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Her historic election on July 11, 2000, represents the first time in the 213-year history of the church that a woman has obtained the level of Episcopal office. Bishop McKenzie serves as the presiding prelate over the 18th Episcopal District of the AME Church, a post that comprises Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, and Swaziland in southeast Africa.

Bishop McKenzie instituted  the agenda, "Strength to Climb"  in the 18th District completing more than 90% of it in three years. It includes strengthening the District's infrastructure, constructing computer labs in AME high schools, initiating entrepreneurial business projects, planting new church starts, facilitating USA-African teacher workshops and summits; building new classrooms and  providing scholarships for clergy and students; and constructing new mission houses and church buildings. 

Bishop McKenzie has served as pastor in the AME church over three congregations, from the rural setting to the urban center, from seven members to over 1,700 members. Most recently, she served for 10 years as the pastor of the historic 103-year-old Payne Memorial AME Church in Baltimore, Maryland, growing the congregation from 330 to over 1,700, and organizing Payne Memorial Outreach, Inc., a million dollar, faith-based nonprofit organization.

Characterized as an electrifying and sought-after speaker, nationally and internationally, Bishop McKenzie is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, and holds a Master of Divinity degree from Howard University School of Divinity. She also earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. The National Chaplain of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., she is the granddaughter and namesake of one of the founders of Delta, the late Vashti Turley Murphy. She serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for Wilberforce University. A native of Baltimore, she is married to Stan McKenzie, a former star in the National Basketball Association, and they have three children, Jon-Mikael, Vashti-Jasmine, and Joi-Marie.



Richard Scher was born on September 2, 1929, in Brooklyn, New York.  His early childhood education was obtained through the public school system of New York.  He received an A.B. from New York University, a M.A. from Brooklyn College Graduate School, a M.D. from Howard University College of Medicine, and a M.S. from New York University Post Graduate Medical School and Hospital. He completed his residency training in dermatology at New York University Medical Center.

            An internationally known expert and pioneer in nail disease treatment and surgery, Dr. Scher is known in the nail industry as “The Nail Doctor.” He is an Attending Physician and Professor of Clinical Dermatology at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York, past president of the American Academy of Dermatology, and a member of   the Medical Council of The Skin Cancer Foundation.       

He has held numerous fellowships which included: the American Academy of Dermatology; American Geriatrics Society; American College of Physicians; American College of Allergists; American Academy of Allergy and Immunology; American College of Cryosurgery; and the New York Academy of Sciences.  He is also a member of numerous committees and organizations, both nationally and internationally. He is the author of over 250 publications and five textbooks. In his spare time, he writes a bimonthly column for NAILS Magazine.

            He is married to Marlyne (Gispan) Scher, and they have five children and seven grandchildren.



The Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. is a preacher par excellence.  His parents, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Sr. and Dr. Mary Henderson Wright, were his earliest influences, instilling in him the possibility of balancing the intellectual with the spiritual.  Armed with this philosophical upbringing, Wright has pastored at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Illinois since 1972, when membership numbered 87 adult members.  Today, the congregation is nearly 10,000. Educated in the public schools of Philadelphia, Rev. Wright earned both a B.A. and an M.A. from Howard University, before receiving another M.A. from the University of Chicago.  He studied under the eminent Samuel DeWitt Proctor at United Theological College, and received a doctorate in divinity.

 Rev. Wright takes seriously not only the call to worship but also the call to take action as mandated by the Gospel.  Under his leadership, Trinity adopted the motto "Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian" and has set out to make activism within and on behalf of the African-American community a key aspect of the church mission.  An outspoken community leader, he has been vocal in making once-taboo issues, such as AIDS, a priority within the church leadership and service.  His commitment to political activism, coupled with his dedication to the African-American sermonic tradition, has made him a highly sought-after speaker nationally and internationally.

He is the recipient of numerous awards, including several honorary doctorates and presidential commendations.  An accomplished musician and author, he has written four books, numerous articles and countless sermons, and was also named one of America’s top fifteen preachers by Ebony Magazine.  In addition to national and international ministry, Rev. Wright serves on several boards of directors and committees.  With his wife, the Reverend Ramah Reed Wright, they have five children and three grandchildren.