We put a call out for some of the greatest office spaces on Gannon University’s campuses – and here’s what we found. These are just a few of our many offices across campuses that tell a story, hold unique stuff, or offer an overall cool or comforting vibe. We invite you to check them out.
Co-director, School of Communication and the Arts
MC Gensheimer’s office showcases a variety of artwork that is the result of her passion and talent for creating meaningful items out of everyday material. Restoring a rescued talking parrot is among her latest projects. Gensheimer’s office is a picture of the same creativity she applies in her teaching. This semester, she’s co-teaching in the new minor in innovation and creativity where students often create their own art pieces as a model of turning creative thought into actionable innovation.
Lorraine Gdanetz, Ph.D., RN, PCCN
Associate director and assistant professor, Villa Maria School of Nursing
Lorraine Gdanetz, Ph.D., RN, PCCN, transformed her office into an environment that offers students and colleagues a safe and nurturing space. Her office is accentuated with personalized photos, snacks and beverages, diffused essential oils and soft music to welcome any guests. As Gdanetz sees it, the environments we create have the power to support healing and the sharing of emotions. Gdanetz uses her office to model to students what it means to show compassion, loving-kindness and equanimity that are fundamental to the nursing profession.
Melanie Vadzemnieks ’87
Associate director, donor relations and events
Melanie Vadzemnieks’ '87 office is steeped in history with its location in Gannon’s Old Main. The mansion – originally built in the 1890s for Erie’s wealthy Strong family – is home to many of the university’s staff offices. Vadzemnieks’ office on the third floor is suspected to have once served as the bathroom, as evidenced by its marble wainscoting. A large mirror hangs where the vanity may have sat. The room is long rumored to have been where former President Taft had the uncomfortable experience of getting stuck in a bathtub.
Eric Dart, Ph.D.
Chairperson and assistant professor, theology department
Director, graduate program of pastoral studies
Eric Dart’s, Ph.D., office archives meaningful items from family photos to The Beatles posters to a Green Bay Packers certification of stock ownership. Among other things, Dart displays a unique plaque bearing the Camp Notre Dame President’s Gavel. The plaque was given to him after completing his second term as Board President at Camp Notre Dame in Fairview, Pa. in 1969. It originally belonged to his longtime friend and mentor, Reverend Lawrence T. Speice, who also had ties to Gannon first as an instructor in 1963 and in several positions including dean of students, vice president for external affairs, and Board of Trustee member.
Business consultant, Gannon University Small Business Development Center
Stephen Buttaccio’s office may not be a beach on Miami, but just as his large Golden Girls tapestry attests, there’s always a need for space to relax and de-stress. That’s why he’s designed his coffeehouse-style office space to become a unique destination for colleagues who need a good conversation or laugh over a quick Nespresso. Buttaccio pulled from a collection of things that makes him happy – coffee, snacks, jazz music and wall décor inspired by favorite films and TV shows – to compliment the vibe. His office has become known to many as “SEB’s,” inspired by the name of the jazz club in La La Land and Buttaccio’s own initials.
Assistant professor, physics department
The United States’ anticipated return to the moon in 2024 was enough to convince David Horne to outfit his office with a replica of the Apollo A7-LB spacesuit. Horne purchased the spacesuit from a NASA-contracted company to use as a visual aid to educate students at Gannon and in the community about lunar exploration. He also has three telescopes that are used in astronomy courses to observe any objects in the sky from the sun to the moon, planets and stars. His students use this technology to organize regular community observation events, as well.
Steven Ropski, Ph.D. ’78
Professor of biology
Steven Ropski’s, Ph.D. '78 office boasts the wonders of Yellowstone National Park through a myriad of artwork, photos, maps and other mementos collected during his nearly 35 visits to the park. Ropski has taken students in his ecology of Yellowstone National Park course to explore the park nearly every year since 1994. Students explore the park’s unique hydrothermal and geologic wonders while learning about topics ranging from wolves to hot springs and geysers, fires, geology and plant life. For Ropski, it’s the beckoning of opportunities to witness new and ever-changing environmental wonders that draws him back each year.
Mollie Venglar, Ph.D.
Associate professor of doctor of physical therapy
Mollie Venglar, Ph.D. makes it a point to remember the name and face of every student who walks in her classroom. Like many teachers, Venglar has specific methods of learning many names. For her, it’s a wall of “awesome students” that features photos and names of all her students. That way, she can quickly learn and remember who they are during in-person interactions or simply put a face to a name when communicating via email or phone.
Cyber Learning Center and Hatchery Manager
Shimkus holds one of the newest offices on Gannon’s Erie campus with its location in the Institute for Health and Cyber Knowledge. Strip lighting gives it a blue aura and is just one of many design features that resemble the look of this innovative facility. Among many things, Shimkus’ office showcases a map she created as a reminder of the far-reaching impact of her work. Shimkus is part of a multidisciplinary team who plans and develops the third floor of I-HACK, where local- and global-based partners engage with students and faculty in mutually beneficial research and projects that benefit communities across the world.
Miles Vida, M.Ed.
Associate director, Undergraduate Admissions
Miles Vida's, M.Ed. office holds a collection of mementos including from the original Star Wars trilogy, action figures, favorite VCR tapes, autographed photos of Cleveland Browns players, his own Gannon volleyball jerseys and more. His favorite item? The framed 11x17 original Marvel comic page that hangs prominently above his fireplace. Vida purchased the piece at a comic con in 2013 from the artist, Barry Kittson. The layout is an interior page from Iron Man (2011). Displayed alongside this piece are other original comic art pieces, including the Spider-Man artist proof Marvel sketch cards that Vida commissioned from an artist from Mexico. Vida said he was raised in a family of collectors. For him, collecting is about meeting people, learning about their experiences, and learning the stories associated with each collector’s item.
By Brianna Mariotti, marketing and content strategist