2023 Inductees in the Bishop McDevitt Hall of Fame 

The follow remarks were made by Dr. Joseph Cicala, Class of 1973, at the 2023 ceremony to introduce the inductees to the Bishop McDevitt Hall of Fame.

Blair Knuckle, Class of 2018 - Athletic Hall of Fame 

With her induction this afternoon, Blair Knuckle, Class of 2018, is the youngest inductee in school history and as I introduce you to her, you will see why she has earned this honor.

Blair was a track and field star for the Lancers who was dubbed the “High Jump Queen” of the entire Philadelphia area during her years on Royal Avenue.  As a Lancer, Blair was first team All-Catholic track and field, indoors and outdoors, all four years.  In addition, she was crowned Catholic League Champion in the High Jump in her sophomore, junior, and senior years.  Blair earned the District 12 High Jump Champion title, and was the PIAA runner up in High Jump and All-State for her junior and senior years as a Lancer, as well.  Blair was also an active participant in our Black Student Association.  In 2021, while still in college, Blair came back to McDevitt and helped coach those Lancer track and field athletes who had qualified to compete at the PIAA State Championships.

Blair originally attended Towson University in Maryland, where she was recruited for the track and field team, but she ultimately determined that Temple University was a better home for her academic and athletic pursuits.  As a Temple alumna, she now works as a legal assistant for the law firm of Stevens and Lee in Philadelphia.  While gaining valuable experience, she is currently studying for the LSAT and plans to attend law school.

With thanks to her nominator and teammate, Emaani Young, Class of 2020, please join our Athletic Hall of Fame as we welcome the Class of 2018’s Blair Knuckle.

Gwen (Murphy) McCauley, Class of 1983 - Athletic Hall of Fame 

Gwen Murphy McCauley, who hails from Oreland and Holy Martyrs Parish, was a standout field hockey player for the Lancers during her time on Royal Avenue.  She was a four-year starter and two-time All-Catholic player for McDevitt, which was not considered a Catholic League powerhouse at the time; remember that, “at the time.” 

Following her graduation, Gwen played collegiately for East Stroudsburg University before transferring to Temple University to complete her degree.

When she transferred to Temple, she re-engaged with the McDevitt field hockey program and served as the Lancers Head Coach from 1985 through 1990.  In her first year as head coach, she led the Lancers to their first ever Catholic League Playoffs and in 1986 and 1987 she took her Lancer teams all the way to the Championship game.  For these efforts, Gwen was recognized as the Montgomery County Field Hockey Coach of the Year in both 1986 and 1987.

Following her McDevitt coaching career, Gwen continued to coach field hockey for St. Luke’s CYO program.  While there, she coached both of her daughters who were recruited to play Division 1 field hockey in college.  During her 10 years at St. Luke’s, she coached many student-athletes who went on to play and star at Bishop McDevitt, Mount St. Joseph’s Academy, St. Basil’s Academy, and many other schools.

For twenty years, Gwen worked for a local investment advisory firm, and she now serves as Executive Director of the Manayunk Development Corporation, a non-profit organization focused on business and community development and engagement. 

Reflecting on her years as athlete and as coach, Gwen noted that her appreciation for Bishop McDevitt, and the foundation it provided to her and her athletes, grew larger and fonder during her time as head coach of the Lancers field hockey program. 

With thanks to her nominator and her sister, Tara Murphy, Class of 1988, please join our Athletic Hall of Fame as we welcome the Class of 1983’s Gwen Murphy McCauley.

Dr. Matthew Garberina, Class of 1989 - Alumni Hall of Fame 

The now old-fashioned term “Renaissance Man” kept creeping into my brain as I learned about the life and accomplishments of Dr. Matthew Garberina.  During his years on Royal Avenue, Matt was a member of our football, golf, Science Research, and forensics teams, and served as Student Council President, all the while laying a strong academic foundation for what was to follow.

Matt’s undergraduate years as an Air Force ROTC student at the University of Notre Dame and his medical school years at Temple University paved the way for his notable and lauded Orthopedic residency at Duke University.  At Duke, he was honored with the John M. Harrelson Chief Resident Teaching Award and provided orthopedic coverage for both Duke’s and North Carolina Central’s men’s and women’s varsity teams, including Duke’s 2000-2001 national basketball champions.

Matt’s residency was followed by service as a surgeon in the United States Air Force.  He attained the rank of Major and was named Chief of Orthopedics at New Jersey’s Maguire Air Force Base, responsible for the orthopedic care of active, reserve, veteran, and dependent patients.  After his years of active duty, Matt completed a Shoulder and Elbow Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania and is now Chairman of the Orthopedic Department and a member of the Clinical Governance Board at Summit Health.  He has earned multiple recognitions as one of New Jersey’s top doctors, and he is a noted author and frequent lecturer in top professional circles, as well.  

Matt’s volunteer activities include routine blood pressure and sugar checks in lower-income communities; lectures, guidance, and shadowing opportunities for high school students; and service alongside his family with the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen and for Dance Arts of Yardley.  Matt coaches his daughters’ sports teams, and the family provided their back yard as a primary practice field when indoor facilities were closed during the pandemic.

His lifelong best friend, the Class of 1990’s Ed McLaughlin, observed that, “Along (Matt’s) journey, he has helped and supported fellow soldiers and has (helped) countless numbers of patients to better health.  Under his leadership, he is also helping to improve healthcare outcomes within the Summit system and across the orthopedic community. Matt is a healthcare provider, a teacher within his profession, a healthcare and business leader, and a volunteer’s volunteer.”

With thanks to his nominator, teammate, and best friend Ed McLaughlin, Class of 1990, please join our Alumni Hall of Fame as we welcome the Class of 1989’s Dr. Matthew Garberina.

Carl Pfefferle, Class of 1976 - Alumni Hall of Fame 

Well, to start with, if you know our next nominee, you may or may not know him by the same name as others here this afternoon.  Holder of the record for number of nicknames among all my friends, at least, Mr. Pfefferle may be known to you as Carl…or as Joe…or as Tex…or as Pfeff…or Country Boy (even though he’s from Mr. Airy…), and I may not even have them all.  He’s “Tex” to me, first and foremost, but feel free to translate into whatever language works best for you as we go along.

My fellow alumnus of both McDevitt and La Salle University, Carl Pfefferle has devoted his life to public service for the people of the Delaware Valley.  His career began in earnest when he joined the Wyndmoor Volunteer Fire Company as a firefighter in 1981.  While there, he attended Emergency Medical Technician classes at Montgomery County Community College.  Shortly thereafter, he also joined the Springfield (Montco) Volunteer Ambulance.  After eight years, he enrolled in Hahnemann University and received his paramedic certification.  In 1990, he joined the Philadelphia Fire Department, in which he worked as a medic for 24 years before being promoted to Fire Paramedic Lieutenant in 2014.  He is currently assigned in the northeast section of Philadelphia as a paramedic supervisor (and we may just learn of his promotion to captain in the near future).  Tex's work has led to five (5) unit citations, wiyh one for response to the 2013 Salvation Army building collapse at 22nd & Market, in which six people died…and, thankfully, 14 more people were rescued.  He and his partner earned a Distinguished Service award for saving a mother who was nine months pregnant and a cancer survivor when she went into placenta previa four days before her due date...and, thankfully, for saving her baby, as well.

Tex also has served the Roxborough community as a volunteer baseball and street hockey coach.  He is currently active in his parish, Immaculate Heart of Mary, playing for Masses as a member of the guitar group.

And, following up on his McDevitt days as a member of our Color Guard, Carl's avocation is playing banjo with the string bands of Philadelphia.  He joined the Uptown String Band in 1986 and, in 1990, the Aqua String Band, in which he still is active, for a total of 37 years to date of "strutting up Broad Street."   Aqua plays annually for the Mummers Against Cancer fundraiser and on every St. Patrick's Day for children battling cancer at Baystate Hospital in Springfield, Massachusetts.  A fellow member of Aqua’s “Bald Brothers of Banjo” commended Carl for leadership and mentorship, while also noting that he always has his medical equipment on hand…and has used it to help others at more than one Aqua event.

Carl's life of service and leadership – enhanced exponentially by his sincere, selfless, and always in action sense of humor – is a genuine testament to the values of our Alma Mater.

As Tex’s former drill instructor and his friend, I am proud to have nominated him.  Please join our Alumni Hall of Fame as we welcome the Class of 1976’s Carl Pfefferle.

Jane Metzler, Class of 1973  - Alumni Hall of Fame 

Recording artist Harry Metlzer, aka Ill-Advised, told me this about our next honoree, Jane Metlzer, “If I had to describe my mom in one word, it would be fearless. From shattering the glass ceiling as a woman in news and entertainment to raising me on her own, when she sets her mind to something, she’s unstoppable.”

Moved and seconded, Harry.  Jane is an accomplished communications professional, with decades of well-respected TV and radio broadcasting experience in several major markets and nationally, as well.  The settings have ranged from Fox to MSNBC and just about everywhere in between, in significant anchoring, reporting, and producing roles.  Same goes for the legion of notables with whom she’s interacted, from her on-air and producing association with Don Imus to her track record interviewing every US President from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush.

Harry shared further that Jane has mentored numerous people who have gone on to have great careers as well, a rarity in what he calls her cutthroat industry.  NBC producer Sumiko Moots told me this perhaps deceptively simple story: 

“Everything I know about make up I learned from Jane…

“Such a silly little thing to remember. As a rookie reporter, I was in awe of this blonde news goddess who was never at a loss for words. Always a ready smile and a twinkle in her eye. I remember thinking she didn’t need the product that she was rubbing all over her face, a thick foundation made for burn victims.

“Watching her prepare for newscasts we often chatted and she imparted little nuggets of wisdom.  More important than those, however, is the way she makes you feel. Like you are the most important person in the room.  Jane truly listens to you.  It’s one of Jane‘s gifts.  Making you feel that you matter and that your story has value.”

Former Good Morning, America and MSNBC producer Patrick Roddy, with whom Jane worked on both the Imus show and the notable Fame and Faith interview series identified Jane’s keen ability to suss out a story, to give it a context, to understand why someone would care about it, and to skillfully communicate it with her audience.  Jane’s work currently is centered in her role as Founder and COO of Metzhane Media, providing both paying and pro bono clients with media production and public relations services.

In post-graduate service to our Lancer community, Jane played a strong, if largely unsung, role over the years as a volunteer judge and mentor for our forensics program, in which Jane herself was a national champion during our student years, earning her full scholarship to Northwestern University.  In recent years, Jane has devoted enormous energy to fostering relationships and camaraderie among our class, primarily but not solely through social media and as reunion leader, continuing to serve informally but no less affectionately regarded as our president.

Jane’s honors span the many facets of her life from her journalistic work to her alumna service to both Northwestern and her sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta.  She has been recognized as a Distinguished Graduate by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.  But the key takeaway from all my reflections on Jane’s life is that the foundations for all she has accomplished are her genuine desire and ability to connect with people and, by so doing, to help make ours a better world.

As Jane’s classmate and her friend, I am proud to have nominated her.  Please join our Alumni Hall of Fame as we welcome the Class of 1973’s Jane Metzler.

Brian Flannery, Class of 1971  - Alumni Hall of Fame 

At the dawn of the 1970s, Bishop McDevitt High School had five athletic teams for boys.  Brian Flannery captained three of them, while also serving on Student Council and excelling in the classroom….and that was but prologue for what was to come.

The Fall, 1970 season was a very good one for our football team. They compiled the best record of the program’s first ten years, all the while competing with powerhouse teams from schools with much larger enrollments and generally better facilities.  And we all earned WFIL’s School Spirit Award -- presented to us 52 years ago tomorrow by fondly remembered DJ George Michael --- for cheering them on.  As middle linebacker and the team’s key defensive leader, Brian was the only three-year starter in his class, and he also did us proud throwing shot and discus for our track teams.

The outstanding student-athlete of his class, Brian Flannery earned an appointment to the United States Naval Academy.  He finished near the top of his class at Annapolis and then number one in two of the Navy’s top pilot training schools, at Pensacola and Meridian.  Again, prologue.

Brian later won appointment to the elite Top Gun program…where, a few promotions later, Commander Flannery was serving as a flight instructor when the movie – yes, that movie – was filmed.  The live shots of real pilots and their aircraft included Commander Flannery in aircraft number 210.

More importantly, Brian rose through the ranks from aviator to Squadron Chief to Operations Chief to Executive Officer on some of our Navy’s largest aircraft carriers.  He and his crews flew thousands of mission hours in perilous locations during the Iran Hostage Crisis, the Iran-Iraq War, and Operation Desert Storm, to name just a few.  For their service over such hot spots as the Straits of Hormuz, the Indian Ocean, the Suez Canal, the Arabian Gulf, and the Gulf of Sidra, Commander Flannery and his crews were frequently honored, individually and collectively.  

Brian’s outstanding naval career was followed by more than two decades as a commercial pilot on six continents.

Brian’s classmate Chuck Boyle shared with me Brian’s description of the view from above during a key 1980s mission over Libya, “like Las Vegas at night” …when it was anything but.  As I’ve reflected on that – and, by extension, wondered about the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of sights and sounds in Brian’s naval aviation memory – I’ve done so, as a fellow citizen, with abiding appreciation for his service.

His classmate Tom Foley writes that Brian may be the outsanding example from the Class of 1971 of someone who turned his McDevitt sports, academic, and leadership experiences into valuable lifelong assets – for which he has rightfully earned our and our country’s gratitude.

With thanks to his nominators, classmates, teammates, and friends Tom Foley and Chuck Boyle, please join our Alumni Hall of Fame as we welcome the Class of 1971’s Brian Flannery.

Father Charles J. Noone - Legend of McDevitt

My good friend, Father Charles Noone, and I have spoken much about teaching and learning over the years.  He has often shared the insight shared with him at the outset of his teaching career by the late Father James Mulligan, who at the time had all of one year’s seniority.  Muggsy’s insight was this: “They won’t remember much of what you say, but they’ll always remember how you make them feel.”

Well, Father, there’s good news and there’s semi-good news.   I can verify that – in my case, at least – Father Mulligan was right.  I can’t say that I remember a single specific item from the syllabus of Freshman Religion.  But I can say, with conviction, that I’ve never forgotten the feeling of partnership in life’s journey that was kindled then and that has been re-kindled and persists quite profoundly through our recent years of renewed association.  And I’m certain that I’m in no way alone in those feelings.

Father Noone served as a member of McDevitt’s faculty from 1968 through 1980.  Twelve years…three full generations of students, with touches upon three others at each of the other ends of the continuum.

Never a seeker of the limelight, focusing on his teaching, on bolstering the work of several colleagues in the activities they headed and, through his moderation of our Mothers’ Club, supporting the families of our students.

Religion teacher, Department Chair, and Retreat leader.  Quite a few of us first encountered high school level religion, so distinct from the more doctrinal instruction that characterized elementary school instruction, in Father Noone's classroom. As we began to wrestle with the real underpinnings of what theretofore had been presented as so black and white, Father Noone was there to guide us in forming questions and seeking answers. 

Respected journalist and fellow Lancer Ronnie Polaneczky, Class of 1976, who first knew Father during his years at Holy Martyrs Parish, has this to say:

“Father Charles Noone – known as "Father Chuck” or just "Chuck" to so many of us – is, simply, the embodiment of a man of God. He emanates love, acceptance, and kindness. Eschews phony formalities. Connects with people easily and with curiosity and joy. There are no divides in Chuck's worldview, just a presumption of our shared dignity and worthiness in the eyes of the divine…  At Holy Martyrs…, his boyish energy, great sense of fun, relentless compassion, profound yet unfussy faith, and deep humanity helped define the parish itself. He is committed to being present to the world, to those he serves, to his faith in the (capital S, capital B) Something Bigger that unites us all. He meets us where we’re at, with a caring heart, with unconditional love.  He makes the world better. And I am so grateful to call him my friend.” 

In the years since his departure from McDevitt and, many years thereafter, his retirement from full-time priestly duties, Father Noone remains an important friend and mentor to many of us, a sterling example of a well-lived life of faith and service. Always ready for a phone or electronic contact or for an in-person conversation (unless he’s in North Wildwood with his beloved family, or stopping on the Boardwalk for a slice at Sam’s Pizza Palace), Father Noone remains a humble servant of God, well aware that chief among his duties to his students over the years has been attention and devotion to them as people, even more than as scholars, first and foremost.

As Father Noone’s student and his friend, I am proud to have nominated him.  Please welcome a true Legend of Bishop McDevitt, Fr. Charles J. Noone.

Mrs. Suzanne Hartman  - Legend of McDevitt

Sue Hartman and her family have contributed their time, talents, and generosity to the Bishop McDevitt High School community for over two decades.  Beginning in 1990 when her husband, Thomas J. Hartman, Sr., began coaching football as the head coach of the freshman football team all the way through 2020, Sue and the Hartman family have dedicated themselves to McDevitt, its students, faculty, coaches, and community.  Tom Hartman, Sr. made his mark on coaching McDevitt student-athletes and future McDevitt athletes.  He began coaching football at St. Genevieve’s parish in Flourtown, where he founded the program and coached for nine years, sending many young men, including his sons Tom and Bob, to play at McDevitt.  Mr. Hartman then moved on to McDevitt, where he coached the freshman football team from 1990 to 2000.  Both Tom, Sr., and Tom, Jr., are members of the Bishop McDevitt Football Hall of Fame.

Following his untimely passing, the Hartman family wanted to honor Tom, Sr.’s memory and support the students and the football programs at both McDevitt and St. Gen’s.  Sue and family organized and ran a horseshoe tournament in Tom, Sr.’s name and donated the proceeds to McDevitt and St. Genevieve’s CYO program. Each year, Sue and the Hartman family would donate $4,000 to McDevitt, with $2,500 of that donation going to a scholarship for a deserving incoming freshman student and $1,500 going to the Lancers Football program.  Along with that $4,000 donation to McDevitt, the Hartman family would also donate $1,500 to the St. Genevieve CYO program that Tom, Sr. had founded.  

Sue, a graduate of Archbishop Prendergast High School, and Tom, Sr., a graduate of North Catholic High School, believed whole-heartedly in the benefits and value of a Catholic education, and their dedication not only to their own family but many other deserving families is evident.  Over the 11 years that Sue and family ran the Hartman Scholarship Horseshoe Tournament, they raised and donated over $40,000 to McDevitt and $15,000 to St. Genevieve’s.  Although Tom, Jr. could not be with us this afternoon, he noted that “Mom is the glue that holds the Hartman family together and always strived to honor her faith and her family’s commitment to Bishop McDevitt High School and its community.”

With thanks to her nominator, Dan Greenberg, please welcome a true Legend of Bishop McDevitt, Mrs. Suzanne Hartman.