Friday, February 3, 2012
Rev. Leo Gallina to receive Presidential Medal of Distinction from Pitt-Bradford
The Rev. Leo Gallina, a Bradford native and former pastor of St. Bernard Catholic Church, will receive the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford’s highest honor at this year’s commencement ceremony.
Dr. Livingston Alexander, president of Pitt-Bradford, will present the Presidential Medal of Distinction to Gallina at the 2012 Commencement Ceremony scheduled on April 29 at 2 p.m. in the KOA Arena of the Sport and Fitness Center.
In commenting on campus sentiment about Gallina, Alexander said, “The university community is thrilled to be able to honor Father Gallina. Many of us, faculty, staff and students alike, have found inspiration in his generosity, commitment and enthusiasm. Through his direct and indirect gifts, he has left a lasting legacy at Pitt-Bradford.”
Gallina responded with his trademark humility.
“I am most humbled by this award and truly enjoy helping out in a small way so that others may have an education for the future,” he said. “I thank the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford for this great distinction.”
Gallina has been a steadfast supporter of Pitt-Bradford, creating the Leo J. and Jessie S. Gallina and Father Leo J. Gallina Scholarship and the Phillip John Gallina Scholarship in memory of his parents and brother. Since 1998, those scholarships have assisted 42 students.
Gallina also has supported several community organizations, including the Bradford Area Public Library, Bradford Hospital Foundation and scholarships at Gannon and St. Bonaventure universities. He has also given his time to serving on the boards of numerous local organizations, including Beacon Light Behavioral Health Systems, Futures Inc., The Bradford Family YMCA and the Bradford Hospital Foundation.
Gallina is a Bradford native, the son of Leo J. Gallina, a professional independent certified public accountant, and Jessie S. Gallina, an elementary schoolteacher in Bradford. Gallina’s parents were enthusiastic volunteers themselves, working with the Bradford Children’s Home, Bradford Hospital Auxiliary, the American Association of University Women and the Catholic Girls’ Club.
Ordained in 1965, Gallina attended seminaries at Gannon University in Erie, Christ the King in Allegany, N.Y., and Catholic University in Washington, D.C.
His career in the priesthood took him to Cathedral Prep in Erie, where he taught; St. George’s Church in Erie and St. Tobias Church in Brockway, where he was an assistant pastor. He served as pastor of St. Theresa Church in Shinglehouse, Sacred Heart Parish in Genesee, St. Boniface Church in Erie and St. Bernard Church in Bradford. Gallina retired last summer after 46 years of service to the church. He currently lives in Erie, but returns to Bradford often.
Gallina is the 25th individual awarded the Presidential Medal of Distinction, which is presented to a person who has either volunteered his or her time for several years; supported the university either financially or with expertise or advice; served the university’s service region through community; government or business affiliation; or has made distinctive achievements in his or her field that have affected Pitt-Bradford.
Previous medal winners were George Duke; Thomas Bromeley; former University of Pittsburgh Provost James V. Maher; Dr. Williams C. Conrad and the Stackpole-Hall Foundation; Harry R. Halloran Jr. and Harvey L. Golubock of American Refining Group; Madeline Miles; Judge John M. Cleland; Dr. Richard E. McDowell; Dennis Lowery; Edwin Clemens; Marilyn Horne; Howard Fesenmyer; Henry P. Pruch; Robert D. Galey; Lester Rice; William F. Higie; Samuel Gregg Jr.; Dr. Robert C. Laing; Harriett B. Wick and Sarah B. Dorn; former U.S. Rep. John E. Peterson; Virginia L. Miles; and Dr. Robert B. Bromeley.