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John C. Fenningham, Esq. '68 and James E. McCloskey '64 Named 2010 Recipients of the William J. Whelan '55 Alumni Service Award
Posted 02/16/2010 12:55PM

The La Salle College High School Alumni Association has announced that John C. Fenningham, Esq. '68 and James E. McCloskey '64 have been named the 2010 Recipients of the William J. Whelan '55 Alumni Service Award. 

About the Award

The William J. Whelan '55 Alumni Service Award was established in 2001 in an effort to recognize the dedicated and consistent service of an alumnus to La Salle College High School.  The award is presented in memory of William J. Whelan '55, a man of both kindness and principle, who at all times was a loyal son of La Salle.  Bill was a friend and teacher, and the identification of the award to his life reflects the true spirit of his service to La Salle and its Alumni.

About John C. Fenningham, Esq. '68

John Fenningham is a timeless La Salle treasure who embodies the Lasallian commitment to academic excellence, leadership and service.  For six years John served as an Alumni Association Director before becoming its President in 2000.  He then became a Trustee of the High School, where he dedicated his time and expertise for another six years over two terms. John has been instrumental in the development of La Salle’s strategic plan to maintain and advance the Lasallian vision for its men of tomorrow. John also devotes his time as a Trustee of La Salle Academy.

John is the consummate professional in every aspect of his life. He graduated law school in 1975, and became law clerk to United States District Court Judge Joseph L. McGlynn, Jr. From there, John went into private practice, and today heads the distinguished Bucks County firm he co-founded, Fenningham, Stevens & Dempster, LLP. As part of his very busy and diverse civil practice, John specializes in Federal and State litigation with an emphasis in complex commercial, real estate, zoning and land use matters. His integrity and commitment to the service and counsel of others is unparalleled. He has also distinguished himself as Special Counsel for the County of Bucks, and as Northampton Township Zoning Hearing Board Chairman/Member, Building Code Board of Appeals, Solicitor and Community Center Advisory Committee Chair.

Central to John’s “giving back” philosophy is the very special relationship he had with Bill Whelan '55.  Motivated by Bill’s St. La Salle-like character, John has mentored generations of the La Salle faithful. He is particularly grateful to Bill for charting the course of kindness and principle he has followed in life.  John accepts this award in Bill’s name and with a full measure of thankfulness for his wonderful family, Maureen, his wife of 39 years, and their children Maura, J.P. ’93, and Tim ‘98.

James E. McCloskey '64

Jim McCloskey is a teacher of service. As one of the La Salle Community’s most prolific service forces, Jim “prefers to fly under the radar.” Because he does so much for so many without want of recognition, the distinction of 2010 Recipient of the William J. Whelan ’55 Alumni Service Award is most humbling to him.  Jim is always the first to acknowledge the good works and deeds of others, yet he never puts himself first. He believes the core of his basic existence is “helping people who have fallen through the cracks.” Jim’s life is thus dedicated to serving the forgotten, and to inspiring others to serve by following his lead.

Jim lives the La Salle mission. After graduating in 1964, his service of Country began. Whatever he did and wherever he went, Jim served with highest distinction and honor. Proficient in Vietnamese and French, Jim volunteered for Vietnam where he served two tours. He relates that he “went back to Nam to teach, rather than help them fight.” Jim also commanded several Units in Rwanda, Yugoslavia and Panama between 1971 and 1998. He retired in 1998 with the rank Colonel (0-6) USAR. Over the years, Jim’s commendations include two Purple Hearts, two Crosses of Gallantry, two Bronze Stars with Oak Leaf Clusters, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, two Meritorious Service Medals with Oak Leaf Clusters and the Legion of Merit.

Jim’s teaching and business experience is equally compelling. He has taught finance, accounting, law, marketing, management, business, economics, and communications courses and seminars at Ho Chi Minh Open University, Villanova University, La Salle University, Drexel University, Immaculata University and Penn State University. In addition, Jim currently heads two private companies in the areas of product marketing, investment advice and strategic planning.

At La Salle College High School, Jim founded the “Secret Santa” service project where teams of La Salle students gather funds, and buy, wrap, coordinate and deliver Christmas gifts to the oncology and hematology patients at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. He is also an annual career day presenter.  Jim has served on the Alumni Board for almost two decades. He credits his wife, Carol, and children, Dana, Erin and Bill ’04, as the most important inspiration in his life.


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