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Alvernia’s Pioneer Program Institutes Name Change

by Alvernia University

Apr 05, 2019

Longtime program leader earns honorary degree at 40th anniversary celebration

Reading, Pa.Alvernia University’s Behavioral Health program, the first of its kind in the nation, unveiled a name change to Addictions and Mental Health Treatment during its 40th anniversary celebration on Tuesday (March 26) evening at the McGlinn Conference Center. Longtime program leader and local addiction studies pioneer George Vogel Jr. was awarded an honorary degree for his outstanding contributions to Alvernia and the addiction studies field.

“Launched forty years ago as the first program of its kind in the entire country, Alvernia’s Addictions and Mental Health Treatment program was a bold innovation, at a time when treating addiction carried an unfortunate stigma,” said Alvernia University President Thomas F. Flynn. “The vision of our pioneering foundress, the late Sister Pacelli, and the expertise of George Vogel helped shaped the program, and committed ‘practioner-faculty’ have over the years ensured that the program has continuously evolved in its education of future addictions and mental health treatment professionals.”

The name change reflects the evolution of the curriculum that was born in 1976 out of a recognized collective need to assist with an epidemic spreading across the nation. The new name accurately reflects the all-encompassing dual diagnosis treatments in the field, broadly defines the reality of addictions and puts the program in terms that the public understands.

The program has longstanding local strategic partnerships with organizations such as the Caron Treatment Centers and Council on Chemical Abuse (or COCA) that placed the program at the center of the greater Berks County community.

“More than 100 Caron employees have an Alvernia degree and eight employees are adjunct faculty members at Alvernia,” said Caron Treatment Centers President and CEO Doug Tieman. “Alvernia’s academic programs to educate and train professionals have helped the field evolve and this incredible partnership has been really important to Caron’s success.”

More information about the Addictions and Mental Health Treatment program is available at

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