John Dzik

Letters Sent by Alums and Friends: 
Letters Main > Pat Zipfel, Class of 1989

Ms. Robin Moll
Vice President
Institutional Advancement
Cabrini College
610 King of Prussia Road
Radnor, PA 19087-3698

Dear Ms. Moll,

Having received your December 17th letter regarding John Dzik, I felt compelled to write you and share some thoughts. Since I believe you are a fairly new employee, I thought I would also give you a brief history lesson on Cabrini College from my perspective.

First, it is NOT your fault that you have not been at the college for a long period of time. Like your predecessors in the VP of IA position, and ultimately YOU in a few years or less, you will have long separated yourself from Cabrini. You will move on or be moved on. (More on that topic later).

Although I became a student at Cabrini in 1985, I was introduced to the college in 1982 by my oldest brother Andy Zipfel. Andy is also a Cabrini alumnus and was one of the first classes of men to graduate from Cabrini.

In 1985 the Cabrini campus looked differently compared to what you see today- there was no Nerney Fieldhouse, Xavier Hall was just being finished and my dormitory was Grace Hall! Certainly not the vibrant campus that you saw the day YOU interviewed for your position. Although no one has probably ever said it to you- the reason Cabrini still exists is because of John Dzik.

Long before Toni Iadarola, long before Jim Fitzsimmons, John Dzik had already been on campus. In fact, when my acceptance letter from Cabrini came to my home in 1984, it was signed by the Cabrini College Director of Admissions- John Dzik.

Historically with a dwindling enrollment in the late 70's and Early 80's the Cabrini College Board decided to allow men to enroll - a move that nearby Immaculata College is only attempting now. In my opinion, our Board realized that in order to survive they had to take this bold initiative. The full time enrollment was low and they seemed to be knocking on death' s door- a fate that nearby Upsala College fell victim. Ask Carter Craigie. Ask Jerry Zurek. Ask Dr. Romano or Dr. Johnson- Cabrini may have been in fiscal trouble.

It was during this time frame that Cabrini became what it is today. Along with others, while serving as Director of Athletics, John Dzik rolled up his sleeves and used his Enrollment Management skills partnered with his love and understanding of athletics and helped Admissions grow Cabrini.

Dzik increased the number of sports offered by the college, hired outstanding part-time coaches- who, standing beside him recruited their teams, and increased enrollment dramatically and saved Cabrini from an Upsala College fate. The college's enrollment has flourished since my departure from campus in 1989 but I can assure you that NO President, Vice President or Admission Director can take credit for the growth of Cabrini- (they may have enhanced it) but without the early initiatives of John Dzik- many believe Cabrini would by synonymous with Upsala. {Note- I served as an executive staff member of a small private liberal arts college reporting directly to the President for 4 years and understand Cabrini's issues}

Think about it! Dzik started the Lacrosse team, the golf team, the JV men's basketball program, the women's soccer team, the tennis team- the list is countless! Each one of those teams boosted the college enrollment and its bottom line- Money! More programming + more students= more revenue. He gave countless women and men a reason to enroll at Cabrini beyond academics- and he recruited most of them himself! Many of them he helped guide through the financial aid maze. Countless students and parents were helped with paperwork by Dzik- providing a personal touch and helped admissions hit their recruitment goal every year. Early on Dzik did it with no athletic complex, no administrative assistant and no other full time coaches, yet every year they increased the number of recruited students coming to Cabrini when the college needed it most!

In fact, I challenge you to look at what percentage of students from 1982-1990 were student- athletes recruited to come to Cabrini to play a sport. The athletic department seemed to keep the college afloat and it was led by the efforts and leadership of John Dzik!

How did Cabrini get in the NCAA? - (Dzik did this too). How did the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference start?? Dzik contacted every small private liberal arts college in the area and invented a conference- now call the PAC. Dzik INVENTED THE PAC- It is not your fault you don't know that. He made it happen- he came up with the idea and met with each of the schools and started a conference of schools with the same academic and athletic philosophy. Along the way, John Dzik did other things. His most obvious and notable contribution is his men's basketball program and how he developed it into one of the NCAA's All time Winningest Programs. An accomplishment that is looked upon with a higher level of regard beyond the 110 rolling acre campus of Cabrini College.

Personally, my time on campus spanned from 1985-89. During that time I struggled as a student and as a person. Like any 18-21 year old young man, I was uncertain of what I wanted to do with my life. In my sophomore year, I was given work grant, as part of my financial aid package, and was fortunate to have been assigned to work as an aide to the Director of Athletics/Head Men's Basketball Coach- John Dzik.

Serving as the department administrative assistant for 10 hours a week, I clearly remember sitting on an old plaid couch in a very cold office attached to the gym in Sacred Heart Hall. While having an extended conversation with Coach Dzik in February of 1987 and realized I had found the greatest mentor a young man could find. To this day I remember uttering the words "I want to be just like you" when he asked me what I would like to do someday. Time spent in his office made me realize who and what I wanted to be.

I had found a man who was not only a great coach but also a great person. My emulation of him went beyond professionally and it has guided me through my adult years. The lessons I learned as student worker and as a former player for Coach Dzik have carried over into my everyday life.

Do you know the last time someone said that to anyone in Institutional Advancement?

On Christmas Eve, I returned to my Pennsylvania home and opened my mail and received your letter.

John Dzik has been at Cabrini for over 20 years. He has developed Cabrini College institutionally and athletically and because of his hard work in the early years, made Cabrini grow both in revenue and in reputation.

John Dzik's title should have been Ambassador of Institutional Advancement. He has Advanced Cabrini beyond measure. No President, Vice President, Admissions Director is more responsible for Cabrini's success. Dzik's efforts allow you to have a position today raising money but it is not your fault- you didn't know that.

Hopefully you learned something about Cabrini, as well as how great a person and coach John Dzik is. I cannot imagine Cabrini College without John Dzik and I would hereby request you honor this formal request- I would like my name, phone number, and all contact information be removed from your office on March 18th. I want to remember Cabrini for what and who it was- John Dzik.

Being Vice President of Institutional Advancement is not an easy position, at a historic all female school where giving went to the breadwinner's school.

Your job is difficult. I am just not sure YOU KNOW how difficult it may become effective March 18th.

Good luck.


Patrick Zipfel
Class of 1989 
Advance Scout
Portland Trail Blazers
National Basketball Association (NBA)