Dave Branchen ’91 held the scoring record for Washington & Jefferson men’s basketball with 1,552 career points for 12 years before it was topped in 2003. A four-year letterwinner and starter, Branchen came to W&J from Thomas Jefferson High School. Branchen made an impact in his first season, averaging 13.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. As a sophomore, Branchen averaged 18.0 points per game and then upped his output to 19.3 points per contest as a junior. He also led the team in rebounds, blocked shots, field goal percentage and steals in each of his last two seasons at W&J, both in which he was named First Team All-PAC. Following his junior year, Branchen was named the conference’s co-MVP. Branchen worked just as hard in the classroom where he twice earned the prestigious GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-America honor. Branchen was also awarded the Donald Ebbert academic award as a junior and the Rule, Hughes Murphy Memorial Scholarship as a freshman.
Cindy Kelly ’86 ended her career as one of the most decorated women’s basketball players in Washington & Jefferson history. A native of McKeesport, Pa., Kelly became the first W&J women’s basketball player to earn All-America laurels after being named to the American Women’s Sports Federation Second Team following her senior season. Kelly is second on the school’s scoring list with 1,517 points. She is also third-leading rebounder in school history with 833, including 235 in her senior year, which stands as the third-most in a single season by a President. A four-time first team All-PAC honoree, Kelly was also twice named the conference’s Most Valuable Player. Kelly led Washington & Jefferson to a 37-10 conference record during her four years and helped the Presidents capture three Pennwood Athletic Conference Championships. Kelly is currently working as a registered nurse in the emergency care unit at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, California.
Chris Rihn ’96 finished his career as arguably the top men’s soccer player in Washington & Jefferson history. Rihn helped set the standard for scoring records at the College by notching 33 goals and 22 assists for 88 points during his four years, all of which stood until 2003. A four-time All-PAC honoree including three first-team selections, Rihn was a two-time team MVP and was also named the Presidents’ Athletic Conference MVP in 1995. Rihn also graduated with a 3.91 grade-point average with a major in biology. Following his sophomore and junior seasons, he earned GTE Academic All-America laurels and was also honored three times as a Mid-Atlantic Region Adidas Scholar-Athlete. Since graduating from W&J in 1996, Chris has pursued a career in medicine. He obtained his M.D. degree from MCP Hahnemann School of Medicine in Philadelphia in 2000 and has recently completed his training in Internal Medicine at McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University in Chicago, Ill. He currently holds a position of Assistant Clinical Professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Larry Romboski ’59 was a four-year letterwinner for the W&J men’s basketball team from 1955-1959. Throughout his storied career, Romboski was widely known as one of the top players in the east with a deadly jump shot. Romboski still holds the Washington & Jefferson record for points scored in a single game as he poured in 43 points in his sophomore season vs. Bethany. A member of Beta Theta Pi, Romboski scored a school-record 1,274 points in his four years, a record which stood at the College for over a decade. He also averaged 17.9 points per game and appeared in 73 consecutive contests, which also broke a school record at the time. In W&J’s first year in the PAC in 1959, Romboski was an All-Conference honoree as he led W&J to a 15-3 record. During his last three seasons, the Presidents held a 37-18 overall record. Romboski retired as a professor in math and computer science from California University of Pennsylvania in 2002. In 1998, he received the CUP Excellence in Teaching Award at the annual Presidential Gala. The CUP Alumni Association gave him the C. B. Wilson Distinguished Faculty Award in 1989. In 1975 and again in 1976 he received a Pa. State System of Higher Education Award for outstanding academic service.
Bob Alessio ’66, 2003 Robert M. Murphy Award Honoree, played for the Washington & Jefferson football team in 1962 and 1963 under W&J Hall of Fame Head Coach Chuck Ream. A 1966 graduate with a major in physics, Alessio was awarded the George Winchester Prize in physics as the top graduate in his class. In April of 2001, Alessio retired from the Compaq Computer Corporation after serving 29 years as a sales and marketing executive with Digital Equipment Corporation and Compaq Computers. Just recently, Alessio completed an inspiring and dramatic “Run Across America” where he ran 5,282 miles in a 324-day period with only 36 rest days. After first considering running across the country as a personal challenge, Alessio decided to dedicate his journey to the victims and families of the terrorist attacks on the United States following September 11, 2001. Alessio’s “Run Across America,” which started on April 23, 2002, included 25 states in which he visited military bases, firehouses and police stations in an expression of his support and appreciation for the many Americans involved in protecting our homeland and freedom. Alessio also ran through towns affected most by 9/11, including Washington, D.C., Shanksville, Pa., and New York City. Alessio’s journey concluded on March 27, 2003, in Boston, Mass., where Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney hosted a reception at the State House in honor of Alessio’s achievement.