Congressman John Joyce ’75 was recently elected to represent the 13th district of Pennsylvania, making him the first Bishop Guilfoyle alum to serve in Congress, and he credits his time at BG as an integral step on his road to Congress. After graduating from BG, Joyce furthered his education outside Blair County, attending Penn State University Park, Temple and Johns Hopkins University in pursuit of an M.D. in dermatology. Prior to his election, Joyce and his wife Alice Plummer Joyce spent 25 years serving Blair County and the surrounding areas through their clinic, Altoona Dermatology Associates.
Although he spent time away from Blair County after high school, Joyce maintained many relationships from his time at BG. Many of the students in his graduating class were key supporters of his campaign. Julia Plummer Schocker, Joyce’s sister-in-law, graduated from BG and was an incredible support. Keith Laramore, Laurie (Prosperi) Hogan, Tom McConnell, Terry Lang Carnacella, John Franco and Sue Yetsko Franco, Mike Hunyady, Dan and Brigid Sheedy and former quarterback Tom Lang were all 1975 graduates of BG as well, and each one offered Joyce tremendous support throughout his campaign.
Even classmates who now live outside the Blair County area came together to help. At a campaign event in Franklin County, former classmate Robin Martin made the drive to support Joyce, and classmates now living in Philadelphia, such as Don Kelly, Butch Burns and Jim Riley and Terry McCabe Riley all traveled to Joyce’s swearing in ceremony.
“Because of the close nature of the class, it was encouraging and indicative of the deep friendships and ties that occur from BG that extend throughout a lifetime,” Joyce said. “There was a concerted effort of BG alumni who participated from day one.”
Joyce ran for office to be the voice for his patients, community and classmates, all of whom encouraged him to run for office, primarily due to current issues in healthcare. Despite being a hot-button topic, thanks to the support of his diverse former classmates, Joyce enjoyed bipartisan representation.
“I truly had bipartisan support from my classmates at BG,” Joyce said. “Many of my classmates shared my conservative ideals that we were taught at BG, and they encouraged me to take them to Washington. We were taught basic Christian ideals and how to incorporate those into our studies and into our life. BG taught us how to work with other people, to pray with other people and in the long run, for me, to work for other people.”
Joyce credits his high school alma matter as his launching pad into a successful career, an opportunity he believes is available to any student going into any field. He believes that BG students, by taking every advantage the teachers give, the encouragement of parents and the camaraderie classmates develop, can have a successful career on many different levels.
“[BG] was an incredible experience filled with great memories of hardworking students, dedicated faculty, great sports, outstanding academics and [was] a spring board to a great career in medicine,” Joyce says.