May 21, 1967 (Dawson Building)
Penn State Scranton Celebrates 50 Years at Current Campus Reflecting on Director Robert E. Dawson
In This Issue PAGE 2 Chancellor’s Message PAGE 3 50 Year History PAGE 4 Fundraising & LaunchBox PAGE 5 Alumni & Student Leadership PAGE 6 Current News & Happenings PAGE 7 Athletes & Outreach Photo on right: October 31, 1966 groundbreaking included University President Eric Walker, Robert Dawson, and then Governor William W. Scranton.
120 Ridge View Drive, Dunmore, PA 18512 570-963-2500
Even as a young child, Suzanne Sloane was a fixture at Penn State Scranton. “My grandpa was big on wanting us at all the events,” Sloane said. Grandpa wasn’t just anyone, but the campus’ first director, Robert E. Dawson.
State in 1958. Sloane and all three of her siblings graduated from Penn State. That’s not surprising in the least, considering their father would often tell them, “You can go anywhere you want, but if you go to Penn State, I’ll pay for it.”
Fifty years after he presided over the first class, the late Dawson’s legacy remains alive and well at the campus. Yes, there’s a building named after him – the very first campus building – but, the vision, ingenuity and pride in the Penn State product that he brought to the campus can also still be found in abundance.
While Sloane, an education major, spent all four years at University Park, she took summer courses at Scranton. “I remember people would look at the Dawson Building and say, ‘Any relation?’ … I just remember being really proud of going there,” said Sloane, noting her brother Bob’s kids are now the fourth generation of Penn State students.
On May 9, Sloane, along with her mom, Mary Lou Dawson, and her siblings, will be in attendance when the Penn State Scranton community honors Dawson at the campus’ 50th Anniversary Gala. The event will take place from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. at Fiorelli’s in Peckville. Sloane will travel to the gala from her home in Virginia, where she serves as the Head of School for the Virginia Virtual Academy.
While her grandfather passed away many years ago, Sloane still has many vivid memories of him. For instance, whenever the family visited his Scranton home, everyone had to be dressed Continued on page 2
The Dawsons are a diehard Penn State family. Robert E. Dawson graduated from University Park, as did his wife, the late Beatrice Bowen Dawson, who co-founded one of the first sororities there and later went on to become a school principal in Duryea. Sloane’s father, the late Robert W. Dawson, graduated from Penn
Chancellor’s Message As we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Penn State Worthington Scranton, now Penn State Scranton, I feel privileged to be a part of a university that has been producing well prepared students through the highest quality learning experiences – ultimately receiving the best return on their investment. As alumni, they will not only meet our community needs, but help us improve and enhance the NEPA region and beyond. As a relatively new comer to Penn State University, it has been a captivating and eye-opening educational experience for me to learn about the history of our campus and the good people who played important roles in the evolution of Penn State Scranton in the past, and certainly, the future. Most recently, our campus community has been implementing new processes with the goal of supporting student success and degree completion in a timely manner. We are already seeing positive results from our efforts. We recently completed the creation of a state-of-the-art Information Science and Technology Lab which will provide our students with the latest tools to advance their learning and preparedness for the job market. Special thanks to alumna Suzanne Thomas and the Margaret Briggs Foundation, for their
generous financial support that helped make this project come to life. We appreciate and value the role that our Board of Advisors play in strengthening Penn State Scranton’s position in our region as a dynamic and viable higher educational institution. Penn State Scranton has over 15,000 active alumni who attended or completed degrees at the Scranton Center or the current campus. Since 1968, nearly 10,000 active alumni attended or completed their degrees here. Our alumni play an important role in helping us assert the reality that We Are … Penn State University, a destination choice campus where a student can earn a Penn State bachelor’s degree close to home.
In this issue, we celebrate our 50th anniversary by providing articles reflecting on our history, along with current news. We hare happy to highlight the talent of campus alumnus Josh McAuliffe, who was an active participant in our Honors Program and played a role in compiling the campus history as a student. Josh serves as a member of our adjunct English faculty. I am truly honored and privileged to be a part of Penn State Scranton’s future – building on the many accomplishments of noted leaders of the past. As always, we welcome your feedback and ideas to engage our alums and regional supporters in strengthening our image and role in positively impacting our regional economy.
Penn State Scranton cordially invites you to our
50th Anniversary Gala Thursday, May 9, 2019 5:30 Cocktail Hour 6:45 Dinner 8:30 Dancing Fiorelli’s, Peckville, PA $125 per person, in advance.
Contact Marianne Gable 570-963-2539
Marwan Wafa, Chancellor
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in their finest clothes. “He was the kind of person that when you went over to his house, he was still in his bow tie,” Sloane said. “In fact, every memory I have of him is of him wearing a bow tie. He was always very well-dressed. Tailored suits. And he always smoked a cigar.” He also seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time collecting awards and giving speeches at various dinners and charitable events. “He was always the entertainer,” Sloane said. When home, “he would often have people over from his work. Just people who were all very loyal to him and just really cared for him. “I think he touched a lot of people in the Scranton area,” she said. “When our family gets together, we still show pictures of him all these decades later. It’s just nice. His legacy lives on.”
Robert E. Dawson
Penn State Scranton Is Key to Local Higher Education Celebrating 50 Years in Dunmore It’s very easy for veteran institutions to lose focus and settle into a comfortable lethargy in their later years. Stagnancy, though, has never been Penn State Scranton’s calling card. Now in its 50th year of existence, the campus formerly known as Penn State Worthington Scranton continues to grow and redefine the way it serves the ever-evolving educational needs of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Before moving forward, it’s always good to look back. As it happens, the campus’ origin story is an inspiring one.
before heading off to University Park or another school to complete their degrees. Methodically, the campus expanded. In 1970, the Library and Multipurpose Building opened their doors. Five years later came the Study Learning Center, or SLC, as it’s affectionately known. Of course, with all this growth came the need for additional faculty members. Many talented, passionate educators came on board during those early years, among them longtime English teaching professor and program coordinator Paul Perrone, who was hired by Dawson in 1970.
its first four-year bachelor’s degree programs in nursing, business, human development and family studies (HDFS), and information sciences and technology (IST). “That was a huge part of the evolutionary process. It was a big need, because a lot of our students were geographically bound to northeastern Pennsylvania,” Perrone said. “Gallagher grew the campus fantastically, and made it into a big part of the community. And he was a great guy.”
By the time he retired in 2000, Gallagher’s legacy was secure, and the Gallagher Conference Center The campus’ roots extend all the way back to Perrone attributes a good deal of the campus’ was christened in his honor. His successor, Dr. 1923, when Penn State, then known as The initial success to the drive and tenacity of Dawson, Mary-Beth Krogh-Jespersen, kept up the comPennsylvania State College, established a branch a no-nonsense former high school principal who mitment to expansion. Under her leadership, the in downtown Scranton’s Chamber of Commerce truly saw the impact the Penn State brand could campus added more degree programs, constructBuilding. At first, it exclusively offered evening make locally. ed the Business Building, created a Science Suite, classes in teacher certification and miner foreman established the David and Ann Hawk Student Suc“I like to say that Penn State is good at selecting training. cess Center in the SLC, and enhanced the athletic its leaders. Dawson was the consummate educaIn 1951, the school moved to the old Longfellow tor. He loved education and loved bringing educa- fields including the new UGI Utilities Softball and Matt McGloin Baseball fields. School on Wyoming Avenue, renaming itself The tion to the people of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Scranton Center. Two years later, the first associHe was a visionary, and he ate degree programs in engineering were offered. got all these members of the committee to buy into During the early 1960s, as more local residents his idea,” said Perrone, an began to possess the means to pursue a college innovator in his own right education, The Scranton Center’s advisory board, whose close relationled by then-director Robert E. Dawson, developed ship with the University a plan to establish a new campus with bigger and Park English department more modern facilities. From there, a group of loallowed him to bring a cal business and civic leaders initiated a fundraisnumber of popular ing campaign that eventually raised $300,000 courses to the campus. and allowed for the purchase of 45 acres of old Hudson Coal Co. land on the Dunmore-Throop After Dawson, Dr. Edward border. K. Kraybill continued the campus’ forward progress. The campus finally opened its doors in fall 1968 By the mid-1970s, enrollwith the completion of its $1.4 million multiment rose to nearly 1,000, purpose classroom building, which was later and Kraybill strengthened re-named in Dawson’s honor. The advisory board its community outreach Receiving the key to the new campus from Penn State President Eric Walker is Campus wanted to name the campus after Gov. William W. through the creation of an Director Robert Dawson. Shown are, from left, Robert Kunsig, director, General State Scranton, but the humble governor politely deAuthority; former Governor William W. Scranton; Dawson; K. Holderman, Walker, and Harry alumni organization and Dickstein, board of directors member. clined, and instead asked that it be named for his speakers’ bureau. father, prominent businessman and philanthropist When Dr. Marwan Wafa became the new chancelWorthington Scranton. When Kraybill took a position at University Park, Dr. John C. Villaume served as interim director for lor in 2015, he continued the practical, innovative The campus started with about 175 students, ala year until being succeeded in 1979 by University approach of his forbears. Wafa has made a nummost all of whom were male engineering students ber of aesthetic improvements to the campus, and Park administrator Dr. James D. Gallagher. pursuing their associate degree. By the next year, added several new four-year degrees, including enrollment tripled, to 575 students, according Under Gallagher’s two-decade leadership, the mechanical engineering. Set to launch in Fall 2019, to The Times-Tribune archives. It progressively campus added more doctorate-level faculty and the program will be housed in the campus’ newest evolved into a true co-ed institution and classic initiated several two-year associate degree profacility, the former Grainger industrial supply Penn State feeder campus, with most undergrads grams, including nursing. By the end of the ’90s, building located at the intersection of the O’Neill doing two years of general education courses the campus had fulfilled another crucial need with Continued on page 4
Penn State Scranton Scholarships & Awards Fundraising Penn State (Worthington) Scranton launched campus fundraising efforts on July 21, 1987 that were part of the University’s major fund drive with a goal of $200,000 million. The “Campaign Liftoff Celebration” was held at the Waverly Country Club and was attended by campus advisory board members, alumni and friends. The event marked the end of the advance phase of the local fund drive. The most current fund drive at the University “A Greater Penn State For 21st Century Excellence” has an overall goal of $1.6 billion. This campaign invites Penn State’s alumni and friends to become our partners in fulfilling the three core imperatives of a public university: Open Doors, Create Transformative Experiences, and Impact the World. To give to Penn State Scranton contact Christine Ostroski, 570-963-2538 or online at sn.psu.edu/Giving and select Penn State Scranton as an area to support.
Through the generosity of private individuals and companies, Penn State Scranton is able to continue helping students who have excelled in their studies or are in need of financial assistance. The Tabatabaie Family and UGI Utilities Inc. join several other loyal alumni, friends and businesses who have recently established endowed funds for deserving undergrads at the campus.
The newly established Tabatabaie Family Math and Science Award will provide permanent support for Penn State Scranton math and science degree students with a minimum GPA of 3.2, who are at least a 2nd semester freshman. Shown is campus alumnus Jahan Tabatabaie with Chancellor Marwan Wafa and Director of Development Christine Ostoski.
UGI Utilities Open Doors Scholarship was created at Penn State Scranton and will be awarded to undergraduate students enrolled or planning to enroll at the campus who are participating in RaiseMe, Pathway to Success Summer Start (PaSSS), or Complete Penn State programs. Shown is UGI Utilities, Inc. President & CEO Robert Beard with Director of Development Christine Ostroski.
LaunchBox Opens in Scranton
Lifting off with the Nittany Lion were Campus Director James D. Gallagher, left, and Campaign Chairman Larry Stetler. (1987)
The Scranton LaunchBox, part of the Invent Penn State initiative, was officially opened this past fall with a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by Penn State President Eric Barron and other Penn State administrators, as well as regional economic development and public officials. The pre-incubator/accelerator will help advance local entrepreneurial concepts to business plan development using the resources of Penn State. The program has already helped several local entrepreneurs at its location at Cedar Avenue in Scranton. From left are Vice
President for Commonwealth Campuses Madlyn Hanes; Vice President for Research Neil Sharkey; United Neighborhood Center Director Michael Hanley; Penn State Scranton Chancellor Marwan Wafa; and University President Eric Barron.
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Highway and Ridge View Drive. The building will finally give the campus a high-visibility entryway. “We have a beautiful campus, maybe the most beautiful of all the Penn State campuses, given the nature and views. And now we’re trying to capitalize on that,” Wafa said during an interview last year with The Times-Tribune. “We’re working on visibility. How do you achieve it? It’s engagement and physical visibility, with the Grainger building being one element of that.” Visibility also comes via branding, and with that in mind the campus officially changed its name last year to Penn State Scranton. Meanwhile, in hopes of spurring more innovation and economic development throughout
northeastern Pennsylvania, the campus recently opened its Scranton LaunchBox in South Scranton. The no-cost pre-incubator and co-working space, part of the Invent Penn State initiative, will give budding entrepreneurs the support and resources needed to turn their ideas into full-scale sustainable businesses.
be engaged,” Wafa told The Times-Tribune. “I want to grow this campus, and as we grow, we create jobs.”
And, of course, Penn State Scranton continues to welcome a diverse mix of traditional and non-traditional students, all while offering a yearly tuition that’s substantially lower than most of its competitors.
“I see Bob Dawson in Dr. Wafa,” Perrone said. “I see the same power, the same dedication, the same determination, in what he’s doing in moving the campus forward and getting everyone involved in leadership. What he’s doing is magnificent. … The beauty for me is that when I leave here, I’ll have the satisfaction of having seen a lot of good people make a lot of good things happen.”
“The way I view it, we cannot be an island; we need to be an integral part of northeastern Pennsylvania. How do you do that? You need to
Perrone, for one, is extremely impressed with Wafa’s vision. In fact, he sees history repeating itself – in a very good way.
Alumni Share Stories of Student Life and Leadership Since Day One, Penn State Scranton has made its student body feel as if its collective voice is being heard. That is primarily due to the Student Government Association (SGA), one of the mainstays of campus life since the inaugural class of 1968-69.
incoming freshmen, including going shoeless on Wednesdays, wearing face ribbons on Fridays, and carrying seniors’ books and memorizing the number of concrete squares in the patio during Pledge Week.) “One of the things was trying to keep the students’ interest in the campus, because there were no dormitories,” Kowalski said. “One of the things that helped a lot was that you saw the same people, because it was such a small campus. So, there was a nice sense of camaraderie.”
Under the guidance of engineering professor and club adviser Michael Abdalla, the group brought several guest speakers to the campus, screened old W.C. Fields movies, and acquired a ping pong Gathering at the Alumni/Student Leadership Luncheon were, from left, Student Government President Joseph Kowalski (1968-69) and Pete Bordi (1973-74); and di- table. rectors of Student Affairs/Services Brad Kovaleski (current) and Patrick Rose (retired).
Just as it does at campuses across the entire Penn State system, the Scranton campus of SGA works to bring student priorities to fruition. Made up of officers, members and representatives from other campus clubs, SGA’s myriad goals include assisting campus student organizations, working with the Student Senate to solicit student views, promoting student welfare, and sponsoring numerous events throughout the school year. Recently, as part of its 50th anniversary celebration, the campus held a special program for its past and present student leaders. Among those on hand to offer remarks were Joe Kowalski, the campus’ very first SGA president, and Dr. Peter Bordi, SGA president from 1973-74.
As far as dealing with the administration, Kowalski said campus director Robert E. Dawson always had “an open-door policy” for SGA members. And Abdalla, he said, “was just absolutely fantastic.” “He looked like one of us. He had that youthful appearance,” Kowalski said. At the end of that school year, Kowalski received his associate degree in electrical engineering and headed off to complete his bachelor’s degree at Penn State Harrisburg. By then, he felt “the torch could be passed along, and student government could get even better as it moved forward.”
Indeed, the group had grown significantly more ambitious by the time Bordi assumed the SGA presidency by one vote in the fall of ’73. “We were really active,” said Bordi, a Dunmore native and associate professor of hospitality management at University Park. “Our goal from Day One was to raise money and to get Penn State Worthington Scranton on the map. We wanted to get publicity to the campus.” The group accomplished its mission on several fronts, from raising money to erect a campus sign to holding numerous dances and concerts, including one featuring the popular local band the Buoys, known for their Top 40 hit, “Timothy.” “We had checks and balances. We had a lot of money coming in. We had police for concerts. We had a lot of responsibility,” Bordi said. “We ran it like a business.” Of course, SGA’s biggest coup that year was bringing iconic consumer advocate and political activist Ralph Nader to the campus. At the time, Nader was one of the most well-known people in America and came with a $2,500 asking price. As it happened, Nader’s arrival on campus caused some dissension between SGA and the higher-ups.“Some of the faculty and administration people wanted to have dinner with him,” Bordi recalled. “And I said, ‘No. We busted our ass and worked really hard for this. We met our goal and challenges, and we’re going to have dinner with him.’” Luckily for Bordi and the other SGA members, their adviser, former campus director of student affairs Patrick J. Rose, went to bat for them. “He supported us. He could have forced us to have faculty come to the dinner, but he didn’t,” Bordi said. “It was a really good lesson for all of us. We learned about work and setting a goal, but also Continued on page 6
Alumni and Student Leaders Meet
Kowalski, a North Scranton native who now lives in Bethlehem, was among the engineering students who migrated from Penn State’s Scranton Center on Wyoming Avenue to the more bucolic Worthington Scranton campus in the fall of 1968. When the SGA elections came up that fall, Kowalski figured he’d “give it a shot.” Throughout the year, he and his small group of fellow members did their best to lay a good foundation for it on the new campus. In the Sept. 18, 1968, issue of The Cub’s Roar student newspaper, Kowalski issued a plea to students to “pester your representatives” on “matters that concern or bother you.” (The issue also included a hilarious list of rules for
Gathering at a special 50th Anniversary luncheon that brought together past and present student leaders are, in front from left, student leaders Stephanie Earle, Shanie Mohamed, Jessica Duff, Lizz Brandt, Emily Scarfo, Lauren Sciabbarrasi, and standing from left, student leaders, Jack Tora, David Jobs and campus alumni/former leaders Shawna Corcoran, Pete Bordi, Neil Wells, Jason Chilipko, Chancellor Marwan Wafa, Dr. Darlene Dunay, Brent Wilson, Joe Kowalski, Jahan Tabatabaie, Kathy Zielinski, Amy Gruzesky, and retired Director of Student Affairs Patrick Rose.
Awards, Service & Outreach Casarin Honored as Alumna of the Year
Kathy Casarin was named the 2018 Alumna of the Year by the Penn State Scranton Alumni Society. A campus reception was held in her honor in February. Immediate past-president of the Alumni Society, Casarin is a realtor at Dwell Real Estate. Gathering with classmates in attendance are, from left, Danny Sullivan, Tami Bendzel Mangan, Casarin, Ellen Regan Magnotta, and Lou Ingargiola.
Students Make THON History
Students, from left; Alex Squatrito, Katie Walsh, and Dana Beecroft were selected to represent Penn State Scranton as dancers at THON-a 46-hour dance marathon, the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, which benefits Four Diamonds and children battling pediatric cancer. This year marked the first time in Penn State Scranton’s history that the campus was allotted three dancers for the annual fundraiser. In addition, the campus was also assigned a THON family that they were paired with during the marathon, another first for the campus. A special honor, which was announced in the Bryce Jordan Center at the end of THON, was that Penn State Scranton ranked 5th among the campuses across the state, with a record of over $40,000 raised for the cause.
Spring Break Student Service
Student Entrepreneurs Take First Place
A student team from Penn State Scranton recently took first place in the Council for Retail and Sales (CRS) Collegiate Challenge, powered by Sherwin-Williams and held at Penn State Lehigh Valley. The Business Program students took home a traveling trophy which is being housed on campus until next year’s challenge. The winners also received a $250 scholarship from Sherwin-Williams. Gathering are from Sherwin-Williams Monica Schwab, Jeremy Schmoyer, Jessica Furtado and Chris Crocker; Penn State Scranton students, Lauren Sciabbarrasi and Jeremy Brown; Michael Williams, Sherwin-Williams; students Brandon Collins and Paul Forbes, and Business faculty member Frank Sorokach.
Commencement Speaker Selected Penn State Scranton students recently returned from helping families dealing with the aftermath of Florence in Wilmington, NC as their “alternative Spring Break.” The students, along with Gene Grogan, campus director of business services, Matt Nied, assistant director of programs, unions & students, and Community Collaborations International, worked on projects such as gutting and reconstruction of damaged homes and mold remediation. Students involved were Rebecca Remsky, Emily Scarfo, Jessica Duff, Lauren Sciabbansi, Jinal Dave, Harshial Patel, Steph Earle, Rajvi H. Kaneriya, Bryan Francis, Jack Tora, Thomas Gonzales, Elizabeth Brandt, Tabitha Boyd, and Marissa Boyd.
Penn State Scranton selected alumnus Jonathan Fritz, PA State representative of the 111th District, to serve as the campus’ 2019 keynote speaker at Commencement on Saturday, May 4 at noon at the Scranton Cultural Center. Fritz received his Penn State bachelor’s degree in business in 2001 at the Scranton campus. A member of the Penn State Scranton Advisory Board, Fritz was honored by the Penn State Wayne-Pike Chapter in 2016 as Alumnus of the Year. He formerly served as Mayor of Honesdale and Wayne County Commissioner following work in the private sector.
Alumni “Open Doors” Through Scholarships In addition to numerous events, volunteer activities, and thousands of dollars in past support, two area Penn State alumni organizations recently donated funds to establish scholarships for campus students. The Greater Scranton Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association, comprised of alumni and friends of PSU in the Scranton area, and the Penn State Scranton Alumni Society, which is exclusive to alumni who attended the campus, established Open Doors Scholarships on campus. The endowed scholarships were funded by the groups at $30,000 each and were double-matched through the University. All totaled, the result is endowed funds of $180,000 that will assist deserving campus students in need.
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about leadership. A leader does the right thing, and Dean Rose did the right thing.” “I pretty much owe my career to him. If not for him, I probably wouldn’t have gone to main campus,” Bordi said. “What he taught us outside of the classroom was what was important to us. We could disagree and argue with each other, as long as we knew that the goal was what’s good for Penn State.”
From left, Director of Development Christine Ostroski, Chancellor Marwan Wafa, and Greater Scranton Penn State Chapter President Jeffrey Mallas.
Years later, Bordi raised the money to start a campus award named for Rose. The two had the chance to see each other at the 50th anniversary event, which was Bordi’s first trip to the campus since receiving the Alumnus of the Year award about a decade ago. That notion of returning to the campus and giving back rings true to Kowalski, who, during his speech at the 40th anniversary SGA celebration, cited
From left, Penn State Scranton Alumni Society President Kathy Zielinski, Ostroski, Wafa, and Kathy Casarin, alumni society immediate past president.
some prophetic words once uttered by former Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca – “Learn, earn and return.” “Basically, when you have the means, swing back and return as best you can, in any way you can, so others can carry on the cycle of learning, earning and returning,” Kowalski said. “There are many different ways you can return.”
Community Outreach Keeping Children Healthy
Penn State Scranton’s Children’s Health Fair will be held on Saturday, April 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on campus. Health care service providers throughout NEPA, along with students in the campus’ bachelor’s degree in nursing programs, will provide a variety of free health screenings, child health and safety demonstrations, and other useful information for both parents and children. The fair is sponsored through a recent grant from the Robert Y. Moffat Family Charitable Trust.
Kneeling, from left, nursing students Taylir Evans, Victoria Hegedty, Jillian Viercinski, Matthew Hayner; and in back from left, student Nicholas Pieshefski, Program Coordinator Dr. Milton Evans, students Elizabeth Olivares, Abbey Walsh, Instructor Allison Tomczyk, Director of Development Christine Ostroski, Yvette Wentland of the Robert Y. Moffat Family Charitable Trust, Chancellor Wafa, student Maren Lindemuth, Dr. Michael Evans, asst. chief academic officer/assoc. professor; and students Arianne Grilli and Madison Stewart.
Students Making Music
Through the generosity of the Schwartz Mack Foundation (SMF), funding was received in support of Penn State Scranton’s music program – most specifically for their concerts held both on and off-campus. The Penn State Scranton Chorale, Campus Jazz Band, and a select vocal group The Roc(k) tets, under the direction of Teaching Assistant Professor and Director of Music, Sharon Ann Toman, will entertain guests at their 13th Annual Spring Concert on Saturday, April 27th at 4 p.m. at the Theatre at North, Scranton. The Schwartz Mack donation was made in memory in memory of David J. Nicoteri, the late son of David and Michele Nicoteri, campus Student Services and Support employee.
Campus Athletes “Raise the Roar” Since the Early Days Michael Abdalla wore many hats in the early days of Penn State Scranton’s existence. Besides being one of the campus’ first professors, he was also its first Student Government Association (SGA) adviser and its first and longtime basketball coach. “For years, I even drove the team’s van,” Abdalla said with a laugh. Since Abdalla last paced the hardwood in 1984, Penn State Scranton’s athletics program has grown considerably. Currently a member of the Penn State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC) and the United States Collegiate Athletic Association Conference (USCAA), the campus now boasts nine varsity teams: men’s baseball; men’s and women’s basketball; men’s and women’s cross country; men’s and women’s soccer; women’s softball; and women’s volleyball. Meanwhile, there are cheerleading and co-ed bowling club teams, and several intramural sports, including coed volleyball, coed basketball and coed softball. Over the years, the Multipurpose Building has seen a number of upgrades to the gym and the weight-training and cardio areas. Same goes for the outdoor venues, which include the soccer field, the reinvigorated tennis courts, and the Matt McGloin Baseball Field, named for the West Scranton native and former Nittany Lions quarterback. Abdalla loved just about every day of his 38-year Penn State tenure, which began in 1967 when then-director Robert E. Dawson hired him to join the engineering faculty at the old Scranton Center. There, Abdalla initiated the basketball program, which spent its first few years playing games at Holy Cross gymnasium in Scranton’s Bellevue section. When the Worthington Scranton campus opened in the fall of 1968, Joe Simoncelli left his position at Penn State Berks to return to the area and become the campus’ first athletic director. “My main charge was starting up the instructional and intramural programs,” said Simoncelli, who retired in 2002. “Because we didn’t have the facilities at first, we rented some other fields in the area and the gym at the Y.”
Seated from left, Chancellor Wafa and SMF board member Dick Eckersley. Standing from left, Christine Ostroski, campus & SMF board member Rick Bishop, SMF board member Mark Silversberg, Concert Director Sharon Ann Toman, Michelle Nicoteri and Samantha Nicoteri, David’s sister.
When the Multipurpose Building was completed in 1970, the program took off. Harry Felton joined the athletics department, and he and Simoncelli added a string of varsity sports, including cross country, tennis, wrestling and soccer. By the mid-1970s, hundreds of students were playing intramural sports, and Abdalla’s basket-
ball team gained a reputation as the fast-breaking, high-scoring Court Jesters. Meanwhile, Simoncelli and Felton were continually adding innovative instructional courses that students could take as part of their general education requirements. In 1979, Penn State alumnus Jeff Mallas was hired by then campus CEO Dr. James Gallagher. A former cross country runner for Simoncelli, Mallas became a full-time instructor in 1981, the same year he started the campus’ baseball program. The team played at Dunmore’s Schautz Memorial Stadium until 1983, when Mallas and members of the maintenance staff completed work on the campus’ field. “We put the infield in by hand,” said Mallas. Mallas has carried on the athletics program’s upward trajectory since taking over as director of athletics in 2002, from adding varsity sports, to upgrading the facilities, to meeting the complex needs that come with being a member of the USCAA. Mallas gives a large amount of credit to his coaches and his full-time staff members, Coordinator of Athletic Programs Sara Rinkunas and Administrative Assistant Mar Tsakonas. He’s trying to mentor them in the same way that Simoncelli and Gallagher mentored him. “I always used to say to Joe, ‘We don’t make a lot of money, but it’s a great job.’ I still feel that way – I’ve been very lucky,” Mallas said. Simoncelli and Abdalla echoed that sentiment. “For me, it was 35 years of a lot of fun,” Simoncelli said. “I have no regrets.” “The same joy I got in the classroom I got from coaching. Just as I really loved the students, I really loved my players,” Abdalla said. “It was just a wonderful experience, and it’s one of the things I thank God for.”
Non-Profit Org. US Postage PAID Permit No. 1 State College, PA
120 Ridge View Drive, Dunmore, PA 18512
50th Anniversary Classes - Past and Present
First graduating class attending the campus.
New Penn State Scranton students beginning the 2018-19 academic year.
Upcoming Events April 4 April 7 April 27 April 27 May 4 May 9 May 18 May 22 June 17 July 9 & August 8
Undergraduate Research Fair, 4-8pm, SLC Breakfast with the Nittany Lion, 9am to noon, SLC Free Children’s Health Fair, 10am to 2pm, MPB Spring Concert, 4pm, Theater at North, Scranton Commencement, noon, Scranton Cultural Center 50th Anniversary Gala, 5:30 pm, Fiorelli’s, Peckville Penn State Day @ Knoebels, Registration 10-11am 41st Penn State Night Dinner, with Jay Paterno, 7pm, Fiorelli’s Annual Golf Tournament, noon, Country Club of Scranton Spend a Summer Evening - Admissions, 6 pm, SLC
SLC – Study Learning Center; MPB – Multipurpose Building
120 Ridge View Drive, Dunmore, PA 18512 Published by the Department of Development and Alumni Relations (570) 963-2536 or (570) 963-2537 Christine Ostroski, Director of Development Deborah Brandt Johnson, Alumni & Development Specialist, Editor Amy Gruzesky, Community Relations & Communications Coordinator Josh McAuliffe, Adjunct English faculty, guest history writer Angela Schuback, Stewardship Coordinator/ External Relations Assistant Penn State is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, and is committed to providing employment opportunities to minorities, women, veterans, individuals with disabilities, and other protected groups. Nondiscrimination: http://guru.psu.edu/policies/AD85.html U. Ed. SNO 19-98
The Penn State Scranton Newsletter for Winter/Spring 2019