Penn State Hazleton director of Academic Affairs Monica Gregory dies

Monica Eve Gregory, director of Academic Affairs at Penn State Hazleton, died Sept. 27, at her home following an extended illness.

She became director of Academic Affairs in March of 1998, after serving as acting director starting in July 1996. In her position, she was responsible for faculty initiatives, faculty hiring and mentoring, and campus academic programs. Gregory joined Penn State Hazleton in 1988 as assistant professor of psychology and was promoted to associate professor in 1994.

Penn State Hazleton Chancellor Gary Lawler said, “Dr. Gregory was a tireless advocate for continually improving educational opportunities for students by bringing the most qualified and innovative faculty members to Penn State Hazleton. The entire Penn State family mourns the loss of a very dedicated and vibrant administrator.”

Under her leadership, the campus began offering baccalaureate degree programs, the first of which, business, was launched in 1998. Six bachelor’s degrees are now offered with the most recent addition of general engineering announced in July. Gregory also helped to increase the number of associate degree programs at the campus and was instrumental in developing assessments of these programs.

“Monica took great pride in the campus itself, and in the faculty,” said Marlene Guers, interim director of academic affairs. “She was open to new ideas in teaching, academic programs, course offerings, and scholarly pursuits, all of which greatly benefitted students and faculty.”

“Monica was a true faculty advocate and very supportive to those seeking tenure," said Penn State Hazleton Faculty Senate President Maureen Gaffney. "She had a deep commitment to the honors program and faculty research and scholarship. We will always remember her commitment to higher education and the pursuit of scholarly activity.”

Her service to the campus and University was extensive. Most notably at the campus level, she was current co-coordinator of the Campus Honors Program, a program she re-established in 1990 and grew to record levels of student participation. Her work on this program was used as the basis for creating the Commonwealth College Honors Program across Penn State’s undergraduate campuses outside University Park.

A staunch supporter of faculty working directly with students, Gregory assisted with the creation of the campus Undergraduate Research Program, and last year formed a committee to organize funding for the program and for students traveling to conferences.

She was actively involved in the campus Strategic Planning Committee, Diversity Committee, Mentor Program, Commission for Women, Recruitment and Retention Committee, and Marketing Committee. She also was highly engaged in faculty governance through committees including Faculty Affairs and Research, and represented the campus on the University Faculty Senate.

Gregory created the campus Lecture Committee which arranged for notable speakers from a variety of disciplines to visit the campus and community and which provided campus faculty with a forum to present research findings and lead informal discussions on their areas of interest.

She was recognized for her contributions to adult learners at Penn State Hazleton with an induction into the Phi Sigma Chapter of the Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honor Society.

She also participated in outreach efforts including the Woman-to-Woman Conference and Adventures in Learning for junior high school students, and as a judge for the annual History Day competition.

In addition to her teaching responsibilities,Gregory also performed extensive research with senior citizens focusing on the human memory and how the mind processes information with the findings published in professional journals and presented at national conferences.

Her professional memberships included the American Psychological Association, American Psychological Society, Eastern Psychological Association and the American Association of Higher Education.

Her personal interest in nature and conservation led to her local involvement in projects around the Nescopeck Creek Watershed. An avid bird-watcher, she enjoyed traveling to various parts of the country to pursue her passion and, along with her husband, created a birding checklist for Nescopeck State Park.

A Vermont native, Gregory earned two bachelor degrees, the first in German from the University of Vermont and the second in psychology from Mercer University, Georgia. She also earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in psychology from the University of Oklahoma.

Gregory’s career also included active duty with the United States Air Force from 1973 to 1979 as a German language linguist for the Air Force’s Electronic Security Command in the former West Berlin. During her final year of active duty, she served with the National Security Agency at Fort George G. Meade in Maryland.

She is survived by her husband, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Alan C. Gregory, four brothers, a sister, and many nieces and nephews.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at a date and time to be announced in St. Dominic's R.C. Church, Proctor, Vt. Interment will follow the Mass.

Friends may call Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Harman Funeral Homes and Crematory Inc. (East), 669 W. Butler Drive, Drums. A Christian Wake Service will be held Thursday at 8 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Monica's memory may be made to the Rutland County Audubon Society, P.O. 1813, Rutland, VT 05701,; or the Hazleton Animal Shelter, 101 N. Poplar St., Hazleton, PA 18201.

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Last Updated January 10, 2015