Retiring professor is close behind Joe Paterno in years at University

In today's world, it seems to have become increasingly more difficult and uncommon for workers to amass a career of more than a decade with one employer. At Penn State, however, a certain football coach by the name of Joe Paterno has succeeded in bucking that trend. With a career spanning six decades, Paterno's service to Penn State is the stuff of legend.

As Penn State Lehigh Valley held its first commencement ceremony following its move to Center Valley, a legend of its own attended his last graduation as a full-time faculty member. Robert Sentz, associate professor of engineering, began his career at Penn State just four years after Joe Paterno, making him the fourth-longest active Penn State employee after the Nittany Lions' coach. Sentz, who resides in Bethlehem, Pa., will retire from Penn State Lehigh Valley on June 30. He and members of his family were in attendance at the campus' commencement ceremony at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 15, at Stabler Arena in Bethlehem, Pa.

Born outside of Gettysburg in Littlestown, Pa., Sentz came to the Lehigh Valley to study at Lehigh University and liked the area so much that he sought out a job that would keep him here. He found that job in 1954 at Penn State as an instructor in engineering at what was then known as the Allentown Center. In June 1955, he took a break from Penn State to complete graduate work at Lehigh, but returned to his instructor position in September of 1957. He was promoted to assistant professor in 1960 and received permanent academic tenure in 1963. A year later, Sentz was promoted to associate professor.

While Paterno most likely has countless memories of touchdown passes and screaming fans, Sentz looks back on his career at Penn State with a fondness for some of the simpler attributes.

"It is really more the mundane things about being a professor that stand out for me," said Sentz. "Like traveling through the snow with colleagues to other campuses, and staying in dorms at University Park during a summer course, eating a meal at the HUB, or grabbing a snack at the diner in town. Above all, I will remember the camaraderie at Penn State Lehigh Valley, both with my fellow professors and my students."

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Last Updated November 18, 2010