Former New Kensington student Sue Schultz to deliver commencement address

NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. -- Former Penn State New Kensington student Suzette Shaffer Schultz, senior project manager for AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, will be the principal speaker at the campus' spring commencement ceremony at 10 a.m., May 10, in the campus Athletics Center. More than 70 graduates will receive baccalaureate and associate degrees.

Schultz, a Plum Borough, Pa., native, attended New Kensington before earning bachelor’s degrees in chemical engineering and chemistry at University Park. In her current role at AstraZeneca, a global biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Wilmington, Del., Schultz oversees the product launch process for drugs across the company’s key therapeutic areas: cardiovascular and metabolic disease; oncology; and respiratory, inflammation and autoimmunity.

Prior to joining AstraZeneca, Schultz began her career in chemical engineering at Bristol-Myers Squibb in Indiana where she was a production foreman, supervising all aspects of pharmaceutical production from raw material delivery to packaging and distribution. During her time at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Schultz contributed significantly to developing an aqueous-based coating for a prenatal product that resulted in major cost and environmental savings.

A chemical engineer with more than 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, Schultz recently became the second woman to receive the Engineer of the Year award from the Engineers’ Club of Philadelphia. Established in 1953, the annual award recognizes an individual who has pursued a career of achievement and leadership in the engineering profession.

Schultz connection to the New Kensington campus includes philanthropic activity. Last year she pledged $50,000 to create the Shaffer Family Trustee Matching Scholarship at the campus. Undergraduates and incoming freshmen at the New Kensington are eligible for the scholarship.

“Penn State set me on the path to a rewarding career, allowing me the ability to give back to the community,” Schultz said. “Creating a scholarship ensures continued financial support to students for many years to come. In a small way, I hope to help other students attain their dream of getting a college education as a springboard to a rewarding working career.”

In March, Schultz was inducted into the campus’ Arch Recognition Society at the annual dinner at Oakmont Country Club. The donor society's membership is reserved for campus supporters who have contributed a total of $25,000 to the campus. There are 31 members in the society.

The Shaffer-Schultz family’s Penn State bloodline runs through the New Kensington and University Park campuses. Her brother, David Shaffer, took the same New Kensington-University Park route in earning his bachelor’s degree. Her daughter, Katherine Schultz, graduated from University Park in 2012, and is now a Fulbright teaching assistant in Vienna, Austria.

In addition to her professional accomplishments, Schultz, a resident of Thornton, Pa., is also involved in a number of organizations that help to give back to the community and promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields to future engineers. She has been a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) for more than 30 years, providing her the opportunity to direct programs at the pre-college and college level to encourage and mentor young men and women in the engineering field. As the immediate past president of Girls Inc. of Delaware, a non-profit organization that works with 1,400 disadvantaged girls throughout the state to help encourage them to overcome challenges through research-based initiatives, Schultz shares her passion for the engineering field with the young women in the program. She has even hosted girls from the program at AstraZeneca’s corporate headquarters for a first-hand look at the industry.

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Last Updated April 10, 2014