21 Penn Staters honored with Alumni Fellow Award

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Twenty-one Penn State alumni will be honored Oct. 8 for their outstanding professional accomplishments and given the lifelong title of Alumni Fellow, the highest award given by the Penn State Alumni Association.

Since the award was established in 1973, more than 700 alumni have been honored with the title of Alumni Fellow -- designated a permanent and lifelong title by the Penn State Board of Trustees -- out of more than 631,000 living alumni.

“The Alumni Fellow program showcases the significant contributions Penn Staters make to our nation and the world every day,” said Roger L. Williams, executive director of the Penn State Alumni Association. “Even more important, it provides our fellows the opportunity to share their experience and wisdom with students, faculty and staff, thus adding an extra dimension to Penn State’s academic programs.”

This year’s Alumni Fellow recipients, along with their graduation year, current title, career affiliation and hometown, follow.

Donald J. Abraham, 1958, (Windermere, Florida) is the Alfred and Francis Burger Emeritus Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Biological Chemistry, and emeritus director of the Institute for Structural Biology and Drug Discovery at Virginia Commonwealth University. Abraham published more than 175 peer-reviewed articles; he edited the sixth edition of "Burger's Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Discovery;" and he co-edited the seventh edition. He is the recipient of numerous awards and accolades, including the Humboldt Prize in 1973, the Virginia Outstanding Scientists of the Year in 2001, and the Amgen Paul Dawson Award in Biotechnology in 2002. He also was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Parma (Italy) in 2005.

Martin J. Aronoff, 1960, (Washington, D.C.) is a preeminent sports statistician, working on live broadcasts for networks such as ESPN, ABC, FOX, and TNT. Aronoff logs more than 300,000 miles annually as a freelance sports statistician, traveling from his home in Washington, D.C., and supplying the numbers that are flashed on millions of television screens. Aronoff works nearly 210 games a year and his regular assignments are “Monday Night Football” and the World Series. He is an integral part of coverage of the NFL, the NBA, Major League Baseball, and NCAA college football and basketball. Aronoff has worked 18 World Series, 11 NBA Finals, and five NCAA Final Fours.

Edward Lewis Auslander, 1985, 1991g (Cary, North Carolina) serves as president and chief executive officer of LORD Corporation. Founded in 1924, LORD Corporation is a privately held company that serves the automotive, aerospace and defense, general industrial, and electronics markets. With global headquarters in Cary, N.C., LORD is a leading global provider of adhesives, coatings, electronic chemicals, and mechanical and electro-mechanical systems that control noise, vibration, and motion. Auslander serves on the board of directors of North Carolina New Schools. He is also an active member of the Aerospace Industries Association, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the National Association of Chief Executive Officers.

Ricardo Azziz, 1981g (Augusta, Georgia) is president of Georgia Regents University, chief executive officer of the Georgia Regents Health System, and professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, Medicine, and Medical Humanities at Georgia Regents University in Augusta, Georgia. Azziz led the creation of the Georgia Regents Health System, resulting in the development of the state’s only aligned and integrated public academic health center. He led the consolidation of Georgia Health Sciences University and Augusta State University to create Georgia Regents University. He has also served on the faculties of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and the University of California Los Angeles.

Stephen J. Bagnato Jr., 1975g, 1977g (Pittsburgh) is a developmental school psychologist and professor of psychology and pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh in the School of Education and School of Medicine. Bagnato also is director of the Division for Early Childhood Partnerships at the Office of Child Development. He is perhaps best known for his longitudinal studies funded by the Heinz Endowments (1997–2009) into the effectiveness of high-quality early childhood intervention programs on more than 15,000 at-risk preschoolers in more than 60 school district-community partnerships. He also is a member of the faculty of the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities Center at the University of Pittsburgh.

Robert F. Beard, 1989, 1994g (Quarryville, Pennsylvania) is president and chief executive officer of UGI Utilities, Inc., the state’s largest gas utility system, with more than 13,000 miles of pipeline and nearly 670,000 customers in 44 counties across Pennsylvania. Beard has more than 20 years of experience in the energy industry, previously serving as vice president of marketing, rates, and gas supply of UGI Utilities. Beard serves as a director on several trade association and community boards, including the American Gas Association, UGI Utilities, The Energy Association of Pennsylvania (chairman), Pennsylvania Business Council, and the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry.

Dawn Behnke, 1987 (Seal Beach, California) is the senior vice president of the Life Insurance Division of Pacific Life Insurance Company in Aliso Viejo, Calif. She is responsible for the division’s new business, underwriting, information technology, and strategy planning functions. Behnke is on the board of directors for LIMRA, a worldwide research, consulting, and professional development organization that helps insurance and financial services companies increase their marketing and distribution effectiveness. She also serves on the board of directors for Advancing Women in Technology and on the advisory board for the Orange County GroundWork group, a non-profit group that helps other non-profit organizations address their operating challenges through better use of technology.

Bruce Eric Blausen, 1984 (Houston, Texas) is the founder of Houston-based Blausen Medical, developer and owner of the world’s largest library of 3D medical animations. Blausen’s company and its products have received nearly 30 honors, including the 2013 Platinum Award for Best Interactive Site and Gold Award for Best Mobile Communications in the eHealthcare Leadership Awards. Blausen Medical has also been honored with numerous Web Health Awards and with an ABBY Award from the Adaptive Business Leaders Organization, for developing innovations that reduce the cost of quality healthcare. Blausen Medical recently licensed access to its animations for use on the daytime television show, "The Doctors."

Delbert E. Day, 1960g, 1961g (Rolla, Missouri) is curators’ professor emeritus of materials science and engineering, senior investigator, and former director of the Graduate Center for Materials Research at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. Day is the former chairman and president of MO-SCI Corp., a company he co-founded that manufactures special-purpose glasses for the healthcare, electronics, transportation, aerospace, chemical, and sporting goods industries. He has published more than 390 technical papers dealing with the structure, mass transport properties, and uses of glass; edited three books; and received 62 U.S. and foreign patents. He also conducted the first U.S. glass-melting experiments in microgravity on NASA’s Space Shuttle.

Bryon G. Deysher, 1977 (Concord, Massachusetts) is president and chief executive officer of Methods Machine Tools, Inc. in Concord, Mass., a premier North American distributor, service provider, and importer of machine tools from Asia and Europe. The company provides machine tool-oriented solutions to a number of diversified industries, including the defense, medical, aerospace, and commercial sectors. Deysher has served as chief executive officer of the company for the past 13 years. Deysher serves on the board of directors of Methods Machine Tools, Inc., and the American Machine Tool Distributors Association. He is also a member of the Association for Manufacturing Technology.

J. Alex Hartzler, 1990 (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) is managing partner and founder of WCI Partners, LP, a real estate development company in Harrisburg, Pa., focused on urban revitalization. He provides strategic guidance and oversight. Hartzler serves as chairman of Sarona Asset Management; chairman of the board of Ten Thousand Villages; and member of the board of directors of the Mennonite Economic Development Associates. He is the publisher of TheBurg, a monthly community magazine in Harrisburg. Hartzler received Penn State’s Liberal Arts Alumni Society Service to Society Award, The Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC’s The Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and the Governor’s ImPAct Awards’ Entrepreneur Impact Award.

W. Terrell Jones, 1974g, 1985g (Posthumously). Terrell Jones was the vice provost for educational equity at Penn State, responsible for leading the development and implementation of the University’s five-year plan, A Framework to Foster Diversity at Penn State (2010–15). This landmark policy initiative recognized how important it is that a university’s diversity agenda touches every part of the university. The plan embraces and supports diversity and programs that provide access to non-traditional student populations. Jones authored and co-authored several books on cultural diversity, and taught courses on cross-cultural counseling and cultural diversity as an affiliate faculty member of the Counselor Education Program in the College of Education. 

Keegan-Michael Key, 1996g, (Los Angeles, California) is a producer, actor, and writer currently starring on Comedy Central’s "Key and Peele," USA Network’s "Playing House," and FX’s "Fargo." Key founded the Planet Ant Theatre in Hamtramck, Michigan, and co-founded the Detroit Creativity Project, which teaches students improvisation skills as a way of improving their overall communication skills. Key’s comedic chops and star power have led to an invitation to meet President Barack Obama and numerous magazine appearances, including cover appearances on TIME and New York Times Magazine. He and Peele made two “lists” in 2014: TIME’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” and GQ’s “15 Funniest Comedians in America.”

Steven Leath, 1979 (Ames, Iowa) is president of Iowa State University, which educates more than 34,000 students every year, employs more than 6,300 faculty and staff, and is a member of the Association of American Universities. Leath serves on the board of directors of the International Fertilizer Development Center; the Big 12 Conference; and Bankers Trust. He is also a board member of the Public Flagship Network, composed of public university leaders who are addressing the future of public higher education; and the University Innovation Alliance, a group of 11 public research universities focused on making college degrees more attainable for students with financial needs.

Mark McCamish, 1980g (Munich, Germany) is the global head of biopharmaceutical and oncology injectable development for Sandoz International, a division of Novartis. McCamish leads research and development of all biologics at Sandoz, which is the world leader in development and commercialization of biosimilars. His responsibilities include selection of the target, cloning, technical development, scale-up, pre-clinical and clinical development of biologics. He also develops oncology injectable medications. McCamish has published in several therapeutic areas in multiple journals, including The New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association, and Lancet. The 2013 European Antibody Congress named him as the 12th most influential person in the global antibody industry.

Nancy A. McKenna, 1978 (Huntington, New York) is vice president of production for truTV in New York City. She oversees production of truTV’s prime-time original programming, negotiates production and talent contracts, and manages all production budgets and department budgets. Throughout her career, McKenna has earned numerous senior-level executive positions with oversight responsibilities for areas such as production, program development, management, and studio operations. McKenna was presented a Daytime Emmy for producing AMC’s documentary series "Film Preservation Classics "and a Gracie Award for producing "AMC in Concert with Dionne Warwick." She is an active member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Production Executives, and Producers Guild of America, Producers’ Peer Group.

Cathy Lowenbraun McKeon, 1971 (Jupiter, Florida) is chief executive officer of Kemark Financial Services, Inc., which oversees important industry programs, such as: Securities Transfer Agents Medallion Program, the Stock Exchanges Medallion Program, and the New York Stock Exchange Medallion Signature Program. These signature guarantee programs are used by all major financial services companies and individual investors throughout the U.S. and Canada. McKeon is a leader in risk management and insurance and financial services industries. She has more than 30 years of experience, including corporate experience as assistant treasurer with a publicly held Fortune 500 company, as well as consulting experience with one of the world’s largest financial services firms.

Judith Barkus Meehan, 1987 (Falls Church, Virginia) is director of development and strategic alliances at the National Organizations for Youth Safety, a collaboration of national, youth-serving entities with the common goal of promoting safe and healthy behaviors among 13-to-21-year-olds. Meehan creates and implements fundraising strategies and oversees communications activities in order to secure funds, expand organizational reach, and increase visibility for issues such as injury prevention, substance use, and violence prevention. Meehan, along with a high-profile team of public and private partners, launched the text4baby program, the nation’s first free mobile health service that shares health tips and connects consumers to federally funded programs; text4baby has assisted more than 750,000 moms.

David J. Spigelmyer, 1982 (Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania) is president of the Pittsburgh-based Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC), the region’s largest shale development trade association. Spigelmyer works on behalf of MSC members to advance policies that promote responsible shale development and enhance the region’s economy and environment, via fact-based dialogue and community education. He was instrumental in the Marcellus Shale Coalition’s 2008 founding, and has served as the organization’s chairman, vice chairman, and as lead of its legislative committee prior to joining the MSC in October 2013. Spigelmyer has also served in various industry roles at Consolidated Natural Gas, Dominion Resources, EQT Corporation, and Chesapeake Energy.

Karen A. Sweeney, 1980 (West Friendship, Maryland.) is senior vice president for diversity, inclusion, and community for Turner Construction Company in Baltimore. She is a founding member of In Counsel with Women in Cleveland, and is a member of the Conference Board’s Council of U.S. Diversity and Inclusion Executives and the Society of Women Engineers. In 2010, Sweeney received the College of Engineering’s Outstanding Engineering Alumni Award. She is immediate past president of the Penn State Engineering Alumni Society; founding member of the Penn State Alumni Society of Architectural Engineers affiliate program group; and a member of the College of Engineering’s Industrial and Professional Advisory Council.

Thomas I. Vanaskie, 1978g (Scranton, Pennsylvania) is a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, nominated by President Barack Obama in 2009 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2010. Vanaskie serves as chair of the Information Technology Committee of the Judicial Conference of the U.S., the policy-making body for the U.S. Courts, a position to which he was appointed by the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist of the U.S. Supreme Court. For the Third Circuit Judicial Council, Vanaskie co-chairs the Automation Committee and sits on the Library Committee. He is a former member of the board of directors of the Federal Judges Association.

The Alumni Fellow program is administered by the Penn State Alumni Association in cooperation with the University’s academic colleges, campuses and the Office of the President. Alumni are nominated by a college or campus as leaders in their professional fields and accept an invitation from the President of the University to return to campus to share their expertise with students, faculty and administrators. Each Alumni Fellow will receive a commemorative award, designed and hand cast by Jeanne Stevens-Sollman 1972g, an acclaimed sculptor and medalist, and an Alumni Fellow.

The Penn State Alumni Association is the largest dues-paying alumni association in the world with more than 174,000 members. Established in 1870, the Alumni Association strives to connect alumni to the University and to each other, provide valuable benefits to members and support the University’s mission of teaching, research and service. For more information on the Alumni Association, visit alumni.psu.edu

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Last Updated October 17, 2014