College of the Liberal Arts honors alumni, faculty at 2016 awards ceremony

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State College of the Liberal Arts honored several alumni and one of its faculty members during its annual Alumni Awards ceremony, which took place April 15 at the Nittany Lion Inn.

“Liberal Arts has many talented alumni who are making a difference in their jobs, communities and the world,” said Susan Welch, dean of the College of the Liberal Arts. “It is exciting to be able to honor some each spring.

“Carrie Tendler, Richard Feldman, Mary O’Neill Marsh, Jeff and Sharon Hyde, Binney Wietlisbach, and Annette O’Donnell-Butner represent the best of a liberal arts education. I am also delighted we could honor Michael Berkman for his outstanding work with political science alumni.”

Three Outstanding Alumni Awards and the Chaiken Leadership Award were presented by the college, while three service awards were presented by the Liberal Arts Alumni Society Board of Directors. The 2016 honorees include:

Carrie Tendler (class of 2002, political science) received the Outstanding Young Alumni Award. After graduating from Penn State, Carrie went on to graduate magna cum laude from Fordham University’s School of Law. She is currently a partner in Kobre and Kim, a global law firm that specializes in investigating and resolving high-stakes cross-border disputes in the financial services industry.

Carrie is recognized by her peers as a leader in the area of international arbitration award and judgment enforcement, and is invited frequently to speak at conferences and write for industry-leading publications on the topics. As a Penn State alumna, Carrie has been involved in the college’s mentor program for several years and has gone out of her way to help students and new graduates find employment opportunities. She is also a regular contributor to the college’s annual fund and the Four Diamonds Fund.

Richard Feldman (class of 1961, arts and letters) received the Service to Society Award. Rick, who is CEO of the California-based Santa Barbara Eyeglass Factory, launched the “Right to Sight” program in 1995 to help low-income children get the vision care and eyewear they otherwise could not afford. 

Since then, the program has grown to become a year-round collaboration with Surgical Eye Expeditions (SEE) International, the Lions Sight & Hearing Clinic, and other area nonprofits that screen children, veterans, the homeless, and virtually anyone else in need of eye care to SEE and the Eyeglass Factory. “Right to Sight” benefits nearly 1,000 people each year and has given away more than $1 million in products and services since its inception.

Here at Penn State, Rick established the Rose Stillman Feldman Memorial Renaissance Scholarship, which has provided financial support to undergraduate students since 1987.

Mary O’Neill Marsh (class of 1969, law enforcement and corrections) received the Service to Penn State Award. Mary retired as a senior deputy chief U.S. probation officer with nearly 30 years of service in the federal court system. She was one of the first three graduates of Penn State’s then-newly formed Law Enforcement and Corrections Program when she graduated in 1969.

A longtime supporter of the Department of Sociology and Criminology, Mary is a founding member of the department’s Alumni Board of Visitors. She serves as a mentor to faculty, staff and students; she has also established a student enhancement fund and co-funded an undergraduate scholarship in criminology.  Last year, Mary made the lead gift to establish the Trooper Dickson Memorial Scholarship Fund — an endowment created to honor the life and service of Cpl. Bryon Dickson II, a 2003 Penn State graduate and Pennsylvania state trooper who was killed by a gunman in September 2014.

Mary is a Liberal Arts Leader and a member of the Mount Nittany Society.

Jeff and Sharon Dux Hyde received the Chaiken Leadership Award. Jeff (class of 1977, pre-law and education; class of 1980, doctorate, law) and Sharon (class of 1982, doctorate, law) are longtime volunteers for, and generous donors to, the College of the Liberal Arts. Jeff currently serves on the college’s Development Council and the McCourtney Institute for Democracy’s Alumni Board of Visitors; he is also an original member of the Department of Political Science’s Alumni Board of Visitors. He was named a Penn State Alumni Fellow in 2011.

The Hydes support the Hyde/Board of Visitors Early Career Professorship in Political Science and created the Susan Welch Director’s Fund in the Democracy Institute. They have established three Trustee Scholarships in Liberal Arts as well as scholarships supporting football, wrestling and general athletics. They are also members of the Mount Nittany Society.

Binney H.C. Wietlisbach (class of 1985, psychology) received the Outstanding Alumni in Business Award. Binney is president of the Haverford Trust Company — a $6.1 billion investment management firm based in Radnor, Pennsylvania, that provides an array of services to more than 1,500 clients.

Binney has been recognized each of the past six years by Barron’s as one of the “Top 100 Women Financial Advisers” in America and was named Pennsylvania’s top female adviser in 2013. She sits on numerous boards, including the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Georgetown University’s Parents’ Council and the Caroline A. Buck Foundation. At Penn State, Binney is a member of the college’s Alumni Society Board and sits on the Paterno Fellows Task Force.

Educating and empowering young women is one of Binney’s greatest passions. She and her husband, Bruce, have endowed a student award in women’s studies and she frequently speaks in women’s studies classes on campus. Binney recently hosted the college’s forum, “Penn State Women: Leaders of Today and Tomorrow” at University Park; she was also instrumental in creating Haverford Trust’s Speaker Series for Women.

Annette O’Donnell-Butner (class of 1991, political science) received the Outstanding Alumni Award. Annette is a director and chief compliance officer for KKR Credit Advisors, a role in which she oversees all of the firm’s worldwide registered investment advisory compliance programs. She previously worked for Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan, and Lehman Brothers before joining KKR Credit — a subsidiary of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Co. — in 2009. Before that, she received her law degree from Oklahoma City University and clerked for a judge on the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas for two years.

Annette remains engaged with the college as a mentor and a member of the Department of Political Science’s Board of Alumni Visitors. She and her husband, Chris, have established a student enhancement fund for Paterno Fellows and a Trustee Scholarship; they also support the Welch Centennial Graduate Endowment. Annette also received the Department of Political Science’s Outstanding Alumni Award in 2012 to recognize her success as a leader in her profession.

Michael B. Berkman, professor of political science and director of the Center for Political Responsiveness in the college’s McCourtney Institute for Democracy, received the Welch Alumni Relations Award. Michael has been director of the Department of Political Science’s undergraduate studies and honors programs since 2000, and is a longtime member of the college’s Paterno Fellows Faculty Advisory Board. He received the College’s Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award in 2010.

A member of the Penn State faculty since receiving his doctorate from Indiana University in 1989, Michael is a recognized scholar who specializes in American politics and education policy. He has co-authored two books and has published articles in all of the major peer-reviewed political science journals.

Throughout his tenure, Michael has been instrumental in fostering relationships between the college and its political science alumni. He helped launch the department’s annual awards banquet, for example, and played a key role in creating the department’s career workshop, which is now an annual event. Michael also regularly represents the department and the college at various on- and off-campus alumni events.

Media Contacts: 

William Hessert

Work Phone: 
814-865-9988

College of the Liberal Arts

Last Updated April 19, 2016