Marilyn McPheron receives Spirit of Internationalization Award

March 16, 2012

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Marilyn McPheron, former study abroad coordinator in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, who is now retired, recently was one of six to receive Spirit of Internationalization Awards from the University's Office of Global Programs.

The annual awards honor women from Penn State and the local community who embody the "spirit of internationalization" through academic achievements, artistic excellence, volunteerism in international organizations or dedication to advancing the status of women. The awards ceremony coincides with International Women's Day, officially observed on March, which is celebrated worldwide to bring attention to global women's issues.

McPheron was "literally born for this award," according to Deanna Behring, director of international programs in the College of Agricultural Sciences, who nominated her for the honor. In Behring's remarks at the award breakfast at the Penn State Conference Center, she pointed out that McPheron's birthday is March 8 -- International Women's Day.

"She made a tremendous impact and touched the lives of so many during decades of work at Penn State," Behring said. "Many of you know Marilyn as the first study abroad coordinator for the College of Agricultural Sciences, but few may know that in the early 1990s, she was the director of the International Hospitality Center, which is now known as Global Connections."

In 2000, when McPheron joined the Office of International Programs, just one half of 1 percent of students in the College of Agricultural Sciences studied abroad, Behring noted. Now, 18 percent of agricultural sciences students study abroad before graduating.

"Since 2000, Marilyn has helped more than 1,000 students find out more about themselves by traveling and studying abroad," Behring said. "She also was instrumental in raising $500,000 in donor funds to help those students realize their dreams."

McPheron took the lead in community outreach programs and in 2004 was recognized with the LaMarr Kopp Award for International Achievement for her work to build awareness of world hunger through several programs, Behring said.

"Every October as part of the United Nations' World Food Day, Marilyn organized events such as dinners at Cafe Laura, panel discussions, key speakers and projects in art classes to design posters on the issue. You still can find some of these posters hanging around campus today!"


  • Marilyn McPheron in Paris.

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated January 09, 2015