Krajsa receives Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching

Michael J. Krajsa, instructor in marketing and management at Penn State Lehigh Valley, will receive the 2015 George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching on Wednesday, April 15 during a luncheon at University Park. He was one of six Penn State faculty members to receive this award. The award is named after Penn State’s seventh president, and honors excellence in teaching at the undergraduate level.

“Michael is a remarkable person, exceptional teacher, outstanding colleague and impressive proponent of all the best in Penn State’s undergraduate mission,” said Kenneth Thigpen, director of academic affairs at Penn State Lehigh Valley. “He works extremely hard and yet is easily available to students as teacher, mentor, and adviser.  He is a successful advocate for all the modern literacies that we value at Penn State.”

Krajsa is currently in his 13th year of teaching and his seventh year at Penn State Lehigh Valley. He also is a partner in HALCYON Strategic Marketing Consulting. Most recently before joining Penn State Lehigh Valley, Krajsa was founding director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship for the Kutztown University Innovation Center.  He brought this rich experience to Penn State, where he has continued to foster an entrepreneurial environment for our students. His passion for community development was indicated early on in his career, back in 1980, when he ran for a U.S. Congressional seat.  He also had a distinguished career as a business professional and publisher of a regional magazine and a national cultural magazine.  Krajsa received his master of arts in planning, public administration and business from Penn State University. He also received his bachelor of science in biology, from the Catholic University of America.

Colleagues say Krajsa is a “passionate” educator who motivates his students to engage life and become global citizens. He credits his educational accomplishments as the result of a team of administrators, faculty, staff and business colleagues working to provide an environment where “innovative and experiential programs” can develop and grow. Krajsa replaces the traditional “three R’s of education” with rigor, relevance, and relationships.

Rigor provides students with strong foundations in business, strategy, international relations, marketing philosophy and communication skills. It commands an emphasis on imagination, innovation and building partnerships, he said. Relevance and relationships, Krajsa said, means teaching and mentoring soft skills along with team, leadership and networking skills so that students engage and motivate co-workers and customers in their future careers.

Krajsa understands that business is global. That is why he has created short-term study abroad opportunities for his students in Peru, India, Africa and China. Krajsa said the key to nurturing student development and building confidence in their skills and ideas is by earning their trust.

A student was caught off guard when meeting Krajsa: “I walked into the classroom and I found Krajsa’s energy to be inspiring. He asked the class, ‘What are you passionate about?’ I’ve never had a teacher ask me that before.”

In 2005, The Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) awarded Krajsa the Teaching Excellence Award for Region 2. Out of seven regional awardees, ACBSP then selected him as The 2005 International Winner for Teaching Excellence; Innovation, Creativity, Community Involvement.

Media Contacts: 

Jessie G. Heimann

Work Phone: 

Director of Strategic Communications

Penn State Lehigh Valley

Last Updated April 15, 2015