Ten honored during College of the Liberal Arts' 2019 alumni awards ceremony

April 24, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Several members of the Penn State liberal arts community were honored during the College of the Liberal Arts’ annual Alumni Awards Ceremony, which took place Friday, April 12, at the Centre Hills Country Club in State College.

“Our annual awards ceremony is the perfect way to cap off another great year and celebrate the liberal arts, the value of a liberal arts education, and the world that tonight’s alumni and faculty honorees have made better because of it,” said Susan Welch, dean of the Penn State College of the Liberal Arts. “The alumni and staff honored this year at our award ceremony — Lindsey, David, William, Catherine, Steve, Janice, Gretchen, Tom, Jackie, and Caroline — are wonderful representatives of the college and tremendous ambassadors for the liberal arts.”

The ceremony’s first four awards were sponsored by the Liberal Arts Alumni Society Board of Directors, while the final five awards were sponsored by the college. This year’s honorees included:

Lindsey R. Alexander (2005, crime, law, and justice) received the 2019 Outstanding Young Liberal Arts Alumni Award. Alexander is a staff attorney for the Legal Clinic for the Disabled (LCD), a nonprofit organization that provides free legal services to low-income individuals with disabilities in Philadelphia and surrounding counties. She also runs “PhilaKids,” a medical/legal partnership (MLP) with St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children that offers legal services in a preventative medicine setting aimed at addressing.

Before joining LCD, Alexander was an attorney with the Support Center for Child Advocates, specializing in representing children in foster care with special medical needs and/or victims of sex trafficking and running the Support Center’s MLP with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. There, she received the 2016 Legal Intelligencer ‘Lawyer on the Fast Track’ Award. Before practicing law, Alexander was a foster care agency worker in North Philadelphia and a Peace Corps volunteer with the Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos orphanage in the Dominican Republic. She earned her juris doctor from the Claude W. Pettit College of Law at Ohio Northern University.

David L. Nevins (1969, economics) received the Service to Society Award. Nevins is founder, president and co-director of Bridge Alliance, a coalition of more than 90 organizations devoted to fixing the country’s political system, improve governance, engage citizens, and cross today’s political gulf. He also is founder and president of State College-based Nevins Real Estate Management, which he founded shortly after earning his MBA in finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1971. Previous business ventures include Julian Inc. and Café 210 West in State College.

At Penn State, Nevins established and continues to work with The Nevins Democracy Leaders Program, a program that teaches critical thinking, deliberation and dialogue. He also supports the Liberal Arts Future Fund and established the Nevins Diversity Scholarship Fund in the Smeal College of Business. Beyond Penn State, Nevins is a member of the Aspen Institute Society of Fellows and sits on the board of the National Association of Nonpartisan Reformers.

William D. DeGrandis (1977, political science) received the Service to Penn State Award. DeGrandis is currently an attorney and partner at Paul Hastings LLP and has enjoyed a 35-year career in the energy regulatory and transactions arena. He has served on the board of directors of the Energy Bar Association, chaired the association’s board-level pro bono committee, and is a member of the District of Columbia and American Bar associations.

DeGrandis’ record of service to his alma mater includes sponsoring summer internships for liberal arts students and helping others find full-time positions with his firm. He and his wife, Monica, have hosted student-alumni dinners and other events in the Washington, D.C., area; they also have established an endowed professorship (jointly with Ted and Tracy McCourtney), a career development professorship, and an undergraduate scholarship for political science students in the College of the Liberal Arts. DeGrandis also has been a member of the Department of Political Science’s Board of Visitors since its inception in 2003.

Catherine Wanner, Penn State professor of history, anthropology, and religious studies, received the Welch Alumni Relations Award. In addition to being a prolific scholar, Wanner has served as the Barry Director of the Paterno Fellows Program — the college’s honors and leadership program — since 2013. In this role, Wanner has introduced some of the program’s signature events, including the Collegiate Laws of Life Essay Contest, the Paterno Fellows Contemporary Issues Forum, the Paterno Fellows Program Visiting Scholars Series, and the Lunch-with Honors program. She also has created opportunities for students to engage in internships and paid research opportunities throughout the college. 

Wanner travels to New York, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and other cities to represent both the Paterno Fellows Program and the college alumni events and one-on-one meetings with alumni. She has made presentations to the college’s volunteer boards and has worked with the alumni task force to help shape the program. Wanner also meets regularly with prospective students to introduce them to the Paterno Fellows Program, the college, and Penn State.

Steven H. (1969, political science) and Janice Lindstrom Brose received the Chaiken Leadership Award. Steve is currently an attorney specializing in regulatory and legal issues regarding the oil and gas pipeline industry for Steptoe & Johnson LLP in Washington, D.C. Janice started her collegiate career at Penn State (where she met Steve) before earning a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the City College of New York and an associate degree in nursing from Montgomery College. She is enjoying retirement following a long and successful nursing career.

Steve is currently a liberal arts mentor, a member and past chair of the Liberal Arts Development Council, and a member of the Richards Civil War Era Center Board of Visitors. He has received the Centennial Fellow Award from the College of the Liberal Arts, the Service to Penn State Award from the Liberal Arts Alumni Society Board, and the Penn State Distinguished Alumni Award. Together, Steve and Janice’s philanthropic commitments have had a tremendous impact in the college. They established a signature lecture and book series in the Richards Civil War Era Center and a graduate scholarship in the center (the Lindstrom Fellowship) in memory of Janice’s father. They also endowed the Jack and Mary Brose Professorship in History in honor of Steve’s parents and were generous donors to the Susan Welch Centennial Grad Endowment.

Gretchen A. McCabe was named an Honorary Alumna of the College of the Liberal Arts. McCabe, a graduate of Chatham University, has long dedicated her time, talent and resources to the college.  Along with her husband, the late Lawrence McCabe (1957, history and political science), or through their estate, she created the McCabe-Greer Professorship in the American Civil War Era; the Gretchen McCabe Family Director’s Fund in the Paterno Fellows Program; the Lawrence J. and Gretchen McCabe Graduate Scholarship in the Richards Civil War Era Center; the Susan Welch Scholarship Fund in the College of the Liberal Arts; and the Lawrence J. McCabe Scholarship in the College of the Liberal Arts. She also has served on the Board of Visitors of the college’s Richards Civil War Era Center since its inception.

Tom D. Seip (1972, psychology) received the Outstanding Liberal Arts Alumni in Business Award. Seip is a private investor for Seip Investments LP, and serves as the managing member of two private investment vehicles: Way Too Much Stuff LLC and Ridgefield Farm LLC. For 15 years, he served as a senior executive for Charles Schwab Investment Management and Charles Schwab & Co., where he was responsible for directing the firm’s worldwide mutual fund business. He also was the principal architect of Schwab’s revolutionary Mutual Fund Onesource Program.

Seip previously held leadership positions at H&R Block, General Electric Capital Corp., American One Foundation, Forward Management, the Denali Fund, and other companies. Within the College of the Liberal Arts, Seip has served on the Liberal Arts Business Minor Task Force and the Career Enrichment Task Force

Jacquelin L Brova (1975, labor studies) received the Outstanding Liberal Arts Alumni Award. Brova retired following a 40-year career as an executive human resources professional for the mining, steel and consumer products industries. Before her retirement, Brova served as executive vice president of global human resources for Church & Dwight Co., a publicly traded S&P 500 consumer products company. There, she led a global team responsible for leadership development, talent acquisition, compensation, benefits, HRIS, employee relations, and employee communications, and she worked closely with the board of directors on executive compensation and governance matters.

Brova currently serves as a trustee and board member for ArtsQuest, a nonprofit performance and visual arts organizations located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. At Penn State, she is a member of the Liberal Arts Campaign Planning Committee and the Labor and Employment Relations (LER) Affiliated Program Group. She established the Jacquelin, Victor and Joyce Brova Trustee Scholarship in the college and has contributed to the LER Alumni Endowed Early Career Professorship and elsewhere in the School of Labor and Employment Relations.

Caroline Critchfield Hunter (1993, international politics) also received the Outstanding Liberal Arts Alumni Award. Hunter is a commissioner on the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and served as FEC chair in 2012 and 2018. She has enjoyed a distinguished career in public service, having also served as associate counsel and deputy counsel for the Republican National Committee; executive officer for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Citizenship and Immigration Services; deputy director of the White House Office of Public Liaison; and vice chair of the U.S Election Assistance Commission.

A member of the Chi Omega sorority, Hunter also has been an engaged volunteer for the College of the Liberal Arts. She has served as a guest on the McCourtney Institute for Democracy’s award-winning podcast, “Democracy Works”; met with students in the political science undergraduate honors group; and participated in the Liberal Arts mentor program. She also attends dinners in the Washington, D.C., region to connect Washington-based interns with Penn State alumni.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated April 25, 2019