Success through the years: Alumni distinguish themselves in their fields

May 21, 2019

The College of Education boasts 35 Distinguished Alumni — outstanding alumni whose “personal lives, professional achievements and community service exemplify the objectives of their alma mater.” The Distinguished Alumni Award, authorized by the Penn State Board of Trustees in 1951, is the highest honor bestowed by Penn State. Following are introductions to some of our Distinguished Alumni.

Thomas J. Anderson Jr. graduated in 1951 with a master of education in music education. He was chairman of the Department of Music at Tufts University, retired in 1990 from Tufts as Austin Fletcher professor of music emeritus, and now composes music full-time. He was named a Distinguished Alumnus in 1990.

Harold E. Cheatham graduated in 1961 with a bachelor of science in psychology and history. He is a recognized pioneer in multicultural counseling, a discipline he served greater than four decades throughout society and in education, including Penn State’s College of Education. In 1996, he was named Founding Dean of Clemson’s current College of Social, Behavioral and Health Sciences. He was named a Distinguished Alumnus in 2012.

James T. Harris graduated in 1988 with a doctor of education in higher education. Currently president of the University of San Diego, he is nationally recognized for his work in civic engagement. Throughout his academic career, he has worked closely with cross-discipline teams to spearhead new civic and community engagements. He was named a Distinguished Alumnus in 2013.

Darlene Dintino Large graduated in 1959 with a degree in art education. She founded HOINA in 1971, helping Native American children, Mexican tribal women, leprosy patients, and more than 4,000 East Indian orphaned, abused, abandoned and handicapped children, providing homes, medical care and education. She was named a Distinguished Alumna in 1982.

Eda C.B. Machado de Souza graduated in 1973 (master’s) and 1975 (doctorate). She is founder of IESB University, which has become one of the most respected institutions of higher learning in Brazil. She was named a Distinguished Alumna in 2004.

J. Bonnie Newman graduated in 1969 with a master of education in higher education. She had a prolific career that spans the public, private, nonprofit and academic sectors, retiring as executive dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University. After retirement, she served as interim president of the University of New Hampshire and interim chancellor of the Community College System of New Hampshire. She was named a Distinguished Alumna in 2008.

Allan W. Ostar graduated in 1948 with a bachelor of arts in psychology. He devoted a long career to advancing higher education, directing the American Association of State Colleges and Universities from 1965 to 1991. He was named a Distinguished Alumnus in 1989.

George Santiago Jr. graduated in 1986 with a master of education in education administration, and in 1994 with a doctorate in education administration. He has built a successful career in higher education. From his early days in student affairs to the president’s office, his focus has remained on at-risk populations. He was named a Distinguished Alumnus in 2016.

Ovid J.L. Tzeng graduated in 1973 with a doctorate in educational psychology. He is the first Penn Stater to be an elected academician of the Academia Sinica in Taiwan. He also was elected an academician of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, and also of The World Academy of Science. He was named a Distinguished Alumnus in 2011.

Barbara Weisberger graduated in 1945 with a bachelor of science in education. She began dancing at age 3 and was George Balanchine’s first child student at the School of American Ballet. She founded the Wilkes-Barre Theatre and the Pennsylvania Ballet, and has served as Artistic Adviser for Peabody Preparatory Dance since 2001. She was named a Distinguished Alumna in 1973.

Roger Williams graduated in 1973 with a bachelor of arts in history, in 1975 with a master of arts in journalism, and in 1988 with a doctor of education in higher education. He spent the bulk of his career with Penn State, and retired in 2015 as associate vice president and executive director of the Penn State Alumni Association. He authored “Evan Pugh’s Penn State: America’s Model Agricultural College” (2018) and “The Origins of Federal Support for Higher Education: George W. Atherton and the Land-Grant College Movement” (1991). He was named a Distinguished Alumnus in 2018.

Helen Dickerson Wise graduated in 1949 with a bachelor of arts in education; in 1969 with an master of education in education; and in 1968 with a doctor of education in secondary education. After a long teaching career she became president of the Pennsylvania and National Education associations. She was a member of the House of Representatives, deputy chief of staff to the governor of Pennsylvania, and a member of the Penn State Board of Trustees. She was named a Distinguished Alumna in 2008.

College of Education Distinguished Alumni

  • 2018 Roger L. Williams, ‘88g
  • 2016 George Santiago Jr., ‘86, ‘94
  • 2013 James T. Harris, ‘88
  • 2012 Harold Cheatham, ‘61
  • 2011 Ovid J.L. Tzeng, ‘73
  • 2009 J. Bonnie Newman, ‘69
  • 2008 *Harry Landis Eberly, ‘45
  • 2004 Eda C.B. Machado de Souza, ‘73, ‘75
  • 2003 C. Kirby Yung, ‘78
  • 2001 John W. Moore, ‘70
  • 2001 Suzie McConnell-Serio, ‘88
  • 1998 *Donald M. Cook, Jr., ‘60g
  • 1997 *Richard E. Grubb ‘71g
  • 1991 Helen Dickerson Wise, ‘49, ‘52, ‘68
  • 1990 T. J. Anderson, Jr., ‘59
  • 1989 Allan W. Ostar, ‘48
  • 1983 *Harriet Wenner McGeehan, ‘30
  • 1982 Darlene Dintino Large, ‘59
  • 1981 Ruth H. Johnson, ‘59
  • 1976 *Gertrude A. Barber, ‘40, ‘45, ‘57
  • 1975 *Gardner E. Lindzey, ‘43, ‘45
  • 1974 *Martha M. Dohner, ‘37
  • 1974 *Lucetta Parker Kennedy, ‘33
  • 1973 Barbara Linshes Weisberger, ‘45
  • 1972 *John Thomas Biggers, ‘48, ‘48, ‘54
  • 1972 *Margaret Bittner Parke, ‘27
  • 1970 *Richard S. Schweiker, ‘50
  • 1968 *Gilbert Nurick, ‘28
  • 1966 *Amos E. Neyhart, ‘34g
  • 1964 *Margaret Mary Mercer, ‘29, ‘34, ‘38
  • 1962 *Barbara M. Troxell, ‘37, ‘39g
  • 1961 *Clara Cockerille, ‘41, ‘51g
  • 1959 *Mary Frear Keeler, ‘24
  • 1957 *John R. Richards, ‘31g
  • 1951 *George D. Stoddard, ‘20

* indicates the alum is deceased

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Last Updated May 21, 2019