Outstanding College of Education alumni, friends selected for annual awards

October 13, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State College of Education Alumni Society will honor 12 alumni and friends during a virtual awards celebration at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15. Award recipients were chosen for their career achievements; leadership skills; diversity, equity and inclusion advocacy; and volunteer service.

This year’s award recipients are:

  • Mary Ann Danowitz was selected to receive the Alumni Excellence Award, the highest honor bestowed upon alumni of the college. The award recognizes career-long, sustained excellence of contributions and achievement in the nominee's chosen profession. Danowitz earned her bachelor’s degree in political science in 1969 and her doctorate in higher education in 1980, both from Penn State. She is dean of the College of Education and professor of higher education at North Carolina State University.
  • Harry Kropp and Edward Legutko were honored with the Service to Penn State Award, which recognizes alumni and friends who have made significant contributions of time and talent to the college and/or the University. Kropp received his bachelor’s degree in secondary education in 1963 and his master’s degree in Spanish in 1965, both from Penn State. He and Legutko are retired teachers and reside in State College.
  • Dwayne Kwaysee Wright received the inaugural Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Award, which recognizes alumni who showcase exemplary insight and fortitude in the area of workplace and/or community diversity. Wright received three degrees from Penn State: a master’s degree in higher education in 2015, a juris doctor degree in law in 2015, and a doctorate in higher education in 2018. He is a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership-Higher Education Administration and interim director of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at George Washington University.
  • Thomas Butler was honored with the Leadership and Service Award, which recognizes leadership and service within a career, a community or to society in general. Butler earned his bachelor’s degree in secondary education in 1991 and his doctorate in educational leadership in 2008, both from Penn State. He is the executive director of Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 in Altoona, Pennsylvania.
  • Jennifer Wahl received the Outstanding Teaching Award, which recognizes an exemplary individual in a full-time teaching capacity in the education profession. Wahl received her master’s degree in educational leadership from Penn State in 2012. She is a social studies teacher at Loyalsock Township High School in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
  • Alyssa Marchunsky was honored with the Outstanding New Graduate Award, which recognizes alumni who graduated in the past five years and who have distinguished themselves in their new careers. Marchunsky earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Penn State in 2016. She is a third-grade teacher at Pennridge School District in Sellersville, Pennsylvania.

Five graduates, who received their bachelor’s degrees in elementary education in 2021, also will be recognized with the Outstanding Student Teaching Award. They are:

  • Rachel Bronstein, of Haverford, Pennsylvania.
  • Lindsay Helm, of Center Valley, Pennsylvania.
  • Ali Isaacman, of Ambler, Pennsylvania.
  • Emma Morris, of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.
  • Katherine Ruggieri, of Warwick, Rhode Island.

For more information about the College of Education Alumni Society Awards and to submit a nomination, visit https://ed.psu.edu/alumni-giving/alumni-society-awards.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 13, 2021