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Students and faculty recognized for achievements

Penn State Hazleton’s Academic Achievement Awards Ceremony was recently held to recognize students for scholastic achievement and faculty members for teaching and advising excellence.

Campus Chancellor John R. Madden and Director of Academic Affairs Monica E. Gregory presented the awards during the ceremony in the gymnasium. Rosemarie Petrilla, physical therapist assistant program coordinator and faculty marshal, served as host of this year’s event.

The following awards were presented to students at the ceremony:

• The President’s Freshman Award is presented annually to undergraduate degree candidates and provisional students who have earned a 4.00 (A) cumulative grade point average based on at least twelve graded Penn State credits. Candidates are eligible for this award if they have not exceeded 35 total credits earned. This award was established during the tenure of University President Eric A. Walker (1956-1970). This award was presented to Lynn Ferry, Drums; Amber Gauch, Hazleton; Roy Henninger, Winter Park, FL; James Hinkley, Drums; Jared Houghtaling, Equinunk; and Maryjane Long, Elysburg.                               

• The President Sparks Award is presented annually to those undergraduate degree candidates who have earned a 4.00 (A) cumulative grade point average based on at least 36 graded Penn State credits. Candidates are eligible for this award if they have not exceeded 59 total credits earned. The award is named for Edwin Earle Sparks, university president (1908–1920). Students receiving this award included Dhaval Bhalodia, Conyngham; Abdalla Nassar, Bloomsburg; Cory Santos, Brooklyn, NY; and Philip Yinger, Strasburg.

• The M. Leonard Shaevel Award is presented in memory of M. Leonard Shaevel, who taught physics at Penn State Hazleton from 1967 until his death in 1982. It consists of a cash award and is given to a student with a high grade point average enrolled in science who best exemplifies the educational values of Professor Shaevel. These values include, but are not limited to, a strong work ethic, persistence, and a commitment to science and scientific inquiry. This year’s winner was Philip Yinger, Strasburg.

• The Academic Achievement Award is presented to currently enrolled Penn State Hazleton fulltime or part-time students who have earned a cumulative grade-point average of 3.7 or higher by the end of the spring semester of the academic year the award is given. This year’s winners were George Aram, Honesdale; Hilary Barnett, Lavelle; Karen Brister, Clarks Summit; Regan Cameron, Hazleton; Janet Claudfelter, Bloomsburg; Kate Cobb, Endicott, NY; Robert Colaneri, Wood Ridge, NJ; Ryan Dewar, Honesdale; Kathy Eckrote, Drums; Jeffery Eveland, Coal Township; Brandon Farzad, Endwell, NY; John Ferdinand, Drums; Lynn Ferry, Drums; Lindsay Franks, New Milford; Amber Gauch, Hazleton; Joseph Gaspar, Metuchen, NJ; Lindsay Glen, Northampton; Matthew Grad, Drums; Phillip Halliday, Hazleton; Rodney Hardwick, Weatherly; Ronald Harman, Drums; Roy Henninger, Winter Park, FL; Brandon Herman, Mountaintop; James Hinkley, Drums; Katie Hoffman, Weatherly; Chad Hostrich, Drums; Jared Houghtaling, Equinunk; Anthony Iorio, West Wyoming; Tani Jankaitis, Shenandoah; Matthew Keiter, Nescopeck; Christopher Knecht, Nazareth; Keith Kripp, McAdoo; Nicolai Lesko, Weatherly; Daniel Liu, Yorktown Heights, NY; Maryjane Long, Elysburg; Cristina Longo, Lanoka Harbor, NJ; Nicholas Lorenz, Damascus; Kristen Marchese, Hazleton; Paul Miller, Weatherly; Samuel Orlando, Jessup; Amy Peca, Lansdale; Marijo Penkala, Hazleton; Amy Phillips, Annandale, NJ; Kimberly Plaza, West Hazleton; Michelle Renninger, Mountaintop; Camila Roces, Mahanoy City; Robert Senick, Hazleton; Daniel Slotterback, Lavelle; Jessica Spare, Drums; Anthony Spaulding, Pleasant Mount; and Tara Timmons, Weston.                                  

• The Scholar’s Lion Award is presented to currently enrolled Penn State Hazleton full-time degree students who have earned the highest grade-point average (minimum 3.85) in their college and have completed at least 45 Penn State credits by the end of the fall semester of the academic year the award is given. Colleges and winners included: from the Smeal College of Business Administration, the award was presented to Jessica Walton;  Division of Undergraduate Studies, Redona Methasani; Education, Linda Lutz; Engineering, Dhaval Bhalodia and Abdalla Nassar; Liberal Arts, Cory Santos; and Science, Philip Yinger.

Penn State Hazleton faculty members were acknowledged with the following awards:
• The Teaching Excellence Award, which recognizes and celebrates outstanding teaching, was established in 1994 by the Hazleton Educational Council, the campus advisory board. Candidates for this award may be nominated by students, faculty, staff and friends of the campus. Selection of the recipient is made by a committee of faculty members from another Penn State campus. The award consists of a suitably inscribed plaque and a $1000 stipend. This year’s recipient was Dr. Elizabeth Wright, assistant professor of English.

• The George T. Bobby Excellence in Academic Advising Award is a tribute to Professor George T. Bobby, who taught exercise and sports science at Penn State Hazleton from 1967 until his death in 1989. Professor Bobby is remembered as a conscientious advisor. The award, consisting of a suitably inscribed plaque and a $750 stipend, is given annually to a faculty member whose commitment to academic advising is in keeping with the high standards maintained by Professor Bobby. The winner was Dr. David Orbin, assistant professor of biology, retired.

• The Outstanding Teaching Award for Part-time Faculty and Staff recognizes excellence in teaching for part-time faculty and staff. It was developed by the campus faculty senate faculty affairs committee, and is supported by the office of Academic Affairs. The award consists of an inscribed plaque and a $500 stipend. The 2006 recipient was William Gaffney, instructor in sociology.

• The Butler Technology and Teaching Award recognizes faculty members who have demonstrated outstanding application and innovation in the use of computer technology in the classroom. In selecting an award recipient, the committee considers creativity and originality of the project and whether it has had a positive impact on students. The award consists of a suitably inscribed plaque and a $1,000 stipend. Sherry Robinson, assistant professor of business, was the winner of this year’s award.


Guest speaker for the event was Eugene W. Miller, assistant professor of history, who retired in June 2004 after more than thirty-five years of service at Penn State Hazleton. Dr. Miller began his career in 1969 at the campus as an instructor in history and was promoted to assistant professor of history in 1973 after earning his doctoral degree.

During his career, Dr. Miller taught a variety of history and other courses to more than 10,000 students and was recognized for his classroom ability and advising skills, most recently in spring 2004 when he received the Teaching Excellence Award.

He developed a special interest in the Holocaust, bringing the topic to life in the classroom by inviting local survivors to speak with students and arranging an annual trip to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he talked to area groups on the subject upon request.

After serving as a judge for a National History Day competition, Dr. Miller launched and coordinated the event for area middle and high school students starting in March 2000 at the campus.

In the community, Dr. Miller is involved in the Valley Interfaith Council in the Conyngham/Drums area and was involved in the CROP Walk for several years.

A graduate of Thiel College, Dr. Miller earned his master’s degree from the University of Michigan, and his doctoral degree from Penn State, all in history.

Upon his retirement, the Penn State Hazleton faculty established in his honor the Eugene Miller Holocaust Fund to support education efforts related to the Holocaust.

Dr. Miller and his wife, Mary Ann, reside in Sugarloaf.

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