Penn State University President Eric A. Walker agreed to a request from the Delaware County commissioners to establish a campus of the University in Delaware County in 1966. The county provided 90 acres of land in Middletown Township, about four miles west of Media, the county seat, and gave $1.2 million toward construction of the first building at the campus site. John D. Vairo, an associate professor of journalism at the University, was appointed Campus Director, effective January 1, 1967, and the campus opened in a rented building in Chester in September of that year, admitting 236 students. They were taught by a full-time faculty of 11, and were served by a campus library consisting of about 500 books.
The opening of the campus was not without controversy. Part of the reason the County Commissioners invited Penn State to open a campus was that they preferred a Penn State campus to a community college. Those in favor of a community college continued their efforts, resulting in the establishment of Delaware County Community College, funded not through the county, but by participating school districts. Opening day of the community college, also housed in a temporary facility, coincided with the opening of Penn State Delaware County (now known as Penn State Brandywine) in September 1967.
The campus draws most of its students from Delaware and Chester counties, parts of Montgomery County, and the city of Philadelphia - an area that includes every type of neighborhood represented in the eastern United States. Since its opening, more than 100,000 students have earned a degree or have started their studies in higher education at the campus.
The campus operated in Chester until December, 1970, when it moved into the newly completed Main Building in Middletown Township. A library/learning center was completed in 1979, and a commons/athletic center was opened in 1988. The campus' fourth building, a technology-based classroom building, opened in 1998. It contains state-of-the-art computer and technology classrooms, additional classrooms, seminar rooms, and faculty offices. Other campus facilities include a maintenance building, the Ethel Sergeant Clark Smith Memorial Tennis Center, athletic fields, and parking for approximately 1,000 vehicles.
Selected Historical Highlights
- June: Delaware County Commissioners approve a resolution asking the Pennsylvania State University to open a campus in Delaware County.
- January: John D. Vairo is appointed campus director.
- June: Campus moves from Swarthmore, where office space had been rented, to temporary campus at 6th and Penn Streets, Chester.
- September: First day of classes. Eleven full-time faculty teach 236 students.
- January: The Board of Trustees approves preliminary plans for a new campus building.
- February: Delaware County Court approves articles of incorporation establishing the Advisory Board as a legal entity.
- November: Groundbreaking ceremonies held for the new campus.
- December: The move to the new campus begins.
- May: Dedication ceremonies for the new campus building. About 600 people attended the ceremonies which were moved indoors due to rain.
- June: John D. Vairo addresses the first campus commencement program with 31 associate degree graduates.
- November: Trustees approve the construction of six modular units at the campus at a cost of $275,000.
- October: Approximately 37 additional acres of land are conveyed to the University by Delaware County.
- July: Construction begins on the Library/Learning Center.
- December: Library/Learning Center officially opened.
- September: Dedication of the Library/Learning Center is held with nearly 400 in attendance.
- December: Governor Richard Thornburgh signs the capital construction bill, which includes $3.9 million for a gymnasium/student center at the campus.
- March: The Library Information Access System (LIAS) becomes operational on campus.
- October: John Vairo announces his retirement, effective March 1, 1986.
- December: Edward S. J. Tomezsko is named acting campus executive officer, effective March 1, 1986.
- October: Groundbreaking ceremony for Commons/Athletic Center.
- March: Edward S. J. Tomezsko is formally installed as Campus Executive Officer, only the second person to hold this position.
- April: The campus' first endowed scholarship is endowed with $15,000 collected by the Penn State Club of Delaware County.
- September: The campus offers the Extended General Arts and Sciences Degree, now Letters, Arts and Sciences, for the first time; the oldest bachelor's degree program at the campus, the program has graduated more than 130 students.
- October: Dedication of Commons/Athletic Center.
- August: A record 1,950 students enroll at the Delaware County campus as the 1989-90 academic year gets under way, up from the previous year's figure of 1,861. This remains the campus' highest enrollment.
- May: Boeing Helicopters provides $250,000 toward construction of an advanced technology center, the largest single gift to the campus to date.
- May: Math Options for Girls program starts, boosted by a $100,000 gift to be shared by the Delaware County and Ogontz (now Penn State Abington) campuses.
- July: Ethel Sergeant Clark Smith Memorial Fund pledges $650,000 for construction of tennis courts as a memorial to its benefactor.
- July: Tennis court complex is completed and dedicated.
- September: Campus celebrates its 25th anniversary with a day-long program and dinner for alumni, faculty, and staff.
- August: American Studies bachelor's degree program is introduced.
- August: Bachelor's degree programs are offered for the first time in Urban Early and Middle Childhood Education and Speech Communication.
- November: Groundbreaking ceremony is held for new advanced technology center. A change in the statehouse results in a two-year delay in beginning the project.
- September: The Library/Learning Center is officially renamed the John D. Vairo Library, honoring the campus's first director/CEO.
- November: Edward Tomezsko chairs the Penn State Philadelphia Council, with the refurbishment of University facilities at a rented facility in west Philadelphia. The Council coordinates the Philadelphia activities of the region's campuses, the Penn State Extension Service, the Community Recruitment Center, and Continuing Education.
- March: The Curricular Affairs Committee of the Faculty Senate approves a new bachelor of science in business degree program, to be available at the Delaware County campus in August.
- August: The campus' newest building, the state-of-the-art technology-based Classroom Building, opens for student instruction. The $3 million, 22,000 square-foot building contains computer classrooms, electronic classrooms, seminar rooms, faculty offices, and reception and study space.
- October: The Classroom Building is formally dedicated. Approximately 400 students, faculty, staff, and friends of the campus attend the dedication ceremony, which is broadcast live over the Internet via the campus Web site.
- November: The campus receives authorization from the Faculty Senate to offer its seventh baccalaureate degree program, the bachelor of arts in English, to begin in August, 1999.
- March: The total number of four-year baccalaureate degree programs increases to eight with the announcement that the campus will offer the bachelor of science in Information Sciences and Technology beginning in fall 1999.
- February: Stephen J. Cimbala, professor of political science, was named Distinguished Professor of Political Science in the Commonwealth College, one of the highest honors bestowed on a Penn State faculty member. Dr. Cimbala is the author of 19 books and editor of 15 more dealing with international policies and relationships.
- September: "Space Grass" is planted at Penn State Delaware County as part of a presentation by Dr. James Pawelczyk, a Penn State professor who served as a payload specialist on the U.S. Space Shuttle Columbia's Neurolab mission in April 1998.
- October: Teacher's Night, a multi-county forum, offers local educators a hands-on look at a variety of federal and local education resources. The forum offers exhibits by the Smithsonian Institution, NASA, the Globe Program, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and many more.
- January: The Sarah Stover Memorial Fund raises more than $2,600 at a special fundraiser. Stover, a Penn State Delaware County student, was killed in Philadelphia by a hit-and-run driver. More than 300 people attend the benefit, which featured 15 different disc jockeys.
- February: Penn State Delaware County students raise $17,000 for Penn State Dance Marathon (THON). Money raised for THON goes to the Four Diamonds Fund, set up to support families whose children have cancer.
- April: Fourteen Penn State Delaware County student-athletes are voted to Penn State's Commonwealth Campus Athletic Conference's (CCAC) all-conference teams. Additionally, seven Penn State Delaware County students are voted to Eastern Pennsylvania Collegiate Conferences (EPCC) all-conference teams.
Adam Taliaferro, the Penn State football player who suffered a serious spinal injury during a Nittany Lions game, is the keynote speaker at the second annual Penn State Delaware County Golf Tournament. Taliaferro, a freshman cornerback at the time, was injured in the closing moments of a Penn State game at Ohio State on September 23, 2000. Despite a challenging initial prognosis, Taliaferro is now able to walk without any assistance.
- November: Thanks to an $18,000 gift from the Ethel Sergeant Clark Smith Memorial Trust, the tennis center at Penn State Brandywine is renovated. The tennis center, originally made possible through a $650,000 grant from the Trust, features eight courts, two of which are lighted for nighttime play.
- December: Penn State Delaware County and the Thomas Jefferson College of Health Professionals announce a new articulation agreement whereby students from Penn State Delaware County can be guaranteed admission to Jefferson's allied health programs at Thomas Jefferson if certain criteria are met.
- February: A real estate certificate program is offered at Penn State Delaware County. The program is for individuals interested in real estate as a profession or would like to learn more about it.
- March: Penn State Delaware County celebrates its 35th anniversary by hosting a gala attended by several hundred staff, faculty, and friends of the campus. Proceeds from the event benefit the Lauren Chrest Memorial Scholarship. Door prizes, auction and donated items help raise funds for this scholarship fund.
- April: In one of the greatest days in the campus' history, President George W. Bush visits Penn State Delaware County to address new initiatives to improve education for millions of American children. President Bush participates with students, campus faculty, and other educators in a round table discussion on issues facing early childhood education. The President speaks to approximately 700 students, staff, faculty, and community guests, outlining a bipartisan message for reforming and bolstering early childhood education. Campus Executive Officer Ed Tomezsko and University President Graham Spanier welcome the President along with several dignitaries, including Governor Mark Schweiker, Senator Arlen Specter, Representative Curt Weldon, and Attorney General Mike Fisher. Following his speech, the President shakes hands with the crowd and signs autographs.
- November: Penn State Delaware County, along with
13 of Penn State's Commonwealth campuses, begins offering four-year athletic eligibility starting with the Fall 2003 semester. The 14 Commonwealth campuses comprise the Commonwealth Campus Athletic Conference (CCAC). The campuses are divided into Eastern and Western conferences for the new four-year athletic competition. CCAC members will initially offer four-year competition against each other in women's volleyball and men's basketball, in a program to determine the feasibility and interest of expanding the competition to additional sports. The remaining sports programs at Penn State Delaware County, women's basketball, soccer, baseball and team tennis, will remain at the current two-year athletic eligibility.
January: Penn State Delaware County's ice hockey club is in first place in the American Collegiate Hockey Association's (ACHA) Division III Atlantic Region. The club, run entirely by students at the campus, was originally formed in 1977, and has gained more momentum with each season.
February: The Student Life Office leads a memorial observance for the astronauts who perished in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster on February 1. The ceremony is held near the commemorative "space grass" display at the campus.
March: Connie Kirker, assistant professor of integrative arts, along with Alita Kelly, associate professor of Spanish and French, organize a trip to Seville, Spain. The trip is part of the international studies minor being offered at Penn State Delaware County, but can also be taken as a three-credit elective by interested students.
May: Dr. Michael De Rosa, professor of chemistry, is named a winner of the Penn State University Commonwealth College Outstanding Research or Creative Accomplishment Award for 2002-2003. Dr. De Rosa has been a member of the campus faculty since 1989. During his tenure at the campus, he has developed a reputation as an excellent teacher and researcher, and has been especially committed to involving undergraduate students in his work.
Dr. Peter Georgopulos is named the 2002-2003 winner of the sixth annual Madlyn Hanes Faculty Award. Georgopulos, associate professor of physics, has taught at the campus since 1971. He is a three-time recipient of the campus' Outstanding Teacher Award as well as the University's highest teaching honor, the George S. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching.
August: Three faculty members are promoted for the 2003-04 academic year. Susan Ware of Exton is promoted to associate librarian; Karen Hill of West Chester is promoted to professor of kinesiology; and Cynthia Lightfoot, also of West Chester, is promoted to professor of human development and family studies.
September: With the imminent arrival of Hurricane Isabel, Laura Guertin, assistant professor of earth sciences, presents "Hurricane Preparation 101," a primer on how best to prepare for hurricanes and other dangerous weather. The presentation is attended by students, faculty, staff, members of the press, and community members.
John Terrell of Glen Mills, senior instructor of accounting, is the recipient of the campus' first Distinguished Teaching Award. The award, established this year, honors and recognizes distinguished teaching while providing encouragement and incentive for teaching excellence and contributions made to the Delaware County campus.
November: The campus holds a gala wrap-up to the University's Grand Destiny, a six-year capital fund raising campaign that raised $4.45 million for the Delaware County campus. This total represents 148% of the original campus goal of $3 million. Student scholarship, faculty research, and academic programming are the main beneficiaries of the campaign.
Students, faculty, and staff gather on a rainy afternoon to unveil the Penn State Delaware County Nittany Lion statue, a three-quarter size replica of the original shrine located at University Park. The 2,700 pound campus version was made possible by a gift from Ralph D'Iorio of West Chester, a member of the Class of 1943 and a long-time friend of the Delaware County campus.
- December: Doris 'Tiz' Griffith, athletic director at Penn State Delaware County for the past 16 years, announces that she will resign that position at the end of the 2003-04 academic year. She will continue at the campus as senior instructor in kinesiology, teaching classes in tennis, health, and other subjects. Griffith joined the campus as an instructor in 1981, and became A.D. in 1988, when the campus athletic center opened. In her A.D. capacity, she supervised coaches in six varsity sports, and has worked with over 1,200 student athletes during the course of her career.
January: John Tierney of West Chester, associate professor of chemistry, is named winner of the third Jane E. Cooper Faculty Fellowship at the campus. The purpose of this annual fellowship is to provide supplementary funds to an outstanding member of the Delaware County faculty to assist in continuing and furthering contributions to the campus in teaching, research, and public service.
February: As part of the campus' observation of Black History Month, the Philadelphia chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen present a program at Penn State Delaware County. Dr. Eugene Richardson, a member of the fabled African-American WWII flying corps, shares his recollections of the era with photographs, displays, and other memorabilia. The Tuskegee Airmen were dedicated, determined young men who enlisted to become America's first black military airmen. The present day mission of the corps is to inspire young people to outstanding achievement and leadership through social and educational activities.
March: The Academic Affairs office organizes a "care package" drive for two campus graduates serving in the U.S. Military: David Fleming, stationed in Iran, and Eric Voigt, stationed in Afghanistan. The packages includes letters and pictures from home, personal care items, food, magazines, and stationery supplies. Campus faculty and staff also collect puzzle and joke books, playing cards, small games, batteries, film, Frisbees, small footballs, and toys to give away to local children. The response from the campus is so overwhelming that packages are sent out on a regular basis.
July: Approximately $58,000 in scholarship funds from the W.W. Smith Charitable Trust is awarded to Penn State Delaware County students for the 2004-2005 academic year. The W.W. Smith Charitable Trust Scholars Award was established by a bequest in the will of William Wikoff Smith, former president and CEO of Kewanee Industries. It was Smith's intention to support students and programs in the Delaware Valley.
August: Penn State Delaware County increases its degree program offerings to nine with the announcement that beginning with the 2004-05 academic year, the campus will offer a Communications degree. The program will offer two options -- journalism and corporate communications -- for students who are interested in public/media relations, publishing, video and multimedia production, and journalism. Susan Fredricks, assistant professor of communication arts and sciences, will be the communications degree program coordinator.
September: Over 40 percent of the student body participate in the Student Government Association election, held for the first time over the Internet using a web-based application created by University software developers. SGA and faculty advisers are able to monitor ongoing results as they come in, and election volunteers are able to take wireless laptops to students to cast their ballots on the spot.
Approximately 100 students, faculty, staff and friends of Penn State Delaware County celebrate the formal dedication of the campus' Nittany Lion shrine on September 15. In addition, representatives from local government, campus and University alumni, and donors brave threatening skies and a light rain as the brand-new landmark is unveiled. The statue, three-quarters the size of the original University Park shrine, is a gift from Ralph D'Iorio, who, along with campus CEO Edward Tomezsko and SGA president Kevin Krauss, cut a "Penn State blue" ribbon to officially open the freshly landscaped gathering place. The 2,700 pound campus centerpiece is displayed in a friendly and inviting grove lined by large boulders, evergreen trees, and other decorative vegetation, and is illuminated for nighttime display. D'Iorio, a member of the class of 1943, is a long-time friend of the Delaware County campus, and, along with his wife Lori, established the Ralph B. and Shirley McFadden D'Iorio Scholarship at Penn State Delaware County in 2001, in honor of his late first wife.
October: As part of Penn State's Sesquicentennial Celebration, or 150th anniversary, the campus joins other University campuses in welcoming students and the community to "Penn State Day" on October 30.
Mathematics instructor John Dyckman is named the campus' Distinguished Teacher of the Year at the annual Fall Honors Convocation. Dyckman, of Aston, has been an instructor at the campus since 1990. Dyckman is cited for "giving countless hours of his time in the campus Learning Center," where he serves as a tutor, and for "bringing a sense of humor to problem solving."
A memorial garden area dedicated to the late Robert L. Stout, former administrative director of the Business program, is unveiled at a small ceremony held prior to the campus' Fall Honors Convocation. Members of Dr. Stout's family, students, faculty, and staff gather at the site to remember and honor the accomplishments of the much-admired administrator and teacher. Featured speakers include Beverly Grove, campus director of institutional advancement, Business Instructor Dick Barrett, Gina Ermilio, president of the Student Business Association, an organization founded by Dr. Stout, and Sylvia Schaffer and Gordon Crompton of the campus' Christian Fellowship, another group with which Dr. Stout was closely affiliated. The brief ceremony includes remarks by members of his family, including his widow, Mrs. Nancy Stout. The memorial garden, located in a quiet space near the campus' Classroom Building, consists of a teak park bench with a bronze engraved plaque, and a small fountain.
November: The campus hosts its annual Multicultural Day, a day of "Celebrating Cultures" with food and fashion, song and dance, on November 18. An international buffet features fare from over 20 countries. Performance art includes music and dance numbers from -- among others -- Puerto Rico, India, Africa, Japan, and Haiti. The event's highlight is the International Fashion Show, where students and faculty members model native garb from many lands.
December: Joseph G. Biscontini announces his retirement after serving more than 36 years as Penn State's chief public relations officer in the Philadelphia area. He joined Penn State as public information officer at the Delaware County campus in 1968, a year after the campus first opened. In 1992, Biscontini was named Penn State's regional director of university relations, managing the public relations activities of the Media campus, as well as the undergraduate campus at Abington and the graduate campus at Great Valley. His regional team won ten University-wide awards for program excellence. "Penn State's presence in this region, and especially in Delaware County, is largely due to the work Joe Biscontini has done," said executive officer Edward Tomezsko. "He has helped create and guide just about every aspect of the institutional advancement program here, from fund raising and alumni relations to public relations and advertising. Everybody in the county who knows Penn State knows Joe Biscontini," Tomezsko said. Biscontini is a founding member of the Delaware County Press Club and served two terms as its president. He also is a founding member and past president of the College and University Public Relations Association of Pennsylvania (CUPRAP), a professional organization in which nearly all institutions of higher education in the state participate. Biscontini plans to retain ties to the University -- and the campus -- by teaching journalism and public relations courses in a new bachelor's degree program in communications at the campus.
January: Dr. Edward Tomezsko of Middletown Township, who has served as CEO of the Delaware County campus since 1986, announces his retirement effective July 5. Among his accomplishments, Tomezsko has overseen the addition of the Commons/Athletic Center in 1987 and the Classroom Building in 1998, but he points to the enhancements that have taken place to the campus community operating inside these walls that make him most proud. "My greatest sense of accomplishment comes from the fact that we were able to develop an excellent faculty and a very welcoming student community," said Tomezsko. "The Delaware County campus has evolved into a multicultural campus where students from all cultures are comfortable, and that is a great sense of pride for me." Graham B. Spanier, president of Penn State, said of Tomezsko: "Ed has done an outstanding job guiding one of Penn State's most vibrant campus communities," he said. "His leadership and vision have helped Penn State Delaware County thrive and become better positioned for long-term success. He will be missed a great deal at Penn State, and I wish him well in his future endeavors." Tomezsko earned his bachelor's degree in chemistry from Villanova University, and his master's degree in fuel science and Ph.D. in chemistry, both from Penn State. Prior to serving as CEO at Delaware County, Tomezsko taught chemistry at Delaware County for most of the 1970s, and served as director of academic affairs in the early 80s. He worked for the University's Commonwealth College for a several years before assuming the CEO post in 1986. He looks forward to spending more time with his wife, Jean, and his family.
Uzair Qadeer of Morton and Crystal Bowhall of Prospect Park are named Mr. and Ms. Penn State Delaware County at the second annual pageant on January 28. Competition is tough as judges rate contestants in four categories: Penn State pride-wear, talent, evening wear, and an on-stage interview. Qadeer performs an original comedy routine for his talent competition, while Bowhall dances to a song by Christina Aguilera. The Black Student League sponsors the pageant in conjunction with the Student Government Association.
February: Students, faculty, and staff celebrate the Sesquicentennial, or 150th anniversary, of Penn State University with a year-long series of events that culminate in a symbolic birthday party on February 22. Students, faculty, and staff share traditional cake and ice cream at the "Happy 150th PSU!" celebration.
March: The Penn State Delaware County ice hockey team competes in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Nationals tournament. The Lions earn a berth in the nationals due to their second place showing in the Delaware Valley Collegiate Hockey Conference (DVCHC) finals. The ice hockey club finishes the regular season undefeated in league play, and with an overall regular season record of 28-5-2. The ACHA series opens with Delaware County facing off against sixth ranked Calvin College, defending national champions, in the first round. At the end of regulation the game is tied at 4-4. Following a scoreless overtime period, the teams goes to "shoot-outs," winning the game 5-4 on Si Swing's goal. The win moves the Lions to the number eight rank in the nation.
Dr. Paul Greene of Swarthmore is named one of the winners of the 2005 George W. Atherton Excellence in Teaching Awards at Penn State University. Greene, an ethnomusicologist and associate professor of integrative arts. joined Penn State part-time in 1993 and was promoted to a full time position in 1997. He has degrees from Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania. This marks the ninth time that the Atherton Award has been presented to a member of the campus faculty.
April: Dr. Elizabeth Buckmaster is named the 2005 winner of the eighth annual Madlyn Hanes Faculty Award at the Spring Honors Convocation. Buckmaster, assistant professor of English, joined the Delaware County faculty at its founding in 1967 and is one of the campus' last remaining original faculty members. She is a 1996 recipient of the Milton S. Eisenhower Award for Distinguished Teaching, one of the University's top teaching honors, and was presented the University's Provost's Award for Collaborative Instructional and Curricular Innovation in 1997. Coordinator of the campus' English degree program, her scholarly and research interests include Chaucer and the medieval world, modern popular fiction, and business writing. In addition, Buckmaster serves as Campus Marshal, is a member of Penn State's Commonwealth College English Committee as well as its Faculty Senate, and is chair of the campus' Executive Committee.
An alumni group based at the campus announces the endowment of a new scholarship for the campus: the Delaware County Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association Award. The Penn State Club of Delaware County raises $20,000 in the span of two years to fulfill the endowment, and makes a formal check presentation at the group's annual Alumni Dinner, held April 6 at the Springhaven Country Club. Club members who made significant contributions to the effort include Sylvia and Dick Schaffer, Jeff Nicholas, Sheri and Brad Houpt, Bill Borrebach, Pat Kessler, David Arata, Norma Goff, and Tom Morse. In appreciation of their efforts, Bev Grove, Director of Institutional Advancement, presents the club with an official certificate signed by University President Graham Spanier.
May: Three members of the campus community earn Commonwealth College awards for 2005. These awards recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to improving the quality of life for students on campus. Djuradj Stakic, associate professor of human development and family studies, is cited for Distinguished Faculty Service or Outreach. Laura Guertin, assistant professor of earth sciences, is recognized for Excellence in Teaching. Jeanette Rieck, administrative assistant in the Office of Academic Affairs, is honored with the Outstanding Support Staff Award
Under the direction of Joe DiAntonio, campus athletic director, the women's basketball team has a solid 12-10 regular season in the Penn State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC) and earns trips to the PSUAC and Eastern Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference (EPCC) playoffs, helping DiAntonio earn PSUAC Women's Basketball Coach of the Year honors.
Jeff Vickers of Aston, head baseball coach, is named the Penn State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC) men's baseball Coach of the Year for the 2004-2005 season. The PSUAC is the University's intercampus Athletic Conference. Vickers, who completed his fourth season as Lions coach, leads his team to a 17-6 regular season slate (19-8 overall) and the PSUAC Eastern Division crown, defeating Penn State Hazelton and Penn State Abington in the divisional playoffs before falling to Penn State Fayette in the state championship game.
Dr. Sophia T. Wisniewska is named Chancellor for Penn State Delaware County, effective July 11, 2005, becoming the campus's first Chancellor and only the third executive officer to lead the campus since its inception in 1967. Previously dean and campus executive officer of the Temple University campus in Ambler, Dr. Wisniewska spent 21 years at Penn State, with positions in the Commonwealth College and at the Great Valley, Abington, and Berks campuses. Wisniewska earned her baccalaureate in Russian from Penn State and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Russian from Bryn Mawr College. She also attended Harvard University's Institute for Management and Leadership in Education. Her background includes extensive academic program development at the undergraduate, graduate and continuing education levels, as well as experience in community relations, accreditation and fundraising. Her community work has focused on workforce and economic development, including service on the boards of the Ambler YWCA, the Montgomery County Lands Trust, the Penn-Jersey Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. She has also been active in economic development in Chester County. Focusing on Russian literature, particularly contemporary women writers, her scholarly research has received support from a range of sources, including the American Council of Teachers of Russian and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is fluent in Polish, Russian, and French, with a reading knowledge of German. In accepting the position, Dr. Wisniewska says she is excited to be returning to Penn State. "It's a lovely homecoming for me," she said. "I am especially thrilled to accept the position of Chancellor of the Delaware County campus and look forward to working with its fine faculty, staff, and students."
Student Government Association officers for the 2005-2006 school year include Karen Craig of Brookhaven, Secretary; Nida Qadeer of Morton, Financial Advisor; Crystal Bowhall of Prospect Park, Vice-President; Stacie Mann of Marcus Hook, President; and Quinetta Wilson of Yeadon, Senate Leader.
Campus student leaders are recognized for their achievements at the Student Government Association's annual end-of-year Student Recognition Awards ceremony. Scott McPartland of Downingtown is named the Outstanding Adult Student for 2004-05, while Crystal Bowhall of Prospect Park earns the Outstanding Student Service Award and Trung "Truman" Nguyen of Philadelphia receives the newly-named Barbara Jackson-Williams Memorial Award for Cross-Cultural Understanding. The Lion Ambassadors group is named the Student Club of the Year, and the campus' Black Student League receives recognition as the Student Program of the Year for sponsoring the annual Mr. & Ms. Penn State Delaware County Pageant. The SGA also recognizes Events Coordinator Taryn Chance of West Chester and Senate Leader Michele Tessmer of Lincoln University with Outstanding SGA Member Awards for their many contributions. Outgoing SGA President Kevin Krauss of West Chester is also acknowledged and club presidents receive certificates for service to their organizations.
June: Michael De Rosa, professor of chemistry, is named a Fulbright Scholar for the 2005-2006 award year. De Rosa will travel to the Banska Bystrica region of the Slovak Republic and lecture at Matej Bel University. In addition to teaching in masters level courses in Environmental Organic Chemistry at Matej Bel, he will also be lecturing in the Ph.D. program for the faculty of Ecology and Environmental Sciences at the Technical University of Zvolen, in Banska Stiavnica.
Thirty-five student athletes are named to the University's Commonwealth Campus Academic All-Conference teams. The students qualified for the award by posting a 3.0 GPA or higher during the semester of their season of competition. The number of honorees represents over half of the Delaware County campus' 66 varsity athletes for 2004-2005. The women's volleyball team earned a team grade point average of 3.11, while the women's basketball team posted a team grade point average of 3.05.
July: The University Board of Trustees holds its annual meeting at the Delaware County campus July 14-15. Campus representatives, faculty, students, and staff, including new Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska, address Board members.
September: The campus hosts its fifth annual "A Day in My Wheels" Disability Day observation on September 22. Spearheaded by the campus' Student Government Association along with Dory Shea of Media, a Delaware County student confined to a wheelchair from spina bifida, "A Day in My Wheels" is designed to enlighten students, faculty, staff, and the community to issues and obstacles that people with disabilities face every day. Over the course of the day, participants are led through exercises, primarily in wheelchairs, in order to experience what it's like to live with a disability.
Distinguished Professor of English Adam J. Sorkin is named the winner of the 2005 Corneliu M. Popescu Prize for European Poetry Translation, an international literary award, for his translation of The Bridge by the eminent and widely respected Romanian poet Marin Sorescu. He shares the award with his collaborator Lidia Vianu, a Romanian poet, novelist, and critic. Sorkin traveled to Goodenough College in London to participate in the award ceremonies.
October: Over 50 Junior, Cadette, and Senior Girl Scouts participate in Earth Science Week activities on October 8. The program, brainchild of Laura Guertin, assistant professor of earth science, involves campus students who designed coursework for the program, and who guided the Scouts through the day's activities. Participants investigate themes related to earth science, and conduct hands-on experiments at the stream that runs through campus. At the end of the program, the girls earn the Earth Science Week Activity Patch.
Elizabeth Dudkin of Media is named Distinguished Teacher of the Year at the annual Fall Honors Convocation, held in the John D. Vairo Library on October 19. The purpose of the Distinguished Teacher Award is to honor and recognize ongoing outstanding teaching by faculty members at the Delaware County campus. Gifts from faculty members, staff, and friends of the campus, including founding Campus Executive Officer John D. Vairo and his wife Greta, and Professor Emeritus Michael Kersnick, provide funding for the award.
The campus holds its annual "Penn State Day" Fall Festival and Open House on October 22. This event is open to the community and features tours, displays by student clubs on campus, an Apple Bake-Off, Best Dressed Penn Stater contest, pie-eating contest, and a Great Pumpkin Hunt for youngsters. In addition, the Philadelphia BEST Hub Robotics Competition takes place simultaneously in the campus gymnasium, featuring student-made robot entries from across the region.
May: Doris “Tiz” Griffith, senior instructor in kinesiology, receives the University's Robert J. Scannell Roll of Honor for Distinguished Service and Contributions Award to Penn State's Commonwealth Campus Athletic Programs.
June: John Tierney, associate professor of chemistry, receives the Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in chemical science.
August: Philadelphia Magazine names Brandywine’s Ethel Sergeant Clark Smith Tennis Courts, the “Best Outdoor Tennis Court” in 2006.
Suburban West Realtors Association Scholarship is created to help deserving Delaware County students who have demonstrated a need for financial assistance.
September: Distinguished professor of English at University of Southern California T. Coraghessan Boyle’s The Tortilla Curtain is chosen as the campus-wide book for the academic year.
November: Senior Jennifer Johnson earns the 2007-2008 Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarship, a program to further international understanding and friendly relations among people of different countries and geographical areas.
Paul Greene, associate professor of ethnomusicology and integrative arts, earns the Society of Ethnomusicology's Klaus Wachsmann Prize for a book he co-edited along with Thomas Porcello titled, Wired for Sound: Engineering and Technologies in Sonic Cultures. The Klaus Wachsmann Prize is awarded every two years, is given to the best publication in the ethnomusicological study of musical instruments.
The Classroom Building is officially renamed the Edward S. J. Tomezsko Classroom Building after Chancellor Emeritus Edward Tomezsko who served from 1986–2005.
January: Adam J. Sorkin, distinguished professor of English, publishes three new books of translation of Romanian poetry titled, Paper Children, The March to the Stars, and Born in Utopia: An Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Romanian Poetry.
More than 15 students travel to the University of Paris to work and study with Margaret Ahmad, visiting assistant professor of biology at Penn State. Ahmad and students work at her laboratory at the university, where she does groundbreaking research on blue-light receptors in plants.
The campus receives funding from University Park to expand LION OWL, the online Writing Lab/Virtual Writing Center. Designed to provide an alternative to students who cannot attend the face-to-face Writing Center, LION OWL promotes and supports the teaching, practice and study of writing.
Michael De Rosa, professor of chemistry, receives the Distinguished Service Award from the Eberly College of Science. The award, sponsored by the college alumni society, is established in 1979 to recognize individuals who have made exceptional leadership and service contributions to the college.
April: Kathy Meehan, instructor of human development and family studies (HDFS), is awarded the Madlyn Hanes Faculty Award. This award is given annually to recognize a full-time faculty member of Penn State Brandywine who has made outstanding contributions to the campus community through exceptional achievements in teaching, research, scholarship, creative activity, or service.
Charles Helou, professor of mathematics, receives the Teresa Cohen Mathematics Service Award. This award is presented annually to two full-time mathematics professors from throughout the Penn State University system for exemplary service to students and the department.
June: George Franz, professor of history, retires after 30 years of service. Franz also served as director of academic affairs and helped launch five four-year programs at the campus: Business, Human Development and Family Studies, Information Science and Technology, Corporate Communication and Organizational Leadership.
September: The Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) launches the expansion of the annual Institutionalizing Undergraduate Research workshop at the campus. These workshops are designed to create a culture of campus wide engagement in undergraduate research.
Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska is honored at the March of Dimes’ annual Salute to Excellence in Delaware County fundraising event for her commitment to the community through volunteer service and excellence in the field of education.
October: Arnold Markley, associate professor of English, receives the 2007 Distinguished Teacher of the Year award. This recognition, voted exclusively by the students, is given to a faculty member for excellence in teaching.
The Professional Grounds Management Society awards the 2007 Green Star Honor Award to the campus. Charles Daly, head groundskeeper, receives the award at the Professional Grounds Management Society's 35th Annual Awards Banquet and Reception in Louisville, Ky.
November: Penn State’s Board of Trustees approves Penn State Delaware County’s official name change to Penn State Brandywine (November 2, 2007).
The Delaware County Chamber of Commerce selects Penn State Brandywine, which celebrated its 40th Anniversary, as a 2007 Education Milestone Award recipient. The award is presented annually to outstanding academic institutions that are celebrating educational milestones.
January: In honor of Penn State Brandywine’s 40th anniversary, the fall 2008 honors freshmen composition class completes the campus’ first history book, The First Ten Years: Conversations about Penn State Delaware County. Under the guidance of Phyllis Cole, professor of English, women’s studies and American studies, the students interviewed alumni, faculty and staff who attended classes or worked on campus during its first ten years.
March: Former president Bill Clinton visits Penn State Brandywine on March 7 to rally support for his wife and presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.
Penn State Brandywine begins offering a one-year Accelerated Post-Baccalaureate Medical Sciences Certificate program to prepare students for entrance into the medical, dental, or other allied health schools.
April: Penn State Brandywine’s Engineering Club wins the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest with its design of a machine that assembles a hamburger consisting of no less than one precooked meat patty, two vegetables, and two condiments, sandwiched between two bun halves.
Elementary Education Seniors Megan Peterkin and Megan Russo receive first and second place respectively during the Student Pennsylvania State Education Associate (SPSEA) annual competition in Pittsburgh. Peterkin’s "Ecosystems" project receives first place while Russo’s "Complements of Ten" project places second in the competition.
Connie Kirker, assistant professor of integrative arts, earns the Madlyn Hanes Faculty Award at Penn State Brandywine. The award recognizes a full-time faculty member of Penn State Brandywine who has made outstanding contributions to the campus community through exceptional achievement in teaching, research, scholarship, creative activity, or service.
Ivan Esparragoza, associate professor of engineering, receives the inaugural George W. Franz Advising and Mentoring Award. The Franz award annually recognizes a faculty or staff member for his/her efforts in helping others to achieve their potential.
Laura Guertin, associate professor of earth and mineral sciences, receives a congressional citation from U.S. Rep. Joseph Sestak. Guertin receives the award for all of the community service activities she has initiated and organized at Penn State Brandywine, including those for the 40 Acts of Kindness and Civic Engagement campaign this year as part of the campus' 40th anniversary celebration.
May: The campus celebrates the conclusion of its 40th anniversary year with a Gala at Aronimink Country Club, raising roughly $40,000 for student scholarships.
Susan Fredricks, associate professor of communication arts and sciences and coordinator of the communications degree program, receives “Woman of the Year” award from the campus’ women commission.
July: Penn State Brandywine installs an earthquake monitoring station.
August: The W.W. Smith Charitable Trust Scholars Award provides Penn State Brandywine students a one-year grant of $39,000.
Penn State Brandywine establishes PSUTXT, an easy and accessible system that notifies students via cell phone of class cancelation due or campus emergencies.
Students Christopher Bakey, engineering, and JacQuita Lessane, HDFS, receive the AmeriCorps Education Award and a Presidential Volunteer Service Award for their unwavering dedication to volunteerism.
September: MTV’s Rock the Vote comes to Penn State Brandywine to encourage students to vote and educate them on the upcoming election and candidates.
October: The Penn State Brandywine Math Center opens. The Math Center has two basic purposes: to partner with the faculty to provide aid in the classroom through workshops and to have professors spread the word about the center. For students, it offers an intimate tutoring opportunity and convenience.
December: Penn State Brandywine releases the first issue of its new magazine, Brandywine Pride.
January: Campus alumnus Aldo Magazzeni’s exhibition, titled "Traveling Mercies: Humanitarian Journeys into Afghanistan and Africa," includes photographs from Afghanistan and Kenya, taken from 2002 on. In these powerful images, Magazzeni documents the struggles of women who wish to be educated in Afghanistan, the restoration of hope for Kenyan orphans with HIV, and the satisfaction of villagers who finally have clean, safe drinking water.
Arnold Markley, associate professor of English, publishes Conversion and Reform in the British Novel in the 1790s: A Revolution of Opinions.
Stephen Cimbala, distinguished professor of political science, publishes Shield of Dreams: Missile Defense and U.S.-Russian Nuclear Strategy.
March: Suraya Pakzad, International Women of Courage Award recipient, visits Penn State Brandywine to discuss the daily horrors faced by Afghan women and their struggles for independence and basic rights.
Penn State Brandywine’s Engineering Club takes second place in the University-wide Rube Goldberg Machine Contest for building a machine that replaced an incandescent light bulb with a more energy-efficient light-emitting design.
Ivan Esparragoza, associate professor of engineering, is honored with the Alumni/Student Award for Excellence in Teaching and named 2009 Penn State Teaching Fellows.
Theresa Walls, staff assistant in IST, earns the campus’s Women’s Commission “Woman of the Year” award. Walls is cited for her tremendous dedication to her job, to the campus, and to the community throughout her 29 years of employment at Penn State Brandywine.
Seongeun Kim, associate professor of human development and family studies, is presented the 2009 Distinguished Teacher Award. The award recognizes a full-time faculty member who provides distinguished teaching while providing encouragement and incentive for teaching excellence and contributions to the Penn State Brandywine campus community.
Associate Professor of Earth and Mineral Science Laura Guertin and Senior Lindley Jones receive the Undergraduate Faculty and Student Research Award, respectively.
Gordon Crompton, senior microcomputer system consultant in the information technology services department, receives the George W. Franz Advising and Mentoring Award. The award recognizes excellence in helping others achieve their potential.
Patricia Hillen, Instructor in English, receives the Madlyn Hanes Faculty Award for her outstanding contributions to the campus community through exceptional achievement in teaching, research, scholarship, creative activity, or service.
Junior Teron Meyers, (“Smithsonian dinosaur type specimens,”) and Senior Lindley Jones, (“Capturing the sun through advanced technology,”) are two of only four students representing the entire University as they present their research projects at the “Undergraduate Research at the Capitol – Pennsylvania” in Harrisburg.
April: Two senior education in multicultural settings (ELEDM) majors win first and third price respectively at the annual Student Pennsylvania State Education Association (SPSEA) Chapter conference held at the Penn Stater Conference Center in State College, Pa. Brittany Miller, wins first place for her learning center titled, "The Angle is Right,” and Samantha Hunter, wins third place for her "Scarecrows.”
May: Alumni Blondell Reynolds Brown '74, Aldo Magazzeni '72, Jerry Parsons '74, and Tish Szymurski '86 are honored as outstanding alumni at the “Around the World with Penn State Brandywine” event. The evening also includes dinner and live and silent auctions.
June: Laura Guertin, associate professor of earth sciences, received the Donald and Carolyn Biggs Earth Science Teaching Award. Bestowed by the Geological Society of America, the award was created to recognize innovative teaching among college professors who have been teaching for less than ten years.
October: Phyllis Cole’s Women Studies class raised $6,000 to help provide clean water for Afghan villages. Cole’s class was inspired by Aldo Magazzeni, a Penn State Alumnus and founder of the non-profit organization Traveling Mercies.
November: In honor of beloved Professor Arnold Markley, Penn State Brandywine hosted a “Be the Match” bone marrow drive. Markley, professor of English, was battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He underwent a bone marrow transplant after intensive chemotherapy. The drive was intended to help build the marrow registry for those, like Markley, who require transplants. (Dr. Markley lost his battle in June 2011)
December: Penn State Brandywine began offering a Beginning Chinese course aimed at providing understanding of Chinese grammar, sentence structure, and vocabulary. Since one-quarter of the world’s population speaks Chinese, this course was a crucial addition. It counts toward the Chinese minor while satisfying the language requirement of most bachelor of arts, business, and some science programs.
Avid runner and New York Times best selling author, Christopher McDougall, participated in Penn State Brandywine’s first ever 5K Fun Run/Walk. The event was planned to celebrate that cross-country was being added to Brandywine’s list of varsity sports.
January: Penn State Brandywine students donated more than $1,500 to pediatric cancer by raising funds for THON through auctions and the creation of “human sundaes.” Funds will help the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Children’s Hospital.
March: The Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) used book sale raised more than $1,300 for future programming. More than 1,000 books were donated to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation for breast cancer and Delaware County’s prison program, “Books Behind Bars.”
Penn State Brandywine graduate Dana Gibson won the prestigious Roundtable Best Undergrad Essay award given by the Mid Atlantic American Studies Association. Gibson was recognized for her outstanding senior thesis titled “Am I Your Slave?: William Parker and The Freedman’s Story.”
April: Penn State Brandywine’s engineering club placed third in the Rube Goldberg Competition held annually at University Park. Competitors were challenged to build a machine that could dispense hand sanitizer in at least 20 steps and in less than two minutes.
Penn State Brandywine sophomore Sara Neville was chosen to present at the Council on Undergraduate Research’s Annual Posters on the Hill event. Neville presented her project called “EarthQuest” to legislators. She was one of 60 students chosen nationwide to attend.
May: Penn State Brandywine seniors David Vesely and Robert Bagonis along with junior Richard Cook entered the financial services competition at the State Leadership Conference in Harrisburg and placed first. Junior Justin Matkov competed in the macroeconomics event and placed third. In addition, Vesely was elected to state office as the secretary of the Pennsylvania Phi Beta Lambda.
Internationally recognized women’s activist Suraya Pakzad visited the Penn State Brandywine campus to promote social justice. She was joined by Senator Robert P. Casey and his wife Terese; Aldo Magazzeni, founder of the non-profit Traveling Mercies; Marjorie Margolies, president of Women’s Campaign International; Trudy Rubin, foreign affairs columnist with the Philadelphia Inquirer; and Sharon Meagher, professor of philosophy at the University of Scranton, for a “town hall” meeting and luncheon.
October: Penn State Brandywine was the only school nationwide invited to bring six student researchers to a Congressional briefing on undergraduate research and American innovation in Washington, D.C. The students were invited by the Council on Undergraduate Research, a national organization that supports and promotes undergraduate research.
November: Afghanistan’s leading women’s rights activist Suraya Pakzad returned to Penn State Brandywine for a third time to update the campus community about progress and continued dangers for women and children in her native country.
December: Dick Vermeil, the former coach of the Philadelphia Eagles was the keynote speaker at Penn State Brandywine’s commencement ceremonies. Vermeil endowed graduates with words of encouragement, much like he used to do for his players before a big game.
January: Penn State Brandywine senior Jackie Glace published a children’s book about a young girl’s journey form the Big Apple to Appalachia for her Schreyer Honors Program senior thesis project. Sam’s Big Move will help urban students explore a world they never knew existed. Penn State Alum Christina Felizzi ‘10 illustrated the book.
Associate Professor of Management Diane Disney was elected vice-chair to the Board of Directors of the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA), which strives to improve quality, performance, and accountability in federal, state, and local government.
February: The Penn State Brandywine chapter of THON joined forces with Joseph’s Catering to host a spaghetti dinner and chance auction to benefit THON.
April: Penn State Brandywine was the first college team to ever participate in the Canstruction competition in Philadelphia. Students constructed a the Nittany Lion logo out of soup cans, which were then donated to Philabundance, the region’s largest food bank.
Several Penn State Brandywine education majors attended the Pennsylvania State Education Association (SPEA) conference in Pittsburgh and came away with awards for building interactive creations to be used in learning situations in classroom teaching. Senior Heather Heacock won third place in the state in the Learning Center Competition, and junior Victoria Gramlich was elected regional president for the southeastern area, replacing another Brandywine student, senior Amy Moore. Gramlich, along with senior Justin Bush, also submitted learning centers to the competition.
Five students from Penn State Brandywine competed and won awards at the State Leadership Conference for Phi Beta Lambda in Gettysburg. Senior John Dezell placed first in the Management Concepts event, while Karthik Cahalawada and seniors Martin Iepson and David Vesely placed third in the Merging Business Issues team event. Vesely also finished out his term as state secretary for Pennsylvania PBL.
Two Penn State Brandywine Cooper Honors Scholars presented their research at the Eighth Semi-Annual Undergraduate Research at the Capitol Event in Pennsylvania. Senior communications major Brooke Ballard presented "An Evaluation Measuring the Patterns and Effects of Nonprofit Messaging Through Facebook," and sophomore Abbey Dufoe presented "A Web-Based Visitor Experience to the Tyler Arboretum Tree Houses with Google Earth.”
June: Senior Stephanie Tracy received the prestigious John Egli Outstanding Scholar-Athlete Award, given annually to outstanding female and male scholar-athletes throughout the Penn State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC). Tracy is Penn State Brandywine’s eighth recipient of this award.
Two Penn State Brandywine students presented their research projects at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference and Exposition. Senior Sara Neville and junior Labanya Mookerjee both created a tool for use in classrooms that works in conjunction with Google Earth.
July: Penn State Brandywine Associate Professor of Engineering Ivan Esparragoza received the award for Outstanding Division Paper in the Minorities in Engineering Division at the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). This international award was given to Esparragoza for his collaborative work on a project that provides resources and opportunity to encourage minority students to participate in the engineering and technology fields.
August: Distinguished Professor of English Adam J. Sorkin was awarded the Ioan Flora Prize for Translation. Sorkin is the most active contemporary translator of Romanian poetry and has published several books of poetry translation.
September: A poem written by Penn State Brandywine senior Lauren Orner was published in "175 Years of Reflections, Laurel Hill Cemetery," a commemorative booklet marking the cemetery’s anniversary. Orner’s poem was titled “Sleeping” and was inspired by a headstone she saw when taking a tour of the cemetery.
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