Alumni from around the country gathered at The Nittany Lion Inn the night
before the Indiana game to honor their own as 29 groups and individuals took
home the Penn State Alumni Association’s version of the Oscars, Emmys, and Grammys.
Four individuals and 25 groups were honored for their outstanding work the
past year with one of 14 Volunteer Awards. The Volunteer Awards are an opportunity
to recognize exemplary service on behalf of Penn State by alumni and affiliate
groups who have contributed their time, leadership, and talent.
Following are details of each award winner.
Philip Philip Mitchell Alumni Service Award
Ted Bollard ’93g, ’96R has served on the Penn State College
of Medicine Alumni Society Board of Directors for 10 years. In 1991, along
with a fellow Penn State College of Medicine alumnus, Bollard developed the
Bethesda Mission Medical Clinic, located in Harrisburg, Pa., which provides
medical assistance for about 25 homeless people each evening. Bollard has
served as coordinator for the clinic since 1995 when he was a resident at
the Penn State Hershey Medical Center. He also serves as the faculty advisor
to the student-run Lion Care program, through which medical students can
also serve this patient population.
Chris Thomas ’03, ’08g, the key person in founding the Philadelphia
chapter of the African American Alumni Organization, was honored with the
Diversity Award. In addition to his efforts in uniting the University’s African
American alumni on both a professional and social level, he has also worked
to increase alumni participation in the FastStart program and was instrumental
in launching the Black Male Leadership Symposium, which was recently recognized
by Penn State’s Multicultural Resource Center as one of the “Most Outstanding
Organizations” on campus. In part because of his work with Penn State, Ebony magazine
chose him as one of its “30 Leaders Under 30.”
Recent Alumna Award
Carrie Bomgardner ’97, ’01g was recognized for exemplary
service to the Alumni Association by an alum who has graduated within the
last 10 years. As a student, Bomgardner represented Penn State on many fronts
and was nationally recognized with the American Dairy Science Association’s
Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award. Since graduating, Bomgardner has
supported Penn State as a class speaker, mentor, local 4-H leader, and as
a member and leader of many alumni affiliate groups. She is currently on
the board of the Dairymen’s Club Alumni Program Group and helped initiate
that group’s successful milk bottle fundraiser, featuring prominent Penn
State people and places on milk bottles. Bomgardner is also a founding member
of the Ag Advocates Affiliate Program Group. She is the president-elect of
the college’s Alumni Board of Directors and serves as the group’s representative
on Alumni Council.
Volunteer of the Year Award
Jim Powell ’88, ’92g was recognized for his ongoing efforts
to connect College of Medicine students and alumni to the University. Among
other things, Powell has worked hard to build the college’s Blue & White
Society and serves as the group’s advisor. Through his efforts—including
personally financing one of the group’s first events, a tailgate party at
University Park for All University Day—the Hershey Blue & White Society
has grown to more than 220 members in just two years. Powell has also served
on the College of Medicine Alumni Society Board of Directors and has hosted
“Lunch with the Alumni Society,” a monthly get together for students on campus.
He also served on the Reunion Planning Committee. Powell is in his fourth
year of serving on Alumni Council.
The Dance Marathon Alumni Interest Group (DMAIG) launched
a new Web site this year, as well as a database they call KIDS—which stands
for Keeping In Dancing Spirit. The new Web site features an enhanced homepage,
more graphics, an improved news section, archived printed newsletters and e-mail
updates, a new calendar, and the ability for alumni to explore various ways
to participate in Thon activities. The new Web site has been well received
with 1,700 hits in the first two weeks of its launch, and more than 1,200 members
have joined through the site. Ultimately, the database and Web site allow for
better communication between all parties, enhanced archiving of documents,
and better record keeping of the group’s membership.
Fellowship and Networking Award
Joint Activities Award
The College of Agricultural Sciences Alumni Society and the Greater
Las Vegas Chapter were both recognized with this award. The College
of Agricultural Sciences Alumni Society reached 500 alumni and raised more
than $12,000 for scholarship and internship endowments through the 2007 Ag
Live Tailgate. The event provided alumni with an opportunity to socialize as
well as meet faculty members and current students. The Greater Las Vegas Chapter,
which had been inactive for several years, experienced a rebirth as its membership
swelled to more than 125 members. The chapter sponsors football-viewing parties,
provides volunteers for college fairs at local high schools, and entertains
Penn State visitors to Las Vegas among other activities. The group marched
in the Homecoming Parade—all dressed as Elvis—and took first place in 2007
in the out-of-state category of the Alumni Association Endowment for Homecoming
Eleven groups were recognized for their role in two inspired activities. Though
more than 1,000 miles separate them, the Centre County Chapter and
the Northwest Tallahassee (Florida) Chapter joined
forces in support of Thon 2007 by creating dancer mail for each of the 710
Thon dancers. The messages cheered on the dancers and increased awareness
of Thon history and Thon’s impact on The Four Diamonds Fund families.
The second Joint Activities Award recognized the efforts of nine groups from
the Delaware Valley area, which put on a “Let’s Party, Family Style” event
for the 2007 Penn State–Temple football game in Philadelphia. The fun started
on Friday night with a mixer in Old City Philadelphia, then continued the
next day with a tailgate including games, prizes, and favorite tailgating
food. The groups that organized the event are the African American
Alumni Organization of Philadelphia AIG, Chester County Chapter, Delaware
County Chapter, Montgomery County Chapter, Philadelphia Chapter, Delaware
Chapter, Professional Women’s Network of Philadelphia, Penn State Abington
Alumni Society, and the Smeal Business Club of Philadelphia
Affiliate Program Group.
National Service Project Award
In just one year, the Greater Pittsburgh Chapter increased
its membership by 186 percent, from 246 to 703 dues-paying members with a concerted
effort to grow membership. Much of their huge jump in members came from a pre-football
season pep rally featuring Penn State football legends Kenny Jackson and Blair
Thomas. Among other membership-building efforts, the group signed up 70 new
members at the Senior Sendoff at University Park last spring.
Two chapters—Annapolis, Md. and Orange County, Calif.—were
recognized for developing exemplary public service projects. The Annapolis
Chapter’s members spent several days repairing drywall and painting at the
Light House Shelter, an emergency shelter for homeless men and women. The Orange
County Chapter worked on several service projects last year. As part of Operation
Gratitude, members solicited donations for care packages they sent to U.S.
troops serving in Iraq. Through the Basket Brigade, the chapter compiled and
delivered laundry baskets filled with food for a festive turkey dinner to more
than 500 area families. Chapter members also served as guest chefs, preparing
and serving a meal at a Laguna Beach homeless shelter.
New/Innovative Event or Program Award
This year’s recipient, GEMS, the Penn State Earth
and Mineral Sciences Alumni Society, sponsored a 2007 seminar series
entitled, “Water: An Endangered Resource.” The GEMS seminar series showcased
departments and promoted general awareness of the unique disciplines in the
College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. The 2007 seminar series highlighted
the relevancy of geosciences to business and society, was used to recruit students,
and encouraged networking between students, faculty, and alumni.
Professional Development Award
The College of Medicine Alumni Society was recognized for
sponsoring the college’s annual Career Night, which gave more than 200 students
the opportunity to explore their many career options. The College of Medicine
Alumni Society also contributed $1,000 to the Graduate and Post-Doctoral Career
Four groups were recognized for outstanding scholarship or fundraising programs.
This year’s winners combined to award more than $34,500 in scholarship funds:
the Greater Chicago Chapter, Lake Erie Chapter, Naples
(Fla.) Chapter, and Wayne–Pike Chapter. The Greater
Chicago Chapter employed a variety of fundraising methods that resulted in
awarding $7,500 to five students and increasing their endowment by $2,500.
The Lake Erie Chapter, through its popular Steak Fry, annual golf scramble,
and a football ticket lottery, awarded $9,000 to six deserving students.
The Naples Chapter more than doubles gifts to its scholarship program through
“The Naples Angels.” Each “angel” matches any gift at 10 percent. In 2007
alone, 11 “angels” matched the $3,000 in membership contributions resulting
in an additional $3,300 contribution to their endowment, allowing the chapter
to award $6,000 in scholarships last year. The Wayne–Pike Chapter raises
money for its scholarship fund through a popular Mystery Party and Silent
Auction. The event typically nets more than $10,000 for the chapter’s scholarship
fund, enabling them to award more than $12,000 in scholarships each year.
Student Interaction Award
The Penn State Graduate School Alumni Society was recognized
for organizing—in conjunction with the Graduate School—a career exploration
workshop entitled “The Academy is Not the Only Option,” which focused on career
options outside of academia. Twenty-seven Penn State graduate alumni served
as panelists for the workshops and connected with the 145 graduate students
who attended. The Penn State Harrisburg Alumni Society was
recognized for the emphasis it places on mentoring students. The society starts
with helping students on move-in day and continues by participating in panel
discussions on everything from “Making the Most of Penn State Harrisburg” to
“The Road to My Current Career, Including the Detours.” The group also started
a “Sophomore Mentoring” program, where students who are deciding on majors
are put in touch with alumni working in relevant professions. At the group’s
student sendoff, they serve Berkey Creamery ice cream, supply several parting
gifts, and encourage graduating seniors to remain involved with Penn State.
Additional information about the Penn State Alumni Association’s recognition
program and selection criteria is available at www.alumni.psu.edu/awards.