Penn State’s College of the Liberal Arts is celebrating its centennial this year with an ongoing series of diverse and intellectually challenging programs, reflecting the college where students—from aerospace engineering majors to zoology majors—take about one-third of their classes. The College’s 19,000-member Alumni Society is involved with this and other efforts in advancing the liberal arts.
Recognizing the centrality of the liberal arts at Penn State, the Liberal Arts Alumni Society formed in 1972, one of the University’s first alumni societies. Today, a 20-member board of directors works continuously in support of the dean, faculty, and students. Since its founding, the society has established several career development and networking programs for students and assists with others.
Programs and Affiliate Program Groups (APGs)
Mentor Program: Matches Liberal Arts alumni one-on-one with students for a year or more of career coaching.
Online Alumni Network: Students can reach out to alumni who provide varying levels of contact, from e-mail consulting to job shadowing.
Internships: Liberal Arts alumni play a key role in providing workplace internships where current students gain invaluable experience.
Undergraduate Recruiting: Alumni work with the Undergraduate Admissions Office to help attract high-achieving students.
Graduating Senior Celebration: This 2009 pilot program will honor seniors who participated in the mentor program and those who received scholarship or enrichment funding through the college.
Paterno Liberal Arts Undergraduate Fellows Program: Alumni provide mentoring, internships, and service opportunities for students selected for this innovative and challenging partnership with the Schreyer Honors College.
Labor Studies and Employment Relations APG: Alumni support a graduate student mentor program, outstanding alumni lecture series, career roundtables, and more.
Crime, Law & Justice APG: Alumni serve as guest lecturers in crime, law, and justice courses; help with career development workshops; and lead other activities in support of the department.
The Liberal Arts Alumni Society Board of Directors voted unanimously last year to contribute $1 million to the college in support of the University’s capital campaign, For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students. Before that, the alumni society board established an endowed scholarship in 1992, an undergraduate enrichment endowment in 1995, and the Welch Alumni Relations Award in 2002, which recognizes faculty members for alumni relations accomplishments.
The alumni society has established four awards since 1975. The Service to Society Award recognizes Liberal Arts alumni whose contributions has enhanced the quality of life at the local, state, national, or international level. Since 1987, the group has awarded the Service to Penn State Award to alumni who have made significant contributions to the College and/or the University. The Outstanding Alumni Award recognizes extraordinary professional accomplishments and success. The society’s newest award is the Outstanding Young Alumni Award, given to alumni 35 years old or younger for significant career achievement and success.
All liberal arts graduates who are dues-paying members of the Penn State Alumni Association are automatically members of the College of the Liberal Arts Alumni Society.
To learn more about the College of the Liberal Arts and its alumni society, visit:
Jeffrey M. Bower ’69
President, Liberal Arts Alumni Society President
Christopher Gamble ’82, ’88g
Assistant to the Dean for Alumni Relations
College of the Liberal Arts