FALL2022 | TOWER 1 America’s Grow-a-Row: donating food for 20 years Page 4 COMING SOON A look at KU's new and renovated spaces Page 16 SPORTS ROUNDUP A history-making year for KU athletics Page 26 CHIP PAILLEX ’89 FALL 2022
DEAR GOLDEN BEARS, I’m pleased to introduce this Fall 2022 edition of the Tower, which is full of stories of students and alumni who are working hard to support their communities. The dedication that Golden Bears demonstrate is unparalleled, and was apparent during our spring commencement ceremonies in May. It is wonderful to celebrate our graduates on one of the biggest days of their lives, as well as recognize the support of the friends and family who helped them get there. An alumnus who has gained national recognition for his community efforts is Chip Paillex ’89 (Page 4), who used the business skills he learned at KU to expand his small garden into a large nonprofit called America’s Grow-a-Row. The organization, now in its 20th year, annually provides 2.5 million pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables to people who don’t have access to healthy food. KU is also pleased to share more details about current and upcoming construction projects that will revitalize campus (Pages 16-17). With several brand-new buildings and major renovations, KU is creating more spaces for students, faculty and the community to collaborate, learn and perform. Many of these renovations are possible thanks to significant contributions from KU’s generous donors, and I’m grateful for everything they and our students, parents, alumni, faculty and community members do for KU. It’s incredible that we have surpassed the $40 million goal of the Together, We’re Golden campaign (Page 13). I’m also deeply heartened by the support of all those who helped us weather the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic over the past 2 1/2 years. As we welcome a strong class of new students for Fall 2022, I want to sincerely thank you for your continued support of Kutztown University. I know you will enjoy this edition of the Tower and I hope to see you on campus at one of our many events. Sincerely, Dr. Kenneth S. Hawkinson President, Kutztown University
WANTMORE GREAT GOLDEN BEAR NEWS? Kutztown University Alumni Association @KutztownU @KUGoldenBears @KutztownU www.kutztown.edu www.kubears.com #ItsGoodToBeGolden #GoBearsGo KUTZTOWN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE TOWER Features Everyday Hero, Chip Paillex ’89 4 Leading for Change, Ariel Henderson ’22 14 Coming Soon: New Campus Spaces 16 A Dream Job for Alex Racosky ’15 18 125 Years of Baseball at KU 20 Departments News & Notes 8 Alumni Spotlights 22 Sports Roundup 26 Class Notes & In Memoriam 28 CONTENTS Fall 2022 14 16 20 24 4 ON THE COVER ALUMNUS CHIP PAILLEX ’89 ON ONE OF AMERICA’S GROW-A-ROW FARMS. PHOTO BY CHRIS SPONAGLE
4 TOWER | FALL 2022 Chip Paillex ’89 always remembers a three-line notice in a weekly newspaper near his New Jersey home. “It said, ‘If you ever have extra produce, grow a row for the hungry and bring it down to the food pantry,’” Paillex recalls. It was 2002 and he had started a 30-foot-by-30-foot garden as a project with his then 4-year-old daughter. Paillex soon dropped off a load of fresh vegetables at the Flemington Area Food Pantry. What happened next changed his life. “A woman ran out after me,” Paillex recalls. “Her face is etched in my mind. She was almost panicked. She said, ‘Sir, promise me you’ll come back again. I’m on a special diet for health reasons and I need fresh fruits and vegetables and they don’t have them here at the food pantry. Will you please promise to come back again?’ I said ‘yes’ and that’s really what kicked it off.” As president and founder of America’s Grow-a-Row, Paillex has more than made good on his promise. The Pittstown, N.J.-based organization, now in its 20th year, has grown from a small garden project to a nonprofit farming program that annually puts 2.5 million pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables into the hands of people without access to healthy food. Funding comes from corporations, individual donors and foundations. Since its founding, the organization has donated more than 15 million pounds of produce. “This isn’t just about getting food to people,” Paillex says of Grow-a-Row’s mission. “It’s about getting healthy food to people. It’s a big deal.” Produce is grown on four farms totaling more than 420 acres owned by America’s Grow-a-Row, as well as on partner farms. Additional food comes from ‘gleaning,’ or gathering food that might otherwise go to waste from supermarkets, orchards or other farms. The produce is distributed primarily in New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania and New York City to food pantries, food banks, soup kitchens, Free Farm Markets where the produce is available at no cost to patrons, and more. One of the outlets, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Cooperative, sends produce to 23 food banks in 11 states throughout the northeast. Distributing free fresh fruits and vegetables answers a critical need for people who live in places considered food deserts – low-income areas with low access to healthy, affordable foods. In the organization’s 2021 annual report, Gabriel Wang-Herrera from the America’s Grow-a-Row-Frankford Free Farm Market, says, “Our community is beyond appreciative of all the fresh produce that has been delivered to our area, which is considered both a food swamp and food desert. Not only does the food provide healthier choices for our people but it helps them redirect their discretionary funds to other necessities of life as well.” Educational programming also is part of Grow-a-Row’s mission. Programs such as Grow-a-Row Kids Farm Days and workshops for BY VICKI MAYK PHOTOS BY CHRIS SPONAGLE Alumnus Chip Paillex ’89 Fights Food Insecurity with America’s Grow-a-Row FEATURE
FALL2022 | TOWER 5 schools, scout troops and other youth organizations, teach children about food insecurity, nutrition, agriculture and culinary skills. During the pandemic, virtual programs replaced some in-person events. GROWING A NONPROFIT Paillex studied business at Kutztown University, and the lessons learned as a marketing major have contributed to his success. Drawing on what he learned about the “Four Ps of marketing” as an undergraduate, he talks about the four Ps of building his nonprofit: his passion for gardening, his purpose – helping those faced with food insecurity – backed by a plan to accomplish his goals and the right people to help him achieve them. Applying that idea has allowed a man with no agricultural experience to head an organization centered on farming. “I’m very fortunate that I have very talented people on four corners of the organization,” Paillex says. His work has earned him national and regional recognition. In 2014, he was named a CNN Hero and a Ford Go Further Everyday Hero. He also was a Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives honoree and was recognized as a New Jersey Hero in 2011 at the inaugural swearing-in ceremony for former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Paillex was never in it for the honors: It’s clear that feeding the food insecure is his passion. Clad in a T-shirt and baseball cap in his office on a spring morning, it’s hard to imagine him in the corporate world where he had a successful 17-year career in sales and trade marketing with Unilever Foods. A job relocation brought him to Hunterdon County, N.J., in 2001, the year before he planted his first garden and began donating food. By the time Unilever closed its office there in 2008, Paillex had enlisted volunteers and increased annual food donations to 600,000 pounds. He remembers that he and his wife, Susan, prayed for guidance. He decided that he would leave Unilever. “God had a calling for me to do this, so I walked away from the corporate world,” Paillex says. He established America’s Grow-a-Row as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that year but was years away from being able to call it his job. He began working for PNC Bank in its mortgage division. “I was working 40 hours a week for the bank and 30 to 40 hours a week for Grow-a-Row, just trying to build it up,” Paillex says. In 2011, he remembers wondering how long he could maintain the grueling hours. Then he learned that the bank was closing his division. With his characteristic positive outlook, Paillex called it “an answer to a prayer.” If that was true, what happened next might be called an appearance by a guardian angel. An anonymous philanthropist who had long been interested in America’s Grow-a-Row’s work offered to fund the fledgling nonprofit for the next three years. The donation allowed Paillex to work full time for his organization and to hire staff. “The transition year was 2012,” Paillex recalls. “That allowed us to get a really good, solid foundation for the program. And from there, things just continued to grow.” Chip Paillex ’89 with John Knoble ’88
6 TOWER | FALL 2022 CREATING BUZZ Now he directs a 27-person team that includes people who oversee the farming, direct fundraising efforts and coordinate volunteers. There’s also an executive chef who demonstrates cooking healthy meals. Paillex emphasizes that staff growth has not changed the integral role that volunteers play. An average 9,000 volunteers a year provide needed manpower for harvesting the crops and other activities. Volunteers come from corporate and community groups. People who benefit from the Free Farm Markets also volunteer to harvest, spending a day in the outdoors. Marie Knapp of Milford, N.J., is a seven-year volunteer. Her assignments have included visiting grocery store partners to pick up near-expiration produce for distribution at food banks as well as staffing after-school programs and Free Farm Markets in Newark, East Orange and Jersey City, N.J. She’s enthusiastic about the friends she’s made in those communities who have helped her understand what it means to be without access to fresh foods. “They’re lovely people with lovely families who don’t have access to a grocery store,” she says. Corporate teams from companies like Johnson & Johnson have worked in Grow-a-Row’s fields from the beginning, also providing corporate sponsorships. KU alumnus John Knoble ’88, director of strategic skills for Johnson & Johnson’s MedTech, met Paillex when his team volunteered. The men learned about their shared connection as Kutztown business majors. Paillex also discovered that Knoble’s hobby is beekeeping – an interest that would allow him to provide unique volunteer help. The farm needed to reintroduce bees to pollinate its orchards. Knoble enlisted his neighbors, two veteran beekeepers who have 20 hives. With their help, between 800,000 and one million bees were reintroduced to Grow-a-Row’s orchards in 2021. “We actually gained an incremental 75,000 pounds of apples last year alone, just because of bringing in the bees again to the orchard,” Paillex says. Knoble says watching Paillex in action inspires involvement from volunteers. “He’s such a nice guy, and so good-hearted, yet it’s balanced so well with a drive to accomplish things and with his business know-how,” Knoble says. “He’s got that big corporate background that has allowed him to accomplish things on the scale that he has.” DIGGING DEEP DURING THE PANDEMIC Paillex’s business acumen was tested during the COVID-19 pandemic. America’s Grow-a-Row was on track to achieve its goals for growth in 2020 when the pandemic interrupted its volunteer programs, which provide integral help to plant crops and later harvest them. Director of Farm Management Operations Jeremy Compton played a key role in helping the organization pivot from a completely volunteer-based farming program to one combining commercial farming methods for planting with volunteer help for harvesting. A special fundraising appeal closed a funding gap. Chip is a boots-on-the-ground leader. He inspires our staff with his enthusiasm, leads by example, and has drawn together a very collaborative and productive team … With the help of our volunteers and donors, together we make a positive impact on the communities we serve. – HEATHER MULVEY, DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT AND COMMUNICATIONS The reintroduction of bees has led to an increase in the amount of apples that are produced. A bird's eye view of part of Grow-a-Row’s location in Pittstown, N.J.
FALL2022 | TOWER 7 2.5million pounds of produce donated annually. 255 Free FarmMarkets plus a network of food pantries, food banks and other agencies distributed Grow-a-Row fruits and vegetables. 420 acres of farmland owned by Grow-a-Row and used to grow produce to fight food insecurity. 2,440 children and adults participated in educational programs to learn about nutrition, preparing healthy meals and more. 17,150 volunteer hours donated to harvest and distribute produce and assist with other needs at Grow-a-Row. 85,700 people fed. The changes allowed Grow-a-Row to hit its goal of distributing 2 million pounds of food in 2020 and 2.4 million in 2021. The organization’s ability to maintain its volume was crucial as the demand at food banks and food pantries increased by more than 50% during the pandemic. “Our greatest days were the last two years,” Paillex says. “I’m very proud of the team and humbled to work with such an incredible group of people.” The growth of the organization means administrative tasks and fundraising take significant amounts of Paillex’s time, but he still makes sure to “get messy with everyone else,” working in the fields and distributing food at Free Farm Markets. Sometimes he’s joined by his daughter, Kyra, now a teacher. It’s central to his leadership style, says Heather Mulvey, director of development and communications. “Chip is a boots-on-the-ground leader,” Mulvey says. “He inspires our staff with his enthusiasm, leads by example, and has drawn together a very collaborative and productive team. As a result, the team instills confidence in our funders through our ability to consistently deliver and exceed our goals. With the help of our volunteers and donors, together we make a positive impact on the communities we serve.” While statistics in the millions dramatically illustrate the organization’s growth, Paillex still remembers the woman who followed him out of the food pantry asking him to return. With that in mind, it’s easy to visualize what it looks like to serve 86,000 people each day. “It’s 17 miles of (individual) people at our front door every single day, getting a healthy serving of produce,” he says. Source: Grow-Glean-Give: Grow-a-Row 2021 Annual Report
8 TOWER | FALL 2022 Nancy Jean Stump Seiger ’54 received a Doctor of Pedagogy at the 2021 Fall Commencement Ceremony. Seiger graduated from Kutztown State Teachers College with a degree in education and taught fifth grade in the Reading School District for 32 years. Giving back has always been important to Seiger and Kutztown University is a better place because of her philanthropy. Her involvement in KU Foundation’s Ladies Tea led her to make a gift to name the Nancy Jean Stump Seiger ’54 Multipurpose Room in the McFarland Student Union, a space that hosts a wide variety of campus events. More recently, her generosity has allowed the university to begin plans for the Nancy Jean Stump Seiger ’54 Botanical Research Center, another area that will benefit KU students, faculty and the local community. College of Business Accepted into Affiliation Program Kutztown University became one of 260 campuses in the United States to be accepted into the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute Affiliation Program. As an affiliated university, KU displays to students and employers that its curriculum is closely tied to the practice of investment management and is helpful to students preparing for the CFA program exams. CFA Institute is the international association of investment professionals that sets the standard for professional excellence and credentials. As an affiliated university, KU students will have access to a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration finance program that has been acknowledged for incorporating at least 70% of the CFA Program Candidate Body of Knowledge. Professor Receives Patent for New Design for Precision Sensors Dr. Kunal Das, professor of physics, has received a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for his invention of a newmethod for precision detection and sensing of rotation and magnetic fields. Das began the patent application process in 2018. The successful patent is the first documented at the university in the last 15 years. This invention takes a completely new approach for conducting precision sensing of both rotation and of magnetic fields. Until now, the state-of-the-art technology for extremely sensitive measurement of rotation and magnetic fields has relied upon the principle of wave interference, such as Superconducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUID). Das’ patent develops and utilizes a very different phenomenon called localization. NEWS NOTES academics KU Awards Two Honorary Doctorates Dr. Kenneth S. Hawkinson presents the Doctor of Pedagogy to Nancy Jean Stump Seiger ’54 Richard Wells, Doctor of Humane Letters Richard Wells received a Doctor of Humane Letters at the 2022 Spring Commencement Ceremony. Wells came to Kutztown University in 1968 in the Department of Music and taught for 29 years. He directed the marching, concert and jazz bands, as well as the instrumental ensembles. He organized the jazz program in 1968. Before retiring in 1997 as associate professor, Wells influenced scores of graduates to aspire to excellence in music performance and remain loyal to the ideals and benefits of music and education. Many students continued their association with the university and Department of Music long after graduation because of experiences in classes and performance organizations led by Wells.
FALL2022 | TOWER 9 Dr. Donavan D. McCargo will serve as interim vice president for enrollment management and student affairs at Kutztown University. McCargo began his appointment in June and has been assistant vice president and dean of students at KU since August 2017. “I am humbled by the opportunity to serve the university community in this capacity,” McCargo said. "I look forward to working with and supporting my colleagues in the division and throughout the campus to achieve our strategic goals, further student success efforts and encourage innovation.” “I am pleased to have Dr. McCargo serve in the interim vice president role,” President Kenneth S. Hawkinson said. “The division has been effective with new student recruitment, retention efforts, student life activities, and diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. Dr. McCargo will bring stability and a hard-work ethic to the division in the interim to help ensure the university’s continued success.” faculty & student recognition Students Win Business Plan Contest Students Shantal Ewell and Kevin Smyth won the $10,000 first place prize in the annual State System Startup Challenge, sponsored by Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. Ewell, an MBA student, and Smyth, an M.Ed. Student Affairs in Higher Education student, created a business plan for the Schedula Degree Planner, an online platform that would redefine the way college students and advisors interact. The Schedula Degree Planner creates a personalized degree plan so students can avoid unnecessary courses to graduate in four years or less while improving the efficiency of advisors and the graduation rates of universities. Rock Ensemble Wins Downbeat Music Awards Kutztown University’s Rock Ensemble I received two 2022 Downbeat Student Music Awards and a singer in the ensemble, Delacey Lora, won ‘Best Singer’ in the Pop, Rock and Blues category. These are the seventh, eighth and ninth Downbeat awards for the program, the first time the KU ensemble has won three awards in a single year and was also named the winner in each category. The Downbeat Music Awards are the equivalent of a student Grammy Award and are considered the highest, most important and most competitive honors in the collegiate music field. Submissions are made anonymously from schools around the globe. The ensemble is under the supervision of Dr. Kevin Kjos, director of commercial music studies, who has been at KU since 1998. McCargo to Serve As KU's Interim VP for Enrollment Management, Student Affairs
10 TOWER | FALL 2022 NEWS NOTES faculty & student recognition KUR Wins Best Station Promo at Annual Broadcasting Conference Kutztown University Radio (KUR) won for Best Station Promo at the 82nd Annual Intercollegiate Broadcasting System Conference. KUR was nominated in seven categories. The conference awards colleges and universities in recognition of exceptional programming and student radio stations on the national level. Student Jenna Foley won Best Station Promo and KUR was a direct runner-up in each of the six other categories. Those included Best Campus/Community News (students Abigayle Regensburger and James Zipprodt), Best Community Outreach Event (Regensburger and Zipprodt), Best Live Promotional Event (Regensburger and Zipprodt), Best Sports Play-by-Play (students Noah Pegler ’21 and Josh Tuite), Best Talk Program (students) Jared Yashura and Andrew Zammetti ’22, and Best Program Director (student) Nicholas Zearfoss ’22. Providing Scholarships for Diverse STEM Teacher Candidates Dr. MarkWolfmeyer, department chair, secondary education, was awarded a five-year, $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant will support the recruitment of more professionals to careers in secondary STEM teaching, drawing from a wider diversity of demographic, disciplinary and professional experience, and to prepare them for the challenging task of STEM education in under-resourced urban communities. The project, Mentoring Urban STEM Teachers (MUST) for Equity and Innovation, aims to serve the national need to increase the diversity of students entering STEM professions by supporting and training a broader diversity of secondary STEM teachers to teach those students. KU professors also involved with the grant include Dr. Yun Lu, Dr. Ju Zhou, Dr. Amber Pabon and Dr. Richard Heineman. KU Receives NSF Grant to Improve Equity in STEM Dr. LaurieMcMillan, associate dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and her team of co-principal investigators, Dr. Michele Baranczyk, assistant professor of psychology; Dr. Moira Conway, assistant professor of geography; and Dr. LynMcQuaid, associate professor of mathematics; were awarded a two-year National Science Foundation (NSF) ADVANCE Catalyst grant. The $299,875 grant will support a project titled “Research, Educate and Value Equity at All Levels in STEM” (REVEALS). The project will use an intersectional lens to identify the underlying drivers of systemic gender inequities affecting STEM faculty and culminate in a five-year plan to advance organizational change. While the REVEALS project focuses on faculty in the natural and social sciences, the findings will benefit the entire university community by contributing to ongoing campus initiatives that support justice, equity, diversity and inclusiveness. The findings will be shared with NSF ADVANCE networks so that the project at Kutztown University can serve as a model for other colleges and universities. The REVEALS project will examine concerns with work-life balance, “invisible” or undervalued work and a sense of belonging — all of which may create barriers to tenure, retention in academia and scientific advances. Faculty Awarded Research Grant to Benefit Underrepresented Students Dr. Georgeos Sirrakos, professor of secondary education, Dr. Lisa Frye ’90, M’93, chair and professor of computer science and information technology, and Dr. Joleen Greenwood, professor of sociology, received a three-year National Science Foundation grant to better understand the barriers and challenges for success faced by underrepresented high school students in computer science; namely females, underrepresented racial minorities and/or students of low socioeconomic status. This grant is funded in the amount of $484,199 and required a high level of faculty collaboration working across different colleges and departments. The new framework will equip computer science teachers with tools to encourage inclusivity and collaboration among students from all backgrounds. The specific focus for this framework is to recognize and empower students’ diversity, provide opportunities for interdisciplinary implementation of computational thinking and consider teachers’ needs in developing culturally inclusive pedagogies.
FALL2022 | TOWER 11 university accolades Honors Graduate Awarded NSF Research Fellowship Honors graduate Vanessa Maybruck ’22 was an award recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) in recognition of her high levels of success in her future academic and professional careers. Maybruck majored in mathematics and secondary education with a biochemistry minor. She is the former president of Delta Alpha Pi International Honor Society IOTA chapter, as well as a member of KU Association for Women in Mathematics and Kutztown University Honors Program. During her time at KU, Maybruck won countless awards and honors in the areas of her study, leadership and academic achievement. She is receiving the GRFP fellowship in the category of Mathematical Sciences/Mathematical Biology. This fellowship award provides Maybruck with a threeyear annual stipend of $34,000 as well as a $12,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees. Physics Alumna Receives Highest National Honor Caelan Brooks ’21 was named the 2021 recipient of the American Physical Society’s LeRoy Apker Award, the highest honor awarded to undergraduate physicists in the United States. Brooks won the award for “the discovery of distinct dynamical regimes for coherent ultracold atoms confined in a ring-shaped lattice potential; and for developing a statistical model that depicts the formation of phenotypic patterns associated with bacterial biofilm growth.” The American Physical Society is the world’s premier organization for physics. The award recognizes outstanding achievements in physics by undergraduate students and provides encouragement to students who have demonstrated great potential for future scientific accomplishment. Brooks marks the first student in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education to win the award. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in physics at Harvard University. Brooks is the first author on three papers tied to her work and was the recipient of numerous university and state awards. Kutztown University Climbs in U.S. News and World Report Rankings KU was named a “Best Regional University” for 2022 in the U.S. News and World Report’s annual ranking of U.S. colleges and universities. U.S. News lists KU as No. 123 in the first tier of the Best Regional Universities for the northern region, two spots higher than last year. KU has been ranked in the first tier since 2011. Additionally, KU ranks No. 43 among Top Public Schools for Regional Universities in the North. KU Ranks Fourth in Pa. for Design and Animation Kutztown University’s Department of Art and Design was ranked fourth in Animation Career Review’s 2022 Top 10 Graphic Design School Programs in Pennsylvania. The 2022 list is the Review’s eighth annual ranking compilation for graphic design. More than 700 schools with graphic design and animation programs were considered in preparation for this year’s rankings. KU was one of only two Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education institutions recognized. The criteria used for the animation rankings include academic reputation, admission selectivity, depth and breadth of the program faculty, value as it relates to tuition and indebtedness, graduation rate, geographic location and employment data. The KU communication design and applied digital arts programs have the largest number of majors within the College of Visual and Performing Arts. The department attracts students from across the eastern United States as well as China, India, Japan, Iran, Kenya and Germany. Accomplished faculty ensure that students receive a consistent, guided and mentored design education. KU’s Bachelor of Fine Arts is the preferred degree program stipulated by the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
12 TOWER | FALL 2022 NEWS NOTES (L to R): Benjamin Hoffman, chair, KU Arts Society; Andrew M. Kish III, Hall of Famer Class of 2021; Arthur Harrington ’65, Hall of Famer Class of 2022; Jason Bishop ’07, Hall of Famer Class of 2022; Dr. Kenneth S. Hawkinson, university president; Ann Marie Hayes-Hawkinson, founding member of KU Arts Society; Ellen Finks, Hall of Famer Class of 2021; Willis M. Rapp, Hall of Famer Class of 2021. KU Inducts Second Annual Class of Arts Hall of Fame The Kutztown University Arts Society presented five recipients with the 2022 Schaeffer-Sharadin Fellows award, which includes induction into the KU Arts Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony at Schaeffer Auditorium highlighted KU’s relationship with the highest caliber artists and arts supporters. The class included Martha L. Hafer ’02, a philanthropist with strong, lasting ties to KU; Jason Bishop ’07, a professional magician who tours around the world; EdwardF. Protzman ’90, an accomplished music educator and conductor/director who has been nationally recognized for his contributions to teaching music to high school students in Pennsylvania, Kansas, Ohio and Canada; Rosemarie Sloat, an internationally recognized painter and teacher with works currently exhibited in public and private collections throughout the U.S., Switzerland and Mexico; and Arthur Harrington, a highly respected and well-known artist, teacher, coach, gallery owner and mentor to many K-12 and college students. www.kuf.org/homecoming October 22
FALL2022 | TOWER 13 KU foundation & alumni The Kutztown University Foundation raised a record $10,415,005 and engaged with alumni and friends for 10,381 hours in fiscal year 2022. This takes the foundation over the $10 million mark for the second year in a row. Last October, the foundation announced Together, We’re Golden: The Campaign for Kutztown University, the largest in university history. This 100% student-focused campaign aims to double engagement and raise $40,000,000 to fund scholarships and student experiences, and to increase emergency funds. “I am grateful to our donors, alumni, volunteers and friends for another extraordinary year,” said Alex Ogeka, KUF executive director. “Because of your generosity, more students are able to stay enrolled at KU, ultimately crossing the academic finish line. But there is still much work to do and many Golden Bears who still need our help.” The campaign continues through the end of the calendar year, and there are many ways to get involved to help the campaign finish strong. We hope you‘ll engage with us at one of our many events, return to campus for Homecoming on Oct. 22, volunteer your time to mentor students, and make a gift during the 1866 Minute Giving Challenge, Oct. 18-19. Thank you for your support. Together, We're GOLDEN! KU Foundation Celebrates Record-Breaking Year Being chosen as the recipient of the Morris and Dorothy Beebe ‘Just in Time’ Student Emergency Assistance Fund means a lot to me. Because of my visual impairment, I do receive some tuition relief, but even that aid was not enough for me to stay in school. After I graduate, I hope to become a certified Braille transcriber and specialist so that I can help children who are blind and visually impaired learn the Braille code for vision loss. – JASMYN POLITE ’22 The Together, We’re Golden campaign was announced at a gala on Oct. 2, 2021. (L to R): Alex Ogeka, KUF executive director; President Kenneth and Ann Marie Hayes-Hawkinson; Norman A. Inkpen Jr. ’70, campaign chair; Jane Joyce ’65, Alumni Council member; Scott Dorn ’79, chair, KUF Board of Directors; Jim Ludlow, member, KU Council of Trustees; Rushi Amin ’15, Alumni Council member; Bob Landis, past chair, KUF Board of Directors.
14 TOWER | FALL 2022 BY JILLIAN LOVEJOY POLITICAL SCIENCE ALUMNA PURSUES CAREER IN LAW LEADING FOR CHANGE PHOTO BY CHRIS SPONAGLE FEATURE
FALL2022 | TOWER 15 Ariel Henderson ’22 is clear on her life trajectory: attend law school and become an attorney, ultimately working on revamping the criminal justice system to better serve underrepresented communities. “I’ve always been interested in law and I’m a true believer in racial and social justice,” she said. “Activism is important to me, and so is representation. I recently saw a statistic that only two percent of attorneys in this country are Black females. That needs to change.” This past May, Henderson crossed the academic finish line with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in criminal justice. She is pursuing her paralegal certification while studying for and retaking the LSAT. She is also working as a judicial intern for the Honorable Stephanie M. Sawyer in the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania. “I love being in the courthouse daily. I frequently tell Judge Sawyer how important this experience is to me. Seeing her success and being part of her work solidifies my dreams and shows me every day that this is a reality within my grasp.” BEING A LEADER Henderson chose to attend Kutztown University because it wasn’t far from her home in Philadelphia and she was offered a financial aid package. “I love KU and it quickly became my home,” she said. “However, there were times I felt like I – and my fellow minority students – faded into the background or weren’t properly understood or heard. Because of that, I made it my personal mission to elevate our presence on campus and become a leader and mentor for our community.” Henderson got involved with the Black Student Union, an organization for all students of color that encourages and promotes Black excellence, and Black Flame, a diverse dance team specializing in hip-hop and modern dance. Henderson credits these organizations for helping her hone her leadership skills. “Kutztown allowed me to rise to leadership positions relatively early on, which I’m grateful for,” she said. “I’ve been dancing since I was a child, so I knew I wanted to be part of a dance team in college,” Henderson said. As a first-year student, she became a choreographer for Black Flame. In her sophomore year, she served as creative director; as a junior and senior, she was vice president. Through her involvement in the Black Student Union, Henderson felt she could help unify students of color at KU, especially during the racial injustices made prominent in the U.S. during the summer of 2020. “BSU has always had a strong presence on campus, but it became evident that we needed to do more. Our community was grieving and needed to activate,” Henderson said. Throughout the past year, their programming tackled topics like stereotypes, relationships, health and wellness including mental health, and racism in America. They hosted a gala, trivia nights, movie nights and partnered with other student groups in April for “It’s On Us,” a week of action during Sexual Assault Awareness Month. But, according to Henderson, the most impactful event during her tenure with BSU was the Black Lives Matter march in Kutztown. “This was BSU’s first official Black Lives Matter event, and it was important to host this so that our voices were heard. It’s an achievement I’m proud of, and it felt surreal to hold such a successful, uplifting event.” FINDING MENTORS Throughout her time at KU, Henderson has been a mentor to many of her fellow students – a role that comes naturally to her. “Students need to get involved and stay involved – that’s the best way to make your voice heard,” she said. “BSU and Black Flame were my on-campus family, my sense of belonging. But it’s not just about creating community; it’s about making sure your purpose is greater than yourself. It’s about motivating and influencing people to elevate themselves so they can help others do the same.” It’s no coincidence that Henderson has strong mentors of her own. In addition to having a strong role model in Judge Sawyer, she referenced many members of KU's faculty and staff as individuals who profoundly impacted her. “Dr. Arthur Garrison ’90, professor of criminal justice, worked with me on my application essay for law school,” said Henderson. “I would think it was done, but he’d push me to revise and edit until it was perfect. He knew what I was capable of, and he wouldn’t let me get away with less. That was an important lesson.” Henderson also credits people and places from all areas of campus as being instrumental in her KU experience: Dr. Thomas Robinson and Dr. James Jackson in the psychology department, Dr. Donavan McCargo in student affairs, Baron Vanderburg M’20 in admissions, Matt Barrett from recreational services, Lloyd Smith Jr. in residence life, the Writing Center, and the Career Development Center were a few of the influences that made a difference to her. And now, the workplace has brought Henderson a new mentor – a fellow Philadelphia-based Golden Bear. Kevin Harden Jr., Esq. ’07, a member of KU’s Council of Trustees and an attorney with Ross Feller Casey LLP, spoke at the orientation for Henderson’s internship. As her internship progressed, she and Harden were formally introduced, and they discovered that they had more than KU in common. “As we talked, we realized that he grew up in the same neighborhood as my parents, and they were actually acquainted. Knowing that this person, who I already looked up to, came from the same circumstances as I did was incredibly powerful. He is living proof that you can overcome difficult circumstances and go on to be successful and make change for the better. You don’t have to be a product of your surroundings – you control your destiny.” I’ve always been interested in law and I’m a true believer in racial and social justice. Activism is important to me, and so is representation. I recently saw a statistic that only two percent of attorneys in this country are Black females. That needs to change. – ARIEL HENDERSON ’22
16 TOWER | FALL 2022 COMING SOON Newand renovated buildings will revitalize campus, creatingmore spaces for students, faculty and the community to collaborate, learn and perform. Wells-Rapp Center for Mallet Percussion Research The Wells-Rapp Center for Mallet Percussion Research, which opens this semester, includes a 2,100-square-foot performing space and rooms dedicated to KU’s specialized collections of rare marimbas, xylophones, vibraphones, bells, chimes, steel drums, and other mallet percussion instruments. This working facility – open to students, researchers, and the general public – allows access to play the instruments and view oneof-a-kind materials unique to the center. This world-class facility will make Berks County a destination for musicians and enthusiasts alike. The new center, designed for public access and public events, brings all these resources together in one place. Housing KU percussion studies in one place also allows students to have regular access to the collection of instruments, which are to be used for both practice and performance. The Wells-Rapp Center is named for emeriti faculty members and former music department chairs Richard G. Wells and Dr. Willis M. Rapp. Wells served on KU’s faculty between 1968–1997, and Rapp from 1986 –2013. DeLight E. Breidegam Building: Headquarters of the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center KU’s Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center is dedicated to preserving and celebrating Pennsylvania German folk culture, history, and language in a unique educational setting. After outgrowing its previous space, the Kutztown University Foundation committed to funding a new facility to adequately house and display the center’s library and archives. This $2.6 million, newly renovated, 10,000-square-foot facility includes a stateof-the-art research library. Open to students, faculty, visiting researchers, and the public, it allows access to its unique collection showcasing four centuries of the Pennsylvania German cultural presence in the region and affording community members the opportunity to conduct genealogical research. The center will continue to host popular community events such as Christmas and Easter on the Farm. Local businessman and Pennsylvania Dutch culture enthusiast DeLight E. Briedegam Jr. died in 2015. Together with his father, Delight Sr., he founded East Penn Manufacturing. Nancy Jean Stump Seiger ’54 Botanical Research Center The new botanical center, located next to Boehm Science building, will foster faculty and student research by offering controlled greenhouse environments, growth chambers, and a fully equipped headhouse. This facility will complement the current greenhouse in appearance, with the new structure featuring contemporary shading and climate control elements. In addition to housing the growth chambers and storage facilities, the headhouse will include spaces for researchers to prepare plants, record findings, and work collaboratively. Faculty and students alike will spend time in the new area, advancing botanical research in ways that will be appreciated far beyond the KU campus. This facility will be used in community education events for gardening and will complement research in regenerative organic agriculture associated with the new environmental studies program track. That research will benefit farmers locally, including KU’s partners at the Rodale Institute and beyond, as findings are circulated through publications and presentations. Nancy Jean StumpSieger ’54 is a lifelong educator and Berks County philanthropist whose generosity extends beyond KU to the community at large. She was awarded an honorary doctorate Dec. 18, 2021, during KU’s Fall Commencement Ceremony. 1 2 3 BY JILLIAN LOVEJOY
FALL2022 | TOWER 17 DeFrancesco Building Renovations Home to KU’s College of Business, the DeFrancesco building was built in 1968, and a three-story addition was erected in 1998. This new project will provide muchneeded structural updates to the facility while simultaneously bringing all units of the College of Business together under one roof, increasing the ability to collaborate across curricula and enriching the student educational experience. The renovation will allow for many upgrades, including additional computer labs and stations, an active learning lab, seminar and conference rooms, a board room for students to practice real-world presentations, group study rooms, and lockers for student clubs and organizations. Entrances will be reconfigured to offer multiple seating areas and outdoor patio spaces will be added. The new, state-of-the-art conference spaces and boardroom will be designed with high-end finishes and the latest technology, creating an inviting space to host visitors and prospective students, as well as meeting instructional needs. The renovated building, opening in Fall 2023, will also be home to the KU Small Business Development Center. Keith Haring Fitness Court KU is partnering with Kutztown Community Partnership to bring a world-class, one-of-a-kind Keith Haring Fitness Court to campus to help promote health and wellness in the Kutztown community. Born and raised in Kutztown, Haring was a legendary activist and artist who revolutionized pop art through his graffiti-like pieces full of abstract lines and colorful flairs. His 1980s illustrations grew out of the New York street culture and has become a widely recognized visual language to many. The Keith Haring Fitness Collection is a limited edition, outdoor, public art collaboration with the Keith Haring Foundation in New York, Outdoor Fitness Court and the National Fitness Campaign. The fitness court will feature a 32-by-35-foot outdoor bodyweight circuit training system with 30 pieces of bodyweight fitness elements, including seven full-body circuit training stations and a bodyweight training wall. 4 4 5 2 1 5 3
18 TOWER | FALL 2022 At an early age, Alex Racosky ’15 was rock solid about wanting a future in geology, and Kutztown University helped her unearth the confidence to lead more than a mile below the surface. Today, Racosky is a mining geologist with Resolution Copper, a proposed copper mine near Phoenix, Ariz., that could meet nearly 25 percent of the United States’ copper demand. Racosky grew up in Bethlehem, Pa., and wanted a college experience close to home. She wanted to be near family in her early adult years, and meeting KU’s geology department faculty helped solidify her decision. “I was able to ask questions and it made me feel like it was home – that if I were to attend Kutztown, I wouldn’t just be a number,” Racosky said. “It would be more like a family, and they would be available for me if I needed help.” A CAREER STEPPING STONE The range of geology courses exposed Racosky to several career paths, and graduate school was part of her plans as well. As a strong academic performer, Racosky had the opportunity to pursue scientific research with Dr. Kurt Friehauf, professor of physical sciences, who sparked her interest in economic geology. “Alex succeeded at Kutztown University and in her professional life because she has the audacious wisdom to believe she can learn and do new things, and because she’s taught herself to advocate for herself in an amicable and assertively firm way,” Friehauf says. “She thinks about what she wants to achieve, and then applies herself wholeheartedly toward making those things happen. She’s quite an inspiration.” BY MEGAN SCIARRINO Alumna’s experience at KU leads to her dream job in a copper mine Racosky’s research tested rocks from Namibia to see if they held clues for a possible copper deposit in that area. She joined Friehauf on a visit to the University of Arizona to test the rocks on state-of-theart instruments. In their travels, they passed the copper mine where Friehauf did his doctoral dissertation. That mine had since been depleted, but there was speculation about another deposit about a mile or more down. “I turned to him and said, ‘That sounds really interesting. I want to be a part of that project!’’’ As it turns out, that project is Racosky’s present-day employer, Resolution Copper. Racosky’s research at KU culminated in a presentation for the Geological Society of America in Vancouver, Canada. She said the experience was a major step on the road to graduate school, and it helped give her the courage to leave everything familiar FEATURE
FALL2022 | TOWER 19 behind to succeed on her own in Colorado, and later Arizona. “I have always been a really shy person,” Racosky said. “I don’t think Alex 10 years ago would have ever thought I’d be doing something like what I’m doing today. That’s how shy I was.” WORKING MORE THAN A MILE UNDERGROUND Racosky earned her master’s degree in economic geology from Colorado State University before joining Resolution Copper in 2017. She began working above ground but, about two years ago, an exciting opportunity took her more than a mile below the surface, where she worked with an underground team deepening one of the mine’s vertical shafts. “It’s like a circle that’s 20 feet in diameter,” Racosky said. “You’re just in this cylinder and you can’t go deeper, and once your ride (elevator) goes back up, you have nowhere to go.” Racosky scanned the rock face with a 3D laser scanner for analysis, mapped the geology, and sent reports to help engineers sink the shaft safely. “If there was a weak fault or something, they needed to know that it was there,” Racosky said. Another underground project involved Racosky working with the drilling team 10 hours a day while they drilled from the deepest part of the mine to investigate layers just above. She helped manage roughneck drillers and observed core samples fresh from the drill, all while trying to stay cool. “I think a lot of people don’t understand that once you go below a certain depth in the Earth, it actually gets hotter,” Racosky said. “The water at 6,000 feet underground is about 180 degrees Fahrenheit. So, it’s hot down there and they have to pump cool air down or you would basically cook alive.” But Racosky can take the heat because she loves being a mining geologist. Led by curiosity and confidence, the KU alumna still seizes every opportunity to ask questions, and with mining perspectives high and low, she aspires to one day manage a team of her own.
20 TOWER | FALL 2022 Kutztown University’s longest-running sport reached a milestone anniversary in 2022, as the baseball program celebrated its 125th season. The history of the program dates back to the days of the Keystone State Normal School in 1891, when an intramural squad was formed. In 1894, the first varsity season was contested. KU has sponsored baseball continuously since then, with only a four-year hiatus for World War II between 1942-45, and a pandemic-shortened 2020 season. 1,100+ Wins in program history 13 NCAA Division II tournament appearances 5 trips to the NCAA Division II National Champs (World Series) 19 players selected in the MLB Draft since 1965 4 Golden Bears have appeared in a Major League Baseball game 6 PSAC Rookies of the Year B Y T H E NUMB E R S 125 SEASONS Keystone State Normal School baseball team from 1903. 1903 The 1966 team was the first in program history to bring home a conference championship. 1966 1995 Kutztown University team photo. 1995 Matt Swarmer ’16 took the mound for the Chicago Cubs on May 30, 2022.
FALL2022 | TOWER 21 11 All-Americans 6 PSAC Championships 5 NCAA Regional Titles 2 PSAC Pitchers of the Year 33 known players to continue their careers professionally 7 PSAC Coaches of the Year 2 Academic All-Americans B Y T H E NUMB E R S OF BASEBALL The 1999 team hoisting the PSAC championship trophy. 1999 The Golden Bears claimed the 2002 PSAC championship and went on to capture a second straight North Atlantic Region title. 2002 KU shocked the PSAC in 2014, winning the program’s most recent conference championship. 2014 President Hawkinson and the university welcomed baseball alumni for the 125th season celebration on April 9, 2022. 2022 Former KU pitcher Ryan Vogelsong won World Series titles with the San Francisco Giants in 2012 and 2014.
22 TOWER | FALL 2022 Sonya Smith M’12 is the SUNY state director of the New York Small Business Development Centers. She travels to each of the state’s 22 centers to evaluate programs, develop further educational opportunities and, most importantly, to work with entrepreneurs and small business owners to advance their business to the next level. “I really love what I do, so I find something good in each day,” Smith said. “When I went on a tour of New York City with commissioner Kevin Kim for the NYC Department of Small Business Services, and NYC Mayor SONYA SMITH M’12 helps entrepreneurs achieve big dreams ALUMNI SPOTLIGHTS Eric Adams, we visited every borough, speaking with community members. It reinforced my conviction that small businesses are the backbone of America. It’s our responsibility to connect people with resources, eliminate the red tape, and help them grow in their communities.” In 2010, Smith had a job offer in hand and was poised to begin working for a regional accounting firm in New Jersey, where she grew up. Fate intervened when Ernie Post, the state director for the Pennsylvania SBDC, suggested she go to graduate school and encouraged her to apply to the MBA program at Kutztown University. Post remembered Smith from an internship in 2008, and thought it would be a good fit. Smith agreed, and a graduate assistantship at the SBDC office on Kutztown University’s campus helped cover her tuition costs. “I needed to take some marketing courses as prerequisites, because my focus had been accounting and finance,” she recalled. “That was an entirely new experience. I gained a foundation that helped me understand marketing on a new level, and how to use it for business. But my favorite class was Labor Relations, and it has helped me immensely as I’ve moved through the ranks. We talked about management, union roles, how to negotiate, understanding the collective bargaining agreement – and that course taught me how to communicate with my staff and discuss expectations and regulations, as well as address any issues when they arise.” It was during her graduate assistantship that Smith gained the experience that set the trajectory for her future career. She worked directly with small business owners at the SBDC, developing their portfolios and determining where there was room for growth. “Experiential learning is really important,” Smith said. “It’s hands-on experience that takes what you learn in the classroom and use it in the field. My role at the SBDC evolved and as I moved up the ranks, I really wanted to work with the grad students, placing them, and working with the consultants. I had been in their shoes, balancing class and being in the workforce. I’ve probably worked with 80 students over the years, and still keep in touch with many of them.” After graduation, Smith began working for the Office of Grants and Sponsored Projects at KU, and then served as the associate state director of programs for the Pennsylvania SBDC, before assuming her current position with SUNY. In the future, she imagines pivoting from helping small business owners to becoming one – she hopes to start a business with her father, and also pursue her own dream of launching a company that specializes in maternity fitness. For anyone interested in obtaining their MBA, she has some advice: “Try to connect with your classmates and establish relationships,” she says. “Building a community will help you get through the class and over any hurdles. Find your people or person – the ones going through the program understand it. And stick with it - it goes by so quickly!” BY ESTHER SHANAHAN & VICKI MAYK