Spring 2013 Commencement
Penn State Altoona's spring 2013 commencement ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 4, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. in the Jaffa Shrine in Altoona.
GRADUATES, click Commencement Details on the menu to find out more about the ceremony.
Because of the large number of seats available at the Jaffa Shrine, no tickets are required for guests to attend the ceremony. Likewise there is no limit on the number of guests per graduate.
To commemorate this milestone occasion, a professional photograph will be taken of each graduate being congratulated by the chancellor. No pre-orders will be taken. Rather, photos can be viewed and ordered after commencement by visiting the Film Center's Web site.
In order to avoid congestion and to maintain decorum during the ceremony, we ask that family and friends refrain from approaching the platform when taking pictures or using a video camera.
About the Jaffa Shrine
Altoona’s Jaffa Temple was chartered on July 9, 1903; the dedication of the Jaffa Mosque at Chestnut Avenue and Seventeenth Street occurred on August 29, 1920. Rapid growth of membership resulted in the establishment of larger headquarters.
Thus, on September 25, 1930, the present Jaffa Shrine was dedicated and opened, celebrating twenty-seven years of growth and development.
Although the Jaffa Shrine has not changed since its dedication, through efforts of the trustees and the Jaffa Improvement Association, thousands of dollars have been expended each year to update and improve the building. Various activities, both social and philanthropic, have been the source of the Shrine’s success over the years.
The Shrine Circus each spring is the biggest and most successful activity at the Shrine, hosting nearly 6,000 persons, including hundreds of school children. The Jaffa Shrine also is host to concerts, seminars, trade shows, banquets, and other events throughout the year. Penn State Altoona celebrated it seventieth anniversary at the Jaffa Shrine on October 25, 2009, with a concert by the Doobie Brothers.
Commencement Speaker: Roger L. Williams
Roger L. Williams is executive director of the Penn State Alumni Association and associate vice president, alumni relations, a post he assumed in June 2003. With 169,209 members, his organization is the largest dues-paying alumni association in the world, having grown by more than 22,000 members over the last nine years. The Penn State Alumni Association’s mission is to connect alumni to the University and to each other, to provide valued services to members, and to support the teaching, research, and service mission of the University.
At the Alumni Association, Williams’s strategic priorities have been: membership growth; better support of alumni relations at Penn State campuses beyond University Park; increased support of alumni programs and affiliate groups; stronger support of Alumni Association staff; more attention to young alumni and students (alumni-in-training); legislative education and advocacy; increased diversity; a stronger presence in key metropolitan areas; enhanced revenue generation; a strengthened relationship with Intercollegiate Athletics; and increased support of philanthropy for Penn State and to the Alumni Association.
From 1998 to 2003, Williams served as associate vice chancellor for university relations at the University of Arkansas, where he was responsible for the public relations, communications, and marketing functions of that institution. In 2001, his operation won the CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education) Silver Medal for Overall Institutional Relations, which is the top sweepstakes award in higher education public relations, as well as the CASE Bronze Medal for Excellence in Science and Research News Writing in both 2001 and 2002.
Williams has twenty-five years of experience in higher education public relations. Prior to Arkansas, he served as executive director of consulting services for Dick Jones Communications, as associate vice president for communications at Georgetown University, and as assistant vice president for university relations at Penn State, where his operation won the CASE Grand Gold in Overall Institutional Relations in both 1991 and 1992.
He also is an affiliate associate professor of higher education at Penn State. He is author of thirty published articles and chapters and one book: The Origins of Federal Support for Higher Education: George W. Atherton and the Land-Grant College Movement (1991, University Park: Penn State Press). He also served as editor of the communications section in the CASE Handbook of Institutional Advancement (2000). He serves on the editorial board of the scholarly journal Perspectives on the History of Higher Education. Most recently, he was one of four editors of The Future of the American Public Research University (2007, Rotterdam: SensePublishers).
He holds three degrees from Penn State: bachelor's in history (1973), master's in journalism (1975), and doctorate in higher education (1988).
He is married to Karen Magnuson ’75. His late father, Herb Williams, earned his master’s degree from Penn State in 1948 and his son, Nathan, earned his bachelor’s in 1997. His step-daughter, Jessica Horne, graduated from Penn State in 2007 and his step-son, Philip, also graduated from Penn State in 2011.