A Legacy of Penn State Pride and Professional Achievement
When Matt Dry begins his freshman year at Penn State Altoona in August 2013, he will earn the distinction as the eighteenth member of the Fochler family line—and the eighth grandchild of Edward and Jean Fochler—to seek the fulfillment of academic promise through a Penn State education.
Equally impressive is the fact that Matt’s grandfather, his mother Diane, and her eight siblings all earned Penn State degrees after spending the first two years of college at Penn State Altoona. Each of the Fochler children went on to enjoy professional success as residents of the Altoona area. Matt, the son of Diane and Skip Dry, of Altoona, is the fourth grandchild to enroll at Penn State Altoona.
“I enrolled at Penn State Altoona because of the fine academics and also the history of my family attending the University,” Matt said. “I’m looking forward to the transition from high school to college, and with it the acceptance of new responsibilities and opportunities to make new friends. Penn State has been a fixture in my family for as long as I can remember, and having this opportunity is amazing.”
Edward Fochler was married, the father of two, and a Korean War veteran when he received his bachelor’s degree in Engineering in 1958. Nineteen years later, the family celebrated the conferral of a master’s degree to Edward and a bachelor’s degree to his daughter and second-oldest child, Karen, on the same day.
Edward was employed by Penelec for more than two decades as an electrical engineer, and he also served as a part-time instructor at Penn State Altoona. The family’s service to the college includes Joseph’s ’85 past appointment as a marketing instructor and the election of Nancy ’91 and Mary ’77 to the board of directors of the Penn State Altoona Alumni Society. Nancy also was elected secretary of the board and both sisters served two three-year terms. In addition, Nancy and Diane have operated the clock during home games of the college’s men’s and women’s basketball teams.
Edward passed away in 1986, but the educational legacy he established at the University now includes eight grandchildren, including five graduates—Justine Lilly Kononov ’05, Michelle Moser Leyo ’05, Michael Moser ’11, Brian Fochler ’12, and Allison Lilly ’12; two current students—Andrea Fochler and Courtney Dry—and an incoming freshman—Matt Dry.
“My father was very encouraging with regards to becoming life-long learners,” said Nancy Fochler. “He would be extremely proud that his children and grandchildren have continued to further their education.”
From fall 1973 through spring 1990, there were only three academic years when the student body of Penn State Altoona did not include at least one of the Fochler children (1975-76, 1976-77, and 1980-81). There were four occasions when a sibling entered college immediately after another had graduated. And during the 1988-89 academic year, the three youngest children—Christine ’89, Nancy and Amy ’92—all were enrolled at Penn State.
Youngest child Amy transferred to University Park in 1990, temporarily drawing the curtain on the Fochler’s presence on the Penn State Altoona stage. However, the dawning of a new century brought the arrival of Edward Fochler’s grandchildren to Ivyside Park.
Perhaps Nancy best summed up the family’s relationship with the University when she said, “I believe that Penn State has always been a part of the Fochler family and will continue to be for a very long time.”
In Their Father’s Footsteps
All nine children of Edward and Dolores “Jean” Fochler began their pursuit of baccalaureate degrees at Penn State Altoona. In 2010, the college presented its Alumni Achievement Award to the Fochler family. The award recognizes Penn State Altoona alumni who have distinguished themselves through career achievement, community involvement, and/or involvement with the college. The following are the names of the Fochler siblings, along with class years, majors, and current occupations.
Mary Lilly ’77, Art Education, retired from teaching in 2011 after 32 years of service in the Altoona Area School District; teaches part time with Kids First of Blair County; Karen Moser ’77, Nursing, operating room nurse at Van Zandt Medical Center; Elaine Hauser ’81, Nursing, registered nurse and case manager with Altoona Regional Health System; Diane Dry ’82, Administration of Justice, Director of Domestic Relations for Blair County; Joseph Fochler ’85, Business, Director of Regional Sales for CardioCom; Stephen Fochler ’87, Quantitative Business Analysis, regional account manager at Reclamere in Tyrone, Pennsylvania; Christine Scheinberg ’89, Elementary and Kindergarten Education; first-grade teacher at Logan Elementary School; Nancy Fochler ’91, Marketing, secondary school guidance counselor at Penn Cambria High School; and Amy Palfey ’92, Exercise and Sport Science, Health Education teacher, Altoona Area Junior High School.
A Third Generation Excels
Five Fochler family grandchildren have earned Penn State degrees and two others are currently enrolled. This August, another branch will extend from the Fochler family Penn State tree when Matt Dry begins his freshman year at Penn State Altoona. The following are the names of the Fochler grandchildren, along with information relating to their status as alumni or current students.
Justine Lilly Kononov ’05, World History teacher at State College Area High School; Michelle Moser Leyo ’05, banker with Citizens Bank; Michael Moser ’11, technology consultant with Accenture in New York City; Brian Fochler ’12, sales representative with Ingersol Rand in Charlotte, North Carolina; and Allison Lilly ’12, employed by GE in Public Relations/Advertising, Atlanta, Georgia.
Andrea Fochler is a junior majoring in marketing at the University Park campus. Courtney Dry is a sophomore majoring in elementary education at Penn State Altoona.
If you know of a family with a long line of Penn State Altoona alumni, let us know at IvyLink@psu.edu.