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August 2013

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Prior to Dr. Athleen Stere's departure for her new home in North Carolina, Dr. Lori J. Bechtel-Wherry and Dr. Kenneth A. Womack presented this specially commissioned parking sign to Dr. Stere as a parting gift and token of appreciation.

A Revered Figure Relocates with a Symbol of Respect and Appreciation

There are individuals who are identified as worthy recipients of special awards, and then there are unique awards that are created for special individuals. Once such special individual is Dr. Athleen Stere, who appears in the accompanying photograph with Dr. Lori J. Bechtel-Wherry, Penn State Altoona Chancellor and Dean, and Dr. Kenneth A. Womack, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of English and Integrative Arts.

For Penn State Altoona’s annual Service Awards Ceremony in 2009, Dr. Bechtel-Wherry conceived and created an award named the Longevity and Loyalty Award. The inspiration for the award was Dr. Stere. All Penn State Altoona employees are eligible for consideration. However, an individual’s age and years of service to the college must total 130. In all likelihood, there will forever be one recipient of this award: Dr. Stere, the inaugural recipient who was 88 and celebrating 42 years of service at the time of the ceremony.

To commemorate the surprise honor, Dr. Bechtel-Wherry commissioned the production of a parking sign for a space reserved for Dr. Stere. Recipients of the Longevity and Loyalty Award may choose a parking spot anywhere on campus. Dr. Stere chose a spot in a lot closest to her office in Hawthorn Building. In addition, a cake served at the ceremony was decorated to look exactly like the sign.

This past July, Dr. Stere, Associate Professor Emeritus of Biology and revered College Marshal, announced her plans to relocate to North Carolina to reside closer to loved ones. As a parting gift and token of appreciation, Dr. Bechtel-Wherry and Dr. Womack presented the parking sign to Dr. Stere. The beloved teacher, scientist, and mentor plans to hang the sign on the porch of her new residence in Raleigh, North Carolina.

While Dr. Stere’s presence on campus will be missed, her legacy of distinguished service endures. Our entire Penn State Altoona family extends best wishes to Dr. Stere for years of retirement that are defined by good health and limitless joy.