Ivy Leaf - Spring 2004

Marty Jo Irvin Stellabotte: Alumni Society Profile


She has the same number of hours in a day that the rest of us do, but the amount of activity that Marty Jo Irvin Stellabotte packs into those 24 hours is daunting. And her commitment to Penn State Altoona consumes much of this time.

Her full-time focus is on her alma mater. Serving as Penn State Altoona's media relations and events coordinator in the Office of University Relations since 1996, she juggles her responsibilities in planning events, communicating with the media, writing, and marketing the College to its constituencies with ease. In 2001 she took on the additional role as adjunct communications faculty, teaching public relations courses for Penn State Altoona in the evening.

But her day doesn't end when her job is done. Irvin (who has retained her maiden name professionally), a 1988 Penn State graduate and Penn State Altoona alumnus, volunteers in various capacities for her church and a host of non-profit and charitable groups throughout Blair County; fills a leadership role in a professional development organization sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce; performs in local theater productions, often with her husband of eight months, Tim Stellabotte; and provides a loving home for two cats and a dog. Most recently, she added a three-year term as a member of the Penn State Altoona Alumni Society Board of Directors to her hectic, but coordinated, schedule.

So what is her secret to managing a full-time career, part-time teaching load, all the other activities that she's involved in, and still have time for a personal life?

"I find that I'm actually a more organized and more fulfilled person when I have a lot on my plate," she commented. "Then, when I do have free time, I tend to appreciate it that much more."

She consider herself very fortunate to have parents that instilled within her a sense of hard work and of helping those in need:

"I'm glad that I attended Penn State and now live among family and friends, and I realize that there are others who live in our community who aren't as fortunate. It gives me a great sense of satisfaction when I help others, whether that be through something as simple as spending a few hours at a community service project or helping out the homeless animals at the Central PA Humane Society." — Marty Jo Irvin Stellabotte '88

As a spokesperson for Penn State Altoona and actress in community theater, Irvin is literally and figuratively front and center when the spotlight is on. From coordinating logistics during ground-breaking ceremonies for the College's new classroom building to performing in the Tyrone Community Players' adaptation of "Steel Magnolias," she exemplifies the versatility, grace and refinement of a pro.

She also derives great pleasure from her role as instructor at Penn State Altoona. This past year, she taught both introductory and senior-level courses in public relations, and gained a deep appreciation for the impact she has on her students' intellectual and professional development.

"I'm directly involved in shaping the college experience and possibly even the future for my students, and to me, that is so exciting. I learn as much from my students as they learn from me, and it makes me appreciate the value of a Penn State education even more now that I'm a faculty member."

As both a staff and faculty member at Penn State Altoona, Irvin brings a unique perspective to the Alumni Society Board. She will be a valuable asset in identifying the programming needs of fellow alumni and specific areas within the College that can benefit from the Society's support.

"I realize that the future viability of our College is dependent in some part upon the level of involvement of our alumni, and since we recently became a four-year college, keeping our new alums involved and active in their alma mater is vital," Irvin said.

At the heart of Irvin's remarkable record of service to Penn State and her community is a burning desire to make a difference, to make her time on the planet count for something meaningful and lasting.

"I once saw a quote that said, 'We make a living from what we get, but we make a life from what we give.' I really believe that," Irvin said. "Some people complain that they're so busy, yet they're not active in anything outside of their own personal world. It seems like those who are truly successful and happy are those who live life to the fullest and help themselves by helping others."

Like Marty Jo Irvin Stellabotte.