Ivy Leaf - Winter 2010

The Ivyside Society 2009

Castle, Eichelberger, Sheetz, Inc., Womack honored


Inspiring videos of Penn State Altoona Alumni Award recipients and recognition of benefactors in four categories were just a few highlights of the annual Ivyside Society Induction Ceremony, held in September. The Ivyside Society ceremony recognizes philanthropy at the college and, through the presentation of awards, individual achievement and significant contributions to Penn State Altoona. This year, it also included a tribute to Dr. Nicholas Miskovsky, retired professor of physics.

Through the generous philanthropic support of Miskovsky's colleagues and friends, a Trustee Scholarship was created at Penn State Altoona in his name. Miskovsky offered nearly four decades of distinguished service to the University. A professor of physics, he provided inspired leadership as division head of the Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the college.

The Ivyside Society consists of four categories of membership: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. New members of the Ivyside Society's Platinum category (cumulative giving of $50,000 or more) are: Gerald Getz, of Toledo, Ohio; the Wilbur Kraybill Family; the late John E. "Ted" Mock; Norfolk Southern Foundation; Robert E. and L. Annette Ritchey, of Curryville, Pennsylvania; Dr. Valerie N. Stratton, of Altoona; and Richard C. Sutter, of Altoona.

The new members of the Gold category (cumulative giving of $25,000 or more) are Steven S. and Amy T. Seltzer, of Altoona. New members of the Silver category (cumulative giving of $10,000 or more) are Donald E. and Doris J. Snyder, of Altoona. Over seventy individuals, couples, organizations, corporations, and foundations were recognized as members of the Bronze category (contributions of $1,000 or more between July 1 and June 30 of a given year).

Penn State Altoona Awards

The Ivyside Society program featured the presentation of awards to four individuals who have distinguished themselves through their professional achievement, community involvement, and/or service to Penn State Altoona and the University.

John H. Eichelberger, Jr.
Alumni Achievement Award

Recognizes alumni of the college who have distinguished themselves through career achievement, community involvement, and/or involvement with the college.

A volunteer leader at Penn State Altoona, public servant, and member of the Alumni Society Board of Directors, John Eichelberger has distinguished himself as a tireless worker and passionate advocate.

Eichelberger attended Penn State Altoona and received a bachelor's degree in political science at University Park in 1985. With his appointment as the First Deputy Register of Wills and Recorder of Deeds of Blair County, Eichelberger began his career in public service while he was still an undergraduate.

Eichelberger has held elected office at the county and state levels. He won three elections as a candidate for Blair County Commissioner and, in 2006, was elected to a seat in the Pennsylvania Senate. Eichelberger is Chairman of the Senate Local Government Committee. He also serves on the Senate Finance, Communications and Technology, Game and Fisheries, and Agriculture and Rural Affairs committees.

A licensed insurance agent and broker, Eichelberger has experienced success in the private sector as President of Complete Insurance Services, Inc. He also is active in numerous community causes and civic organizations.

William J. Castle
Outstanding Alumni Award

Recognizes alumni of the college who have attained a significant level of accomplishment in their careers or contributed significantly to the betterment of society. Candidates for the award are individuals who possess a record of achievement that distinguishes them as leaders in their profession and/or community.

Bill Castle is the founder of The Castle Group, a union of three companies: W.J. Castle, P.E. & Associates, P.C.; Simplified Bridge Systems; and Hydro-Marine Construction Co., Inc. Since 1983, The Castle Group has been involved in all phases of structural/civil engineering, from concept and design to evaluation and construction. The company also specializes in underwater construction inspection services, testing, and hydrographic/fathometric surveys.

Castle has received numerous professional honors over the years, including the 2007 New Jersey Outstanding Professional Engineer Award and 2005 New Jersey Engineer of the Year Award. Over the years, Castle's companies also have been recognized for achievement numerous times.

A 1966 Penn State Altoona graduate, Castle and his wife, Janet, made a $350,000 commitment to the college. In recognition of the couple's generosity, the fifth floor of the college's Aaron Building in downtown Altoona has been dedicated as The William J. Castle Executive Quarters (see p. 37).

The Castle Group and Hydro-Marine Construction Co. made a gift to serve as title sponsor of the Penn State Altoona Speaker Series event in April 2009, the same month the Castles were inducted into the University's Mount Nittany Society. Castle was inducted into the platinum category of Ivyside Society in 2004 after creating a Trustee Scholarship.

In 2004, Castle was presented the Penn State Alumni Fellow Award, the most prestigious honor bestowed by the Penn State Alumni Association. A member of the college's Campaign Council, Castle previously served on Penn State Altoona's Development Council.

Sheetz, Inc.
Distinguished Service Award

Recognizes supporters of the college who have significantly contributed to Penn State Altoona by volunteering their talent, time, and resources on behalf of the institution. Consideration is based on service that enhances the reputation of Penn State Altoona among internal and external audiences, bolsters admissions initiatives, or stimulates increased involvement of students, faculty, staff, and alumni in the life of the college.

Over the years, Sheetz, Inc. has demonstrated an exemplary philanthropic mission that has benefited countless individuals, organizations, and programs in the communities served by the company. Through the selection of Sheetz, Inc. as the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award, Penn State Altoona gratefully acknowledges the consistent financial support it has received for scholarship initiatives, special programs, and multiple capital campaigns.

In 2004, Sheetz, Inc. was inducted into the Platinum category of Ivyside Society. The endowed scholarship in the Sheetz family's name has made a significant difference in the lives of Penn State Altoona students. To date, more than $164,000 has been awarded to fifty-eight students, providing them with critical financial aid.

Over the years, Sheetz, Inc. also established the Sheetz Visiting Lecture Program and directed philanthropic support to other endowed scholarships, the Advanced Technology Center building fund, Penn State Altoona Future Fund, and numerous academic, cultural, and lifelong learning programs. In addition, Sheetz, Inc. has been a title sponsor of the Penn State Altoona Advisory Board golf tournament for nearly a decade.

Dr. Kenneth A. Womack
Honorary Alumni Award

Recognizes outstanding individuals who have significantly contributed to Penn State Altoona through their commitment and service. Consideration is based on service to Penn State Altoona that contributes to the fulfillment of the college's mission and/or enhances the reputation and prestige of the institution.

Through service, leadership, and philanthropy, Dr. Ken Womack has contributed significantly to the fulfillment of Penn State Altoona's mission since joining the faculty in 1997. Womack is interim associate dean for Academic Affairs and professor of English. Over the years, his administrative appointments have included coordinator of the Honors Program; division head, Arts and Humanities; and coordinator of the Communications degree program.

Through distinguished service on numerous committees, including a recent appointment as faculty chair of the college's faculty/staff campaign, Womack's influence has been felt in nearly every academic and administrative area of Penn State Altoona.

Womack has received numerous awards for his teaching, research, and service, including the University's Alumni Teaching Fellow Award and Penn State Altoona's Grace D. Long Faculty Excellence Award.

Womack's philanthropic investment in the college is reflected in gifts to a host of programs and initiatives. He has published widely on twentieth-century literature and popular culture.