Each fall, the Penn State Schuylkill Alumni Society recognizes a select group of alumni, and sometimes friends, for their contributions to the campus, professional achievements, and impact on the greater Penn State community. This year, the Penn State Schuylkill Alumni Society has named four honorees in three primary categories: Outstanding Alumni, Outstanding Young Alumni, and the Pride and Spirit Award.
The nomination period for the 2021 Alumni Awards begins in early spring. If you know a Penn Stater or friend of the campus whose commitment to the University and/or community deserves recognition, please consider filling out a submission form (at left) today. If you are a mobile user, please scroll down to access the nomination forms.
The Outstanding Alumni Award acknowledges the achievements of Penn State Schuylkill alumni for their continued contributions to Penn State as well as their impact within their communities. This year, the society chose two nominees to receive the Outstanding Alumni award: Jeanine Gleba, ’87, and Shawn T. Fitzpatrick, ’96.
Jeanine Gleba attended Penn State Schuylkill for two-and-a-half years before completing the Bachelor of Science in Operations Management degree at University Park in 1987, eventually earning a master’s degree in education from Rutgers University in 1994.
After her post-graduate 13-year career as a systems analyst, Gleba opted to stay at home to care for her young children. However, it was during this period that Gleba took on an activist role. Due to her own daughter’s congenital hearing loss, Gleba helped to spearhead a grassroots advocacy campaign to ensure that the children of New Jersey had access to the hearing devices they need. On December 30, 2008, Grace’s Law—named for Gleba’s daughter— was signed into law, mandating hearing aid insurance coverage in New Jersey for children aged 15 and younger.
Dr. Shawn T. Fitzpatrick
Dr. Shawn T. Fitzpatrick is a 1996 graduate of Penn State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education and is currently a member of the Penn State Schuylkill Campus Advisory Board. Fitzpatrick began his undergraduate coursework at Penn State Schuylkill before completing his degree at University Park.
Fitzpatrick worked as a classroom teacher while attending night courses to earn the Master of Science degree in Educational Leadership and Administration—with principal’s certification from Wilkes University in 2003. Fitzpatrick then served as assistant principal of Blue Mountain Elementary East and then as principal of Hamburg Elementary, when he returned to school at night and on weekends to earn a Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership and Administration from Immaculata University in 2013. He studied assessment and grading practices at the elementary level for his dissertation.
Outstanding Young Alumni
Ralph “RJ” Wawrzyniakowski
The Outstanding Young Alumni Award is awarded to recognize similar achievements for alumni under the age of 35. This year the Schuylkill alumni society selected Ralph “RJ” Wawrzyniakowski as the 2020 Outstanding Young Alumni Award recipient. Wawrzyniakowski attended Penn State Schuylkill for two years before earning baccalaureate and master’s degrees in Engineering at University Park in 2009 and 2012, respectively.
Wawrzyniakowski currently lives in Beaver County, Pa., where he is an engineering project manager at Pennsylvania American Water. He is a member of the Penn State Alumni Association and Vice President of the Beaver Valley Area Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association.
Wawrzyniakowski continues to be involved in Penn State activities, including THON®, where he helps with fundraising activities.
Pride and Spirit
The Pride and Spirit Award may be awarded to a person whose contribution to the success of the Penn State Schuylkill campus is significant and meaningful. Karen Kenderdine is the senior vice president and manager of relationship services at Mid Penn Bank Trust Department, where she manages trust clients’ investment and personal needs, and designs and implements estate and gift plans.
Kenderdine is an invaluable advocate for Penn State Schuylkill, having served on the Campus Advisory Board since 2018. She is currently a member of the executive committee and chair of the development committee. She has been instrumental in generating financial support for many vital campus programs, such as facilitating the establishment of an endowment to support the Penn State Schuylkill LionLaunch program.
Read more about the 2020 Alumni Award winners >