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Penn State DuBois Alumni Society Honors Outstanding Alumni at Awards Ceremony

9/26/2005 —
“I never thought I’d get an award for what I should do or enjoyed doing,” said James Meyer of Silver Spring, Md.
Meyer was one of three Penn State DuBois alumni honored Wednesday, September 7th, by the Penn State DuBois Alumni Society at its annual award ceremony held this year in the DEF Education and Technology Center on campus.  Also honored were Sharon Melzer of Washington, D.C., and Mark Freemer of DuBois.  Each was recognized for not only professional achievement but also for their community service.
This is the 22nd year that the Alumni Society has honored its outstanding alumni.  Winners are selected by a panel of previous honorees organized by the Society.  The awards ceremony is one of several projects planned by the Society each year not only to laud their fellow alumni, but also to remind faculty and staff of the long-lasting impact they have on students’ lives.
As noted by Dr. Anita McDonald, Chancellor of Penn State DuBois,”I do not often have the chance to publicly recognize the contributions that the Alumni Society makes to this campus.  Tonight is just another example of their dedication.  They choose to recognize fellow alumni for their outstanding accomplishments rather than focus on the wonderful work they do throughout the year.”
The awards presented this year were Outstanding Young Alumni for graduates of the past decade, Outstanding Alumni for alumni in the prime of their careers, and Lifetime Achievement for a culmination of life’s accomplishments.
Lifetime Achievement Award
James Meyer, received two degrees from Penn State – a Bachelor’s and a Master’s of Science in Meteorology in 1953 and 1955, respectively.   Taking advantage of the GI Bill, he began his college education at Penn State DuBois (then known as the DuBois Undergraduate Center)  in the fall of 1949.
One faculty member that, he said, “left a very indelible place in my mind,” was Sam King who brought history to life in the classroom.  “Instructors and professors helped you get out and be with each other. There were picnics and dances. That foundation of family leads you on,” he said.   It was the “DuBois Center that gave me that imputes to do what I had to do, to be what I wanted to be.”

Meyer has had a long and distinguished career from his first job with the Air Force Research and Development Center to the formation of his own company Meteorological Applications. 
A few of the highlights of his career include the following.
In 1967, he initiated and chartered the Cape Kennedy Chapter of the American Meteorological Society where he served as its first elected president.  In 1972, Meyer received his “Certified Consulting Meteorologist” certificate and became the 110th CCM of the American Meteorological Society.  In 1978, when approached by several companies to consult for them, Meyer formed his own company while still employed at Johns Hopkins University and began doing more and more work in forensic meteorology.  In late 1984 through 1987, he took part in the “Peace Shield” program which was the investigation of the air defense radar system for Saudi Arabia which included the training of Saudi technicians.  Meyer also worked extensively on projects relating to the meteorological implications for the air defense of U.S. Navy ships. 
Since his retirement, he has devoted his time to his consulting firm testifying as an expert in forensic meteorology for various law firms.  Personally, Meyer acted as chairman for various activities at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory Recreation department. 
He joined the Knights of Columbus and became a Grand Knight for the St. John the Baptist Council 11106.  He has been very active in the various charitable projects that his council oversees.  In 2005, he established a trustee scholarship for talented undergraduate meteorology students at Penn State.
Outstanding Alumnus Award
Mark Freemer graduated from Penn State in 1981 with Bachelor’s of Science degree in Accounting.  He noted how surprised he was upon being notified of winning the award.

It started him thinking, he said, about some people from the campus and one of the people that came to mind was Jackie Schoch. He said when he was first enrolled at the campus he might have been thinking of the future but maybe not looking at the big picture. He credits Schoch with getting him through his first trimester when he thought he might not make it through college.

He started his career at a Big 8 accounting firm in Pittsburgh.  He moved back to DuBois in 1982 to accept a position with a local CPA firm.  In a short period of time, he moved to Clyde, Ferraro and Co., LLP where he is currently a partner. 
He said he met a lot of good people while attending the campus and some became lifelong friends and business associates. That’s a key thing of what you get from going to a campus this size, he said.
Mark is well respected in the area and is an active member of the community using his talents to benefit others.  He has served on the S&T Advisory Board of Directors, and he is a current member of the board for Farmers National Bank.  He is a board member of DuBois Regional Medical Center and has served as both a past board president and chair of the finance committee.  Mark is treasurer of the DuBois Area United Way, chair of the finance committee, and has served as a campaign co-chair.  He has also served as treasurer and chair of the finance committees for the DuBois Area Catholic Schools and Goodwill Industries.

Freemer also thanked his parents for teaching him how to work hard and benefit from working hard. He also gave thanks to his wife, Betty, and his business partner, Leo Ferraro. He said “to receive you have to give. I enjoy giving of my time.”
Outstanding Young Alumna Award
Sharon Anne Melzer graduated from Penn State in 1999 with a double major in History and Administration of Justice.  Unfortunately, Melzer was unable to attend the event; however, she did ask a former classmate and friend, Bob Newell, to share a few of her written comments.
“I view this award as a great honor and I am touched that the committee has bestowed this honor onto me,” she wrote.  “The small class size and individual attention from the professors [at Penn State DuBois] ensured that I succeeded in my classes and in the Penn State community.  The approachability of the faculty helped me feel secure in my studies and later I felt comfortable to approach faculty on other campuses and institutions.”
Melzer noted one faculty member specifically -- Dr. John McWilliams, Associate Professor of History -- and his impact on her future endeavors, noting that “he strongly encouraged me to participate in a study abroad program, which solidified my career aspirations.” 
Melzer also said her involvement in student activities helped strengthen her leadership skills and enabled her to begin networking with faculty not only at Penn State but at other institutions as well.
She continued her studies at Florida State University where she received her Masters of Science degree in Criminology.  She then returned to Penn State in Harrisburg where she received a Masters of Public Administration.   This fall she began her doctoral studies in Justice, Law and Society at America University in Washington D.C. 
Professionally, Melzer has served as a research, evaluation and financial analyst for the PA Commission on Sentencing and the PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency.  She was a case manager for Child Guidance Resource Centers in Media, PA.  She has also served as both a residential rehabilitation counselor and a youth care counselor. 
In addition to her professional achievements, Melzer has also taken the time to give back to her community.  She was a volunteer for a Presidential Campaigns effort to register voters.  She is an active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).  She has donated time to collect items for homeless vets and vets at the Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital in Washington D.C. and the Van Zandt Medical Center in Altoona.
Although speaking about Freemer, McDonald could very well have been commenting about all three winners when she said, “Indeed, you make us Penn State DuBois proud.”
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