Penn State DuBois alums honored
DuBois – Three Penn State University graduates, with roots at Penn State DuBois, were recently honored by the Penn State DuBois Alumni Society.
The Lifetime Achievement award was presented to Francis Winslow, '51, of Hartsville, S.C., retired Cylinder Mill Technical Superintendent with Sunoco Products. Winslow, introduced by his daughter, Rebecca Lincoln, holds a degree in chemistry.
Winslow, a native of Benezette, talked about the year he spent at the DuBois Undergraduate College. At the time, the undergrads were a mixture of high school graduates and World War II veterans like himself.
"It was in the summer of 1946 that I paid $200 for a Ford Model A Coupe with a rumble seat and enrolled in Penn State DuBois," Winslow said. "We were here for an education and the competition was tough. It was a fast year, a good year and a tough year. I learned to study, and the school was small enough that you could get help if you needed it. At the end of that year I was shipped off to the main campus because I couldn’t get analytical chemistry at DuBois. But I would not have survived the main campus with its 12,000 students without my year at DuBois."
Winslow has a long, innovative history in the paper manufacturing industry marked by new product development and awards from the Technical Association of Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI). Winslow went on to recount a lifetime's worth of advice for the audience, "rather than bore (them) with chemistry." He recommended giving back to the community, going to church and becoming familiar or joining the political process. Winslow is a Rotarian, served as county chairman for the Republican party, has served on mission trips with his church, and has helped with the local food bank and Habitat for Humanity. He was appointed by the governor to the South Carolina Water Resources Commission Board for two years.
Mark H. Smith of Pittsburgh, '84 Liberal Arts, was awarded the Outstanding Alumnus Award. Smith is employed as vice-president of Synergy Advisors Corp. and is the author of the 2005 book, "Boldly Live Where Others Won't" about real estate development in challenging neighborhoods. Smith was introduced by retired Penn State DuBois staff member Janet Yates, who served as adviser for the Student Government Association the year that Smith served as president.
Smith began his real estate career in 1985 as a commercial leasing agent in Pittsburgh. After several years of leasing work on behalf of major owners and developers in several markets, he ventured into a variety of real estate consulting engagements for property owners, ultimately developing specialties in both commercial real estate and community development. Additional business ventures have included the successful development and sale of a convenience store in 1991 and an outdoor advertising business in 1999. He is a licensed real estate broker in Pennsylvania and Florida, and is also licensed as a broker/appraiser in Pennsylvania.
Since his graduation, Smith has worked on many fronts to support the University, especially the Commonwealth Campuses. He is an adjunct instructor at both Penn State Fayette and McKeesport, and served as a board member and president of Fayette’s Alumni Society. He served three years on Fayette’s Advisory Board and three years on the University’s Alumni Council. He has been Academic Programming Director for real estate and appraisal courses since 2002.
"Mark has taken something he loves, real estate, and has turned it into a career. He has a home because of it, and he gives back to the community because of it, and that's a home run," Yates said.
Smith thanked Yates and others who helped him seek out financial aid sources to help him with tuition, saying that the affordability of a smaller campus also made the educational opportunity a reality.
"The multi-campus system we have at Penn State is truly a gift, and a gift to everyone in the Commonwealth in terms of affordability," Smith said. Another gift, he noted, is raw talent. "Our talent is our gift from God. Using our talent is our gift back to God, and I think education teaches us how to do that."
In a special presentation during the evening's program, the Outstanding Young Alumni award was renamed the Dave Shaffer Outstanding Young Alumni Award, to honor former Penn State DuBois staff member and student, Dave Shaffer of Philipsburg. Shaffer is currently the Assistant Director of Special Programs at Eisenhower Auditorium, University Park.
Shaffer said he was both humbled and honored to become the award namesake, and added, "Any benefit I have ever had in being associated with this organization, far, far exceeds the work that I have put into it."
Receiving the first Dave Shaffer Outstanding Young Alumna award was Bonnie Floro of Curwensville, '99 Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS). Floro currently serves as Executive Director for the Children's Aid Society (CAS) of Clearfield County. In 2005, CAS served over 1,800 clients through the agency's adoption, foster care, Big Brothers Big Sisters, child care and nurturing programs.
Throughout her time at CAS, Floro has been an integral part of the agency's grant writing team. She has worked on a number of foundation and government grants, and has helped to secure various sources of funding for agency programs. As Executive Director, she is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the agency, providing financial oversight, prepares annual budgets, monitors capital campaign and fund-raising campaigns, and oversees grant writing a research.
In addition to her professional accomplishments, Floro is a member of the Curwensville United Methodist Church and is vice president of the Curwensville Golden Tide Cheerleader Booster Club. She is active on the Clearfield County Collaboration and Prevention Board, where she is a steering committee member. She has been involved with the Pennsylvania Asset Network, the Partnership for Tobacco Free Youth, and the Clearfield County Health and Human Service Council.
Floro was introduced by Sally Crandall, Assistant Professor of HDFS, who read excerpts from Floro's internship journal, demonstrating how a student's mindset develops over the course of the internship experience.
"Bonnie has the knowledge, the people skills, the internal drive and hard work ethic,as well as the caring and compassion needed in the field of human services," Crandall said.
Floro, an adult learner at Penn State DuBois as she sought her bachelor's degree, also pointed to the benefits of a smaller, local campus, saying that she wanted to further her education past her previous associate's degree but did not want to leave her family and home. Deciding to return to finish her bachelor's degree was a decision made after much soul searching and numerous odd jobs.
Planning, grant writing and program management now consume her daily rituals at Children's Aid Society, and Floro noted the numerous programs the agency supports, which consequently help the people of Clearfield County. The agency is immediately looking forward to receiving a $1 million grant over the next five years to implement family and marriage programming within the county.
The awards are conveyed annually to recognize alumni who have achieved success in their chosen profession and who have also contributed to their communities.
"The campus emphasizes service learning in addition to classroom education. The Penn State DuBois Alumni Society selects alumni who continue that trend in their professional years and throughout their lives," Charlene Gaus, Alumni Relations Officer, said.