| Thiel honored 10 faculty and staff members, as well as James D. Bittel Jr. ’60, at the annual Founders’ Day Convocation on Feb. 7. Pictured are (seated from left) Lorretta Ball, James Bittel and Cindy McClelland, and (standing from left) Marsha Wissinger, Dr. Kathleen Ward, Susan Richards, Dr. Kathryn Frantz, Dr. Cynthia Sutton, Dr. Curtis Thompson, Dr. Michael Bray and Sherrie Ogello.
GREENVILLE, PA – Thiel College paid tribute to 10 faculty and staff members and James D. Bittel Jr. ’60 at the college’s annual Founders’ Day convocation Thursday, Feb. 7, in the Lutheran Heritage Room of the Howard Miller Student Center.
President Robert C. Olson ’60 presented the A. Louis and Barbara Thiel Distinguished Service Award to Bittel, president of Bittel and Co., a Greenville insurance and real estate company.
Bittel and his wife, Nancy, have been tireless supporters of the local community, including Thiel College, for many years. Bittel has served on the boards of the Greenville Salvation Army, the Greenville Municipal Authority, Greenville Little League and the Greenville-Reynolds Development Corp. as well as the Thiel College Board of Trustees and the Thiel Alumni Board. He has also been involved with Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, the Greenville Area Economic Development Corp. and the Downtown Revitalization Board of Greenville. He was named the Greenville Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the Year for 2003.
The award is presented annually to community members who demonstrate exemplary character, continuity of leadership, and long-term service to Greenville and its environs. The recipients must demonstrate a commitment to the common good above private interests.
The award is named after A. Louis and Barbara Thiel, whose generosity made possible the founding of Thiel College in 1866. The Thiels dedicated themselves to the welfare of others. The German couple immigrated to western Pennsylvania in the 1840s, and as their work was blessed with success, they faithfully served family, community and church.
Receiving the prestigious Professor of the Year Award was Dr. Cynthia Sutton, professor of sociology.
Sutton, of Greenville, devotes an incredible amount of time to her students, her department and the college. She joined the Thiel faculty in 1995 as an assistant professor of sociology. The list of college-wide committees that Sutton has served on at Thiel is extensive. Currently, Sutton is the chairperson of the sociology department and Faculty Council and serves on the Presidential Search Committee, Salary and Fringe Benefits Committee and the Vira I. Heinz Scholarship for Educational Study Abroad Committee.
Sutton holds a bachelor’s degree in communication arts and sciences from DePauw University, and a master’s degree and doctorate—both in sociology—from the University of Notre Dame. Her areas of specialization are marriage and family and sex and gender issues, but she has taught classes in a wide range of areas, including “Gender & Film,” “Medical Sociology” and “Aging,” among others.
Prior to joining the Thiel faculty, Sutton worked as technical director at DePauw’s Performing Arts Center and later served the same institution as the director of the annual fund. She is a member of the American Association of University Professors, the American Sociological Association and is the Thiel liaison to the American Association of University Women. She has been named to “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers” five times.
Sutton, her husband, John K. Wise, director of the integrative core curricula and co-director of the first year experience at Thiel, reside in Greenville with their young son.
Other faculty members earning recognition were:
- Dr. Kathryn Frantz, professor of chemistry, received the Distinguished Service Award. She holds a doctorate from the University of North Carolina and teaching certification from Slippery Rock University. Frantz resides in Greenville.
- Dr. Michael Bray, professor of music, received the Distinguished Teacher Award. A native of Sioux Falls, S.D., Bray holds a doctorate of musical arts in choral conducting from the University of Northern Colorado. He resides in Greenville.
- Dr. Curtis Thompson, professor of religion, received the Distinguished Scholar Award. A native of Pipestone, Minn., Thompson holds a doctorate from the University of Chicago and a Master of Divinity from Luther Theological Seminary. He resides in Greenville.
- Lorretta Ball, adjunct professor of English, received the Distinguished Adjunct Award. Ball holds a master’s degree from SUNY Plattsburg. She resides in Hartstown.
Five staff awards were also presented during the ceremony. Receiving honors were:
- Dr. Kathleen Ward, director of the Academic Success Center, received the Distinguished Innovator Award. She resides in Sharon.
- Marsha Wissinger, faculty secretary, received the Distinguished Newcomer Award. She resides in Polk.
- Sherrie Ogello, coordinator of special events, received the Distinguished Extra Effort Award. She resides in Cochranton.
- Cindy McClelland, administrative assistant for academic affairs, received the Distinguished Outreach Award. She resides in Jamestown.
- Susan Richards, director of institutional research, received the Distinguished Service Staff Award. She resides in Greenville.