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Elected officials join Thiel faculty and staff as honorees for annual Founders’ Day ceremony


Elected officials join Thiel faculty and staff as honorees for annual Founders’ Day ceremony

GREENVILLE, Pa.—Two Pennsylvania legislators will join 10 Thiel College faculty and staff members as honorees for the College’s annual Founders’ Day celebration at 11 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 7 in the College’s Lutheran Heritage Room of the Howard Miller Student Center.

State Senator Michele Brooks and state Representative Mark Longietti, J.D., will each be given The Louis and Barbara Thiel Distinguished Service Award for their dedicated support and advocacy on behalf of Thiel College and the region. Brooks is a Jamestown, Pa. native and her brother, Don Valesky Jr. ’84, is a Thiel graduate. Brooks and Longietti, of Farrell, Pa., have both supported the College for many years through advocating for government grants, speaking at the College’s events, and networking with Thiel students in numerous capacities. Thiel College is in both lawmakers’ legislative districts.

“We are so fortunate to have two lawmakers from different political parties willing to work together for the benefit of the region and our institution,” Thiel College President Susan Traverso, Ph.D., said. “It is fitting to recognize these legislators with the College’s highest service award. They are a symbol of the College community collaboration that strengthens both Thiel and our region.”

In addition to the Barbara and Louis Thiel recognitions, the Founders’ Day ceremony will highlight the contributions of Thiel College employees.

Five staff members will be honored with a Distinguished Service Award.

  • Cindy McClelland, of Greenville, Pa., administrative assistant, college advancement
  • Than Oo, of Greenville, Pa., director of student activities and involvement
  • Dennis Bish, of Jamestown, Pa., chief of police and director of public safety
  • Andrew Houpt ’85, of Greenville, Pa., interim director of facilities
  • Tressa Snyder, of Hadley, Pa., reference librarian for instruction

Five faculty members will be honored with awards.

  • Distinguished Professor: Daniel Eppley, Ph.D., of Greenville, Pa., Professor of Religion and Faculty Chair
  • Distinguished Scholar: Michael Balas, Ph.D., of Jamestown, Pa., Professor of Biology
  • Distinguished Teacher: Anna Reinsel, Ph.D. ’06, of Brookfield, Ohio, Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Chemistry and Department Chair
  • Distinguished Service: Laura Pickens, Ph.D. ’06, of West Middlesex, Pa., Associate Professor of Psychology and Department Chair
  • Distinguished Adjunct: Nancy Katz, of Greenville, Pa., Adjunct Professor of English and academic coach

The Louis and Barbara Thiel Distinguished Service Award is given annually to individuals who demonstrate exemplary character, continuity of leadership, and long-term service to Greenville and the surrounding community. The recipients must show a commitment to the common good above private interests. The award is named after Louis and Barbara Thiel, whose generosity made possible the founding of Thiel College in 1866.

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About Thiel College

Thiel College is an independent college founded in the Lutheran tradition. Located in Greenville, Pa., the College offers 60 majors and minors, 24 varsity sports, and an 11:1 student-faculty ratio. The College is also home to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program and graduate programs in, Business Administration, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Communication and Leadership, Physician Assistant and Speech-Language Pathology. All of Thiel College’s master’s degree programs offer innovative and accelerated five-year paths which allow students to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years. A dedicated faculty paired with dynamic research and internship opportunities produce outstanding graduate school and job placements. Coeducational from its beginnings, the College remains committed to diversity and inclusion. The College combines tradition with innovation as it honors its past and celebrates its future.

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