Thiel College to Honor Harvey and Uta Childs at 2013 Founders’ Day Convocation

GREENVILLE, Pa.—On Feb. 7, Thiel College will recognize 11 faculty and staff members and Harvey and Uta Childs at the college’s annual Founders’ Day convocation at 11 a.m. in the Lutheran Heritage Room of the Howard Miller Student Center.

President Troy D. VanAken will present the A. Louis and Barbara Thiel Distinguished Service Award to Harvey and Uta Childs. Childs is the chairman of board and a co-founder of Bail USA, Inc.

Childs entered the surety bail profession in 1956, making him the third generation in his family to do so. Although he grew up in Pittsburgh, Childs made his home in Mercer County, Pa. For nine years, he posted bail bonds for clients throughout the tri-county area. In 1969, Childs expanded his operation to include 16 additional western Pennsylvania counties, Maryland, the District of Columbia and Ohio. In 1970, he founded the Pennsylvania Association of Bail Bond Underwriters and successfully challenged Pennsylvania to recognize bail agents as “officers of the court.” During the next 10 years, Childs expanded his growing network of professional bail agents into 25 additional states. He is recognized as one of the founders of the Professional Bail Agents of the United States (PBUS). By 1982, Childs and Burns partnered to form Bail USA, Inc. Two years later, the company became the managing general agent for a billion-dollar, blue-chip insurance company, leading to Bail USA becoming the largest underwriter of surety bail in the country with 2700 agents in 43 states. The company has posted bail in many of the most famous and high profile cases of the last 20 years.

In 1999, Childs turned the presidency of Bail USA over to co-founder Cheryl Burns to spend more of time traveling around the country visiting bail agents. Childs’ vision for the future of the bail industry is evidenced by his lifelong pursuit of the professional standards and integrity that remain a constant presence in every part of the surety bail profession in the United States.

Childs is married to Uta, who along with her twin sister, Bridgette, were well known European fashion models. Together, they support many local initiatives and charities.

The A. Louis and Barbara Thiel Distinguished Service 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 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 is Dr. William Robinson, professor of performing arts.

Robinson joined Thiel College in 1974. Almost 40 years later, he has transformed the performing arts program at Thiel and taught thousands of students how to have confidence in their individual abilities and appreciate the transformative power of theater. As director of the Thiel Players, Robinson has produced fall and spring productions each year—ranging from Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales” to classic Greek and Roman plays to modern musicals—and since 1980, he has welcomed incoming students with performances of “Charlie Brown Goes to College.” Robinson has directed the Greenville Area Community Theatre’s summer production since 1992. He also has produced children’s shows for area grade schools since 1975. Robinson is well known for his ability to choose just the right play and cast just the right person for every role.

He has served as chairman of the Communication and Performing Arts Departments as well as a member of the Faculty Council, the Promotion and Tenure Committee, and the Artists and Lecturers Committee. He treats his colleagues with respect and professionalism. In 1999, alumni and friends established the William A. Robinson Endowment for Theater Arts and, in 2007, the William A. Robinson Theater was dedicated, becoming Thiel’s first theater-specific facility on campus. He has also received the Distinguished Teacher in 2004 and Professor of the Year in 2007.

Robinson holds a bachelor’s degree from Duquesne University, a master’s from the University of Pittsburgh and a doctorate from Bowling Green State University. Robinson is retiring in May and will move from Greenville to Philadelphia.

Other faculty members to earn recognition are:

Five staff awards will be presented during the ceremony. Receiving honors are:

In addition, Warren Keck, adjunct professor of economics and business administration, Greenville, Pa., will receive a special commendation for years of service to the College.

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 new Master of Science in speech-language pathology and 2Master of Business Administration. Both 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. The speech-language pathology program also has an accelerated 15-month graduate-level program. The M.B.A. program also has a 12-month post-graduate program.A dedicated faculty paired with dynamic research and internship opportunities produce numerous graduate school and job placements. Coeducational from its beginnings, the College remains committed to combining tradition with innovation as it celebrates 150 years.