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In Brief: Spring 2019

Recognizing Retirees

Recent retirements at IUP include the following:

Mike LeMasters retired in April after nearly 14 years at IUP and nearly 38 years in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. He came to IUP from Mansfield University in 2005 as director of the Office of Housing and Residential Life, became associate dean of students for Campus Living and Learning four years later, and assumed his most recent position, associate vice president for Student Affairs for Living-Learning and Well-Being, in 2015.

Kate Linder retired in March as associate vice president for Student Affairs for University and Community Engagement. She came to IUP as a residence quad coordinator nearly 32 years ago and went on to lead the Office of Student Conduct, direct the Center for Student Life, and become associate dean of students for Student Life and Civic Engagement before assuming her most recent post in 2015.

After 11 years on the University Advancement staff, Debra Valentine-Gray retired in March. She served for years as a regional advancement officer in Pittsburgh and, in the fall, became director of development for the College of Fine Arts, with additional responsibilities for corporate and foundation relations. She made numerous contributions to the university’s diverse alumni initiatives and stewarded a partnership between the Heinz Endowments and IUP that resulted in the Pittsburgh Promise Plus program, which enables Pittsburgh high school students to experience life at IUP.

In Their Name

John and Char Kopchick with Deanne Snavely, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, on the day the IUP Council of Trustees approved the naming

(Keith Boyer)

IUP’s College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and its new building, to be constructed starting in 2020, were named in honor of John Kopchick ’72, M’75 and Char Labay Kopchick ’73 in December. Last spring, the Kopchicks committed $23 million, the largest gift in IUP history, to the Imagine Unlimited comprehensive campaign. John Kopchick is a professor of molecular biology and the Goll-Ohio Eminent Scholar at Ohio University and coinventor of the drug Somavert, used to combat a growth disorder. Char Kopchick is Ohio University’s assistant dean of students. They were with Deanne Snavely, left, dean of the college, on the day the IUP Council of Trustees approved the naming.

New Deans

Three new deans are joining the IUP community this spring and summer. Erik Nordberg, most recently the interim assistant dean of the University Library System at Wayne State University, was to become dean of the IUP Libraries in May. In July, Sylvia Gaiko, a professor in the Applied Human Services Department at Western Kentucky University, will become dean of IUP’s College of Health and Human Services, and Curt Scheib ’77, M’78, dean of the School of Visual and Performing Arts at Seton Hill University, will become dean of IUP’s College of Fine Arts. Gaiko will follow Mary Williams ’76, who has led the college since 2016, and Nordberg and Scheib are replacing interim deans Janet Guyden and David Ferguson, respectively.

School Safety

More than 600 educators and community members attended an IUP partnership program, the School Safety and Security Symposium, in March at the Kovalchick Complex. Four IUP faculty members served as presenters: Timothy Runge, Mark McGowan, and Courtney McLaughlin from the Department of Educational and School Psychology and Dan Lee from Criminology and Criminal Justice. Runge worked with Mike Vuckovich ’00, Indiana Area School District superintendent, to develop the program.

Combating Sexual Assault

IUP has received a second $30,000 grant through Governor Tom Wolf’s “It’s On Us PA” initiative for programs that combat sexual assault. The funds will support IUP’s Green Dot bystander intervention program, which gives people the tools to recognize and respond to high-risk situations. An associate professor in IUP’s Counseling Center, Jessica Miller M’06, D’09 authored the grant proposal and directs the university’s Green Dot initiative.