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Mentors: Spring 2019

Designing for Business

Jessica Lin, Erin Stiffler, and Quinton Shoulders

Clockwise from front: Jessica Lin, Erin Stiffler, and Quinton Shoulders (Keith Boyer)

In the spring, Interior Design students in Susan Venatta’s Commercial Design Studio class gained hands-on experience through a new project in Punxsutawney. The students helped design Punxsy Connect, a coworking space along North Findley Street that will provide short- or long-term offices for telecommuters and others who work remotely. “The space is a blank slate for the students,” Venatta said. “The opportunity to field measure, meet with the members of the project committee, and engage in actual back-and-forth dialogue as the project begins is invaluable.” Venatta has been on the IUP faculty since 2004.

Creating Homeland Security

Political Science faculty member Aleea Perry is working with former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge on a book about the development of the US Department of Homeland Security. Ridge was the first to lead the department, created after the September 11, 2001, attacks in order to coordinate a national strategy for safeguarding the country. “There are many textbooks written about the functions of the Department of Homeland Security, but none detailing the creation, development, and continued growth of the agency,” said Perry, an IUP faculty member since 2016. To assist with her research, she coordinated a meeting of 10 IUP students with Ridge and his staff last fall in Washington, DC. Perry said IUP trustee Mark Holman ’79, a partner with the Ridge Policy Group, also assisted her efforts.

Celebrating 50 Years

In February, IUP Journalism and Public Relations students, under the leadership of department chair Michele Papakie ’93, marked faculty member Randy Jesick’s 50th year at IUP by launching a campaign to bring a scholarship fund previously established in Jesick’s honor to the $25,000 endowment level. By late March, gifts from students, alumni, and others had reached that goal. (For details on making a gift, send email to iup-giving@iup.edu.) Jesick began teaching journalism at IUP in 1979 after spending his first decade at the university as a public relations administrator. For the Spring 2017 edition of IUP Magazine, he wrote “The Man for the Job,” about longtime IUP administrator and English professor Sam Furgiuele ’49, who hired Jesick in 1969. Furgiuele died in November 2017, less than three weeks before his 100th birthday.

Seasons Unfold in Slenker Art 

A recently discovered nine-panel mural by the late Robert Slenker ’52, professor emeritus of art, became the highlight of an exhibit, Slenker & Seasons, earlier this year at the Goldhaber-Fend Fine Arts Center in Westmont. After discovering the paintings in a storage area, arts center staff members initially thought the pieces were discrete works. They later realized the skylines and scenery formed a continuum, constituting a nine-panels progression of the seasons. In addition to the mural, the exhibit featured several of Slenker’s assemblages of found objects. He and his wife, the late Jean Johnson Slenker ’53, taught in the Art Department from the 1960s through the 1990s.

Assuming the Presidency

Recently retired IUP professor and provost’s associate Shari Robertson took office in January as president of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. The group represents roughly 200,000 speech-language pathologists, audiologists, and researchers in the field of communication disorders. In addition to her new role, Robertson owns a publishing company that produces clinical materials and children’s books written by speech-language pathologists. She was a member of the IUP faculty for more than 21 years.

Faculty Deaths

The following former faculty members died in recent months:

  • Donald Eisen, a professor emeritus of theater who retired in 1994 after more than 28 years of service, died December 15, 2018. Initially a member of the English faculty, he became chair of the Theater Department upon its creation in 1977. 

  • David Grover, a professor emeritus of psychology who retired in 2003 after nearly 34 years of service, died January 30, 2019.

  • Richard Halapin, who retired in 2002 from the Department of Management Information Systems and Decision Sciences after more than 21 years of service, died November 16, 2018. Once a senior navigator with the Strategic Air Command, he helped negotiate the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty between the US and the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.

  • Robert Hoellein, a professor emeritus who retired from the Department of Educational and School Psychology in 2002 after 25 years of service, died February 28, 2019.

  • James Rogers ’75, who taught in the Communications Media Department between 2004 and 2015 and who served for many years as a volunteer and faculty advisor for WIUP-FM, died January 5, 2019.

  • Robert Vislosky, a professor emeritus of art who retired in 1985 after 20 years of service, died December 21, 2018.

  • Robert Whitmer, a professor emeritus who retired as chair of the French Department in 1997 after 28 years of service, died January 10, 2019.