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Ivy Link: E-newsletter for Alumni and Friends
December 2021

Message from the Director

"The magic in new beginnings is the most powerful of them all." —Josiyah Martin

Mary Ann AmatoThe beginning of a new year with new expectations and goals! January is a time to clean the slate and start fresh. It also marks the beginning of the final semester of college for our graduating seniors. January is a time to dream of making this new year the best year yet!

In the midst of all the chaos and confusion of the past two years, perhaps we should all return to the basics and focus on the most important things in our lives. Let’s resolve to leave the annoying, bothersome issues that invade our lives behind us. Let’s resolve to not focus on those issues and to not let those issues consume us. I realize this is a rather idealistic and optimistic suggestion, but just like Hallmark movies, is it so bad to want the happy ending?

2022 will mark the end of our Greater Penn State for the 21st Century campaign. Our development staff at Penn State Altoona has been working diligently to reach our goal before the end of the campaign. Many of you have been so wonderful and generous to help us along the way. There is no gift too small—every single gift is impactful! Our staff stands ready to help you through identifying where you may want to make an impact! Thank you for all that you have done to help our students, campus, and community. Our Penn State Altoona alumni are truly so appreciated.

I wish all of you reading this newsletter, as well as your families, the very best 2022! The promise of new adventures is endless, and I wish that all your new adventures are what you dream of and wonderful!

WE ARE and Happy New Year!

Mary Ann Amato
Director of Development and Alumni Relations
Penn State Altoona

In Memoriam

Kristopher S. Yaniello, ’99, died on November 26, 2021

Kimberly J. Miller, ’99, died on November 26, 2021

Amy S. Wood, ’84, died on November 28, 2021

Robert L. McCurdy, ’72, died on December 4, 2021

Volunteer Spotlight: Leila Farzam

"I never thought I would be able to contribute the way I have at twenty-seven years old, and my dream is to motivate other young alums to give back in any way they can."—Leila Farzam

Learn more about Leila.

Real Reel History

Jared Frederick, a 2010 graduate of Penn State Altoona who is completing his Ph.D. with Penn State as well, is working on a new project. Take a look!

Alumni Book Club

Book Cover: EternalOur next book club meeting is Tuesday, February 1, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. The book we will be discussing is Eternal by Lisa Scottoline. This is a story that offers the readers historical fiction fueled by shocking true events, the tale of a love triangle that unfolds in the heart of Rome—in the creeping shadow of fascism.

Registration is available online. 
History Corner
Athleen Stere was a Harvard Graduate and received her Ph.D. from Penn State. She taught at Penn State Altoona from 1971 to 2012 till the age of 91. Athleen passed away on April 1, 2018, at the age of 97.

Diversity Corner

Martin Luther King, Jr.“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed – we hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.”—Martin Luther King, Jr.

January marks the beginning of a new calendar year and a whole new slate of dates to remember!
  • January 1: Emancipation Proclamation Day
  • January 4: Birthday of Louis Braille who created the braille system of reading and writing for those who are visually impaired
  • January 6: Feast of the Epiphany (Christian holiday)
  • January 14: Makar Sankranti (a Hindu festival that is dedicated to the Hindu religious sun god Surya
  • January 17: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – A Day to celebrate one of the greatest leaders of the American civil rights movement and an amazing person!
  • January 27: International Day of Commemoration in memory of the holocaust victims of WWII
  • January 29: Birthday of Oprah Winfrey known as the Queen of Media and North America’s first Black multi-billionaire

Penn State Altoona Student Emergency Fund

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a cumulative and burdensome effect in the lives of many Penn State students. Students who rely on scholarships, grants, and part-time income to sustain their day-to-day college experience are, in many cases, struggling to meet basic needs such as food, housing, and transportation.
The Penn State Altoona Student Emergency Fund provides short-term financial assistance to our students. The fund supports students who are living through crisis situations, such as illness, food or housing insecurity, or other unexpected events or challenges.

If you would like to contribute to our student’s health and well-being, visit the Raise Penn State site.

Students Are Saying ...

“Thank you so much for this! It is really appreciated, and I am so thankful for Penn State right now. You are helping more than you know.”
“You are my angel. You have made my life so much better in the last 24 hours.”
“Reading your email brought tears to my eyes...thank you so much for all of your help. Not only do I appreciate it, but my entire family does.”

Calling All Alumni

Our Penn State Altoona Alumni Society Historical Committee is asking for all alumni to see if they have any memorabilia they would like to donate to the Penn State Altoona archives housed in the Robert E. Eiche Library. Please contact Karen Helsley at or 814-949-5189 if you would like to donate an item to the Penn State Altoona archives.

Alumni Volunteers

If you are a Penn State Altoona alum and would like to participate in events and activities and interact with our students and alumni, please reach out to Karen Helsley, associate director of alumni relations at Let us know:
  • Your name, email address, year of graduation, and major
  • Which of the following you may be interested in:
    • Serve as a speaker in the classroom, virtual or in person
    • Serve as a panelist speaker
    • Serve as an internship or externship host, virtual or in person
    • Mentor a student
    • Host an alumni event in your geographic area or workplace
    • Host a development fundraising event
    • Recommend a unique venue for a future alumni event
    • Share an idea for an event or program
    • Recommend a Penn State Altoona alum for news coverage and/or award
    • Share your story in our alumni newsletter
    • Talk with a staff member about a gift to Penn State Altoona
    • Other – please provide your response
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