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Kutztown University Commencement Exercises Set for May 10

May 7, 2014

KUTZTOWN, Pa. - More than 1,300 graduates will walk during Kutztown University of Pennsylvania's spring commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 10.  The ceremony for both undergraduate and graduate classes of the Colleges of Education and Business will be held at 9 a.m. in the O'Pake Fieldhouse. The undergraduate and graduate classes of the Colleges of Liberal Arts & Sciences and Visual & Performing Arts will hold their ceremony at 2 p.m., also in the O'Pake Fieldhouse.

Both ceremonies will be telecast via an interactive broadcast platform, enabling the families and friends of the graduates to view the ceremony live through a web connection. Commencement Coverage

University President Dr. F. Javier Cevallos will preside at both ceremonies. Frank T. Brogan, Chancellor of the State System of Higher Education, will attend the 9 a.m. ceremony.  The Class of 1964 will also walk with the graduates at the 9 a.m. ceremony, 50 years after their commencement was unexpectedly cut short due to a severe storm that moved through the area.

William F. Ribble '73 will be presented the President's Medal by Cevallos at the 9 a.m. ceremony.  Ribble is being honored for his nine years of service to the Kutztown University Foundation board of directors, his extraordinary philanthropy, and outstanding leadership in co-chairing the $15 million Setting the Stage capital campaign.

In keeping with tradition, members of the KU faculty will provide the commencement address. Dr. Teresa Sychterz, professor of elementary education, will speak at 9 a.m.  Randy Schaeffer '72, associate professor of mathematics, will address the afternoon graduates.   The speakers are selected based on nominations submitted by the senior class.

Student speakers will also address the graduates.  Education major Megan V. Evans will speak at the morning ceremony and psychology major Kristie N. Thudium will speak at the afternoon ceremony. 

Dr. Teresa Sychterz, professor of elementary education, teaches undergraduate and graduate-level courses in education, and has also served as an instructor at the Pennsylvania State University and St. Catharine of Siena School in Reading, Pa.

She is the recipient of several grants, including three from the Anne M. and Philip H. Glatfelter, III Family Foundation, two Verizon grants and a Social Equity Grant from the Pennsylvania State System for Higher Education, which provided the funds for the Kutztown University Children's Literature Conference.

Sychterz is an avid researcher, and her articles have appeared in The Journal of Children's Literature; The Journal of Early Childhood and Family Review; and The New Advocate, among other publications. As the graduate coordinator of elementary education, she spearheaded the development of two new master programs for post baccalaureate students seeking certification in teaching. In addition, she is the coordinator of Kutztown University's annual Children's Literature Conference, and has served on several university-wide, College of Education and elementary education departmental committees.

In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Dr. Sychterz serves as a consultant for the school and university partnership with the Brandywine School District in Topton, Pa. In the past, she has served as a consultant with the Universidad De Cuenca in Cuenca, Ecuador, and facilitated the development of a school and university partnership with the Glenside Elementary School in Reading, Pa.

Professor Randy Schaeffer, associate professor of mathematics, has been teaching at Kutztown University for more than 25 years. Schaeffer, who teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses in mathematics and mathematics education, also supervises student teachers in mathematics. Over the course of his teaching career, he has worked with more than 400 student teachers.

In addition to his teaching, Schaeffer avidly pursues opportunities for service; he is currently chair of the University Curriculum Committee, chair of the General Education Committee, the advisor for the mathematics honor society Kappa Mu Epsilon, president of the Eastern Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of Mathematics (EPCTM), immediate past co-editor of the Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of Mathematics (PCTM) Magazine, and former president and current treasurer of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Mathematics Association (PASSHEMA). In recent years, Prof. Schaeffer has helped revise the general education curriculum for the university and oversee the implementation of the new general education requirements. As president of EPCTM, he arranges the organization's biannual conference, which brings together math teachers from around the region. His research interests include fractals and technology in mathematics education.

In addition to his teaching and service to the university, Schaeffer, along with KU Professor Emeritus Bill Bateman, owns the largest privately held collection of Coca-Cola memorabilia in the world, and they are the leading authorities on the history and advertising of The Coca-Cola Company. They also collect KU memorabilia and have artifacts from when KU was the Keystone Normal School. Among the collection are pennants, created to commemorate specific events, from the 1900s; china pieces; pin trays; vases with images of Old Main; early 1900s jewelry pieces, including pins with the year on them; and old catalogues and commencement programs. They are currently working on a book for the university's Sesquicentennial Celebration in 2016.

Schaeffer, who is also a KU alumnus, serves on KU's Alumni Board and is the recipient of KU's 2013 Arthur and Isabel Wiesenberger Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Megan V. Evans is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in early childhood education. During her time at KU, Ms. Evans has been highly involved with leadership and professional development activities. On campus, she has assisted the America Reads program as a tutor, was a member of the KU Community Service Committee and served as a teacher for the K4K Writer's Workshop and the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center. Within the community, she has served as a presenter for Kutztown Elementary School's 2013 Garden Workshop; worked as a food pantry volunteer for St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Orwigsburg, Pa.; and mentored children with the Boys and Girls Club, among other positions. 

Evans is the KU chapter president for the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics; and the Eastern region vice president for the student chapter of the Pennsylvania State Education Association. She is the recipient of KU's Helen J. Marcks Honors Scholarship; Elaine Smith Scholarship; Floyd W. Boyer Graduation Award; Tara Marie Koshinski Memorial Scholarship; and John & Madalynne Evans Scholarship, among others.

Evans has held several teaching positions, and has been employed as a learning adventures instructor and assistant teacher with KinderCare in Fogelsville, Pa. and as an ESL counselor with Compass USA International in Exton, Pa.

Since 2013, Ms. Evans has been employed as an assistant teacher at the Happy Hearts Learning and Daycare center in Frackville, Pa. A week ago, Megan was offered a job as a kindergarten teacher in the North Schuylkill School District.  She plans to come back to Kutztown University in the coming years to receive a Master's of Education degree with a reading specialist certification.

Kristie Thudium is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in psychology. During her time at KU, she has worked as a research assistant for psychology professors Dr. Avidan Milevsky and Dr. Stephen Oross. Thudium is the co-author for "Cross-Cultural Variations in Parenting Challenges" and "A Qualitative Examination of Dating Partnerships in Emerging Adulthood," with Dr. Milevsky. In addition, she is co-author of a recently published book "The Transitory Nature of Parent, Sibling and Romantic Partner Relationships in Emerging Adulthood," with Dr. Milevsky. She has recently begun work on a second book on the effect of disabilities on young sibling relationships.

Thudium has presented research at the 2013 Eastern Psychological Association annual conference, received a travel grant to present at the 2014 Eastern Sociological Society annual conference in Baltimore and will present at the 2014 Association for Psychological Sciences conference later this month. She has achieved Dean's List every semester and is the recipient of the Psychology Department's Academic Achievement Award and the university's Silver Chambliss Student Academic Achievement Award. She has served as the president of the Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology and the Alpha Kappa Delta International Sociology Honor Society.

In summer 2013, Thudium was selected to work at the Summer Treatment Program for Children with Behavioral Problems at Florida International University's Center for Children and Families. While there, she worked with a clinician to develop a behavior modification program for a boy with a tic disorder. In the community, she has volunteered with Schreiber Pediatric Rehab Center in Lancaster, Pa., the Special Olympics, the Boys and Girls Club and Big Brothers Big Sisters. After graduation, she hopes to travel abroad and teach English in children's orphanages. In the future, she plans to attend graduate school and work for a nonprofit organization to assist underprivileged youth and their families.