Penn State Harrisburg

Alumni Society hands out annual awards

Jeffrey Miller

Jeffrey Miller

Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Jeffrey Miller, the late Harrisburg businessman and philanthropist John O. Vartan, and the president and CEO of UGI Utilities David Trego were among the graduates honored at Penn State Harrisburg's Alumni Awards Banquet Friday, Oct. 19.

Miller, a 2001 graduate of Penn State Harrisburg with a master's degree in Public Administration, was honored as the college's 2007 Alumni Fellow, Vartan, who earned a master's in engineering in 1973, was posthumously presented the Alumni Society's Lifetime Achievement Award, and Trego, who holds three degrees from Penn State, was named the winner of the Alumni Achievement Award.

View Jeffrey Miller's Alumni Fellow acceptance speech.

Also honored by the Alumni Society at the event were Assistant Professor of Community Systems and Afro-American Studies Clemmie E. Gilpin, Computer Support Specialist Anthony Clauto, 1971 graduate William C. Forrey, and longtime friend of Penn State Harrisburg Clifford Jones.

Miller has served as Commissioner of the State Police since 2003 and was thrust into the international spotlight in 2006 when a gunman opened fire in the Lancaster County Amish schoolhouse, killing five young girls and injuring five before killing himself. Miller drew accolades for his handling of the tragedy, which was made more complex by concerns about the cultural differences and religious beliefs of the Amish. He also served as keynote speaker for Penn State Harrisburg's May 2003 commencement ceremonies.

The Alumni Fellow Award is the Penn State Alumni Association's most prestigious, given to select alumni, leaders in their professional fields, who are nominated by an academic college and accept the University president's invitation to return to campus and share their expertise with students, faculty, and administrators. The award is a cast bronze medallion and framed certificate.

Vartan, who died in 2004, was honored for his decades of commitment to the college. The eventual chairman of six midstate companies, he never forgot his alma mater, serving on its Board of Advisers and Alumni Society Board while generously supporting its academic vision through more than $3 million in gifts, including the Eastgate Center in downtown Harrisburg, Vartan Plaza on campus, the Science and Technology Building, and an endowment to support faculty research, travel, equipment, education, and public service.

Trego first earned an associate degree at Penn State Worthington-Scranton , followed by a bachelor's degree in 1980 in Building Construction Technology and an MBA in 1993 - both from Penn State Harrisburg. He joined UGI Utilities in 1987, serving in a number of increasingly responsible capacities, including vice president-electrical distribution from 2002 until his appointment as president and CEO in 2004.

One of Penn State Harrisburg's longest-serving faculty members, Dr. Gilpin is the first recipient of the Faculty Advocate Award for his tireless commitment to both students and alumni. The founder and driving force behind the Model United Nations on campus for more than 30 years, Dr. Gilpin has consistently supported college alumni and the Alumni Society. He has been honored by the Student Government Association with its Faculty Adviser of the Year Award five times, serves as the adviser to the student International Affairs Association, and is involved in numerous community-based organizations.

Among Clauto's service to the Alumni Society which earned him the inaugural Staff Advocate Award is his personal development of a database to serve the Mentoring Program and his willingness to give his time to assist at events and in solving technology-related problems.

Forrey was honored by the Alumni Society with its President's Award. A former society president and current ex-officio board member, Forrey's longtime service to the college has been formally acknowledged in the past with the 1982 Alumni Achievement Award and the 1999 Mitchell Award, which recognizes an individual who has significantly contributed in the area of public service by sharing or volunteering his or her talent, time, and resources on behalf of the University.

An advocate on behalf of Penn State Harrisburg since its inception in 1966, Jones is being honored by the Cliff Jones Program Fund for Good Government, created to support students pursuing careers in government or government-related industry.

Part of the team which developed the plan for the college, Jones' commitment to Penn State Harrisburg includes membership on the Board of Advisers and most recently as the instructor for both Harrisburg Semester Internship classes offered through the School of Public Affairs. Statewide, Jones had a long and distinguished career of public service in Pennsylvania, serving four governors in cabinet positions including Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of Labor an Industry, and Secretary of Environmental Resources. He was also chairman and a member of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.