Penn State Harrisburg recently presented Alumni Achievement Awards to one graduate of each of the five academic schools who demonstrates outstanding professional accomplishment. The awards, bestowed during the Alumni Awards Dinner on October 16, honor a diverse collection of talents and accomplishments from across the college.
The School of Behavioral Sciences and Education honored Peter G. Gurt, a 1997 master’s of education graduate. Gurt is currently the president of Milton Hershey School, a cost-free, private, coeducational home and school for children from families of lower income. Prior to becoming president, Gurt served as the school’s senior vice president and chief operating officer.
An alumnus of the Milton Hershey School, Gurt has served in a succession of roles there, including vice president of student life and vice president of administration. He has also been an assistant varsity girls’ basketball coach and a relief houseparent for 10 years with his wife, in addition to his regular duties. Gurt also served as a Milton Hershey School Alumni Association Board officer and was president of the William E. Dearden Alumni Campus Advisory Board.
Gurt also serves on the Board of Directors of the World Children’s Center in Atlanta, and on the Commission for Accreditation, the body responsible for independent schools in Pennsylvania. In 2009, the Coalition for Residential Education named Gurt Administrator of the Year. He is also a member of the Hershey Rotary Club.
Matthew Hartzler, a 1995 structural design and construction engineering technology graduate, was honored by the School of Science, Engineering, and Technology. He is the current president of Warfel Construction Company, one of Central Pennsylvania's oldest and largest providers of construction management, design/build, and general contracting services, with clients throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.
Hartzler joined Warfel shortly after graduation as a project engineer and was later promoted to project manager. He was named assistant manager of operations in 2002 and became a partner/vice president in 2007. He assumed the role of president in 2013. Hartzler is also instrumental in leading overall strategic planning at Warfel.
He is also active in many local, ecumenical, and charitable organizations. He serves on the Board of the Mennonite Home Communities and Water Street Ministries, the steering committee for the Global Disciples, and is involved with the Mennonite Economic Development Association.
Amanda Moyer, a 2002 communications graduate, was honored by the School of Humanities. Moyer is the assistant news director of WSB Radio in Atlanta. She also serves as executive producer of Atlanta's Morning News. Prior to that, Moyer was national correspondent at CNN Radio, covering a range of stories, including breaking news nationally and internationally.
As national correspondent at CNN Radio, some of Moyer’s most prolific coverage includes the 2008 presidential election; on-scene reporting of the 2007 bridge collapse in Minneapolis; live coverage of the May 2007 Greensburg, Kansas F5 tornado that hit the small farming community; live coverage in 2006 of the 34 day war between Israel and Hezbollah with reporting from Jerusalem, Haifa and the Israeli/Lebanese border; the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina from New Orleans; the 2005 aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the devastation Hurricane Rita left behind in Texas and Louisiana; several Super Bowls; the 2008 Final Four; and the 2009 Masters Tournament.
The School of Business Administration honored James Talalai, a 1994 master’s of management information systems graduate. Talalai currently serves as Select Medical executive vice president and chief operating officer. Based in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, Select Medical is a leading provider of specialized health care encompassing long-term acute care, inpatient medical rehabilitation, outpatient physical rehabilitation and contract therapy.
As chief operating officer, Talalai oversees operations across all Select Medical business lines and is a guiding force behind The Select Medical Way, a company-wide initiative designed to create enhanced patient and employee experiences that differentiate and elevate the organization. With a tenure spanning more than 15 years, Talalai has played a key role in the dynamic growth of Select Medical through strategic acquisitions, collaborative joint ventures and organic growth.
Talalai joined Select Medical in May 1997 as director of information services. During his time with the company, he was promoted to vice president, then to senior vice president & CIO, and eventually to executive vice president & CIO.
William Terrill, a 1992 criminal justice graduate, was recognized by the School of Public Affairs. Terrill is a professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University.
His research centers on police behavior, with an emphasis on police use of force and police culture. He has published over 50 scholarly articles, chapters, and reports, as well as two books titled “Police Coercion: Application of the Force Continuum” and “Police Culture: Adapting to the Strains of the Job.”
Terrill recently completed a National Institute of Justice grant to examine variation in use of force policies throughout the country and the outcomes associated with the different policies, as well as a private foundation grant involving an observational study of the police in Flint, Michigan.