Community Celebrates McDonald’s Career, Endowment Tops $100K

Pictured, from left to right, are IT Director Brian Hart and Interim Co-director of
Academic Affairs Maureen Horan who are presenting Chancellor Anita McDonald with a mosaic artwork as a gift from faculty and staff. (Provided photo)

DUBOIS – More than 200 people turned out to celebrate the career and accomplishments of Chancellor Anita McDonald during her recent retirement celebration at the DuBois Country Club.

Guests included friends, family members who traveled from Arizona, Colorado, Washington D.C. and Michigan, members of the business community, government leaders, members of Penn State University leadership and Penn State DuBois faculty, staff and students.  All wished McDonald well in her upcoming retirement, which will begin Jan. 1.   

Most of those in attendance also contributed to the Anita D. McDonald Endowment Supporting Children and Youth Programs, which now boasts a total of $113,000 in pledges and gifts.  Penn State DuBois friends, supporters and donors at the Fairman Family Foundation recently established the endowment in the chancellor’s honor. It is intended to provide scholarship support for Kids in College (KIC), The Art, Science and Technology Institute (AST), athletic camps and other Penn State DuBois programs for children and youth between the ages of 4 and 15.  Mark Freemer, chair of the campus’ For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students committee announced the total during the evening’s program.

“To establish an endowment here at Penn State, you need to raise $25,000,” Freemer said. “Not only did the committee succeed in doing so, they surpassed it.”

Following Freemer, a list of other speakers offered remarks on McDonald and her accomplishments.

“You are indeed leaving a grand legacy,” said Madlyn Hanes, vice president of the Commonwealth Campuses and dean of the University College of Penn State.  “The vitality of this campus and the central role it plays in the economic vitality of this region are of your making.” 

“Penn State DuBois and our community are both better today as a result of your efforts,” said Ed Nasuti, campus donor, DuBois Educational Foundation board member, and president of the engineering firm Lee-Simpson Associates Inc. “Anita, we wish you a happy and fulfilling retirement and thank you for your service to our campus.”

Lisa Taylor, the chancellor’s administrative assistant, shared a special surprise for McDonald.  She read from a letter written by First Lady Michelle Obama to McDonald.  She read, “I am so pleased to join your family and friends in congratulating you on your retirement. As you look back on your career, I hope you take pride in all that you’ve accomplished and contributed over the years. I wish you the best as you begin the next chapter of your life.  Sincerely, Michelle Obama.” 

State Rep. Matt Gabler presented McDonald with a letter of commendation on behalf of the citizens of Pennsylvania’s 75th legislative district.  He said, “As somebody who grew up in DuBois, and recognizes how important Penn State DuBois is to our area, I want to thank you for your leadership and for doing everything you’ve done to make our community the very best place it can be.” 

“Dr. McDonald has been a great help in advancing our academics.  She has also opened the door for students to come to DuBois and participate in athletics,” said student athlete Joe Shields, who spoke of McDonald’s work to reestablish varsity athletic programs on campus.  “On behalf of the athletes, I just want to say thank you.” 

Campus Director of Information Technology Brian Hart presented McDonald with a gift from the faculty and staff.  That gift is a small scale replica of a mosaic that hangs on a wall in the campus’ Swift Building. The circular mosaic depicts people of varying ethnic backgrounds and different countries, as well as species of animals found around the world. The piece is meant to symbolize the power of diversity and the commitment the campus community has made to promote and foster diversity, an effort that McDonald has always championed.  McDonald said, “The mosaic carries deep meaning for me and for my efforts at the campus.  To know that there are only two such beautiful pieces in the world and that one is on campus and the other will always be with me is more than I could hope for.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

McDonald also expressed her gratitude for the entire celebration and the effort that campus employees and friends put into planning the event.  She said, “My retirement celebration was absolutely magnificent.  Every aspect had some personal significance for me. I am still filled with emotion from the many kind words expressed that evening.”

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