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Alumni & Friends - Penn State College of Arts and Architecture

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Be involved & connected!

Support the arts and design

Alumni and friends are an integral part of the College of Arts and Architecture family. Thanks to your involvement, we are able to support students and faculty in their studies and in their creative and research pursuits. Graduating does not take you out of the equation – it just means there are new ways for you to stay involved and connected.

Being involved? It’s just an email away!

A&A Alumni Society

WE ARE…award-winning actors, architects, graphic designers, artists, musicians, lighting designers, set designers, stage managers, photographers, landscape architects, art historians, art, music and museum educators, and more. Nearly 20,000 Penn State alumni call the College of Arts and Architecture home!

If you are a College of Arts and Architecture graduate and you join the Penn State Alumni Association, you automatically become a member of the Arts and Architecture Alumni Society. We benefit from annual funding from the Penn State Alumni Association based on membership. Some of this funding is used to support alumni events, and a portion of it is made available to departmental alumni groups (APGs) for activities specific to the department’s alumni base. The Arts and Architecture Alumni Society is governed by a board of directors that meets quarterly. There are occasional openings for new members. For more information about a position on the Alumni Society Board, please get in touch!

Contact Joyce Hoffman, director of constituent engagement
Phone: 814-863-0622

College of Arts and Architecture alumni and friends gather together for a picture during a tailgate party on blue and white weekend.

We love our alumni volunteers!

The Arts and Architecture Alumni Society and departmental alumni groups serve as vital resources for students and fellow alumni. Networking, mentoring, connecting across disciplines – these are just a few ways you can be involved.

A&A Alumni Society Leadership

As the governing body of the Arts and Architecture Alumni Society, the members of the board serve as a resource for the College of Arts and Architecture by promoting ongoing communication and relationships among alumni, students, faculty, administration, and affiliated groups.

Board Members

Ed Black

Ed Black – ’66 Landscape Architecture

Landscape Architecture Alumni Group Representative
President, H. Edward Black & Associates; Harrisburg, PA |

Frank Dittenhafer

Frank Dittenhafer – ’78 Architecture

Vice President/President-Elect
President, Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects; York, PA |

Mike Fisher

Mike Fisher – ’79 Landscape Architecture

Principal, Site Resources, Inc.; Phoenix, MD |

Michael Fratangelo

Michael Fratangelo – ’01 Visual Arts

Visual Arts Alumni Group Representative
Artist and Art Educator | |

Mark Hackenburg

Mark Hackenburg ’88 B.S. Landscape Architecture

Principal, RGS Associates, Inc.; Lancaster, PA |

Kimberly Henrikson

Kimberly Henrikson – ’98 B.A. Art History

Immediate Past President
Executive Director, Center for Contemporary Printmaking; New Canaan, CT |

Brian Kappel

Brian Kappel ’98 B.A. Visual Arts

Artist/Owner, Spacemonkey Designs; Beaverton, OR |

Michael C. Karns

Michael C. Karns, ’11 BFA Theatre (Stage Management)

CEO, Marathon Digital; New York, NY |

Allison Keilman

Allison Keilman – ’09 Bachelor of Arts

Exhibition Program Specialist, National Portrait Gallery; Washington, DC |

John Kovalchik

John Kovalchik – ’71 Music Education

Alumni Bands Alumni Group Representative
Retired Music Educator; State College, PA |

Peter Margittai

Peter Margittai – ’93 Architecture

Architect; Pittsburgh, PA |

Jared Edgar McKnight

Jared Edgar McKnight – ’11 B.Arch.

Graduate Student at USC; Los Angeles, CA |

Richard Nasto, Ed.D.

Dr. Richard Nasto, Ed.D., ’96 B.S. Music Education, ’99 M.Mus.

Music Educator at Merrick Union Free School District; New York |

Doug Patt

Doug Patt, ’91 B.Arch.

Architect, Creator, Author, Teacher; Allentown, PA |

Morgan Pierce

Morgan Pierce – ’89 B.S. Landscape Architecture

Principal, 3 North; San Francisco, CA |

Carol Poblete

Carol Poblete – ’08 B.S. Music Education

Music Alumni Group Representative
Music Teacher, Highland Elementary School; Silver Spring, MD |

David Schrader

David Schrader, FAIA, LEED AP – ’91 B.S. Architecture

Architecture Alumni Group Representative
Principal, Schrader Group Architects; Philadelphia, PA |

Michael Smanko

Michael Smanko – ’77 MFA Theatre

Theatre Alumni Group Representative
(Retired) Production Props Supervisor; New Jersey |

Lynne Smyers

Lynne Smyers – ’84 Graphic Design

Owner, Smyers Design; King George, VA |

Affiliate Program Groups

APGs are groups of alumni who share a common interest in a particular academic unit or department. There are no dues to join the department-based groups – by being a graduate, all alumni are automatically members. The APGs in the College of Arts and Architecture are focused on issues that are uniquely valued by their own departments, and each is governed by its own board of directors. The College of Arts and Architecture is also home to the Alumni Blue Band Association APG, because of its unique relationship with the School of Music.

To become actively involved in an APG, contact Joyce Hoffman in the Arts and Architecture Alumni Office or get in touch directly with the group’s current contact person listed below.


Membership in the Architecture Alumni (AAG) is automatic for all graduates of Penn State Architecture with no dues. The group exists to help provide a connection with alumni, and the board of directors acts as an informal advisory group to the department. By expanding the participation of alumni relationships, the group hopes to promote interaction between alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends for the benefit and ongoing improvement of the department.



Members Position
Sara Pettit (2009) President
Bob Holland (1973) Vice President
Matthew Graham (2012) Secretary–Treasurer
David Schrader (1991) Immediate Past President and Representative to Arts and Architecture Alumni Society
Alex Donahue (2013)
Samantha Josaphat (2012)
Andrew Phillips (1988)
Rob McClure (2000)
Danielle Mitchell (2015)
Mehrdad Hadighi Department Head
Katsu Muramoto Faculty Representative
Patricia Kucker Director of Stuckeman School
Joyce Hoffman Director of Constituent Engagement
Peter Morano (2020) Recent Graduate

Recent + Upcoming

At the July meeting of the Architecture Alumni Group (AAG), David Schrader passed the baton of leadership to Sara Pettit, who will serve as president of the group for the next two years. David will continue as part of the AAG’s leadership committee in the role of Immediate Past President, and he will also become the group’s official representative to the Arts and Architecture Alumni Society.  Following the summer meeting, a task force was created, headed by Alex Donahue, to examine issues of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the architecture program. The group has had several meetings already and is divided into several smaller issue-based sub-groups. Any architecture alumni who are interested in contributing to these conversations are welcome to contact Alex for more information.

The group’s mentoring program will be kicking off again this fall, once again headed by Matt Graham. All alumni will be offered the opportunity to volunteer as mentors and then matched with a current student. The 2019-2020 mentoring program was extended through summer of 2020 to provide extra support to students through the challenging times presented by the global pandemic. In addition, a schedule of weekly programs was created, offering a wide array of subjects to both students and alumni. Links to the recordings of those sessions are available below.

Summer Seminar Series 2020

5/22 – General open session “Series Introduction with Q&A”

  • Matt Graham, B.Arch. 2012
  • Jerry Briggs, B.Arch. 1974

5/29 – Technology & Working remotely

  • Carmen Gervasio (Parallel Edge) – “Working remotely”
  • Nathalie Waelbroeck, B.Arch. 2015 – “Technology trends”

6/5 – General open session “Alternative Careers”

  • Bob Holland, B.Arch. 1973
  • Jeff Brown, B.Arch. 2012

6/12 – Sensible Solutions to Real Emergency Situations – AIA CES

  • Andy Simmons, B.Arch. 2007
  • Brad Earl, B.Arch. 1967

6/19 – General open session “Demystifying the ARE/AXP”

  • Alex Donahue, B.Arch. 2012
  • Ross Weinreb, M.Arch. 2012

6/26 – Advanced Enclosures: High Performance Custom Design – AIA CES

  • John Jackson (SGH)
  • CJ Brandmeier (SGH)

7/10 – General open session “Whole Practice”

  • Sara Pettit, B.Arch. 2009
  • Lauren Powers, B.Arch. 2009

7/17 – Starting a business? “Going out on your own”

  • Samantha Josaphat, B.Arch. 2012
  • David Schrader, B.Arch. 1991

7/24 – The Master Builder Meets Reality: A Discussion on Contemporary Design and Construction

  • Phil Wessell, B.Arch. 2008
  • Alex Donahue, B.Arch. 2012

7/31 – Return to Campus: Design & Implementation Strategies

  • Matt Graham, B.Arch. 2012
  • Patricia Kucker, B.S. in Arch. 1981, B.Arch. 1982

Art History

The Art History Alumni Circle was established to help foster the alumni community and promote interaction between alumni and the department by communicating alumni achievements, departmental news and events; and supporting mentoring and networking opportunities for alumni, students, and faculty.


Recent + Upcoming

This group is seeking some leadership! Meeting in person is not required; arrangements for occasional Zoom or Teams meetings can be arranged. A mix of art history undergrad and graduate alumni would be desirable; relatively recent (past 10-15 years) alumni are particularly encouraged to consider how you might support the department through your service. If interested in the Art History Alumni Circle, please contact Joyce Hoffman in the A&A Alumni Office.

Graphic Design

The Graphic Design Alumni Group was established with the purposes of providing a forum where alumni of the program can continue to grow professionally and personally, and to provide a way for alumni to stay connected to each other and the program. The group helps encourage and support educational and career opportunities for students in the field of graphic design. Membership in the Graphic Design alumni group is open without membership dues, to all graduates of the program.


Join the Graphic Design Alumni Listserv by contacting the Arts and Architecture Alumni Office.

Recent + Upcoming

This group is seeking some leadership through a new board of directors. Six positions are available for self-nominations from the alumni body at large; additional appointments to round out the board of 9 directors will be appointed by the department head. Board meetings can be held periodically by Zoom or Teams, requiring no travel for the majority of board members.  One member of the board should be prepared to fulfill the responsibility of acting as the group’s official representative on the College of Arts & Architecture Alumni Society Board, which has three to four meetings per year. It would be desirable for the group representative to be able to attend at least one college alumni society meeting per year in person, though Zoom is always offered as an option. It would be desirable to have all decades of Penn State Graphic Design alumni represented on the board. Interested in learning more? Contact Joyce Hoffman in the A&A Alumni Office.

Landscape Architecture

Membership in the Landscape Architecture Alumni Group (L.Arch. APG) is automatic for all graduates of the program with no dues. The group exists to provide a connection with alumni, and the board of directors acts as an informal advisory group to the department. The L.Arch. APG was the first academic department-based alumni group in the College of Arts and Architecture, and the group provides strong support to current students in numerous ways, including a mentorship program. The group has also established a program endowment that will provide funds in perpetuity to be used to benefit students. At this time, the endowment proceeds are being utilized to help offset the costs associated with field trips. The board of directors meets regularly on campus, approximately three times per year.



Members Position
Lisa Thomas (1981) President
Stacy Fisher (1979) Vice President
Julie Cantola Kirsch (2009) Secretary–Treasurer
Ken Mizerny (1970) Immediate Past President
Katie Kovalchik (2015)
Terrie Brightman (2004)
Jim DeTuerk (1961)
Josh Lippert (2011)
Evan Stone (1986)
Eliza Pennypacker Department Head
Bonj Szczygiel Faculty Representative
Patricia Kucker Director of Stuckeman School
Joyce Hoffman Director of Constituent Engagement

Recent + Upcoming

The group’s most recent meeting was held via Zoom in early May, on what would typically have been the day of the annual banquet. The board heard reports from Stuckeman School director Patricia Kucker and from department head Eliza Pennypacker. Under Julie (Cantola) Kirsch’s leadership, planning has begun for the launch of the alumni group’s e-newsletter, which will be released this fall. Board member Josh Lippert will spearhead this year’s mentorship program, which will get under way in the fall as well.


The Penn State School of Music Affiliate Program Group was founded with the purpose of providing a forum by which alumni can continue to grow professionally and personally and stay connected with each other and to the School. The group works with the Director of the School of Music in remaining informed about the affairs of the School, encourages and supports educational and career opportunities for students in the field of music, and helps foster a sense of pride in the School of Music while enhancing its reputation and prestige.


Recent + Upcoming

This group is looking for additional volunteers to serve as board members for the alumni group.  Meetings can be held by teleconference, Zoom or Teams, and at the collective convenience of the Board and the Director of the School. Carol Poblete currently represents the group on the Arts and Architecture Alumni Society Board. If you are interested in the possibility of serving on the alumni group board, please contact Carol or Joyce Hoffman in the A&A Alumni Office.

Establish a legacy of your support for our School of Music family by dedicating a seat in our new hall.


Membership in the Theatre Alumni Group is automatic for all graduates of the Penn State School of Theatre with no dues. The group exists to help provide connections between alumni, and between alumni and current students. The board of directors meets by telephone regularly, to discuss the group’s initiatives. In its relatively short time of existence, the Theatre Alumni Group has already been recognized by the Penn State Alumni Association for its exceptional alumni/student interaction programming. The board is currently governed by the board of directors listed below.



Members Position
Allison Lee (1995 BFA) President
Carolyn Quinn (2016 BFA)
Laura Matey (2011)
Courtney Cavanaugh (2009 BFA)
Kate Pappas (1997)
Jodi Stevens (1990)
Benjamin Nissen (2018 BFA Musical Theatre)
Mike Smanko (1977 MFA)
Mike Karns (2011 BFA)
Becca Suskauer Student Representative
Megan Belgam Student Representative
Steve Snyder Faculty Liaison
Rick Lombardo Director, Penn State School of Theatre
Joyce Hoffman Director of Constituent Engagement

Recent + Upcoming

The group is has collaborated with the School of Theatre in part by eliciting alumni involvement in virtual programing for continued episodes of “The Living Room Project.” Alumni who are interested in being considered for a future segment in this programming should contact Allison Lee. A virtual offering of the group’s award-winning student engagement program, STAGES, is also in the works for this fall, being spearheaded by board member Ben Nissen.

Visual Arts/Art Education

The School of Visual Alumni Group was founded with the purpose of providing a forum in which alumni of the Penn State School of Visual Arts (SoVA) can stay connected to each other and to the School, remain informed about the affairs of the School and the College. The group hopes to assist the School, as appropriate, in the recruitment of students, and to support and encourage educational and career opportunties for students in the fields of visual arts and art education.



Members Position
Jason Lahr (1999)
Nicole Packard (2014)
Sarah Knouse (2006)
Emilee Taylor (1974)
Taryn McMahon (2006)
Barbara Campbell Thomas (1998)
Vicente Ortiz Cortez (2014)
Michael Fratangelo (2001) Liaison to Arts and Architecture Alumni Society Board
Will Snyder Past President
Angela Rothrock Faculty Liaison
Yang Deng Student Representative (Ph.D. Candidate, Art Education)
Vagner Mendonça-Whitehead Director, School of Visual Arts (effective 9/15/2020)
Joyce Hoffman Director of Constituent Engagement

Recent + Upcoming

A new board of directors as listed above was elected in early 2020 with the intent of re-activating this group by July 1. Although the COVID-19 pandemic delayed those plans, we have continued to make progress and look forward to working with the School of Visual Arts’ new leadership in the coming months.

Blue Band

As an alum of Penn State University and the Blue Band, you have three opportunities to join the Alumni Blue Band Association and support the alumni and current members of the Penn State Marching Blue Band! Complete details about the Alumni Blue Band Association (ABBA) can be found at the ABBA website.


Woskob gallery showcasing interactive light painting by a participant.

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The Penn State Alumni Association

The mission of the Alumni Association is to connect alumni to the University and to each other, to provide valued services to members, and to support the University’s mission of teaching, research, and service.

Learn more about alumni events, groups, travel, career opportunities, giving, leadership, and so much more. The opportunities are endless.

Visit the Alumni Association website
Overhead view of alumni association reception at the Hintz Alumni Center on the Penn State university Park campus

We are...

Penn State Arts and Architecture is stronger for all of the students, alumni, and friends who are engaged and active contributors to our community!

Keeping in Touch!

We want to keep in touch with you! As you move through life – taking on new roles and marking new achievements – we hope that you will reach out and let us know so that we can celebrate your successes. Feel free to provide updates via the Alumni Association update form. If you have professional news that might be of interest to the larger community of Arts and Architecture alumni and students, please reach out to us.

Similarly, we love to share student, faculty, alumni, and school news, events, and happenings. Units across the college send out e-news publications that help to keep you abreast of the latest from your alma mater. Please complete the form below to indicate the information you’d like to receive.

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