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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.

Tell us your interests on our Volunteer Interest Form!

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

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

Vice President/President-Elect
Principal, RGS Associates, Inc.; Lancaster, PA |

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 |

Gabe Kean

Gabe Kean – ’95 B.A. Graphic Design

Graphic Design Alumni Group Representative
Design Director, Belle & Wissell, Co. |

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

Immediate Past President
Architect; Pittsburgh, PA |

Jared Edgar McKnight

Jared Edgar McKnight – ’11 B.Arch.

Associate, WRT Design |

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
Matthew Graham (2012) Vice President
David Schrader (1991) Immediate Past President and Representative to Arts and Architecture Alumni Society
Alex Donahue (2013) Secretary–Treasurer
Andrew Phillips (1988)
Rob McClure (2000)
Carla Bonacci (1982)
Linda O’Gwynn (1976)
Savannah Cranford (2018)
Lynn Gaffney (1991)
Mehrdad Hadighi Department Head
Katsu Muramoto Faculty Representative
Patricia Kucker Director of Stuckeman School
Joyce Hoffman Director of Constituent Engagement
Jennifer Carvajal Moreno (2021) Recent Graduate

Recent + Upcoming

The group’s most recent meeting was held on July 17, at which time newly-elected board members Carla Bonacci and Linda O’Gwynn were welcomed along with the recent graduate representative, Jennifer Carvajal Moreno.

It was reported that the group’s submission to the Penn State Alumni Association for recognition of the Materials Resource Fund as an outstanding initiative in fundraising was selected for a $500 award. This will be celebrated at a volunteer recognition event hosted by the Alumni Association in October.

Working with Stuckeman Career Advisor Ross Weinreb, the group is once again coordinating professional development sessions, offered remotely over the summer. The primary audience for these is students, but the sessions are open to all alumni to attend. Two sessions have already taken place and a third will be held on Wednesday, August 4 at noon ET. Links for the series will be posted here when complete.

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.

The group held its most recent meeting in early June, and will continue meeting every 2–3 months in order to maintain continuity in its initiatives. A mentoring program will kick off this fall, matching alumni mentors with current students in the program.


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


Members Position
Aniekan Udo (2006)
Jordan Barnett (2016)
Anshey Bhatia (2005)
Lisa Hopey (2006) Vice President
Gabe Kean (1995) Representative to A&A Alumni Society
Katherine O’Hara (1992) Secretary-Treasurer
Karin Satrom (2001) President
Phil Choo Department Head, Graphic Design
Patricia Kucker Director of Stuckeman School
Joyce Hoffman Director of Constituent Engagement
Taylor Shipton Faculty Liaison

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.



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

Recent + Upcoming

The group’s most recent meeting was held on May 1, at which time newly-named department head Roxi Thoren was introduced. Former department head Eliza Pennypacker, who will continue to be engaged with the group as Faculty Liaison, was presented a letter informing her that the board members had made a gift to the Pennypacker Scholarship in her honor. The second edition of the newsletter was emailed in early May. Eliza will be working with Josh Lippert on the continuation of the group’s successful alumni/student mentorship program, with some new ideas in store for the start of the Fall 2021/Spring 2022 program cycle.


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

Three additional board members have been added in recent months: Bret Michels, Theresa Hoover, and Olivia Dowd. This group is continuing to meet bi-monthly via Zoom to continue discussion about future initiatives to support the School and our students.

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 Zoom 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 group 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)
(TBA) Student Representative
Jonah Schwartz Student Representative
Steve Snyder Faculty Liaison
Rick Lombardo Director, Penn State School of Theatre
Joyce Hoffman Director of Constituent Engagement

Recent + Upcoming

The group’s most recent meeting was held on July 9 with the primary purpose of matching alumni mentors with students, to ensure a successful kickoff of this new program in the fall.

In June, the group presented a third episode of “The Living Room Project”, featuring members of the APG board and numerous alumni sharing their work and also talking about their Penn State experience. This was presented during the Alumni Association’s We Are Weekend program, which ran virtually from June 15-18. The group also received the welcome news this spring of its selection for an Innovative Programming Award from the Penn State Alumni Association, for the successful pivot of the STAGES program from a one-day masterclass event to a semester-long series of virtual programming in the Fall 2020 semester. The group will be recognized at a live event on October 1, and will receive $500 towards future programming.

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) Vice President
Emilee Taylor (1974) Secretary
Taryn McMahon (2006)
Barbara Campbell Thomas (1998) Treasurer
Vicente Ortiz Cortez (2014) President
Larry Gawel (1994)
Michael Fratangelo (2001) Liaison to Arts and Architecture Alumni Society Board
Angela Rothrock Faculty Liaison
Yang Deng Student Representative (Ph.D. Candidate, Art Education)
Vagner Mendonça-Whitehead Director, School of Visual Arts
Joyce Hoffman Director of Constituent Engagement

Recent + Upcoming

The group held its first event, a well-attended virtual happy hour, in May. Meeting in June, the group strategized about its next initiatives, including the establishment of an Instagram presence, future programming to engage more alumni, and the possibilities of establishing an alumni/student mentoring program.

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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