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McGeary '54, Arts Innovator, to Receive Honorary Doctorate, Give Commencement Keynote Address

mcgeary_hon_doctorate_2012_200Clyde McGeary '54, artist and arts education innovator, will receive an honorary doctorate and provide the keynote address at Commencement on May 12.

IUP will hold two ceremonies, both in the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex, combining undergraduate and graduate students. The 9:00 a.m. ceremony will be for the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, College of Fine Arts, and College of Health and Human Services.

The 1:30 p.m. ceremony will be for the College of Education and Educational Technology, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Eberly College of Business and Information Technology.

McGeary will address both.

The recommendation for McGeary’s honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree was approved by the IUP Council of Trustees in March, then by the Office of the Chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

Honorary degree candidates must demonstrate meritorious achievement over an extended period in the areas of higher education, science, public affairs, business, or the arts.

McGeary served as chief of the Division of Arts and Sciences in the Bureau of Curriculum and Instruction in the Pennsylvania Department of Education from 1975 to 1991. During that time, he created Pennsylvania’s Governor’s School of the Arts and the complex of Governor’s Schools of Excellence, including the schools of science, health care, business, agriculture, teaching, and international studies.

He worked as a fine arts adviser and senior fine arts adviser for the Pennsylvania Department of Education from 1964 to 1975.

His early work with the Educational Television Network resulted in hundreds of classroom programs on architecture, environment, music and art for schools and colleges across the nation. He has coauthored, with the late Blanche Waugaman-Jefferson, an IUP graduate and former professor, a series of texts related to elementary art education. Some of his other publications underscore the importance of mathematics, science, and reading to the arts—which is also the subject of many videos and films he has produced or narrated.

Currently, McGeary is a board member of the Education Policy and Leadership Center, which supports state-level education policies to promote learning, and is a founder and board member of the Susquehanna Art Museum in Harrisburg.

He also is a working artist whose paintings and sculptures have been exhibited widely and included in many collections. Lebanon Valley College will host a retrospective of his paintings in 2013.

McGeary taught at North Allegheny Schools and later at the University of Pittsburgh. He was a visiting professor at Kutztown University and the University of South Florida while a graduate student at those institutions.

He received an MFA from Carnegie-Mellon University and completed extensive postgraduate work in art history, arts education and arts management at the University of Pittsburgh, Harvard University, New York University, University of Georgia, and American University.

He served with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during the Korean Conflict and received an honorable discharge with special commendations in 1957, achieving the rank of first lieutenant.

McGeary has worked with the Paul Getty Trust, Ford, Kellogg, and J.D. Rockefeller III foundations. He was appointed by Governor Mark Schweiker and Governor Edward Rendell to serve consecutive terms as a board member of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. He also has served as a member of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, representing the secretary of education, and as an appointed member of the Preservation Pennsylvania board of directors.

He has been president of the Perry County Council of the Arts, which serves six counties in Pennsylvania, and has managed a significant financial bequest to the organization, as well as a collection of precious art, allowing for the creation of a community cultural center and museum in Newport. The organization honored him with the construction of an education resource and research room in the center and with the 2012 Special Honors for Community Service Award.

McGeary is a Distinguished Fellow of the National Art Education Association and the Pennsylvania Art Education Association and was chair and creator of the Clyde McGeary Aspiring Art Educators Scholarship Program. He is a 1985 IUP Distinguished Alumni Award winner and received a similar honor from his high school in Springdale.

He received the Executive Award for the Holocaust Education Curriculum from the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition and the Distinguished Educator Award from Kappa Delta Phi. He also received the Governor’s Schools of Excellence Award and the Distinguished Service Award from the International Year of the Child program and the International Community Service Award from Cosmopolitan International. He was honored by the J.C. Penney Community Awards program as the 1999 Volunteer of the Year in Pennsylvania and has received special commendations from the Pennsylvania secretary of Education and the state legislature. 

His wife, Barbara Conner-McGeary '54, also an arts educator, created the first arts magnet school (drawing from outside normal boundaries) in Pennsylvania. 

The McGearys live in Camp Hill, Pa.

IUP has granted 54 honorary degrees in its history. Those receiving the honor include U.S. Rep. John P. Murtha, Oscar Arias Sanchez, Andre Previn, James “Jimmy” Stewart, Art Rooney, Fred Rogers, former governor Richard Thornburg, and retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.