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College Welcomes Back Distinguished Alumni

The College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics is honored to welcome two Distinguished Alumni from our college back to campus on Friday, April 26.

They are John Gilly (’79, Biology) and Esther Kepplinger (’71, Biology). See their biographies below.

At 10:10 a.m. on Friday, in Room 127 Weyandt Hall, Ms. Kepplinger and Dr. Gilly will give brief presentations about their distinguished careers. This is an excellent opportunity to welcome former students back to the College, and for our current students to hear about real-life experiences and gain valuable career advice.

John Gilly

Graduated from IUP in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in Biology, obtained a Master of Science degree in Biochemistry from the University of Scranton in 1983 and a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology in 1990 from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, and spent his career working to improve the health of children and adults. During the past 27 years, Dr. Gilly has worked his way up to management positions for biopharmaceutical and biological research companies before accepting his current position supporting the National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health in 2007. In 2011, he became the director of the Vaccine Clinical Materials Program, overseeing the development of vaccines and biotherapeutic agents for protection against and treatment of HIV, influenza, and other emerging diseases and threats. While at this NIH-funded program, he was presented with the NCI Center for Cancer Research Technology Transfer Award twice, in 2011 and 2012.

Dr. Gilly currently serves as an adjunct instructor of Pharmaceutical Management at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business, as well as an adjunct associate professor of Pharmaceutical Business at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. He also serves on the Mount St. Mary’s University Board of Visitors for the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and as a student mentor at Drexel University.

At IUP, Dr. Gilly established the Young Life Scientist Opportunity Fund, designed to expand students’ educational experience at professional meetings in which they present papers or participate in poster sessions derived from their research.

Esther Kepplinger

Graduated from IUP in 1971 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, and continued at IUP for two more years, working toward a master’s degree in Biochemistry, when, after submitting an application to the civil service, she received a job offer to be a patent examiner at the Patent Office. Ms. Kepplinger served as a patent examiner and in supervisory positions before being selected as the deputy commissioner for Patent Operations; she was the first woman to rise to that level. As deputy commissioner, she oversaw all of the nation’s patent examination process, with 3,700 U.S. patent examiners reporting to her. She was responsible for the day-to-day operations, efforts to improve efficiency, and the achievement of the quality and pendency goals of the Patent Office. In this capacity, she managed about 4,500 people involved in the intake, examination, and publication of issued patents.

After 32 years at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, with the last five years as the deputy commissioner for Patent Operations, Ms. Kepplinger now serves as the chief patent counselor for Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in Washington, D.C., where she acts as the liaison to the Patent Office, counsels clients on patent strategy, and serves as an expert witness in patent litigation.

  • College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
  • Weyandt Hall, Room 305
    975 Oakland Avenue
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-2609
  • Fax: 724-357-5700
  • Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.