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Tracy L. Settle '80

Tracy L. Settle ’80Colonel Tracy Settle can’t sit still for very long.

“I’ve always been a person who is fully engaged,” he said. He attributes his commitment to service to his parents, C. William and Ann Settle, who were both teachers. His father was also a colonel in the United States Army Reserves, and Colonel Settle grew up with his father attending Army reserve duty every Wednesday from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. and several weeks every summer, which gave him an appreciation for the military and the commitment of service to country.

“I joined the Reserved Officers’ Training Corps [ROTC] my first year at IUP,” Colonel Settle said, “staying in the program until my graduation in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and minors in Economics and Criminology.”

A native of Biglerville, Pennsylvania, located near Gettysburg, Colonel Settle decided to attend IUP because of the medium size of the campus and the quality of the Criminology program.

“I can’t say enough good things about the student life and academics at IUP,” Colonel Settle said. “It was the perfect fit for me.”

His selection as a 2012 IUP Distinguished Alumni Award recipient is humbling, he said, “something for which I would never have thought that I would be considered.”

While a student at IUP, Colonel Settle served as chair of the Student Activities Board and stage manager for the University Concert Association, working with Bruce Zimmerman, at that time director of Student Activities.

“I learned so much from Bruce, including how to organize a show, read a contract, everything you needed to know to bring big-name entertainment to campus,” Colonel Settle said.

After graduation, he was commissioned in the United States Army and stationed in Germany, where he met his wife, Sheri Stotz, a civil service clinical psychologist specializing in drug and alcohol counseling and treatment. Their daughter, Margaret, whom they call Meg, was born in Germany, and Colonel Settle completed a master’s degree in Systems Management through the University of Southern California.

After receiving his honorable discharge from the Army in 1987 and completing work within the Department of Defense and the civil service in Germany, Colonel Settle and his family returned to the United States and South Dakota, where he became the owner of a 1,400-member fitness center and established a 650-head bison herd with the help of several local business owners. The fitness center provided an opportunity to interface with several club members who were also members of the South Dakota National Guard. Their influence resulted in Colonel Settle’s joining the National Guard as a traditional officer in 1994, later becoming a full-time member in 1999 serving as the executive officer and legislative liaison to the adjutant general.

In 2005, Colonel Settle attended the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, where he received a master’s degree in Strategic Studies. Returning to South Dakota after his academic year, he was named director of the brand new South Dakota-Suriname State Partnership Program. The goal of the program is to establish state-to-country partnerships, facilitated through the National Guard, focused on building enduring relationships by engaging in mutual areas of interest across all levels of society. The Republic of Suriname, the smallest sovereign state in South America, is bordered by French Guiana, Guyana, and Brazil.

Colonel Settle is currently stationed in Arlington, Virginia, where he serves as the principal advisor and staff officer to the chief of the National Guard Bureau, General Craig McKinley, for all matters regarding the National Guard’s State Partnership Program.

He travels frequently to Suriname, but now as a Rotarian, where he continues to work on humanitarian projects in rainforest communities throughout the country, in coordination with the United Nations, Peace Corps, UNICEF, U.S. Embassy, Suriname government, and nongovernment and private organizations, to effect positive outcomes that have an impact on the lives of hundreds of villagers less fortunate than most Americans.

Even when he retires from the military within the next year, Colonel Settle will not actually retire.

“My wife and I will be traveling the world before we get too old,” he said, “especially to Asia, which is a part of the world that we really have not had the opportunity to visit during our working years.

“Whatever I’m doing,” he said, “as long as service is involved, I’m doing things I love to do.”

Profile published on 5/31/12

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