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Suzanne “Suzy” Kuhn Teele '82

Suzy Kuhn Teele '82

Suzanne “Suzy” Kuhn Teele graduated from the Eberly College of Business and Information Technology in 1982 with a degree in Management Information Systems (MIS) and a minor in Accounting. Upon graduation, she was hired by Mellon Bank in information processing. Five years later, she left Mellon for Legent, where she worked her way up from technical trainer to general manager of a $220-million software division. Suzy next served as senior vice president of Marketing at ServiceWare until she started her own firm, Aceda, in 1999. Presently, Suzy is president and COO of Matrix Solutions, located in Pittsburgh, Pa.

You attended IUP’s College of Business from 1978 to 1982. Tell me a little about your time as a student.
I was the first person in my family to go to college, so there were a lot of unknowns. For one thing, I had grown up with two sisters and no brothers. Esch, where I lived on campus, was a co-ed dorm. So, that took some getting used to. As far as classes went, I knew I wanted to study business from the start. I had taken accounting in high school. But when I enrolled in the mandatory computer class—as a second-semester freshman—I really enjoyed it. So, I switched to MIS. It was a relatively new major at the time.

What is your fondest memory of your time as an undergraduate?
Probably my junior and senior years. For one thing, that’s when I started taking the core MIS classes. I also joined a sorority when I was a first-semester junior. The friendships I developed there were lasting. We are still very close today.

Have things changed much since your time at IUP? Are there any places you like to revisit when you are back in town?
I spent a lot of time in town, around Philadelphia Street, when I was a student. They had only just finished the Indiana Mall back then and didn’t offer any bus service out that way. The downtown area is still vibrant, and I’m glad to see that. One big difference is Breezedale. When I was on campus, it was just an old, boarded-up house. It was sort of a rite of passage to see if you could break in without the campus police catching you. Today, obviously, it has been beautifully restored and serves as the alumni house.

You currently serve as the president of IUP’s Alumni Association. How did that come about? And what does this position entail?
A friend and former president encouraged me to get involved. I served as a board member first. As president, I oversee the board’s policies. For example, the board provides some services to alumni, such as the IUP credit card. I’m involved in negotiations with the vendor. Additionally, the board helps out with events, particularly Homecoming and the Distinguished Alumni Awards. The president also welcomes the new graduates to the Alumni Association at commencement.

You’re clearly a busy woman; how do you find the time to serve? And how much time would you estimate you give annually?
I probably give fifteen to twenty days a year. My life is a bit crazed, really, but I don’t like to be bored. I choose to commit to a few things and then do them passionately. It’s a little easier these days, as my kids are mostly grown.

Why is this particular form of service important to you, and how does it tie together with your skills as a marketer?
First and foremost, I believe in IUP and its mission. I got a fantastic education at an affordable price. And, it prepared me for the workforce—it was a liberal arts education, but it was also a practical one. One of the reasons I serve on the Alumni Board is because getting to know alumni is the best way to help young people learn the value of IUP. In terms of marketing, I want to help alumni feel connected to the university in ways that work for them. Two things I am particularly proud of in my tenure as president are pushing the transition to on-line communication as well as initiating relationships with alumni when they are seniors, not years later.

Do you have a favorite moment or memory related to your service in this position?
The Distinguished Alumni Awards gala is just a beautiful ceremony to attend. I’ve been to four. You get to see how people have lived their lives and how IUP has made an impact on their lives and careers.

Finally, you were honored as a distinguished alumna yourself, in 2004. What prompted that—was it a particular accomplishment or more the sum total of your career up to that point? How did it feel?
The award recognizes significant career achievement; it was given due to my success over time as a business executive. But what was really most meaningful about it was having my family there—my mom and dad. I got the chance to thank them for making the sacrifices, for sending me to college. It was an emotional event—both satisfying and heartfelt. I consider it a wonderful honor to have been chosen.

Profile published on 7/17/09

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