Skip to Content - Skip to Navigation

Donald Howe '79

Don Howe and golfers

From left: Jamie Wallace ’80, Jonathan Stevens ’83, Claude Epps III ’80, Wendell Harvin ’78, Tom Sutton ’75, Steven Whiting ’82, Don Howe ’79, Mike Higgins ’80

Donald Howe

Donald Howe graduated from the IUP School of Business in 1979 with a major in Human Resource Management and a minor in Economics.

He was hired by GE Aerospace (now Lockheed Martin) for the Production Control department. He was one of the company’s first personnel hires with a degree outside management. During his thirty years with the company, he has worked in Procurement Systems, Buying, and Subcontracts. Today, he is the senior procurement manager and oversees an eighteen-person team.

You were enrolled in the School of Business from 1975 to 1979. Tell me a little about your time as a student.

Apart from class and studying, I was somewhat involved with the Society for the Advancement of Management. I was also very involved socially. At the time I was a student, there were no African-American frats on campus. The first, Alpha Phi Alpha, was still trying to get off the ground. So, a group of friends and I started what we called the Players of IUP.

It was a social organization, like a frat, but without the hazing and rituals. We did things like bring Thanksgiving baskets to needy families in Chevy Chase. We also held the first Miss Black IUP Pageant. I developed lasting friendships. We still get together once a year.

What is your fondest memory of your time as an undergraduate?

The whole experience. When I look back at any four-year contiguous period over the course of my life, my time at IUP really stands out. I grew as a young man, got involved in campus politics, and forged some amazing friendships. IUP gave me a lot, and that is why I stand 100 percent behind the school today.

Are there places you like to revisit when you are back in town?

When I was on the Alumni Board, I would stop by to see old professors after our board meetings. And, I always make it a point to stop by the campus store and pick up some IUP gear.

You mentioned the Alumni Board. When did you serve, and what were your duties?

I was on the board from 1998 to 2006. It entailed three meetings per year on campus and one phone meeting. The board as a whole has some funds to manage and also seeks to draw more alumni donations and to stay involved with the school. As a member, I just tried to bring some common sense and sanity to that process in terms of setting policy and making sure we stayed both diligent and fair in terms of how we handled our financial obligations.

Today, you are helping out with recruitment in the Philadelphia area. What does that involve?

There are a number of recruitment events in the area. I get a list from IUP and attend those that I can. I do attend an event at least once a year.

I set up a booth and make myself available to answer questions. I also distribute literature about IUP. I’m really proud of IUP and enjoy promoting it. Plus, I think it’s invaluable to have someone speak honestly about the college experience—both to high school students and to their parents.

What do you tell them?

A lot of the people I meet with are minorities and are often money challenged. I try to convey to the parents how important the college investment is for their children. To the students, I tell them to get out of their comfort zones and to take full advantage of the college experience.

You were introduced to IUP through a recruitment event, weren’t you? Is that why you are giving back in this way?

I was. It was 1975, and IUP recruiter Crawford Johnson visited my high school. But I also had a roommate attending IUP at that time.

But I give back for a number of reasons. For one thing, my mother instilled in me to always give back to those things that benefit you. And, IUP definitely benefited me. I got a great education at an excellent value. Plus, there is a denser population in Eastern Pennsylvania, and I think it’s important to try and tap that pool of students—to get the word out to them about IUP.

Do you have a favorite moment or memory related to either of your service positions?

The Distinguished Alumni Awards are always a great event. I also enjoy helping younger people. And, like I said, I still get together with the Players of IUP once a year. All of us look forward to that—to checking in on each other’s lives and to a weekend of camaraderie. Those friendships go back thirty-four years.

Finally, you helped start the IUP African American Scholarship Fund. Tell me a little more about that.

Yes, but not just me—the Players started it. We’ve given out one scholarship a year since 2002. We’d love to give out more, but it’s just a matter of funding.

We’ve also sponsored two African-American alumni reunions. And, two of our members have served on the Alumni Board. IUP was good to all of us, and we like to stay involved and give back how we can.

Profile published on 3/8/10

  • Office of Alumni Relations
  • Breezedale Alumni Center
    880 School Street
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-7942
  • Fax: 724-357-7926
  • Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.