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Mentors and Achievements: Spring 2011


In a parting gesture as he retired after a quarter-century at IUP, Art Department professor and sculptor James Nestor put on a critically acclaimed exhibit last fall in the College of Fine Arts’ Kipp Gallery. Many of the pieces in Elapsed: Works from 1970–2010 showed what Mary Thomas in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette calls “his signature style—spare, sometimes post-apocalyptic.”

During his college days at Kent State, Nestor had been part of a blues band, but after the shootings there in 1970, the members dispersed. It wasn’t until decades later that he took up the saxophone again, and now, Thomas writes, “It’s an essential part of performance works that feature the artist, concealed under layers of plastic or cloth, and the sounds of a saxophone.” Six videos of performances from this decade played in the gallery during the exhibit.

A professor and doctoral program coordinator in the Department of Nursing and Allied Health Professions, Teresa Shellenbarger was elected last fall governor-at-large of the National League for Nursing. The league includes more than thirty thousand nurse educators and community members and 1,200 education and health care agencies.

Music Department faculty member John Kuehn won a nationwide music education essay contest and plans to use his $2,000 prize money toward establishing a wind band program in India in Fall 2012. When Kuehn visited three years ago, a school principal in the southern Indian state of Kerala proposed the idea. “To establish a program like this in a country without a school band tradition is an enormous undertaking,” Kuehn said. The prize money from SmartMusic and other donations have given Kuehn a start toward his goal.

Department of Theater and Dance faculty member Joan Van Dyke was honored last fall as University Dance Teacher of the Year by the Pennsylvania State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance. She also received the association’s Professional of the Year award in 2006 and 2009.

What do IUP Anthropology professor Larry Kruckman, actress Brooke Shields, and a former New Jersey governor have in common? They’ve all received the Dr. Robert Logan and Mary Ellen Logan Awareness Award from Postpartum Support International. Kruckman has been instrumental in the creation and success of the PSI website, has served as the association’s acting president, and was a board member for eight years. His 2000 research article “Reinventing Fatherhood” was one of the first large studies on the role of fathers in the postpartum period.

New York Times writer Charles McGrath interviewed IUP Sociology professor Robert Heasley for the January 9 Education Life supplement. The topic was the difference between the thirty-year-old discipline of men’s studies and a newcomer discipline called male studies.

As president of the American Men’s Studies Association, Heasley said the new movement was “inventing something that I think already exists.” Men’s studies relies mostly on a sociological perspective, according to the article, and maintains “that masculinity is essentially a cultural construct and that gender differences in general are fluid and variable.” Male studies adherents believe, McGrath writes, “that male behavior is in large part biologically determined. Men think and act differently from how women think and act because that’s how evolution shaped them.”

Increasing understanding of Finland and the Finnish-American connection is the goal of Finlandia Foundation National, and IUP music librarian and professor Carl Rahkonen has been selected as the foundation’s 2011 Lecturer of the Year to further that goal. He will travel the U.S., speaking on the topic “The Finnish-American Musical Journey: From Rune Singing to the Rockland Opera.”


William Betts taught English at IUP for thirty-six years before his retirement in 1991 and has since written a number of books. The latest is The Hatchet and the Plow: The Life and Times of Chief Cornplanter.

According to a story in the Indiana Gazette by Randy Wells ’84, “Betts holds Cornplanter—who was born about 1750 in New York State and was the son of a Seneca woman and a Dutch trader father—in high esteem for several reasons. ‘First of all, he lived a long life’ to age 84, Betts said. ‘Second, he was into everything. After the (American) Revolution, he was involved in treaty discussions with the Pennsylvania and national governments and with private people.’” Cornplanter’s grave was moved to higher ground in the mid-sixties, when the Kinzua Dam flooded the Cornplanter tract that had been deeded in 1796. Pennsylvania erected in his honor a marble marker, shown on the cover of Betts’s book.

Published by iUniverse, the book is available at The Book Nook in Indiana and through Amazon.com and the Barnes and Noble website and stores.

IUP Geography professor Kevin Patrick is a contributor to An Uncommon Passage: Traveling Through History on the Great Allegheny Passage Trail.

Published by the University of Pittsburgh Press and edited by Edward Muller, the book includes chapters on the Western Pennsylvania multipurpose trail’s geology, flora, and fauna, in addition to the community effort that made it a reality. Patrick’s chapter focuses on “The Spirit of the Passage: Where Past and Future Meet.”

Writing in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Larry Walsh said the book “should be a must-read for anyone biking or hiking along any section of the Great Allegheny Passage.”

IUP Libraries Special Collections archivist Harrison Wick has now published three books on Luzerne County, Pa., history.

Available through Arcadia Publishing and Amazon.com, they include the newest, Luzerne County, as well as Pennsylvania’s Back Mountain and Greater Wyoming Valley Trolleys.

Wick told Citizens Voice writer Elizabeth Skrapits he was born in Seattle and grew up in northeast Maryland. He is, he said, from “a little of everywhere.”

In Memoriam

In recent months, a number of long-time faculty members died.

More than 125 current and past students honored Dearing's memory in a January choral concert.
  • James Dearing had taught in the IUP Music Department for more than a quarter-century when he died November 26, 2010. More than 125 current and past students honored his memory in a January choral concert, overflowing the stage of Gorell Recital Hall. On the same day, the James C. Dearing Ensemble Library was dedicated in Cogswell Hall. [Photo: Keith Boyer]
  • Fernand Fisel, a Holocaust survivor who taught French at IUP from 1964 to 1991 and was a founder of the university’s Critical Language Program, died November 3, 2010.
  • Thomas Gault, who was instrumental in developing the IUP Department of Geography and Regional Planning and who served as department chair for twenty years during his tenure from 1956 to 1979, died December 10, 2010.
  • Victor Liscinsky, who taught sports medicine and served as head athletic trainer at IUP from 1970 until 1999, died January 4, 2011.
  • Bernard Moreau, who graduated from ISC in 1960 and taught at IUP from 1967 to 1996, also serving as a department head and interim dean of the Eberly School of Business and Information Technology, died October 14, 2010.
  • Ludo op de Beeck, a professor of French, German, and French Literature at IUP from 1964 to 2003, died October 12, 2010.
  • Robert Seelhorst, who graduated from ISTC in 1950 and taught in the IUP Art Department from 1955 to 1985, died January 8, 2011.
  • Edwin Smith, a faculty member in the Mathematics Department from 1969 to 1983, died October 6, 2010.


In Harrisburg

  • Samuel Smith, a member of the IUP Council of Trustees for the past decade, was elected speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Since 1987, he has represented the 66th District, which encompasses all of Jefferson County and parts of Armstrong and Indiana counties.
  • Dave Reed ’00 was elected Policy Committee chair of the Pennsylvania House. Since 2003, he has represented the 62nd District, which includes part of Indiana County, and he is an alumnus of the Robert E. Cook Honors College.
  • Glenn Cannon ’71 was appointed by Governor Tom Corbett to lead the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. He is responsible for coordinating resources to help the state and its communities recover from natural and manmade disasters.

Young Alumni Achievement Awards

The IUP Alumni Association annually recognizes a recent outstanding graduate of each undergraduate college. The 2010 recipients:


IUP’s Eberly College of Business and Information Technology was included, for the seventh consecutive year, in the Princeton Review’s Best 300 Business Schools, 2011 edition.