Indiana University of Pennsylvania will be celebrating special members of the IUP community as part of the 2023 Celebration Weekend planned for April 21 and 22.

Weekend events begin with the Celebration of Philanthropy on April 21, when donors will be recognized for their generosity, and Jada Walker-Briggs, a senior communications media major from Glassport, will speak. Walker-Briggs is a Welcome Week leader for IUP, works with IUP TV-Sports, and is a member of the inaugural cohort of the IUP Crimson Scholars Circle, a program designed to increase retention of Black and Brown students.

The Volunteer Recognition Breakfast on April 22 will recognize the spirit of volunteerism with the presentation of the 2023 Award of Excellence in Volunteer Leadership to four alumni. The Award of Excellence program is sponsored by the IUP Alumni Association.

The annual Distinguished Alumni Award banquet on April 22 is the weekend’s culminating event.  

Over the past 36 years, the IUP Alumni Association has honored less than 400 of its more than 150,000 alumni with the Distinguished Alumni Award. This award is the highest award given by the IUP Alumni Association to university alumni. It is presented to alumni who have achieved distinction in their chosen fields or who have demonstrated loyal and active service to their alma mater.

Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients for 2023

Christina BennikeChristina Bennike, originally of Hatboro-Horshum, now of Doylestown, a 1988 international studies graduate of IUP.

Bennike is executive director of Conflict Recovery International, a global not-for-profit organization based in Sarasota, Florida. Conflict Recovery coordinates the efforts to help vulnerable and marginalized survivors of conflict and disaster through effective sustainable recovery solutions. In prior positions, she did similar humanitarian work in Indonesia, Iraq, Lebanon, Russia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo through the United Nations Development Programme, Iraqi Mine and UXO Clearance Organization, Mines Advisory Group, Dan Church Aid, United Nations Office for Project Services, Norwegian Refugee Council, and American Embassy Moscow.

She has been honored with the Department of State Service Award/Lebanon, the Lebanese Army High Honor Services Award, the American Red Cross Service Award, and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Coordination Award for Sumatra.

In addition to her IUP degree, she earned both a master’s and doctoral degree from LaSalle University and completed studies at Novgorod University Russian Language for Foreign Students.

Patrick CambierPatrick Cambier, originally of Industry, Beaver County, now of Palm Harbor, Florida, a 1982 biology (pre-med) graduate of IUP. 

The son of two 1949 Indiana State Teachers College alumni, Cambier received an HPSP Army medical scholarship and attended Hahnemann (Drexel) Medical University, completing a residency in internal medicine and cardiovascular disease fellowship at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

After serving as director of the cardiac catheterization laboratory at Madigan Army Medical Center, he served as medical staff president and was on the board of directors of Morton Plant Mease Healthcare. He served as medical director of the cardiac catheterization laboratories at Mease Countryside Hospital and managing partner of the Heart and Vascular Institute of Florida. He is now a partner with Interventional Cardiology Consultants and is board certified in internal medicine, cardiology, and interventional cardiology, and is an active participant in his church and community, including serving on the board of directors of First State Bank and as a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters and Pinellas Hope Homeless Shelter.

Rich CarusoRich Caruso, originally of Kane who now lives in Meadow Lands, a 1983 accounting graduate of IUP. 

Before creating his own consulting firm, Caruso spent parts of four decades first as a certified public accountant, and later as an executive for several companies, including positions as the chief financial officer at Ravenswood Aluminum Corp., Ormet Corp., July Products, and RG Steel; CEO at Neenah Foundry; and COO at Winner Steel. Recently, he was named to the board of directors for VPX Pharmaceutical and also serves on the board of directors at School Specialty, JWA Aluminum, and H-D Advanced Manufacturing, as well as several nonprofit boards.

At IUP, he was active in the Student Government Association and other organizations and has continued to be involved by serving on the national campaign council. As president of the Foundation for IUP, he helped spearhead IUP’s $245-million Residential Revival that led to the replacement of the university’s student housing with modern suites.

Tonya Anthony HsiungTonya Anthony Hsiung, formerly of Rochester Mills and now of Lancaster, who earned two degrees from IUP: a secondary mathematics education bachelor’s degree in 2000 and a master’s degree in student affairs in higher education in 2003. The current president of the IUP Alumni Association Board of Directors, she will be honored with the award for service.

Hsiung works as program manager and instructor for the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, a position she has held since 2019. While at IUP, she was active in Kappa Delta Pi international honor society in education, the Association of Student Advancement Programs, and was the graduate advisor to the IUP Ambassadors program. In 2002, she received the most outstanding advisor award for her work with the Ambassadors from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education Affiliated Student Advancement Programs. Prior to her current position, she spent nearly two decades working in financial aid at Millersville University and then Franklin & Marshall College.

In addition to her IUP degrees, she earned a business administration-accounting bachelor’s degree from Millersville University of Pennsylvania in 2012.

Mary O. Moore MorganMary O. Moore Morgan, originally from Franklin and a long-time Indiana resident, a 1991 business administration graduate of IUP. She will receive the award for service.

Morgan completed a 30-year career at IUP in 2021 that began with her work in annual giving and culminated with her role as assistant vice president for Alumni and Friends, where she was a highly involved and integral part of the IUP Division of Advancement. After joining the Alumni Relations team, she took a leadership role with the newly created student alumni association, the IUP Ambassadors, in growing their mission and traditions, and was recognized with the most outstanding advisor for three years by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education Affiliated Student Advancement Programs.

She was a speaker and co-presenter at professional conferences and was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi honor society. She had leadership roles in many alumni programs, including volunteer cultivation and engagement, increased student engagement connecting alumni and students, navigating the changing landscape of internet presence and communications with a diverse constituent base, and developing opportunities for alumni to stay connected with IUP. 

Brandie SmithBrandie Smith, originally of Indiana who currently lives in Potomac, Maryland, a 1994 biology graduate of IUP.

Smith is director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute in Washington, DC, she oversees every aspect of the 163-acre park that attracts more than two million visitors every year. She also oversees the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, on 3,200 acres in Front Royal, Virginia, as well as 30 field sites around the world. She held previous positions for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Dallas Zoo.

She is active in many organizations to promote the international conservation of wildlife and biodiversity. After IUP, she earned her master’s degree in zoology from Clemson University in 1997 and her doctorate in behavior, ecology, and systematics from the University of Maryland in 2010.

Robin SwanBrig. Gen. Robin Swan (retired), originally of Ford City, now living in Arlington, Virginia, a 1978 geology graduate of IUP.

As a retired Army brigadier general and current Pentagon senior executive, he has served the nation and his alma mater throughout his career. Highlights of his 32 years of active-duty military service include Commander, First Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment in Bosnia; Commanding General, Coalition Military Training Team in Iraq; Deputy Commanding General, Fourth Infantry Division and Multinational Division-Baghdad; and Director, Army Strategy, Headquarters, Department of the Army. On retirement from uniformed service, he joined the Senior Executive Service at the Tier 3 (lieutenant general equivalent) level and reports directly to the Secretary of the Army as Director, Army Office of Business Transformation.

At IUP, he was a distinguished military graduate from IUP’s Army ROTC Program. He continues to support IUP’s ROTC faculty and cadets and was the keynote speaker at the program’s 100th-anniversary dinner in 2016.

Daniel TovenLt. Col. Daniel Toven, a native of Union City and now of West Point, New York, who received a bachelor of fine arts degree in music performance and a bachelor of science in music education in 1991 and 1992.

As the commander of the West Point Band, Lt. Col. Toven leads the Army’s oldest band, which is comprised of professional musicians from some of the nation’s top music schools and conservatories. In addition to his IUP degrees, he earned a master’s degree at the Eastman School of Music before earning his master of military art and science at the US Army’s Command and General Staff College. Before this assignment, he served as the deputy commander and associate bandmaster of the US Army Band and the director of the US Army Chorus. He was also the deputy commandant at the US Army School of Music. Before joining the Army, he held a variety of professional music positions, including founder, music director, and conductor of the Plum Creek Chamber Orchestra, and assistant conductor of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh.

During his military service, he has earned the basic parachutist’s badge, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medical, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medical, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

Distinguished Alumni Award recipients will meet with students and community members during their time at IUP as schedules permit.