The university’s September 11 memorial in the Oak Grove, located between Sutton Hall and Stapleton Library

Indiana University of Pennsylvania will mark the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 starting at 11:10 a.m. in front of the 9/11 memorial in the IUP Oak Grove. The program is open to the community.

In addition to an opportunity to reflect on and mark the anniversary of the attacks, the event includes a remembrance of the three IUP alumni lost in the World Trade Center attacks: Donald Jones, a 1980 graduate; William Moskal, a 1979 graduate; and William (Bill) Sugra, a 1993 graduate.

Jones and Sugra worked for Cantor Fitzgerald in the north tower of the World Trade Center. Jones was a bond broker from Bucks County.

Moskal, a safety sciences graduate and Johnstown native, was a risk consultant for Marsh and McLennan in Cleveland, specializing in heavy construction. He was in New York on Sept. 11, 2001, for a meeting at the World Trade Center.

Sugra lived in Manhattan and worked for e-Speed, Cantor Fitzgerald’s electronic trading unit. Sugra’s family, of Allentown, continue to provide the funding for an annual memorial scholarship in his honor for IUP students. 

The university’s September 11 memorial in the Oak Grove is located between Sutton Hall and Stapleton Library. It includes a 13-foot remnant of the World Trade Center, on long-term loan to the university from the Kovalchick family, of Indiana.

Speakers for the 2023 event will include IUP President Michael Driscoll; Abigail Knapp, a cadet in IUP’s ROTC program; and Michael Tyree, associate professor of plant ecology in the Department of Biology, the faculty lead for the Flight 93 National Memorial Reforestation Monitoring Project.

Flight 93 crashed on land owned by Knapp’s aunts and uncles in the Svonavec family; her uncles were some of the first responders to the scene. Knapp is the daughter of Michael Knapp and Susan Corl-Knapp and the late Deborah Knapp.

The government purchased the family’s land for the Flight 93 memorial, but Knapp and many members of her extended family still live in Somerset County. At the time of the crash, Knapp’s father was an active-duty military officer.

Knapp is a senior chemical engineering student at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown who will be commissioned as a second lieutenant upon her graduation. She aspires to serve as a Medevac helicopter pilot.

In addition to her studies, Knapp is part of two research teams: one studying industrial algae harvesting techniques for the production of biofuel and another studying the viability of various biofuel feedstocks. She is secretary of the Society of Undergraduate Engineers, treasurer of the Chem-E Club, member of the Outdoors Club, Society of Women Engineers, and will be traveling this fall to compete at the National Chem-E Car Competition in Orlando.

She also is active in her community, volunteering for Somerset’s 4-H Rifle Program, the Jerome Sportsman’s Junior Rifle Team, the Somerset County Fair Queen Committee, and her church. She was the Pennsylvania State Fair Queen alternate. She is a 2020 graduate of Shade Central-City High School.

IUP became involved in the reforestation project in 2011 when IUP Distinguished University Professor and professor of biology Jeffrey Larkin led a group of IUP student volunteers to plant trees at the memorial during “Plant a Tree at Flight 93” program.

Tyree became involved in the reforestation project in 2014 and has received a number of grants to continue the project and to evaluate the health and growth of the trees.

Lt. Col. Erich Steffens, chair of IUP’s Department of Military Science, will serve as master of ceremonies. Music will be performed by the IUP Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Timothy Paul, director of bands.

Past speakers for the event have included national award-winning journalist Tim Lambert, a 1992 communications media graduate, whose family owned part of the land where Flight 93 crashed on Sept. 11, 2001, and who produced a National Public Radio series about the crash; Danny Sacco, a lifelong resident of Center Township, who was deployed to Ground Zero in New York City in September 2001 and who has been recognized locally, regionally, and nationally for his a five-decade career in public safety; and the late Glenn Cannon, a 1971 graduate of IUP and former member of the IUP Council of Trustees, who was the founding director of Pittsburgh’s Emergency Medical Services Department, director of disaster operations for the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.

In the event of inclement weather, the program will be moved to the Performing Arts Center’s Fisher Auditorium.

This annual event has been scheduled in conjunction with IUP’s Common Hour, a time period on weekdays set aside for events and programs.

During September, the IUP Libraries offers a special display in the first-floor lobby area about the attacks.