(L to R) Lycoming College’s 2020 and 2021 AAEB Alumni Award honorees Lechliter, Castillo, Onorati, Hoffman, Burch, Mitchell, Nash, and Henry
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The Lycoming College Alumni Association Executive Board (AAEB) honored eight outstanding individuals during the College’s Alumni & Reunion Weekend festivities on Saturday, June 5, 2021. Award recipients were selected by the board through nominations received from alumni and other members of the College community. AAEB president Brad Webb ’05, along with vice president Phil Levesque ’00 and past present Bob Martin ’95, presented awards for both 2020 and 2021 since an in-person event was unable to be held last year due to the pandemic.
Bestowed upon a graduate of Lycoming who has made significant contributions to her profession, demonstrates leadership and accomplishment in her career, exemplifies outstanding service and volunteering to the College on her community, and whose ongoing work reflects positively on the College, the 2020 Taunia Oechslin Young Alumna Award was conferred upon Lisa (Stutzman) Hoffman ’05, D.O., and the 2021 award was conferred upon Josemar Castillo ’06, Ph.D.
Hoffman is employed at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa., in the emergency department. Her initial years at Geisinger focused on EMS and resident education, but her responsibilities have now grown to include Medical Officer of the Day, which focuses on the administrative side of medicine. “This award reminds me that Lycoming is so special because of the people who put their time and resources into making it a wonderful place to learn. For me, it is about helping the next generation of students have as many opportunities as possible to grow and achieve their goals,” said Hoffman.
Castillo is a business development manager for the Pharma & Food sector at Malvern Panalytical, a globally-recognized manufacturer and supplier of laboratory analytical instruments and services. “My liberal arts education at Lycoming encouraged me to pursue my hobbies and interests alongside of my profession, prioritize my relationships, and give back to my community,” shared Castillo. “All these aspects of my Lycoming experience empowered me to take a holistic approach to my career and thrive on my own terms.”
The Dale V. Bower Service Award honors an individual for outstanding service rendered to Lycoming College. The 2020 Dale V. Bower Service Award was presented to Seth Burch ’89, and the 2021 award was presented to Paul Henry ’66.
Burch operates a Nationwide Insurance Agency located in Williamsport, Pa., where he and his wife, Debi, are licensed to write auto, home, life, flood, and business insurance to anyone residing in the state of Pennsylvania. “To me, winning this alumni award means I understand the value this institution provides individuals in the real world, and my parents put me on the right path to understand the importance of giving back,” Burch commented.
Henry is an executive professional with 40 years of experience as a behavioral healthcare CEO and management consultant. Since 1998, he has been president of Paul B. Henry Inc., a management consulting practice. “Lycoming taught me to think critically and apply my skills across a wide variety of opportunities. The small residential community allowed me to interact with other students, as well as faculty and staff, in ways that substantially contributed to my maturation and self-confidence,” said Henry.
The Dr. James E. Douthat Outstanding Achievement Award is given to an individual who has achieved a significant accomplishment in his or her professional field that reflects positively on Lycoming College. The College honored Peter Onorati ’75 as the 2020 recipient and Gerald Lechliter ’67 as the 2021 recipient of the Douthat Outstanding Achievement Award.
Onorati has spent the past 34 years as an actor, appearing as the lead or guest star in more than 40 films and 60 TV shows, including “This Is Us.” Prior to acting, he earned his M.B.A. and worked in the business world for 12 years. He shared, “I was the first of my generation in both my mother and father’s families to attend college, so just the word ‘alumnus’ alone was a big deal to everyone. I only wish they were here for the addition of the word ‘award,’ although I can still hear them saying, ‘AWARD?! For WHAT?!’ I consider THIS an achievement rather than a benchmark.”
Lechliter spent his career in the U.S. Army and served in a variety of assignments with 14 years of service in Europe. He retired in 1999 and has since successfully represented himself, service members, and veterans pro bono in the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs disability evaluation systems. “My liberal arts education provided me with the breadth and depth as a history major to succeed in the military. Lycoming also provided me with an introduction to the Russian language, which I used in various Army assignments,” said Lechliter. “I took a variety of course which allowed me to form my own philosophy of life, learn to think critically, write clearly, and to speak confidently to a group.”
Given to an alumna who has demonstrated a lifetime of service to humanity, and whose life exemplifies those qualities encouraged and fostered at Lycoming College, the 2020 Angela R. Kyte Outstanding Alumna Award was conferred upon Kristin Nash ’95, and the 2021 award was conferred upon Janice (Martin) Mitchell ’66, Ed.D.
Nash is the vice president of fundraising and events for Ignite Strategies. In addition to fundraising for political clients, she organizes and manages political action committees for national corporations and non-profits. “The people who have shaped my life — professors, coaches, and most of all my friends have become lifelong imprints in my life,” said Nash. “Because of them, I am a better person, and I try to live up to what Lycoming has taught me every day!”
Mitchell is professor emerita of German and Intercultural/International Education at Gallaudet University and remains one of only a handful of highly-respected Black Germanists in the U.S. “I appreciate and value that my education at Lycoming afforded me the opportunities to grow by allowing space and programming for my ‘whole’ talent to be seen and acknowledged alongside academics — personal and social growth at a pivotal time in our social history on a predominately white campus — providing an authentic sense of community and connectedness,” commented Mitchell.
Learn more about the annual alumni awards here.