Alumni Awards

The Department of Communication Arts and Sciences celebrates its many undergraduate and graduate alumni for their achievements in their fields and in communications.

Outstanding Early Career Alumni Award Recipients

Jacob Dixon earned his bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts and Sciences in 2008, followed by a master’s degree in childhood special and general education from Bank Street College of Education. He is currently pursuing a doctoral degree at City University of New York-College of Staten Island. Jacob is the founder and chief executive officer of the Long Island-based Choice for All, a nonprofit connecting services, resources, and opportunities to help youth and families reach their fullest potential.

Prior to founding Choice for All in 2011, Jacob was a special education teacher in Washington Heights, NY. He has also served as CEO of one of the largest student-run nonprofits focused on leadership development in residence hall communities. Jacob continues his work in supporting youth and parent-led organizing, as well as leading regional and statewide cross-sector initiatives focused on education, health, and economic equity. An adjunct professor at Bank Street College of Education, Jacob was selected as a 2019 Culture of Health Leader with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Elizabeth Mabie is certified as a senior professional in human resources and has fifteen years of experience in the field. She currently serves as the director of human resources at the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania headquarters of EQT Corporation, the nation’s largest producer of natural gas. She is responsible for employee relations, talent acquisition, contractor compliance, and medical services.

Before becoming director, Mabie served as EQT’s senior human resources manager and director of employee relations. Previous posts have included senior human resources generalist at MEDRAD and senior manager of corporate human resources at RTI International Metals.

Mabie graduated from Penn State in 2004 with a bachelor of arts degree in Speech Communication. In 2007, she earned a master of science degree in Leadership and Business Ethics from Duquesne University. Her areas of expertise include employee relations, performance management, and talent acquisition.

Outstanding Alumni Award Recipients

Jacqueline Angel earned her bachelor’s degree in 1979, followed by a master’s degree from the University of Oklahoma and a Ph.D. from Rutgers University. She did her postdoctoral training in the Rutgers-Princeton program in mental health services research and at Penn State in the demography of aging. Jacqueline is the Wilbur J. Cohen Professor in Health and Social Policy, professor of sociology, and a faculty affiliate at the Center for Aging and Population Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin.

Her research examines health and retirement issues in the U.S., with a focus on older minorities, immigration processes, and the impact of social policy on the Hispanic population and Mexican-American families. She is an award-winning scholar and principal investigator on the NIA Hispanic Established Populations for the Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly, the first large-scale investigation of the longitudinal health of older Mexican Americans in the Southwestern United States, and since 2005 the Conference Series on Aging in the Americas. She is the author, coauthor, or coeditor of 14 books, 100 journal articles, 40 book chapters, and numerous op-ed essays.

Karen Tracy earned her bachelor’s degree in 1972, followed by a master’s degree in speech and language pathology from Bowling Green State University and a Ph.D. in Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin.

Following her Ph.D., Karen joined the Temple University faculty, where she taught for nine years. Today, she is professor emeritus in the Department of Communication at the University of Colorado where for thirty years, she taught, conducted research, and from 2013-17 served as department chair. Tracy is a distinguished scholar in the National Communication Association and a Fellow of the International Communication Association. She received the Julia Wood 2019 Scholar/Teacher Award and the Emerging Scholar Award from the Pennsylvania Communication Association.

Tracy is a discourse analyst who studies institutional talk, particularly in justice, academic, and governance sites. She is the author of numerous articles and six books, including Colloquium: Dilemmas of Academic Discourse; Discourse, Identities, and Social Change in the Marriage Equality Debates; and from the Penn State University Press, Challenges of Ordinary Democracy: A Case Study of Deliberation and Dissent.

Elizabeth Mabie is certified as a senior professional in human resources and has fifteen years of experience in the field. She currently serves as the director of human resources at the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania headquarters of EQT Corporation, the nation’s largest producer of natural gas. She is responsible for employee relations, talent acquisition, contractor compliance, and medical services.

Before becoming director, Mabie served as EQT’s senior human resources manager and director of employee relations. Previous posts have included senior human resources generalist at MEDRAD and senior manager of corporate human resources at RTI International Metals.

Mabie graduated from Penn State in 2004 with a bachelor of arts degree in Speech Communication. In 2007, she earned a master of science degree in Leadership and Business Ethics from Duquesne University. Her areas of expertise include employee relations, performance management, and talent acquisition.

Kelly Miller became president of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in August 2017. Under her leadership, the university has been recognized as an R2 doctoral institution, increased the number of honors students by 300 percent, added key academic programs, and expanded its presence into downtown Corpus Christi.

After earning master’s and doctoral degrees in Speech Communication from Penn State, Miller joined the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi faculty in 1994. In addition to serving as a communication faculty member for sixteen years, she has been provost and vice president of academic affairs; dean of the College of the Liberal Arts; director of the School of Arts, Media and Communication; and department chair.

Miller has received awards for her teaching, advising, research, and service including the League of United Latin American Citizens’ Outstanding Community Leadership Award, the American GI Forum Standing Up for Veterans’ Award, and the Dr. Hector P. Garcia Legacy Award. Recently, the Texas Speech Communication Association recognized her as Communicator of the Year. The fourth edition of her book, Business and Professional Communication: KEYS for Workplace Excellence (with S. T. Wahl), was released in fall 2019 and won the 2020 Textbook Excellence Award from the Textbook and Academic Authors Association.

An active community volunteer, Miller serves as a board member for the Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation, United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce, CHRISTUS Spohn Health System, Art Museum of South Texas, Texas State Aquarium, and the USS LEXINGTON Aircraft Carrier Museum.

Lauren Monks earned her bachelor’s degree in Speech Communication from Penn State in 1994. She is the senior director of strategic advocacy for Comcast Corporation, where she works with corporate groups in government affairs to help oversee development of messaging and advocacy plans as well as large-scale legislative and regulatory projects. Previously, she served Comcast NBCUniversal as a strategic sales and marketing executive. As vice president at NBCUniversal, she played an integral role in the strategic planning for distribution agreements with some of the industry’s largest distributors, including Altice, DISH Network, NCTC, DIRECTV/ATandT, Verizon and Spectrum.

Monks began her fourteen-year Comcast NBCUniversal tenure at PBS Kids Sprout (now Universal Kids), where she held positions of increasing responsibility culminating in her role as vice president of marketing. In this role, she created the brand architecture, developed the first prosocial campaign, and grew the network to nearly 50 million subscribers. Monks started her career at Discovery Communications, where she learned the marketing and cable television business from some of the industry’s original pioneers. Monks started her career at Discovery Communications, where she learned the marketing and cable television business from some of the industry’s original pioneers.

Monk’s postgraduate training includes CTAM University at Harvard Business School, Women in Cable Telecommunications’ Executive Development Seminar, and Comcast’s Executive Leadership Forum. She also is a proud graduate of Betsy Magness Leadership Institute Class 32. Monks is a three-time cancer survivor and a passionate advocate and fundraiser, focusing her efforts on the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Cycle for Survival benefiting Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Tiffany O’Brien has been helping to make cool products and fun games for the last 16 years. Originally from the small town of Jefferson Valley, New York, she spent her first 18 years having an ideal childhood filled with love, laughter and neighborhood bouts of Ghost in the Graveyard. In 1999, she moved away from this heartwarming hamlet to University Park to attend Penn State, where her older brother graduated nearly a decade before.

Ms. O’Brien moved to Seattle after graduation to work for WizKids, a subsidiary of the Topps company, where she worked as a Brand and Product Manager. After a stint in New York with DC Comics, she returned to Washington to help start another tabletop games company, and later worked on licensed goods for The Pokémon Company International. For the last 8 years, she has been working for 343 Industries, the game studio within Microsoft which makes the blockbuster video game Halo, where her primary project has been the character Master Chief. In this role, she advocates for the brand and protects the official storyline of the games, all while making super fun products. She manages a great team of diverse employees and takes pride in building and maintaining relationships in and out of the studio. Ms. O’Brien says, “The best part of the job is working with so many talented artists, authors, and designers and then seeing the fans get excited about reading books, playing with toys, and seeing tiny humans dressed up as the Chief.”

Since graduation she has been involved in over 25 shipped games including 7 video games, 4 board games and 18 tabletop games. She also found time to co-write an interactive children’s book called Out of the Box. When she is not working, she is spending time with her 6-pound Yorkie, Percy, playing games with family, and trying to visit a hundred countries before she dies.


Martin J. Medhurst is Distinguished Professor of Rhetoric and Communication, and Professor of Political Science, at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Professor Medhurst’s previous honors include, among others, the Michael Osborn Teacher-Scholar Award (2007), the Religious Communication Association Scholar of the Year Award (2006), and the National Communication Association Distinguished Scholar Award (2005).

Professor Medhurst is the author or editor of fourteen books, the most recent of which is World War II and the Cold War: The Rhetoric of Hearts and Minds, which was published in 2018. He has also published more than 100 articles and chapters in both the leading journals in the communication discipline and interdisciplinary journals, such as Armed Forces and Society, Journal of Church and State, Studies in Visual Communication, and Presidential Studies Quarterly. Professor Medhurst’s work has been supported by grants from the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library Foundation, the Texas Committee for the Humanities, the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Dr. Medhurst is the founder and editor of the journal Rhetoric and Public Affairs and of the scholarly book series of the same title. From 1996-2007, he served as general editor for the Presidential Rhetoric Series at Texas AandM University Press. He currently serves as the general editor of the ten-volume series, A Rhetorical History of the United States, published by Michigan State University Press.

Carole Blair (’83) is Professor of Communication at the University  of North Carolina-  Chapel Hill. She served as president of the  National Communication Association (NCA) in 2015. A  Distinguished Scholar of the NCA, her research, teaching, and  mentorship have all been recipients of both national and campus-level awards. Her research on rhetoric and materiality as well as on  contemporary commemorative places and artwork has had  significant interdisciplinary impact.

Authors of the  internationally acclaimed book,  Be Quiet,  Be Heard: The Paradox of Persuasion,  Peter A. Glaser, Ph.D. and Susan R. Glaser, Ph. D. have been married business  partners  and co  –  presenters for decades. Drs. Glaser  have published three books and  more than  40 research articles. Their research on transforming  organizational culture  has received the International Association of  Business Communication  Research Foundation Award  for bridging  communication theory and  practice. Feature stories have been  written about them in Business Week,  Newsday, Nation’s Business ,  National Business Review, Working Woman,  Success Magazine, and the Washington Post.

Authors of the internationally acclaimed book, Be Quiet, Be Heard: The Paradox of Persuasion,  Peter A. Glaser, Ph.D. and Susan  R. Glaser, Ph. D. have been married business partners and co-presenters for decades. Drs. Glaser has published three books and more than 40 research articles. Their research on transforming organizational culture has received the International Association of Business Communication Research Foundation Award for bridging communication theory and practice. Feature stories have been written about them in Business Week, Newsday, Nation’s Business, National Business Review, Working Woman, Success Magazine, and the Washington Post.

Charles Berger is a distinguished emeritus professor at U.C. Davis. He has served as president of the International Communication Association, and he has been named Distinguished Scholar by the National Communication Association. His work has had a wide-ranging influence on the discipline of communication, with his landmark 1982 book, Language and Social Knowledge: Uncertainty in Interpersonal Relations, winning the National Communication Association’s Golden Anniversary Award. His Penn State degree is in psychology, but for obvious reasons, we count him as our own.

James M. Kefford is a radio entrepreneur, author, and philanthropist. He was a pioneer in the FM radio industry for over 30 years and led Drake-Chenault, a radio syndication company. Jim was a director of the National Association of Broadcasters. He also worked in the community bank movement in Australia before retiring. In 2010, Jim wrote a memoir of his 35 years in the FM radio industry, titled Champagne and Caviar: A Radio Man’s Dreams, Challenges and Adventures.

Roderick Hart received his B.A. degree from the University of Massachusetts and his M. A. and Ph. D. degrees from the Pennsylvania State University. His area of special interest is politics and the mass media and he is the author of twelve books, the most recent of which is Political Tone: How Leaders Talk and Why (University Of Chicago Press, 2013). He is also the author of DICTION 7.0, a computer program designed to analyze language patterns.

Hart has delivered public lectures at more than eighty colleges and universities and received grant support from the Ford Foundation, Carnegie Foundation, Exxon Foundation, Hatton Sumners Foundation, Annenberg Foundation, Dorot Foundation, and the Pew Charitable Trusts.

A former Woodrow Wilson Fellow, Hart is listed in Who’s Who in America, the Directory of American Scholars, International Who’s Who in Education, and American Men and Women of Science. He was named a Research Fellow of the International Communication Association, a Distinguished Scholar by the National Communication Association, and the National Scholar of the Year Award from Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, and has received the Graber Book Award and the Edelman Career Award from the American Political Science Association.

Hart has been inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Teachers at the University of Texas and has also been designated Professor of the Year for the State of Texas from the Carnegie/C.A.S.E. Foundation. Previously he received the Eyes of Texas Student Involvement Award and the Texas Excellence Teaching Award from the University of Texas, the Excellence in Teaching Award in the Humanities from Purdue University, and the Outstanding Young Teacher Award from the Central States Communication Association. He has supervised over fifty graduate theses and dissertations.

Two weeks after her 1979 graduation from Penn State, Jamie took her speech communication degree and immediately hit the road for Los Angeles, or “Camp LA,” as her father called it. He anticipated a quick trip, but Jamie’s ambitious journey has lasted thirty-plus years throughout the film and TV industries. As a result of her hard work and liberal arts skills, she is widely viewed as a pioneer in the business of managing the variety of personalities starring in reality television shows—a phenomenon now booming across network and cable TV.

For over a decade in LA, Jamie worked her way up through the entertainment industry. She started her career at Creative Artists Agency, supporting talent agents who represented leading actors, screenwriters, directors, and producers. At Lorimar Productions, whose successes included the long-running television series Dallas and Knot’s Landing, she worked in the story department reading and evaluating film and TV scripts. Jamie subsequently worked as a development and production executive for studio and independent feature films including Overboard starring Goldie Hawn and Beaches, starring Bette Midler.

Her Los Angeles experiences served her well when Jamie moved back to the East Coast to work at Discovery Communications, where she rose through the ranks to become Senior Vice President for Talent Relations. For more than nineteen years, she founded and directed the talent department overseeing the casting, deal negotiations and day-to-day management of on-air talent for Discovery’s twelve U.S. networks, numerous international networks, and other business divisions across Discovery Communications.

Today, she is President of Three Limes Media, which specializes in talent management and working with production companies and networks to address their on-air talent needs. Jamie credits her Penn State education and enrichment activities with “helping to shape who I became and leading me to a career I loved.”

Lynn graduated from Penn State in 1971 with a degree in speech and went on to earn a master’s degree in rhetoric at Temple University and a law degree from Pepperdine University. She embarked on a long and successful career in business litigation, especially banking and real estate, before retiring to manage her family activities.

Lynn started teaching communication arts and sciences classes at Penn State in 2008 and has been an instructor at the Penn State World Campus since 2009. And just this morning, she and her husband Joe lectured in the Rhetoric and Law class on campus. She also served on the department’s previous Board of Visitors and will be joining the Liberal Arts Alumni Society Board.

Lynn is an active volunteer with her local church and Girl Scouts organizations. She and her husband have two daughters, one of which – Kelley – earned a degree in communication arts and sciences from Penn State in 2009. They established the Costello Family Fund to support initiatives in the department.


Richard Peterson is an Alumnus who has achieved excellence through passion, dedication, and commitment to his profession and to his students and faculty colleagues. He is “outstanding” in the true sense of the word.

Rich grew up in Conneaut Lake, in northwestern Pennsylvania and went to nearby Edinboro State University for his bachelor’s degree in speech communication and elementary education in 1966. He continued on to Penn State to earn a master’s in speech pathology in 1971 and a PhD in 1974 in speech communication.

After leaving Penn State, Rich held several posts at INPUT, an information services subscription research company, and with McGraw-Hill Companies, the global publishing, media, and financial information corporation. At McGraw-Hill, he served as Vice President and Director of New Product Development and also as Head of Mergers and Acquisitions.

He later created his own firm, IMPACT Research, Inc., an information technology management consulting practice that focused on the needs of organizations for efficient and effective administrative and management processes.

In 1992, Rich joined Montclair State University in New Jersey first as an adjunct faculty member, and in 1996, as a full-time faculty member. He has taught courses ranging from management information systems to decision support systems. Rich has published many academic journal articles and chapters on information ethics and security. His honors include the 2009 Outstanding Empirical Research Paper from Decision Sciences Institute, the 2009 Service Award from the International Academy of Business and Public Administration, and the Outstanding Service Award for Service Learning in 2000 from Montclair State University.

Today, Rich is Chair of Montclair State’s Department of Management and Information Systems, which serves 500 undergraduate and graduate students in Hospitality Management, Operations Management, Management, and Management and Information Systems. His wife, Susan, is Director of Marketing at McGraw-Hill Construction Division.

Ellen McDonnell Stevens graduated in 1976 with a B.A. in Speech Communication. She then received a master’s degree in public affairs journalism from American University in Washington, DC, in 1978.

After completing her graduate work, Ellen worked at commercial radio and television stations throughout the country and held a number of news positions including news reporter at WAMU-FM in Washington. In 1979 she became a newswriter at National Public Radio (NPR), the year morning news magazine  Morning Edition was launched. From newswriter, Ellen became on-line producer for  Morning Edition in 1981. From there, she became senior producer of the show, a position she held until being named Executive Producer of the award-winning NPR program in 1998. As Executive Producer, she oversaw a major transformation and expansion of the 24-hour staff, and led the program into its current two host/two coast format. Ellen also initiated and developed fresh and original approaches to news coverage on the show, including instituting seven hours of continual  Morning Edition news updates each day.

Under McDonnell’s leadership,  Morning Edition has seen its audience grow to become the number one morning news show in the U.S. In 1999, Morning Edition received the prestigious George Foster Peabody award for outstanding journalism.

In 2007, she became NPR’s Director of Morning Programming, responsible for Morning Edition, Weekend Edition Saturday, Weekend Edition Sunday, and NPR’s newest program, The Bryant Park Project.

Marshall Cohen graduated in 1973 with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication. Afterwards, he went on to work with Judee and Michael Burgoon at the University of Florida. From there, he got into marketing research with the startup of MTV, VH1, and other innovative companies. He eventually became the Senior Vice President for market research at AOL Time Warner, including many diverse projects from cable to music. Currently, Marshall is the executive vice president of corporate research at Univision Communications Inc., where he is responsible for programming and research for all radio and digital platforms.

Robert Miller graduated in 1983 with a Ph.D. in Speech Communication after completing a BA and MA at West Virginia University.

After completing his doctoral work, Robert became Director of the Media Studies Program at DePauw University where he also served for three years. During one of his years there, he was named Outstanding Professor of the Year. He then moved to the corporate world, becoming Vice President of MarketVision Research in Cincinnati. MarketVision was named by INC. Magazine as one of the fastest growing privately held companies in the United States. He eventually became the second highest ranking officer in the company and became nationally known in the market research field. After twelve years at MarketVision, Robert was named President and CEO of Cooper Research, a firm specializing in marketing intelligence for the healthcare industry.

Under his leadership, Cooper Research, has conducted nearly 3,000 research studies and has collected data from literally hundreds of thousands of consumers and healthcare providers. Cooper has completed national studies for companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, American Red Cross, Merck, Wellpoint Health Networks, National Stroke Association, and many others.

Cooper studies have been featured in major media national as well as local.

Robert is often called upon for his expertise in health care, and has been a keynoter at many national meetings and is also a frequent contributor to the popular media on health care topics of public interest, including access to care, quality of care, the growing uninsured, and the national nursing shortage.

Robert serves his community in many ways. He is Chairman of the Marketing Committee of the American Red Cross, Cincinnati Chapter, serves on the boards of advisors for the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences at West Virginia University, the Business College at Ohio University, and the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati.

Adrian graduated in 1978 with a B.A. in speech communication. Early in his Penn State career, he was a student at Penn State-Ogontz (now Abington) and while there was the President of Student Government. After graduation, Adrian took a position at Armstrong World Industries. He moved up the corporate ladder in marketing moving to DeLoitte and Touche in 1986, Arthur Anderson in 1998, and then to his current company, PriceWaterhouseCoopers in 1990

Adrian has had a distinguished career in marketing. He is the Director of US Markets and Business Development at PricewaterhouseCoopers, a firm that provides industry-focused assurance, tax and advisory services for public and private clients and their stakeholders. Based in the Philadelphia office, Adrian also serves on the firm’s U.S. Leadership Team and its Global Marketing Leadership Team. His responsibilities include advertising, public relations, direct marketing, market research, and corporate sponsorship, among others.

Adrian has been recognized many times for his outstanding work. He was twice named as the one of the hundred most influential people in accounting by Accounting Today. Adrian is the past president of the Association for Accounting Marketing and one of the inaugural inductees of the AAM Hall of Fame. He also received the 1993 Marketer of the Year Award sponsored by CPA Marketing Report and Aspen Publications. He’s a frequent speaker at international, national, and local professional conferences and routinely quoted as a thought leader in accounting by national industry publications.

Cynthia Danel graduated in 1971 with a bachelor of arts in speech. Cynthia continued her education at Penn State and in 1976 she was one of only seven women to graduate with a master of arts in speech communication.

As a student, Cynthia was active with several student groups including the Penn State Thespians. While pursuing her degree she lived in State College and taught English as a second language. Her Master’s thesis was titled, “The relationship of rhetoric and ritual as discussed in the major works of Kenneth Burke.” She worked on this with Richard Gregg who encouraged her to go on to complete her doctorate.

After completing her Master’s degree, Cynthia considered going on to pursue a doctorate, but instead worked her way through Duquesne University School of Law. In 1983, Cynthia joined one of the best-known law firms in Pennsylvania, Edgar M. Snyder and Associates, where she is now Partner. Here she has specialized in personal injury litigation, trying numerous cases before a jury as well as mediating and settling hundreds more. She has also successfully argued appellate cases before both the Superior and Supreme Courts of Pennsylvania.

This year Cynthia is the President Elect of the Western Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association. She is also a member of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America and has served on the Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association

Cynthia is well regarded for her community involvement in Western Pennsylvania. This includes work with such groups as Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council. She has served as a Judge in the Allegheny County High School and University of Pittsburgh Moot Court Competition, and she was the former chairperson of the High School Essay Contest of the Western Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association. She has also been a frequent panelist in continuing legal education seminars sponsored by the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association.


Jay Feldstein graduated in 1959 with a degree in Arts and Letters. Almost forty years ago, Jay helped found the Pittsburgh law firm of Feldstein Grinberg Stein and McKee. The firm concentrates in six practice areas and maintains a staff of approximately thirty attorneys and paralegal assistants.

Jay concentrates on litigation, particularly representing persons injured or killed in medical and dental malpractice, airline and automobile accidents, defective machinery, and defective product cases. For several years, Jay has been involved in litigating catastrophically injured infant cases.

He is certified as a Civil Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and has been elected a Fellow in the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers. He is a member and past president of the Western Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association and the Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County. He is an author and lecturer for the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association and the Pennsylvania Bar Association.

Jay was active as an undergraduate student at Penn State. He was a member of the debate team and was elected president of the All-School Cabinet (a precursor of the Undergraduate Student Government) in his senior year. Jay also was inducted into Lion’s Paw, Delphi (president), Androcles, and Omicron Delta Kappa.

After his graduation from Yale Law School in 1962, Jay Feldstein began a solo practice in Pittsburgh until 1965, when he helped establish his current firm.

Jay served as a member of the Penn State Fund Council, the Penn State Development Council, and the Alumni Council of the Penn State alumni association. Together with his wife, he established the Judi and Jay Feldstein Renaissance Scholarship at Penn State. Later, in recognition of the late Pat O’Brien, who was Jay’s debate coach in college, they transferred their scholarship to the Harold J. “Pat” O’Brien Memorial Award in Communication Arts and Sciences in 2001. Jay’s redesignation of this gift represents in one way his past and future involvement in Communication Arts and Sciences at Penn State. He also has been active mentoring communication students through participation in alumni roundtable discussions.


Todd Blackledge graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication in 1983. He was drafted as a first round pick by the Kansas City Chiefs following an exceptional football performance at the quarterback position for Penn State. He finished out his football career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, going on to becoming a national sportscaster at ABC and CBS Sports. He has written one book titled Taste of the Town: A Guided Tour of Football’s Best Places to Eat. He currently works for ESPN as an analyst and teaches high school basketball during the off season in Canton, OH.