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2007 Outstanding Alumni

Posted: June 30, 2009

Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman, Leslie Firth, Ernest Gingrich, John C. “Jack” Good, Stephen Miller, Lee Schisler

Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman

She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 1973 and 1980, is an adjunct professor of entomology at the University of Arizona and also currently serves as Research Leader and Center Director at the Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in Tuscon, Ariz. DeGrandi-Hoffman has made very significant contributions to the beekeeping industry, primarily identifying a potent miticide (2-heptanone) that is a natural compound produced by worker bees in colonies. The compound has been patented and a delivery system for its release in honey bee colonies is being developed.

Leslie Firth
Leslie was named the 2004 Penn State Animal Science Distinguished Alumnus, served for thirty years as a Senior Extension Agent and County Extension Director for Mercer County Cooperative Extension. Among many accomplishments, he is responsible for the development of the Mercer County 4-H Park, which consists of 13 acres, 11 buildings, playground equipment and horse show ring, and is used over 180 days each year. Firth, who received his bachelor’s degree in 1958 and master’s degree in 1961, also pioneered the Pennsylvania Dairy Management and Profitability Program in 1990-1996, and was a staff member for Penn State’s program from 1995-1996. In 1995, Firth worked as an Extension Agricultural Economist in Poland on a Polish-American Extension Project.

Ernest Gingrich
Ernest has been an active member of the Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers (PSPE) for thirty-eight years, was named Engineer of the Year in 2006. Gingrich, although retired since 1995, currently works part-time as a Senior Engineer for Light-Heigel & Associates where he inspects construction projects, assists in design of water supply systems, hydraulic structures and waterways and conducts dam inspections. Prior to his retirement, Gingrich, who received his bachelor’s degree in 1953 and MBA in 1981, worked for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources for fifteen years. His career was built on his professional expertise in hydrologic and hydraulic design, dam design, construction, supervision and inspection.

John C. “Jack” Good
Jack is currently Senior Vice President of Barlett Tree Experts Company and graduated from Penn State with a bachelor’s degree in Forestry in 1941. Following his graduation from Penn State Good served as a United States’ Army officer of the 10th Mountain Division (ski troops) and 8th Infantry Division in Europe during World War II. After combat duty in France, Belgium and Germany, Good was wounded in the Battle of Huertgen Forest. After spending many months in an army hospital, he received disability retirement in 1945 as a full lieutenant and Company Commander. Good has maintained an active connection to Penn State, as he has served on the School of Forest Resources Advisory Board for 12 years and lent specific guidance to the development of the Urban Forestry option within the Forest Science baccalaureate degree.

Stephen Miller
Steve was a part-time instructor at Penn State Berks from 1982-1994 and has been an agricultural teacher and FFA advisor at Conrad Weiser High School in Robesonia, Pa., for almost thirty years. After graduating from Moravian College with a bachelor’s degree in history, government and social sciences, Miller received his master’s of education in agricultural education at Penn State in 1983. Miller has co-chaired the AgriScience Fair contest at the state FFA Convention for many years and will co-chair the new state Food Science and Technology FFA contest that will be held summer 2007. Miller also has been co-instructor of the Plant Tissue Culture Elective Course in the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Agricultural Sciences held at University Park.

Lee Schisler
Lee is a Penn State Professor Emeritus of Plant Pathology and is an internationally renowned researcher and educator who devoted his entire career to helping the mushroom industry. After receiving his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in botany from Penn State, Schisler worked as an Agricultural Chemicals Researcher for the American Chemical Paint Co. in 1952. He served as a Corporal in the U.S. Army Chemical Corps from 1952-1954 before returning to Penn State to earn his Ph.D. in botany and plant pathology. From July 1974 to June 1975 Schisler took a sabbatical leave from Penn State to become an Honorary Visiting Professor at the University of British Columbia. As well as being a full professor, Schisler served as Director of the Mushroom Research Center at Penn State from 1968 until 1988.