News@Gettysburg Latest news coverage from Gettysburg College Alumni honored for great work, leading lives of impact Gettysburgians are always striving to do great work, both on campus and through their ambitious personal and professional endeavors out in the world. This spring, 10 Gettysburg College alumni were recognized for their remarkable achievements.

The Alumni Association presented Susan Garrison ’74, Melissa Zook ’94, Lynn Purnell Leibig ’76, and Dann Leibig ’76 (posthumously) with Distinguished Alumni Awards at Spring Honors Day.

Susan Garrison ’74 with President Riggs

Susan Garrison ’74 founded Garrison Law in 1986. Since that time, she has built a prominent career as the firm’s leading attorney, specializing in tax-exempt organizations, estate and trusts, power of attorney, and taxes.

In addition to her work as an attorney, Garrison has dedicated much of her life to nonprofit organizations that support women. Currently, she serves as the board president for The Center Foundation, an organization that empowers women in transition, teen parents, and at-risk teen girls through mentoring, education, and support.

Garrison has also served in various roles for the Friends of the Delaware County’s Women Commission—another nonprofit and nonpartisan membership organization that supports local women and girls in their effort to achieve their fullest potential.

Melissa Zook ’94 with President Riggs.

Melissa Zook ’94 has spent the entirety of her renowned career working in medicine. She currently serves as a family physician at London’s Women Care in London, Kentucky, which is a full time outpatient practice specializing in addiction medicine, mental health, HIV, hepatitis, chronic disease management, and pediatrics.

Zook is triple-board certified in family medicine, HIV medicine, and addiction medicine—notably, the only physician in Kentucky with this combination of knowledge. She has treated over a thousand patients with substance use disorders and remains the single largest provider of HIV care in Southeast Kentucky.

In addition to her work directly with patients, Zook also serves on the community faculty of the University of Kentucky and has been published extensively within family, women’s, and medical journals.

Lynn Purnell Leibig ’76 with President Riggs.

Lynn Purnell Leibig ’76 dedicated 29 years of her career to the CIA, where she served in various positions with a specialty in counterintelligence and resolving complex issues in a challenging global environment. At times with the CIA, she held postings overseas in high-threat and warzone areas, and these international assignments prompted her to study five different languages.

Leibig’s exceptional work has been recognized by the CIA through numerous awards, most notably the Merit Citation in Counterintelligence, the Career Commendation Medal, and the Office of Excellence in Leadership.

A dedicated community servant, Leibig also volunteers for organizations such as Boxing for Parkinson’s Disease, Habitat for Humanity, Oysters for the Bay, and Special Riders—a therapeutic horse riding center for those with disabilities. Additionally, she serves on the Board of Directors for the Talbot Historical Society in Easton, Maryland.

Dann Leibig ’76

Dann Leibig ’76 served in several positions within the CIA throughout the course of his illustrious 22-year career. Well-versed in numerous foreign environments and intelligence-related disciplines, he was recognized broadly for his superb ability to identify challenges and work effectively with a team to surmount them.

In honor of his stellar leadership and mentorship within the agency, Leibig was awarded the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal in 2011. After retirement, he gave back to the CIA by mentoring junior officers and helping to rebuild liaison programs and services overseas.

Even after graduation from Gettysburg College, Leibig remained closely affiliated with the institution through his service as a member of Reunion Committees for the Class of 1976, including a stint as co-chair. Additionally, he was a guest lecturer for the Eisenhower Institute and various classes in political science.

Meritorious Service and Young Alumni Awards

Over Reunion Weekend, David Curtiss ’04, Partner at Kirkland & Ellis, LLP, and Lauren Elezko McNally ’04, Vice President of Human Resources at Comcast Spectacor, earned Young Alumni Achievement Awards for Career Development. Elizabeth Bartlett ’04 and Edmund Hardy ’09 received Young Alumni Achievement Awards for Service. Meritorious Service Awards were presented to Jesse Diner ’69 and Lynn Holuba ’79, P’08.

Do you know someone who is deserving of an Alumni Association Award? Nominate a Gettysburgian today!

Noa Leibson ’20 on making majors work for your outside-of-school life Noa Leibson will graduate in 2020 with majors in anthropology and art history, but she’s already a working artist: she sells commission-based oil paintings on her website and prints of her other non-commissioned work on Society6. Visit her website and you’ll see elegant, expressive portraits and animals brought to life in thoughtful brushstrokes—Leibson is one of the current captains of Gettysburg’s equestrian team, so that subject is a natural fit—but her art’s preferred subject matter goes way beyond sports and into another century.

Leibson started painting plague doctors—medical physicians of the bubonic plague era that wore beak-like masks, shroud-y robes, and ornate canes—when she was studying abroad in France. “It was just such a look!” Leibson exclaimed. Now, those prints sell like hot cakes on Society6, on everything from phone cases to soap dispensers.

“The site lets me put my prints on bath mats, among other things, and now all these people suddenly have plague doctor bath mats, so good for them...I guess!” she laughed. Beyond this curious enterprise, for Leibson, Gettysburg’s study abroad program was a life-changing experience. It allowed her to simultaneously explore another culture while making art inspired by it.

“I’ve always sought out adventures and Gettysburg has definitely cultivated that for me, especially with the study abroad program,” Leibson said. She made the decision to go to France in her sophomore year—partly because she comes from a family of francophiles (her grandfather was stationed there in World War II). But mostly, she chose France because the Institute for American Universities’ (IAU) Aix-en-Provence program allowed her to take fine art courses that would let her hone her craft in a studio setting.

While Leibson has been painting and riding horses ever since she was a grade-school-age kid, her time in France deepened her love for those interests in inspiring, perhaps challenging, new settings. While she spoke decent French already, it was still scary for Leibson to join a local riding club and train while she was there—a feat most non-native speakers would probably buck at, pun intended. “Textbooks don't prepare you for horse sport vocabulary. So I was a little lost at times,” she explained. But she’d take the bus to practice with her French peers every weekend, and eventually, they asked her to compete in a competition in which she represented the United States.

Even though Leibson felt a bit in over her head at times, being immersed in the equestrian and art worlds while in France was, in her words “just completely awesome.” She was riding horses every weekend and working on drawing and painting in the studio every weekday, sometimes even taking a bus with her class to paint a breathtaking landscape. “They have this famous mountain where I was studying, Mont Sainte-Victoire, which was the subject of a lot of paintings by several famous painters,” Leibson said. “So it was just incredible to be able to go there, see it, and do it myself.”

That thrill Leibson gets from going to the site of a major cultural happening seems to be part of what drives her interest in studying anthropology and art history. Outside of her Gettysburg studies, she completed a summer dig in Romania—she was encouraged to get field experience during the summer after her freshman year by her advisor, Prof. Ben Luley. As part of the anthropology curriculum, Leibson’s enjoyed the Archeology of Pennsylvania course, led by Luley, in which half the time is spent completing fieldwork.

“We would dig through a very significant site in Gettysburg itself—it’s a significant historical location and to actually be a part of uncovering that history was just incredible,” Leibson explained. The particular focus of Gettysburg’s program has been especially interesting in the way it focuses on archeology’s place in historical and personal narratives. “In anthropology at Gettysburg, there is an emphasis on unheard voices,” Leibson said. “People who have been suppressed—it’s being able to give them a chance to tell their story, for which I think archeology is helpful because [the uncovered stories are] not necessarily written by the winner.”

As a double major in art history and anthropology, Leibson finds she’s most at peace when her majors feel like they’re working in synchronicity—something she often experiences when she’s researching or writing for one class or another. Leibson’s multidisciplinary interests are satisfied in looking at all the different fields in anthropology—cultural, biological, linguistic, archeological—and every part of looking at human cultures, in the present, and in the past “at the people that are no longer with us and what they've left behind.” This, of course, informs her art history studies, in which Leibson said she’s able “to see what cultures had created, how these are found, the greater context of these artifacts, on these little pieces of human history.”

As a senior, Leibson looks forward to being the captain of the equestrian team, working on her capstone theses in anthropology and art history, and writing and painting even more. During her junior year, she won an extracurricular short fiction story contest—all while continuing to study and clear off her desk and paint in her spare time. This summer, Leibson will be the manager of the Horsemen's Association of Mackinac Island—a small island off the coast of Michigan that’s banned all cars and related vehicles. She heard about it at some point in her studies, decided she had to work there, and called around to businesses on the island until she had a job—that’s how she operates.

It seems there’s nothing Leibson is too scared to try—and she encourages other students to dip their toes into whatever interests they have at Gettysburg, especially if it has to do with a horse. “We have a roster spot for a beginner who competes in just walking and trotting, all the way up to roster spots that are for the highest jumping level,” Leibson explained. “So someone who comes to college and just has always wanted to do this, but never had the chance—they too can have the opportunity to compete and represent Gettysburg.” In the spirit of Leibson, why not try?

The Gettysburg Network connects aspiring pilot to opportunity At the age of nine, Cole Rossiter ’14 flew his first plane. He was part of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Young Eagles program, aimed at getting youth interested in aviation. The experience made a lasting impression, one that sparked Rossiter’s love of flying and guided his career trajectory toward launching satellites into space with NASA and training for combat as a military pilot.

When searching for the right college, the idea of becoming a pilot was abstract—a possible dream with an uncertain path. Rossiter wanted an academically strong school that would allow him to compete in cross country and track and field. From there, he could discover his path. It was not until Rossiter began attending Gettysburg College and exploring his career options that he realized how he could build aviation into his future.

“College is just as much about learning who you are as it is about getting a higher education,” Rossiter said.

Getting to know your strengths and weaknesses, fears, and passions is all a part of the process. Through a bit of exploring, he became an environmental studies and physics double major. Included in the environmental studies major was a requirement for two physics classes.

“I took them freshman year, and I was so impressed with Prof. [Kurt] Andresen and Prof. [Sharon] Stephenson that I immediately declared my physics major,” recalled Rossiter. “It ended up being an awesome, albeit challenging, double major that worked out perfectly for my future career.”

Though Rossiter navigated his path through Gettysburg, there was still a question of his career path. There was not a clear cut plan forward, but he knew aviation had to be part of his quest. “I learned that getting a job out of college isn’t always easy, but a piece of advice I would give students is to use the Gettysburg Network and keep pressing forward,” he said. “There are people out there like me who want to help as many Gettysburg graduates as they can.”

Rossiter visited Prof. Darren Glass’s First-Year Seminar, STEM From the Ground Up: The Thrills and Skills of Science, to share his experience working as an applied physicist with the Goddard Flight Center, NASA.

The Gettysburg Network came through for Rossiter. After graduation, he returned home to New Milford, CT, to explore his dream of becoming a military pilot, first by obtaining his private pilot’s license. He returned to Gettysburg a year later to observe graduation ceremonies and connected again with Stephenson, who told Rossiter about a career opportunity connected to Bruce Guenther ’65 at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). “I was in the right place at the right time and was very fortunate to be offered a life-changing job a year out from college,” Rossiter said.

Stephenson has witnessed the Gettysburg Network work not only for Rossiter, but for many of her students and alumni alike. “What I appreciate about the Gettysburg Network is that the alumni reach out to us in a time when most academic institutions spend a great deal of time reaching out to alums,” she said. “Folks like Guenther and Andre Hinds ’16 [at Deloitte] turned that model on its head. They directly contacted faculty and highlighted potential employment opportunities for our students. What they did I call ‘precision networking,’ and it worked beautifully for everyone involved.”

In Rossiter’s role, he served as a support scientist on the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS). “I acted as a liaison between the NASA engineering teams, who are responsible for building the instruments, and the NOAA science teams, who are responsible for extracting the science product from the instruments,” explained Rossiter. “It was the perfect position for someone with a physics and environmental studies degree who could understand both sides of any problem we faced.”

Throughout his three-and-a-half years with the JPSS, Rossiter continued to chase his dream of becoming a military pilot by applying to Air National Guard (ANG) pilot slots. After a considerable amount of persistence, he accepted a pilot position with the New Hampshire ANG and formally enlisted in March 2018, kicking off the training process to eventually become a mission-qualified KC-46A pilot.

A pilot, a scientist, a husband, an airman, a Gettysburg alumnus—Rossiter carries many titles, titles that will undoubtedly continue to expand and multiply as he continues his journey. In doing so, the Gettysburg Network continues its growth, capitalizing on yet another alumnus willing to help future generations succeed. No matter where Rossiter ends up, he is sure of one thing, “I will be flying something.”

Bailey Harper ’19: Art historian and future curator For Bailey Harper ’19, an opportunity came knocking while she was studying abroad in Athens, Greece—over 5,000 miles away from Gettysburg College. It was an email from Art History Prof. Felicia Else, asking if anyone was interested in doing research for the upcoming exhibit The Plains of Mars: European War Prints, 1500-1825 in the Schmucker Art Gallery. “I said, ‘Prof. Else, I want to do this.’ And I sent it. I don’t think I even signed my name. I may have hit reply all too,” laughed Harper.

Harper has always loved art. When she visited Gettysburg’s campus as a high school student, she saw its art gallery for the first time. “Seeing the student artwork hanging in the gallery made me realize that even if I didn’t major in studio art, I could still continue my passion for art and art history.” Harper’s visit convinced her to apply to Gettysburg early decision. “I felt like I was already a part of the Gettysburg campus when I visited. It felt right. Somebody thought I was already a student,” she said.

While she declared an art history major in the first month of her first year, she had no intention of double majoring. Yet, the sculpture class Harper took during her sophomore year convinced her to add a studio art major, followed by a minor in anthropology.

Harper applied the knowledge and skills she accumulated in her classes as early as the summer after her first year. Her involvement in the Civil War Institute’s Brian C. Pohanka Internship program led to a summer curatorial internship at the Petersburg National Battlefield. It gave Harper insight into archival and curatorial work. “This was the first time my art historical research was connected to curation.”

Another valuable experience occurred within the classroom during her sophomore year—Prof. Yan Sun’s Art History Methods course. The course concluded with Gettysburg students curating their own show in the Schmucker Art Gallery. “Each of us picked two artworks to research, wrote a catalog essay, and prepared the exhibit space,” Harper said. “We had a variety of objects for the show, and yet somehow we had to make sense of all the pieces to tell a story. It was challenging, but fun.”

These two experiences—one outside the classroom, and one within—ultimately shaped her career goal: to become a curator and teach with art. Seeing that email from Else inspired Harper to reach her goal and gain valuable hands-on experience. As it turned out, Else and Dr. Shannon Egan, the director of the Schmucker Art Gallery, thought the exhibition was too big for only one person. The prints were divided up by time period, with Harper assigned to early modern artwork.

“Dr. Egan then emailed me saying that I should apply to the Kolbe Summer Fellows Program. And I said, ‘Okay! What’s that?’” After learning that it was a funded 10-week summer research fellowship geared toward students in the humanities and social sciences, Harper was determined to apply.

As an accepted fellow, Harper met with her mentor, Egan; conducted research on the prints; and assisted with the exhibit. An eye-opening experience for Harper was when the prints arrived in August. “Dr. Egan looked at each piece, and then moved the prints from place to place,” said Harper. “I could see the gears moving in her head, thinking how to best organize the show to allow it to make sense thematically. And that’s what I wanted to learn—how to effectively curate a show to make sense.”

Harper made the most of her summer. By the end, she produced two essays, three didactic wall labels, four catalogue entries, and a website—the latter of which she had never done before. Harper was inspired to create a website in order to help guests make sense of the social, political, and cultural issues that were occurring during the time period of the displayed art, and how these events connected to the work’s artistic movements. “The website, which features a timeline, helps to visualize all of this material,” explained Harper. “It made an element of the exhibit more accessible to the public.”

As a gallery attendant on campus, Harper led gallery talks about the exhibit throughout the academic year and made sure to mention the website she created. During the school year, she also served as president of Art Alliance, house leader of Art House, and an office assistant for the art history department. Harper was able to bring the website design skills she obtained during the summer back to the department’s office.

“The Kolbe Fellowship instilled in me transferable skills. I’ve made websites, written blog posts, completed research, and have even become a better writer under the guidance of my mentor Dr. Egan,” she reflected. Harper will soon take these experiences and skills to American University this fall when she begins her master’s program in art history.

Congratulations, Class of 2019! Commencement highlights, photos, and more Challenge. Failure. Resilience. Triumph. And what it means to be a Gettysburgian through it all.

These and other themes were reflected during Gettysburg College’s 184th Commencement ceremony as we celebrated the accomplishments of our 611 graduates and looked forward with them to the future.

Read more about the Class of 2019.

Watch the Commencement Highlights video.

Graduates of the Class of 2019

According to Newbery-prize winning author Jerry Spinelli ’63, he chose to focus on a less discussed topic for a college or university commencement, but an important theme nonetheless: failure. And more importantly, the value of not always succeeding.

“My wish for you is not that you never fail, but that you never waste your failures,” said Spinelli. “I wish for you the other, less celebrated side of success, the often unacclaimed, priceless rewards of being Number Two. I wish for you the things that success cannot give you.”

In learning how to fail—and learning how to do it well—he argued students can discover the strength of resilience, appreciate unexpected journeys, and ultimately live their best life. He pulled from his own personal experiences to assert the importance these hard-earned lessons can have. Read more about Spinelli.

"So pack these wishes of mine as you cross your creek,” Spinelli said. “That you achieve not one grand and fabulous thing, but many small and special things. That your wealth be not in your bank, but in your heart. Not that the occasion make you smile, but that your smile make the occasion. That you leave room for unplanned and uninsured surprises. That you win power, not over others, but over yourself. That your name be a household word not throughout the land, but in your own household. That your monument be found not in public parks, but in the lives of those you’ve touched.”

Student speaker and chemistry and mathematics double major Josh Wagner ’19 also focused on the idea of resilience and how engaging in difficult conversations, reflecting, and acting meaningfully is an essential part of the Gettysburg experience.

“Gettysburg College is a catalyst for meaningful discussions,” Wagner said. “At times over the last four years, our campus has served as a microcosm for the debates and discussions that have swept this country. We rallied behind marginalized members of our community, we stood up for science, we campaigned for issues we were passionate about, we voted, we volunteered, we got involved in our communities. Throughout, we asked the difficult questions.”

With that, President Janet Morgan Riggs gave her final charge to the graduates in her term as president, and she made it one that resonates with Gettysburgians of all class years.

“I charge you to use your education to pursue a life of meaning,” Riggs said. “May you open your eyes to the next great adventure… May you open your ears to others... May you open your heart to a world that needs you... And when you fall, as we often do, amidst skinned knees and self-doubt, remember this community, and remember that we believe in you.”

During the ceremony, Riggs received an honorary degree in recognition of her excellence in teaching and administration, her leadership in the field of higher education, and her loyalty to her alma mater. Honorary degrees were also conferred to philanthropist, community activist, and business woman Jane Rice, and actor, director, presenter, author Levar Burton, best known for his roles on Roots, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Reading Rainbow. Spinelli was presented with the Gettysburg College Medal.

Graduate receives his diploma

Africana Studies and History Prof. Scott Hancock was recognized for his dedication in the classroom and active support of the student learning experience with the Distinguished Teaching Award.

After the ceremony, graduates and their families were invited to a light reception in the College Union Building's ballroom and the first floor of the newly renamed Janet Morgan Riggs Student Center.

View photos from Sunday’s ceremony on Flickr.

Throughout the weekend, students were celebrated at a Baccalaureate service, Departmental Receptions, Spring Honors Day, and Army ROTC Commissioning Ceremony.

View photos from Saturday’s events on Flickr.

Earlier in the week, senior members of the Women’s Lacrosse team were celebrated in a Special Commencement Ceremony, as they were unable to attend Sunday’s ceremony due to postseason play. Read more about the Special Commencement ceremony.

Women’s lacrosse seniors 'on to greatness' after graduating in Special Commencement Ceremony Cheering each other on comes naturally for the seniors on the Gettysburg College women’s lacrosse team, whether they’re starting, battling back from injury, or supporting from the sideline or in the classroom.

Each member of the team’s senior class—Lauren Cole, Steph Colson, Shelby Fragetta, Emma Hill, Brooke Holechek, Katrina Niedziela, and Bailey Pilder—has embraced the true Gettysburg experience.

“I have watched you hold each other up and cheer each other on,” said management lecturer Bennett Bruce on Thursday as he delivered his speech honoring the seven Gettysburgians at the Special Commencement Ceremony in Kline Theater.

“Even if you were vying for a starting position, you cheered the starter on to greatness,” he continued. “Maybe you take this quality for granted, but I have to tell you—it amazes this old man.”

In what has become an almost annual tradition, the celebration marked the 11th time in the past 14 years that the women’s lacrosse seniors were personally honored prior to Sunday’s full-scale Commencement due to postseason play. The program has advanced to the NCAA Division III tournament 19 times since 2000, winning three championships in 2011, 2017, and 2018, and currently vying for a three-peat.

“Lacrosse players are passionate about their sport, team members, coaches, and winning, but they are also intellectually curious and passionate about their education,” Bruce said. “You just need to decide which of your championship rings you are going to wear.”

Gettysburg College President Janet Morgan Riggs ’77 joked she wouldn’t mind wearing another championship ring in honor of its women’s lacrosse team, either. In her final Special Commencement as president, Riggs spoke about the team’s successes, but also reminded them of the value of a Gettysburg education.

“More important than those wins—and I really mean this—is how you have conducted yourselves on and off the field—thank you for representing Gettysburg College so well,” Riggs said. “Your liberal arts education, your ability to manage your time and your priorities, your interest in and concern for those around you, your commitment to teamwork, your motivation to achieve excellence, all of these things will serve you well—as successful professionals and as engaged citizens and leaders of the future.”

2019 Special Commencement Multimedia

Watch Live Stream

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Provost Christopher Zappe also extended his congratulations to the first members of the Class of 2019 to graduate and enter the next chapter of their lives.

“Your hard work, your continued development as engaged citizens of our global community, your Gettysburg experience—this is what it means to be orange and blue,” Zappe said. “This is truly your uniform, and we hope that you continue to wear it with pride.”

Riggs, Zappe, and Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students Julie Ramsey oversaw the conferring of degrees to each senior. Colson and Holecheck received degrees in health sciences, while Cole, Fragetta, Hill, Niedziela and Pilder earned degrees in political science, history, sociology, mathematical economics, and organization and management studies, respectively.

Together, the remarks by Riggs, Zappe, and Bruce described these seven seniors as committed—to lacrosse, to their studies and to their community, both local and abroad. Balancing academics, athletics and social activities, they have risen to the challenge throughout their four years at Gettysburg College, and will continue to do so in their future pursuits.

The seniors will lead the top-ranked Bullets as they host the regional championship May 18-19 on Clark Field, facing Denison on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. If they continue dancing, they will turn to face the winner of Wesleyan (Conn.) and Washington & Lee on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. The NCAA Division III semifinals and championship will take place at Randolph-Macon May 25 and 26.

]]> Newbery-prize winning author Jerry Spinelli ’63 has one goal when he writes: tell a good story.

He doesn’t set out to address themes like homelessness and racial tensions that are depicted in Maniac Magee, or messages about nonconformity and individualism represented in Stargirl, or even the moral dilemmas and deep issues confronted by adolescents found in Wringer.

Instead, he focuses on telling the best story he can, and to make it one he cares about deeply.

“I hadn’t even thought about the word homelessness when I wrote Maniac Magee. For me, it was about a kid who was longing for an address, not this newspaper headline issue of what we call homelessness,” Spinelli said. “I write the best story I can, and I hope what people take away from it is a good story. The themes are a byproduct.”

That’s why, when Daisy Sullivan ’19 reached out to Spinelli about speaking at Commencement after rereading her favorite novel, Crash, he was deeply flattered.

“I love it when adults tell me they like my stories, and I was happy to get that review from Daisy,” Spinelli said.

It took Spinelli a long time to refine his rules for storytelling; while he knew from the age of 16 that he wanted to be a writer, his first novel wasn’t published until 25 years later. In that time, he wrote four novels that—as he puts it—“collected a mountain of rejection slips that could paper the walls of the room I’m sitting in."

Even in the 1960s, Gettysburg College provided students with a wide array of co-curriculars for students to explore and develop their interests. For Spinelli, he declared a major in English and recalls with great fondness a semester spent writing 17 different papers. Among these were papers for creative writing courses with English Prof. and renowned author of Address Unknown, Katherine Kressmann Taylor. He was also an editor for The Mercury and a sports editor for The Gettysburgian, publishing a regular column that he used to secure two post-graduate writing jobs after his graduation.

After graduation, he completed a master’s degree in writing at Johns Hopkins University, served in the Naval Air Reserve, and found a job with commercial and industrial magazine producer Chilton that allowed him to continue to earn an income while writing full-time, and let him focus on his creative writing during his lunch hours, evenings, and weekends.

He learned a lot of hard lessons along the way, too.

“I didn’t start out doing the things I would advise others to do,” Spinelli explained. “I didn’t write a novel and autopsy it and tear it apart and find out what makes it tick. I didn’t go to writer’s workshops or read books about developing a plot.

“During those years, there was not a time when I did not doubt myself, when I did not have to challenge myself to keep going,” Spinelli continued. “I thought every book that was rejected was a failure, but looking back I can see that, in fact, I was teaching myself how to write so when I got to book number five, I finally got it and was one my way.”

Now, he enjoys the opportunity to share what he’s learned and return his expertise to the Gettysburg College community, joining with many faculty, administrators, and alumni who want to prepare students for success and transformative action. He served on an advisory committee for the College’s magazine for a number of years and also served as a visiting instructor in creative writing in the late ’90s.

“At the time, I was working on my book Milkweed, and I had maybe 20 students in the class. I took advantage of the opportunity to share the hard-earned lessons I had learned,” Spinelli said.

“There’s a hundred things any writer could offer by way of advice, so I like to boil it down to my golden rule: write what you care about. There’s a cliché about writing what you know about, and my golden rule is a spin-off of that. If you write what you care about, it’s coming from your heart. That offers you the best chance of touching the reader’s heart, which you might say is the ultimate goal of a writer.”

Spinelli has also donated his collection of manuscripts and related materials to the College’s Musselman Library’s Special Collections and College Archives, where students are able to access and learn from them.

Spinelli will speak at the College’s 184th Commencement ceremony on May 19, 2019. While he hopes to give graduates a different perspective from which to view their graduation, he is also aware that their accomplishments are part and parcel of the celebration that day.

“I don’t wish to take the spotlight off the graduates, but I am also aware that there are two accomplishments to celebrate: everything the students have accomplished to reach their graduation, and everything Janet has accomplished in her tenure,” Spinelli said.

“The fact that everybody calls her Janet or JMR tells you something about how warmly regarded she is by the students she presides over. I’m sorry that it’s coming to an end because she’s been my personal favorite president.”

While he doesn’t want to give away too much about his remarks, Spinelli does plan to pull from some of his personal experiences. And as he reflects on his life, there are a few things that stand out: hard work, resilience, and luck.

“To this day, I pinch myself that I am able to make a nice living writing stories and writing fiction, because it doesn’t happen often,” Spinelli said. “Lucky is a word I use a lot.”

Everything you need to know for Gettysburg College’s 184th Commencement ceremony Gettysburg College will hold its 184th Commencement—rain or shine—during a May 19th ceremony that will take place on the Beachem Portico on the north side of Pennsylvania Hall at 11 a.m.

About the ceremony

Newbery prize-winning author Jerry Spinelli ’63 will deliver the keynote Commencement address and will receive the Gettysburg College Medal during the Sunday ceremony.

Honorary degrees will also be conferred to philanthropist, community activist, and business woman Jane Rice; actor, director, presenter, author Levar Burton, best known for his roles on Roots, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Reading Rainbow; and President Janet Morgan Riggs '77. Riggs, who retires as Gettysburg College's 14th president in June, is receiving the reward in in recognition for her excellence in teaching and administration, her leadership in the field of higher education, and her loyalty to her alma mater.

Chemistry and mathematics double major Josh Wagner ’19 will speak on behalf of the graduating class.

The Gettysburg College Award for Distinguished Teaching will also be presented during the Sunday ceremony.

The Commencement ceremony will be livestreamed and indoor viewing locations will be set up in Masters Hall’s Mara Auditorium and Brua Hall’s Kline Theater. Following the ceremony, light refreshments will be served in the College Union Building and the Dining Center.

Commencement events and information

Graduates and their families can access all things Commencement, such as the complete schedule and information for graduates, on the 2019 Commencement webpage. Additionally, specific information for graduates is provided, along with information pertaining to the Baccalaureate ceremony, Departmental Receptions, Spring Honors Day, Army ROTC Commissioning Ceremony, and other Commencement-related events.

Internet-based Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) service will be available, allowing anyone to see the closed-caption transcription in real time on any wireless device that can access the Internet.

There will be an American Sign Language interpreter. See an usher to have a seat with a sightline to the ASL interpreter.

Portions of the program will also be translated into various languages and will be made available to guests upon request.

Additional information about accessibility during the ceremony—including parking and shuttle services—can be found on the Commencement accessibility webpage.

You can join the Commencement conversation on social media with #gburg2019.

Pictures taken by the College will be posted on the website and social media platforms. GradImages will also be taking pictures during the ceremony. Students and their families can pre-register to receive a notification when those pictures are available to review and purchase.

Special Commencement for athletes in post-season

Special Commencement ceremony for senior members of the Women’s Lacrosse team—which will also be livestreamed—will take place on Thursday, May 16. Bennett Bruce from Organization and Management Studies will deliver the keynote address at the Special Commencement ceremony.

About Jerry Spinelli ’63

One day in second grade Jerry Spinelli dressed up in his cowboy outfit, complete with golden cap pistols and spurs on his boots. He went to school that way. It was not Halloween. When the teacher asked if he “would like to do something for the class,” he got up and sang “I Have the Spurs that Jingle Jangle Jingle.”

Shortly thereafter he ceased to be a singing cowboy and decided to become a baseball player. In eleventh grade he wrote a poem about a high school football game. It was published in the local (Norristown, PA) newspaper. He traded in his baseball bat for a pencil and became a writer.

The story of his life to that point is told in his memoir Knots in My Yo-Yo String. His sixth novel, Maniac Magee, was awarded the Newbery Medal in 1991 for “The Most Distinguished Contribution to American Literature for Children.” His eighteenth book, Wringer, received a Newbery Honor. Stargirl will be a Disney film on the company’s new streaming platform, expected to launch in late 2019.

Jerry Spinelli’s books appear in more than 40 languages. Anti-apartheid forces in South Africa recruited Maniac Magee to their cause. Loser travels through rural Japan as a stage play. There are Stargirl Societies around the world.

Jerry Spinelli lives with his wife and fellow author, Eileen, in Media, Pennsylvania. They have six children and thirty–six grand– and great–grandchildren. And counting.

He received an honorary degree from Gettysburg College in 2005.

For more information

For more information about Commencement, please refer to the Commencement website. It will be updated frequently as Commencement weekend approaches.

Prestigious fellowships awarded, projects of global impact unite passionate scholars Being selected for a prestigious scholarship or fellowship shines like a badge of honor on a resume. But how one translates that distinction into the real world means much more. As 2019 Hollings scholar Lauren Sherman ’21 described, it’s a “one-in-a-million shot” for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

The environmental studies major felt guilty at a young age knowing the number of organisms going extinct in aquatic ecosystems from the shores of Lake Erie to the depths of the Atlantic Ocean.

“We’re killing [our environment] by not acting against climate change,” she said.

Now, Sherman has a chance to act by interning with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) through its scholarship program.

“This shaped who I am and motivated me to find a way to make a difference other than walking around the beach with a trash bag picking up litter,” she said.

Hollings scholar Lauren Sherman ’21 will have an opportunity to better understand humans’ impact on the environment through her research surrounding atmospheric conditions and aquatic habitats with the NOAA.

At its core, Gettysburg College embraces the “spirit of a liberal arts education,” said Aiden Egglin ’17, preparing its students for success during their undergraduate studies and upon graduation. Offering abundant opportunities in and out of the classroom provides a foundation that shapes them into empowered individuals leading within a global community.

Gettysburgians like Sherman pursue paths that pique their curiosity, actively seek answers to profound questions, and adopt a personal drive to enact change.

Joining Sherman in that pursuit are eight fellow Gettysburgians who received prestigious awards this year, four of which present post-graduate opportunities.

Brittany Bondi ’19, Marley Dizney Swanson ’18, Aiden Egglin ’17, and Vanessa Martinez ’19 received grants from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, which is sponsored by the Department of State. Bondi will travel to Mongolia to continue her research on environmental injustices, while Egglin and Martinez join English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Programs in Spain and South Korea, respectively. However, instead of using the grant, Dizney Swanson will be joining the Peace Corps in Botswana to help combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Olivia Peduzzi ’20, Erin Schroeder ’20, and Claire Woodward ’20 were awarded Goldwater scholarships by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, marking the first time three students were selected from Gettysburg College. Each rising senior plans to pursue a PhD in scientific fields to advance research—Peduzzi in inorganic chemistry, Schroeder in molecular biology, and Woodward in biochemistry.

Also honored was alumna Christine Urbanowicz ’09, who will be working at USAID’s GeoCenter in Washington, D.C., thanks to a Science and Technology Policy Fellowship awarded by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

At the heart of each of these scholars is passion—passion for research, passion for people, and passion for an environment that beats as one.

“What they all share is a curiosity about people, countries, and cultures different from themselves,” said Maureen Forrestal, assistant provost for student scholarly engagement at Gettysburg College. “They’re also good people who have evidenced an awareness that there are others who may not have had the advantages they have experienced and want to make things better for everyone.”

Brittany Bondi ’19, an environmental studies major, is excited to use her Fulbright grant to expand upon her undergraduate project by researching the effects of mining on herders in Mongolia.

For Bondi and Woodward, it’s about sharing the voices of the silenced and providing an outlet for the undocumented.

When Bondi conducted an independent study project her junior year while abroad in Mongolia, she not only learned about environmental science, but she also witnessed how humans’ disturbance of the environment affects others, specifically how mining afflicts the lives of nomadic herders.

As a result, she felt compelled to return to present their stories to both government and non-government officials after they opened their hearts and their homes for her educational development.

“I recorded a plethora of impactful stories, wrote a 20-page research paper, and then simply left the country without giving back to those who gave me their time,” Bondi said. “[With the Fulbright grant,] I now have the opportunity to give back to the country and communities that gave me so much.”

Woodward’s inspiration hit even closer to home.

Because her father suffers from a rare autoimmune disorder, she began reading what little she could about it in high school—and landed at Gettysburg College to try to do her part to alert the scientific community about the unknown.

Through her research opportunities at Gettysburg College and beyond, Goldwater scholar Claire Woodward ’20 learned to take initiative in the laboratory, growing her desire to pursue a PhD.

Just 120 miles south of her hometown, the Bloomsburg, Pa., native found a support system—from faculty and staff that offered new research experiences and workshops to friends who understood the demands of a biochemistry-molecular biology major. That backing then led her to the Krogsgaard laboratory at the NYU School of Medicine for a summer research program analyzing immunological issues.

“I read a lot about my father’s disease, which drew me to immunology and resulted in my choice of major when I got to Gettysburg,” Woodward said. “It’s really important to me that my work is meaningful and my research is progressing."

While the application process for these prestigious awards may seem “daunting,” it’s “worth the experience,” said Woodward. It’s another example of pushing oneself out of his or her comfort zone to further develop as an individual and a professional.

“The Gettysburg College community was crucial in helping me to grow as a person and pushing me to take advantage of all of the extracurricular opportunities available to me,” said Egglin, who first studied abroad in Spain as a junior and also spent a summer in Nicaragua through the Center for Public Service.

“Ultimately, I feel that much of the experience teaching and traveling that made me competitive for an ETA was rooted in my education at Gettysburg and the global perspective it encouraged me to have.”

Recent CUB addition named in honor of President Janet Morgan Riggs ’77 On May 3, the Board of Trustees at Gettysburg College announced the recent addition of the College Union Building (CUB) on campus will be named the Janet Morgan Riggs Student Center, in honor of the College’s retiring 14th president. The news was shared at a surprise ceremony held in the Atrium of the College Dining Center.

The 26,000 square-foot addition to the CUB—completed in the fall of 2018—houses Bullet Hole dining space, the Center for Career Engagement, the Garthwait Leadership Center, and Student Activities and Greek Life Offices, as well as space for Student Senate and other student organizations.

“Janet, you have given your heart to this College and to our students. Now, your name will forever grace this building within the heart of our campus,” said Board Chair David Brennan ’75, P’00 during the ceremony, which kicked off with a performance by the Gettysburg College drumline.

Interior view of the CUB

Riggs was appointed president of Gettysburg College in 2009 after serving as interim president in 2008. She will retire on June 30 after devoting more than 40 years to the institution—as a student, professor, presidential assistant, provost, and ultimately president.

Under her leadership, Gettysburg College enhanced its commitment to inclusion and internationalization; strengthened its academic reputation and recruitment efforts; and transformed its campus grounds and facilities. Riggs also spearheaded the most ambitious fundraising effort in the College’s 187-year history, Gettysburg Great: The Campaign for Our College, which raised over $160 million and attracted more than 25,000 donors in support of the institution.

To learn more about Riggs’ exemplary leadership and dedicated service to Gettysburg College, read her cover story from the winter 2019 issue of Gettysburg magazine.

Pres. Riggs talking with Ivana Lopez-Espinosa ’19

Eisenhower Institute Undergraduate Fellows investigate themes of "common security and prosperity" When Elizabeth Miller ’19 was first accepted to Gettysburg College, she attended a Gettysburg Send-Off welcome event. There, she met a student who spoke about her experience as an Undergraduate Fellow through the Eisenhower Institute.

“She raved about her experience with the Eisenhower Institute and encouraged me to get involved,” said Miller. Three years later, Miller applied to be an Undergraduate Fellow and has since had the opportunity through the program to connect her learning to issues of importance in the realm of policy and current events.

This academic year’s Undergraduate Fellows comprise eight seniors. Each student in the program brings a unique perspective and set of experiences to a common theme of study—this year, “Common Security and Common Prosperity.”

“This theme is about connecting to President Eisenhower’s legacy and rooting it in the current historical moment,” said Prof. Brendan Cushing-Daniels, the Harold G. Evans Chair of Eisenhower Leadership Studies.

The Fellows’ study was divided into five immersive and timely subtopics: income inequality, climate change, terrorism, the refugee crisis, and alliances. In the fall semester, Fellows traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with professionals in the nonprofit sector, nongovernmental organizations, and international agencies. Students met and held discussions with practitioners and field experts.

While Undergraduate Fellows must be in their senior year, students can be selected from any major or minor, which offers a unique opportunity for the cohort to possess diverse talents and viewpoints. “I think if we start to think about any of these topics as owned by a particular discipline or particular perspective, then we will be weaker for the experience,” said Cushing-Daniels. “Ideas that move us—Gettysburg College and the world—forward are welcome.”

Meet five Fellows and learn about their high-impact experiences.

Luca Menicali ’19

Home: Fermo, Italy

Major: Mathematical economics and mathematics

Extracurricular activities: Resident Assistant, Peer Learning Associate for the Economics and Mathematics departments, intramural sports official, member of the Men’s Varsity Tennis team, and member of the Theta Chapter of Sigma Chi.

“What I found attractive about the Eisenhower Institute Undergraduate Fellows program was the experiential education aspect. I wanted to immerse myself into a program that would allow me to develop knowledge and interpersonal skills. My career plan is to conduct socially impactful and policy-oriented research. Therefore, my goal is to obtain real-world exposure as it pertains to public policy.

“What I like the most about the program is the opportunity to meet with experts on the various topics we are covering. We have the opportunity to ask about their opinion on climate change, income inequality, and national security, as well as how their jobs address those issues. On campus, the Fellows split up into three groups and are putting together panels of experts to inform the campus community on specific issues. My group focuses on the ways in which climate change affects minority groups.”

Elizabeth Miller ’19

Home: Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Major: Economics and international affairs

Minor: French

Extracurricular activities: Facilitator with the Gettysburg Recreational Adventure Board (GRAB), and Admissions Tour Guide

“My experience as an Undergraduate Fellow has allowed me to apply my academic interests in a practical learning environment, continue my professional development, and make meaningful connections around the world. Throughout the rest of the semester, the Fellows are hosting panels to highlight current global security and prosperity issues, which will be another great opportunity to bring our experiences and conversations we had abroad back to campus and elevate the debate surrounding common security and prosperity.”

Grecia Patino ’19

Home: Watsonville, California

Major: Economics

Minor: Peace and Justice Studies

Extracurricular activities: Member of the Gettysburg African Student Association (GASA), member of the Latin American Student Association, member of the Gettysburg News Network, Painted Turtle Farm volunteer, Campus Kitchen volunteer, and SCCAP Shelter volunteer

“It was important for me to be involved in the Eisenhower Institute because I wanted to surround myself with people who have similar interests and ultimately cared for these policy and social issues as well.

“I already had an interest on some of these topics the Fellows are discussing, such as climate change, income inequality, and the refugee crisis. Being able to learn about these issues and meet with people in these fields has been very eye-opening. It has given me a sense of direction of what I can do after graduation. Knowing and learning about the many problems that exist has definitely made me want to go into a field where I can work on a solution.”

Daniel Shussett ’19

Home: Allentown, Pennsylvania


Minor: Political science

Extracurricular activities: Student Outreach Ambassador in the Development, Alumni, and Parent Relations department

“I decided to apply based in part on previous positive experiences with the Eisenhower Institute, having participated in Environmental Leadership my freshman year and Inside Politics in my sophomore year. I found these previous experiences to be great educational experiences and beneficial to my career goals.

“The biggest takeaways I have had from this experience largely developed from our Western Europe trip over winter break. During this trip, we had the opportunity to meet with a wide range of European and international officials on topics such as refugees, terrorism, economic inequality, climate change, and alliances (EU/NATO/US). Prior to the trip, I felt I had a very firm grasp of such issues, but throughout the trip I developed a much more rigorous understanding of these important topics through a European lens, which then drastically changed my views on common prosperity and security and how the Americans and Europeans hope to achieve these goals.”

Ryan Simonton ’19

Home: Wilmington, Delaware

Major: Environmental studies

Minor: Spanish

Extracurricular activities: Member of intramural sports, and member of the Theta Chapter of Sigma Chi

“I was drawn to the program after hearing that it wasn’t restricted to political science majors. In addition, I thought it would be a great experience to explore President Eisenhower's work through the lens of public policy. Experiential learning was another large component that I was drawn to.

“Learning about one thing in the classroom is completely different from talking to people in the field. Meeting with European Parliament members, Greenpeace employees, and the Lithuanian ambassador to NATO was invaluable. Although we hear about events in Europe in our daily lives, it was powerful to meet with influential figures and to learn firsthand about the work they were focusing on.”

Connecting your passions Over half of Gettysburg College students complete research with a faculty mentor over the course of their four years here. For Lynn Porta ’19, becoming a Kolbe Summer Fellow allowed her to refine her passion for hydropolitics—the politics of water—in the Middle East.

The Kolbe Summer Fellows Program is geared toward students who are interested in conducting interdisciplinary research within the arts, humanities, and social sciences fields. Over the course of 10 weeks, students pursue their own research interests under the direction of a faculty mentor.

Porta’s journey started in an academic department in which she did not originally envision herself: environmental studies.

“I picked Gettysburg in part because of my general interest in global politics. I thought I was going to study international relations or political science,” said Porta. “I wasn’t necessarily expecting to become a political science and environmental studies double major.”

Yet Prof. Monica Orgra’s “Environmental Science and Society” course made her curious to learn more. It was her first foray into studying environmental issues, and she found herself swept up in the class. So much so that Porta decided to pursue a major in environmental studies.

Prof. Stephen Stern’s “Religion and Politics in the Middle East” course and Porta’s involvement with the Eisenhower Institute were two other experiences that impacted her first year. During an experiential learning trip to the Middle East, she began to discover how to connect her interests.

“It provided a place for me to combine my interests in political science, environmental science, and the study of the Middle East in one place,” said Porta. “I credit the program for helping me to find my niche.”

During Porta’s sophomore year, Prof. Salma Monani’s environmental humanities class was another key to refining her interests. “It revealed to me how politics, environmental resource management, and Middle East studies are interconnected,” she said. Within her courses, Porta took every opportunity to build her knowledge and skill set in the specific area she wanted to be in: environmental and political issues in the Middle East.

Porta’s global study experience during her junior year at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was another piece to the puzzle. The most impactful course she took abroad was called “Challenges of Regional Cooperation.” During that course, she wrote a paper that examined international cooperation over bilateral treaties between Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Liberation Organization. That paper ultimately became the foundation for her Kolbe research proposal.

“I couldn’t really dig my teeth into the topic when I was abroad,” said Porta. “I applied to the Kolbe Summer Fellows Program because I wanted to use what I had learned in that class abroad and apply it to a practical project.”

With the support of her mentor, Stern, Porta spent 10 weeks doing exactly that. Her Kolbe project, titled Transboundary Water Narratives in the Middle East: Sources of Understanding for the Politics of a Scarce Resource, used literature, reports, treaties, and data to develop an understanding of how effective the policies are between countries in the Middle East.

“Lynn is a bold, dynamic scholar who appreciates the epistemic narratives underlying the science at hand,” reflected Stern. “She is an agile, conscientious thinker with a grasp on the particular and how it connects to trans historical narratives.”

Porta’s work and culmination of experiences — from Ogra’s course during her first-year to the Kolbe fellowship — have continued to make waves. Porta is continuing her research, which has turned into her environmental studies senior honors thesis. The paper that she wrote for the Kolbe fellowship is currently under review for a publication. Her research also served as material she submitted to graduate school — she will be attending Oregon State University for her master’s in water resources policy and management in the fall.

In addition, Porta is currently a participant in the Institute’s Environmental Leadership program, this year’s theme being watershed management across districts in the United States. Her experience in the program provided her another opportunity to analyze water policy and public policy.

“I think if I was at a big research institution where I was one of 50 or 100 in a classroom, the exception to pursue my interests would not have been made,” said Porta. “The ability to pursue multidisciplinary interests is something that’s been very unique to my liberal arts experience at Gettysburg College.”

Google and the future of work What will the future of work look like five years from now? 10? 15? And more importantly, how can we prepare today’s students to be ready for it?

It’s a question Shaina Wright ’08 has spent the last several years researching, and it’s work that’s led to her new role as a strategy program manager in People Operations at Google.

“The types of employees that will be attractive to employers in the future are those with skills that cannot be automated by AI or outsourced to robots,” Wright said. “These are skills like critical thinking, problem solving and strategic communications. These human skills allow us to focus on high value work.”

These are also the core skills that Wright learned at Gettysburg. They’ve helped her navigate her career across industries.

“I started my career consulting for large federal government agencies and now I work in the tech industry in Silicon Valley,” she said. “At the end of the day, I love solving complex problems and I learned how to do that at Gettysburg."

For Wright, it was advisors like Political Science Prof. Shirley Anne Warshaw and experiences such as spending a semester abroad studying the political landscape in South Africa and competing on the Women’s Soccer team that taught her these core skills and instilled the importance of curiosity and learning.

Gettysburg also provided her with an opportunity to reflect on her own personal values in a First-Year Seminar that tackled a complex subject that people are hesitant to discuss—“Death and the Meaning of Life,” taught by Religious Studies Prof. Charles (Buz) Myers. The crux of the course is that you must confront the reality of your own death in order to live your life according to things that are most important to you.

“This course was a life changing experience for me,” Wright said. “The books we read, the opportunity for reflection and the different perspectives in class really challenged my own views of the world. It provided me with an opportunity to plan with the end in mind and come up with a personal mission that has helped guide my decisions throughout my life.”

After graduating from Gettysburg as a political science major and religious studies minor, Wright continued her education at George Mason University and then started her career in consulting. She eventually joined Deloitte as a management consultant and had the opportunity to work and learn from fellow alum, Board of Trustee member, and Deloitte Consulting Principal Lindsay Musser Hough ’98. Hough encouraged Wright to pursue projects and clients in tech.

Now at Google’s Mountain View, California, headquarters, Wright is thrilled to work for a company that she views as transforming almost every aspect of human existence.

“I’ve always admired Google,” Wright said. “I can’t think of another company that has changed the world at such a massive scale in the way that Google has, and for me, it’s very exciting to be part of a place with such aspirational goals.”

Situated in Silicon Valley, employees have access to Google-branded bikes to commute across campuses and can enjoy the organic gardens and art installations that scatter the grounds. Inside the buildings are cafes and creative spaces to support collaboration and innovation. Yet as amazing as Wright has found the actual workplace to be, what really impresses her is the mission-oriented culture Google has cultivated.

“Google is on a quest to make the world’s information accessible and useful to everyone. I’m really impressed with how often this mission statement comes up in everyday conversations and decision making,” Wright said. “I have the opportunity to work with some of the smartest people in the world that are focused on making a positive impact on people’s lives; it’s incredibly motivating.”

Wright’s work is focused on ensuring Google remains a great place for employees to grow and learn to help advance this mission.

Wright maintains that her career success hinges on the core skills she learned at Gettysburg as well as her liberal arts education and experiences. Her passion for curiosity doesn’t hurt, either.

“I was curious, I saw an opportunity and I wanted to give it a try,” Wright said. “It’s been a great experience for me so far, and I’m excited to see what more I can do here.”

Leadership through basketball Chris Jack didn’t travel the breadth of the Atlantic Ocean from Luxembourg to sit in his room at Gettysburg College. Jack isn’t even halfway through his tenure at Gettysburg, and he’s already realized the impact his education and the experiences he’s had can make on the world.

Nestled in the heart of central Europe between Belgium, France, and Germany, Luxembourg is a small country of only 600,000 people. Like many of his fellow citizens, Jack speaks four languages (Luxembourgish, German, French, English) and grew up with a well-rounded education, thanks in part to both of his parents being teachers in Luxembourg.

After finishing high school in his home country, Jack came stateside to attend The Hun School of Princeton in New Jersey with the ultimate objective of pursuing college basketball.

“I knew I wanted to play college basketball when I was 12 and saw it on TV for the first time,” said Jack, who hails from Reckange-sur-Mess, a small town in southwestern Luxembourg. “When I visited Gettysburg I felt a very welcoming vibe toward international students and I loved the college atmosphere.”

Jumping into the college experience after spending just one year in the United States could have seemed like a daunting task, but not for Jack. He quickly found a home at Gettysburg and pursued a range of interests across the campus.

“Almost immediately I felt integrated into the atmosphere at Gettysburg College and fell in love with many different aspects of both athletics and academics,” noted the sophomore. “The thing that stood out to me the most about Gettysburg was that people truly care about your experience here and want to help you on your own path as much as they can.”

Jack’s first path led him inside Bream Gym to play for the Bullets basketball team. The 6-6 swingman has appeared in 44 games through his first two campaigns, totaling 128 points and 96 rebounds. He saw his minutes increase in his second year under first-year coach B.J. Dunne, who knew he could rely on Jack on and off the court.

“Chris is the quintessential teammate,” said Dunne. “If someone were to ask me what makes the ideal Gettysburg basketball player, I would say Chris Jack. He is the first to arrive, last to leave and is incredibly positive and supportive of his teammates. He is someone who represents our program in a manner in which we can all be proud of and I could not be more excited to continue to coach him and have him make a major impact in our program.”

Athletics is just a fraction of the experiences in which Jack has engaged since coming to Gettysburg. He also works for Residence Life as a community advisor for college housing and is a fitness attendant in the Jaeger Center for Athletics, Recreation, and Fitness. Throughout the year, you can catch him handing out equipment and gear to fellow student-athletes in the equipment room. He’s also the vice president for the Austrian economics association, and he’s dabbled in providing commentary for women’s basketball video streams.

“The reason I feel the need to get involved is because this community has helped me grow so much that I want to give back as much as possible too,” said Jack. “Being at a small liberal arts college, I have been presented with a multitude of different opportunities in a variety of fields. I just want to take full advantage of it on a day-to-day basis.”

Last summer, Jack took part in the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) U-20 European Championship Division B in Bulgaria for Luxembourg.

“The most important part for us on that journey was gaining the respect from other nations and to change their perceptions of Luxembourgish basketball,” Jack stated. “It was not just about winning or losing; it was about representing our country.”

Playing collegiately at Gettysburg helped condition Jack for the grind of the European Championship, but the sophomore was quick to cite work off the court for helping him assume a leading role while representing his country.

“Having done the Gettysburg College Leadership Certificate program through the Garthwait Leadership Center (GLC) this past year at Gettysburg, I felt more prepared to be a leader on the team,” he said. “The ways in which I could communicate with my teammates expanded throughout my year working with the GLC and helped me push my teammates during tough situations.”

Jack is in the midst of wrapping up his second year at Gettysburg and he has no intention of slowing down in the back half of his college career. In addition to majoring in mathematical economics the sophomore has designed an independent major called “business and data analytics.”

This summer, he’s headed back to Luxembourg as a project and product management intern with Amazon. Jack aspires to work for a big tech company like Amazon or Google or with a business consulting firm once he graduates in 2021, but there are a few more things he’d like to check off the list at Gettysburg before embarking on his post-grad career.

“I want to leave a lasting impact on Gettysburg College,” said Jack. “I want to win a Centennial Conference championship with the basketball team and contend for a national championship. I want to continue developing the culture we are trying to build and make sure that it is continued when I leave. In addition, I want to absorb as much knowledge and life advice as I can whilst I am still here.”

In her words: Phoebe Doscher ’22 shares first-year reflections on campus life Phoebe DoscherMy face was on the front page of the school newspaper the first day I stepped foot on campus. I heard an article I wrote over the summer would appear in the paper but I was entirely shocked to confront my smiling face on the cover on Move-In Day.

The Gettysburgian, our school newspaper, became the first of many endeavors at Gettysburg College that forged my path toward success. I wrote my first article the summer before I arrived at school. I had not moved in, yet I was already in touch with editors of the newspaper, ready to get involved as a Staff Writer, just as I did all throughout high school. Now, every week is filled with interesting experiences pertaining to the newspaper. Sometimes I write features articles and report on campus events, while other times I copy-edit for one to two hours every other week, refining the final articles before the editors send them to the printer.

Students and faculty constantly encourage new members to join clubs and activities on campus, first-years included. This inclusion opens the door to a wide range of opportunity and serves as just one example of the comfort you receive when you enter the Gettysburg community. I am never bored, nor do I ever lack support on campus, which makes school feel like home.

From the start, I also knew that I wanted to audition for the fall MainStage musical: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. As soon as the show was announced over the summer, I began practicing and even emailed the head of the theatre department and director of the show for more information about the audition process.

Luckily, the audition was successful and I was cast in the musical, along with four other first-year students in a cast of nine people. We were all incredibly humbled to be a part of the show and formed friendships that have lasted even beyond the run of the show. My schedule quickly became filled: I had classes to attend mid-morning to late afternoon, articles to write in between classes, and two-hour rehearsals for the musical four days a week in the evening. I even started taking voice lessons and joined two choirs at the Sunderman Conservatory of Music. I was busy, but happier than ever.

Your days at Gettysburg will also quickly become busy and rewarding. You, too, can spend each day expanding your knowledge on a wide array of topics and chasing your ever-growing passions. At the end of the day, I guarantee, you will always fall asleep excited to wake up and do it all over again.

As time went on, I began to truly value my free-time as an escape from my fast-paced daily life. One of these escapes became dinner with my friends. Even after the closing of the show, I continue to eat meals with the cast of Spelling Bee, and sometimes we sit in Servo and chat until the dining center closes. I also have friends on my floor who are available for meals, the occasional yoga class, and activities over the weekend. I have tried a wide range of activities off-campus to divert from the weekly grind, including movies at the Majestic Theater, meals at the Lincoln Diner, and lunch at The Ugly Mug.

One important aspect of Gettysburg is the support system of the student body. Regardless of the busy daily routine, every day is another opportunity to create new relationships with the people around you. Your meals at Servo are incomplete without at least one friend at the table, and very rarely will you spend hours at the library without a friend to study next to you.

Like many other dedicated Gettysburg students, I often find myself spending a lot of my down-time at the library, whether it is in between classes or after late-night rehearsals. As busy as I am, neglecting to do homework is never an option, and I easily maintain the grades I desire. I have learned to not only push myself, but also seek support from my intelligent peers and the readily available faculty.

All in all, I have grown into an ambitious, hardworking student, and I guarantee you will, too. I became involved in many of the same activities from high school but also found experiences that push me out of my comfort zone. Thus far, my first year at Gettysburg has been transformative, opportunistic, and enlightening, thanks to the welcoming community and plethora of opportunities. I have found a home at Gettysburg, and rest assured, Gettysburg will become a home for you.