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2013 Penn State Alumni Fellows logoRecently, the Penn State Alumni Association held its annual awards event, bestowing the prestigious honor of Alumni Fellow on various Penn State alumni who have greatly distinguished themselves in their professions. During the dinner ceremony, the President of the University presented each recipient with a specially designed award replicating the Old Main clock tower and each awardee was given the opportunity to speak about his or her professional journey and connection with Penn State. The dinner itself was the culmination of a few days’ celebration of each alumnus’s accomplishments, as they returned to campus and spent a day or two with students, faculty, and staff, giving lectures or attending town hall-type sessions. In addition, the awardees’ names were inscribed on a special plaque at the Hintz Alumni Center on campus.

Since the inception of this revered award, less than 1/10th of 1 percent of Penn State alumni have been named an Alumni Fellow. This year, twenty-two people received this distinction. Among them were two individuals nominated by the College of Information Sciences and Technology: Dr. Antonio (Tony) Pensa, a 1967 graduate of the College of Engineering, and Matthew Schuyler, a 1987 graduate of the Smeal College of Business.

Tony Pensa is an assistant director emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory, a multi-billion dollar research laboratory that conducts advanced research in support of the U. S. Air Force and Intelligence communities. Tony is an internationally recognized expert in space systems and information intelligence.  He has worked on most of the Air Force Space Surveillance Architecture studies since 1972, served as a member of the Technical Support Group for the review of space-based early warning systems, and has chaired national intelligence studies.  He has received a number of prestigious national awards including the National Reconnaissance Office Director’s Award for Distinguished Service, the Air Force Award for Distinguished Service, and the NASA Group Achievement Award. Tony’s Ph.D. advisor, George McMurtry, was the founding Dean of the School of Information Sciences and Technology. Dr. McMurtry attended the award ceremony, along with many of Tony’s family.

Matt Schuyler is the chief human resources officer for Hilton Worldwide.  Since 2009 he has led the company’s human resources organization from its global headquarters in McLean, Va.  He is responsible for all aspects of the company’s human resources, involving over 310,000 members in more than 90 countries.  In 2012 ExecRank recognized Schuyler as the number-one human resources executive in the United States.  He has been featured in articles in Talent Management, Human Resource Executive, and HR Magazine. He served on the boards of DC Cares and the Washington Humane Society and is on the national board for the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

In addition to making significant contributions to Penn State, both of these awardees serve on our IST Advisory Board and have expended significant personal time and effort to act in an advisory role for IST. Why would these two individuals with significantly different careers have such an affiliation with IST?

For Tony Pensa, who is an assistant director emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory, the connection involves his interest in our research related to cyber security, especially “human in the loop” experiments in this area, and an appreciation of how our curriculum produces graduates who have a unique combination of technical skills and an understanding of humans and social systems. Tony is a long-time IST Advisory Board member.

Matt Schuyler’s interest in IST is an extension of his long-time involvement with multiple colleges at Penn State, including Smeal and the College of Health and Human Development, and from being an ardent supporter of the Alumni Association. Matt serves on the IST Advisory Board.

These diverse and highly successful individuals have donated their time, personal funds, and interest to our college.  They speak highly of IST and are excited about the growth and future direction of IST — evidence of the intellectual diversity of our college and our ability to link the technical aspects of computing, networking, and information science with aspects of business, enterprise operations, and the impact of information technology on individuals, organizations, and ultimately society.  While these individuals have remaining ties to their academic origins, they are energized and excited about how IST links multiple disciplines together to address real-world problems.

Our college is honored by the success and ongoing interest of these dynamic and very successful Penn State alums.

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