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True Penn State Role Model

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. ~John F. Kennedy

Lisa with her dad, Dr. Arbuckle - Aunt Heather Piper
Lisa with her dad, Dr. Robert Arbuckle

Unfortunately the world is not perfect, but I believe there is more good than the opposite. Good deeds and hard work are done by many without the desire for recognition and public attention.

To those of you who have made a positive impact on those around you, it’s the small deeds that sometimes mean the most and have the greatest impact.  Those of you who stood a few extra minutes to hold the door open, those of you who gave change to the person who was short at the checkout line, and those of you who simply walked past and gave a heart warming smile. It’s those actions that mean the world to the recipient.  To me, those people are the real leaders, they make the changes in the world, however slight, are for the betterment of mankind.

My sister is a Penn State Alumni, as well as many of my family members and friends.  I am not trying to under play the severity of the recent acts of some Penn State authority figures, not in the slightest. But I do want to recognize greatness that have come from Penn State.

I have been blessed throughout my life to meet many great people, including a true role model, Dr. Arbuckle.  I’ve know Dr. Arbuckle and his family for years now.  From the time I met the family, they have always welcomed me as a part of their own.

Every year the Arbuckle family gets together to rent a house in the Appalachian Mountains.  It’s a fun time of snowmobile riding, skiing, snowboarding, and snow shoeing.  A few years ago, I was invited to spend the weekend with my adopted family.  During an uneventful afternoon, I had the privilege of sitting with Dr. Arbuckle to shoot the breeze.  At the time, I was reading Winston Churchhill’s History of the English Speaking People.  Starting out his career as a history professor, Dr. Arbuckle was probably the only person who didn’t roll his eyes or look at me with the look of ‘Why’ when he saw my reading selection.  You see, I too have always loved history, particularly art history.

Penn State Logo - Aunt Heather Piper As I sat there and talked with Dr. Arbuckle, I realize that he was a real humanitarian and a truly inspirational person.  I always knew he was very intelligent and successful, that goes without saying, but my eyes were really opened to the virtually unknown man sitting before me.  Without an audience, no one taking notes, no one recording the conversation (I wish I did) we talked casually.  First about history, specifically Churchill, until the conversation grew to cover many more topics.

When he told me about his efforts to rid the world of polio through the Rotary Club, I couldn’t help but be drawn into his  passion for the topic.  His passion to help these children, nationally and abroad.  Yep, he told me that there are still outbreaks of polio in the United States.  I had no idea!  Speaking to him on the subject really reinforced my admiration for him on many different levels.  I’ve always had a respect for Dr. Arbuckle for what he’s accomplished in life, but at that point I saw so much more to the quiet gentleman sitting across from me.  There is so much I got out of our conversation.  I could go on and on about what a great father and grandfather he is and a true leader in the community, but my words would never do him justice.

Please take a moment to review this news release on Dr. Arbuckle.  It barely touches on the impact he has made to many, including being an inspiration to his family and his adopted family… me.


Naming of Arbuckle Building honors former New Kensington CEO

Friday, November 11, 2011

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State’s Board of Trustees today (Nov. 11) approved the naming of the Robert D. Arbuckle Technology Building at Penn State New Kensington, in recognition of former campus executive officer.

“Dr. Arbuckle has been a vital part of Penn State New Kensington’s growth for more than 40 years,” said Kevin Snider, campus chancellor. “His unending energy, humor and devotion to his profession, served not only the campus, but the community as well.”

Arbuckle, who holds a master’s and a doctoral degrees from Penn State, began his career in 1968 as a professor of history at the University Park campus. Six years later, he was appointed chief academic officer at the New Kensington campus. In 1977, he was named campus executive officer and remained at Penn State New Kensington for 15 years. Arbuckle assumed the presidency of Lake Superior State University in Michigan in 1992. He retired in 2002.

Under Arbuckle’s leadership, the New Kensington campus expanded both academically and physically. Three degree programs — a bachelor’s degree in electro-mechanical engineering technology, associate degree in radiology sciences and an associate degree in biomedical engineering technology — were added in the 1980s. Arbuckle also envisioned a new building complex that would serve the needs of students and businesses in the region. He wanted the campus to become more interactive with business and industry in the area and he wanted local companies “to use our computers.”

Coalescing community leaders, he spearheaded a capital campaign for the construction of the two-building Science and Technology Center, which opened in 1990. That building, now being named for Arbuckle, is home to many specialized engineering laboratories that enable students to pursue innovative programs in technology.

Although phase two took another 10 years to complete, Arbuckle’s campus/business collaboration became a reality in 2000 with the dedication of the multi-purpose Conference Center and Classroom Building. By partnering with industry in the region, the University increased its presence in the Alle-Kiski Valley. Last year, more than 60 regional organizations used the facilities for meetings, training classes, seminars and workshops.

After moving on to Lake Superior, Arbuckle continued his role as a visionary. He was instrumental in expanding that college’s student center; in renovating several facilities and in breaking ground for a fine arts center. He was awarded the title of president emeritus and the school’s student activities building has been named in his honor.

In retirement, Arbuckle returned to Washington Township in western Pennsylvania and resumed his bond with the New Kensington campus. In 2004, he was named an Alumni Fellow.

Arbuckle has served as president and chair of several local community boards including Rotary, YMCA, United Way, chambers of commerce, and hospitals. He has received numerous awards including the University’s John E. Wilkerson Award for Administrative Excellence and Rotary International’s Legacy to Children award for his work in polio eradication.


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