Summer 2024 News Roundup

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Not Your Average Joe

A photo of Joe Lynch

After 24 years as executive director of Alumni Relations, Joe Lynch ’85 retired from Gettysburg College. A history major who competed in both basketball and swimming, Lynch began his career working in athletic communications and later joined the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Tour as communications manager in 1993. He returned to Gettysburg in 2000 and has worked tirelessly on behalf of his alma mater and in service of more than 32,000 alumni across the world. Lynch closed his tenure by working his final Reunion Weekend on May 30-June 2, 2024, and producing his 286th consecutive edition of the monthly alumni newsletter, Bullet Points. His retirement plans include spending time with his wife Kelly Woods Lynch ’82 and dog Milo, cheering for Philadelphia sports teams, and riding his bike around his home in Delaware.

In honor of his contributions to Gettysburg, our gracious donors have established The Joseph W. Lynch, Jr. ’85 Endowed Internship Fund. Earnings from this fund will be used to support internship opportunities for rising sophomores or juniors, with a preference for internship experiences that foster relationship-building and teamwork, hallmarks of his distinctive career at the College.

Ken Burns Returns

On April 5-6, The Gettysburg Film Festival: The Art of Ken Burns returned to Gettysburg, showcasing American history and identity on screen. Co-hosted by Gettysburg College and the Adams County Historical Society, the festival was sold out at the Majestic Theater, garnering attendees from 27 states across the country and Canada, underscoring the legacy that Burns has created.

Joining Burns were special guests, including film producer Sarah Botstein, actors Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston, Eisenhower Institute Chair Emerita Susan Eisenhower, and musicians Jay Ungar and Molly Mason. On April 5, Burns also visited campus for a special student event, during which he reiterated the lessons history can teach us about upholding the duties as American citizens during consequential elections.

Difference Maker

A photo of Gail Sweezey

This July, Dean of Admissions Gail Sweezey retired from Gettysburg College after 41 exceptional years leading in an ever-evolving enrollment environment. Over the years, she has changed the lives of thousands of students and staff, holding close the Stoles of Gratitude from Gettysburg graduates who have recognized her as a true difference maker in their lives. In addition to her service for the Common Application, Sweezey has represented Gettysburg College on the executive board of the Pennsylvania Association for College Admission Counseling (PACAC) and has been active at the national level in NACAC and the College Board. She has served five Gettysburg College presidents, three vice presidents, and one dean of admission over her tenure. But moreover, she has served the College, prospective students, and their parents exceedingly well.

Master’s Program Expanded

Since its launch in April 2022, the Gettysburg College-Gilder Lehrman Institute MA in American History has become known for its affordability, flexibility, and exceptional quality. The MA program has been embraced by K-12 educators, district supervisors, librarians, museum professionals, and National Park Service employees associated with the GLI. In response to its growing demand, the College announced two expansions.

Starting in the summer 2024 semester, the College has expanded the master’s program to community college instructors as well.

The program will also introduce a MA+15/30 offering, designed specifically for K-12 teachers who currently hold a master’s degree. This offering allows them to take courses beyond their master’s level, contributing to professional development while advancing salary schedules.

Stadium Lights

Gettysburg College Athletics and the Orange & Blue Club are proud to announce the addition of new lights at Musselman Stadium. Construction begins this summer. All teams who use Musselman Stadium, especially men’s lacrosse, field hockey, football, and track & field, will benefit from this significant campus improvement. They will now be able to host night games as well as morning and evening practices.

Thank you to the following leadership donors who made this enhancement a reality: Jim Apple ’58, GP’20; Kyle ’96 and Jennifer Roberts ’95 Betty; David ’75 and Dorothy Brennan P’00; Chris ’89 and Karen Wright ’90 Bright; Dave Bright ’60, P’89; Robert Bruns ’88; Marjorie Burnett GP’27; Chris ’90 and Julie Brickman ’91 Carr P’20, P’23, P’27; Michael Delduchetto P’27 and Bassima Bashour P’27; Amanda Corroon Dolan ’86; Braden Edwards ’90; Christopher and Wendolyn Hearn P’27; Erik ’91 and Cindy Hybels ’91 Johnson P’28; Earl ’88 and Katinka Van Varik ’89 Kight; Christian and Kristen Limberg P’28; Scott Manniello ’10; Charles and Jennifer Meyo P’27; Brock and Kirsten Myers P’27; Patrick Pendergast ’99; Dan C. Polizzotti ’89 and family; Stephen Raeder ’98 and Renata Raeder II; Jim Railey ’87; Josh Reichert ’10; Craig Sabatino ’78; Sandra Griffith ’86 and Carter ’86 Sackman; and David Tardio ’99.

“Gettysburg has impacted my life on and off the field. I met my wife, Cindy, at Gettysburg and our youngest son will be a freshman on the [men’s lacrosse] team this fall. Cindy and I are avid fans and happy to support anything that makes the program more competitive,” said Erik Johnson ’91, P’28.

Alumni Awarded

This year’s recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award are Veterans Affairs doctor Tom Hardy ’66, fashion and television personality Carson Kressley ’91, non-profit leader Cheryl Ennis Self ’73, and longtime psychology professor William Swann ’74. Sara Harenchar Levinson ’09, who serves as secretary for the Alumni Board of Directors and was a former member of the BOLD Council, and Lauren Meehan Keefe ’09, who is a member of the Alumni Board of Director’s Executive Committee and also a former BOLD Council member, are recipients of the 2024 Young Alumni Achievement Awards for Service. The 2024 Young Alumni Achievement Award for Career Development are international development and humanitarian leader Aimee George ’09 and award-winning lyricist Kate Anderson Reynolds ’09. Helen Hohman ’75, who served for 11 years on the Alumni Board of Directors, and Fred Schumacher ’69, who was a member of the Orange & Blue Advisory Committee, and co-chair of his 50th and 55th Reunions, are the recipients of the Meritorious Service Award.

New Majestic Director

After an extensive and competitive national search, Brett W. Messenger was named the next executive director of the Majestic Theater. He began his tenure in May.

Most recently, Messenger served as the curatorial director of live arts at the Morris Museum, a Smithsonian affiliate in Morristown, New Jersey. There, he conceived and curated innovative performing arts series that garnered widespread acclaim and attracted diverse audiences. Of note, he spearheaded a dynamic series that showcased world premieres of theater, music, dance, interdisciplinary projects, jazz, film, rock, and lectures. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the live outdoor performances he led appeared in The New York Times. Through this work, he elevated the institution’s artistic profile and deepened its connections with the community.

Messenger was also previously the program administrator at PEAK Performances at Montclair State University, where he orchestrated major campus events, including one featuring the late Associate Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

$ 5.5 Million Commitment

Trustee Emerita Joan Fischer Schweizer ’76 and Rick Schweizer ’76 made a commitment of $5.5 million toward several of the institution’s top priorities, including the Gettysburg Fund, global study, academic scholarship, and student-faculty research.

A photo of Joan Fischer Schweizer and Rick Schweizer

“Gettysburg did a great job of preparing us for our careers and our experiences in our careers,” Joan said. “Looking back, if it weren’t for Gettysburg, I’m not sure we would have done as well as we have done. Gettysburg helped us get to where we are today.”

The rewarding and impactful experiences they had at Gettysburg College, in addition to their trust in the College’s Strategic Direction, led to the commitment, which is larger than any commitment made by a living donor during Gettysburg Great: The Campaign for Our College (2011-2018).

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