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College of Education > News and Publications > News: Oct. - Dec. 2011 > Zahorchak Named 2011 Alumni Fellow

Zahorchak Named 2011 Alumni Fellow

Gerald Zahorchak, former secretary of education for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, has been named an alumni fellow at Penn State.

GeraldZahorchak_5X7-copy-excellent.jpgby Joe Savrock (October 2011)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Gerald L. Zahorchak ‘94g Edu, former secretary of education for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, has been named an Alumni Fellow by the Penn State Alumni Association. Zahorchak was honored with other Fellows at a ceremony held October 5.

Zahorchak currently is director of strategic initiatives for Allentown School District, the third-largest district in Pennsylvania. He was the district’s superintendent during the 2010–11 academic year.

Zahorchak served as Pennsylvania’s secretary of education from 2006 to 2010. He was responsible for the education of nearly two million children across the Commonwealth and administered a budget of more than $9 billion annually. In this role, he had responsibility for the Office of Higher Education and the Commonwealth libraries, and he served as the CEO of the state Board of Education, which sets and directs policy for elementary and secondary education, career and technical education, and postsecondary/higher education in Pennsylvania.

Previously, Zahorchak was the Commonwealth’s deputy secretary for elementary and secondary education. In this capacity he worked on the development and implementation of support systems for public schools aiming to meet the high demands set by Pennsylvania and No Child Left Behind targets.

He also has served in the North Star, Shanksville–Stonycreek, and Greater Johnstown school districts.

Zahorchak is a member of more than 50 civic and professional councils, boards, and other organizations. He has received numerous honors and awards. Among these are the Distinguished Alumni Award at Indian University of Pennsylvania (IUP); Honorary Doctor of Laws Degrees at both IUP and the Philadelphia School of Osteopathic Medicine; the President's Award for Distinguished Alumnus in Education at St. Francis University; and induction in the St. Francis Athletic Hall of Fame.

He recently established the Zahorchak Endowment, which provides funds for students to participate in dual-enrollment programs allowing them to earn college credits fulfilling their high school graduation.

A life member of the Penn State Alumni Association, Zahorchak lives in Johnstown, Pa.

The Alumni Fellow Award is the most prestigious award given by the Penn State Alumni Association. Since 1973, the Alumni Fellow Award has been given to select alumni who, as leaders in their professional fields, are nominated by an academic college and accept an invitation from the president of the University to return to campus to share their expertise with students, faculty, and administrators.