Two College Alumni Honored as Alumni Fellows
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Two College of Education alumni were among 21 Penn State alumni who were honored Oct. 16 for their outstanding professional accomplishments and given the lifelong title of Alumni Fellow, the highest award given by the Penn State Alumni Association.
Since the award was established in 1973, only approximately 700 alumni have been honored with the title of Alumni Fellow out of more than 631,000 living alumni.
"The Alumni Fellow program showcases the significant contributions Penn Staters make to our nation and the world every day," said Roger L. Williams, executive director of the Penn State Alumni Association. "Even more important, it provides our fellows the opportunity to share their experience and wisdom with students, faculty and staff, thus adding an extra dimension to Penn State's academic programs."
Stephen J. Bagnato, Jr.
Stephen J. Bagnato, Jr. is a developmental school psychologist and professor of psychology and pediatrics in the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Education and School of Medicine.
He is perhaps best known in Pennsylvania for his longitudinal studies funded by the Heinz Endowments (1997-2009) into the effectiveness of high-quality early childhood intervention programs on more than 15,000 at-risk preschoolers in more than 60 school district-community partnerships for Pennsylvania’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning.
He is also a member of the faculty of the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities Center at the University of Pittsburgh.
Bagnato was invited to become an inaugural member of the UNICEF Global Child Disability Assessment Initiative to compose a user’s manual for assessment of social-emotional competencies in children in low-resource countries. He has published more than 150 research studies and professional articles, as well as 11 books and assessment measures.
Bagnato received the Braintree Hospital Annual National Award for Outstanding Applied Brain Injury Research for his intervention efficacy research on preschool children with acquired and congenital brain injuries.
He was honored with the University of Pittsburgh Chancellor’s Distinguished Public Service Award for his community-based consultation and research, and he received the 1995 Best Research Article Award from the American Psychological Association.
Additionally, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette placed Bagnato on its list of Top 48 Making a Difference in Education, and in 2008, he received the Penn State College of Education Excellence in Education Award.
Terrell JonesTerrell Jones was the vice provost for educational equity at Penn State, responsible for leading the development and implementation of the University’s five-year plan, "A Framework to Foster Diversity at Penn State (2010–15)." The plan embraces and supports diversity and programs throughout Penn State that provide access to non-traditional student populations.
Before his unexpected passing in August 2014, Jones had a 30-plus-year tenure at the University, where he was a leader in diversity initiatives. An author and co-author of several books on cultural diversity, Jones taught courses on cross-cultural counseling and cultural diversity as an affiliate faculty member of the Counselor Education Program in Penn State’s College of Education. Earlier in his career, he worked as both the vice president of academic affairs and the assistant director of admissions and residential life at Lock Haven University.
Jones, who spent his entire career in service to others, was a board member of the International Partnership for Service Learning and a diversity consultant for several Pennsylvania school districts and private sector organizations. He served for many years on the Forum on Black Affairs at Penn State and chaired the Centre County Advisory Council to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. He was awarded the Way Pavers Award in 2012 for contributing to and supporting diversity initiatives at Penn State. Jones was also a member of the James B. Stewart Society, a Penn State giving society in the department of educational equity. Recently, he served as the president of the Pennsylvania Black Conference on Higher Education.
Jones is survived by his wife, Carla ’73g (a life member of the Penn State Alumni Association), two daughters, Sara and Courtlyn, both Penn State graduates, and a son, Christopher.
At the award ceremony, Courtlyn read the following acceptance speech on behalf of her father:
As always it is a great pleasure to be back home at Penn State. My family and I would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to President Barron, the Penn State Alumni Association, the College of Education, Dean David Monk, and all of you who recommended my dad for this honor.
I accept it, on behalf of Terrell Jones, with deepest gratitude and respect.
As some of you know, my dad’s passing was very sudden. So much so, that he told me of the fellowship designation, and had me save this date long before he became ill. Having been at Penn State for over forty years, dad knew the caliber of our alumni family better than most. And he was truly humbled to be honored among these other honorees this evening, and to be recognized in the company of those who have received the fellowship recognition in the past.
A few people are here tonight who were particularly influential in his success: Thank you Dr. James Stewart, Dr. Harold Cheatham, and thank you to my mom Carla Roser-Jones, for your support of my dad (yes he loved his wife too).
My dad wore many hats during his career at Penn State, but none he enjoyed more than that of educator. Dad believed that a Penn State education, and the social learning experiences happening here, changed lives for the better. It certainly changed his.
He never tired of the chance to teach and make an impact on Penn State students – especially those first-generation or low income – students who needed someone like him to speak just a little bit louder on their behalf. My dad’s favorite method of teaching was to tell a good story, but what constantly amazed me was his ability to adapt his lessons to the times, circumstances, and tools available to him. Dad employed songs, games, and even the occasional auction in his teaching methods – whatever it took to get his point across. While other educators at times became disgruntled in their later professional years by the infallibility of the modern undergraduate student, the modern classroom, and new campus atmosphere, my dad instead became so incredibly fascinated by it all. And he adapted. He was always quick to defend the contemporary learner at Penn State who studies with headphones and the TV on as, “Well they are Millennials, and that is just how their generation learns.” Never out of touch, he was once discernibly angry at my sister and me for not keeping him “in-the-know” about the day’s hottest rapper, Little Wayne. For Terrell Jones there was nothing more embarrassing than to be seen as disengaged by the student body.
I wish my dad was here to accept this award tonight. It would have meant such a great deal to him since his love for his work, and his love of this place never wavered. But I’m comforted by the ending of his professional story being here tonight. Dad loved to teach because he loved to learn. He breathed to understand and he studied topics and people that interested him every day. For dad, education was not preparation for life; education was life itself. And his was well-earned and deserving of this honor.