Ten elected, three appointed to Penn State Alumni Association's governing board

University Park, Pa. -- Ten Penn State alumni have been elected and three appointed to Alumni Council, the governing body of the Penn State Alumni Association.

Elected to Alumni Council for three-year terms from July 1, 2006-June 30, 2009 are incumbents Martha "Liz" Bligan, Wayne, Pa.; Michael F. Catino, Shamokin, Pa.; Elizabeth Skade Middleton, Newport Beach, Calif.; Margaret Anthou Scopelianos, Whitehouse Station, N.J.; Jill Semmer, Newtown Square, Pa.; and Marjorie Ganter Scholtz, Pittsburgh. Newly elected to Alumni Council are Kristen Kaminski Fortney, Greenwich, Conn.; Andrew Jackson Sr., State College, Pa.; Robert A. Lear, Bensalem, Pa.; and Alison J. Lipsett, Harrisburg, Pa.

Alumni Association President Lewis H. Gold filled three appointed positions on Alumni Council. The appointees are Martin F. Scheinholtz, Wheeling, W. Va.; Gregory F. Scott, Pittsburgh; and Luis Valbuena, New York, N.Y.

Alumni Council is an all-volunteer governing body that guides and directs policy for the Penn State Alumni Association. The council determines strategies and programs to be carried out by the Alumni Association staff and is also responsible for electing the Alumni Association president and vice president.

In this year's election, which ended May 31, nearly 15,000 Alumni Association members cast ballots—an 11 percent participation rate among eligible voters, which is an increase over last year's 10.4 percent participation rate. Forty-three percent of those alumni ballots were submitted via the Internet, compared to 37 percent last year, continuing a trend of increased online voting.

Following is a brief biography about each newly named Alumni Council member:

Martha "Liz" Bligan, of Wayne, Pa., holds two Penn State degrees: a 1981 science degree and a 1998 master's in interdisciplinary studies. She is the vice president for human resources for Primavera Systems, Inc. Bligan has served on Alumni Council for the past five years and has served as the co-chair of the Membership Committee.

Michael F. Catino, of Shamomkin Pa., is newly elected to Alumni Council. He has served for six years on the board of the Penn State Schuylkill Alumni Society, as well as teaching part-time at the campus. Catino is the president of Catino Associates in Shamokin, Pa. He holds a bachelor's degree ('70) in engineering.

Kristen Kaminski Fortney is new to Alumni Council. A 1988 Penn State graduate in health and human development, Fortney worked for seven years as the director of alumni relations in the College of Communication. Fortney is currently a principal with Gary Kaplan & Associates and lives in Greenwich, Conn.

Andrew Jackson Sr., holds two Penn State degrees, a 1974 bachelor's in education and a 2004 doctoral degree in interdisciplinary fields (multicultural education). He works as an academic counselor in the Penn State College of Education. Jackson has been an active alumni volunteer serving on the board of the Alumni Blue Band since its inception, serving on the College of Arts & Architecture Alumni Board for 10 years, and is a charter member of the Greek Alumni Interest Group. Jackson lives in State College, Pa.

Robert A. Lear served on Alumni Council from 2002 to 2004. He holds a 1967 Penn State degree in business. Lear is a founding member of the Penn State Abington Alumni Society Board. He recently retired as president and CEO of Penn Independent Corporation. Lear lives in Bensalem, Pa.

Alison J. Lipsett graduated from Penn State in 2003 with a degree in liberal arts. Active in numerous student organizations including Panhellenic Council, Pi Beta Phi, and Lion's Paw Honor Society, Lipsett is now an admissions counselor at Lebanon Valley College and lives in Harrisburg, Pa. This will be her first term on Alumni Council.

Elizabeth Skade Middleton has been a member of Alumni Council since 2003 and has volunteered for Penn State as an alumni recruiter, as well as been an active member of Penn State chapters in Rochester, N.Y., Chicago, Singapore, and Orange County, Calif. A 1963 education graduate, Middleton is a retired elementary school teacher who lives in Newport Beach, Calif.

Martin F. Scheinholtz was appointed to Alumni Council after serving on Council for the past two years representing the College of Medicine Alumni Society Board. Scheinholtz holds three Penn State degrees: a 1967 bachelor's degree, a 1969 master's in engineering, and a 1977 degree in medicine. He is a retired anesthesiologist and pain management specialist and lives in Wheeling, W. Va.

Marjorie Ganter Scholtz, a director and owner of a private school in Pittsburgh, has served on Alumni Council for two terms and received the Outstanding Council Member Award in 2004. She holds a 1962 bachelor's degree in liberal arts and is the sister of longtime Penn State assistant football coach and offensive coordinator Fran Ganter.

Margaret Anthou Scopelianos is the senior vice president for global risk management for Bank of America. She graduated from Penn State in 1981 with a liberal arts degree and has served on Alumni Council since 2003. Scopelianos lives in Whitehouse Station, N.J.

Gregory F. Scott was appointed to Alumni Council after serving two terms as the president of the Allegheny County Chapter. He graduated from Penn State in 1992 and currently is a senior project manager for ATS-Chester Engineers. Scott lives in Pittsburgh.

Jill Semmer has been an active Penn State alumni volunteer serving on the executive board of the Michigan Chapter and serving on Alumni Council since 2003. She is a stay-at-home mom to three children and is retired from her job as a financial analyst with Ford Motor Company. She now lives in Newtown Square, Pa.

Luis Valbuena has been the representative to Alumni Council from the College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST). He graduated in 2003 with a bachelor's degree in IST and works as an output management specialist at IBM Corporation. Valbuena lives in New York City.

With more than 159,000 members, the Penn State Alumni Association is the largest dues-paying alumni association in the world. Established in 1870, the Alumni Association strives to connect alumni to the University and to each other, provide valuable benefits to members and support the University's mission of teaching, research and service. For more information about the Alumni Association, or its governing board, Alumni Council, visit

Last Updated March 19, 2009