Campus Life

Forty 'lucky, really lucky' years at Abington

Senior director of Student Affairs retires

Gale Siegel, right, counts the annual Awards and Leadership dinner as one of her favorite nights of the year. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

ABINGTON, Pa. -- Saying she "has held every job in the place" serves as a pretty apt description of Gale Siegel's 40-year career at Penn State Abington.

The senior director of Student Affairs, who occupied seven different offices spaces across three departments, retired in August. She started as a part-time adviser in 1976 and held posts in Academic Affairs and Continuing Education.

Siegel never mapped out a career path at Abington, instead, she took advantage of opportunities.

"I have been lucky, really lucky, to have been in so many positions," she said,  boxing up awards and photos in her office in the historic Sutherland Building. "It gave me a chance to understand all parts of the University."

One stroke of luck came her way while vacationing in Greece about 20 years ago. She returned from Europe to learn the she had been nominated as the interim director of Student Affairs. Now, she is retiring as senior director of the unit.

"If you can work in a field you love, and the bad days are okay, you can't ask for more," said Siegel.

Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

It's an emotional time for Siegel as she sorts through her office, closes out files, and says many, many goodbyes. She said memories shared by student leaders at a recent farewell party surprised her.

"They told me about the contribution I made to their lives, and I had no idea," she said. "One student thanked me for always being in the audience at events. I never thought anyone noticed I was there.

"Nothing is more impactful than helping somebody find themselves."

Siegel looks forward to seeing the Abington community flourish.

"I think the future is so bright for Abington," she said. "There is so much to look forward to in growth in services and opportunities for students."

Chancellor Karen Wiley Sandler hailed Siegel as an integral part of growth in enrollment and student diversity, the expansion of Student Life, active membership in NCAA Division III, and the first university-sponsored student housing set for completion in 2017.

"Gifted with vision, creativity, empathy, and courage, Gale has been a leading force in many advances our college has experienced over the years," Sandler said.

Last Updated April 19, 2017