Mortar Board Alumni Group of
State College, Pennsylvania

Mortar Board initiates living in central Pennsylvania are welcome to join the Mortar Board Alumni Group of State College, Penn. The State College Mortar Board Alumni Group now numbers more than 50 members. Although the vast majority of our members have Penn-State-ties, alumni represent 16 other colleges and universities, too.

Meetings are held two to three times each year with the Penn State collegiate members. Our group assists the Archousai Chapter with its philanthropic events as well as with planning initiation.

If you are interested in joining the alumni chapter, please contact Brenda Walsh. Annual dues are $15 and may be sent to Treasurer Charlene Harrison.

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Contact Information

Alumni President
  Brenda Frawley Walsh
Home Info:
1966 Park Forest Avenue
State College, PA 16803
(814) 238-3167
Alumni Treasurer
  Charlene Hager Harrison
Home Info:
1219 Deerfield Drive
State College, PA 16803
(814) 237-6723
Active Chapter Advisors

Donna L. Poorman
Home Info:
19 Colonnade Way, PMB #153
State College, PA  16803
(814) 238-0085

Casey Keiber
Work Info:
Hintz Family Alumni Center
University Park. PA 16803
(814) 865-8081


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Other State College area Mortar Board Alumni

Many of our alumnae have contributed curriculum vitas to the Archousai chapter (Penn State) of Mortar Board’s website. Go to and click the Mortar Board Alumni link. Here is a brief list:

  • Our distinguished alumni include two emeritus members of the Penn State board of trustees who also were awarded PSU’s Distinguished Alumni Award:  Mimi Coppersmith Fredman and Helen Wise
  • An emeritus member of State College Borough Council: Felicia Lewis
  • Three recipients of the Penn State Renaissance Woman of the year:  1990-Mimi Fredman; 1998-Pat Farrell; 2001-Marty Starling
  • One recipient of the Excellence in Education Award:  Phoebe Forrest Link; also listed in Who’s Who Among American Educators
  • Two recipients of the Alumni Achievement Award of Mortar Board: Marty Starling (2003) and Mimi Barash Coppersmith (2007)
  • Dr. Martha "Marty" Starling serves on the Mortar Board National Foundation as vice chair/financial chair
  • Abby Diehl  serves as Penn State Collegiate chapter advisor and vice president of the National Mortar Board Council.  Abby had previously served as a section coordinator within Mortar Board.
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The History of the Mortar Board Alumnae Group of State College, Pennsylvania

After graduating from Penn State in l947, Phoebe Forrest Link accepted the position of Director of the Teen-Age Program for the Lansing-E. Lansing, Mich. YWCA.  While in this position, Phoebe read in the city paper that the Mortar Board Alumnae were meeting at the home of Betsy Apple.  She phoned her and went to the meeting and found it to be a group of remarkably talented women.  Phoebe said, “These women became my friends, even though I was by far the youngest member of the group, most of whom were associated with Michigan State.  Two years later I was elected President of this group which had a lasting effect on me in my regard for the Mortar Board Ideals.”

Phoebe left Lansing, Mich. in 1950 and returned to Penn State to complete a graduate degree in education, which was followed by teaching positions in Rochester, N.Y. and Princeton, N.J.  Her husband Bob was eventually offered a position at Penn State in 1965 and they moved to State College, Penn. with two young children, ages 2 and 4 months.  Phoebe “recareered” from teaching in 1993 from the State College Area School District and continues to be active in the field of education.

In the late 1960s she recalls phoning the office of the dean of women to inquire about Mortar Board activities at Penn State.  In her conversation she discovered that there was not an alumnae group.  Remembering her fondness for the experience she had in Michigan, Phoebe wrote to the National Mortar Board office to ask for the paperwork necessary to establish an alumnae group.  She completed and returned these forms to Columbus and officially chartered an alumnae group in State College, Penn.

While working to start the alumnae group Phoebe somehow discovered that Lu Magnusson was a Mortar Board member.  She phoned Lu and another young woman from the dean of women’s office and they had a meeting at the Link home to begin to plan for the future.  Phoebe placed a notice in the Centre Daily Times (local paper in State College, Penn.) and asked those who were Mortar Board members to contact her.  From there, it grew. . .and it grew. . .and it grew!  Phoebe recalled:  “I became the first president of the State College Mortar Board Alumnae Group and served for several years during which time members met at our home for pot-luck dinners (including our husbands who thought it was a great idea!) and then the group began meeting at other members’ homes.”

Phoebe’s devotion and fond memories of both her collegiate and alumnae days as a Mortar Board member led very naturally to penning “Ode to Mortar Board” because, as she says:  “Mortar Board is very dear to my heart!  I have never met a more remarkable group of people and I am most grateful that they have been a part of my life.  I will always treasure them.”

Just as Phoebe Link’s alumnae experience in Lansing, Mich. fueled her enthusiasm to create an alumnae group in State College, Penn. similarly, State College member Annie Harvey’s experience at a Mortar Board Alumnae/Reunion Week celebration at her husband’s alma mater, Oklahoma State University fueled her enthusiasm to create a Reunion Week luncheon for Mortar Board alumnae on campus for Penn State’s traditional Reunion Week festivities every June.  This annual event honors 50-year, 45-year and 40-year reunion honorees each year and has been held at the Nittany Lion Inn on the Penn State campus since 2003.

Thanks to an ambitious fund-raising campaign (led by Brenda Walsh in 2005) initiates, collegiate members and alumnae are all gowned in graduation robes and mortarboards.  Brenda also designed two 6-foot banners celebrating Scholarship and Leadership and a 9-foot banner with the Mortar Board Emblem and Service, which are carried in the cross-campus procession. 

This cross-campus walk begins at the Nittany Lion Shrine and proceeds to Old Main where the candle-lit Initiation Ceremony takes place at dusk.  Refreshments are then served in the Alumni Room of Old Main hosted by Mortar Board members, Penn State President Graham Spanier (initiated as an honorary alumnus at Penn State) and his wife, Sandra Spanier initiated at Iowa State University. 

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Upcoming events

Wednesday, April 15, 2009 (5:30 - 9:30 p.m.)
Penn State Archousai chapter Mortar Board initiation

Alumni are invited to participate in the Penn State chapter's initiation. This event is projected to be one of the easier involvement events for alumni this year. Specifically, parking should be a much easier proposition as we will start out at the Hintz Alumni Center.

Alumni and current members should report to Hintz by 5:30 p.m. All new initiates will arrive at the Hintz Alumni Center at 6:30 pm. Alumni will then robe and process to the Lion and then to Old Main for the initiation ceremony.

The reception will be in Old Main Lounge after the ceremony. We have it reserved until 9:30 p.m. Please contact Brenda Walsh regarding your ability/inability to attend this year's initiation:

Brenda Walsh. President, Mortar Board Alum Group of State College
1966 Park Forest Avenue
State College, PA 16803
(814) 238-3167









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