The Millersville University Alumni Association has selected six alumni who have stood out in their careers and made an impact through community service, personal and professional achievement. These award winners will be honored during the fall commencement on Dec. 16.
Distinguished Alumni Award – David Hoffa ’01, Ph.D.
Dr. David Hoffa graduated from Millersville University’s Industrial Technology program in 2001 and went on to earn both his master’s and doctoral degrees. Following his graduate work, Hoffa made many significant contributions in both industry and academia. He developed a “people first” management style and became focused on continual improvement of himself and others. In his current role as a Process Engineering Manager at Johnson & Johnson, Hoffa has helped companies save more than $31 million using Lean and Six Sigma. Hoffa was recognized in 2017 with the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering’s second highest service distinction, the Dr. Alvin Rudisill Exemplary Service Award. Hoffa was the 26th recipient in the 52-year old professional association. To read his full bio visit Dr. David Hoffa Bio.
Honorary Alumna Award – Susan P. Luek, Ph.D.
Dr. Susan Luek contributed a great deal to Millersville during her 40-year career as a professor and continues to give even in retirement. From 1972 until 2012, Luek taught psychology and oversaw the operation of Millersville’s experimental rat laboratory. Byerly Hall, which houses Millersville’s psychology department, was renamed Luek Hall in her honor in fall 2017. Her contributions have been financial, as well. The Susan P. Luek High Impact Practices Endowment was established using a $360,000 gift from Luek. In addition to teaching at Millersville, Luek served as advisor for the MU Psychology Club and brought the honors society in psychology, Psi Chi, to campus in 1989. Along with Dr. Ruth Benns-Suter, she started the Women’s Center, and helped to initiate Millersville’s honors program, which is now known as the Honors College. To read her full bio visit Dr. Susan Luek Bio.
Outstanding Volunteer Service Award – Jerri Anne Johnson ’76, ‘87M
Jerri Anne Johnson’s passion for teaching has been a hallmark of her career and service to Millersville University. Johnson stayed close to home following her undergraduate work, teaching in the School District of Lancaster for 10 years. She then returned to MU to earn her Master’s of Education. While studying psychology during her master’s training, Johnson authored a research paper entitled, “The Effects of Stimulant Drugs on Hyperactive Children.” This sparked an interest in medical research, which later led her to Abbott Laboratories. Johnson was the first in her family to attend college and recognized the value of giving back to the University. She has served as a student mentor, research proposal reviewer and MU Commencement volunteer. She has volunteered with the Millersville University Alumni Association since 2005. To read her full bio visit Jerri Anne Johnson Bio.
Young Alumni Achievement Award – T. Joseph Dennes III ’04, Ph.D.
Dr. Joseph Dennes graduated with departmental honors from Millersville University in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. During his time at Millersville, he received the American Chemical Society Southeastern PA Section Award, the American Chemical Society Undergraduate Award in Analytical Chemistry, a National Science Foundation Undergraduate Research Fellowship, the Gerald S. Weiss Inorganic Chemistry Scholarship, and the Millersville University Search for Excellence Scholarship. Dennes is in his tenth year of service at DuPont Central Research & Development. In his career at DuPont, he has authored more than 30 patents, and his work has resulted in the commercialization of new products in the fields of energy storage, food pathogen detection, textiles, filtration, consumer products and medical device packaging. To read his full bio visit T. Joseph Dennes III Bio.
Young Alumni Achievement Award Recipient – Leslie Gates ’03, Ph.D.
Dr. Leslie Gates graduated from Millersville University in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in Art Education. Following graduation, Gates taught art in the York City and Greencastle-Antrim School Districts. In 2012, Gates returned to Millersville as a faculty member in the Department of Art & Design, where she currently serves as an Associate Professor of Art Education. Gates was named Pennsylvania Art Education Association’s “Art Educator of the Year” in 2017-18. Her commitment extends to educators state-wide; Gates has served on PAEA’s Board of Directors from 2009-2017 and has been involved in planning PAEA’s annual Conference since 2010. The read her full bio visit Dr. Leslie Gates Bio.
Young Alumni Achievement Award Recipient – Michelle Kaufman ’03, Ph.D.
Dr. Michelle R. Kaufman is an assistant professor in the Department of Health, Behavior & Society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. As a social psychologist, she studies how interpersonal relationships and social factors contribute to health disparities, and how behavior change interventions can mitigate these factors. Kaufman has authored more than 30 peer-reviewed publications tackling difficult issues such as sexual violence and sex trafficking. She has four manuscripts under review focusing on sexual violence and has presented at more than 60 scientific meetings. Kaufman’s immense influence spans several continents, with current and past projects in the U.S., Nepal, South Africa, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Cote d’Ivoire and Indonesia. To read her fuill bio visit Dr. Michelle Kaufman Bio.