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MU’s Top 10 Stories of 2023

From student conferences and awards to historic fundraising campaigns – take a look at the University’s top 10 stories of 2023.

2023 was a busy year for the ‘Ville! We’ll be counting down the top 10 stories for the University, starting with some of the many conferences Millersville hosted the past year:

#10: Conferences

Zero Hunger – Fighting Food Insecurity Regionally

To help find and discuss solutions to the problems posed by food insecurity, MU hosted the “Zero Hunger – Fighting Food Insecurity Regionally” conference at the Ware Center in May.

The conference was aligned with the 17 global goals for sustainable development and Millersville University’s commitment to sustainability.

Holocaust Conference

The 38th Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide took place in April focused on the theme of “Never Again? Genocide in the 21st Century.” Dr. Norman Naimark, an internationally known scholar on genocide, an East European Studies professor at Stanford University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, presented the keynote speech. Much of the conference discussed the war in Ukraine.

Launch Music Conference

2023 was the 15th year for LAUNCH, a three-day event in April that serves as a music festival and a networking opportunity for its musicians. LAUNCH is an annual event that allows up-and-coming musicians to perform and meet new peers.

Ashley Macharelli, a music industry major with a concentration in management, served as the student liaison for LAUNCH. In this position, she learned how to organize and manage staff, and was able to work with industry professionals.

The Learning Institute’s Global Well-Being Conference

The Learning Institute’s 10th Annual Global Well-Being Conference was held over three days in April at the Ware Center. This year’s theme was “Global Connectedness: Achieving Sustainable Change in an Evolving World.”


#9: Land Acknowledgment and Trees of Peace

Virginia Brooks and Elder Sheila Hanfen participate at the White Pine Tree Ceremony outside of Millersville University's library
Virginia Brooks and Elder Sheila Hanfen at White Pine Tree Ceremony.

Our next top story builds off the University’s Land Acknowledgment Statement and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

In October, the University planted four white pine trees to honor the land’s traditional occupants and caretakers in a ceremony that was open to the public. Attendees learned that White Pine trees were chosen as a symbol of peacekeeping, teaching us to put aside differences and create a safe place. The White Pine is the “Tree of Peace” to the Iroquois Confederacy, a group of “first nations” living in present-day New York and Pennsylvania.


#8: MU Students Share Their Success

Between conferences, competitions, individual and team awards and more, many Millersville students found a lot of success this year. Coming in at #8, we’re recognizing students and clubs who had a lot to celebrate.

‘Ville Robotics

At the 2023 Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition held in Rochester, Michigan, ‘Ville Robotics scored big. Their autonomous robot, named A.Li.E.N. 4.0, won 1st to Qualify, 2nd Place Performance, and 2nd Place Overall in the AutoNav Class. They also won 3rd Place in the Grand Award, which combines the results of both AutoNav and Self-Drive class competitions.

The robotics team was also selected as one of just 13 teams in the nation to compete in the TiM$10K challenge. The competition is organized by SICK, one of the most prominent companies for sensor-based applications and sensor intelligence.

Undergraduate Research Conference

In April, students representing an array of different majors traveled to the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire to present their undergraduate research. The National Conference of Undergraduate Research is held annually to showcase undergraduate innovation, scholarships and creativity.

While at the conference, students not only presented their research to hundreds of other student researchers, but they also met peers and faculty in their field of research, learned about research in different fields, learned about graduate schools and employment opportunities and developed their presentation skills.

Student Receives NSF Award

Annisa Saengdara, Millersville University junior environmental and spatial sciences student, was one of 10 students awarded the National Science Foundation Research for Undergraduates award in Interdisciplinary Problem Solving. She looked at human-dominated wetlands during the 10-week program at the Rochester Institute of Technology. 

Print/Packaging Awards

Millersville University graphics and packaging technology students Sydney Hargrove, Reagan Steinberg, Kaylena Travitz and Ben Troyano won awards in two different competitions.

Hargrove and Steinberg were awarded for their submissions in the Neographics sponsored by the Print and Graphic Communications Association. Hargrove’s screen-printed T-shirt “Posterization” earned a Franklin Award for Excellence in the Student/College category, and Steinberg’s Digital “Variable Data Postcard” earned a Franklin Award for Excellence and the Best of Category in the Student/College category.

Travitz and Troyano’s “Ville Hardware” design was selected by the Association of Independent Corrugated Converter’s Student Packaging Design Competition committee as the second-place winner in the structure category.

Student appointed to State Board of Education

Breanna Chernich, wearing a green floral dress and white sneakers, stands in front of a wooden barn door
Breanna Chernich

Brenna Chernich is serving a two-year term on the State Board of Education’s Council of Higher Education. The dual early childhood education and special education major with a minor in integrative STEM education methods was approved by the State Board of Education to serve as an advisory member on the council.


MU’s National Electronic Media Association chapter won big at the Broadcast Education Association conference this year, bringing various awards back to campus:

  • The Motivated Chapter Award
  • Chapter of the Year
  • NEMA Student of the Year: Nicole Dalton, sophomore media arts production major,
  • NEMA Professional of the Year: Stacey Irwin was recognized as the NEMA Professional of the Year.
  • Honorable Mentions for the Video Entertainment and/or Music Program: Two MUTV productions received honorable mentions, including the Plugged In production and the “Cookie Butter Catastrophe” episode from The Trend MU.


Meteorology students from across the nation signed up to participate in the WxChallenge contest, and this year several Millersville University students placed high in the competition.

WxChallenge is a collegiate-focused meteorological forecasting competition. Forecasters predict the daily high and low temperatures, maximum sustained wind speed and cumulative liquid precipitation amount for select locations across the United States. The competition runs for 10 weeks in the fall semester and 10 weeks in the spring semester.

Safety Chapter

Millersville University’s American Society of Safety Professionals student chapter once again received national recognition. The chapter placed third out of 12 schools in the national 2022 – 2023 Outstanding Student Section of the Year Award competition. After winning first place last year, this makes it the second year in a row that the student chapter has been nationally recognized for its outstanding student efforts.


#7: Athletics

The Millersville University Marauders had a lot to celebrate. Our #7 story highlights just a few of the high points for athletics this year.

Make-A-Wish Reveal

On April 1, MU Athletics helped make a local girl’s dream come true as part of a Make-A-Wish reveal, the fifth time athletics has partnered with the organization. The Millersville University Student Athletic Advisory Committee raised $5,000 for Make-A-Wish in 2022, allowing them to reveal this year’s wish.

Eight-year-old Olivia Neupauer, who has spent her childhood battling kidney disease, was greeted by 400 student athletes as she made her way onto Chryst Field. Neupauer was gifted with several items that she could take along with her to her dream vacation, Disney World.

Men’s Soccer wins PSAC

In an intense match, Millersville men’s soccer beat PSAC east rival West Chester this fall with a score of 1-0, officially earning the title of PSAC Champions. This is the fourth time in the past five seasons that the team has been able to do so.

Hannah Woelfling, National Champ

At the NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships, Hannah Woelfling ‘23 celebrated her last season as a NCAA champion. In the discus throw, Woelfling beat out the 20 other competitors with a season-best throw of 167-0, despite entering the event as the No. 7 seed. She joins alumna Sunflower Greene ‘19 as the only MU track and field athletes with NCAA titles.

A group picture of the Millersville University men's baseball team. Some stand behind the large trophy, while others sit or lay next to it
2023 Men’s Baseball team

Marauder Baseball Championship Titles

Marauder baseball won its fourth straight PSAC Eastern Division championship this spring, making it the only PSAC program to do so two different times since the conference began divisional play in 1976. This makes for the eighth time in the past 10 seasons that the baseball team has been PSAC Eastern Division champions.

Men’s golf won PSAC

With a lineup of three seniors and two freshmen, Marauder golf successfully won a fifth PSAC Championship, defeating four-time defending champion IUP.

Despite beginning with just a one-shot lead, the Marauders quickly proved they were in it to win, as in the team round of the tournament, no other team came within 12 shots of them. Millersville finished as the only team to post two sub-300 rounds, and the team’s four counted scorecards saw a combined three-under-par score over the final four holes.


#6: Google and Amazon Partnerships

Millersville University furthered opportunities for its students through quite a few corporate partnerships this year. Coming in at #6 are two very notable partnerships with Google and Amazon.

Google Career Certificates

Governor Josh Shapiro visited Millersville University in August to announce the partnership between Google and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, making industry-recognized Google Career Certificates available to Millersville students and the public to help them secure good-paying jobs.

Amazon Career Choice

In October, Millersville University Provost Dr. Gail Gasparich visited the new Amazon distribution center in York to announce the new partnership between the University and the Amazon Career Choice program.

This program provides eligible Amazon employees with funding, like pre-paid tuition and reimbursement for textbooks and other fees, while they work toward their undergraduate degree at MU.


#5: The ‘Ville Goes Global

Our next top story of the year focuses on the ‘Ville making international headlines. At #5, here are some notable stories for MU across the globe.

UCC Visits the ‘Ville

In February, Millersville University was visited by representatives of the University of Cape Coast, after President Dr. Daniel A. Wubah spent time there representing MU and building a relationship with the other institution.

The delegation from Ghana met with a variety of Millersville faculty and administrators to collaborate and discuss how each institution could benefit from a continued partnership. UCC has been a driving force in meeting and maintaining manpower in many industries and across many disciplines, including doctors and health care professionals, business professionals, administrators, legal professionals and agriculturalists.

Millersville and St. John of India

In another collaboration, Millersville and St. John Technical and Educational Campus in India signed a memorandum of understanding on June 5. This allows for students at St. John’s affiliate institutions to attend Millersville University and for faculty collaboration between the two institutions.

The agreement also establishes possibilities for dual-degree and transfer-degree programs and non-degree programs. The agreement will allow the exchange of scholarly and pedagogical materials and the development of academic research, workshops or other joint projects.

President Wubah earns Honorary Degree

MU President Dr. Wubah proudly stands between four others, displaying his honorary degree
President Wubah receives his honorary degree

On July 29, Dr. Daniel A. Wubah, president of Millersville University, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree from the University of Cape Coast in Ghana. Wubah previously received his bachelor’s with Honors in botany and Dip. Ed. in education from the UCC.

UCC is the topmost-ranked university in Ghana and West Africa, the 4th in Africa and among the 400 topmost-ranked universities worldwide.


#4: Grants

Thanks to the generosity of various institutions and the hard work of Millersville faculty and staff, the University received several notable grants this year to further the education and hands-on learning of its students. Our #4 story of the year highlights just a few.

“It’s on Us”

For the seventh year in a row, the University received a portion of the $1 million “It’s on Us PA” grant, part of the campaign which is aimed at addressing sexual assault on college campuses.

MU is using the funds provided by the grant to expand prevention programs, provide additional training to support and respond to those impacted by sexual violence, train more individuals about bystander intervention through Green Dot and implement the University’s own Be the One to Speak Up campaign.


Millersville University received $189,914 as a partner of the Lancaster County Workforce Division Board’s ACHIEVE project. The purpose of the grant is to help jobseekers re-enroll in educational programs, designed to assist Pennsylvanians who began studying in higher education for in-demand fields but had to leave their degree after two or three years.

Scholarships for Student Volunteers

A $296,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will allow students who volunteer for Blue Rock Fire Rescue to be eligible for up to $2,500 a year. The grant will primarily be applied to recruitment and retention, with the hope of welcoming 12 new students for the fire company each year.

Students who volunteer with Blue Rock Fire Rescue will be eligible for the scholarships beginning in the spring semester, including those who are currently volunteering.

National Science Foundation Grant

A five-year $3,448,451 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation program will help Millersville University as the lead institution working to increase the recruitment, graduation and post-baccalaureate success of students from underrepresented groups in STEM graduate school and/or the STEM workforce.

This NSF grant is a joint effort of Millersville, East Stroudsburg University, Slippery Rock University and West Chester University. The program will provide tuition scholarships, summer stipends, travel support, and a slew of co-curricular supports and opportunities for the students involved. All this is to help meet its goal of increasing the number of students graduating with a STEM bachelor’s degree by at least 20%, from 70 graduates a year to 84 or more.

Pheonix Contact Grant

Thanks to a grant donation from Phoenix Contact, the Automation and Controls Lab in Osburn Hall will receive new equipment. Students studying automation and robotics engineering will have access to this equipment, worth close to $50,000, allowing them to develop and work with Industrial Internet of Things.

‘Internet of Things’ is an industry term that refers to collective networks of connected devices and the technology that facilitates communication among itself. This tech will be especially relevant to students who hope to be automation, controls, or manufacturing engineers.


#3: Partnerships: Lampire and Climavision

Our #3 story of the year highlights two corporate partnerships, which brought and will continue to bring exciting opportunities for Millersville’s STEM students.

Lampire Biological Laboratories

On March 31, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to celebrate the partnership between MU and Lampire Biological Laboratories, an international biotech life science company that produces biological reagents used in the diagnostic and pharmaceutical industries. The ceremony celebrated the new Life Science incubator on Millersville’s campus, which will give students hands-on industry experience in the laboratory and access to jobs and internships.

The University was chosen for the partnership because of its location and access to the student and alums workforce. There will also be opportunities for Millersville’s biology, chemistry and biochemistry faculty to collaborate with Lampire scientists on education programming, such as guest lectures, site visits and colloquium talks.


In June, a partnership between Millersville and Climavision saw a new weather radar system installed on campus. This is the first partnership of its kind between Climavision and a university, which the University celebrated with a ceremony at Caputo Hall on August 29.

The new weather radar system is the first X-band weather surveillance radar in the Lower Susquehanna Valley, filling in the gaps not covered by current radar systems. This information will help improve forecasts for areas like Lancaster County that may be prone to hazardous weather and will also help improve emergency planning and preparedness for the area.


#2: Brooks, the Trauma Dog

K9 Brooks, a yellow labrador retriever, poses in front of leafy green plants. He's wearing a police dog vests, and with his tongue out he looks to be smiling
K-9 Brooks

Coming in at #2, the Millersville University Police Department welcomed a new officer this year: K-9 Brooks, who was sworn in at a ceremony in September!

As a trauma dog, Brooks is trained to help those who need emotional support directly after a traumatic event to reduce stress and anxiety, by demonstrating affection while exercising restraint. Trauma dogs also provide comfort to officers, who often handle dangerous and traumatic situations.

Brooks is a popular pup on campus – tons of students came out to his first birthday party in October, where Brooks got to meet new people and play with his handler, Officer Ivan Gonzales.

The MUPD currently has an ongoing campaign to raise money and support Brooks. These donations are used solely to help toward Brooks’ care, including grooming, food, training and modifications to police vehicles to assure safety for Brooks. For more information on how you can support Brooks during his time at Millersville, click here.

You can also keep up with Brooks’ adventures on his Instagram page!


#1: Historic Fundraising Campaigns

Our #1 story this year celebrates two incredible fundraising milestones: Millersville’s “Imagine the Possible” campaign and the annual One Day Give event.

Imagine the Possible

The “Imagine the Possible” fundraising campaign concluded in August this year, reaching a record-breaking $110,056,873, making it the most successful fundraising effort in the history of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

The accomplishment is the culmination of a six-year fundraising campaign that surpassed a $90 million goal in March 2022 and topped $100 million in January 2023. The total of $110M+ exceeds the overall campaign fundraising goal by more than 22%.

This was the first campaign focused entirely on students, so the priority areas for donations included Scholarships, Student Learning Experiences, Marauder Athletics and Campus Revitalization.

One Day Give

This year’s 10th annual One Day Give raised $582,465 from 2,026 gifts. These gifts will support student scholarships, Millersville athletics, the EPPIIC Student Compassion Fund that assists students facing undue financial hardships who need emergency assistance, and more. 15 new scholarships were also created during this year’s fundraiser.

Thank you to everyone who made 2023 a year to remember. Happy new year from MU to you!

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