The 20 Most Notable Penn State Alumni in Business

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Pennsylvania State University is more commonly known as Penn State. It was founded under a different name in 1855 and was first called the Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania. The name was later changed to the University of State College, and then to its current name. The college is state operated and it specializes in programs relating to public service, research and teaching. The acceptance rate of the institution is just 56 percent of applicants with a graduation rate of 86 percent. Some of the most famous and notable men and women in the world of business are alumni of Penn State University and here are the top 20 from this category.

1. Louis D’Ambrosio

Louis D’Ambrosio graduated from the Penn State Schreyer Honors College with his bachelors of science in business. Mr. Ambrosio joined the IBM company working for 16 years in both international and domestic roles. He became a member of IBMS Worldwide Management Committee. He continued with his career and accepted a position as the CEO of the global telecommunications company Avaya, and was also a board member. He was also the CEO and member of the board for Sears Holdings, also serving as the executive chairman of Sensus, which is a water conservation technology company.

2. Robert E. Eberly

Robert Eberly attended Penn State University where he received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1939. He went on to become the chairman of the board for the Eberly Natural Gas company. He also served as the director of the Gallatin National Bank.

3. Herman Fisher

Herman Fisher graduated from Penn State University in 1921, just three years after his high school graduation. He earned his bachelor’s of arts degree in Commerce. After college, he built a very successful career in business, working as a Fuller brush salesman, then becoming an executive in advertising in the toy industry. he went on to co-found the Fisher-price Toys company which became one of the largest manufacturers of toys for children in America.

4. Kenneth Frazier

Kenneth Frazier is another distinguished alumni of Pennsylvania State University. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the institution and continued on with his education to obtain a JD from Harvard Law School. After graduation, he went on to become a success in the pharmaceutical industry. he became the CEO and chairman of Merck & Co., Inc. He also led the defense in litigation over their drug called Vioxx. Mr. Frazier was a member of the American philosophical Society.

5. Lloyd Huck

John Lloyd Huck is a graduate of Penn State University, who like fellow alumni Kenneth Frazier, also became a business executive in the pharmaceutical industry. He became the chairman of the Merck & Co. Pharmaceutical company. He also served as the chair of the Nova Pharmaceutical Corporation. Mr. Huck was also involved in the Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company and he was an avid aviation enthusiast as well as a philanthropist.

6. Richard T. James

Mr. Richard T. James is perhaps one of the most unique alumni of Pennsylvania State University in the United States. He is the creator of one of the most beloved yet simple children’s toys in the country. he and his wife Betty are responsible for the invention of the Slinky, which is a coil toy, in 1945.

7. Albert Lord

Albert Lord attended Pennsylvania State university in the Business program. He earned his bachelor’s of science degree, then continued on to establish a successful career in the business world. He is the former CEO of Sallie Mae. He spent a number of years in executive leadership and management with SLM in a variety of different roles. He is also a director or SS&C Technologies Holdings, Inc and he is also a member of the advisory board for the Washington Redskins Leadership Council.

8. Mike McBath

Mike McBath is a graduate of Penn State University who has done a great many impressive things in his life. He began his career as an NFL football player starting with the Buffalo Bills in 1968, then playing for the Washington Redskins and then for the Florida blazers. He became a part owner of the Orlando Predators which is a team within the Arena Football League. he also served as the president of the NFL Retired Players Association and he is currently employed at the Union Bank of Switzerland, which was formerly known as Paine Webber, as a senior vice president.

9. Eugene O’Kelly

Mr. Eugene O’Kelly was an alumni of Pennsylvania State University who graduated and went on to become a success in the business world. he served as the chief executive officer and chairman of KPMG, which is one of the biggest accounting firms int he united States. Mr. O’Kelly was diagnosed with a brain tumor and passed away at the age of just 53.

10. Mark Parker

Mark Parker attended Pennsylvania State University and earned his bachelor’s degree in business from the institution. After graduation, he became successful in the business world. He was appointed to the positions of president and chief executive officer as well as chairman of the Nike Corporation. He also serves on the board of the Walt Disney Company.

11. Hugh Ellsworth Rodham

Hugh Ellsworth Rodham was one of Pennsylvania State University’s most distinguished alumni. He was not only the father of former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton, he also went on after graduation to become a very successful businessman in the textile wholesale business.

12. William Schreyer

William Schreyer was a member of the graduating class o Pennsylvania State university in 1948. he went on to enjoy a successful business career as the CEO of the Merrill Lynch Company. He also served on multiple boards including Callaway Golf Co. AEA investors inc, Deere, Foote, Cone & Belding, Marbo, Inc and several others where his business advisement was highly valued.

13. Frank Smeal

Frank Smeal was a student at Pennsylvania State University and he graduated with his undergraduate degree in business. He would go on to become a partner at Goldman Sachs after spending some 38 years on Wall Street. He made a fortune and he was a very generous benefactor who made sizable donations. The Business College at Penn State was renamed after him.

14. John P. Surma

John P. Surma is a Penn State alumni who has been extremely successful in his career after graduation with his bachelor’s of science degree in accounting in 1976. Since that time, he has become the director of the Ingersoll-Rand Ltd. Company. Prior to this appointment he served as the chief executive officer of the United States Steel Corporation. He was also a treasurer of the board of directors for the World Steel Association. he also held executive leadership positions at Marathon Ashland petroleum LLC, Supply and Speedway Super Amreica LLC and he worked as a manager at Price Waterhouse in Manchester England in 1981. He has also served on multiple boards in several industries.

15. Richard Trumka

Richard Trumka earned his degree from Penn State and is now one of the institution’s most distinguished alumni. He is currently the president of the AFL-CIO, which is a 12.5 million member union organization. He is well know for being outspoken as an advocate for workers’ rights and for economic and social justice for them.

16. Patricia A. Woertz

Patricia Woertz graduated from Pennsylvania State University with her bachelor’s degree in accounting. She continued on to attend Columbia University at their International Executive Development program. Ms. Woertz is currently the president and chief executive officer of Archer Daniels Midland. Prior to that she was a certified pubic accountant working for Ernst & Young in the 1970s. In 1997, she joined the team at the Gulf Oil Corporation and remained with the company through its merger with Chevron as the finance manager. She became the president of Chevron Canada as well as president of Chevron International Oil Company. She also served as VP of Global Downstream operations for the ChevronTexaco Corporation. She was named as one of the Most Powerful Women in Business by Fortune magazine.

17. John Dowd

John Dowd is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University. He is the co-founder of Sundance Vacations and he also serves as the chief executive officer of the business. In addition to being a very successful business owner and executive, he also takes a great interest in community events, serving on the local chamber of commerce as well as chairing the grants committee for the Luzern Foundation and other community organizations. He started his career working for other businesses within the vacation and travel industry, and then he and his wife Tina decided that it was time to establish a business of their own.

18. Lisa Baird

Lisa Baird earned her bachelor of arts degree at Penn State University, then continued on to earn her masters of business administration at the same institution. She is a notable alumni of the university who is currently the operating partner at Atlas FRM LLC, which appointment happened in 2019. Prior to this, she served on the board of GK Elite Sportwear and served on the board of trustees for the International Hall of Fame and Tennis. She serves on multiple boards of directors across several industries. She also held an executive position with the IBM Company as their vice president of advertising, then being promoted to the senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing Communications. She also served as the chief marketing officer for the united States Olympic Committee as well as in leadership roles in other sports related businesses.

19. Matt Brezina

Matt Brezina is an alumni of Penn State University who has founded more than one new startup companies. He is the co-founder of Xobni. he is also the co-founder of the Sincerely company. he also serves as the chief executive officer of the company.

20. Harry Shoemaker

Mr. Harry Shoemaker was one of Pennsylvania State University’s most distinguished and notable alumni. He was a pioneer in the radio engineering field as well as an inventor. he developed multiple types of transmitter and receiver designs and his work is still referred to today. over his career, he was able to secure over 40 US patents with regard to radio and its components. He conducted a variety of experiments with transmission and reception of radio signals and he constantly created new concepts and radio styles and components. Mr. Shoemaker was born in 1879 and he lived until August of 1932. He left behind many significant contributions and inventions for the net generation of inventors who would follow. He also served as an independent consultant. Mr. Shoemaker passed away in 1932, but he left behind a legacy on which technicians have been able to build upon. he was involved with several different boards, offering his advisement on business and technological projects. He was one of the great pioneers who influenced free thinking about technology within the field of radio and communications.


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