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The West Chester University alumni and faculty who are celebrated in this year’s Legacy of Leadership ceremony on Saturday, March 16, embody the best of what leadership is all about. Each began his or her commitment to student and community service while at the University and each has continued to lead through service beyond their time at WCU.
The eight honorees are six alumni – Omar Barlow '99, Nancy Gimbel '96, Jason Levy '98, Nick D. Polcini '00, M'05, Chung-Hi H. Yoder '90, Sandra Yozviak '93 - and faculty Jackie Hodes and Jack Orr.
Previous recipients from 2004 through 2012 will also be recognized at the event, which begins with a reception at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. in Sykes Student Union Ballrooms. For event details, visit the Legacy of Leadership website, call 610-738-0530 or email email@example.com.
Below are brief bios of the 2013 Legacy of Leadership inductees.
Omar Barlow, Cheltenham, Pa., founded and has been chief executive officer and principal of Eastern University Academy Charter School in Philadelphia Since September 2009. In 2001, he cofounded motivational speaking company Barlow Enterprises, where he remains chief executive officer. While at WCU, he held officer positions in the Black Student Union (president, vice president) and participated in the Student Government Association. He was honored for his service with a 2005 WCU Drum Major for Justice Award.
Nancy Gimbel, Atlanta, Ga., became Assistant Dean, Scheller College of Business, Georgia Institute of Technology, in 2011. She had been director of undergraduate programs there since 2006. Among her recent honors from Georgia Tech: In 2011, Recognition of Excellence Award in Communications & Marketing, Gold Tower Awards Ceremony, and Outstanding Staff Performance Award; and in 2009, the Stephen P. Zelnak, Jr. Award for Staff Excellence from Scheller College of Business. She also won an Outstanding Advising Award from the National Academic Advising Association.
Her service at West Chester included president and public relations chair for Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Chapter, and 1996 winner of their Chapter Service Key Award. Gimbel also founded and was first president (1995-96) of the University’s Lambda Pi Eta Communications Honor Society, Gamma Tau Chapter. She participated in cross-country and track, earning three PSAC Scholar-Athlete Awards.
Jason Levy, Elkins Park, Pa., has been Director of Student Center Operations at Temple University since the department’s establishment in 2006. He has taken various regional leadership roles with the Association of College Unions International since joining in 1997: Regional Director (2011-present); Audit Task Force Member (2011-12); Conference Program Team Chair (2011). He was a member of several national teams, including Conference Program; Elections; Regional Leadership; Regional and National Conference Presenter (each year since 1999). He was a 2011 member of the Annual Conference Educational Program Review Team for the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, which he has been involved with since 2009.
At WCU. Levy served the Student Activities Council as president (1997-98) and in other roles. In 1996-97, he was vice president of the University’s EMS service and managing intern, Center for Learning Interactive Multimedia Technologies. He was a student director of Sykes Student Union.
Nick Polcini, West Chester, has been a special education teacher at Henderson High School since 2006 and a member of the Council for Exceptional Children since 1997. He is President Elect of the Pennsylvania Council for Exceptional Children and will chair the council’s state convention in Harrisburg in November 2013. He is a member of the Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities and Division for Learning Disabilities.
Polcini has participated in WCU’s Alumni Association Board of Directors since 2001 and is the current Secretary. While a student, he was vice president of Sykes Student Union Advisory Board and a student director for Sykes. He was vice president of SSI Board, Student Activities Council, and SSI Senator to the Student Government Association, which he also served as treasurer. He participated in Association of College Unions International and the Student Council for Exceptional Children.
Chung-Hi H. Yoder, Alexandria, Va., fills several roles in the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons, Washington, D.C.: Office of General Counsel, Associate General Counsel, Employment Law and Ethics Branch (October 2012–present); Supervisory Attorney Advisor, Employment Law and Ethics Branch (October 2011–present); Supervisory Attorney Advisor, Labor-Management Relations Branch (July 2010–present).
While a student, Yoder was a member of the Abbé Society and the Latin American Student Organization and served as a resident assistant.
Sandra Yozviak, Nanticoke, Pa., has taught third grade at Penn Wynne Elementary School in Lower Merion School District for 20 years. She has co-chaired Lower Merion School District's Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Development Council and served on the Strategic Planning Committee. She hosts an afterschool drama club for her class as an offshoot of her acting career that extends from Philadelphia to New York City. She has been Nominating Committee Chair at Narberth Community Theatre and a member of the Play Production Committee at The Barn Playhouse, Jeffersonville.
While at WCU, she was treasurer of the Pan-Hellenic Council, vice president and secretary of the Order of Omega, a member of Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society in Education, and president of Delta Zeta Sorority. As an alumna, she is Province Treasurer for Delta Zeta Sorority, which awarded her the Grace Mason Lundy Award for senior members'; exceptional service to their chapters and the sorority.
Jacqueline Hodes, assistant professor of Counselor Education, has served WCU in a variety of capacities since joining the Student Affairs division in 1986. She has advised student honor and service societies as well as the Residence Hall Association, LGBTQA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender,Queer, Questioning, Ally), and Men Achieving Knowledge.
A past winner of the Universityís Civility Award and the Gittings/Kameny Gay Pioneers Award, Hodes was coordinator for WCU's LGBTQA Services for 20 years and Director of Wellness Education for 15. She was Assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs prior to becoming a faculty member. She resides in West Chester.
Jack Orr, professor emeritus of Communication Studies, joined the WCU faculty in 1986 and retired in 2011. He was advisor for graduate students in Communication Studies (leadership curriculum); Training and Development (M.S.A. degree); and select graduate students who served the Executive Leadership Series Co-facilitator of the Leadership Seminar.
He directed the Leadership Communication Curriculum for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Organizational Management for 20 years, earning their citation for "exemplary teaching to the nationís premier program in organizational management." He also won the Donald Ecroyd Teaching Excellence Award from the Eastern Communication Association. A number of University organizations honored him with Teacher of the Year/Outstanding Teacher awards, including the Pan-Hellenic Council, Phi Sigma Sigma Society, Communication Studies and WCU Student Government. Orr resides in Wilmington, Del.