Nearly 400 Clarion University Students Receive Degrees at Winter Commencement

knepp-web-smallCLARION, Pa. – Clarion University President Karen Whitney conferred 123 master’s degrees, 259 bachelor’s degrees and 34 associate degrees at the Dec. 12 winter commencement in Tippin Gym.

(Photo: Doug Knepp, assistant professor of intramurals, stands with daughter Kara, who received her BSBA in management and human resources. Kara has accepted a position as executive team leader for the human resources department of Target, New Bern, N.C.)

Charles P. Leach Jr. addressed graduates and received an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree at Clarion University’s winter commencement at 1 p.m. Dec. 12 in Waldo S. Tippin Gymnasium. Leach, CEO of Charles P. Leach Agency, Inc., New Bethlehem, was a member of Clarion University Foundation, Inc., Board of Directors for 27 years, retiring in June 2015. He was board president from 1995 to 2014 and served on the Master Planning Committee since 2002.

Leach was a key policy team member and participant during the foundation’s greatest period of growth and organizational development, not only in his service, but also through financial support and active participation. He was an integral part of the team which led the foundation and university to successful completion of the first comprehensive campaign in the late 1990s, exceeding the goal by more than $3 million.

A founding member of the Redbank Valley Volunteer Ambulance Company, Leach served as its first president. He and his wife Sonja were active EMTs in the company for 17 ½ years. He is a founding member of the Emergency Services Council of Northwest Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Llama and Alpaca Association. Leach is industry liaison of the Greater Appalachian Llama and Alpaca Association. He is past mayor of New Bethlehem and served both its chamber of commerce and volunteer fire company.

Leach and his wife live near New Bethlehem. They have five children and nine grandchildren.


Angela Summers of DuBois was the student speaker. She spoke prior to being awarded a Bachelor of Science in secondary education/social studies with a minor in history. She has been active in the Clarion University Council of the Social Studies, Association of Childhood Education International, and Golden Key International. Her undergraduate research focused on bridging cultural differences in at-risk high schools.

After graduation, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in education with concentration in urban education. Her goal is to work in an urban school. She and her husband, Max, have two children, Nick and Savannah.

James E. Kriebel, president and CEO of the Kriebel Companies, received the President’s Medallion in recognition of his life of service to Clarion University and the community at large.

Kriebel, along with his brothers and son, have drilled and completed and operate more than 1,700 gas wells in western Pennsylvania. He is treasurer of the board of directors and executive committee of Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association, as well as a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and Independent Petroleum Association of America.

He chaired the Master Planning Committee of Clarion University Foundation, Inc., and led the foundation’s efforts to develop, build and operate the Health Science Education Center, Reinhard Villages, the Suites I and II projects and The Barnes Center for Biotechnology Business Development at Clarion University.

In the community, Kriebel is on the Finance Committee for Clarion’s Church of God and is a member of Clarion Hospital Authority. Past service was to National City, Integra and First Seneca banks, Clarion County Economic Development Council and Business Development Committee, and chair of the business department of Clarion’s Church of God.

Kriebel and his wife, Penny, live in Shippenville. They have two children and seven grandchildren.

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