DelVal celebrates its history and top students at Founders’ Day ceremony

Apr 11, 2012


Delaware Valley College recognized members of the college community for their achievements and honored the college’s history at the annual Founders’ Day celebration April 11 in Moumgis Auditorium.

“We gather today to recognize those who founded and sustained this institution,” said Board of Trustees Chairperson Dr. James Trainer, a DelVal alumnus. “…Those on whose shoulders we stand.”

Founders’ Day is held each spring to commemorate DelVal’s 116-year history. DelVal began in 1896, as the National Farm School, when Rabbi Dr. Joseph Krauskopf, a social activist and visionary, started a school to use education to empower people.

The day honors his life and work by highlighting the achievements of members of today’s college community.

The day also honors Dr. James Work, a Farm School graduate who became the college’s president in 1946 and oversaw its greatest growth.

College President Dr. Joseph Brosnan said that Dr. Krauskopf’s teachings and ideas had a major influence on the college’s core values.

“While Krauskopf was not present in the physical sense when the core values were written,” said Dr. Brosnan. “In a spiritual sense he filled the room.”

He said the ideas of the founder, such as treating all people as part of the human family regardless of race, class or religion, strike at the heart of the college’s first two core values.

“Pursue excellence” is another core value, alive at the college today, that Dr. Krauskopf lived. Dr. Brosnan said Dr. Krauskopf was committed to the pursuit of a better world and that today, it is hard to imagine how unpopular his ideas were during his time.

During the ceremony, top students receive honors and awards, including the Founders’ Day Award, one of the most prestigious at DelVal. It is given to students who demonstrate exceptional promise and a strong commitment to the college community.

There were 15 nominees and six finalists for the award.

Two seniors Darla Romberger and Zachary Gihorski were selected for the Founders’ Day Award.

Romberger is double majoring in large animal science with a livestock science and management option and dairy science.

She is part of a DelVal family, her father is an alumnus and her sister Kayla is a current student.
Even while double majoring, Romberger has maintained an outstanding GPA and managed to be actively involved in several campus organizations.

When Dr. Bashar Hanna, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty, spoke with Romberger he said she reminded him “begrudgingly” of the A- she had earned. The humble student told the search committee that she had done “OK” for herself at DelVal.

By her standards, “OK” meant making the Deans’ List for seven consecutive semesters while being an active and engaged member of the college community.

Romberger was also named as The President’s Scholar, an honor that is new this year. The President’s Scholar is the student who has the highest GPA out of the College Scholars, students who were on the Deans’ List for seven consecutive semesters.

Romberger plans to earn her master’s degree after DelVal.

Gihorski, of New Jersey, is a Secondary Education Agriculture major, who has served as an orientation leader, vice president of the Inter-Greek Council and a member of the Race, Culture and Diversity Committee.

Gihorski was also the recipient of a national agriculture communications award in 2011.

He feels strongly about fighting hunger and helped mobilize students for the college’s charitable garden project, which will supply fresh produce to food pantries.

After DelVal, Gihorski wants to attend law school and become an advocate for farmers.

The team that chose the Founders’ Day Award winners met with students for interviews as part of the process.

“This is the hardest job on campus,” said Vice President of Student Affairs John Brown, who joked that he should get a raise for having to decide between the applicants. “You see the quality of the people we have to choose from.”

A biology faculty member, Dr. Gregory George, was honored with a D.V.C. Professorship Award at the ceremony. The professorship awards were made possible by the Harleysville National Bank and Trust Company.


George will use the award for research on the American kestrel, which students will help with.

“One of the benefits of being a professor in the biology department is the opportunity to get students out in the field doing research,” said George. “This award will help with that.”

Students present awards to dedicated faculty, staff and administrators at the ceremony.

Every year, the Student Government Board recognizes three college employees for making a difference in the lives of students. Senior Class President Amanda Sidler presented the awards.

Dean of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Russell Redding was chosen from the administration for making the college a better place for students to learn.

Assistant Professor of Animal Science Rodney Gilbert was selected for the faculty award. Gilbert serves as an advisor for Block and Bridle. Sidler said he was chosen because he is “always willing to help students.”

Student Involvement Program Coordinator Andrew Moyer was chosen from the staff by the Student Government Board for his efforts to increase student participation in campus life.

Seventeen students received Departmental Achievement Awards. These go to outstanding graduating seniors who have demonstrated strong leadership and good citizenship. The awards went to:

Teresa Brandt - English
Ariel Butera – Food Science, Nutrition, & Management
Sarah Del Casale – Business Administration
Meaghan Dunn – Animal Science
Christine Esterline - Agronomy
Dylan Fedell - Chemistry
Eric Gimbar – Agribusiness
Amanda Hendrick – Equine Studies
Danielle Hudak - Education
Caitlin McQueen - Biology
Darla Romberger – Dairy Science
Ellen Robinson – Continuing Education
Michael Rosenthal – Counseling Psychology
Kristen Ryan – Horticulture
Stephanie Sherman – Animal Biotechnology & Conservation
Harris Trobman – Ornamental Horticulture & Environmental Design
Dani Walton – Criminal Justice