Change has been a constant at the Penn Stater of late, something you might notice if you pay attention to the names on our editorial masthead (p. 3). First, we say so long to Barb Fries (above), the magazine’s longtime editorial assistant, who retired in July after 32 years at the university. Barb spent the past 21 years with us, and her job title only hints at all she did for the magazine team: greeting alumni who called, emailed, or sometimes just showed up at the office; keeping us (especially me) on schedule with gentle reminders of various looming deadlines; deftly handling the many administrative and financial tasks that tend to make the rest of the staff’s eyes glaze over; and much, much more.
Mostly, Barb was a steady, patient, constant presence in my nearly 16 years here, a bottomless well of institutional knowledge, and just one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet. When I took over as editor almost four years ago, the first thing I did was order her (really, I begged) not to leave. I knew she would eventually, and I’m thrilled that she and her husband Cory ’86a, ’92 EMS are starting their next chapter in Florida. But we already miss her a bunch.
Happily, we’ve had a chance recently to welcome some wonderful folks to the staff. Storai Jalali, who started in July as our new editorial assistant, arrived in State College with her family this spring from Kabul, Afghanistan. She brings terrific work experience and rare life perspective, and she’s already proven herself a great addition to our team. Stacia Fleegal joined us in August as the magazine’s new online editor; a central Pennsylvania native (and published poet), Stacia comes to us from Juniata College with lots of ideas for how we can better connect with our members through social media and the web.
Finally, I’m not expecting much editing or design help from Harry Rice, who joined the extended magazine team in May, when he was born to our associate editor, Jeff Rice ’03 Com, and his wife, Mary Anne. For now, we’re just hoping he’ll let his dad get some sleep. We’ve got work to do.