Dedicated Nittany Lion

illustration of David Dapko by Randy Glass

On David Dapko’s first day at Penn State, he attended the “Be a Part From the Start” pep rally, and he took its message to heart. During his years as an undergrad, Dapko ’89 Bus, ’97 MA Com became a resident assistant, a varsity cheerleader, a member of Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity, THON Overall Morale chair, and president of Parmi Nous. “Penn State was his pride and joy,” says his sister, Lisa Unger. “He truly bled blue and white.”

Dapko’s outgoing personality made him well suited for both careers he pursued—first in marketing and communications with firms Maloney & Fox and Kaplow Communications in New York City, and later in real estate in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “He was the kind of person that walked into the room and just had a contagious energy,” says friend Judy Barkus ’87 H&HD, who met Dapko when both were RAs at Penn State. “He was a real cheerleader, in every sense of the word.”

Dapko continued his commitment to Penn State long after graduating. Over the years he served in advisory roles for THON, Parmi Nous, Homecoming, and the LGBTA Alumni Interest Group, of which he was founding director. “Penn State was absolutely the most important thing to David,” Unger says. “Everything he did in his professional life was done to reflect back positively on PSU.” In 2015, Dapko created the David Dapko WE ARE Endowment to ensure that Penn State alumni, students, fans, and friends continue to network and stay connected when the Lions take the field outside of Happy Valley.

He died Jan. 17, 2024, in Fort Lauderdale, of complications from diabetes. He was 57. Besides Unger, he is survived by his mother, Susan Lee, and biological father, Sterling Mumaw II ’70 Bus, and was preceded in death by his father, Mike Dapko, and brother, Michael Dapko. —RR