Secret Lives of Staff: Dave Lesher—Beekeeper (and much more)

By Heather Cass
Publications & Design Coordinator, Penn State Behrend

There’s much more to Penn State Behrend’s faculty and staff members than what you see on campus. In this occasional series, we’ll take a look at some of the interesting, unconventional, and inspiring things that members of our Behrend community do in their free time.

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Give me a half hour with anyone and I’ll come away with a story. Every person has one. Some have more than a few. Take Dave Lesher, for example.

This piece was supposed to be about Lesher’s beekeeping hobby, but his activities, interests and talents—his “secret lives”—are many.

In addition to being a police services officer at Penn State Behrend and a beekeeper, Lesher is also a professional photographer, distance trail runner, cyclist, gardener, home brewer, clean-eater, and a website programmer/designer. Oh, and he’s also a veteran, husband, and father.

Clearly, when Lesher is interested in something, he goes all in. But serendipity plays a role in most of his ventures, too.

Twenty-five years ago, when he was working at a grocery store after having completed basic training in the U.S. Army Reserves, a coworker mentioned she was attending a municipal police training academy. Lesher enrolled a week later.

After graduation, he was hired at Behrend. It’s a job he said he has enjoyed since day one.

“I really like the people here,” he said. “In my role, I come in contact with a wide variety of people and I enjoy interacting with everyone from the janitorial staff to the Chancellor.”

He even likes educating students who have gotten themselves into a bit of trouble.

“Often, the student has just been misguided or made a mistake and the incident can be turned into a learning experience,” he said. “I’d say we can do that 95 percent of the time.”

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Honey habit leads to hobby

A serious health scare a decade ago inspired Lesher to begin exercising and taking a closer look at the foods he was putting into his body. He eats clean now, avoiding processed foods, meat, caffeine, artificial dyes and additives, and most forms of sugar, with one sweet and all-natural exception—honey.

“It’s expensive, though, and I was eating a lot of it,” he said. “So I started doing some research on beekeeping and got some bee boxes.”

He found his first set of bees on Craigslist.

“This guy was tearing a house down and found the walls were full of honey-bees, so he offered them up to anyone who would come take them,” Lesher said.

“Cut-outs,” as such bee acquisitions are called, are tougher than simply scooping up a homeless swarm and encouraging them into a new home.

“With a cut-out, you’re invading their territory and they will defend it,” Lesher said. “Swarming bees are actually safer to collect. They swarm when they are looking for a new home, so they have nothing to protect and are usually happy to climb right into a bee box.”

Lesher is pleased to offer them a home, and the college’s maintenance and operations staff are just as thrilled to have someone nearby to call when swarms are found on campus.

Except for the occasional replacement queen, Lesher doesn’t buy bees. He prefers to collect native bees since they are used to Erie’s climate.

Lesher has a beekeeper’s hat, but doesn’t wear a full suit because honey-bees are rarely aggressive. He’s been stung only twice.

The average hive makes sixty to eighty pounds of honey a year, which is harvested in the fall. Only a portion of the honey is taken, however, as the bees have to have food for the winter.

“My hives are new this year, so I won’t take any honey,” he said. “I want to keep them happy so they’ll stay and produce more next year and then I can take some.”

From programming to photography to political science 101

A different kind of buzz—talk about the then-new World Wide Web—caught Lesher’s attention twenty-plus years ago. He began reading about, then dabbling in, website programming and design. He soon had paying clients (he still has some today) and a concern about finding adequate photography for their sites.

So he began reading about photography. You see where this is going, right? Today Lesher also works as a professional photographer. He shoots family portraits, senior pictures, and weddings.

Another hat he wears? College student. This fall he’ll complete his degree in General Arts and Sciences with an emphasis in Political Science.

Man in motion

You may wonder where Lesher gets the stamina to keep up all of his hobbies, jobs, and activities. It’s a strength that is, no doubt, hard earned on the trails and roads around Penn State Behrend where he’s logged thousands of miles.

Last summer, he did his first ultra run, the Megatransect, a formidable thirty-mile race up, on, and around Bald Eagle Mountain, just south of Lock Haven—with former Behrend engineering professor and trail-runner Dr. Chris Colston.

“The funny thing is that when I was in the Army, I hated running,” he said. “I never thought I’d start doing it competitively. But then I got interested in it and ended up buying the gear and doing some races and… you know, how it goes.”

Yes, with Lesher, we do know how it goes now—all the way.

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8 fun honey-bee facts

  1. Honey-bees are not native to the United States. They were imported by European settlers.
  2. Honey-bees, while instinctual, aren’t very smart. “I have to have different landing strips on my hives or the bees will go in the wrong hive and be killed as invaders,” Lesher said.
  3. Honey-bees use dances to communicate. For example, when honey-bees find food, they do a choreographed “waggle” dance that instructs the rest of the hive where to find a food source.
  4. Honey-bees keep each other warm and fed over winter. Honey-bees keep the hive at about 92 degrees in winter, feasting on the honey they have collected all summer.
  5. Honey is harvested in the fall. Hives typically contain about sixty to eighty pounds of honey; some must be left for the bees to eat.
  6. Unhappy honey-bees will leave. If conditions in the hive are not suitable, the queen will call for a swarm and they’ll swarm and depart.
  7. The honey-bee queen is the sole reproductive female in the colony. She lays 1,000-to-3,000 eggs per day. Female worker bees perform all other colony duties. Male drones exist only to mate with a virgin queen.
  8. Drones are dead before winter. Drones are a liability to the wintering hive and are not allowed in after fall, so they die outside.

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Collecting a swarm

Lesher provided this video of a swarm he collected:

 

Behrend Reacts: What are you thankful for?

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By Nicole Krahe
Marketing Communication Student Assistant, Penn State Behrend

Studies have shown that being grateful has a significant impact on lives; it reduces stress levels and can even increase our life expectancy. In honor of the upcoming holiday, we asked Behrend students, faculty, and staff:  What are you most thankful for?

 

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Casey LaBuda, sophomore, Nursing, from Pittsburgh: “My mom. I always call her in the middle of the night when I’m having a breakdown about nursing.”

 

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Dr. Nancy Study, lecturer in engineering: “In answer to the question about what I’m thankful for this year, I would say it’s the same things I’m thankful for every day: my family and friends, and the privilege of having a job I enjoy. Of course I’m also thankful for the creature comforts in my life like a nice house to live in, an all-wheel drive vehicle to get around in the snow, a steady supply of caffeine via coffee and Twining’s English Breakfast Tea, and sturdy snow boots, but I’ve learned over the years that material things and money mean very little if you don’t have your loved ones and/or spend 40+ hours a week in a job that makes you miserable.”

 

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Morgan Corle, first-year student, Communication, from Avella: “I’m thankful for all the people that I’ve met here and become close with.”

 

Dorothy Kurylo

Dorothy Kurylo, campus coordinator for nursing programs and lecturer in nursing: “I am thankful especially for my family and friends. I am also thankful to be a faculty member of Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. As a newcomer to Erie, I have become very thankful for my boots and my snowbrush. Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!”

 

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Amy Neal, first-year student, Division of Undergraduate Studies, from Erie: “The cold, so I’m able to appreciate the weather when it’s warm!”

 

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Mallory Carson, first-year student, Political Science, from Erie: “I’m thankful for black lipstick.”

 

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Kristen Comstock, assistant director of alumni relations: “I am thankful to work for my lovely alma mater. Every day I get to interact with many of our fantastic 35,000 alumni. Plus working at Behrend means I get to enjoy, more often than most alumni, the delicious Bruno’s chicken wraps! And I cannot forget I am grateful for friends, family, health, happiness, and shoes!”

 

Mary-Ellen Madigan

Dr. Mary-Ellen Madigan, senior director of enrollment management: “I am thankful for my kids—now grown.  They both have good jobs and live independently.  Along with them, I am thankful for my three beautiful and fun granddaughters.  I’m especially thankful that they live nearby and I get to spend time with them.”

 

Don Birx's first Behrend portrait. Taken May 2010 by John Fontecchio

Dr. Don Birx, Chancellor:

“Thankful – Yes; for being in Erie and especially at Behrend.

Yes it is cold,

but I have found hearts here are warm and friendships deep.

Yes there is lots of snow,

but it makes the days so much brighter – with a glint from the winter sun.

Sunsets are stunning, the hills full of grapes,

and the land slopes down to a great and beautiful lake.

Thankful – Yes, and for so much more……for all of you.”

 

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Dr. Dawn Blasko, interim associate dean for academic affairs and associate professor of psychology:

“What am I thankful for this year?  Like everyone else I’ve seen today I’m supposed to be thankful that three feet of snow did not fall on Erie today, but went north instead. But, to be honest, a little part of me is disappointed. I’m invigorated by this crazy cold, slap in the face, start to winter. I had to buy new warmer clothes-even find some gloves and boots. My office is always freezing, so my family bought me an alpaca sweater-no wonder alpacas can hang out in the Andes-much better than polar fleece.

The first snow to me is always exciting. I know it sounds crazy to you snow haters, but to me growing up in the Poconos, the first snow was pure gold. It opened up a wealth of new fun activities. Best of all, was the ultimate prize- THE SNOW DAY!

Even though we don’t have snow days at Behrend, (I guess we’re too tough for that), as a kid I clearly remember being snowed in with the whole family for days at a time. Mom, in her fox-furred hood, riding the toboggan, and Dad wobbly on his snow shoes walking the yard to measuring the snow in the deepest drift with his yard stick. There was no work, and no school. Time stopped, we pitched in to shovel the driveway then we were off into the untouched whiteness.  A soft fluffy blanket of white erasing all the ugly reality underneath.

Kids made trails around the neighborhood as we called all our friends out to play. We built snow forts to defend our territories and stored up snowballs for battle. We dug out the sleds from the basements and garages and went sleigh riding down the middle of the street. We held toboggan races—that were our own Olympic games.  Then there were the accidents, tremendous rolling crashes into banks of snow and sometimes into each other.

Who could forget the feeling of dragging yourself home, bruised, exhausted and soaking wet with numb feet and hands? We’d have some warm soup, put on dry gloves and go out again until the lack of light and parents calling us for supper ended the fun. The perfect snow was short-lived, in a few days the plow trucks and cinders would ruin our hill, school and work would start again, and we would be back to the usual routine.

This might be a long winter, and by February, if not before, even us diehard northerners will be tired of it. But, In the meantime, if the snow is just right, break the routine and make a new memory. The yard behind my office in Glenhill Farmhouse sure looks like some prime territory to defend.”

 

 

Behrend Reacts is a regular Thursday feature at the Behrend Blog that tries to get the campus pulse on a current topic, whether it’s serious or trivial. If you have a question to suggest for Behrend Reacts, please email Nicole Krahe at ndk5089@psu.edu.

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Behrend Reacts: Who is your favorite professor?

BehrendReactslogolargeBy Nicole Krahe
Marketing Communication Student Assistant, Penn State Behrend

Author William A. Ward once said; “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”

With so many dedicated professors on our campus, we asked Behrend students, who is their favorite and why?

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Samantha Raible, senior, Biology, from Pittsburgh: “I would have to say my favorite professor is Dr. Pam Silver, Professor of Biology. She was tough but always took the time to help students. She made things interesting enough to keep us awake at an 8:00 A.M class.”

Cat

Cat Hensley, first-year student, Geography, from Michigan: “Dr. Michael Naber, lecturer in geosciences. He’s easygoing, funny, and has Harry Potter glasses.”

Cassie

Cassie Peters, sophomore, Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, from Erie: “I would say Ms. Luciana Aronne,  lecturer in chemistry. She is supportive, motivational and keeps class interesting.”

Ronnie

Ronnie Cox, sophomore, Physics, from Erie: “My favorite professor would have to be Mr. Adam Combs, lecturer in mathematics. He is not going to take it easy on you but will take the time to go over things you don’t understand.”

Lindsey

Lindsey Chase, first-year student, Kinesiology, from Randolph, N.Y: “Mr. Scott Rispin, lecturer in art. He makes things fun and interesting, and is very personable. You can tell he cares about his students.”

Pat

Pat Kress, sophomore, Finance, from Erie: “I would say my management professor, Dr. Ryan Vogel, assistant professor of management. He is enthusiastic and relates concepts to college students well. He makes an 8:00 A.M class bearable.”

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Matthew Moreau, senior, Biology, from Massachusetts: “Dr. Michael Campbell, a professor of biology. He engages you and makes things interesting. If you pay attention in class, it’s really rewarding.”

Katie

Katie Powers, first-year student, Biology, from Clearfield: “I would say Mr. Scott Simpson, lecturer in chemistry. He’s young and you can tell he’s excited about teaching. He also does experiments every day which is really cool.”

Mary

Mary Bradley, first-year student, Division of Undergraduate Studies, from Erie: “My favorite professor is Dr. Angela Rood, lecturer in psychology.  She breaks the class down to make it easier to understand and does activities every day to keep things fun and interesting.”

Behrend Reacts is a regular Thursday feature at the Behrend Blog that tries to get the campus pulse on a current topic, whether it’s serious or trivial. If you have a question to suggest for Behrend Reacts, please email Nicole Krahe at ndk5089@psu.edu.

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Behrend faculty and staff recommended reading – Part II

By Heather Cass
Publications & Design Coordinator,
Penn State Behrend

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Did you get through all those titles I gave you last week? No? Slacker! (Just kidding, of course). Break out your to-read list because I’ve got some more suggestions for you straight from lips, er, keyboards of the book-loving faculty and staff members at Penn State Behrend.

Without further ado, recommended summer reading part two:

Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin is one of the shortest and most powerful books I’ve ever read.  It was published fifty years ago, and I read it as a teenager and reread it five years ago.  It is nonfiction and tells how the author, through medication and dye, transformed himself into a black man to experience what it was like to be black in the south in the 1950s. It’s hard to believe how recent this history is.” — Dr. Eric Corty, associate director of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and professor of psychology

“I’ll second Black Like Me. I read it several years ago and it really sticks with you. I use Ann Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down in class, and every time I read it I’m stuck by how well she captures both the culture clash of the new Hmong refugee and the western medical model’s failing. For fun, I’m reading the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. It consists of eight historical novels written about the Scottish Jacobite upraising and those who eventually immigrated to America. I’ve heard there is a TV series about it being filmed in Scotland now.” — Dr. Dawn Blasko, interim associate dean for Academic Affairs and associate professor of psychology

I recommend House of Breath , Come, The Restorer and Arcadio, all by William Goyen, who is considered in Europe to be one of the greatest writers America has ever produced. Ironically, he’s little known here. All his stories and novels are wonderful, but the books recommended are, in my opinion, his best three novels. The House of Breath was his first novel and Arcadio was his last (published posthumously). Enjoy. — George Looney, professor of English and creative writing

I would recommend The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein. Not only is he one of the best science fiction writers ever and not only did he receive his fourth Hugo Award for this novel, but this book is really imaginative and captivating. Heinlein depicts an entire society on the moon (and its rebellion against Earth) several years before we had even step foot there. This novel is science fiction at its best. — Dr. Amy Carney, assistant professor of history

I found The Presidents Club by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy to be inspiring. It’s about how current and former presidents have cooperated through time to accomplish great things.  For fiction, I recommend Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo. It’s a great story about “life, death, and hope in the Mumbai undercity.” — Dr. Greg Filbeck, professor of finance

I’ll recommend One Summer: America in 1927 by Bill Bryson. Bryson is a classic storyteller known for his bestsellers such as A Walk in the Woods and A Really Short History of Nearly Everything, but One Summer is the book we all should have all read in some high school or college history class. It consists of juicy and amazingly true stories of Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, Henry Ford, Calvin Coolidge (who seems to have been the worst President ever), and many others of that era. It’s fun and kind of makes you feel intellectually thin for not knowing more history. — Dr. Darren Williams, professor of physics and astronomy

I recently discovered that British author Mary Stewart (The Crystal Cave, among many others) died this year at age 97. Her suspense and romance novels featured independent females in exotic locales and they enthralled me as a teenager. I’ve been picking them up at yard sales for years and want to re-read them this summer. She also wrote several Arthurian novels that were very popular. — Jane Ingold, associate librarian at Lilley Library

I just finished Delivering Happiness a Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh who is the CEO of Zappos. I had heard that Zappos was a tremendous company, and I like inspirational books. It was good for me to read something out of my field, too. It caused me to do a lot thinking outside of the (shoe) box. — Ann Quinn, lecturer in biology

Mr. Spaceman by Pulitzer Prize winning author Robert Olen Butler is an intensely clever, funny, and poignant book.  The prose is spare and lovely.  The plot weaves historical events from the flight of the Kitty Hawk through the Vietnam War into a larger, compelling story about Desi, the spaceman of the title, his wife, Edna Bradshaw, their cat, and a bus of twelve people he abducts. — Ruth Pflueger, director of the Learning Resource Center and lecturer in English

The Atomic Chef by Steven Casey contains true stories of human error and things that go really wrong and why, from switching embryos to getting locked in an ATM room. I actually use this as a textbook in my upper-level human factors psychology classes. The Zen of Zombie Better Living Through the Undead by Scott Kenemore is a fun and easy read. It is kind of like Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff but from a zombie’s point of view. The Sword of Truth is the first in a large fantasy series by Terry Goodkind. And, finally, 1408 by Stephen King is an interesting, shorter horror-type story. They made it into a movie a few years ago, but it didn’t do the book justice. — Dr. Heather Lum, research associate in psychology

 

 

 

In need of a new read? Check out these titles recommended by Behrend faculty and staff members – Part I

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By Heather Cass
Publications & Design Coordinator,
Penn State Behrend

Ah…summer. Time to kick back with a good book. We asked some of the faculty and staff members at Penn State Behrend to share their suggestions for summer reading.

If, like me, you always forget which books you want to read in the future, try one of these strategies.

1. Make a list using the “note” feature on your smart phone or tablet, and you’ll always have your list with you when you’re browsing at the Lilley Library or out shopping.

Or…

2. Create a wish list at an online bookseller (I use Amazon) and add titles to your “to read” list when friends recommend them. It’s a convenient and easily-accessible way to keep track of books you want to read. (Tip: See if you can borrow the book through the Lilley Library before you purchase. I’m linking the books below to Amazon just so you can see the covers and read customer reviews, if you wish.)

OK….get your pencil/mouse/smartphone ready because you’re going to want to add a lot of these books to your list. I’m going to give you half the list today & the other half next Thursday, July 3).

I am finishing Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. A bit too much description of the sometimes drug-addled state of the protagonist, but a good summer read. Also discovered a very talented Sardinian writer, Michela Murgia. Her best known work, Accabadora, is translated into an excellent English version and is just haunting. — Dr. Sharon Dale, associate professor of art history

Life, Animated:  A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism by Ron Suskind is on my summer reading list. I’ve heard that it is a wonderful story that provides a unique perspective into the growing population of people diagnosed on the autism spectrum. Oh, and it includes Disney references, so I’m happy. — Dr. Carrie Payne, coordinator for strategic proposal development.

Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human by Richard Wrangham is an interesting look at what might possibly have led to humans being who we are today. Much evidence is given through prior anthropological work and cases. There’s not too much jargon and it’s easy to read. Also, Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen. It’s a very sarcastic and witty tale of a typical nature-loving protagonist versus an environmental destructive antagonist. — Dr. Mike Naber, lecturer in geosciences

I am reading The Secret Life of Pronouns: What Our Words Say About Us by social psychologist W. Pennebaker this summer.  This is a very insightful book on how “words… are like fingerprints… windows into people’s personalities.” — Dr. Carol Wilson, assistant professor of psychology

As one of Behrend’s resident sport fanatics, I’ll recommend Play Their Hearts Out by Sports Illustrated writer and Pulitzer Prize winner George Dohrmann. The non-fiction title chronicles Dohrmann’s eight years spent covering the grassroots AAU Basketball scene and the seedy nature of the sport. In the book, he details how coaches almost view their players as investments and reveals the questionable role that sneaker companies play in youth basketball. Whether you’re a sports fan or not, this tale of corruption, greed, and power makes for a must-read. — Steve Orbanek, marketing communications specialist.

Anything by Malcolm Gladwell (Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers). He is one of the most popular storytellers who brings a different flavor to social trends. Drive and A Whole New Mind are two of my favorites by author, Daniel Pink. I’d also recommend Emotional Intelligence and Focus by Daniel Goleman, who is a psychologist who has an amazing talent for explaining today’s wicked issues with psychological theories. Creativity, Inc., written by Pixar CEO Ed Catmull is an amazing book. And, finally, The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane is a must-read for everyone. — Dr. Pelin Bicen, assistant professor of marketing

Redeployment by Phil Klay has received great reviews. It’s is a book of short stories by a former Marine who served in Iraq. Each story is written from the point of view of a different narrator – foot soldier, chaplain, foreign service officer, to name a few. The stories are compelling as they provide insight into the challenges and suffering of war from different perspectives. — Dr. Rick Hart, director, Lilley Library, who reminds us to “Think of the Lilley Library’s ‘Browsing Collection’ for your summer reading needs!”

I just finished The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer-Prize winning book about a 13-year-old boy who miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother and is abandoned by his father, only to be taken in by the family of a wealthy friend.  Don’t let the book’s bulk (2.1 pounds in hardcover) scare you off – The plot flies. — Chris Palattella, marketing communications coordinator

Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman.  This is a non-fiction book about Huguette Clark, an heiress to a huge fortune amassed by her father. Of course, all this money led to lots of family drama. Huguette lived the last twenty years of her life in a hospital while her two New York City luxury apartments, her mansion on the coast of California, and her country home in Connecticut sat empty, except for the property caretakers. Interestingly, I just read an NPR story that said many of Huguette’s belongings will soon be going to auction. — Dr. Mary-Ellen Madigan, senior director of enrollment management

That should get you through the week. 😉 I’ll post more next week — Thursday, July 3!

 

Secret Lives of Staff: Doug Lee

By Heather Cass
Publications & Design Coordinator, Penn State Behrend

There’s much more to Penn State Behrend’s faculty and staff members than what you see on campus. In this occasional series, we’ll take a look at some of the interesting, unconventional, and inspiring things that members of our Behrend community do in their free time.

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If you’ve ever played or watched sports, you know how emotionally charged the singing of the National Anthem can be. It’s not uncommon to see players and fans moved to tears by The Star Spangled Banner.

Doug Lee, a groundskeeper at Penn State Behrend, is one of those vocalists who can make big, strong ballplayers weep. Lee, who has a bass voice, has sung the National Anthem before several Erie SeaWolves games over the last few years. And, after his Penn State Behrend colleagues found out about his hidden talent, he was asked to sing at a few events on campus, too, including a Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association softball tournament.

Lee grew up in a musical household. In fact, his father graduated from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music as a classical pianist.

“There was always music playing at the house,” Lee said. “I was in the church choir and youth choirs from the time I was a boy.”

Lee’s father never pursued music as a career though, choosing instead to work at the family business — a golf course in Hermitage, Pennsylvania.

It was at that course that Lee’s landscaping career took root. He enjoys working outside and has been known to sing a little on the job at Behrend.

“I sing to my headphones a lot,” he says with a laugh.

He also sings to the congregation at Fairview Presbyterian church every Sunday as a member of the church choir.

Asked to recall the first record he ever owned (and, yes, it was all vinyl back then, kids), Lee smiles and says that it was a Grand Funk Railroad 45 rpm record, given to him by his grandparents, who had bought him a “fold-down record player.”

“I think the song was ‘American Band,’” he said. “They had no idea what they were buying. The guy at the record store told them it was popular.”

Today, Lee, who is a husband and father of three (24, 19 and 14), says he likes nearly all genres of music, but prefers alternative or new-age rock. He has an affinity for Matthew Good, a Canadian rock musician, and Mike Oldfield, an English musician who blends progressive rock with world, folk, classical, electronic, ambient, new-age sounds.

But, when he sings, Lee said he sticks to folk music, hymns and, of course, the Star Spangled Banner. “I don’t have a very contemporary voice,” he explains.

While Lee’s voice may not be contemporary, it sure is impressive. Have a listen for yourself – check out his 2011 Erie SeaWolves National Anthem performance:

 

 

Penn State Behrend “STAND UP” campaign concludes with pig roast and concert

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By Steve Orbanek
Marketing Communications Specialist, Penn State Behrend

Patty Pasky McMahon learned years ago that change doesn’t happen overnight, especially when it comes to affecting systematic problems such as dating violence or bullying.

“If you want culture change, it can’t just be hit-and-run,” said McMahon, director of the Health and Wellness Center at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. “Dating violence, bullying, it’s been going on forever and a day. We can’t just accept that things are staying the same.”

That was the thinking behind “STAND UP,” a yearlong campus-engagement campaign promoting integrity, respect, tolerance and diversity at Penn State Behrend that concluded last week. The campaign, sponsored by the Health and Wellness Center and the Janet Neff Sample Center for Manners and Civility, addressed the health-and-wellness issues that most threaten college students, including drug use, relationship violence, stalking and sexual assault.

A number of student organizations joined in to support the efforts throughout the year, including the Lion Entertainment Board, the Behrend Beacon, BVZ Radio, Reality Check, Student Government Association, Gamma Sigma Sigma, Delta Chi, the Student Activities Fee Committee, the Multi-Cultural Council, the Student Athletic Advisory Board, Theta Phi Alpha and Alpha Sigma Alpha.

“STAND UP” kicked off in September 2013 with a concert by the Romantic Era, followed by a fireworks display. Each subsequent month featured an event, including a movie in Junker Center, a Penn State tailgate party, a chili stand and a pool party. “STAND UP” concluded Friday, April 4, with a pig roast and concert by the M-80s.

One of the keys to the programs’ success was making sure that each event was unique, McMahon said.

“That ensured that we would be targeting a different segment of the campus community each month,” McMahon said.

Finding unique events is easier said than done, but Vee Butler, a junior arts administration major and executive director of the Lion Entertainment Board, was satisfied with the selections for “STAND UP.”

“Coming from the programming board, we know how hard it is to find events that peak interest in students and also send a positive message,” Butler said. “‘STAND UP’ did an amazing job of choosing events. The chili stand was brand new and everyone talked about it, and the fireworks show definitely brought out some new faces.”

The events were fun, but they were also effective in promoting the positive message; students had the opportunity to speak out against numerous health-and-wellness issues at the events.

Student attendance was also strong throughout the year. That was true at the campaign’s conclusion with nearly 150 students present at the pig roast.

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