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Cael Sanderson Among This Year’s Penn State Honorary Alumni Award Recipients

Five individuals who are not Penn State graduates but who have worked for the betterment of the university have been named this year’s Honorary Alumni Award recipients.

Among them is Penn State wrestling coach Cael Sanderson, who has led the Nittany Lions to eight team national championships since his hiring in 2009.

Three of the recipients — C. Max Lang, Rachel Levine and Albert Matyasovsky — will be recognized at a ceremony on May 31, when the 2019 Distinguished Alumni and Philanthropist of the Year awards also will be presented.

Sanderson and Brook Lenfest will be honored later this year.

The Penn State Alumni Association has presented Honorary Alumni Awards since 1973 to longtime university champions and benefactors.

The 2019 Penn State Honorary Alumni:

  • C. Max Lang is a professor emeritus and “founding father” of the Penn State College of Medicine and was the first faculty member recruited to the college in 1966. He served as chair of the Department of Comparative Medicine and director of the Animal Resource Facility for 40 years. Under his leadership, the college “designed and built animal research labs that were considered by the National Institutes of Health and National Academy of Sciences as models for the safe, humane, and effective use of animals in medical research,” according to the Alumni Association. His numerous awards and honors include Charles River Prize in Laboratory Animal Medicine, the highest honor in the field. Lang lives in Hershey
  • Brook Lenfest is chairman of communications service provider NetCarrier, Inc., as well as an accomplished real estate investor and developer and venture capital investor. He established the Brook J. Lenfest Foundation in 2000 with the goal of providing support and opportunities for people pursuing positive life choices, primarily focusing on education, job training and mentoring programs. He is the lead funder of Mastery Charter Schools and has a scholarship program at Penn State in cooperation with Mastery Charter Schools and Philadelphia Futures, providing scholarships to more than 150 Penn State students to date. He lives in the Philadelphia suburbs.
  • Rachel Levine is Pennsylvania’s secretary of health and a professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine. She is a sought-after speaker and author on the opioid crisis, medical marijuana, adolescent medicine, eating disorders, and LGBT medicine. Levine has been at Penn State Hershey Medical Center since 1996 and her accomplishments there include initiating the Division of Adolescent Medicine for the care of complex teens with medical and psychological problems and the creation of the Penn State Hershey Eating Disorders Program. She has been recognized as one of NBC’s Pride 30, a national list of 30 people making a difference for the LGBTQ community. Levine lives near Harrisburg.
  • Albert Matyasovsky is owner and CEO of Sustainable Development Solutions and and former manager of central support services for Penn State’s Office of Physical Plant. Before retiring from a 30-year career with OPP, Matyasovsky developed recycling solutions that have been a model for other universities and organizations around the country. Those included a vast expansion of Penn State’s recycling capabilities and the creation of the Trash to Treasure sale, which diverts tons of waste each year from landfills while raising money for the Centre County United Way. He has been recognized locally and nationally for both his professional and volunteer work. In retirement, he has been a fundraiser for scholarships for military personnel and veterans at Penn State World Campus. With his wife, Sharon, Matyasovsky established the Veterans’ Education and Advancement Fund endowment. He lives in Houtzdale.
  • Cael Sanderson is the 12th head wrestling coach in Penn State history, and since he came to the university in 2009, the Nittany Lions have won eight NCAA championships, six Big Ten titles, 23 individual national titles, and 35 All-Americans. As a wrestler at Iowa State, where he later coached before going to Penn State, Sanderson was one of the most dominant athlete’s in the sport’s history, going 159-0 with four individual national titles and three Dan Hodge Trophies. In 2004, he won an Olympic gold medal at 84kg. He lives in State College. 

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About the Author

Geoff Rushton (StateCollege.com)

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for StateCollege.com. Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.

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