First-gen graduates sweep Abington alumni awards

flowers and program

The Penn State Abington Office of Development and Alumni Relations recognized seven alumni at its annual awards ceremony, which highlights former Abington students for their service, accomplishments, and philanthropy that enriches the campus and student experience. All of the 2024 winners were the first in their families to graduate from college.

Credit: Jose Garcia Cintora

ABINGTON, Pa. — The Penn State Abington Office of Development and Alumni Relations recognized seven alumni at its annual awards ceremony, which highlights former Abington students for their service, accomplishments, and philanthropy that enriches the campus and student experience.

All of the 2024 winners were the first in their families to graduate from college. The awards presentation was followed by an induction ceremony for alumni into the Tri-Alpha first generation student society.

Penn State Abington Donor Appreciation Award 

Recognizes a onetime Abington student who through their philanthropic investments has created a lasting impact on students.  

Nicholas J. Maiale, Class of 1973 

Nicholas J. Maiale is an acclaimed attorney who has served as a trusted adviser, philanthropist and mentor to Penn State Abington leadership for many years. He was a member of the campus Advisory Board and played critical roles in fundraising initiatives. At Abington, he endowed scholarships and was named an outstanding and distinguished alumnus. Maiale's most recent gift was motivated by his service as president of the Student Government Association more than 50 years ago. He endowed a fund to support student organizations, and in recognition of his generosity a site in the Lares Building was named the Nick Maiale Student Government and Leadership Room.   

For 21 years, Maiale was the chairman of the Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement Board, where he directed the management of a $26 billion state employee retirement fund. He was elected to the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 1980, and he was re-elected for consecutive terms through 1992. The University named him an Alumni Fellow, and he received the Distinguished Alumni Award. 

Penn State Abington Alumni Service Award 

Recognizes alumni who have demonstrated excellence in giving back to the Abington community, volunteering their service to campus, and engaging with students, faculty and staff. 

James Creighton, Class of 1981 

Jim Creighton retired three years ago as vice president of strategy at Holman Enterprises, one of the largest family-owned integrated automotive services companies in North America, after more than 38 years of service and immediately stepped into roles as an adviser, coach, and mentor at Abington. He is a member of the Chancellor’s Advisory Board and the campus Athletics Alumni Council. Creighton primarily supports students through the Office of Career and Professional Development by reviewing resumes, participating in mock interviews and networking events, and preparing students for career fairs.

Penn State Abington Alumni Achievement Awards 

Recognizes alumni who have demonstrated excellence in their field, contributed significantly to their profession, and gained exemplary reputation among colleagues. 

Lloyd Morgan, Class of 2017 

Lloyd Morgan returned to college at the age of 36, and despite his busy life as a father to young children, he earned academic recognition. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's School of Social Policy & Practice in 2018 with a master’s degree in social policy and studied policy, education and social welfare at the University of Lapland in Finland. Morgan then interned simultaneously with Philadelphia City Council and the state House of Representatives. He served as a legislative assistant in House District 172 before being promoted to chief of staff to Rep. Kevin Boyle. Morgan transitioned to the role of deputy director for state Sen. Maria Collett, and last year he joined state Sen. Jimmy Dillon’s office as the director of Community Relations and Policy Development. Morgan mentors students at the University of Pennsylvania and Abington and serves on a campus career panel for Psychological and Social Sciences majors each semester.  

Sean Shultz, Class of 1999 

Sean Shultz was elected mayor of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, in 2022 after serving as a member of the borough’s council for 13 years. He has been a leader on racial equity and anti-racism, affordable housing, climate action, and pedestrian and bicycle safety initiatives and on the redevelopment of former brownfields into mixed-use urban neighborhoods. Shultz was the author of the first human relations ordinance in Cumberland County, protecting the public accommodations rights of the LGBTQIA+ community. He has been a volunteer firefighter and a leader on nonprofit boards. Shultz is a founder of the law firm Saidis, Shultz & Fisher. 

Susan Wittick, Class of 1986 

Susan Wittick worked in higher education before transitioning to the next phase of her career at the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). She served as a protocol specialist and progressed through positions focused on stakeholder communications. In 2014, she joined the Office of International Programs as an international relations officer where she is responsible for facilitating communications with international regulatory counterparts. Wittick coordinates NRC bilateral and multilateral engagement across NRC offices with government partners and international organizations. She is currently the NRC’s principal liaison for involvement and coordination with the International Atomic Energy Agency.    

Penn State Abington Young Alumni Awards 

Recognizes a graduate from the last 15 years who has proven to be a rising star in their field. 

Rachael Shulman, Class of 2018 

Rachael Shulman graduated from the Washington University School of Law, and she has explored energy, environmental, and civil rights law at the state and federal levels with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the Center for International Environmental Law, and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. She served as an assistant public defender and litigation associate and as an associate at a boutique aviation and products liability defense firm. She currently advises law students at the University of California Davis School of Law. 

Carolyn Ton, Class of 2019 

After Carolyn Ton earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from Abington, she completed a master’s degree in biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University and then conducted research at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York City. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in cell and developmental biology at Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences in New York City. 

About Penn State Abington 

Penn State Abington provides an affordable, accessible and high-impact education resulting in the success of a diverse student body. It is committed to student success through innovative approaches to 21st-century public higher education within a world-class research university. With more than 3,100 students, Penn State Abington is a residential campus that offers baccalaureate degrees in 25 majors, accelerated master's degrees, undergraduate research, the Schreyer Honors College, NCAA Division III athletics and more.