Meet Your Outreach and Online Education Development Team
Spencer Lewis, Director of Outreach and Online Education Development and Alumni Relations
Spencer oversees the fundraising programs for Penn State Outreach and Online Education, with specific focus on Penn State World Campus, WPSU Penn State, Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Penn State University Park. Spencer has contributed to the success of two prior University capital campaigns and is currently leading Outreach and Online Education (OOE) in fundraising for A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence. Before joining OOE in 2003, he held the position of major gifts officer at both the Smeal College of Business and the College of Engineering. Spencer earned his bachelor’s degree in business from Virginia Tech and served as a Commissioned Officer in the U.S. Army immediately after graduation. His wife, Holly, is a former tenured professor in the Smeal College of Business at Penn State, and they have three children, Blair, Meade, and Grace.
Rob Butler, Director of Major Gifts for Outreach and Online Education
Rob supports all areas of Outreach and Online Education (OOE). His work includes raising funds for scholarships for adult learners in Penn State World Campus, building endowments to support WPSU Penn State and Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, and supporting the growth of the Penn State Center Pittsburgh and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Penn State University Park. Rob also emcees the annual OOE Appreciation Dinner for donors and volunteers.
Rob joined OOE in 1999 and has held the positions of development assistant, assistant director, and associate director. Before taking up fundraising, he was an associate producer for TV and radio at WPSU and, before that, a radio news anchor/reporter in Augusta, Maine. Rob holds a bachelor of arts in English from Bates College and a master of arts in TV-radio-film from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University.
Susan Cunningham, Alumni Relations and Stewardship Officer, Outreach and Online Education Development and Alumni Relations
Susan coordinates donor stewardship, endowment spending, and alumni relations for Penn State World Campus, including the World Campus Alumni Society. Susan began her Penn State career at the Penn State Alumni Association and later became a senior research analyst for the Office of Research and Prospect Development. She joined the OOE team in 2006 as the development assistant. In her current position as the alumni relations and stewardship officer, she led the creation of the World Campus Alumni Society, which was chartered by the Penn State Alumni Association in 2014. Susan graduated from Penn State in 1989 with a bachelor of arts in English.
Susan lives in State College with her husband, John. They have three sons, James, Brian, and Sean, and a Jack Russell terrier named Troy.
J. Andrew Gatto, Associate Director, Outreach and Online Education Development
Andy’s fundraising focus is Penn State World Campus, particularly scholarships and programs for military students. He also plays a lead role in efforts to support EdTech initiatives.
Andy graduated from Penn State in 2002 with a bachelor of science in health policy administration and a minor in information sciences and technology. Before joining OOE, Andy was a medical device sales representative, working first as an independent representative, consulting with cardio thoracic surgeons, and then as an advanced wound care specialist with Smith & Nephew, a global medical technology company.
Suzie Hassinger, Administrative Support Assistant, Outreach and Online Education Development and Alumni Relations
Suzie came to the OOE development and alumni relations team in 2014 from her position as the administrative support assistant for the Grants and Contracts Office in OOE. Her previous experience includes providing administrative support for Statewide Continuing Education, Outreach Marketing, and Cooperative Extension. Suzie lives in Osceola Mills, PA, and has two sons, Dahr and Eli.
Chrissy Long, Development Assistant, Outreach and Online Education Development and Alumni Relations
Chrissy supports the planning and implementation of fundraising programs. She joined OOE in 2000 after earning her associate degree in specialized business from the legal/administrative professional program at South Hills Business School. She joined the OOE Development and Alumni Relations team as a staff assistant in 2004 and was promoted to her current role in 2008.
Nick McCarthy, Strategic Initiatives Coordinator, Outreach and Online Education Development and Alumni Relations
Nick’s responsibilities include writing proposals, collaborating on development communications, and developing relationships with foundations. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and American literature from the University of Warwick, UK, and a master’s degree in English from Penn State. Nick’s previous positions include publications writer for The Penn Stater, proposal writer for the Grand Destiny Campaign, and assistant director of the Center for Computational Mathematics and Applications at Penn State. She also served as a technical communications specialist with OOE’s Justice and Safety Institute. She joined the OOE Development and Alumni Relations team in 2013.
Tom Yourchak, Director of Station Development, WPSU Penn State
Tom collaborates with the director of membership and oversees development efforts, including both broadcast and production underwriting for WPSU-TV and WPSU-FM. Through his work, he helps match the passion of our donors to the mission of public media and public broadcasting. Donor-funded projects include A Time to Heal, THON: Why We Dance, and Making the Blue Band.
Tom joined the Outreach and Online Education Development team as director of major gifts for WPSU Penn State in 2004. Before that, he held positions in the private sector for more than 25 years, managing commercial radio stations. He holds a degree in speech from Kent State University. In addition to his development duties, Tom is a faculty lecturer at Penn State’s Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications with a focus on development, marketing, and sales.
Patrick Smith, Membership Director, WPSU Penn State
Patrick is a central Pennsylvania native and a 1982 graduate of Penn State’s advertising major, now located in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications. His career began in Penn State’s Undergraduate Admissions Office as a prospective student recruiter and counselor. Patrick held various positions over twenty-five years, eventually completing his admissions career as director of communications and visitor programs. Having been a fan of, and volunteer for, WPSU for several years, Patrick then took a new direction, joining the staff as membership director, handling on-air, mail, online, and special events fundraising efforts within the station’s broadcast footprint. He has been with WPSU for twelve years.
Mike Taranto, Assistant Director of Development, WPSU Penn State
Mike helps create relationships with businesses and organizations to generate funding for WPSU-FM and WPSU-TV. Mike came from WTAJ-TV to WPSU Penn State in 2004 as an account representative. Mike has developed positive relationships with businesses and organizations, which help WPSU fund their many programs and events.
Mike received his B.A. and M.S. from Penn State. He currently lives in State College with his wife and pet boxer.
Jessica Peters, Associate Director of Annual and Leadership Gifts, WPSU Penn State
Jessica works with corporate donors and individual donors to procure gifts of support to WPSU through production and broadcast underwriting, major gifts, and planned gifts.
Jessica is a 2005 graduate of Penn State, holding a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies. She was an intern with WPSU as a student before joining as a full-time staff member in the Educational Services Department in 2006. She was a producer at the station from 2010 to 2013 before spending 3 years with Penn State’s Office of Annual Giving, where she worked with colleges and campuses on annual giving strategies. Jessica returned to WPSU in August 2016 to join the Outreach and Online Education Development team. Jessica lives outside State College with her husband, James, and their two children, Anna and Owen.
Sarah Caterson, Major Gifts Officer, WPSU Penn State
Sarah works as part of a team whose development efforts focus on broadcast and production underwriting for WPSU-TV and WPSU-FM. Sarah joined the Outreach and Online Education Development team in 2017. She joined OOE from her position as the sponsorship director at the Bryce Jordan Center at Penn State. She holds a liberal arts degree from Penn State.