Morrill Brothers Speak Up

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In last month’s e-letter, we sent out a survey to our Morrill Alumni. Now, we’d like to share some of our favorite responses with you! If you want to answer these questions yourself, please CLICK HERE to take the survey. You may see your Morrill memories, photos or reflections published in a future newsletter or e-letter. We’d love to hear from all our Morrill Alumni! Here are your Brothers responses.  

  1. As an Alum, what do you see as the most valuable part of your Morrill experience? 
  • The camaraderie, the connections to faculty members at Penn State who were in AZ, the great food at dinners, and the close location to campus. Mark Bridgen ‘77 
  • Coming to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Richard Kessler ‘62 
  • The Brothers I became friends with and the leadership lessons I learned at AZ helped me to be successful. Carl Brown ‘67 
  • Learning to be responsible both for each other and for the House. AZ had a reputation to uphold and we did it. Richard Criley ‘62 
  • The Brotherhood with my Alpha Zeta Brothers going through PSU and the various activities, sporting events and competitive events we participated in during those college years. And now I still have meaningful friendships with many of my fraternity Brothers many years after graduation. Frank Markland ‘57 
  • AZ and the Brothers of my era (1973 grad). I keep an eye out for any media and industry related contacts. You leave college and AZ and build a new life---whatever direction you go. Bill McMillen ‘73 
  • Relationships, friendships, and connections. My career made many turns and it ended up in aviation but there is no doubt AZ is an organization that is recognized across career fields. Jason Wolgemuth  
  • Living and learning with like-minded souls. Having a place of refuge and freedom to grow. Steve Snyder ‘73 
  • Connecting with alumni, friends and family on a professional level. The opportunities that AZ gave me helped to prepare me for my career. Lisa Rankin ‘10 
  • The most valuable part of AZ experience is the ability to network in any professional or personal environment as well as the friendships that were formed in just a few years that have carried well past our days on 360 N Burrowes. Ian Altamuro ‘11 


  1. Describe the Morrill Alumni association at its full potential. 
  • Having the goal of helping to guide young people in very positive directions so that their future would lead them into a successful agricultural related career. Richard Kessler ‘62 
  • I would like to see alumni sharing their experiences to make current (and recent members) more aware of the traditions that have evolved over the years. This could mean invites to alums to make visits and relate experiences that were meaningful to their years in the house. That means interacting at times other than football games or annual meetings. Richard Criley ‘62 
  • The AZ Association keeps us appraised of events at the fraternity and PSU of interest to us, and it lets us know about events or meetings that we may be interested in participating in. Frank Markland ‘57 
  • Important to be the "hub" for AZ and PSU. How the "spokes" array develops is up to the alums' interest. Bill McMillen ‘73 
  • Ideally more involvement both financially and physically across the country/world. Communication is key. I think this is trending in the right direction but keep it up. Jason Wolgemuth 
  • Maintaining the information flow. Steve Snyder '73 
  • Curating a file of photos organized by year. George Seidel ‘65 
  • The AZ alumni association is a group of people that were all brought together that shared a common interest that now spans a great area with a mindset of helping each other and helping and leading the Ag industry. Ian Altamuro ‘11 


  1. Do you have any advice for your fellow leaders of the Alumni organization? How might this pandemic and its full impact affect our Fraternity in your view? How might this time illustrate to all the purpose of our Brotherhood and why AZ now more than ever has a place in our adult lives? 
  • AZ should be a safe house to live in, it is certainly not as crowded as it was when I and 50 other Brothers lived there. The pandemic will pass and soon only be remembered in history books as the Spanish Flu was in 1918. Please continue to recruit good members for AZ. Carl Brown ‘67 
  • Communicate! Exercise self-responsibility but look out for others. Social media is fine, but in-person interactions will be more meaningful in the long run. To those who have been out of the university and on the job for a while, take time to get out and enjoy Nature. Richard Criley ‘62 
  • This is a period for reflection on many things including our lives in our younger developmental stages, such as when we were at Penn State. During this period, I have reached out to several fraternity Brothers to see how they are doing during these stressful times. Frank Markland ‘57 
  • AZ is incredible. This pandemic is a challenge but organizations like this one will survive and only get stronger. Like I mentioned before, communication is everything, so being able to engage with as many alumni as possible is key. Jason Wolgemuth 
  • If anything, I believe this pandemic has shown the importance of the Brotherhood and bonds that were created by knowing that with everything going on, you have the AZ family to turn to during tough times. Ian Altamuro ‘11 


  1. Which Brothers from your era would you most like to reconnect with, and which are you currently in touch with? 
  • Dan Laird and Steve Noll who graduated in 1978, a year after me. Eva Monheim (married name) and Marj Bradfield (married name). Especially my wife, Margot Manfredo, now Margot Bridgen, who I met at Penn State and who I proposed to on the side porch of AZ’s house on a beautiful spring day. Now married for 43 years. Mark Bridgen ‘77 
  • The class of 1962 has stayed in touch with a yearly newsletter. It is because of Dick Criley, the newsletter editor, that we can do that. I still visit with members of that class quite frequently. Jack Patrizio, another 62 classmate and I spent time together in the Black Hills of South Dakota last summer. We did a 12-mile bike trip on an old RR trail together and it was an enjoyable time. Richard Kessler ‘62 
  • I keep in close contact with Al Bair, Bob Pepple, Joel Brown, and Gary Willier (honorary member). I keep yearly contact with some of the other Brothers who were in AZ at the same time as I was. I talk to my relatives including Harvey Brown, Tom Brown, and Frank Brown who were all members. Carl Brown ‘67 
  • My Class of 1962 has maintained a newsletter for every year but one since we graduated that keeps us in touch with one another. I think the Class of 1960 has a similar link, but I’m not sure about other years. I put one out recently so we could update each other on how we’re holding up during the pandemic. Recent notice was received of the passing of Herb Rothe (BS, Hort. 1962). Richard Criley ‘62 
  • I have tried unsuccessfully to reconnect with Gordon J. Miller, Morrill class of 1956; Gary T. Miller, Morrill class of 1956; Roy E. Prescott, Morrill class of 1956; and George D. Peavey, Morrill class of 1956. Frank Markland ‘57 
  • I keep in touch with 4-5 Brothers. Bill McMillen ‘73 
  • I stay connected with many individuals through social media. Mainly it's through reading posts and observing what is happening and that is fine. My father is a AZ alum who is connected pretty well to Morrill Chapter so that is my main source of information and news. Jason Wolgemuth 
  • I recently reconnected with Phil Wagner and Chris Renner when Brother Howard Wiggin died on Easter morning (April 12) this year. Howard and I were brothers-in-law (married the Hall Sisters who we dated while at AZ) as well as Brothers in Christ. Triple Brothers. Steve Snyder '73 
  • Most of them. Currently Duane Norman, Cliff Marshall, Tom McCarty. George Seidel  
  • I stay in touch with most of the Brothers and Sisters that I was in the house with. Ian Altamuro ‘11 


  1. Share an update of what's new in your life (career highlights, family news, etc.) 
  • I was honored to receive the Alex Laurie Award last year.  It is a national award to recognize outstanding teaching and research in floriculture/horticulture. Our son, Devin and his wife Brittany, had their first child, Celia on December 15, 2019.  Due to the pandemic, they all moved in with us from Boston.  Both parents work and my wife watches the baby during the day.  Our daughter’s family, 2 children, live an hour from us, so we all get to visit regularly. Mark Bridgen ‘77 
  • Today, I turn 79 years old. I have engaged in 4 bike trips this week already. Our son Mike and his family from Fargo ND, are planning a 1-week visit beginning Sunday. I'm beginning to plant my garden sometime in the next week.  Being retired is a good time of life. Betty Lou and I have had a very good strong family experience. We had three children and ten grandchildren, and they are very strong and active families. Our daughter was a missionary doctor in Peru, South America. Our second daughter is a Pediatrician retiring next month, as the Chief Medical Officer of the US Army in SW, USA. Our son is the Dean of the School of Engineering at North Dakota State University.  Richard Kessler ‘62 
  • I am now fully retired and home working on my farm in Oley. My career highlights included being on the faculty at Va. Tech, Starting the first regional 4H Dairy Bowl contest which moved to Louisville when I left Virginia, running the first two Holstein Dairy Bowl Contests, starting the All-American Junior Dairy Management Contest, coaching a National Champion 4H Dairy Judging team, and being Sales Manager for the Feed Division of F.M. Brown’s Sons, Inc. While working on my master's degree at VA Tech Uncle Sam drafted me to work for him in the US Army. I spent a year in Vietnam in the US Army infantry and was awarded the Silver Star, Soldiers Medal, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts. I have been honored to be inducted into the Berks Military Hall of Fame in 2011. In 1984 I married Thelma Stauffer from Ephrata and we have one son George, a PSU grad who works with the Flour Division at F.M. Brown’s Sons, Inc. Thelma and I bought a farm in Oley over 30 years ago and deeded the land development rights to Berks Farmland Preservation Assn. Two years ago, Thelma and I built a retirement house on the farm, and greatly enjoy living in the Oley area. In 2005 I received the Dedicatee Award from the Penn State Dairy Science Club and received a similar award in 1980 from the Va. Tech Dairy Science Club. These are two awards I really cherish.  I have also been awarded the Pioneer Award in 2006 by the All-American Dairy Show and in 2018 was recognized by Penn Ag with their Distinguished Service Award. I have also received numerous FFA and 4H awards. I currently serve as the President of the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture and am very active at Oley New Life Bible Church, Oley Boy Scouts, and the Oley American Legion. Carl Brown ‘67 
  • Retired 9 years ago, but failed retirement. I still go into the office and greenhouses (I was a horticulture major) and have been contributing to our grad students as a committee member, assisting a couple colleagues in teaching and their research, and contributing some publications to our College’s online media. Richard Criley ‘62 
  • After 48 years at the University of Southern California, I will retire this June 30th as Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine. My lab has been studying a snake venom protein, that we now make recombinantly using a bacterial expression system, that we named vicrostatin (VCN). It is a 69 amino acid peptide with very promising potential as an anti-cancer therapeutic, we have pre-clinical studies in breast, prostate and ovarian cancer, glioma and melanoma mouse models. I will remain closely affiliated with a start-up company that I and several faculty colleagues co-founded, Disintegrin Therapeutics, Inc. Frank Markland ‘57 
  • Still own and operate an ag retail business (old Agway) in Marion Center, PA Home Farm Supply. Bill McMillen ‘73 
  • After 40 years as the IT manager for PA Farm Bureau, I retired and was invited to join the ICT team of ECHO, Inc in North Fort Myers, FL.   ECHO connects small-scale farmers and those working to eliminate world hunger with essential resources and each other. These resources include a vast knowledge base of practical information, experienced technical support and an extensive seed bank focused on highly beneficial underutilized plants. My primary role is to identify and organize content for, a website serving agricultural development workers working primarily in the tropics and sub-tropics.  I've spent over 3 years contributing to this resource which is accessed by 10's of thousands of workers.  They live or work in virtually every country of the world. (not sure, this might have been mentioned in an AZ pub a couple of years back). Steve Snyder '73 
  • I just had a new grandson. George Seidel ‘65 
  • Mom of three boys, currently a stay at home mom, current president of Ag Alumni Society. Lisa Rankin ‘10 
  • On the professional side, after spending multiple years with the Philadelphia Eagles, I relocated to just outside of Washington DC to take a position as 2nd assistant sports turf manager for the Washington Redskin for a few seasons. I then went on to oversee a 22-acre athletic field complex and now work for an athletic field construction and management company overseeing their synthetic field maintenance division that currently consists of over 90 fields across Fairfax County, Virginia. On the personal side, I am currently engaged, and our wedding is planned for the end of July 2020. Even though the pandemic has altered our plans greatly, we have found a way to keep our original date while moving our celebration until June of 2021. Ian Altamuro ‘11