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Honorary Alumnus/na Award




The Honorary Alumni Award is an award presented by Millersville University Alumni Association to individuals (non alumnus) who have performed continuous exemplary service to the University or made significant contributions of time, talent or wealth to the University. [This award was created in 1993.]


Living persons who are not classified as an alumnus/na, per University policy are eligible for this award.

Methods of Nomination

Nominations shall be sought from members of the Alumni Association and/or the public by way of announcements in the Millersville Review and other brochures/publications.

Nominations for the award may be made by any person, provided, however, that the Nominations and Awards Committee shall not be limited to the nominations submitted, but may, on its own, add to the list of nominees.


The deadline for nominations is always January 31. All nomination forms should be sent to:

Nominations & Awards Committee/MUAAc/o Office of Alumni Engagement, Millersville University, PO Box 1002, Millersville, PA 17551-0302E-mail: mualumni@millersville.eduFAX: 717.871.7977

Selection of Candidates

The Nominations and Awards Committee shall meet at the call of the Committee Chair to review nominations for the current year.

Number of Recipients

Ordinarily in any given year, no more than one (1) individual shall be honored. Nominations not acted upon in the current year may be held for reconsideration the following year.

Description of Award

An award shall be presented to an honoree.

Method of Presenting Award

The award will be presented by the President of the MU Alumni Association during the annual University Honors & Awards Convocation. The award recipient will be notified of their award beforehand.



Gerald C. Eckert has devoted the majority of his career to being a champion for public higher education and, in particular, for Millersville University. He recently retired as Millersville’s Vice President for University Advancement after almost 30 years.

When he arrived at Millersville in 1985, the total assets of the Millersville University Foundation were approximately $300,000. He concentrated on building a culture of philanthropy and strengthening the delivery of a high quality college experience at a public university. He succeeded. At his retirement, the endowment was valued at an estimated $30 million and Millersville was one of the top ranked public universities in the region. His focus was always directed on the benefits to students and the overall good of the University.

Under his leadership, Millersville University completed three successful campaigns generating more than $150 million that enhanced academic facilities and equipment, and increased annual fund and endowment support for scholarships and programs. Further, University publications, website, news division, special and alumni events were strengthened as well as Millersville’s Foundation and alumni boards. Working with other educational leaders in Pennsylvania, Eckert spearheaded a “public-private” matching funds program in 1992 to be used for renovation and construction of public higher education academic facilities. He assisted with forging a greater presence for the University in the City of Lancaster and led the efforts for the acquisition of the building that is now known as the Ware Center.

In 2012, he was appointed to serve on the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Postsecondary Education. His community activities include board memberships on the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Fulton Opera House, Lancaster Regional Medical Center, the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra, the Pennsylvania State System Advancement Officers, Lancaster Golf Association, the Lancaster Art Museum, Lancaster Library System and the Linden Hall School.


Harvey Owen

Harvey Owen, a local entrepreneur and leader, took the first Director position at the Ware Center in downtown Lancaster in January 2011. He embodied the Millersville University motto of creativity, innovation and engagement by creating a robust and vibrant performing arts center with something to do almost every night of the week. He programmed film, cabaret, music, dance and visual arts and turned the Ware Center into a destination. He collaborated and partnered with many downtown businesses to cross promote, host events and create sponsorship opportunities for the financial health of the Ware Center. Through his leadership, Harvey took a very painful reminder of a building in bankruptcy to a pillar of the community and an example of the University’s commitment to the arts and this region. Harvey Owen is retiring at the end of July 2014.

Harvey is the most recent past president of the board of trustees of the Fulton Opera House Foundation, where he has served as a trustee for nearly a decade. He has also run his own consultant business in Lancaster since 1998 and has been a mentor for SCORE Lancaster, working for a long list of clients including ASSETS Lancaster, Lancaster Convention Center Authority,, Ephrata Playhouse in the Park, Keystone Cultural Center, the Lancaster Arts Hotel and the Lancaster Museum of Art. Owen has been an executive officer of several corporations including president of Molly’s Operating Corp., in Lancaster, and president/chief operating officer for NSI (a national trade association) and vice president of Gralla Publications in New York City, and chief operating officer of Sportscape, Inc. (a publishing and special events firm) in Massachusetts. He has a bachelor’s degree in business psychology from Wake Forest University.


Click here to see past recipients of the Honorary Alumnus/na Award