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Scholarship Memorializes Penn College Faculty Member


Friends and family of John J. Messer, a Pennsylvania College of Technology faculty member who fought a courageous battle against brain cancer, have established a scholarship fund in his memory.

Messer, who taught in Penn College’s web and interactive media major, died Jan. 5 – barely two weeks before his 50th birthday. The clinical trial that extended his life and the inspirational way in which he maintained his optimism against the odds, were featured in the Spring 2013 issue of the college’s One College Avenue magazine.

The scholarship fund was started by a group of John’s longtime friends from his college years in Oneonta, New York.

“In keeping with John’s mantra of ‘eyes forward,’ we wanted to create a continuing legacy so that his inspiration and influence could live on,” some of those friends said in a joint statement. “Penn College and his students were very important to John. Our hope is that this scholarship will allow future generations of Penn College students the benefit of being touched by John’s selflessness and positive energy.”

John J. Messer, an associate professor of Web and interactive media, is clearly in his element in this Spring 2014 lab photo.
John J. Messer, an associate professor of Web and interactive media, is clearly in his element in this Spring 2014 lab photo.

Annual awards will be made from the fund, preferably to students enrolled in web and interactive media or in any major within the college’s School of Health Sciences. Eligible candidates should also demonstrate financial need, be in their sophomore year or greater and carry a GPA of 2.5 or higher.

“Words cannot describe the compassion that John had for the students that crossed his path,” said Denise S. Leete, associate professor of web and interactive media at the college. “He was a dedicated colleague, a true friend and an inspiration to all. His life was centered around helping others, and this scholarship will allow John’s memory and passion for teaching to continue benefiting students for years to come.

“We will hold John in our hearts until we meet again.”

Anyone interested in contributing to the John J. Messer Memorial Scholarship can send a donation to the Penn College Foundation, One College Avenue, Williamsport, PA 17701; give online; or call the Institutional Advancement Office toll-free at 866-GIVE-2-PC (866-448-3272).

Students interested in applying for any of the more than 200 scholarships administered by the Penn College Foundation may complete the online scholarship application.

For more about Penn College, call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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