Lebanon Valley College honored its newest members of the Laureate Society and Lifetime Vickroy Associates at its annual Thomas Rhys Vickroy Society dinner on Friday, April 12, at the Hershey Lodge.

Through their generous contributions to The Valley Fund, scholarships, academics, athletics, and more, this extraordinary group is committed to student support and success through their philanthropy. This year’s Laureate Society honorees include the late Dr. Elizabeth Miller Bains ’64 and Dr. James A. Bains Jr. and Giovanni Ferrero H’22 and Paola Rossi Ferrero. Lifetime Vickroy Honorees include Paul W. Brockie ’80; Joseph E. Buehler ’89 and Jennifer L. Buehler; Wesley T. Dellinger ’75, P’05 and Amy K. Hoopes Dellinger ’78, P’05; Jensen H. Groff Jr. ’70 and Linda H. Groff; Richard S. Miller Sr. ’60 and Janet Taylor Miller ’63; Gail Moritz Oberta ’65 and Andrew F. Oberta; Melissa A. Ulrich Poole ’05 and Kevin M. Poole ’05, M’09; Robert H. Sinclair and Jean S. Sinclair; and Brian C. Trust ’83.

Established in 1997, the Laureate Society recognizes those individuals whose extraordinary gifts to the College, made during their lifetimes or posthumously, total $1,000,000 or more. They are the College’s most generous benefactors.

Named after the College’s founding president, Thomas Rhys Vickroy, The Vickroy Society recognizes gifts of $1,000 and above given to the College by alumni, parents, and friends for any purpose during each academic year. Members of the Vickroy Society, including 418 donor households, generously provided more than $3.8 million in financial resources during the last academic year. These gifts sustain the mission of the College by providing resources to prepare our graduates for lives of learning, citizenship, and success. An integral part of the College seal, the laurel wreath is the symbol of the Vickroy Society. Lifetime Vickroy Associates are members of The Thomas Rhys Vickroy Society whose cumulative contributions to Lebanon Valley College total $100,000 or more during their lifetime, demonstrating outstanding leadership support of the College.

Learn more about our new Laureate Society and Lifetime Vickroy Members:

 

New Laureate Society Members

 

Dr. Elizabeth Miller Bains ’64 and Dr. James A. Bains Jr.

The Bains bequeathed nearly $6.2 million to LVC’s Physics Program, the largest estate gift in College history. Their generosity will increase support for student-faculty research and conference attendance/presentation in Physics, add a new Engineering Physics major, and establish the Dr. Elizabeth M. Bains ’64 Professorship in Physics and The Dr. James A. Bains Jr. Professorship in Physics.

After LVC, Dr. Elizabeth Bains became a U.S. Naval Weapons Laboratory physicist before earning her master’s and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Tennessee. She became an assistant professor of physics at Alcorn State University in Mississippi, then a senior engineer at Lockheed Engineering Management & Services. In 1988, Dr. Bains joined NASA at the Johnson Space Center in Houston as an aerospace engineer and, in 1990, was appointed deputy branch chief, simulation systems, a position from which she retired in 2013. At NASA, Dr. Bains helped create the software for the computer simulators used to train America’s astronauts. She was also in charge of analyzing how to assemble the International Space Station.

Dr. Bains remained a loyal alumna, returning as a guest lecturer and contributing financially to numerous programs, including The Rhodes and O’Donnell Endowed Physics Research Fund in honor of her former faculty mentors.

In 1995, Dr. Bains received an Alumni Citation from LVC, followed by a Professional Achievement Award in 2005. In 2015, she received the College’s most prestigious alumni award, the Distinguished Alumna Award. In 2014, in preparation for LVC’s 150th Anniversary, Dr. Bains participated in the oral history project, and her interview can be read here. You can also view a video featuring the legacy of Dr. Bains.

 

Giovanni Ferrero H’22 and Paola Rossi Ferrero 

Giovanni is an entrepreneur and the Executive Chairman of the Ferrero Group. Born in Piedmont, Italy, Giovanni spent his early years in Italy. He then moved to Brussels, Belgium, with his family, where he attended the European School. In 1980, he moved across the ocean to Lebanon Valley College, where he spent six months studying with legendary professors Dr. Jim Scott, Professor Emeritus of German, and the late Glenn H. Woods ’51, Professor Emeritus of English.

After his studies, he returned to Europe to begin his professional career at Ferrero, first in the marketing department in Germany; then, he laid the foundations of Ferrero’s business outside Europe as the head of Ferrero Overseas. After this expansion success, he became the CEO of Ferrero International in 1997, a role that he held until 2017, when he stepped down as CEO to take on the role of Executive Chairman of the Ferrero Group.

Under Giovanni’s leadership, the company has made several important acquisitions, starting with the UK chocolate confectionary Thorntons, the Belgian fine biscuits company Delacre, the American Candy manufacturer Ferrara, Nestlé’s U.S. confectionary business, and the famous Danish butter cookies Kelsen, as well as the cookies Keebler, Famous Amos, and others.

He continues to build on his grandparents’ legacy to lead a successful global business committed to social responsibility and sustainability. Giovanni is also a writer and has published eight books.

Giovanni and his wife Paola have two children, Michele and Bernardo.

 

New Lifetime Vickroy Associates

Watch a video celebrating the impact of these generous donors.

 

Paul W. Brockie ’80

After graduating from The Valley with an Accounting degree, Paul went to work for Pfizer Inc., where he worked in various divisions including (i) Pfizer’s Accounting Advisory, (ii) Treasury, (iii) Human Resources, and (iv) the Legal Division. In the latter, he managed 1,200+ colleagues on four continents. During his tenure at Pfizer, he earned an MBA in Finance from Pace University in New York and has traveled extensively to 57 countries. Today, Paul provides consulting services to assist law firms return to solid financial footing.

Paul is a member of The Knights of The Valley. Every year since graduation, the ‘Knights of ’80’ return to Knoebels Amusement Park with friends and families for a weekend of fun. A 40+ year tradition that continues. He has served on the Leadership and Alumni Council since 2016. Paul is a loyal donor to The Valley Fund and a member of the College’s Miles Rigor Society.

Paul actively supports his local church and manages a local food bank that serves 150+ families each week.

His niece Jessica Trischitta ’12 and nephew Jon Riley ’15 graduated from LVC.

 

Joseph “Joe” E. Buehler ’89 and Jennifer L. Buehler, MBA

Joe and Jennifer have loyally supported LVC Athletics since Joe, the recently retired head football coach, graduated with his English degree in 1989. They have supported the Blue & White Club, football, golf tournaments, and athletic facility improvements.

Before being named head football coach in 2016, Joe was an LVC assistant under Jim Monos for 12 years after leading the Palmyra High School program and serving as an assistant at Cedar Cliff, Lebanon, and Milton Hershey, in addition to teaching English. Joe coached several All-Americans and numerous MAC All-Conference players as LVC’s head coach and led the team to four victories over rival Albright. He is a member of the LVC Athletic Hall of Fame Committee, and he and Jennifer serve on the Campaign Steering Committee.

Jennifer is the managing director of investments/financial advisor with Buehler and McKee Financial Group. She earned her MBA with honors at Temple University, B.S. in Business and Administration magna cum laude from The Pennsylvania State University, and an A.S. in Legal Studies from Central Pennsylvania College, where she has long served on their executive board, including as chair. Jennifer also serves on the board of Junior Achievement of South Central PA.

The couple lives in Mechanicsburg with their son Jeb and daughter McKenna.

 

Wesley “Wes” T. Dellinger ’75 P’05 and Amy K. Hoopes Dellinger ’78 P’05
Wes and Amy are members of families with decades of proud LVC graduates, beginning with Wes’ great grandfather, Rev. Dr. James T. Spangler, and over 15 other family members attaining degrees from LVC. Dellinger Residence Hall is named to honor Wes, his uncle, Woodrow S. Dellinger ’33, and father, Curvin N. Dellinger ’38 for their board service.

With LVC degrees in Economics and Business Administration, Wes worked for 50+ years in sales and sales management, including 30 in real estate. He retired as director of Lebanon operations for Brownstone Real Estate. A Trustee Emeritus, Wes has volunteered at LVC for nearly a half-century, including 30+ years on the board and two terms as chair. He was an LVC Alumni Chorale charter member, held several leadership positions in the LVC Alumni Association, and received the Founders Medal (2018). He and Amy were vice chairs of the Toward 2001 campaign.

Wes and his family established The Dellinger-Spangler Student Leadership Fund, as both men were leaders in their professions and communities. The fund supports students to attend the “In the Footsteps of Leaders” program through the Gettysburg Foundation.

After teaching middle school English for two decades, Amy joined Wes at Brownstone. Both served on the board and as president of the Lebanon County Association of Realtors and were named Realtor of the Year several times. Amy is active in her church and the Kiwanis Club of the Palmyra Area and chairs the Board of Lancaster Lebanon Habitat for Humanity.

Amy and Wes have two children, Courtney Zechman ’05 and Ethan Dellinger.

 

Jensen H. Groff Jr. ’70 and Linda H. Groff

Jensen earned his B.S. in Chemistry from Lebanon Valley College in 1970. While at the College, he participated in Alpha Phi Omega and the Chemistry Club and was a lab assistant. He pursued an M.S. in Chemistry at the University of Michigan, where he finished in one year after being drafted into the military. He served in the U.S. Army from 1971-1974.

Jensen credits Dr. H. Anthony “Tony” Neidig ’43, P’73, H’04 for his interest and career in Chemistry, ultimately leading him to a lifetime career with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (CDC/NIOSH) as a research chemist focused on quality assurance and quality control.

Linda, a nurse who earned her B.S.N. and M.S.N., and Jensen have shown continuous support of Lebanon Valley College, most recently establishing an endowed scholarship and supporting the new Nursing Education Facility. The Jensen Groff ’70 and Linda Groff Endowed Scholarship is available to ACS-Chemistry students of any class year who display good academic standing, good character, and demonstrate financial need. They also supported the Neidig-Garber Science Center revitalization.

The Groffs are high school sweethearts with two daughters, Jennifer and Laura, and two grandchildren.

 

Richard S. Miller Sr. ’60 and Janet Taylor Miller ’63

Richard and Janet met at LVC while earning their B.S. in Music Education and earned master’s degrees in Music from Penn State University and Towson State University, respectively. The two went their separate ways for several decades, each getting married and raising families.

They had successful careers as educators, with Richard teaching band and orchestra and Janet teaching choral and general music. He was director of bands at Drexel University and was in the 553rd U.S. Air Force Band, including 31 years in the Pennsylvania Air National Guard. Janet taught in the Seaford School District and worked at the Delaware Department of Public Instruction.

The couple rekindled their friendship in 2004 and married in 2005. Both experienced tragic losses in their families; Richard lost his first wife to cancer, and Janet’s son, Kenneth A. Spengler, died by suicide in 1988 as a third-year college student. The Millers understand the importance of available therapy and assistance as students navigate college and life beyond. Because of this, the Millers established The Kenneth A. Spengler Memorial Counseling Center Fund.

This Fund supports the College’s Counseling Center to provide programs and services to students in need of mental health services, with a preference going for programs related to suicide prevention and awareness.

 

Gail M. Oberta ’65 and Andrew F. Oberta

Gail was president of Sigma Alpha Iota while earning her B.S. in Music Education at LVC and received their National Leadership Award at the end of her senior year. She taught near King of Prussia for five years and in the Norfolk area for one year. She earned a master’s in Education at the College of William & Mary, intending to become an academic dean. However, she enjoyed healthcare after working with volunteers at an area hospital. Next, Gail earned a master’s in Hospital Administration from the University of Minnesota through a National Institute of Mental Health Fellowship.

Gail worked in multiple states as Chief Executive Officer of several hospitals, working for Hospital Corporation of America and in a facility in the Austin, Texas, area owned by Universal Health Services.

Andrew earned a bachelor’s in Aeronautical Engineering from The Northrop Institute of Technology and a master’s in Public Health/Environmental Health through an Environmental Protection Agency Fellowship. He became president of ERG Consultants Inc. and today owns The Environmental Consultancy, advising on OSHA EPA asbestos property assessments and building inspections.

The Obertas established The Gail Moritz Oberta ’65 Endowed Scholarship Fund to support a student pursuing a degree in any healthcare-related field, such as Physical Therapy.

 

Melissa A. Ulrich Poole ’05 and Kevin M. Poole ’05, M’09

Melissa and Kevin were star academics and performers at LVC, with her playing softball and he performing with the Choir, Low Brass Ensemble, and Pride of The Valley Marching Band. As a Mathematics and Finance double major, Melissa received the department’s Mathematics Achievement Award and was named The Outstanding Senior in Mathematics.

She joined The Hershey Company in 2004 in commercial finance after interning there as an undergraduate. Melissa steadily rose to vice president of investor relations in 2018 and vice president of investor relations, FP&A and Business Analytics in 2023. She joined LVC’s Board of Trustees in 2020 after serving seven years on the Leadership and Alumni Council and was a College Presidential Fellow in 2019.

Kevin teaches music in the Northern Lebanon School District after earning a bachelor’s in Music Education and Music and a master’s in Music Education from The Valley. He also has a master’s in Conducting from Messiah University. He directs the Concert/Jazz Band and the Northern Lebanon Viking Band.

The Pooles support several areas of The Valley, including a major gift to improve the softball field on which Melissa shined. They established The Melissa Ulrich Poole ’05 and Kevin Poole ’05, M’09 Annual Scholarship in 2015 to support a student who demonstrates financial need and has strong academic achievement.

The couple have a son, Jack, and daughter, Emma.

 

Robert H. Sinclair and Jean S. Sinclair 

Robert, president of R.H. Sinclair Construction Co. Inc. since 1973, has worked in general contracting and development for over 50 years. He is a graduate of Lehigh University with a bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering and a registered Professional Engineer in Tennessee. He also is vice president of the Ellis-Scott Family Gardens and Memorial Trust.

Jean, secretary of R.H. Sinclair Construction Co. Inc., earned her bachelor’s in Marketing at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is president of The Pavilion Society Charitable Foundation, Inc., which she founded and gives scholarships to graduating high school students in Roane County, Tennessee. She and Robert also have a scholarship fund at the University of Tennessee.

The Sinclairs established The Robert F. and Grace Naugle ’37 Sinclair Scholarship Fund in honor of Robert’s parents, including his mother, who graduated from LVC with an Economics degree when few women went to college. They wanted to help her remain connected to her alma mater and support Physical Therapy students since two of her granddaughters are physical therapists. Before her death, Grace said she kept in touch with some scholarship recipients, including the inaugural recipient. She really enjoyed the scholarship fund, and the way she was treated by LVC.

 

Brian C. Trust ’83

Brian is an investment actuary specializing in asset-liability management, asset allocation, and portfolio management for U.S. and international life (re)insurance companies. His specialties include asset-liability management, asset allocation, fixed income, performance measurement, risk management, financial statement projections and analysis, and capital management.

He pursued a varied career with Falcon Asset Management (vice president and investment actuary), Conning Asset Management (managing director), Scottish Re (senior vice president of investments), and Brighthouse Financial (head of general account ALM). He is currently a director of investment operations for Resolution Life US.

Brian was a Mathematics major at LVC until the late Dr. Bryan Hearsey, Professor Emeritus of Actuarial Science, convinced him to take the first Actuarial Science test. He graduated summa cum laude.

Recipient of The Outstanding Senior in Mathematics Award, Brian was a student trustee and a member of Alpha Phi Omega, the Spring Arts Festival Committee, and the Math Club. He played clarinet with the Concert Band, Symphony Orchestra, and Pride of The Valley Marching Band and was a Wig & Buckle Theater Company stage crew member.

Brian has contributed to The Valley Fund, Toward 2001 campaign, and The Hearsey Scholarship for Actuarial Science. He is a member of the College’s Miles Rigor Society.