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Lebanon Valley College recognized there outstanding alumni during the 2018 Alumni Awards Ceremony, which was held during Homecoming weekend. Adam Tavel’ 03, received the Creative Achievement Award for his work in poetry and education. Ryan Ledger ’11 received the Young Alumni Award for his quick rise in the field of actuarial science. Dr. April M. Hershey ’91 was honored with the June Herr Educator of the Year Award for her work in education.
Tavel, who was an applied history major, earned degrees from Lebanon Valley College, The University of Toledo, and The Vermont College of Fine Arts. He won the 2017 Richard Wilbur Book Award for his third poetry collection, Catafalque, which was recently published by the University of Evansville Press. Tavel’s other books include The Fawn Abyss, published by Salmon Poetry in 2017, and Plash & Levitation, published by The University of Alaska Press in 2015 as the winner of the Permafrost Book Prize in Poetry.
The recipient of the 2010 Robert Frost Award from the Robert Frost Foundation, Tavel is also the author of the chapbook Red Flag Up (Kattywompus, 2013). He is a professor of English at Wor-Wic Community College on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where he also co-directs the Echoes & Visions Reading Series. In September 2017 Adam visited LVC to share his writings as part of the Writing: A Life series.
“Whatever I lacked when I graduated from this incredible college, I left with an unshakable sense that art mattered, that my voice mattered, and that my friends and professors were rooting for me,” Tavel said.
Ledger, vice president of major accounts for Chubb Insurance’s North American division, is responsible for meeting the property and casualty needs of large corporate customers through retail broker channels. His primary responsibilities include membership on two product boards responsible for global underwriting consistency and profitability (Workers Compensation and General Liability); leading a project and analytics strategy for the division’s primary casualty portfolios; managing Chubb’s Workers Compensation aggregation risk arising from man-made and natural events; and managing a team of fifteen individuals across the workstreams above.
Before joining what is now Chubb Major Accounts, Ledger spent three years as a student in the company’s actuarial department following his catastrophe management internship in summer 2010 while an LVC undergraduate. He graduated from Lebanon Valley College summa cum laude in 2011 with dual majors in actuarial science and accounting.
“What I appreciate most about my LVC degree is that our degrees are rooted in a liberal arts program," said Ledger. "We are positioned for success not just because of technical discipline, but are even further positioned for success because of their ability to seek and respect differing perspectives. When coupled with individual majors that prioritize resourcefulness over point-in-time skillsets, this creates a potent combination.”
Hershey has served as superintendent of the Warwick School District since June 2009. During this time, she has overseen academic growth at all levels, implemented full-day kindergarten, began phasing a 1:1 technology initiative for all students grounded in the 4 C’s of 21st century learning, and enjoyed a productive relationship with the bargaining unit. Hershey also has led a district entrepreneurial venture— WarwickWARE—to market and sell district-created software and web services, which has resulted in more than $200,000 additional revenue annually.
Hershey earned a bachelor of science degree in music education from Lebanon Valley College, a master’s of education degree in teaching and curriculum from The Pennsylvania State University, and a doctoral degree in educational leadership from Duquesne University. She spent nine years as an officer and singer/soloist with the Alumni Chorale of Lebanon Valley College under the direction of Dr. Pierce Getz, late professor emeritus of music. Currently, she sings in the praise band and choir at Ephrata Church of the Brethren and performs as a soloist for weddings and other special events.
“My experiences as a learner at Lebanon Valley College provided me with the foundation I needed to step to the front of the classroom," she said. "I was also inspired to take the things I had been taught and pass them on. I believe a teacher and or school administrator to be one of the noblest of professions, and I am honored to serve students in my community in this way.”