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Commencement Set for May 18 at Penn State York

William J. Althaus
5/8/2007 —

Penn State York will celebrate its 37th annual spring commencement at 6 p.m. Friday, May 18, in the Pullo Family Performing Arts Center at the campus. William J. Althaus, former mayor of the City of York and an international consultant on democracy and local government, is the commencement speaker. The campus will award associate and baccalaureate degrees and recognize master's degree graduates during the program. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

Althaus is an international consultant on democracy and local government specializing on development assistance to emerging democracies in Eastern Europe. He has most recently served as director of the Decentralization Project of the United States Agency for International Development in the Republic of Macedonia. He has led official delegations to Taiwan, Japan, Israel, France, the Council of Europe, and the Dominican Republic. He also managed delegations in the United States from El Salvador, Panama, Poland, and Albania.

Althaus was born in York, Pennsylvania, and holds a baccalaureate degree from Johns Hopkins University and received his Juris Doctor degree from the Dickinson School of Law. From 1976 to 1981, Althaus practiced civil law in York.

In 1981 he was elected mayor of the City of York, the youngest mayor ever elected in York. He was reelected in 1985 and 1989. When he chose not to seek a fourth term, he was the longest-serving mayor in the City’s history.

In 1990, as mayor, Althaus negotiated and lobbied successfully for City Council approval for the donation of Rotary Woods to Penn State York, creating a clean, green space for the Penn State community and all citizens of York to enjoy. Thanks to his efforts and the 33-acre donation, the campus increased in size to more than 50 acres and is the home of the Pullo Family Performing Arts Center, Lee R. Glatfelter Library, and the Penn State Woods.

Althaus served as president of the Pennsylvania League of Cities and has been a member of the Advisory Boards to: the United States Trade Representative, the National Organization on Disabilities, the State and Local Legal Center, the Johns Hopkins University Institute for Policy Studies, the Albanian-American Trade Association and the US Council for Puerto Rico Statehood, and was a founding trustee of the Inter-American Cities Foundation. He served two terms as a presidential appointee to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

In 1992, Althaus was elected president of the United States Conference of Mayors, the non-partisan leadership organization of the mayors of America’s principal cities. He was responsible for guiding policy development and was the spokesman for the major cities of the United States. During his tenure as mayor he met frequently with and advised Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton on urban issues.

From 2001 until April 2007 Mayor Althaus resided in the Republic of Macedonia and worked on democracy and governance issues throughout the region. In May 2007 he returned to York and continues his work with Development Alternatives, Inc. of Bethesda, Maryland.

In addition to hearing from Althaus, Penn State York will continue its tradition of the open microphone where graduates can speak for a moment. The top associate degree, baccalaureate, and master’s degree graduates will also say a few words. A number of former Penn State York students who completed their degree work at an upper-division campus of Penn State will return to their home campus, York, to receive their degrees during the ceremony.

A reception, sponsored by the Penn State York Alumni Society, will follow the ceremony in the John T. and Paige S. Smith Atrium and mezzanine areas of the Pullo Center.

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