2011 yearbook staff surprises a faculty member who made a difference

Sep 19, 2011

By Annmarie Ely



The staff of the Cornucopia dedicated the 2011 yearbook to Joann Donigan, a faculty member in the English department, during a ceremony at the Krauskopf Memorial Library on Sept. 15.

Even though she serves as yearbook advisor, the club managed to keep the dedication page a surprise.

“This was very secretive, she didn’t know about it the whole time,” said Yearbook Editor Brett Longcor, a media and communications major.

The staff came up with a fake dedication page and even worked with the printing company to keep Donigan from seeing the real one.

Mark Miller ’11, who served as a yearbook editor last year, came back to DelVal for the dedication. He was one of the people who wanted to dedicate the yearbook to Donigan.

Miller said the yearbooks usually are mailed to seniors in late August and go out to the rest of the college in September.

Donigan said she was speechless and honored when she opened the yearbook a few weeks ago to find the surprise dedication. It features a photo of her and a description of why the students chose her.

The students chose Donigan because they said she made college “a valuable, enjoyable learning experience.”

“She was the first teacher that got me involved with anything, because of her I met a lot of people on campus,” Miller said.

Longcor said he chose Donigan because she’s “very personable.” He said she even calls him to ask how he’s doing.

Donigan has been with DelVal since 1993. Before arriving, she taught at Muhlenberg College, Penn State University and Harrisburg Area Community College. She also taught high school.

She earned a B.S. in education from Duquesne University and an M.A. in English from the University of North Dakota.

The staff said that along with being a dedicated teacher, she is a dedicated advisor. Donigan is also an advisor for the Gay, Lesbian or Whatever club also known as G.L.O.W.

In the dedication the students wrote:

“Another way she helps students is by advising a club that works on promoting the celebration of who you are as an individual. This club is called G.L.O.W.”

Donigan said she enjoys serving as an advisor and spending time with students outside of the classroom.

“I always wanted to be a teacher,” said Donigan. “This group of students has been one of the most dedicated, motivated groups I’ve had in a long time.”

The theme of this year’s Cornucopia is “breaking through.”

It reads: “Break away from the past, move into the future with the courage to believe in yourself and the ability to expand your horizons.”

Recent yearbooks have been dedicated to Director of Client Services James Linden and faculty members Dr. Richard Ziemer, Dr. Gary Fortier and Rodney Gilbert.