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Retired Penn State New Kensington chancellor praised for work

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By Rossilynne Skena
Monday, Oct. 3, 2011

Even now, three years retired from his job as chancellor of Penn State New Kensington, Larry Pollock still gives back to the campus.

In recognition of his work, a three-tier fountain was dedicated in his name on Saturday as part of the Upper Burrell campus' Fall Festival.

Pollock, 74, of Washington Township served the university for 35 years -- his final six as chancellor, the rest as director of student affairs.

The fountain, installed this summer at the school's main entrance, is part of the campus beautification program.

Pollock said he's always admired fountains, whether ancient or contemporary, during his travels.

As he neared retirement, he thought another project to beautify the campus was in order.

Donors suggested naming the fountain in his honor.

"It's a fountain for the campus," he said. "Yes, it has a plaque on it that says my name, but it's really a fountain for the campus to enjoy."

Penn State credits Pollock with academic expansion at the university, including internationalizing programs, collaborating with local communities on student projects and expanding diversity initiatives to local high schools.

Current campus Chancellor Kevin Snider lauds the relationships Pollock built and his mantra of personal attention and service for students.

"Everywhere I go, people know Larry and remember him and ask me to send best wishes along to him," Snider said. "I think he really did a great job of extending a friendly face out in the community and giving us the ability to kind of extend that into the community engagement opportunities that we're doing."

Throughout his career, Pollock relished the chance to work with students, many of them local.

"As chancellor, every week I tried to talk to 10 students I never met before," he said. "It's a good way to keep in touch with them and find out what's going on out there."

As director of student affairs, he was responsible for financial aid, admissions, student records, student activities and health services. During his tenure, Pollock created a child care center at the campus.

During the late 1970s, Pollock helped secure plans for the large aluminum arch sculpture, donated by nearby Alcoa, that is a campus landmark.

Working three-and-a-half decades for the university "was a blessing," he said, and he calls the people who celebrated with him on Saturday "the Penn State family."

Since retiring, he and his wife, Sudee, have been traveling -- visiting the St. Orange River in New York, St. Edward Island, Spain, Quebec City in Canada and planning trips to Myrtle Beach, S.C., and to the western United States.

Retirement also has given Pollock time to study watercolor at the Latrobe Art Center. Plus, the amateur photographer said he's accumulated a couple thousand photographs he plans to sort.

Pollock's path to Penn State New Kensington began at Clarion University, where he studied until transferring to Penn State for its art education program. He earned advanced degrees from Drexel University, Rowan University in New Jersey and Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He also served in the Marine Corps.

Pollock said his experience working for G.C. Murphy Co., an old-time five-and-ten store helped develop his work ethic and management. He said it taught him to be on time and to be responsible.

Pollock is active as a board member of the Burrell Area Rotary.

Fellow Rotary member and Lower Burrell Mayor Don Kinosz admires Pollock's people skills and that he always has some funny story to tell.

Whether it's ringing bells for the Salvation Army, helping at spaghetti dinners or any other project, Pollock gets the work done, Kinosz said.

Pollock formerly served as part of the United Way, Alcoa Community Advisory Board, StrongLand Chamber of Commerce and the Northern Westmoreland Foundation.

"Yes, I've kind of scaled back," he said, "but there a number of young people who have taken leadership roles in the Valley, and it's time for them."

Larry Pollock

Age: 74.

Hometown: Washington Township.

Family: Wife, Sudee; three grown children; six grandchildren.

Favorite thing about the Valley: "I just love the country. I love the quiet atmosphere."

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