Two alumni honored at Penn College spring commencement
Pennsylvania College of Technology presented honors to two alumni during spring 2017 commencement ceremonies.
Thomas J. Giannattasio, of Bethesda, Maryland, received the Alumni Achievement Award and June Kilgus Zimmerman, of Williamsport, was presented the Distinguished Alumni Award.
The Alumni Achievement Award is presented to a graduate from the past 10 years whose postgraduate life includes noteworthy professional accomplishments or dedicated volunteer service to the college or community. Recipients also must demonstrate the importance of their Penn College education and continually support the mission of the college.
An accomplished software designer and innovative entrepreneur, Giannattasio is a 2006 graduate of the college’s graphic design major. He serves as director of product, design tools at InVisionApp Inc., a leading design collaboration platform with more than 1 million daily global users including Adobe, Twitter, LinkedIn and Uber. Giannattasio obtained his position after selling his acclaimed web-design tool, Macaw, to InVision. He works in Washington, D.C.
Prior to his current work, Giannattasio helped Massachusetts Institute of Technology in designing and launching edX, a site offering free online courses from several of the world’s top universities. He also worked as an art director at nclud, a creative design firm performing experimental work for leading brands including Apple and Oracle, and as a senior designer for Sabre Hospitality Solutions, a marketing agency for high-end hotels and resorts. He also worked as an editor and author for Smashing Magazine, a major outlet for web designers and developers.
Giannattasio was featured in the fall 2016 issue of Penn College Magazine and in a video on the college’s YouTube channel.
“I’m extremely thankful for Penn College,” he said. “Penn College really helped me find and understand my purpose in life. The college gave me the skills and the confidence to go out and achieve it.”
Giannattasio grew up in Williamsport, attending school there for a number of years. He graduated from Coudersport Area High School. He is the son of Donna Giannattasio, of Portville, New York, and the late Thomas J. Giannattasio. He and his wife, Maggie, are the parents of two young daughters.
The Distinguished Alumni Award is given to those who have made significant contributions in their chosen fields, demonstrated the importance of their college education, participated in leadership roles within the community, and demonstrated a commitment to the college and community relations.
A nationally honored medical social worker, Kilgus Zimmerman holds an associate degree in liberal arts from Penn College’s predecessor institution Williamsport Area Community College and has taught sociology and psychology in a part-time capacity at the college for 28 years. She also is a graduate of Lycoming College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree with a double major in psychology and sociology and a minor in anthropology.
A medical social worker since 1974, Kilgus Zimmerman has served as an oncology social worker at UPMC Susquehanna’s Cancer Center for 23 years. She was honored earlier this year with a national American Cancer Society Award, the Lane W. Adams Quality of Life Award, recognizing leadership in serving the complex needs of cancer patients and their families.
Kilgus Zimmerman also facilitates three cancer-related support groups for patients and families, chairs the survivorship dinner for the local ACS chapter, and serves on the Relay for Life of River Valley committee.
She organizes staff contributions of clothing and household items for patients and families in need; this has led to a space at the Cancer Center known as “June’s Nook.” She also organized and facilitates a program called Shine the Light on Lung Cancer, held in conjunction with Lung Cancer Alliance.
Kilgus Zimmerman dedicates time to the Patient Navigation Training Program for Rural and Appalachian Populations sponsored through the University of Kentucky, the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Penn State Cancer Institute.
She and her husband, Thomas A. Zimmerman, associate professor of psychology at Penn College, established a building-to-endowed scholarship for Penn College students who are enrolled full time in a bachelor-degree major and have declared a minor in either psychology or sociology. The Zimmermans are the parents of three grown children.
“The college provided me with a good liberal arts foundation that jump-started me into where I have landed for the past 40 years,” Kilgus Zimmerman said. “It truly was an amazing and gratifying experience. I’m so proud today to be another part of this institution, as adjunct faculty. I will end my career where I started my education. Thank you for this opportunity to grow.”