Kukta Recognized as Outstanding Alumnus at Penn State Schuylkill

Jonathan Kukta and David Gray
Monday, March 6, 2017

Jonathan Kukta, director of Housing and Food Services at Penn State Hazleton, Penn State Schuylkill, Penn State Wilkes-Barre, and Penn State Worthington Scranton, was recently recognized with the 2017 Outstanding Alumni Award at Penn State Schuylkill.

Presented by the Penn State Schuylkill Alumni Society Board, the award is the highest alumni honor given. It recognizes outstanding alumni “whose personal lives, professional achievements, and community service exemplify the objectives of their alma mater,” according to Patricia Troy Shoener, alumni relations and stewardship officer at Penn State Schuylkill.

Kukta, who also serves as an adjunct instructor in Hospitality Management at Penn State Berks and in Business Administration at Penn State Schuylkill, was recognized in a nomination from a colleague as an exemplary leader: “Jonathan Kukta's commitment and dedication to faculty, staff, and students at four campuses has created a wonderful work environment that fosters respect, diversity, and inclusion. He leads by example, showing how to maintain high standards of excellence both personally and professionally.”

“We are excited to recognize Jonathan Kukta as a recipient of the 2017 Penn State Schuylkill Outstanding Alumni Award,” says Schuylkill Campus Chancellor Kelly Austin. “This recognition stands testament to Jonathan's exemplary achievements in both his professional and personal lives, as well as his ongoing commitment to Penn State Schuylkill.”

Gail Hurley, associate vice president for Penn State Auxiliary & Business Services, appreciates Kukta’s contributions both inside and outside the classroom. “Any institution would be proud to claim Jonathan as an alum, and Penn State is the lucky one to have that honor! Jonathan is a tremendous ambassador for the University. This award recognizes his ongoing loyalty and commitment as a graduate who keeps giving back in above-and-beyond ways to Penn State Schuylkill and his alma mater. Those of us who have the opportunity to work with Jonathan in Housing and Food Services could not be more thrilled for him.”

Beginning his Penn State career in 2002, Kukta has received numerous recognitions, including the 2012 Finance and Business Mentorship Award and the 2010 Finance and Business Leadership Award. In 2015, under his leadership, the Housing and Food Services unit at Penn State Hazleton was recognized by the Student Government Association with the Service to Students Award for enriching the lives of students at Penn State Hazleton.

“Jonathan is one of our star players within the Penn State Housing and Food Services management team,” says Chris Hurley, senior director of Housing and Food Services Commonwealth Campuses and Culinary Support Services. “He has done so much to advocate for improving the Food Services operations at the Schuylkill Campus that serves students, faculty, and staff. This award is truly fitting to recognize that commitment."

In his community, Kukta is involved with the Schuylkill United Way, serving as a collection chair for the past 18 years for his hometown of Minersville. He also serves as a volunteer at the Orwigsburg Library and the Pottsville Area Development Corporation.

“I am truly honored and humbled to have been selected as one of the 2017 Penn State Schuylkill Outstanding Alumni,” says Kukta, who graduated from Penn State in 2000. “I join a group of many outstanding business and community leaders who have received this award before me. It is so rewarding to serve my alma mater as an employee and to be part of the growth of a campus that has enabled hundreds of students to achieve their dream of a Penn State degree.”

Kukta adds that “living and raising my family in Schuylkill County, the Schuylkill Campus is extra special to me and I look forward to continuing to work with the faculty, staff, and administration to continue the success and promote all the great things that are happening at our gem of a campus.”

Kukta will be formally presented with the award at a ceremony at Penn State Schuylkill. The awards ceremony is planned for October 11, which is during Homecoming week at the campus.

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