Penn State Altoona Chancellor Lori J. Bechtel-Wherry Retires
Bechtel-Wherry’s leadership and influence extends beyond the University as an active member of the Blair County community, working with numerous charities, nonprofits, and economic development organizations. She serves on the board of directors of the Altoona Blair County Development Corporation and its executive and nominating committees, as the first female chair of the board. She also currently serves on the board of Reliance Bank and Homewood Homes Retirement Center. She previously served on the boards of the Blair County Chamber of Commerce and the Blair County Arts Foundation, among several other community boards.
In February 2008, Bechtel-Wherry celebrated her marriage to Timothy Wherry through their joint gift to Penn State Altoona which served to name the “Timothy L. Wherry and Lori J. Bechtel-Wherry Study” in the Robert E. Fish. The couple also set up a library improvement fund that provides money for unlimited purposes.
Over the years, Bechtel-Wherry and Tim Wherry have supported a wide variety of scholarships, capital projects, special university initiatives, and community outreach programs at Penn State Altoona. In 2008, their giving legacy was recognized with induction into the University’s Mount Nittany Society and the Platinum category of the Ivyside Society of Penn State Altoona.
“I will forever cherish the friendships and working relationships with faculty, staff and our many supporters that have been formed during my nearly forty years of service at Penn State Altoona,” Bechtel-Wherry said. “I have had the privilege of collaborating with colleagues who share my passion for our college and our community. It has also been particularly gratifying to witness the growth of our students; their commitment to volunteerism on campus, in central Pennsylvania and around the world; and their success in the vocations they have chosen. By working together, we have achieved many goals and made a positive difference in our region.
“After 43 years in higher education, including 38 years at Penn State, I am ready to embark on new adventures and spend more time with my family. It has been a pleasure to work with colleagues dedicated to our mission. of teaching, research, and service. Their efforts to make Penn State Altoona a premier college within the university are recognized and appreciated.
Bechtel-Wherry received her doctorate in health education from Penn State, her master’s degree in health education from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, and her bachelor’s degree in health, physical education, recreation and dance from Lock Haven State College. She came to Penn State Altoona in 1985, after serving as a faculty member at the College of Health and Human Development. In July 1997, she became the first female faculty member to achieve the rank of full professor at Penn State Altoona. Bechtel-Wherry served as the first head of the Education, Human Development and Social Sciences Division, one of the college’s four academic divisions. She later served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and CEO and Acting Dean before assuming the role of Chancellor and Dean.