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York College of PA to graduate more than 200 at Dec. 14 commencement exercises; York's Jack Kay to receive honorary doctorate

November 30, 2022
Headshot of Jack Kay

York College of Pennsylvania will award degrees to more than 200 students at its December 14 commencement exercises, which will begin at 10:15 a.m. in the Grumbacher Sport and Fitness Center’s M&T Field House. Additional information, including a livestream for the event, is available at www.ycp.edu/commencement.

Jacob “Jack” Kay, president and CEO of Susquehanna Real Estate, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters during the ceremony. Speakers include graduate Jenifer Hernandez-Vargas, a Political Science major from York, and Dr. Katie Lewis, associate professor of education and recipient of the Presidential Award for Teaching and Mentoring Excellence. Graduate Britta Long, a Psychology major from Harrisburg, will sing the alma mater.

YCCOSP Scholar at York College, Jenifer Hernandez-Vargas is Student Services Chair for Student Senate; president of Chi Upsilon Sigma National Latin Sorority; secretary of the Multicultural Greek Council; editor of Past and Present, a student-run undergraduate research publication in the Department of History and Political Science; member of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society; and a member of Alpha Alpha Alpha, the National Honor Society for First-Generation College Students. Born in Mexico, she immigrated to the United States with her mother “to chase the American dream.” Her plan after graduation is to become an immigration lawyer to help others in pursuit of their American dream.

Jack Kay acquired Susquehanna Real Estate in 2013 when it was an operating division of Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff Co. The York-based real estate development and consulting company with an urban development focus has been recognized for its quality projects and design excellence. The company has undertaken a number of award-winning projects in York, including 96 South George, The Lofts on George, and the Susquehanna Commerce Center.

Kay originally came to York in 1976 to serve as the Director of Community and Economic Development for the City of York under Mayor John Krout, and continued four more years working with Mayor Elizabeth Marshall. He was instrumental in the development of the York City Industrial Park, Cherry Lane and Market Street Improvements, Market Way North and South, and the King Street and Philadelphia Street parking facilities. His accomplishments were recognized by the Pennsylvania Municipal League, which awarded him the distinction of “Outstanding Appointed Public Official” in 1980.

Kay then joined Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff at the invitation of Louis Appell, Jr. During his 30-year tenure, he oversaw development and construction of facilities for the company’s various operating groups, including its radio, cable, manufacturing, and retail divisions throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

Throughout his career in York, Kay has been very active in the community. He currently serves as Chairman of the York County Industrial Development Authority and Founding Chairman of the Memorial Health Systems Foundation, after serving as Chairman of the Memorial Hospital Board. He also served as a board member for the York County Economic Alliance and the Appell Center, and currently serves on the Better York and York County Community Foundation boards. In 1978, as a founding board member, he chaired the Building Committee of the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center when it undertook renovations to create the current theatres.

For the past several years, as part of the Yorktowne Hotel Project, Kay has been instrumental in facilitating project-based learning opportunities for York College students through his leadership role with the York County Industrial Development Authority. Kay earned a master’s degree in administration/city planning from Temple University, where he also received a bachelor’s degree in political science.

Dr. Katie D. Lewis blends research with practitioner knowledge to engage her students in active learning. Capitalizing on experiential learning experiences, she challenges students to explore current pedagogical and instructional strategies in the field of education, apply these new understandings in their K-12 field placements, and return to campus ready to engage in rigorous discussions and critically reflect on their own teaching demonstrations. It is through these experiences that she inspires and enhances the educational experience of undergraduate students, preparing them to be highly qualified, equity-minded educators.

As an advocate for her students, Dr. Lewis champions for them to develop their voice and take ownership of their learning. She regularly partners with undergraduate students in research, providing mentorship and encouragement to present and publish their writing. She serves as Program Coordinator for Secondary Education and Post-Baccalaureate Programs as well as Graduate Program Supervisor for Effective Teaching and Educational Technology.

Dr. Lewis has been recognized several times for teaching excellence: 2010 Norfolk Public Schools Teacher of the Year, the Texas A&M University System’s Teaching Excellence Award (2011, 2012), and the Texas A&M University, Department of Curriculum & Pedagogy Teacher of the Year (2013, 2014).

Dr. Lewis has published numerous articles and presented at state, national, and international conferences. She serves on the board for The Association for the Gifted-Council for Exceptional Children, and is actively involved in the National Association for Gifted Children Professional Learning Network and the Texas Association for Gifted and Talented Research Division. She is co-author of “Empowering Gifted Educators as Change Agents: A Playbook for Equity-Driven Professional Learning.”