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Posted on March 26, 2014

California University of Pennsylvania is pleased to announce that three individuals have been selected as the inaugural recipients of the Cal U Community Champions award. Wildlife educator Joseph Stefko, Civil War Roundtable organizer Walter Klorczyk and residence life professional Justin Schiefelbein will be honored April 7 at a luncheon in the Kara Alumni House.

Initiated this year, the Cal U Community Champions Award honors men and women who have made significant contributions of time and talent to California University and its students. 

Who are Cal U Community Champions?

Cal U Community Champions Award winners are not Cal U students or University employees. Instead, they are community members who have made valuable contributions to the University and its students in areas such as academic enrichment, research and/or internship opportunities, mentoring, and career development.

“Ultimately, the role of higher education is to prepare students to succeed in the world outside the campus gates,” said Craig Butzine, Cal U’s vice president for Marketing and University Relations.

“In various ways, these Community Champions are connecting our students with valuable learning opportunities. Their efforts enrich the educational experience we offer and add to the value of a Cal U degree. In many cases, their contributions enhance our students’ resumes and give them a head start on building a career.

“This award is the University’s way of saying ‘thank-you.’”

About the spring 2014 Community Champions

The inaugural winners of the Cal U Community Champions award are:

Porait of Joe Stefko.Joseph Stefko, who recently retired from a long career as a wildlife conservation officer for the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Stefko served for many years as the wildlife education supervisor for the commission’s Southwest Region. He initiated the internship program between Cal U and the Game Commission in 2000, and in 2011 obtained funding to provide a stipend for those interns.

Stefko has delivered talks about wildlife conservation at Cal U, conducted workshops in orienteering and telemetry, and provided hands-on education in field skills for students in the fisheries and wildlife biology program in the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences.

Biology professor Dr. Carol Bocetti, who nominated Stefko for the award, says: “He follows every single intern throughout their career after they graduate, and he can tell you where they are and what they are doing. … Joe shares not only his professional knowledge, but also his passion and wisdom in our field. He is an outstanding mentor, leader, teacher and friend to so many Cal U students.”



Portrait of Walter Kiorczyk.Walter Klorczyk, a volunteer who has been instrumental in the success of the University’s monthly Civil War Roundtable, an educational forum focused on the War Between the States.

Klorczyk is a founding member of the all-volunteer group that organizes the roundtable, which attracts more than 100 people each month to presentations in the Kara Alumni House. Eleven programs are held each year, and Klorczyk locates the presenters, seeking out historians and other speakers who can share both information and insights.

“He is always searching for the best available professionals, and his success has greatly improved the quality of the roundtable and, correspondingly, the attendance,” says Dr. Clarissa Confer, of the Department of History and Political Science, who nominated Klorczyk for the award.

Klorczyk also runs a book raffle and provides refreshments for the meetings, Confer adds. “Walt represents the best in volunteer spirit and enriches the Cal U community with his efforts.”



Portrait of Justin Schiefelbein.Justin Schiefelbein, assistant director at the Vulcan Village housing complex on Cal U’s upper campus. An employee of EdR Inc., which manages Vulcan Village, Schiefelbein supervises and mentors the Cal U students who serve as Community Assistants (CAs) at the complex.

Schiefelbein also serves as an “ambassador” for Cal U and its University Housing Office. He recently traveled to receptions in Harrisburg and other locations, where he spoke with accepted students and their families.

“This is the first time that a Vulcan Village employee attended the statewide receptions in the history of our community,” says Vulcan Village director Dr. Scott Helfrich, who nominated Schiefelbein for the award.

Schiefelbein also serves as a liaison with California Borough police to address student conduct issues that sometimes arise. “He has handled these incidents with poise and professionalism while being empathetic and resourceful,” Helfrich says. “Justin typically works 10- to 12-hour days in the name of student development and customer service.”

Nominate a Community Champion

The Cal U Community Champions award recognizes those outside the campus community whose efforts benefit the University or Cal U students. University faculty, staff and students are not eligible for the award.

Any member of the campus community may submit a nomination for the Cal U Community Champions award. A committee will review the nominees and select the winners.

Nominate a Cal U Community Champion online or send your nomination, in writing, to:

Cal U Community Champions
Office of University Relations, Box 31
California University of Pennsylvania
250 University Ave.
California, PA 15419