School of Labor and Employment Relations celebrates 75th anniversary

On Friday, April 13, more than 175 alumni, sponsors, students, faculty and staff descended upon the Nittany Lion Inn to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Penn State’s School of Labor and Employment Relations.

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — On Friday, April 13, more than 175 alumni, sponsors, students, faculty and staff descended upon the Nittany Lion Inn to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Penn State’s School of Labor and Employment Relations.

The evening commemorated the accomplishments of the school, faculty, students and alumni who have made workplaces better since the school’s founding in 1942. The evening featured a cocktail hour, dinner and dessert before Paul Clark, the school director, presented on the history of the department.

After the brief history lesson, four different faculty members took the stage to present on his or her own areas of expertise. Associate Professor Elaine Farndale spoke on the future of human resource management, but also took a step back in time to show the audience how far workplaces have come and what can be done better in the future. Associate Professor Mark Anner detailed the history and importance of labor and employment relations in a global scale, from the laborers in Bangladesh to consumers in America. Sarah Damaske, associate professor of labor and employment relations, relayed the importance of work and family, noting that although workplaces in America have moved toward a better acceptance of work-life balance, the country has fallen behind in comparison to others. Lastly, Paul Whitehead, professor of practice, spoke on the ever-expanding world of labor and employment law. Whitehead covered topics such as sexual harassment in the workplace, workers’ compensation and how upcoming court decisions will be at the forefront of shaping the workplace for American employees. At the conclusion of faculty presentations, the panel answered questions from the audience.

Kristie Pappal and Jane Moyer, both co-presidents of the Alumni Program Group in the school, closed the evening.