Six inducted into Mansfield University’s Society of Honors

Six individuals stand against a Mansfield University backdrop while holding award certificates
L-R: Bobbi Kilmer, Eric Evans, Jim Welch, Katherine Villone, Dr. Kristine Shaw

MANSFIELD, Pa. – Five Mansfield University alumni and an employee were recognized for their outstanding achievements and contributions during the Society of Honors Induction Ceremony on Saturday, April 30 at North Manser Hall.

Cynthia Pritchard ’87, president and CEO of the PASSHE Foundation in Harrisburg, Pa. was recognized as the Alumni Citation inductee. Established in 1969, the Alumni Citation Award recognizes a member of the alumni community who has made exceptional contributions to society through professional, civic, philanthropic work, and leadership activities.

Pritchard is a legacy graduate of Mansfield, earning her bachelor of arts in psychology. She has over 35 years of executive planning, administration, communications, and programmatic experience in the nonprofit and private sectors.

Under Pritchard’s leadership, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) Foundation serves as a strategic thought partner and administrator for the #Prepared4PA program. This program profoundly and positively impacts State System universities, including Mansfield. “The time is now for higher education, a key driver of local economies in the Commonwealth, to be innovative in creating short-term, diverse, equitable, and inclusive credentialing opportunities for individuals in Pennsylvania,” said Pritchard.

Bobbi Kilmer ’84, President of the Mansfield University Council of Trustees, was recognized as the Elsie Burk Service Award inductee. Established in 1983, the Elsie Burk Award recognizes a member of the alumni community who has demonstrated outstanding leadership, loyalty, and service to the university over a long period of time.

A native of Towanda, Pa., Kilmer graduated from Mansfield with a bachelor of science in business administration. She is also a graduate of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Robert I. Kabat Management Internship Program at the University of Nebraska.

Kilmer has been a member of the MU Council of Trustees since 2013 and is currently the Council Chairperson. During the induction ceremony, it was noted that Kilmer has maintained a steady hand, on-boarding and working collaboratively with several leadership teams at Mansfield during her tenure.

Katherine Villone ’93, a 4th-grade teacher at Franklin Elementary School in Bergenfield, N.J., was recognized as the Distinguished Educator inductee. First presented in 1986, the Distinguished Educator Award recognizes a member of the alumni community or university staff who is an exceptional leader and demonstrates service and commitment to education.

Villone is a longtime native of New Jersey who came to Mansfield University and earned a bachelor of science in Education. She was the only teacher from New Jersey nominated as the Life Changer of the Year out of 600 educators across the country.

Dr. Kristine Shaw ’00, business owner and veterinarian at Grand Canyon Veterinary Hospital in Wellsboro, Pa., was recognized as the Outstanding Young Alumni inductee. Established in 1986, the Outstanding Young Alumni Award recognizes a member of the alumni community who has graduated from Mansfield University within the last 25 years. The award recognizes a young alum’s outstanding leadership, achievement, and professional performance.

Shaw earned a bachelor of science in biology at Mansfield before graduating from Penn State and Murdoch Universities. Shaw is expanding her veterinary footprint in the Wellsboro area and will collaborate with Mansfield, Bloomsburg, and Lock Haven Universities through the Professional U programs. Modeled after Bloomsburg’s highly successful program, Professional U is being developed at Mansfield and Lock Haven to provide students campus-wide with experiential learning opportunities, including internships, job shadowing, research projects, international study, and alumni networking. Professional U is primarily supported through professional experience grants.

Eric Evans ’19, curriculum developer for law enforcement agencies throughout the United States, was recognized as the Innovation & Inclusion inductee. Established in 2022, the Innovation & Inclusion Award recognizes a member of the alumni community or friend of Mansfield University who has made advancing efforts to society by establishing a collaborative environment that empowers individuals with knowledge that fosters innovation.

Evans, a resident of Philadelphia, graduated with a degree in liberal arts with minors in communications and geology. Evans is a high-functioning professional with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Eric has dedicated his life to making a global difference by advancing education and knowledge of ASD within law enforcement agencies. Through Evans’ efforts, he is reducing the communication barrier between law enforcement personnel and the general public, making the world a safer and equitable exchange space. Evans attributes much of his success to Scott Henry ’84 (retired Pennsylvania State Police Trooper and MU Chief of Police) for “taking a chance on me.”

Jim Welch, environmental health & safety director at Mansfield University, was recognized as the Health, Safety & Wellness inductee. Established in 2022, the Health, Safety & Wellness Award recognizes a member of the alumni community or friend of Mansfield University who has made outstanding efforts to advance the health, safety, and wellness of the MU community.

Since the start of the disease, Welch has led the university’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to his role overseeing the health, safety and wellness on campus, Welch has served as the Fire Chief of the Mansfield Hose Company for 18 years and has been an EMS/Paramedic for Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital for 21 years. Welch is identified as a true community hero who is selfless and lives with a service to others mantra.

The Mansfield University Society of Honors program can be traced back to 1969. It is believed the Society of Honors program was established largely through the efforts of the Alumni Association Board of Directors. This tradition and support continue today.

The original purpose of the Society was to recognize the outstanding achievements of Mansfield Alumni. This year, the Alumni Association was pleased to share that the Society has been extended to friends and supporters of Mansfield University through the newly added Innovation & Inclusion and Health, Safety & Wellness awards.

To nominate an individual for the Society of Honors program, visit