Penn State Laureate


laureate-2016-2017-rebeccastrzelecThe 2016-17 Penn State Laureate is Rebecca Strzelec, Professor of Visual Arts at Penn State Altoona.

Strzelec has been a Penn State faculty member since 2002 and is head of the degree program in visual art studies at Penn State Altoona. Her work focuses on investigating the ways wearable objects interact with the surfaces of the body and includes the creation of these wearable objects through computer-aided design (CAD) and rapid prototyping or 3D printing.

Strzelec is currently a co-principal investigator on a four-year, $2 million National Science Foundation grant focusing on multi-field responsive origami structures, and in 2013 she received the Outstanding Achievement in Research and Creative Activity Award at Penn State Altoona. In 2009, Strzelec was named a Penn State Alumni Associate Teaching Fellow.

Strzelec received both her bachelor and master of fine arts degrees in metals, jewelry and CAD/CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University.

Her work has appeared in more than 65 exhibitions, including “Out of Hand: Materializing the Post Digital” at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. In addition, her work can be seen in several recent works from Lark Books, including “Showcase 500 Art Necklaces,” “21st Century Jewelry: The First Decade,” and “Lark Studio Series: Pendants,” as well as in such publications as Metalsmith magazine and The New Yorker.


Recent News


April 6, 2017: Andrew Belser named 2017-18 Penn State Laureate



About the Penn State Laureate


The Penn State Laureate is an annual faculty honor established in 2008 to bring greater visibility to the arts, the humanities, the honoree’s work, and the University. The Laureate brings an enhanced level of social, cultural, artistic, and human perspective and awareness to a broad array of audiences.

The annual honoree is a full-time faculty member who is assigned half-time to serve as the University Laureate for one academic year. The Laureate appears regularly at events throughout Pennsylvania. Other responsibilities include:

  • Visits to Penn State campuses throughout the Commonwealth
  • WPSU-TV and radio appearances, readings, and features
  • Community outreach
  • Facilitating opportunities for other faculty and students to engage in the above activities

For more information about the Penn State Laureate, visit


Previous Penn State Laureates


2015-16: Carol Reardon, George Winfree Professor of American History, College of the Liberal Arts, University Park

2014-15: Susan Russell, Associate Professor of Theatre, College of the Liberal Arts, University Park

2013-14: Kenneth Womack, Former Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of English and Integrative Arts, Penn State Altoona

2012-13: Christopher Staley, Distinguished Professor of Art, College of Arts and Architecture, University Park

2011-12: Linda Patterson Miller, Professor of English, Penn State Abington

2010-11: Robin Becker, Professor of English and Women’s Studies, College of the Liberal Arts, University Park

2009-10: Anthony T. Leach, Associate Professor of Music/Music Education, College of Arts and Architecture, University Park

2008-09: Kim Cook, Professor of Music in Cello, College of Arts and Architecture, University Park