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Meet the Team

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Give to the Libraries

"We enact our values through the decisions we make and the actions we take. The value of access, especially access to higher education and access to a public research library’s resources, motivates and energizes me as a library leader. It's clear that this value also motivates and energizes our supporters because of the actions they take. We celebrate their generous philanthropy as it enables Penn State Libraries to reach the highest levels of excellence in our services, collections, and personnel."
- Dean Faye A. Chadwell

Bob Darrah
Director of Development

Bob’s passion to give to University Libraries stems from his grandmother, who earned her Bachelor’s degree in education from Montana State University in 1931. Aformer primary school teacher, she taught Bob from an early age thesignificance of libraries as a haven for learning. It’s why he enjoys advising donors on how their gifts enhance the Libraries’ spaces and work to support student success. 

Bob has over a fifteen-year career in development—five with Penn State. In 2010, he became an associate director of development in the College of Arts and Architecture and later served as interim director of development from 2011 to 2012. After a brief time away, he returned as director of major gifts in the College of the Liberal Arts in 2015. Bob also worked as director of development for the School of Music and Dance at the University of Oregon and held development positions at prominent art institutions, including the Portland Art Museum in Portland, Oregon and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. 

He holds a B.A. in classics from the University of Oregon and a post-baccalaureate certificate in ancient languages from Penn State. 

Karen McCulley
Alumni Relations and Stewardship Officer

Karen’s passion to give to University Libraries started at an early age. She grew up with a passion for reading and shared this love for books with her children, who used the local library as a form of entertainment and enlightenment. She appreciates the important role libraries play in higher education because they provide support for all students, faculty, staff, and the community around the world. 

Karen began her career with Penn State in development at Public Broadcasting in 1989. Much of her career has been intertwined with development and fundraising activities. She has been with the University Libraries for fifteen years. She provides administrative support to the director, writes proposals, stewardship letters, and general correspondence. Karen plays a key role in proposal submissions, generation of endowment guidelines, and the annual goal setting process. 

Karen, a native of Bellefonte, PA, holds an associate degree from South Hills Business School. Karen spent six years volunteering on the Board of Directors for the House of Care, a non-profit personal-care home in State College. Since resigning from the Board, Karen bakes birthday cakes for its residents. 

Sarah Bacon headshot
Associate Director of Development

Sarah’s passion to give to University Libraries grew after seeing the personal impact that philanthropy and volunteering have not only on students, faculty, and staff but also on the greater Penn State community. The University Libraries have the potential to reach and serve every student in every major, which is inspiring. Sarah wants students and supporters to know about the incredible knowledge, friendly librarians and staff, technology, collections, and resources that are just waiting to be discovered when they walk through any of the Libraries’ doors.

Since earning her Penn State degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management in 2001, Sarah has worked in multiple industries in different regions of the country. She has fifteen years of management experience in restaurants, a remote concierge call center, as well as owning a handcrafted jewelry business. A constant throughout her career has been a desire to work with others, give back, and get involved in her community.

With a family history of Penn Staters dating back to 1916, and two future Penn Staters, Sarah is happy to have found her way back to Penn State in 2017. She is grateful to work in development and alumni relations for the University Libraries because it gives her the opportunity to learn from and partner with alumni, donors, and students, as well as to help them connect with each other.

Wendi Keeler
Associate Director of Stewardship and Events

Wendi’s passion to give to University Libraries is inspired by simply coming to work every day. Prior to working here, Wendi hadn’t been to the library in many years. Wendi is amazed by its transformation—and ever-evolving landscape. For Wendi, to give to University Libraries benefits all of the Penn State community. 

As the External Relations Assistant, Wendi is the liaison between the Dean and the Development Office team, and is responsible for event planning, donor stewardship, scholarship awards, and budget management. She works with the Libraries’ Development Board, the Libraries Awards Committee, the Scholarship Committee, and the Outstanding Undergraduate Thesis Award Committee. 

Originally from the Philadelphia area, upon graduation she landed her first job in the area and never left. Her career path took her from program director at the Bellefonte Family YMCA to medical technologist at Mount Nittany Medical Center and more recently to the American Red Cross where she coordinated the Penn State blood donation program for the Red Cross for almost fifteen years. She was also the advisor to the Penn State Student Red Cross Club. She began working at Penn State in 2014 with the development team in the College of Health and Human Development before coming to the Libraries in May, 2016. 

Wendi holds two degrees from Penn State:  a B.S. teaching degree in Health and Physical Education with an emphasis in Athletic Training and Sport Medicine, and an Associate Degree leading to a B.S. equivalent in Medical Technology.

Emily Reed
Associate Director of Development