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What is Health and Human Development?

Diverse fields of study that share one
common goal: enriching the lives of others.

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Alan Finnecy ‘83

Love for Happy Valley kept alumnus on campus for a career in HR

Since the age of six, Alan Finnecy has lived within a few miles of Happy Valley. The allure of staying close to Mount Nittany must have been a strong one, for other than a few years right after he graduated, his life’s work has been spent at Penn State. A lot has changed on campus since 1983, when he graduated with a degree in Individual and Family Studies (IFS), the precursor to HDFS. However, Alan’s commitment and his joy in serving Penn State has not wavered. His work has made a difference in many areas at the University.

Alan’s skills in all areas of communication and counseling were developed early in the IFS major and these have served him well over his tenure with Penn State. He has spent the last 10 years serving as the coordinator of the University’s American with Disabilities Act (ADA) program, working to ensure that all employees and students have their accommodations or needs met per ADA guidelines. He also served as the senior affirmative action specialist, responding to discrimination complaints filed against the University.

The experiences and jobs Alan held on campus—peer educator at the health center, campus loop bus driver (before the current CATA system!) and showing movies for a large variety of classes—all gave him great insight to apply what he learned in classes.

His previous positions included the assistant director of the PA Governor’s School for Agricultural Sciences and human resources manager for the College of Engineering. He has also written for the Alumni Association, as well as in the Affirmative Action Office. Alan took a short break from Penn State to attend law school from 1994-1997 at the University of Pittsburgh (gasp!) to increase his legal knowledge and skills.

Alan spent his college days in the 80’s staying busy and working a few jobs while attending classes, which he continues to highly recommend! The experiences and jobs he held on campus—peer educator at the health center, campus loop bus driver (before the current CATA system!) and showing movies for a large variety of classes—all gave him great insight to apply what he learned in classes. His favorite memories from back in the day are the roaring fire inside the main doors of the old Henderson building on winter mornings after a cold walk across campus, and getting coffee and donuts in the Living Center just beyond those doors. Alan met his husband at Penn State, has two children in their 20’s, and has a passion for canine children as well. His current dog, Charlie, is a dalmatian—close to blue and white colors! He also enjoys reading, biking, and kayaking. Alan advises to get involved, stay busy, and enjoy all that Penn State has to offer both now and in the future!

This profile was published October 2021.