CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — More than 40 Penn State Lehigh Valley students attended an etiquette dinner on Wednesday, Oct. 20, at Lehigh Country Club in Allentown.
A diverse group of more than 20 Penn State alumni and staff professionals were seated with the students to provide advice on professional conversation and proper exchanges for future business lunches and dinners that students may attend during internships or in their careers. Alumni also shared personal stories on how they transitioned from being a student to a successful professional.
“This event is critical for students as it teaches them how to properly network at a cocktail hour as well as how to navigate a meal in an interview or professional meeting scenario,” said Diane McAloon, alumni relations coordinator at Penn State Lehigh Valley and organizer of the event.
The evening started with a “Mocktail” hour followed by dinner and a presentation.
Special guest speaker Sheryl Trower and her business partner, Duffy Johnson, both of the Etiquette School of Central Pennsylvania, presented to the students about dinner etiquette during the event. Trower also offered tips for successful networking during the "Mocktail" hour.
Trower is a graduate of the elite American School of Etiquette and the Etiquette Institute. Sheryl also holds a bachelor of the arts in communications from Penn State. Trower has served on the boards of Vision Corps, Milagro House, Dollars for Scholars, and the American Business Women’s Association.
Johnson was educated at the prestigious Protocol School of Washington, graduated with a bachelor of business administration in marketing from the University of Miami, and studied government at Harvard University. Johnson has served on a variety of boards, including the historic Woodward Hill Cemetery, Lancaster Museum of Art, and the New School of Lancaster.
The students benefited from the event and learned tips on how women and men should dress in a professional setting, and what colors associate for certain situations.
"One of the most important statements the two speakers said, is if someone does not respect everyone in his/her surroundings, then he/she is giving off the wrong impression. Sometimes people try to act a certain way with their bosses, but treat a waiter differently during a business dinner. It's a big turnoff, and it's important to keep integrity intact," said Nouran El-Ashry, a sophomore double-majoring in rehabilitation and human services and photojournalism.
The etiquette dinner was organized by Alumni Relations as a way to connect alumni to students in a new and different way.
The event received support from a variety of corporate partners and individuals, including Bill Hacker from Arbor Insurance, the Lehigh Valley campus bookstore/Barnes and Noble, Ciocca Dealerships, Howard Kulp, Doug Patt, Don Patt, John Hart, Dave and Patty Cox, John Minutella, Steve Haymon, Susan Johnson, Tom and Cindy Hess, Air Products and Chemicals, and Penn State Lehigh Valley faculty and staff.