Petzinger is Fifth Generation Mount Union College Graduate

May 10, 2010

Beatrice Petzinger's connection with Mount Union College began long before she was born ' in fact, it started when her great-great-grandfather Harry A. March graduated from the College in 1885.

According to Yost Osborne's A Select School: The History of Mount Union College, March was a fullback on the first Mount Union football team who was later named the 'father of professional football' by famed sports writer Grantland Rice.

At this year's Commencement, Petzinger made her own mark in Mount Union history as she joined the long line of graduates in her family, becoming the fifth generation of March-Petzingers to walk across the stage to receive a degree from the College. Not only did she earn her degree during the 161st Commencement, she earned it summa cum laude, achieving a perfect 4.0 average while a student. This accomplishment resulted in her being named one of the recipients of the Heaton W. Harris and Corrine Harris Smith Prize during the ceremony.

Petzinger has been surrounded by all things Mount Union since a young child. Given her family legacy with the College which includes her great-great-grandfather, her great-grandfather Edgar March II '38, her grandmother Jean (March '53) Petzinger, her grandfather Thomas Petzinger '52 and her aunt Elizabeth (Petzinger '88) Holter, this comes as no surprise.

'I had always had Mount Union sweatshirts and other College merchandise growing up and we would visit the College for football games and other events,' said Petzinger, whose family is well-known for running the Run-A-MUC 5K race during the annual Homecoming celebration on campus. 'I really never felt any pressure to go to Mount Union, though. They simply encouraged me to look at the College. I did, and I liked it.'

Mount Union may be Petzinger's legacy, but music is her passion. In the end, the College's music program was the pivotal factor in her decision to carry on the family tradition.

'When I first started looking at colleges, I was not thinking about majoring in music at all,' said Petzinger. 'I always loved and enjoyed singing but never thought about it as a career.'

At that time, law school was her ambition. She applied to colleges close to her home of Poland, OH ' Mount Union being one of them because of the family legacy. As the time came closer for her to make a decision, a change in her future plans started her on her path toward Mount Union.

'I decided that I couldn't let music go because it was what I really wanted to do,' said Petzinger. 'Mount was the only place where I had auditioned and I had met Dr. Scott Dorsey and Dr. Patricia Boehm. I really liked them and decided I would come to Mount Union and major in music education.'

Dorsey, associate professor of music, and Boehm, assistant professor of music, are just two members of the Department of Music faculty that Petzinger considers 'wonderful.' She believes that the individual attention they provide is invaluable.

'Whenever people have asked ' whether prospective students or anyone else ' what my favorite part of Mount Union is, I always tell them it's the faculty,' said Petzinger. 'I was very ill at the end of last year and the faculty responded with cards and other gestures of goodwill. They always know what is going on in your life, but at the same time, they challenge you.

'They are so knowledgeable,' she added. 'Any time I had a question, I always knew there was someone who could answer it. The faculty members are just always willing to help in any way ' personally and academically.'

Her final tour with the Mount Union Choir is a perfect example of how the faculty members at Mount Union support and challenge students. Petzinger, who toured locally with the choir during her time at Mount Union, was disappointed that she would not be able to be a member of the choir during the spring semester of her senior year due to student teaching, thus missing the choir's tour to Ireland ' the first international tour the choir has pursued in years.

'Four music education majors were student teaching in the spring,' explained Petzinger. 'Student teachers usually don't participate in choir during the spring semester, but since the annual choir tour was in spring instead of winter as it usually is, they let us stay on so we could participate in the tour.'

The flexibility of the Department of Music allowed Petzinger to make wonderful and long-lasting memories in one final tour with the group of which she has so enjoyed being a part. During her years at Mount Union, Petzinger supplemented her experiences as a member of the Mount Union Choir by participating in other musical ensembles including the Fire Engine Choir, Mount Union Marching Band and Opera Workshop. She also served as a guest soloist with Inspirational Voices of Praise, presented both junior and senior recitals and won the role of Mabei in The Pirates of Penzance.

In addition, she has served as vice president of the Ohio Collegiate Music Education Association, secretary of Mu Phi Epsilon music fraternity and member of Blue Key honor society, Psi Kappa Omega academic honorary, Pi Kappa Lambda national music honorary, Alpha Delta Pi sorority and Alpha Lambda Delta national scholastic honorary.

As if her record of participation is not impressive enough, her honors and achievements, as well as her community service efforts, put Petzinger in a class of her own.

She has been the recipient of numerous awards for her performance as a music education major including the Music Faculty Award, George L. and Margaret Wagner King Prize for the Performing Arts, Cecil T. and Marian H. Stewart Award, Mu Phi Epsilon Merit Award and Sophomore Choral Award. For her academic achievements, she has been honored with the Maria Leonard Book Award, Ramsayer Sophomore Prize, Faculty/Staff Academic Achievement Award and the Drushal/McMaster Junior Prize.

In the community, Petzinger participates annually in Relay for Life and organized a concert on campus to benefit VH1's Save the Music Foundation. She also has performed repeatedly at Copeland Oaks, a nursing home and retirement community in Sebring, OH, and has participated in numerous events to benefit Ronald McDonald House.

It's hard to imagine that Petzinger has had much time to think about the future, given the hectic schedule she maintained as a student at Mount Union, but even as she crossed the stage to receive her degree at Commencement, she had plans in mind.

'I am going to stay in the area and begin pursuing a career in music education,' she said. After student teaching for Canfield Schools, an experience she said she 'truly enjoyed,' she believes her decision to attend Mount Union and pursue a music education major was the best one she could have made.

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