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Penn State Athletics: Mary Jo Haverbeck Passes Away

by on January 08, 2014 11:45 AM

A woman who was considered an icon in the field of sports communications, and spent decades working at Penn State, has died.

Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics announced on Tuesday that former associate sports information director Mary Jo Haverbeck, passed away Monday, Jan. 6 in State College. She was 74.

Haverbeck earned several lifetime achievement honors from the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

“We are saddened by the passing of Mary Jo Haverbeck,” said Dave Joyner, Director of Athletics. “Mary Jo truly was a pioneer in the athletic communications field, not only at Penn State, but nationwide. Mary Jo played a critical role in the growth and awareness of Penn State women’s athletics, in particular. She was great mentor and friend to Penn State students, student-athletes, coaches and many others who were in athletic communications and the media.”

Harverbeck was the first woman inducted into the CoSIDA Hall of Fame in 1995 and was the first recipient of the organization’s Trailblazer Award in 2001. Additionally, she was the first female to earn the Arch Ward Award, in 2000, which is presented to a member who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of college sports information or has brought dignity and prestige to the profession.

An associate sports information director at Penn State from 1974 until her retirement in 1999. Haverbeck made her presence felt when she became the first Penn State official to publicize the university's women's sports programs.

“Mary Jo was a pioneer in females starting careers in sports information and in the media covering sports,” stated Ellen Perry, who served Penn State Athletics for 36 years, including stints as Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator. “Mary Jo represented our women’s sports teams and Penn State exceptionally well.”

“Mary Jo was a woman pioneer in her profession,” said Sue Delaney-Scheetz, a member of the Penn State Athletics staff for 29 years. “Mary Jo was instrumental in publicizing and promoting women’s athletics at Penn State and across the nation. She was respected by her peers and nationally recognized for her dedication and hard work.”

In retirement, Haverbeck stayed involved in Penn State and athletics. She taught news writing and reporting classes for the Penn State College of Communications. She also wrote for, Harrisburg Patriot News and Blue/White Illustrated.

A memorial service will be held on Thursday, January 9 at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in State College at noon.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Haverbeck can be sent to: St. Andrews Episcopal Church Memorial Fund, 208 W. Foster Ave., State College, PA 16801.

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Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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