CLASS OF 2004
Gareth "Lefty" Biser
Gareth (Lefty) Biser is an "old school" Founding Father of the Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers' Society and an early promoter of athletic training in south central Pennsylvania. Lefty came to the Keystone State from just below the Mason-Dixon line to pitch for Gettysburg College's baseball team. However, he had an interest in taking care of athletes and in 1953 met Romeo Capozzi, the Athletic Trainer at Gettysburg. This relationship led Lefty to a career in athletic training. He graduated in 1957 and then worked for Jules Reichel at Syracuse University where he earned his master's degree. In 1959 he returned to his alma mater as assistant athletic trainer and instructor of Health and Physical Education. During his 41-year tenure Lefty would serve as Assistant and Head Athletic Trainer as well as Chairman of the Department of Health and Physical Education. In these positions he continuously promoted athletic training and served as an outstanding teacher and mentor for numerous students interested in athletic training. He created an outstanding NATA Internship program at Gettysburg College working within the Liberal Arts curriculum.
Throughout his career he taught almost every course in the Health and Physical Education curriculum. Many of his students recall the six-hour lab practicals in Human Anatomy and Physiology. Not only was Lefty an innovative instructor (he used animal parts in lab when cadavers were not available) but a leader in curriculum design. He initiated the NATA Athletic Training Internship program at Gettysburg College and guided the change of the department from Health and Physical Education to Health and Exercise Science. He served as mentor to aspiring HPE teachers, athletic trainers, physical therapists and physicians. He was awarded the Lindback Outstanding Teaching Award at Gettysburg College in 1992 and in 1990 he was awarded the "Salute to Teaching" award from the Pennsylvania Academy for the Profession of Teaching. He has been recognized numerous times by the community, the college and the students for his caring attitude toward athletes, students and his fellow human beings. Lefty served as athletic trainer for the Big 33 football competition from 1974-1984. He answered the call of the United States Olympic Committee in 1987,89,92 and 94 to work at Festivals and the World Games. He has presented at numerous workshops on athletic training and career days throughout the commonwealth.
He has been an outstanding instructor of CPR since 1958. Lefty and his wife, Shirley Ann have three children.
Alexander Kalenak, MD
Dr. Alexander Kalenak; call him "a good old boy" and you'd better watch out. He still practices at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center and is a Professor of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation. Dr. Kalenak grew up in western Pennsylvania in the town of Nanty-Glo. He did his undergraduate studies at Penn State and then attended Medical School at Hahnemann University in Philadelphia. Then he left his beloved Pennsylvania for an Internship in Ohio and Residency in Virginia. After a short stint in Albany, New York, Dr. Kalenak returned to his Alma Mater and home state of Pennsylvania to stay. In 1973, he was named the Team Orthopaedic Surgeon at Penn State and served as Associate Professor of Surgery, Department of Orthopaedics at Milton Hershey Medical Center. All during these educational experiences it seems that physicians and athletic trainers working with athletes impressed Alexander Kalenak. While a student at Penn State, he met Dr. Griessy, Dr. Sam Fleigle and Mr. Chuck Medlar, an athletic trainer, and these individuals impressed him in how well they took care of their athletes. While enrolled at Hahnemann he met Dr. Green of the Philadelphia Eagles. In Virginia he befriended Dr. Frank McCue and Mr. Joe Geick of the University of Virginia. He admired and learned from all these people. In the early 70's he helped establish a Sports Medicine Service at Albany Medical Center. This led him into contact with many leaders in the pioneer days of the Sport Medicine movement: Dr. Jim Nicholas, Dr. Don Slocum, Dr. Jim Andrews, Dr. Joe Godfrey and Dr. Jack Houston. These prominent and well-known physicians and athletic trainers such as Chuck Medlar, and Jim Hochberg molded Dr. Kalenak into a leader in the field. Dr. Kalenak served as Team Orthopedic Surgeon at Penn State from 1973-1995; since 1978 he has served on the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. He has volunteered for the United States Olympic Committee, the Keystone Games and the Big 33 Football Classic. He is a prolific speaker and has promoted Sports Medicine and Athletic Training throughout the Commonwealth. The EATA has honored Dr. Kalenak by awarding him the Moyer Award. Dr. Kalenak is a regular participant at our PATS Symposium and continues to be a great friend to all athletic trainers in Pennsylvania. Dr. Kalenak continues to work at Penn State Hershey Medical Center taking care of athletes and athletic injuries.
He lives in Hummelstown with his wife Beth and has two sons and one daughter.
Jack Rea, Jr.
Jack Rea, Jr., is a "founding father" of The Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers Society. He is a hard worker, a great guy, "Dad", and a very professional caring person. These all describe Jack Rea. A legend in Western Pennsylvania in the field of athletic training, he spent 36 years as the Head Athletic Trainer at Washington and Jefferson College. Many awards have been bestowed to Jack, such as the NATA 25 Year Award; he has been a member of the National Athletic Trainers' Association since 1963. He received an NCAA Outstanding Contribution Award for his work with the National Wrestling Championships in 1975, a Knights of Columbus Special Award for activity with the youth in his community, and a Commendation from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for his Induction into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. Jack has always been volunteering and serving his community, his college and his nation; he is a veteran of the Korean War. Jack constantly promoted athletic training by working in the NATA for certification and the formation of a professional organization within Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers' Society. He continued to volunteer, serving as registration chair for the state meeting and serving a co-chair for job placement of athletic trainers in Pennsylvania. Jack is known as "a man whose interest in his profession is matched by his interest in people." Many of the athletes at Washington and Jefferson fondly refer to Jack as "Dad" because of his caring nature and the paternalistic treatment he used in helping them deal with their injuries. Many of the students that mentored under the tutelage of Jack Rea are prominent in the profession. Jack and his wife, Dorris have two children. Call him "old school", a founding father, major contributor, or simply "Dad" but welcome Jack into the Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers' Hall of Fame.
Midwestern girl comes East to make her mark. Well she did but that is not the Lois Wagner personality. Hailing from Tripoli, Iowa, Lois came to Philadelphia to the University of Pennsylvania Physical Therapy School in 1967. She had a sincere interest in human movement and rehabilitation. She loved to teach and interact with students. She moved to East Stroudsburg University where she began doing just that and was awarded a Master's degree in 1971. Lois has worked with the athletes of East Stroudsburg University in the clinic (athletic training room) for 31 years and subsequently has taken on full-time faculty responsibilities as an Associate Professor, in the Movement Studies and Exercise Science Department. Lois has served on numerous committees at the University, in her community and for PATS. She received her 25-year award from the NATA and a merit award from the American Cancer Society. In 2001, Lois received a Letter of Commendation from The Women in Athletic Training Committee of the NATA. The commendation reads, "You have been one of the pioneers in our field. Your time, efforts, and contributions to not only the field of athletic training, but to the role of women in athletic training are greatly appreciated." Lois is certainly one of the first female certified athletic trainers in the United States and in Pennsylvania. Lois has always been an educator and an investigator. She has published many professional articles but will be remembered most by her students as a tough, no nonsense, fair, and compassionate person. As an athletic trainer and educator she has earned the respect of her students, athletes, alums and friends. John Thatcher, her friend and fellow Hall of Fame member, writes "her work in all aspects of her professional life has been tireless. Her devotion to her students and her colleagues is second to none. Her honesty and integrity are irreproachable. In our athletic training education program, what really distinguishes her is her absolute commitment to quality. Students know by her example as well as her insistence that they better do it right (the first time)! I think maybe I've been reminded of that myself on occasion, and I thank Lois for that." Lois truly has been a female pioneer and role model for women in Athletic Training in Pennsylvania.