Don Lancaster - Library Chairperson
Don Lancaster grew up in Rostraver Township in Westmoreland County. His father's family had lived there since the late 1700s and his mother's family came over from Slovakia in the late 1800s to work in the mines. With an undergraduate degree in TV and Media from Penn State and an MA in Special Education from Duquesne, Don taught in the Pittsburgh Public School system from 11979 to 2012 with children who had behavior needs. Don moved to Indiana in 2003 and fell in love with the town, which reminds him of the Monongahela Business District of his youth, with beautiful architecture and quaint small shops lining the streets.
As the Library Committee chair, Don looks to continue digitizing records and improving accessibility. This makes material easier to search and prevents excess handling of original documents. Less handling will greatly increase their lifespan. One of Don's goals is to make more of the collection available digitally by getting images and documents onto social media and the Society's website. This will grow the library's digital presence and engage the public. With much of the younger generation on social media, Don hopes to inspire a new demographic to appreciate Indiana County history.
Outside of the Society, Don is a member of eight different historical societies and enjoys learning new things. As an avid genealogist, Don has found that learning about family history teaches you who you are and where you are in the grand timeline of human history. Mr. Lancaster also enjoys all things sports, especially IUP, and can get a crowd going at home games. He is currently finishing his 10th year on the borough council and is involved with many other organizations. Don has always had a thing for history and wants to bring the HGSIC into the 21st Century.
Mary Ann Wagner - Fundraising Chairperson
Mary Ann Wagner steps into the fundraising chair after years on the committee. She comes from nearby Charles and has a master's degree in education, which she used as a local teacher for 38 years. During that time, she also served as a department chair in math. Mary Ann has a son and daughter, along with three grandchildren. Her son's family lives in Rhode Island, and her daughter's family is currently situated in Virginia. Mary Ann almost forgot - she also has a husband.
As a former Kindergarten teacher, Mary Ann hopes to incorporate the idea of sharing within the committee and the Society. She wants to see people share their talents and time to make fundraising events successful. She also wants to develop a plan that even if our members do not have time to commit to the fundraising committee, they could assist in one or two events a year in some meaningful way. Mary Ann would like to encourage more members to attend events, and it would be wonderful if they would bring a friend to help boost attendance. While on the committee, Mary Ann has witnessed improvements to fundraisers thanks to constant evaluation and tweaking, forming them into something the society can be proud. She wants to use that process to develop a few new events and maybe rejuvenate old ones.
Since retirement, Mary Ann and her husband have traveled extensively. A few of the places she can mark on the map are Alaska, most of the mountain states, the Canadian Rockies, eastern Canada, the southeast U.S., New England, the British Isles, Poland, Germany, Austria, and the Caribbean. She is also a volunteer for St. Vincent de Paul and donates her time to help members of the community in need of assistance.
Eric Witmer - Membership Chairperson
New Membership chair Eric Witmer attended and graduated from Purchase Line High School and the Pittsburgh Technical Institute. Over the last few years, Eric has helped with various Society events and contributed to their success.
Mr. Witmer is looking forward to more interactive events at the Historical Society as well as highlighting lesser-known parts of Indiana County's history, including the county's ties to major state and national historic events. Eric also hopes to share a creative, intimate story-telling approach to our events, similar to the poetic way his father would tell the stories of historical events to him growing up. These fascinating narratives planted in him a deeper, more meaningful sense of history and its role in our lives.
Some of Eric's hobbies include acting with the local Indiana Players, art, concert going, kayaking, and taking road trips to places of natural beauty and historic significance.
The 2024 Board of Directors
President: JoAnne McQuilkin
Vice President: Charles Spence
Treasurer: Mary Yanity
Secretary: Allen Fiechuk
Public Relations: Samantha Barna
Library: Don Lancaster
Building and Grounds: Vincent Beatty
Program: Elaine Maudie
Museum: Katie Gaudreau
Personnel: Herb Gleditsch
Fundraising: Mary Ann Wagner
Membership: Eric Witmer
At-Large: Jackie Wiley
At-Large: Greta Helsel
At-Large: Joe Hildebrand
Executive Director: Jonathan Bogert
Director Emeritus: Jean Williams