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Student, businessman, attorney, county commissioner, developer, investor and philanthropist. This has been the path of Brother Marc Katzen ‘61

Brother Marc Katzen ’61 — a Phi Sig alum whose direction was set for him at age 17 when his father died and left him in charge of the family business. From that point forward, he would focus his life on building businesses, organizations and structures that contrib¬uted in a positive way to the community around him and his fam¬ily. One of those family members is a Penn State student following in his grandfather’s footsteps.

Raised in Sykesville, Pa., a town of approximately 1,000 peo¬ple located southwest of DuBois,
Marc completed his high school education at Mercersburg Academy in Mercersbug, Pa.

Following his father’s death, he took over the family’s farms. In an effort to effectively manage the business while also completing a college education, Marc chose to stay relatively close to home and attend Penn State. He went on to complete an undergraduate degree in business administration and an MBA at the University Park campus and then a law degree at the Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, Pa.

As a small-town kid with many responsibilities, it was import¬ant to Marc to find a good foundation of like-minded Penn Staters who could offer friendship, support and fun. He found that in Phi Sig. “My friends today are the same friends I had from my pledge class,” he explains. “I only lived in the house one semester. But we all stayed in touch. Even after we were all mar-ried and having families. I remember all of us going to the house to visit, carrying our new babies.”

While at Penn State, Marc and his high school sweetheart, Henrietta, married. She graduated with both bachelor’s and mas¬ter’s degrees as well as having two sons while a student. The family then moved to Carlisle for three years while Marc attended law school. Following completion of his degree, the family moved to rural Reynoldsville, Pa. Marc took out a 10-year lease on an office in Sykesville and opened a law practice.

During his career as a small-town attorney, Marc also ran for county commissioner. He became the youngest commissioner of Jefferson County at age 27. He held this government position for the next four years. At the age of 35, Marc would retire from the legal field and turn his attention to real estate devel¬opment, specifically industrial commer¬cial buildings.

Through these years, the Katzen family would con¬tinue to grow. Today, Marc and Henrietta have three sons and five grandsons. One of those grandsons, Max, is an active AEPi brother at Penn State. He is one of the undergraduates working to establish the new alumni relations program. Currently, he holds the positions of Alumni Relations Officer, Civic Leadership Officer and Webmaster.

When asked about doing an interview for this article, Marc responded, “It’s for Max. I just cannot say no to Max. He is such a good boy.” The apple does not fall far from the tree.
In 1980, Marc and Henrietta moved to Central Florida, eventually settling in Winter Park, Fla.

Marc went on to be part of the fundraising and development efforts for the new Jewish Community Center of Central Florida. Previously a member of the Penn State Hillel Board of Directors, he help founded Hillel of Central Florida. Recently, he worked with son and fellow devel¬oper (and Max’s dad!), Hank Katzen, and in cooperation with the University of Central Florida to build America’s first self-sustain¬ing Hillel. The 600K-sq.ft., 600-bed luxury dormitory includes a resort-style swimming pool, walk-in closets, a 24-hour fitness center and a parking garage.

Additionally, Marc is involved with the Jewish Academy of Orlando — formerly the Hebrew Day School. Over the past 17 years, Marc and Henrietta have provided the school with financial grants that support the purchase of laptops and iPads for each stu¬dent. In 2013, the academy was recognized as one of Apple’s 200 Distinguished Schools worldwide.

While life and family in Florida keeps Marc and Henrietta quite busy, their hearts remain true to PSU, Phi Sig/AEPi and Happy Valley. They have been PSU football season ticket holders for 50 years and return often for games. Marc, we thank you for the ways you are making our world a better place!

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