The College of Arts and Architecture

In Memoriam: Ray Fortunato

Ray Fortunato

Ray T. Fortunato (’52 M.M.), long-time supporter of the Penn State Glee Club and composer of "Hail, Oh Hail", passed peacefully on December 31, 2017, one month short of his 95th birthday.

Ray was raised in Bethlehem, PA and graduated from Liberty High School. During World War II, he served as an officer in the 78th Infantry Division and fought in Germany. Among his military citations were two Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars. He was employed by Penn State from 1948-1985, and retired as Assistant Vice President for Human Resources Emeritus. During his employment, he was awarded the John Wilkinson Award for Administrative Excellence and the Lions Paw Medal for service to the University.

Another part of his life was in music and theatre, having served as director of Penn State Thespians for thirteen years. He played and acted in performances entertaining alumni and State College audiences. In addition to “Hail, O Hail,” he wrote music used in Thespian productions and other shows, as well as for his church choir.

He served as national president of the College and University Professional Association-Human Resources and was awarded its Donald Dickason Achievement Award. He also served as president of the Penn State Alumni Interest Groups for both the College of Business Administration and the College of Arts and Architecture. He was a past president of Rotary and a founding member of the Centre County Personnel Association.

Following retirement from Penn State, he founded Ray T. Fortunato Associates, a consulting firm in higher education administration. He had over 130 consulting assignments at 84 different colleges and universities across the country. He authored or co-authored eight books, six of which won national awards. For thirteen summers he served on the faculty of the College Business Management Institute at the University of Kentucky.

Ray Fortunato is survived by a son, Thomas (Rocco) Fortunato and his wife, Monea, of Bracketteville, TX; a daughter, Carol Witmer, and her husband Jim, of Orlando, FL; a granddaughter, Anna J. Witmer of Pleasant Gap, PA; a grandson, Thomas O. Witmer and his wife, Liz, and great-grand-daughter, Amelia Ruth Witmer, all of Pleasant Gap; and a legacy of music, laughter, and fun.

A memorial service will be held January 13, 2018, at the State College Presbyterian Church, 132 W Beaver Ave., State College. Donations in his honor may be made to the State College Presbyterian Church, 132 W Beaver Ave., State College, PA 16801.