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Retiring Trustee Chair Receives John C. Baker Award

(Posted May 8, 2006)

Henry Gibbel, retiring chair of Juniata\'s Board of Trustees and president and CEO of Lititz Mutual Insurance Co.

HUNTINGDON, Pa.. -- Henry H. Gibbel, president and chief executive officer of Lititz Mutual Insurance Co., Lititz, Pa. and retiring chair of the Juniata College Board of Trustees, received the John C. Baker Award for Exemplary Service from Juniata College at a recent meeting of the board.

The John C. Baker Award is presented by the Board of Trustees to recognize and honor individuals or organizations for exemplary service to Juniata College. The award is not given annually, but is reserved for appropriate candidates as they arise. Gibbel is the fourth recipient of the award since it was established in 1997.

"No one is more enthusiastic than Henry Gibbel about the College and its triumphs," says Thomas Kepple, Juniata College president. "He has led the College during a period of change and growth, approving such projects as the von Liebig Center for Science, the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts, the Langdon-Goodale Baseball Field, the expansion of the Raystown Field Station and countless other projects."

Gibbel, a 1957 Juniata graduate, also is president, chief executive officer and director of Penn Charter Mutual Insurance Co., Farmers' and Mechanics' Mutual Insurance Co., Livingston Mutual Insurance Co., and Excess Reinsurance Co. The Gibbel family has provided leadership to Lititz Mutual since 1892 where Gibbel has led the company since 1959.

He was appointed chair of the board in 2000. Gibbel's grandfather, father and son (all also named Henry) graduated from Juniata College. Henry H. Gibbel, his father and grandfather all served on the college's board of trustees. All three also were named chairman of the college's board. Gibbel has served as a trustee since 1973. He also is the third Henry Gibbel to serve as president of the college's National Alumni Association, having served in 1972. In 1992 he received the Juniata College Alumni Service Award. In 2005, he received Juniata's Church College Service Award.

Gibbel and his wife, Joan, sponsored in 2002 the Henry and Joan Gibbel Award for Distinguished Teaching, which recognizes excellence in teaching among faculty members who have been at Juniata College for fewer than six years. He also played a significant role in Juniata's most recent capital campaign, the Uncommon Outcomes Campaign, serving as co-chair of the Campaign for the Future. The Lititz resident was inducted into the Juniata College Sports Hall of Fame in 2000. He has taken a lead role in fulfilling the mission of Juniata College by serving in a variety of volunteer posts. He has served on the President's Development Council and as chair of the Founders Club. He also was chair of the college's past two presidential search committees in 1985 and again in 1997.

In 1969 he served as chair of the Pennsylvania Association of Mutual Insurance Companies and received their Distinguished Service Award in 1981. In 1974 he received the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies Merit Award and served as its chair in 1982. Gibbel was named Insurance Person of the Year by the Professional Insurance Agents Association of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware in 1988. He also was honored in November, 1998 as Trustee of the Year by the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging. In 2005, the Pennsylvania Dutch Council, Boy Scouts of America, honored Gibbel as Distinguished Citizen of the Year.

He is a deacon in the Lititz Church of the Brethren, has served on the board of Brethren Village Retirement Community since 1969, and has served as board chair since 1992. He serves on the board of directors of several Lititz area businesses, most notably Susquehanna Bancshares Inc., Susquehanna Bank PA, and also the Valley Forge Asset Management Corporation and the Addis Group in Valley Forge, Pa.

Gibbel lives in Lititz with his wife, Joan. The couple has three children, Henry R., a 1981 Juniata College graduate; Kathy Jo, a 1983 graduate of Duke University; and Mary Beth, a 1986 graduate of the University of Richmond; and 8 grandchildren.

The John C. Baker Award is named for John Calhoun Baker, president emeritus of Ohio University and with his wife, Elizabeth Evans Baker, founder of the Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies at Juniata College. A 1917 graduate of Juniata College and a member of the Church of the Brethren, he was a member of Juniata's Board of Trustees from 1936 until his death in 1999.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.