The Distinguished Service Award is bestowed upon an individual whose life of service has been exemplary. This honor extends beyond the circle of Penn alumni to those who embody the William Penn commitment to community and humanitarian service.
For her service to community and the university, William Penn is honored to bestow the 2023 Distinguished Service Award to recipient, Marsha Riordan. Marsha grew up in northern Iowa in Humboldt County, graduating from Twin Rivers High School. Upon high school graduation, Riordan enlisted in the U.S. Army. Her time in service included training at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. What a learning experience to be assigned to the medical intensive care unit at Brooke Army Medical Center. Her last two years of service were at Coffey Barracks in Ludwigsburg, Germany in a field hospital unit, ready to be called into action if the need arose. Following her military service and utilizing the GI Bill, she graduated from William Penn in 1980 with a double major in Biology and Physical Education. Because they both attended WP at the same time, she had the opportunity to watch her youngest brother, Richard participate as a Statesmen athlete. Marsha accepted a position as an Admissions Counselor, which began her lifetime career at William Penn. As an active member of the Oskaloosa Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), Riordan served on both the local and state boards. Serving as the state Educational Foundation Board member, she was responsible for the selection process for the ‘Woman Educator of the Year’ and presenting the award at the state annual meeting. She warmly shares about the numerous hours spent sorting books for the annual AAUW Book Sale, held by the local Oskaloosa branch for over 50 years and the friendships formed. Riordan was a member of Oskaloosa Kiwanis Club for over 20 years before the club dissolved in 2021. During her membership she served as president, vice-president, along with both program and publicity chairs. She is willing to step into action serving in the community as a way of life. Her volunteerism includes serving as Publicity Chair on RAGBRAI Steering Committee, instructor for the Jr Achievement program, chair and board member of Mahaska Future View, chair and board member for Oskaloosa Area Chamber and Development Group, leadership team/presenter for McLDT (Mahaska County Leadership and Development Training), and served on ISU Extension Board for Mahaska County and was recognized in 2015 as Citizen of the Year. Moving into the development office in 1986, Riordan became a member of National Society of Fund Raising Executives (NSFRE, now known as the Association of Fund Raising Professionals). Within two years, she became treasurer and served on the board for the Des Moines Area NSFRE group. Later becoming a member of the Mid-Iowa Planned Giving Council, also out of Des Moines. She currently serves Mahaska Health Partnership as a board member, Vice President, Executive Committee member and chairs the Facilities Committee. Reviewing credentials and MHP scholarship applications are added in for good measure. She is a newly recognized member of the Golden Goose Club. She also serves on numerous campus committees and is an advisor for three campus organizations: Pi Gamma Xi Sorority, Greek Life Council and newly organized, Student Veteran’s Club. Riordan is deeply grateful for the opportunities offered her at William Penn. Most appreciative of having met her husband, Mike, here. She enjoys all the wonderful alumni and friends she has met over the years and holds those relationships dear to her heart.