Board of Directors

The 2019-2020 Board of Directors of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts
Front Row, L to R: Bob Hicks, Kathleen Raupach, Heidi Nicholas, Jonathan Friedman Back Row, L to R: Steve Sampsel, Cristin Long, Yvonne Gaudelius, Kristen Coombs Missing from photo: Amy Caputo, Renata Engel, Brad Keen

The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors made up of men and women from Penn State and the State College communities. The Board determines the organization’s mission, hires professional staff, raises funds, and monitors budgets. Board members serve as ambassadors for the Festival to the community.

The mission of the organization, as determined by the Board, is to celebrate the arts with presentations of diverse, high-quality visual and performing arts through the cooperative volunteer support of the community and The Pennsylvania State University. The essence of the organization is the enrichment and education of the audience, grounded in personal interaction between artist and audience.

Meet Our Current Board Members

Amy Caputo, Past President
Kristen Coombs, Treasurer
Renata Engel
Jonathan Friedman
Yvonne Gaudelius, Vice President
Bob Hicks, President
Brad Keen
Cristin Long
Heidi Nicholas
Kathleen Raupach, Secretary
Steve Sampsell
Amy Caputo, Past President
Amy Caputo

Amy Caputo is currently Director of Marketing and Communications for Penn State Law and the School of International Affairs.  She is an experienced leader in business development, marketing, communications, and management for corporations, non-profit associations, government, education, and media organizations. 

From 2007 until January 2019, Amy was Executive Director of Strategic Communications with the Penn State Alumni Association, the worldwide engagement network for Penn State.  Prior to coming back to Penn State, she was Director of Marketing and Business Development for a top-tier Southeastern regional law firm with 300 attorneys based in Richmond, Virginia.  Amy earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Penn State and a master’s in mass communications with a concentration in media management from Virginia Commonwealth University. She currently serves on the board of Centre Helps and is an alumna of the 2013 Leadership Centre County class.

Kristen Coombs, Treasurer
Kristen Coombs

Kristen Coombs is the Founder and Financial Advisor with Kristen Coombs Financial Advisors in State College, where she focuses primarily on financial planning and investment management for individuals and business owners. In addition to her investment advisory business, Kristen is the owner of New Life Financial, LLC, a financial divorce planning firm that works with individuals creating budgets, asset statements, and other financial schedules. Through this process she coaches her clients to make educated decisions on divorce settlement options as well as helping them to understand how those decisions will impact their financial future.

Kristen attended Katherine Gibbs School, Penn State, and is an honors graduate of the Central Atlantic School of Trust & Investment Management at Bucknell University. She has earned several professional licenses and designations including Certified Financial Planner™.

Kristen served on the Board of the Friends of the Palmer Museum where she was the chair of the museum’s annual gala. She has also volunteered for the Central PA 4th Festival and the State College Football Booster Club. Kristen and her husband, Tom, enjoy skiing, biking and traveling to spend time with their four grown children who live in Oregon, Colorado, North Carolina and State College.

Renata Engel

Renata S. Engel, Ph.D. is Associate Vice Provost for Online Programs at Penn State. In that role, she has responsibility for the academic affairs of Penn State’s World Campus, which encompasses the 130+ online programs and includes support for academic advising, faculty teaching online, the development and evaluation of online curricular innovations, and advancing student affairs practices for online learners.

A member of the Penn State faculty since 1990, she is Professor of Engineering Design and Engineering Science and Mechanics, and served as the Associate Dean for Academic Programs in the College of Engineering from 2006-2014 and the Executive Director of the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence from 2000-2006.

Engel is an avid Sidewalk Sale shopper and considers the Festival to be one of the highlights of the summer.

Jonathan Friedman

Jonathan Friedman is a rarity in some circles in State College—he’s a local kid. Born and reared in the State College area, Jonathan was graduated from State High (’95) and afterward earned a bachelor’s degree in Baltimore at Johns Hopkins University (B.A. ’99). He subsequently attended the University of Illinois College of Law (J.D. ’02).

He practiced law in Chicago for ten years, focusing mainly on corporate litigation in the healthcare industry. Once he and his wife Natalie decided to start a family, it became clear that they should move someplace where they could rear their kids close to family and in a friendly and safe environment. As a result, in 2012, they moved back to State College. They have two daughters, Beatrix and Margaux, who enjoy the local parks, museums, libraries and presence of many doting family members.

Jonathan is the Director of Development for several entities within the Friedman Real Estate Group. His career focus is on real estate within the Centre Region and the continued improvement of downtown.

Yvonne Gaudelius, Vice President
Yvonne Gaudelius

Yvonne Gaudelius is originally from Toronto, Canada, but has considered State College home for more than twenty years. She is an associate vice president and senior associate dean for undergraduate education at Penn State and a faculty member in the College of Arts and Architecture. Yvonne earned undergraduate degrees from Queen’s University and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and a doctoral degree from Penn State. She is the author of numerous articles and two co-authored books about art and education.

Yvonne is an avid gardener and cook who also loves to travel. She is married to Nigel Higson, a math professor at the University. They have one daughter, who is a senior at State High. Together the three of them enjoy travel, especially biking through the countryside and small towns that are off the beaten path.

Bob Hicks, President
Bob Hicks

Bob is CEO of Persea Naturals LLC, a company responsible for the development and production of natural food colorant for global food companies and food color companies. Bob also humbly serves as the minister at Upper Spruce Creek Presbyterian Church in Pennsylvania Furnace, Pennsylvania.

In addition to his board role at the Festival, Bob also serves as board member of the Centre Foundation.

Bob lives in State College with his lovely wife, Irene, and daughters Emilia and Claire.

Brad Keen

Brad Keen was named the Senior Manager of Business Development for Penn State Sport Properties in July 2018 with Learfield/IMG College.  Learfield/IMG College is the exclusive marketing and multi-media rights partner for Pennsylvania State University, creating customized programs which allow our partners to leverage affinity for the university and its athletic programs into business growth.

Current scope of responsibilities include and are not limited to serving clients in the business-to-business, consumer, government, and non-profit sectors, by providing an array of solutions; including regional brand enhancement and exposure, exclusive events and experiences, promotions, community relations, employee recruitment, and hospitality.

Prior to that, Brad was the Assistant Athletic Director for Marketing for Penn State Athletics from September 2014, where he oversaw the marketing and promotions initiatives for Penn State’s broad-based and highly successful 31-sport athletic program. He worked directly with Coach James Franklin’s football program in a variety of areas, including ticketing, branding and gameday fan experience.

Brad came to Penn State after serving as the Director of Marketing at Wake Forest University and prior to that served as the Assistant Director of Sales and Marketing at Vanderbilt University. He began his career as the Assistant Director of Marketing and Promotions at Middle Tennessee State University in 2010.

A native of Tuscaloosa, Ala., Keen earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Alabama and was a member of the Crimson Tide’s Athletic Marketing staff as a student.

Cristin Long

Cristin Long is an attorney with McQuaide Blasko in the firm’s State College office. Cristin’s primary areas of practice are business/corporate law, real estate law and estates. Cristin received her undergraduate degree from The Pennsylvania State University and her law degree from Villanova University School of Law. She is a member of the 2005 class of Leadership Centre County. Admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar in 2002, she has practiced with McQuaide Blasko for 15 years where she is now a shareholder.

Cristin has served on a number of community boards over the years. Currently she is on the board of the Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County and the Bob Perks Cancer Assistance Fund. She is a longtime patron of the Festival.

Heidi Nicholas

Heidi Nicholas is a principal in Nicholas Enterprises (since 2001), a State College based firm that engages in the development and management of commercial and multi-tenant residential real estate. Prior to returning to State College, she spent time as in the investment banking and telecommunications industries.

Heidi earned a undergraduate and graduate degrees in in Fine Arts from UCLA and spent time working for New York City Opera’s touring company and teaching at SUNY- Brockport before earning her MBA in Finance at Cornell University. She currently serves on the board of FNB Corporation in Pittsburgh.

She has been involved in numerous civic and community organizations in the State College area including the Centre Foundation, Clearwater Conservancy, and Girl Scouts in the Heart of PA.

Kathleen Raupach, Secretary

Since 2004, Kathleen has been guiding Penn State Recreation, Park and Tourism Management students in the successful planning and implementation of 20 annual special events to benefit local nonprofits, state parks and campus organizations. She earned degrees in Recreation and Parks from Penn State. She loves event logistics, and understands the benefits of special events to individuals and communities.

Kathleen began her professional career in Vermont, working in drug and alcohol rehabilitation, public health, and directing a nonprofit teen center. She served on the Vermont Reparative Board and the Vermont AIDS Council.

A State College native, Kathleen grew up attending the Arts Festival. Her sons have been Children and Youth Day artists. She volunteers weekly with Centre County PAWS as an Adoption Counselor, and has fostered many PAWS dogs, helping each on their journey to find their forever home.

Steve Sampsell

Steve Sampsell is director of strategic communications for the College of Communications at Penn State. He’s also an adjunct instructor, teaching introductory news writing and reporting, sports writing and a freshmen seminar titled “Happy Valley: Your New Hometown.” He has worked at Penn State since 2000.

Sampsell has served on numerous University-wide committees and collaborative efforts, often focused on charitable efforts. In 2014, he earned the University-wide Barash Award for Human Service. His community involvement includes volunteer roles with the Centre County United Way, Leadership Centre County, Pennsylvania Pink Zone and Centre Soccer (as a former board member), among others.

Before joining Penn State, he was the assistant sports editor of the Centre Daily Times. He has also worked for Tribune-Review in Pittsburgh and the Lock Haven Express. He continues to write a freelance column for the Altoona Mirror. He also self-published two books for his college-bound daughters (in 2011 and 2012, respectively) — titled Men Are Pigs: 93 Things a Dad Wants His Daughter to Know About College and It’s Not a Big Deal: A Dad’s Book of Advice About What Matters and What Does Not for His College-Bound Daughter. He lives in State College with his wife Susan.

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Get a Festival poster and buy Festival buttons, t-shirts and other merchandise at the corner of College and Allen – or visit our online store.

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