Penn State DuBois mourning the loss of beloved professor Frederick Groh

Frederick P. Groh's headshot

Frederick P. Groh, lecturer of Earth sciences at Penn State DuBois.

Credit: Penn State

DuBOIS, Pa. — The Penn State DuBois community is mourning the loss of Lecturer of Earth Sciences Frederick P. Groh, who passed away unexpectedly on March 8.

Born in Lebanon on Sept. 15, 1952, “Fred,” as he was known around campus, graduated from Cedar Crest High School as a member of the class of 1970. After working for many years in sales and consulting, he decided to pursue further education, receiving his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Oregon State University. Groh began his time as an adjunct professor at Penn State DuBois during the fall 2018 semester.

The impact that Fred Groh had on our campus and our students cannot be overstated. His passion for teaching and dedication to his students is a prime example of an outstanding educator.

—Jungwoo Ryoo , chancellor and chief academic officer, Penn State DuBois

“The impact that Fred Groh had on our campus and our students cannot be overstated,” Jungwoo Ryoo, chancellor and chief academic officer, said. “His passion for teaching and dedication to his students is a prime example of an outstanding educator. The love his students had for him emphasizes the impact that he had on them. It is those students, alumni, colleagues, family and friends that will now carry on his memory and legacy.”

Dedication to his students is something that Groh held great pride in. Living in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Groh would make the over two-and-a-half-hour trip to DuBois each day his classes were in session. Then, at the end of the day, he would make the return trip back home, often regardless of weather and road conditions that can change in an instant during winter in Pennsylvania. In essence, nothing was going to get in the way of him sharing his knowledge with his students.

On March 14, students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members came together for a memorial service for Groh on the DEF lawn on campus. After some opening words from Rebecca Pennington, director of student affairs, and a moment of silence, Ryoo shared a personal memory of his own of Groh. Those in attendance, who were formed in a circle to show support to one another, then took turns sharing their own memories, telling stories from some of their favorite times in class with Groh and expressing the deep impact he had on their lives. Caleb Leonard, a current student at Penn State DuBois, gave the service a fitting closing by playing his guitar and singing “Amazing Grace."

Through this memorial service, we wanted to bring everyone together to say thank you to Fred for everything he did for Penn State DuBois.

—Rebecca Pennington , director of student affairs, Penn State DuBois

“Through this memorial service, we wanted to bring everyone together to say thank you to Fred for everything he did for Penn State DuBois,” Pennington said. “We also wanted to show everyone that they are not alone during this grieving process. Grieving takes time and it isn’t easy for anyone to do alone. Everyone needs support. Through this service and the counseling services we have offered to our students, faculty and staff, our goal is to help everyone celebrate Fred’s life and forever carry on Fred in our memories.”

In his obituary, Groh's passions outside of the classroom were noted. He enjoyed playing golf, watching ice hockey, going to Hershey Bears games and Penn State football games. He also enjoyed spending time with his children and grandchildren.

The full obituary is available to read online.

Family and friends are invited to attend a memorial service for Fred Groh on Wednesday, March 27, at 5 p.m. at the Melanie B. Scheid Funeral Directors & Cremation Services, 317 E. Orange Street, Lancaster. Friends will be received at the funeral home on Wednesday from 4 to 5 p.m.

Members of the campus community were given the opportunity to share memories of their time with Fred. Here are numerous memories that were shared:

“I only had Fred for a semester, but that semester was the best semester in my college career. I will never forget his humor and the stories about his personal life. Fred Groh is truly one to remember.” — Riley West

“Fred Groh was the kind of man that if you were in a sport and started talking about it, he would stand there and talk to the students about it. For instance, I am an athlete on campus, I run cross country. The one time that I told him I had a meet and would not be in class he asked me my times and where the meet was at. No other professor on campus had ever asked me about my times, this was one thing that made him special to a lot of students. Fred was all around a good guy and a kindhearted teacher who would be willing to help any student in any way he could. Fred really cared about his students here and there is nothing better you could ask for in a teacher. I will always remember the kind of man that Fred was and how he impacted my life. Forever grateful for having been in his class. He will be greatly missed by the Penn State DuBois community. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.” — Tara Leamer

“One time I remember Fred drove the whole way to campus only to have the campus close for a snow day. I felt bad for him and asked him why he would want to make that drive on a day like that. This is going to stick with me forever, he said, ‘Because of students like you.’ He truly loved us, each and every one of us. I’m going to miss him.” — Darin Glass

“Back in 2019-20 I had Fred for numerous classes; he was my favorite professor. He was such a genuine and kind guy. My fondest college memories all took place in Fred’s classes. One year we had a big mock trial event in his shale energy course. We all had so much fun with the event, and any time any of us spoke with Fred after college the conversation always came back to that day.” — Alexander Adamski

“Even after I had finished at Penn State DuBois I always kept in touch with Fred.  He would take time to meet with me for dinner in State College just to catch up and talk. He is one of the most passionate educators I have ever met, as he was always asking how he could improve his curriculum and make it more engaging for his students. Fred was driven to make the world around him a better, more educated place, and he will be very sorely missed.” — Vito Mammone

“Fred and I’s birthdays were two days apart. I had emailed him on Friday saying happy birthday, and then two days later I received an email from him saying happy birthday back to me. I was so touched because Fred took time out of his weekend just to tell a student happy birthday. Fred often told me that if all his students worked as hard as I did, he’d still have hair. I have never had a more influential professor in my years at DuBois, and I have never met a more kind and charismatic man. I hope to continue his passionate love for the environment and putting a stop to climate change into my future work. Fred was greatly loved and will be so missed.” — Emma Suplizio

“One memory I have of Fred is when he, Abby and myself were talking about our latest concert and him making fun of Abby for hitting a racoon and from then on only referring to her as the '100 mph girl.' Another memory I have is when we got to make PowerPoints and my group, we would always crop Fred’s head onto something and every time he would laugh and it really made presenting so much easier, especially because Fred didn’t care if you went up there and stuttered the whole presentation, all he cared about is if you did your best and he would always praise you. Fred genuinely was my favorite professor I’ve had on campus. He came in every single class with a smile and some sort of story to share and he always asked how our day was and loved hearing us share our funny stories with him. I am so grateful that I was able to take all of his courses he offered and will forever remember all the memories with him.” — Chelsea Busatto

“One of the main things that had a big impact on me from Fred was that he always made me feel like I was someone. I walked into classes not knowing what I wanted to do with my life, and I would find something that inspired me and Fred would take it to a whole other level to help me get on the right path. He always went to another level when he didn’t have to. Fred was also the type of person that was always there. He was so caring, supportive, and most of all, kind. He was always so understanding when it came to certain situations. We also connected on a different level when it came to golf. If I had a question about anything he would always make time no matter if I had to call him on his drive home. He would always compliment me on my hard work and would always tell me to keep going in the hard times when I felt like giving up. The dedication that he had will always inspire me. He will always have a special place in my heart and will never be forgotten.” — Samantha Hardy

“Mr. Groh was one of the most genuine teachers I have had since I began school. He was passionate about teaching and fair to everyone. All he asked of us was to try our best. When I heard of his passing it really hurt my heart. I certainly will not forget him.” — Lisa Craggs

“Fred was like a father figure to me on campus. Fred was a professor that I just couldn’t wait to get to his class. He made a subject, that I wasn’t always the most thrilled about, be very interesting. He was a guy that I could call at any time, and he would give me the shirt off his back.” — Brandon Orsich

“As the Campus Registrar, I worked with Fred mostly behind the scenes when there were issues with students. Fred wouldn't hesitate to accept an additional student into his class, even if it was later in the semester. He would also reach out to our ACM team the minute he had concerns with any of his students and he'd work with those students throughout the semester to do everything he could to make sure they were successful. Fred was one of the most student-focused faculty we had on campus, and he'll truly be missed by my office.” — Garrett Roen