Marine in active service and father appointed Marshal of the College of Health and Human Development


Benjamin Courter, an active duty member of the United States Marine Corps, will graduate in the fall of 2021 with a diploma in Recreation, Parks and Tourism Management, and will be the Field Marshal of the College of Health and Human Development of Penn State. fall opening ceremony on December 18.

Courter attended Penn State as part of the Marine Commissioning Education Program (MECEP), which supports college education for enlisted service members in schools with a Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps program ( NROTC).

Courter will return to active service upon graduation, and upon completion of military service, he plans to pursue a career in park management.

“One thing I really love about military service is being out there and being active. I love hiking, hunting and fishing, and I think the thrill of being active is something that will easily translate into a career in park management, ”said Courter, who plans to continue his government service. in the management of parks after his military service.

Courter initially thought he would pursue the PGA Professional Golf Management option of the Recreation, Parks and Tourism Management diploma program, but after discussing his interests with academic advisors, he appreciated the Additional flexibility offered by the program’s community recreation management option to incorporate military education credits.

He always found a way to connect his education through an internship with Penn State Golf Courses, where he enjoyed interacting with the campus and State College communities.

“Penn State really has a community feel, and I got to see it on the golf courses,” said Courter, who researched the MECEP program at Penn State because of the area’s small town feel. “You see the students representing Penn State in their gear, but so do their grandparents. It’s such a strong feeling of community and connection.

This sense of community was even more important to Courter, as his wife, Hillary, and their two children, Harper and Callie, moved with him to State College.

Hillary will graduate from Penn State alongside her this fall, earning her BSc in Communication Science and Disorders.

Balancing life as a full-time student, Marine Corps service member, and father brought new perspectives for Courter into the classroom.

“I always felt I had something different to add to class discussions because I’m a parent,” Courter said. “Even if you’re talking about consumer products in a business class, being a parent brings a whole different perspective on security and user experience. It was interesting to discover my education through this different lens.

The Courter family is active in their community and neighborhood, enjoying Penn State football games and hatches, parades and “all the classic Penn State things”. Although they will be moving to his next duty station after graduation, Courter said he could see them return to the State College area when he completes his military service.

“Hillary and I are first generation Penn Staters, but we would love to come back to this community and maybe pass this on to our children.”

Courter, son of Barbara and Douglas Courter of Clear Spring, Maryland, graduated from Clear Spring High School in 2008. He is the recipient of the President’s Freshman Award 2020, the 2021 Evan Pugh Scholar Senior Award, the 2019 Jon and Judy Mills Trustee Scholarship, and the Joanne F. Finegan and Dr Eli DeHope Trustee Scholarship 2020 and 2021.


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