For many students, attending college is one of their first true steps into adulthood; however, this was not the case for Greg Czarnecki. A non-traditional student, Czarnecki received his degree by taking courses at Gannon for seven years, while also working full-time, raising a family and paying a mortgage. His hard work and persistence paid off in 1989 when he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology.
Following graduation, Czarnecki became an adjunct faculty member for Gannon’s biology department. One of the courses he taught was Invertebrate Zoology, previously taught by one of his favorite Gannon professors, Dr. Stan Zagorski. “Dr. Zagorski was quite the character; we had so much fun we forgot we were learning,” said Czarnecki. “After he retired, I taught the invertebrate zoology course for several years and had some big shoes to fill.”
Since departing Gannon as a faculty member, Czarnecki worked on the executive staff of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, consulted for the Environmental Protection Agency and served as director of Pennsylvania’s Nature Conservancy’s Science Office. Today, Czarnecki is the Director of Applied Climate Science for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which manages 121 state parks and more than two million acres of state forests.
In addition to this work, Czarnecki is on the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science and the Pennsylvania Biological Survey. He also serves on advisory boards and committees ranging from Pennsylvania Sea Grant to the U.S. Climate Alliance. Czarnecki served as director and then president of Gannon’s National Alumni Board and is an adjunct faculty member at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology.
In his spare time, Czarnecki enjoys writing, photography, gardening and antique automobiles. He and his wife, Karen, have been married for 36 years. Their daughter, Tara, is studying Communication Arts at Gannon. Most recently, Czarnecki volunteered countless hours to write “Gannon University,” a pictorial history of the university. Proceeds from Czarnecki’s book will go to Gannon.
(published Sept. 2019)