About

Don poses with a pair of Mexican Indians, 1959.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADon Gogniat credits his parents – especially his father – for putting travel in his blood. When he was a youngster his parents would pack the family and set out from their home in Pittsburgh, Pa. to explore the country and the world. In that time, they visited every state in the U.S. — except North Dakota, Alaska and Hawaii (Gogniat crossed these off later in life); Canada; Mexico; Central America and Europe.

“We were never in a hurry,” Gogniat recalls in his book “Crossroads.” “These Adventures usually lasted anywhere from 10 through 12 weeks in the summer … although on rare occasions I would miss some school days in the spring or fall.”

He received a B.S. in Education from Indiana University of Pa. in 1970 and a M.A. in Gegraphy from IUP in 1973. After a three-year stint teaching seventh-grade world cultures, Gogniat joined the Peace Corps as a regional planner for the Costa Rican National Planning Office from 1974-75. This enabled him to pursue a PhD in Cultural Geography with an emphasis in Latin America from the University of Pittsburgh.

Don on elephantFor the last 25 years, Gogniat has worked as an administrator for Penn State University.  He was the Campus Executive Officer at Penn State York from 1993- 2002; and from 2003 – 2005 he was the Director of International Programs for the Commonwealth College of Penn State.  Additionally since 1993, he has been teaching a geography course each year at a Penn State Campus.

Gogniat has sailed on Semester at Sea where he taught geography in the fall of 1985 and 2008, and Global Studies in fall of 1990 and spring of 2004, 2010 and 2012. He was the Executive Dean on the summer voyage in 2006.

Don’s an avid photographer, and has presented his photographs as part of a series of lectures to numerous organizations; his work has appeared in newspapers, magazines, and juried exhibits.

Other hobbies include travel, billiards, hiking and biking and walking. He plays a fair game of nine ball.

He resides in York, Pa. where he takes care of his beloved Labradoodle, Isadorable Duncan.

Don talks to Fidel Castro during a visit to Cuba in 2004.

Don talks to Fidel Castro during a visit to Cuba in 2004.

  1 comment for “About

  1. Elizabeth Ulrich-Anderson
    September 28, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    Dear Dr. Gogniat,
    I know you won’t remember me, but I was a student that traveled with you on your first voyage of Semester at Sea in 1985. The reason I am here, on your website, is two-fold. First, I am fortunate enough to be on the faculty of The University of Toledo as a Composition Instructor, and we recently inaugurated our first female president who has a background in Urban Planning. Her name is Dr. Sharon L. Gaber. She is going to be FABULOUS for our university and she is the reason I was reflecting back on our voyage so many years ago. Your geography course was the most memorable class from our voyage, nay, not just from our voyage, but probably the most memorable in all of my academic career. I can still remember the lecture you gave on urban development and planning during our departure from Taiwan in near tsunami strength winds. Remember, you said, “If my foot comes off of this napkin on the floor, you all can leave, otherwise…we’re going to learn about how cities are developed and planned….” Priceless! Secondly, I just wanted to let you know that you made a difference in my life and the lives of many of the students on that voyage. I actually recruited for SAS when I returned to Ohio State University to finish out my undergraduate degree and your infectious love of learning and your desire to think globally sparked that passion in me. So, THANK YOU, many, many years too late! I hope you are well and still engaging the world with all of your unending verve and vigor! Respectfully, Beth Ulrich-Anderson SAS Fall 1985.

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