Social Work Trailblazer Elected to Lock Haven University Foundation Board of Directors


Margaret "Peggy" McFarland, a 1979 Lock Haven State College (LHSC) graduate has been elected to the Lock Haven University Foundation (LHUF) board of directors.

McFarland, a professor emerita of Elizabethtown College, retired in 2017 following a remarkable career in academia. Her journey from the family farm in the small town of Red Lion, to her student experiences at Lock Haven - a time she says transformed her life's trajectory to becoming an internationally-respected leader in social work education - is nothing short of inspiring.

In October of 2022, McFarland returned to Lock Haven for the first time in years alongside 11 alumni friends from LHSC. Their joyous day celebrated on campus left an indelible mark on McFarland and less than four months later, she was unanimously elected to a three-year term with the LHUF board of directors.

Beyond her 27 years teaching in Elizabethtown's Social Work Department, in 1990, McFarland founded Senior Management Services, a business dedicated to providing geriatric care management to families in York.

In 2001, her work with elderly populations was recognized by former Gov. Tom Ridge, and was honored as one of Pennsylvania's 50 Best Businesswomen.

In the classroom, McFarland mentored countless students, taking great pride in organizing international trips to Ireland, Thailand, and Vietnam to expose her students to new cultures, just as she experienced as a senior at Lock Haven when she studied abroad in Nottingham, England.

Through international trips with her students, McFarland fell in love with Vietnam, establishing deep connections with the people she met there.

While in Vietnam in 2007, McFarland began sponsoring and providing educational support to a Vietnamese orphan named Huyen. Now 31-years-old, and living in America, Huyen graduated from nursing school in May.

In 2014, McFarland was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship by the U.S. State Department to teach at the Vietnam National University in Ho Chi Minh City. There, she was tasked with educating aspiring social workers with the skills needed to meet the growing needs of the Vietnamese geriatric population.

Along with her volunteerism with the LHUF board of directors, McFarland and her husband Bob, also recently established The McFarland Social Work Scholarship Endowment Fund, which - in perpetuity - will award $1,000 annually to a Lock Haven social work student with demonstrated financial need.

For the McFarlands, aiding others of limited means on their quest for education is incredibly rewarding.

"Lock Haven will always hold a special place in my heart because of the outstanding social work education I received at The Haven," McFarland said.

"With the cost of education increasing so much over the years, (Bob and I) wanted to be able to help social work students meet some of their educational expenses," she added. "We are passionate about the field of social work because there are so many needs in our society, and we need more social workers to provide service to others."

In her volunteer role, McFarland is a member of the LHUF's Advancement Committee. Her goals include reaching out to community members, organizations, and alumni to educate them about the many impactful ways they can provide financial support for the betterment of Lock Haven students.

"On behalf of the LHU Foundation, I'd like to congratulate Peggy for her many career achievements, and thank her, and Bob, for their time and investment in Lock Haven students," said Ashley Koser, LHUF executive director.

"Peggy's decades-long experiences as a scholar and proud Lock Haven alumna are a wonderful addition to our board," she added. "Her intrinsic will to positively impact underserved populations will surely make a difference for Lock Haven students, most of which are first-generation or come from financially-limited families."

"My experiences in higher education will allow me to provide insight to the board as it relates to best practices and strategic initiatives for successful student-centered education," McFarland said. "The 'world of academics' is a special kind of structure, so I hope my background and knowledge will be an asset to the board."