The Dr. Lil Junas Garden was dedicated at Penn State Hazleton Wednesday, August 12, to honor a longtime friend of the campus and Penn State alumna.
Dr. Lil Junas was born and raised in Hazleton and attended Penn State Hazleton, earning a bachelor's and a master's degree from Penn State. She spent a career as a photojournalist who worked for several newspapers.
"As Lil is an avid lover of arts and the outdoors, the naming of this garden is a perfect fit with her most passionate interests," said Chancellor Gary Lawler, unveiling a bronze plaque at the entrance to the garden. "Her career has spanned the spectrum - from educator to journalist, business woman to accomplished photographer - and her professional and personal contributions to the community have left a lasting impression," he said.
Junas said the garden stemmed from her contributions to Penn State Hazleton, which she made because she wanted to give back to the campus where she started. While at the campus for the dedication, she recalled spending a great deal of time in Schiavo Hall, adjacent to the garden, and events held at the garden while she was a student. Schiavo Hall, today the administration building at Penn State Hazleton, previously served as the campus' only classroom building.
Lawler said the garden is significant to the campus' aesthetics and history. "The garden is a common meeting ground for students, faculty, staff, and local residents on campus for special photo-worthy occasions such as weddings. We have many photographs of the gardens in various forms over the years, including those celebrating May Day, which always took place here. A favorite stop along all campus tours, the gardens are clearly a draw for those considering the quality of life at Penn State Hazleton. The gardens with their iconic archway are considered a special place at Penn State Hazleton and we are so proud to be able to dedicate them today."
Junas' interest in cultures and lifestyles led her to spend a year teaching English in Slovakia. Besides Slovakia, her freelance stints and travels include Ecuador, Costa Rica, Poland, Croatia, Slovenia, Mexico, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Hungary, Italy, Austria and Iceland. She has photographed in every U.S. state except Hawaii, in addition to the Yukon Territory and nearly all provinces of Canada. For several months, Junas lived with tribes of American Indians in Arizona and South Dakota.
Her college teaching experience included tenures at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, and East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania. She has also written numerous columns for the Standard-Speaker and is an accomplished gardener.
Junas has published four books that include many of her photographs: "Cadron Creek: A Photographic Narrative" (1979); "Historic Bethlehem: A Photographic Glimpse" (1985); "Slovakia: Land of My Heritage" (1994) and "My Slovakia: An American's View" (2002). She also authored a pocket guide called "Going to Slovakia?" for visitors to that country.
In September 2012, as part of the campus' Community Day events, Junas created an exhibition of 30 photos taken during her global travels over the years.
While a student at Penn State, she served on the staff of The Daily Collegian and was inducted into Kappa Tau Alpha (Penn State's honor society for journalism and communications) and served on the staff of The Daily Collegian. She also holds a doctoral degree from Ohio State and a professional certificate in commercial and illustrative photography from the Country School of Photography in Vermont.