Inspired to serve

October 28, 2021
5 min read


The Dutton's story is one of dedicated service. Dr. John Dutton will complete 25 years of volunteer service with Mount Nittany Health in various capacities this month. His Mount Nittany Health journey began in the 1990s when he needed a fairly serious surgery that required five days of hospitalization for post-operative recovery.

"The experience made me wonder what it would be like to run an organization in which doctors are not employees and most of the customers would rather be elsewhere—no one wants to go to the hospital," says Dr. John Dutton, Dean Emeritus of the College of Earth and Mineral
Sciences at Penn State.

His curiosity led him to run for the open seat on the hospital board for the State College Area School District. At that time, each school district was assigned a seat on the hospital board, whose members were elected from the community.

The progress and growth of Mount Nittany Health inspired Dr. Dutton to continue to re-up his service. "I enjoyed the challenges inherent to healthcare that were shared with the board. I liked seeing new physical facilities being built, new technology being acquired, and the outstanding growth of our own physician group that has occurred over the last twenty years," shares Dutton.

His tenure on the Medical Center board saw facilities developed to meet the healthcare needs of the community, including the expansion of the East Wing to accommodate single patient rooms, the construction of the Lance and Ellen Shaner Cancer Pavilion, the expansion of the emergency department, and the addition of a new cardiovascular facility[JD1] .  

"For several years, I served as the chair of the patient care committee, whose main function then was accrediting providers to practice in the hospital," states Dutton. "As my knowledge of the hospital grew, so did my understanding of how the organization needed to grow and expand to meet the healthcare needs of this community. Richard (Rich) Kalin and Russell (Russ) Brooks, fellow board members, enthusiastically shared this vision. The three of us became strong advocates for growth, advancing patient services, and expanding our geographical footprint. We became an ad-hoc group seeking change and improvement."

"Upon our retirement from Mount Nittany Medical Center's board of directors, I was delighted when former board chair Carl Raup presented early 20th century editions of "The Three Musketeers" by Alexandre Dumas to Rich Kalin, Russ Brooks, and me," recalls Dutton.

After leaving the Mount Nittany Medical Center board, Dr. Dutton served on the Mount Nittany Health Foundation board.

"Twenty-five years later, as I reflect on my volunteer service, I am proud to have contributed to the growth and expansion of Mount Nittany Health in the context of an ever-evolving healthcare landscape. As a board member, it has been a privilege to watch the organization grow to a top employer with over 2400 employees, including 170 medical providers offering 30 medical specialties in 17 locations," shares Dutton.

Mount Nittany Health Foundation is where Dr. Dutton closes out his volunteer career as chair of the board. "Dr. Dutton has been a leading voice in recognizing the importance of philanthropy to the growth and advancement of Mount Nittany Health," says Simon Corby, executive director of Mount Nittany Health Foundation. "Dr. Dutton and his wife, Elizabeth, have also made generous contributions to some of our most recent campaigns in support of better patient facilities. We are profoundly grateful for their generosity, their leadership, and their dedication."

Dr. Dutton's story is one of exceptional dedication and commitment to volunteering his time, talents, and treasure.  His story demonstrates that Mount Nittany Health volunteers are not just making life easier for patients but also working behind the scenes in a variety of support capacities! Volunteering is a great way to give back and make an impact.

If you're interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities at Mount Nittany Medical Center or Mount Nittany Health Foundation, please get in touch with Wendy Garlock, volunteer and events manager, Mount Nittany Health Foundation, at or 814.234.6777.


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