Dr. Ralph Anttonen and his wife, Judy, have been named the 2008 grand marshals of the Millersville Community Parade, chosen among 25 other nominees by the Millersville Community Parade Committee.
The two mile, award-winning parade will take place on Saturday, Nov. 1, which coincides with Millersville’s Homecoming weekend, Family Day and Community Day.
The parade, themed “Animals: Fictional or Real,” will leave Penn Manor High School at 9 a.m. and end in front of Millersville’s Student Memorial Center at approximately 11:30 a.m.
The Anttonen’s will be keeping with the theme of “Animals: Fictional and Real” by bringing along a four foot teddy bear, named Yenoh, that Ralph gave Judy for her 60th birthday. Normally, Yenoh rides in the backseat of Judy’s Jeep, as her “protector,” Ralph said.
“He’s coming out of the Jeep and into the parade with us,” said Ralph.
As the grand marshals, the Anttonen’s will ride in a car leading the procession. They will then go to a reviewing stand, where they will watch the remainder of the parade.
The Anttonen’s are the first couple to be chosen as grand marshals.
They were selected based on their considerable contributions to the Millersville community.
“We’re really thrilled,” said Ralph Anttonen, “Judy’s going to get a new outfit out of this.”
Together, their community service includes coordinating the Millersville Mile, which benefits the Millersville Fire Company, serving as honorary members of the fire company, dressing up as Santa and Mrs. Claus for local schools and events, and disc jockeying on Millersville University’s campus radio station, WIXQ-FM, where they are better known as Doc and Momma Roc.
The Anttonens also sponsor Adopt-a-Highway on Long Lane. Ralph Anttonen, who has been on the faculty at Millersville since 1971, serves as the university’s chair of the department of academic and student development and the director of the Exploratory Program.
He is heavily involved on campus, as the advisor of WIXQ-FM, a mentor to hundreds of Millersville students and the Millersville basketball announcer, to name a few.
He is also a timing official with the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA), is an author, and has partaken in more than 40 races, both cycling and running, since 1989. Ralph was named “MU Person of the Year” in 2001. He graduated from Tuft’s University with a bachelor’s degree in Math, and then continued on to University of Minnesota for his Ph.D. in educational psychology.
Judy Anttonen is a Millersville graduate. She received a bachelor’s degree in elementary and early childhood education, and a master’s degree in special education. She is retired from the Conestoga Valley School District, where she was a special education and learning support teacher.
Like her husband, she is very active in the community. Her service includes volunteering with the Susquehanna Association for the Blind and Vision Impaired and the Watch and Clock Museum, where she was chosen as Volunteer of the Year in 2007.
At Millersville, she is a basketball scorekeeper, a PIAA timing official, part of the Millersville Choral Group and a member the Standing Room Only Singers. In the past, she was the treasurer of the West End Athletic Association, and has participated in over 500 road races and 30 triathlons since the 1970s.