News: Alumni

Centennial Documentary to Premiere in January on WVIA-TV
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From its humble inception as a basement vocational-technical shop at Williamsport High School in 1914 to its standing today as a special-mission affiliate of Penn State, Pennsylvania College of Technology and its predecessor institutions have continually met workforce demands.

The college’s 100-year commitment to that noble objective is explored in a one-hour documentary airing throughout northeastern and northcentral Pennsylvania in January on WVIA-TV. “Working Class: 100 Years of Hands-On Education” will premiere on the PBS-member station on Jan. 13 at 7 p.m.

Produced by Penn College and WVIA Public Media, the documentary reveals myriad challenges the college has overcome in honoring the dignity of work and embracing workforce needs. Through interviews with multiple generations of key college officials, and archival photos and video, the documentary brings to life the institution’s enduring commitment to the working class, defined not only as a group contributing to the workforce but also a classroom engaging students in traditional, general education and relevant, hands-on activities.

“We knew there were important stories to tell for our 100th anniversary about the founding of the institution and the many challenges that were faced over the past century,” said Elaine J. Lambert, special assistant to the president for creative development and public relations, and an executive producer of the documentary. “We chose to produce a film because we felt it was important to share the history in a video format in addition to printed materials.”

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Countdown to the Centennial logo

2014 marks a milestone in the institution's rich history, from the inception of adult classes in the Williamsport Area School District in 1914, through its evolution into Williamsport Technical Institute, Williamsport Area Community College, and present-day Pennsylvania College of Technology. Read about the institution's history →

Zimmerman Scholarship Established at Penn College

June and Thomas Zimmerman have established a scholarship at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

Two faculty members at Pennsylvania College of Technology who are also alumni of the institution ­­have established a building-to-endowed scholarship at the college.

The scholarship was created by Thomas A. Zimmerman, an associate professor of psychology who has worked at Penn College since 1984, and June Kilgus Zimmerman, a part-time sociology faculty member who is also employed as an oncology social worker by the Susquehanna Health Cancer Center.

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Consider Penn College in Your Year-End Giving Plans

If you are considering making a charitable donation as the 2014 tax year comes to a close, please remember the Penn College employee campaign. Gifts of all sizes help students succeed and will be put to use immediately.

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Band of Ukuleles to Light Up CAC Stage

The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra

The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra

The Penn College family is included in a holiday sale for next month’s Community Arts Center appearance by the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra. Get half off adult tickets in the orchestra section (starting at $12.50) through Wednesday, Dec. 31. In addition, all student tickets are just $5 throughout the theater! Go online and enter promotional code XMASTREAT, then proceed to “Buy.” The discount price will appear once you click on a seat. This offer is not valid on previously purchased tickets. Full-price adult tickets are $35, $30 and $25. The loge and balcony are closed for this event. If you call or stop by the box office, please be sure to give the promotional code before purchasing tickets. Discounted student ticket prices are available for pre-school through college. College students must present valid student ID on the night of the show. Renowned for its winning combination of charming humor, its disarmingly small instruments and its sublime musicality, the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra is one of the world’s great modern ukulele acts. Hailing from the home of “The Hobbit” movies, the orchestra will bring an irresistible New Zealand heartland feel to the Arts Center’s stage at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 8. The orchestra presents the ukulele as it’s never been played before, featuring songs made famous by such artists as Justin Timberlake, Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Hall and Oates, Cyndi Lauper, Prince, Kenny Rogers, and Kings of Leon – alongside tunes from the South Pacific – packaged into a spectacular, unmissable funfest. The wildly popular ensemble creates instant joy and lasting magic wherever it goes, armed with high-octane ukulele solos, heavenly harmonies and outrageous costumes. Its members’ comedic banter is spontaneous, and, when the group bursts into song, the sweet sounds can silence a room in a nanosecond or bring a crowd of thousands to its feet. For more information on the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra and to hear its music, please visit the Arts Center’s website, click on “shows” in the header and choose “Music” from the dropdown menu. The Community Arts Center, a wholly owned subsidiary of Penn College, is located just a few blocks from campus at 220 W. Fourth St. in downtown Williamsport.

Penn College Presents on Centennial at Communicators Conference

Co-workers present on college Centennial

Planning and implementing a milestone event – specifically, Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Centennial celebration – was the subject of a recent staff presentation at a Fall 2014 Conference for CUPRAP-The Association of Communicators in Education, held at Harcum College in Bryn Mawr.

Judith A. Fink, website content manager and supervisor of alumni/advancement marketing, and Joseph S. Yoder, associate vice president for public relations and marketing, presented “Staging a Milestone Anniversary: Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Centennial.”

The Centennial honors the 100-year history of the institution, from the inception of vocational and adult education classes at Williamsport High School through its evolution into Williamsport Technical Institute, Williamsport Area Community College and Penn College. It also celebrates the present-day institution, a special mission affiliate of Penn State, with a variety of events built around the college’s vision, values and strategic goals.

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Countdown to the Centennial logo

2014 marks a milestone in the institution's rich history, from the inception of adult classes in the Williamsport Area School District in 1914, through its evolution into Williamsport Technical Institute, Williamsport Area Community College, and present-day Pennsylvania College of Technology. Read about the institution's history →

Faculty Member Brings Shipyard Experience Into Welding Lab

A mock-up of a oil tanker's bulkhead has been fabricated by Steven J. Kopera's welding students ...

A mock-up of a oil tanker’s bulkhead has been fabricated by Steven J. Kopera’s welding students …

Cutaway drawings help Kopera's students envision the scope of the work.

Cutaway drawings help Kopera’s students envision the scope of the work.

... who are living an on-the-job scenario in their Penn College lab.

… who are living an on-the-job scenario in their Penn College lab.

Benefiting from the real-world experience of an alumnus turned faculty member, Penn College students are simulating how the watertight bulkhead of an oil tanker is assembled, welded and pressure-tested. “Often times, the day-to-day lab projects we do in class can become very monotonous, and leave students asking, ‘Is this really what it’s like out in the field?’and “When am I ever actually going to need to do this?'” said Steven J. Kopera, a welding lecturer in the School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies. Kopera earned degrees in welding technology (2007) and welding and fabrication engineering technology (2009) before embarking on a career that included time at the Aker Philadelphia Shipyard. While course work provides necessary practice in fundamentals and technique, he said, it is done under the most ideal circumstances – conditions that are atypical of industry. “The intent behind this project was to get the students out of their routine and their comfort zone,” he said, “and to expose them to a situation that they will be faced with in the workforce.” Kopera has been brainstorming the exercise for some time and, with only seven students in his unusually small class this semester, the time was right. He explained how hull sections are put together and showed them various pictures and sketches in the classroom, supplementing the instruction with stories of his “overwhelming” encounters as a young welder newly exposed to large-scale fabrication. “This project will apply those skills they have been honing to a realistic industry scenario,” Kopera said. noting that they will be using the flux-core, arc-welding process that they have been learning in lab. “I believe it will not only be a good learning experience for them, but also a testament to how well our normal class routine prepares them for an actual on-the-job application.” Having fashioned a small mock-up of a watertight bulkhead, the students plan to do the welding and pressure-testing on Thursday.
Photos provided

Centennial Reception, Concert Say ‘Thanks’ to Scholarship Donors

A full house in the Field House! The Centennial event invited all campaign donors to an autumn buffet. Attendees including alumni, current and retired employees and other friends and supporters, enjoyed such treats as mashed sweet potatoes, a selection of "sliders" and a choice of desserts from the college's fine-dining restaurant.

A full house in the Field House! The Centennial event invited all campaign donors to an autumn buffet. Attendees including alumni, current and retired employees, and other friends and supporters enjoyed such treats as mashed sweet potatoes, a selection of “sliders” and a choice of desserts from the college’s fine-dining restaurant.

Surrounded by colorful stage lighting befitting the festive affair, President Davie Jane Gilmour welcomes more than 500 people – including students – to the post-buffet concert at the CAC.

Surrounded by colorful stage lighting befitting the festive affair, President Davie Jane Gilmour welcomes more than 500 people – including students – to the post-buffet concert at the CAC.

One of the funnier moments of the evening was when the band offered a free copy of its new Christmas CD to the first audience member "to get up here." Two eager fans took the words literally, leaping onto the stage. Erin N. Shaffer (standing in white top), daughter of Myra K. Shaffer, institutional advancement and foundation assistant, was proclaimed the winner (although the band gave a second CD to the other fan.)

One of the funnier moments of the evening was when the band offered a free copy of its new Christmas CD to the first audience member “to get up here.” Two eager fans took the words literally, leaping onto the stage. Erin N. Shaffer (standing in white top), daughter of Myra K. Shaffer, institutional advancement and foundation assistant, was proclaimed the winner (although the band gave a second CD to the other fan.)

Home Free, which received two standing ovations by night's end, takes the stage.

Home Free, which received two standing ovations by night’s end, takes the stage.

Chris Rupp, who founded Home Free with his brother Adam, signs autographs for young fans in the Capitol Lounge following the show.

Chris Rupp, who founded Home Free with his brother Adam, signs autographs for young fans in the Capitol Lounge following the show.

In appreciation of their contributions to the Penn College Scholarship Campaign, donors were treated to a casual Saturday evening of tasty and tuneful entertainment. The celebration began with a Le Jeune Restaurant-catered buffet at the Field House and continued at the Community Arts Center with a private performance by Home Free, the a cappella country group that won the fourth season of NBC’s “The Sing-Off.” More than $5.7 million has been donated to the campaign, which, for 2014-15, has already more than doubled the scholarship support to students prior to the start of the campaign in 2011.

Countdown to the Centennial logo

2014 marks a milestone in the institution's rich history, from the inception of adult classes in the Williamsport Area School District in 1914, through its evolution into Williamsport Technical Institute, Williamsport Area Community College, and present-day Pennsylvania College of Technology. Read about the institution's history →

Dental Hygienist Visits Children’s Learning Center

Myreta Churba works with youngsters at the college's Dunham Children's Learning Center.

Myreta Churba works with youngsters at the college’s Dunham Children’s Learning Center.

Myreta Churba, a part-time faculty member and 1984 alumna, recently presented dental hygiene lessons at Penn College’s Dunham Children’s Learning Center. Churba is a community outreach dental hygienist with Susquehanna Community Health and Dental Center. In addition to Thursday’s class activities, some children received dental cleanings and screenings on-site if their parents had enrolled them in the program.
Photo by Regina G. Andes, assistant group leader, Children’s Learning Center

Alumnus Endows Second Scholarship at Penn College

Alumnus and scholarship donor Jeff Erdly talks with Penn College students during a campus presentation in October.

Jeff Erdly, CEO of Masonry Preservation Services Inc. and a 1972 engineering drafting graduate of Pennsylvania College of Technology predecessor Williamsport Area Community College, has endowed a second scholarship at the college.

The Jeff Erdly Scholarship will provide award preferences to Penn College full-time students who have graduated from Selinsgrove Area High School and are enrolled in any major. Second preference will be given to Penn College students who have a home residence in Snyder County.

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College Family’s Military Service Recognized on Veterans Day

"The Stars and Stripes" fly proudly near the SASC, site of the college's veterans assistance services.

On this Veterans Day,  PCToday salutes the Pennsylvania College of Technology students, faculty, staff and alumni who have served (or continue to serve) their country.

Members of the campus community are encouraged to say “Thank you” for the military service of their colleagues, recognized through this voluntary honor roll.

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Alumni Share Industry Perspective During Horticulture Students’ Visits

Aaron M. Shippling, Good's general manager and a 1982 Williamsport Area Community College graduate in nursery management, conducts a tour of the yard.

Aaron M. Shippling, Good’s general manager and a 1982 Williamsport Area Community College graduate in nursery management, conducts a tour of the yard.

The group gathers outside The Children's Garden at Hershey with Alyssa B. Richner (right), who graduated in 2010 with a degree in ornamental horticulture: landscape technology emphasis.

The group gathers outside The Children’s Garden at Hershey with Alyssa B. Richner (right), who graduated in 2010 with a degree in ornamental horticulture: landscape technology emphasis.

Students get a look at Ruppert Nursery's 90- and 100-inch tree spades, capable of digging a 12-caliper tree.

Students get a look at Ruppert Nursery’s 90- and 100-inch tree spades, capable of digging a 12-caliper tree.

Jay Long (center), director of organizational and people development at Ruppert Landscape, shows visitors around the corporate offices.

Jay Long (center), director of organizational and people development at Ruppert Landscape, shows visitors around the corporate offices.

Fourteen students from Penn College’s landscape/horticulture technology majors and two faculty members last week took field trips to a variety of related businesses, including two that employ alumni. The students, who represent both the landscape technology and plant production emphases of the major, made Thursday visits to Good’s Tree Care in Harrisburg; Hershey Gardens in Hershey; and Ruppert Nursery and Ruppert Landscape in Laytonsville, Maryland. “It was a beautiful fall day and it gave the students an insight to many different types of careers – both small-scale and very large-scale – and how different types of horticultural businesses are set up,” said instructor Carl J. Bower Jr., who provided the photos and was joined on the trip by Dennis P. Skinner, assistant professor of horticulture.

Veteran-Alumnus to Discuss GI Bill in Honor of Veterans Day

Darryl Kehrer

An Air Force veteran with a distinguished career in veterans affairs will return to his alma mater on Nov. 5 to discuss the GI Bill in honor of Veterans Day.

Darryl Kehrer, a 1972 graduate of Williamsport Area Community College, a predecessor of Pennsylvania College of Technology, will present “Penn College Student-Veterans and the Original GI Bill: Connected to Its Past and Committed to Its Future” on Wednesday, Nov. 5, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the Mountain Laurel Room of the Thompson Professional Development Center.

The talk, presented by the college’s Alumni Relations and Veterans Affairs offices, is free and open to the public.

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Teens’ Health Among Topics for Dental Hygiene Session, Reunion

Regstered Dental Hygienist Lee Somerville presents a session on teen oral health to a full house at the Thompson Professional Development Center.

Regstered Dental Hygienist Lee Somerville presents a session on teen oral health to a full house at the Thompson Professional Development Center.

Somerville talks about the effects of cola and energy drinks, which she refers to as “liquid candy.”

Somerville talks about the effects of cola and energy drinks, which she refers to as “liquid candy.”

Penn College dental hygiene alumni, faculty and students gather to commemorate the event.

Penn College dental hygiene alumni, faculty and students gather to commemorate the event.

The Dental Hygiene Program teamed with Alumni Relations on Friday to provide a Dental Hygiene Reunion and continuing education session. Close to 100 attendees returned to Penn College for the event, which included a session by Lee Somerville, a member of the American Dental Hygienists Association, American Dental Education Association and American Academy of Dental Hygiene, on “Teenagers – What Their Mouths are Telling You But They’re Not: Practical Information on Teen Health Issues.” The event concluded with lunch in Le Jeune Chef Restaurant. Topics of Somerville’s talk included  oral and overall health issues associated with cola/sports-drink consumption, eating disorders, obesity and substance abuse. The session was presented through a grant from Philips Oral Health.

Fright-Night Double-Feature Offers Howlingly Good Time
Photo gallery

The Wildcat and his costumed cohort

Back-to-back Halloween events provided family-friendly fun Wednesday night, beginning with the fifth annual Trick or Treat Night at the Village at Penn College. Residents of the on-campus housing complex went all-out for the younger children of students, employees and alumni, handing out goodies in a safe, controlled environment. (Many more images are available via Penn College Alumni Relations on Facebook.) The popular event was followed by a party in the Rose Street Courtyard, complete with novelties, giveaways, a dual obstacle course, food, T-shirts and prizes.

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Physical Fitness Instructor/Alum Running NYC Marathon for Charity

Emily B. Miller, at the Oct. 13 Steamtown Marathon

Transcending the personal benefits of running, an instructor of fitness and lifetime sports is entering this year’s New York City Marathon to bring attention to a debilitating neurological condition.

Emily B. Miller, a faculty member in the School of Health Sciences and a 2002 graduate of Penn College’s physical fitness specialist major, is running the Nov. 2 race as a fundraiser for the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation in honor of a friend’s father. Dystonia is a neurological disorder that causes muscles to contract and spasm involuntarily, creating twisting movements and abnormal postures and making movement difficult. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Miller finished the race in 4:04:25.)

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