News: Alumni

Father-Son Project Transports Longtime Mentor Back to Campus

Johnathan L. (left) and Robert Capps, with their collaboration outside College Avenue Labs

Johnathan L. (left) and Robert Capps, with their collaboration outside College Avenue Labs

Robert Capps, a 2013 recipient of an Alumni Mentorship Award and a frequent face at campus Career Fairs, returned to Penn College on Friday in a Cobra that he built with his son last year. Capps, of Allan A. Myers (formerly American Infrastructure) and his son, Johnathan L., built the vehicle in their home garage, finishing it just in time for the young man to drive it to his senior prom.  The elder Capps drove it to Williamsport from just outside Philadelphia to meet up with Johnathan and his friends.  Capps’ son is a student in the mechatronics engineering technology major, a member of the Baja SAE Team and a competitor in last weekend’s Green Grand Prix in New York state.
Photo by Debra M. Miller, vice president for institutional advancement

Horticulture Grads Put Experience to Use as ‘Field Day’ Judges

Horticulture alumni returning to Penn College as Field Day judges (from left): Tyler J. Fatzinger (2014), Cory M. Ferreri ('12), Nicholas B. Cramer  ('08), Melissa D. Berrier-Cramer  ('08), Jeremy L. Thorne  ('13), Nicholas D. Foreman  ('14), and Joseph D. Plummer  ('97).

Horticulture alumni returning to Penn College as Field Day judges (from left): Tyler J. Fatzinger (2014), Cory M. Ferreri (’12), Nicholas B. Cramer (’08), Melissa D. Berrier-Cramer (’08), Jeremy L. Thorne (’13), Nicholas D. Foreman (’14), and Joseph D. Plummer (’97).

Students in the hardscape competition prepare the base for brick pavers.

Students in the hardscape competition prepare the base for brick pavers.

High school students create floral designs for the judges.

High school students create floral designs for the judges.

Alumnus Joseph D. Plummer (center) joins current students in working with high school competitors in the Plant ID contest.

Alumnus Joseph D. Plummer (center) joins current students in working with high school competitors in the Plant ID contest.

A student "sells" his landscape design to judges Nicholas B. Cramer and Melissa D. Berrier-Cramer.

A student “sells” his landscape design to judges Nicholas B. Cramer and Melissa D. Berrier-Cramer.

The Horticulture Department recently hosted the fifth annual High School Horticulture Field Day competition at the Schneebeli Earth Science Center. The event is based on the National Collegiate Landscape Competition that Penn College students regularly attend, sponsored by the National Association of Landscape Professionals. This year, two schools – Central Pennsylvania Institute in Bellefonte and Williamsport Area High School – brought a total of 22 students to the Allenwood area campus on April 10 to compete in contests such as hardscape installation, sales presentation, floral and corsage design, plant identification and equipment safety. Seven alumni of the program returned to judge, with help from current students. “This is a great day to showcase what we do for these high school students,” horticulture instructor Carl J. Bower Jr. said. “Faculty, staff and administration all come together to help put on a great day for the students. Having our alumni on hand gives them the chance to help mentor these young folks and share their experiences in the industry. The students get to learn firsthand some of the opportunities in this field.”
Photos by Bower; Deborah C. Books, secretary to the dean of transportation and natural resources technologies; and Becky J. Shaner, alumni relations specialist

College Holds First ‘Lavender Graduation’

G. Patrick Butler, a 2007 computer information systems graduate now working for Amtrak in Philadelphia, recounts what attracted him to Penn College in the first place: the people, the personal interaction and the positive attitude of a clerk in the Wildcat Express convenience store.

G. Patrick Butler, a 2007 computer information systems graduate now working for Amtrak in Philadelphia, recounts what attracted him to Penn College in the first place: the people, the personal interaction and the positive attitude of a clerk in the Wildcat Express convenience store.

Sara H. Ousby (left), the college's associate director of student activities for diversity and cultural life, congratulates Bethany M. Reppert for her selfless campus/community activism. "She doesn't do things for the credit," Ousby said. "She simply does what she thinks is the right thing to do."

Sara H. Ousby (left), the college’s associate director of student activities for diversity and cultural life, congratulates Bethany M. Reppert for her selfless campus/community activism. “She doesn’t do things for the credit,” Ousby said. “She simply does what she thinks is the right thing to do.”

PC Alliance President Wesley G. Ginnick honors his organization's partners.

PC Alliance President Wesley G. Ginnick honors his organization’s partners.

The keynoter (center) is reunited with Student Affairs personnel from his Penn College days. From left are Kimberly R. Cassel, director of student activities; Elliott Strickland, chief student affairs officer; Katie L. Mackey, coordinator of off-campus living and commuter services; and Timothy J. Mallery, assistant director of residence life.

The keynoter (center) is reunited with Student Affairs personnel from his Penn College days. From left are Kimberly R. Cassel, director of student activities; Elliott Strickland, chief student affairs officer; Katie L. Mackey, coordinator of off-campus living and commuter services; and Timothy J. Mallery, assistant director of residence life.

Penn College’s first Lavender Graduation – celebrating the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students and their allies – was held Friday evening in the Thompson Professional Development Center. Alumnus G. Patrick Butler, a student during the founding year of the PC Alliance organization, was the guest speaker for the event. “I was proud to be there at the beginning and even more proud to be here tonight,” he said. “And I’m proud to see my alma mater moving with the times.” Such events, now held at nearly 50 colleges and universities nationwide, are an educational opportunity for the entire campus community, Butler said. “We are all people and expect to be treated as such. We live in a very interdependent world; do we go through life with fists up or open hands?” The graduation paid tribute to Bethany M. Reppert, of Minersville, who will receive her Bachelor of Science degree in applied human services in May. In welcoming remarks by President Davie Jane Gilmour and in the keynote address, the senior was reminded of the personal and professional resource that Penn College represents. “Your education is a framework, a starting point, a running start to your career,” Butler told her. “Put your degree to work – not just for you, but for the betterment of society.” The night included honors for a number of others that have supported PC Alliance in its advocacy. Receiving kudos from organization President Wesley G. Ginnick, a construction management student from Altoona, were Sigma Pi fraternity, the Wildcat Events Board, Student Government Association, Equality Central PA and The Planet Bar in downtown Williamsport. The graduation was the culmination of Pride Week, which included campus speakers, films and a symposium.

Williamsport Technical Institute Reunion Marks 15th Year

Forty-five graduates of Williamsport Technical Institute, a predecessor of Pennsylvania College of Technology from 1941-65, gather for a group photo on campus.

About 50 graduates of Williamsport Technical Institute, a Pennsylvania College of Technology forerunner, attended a 15th annual reunion on April 17.

The event, held in the college’s Thompson Professional Development Center, provided an opportunity for alumni and their guests to enjoy lunch, reminisce and hear presentations by six students enrolled in aviation maintenance, automotive restoration and construction technology majors.

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Longtime Aviation Faculty Member Named Assistant Dean

Walter V. Gower

Walter V. Gower has begun duties as assistant dean in the School of Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

A 25-year faculty member, Gower most recently was assistant professor of aviation at the college’s Lumley Aviation Center in Montoursville.

“Wally Gower is an excellent addition to the leadership team in Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies,” said Paul L. Starkey, Penn College’s vice president for academic affairs/provost. “Wally has great experience as an educator and is respected by his peers and students. His enthusiasm for student success will be of great benefit to the school and the college.”

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‘Props for Profs’ Applauds Advocates, Supports Students

"Props for Profs"

“Props for Profs”

A fundraising initiative launched on the Penn College Alumni Relations Facebook page encourages all segments of the campus community to make a gift – to give “props” – on behalf of a faculty or staff member who has influenced their lives. “I know that our faculty and staff change lives and form lifelong connections with alumni, their colleagues, parents and other friends of the college,” President Davie Jane Gilmour said in announcing the Props for Profs campaign. “And I look forward to seeing the outpouring of thanks for their hard work.” Alumni, parents, friends and employees are all encouraged to donate by midnight Friday;  those sharing “props” can enrich the Penn College Fund for as little as $5, providing scholarship support, helping to purchase state-of-the-art lab equipment, and funding student travel that leads to hands-on experiences in real-world environments.

Employers to Hold On-Campus Information Sessions

Employers on campusA trio of employers will be on campus during the coming week, hoping to interest Penn College students and alumni in a variety of available jobs. Two of those information sessions are scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Tuesday: Pilot Flying J will be recruiting in Room W204 of the Breuder Advanced Technology and Health Sciences Center, and Maine Drilling & Blasting will be in Room 201 of the Bush Campus Center. (Pilot will collect resumes from interested applicants during its session, scheduling interviews for the following day.) At 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Trane representatives will be in Room 110 of the Carl Building Technologies Center. For details, including open positions and the applicable academic majors, consult the Career Services’ fliers: Employer Information Sessions

Reception Acknowledges Gifts Integral to Student Success

Debra M. Miller, vice president for institutional advancement, talks with William Knecht, who, along with his wife, supports the Marie E. Knecht Scholarship.

Debra M. Miller, vice president for institutional advancement, talks with William Knecht, who, along with his wife, supports the Marie E. Knecht Scholarship.

President Davie Jane Gilmour thanks Virginia Thompson, treasurer of the Williamsport Hospital School of Nursing Alumni Association, which reached Heritage Society status on the Donor Wall.

President Davie Jane Gilmour thanks Virginia Thompson, treasurer of the Williamsport Hospital School of Nursing Alumni Association, which reached Heritage Society status on the Donor Wall.

The Donor Wall offers a reflective backdrop for Elizabeth A. Biddle, director of corporate relations, and friends.

The Donor Wall offers a reflective backdrop for Elizabeth A. Biddle, director of corporate relations, and friends.

The earliest arrivals mingle in the SASC lobby, a stellar setting for a distinguished event.

The earliest arrivals mingle in the SASC lobby, a stellar setting for a distinguished event.

The president welcomes guests, honorees' gifts by her side.

The president welcomes guests, honorees’ gifts by her side.

Individuals and corporations alike were recognized Tuesday night during the 11th annual reception for Friends of Penn College who provide significant support or planned gifts. Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour recognized new contributors and those whose ongoing benevolence in the past year elevated them to a new category on the Donor Wall in the Student and Administrative Services Center lobby.

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100-Year Memories Safely Cocooned … Until College Sesquicentennial

The General Services crew undertakes a weighty task.

The final activities of Penn College’s illustrious Centennial observance – the filling, sealing and installation of an institutional snapshot from that 2014 celebration – took place this week in a first-floor corner of Madigan Library. Various historical and commemorative items were loaded into the time capsule on Thursday, and the contents were sealed with argon gas the following day. On Wednesday morning, the high-grade, stainless steel container was maneuvered into a glass-block repository built by the School of Construction & Design Technologies. The time capsule and its archival treasure will remain undisturbed until reopened in 50 years. A montage of Centennial activities, colorfully and energetically composed from a year’s worth of photos, has been incorporated into a video on the Penn College YouTube channel.

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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 →

Alumni Sweethearts Return to Campus

The 2015 Alumni Sweethearts Bradley T. and Janae B. (Rohrer) Rydbom revisit a special bench in the Victorian House garden during their return visit to campus this past weekend.

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s reigning Alumni Sweethearts, Bradley T. and Janae B. (Rohrer) Rydbom, visited campus this past weekend to stay overnight in the Victorian House and dine in Le Jeune Chef Restaurant.

The Rydboms were selected as the 2015 Alumni Sweethearts, the fourth annual winners of the honor, following a Facebook contest through Alumni Relations featuring 40 wedding photographs submitted by couples who graduated from the college. Their wedding photo received nearly 350 votes (or “likes”).

The couple was greeted by blue skies and greenery on one of the first nice days of spring, and enjoyed a walk around campus – one of their favorite activities when they were dating as students. Among the new features they appreciated seeing were the stainless steel “living walls” and the “These Trees” and “Student Bodies” Centennial art installations.

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Penn College Aviation Student Awarded International Scholarship

Scholarship recipient Jacob R. Tuck, in the hangar of Penn College’s Lumley Aviation Center

A Pennsylvania College of Technology student is among only eight selected internationally to receive a Bill Sanderson Aviation Maintenance Technology Scholarship from Helicopter Association International’s Technical Committee.

Jacob R. Tuck, of Hollsopple, a senior in the four-year aviation maintenance technology major, was recently awarded a scholarship that provides a tuition waiver for a helicopter manufacturer training school and a stipend to offset expenses. Tuck, who is scheduled to graduate in May, already holds an associate degree from Penn College in aviation technology.

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Penn College Construction Students Start Scholarship Fund

A campus organization at Pennsylvania College of Technology is putting its money where its classmates are, starting a scholarship fund to help construction students meet the costs of their education.

Members of the Penn College Construction Association, a student chapter of the National Association of Home Builders, made the initial gift to a fund that will begin awarding scholarships in the Fall 2015 semester.

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Assistant Dean Named Outstanding Alumnus of Month by Alma Mater

Brian D. Walton

Brian D. Walton, Pennsylvania College of Technology’s assistant dean of business and hospitality, was named Ashford University’s “Outstanding Alum of the Month” for April.

Walton, a native of Downingtown, earned a master’s degree in organizational management from the university in 2011.

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Alumnus Cast in Regional Theater Company’s Latest Production

The Courtyard Theater

The Courtyard Theater

Alumnus Kevin A. Hickman, whose theatrical credits include directing Penn College productions of “The Vagina Monologues” and “Proof” during the 2006-07 academic year, is in the cast of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” this weekend at the Courtyard Theater in the Susquehanna Valley Mall. Hickman, a 2008 physician assistant graduate – and a part-time substitute faculty member in the program – portrays Brick in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Tennessee Williams. The classic drama, which is for mature audiences, examines the web of deceit holding members of a wealthy Southern family together while threatening to tear them apart. Presented by The Valley Players Community Theater Organization, the play will be performed at 7 p.m. April 10-11 and 17-18 and at 2 p.m. April 12 and 19.

Penn College Student’s Aerial Images on Display in Gallery Lobby

An exhibit of aerial images taken by student Maxwell A. Davert, of Greene, Rhode Island, is on display through April 23 at The Gallery at Penn College.

Aerial images captured by Pennsylvania College of Technology student Maxwell A. Davert are on display in the lobby of The Gallery at Penn College, on the third floor of the Madigan Library, through April 23.

Davert, a senior in building science and sustainable design from Greene, Rhode Island, has gathered numerous still and video images using a quadcopter with an integrated, high-definition camera. The collection of images on display includes eight color photographs of the Penn College campus and 10 videos, offered via two television screens. The videos feature the campus, local area and other venues, including natural sites in Davert’s home state.

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