Pennsylvania College of Technology has published a book and website featuring the seven individuals who guided the institution through its nearly 100-year history – from George H. Parkes, who transformed a small, high school industrial arts shop into a postwar model of adult education, to current President Davie Jane Gilmour.
“Legacy of Leaders” also features Robert L. Breuder, who oversaw the transformative 1989 birth of Penn College as a respected affiliate of The Pennsylvania State University; William H. Feddersen, former Williamsport Area Community College president; Kenneth E. Carl, founding president of WACC and a graduate of Williamsport Technical Institute, and interim leaders C. Herschel Jones and David M. Heiney.
Stories from distinguished faculty, staff, alumni and student leaders are also included in this second of four publications planned to celebrate the institution’s 2014 Centennial, marking the 100th anniversary of the first year that adult classes were held in Klump Academic Center.
The book was compiled by Elaine J. Lambert, director of college information and community relations, who drew largely upon interviews conducted as part of an ongoing oral-history project coordinated by Daniel J. Doyle, emeritus professor of history, with Christopher J. Leigh, video production coordinator, and Tom Speicher, writer/video editor.
Each leader’s insight – flavored with historical photos, fascinating archival material and Lambert’s unique vantage as an alumna and 31-year college employee – adds perspective to a story decades in the making.
“Over the course of the last century, the leaders of WTI, WACC and Penn College elevated this unique institution of higher learning from its roots as a local adult-education program to a position of national acclaim,” said Lambert, a 1979 graduate and a 2007 recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award. “Their stories remind us that each generation faces its own challenges and celebrates its own accomplishments.”
The commemorative compilation contains plentiful examples of both, balancing innovative workforce responsiveness with the humbling hurdles of labor unrest, periodic budget uncertainty and a 1980s sponsorship crisis that threatened the college’s very survival.
“Fortunately, over its 100-year history, the institution always seemed to have the type of leader required to meet the challenges of each era,” added Lambert, who has served three of the college’s administrations. “Each leader paved a new path and encouraged new ways of thinking about the future.”
Research support for the publication was provided by college librarians Helen L. Yoas, Nicole Staron and Patricia A. Scott; designers were Sarah K. Patterson (print) and Phillip C. Warner (web), both from College Information and Community Relations.
“Legacy of Leaders” can be purchased for $9.95 at The College Store, on the first floor of the Bush Campus Center, or on the Web. Also available at the same price is the first Centennial book: “Were You There? The Evolution of a College Campus,” a photo-filled volume, based on a 2009 retrospective exhibit in The Gallery at Penn College.
Net proceeds from the sale of the books go toward annual student awards from the Penn College Endowed Alumni Scholarship fund.
A collection of video and audio interviews with former and current campus leaders, as well as other Centennial information including memories shared by alumni of WTI, WACC and Penn College, are available for viewing online.