Grads’ Gleaming Accomplishments Make Season Bright

With abundant smiles easily cutting through the drizzle (and one of the most buoyantly boisterous crowds in memory), Pennsylvania College of Technology held its final commencement ceremony of 2013 Saturday for nearly 300 students who petitioned to graduate following the fall semester. The student speaker for the 11 a.m. proceedings in the Community Arts Center was Eric J. Palanko, of Latrobe, who was awarded a bachelor’s degree in legal assistant/paralegal studies. In addition to honoring the day’s capped-and-gowned VIPs, the college recognized a 2004 graduate with an Alumni Achievement Award.

– Photos by Joseph S. Yoder, public information director, and Tom Wilson, writer/editor-PCToday

Class representative Eric J. Palanko encourages each of his graduating colleagues to "be a first-rate version of yourself rather than a second-rate version of anyone else."

Class representative Eric J. Palanko encourages each of his graduating colleagues to “be a first-rate version of yourself rather than a second-rate version of anyone else.”

Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour (left) with Gerri F. Luke, who – as this year's Veronica M. Muzic Master Teacher Award recipient – was a featured commencement speaker.

Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour (left) with Gerri F. Luke, who – as this year’s Veronica M. Muzic Master Teacher Award recipient – was a featured commencement speaker.

A Christmas tree rises toward the Community Arts Center loge, towering over the commencement traffic outside the auditorium.

A Christmas tree rises toward the Community Arts Center loge, towering over the commencement traffic outside the auditorium.

Graduates clearly enjoy their big day.

Graduates clearly enjoy their big day.

Paul A. McGinn, a business administration: marketing concentration graduate from South Williamsport, celebrates with his family.

Paul A. McGinn, a business administration: marketing concentration graduate from South Williamsport, celebrates with his family.

A military veteran among the day's graduates stands to be acknowledged by an appreciative audience.

A military veteran among the day’s graduates stands to be acknowledged by an appreciative audience.

A last-minute confidence builder

A last-minute confidence builder

U.S. Army Capt. Scott M. Frederick, an alumni honoree, urges the Class of 2013 to appreciate Penn College as "a vehicle that catapults you into success."

U.S. Army Capt. Scott M. Frederick, an alumni honoree, urges the Class of 2013 to appreciate Penn College as “a vehicle that catapults you into success.”

Kay E. Dunkleberger, coordinator of disability services, lends a hand to Jernae A. Drummond, of Williamsport, graduating in human services.

Kay E. Dunkleberger, coordinator of disability services, lends a hand to Jernae A. Drummond, of Williamsport, graduating in human services.

Jordan R. Sterrett, a hospitality management major from Bellefonte, adorns her headgear with gratitude.

Jordan R. Sterrett, a hospitality management major from Bellefonte, adorns her headgear with gratitude.

Paula M. Fisher, graduation assistant in the Registrar's Office, helps a soon-to-be graduate during her final commencement check-in before retirement.

Paula M. Fisher, graduation assistant in the Registrar’s Office, helps a soon-to-be graduate during her final commencement check-in before retirement.

The president joins the family of Christopher J. Ginter, presented with the young man's posthumous degree in landscape/horticulture technology: plant production emphasis.

The president joins the family of Christopher J. Ginter, presented with the young man’s posthumous degree in landscape/horticulture technology: plant production emphasis.

A student responds to support from overhead.

A student responds to support from overhead.

A crowd forms around Eric J. Palanko, who, in addition to representing his class, received the President's Award for leadership to the college.

A crowd forms around Eric J. Palanko, who, in addition to representing his class, received the President’s Award for leadership to the college.

Paul E. Mach, assistant professor of hospitality management/culinary arts, adds his traditional touch of holiday flair.

Paul E. Mach, assistant professor of hospitality management/culinary arts, adds his traditional touch of holiday flair.

Gerri F. Luke shares the five themes that jelled from her recent survey of alumni advice for this year's graduates: connections and networking, challenges and persistence, communication and respect, continuous learning, and reflection.

Gerri F. Luke shares the five themes that jelled from her recent survey of alumni advice for this year’s graduates: connections and networking, challenges and persistence, communication and respect, continuous learning, and reflection.

Faculty member Daniel K. Christopher poses with health information technology graduates Ashley M. Lynch, of Montgomery (left), and Tara M. Powell, of Burgettstown.

Faculty member Daniel K. Christopher poses with health information technology graduates Ashley M. Lynch, of Montgomery (left), and Tara M. Powell, of Burgettstown.

Earning a degree in technology management, Ryan M. Enders – the 2012-13 president of the Student Government Association – enters the auditorium.

Earning a degree in technology management, Ryan M. Enders – the 2012-13 president of the Student Government Association – enters the auditorium.

Sharing the occasion with a young fan

Sharing the occasion with a young fan

Capt. Scott Frederick, welding grad and alumni honoree (center), is welcomed back to Penn College by (from left) Robert M. Vaughn, assistant professor of welding; Elliott Strickland, chief student affairs officer; Carolyn R. Strickland, assistant vice president for academic services; David R. Cotner, dean of industrial, computing and engineering technologies; Nathan D. Smyth, an assistant dean of industrial, computing and engineering technologies; and welding instructor Michael J. Nau.

Capt. Scott Frederick, welding grad and alumni honoree (center), is welcomed back to Penn College by (from left) Robert M. Vaughn, assistant professor of welding; Elliott Strickland, chief student affairs officer; Carolyn R. Strickland, assistant vice president for academic services; David R. Cotner, dean of industrial, computing and engineering technologies; Nathan D. Smyth, an assistant dean of industrial, computing and engineering technologies; and welding instructor Michael J. Nau.

State Sen. Gene Yaw, R-Loyalsock Township,chairman of the Penn College Board of Directors, authorizes the conferral of degrees and certificates.

State Sen. Gene Yaw, R-Loyalsock Township,chairman of the Penn College Board of Directors, authorizes the conferral of degrees and certificates.

The platform party prepares for the procession.

The platform party prepares for the procession.

Achievement on parade

Achievement on parade

Registrar Dennis L. Dunkleberger explains procession procedure to students.

Registrar Dennis L. Dunkleberger explains procession procedure to students.

An isolated moment of joy, stolen in the crush of the crowd

An isolated moment of joy, stolen in the crush of the crowd

Flanked by banners from Penn College's six academic schools, a projection screen helps attendees watch the proceedings.

Flanked by banners from Penn College’s six academic schools, a projection screen helps attendees watch the proceedings.

Uncontainable happiness carries the day.

Uncontainable happiness carries the day.

A mirror in the hotel ballroom provides a convenient opportunity for 11th-hour adjustments.

A mirror in the hotel ballroom provides a convenient opportunity for 11th-hour adjustments.

A presidential turn of the tassel makes it official.

A presidential turn of the tassel makes it official.

In his first commencement since returning to Penn College as assistant dean of sciences, humanities and visual communications: programs, Thomas C. Heffner (left) congratulates Jason D. Matula, a graphic communications management major from Bethlehem.

In his first commencement since returning to Penn College as assistant dean of sciences, humanities and visual communications: programs, Thomas C. Heffner (left) congratulates Jason D. Matula, a graphic communications management major from Bethlehem.

Elliott Strickland, chief student affairs officer, introduces the student speaker.

Elliott Strickland, chief student affairs officer, introduces the student speaker.

Hustling to beat the raindrops, the procession passes through the festively decorated Genetti Hotel lobby.

Hustling to beat the raindrops, the procession passes through the festively decorated Genetti Hotel lobby.

A new graduate is inundated with balloons, flowers and a whole lot of love.

A new graduate is inundated with balloons, flowers and a whole lot of love.

With a little help from his friends, a new alumnus is hoisted in triumph.

With a little help from his friends, a new alumnus is hoisted in triumph.

Paul L. Starkey, vice president of academic affairs/provost, recaps the accomplishments of 2013 Master Teacher Gerri F. Luke.

Paul L. Starkey, vice president of academic affairs/provost, recaps the accomplishments of 2013 Master Teacher Gerri F. Luke.

President Gilmour with Capt. Frederick

President Gilmour with Capt. Frederick

A graduate collects her thoughts (and some proud grins from well-wishers) after the ceremony.

A graduate collects her thoughts (and some proud grins from well-wishers) after the ceremony.

A family portrait, lovingly captured

A family portrait, lovingly captured

Joined by family members, Rose M. Ginter accepts a degree on behalf of her late son, Christopher J.

Joined by family members, Rose M. Ginter accepts a degree on behalf of her late son, Christopher J.

President Gilmour invites graduates and supporters alike to share their graduation thoughts and photos through social media.

President Gilmour invites graduates and supporters alike to share their graduation thoughts and photos through social media.

Waiting to be admitted to the auditorium, a proud photographer snaps the West Fourth Street procession.

Waiting to be admitted to the auditorium, a proud photographer snaps the West Fourth Street procession.

The Arts Center marquee offers congratulations in addition to shelter.

The Arts Center marquee offers congratulations in addition to shelter.

The courtyard just west of the theater was a popular spot to meet up with family and friends.

The courtyard just west of the theater was a popular spot to meet up with family and friends.

As the sprinkles begin, friends carve out space beneath the marquee ...

As the sprinkles begin, friends carve out space beneath the marquee …

... then instantly make sure the moment has been properly preserved.

… then instantly make sure the moment has been properly preserved.

President Gilmour and Sen. Yaw congratulate the day's final graduate, student speaker Eric J. Palanko.

President Gilmour and Sen. Yaw congratulate the day’s final graduate, student speaker Eric J. Palanko.

Comments – One Comment

This is Dafer, plastics and polymer engineering. We miss you, Daf. Way to go, my best friend!!!

Posted by Abdullah Muaddi at December 26, 2013 at 12:03 am

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