From Horseless Carriage to Boundless Future

One of the longest-running instructional programs at Pennsylvania College of Technology – and one of the oldest continuous automotive programs in the nation – celebrated its 100th anniversary Friday in the Parkes Automotive Technology Center. “The story of American automobiling and the history of this college have been entwined throughout an eventful century,” said President Davie Jane Gilmour, as the college simultaneously marks its own Centennial, “and I have no doubt that the years ahead will be every bit as exciting.” A pair of speakers from the Ford Motor Co. put the milestone into perspective with engaging presentations on past and future: Robert C. Kreipke, corporate historian, and K. Venkatesh Prasad, group and senior technical leader for vehicle design and infotronics. The day also included an outdoor lunch for students, an antique-car show and an afternoon reception.

– Photos by Tom Wilson, writer/editor-PCToday

President Davie Jane Gilmour joins K. Venkatesh Prasad (left) and Robert C. Kreipke in a slice of history.

President Davie Jane Gilmour joins K. Venkatesh Prasad (left) and Robert C. Kreipke in a slice of history.

A century of automotive history is encapsulated by Colin W. Williamson, dean of transportation and natural resources technologies, standing between a new Ford C-MAX hybrid and a 1914 Model T. The dean noted that the birth of the college's automotive program coincided with a period in which contemporaries knew all manner of transportation – land, sea and air.

A century of automotive history is encapsulated by Colin W. Williamson, dean of transportation and natural resources technologies, standing between a new Ford C-MAX hybrid and a 1914 Model T. The dean noted that the birth of the college’s automotive program coincided with a period in which contemporaries knew all manner of transportation – land, sea and air.

Beneath a portrait of Henry Ford, Robert C. Kreipke talks of the automotive pioneer's desire to make the automobile "simple, durable and affordable."

Beneath a portrait of Henry Ford, Robert C. Kreipke talks of the automotive pioneer’s desire to make the automobile “simple, durable and affordable.”

Contrasting the inaccessibility of computer keypunch cards with technology so simple that a child can use it, Prasad says similar progress in the automotive industry puts customers more in control of information that once was held by a relative few.

Contrasting the inaccessibility of computer keypunch cards with technology so simple that a child can use it, Prasad says similar progress in the automotive industry puts customers more in control of information that once was held by a relative few.

Dining Services staff keeps the crowd happy and well-fed.

Dining Services staff keeps the crowd happy and well-fed.

Faculty and students enjoy a Horseless Carriage Car Show outside the Parkes Automotive Technology Center.

Faculty and students enjoy a Horseless Carriage Car Show outside the Parkes Automotive Technology Center.

The next generation of automotive technicians travels back to the birth of an industry.

The next generation of automotive technicians travels back to the birth of an industry.

Among the event's special attendees are 1974 alumnus Thomas C. Baloga (center), a retired automobile executive, and his wife, Gayle. Welcoming them back to campus, from left, are Robb C. Dietrich, executive director of the Penn College Foundation; Tammy M. Rich, director of alumni relations; and Barry R. Stiger, vice president for institutional advancement.

Among the event’s special attendees are 1974 alumnus Thomas C. Baloga (center), a retired automobile executive, and his wife, Gayle. Welcoming them back to campus, from left, are Robb C. Dietrich, executive director of the Penn College Foundation; Tammy M. Rich, director of alumni relations; and Barry R. Stiger, vice president for institutional advancement.

The day's guest speakers talk with Matthew J. Horner, of Marion, graduating in May with an associate degree in automotive technology (and returning in the fall as an automated manufacturing technology major).

The day’s guest speakers talk with Matthew J. Horner, of Marion, graduating in May with an associate degree in automotive technology (and returning in the fall as an automated manufacturing technology major).

Welcome sunshine adds to the day's festivities.

Welcome sunshine adds to the day’s festivities.

An audience of invited guests, many from the Williamsport Technical Institute reunion across the campus mall, listens to the afternoon presentations.

An audience of invited guests, many from the Williamsport Technical Institute reunion across the campus mall, listens to the afternoon presentations.

A student-restored 1965 Mustang provides a fitting backdrop for a photo op. From left are Colin W. Williamson; President Davie Jane Gilmour; Mike Moncilovich, national coordinator of Ford's technical career entry programs (who was instrumental in lining up the day's speakers); Robert C. Kreipke and K. Venkatesh Prasad.

A student-restored 1965 Mustang provides a fitting backdrop for a photo op. From left are Colin W. Williamson; President Davie Jane Gilmour; Mike Moncilovich, national coordinator of Ford’s technical career entry programs (who was instrumental in lining up the day’s speakers); Robert C. Kreipke and K. Venkatesh Prasad.

Williamsport Sun-Gazette photojournalist Mark Nance positions Ford representatives near one of the automaker's most iconic creations.

Williamsport Sun-Gazette photojournalist Mark Nance positions Ford representatives near one of the automaker’s most iconic creations.

Americans' devotion to their cars is evident in historical photographs - even from the invention's earliest days.

Americans’ devotion to their cars is evident in historical photographs – even from the invention’s earliest days.

Automotive accessories are cleverly woven into this arrangement created by alumna (and part-time member of the horticulture faculty) Karen R. Ruhl of Special Occasion Florals.

Automotive accessories are cleverly woven into this arrangement created by alumna (and part-time member of the horticulture faculty) Karen R. Ruhl of Special Occasion Florals.

A great day for a pre-summer cookout

A great day for a pre-summer cookout

A Centennial banner symbolically delineates the generations: yesterday's Model T and tomorrow's automotive graduates.

A Centennial banner symbolically delineates the generations: yesterday’s Model T and tomorrow’s automotive graduates.

A 1932 Chevrolet Cabriolet, owned by Andy and Dee Follmer, of Montoursville, always draws a curious crowd.

A 1932 Chevrolet Cabriolet, owned by Andy and Dee Follmer, of Montoursville, always draws a curious crowd.

Robert O. Worth, a 1986 graduate in automotive mechanics, proudly sports a class jacket from his Williamsport Area Community College years.

Robert O. Worth, a 1986 graduate in automotive mechanics, proudly sports a class jacket from his Williamsport Area Community College years.

Alongside a photo of students working in an automotive lab, the president welcomes guests to a celebration of 100 years of education at one of the oldest and most-respected automotive programs in the country.

Alongside a photo of students working in an automotive lab, the president welcomes guests to a celebration of 100 years of education at one of the oldest and most-respected automotive programs in the country.

Ford's "What's Next Guy" talks about unexpected sources of vehicle information - such as wiper blades that can send out operational signals to alert nearby motorists to rain ahead.

Ford’s “What’s Next Guy” talks about unexpected sources of vehicle information – such as wiper blades that can send out operational signals to alert nearby motorists to rain ahead.

Under the watchful "eyes" of a 1965 Mustang, a birthday cake created by Sue L. Mayer, assistant professor of baking and pastry arts/culinary arts, and her students is ready for its close-up.

Under the watchful “eyes” of a 1965 Mustang, a birthday cake created by Sue L. Mayer, assistant professor of baking and pastry arts/culinary arts, and her students is ready for its close-up.

The idea for an automotive centennial began with Williamson, who acknowledges all who helped make it a reality – not the least of whom are past and present administrators, faculty, students and partners who have made the academic program so successful over the years.

The idea for an automotive centennial began with Williamson, who acknowledges all who helped make it a reality – not the least of whom are past and present administrators, faculty, students and partners who have made the academic program so successful over the years.

Prasad takes his audience on a journey of innovation, thanks to computer technology that empowers consumers to drive more safely and efficiently.

Prasad takes his audience on a journey of innovation, thanks to computer technology that empowers consumers to drive more safely and efficiently.

Some of the day's historic visitors shelter inside, out of harm's way in the event of April showers.

Some of the day’s historic visitors shelter inside, out of harm’s way in the event of April showers.

Framed by the very vehicle he describes, Kreipke details the societal revolution that accompanied mass production of the Model T.

Framed by the very vehicle he describes, Kreipke details the societal revolution that accompanied mass production of the Model T.

With dogs and burgers on the menu – and a weekend just around the corner – a picnic can spring up anywhere.

With dogs and burgers on the menu – and a weekend just around the corner – a picnic can spring up anywhere.

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