Institution’s Earliest Graduates Gather for 13th Annual Reunion
Williamsport Technical Institute alumni assemble for a reunion photo.
WTI graduates tour interior facilities with Mary A. Sullivan, ESC executive director and assistant dean of transportation and natural resources technology, and William E. Curry, a part-time member of the diesel equipment technology faculty. Curry, a 1959 graduate in service and operation of heavy construction equipment, also taught from 1971-94. (Three of his former students – William P. Kilcoyne, Mark E. Sones and Chris S. Weaver – are now on the Penn College faculty).
Williamsport residents Melvin Durrwachter, Class of ’43, toolmaking (left), and Ralph Mills, ’58, plumbing, share a laugh.
Durrwachter carries with pride a piece of memorabilia slipped into his name tag: a “With Merit” pin presented to him (and other deserving students) by WTI founder George H. Parkes during each morning’s gathering for the Pledge of Allegiance. “It was a big thrill!” he said of receiving the token. “He was very strict and stern. There was no fooling around. You just respected him. He did a lot for the college.”
Earl Gates, a 1960 graduate in office machine technology, traveled the farthest – from Texarkana, Texas – and was acknowledged during brunch in Nature’s Cove.
Alumni of Williamsport Technical Institute held their 13th annual reunion Wednesday, convening at the Schneebeli Earth Science Center near Allenwood for tours and other activities. Seniormost among the alumni and their guests was 89-year-old Melvin Durrwachter, who graduated seven decades ago from the toolmaking program. There were six first-timers at the reunion – held on the verge of the Penn College’s centennial celebration in 2014 – including alumni from Vermont and Texas.
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.
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