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Alumnus Starts Scholarship Fund as Tribute to Father, Grandfather


 William F. and Viola M. Thomke are among the inspiration for a scholarship fund established by their son for Diesel Technology students at Pennsylvania College of Technology. The Thomkes observed their 50th wedding anniversary last August.The work ethic and generosity instilled by his father and grandfather have prompted a Pennsylvania College of Technology construction alumnus to start a scholarship fund in honor of the two men.

Charles G. Thomke of Raleigh, N.C., a 1995 graduate of Penn College’s Building Construction Technology major, established the Fredrick J. and William F. Thomke Diesel Mechanic Scholarship to be awarded annually beginning with the Fall 2005 semester.

Thomke is the son of William F. and Viola M. Thomke and the grandson of Fredrick J. Thomke. Formerly of Williamsport, he is director of business development for ACG Enterprises of North Carolina Inc. The elder Thomkes owned Nau and Thompson Garage in Old Lycoming Township for more than 50 years, long providing work for students from a Penn College predecessor, Williamsport Area Community College.

“My father has always been a person to ‘do for others when you are able to,’ either by offering employment or any assistance he could,” Charles Thomke said, adding that his father retired in 2000 but would continue to help students if possible.

“This is my reason behind establishing the scholarship. I help only because I know I can, and to make the memory of my grandfather and father a lasting memorial to their commitment to those in need,” he explained. “Hopefully, this scholarship will make a difference in someone else’s life, and I pray that they pass the same ideology off to others they may meet while remembering, ‘I needed some help once, and now I can offer assistance, too.'”

While his mother is not officially honored through the scholarship, Thomke noted her obvious inspiration.

“I know her support of my father’s business was a driving force in our lives, and it’s through their combined values of generosity and helping that I am gladly establishing this scholarship in my father’s and grandfather’s names,” he said.

Potential recipients must be enrolled full time in the second year of a diesel major, must be eligible for financial aid and must have references from two Diesel Technology instructors.

For more information about the associate-degree diesel majors − or other opportunities offered by the School of Natural Resources Management at Penn College − call (570) 320-8038, send e-mail or visiton the Web.

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