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Board approves 2022-23 budget/tuition, emeritus actions, Strategic Plan

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Board of Directors on Thursday approved a 2022-23 budget, granted emeritus status to a retired senior administrator and a retired faculty member, approved the institution’s Strategic Plan for 2022-26, and authorized the appointment of the firm to conduct the college’s audit for the 2021-22 fiscal year.

The $161.5 million total budget includes a 1.87% tuition increase for in-state students and a 2.03% increase for non-Pennsylvania residents. Residence Life rates for on-campus student housing and Dining Services meal plan rates both will rise by 2% in 2022-23.

After adjournment of Thursday's board of directors' meeting, her last as Pennsylvania College of Technology president, Davie Jane Gilmour gathered the members in attendance for a group photo in the Thompson Professional Development Center. From left are Lynda M. Livingston, Blannie E. Bowen, Robert N. Pangborn, John J. Romano, Gilmour, state Sen. Gene Yaw (board chair), Zack Moore, Joseph J. Doncsecz and Steven P. Johnson. Unable to attend were M. Abraham Harpster, state Rep. Jeff Wheeland and John M. Young.
After adjournment of Thursday’s board of directors’ meeting, her last as Pennsylvania College of Technology president, Davie Jane Gilmour gathered the members in attendance for a group photo in the Thompson Professional Development Center. From left are Lynda M. Livingston, Blannie E. Bowen, Robert N. Pangborn, John J. Romano, Gilmour, state Sen. Gene Yaw (board chair), Zack Moore, Joseph J. Doncsecz and Steven P. Johnson. Unable to attend were M. Abraham Harpster, state Rep. Jeff Wheeland and John M. Young.

The budget includes $28.1 million for the college’s state appropriation, based on Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed 5% increase for the college. The state must pass its budget by June 30.

Suzanne T. Stopper, senior vice president for finance/CFO, and Michael J. Reed, vice president for academic affairs/provost, presented a PowerPoint on the budget.

Stopper noted higher-education institutions nationwide are still feeling the effects of the pandemic, as well as supply-chain and staffing issues, with enrollment down 9.4% nationally since the onset of COVID-19. Reed said Penn College’s new-student numbers are encouraging, with waiting lists now in effect for at least 10 academic programs. “Our incoming class looks strong,” he said.

President Davie Jane Gilmour noted other encouraging numbers for Fall 2022, adding, “We’re still processing new students for the fall (until early August).”

In other business, the board approved emeritus status for William J. Martin, who retired as senior vice president in 2011, and Patrick D. Murphy, who retired in 2010 from the graphic design faculty as an associate professor.

Martin served the institution for nearly three decades, starting as director of secondary vocational programs in 1983. His subsequent roles included dean of student services, vice president for student affairs and vice president for college services, which underwent a title change to senior vice president in 1996. He was also instrumental in the construction, development and operation of the Community Arts Center, serving as chair of the Arts Center’s board until the merger with the college in 2021.

Murphy was a founding member of what became the graphic arts department. He began his employment with the college in 1979 as an assistant professor of advertising art. His supplemental assignments included department head and special adviser. He was the recipient of the college’s highest honor granted to faculty – the Veronica M. Muzic Master Teacher Award – in 1989, and he also developed the curriculum for the Bachelor of Science degree in graphic design.

Thursday's Board of Directors meeting encapsulated for college communityThe board approved a Strategic Plan covering the years 2022-26. Presenting the plan to the board for the college administration were Joanna K. Flynn, dean of curriculum and instruction, and Anthony J. Pace, dean of academic operations. The yearlong process reflected input from all facets of campus. Gilmour said the process was “as comprehensive and inclusive as we have ever done.”

The board authorized the appointment of Baker Tilly to perform auditing services for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022.

Loni N. Kline, vice president for college relations/chief philanthropy officer, presented the board with updates for 2021-22 activities within College Relations, which includes Alumni Relations, Career Services, Corporate Relations and the Penn College Foundation.

Some highlights for 2021-22 include 545 unique companies hosted, 10,500 student interactions, 381 Alumni Tomorrow Makers, 135 Corporate Tomorrow Makers and 38 career mentors.

Fundraising for Fiscal Year 2022 to date is $8.5 million.

“I’m very confident we will get to $9 million this year,” Kline said.

The Alumni Legacy Scholarship has commitments totaling $500,000 over 10 years. An Internship Support Fund granted 14 awards averaging $1,000 to students, and 69 students received funding for global experiences trips.

Noting how so much of the college’s fundraising benefits students, Kline explained that Gilmour’s No. 1 goal for the Legacy Campaign was “to create student firsts.”

“We’ve certainly done that,” Kline said.

In her remarks to the board, Gilmour, who noted it was her last time delivering remarks to the board for a regularly scheduled meeting before her June 30 retirement, commended retiring board members Joseph J. Doncsecz and John J. Romano for their many years of service.

Doncsecz, who is retiring from Penn State in December as associate vice president for finance and corporate controller, has served on the Penn College board since 2007, also serving as its treasurer. Romano, who retired from Penn State as vice president for commonwealth campuses in 2010, has served on the board since June 2010.

Their successors on the board will be announced soon.

Gilmour focused on student successes, as she always does in her remarks, telling the board about the recent, back-to-back first-place finishes of the college’s Baja SAE team in premier endurance races in Tennessee and New York, the first time in 17 years the students have taken top honors in the off-road events at these competitions.

“The bragging rights they will take with them, probably for the rest of their lives, is nothing short of extraordinary,” she said.

She thanked the board members for their strong relationships and for the support they have offered to the college. She said the most gratifying aspect of her 24 years of service as president of Penn College is seeing “the transformation of lives” of its students.

She said the college is in good hands with its incoming president – Reed, who begins his new duties July 1 – and the team supporting him.

“I think what’s most important to me is that the future is bright,” Gilmour said.

In his comments to the board, state Sen. Gene Yaw, its chair, said the nearly 40-year relationship he has had with Gilmour cannot be replicated. He said he would have more to say at a gala event scheduled later this month, but for now, “I’ll just end by saying she is going to be missed, and good luck in the future.”

The next regularly scheduled Penn College Board meeting is set for Aug. 4.

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