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Board Approves Budget/Tuition, ‘Emeritus’ Status for Faculty Member

The Pennsylvania College of Technology Board of Directors on Thursday approved the college’s budget and tuition rates for 2015-16, the Dining Services and Residence Life fees for the next academic year, “professor emeritus” status for a recently retired faculty member, and the Community Arts Center Board of Directors’ roster.

The board also authorized President Davie Jane Gilmour and Vice President for Finance/CFO Suzanne T. Stopper to pursue a sales agreement for the purchase of property on Fifth Avenue in Williamsport.

The board approved an operating budget of $109 million (0.95 percent increase) and a total budget of $154 million (1.2 percent increase) for the college in 2015-16.

The tuition increase (2.78 percent) is the lowest-percentage increase since the college became a Penn State affiliate in 1989. When tuition and fees are combined, the increases for 2015-16 are 2.33 percent for Pennsylvania residents and 2.46 percent for out-of-state students.

For Pennsylvania residents, tuition and fees in 2015-16 will be $527 per credit hour, an increase of $12 per credit over the current year. A full-time, in-state student enrolled for the typical two 15-credit semesters in 2015-16 will pay $15,810 in tuition and fees, an increase of $360.

Tuition and fees for an out-of-state Penn College student will increase $18 per credit – to $749 per credit hour – in 2015-16. A full-time out-of-state student enrolled for two 15-credit semesters in 2015-16 will pay a total of $22,470 in tuition and fees, an increase of $540.

Dining Services and Residence Life at Penn College have established increases of 2.5 percent for the 2015-16 academic year.

The budget includes gifts of $100,000 to the City of Williamsport and $35,000 to the Williamsport Area School District. Both voluntary contributions are re-evaluated annually.

After an electronic presentation to the board by Stopper, who provided details about the budget and the initiatives it will fund, Gilmour noted the significance of keeping the tuition increase as low as possible.

Thursday's Board of Directors meeting summarized for college community
Thursday’s Board of Directors meeting summarized for college community

“We want to not price ourselves out of the market. … there is no fat in this budget. We worked hard to trim that out,” the president said.

The state Legislature has not yet passed its 2015-16 budget. At a meeting in April, the Penn College Board of Directors authorized the college to continue operating at 2014-15 adjusted budget levels until a 2015-16 state budget is passed and signed into law.

Board Chairman Sen. Gene Yaw said it’s still unclear how the state budget negotiations will unfold, but he added, “Things in Harrisburg can happen very quickly.”

In other business, the board approved professor emeritus status for Paul “Babe” Mayer, a retired faculty member in the Fitness and Lifetime Sports (now Exercise Science) Department. Mayer taught at the college for 25 years, retiring in December.

He was instrumental in the development and delivery of a number of new courses within his department and brought notoriety to the college for his training and conditioning work with athletes across the region and for his radio and television sports-broadcasting efforts.

The board authorized the president and Stopper to execute a sales agreement to purchase parcels at 508, 510, 512 and 514 Fifth Avenue, the site of a recent fatal shooting in the city. Gilmour said the college was approached by Lycoming County District Attorney Eric R. Linhardt regarding the potential purchase.

“A lot of our students live around that area,” she said, explaining why the college decided to proceed with the purchase.

Gilmour said the college intends to raze the buildings and will consider re-selling the property later. For now, “It’s a huge safety improvement,” she noted.

The board also approved the appointment of the Community Arts Center Board of Directors and alternates. The members are: Gilmour, William J. Martin, Stopper, Veronica M. Muzic and Paul L. Starkey. Alternates are Robert G. Bowers, Carolyn R. Strickland and Ann Marie Phillips.

The board heard a presentation on the college’s social-media presence from Carlos Ramos, Web designer/interactive media strategist, who will become manager of Web development and interactive media on July 1.

Ramos provided an overview of the college’s social communications strategy and goals, as well as a reflection on key efforts and highlights from the past year. Among the highlights was a visit paid by entertainer Jay Leno to automotive restoration technology students, and the overwhelmingly positive reaction it generated on the college’s social-media platforms.

The next Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for Aug. 6.

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