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Board Authorizes Bond Refinancing

The Pennsylvania College of Technology Board of Directors on Thursday authorized refinancing of the college’s 2005 bond series to generate financial savings from reduced interest costs.

Refinancing, said Suzanne T. Stopper, vice president for finance/CFO, is being undertaken at this time because of favorable interest rates. Closing is expected in June.

The board action allows the college administration to request that the Lycoming County Authority issue tax-exempt bonds on the college’s behalf in an amount not to exceed $11 million. There is no new money included in the borrowing.

When first approved 10 years ago, the Series 2005 bond issue included money for capital projects – like construction of the Madigan Library and the Center for Business & Workforce Development – as well as funds for refinancing the 1997 series bonds.

Board summary
Board of Directors meeting summarized for campus community

In other business, the board authorized the college to continue operations after June 30 at budgeted levels approved for fiscal year 2014-15 in the event a state budget is not passed by then. The routine action is presented each year to provide authority for the college to continue operating into the new fiscal year if the state budget is not passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor by June 30.

State Sen. Gene Yaw, board chairman, said he and board member Rep. Garth Everett are optimistic that a budget deal can be reached.

“Rep. Everett and I are both hopeful we will have a budget by June 30,” he said.

By unanimous consent, the board accepted the appointment of Debra M. Miller, vice president for institutional advancement, which was effective Jan. 1.

President Davie Jane Gilmour provided the board with an update on the national marketing campaign being conducted with Klein Curry Communications.

She noted the various successes to date, including a National Public Radio story (by NPR’s national energy correspondent) on the college’s training for gas industry jobs, a visit to campus by an Associated Press writer who plans to file a story on the automotive restoration technology program’s cumulative work on a 1935 Rolls Royce 20/25, as well as visits to campus next week by the producer for the Drive Channel on YouTube and a national blogger on college choices, who is planning a story on technology colleges.

“We are doing a lot of things when it comes to this national marketing initiative,” said the president, who is also participating in the Forbes Women’s Summit in New York in June as part of the yearlong effort.

Tom Gregory, associate vice president for instruction, informed the board about new and revised majors. He provided details on the revision (and renaming) of the exercise science major (formerly physical fitness specialist), as well as a new minor in information assurance and cyber security, both of which will take effect in the fall.

The exercise science program focuses on exercise theory but uniquely integrates biomechanical philosophies and methodologies of functional movement. It will prepare students for both immediate employment and transfer to four-year programs in athletic training, exercise physiology, kinesiology or biomechanics. Course changes include additional lab time for additional hands-on experiences.

The coursework for the new minor in information assurance and cybersecurity was selected to align with the curriculum recommendations jointly published by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security. Course topics include cryptography, hacking and penetration testing, network defenses and legal issues.

Gregory also addressed a new major that will be offered in Fall 2016 – business administration: sport and event management concentration. The major will prepare students with the skills necessary to excel in industries and occupations relating to both sports and events. The program provides a solid business core that includes an extensive background in the functional areas of marketing, finance, accounting, human resources and management along with a detailed focus on both sport and event activities.

Paul Starkey, vice president for academic affairs & provost, spoke to the board about the faculty promotions and sabbaticals approved for 2015-16.

The six approved faculty promotions are: Karen DiSalvo, assistant professor in the School of Sciences, Humanities & Visual Communications; Laurie Minium, assistant professor in the School of Health Sciences; Kim Speicher, assistant professor in the School of Health Sciences; Teri Stone, assistant professor in the School of Health Sciences; Anita Wood, associate professor in the School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies; and Frank Suchwala, associate professor in the School of Business & Hospitality.

The lone approved sabbatical for 2015-16 is Susan Slamka, assistant professor of human services and psychology in the School of Sciences, Humanities & Visual Communications, who will be on a full-year sabbatical completing clinical internships needed for additional licensure.

In her comments to the board, Gilmour noted there are 897 students set to graduate in May, with 752 expected to march during the three ceremonies taking place on May 15-16 at the Community Arts Center.

She also informed the board about the recent sealing of the time capsule in the Madigan Library; Gov. Tom Wolf’s recent visit to the college’s Energy Technology Education Center; the First Senior Award captured at the Charlotte AutoFair in North Carolina for the student-restored 1970 Chevelle Super Sport; the recent visit by international trade publication representatives to the Plastics Innovation & Resource Center; and the Williamsport Technical Institute reunion, which brought 50 alumni back to campus on April 17.

She also noted that Yaw was recently awarded recognition by the Pennsylvania Association of County Drug and Alcohol Administrators, an affiliate of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, for his leadership in combatting substance abuse statewide. Yaw, who serves as chairman of the board for the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, was instrumental in calling attention to the heroin crisis affecting the state.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the board will take place on June 18.

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