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Board re-elects officers, approves parameters for state budget request 

The Pennsylvania College of Technology Board of Directors on Thursday re-elected its slate of officers and approved parameters for the college’s state budget request for 2019-20. 

Officers re-elected for 2018-19 are: Sen. Gene Yaw, chair; Robert N. Pangborn, vice chair; and Joseph J. Doncsecz, treasurer. President Davie Jane Gilmour will continue to function as secretary to the board, Suzanne T. Stopper remains assistant treasurer, and Valerie A. Baier continues as assistant secretary. (Secretaries and assistants need not be members of the board.) 

“I look forward to another really productive year,” Yaw said after the unanimous vote. 

The college’s 2019-20 state budget request asks for a 6-percent increase of the college’s state appropriation to $24.1 million. Penn College’s budget request is submitted to the state with Penn State’s request. The parameters are subject to change. 

The board ratified two unanimous-consent actions taken in July. The first permits discussions regarding a neighboring property that have not borne fruit to date. The second authorizes the college to accept alternates and award a final contract for renovations to the Penn College at Wellsboro facility. 

Presentations to the board included institutional branding activities, by Patrick Marty, chief of staff and assistant to the president for college relations; a Wildcat Athletics update, by Elliott Strickland, vice president for student affairs; and an Internal Governance update, by Craig A. Miller, chair of College Council. 

Marty provided an abridged version of the college’s brand rollout, which was presented in September to the campus community. Over the past year, the college has been working with Philadelphia-based branding agency 160over90 to develop and tell the compelling story connected to the college’s real-world relevancy and high return on investment. The robust brand-development process begins with a detailed discovery process led by the firm, which involved more than 120 people across the student body, faculty and staff, alumni community, industry partners, and community leaders. 

The first key pieces are already coming to life; they support the growth of the college by presenting an authentic, resonating and differentiating message. The partnership with 160over90 provides a strategic framework that is reflective of the college’s goals and objectives and serves as a guide to tell the powerful stories of student, faculty and alumni success to a broadening audience across the commonwealth and nation. 

Thursday's Board of Directors meeting encapsulated for college communityStrickland addressed Wildcat Athletics’ 2017-18 performance in the Northeastern Athletic Conference’s President’s Cup. The college improved its overall ranking to fourth (among 14 member institutions). Three teams finished second in the conference (baseball, men’s cross country and women’s soccer). Men’s golf finished third; finishing fourth were men’s soccer and softball. The college had 34 All-NEAC student-athletes. In addition, archer Nathaniel Haefka won a national championship in the bowhunter division at the USA Archery Collegiate Championships, earning All-American status along with three teammates. 

Penn College finished second in the NEAC in community service (contributing 2,642 hours of service and raising $4,683 for various nonprofits), fifth in sportsmanship and seventh in academic success. Penn College student-athletes earned an average GPA of 3.06, the highest in Wildcat history. The college had 123 student-athletes earn at least a 3.0 GPA and nine that earned a perfect 4.0.  Fifty-eight Penn College students earned NEAC Scholar-Athlete recognition. Strickland also noted improvements to athletic facilities, including renovation of the athletics conference room, as well as installation of a new scoreboard and construction of a press box at the athletic field. 

Miller reported on an Internal Governance self-assessment survey, work on a revised core, and bylaws revisions for the addition of new seats. He also addressed items that will be considered next year, including reviewing the makeup of committees to ensure inclusive representation, improved outreach and marketing of Internal Governance, and increased efficiency for committee meetings. 

Additionally, Mark Stevenson, CFA and vice president of Wilmington Trust, provided board members with an updated report on the college’s investments. 

Paul L. Starkey, vice president for academic affairs and provost, provided the board with a report on a total of 27 faculty members and academic administrators who are new for 2018-19. 

In her comments to the board, Gilmour referenced the August opening of the Dr. Welch Workshop: A Makerspace at Penn College, the recent rededication and new signage for the Lycoming Engines Metal Trades Center, the Little League Baseball picnic on campus and the college’s participation in the Little League Grand Slam Parade and the Major League Baseball Little League Classic game at Bowman Field, and the recent opening of a Virtual Reality Studio in the Madigan Library. 

She also previewed upcoming events, including this weekend’s Homecoming and Parent & Family Weekend, which has nearly 1,000 pre-registrants; the Oct. 16-17 Career Fair, which has 308 employers participating and 92 on a waiting list; and the colloquia event on Nov. 8 with John Deak, associate professor of history and a guest lecturer with the University of Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Lecture Series, who will share his expertise on World War I, the ending of which marks its 100th anniversary next month. 

In his closing comments, Yaw noted both he and Gilmour have been invited to present at an Oct. 10 policy briefing in Harrisburg sponsored by Quantum Communications. He also told the board that state Sen. Patrick M. Browne, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, will tour campus when he visits Williamsport on Nov. 8. 

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the board will be on Dec. 6. 

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