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College Board of Directors Authorizes Refinancing

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Board of Directors on Thursday reaffirmed authorization to refinance a 2002 bond series, endorsed the college’s Enrollment Management Plan, authorized continued operations at adjusted budget levels for 2011-12 if the state has not passed its budget by June 30, approved emeritus status for a retired professor of business management, and agreed to engage a firm to conduct the college’s financial audit for 2011-12.

After the meeting was adjourned and a board tour was conducted at the new Children’s Learning Center play area, President Davie Jane Gilmour surprised retiring Board Chairman Robert E. Dunham and his wife, Maureen, with the news that the Children’s Learning Center would be renamed in their honor.

Dunham, who retired in 1998 from The Pennsylvania State University as senior vice president and dean of the Commonwealth Education System, has served as chairman of the Penn College Board of Directors since 1997. His final meeting as chairman will be in June.

Maureen Dunham is a retired elementary public school teacher, having taught for 28 years in Pomona, Calif.; Ventura, Calif.; West Lafayette, Ind.; and the State College area. She also helped found and administer a nontuition Friendship Tutoring Program for elementary school students in the State College area.

During the board meeting, Suzanne T. Stopper, vice president for finance/CFO, said refinancing the 2002 series bonds would result in a net present value savings of $4.5 million (as of April 25). Closing is expected in mid-May.

Thursday's Board of Directors meeting highlighted for campus community“We really think this is a good move,” Stopper told the board, adding that the refinancing involves existing debt only and no new money.

The board’s original authorization came in October 2010, but conditions were not favorable then, and the refinancing did not take place.

In other business, the board endorsed a plan offered by the college’s Enrollment Management Group to move the college forward in all aspects of the matriculation and enrollment processes. The Enrollment Management Plan was the subject of a recent President’s Forum on campus that generated record attendance.

As it has done in recent years as a precautionary measure, the board provided authorization for the administration to continue college operations at adjusted budget levels for the current fiscal year in the event a state budget is not enacted by June 30.

Phillip D. Landers was approved by the board for “professor emeritus” status. Landers retired in August as a professor of business administration/management after 43 years as a faculty member at Penn College and its immediate predecessor, Williamsport Area Community College.

Landers was involved with writing and implementing the initial bargaining agreement between the college and Penn College Education Association. He researched, created and wrote the original bachelor’s degree in accounting and was involved in all subsequent revisions to it and the associate degree in accounting. He served on, and led, many Internal Governance System committees at Penn College, and he played important roles in various accreditation and re-accreditation self-studies. He also worked with the Salvation Army of Williamsport and the Internal Revenue Service to bring a chapter of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program to Penn College.

The board approved an engagement letter for Larson, Kellet & Associates, P.C. to audit the college’s financial records for the fiscal year ending June 30.

Marc E. Bridgens, dean of construction and design technologies, provided an overview to the board regarding activities in the school he oversees, including many student construction projects on campus and in the community.

Eugene M. McAvoy, dean of academic services and first year programs, presented regarding SupportNET, an online early alert referral program, and MAP-Works, a student success and retention program. He said SupportNET generated 1,133 referrals for 842 students this year. “This had a phenomenal reception,” he said.

Tom F. Gregory, associate vice president for instruction, updated the board on proposed new programs for Fall 2012: automotive restoration technology, information technology sciences-software development and information management, and English as a second language.

Paul L. Starkey, vice president for academic affairs/provost, spoke to the board about approved faculty promotions and sabbaticals.

Promotions, effective with the start of the 2012-13 academic year, are: Edward J. Almasy, electronics faculty (School of Industrial and Engineering Technologies), from instructor to assistant professor; James N. Colton II, welding faculty (School of Industrial and Engineering Technologies), from instructor to assistant professor; and Mark A. Trueman, director of paramedic technology programs (School of Health Sciences), from instructor to assistant professor.

Approved sabbaticals are: William J. Astore, professor of history, School of Integrated Studies, Fall 2012 semester; Charles R. Niedermyer II, instructor of baking and pastry arts/culinary arts, School of Hospitality, Fall 2012 semester; Curt E. Vander Vere, assistant professor of mathematics, School of Integrated Studies, Spring 2013 semester; and Kelly B. Butzler, assistant professor of chemistry, School of Integrated Studies, Spring 2013 semester.

Gregory J. Miller, outgoing Student Government Association president, introduced his successor, Ryan M. Enders, who said he hopes to fill open seats on the SGA board and promote improved attendance at SGA meetings. Jeremy L. Thorne, incoming vice president for finance for SGA, was also introduced to the board.

The next regularly scheduled Board of Directors meeting is June 21.

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