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College honors electrical alumnus during Chamber celebration

Michael Bower, a graduate of Williamsport Area Community College and president of TurnKey Electric Inc., received an Alumni of the Year Award at the 18th annual Education Celebration hosted by the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce on Thursday evening.

The award – presented during a Williamsport Country Club event that highlights the crucial linkages among business and industry, local school districts and colleges – is given to a graduate who has made a significant contribution to the quality of life in Lycoming County, has excelled in his or her own profession, and is active in the community.

Michael Bower (right) accepts his father's award from Penn College's Kyle A. Smith.
Michael Bower (right) accepts his father’s award from Penn College’s Kyle A. Smith.

Kyle A. Smith, executive director of the Penn College Foundation, introduced the award to Bower, who graduated from WACC in 1973 with a certificate in electrical construction.

“From those roots at Penn College’s predecessor institution have sprouted influential projects that are woven into the very fabric of the region and beyond – landmark entities such as UPMC Susquehanna, Little League International and the Williamsport Regional Airport,” he said. “(Bower) serves on the board of the Penn College Foundation, which grows steadily stronger in helping more and more students meet the financial challenges of higher education, and he has been both a player and sponsor for the foundation’s yearly Golf Classic that benefits our scholarship funds.”

The honoree was unable to attend, but expressed his gratitude via video.

Alumni award-winner Michael Bower shows off his WACC certificate, which "went through a fire" and remains a vital piece of his story.
Alumni award-winner Michael Bower shows off his WACC certificate, which “went through a fire” and remains a vital piece of his story.

He was represented by his mother, Amelia; his son and daughter-in-law, Michael and Angela, and the couple’s month-old daughter, Amelia.

Among those he thanked in the prerecorded message: his parents (including his educator father, Eugene, who died in September) for instilling his values and work ethic; Peggy, his wife of 39 years; his son and family; and his employees, including his “No. 1 guy in the office,” Richard A. Zerby, who earned an electrical construction certificate from WACC in 1981.

Celebrating Michael Bower's alumni award at the Williamsport Country Club are (from left), his mother, son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter.
Celebrating Michael Bower’s alumni award at the Williamsport Country Club are (from left), his mother, son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter.

Accepting an accolade that goes “beyond his wildest dreams,” Bower closed by emphasizing “how passionate I am about supporting this community.” That civic involvement was also reflected in his 2017 selection for an alumni achievement award from the Williamsport Area School District Education Foundation.

Thursday’s banquet also included an Alumni of the Year Award presented by Lycoming College to Patricia and Robert Burger, recognition awards to outstanding students and teachers from nine Lycoming County schools, and a Business Partner in Education Award to Aramark.

Four of the honored students – Hughesville High School’s Valerie Ammar-Khodja, Montgomery High School’s Novalee A. Leonard, Muncy High School’s Gianna Edkin and Williamsport Area High School’s Liam Ferry – are graduates of Penn College’s Youth Leadership Program. Leonard, who has earned postsecondary credits while in the Penn College NOW dual-enrollment program, will return to campus this fall as a first-year student in pre-physician assistant studies.

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