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Emeritus Designation Accorded to Former Dean, Faculty Member


Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Board of Directors on Thursday approved emeritus status for Donald O. Praster, who served the college as an administrator and faculty member for more than three decades.

Praster retired in June 2012 as dean of industrial and engineering technologies at Penn College. He began his employment with the college 36 years earlier as a welding faculty member. He served as welding department head for many years before becoming assistant dean of the School of Industrial and Engineering Technologies in 1997. He was named interim dean in 2007 and dean in 2008.

Donald O. Praster
Donald O. Praster

As a faculty member, Praster was active with the Penn College Education Association, becoming involved in negotiations for collective bargaining agreements. He served the college in a variety of roles, including with its Internal Governance system.

To be eligible for emeritus status, nominees must be honorably retired in good standing and have served the college for a minimum of 10 years, demonstrating a record of distinguished service to students, their department, their academic school and/or the college. Nominations are reviewed and approved by the Promotion and Sabbatical Review Committee and are recommended for board consideration by the president.

In his endorsement to the committee, Paul L. Starkey, vice president for academic affairs/provost, noted Praster was instrumental in securing a National Science Foundation grant to support the Welding Center of Excellence at the college, as well as the WeldEd grant. He was also a key participant in the renovation of the College Avenue Labs facility and the campuswide Stage X construction project.

Starkey also noted comments from Praster’s nominator, who offered that he had a knack for finding students who were at risk, either behaviorally or academically, and providing guidance.

“Throughout his career, Don displayed a passion for his profession and his students,” Starkey wrote. “He was noted for mentoring colleagues and taking a genuine interest in their success.”

“I think it is fair to say that Don’s approach to education and administration had little to do with future benefits to his personal record but rather to his extraordinary desire to see both his colleagues and his students succeed,” Starkey added. “He provided exemplary service to his profession and to Penn College.”

Praster’s nominator wrote: “Having had Mr. Praster as an instructor, an advisor, a mentor and a colleague, I can personally attest to his dedication, offering his time and professional experiences to enhance the learning environment (and) leaving a profound and lasting impression on his students.”

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