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Former provost, ‘Master Teacher,’ innovator dies

Veronica M. Muzic, whose dedicated service as a faculty member and administrator is tightly woven through 50 years of college history, died Tuesday, June 18, 2019, at the age of 82.

Muzic joined Williamsport Area Community College as an English instructor in 1968 and was awarded its first “Master Teacher” award in 1982. In recognition of her years of distinguished service to WACC and Pennsylvania College of Technology, the award was renamed in her honor in 2006.

In nearly four decades of teaching and administrative leadership – culminating in her retirement as vice president for academic affairs/provost, part-time service as a special assistant to the president and designation as faculty emerita – she was a tireless and selfless mentor to students, alumni and colleagues.

“Veronica was an essential piece of the fabric of our college, and she will be forever missed,” President Davie Jane Gilmour said.

Veronica M. MuzicMuzic was also a force in the greater community, giving voice to her passion for education and the arts through service to such organizations as the League of Women Voters, the YWCA of Northcentral Pennsylvania (which named her the Wise Woman of the Year in 2011), the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra and the South Williamsport Education Foundation. She was a longtime member of the board for the Community Arts Center, a wholly owned subsidiary of the college.

Her WACC/Penn College tenure was marked by instructional innovation, programming that consistently kept students’ enlightenment in mind, and the promotion of fairness and equality in and out of the classroom.

She was instrumental in any number of college enterprises: formation of the Women Series, which brought such authors as Alice Walker and Maya Angelou to campus; implementation of a developmental education program; the opening of the Tutoring Center; and the creation of SMART Girls, a program that uses hands-on career exploration activities to encourage teens to continue challenging themselves in science and math.

She helped facilitate (with faculty colleague Daniel J. Doyle) the Technology & Society Colloquia Series, which brought timely topics to the fore through appearances by national experts and learned college faculty alike.

Muzic was among the administrators who developed the college’s first bachelor’s degrees, served as the inaugural chair of College Council when the institution introduced an internal governance system and was pivotal in the college’s accreditation self-studies.

She created and – for many years – shepherded the collegewide Quality Through Assessment process, and she also led the successful regional reaccreditation of the college by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education in 2012.

She generously supported the college’s annual giving drives and special projects, including providing a leadership gift to support the opening of the Dr. Welch Workshop: A Makerspace at Penn College, and was an early benefactor of the Madigan Library.

Despite that persistent involvement, however, she characteristically turned the spotlight on others – be they co-workers who shared her vision, or the students and alumni who benefited from her advocacy.

“My decades at Penn College have allowed me to know that our students leave here, ready to contribute their talents not only to their professions but also to their communities,” she said during a recent scholarship campaign. “They prove the validity of the college mission through their commitment to lifelong learning: the general studies graduate who went on to earn her doctorate and is now a university professor, the toolmaking technology graduate now an engineer and entrepreneur, the early childhood education graduate now the director of a community early care facility, the business administration graduate now in a leadership role in his state organization and the initiator of a statewide educational program for young learners.

“As important, our graduates sit on school boards, serve as mayors, lead and support community organizations, and contribute their talents through volunteerism. It has been my privilege to know these graduates and it is also a privilege and a choice to help the next generations of students write their own success stories.”

Muzic held a bachelor’s degree from College Misericordia (now Misericordia University) and a master’s from Bucknell University. Among her many positions, she served as coordinator of developmental studies, acting director of integrated studies, interim division director of integrated studies, division director of integrated studies, assistant dean of integrated studies, dean of integrated studies, dean of academic affairs and adviser to the Women’s Forum.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Muzic Family Scholarship at the college.

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