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Heartfelt commemoration keeps alive a powerhouse legacy


A “life celebration” of Veronica M. Muzic, an inspiration to students and colleagues throughout nearly five decades as a faculty member and administrator, was held Saturday in Penn College’s Student & Administrative Services Center. The three-and-a-half-hour gathering attracted a cross-section of those who benefited from Muzic’s no-nonsense counsel and dedicated leadership – family, faculty/staff, former students and community members – and who marked the day with remembrance, reverent and otherwise, sprinkling their anecdotes with laughter and honest tears. Among those offering remarks were Marcianne Muzic Laycock, one of the honoree’s two daughters; niece Lisa Halberstadt, who read “When Great Trees Fall” by Maya Angelou (a March 1987 visitor to Williamsport Area Community College as part of a Women’s Series initiated by Muzic); President Davie Jane Gilmour; and Lynn Hanson, now a professor at Francis Marion University and co-director of the Baruch Institute for South Carolina Studies. The event also included music from a Williamsport Symphony Orchestra quartet and informal tours of “Veronica’s Garden” on the building’s second floor. Muzic, who died June 18 at the age of 82, joined WACC as an English instructor in 1968 and was awarded its first “Master Teacher” award in 1982. She retired as vice president for academic affairs/provost, served part time service as a special assistant to the president and holds emeritus faculty status.

– Photos by Cindy Davis Meixel, writer/photo editor

"I will continue to brag that I am Veronica Muzic's daughter," Laycock proudly admits, adding a special wish for her mother: "I hope Part II of your 'new adventure' is the trip of a lifetime."
“I will continue to brag that I am Veronica Muzic’s daughter,” Laycock proudly admits, adding a special wish for her mother: “I hope Part II of your ‘new adventure’ is the trip of a lifetime.”

A quartet from the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra (of which Muzic was a board member emerita) – Emily Rolka and Katie Johnston, violins; Shelley Whitnack, viola; and Tim Breon, bass – performs on the SASC's second floor.
A quartet from the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra (of which Muzic was a board member emerita) – Emily Rolka and Katie Johnston, violins; Shelley Whitnack, viola; and Tim Breon, bass – performs on the SASC’s second floor.

Before a standing-room crowd, the college president celebrates her mentor and bellwether – " a master of work, culture and experiencing life." Recounting Muzic's profound impact on the institution – from the Penn State affiliation and the advent of bachelor's degrees to construction of the Madigan Library and accreditation – Gilmour said, "We, together, could do anything!"
Before a standing-room crowd, the college president celebrates her mentor and bellwether – ” a master of work, culture and experiencing life.” Recounting Muzic’s profound impact on the institution – from the Penn State affiliation and the advent of bachelor’s degrees to construction of the Madigan Library and accreditation – Gilmour said, “We, together, could do anything!”

Hanson delivers a pitch-perfect tribute, exulting that "Ms. V." could not interrupt, advise anyone to "get over it" and "move on," or divert the focus onto others.
Hanson delivers a pitch-perfect tribute, exulting that “Ms. V.” could not interrupt, advise anyone to “get over it” and “move on,” or divert the focus onto others.

Student Anthony F. O’Koren used a CNC router at the campus makerspace to recreate a sign that once graced Muzic's office. (The original traveled by Greyhound bus from her daughter's Marietta College alma mater.) His replica, produced for a scholarship fundraiser during the spring semester, was purchased by President Gilmour and displayed at the entrance to Saturday's celebration.
Student Anthony F. O’Koren used a CNC router at the campus makerspace to recreate a sign that once graced Muzic’s office. (The original traveled by Greyhound bus from her daughter’s Marietta College alma mater.) His replica, produced for a scholarship fundraiser during the spring semester, was purchased by President Gilmour and displayed at the entrance to Saturday’s celebration.

Rick Mason, whose photo of Muzic adorned the day's published program, is among the visitors to Veronica's Garden.
Rick Mason, whose photo of Muzic adorned the day’s published program, is among the visitors to Veronica’s Garden.

Included in a slideshow was this priceless photo of peerless English Department co-workers in the fabled Room 317 of the Klump Academic Center (from left): Ned S. Coates, Hanson, Muzic and Peter B. Dumanis.
Included in a slideshow was this priceless photo of peerless English Department co-workers in the fabled Room 317 of the Klump Academic Center (from left): Ned S. Coates, Hanson, Muzic and Peter B. Dumanis.

A guestbook and program punctuate the day's celebratory intent.
A guestbook and program punctuate the day’s celebratory intent.

A fellow Master Teacher with whom Muzic developed the Technology & Society Colloquia Series, Daniel J. Doyle shares a humorous memory.
A fellow Master Teacher with whom Muzic developed the Technology & Society Colloquia Series, Daniel J. Doyle shares a humorous memory.

The teeming indoor terrarium offers a life-affirming vantage from which to enjoy the ensemble.
The teeming indoor terrarium offers a life-affirming vantage from which to enjoy the ensemble.

Chalmer Van Horn, a retired associate professor of drafting, recalls Muzic's insistence that an applied technology degree include such skills as writing and speaking.
Chalmer Van Horn, a retired associate professor of drafting, recalls Muzic’s insistence that an applied technology degree include such skills as writing and speaking.

 

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