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Michael J. Reed inaugurated as Penn College’s eighth president

Evoking the institution’s rich history and committing to serve as an innovative trailblazer for tomorrow, Pennsylvania College of Technology inaugurated Michael J. Reed as its eighth president Friday afternoon at the Community Arts Center.

Reed received Penn College’s presidential medallion from his predecessor, President Emeritus Davie Jane Gilmour, and state Sen. Gene Yaw, chairman of the board of directors, in front of about 400 attendees, including faculty and staff, students, alumni, industry partners, and visiting college and university delegates.

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s eighth president, Michael J. Reed, offers remarks during his inauguration ceremony, held Oct. 21 at the Community Arts Center, Williamsport.
Pennsylvania College of Technology’s eighth president, Michael J. Reed, offers remarks during his inauguration ceremony, held Oct. 21 at the Community Arts Center, Williamsport.

“Today, we honor how we are ignited by our past, inspired by tomorrow and committed to what we like to call a ‘future made by hand,’” said Reed, who assumed his duties on July 1. “As president, I pledge to do everything in my power to sustain and enhance the level of excellence embodied on our campus.” (Full text of the president’s remarks)

During his opening remarks, Yaw chronicled the college’s 100-plus-year history of preparing graduates for the skilled trades to its status today as a national leader in applied technology education, prioritizing hands-on learning in state-of-the-art labs. He praised Gilmour’s 24-year tenure as an “era of dynamic innovation” and expressed confidence in Reed to build upon her legacy.

“There are many challenges and opportunities ahead, and our new president and his team are eager to meet the challenges,” Yaw said.

Reed was Penn College’s vice president for academic affairs and provost, the institution’s highest-ranking academic officer. He also served the college as vice president for academic operations and associate provost; dean of the former School of Sciences, Humanities & Visual Communications; and assistant dean of liberal arts and sciences.

Prior to joining Penn College in 2014, Reed accumulated extensive experience in secondary education as a teacher, counselor and principal.

A native of Glenshaw, a Pittsburgh suburb, Reed is a first-generation college student, a background shared with 43% of Penn College’s 4,200 students.

“I appreciate the challenges that many of our Penn College students face when they arrive on campus to begin their studies,” Reed said. “I understand how vital it is to provide the needed support to help students find their footing and accelerate.”

As president of Penn College’s Student Government Association, Sydney M. Telesky, of Milton, told the crowd that she has witnessed Reed’s commitment to students.

“It is obvious that Dr. Reed and many individuals on campus are putting in an immense effort to build relationships with each group of the Penn College community, especially students,” said Telesky, majoring in human services & restorative justice. “Dr. Reed’s strong leadership and persistence for improvement regarding diverse experiences and student opportunities will surely allow Pennsylvania College of Technology to fulfill its intended mission and vision for many years to come.”

President Emeritus Davie Jane Gilmour, assisted by Board of Directors Chair Sen. Gene Yaw, presents the Presidential Medallion to new Pennsylvania College of Technology President Michael J. Reed during an Oct. 21 inauguration ceremony at the college’s Community Arts Center, Williamsport.
President Emeritus Davie Jane Gilmour, assisted by Board of Directors Chair Sen. Gene Yaw, presents the Presidential Medallion to new Pennsylvania College of Technology President Michael J. Reed during an Oct. 21 inauguration ceremony at the college’s Community Arts Center, Williamsport.

Being the youngest of 10 siblings in a “blue-collar home” provided the “ideal platform for personal growth,” according to Reed, developing traits that he will rely on as president. “I know something about cooperation, competition and collaboration, not to mention patience,” Reed said.

John F. Chappo, assistant professor of history, shared that Reed has a well-earned reputation for exhibiting such qualities.

“President Reed has consistently and energetically worked really hard to bring people together in every role he has played and served at the college,” Chappo said. “He has tried to break down silos in order to create opportunities for faculty and staff to communicate, inform, and challenge one another in imagining and reimagining the ‘why’ behind what we do and in relation to where we should be headed.”

Reed stressed that his primary goal as president is “to place our graduates in the most competitive position to achieve long-term success, while meeting the current needs of employers in business and industry.”

Representing industry, Shannon L. Massey detailed how Penn College has fulfilled the needs of Lycoming Engines, the worldwide leader in manufacturing aviation piston engines and a Corporate Tomorrow Maker partner of the college.

Massey, the company’s senior vice president, revealed that Lycoming Engines employs 122 Penn College alumni, representing 30% of shop-floor employees and 13% of its salaried workforce.

“I feel the collaboration between Penn College and Lycoming Engines is a great example of how a college and industry businesses can work together to create successful outcomes for all involved,” she said. “Penn College truly provides an opportunity for students to follow their own path and to make their future by hand.”

The college’s overall graduate placement rate for 2020-21 was 96%.

“As president, my aim is to retain and refine what works and explore ways to tweak and enhance areas where there is room for improvement,” Reed said. “And there is always room for continual improvement – no matter how well our mission is executed. We must always aspire to be our best and meet our mission. … Together, there is nothing we can’t achieve.”

Following the ceremony, attendees toured campus and attended a reception hosted by Reed in the Lycoming Engines Metal Trades Center.

Reed holds a Doctor of Education in educational leadership from Drexel University, a Master of Education in counseling and education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. He earned a Post-Master Certificate in School Administration from Penn State.

Penn College’s roots date to 1914 as an adult training program at Williamsport High School. The vocational initiative evolved into Williamsport Technical Institute (1941-65) and Williamsport Area Community College (1965-89).

On July 1, 1989, Pennsylvania College of Technology was established as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Corporation for Penn State by Act 27 of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. As a special mission affiliate of Penn State, Penn College has its own board of directors, president, curriculum and accreditation.

Penn College is a national leader in applied technology education. Email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

– Photos by Cindy Davis Meixel, writer/photo editor;
and Larry D. Kauffman, digital publishing specialist/photographer

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