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Parallel 100-Year Histories Converge in Madigan Library

A 1914 Model T arrives on campus for joint 100th-anniversary observance.
A 1914 Model T arrives on campus for joint 100th-anniversary observance.
Automotive restoration technology majors surround a piece of history. From left are Drew A. Swanson, of State College; Mitchell R. Kachele, of Allendale, N.J.; Ryan J. Levesque, Unionville; Daniel S. Bishop, of Perkasie; and Carmen Cicioni, of Ringtown.
Automotive restoration technology majors surround a piece of history. From left are Drew A. Swanson, of State College; Mitchell R. Kachele, of Allendale, N.J.; Ryan J. Levesque, Unionville; Daniel S. Bishop, of Perkasie; and Carmen Cicioni, of Ringtown.
Ron Smith, behind the wheel
Ron Smith, behind the wheel
The Penn College seal is reflected in the Model T windshield.
The Penn College seal is reflected in the Model T windshield.
A vintage Oldsmobile, another visible link between the college's past and its popular automotive restoration technology major, greets visitors library visitors.
A vintage Oldsmobile, another visible link between the college’s past and its popular automotive restoration technology major, greets visitors library visitors.

A 1914 Ford Model T, which rolled off the assembly line the same year adult education began at what would become Williamsport Technical Institute, has arrived in Madigan Library for display throughout Penn College’s yearlong centennial celebration. Ron Smith, of Allentown, who also owns the 1901 Curved Dash Oldsmobile showcased near the library entrance, loaned the vehicle to the School of Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies after meeting faculty and students at a recent Hershey car show. “Roy (H. Klinger, collision repair instructor) had a stand next to mine, where I was showing a 1915 Model T,” Smith said. “He asked me what year it was and, when I told him, said, ‘I wish it was a ’14′” to coincide with the birth of automotive instruction on campus. A collector who has a particular fondness for Model T’s and multiple vehicles from which to choose, Smith said he told Klinger, “That’s not a problem!” Adding to the institutional connection, Smith is a 1980 alumnus of Williamsport Area Community College’s automotive technology major. He moved from Loganton to Allentown after graduating from the Penn College predecessor, working in a variety of capacities with four Chevrolet dealerships – from mechanic to service manager – before opening his own business in 1989. Along with the cars on loan from his collection, Smith’s diploma will be displayed in the library.
Photos by Georgia R. Laudenslager, librarian, and student photographers Marc T. Kaylor and Craig R. Urey

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