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Penn College Alumnus’ Gratitude Fuels Generous Vehicle Donation

Pennsylvania College of Technology alumnus Anthony J. Piccari, right, delivers a 2006 Infiniti Q45 to Ronald A. Garner, automotive professor and one of his faculty mentors, outside the college%E2%80%99s Advanced Automotive Technology Center.Recognizing his alma mater’s need for late-model vehicles from a variety of manufacturers, a grateful graduate of Pennsylvania College of Technology recently brokered the donation of two automobiles to the college’s School of Transportation Technology.

Anthony J. Piccari, of Philadelphia, who received a bachelor’s degree in automotive technology management in 2008, personally delivered the first of the vehicles in late March a fully loaded 2006 Infiniti Q45 with fewer than 2,000 miles to Penn College’s Advanced Automotive Technology Center in Williamsport’s western end. A 2001 companion vehicle, which also was donated in conjunction with Nissan North America,soon will be added to the instructional fleet at the Parkes Automotive Technology Center on main campus.

Piccari contacted Colin W. Williamson, dean of transportation technology, in mid-February, suggesting the corporate donation as a more realistic possibility than any financial contribution he could make as a fledgling alumnus.

“I am fortunate enough to have a career in the automotive corporate world, and in today’s economic situation, that is astonishing,” he told the dean.

Hired shortly after graduation and recently promoted to fixed operations manager for the Infiniti Division of Nissan North America, Piccari oversees 11 dealerships in the Northeast “¦ and attributes that success directly to his education.

“The lessons, teachings and experiences that I encountered while I attended Penn College are the exact things that allowed me to even be noticed by Nissan, to obtain an interview and eventually step foot into the corporate world,” he said. “I definitely realize my debt to the automotive technology management professors, all of whom made my time there exceptionally fun and educational. It is because of them that I am where I am today.”

Piccari said he was compelled to show appreciation to those faculty members, particularly Ronald A. Garner, automotive professor. Garner regularly keeps in touch with many of his former students Piccari included and his pride in their accomplishments is obvious from the e-mail printouts that fill his classroom bulletin board.

“We are proud of Anthony’s professional accomplishment and that he valued his experience at Penn College so much that he wanted to contribute so early in his career,” Williamson said. “Vehicle donations in today’s market are rare, which makes this all the more special to our college.”

Becky J. Shaner, alumni relations assistant, presents Anthony J. Piccari with alumni material during his return to campus.Citing tough economic times in general and the specific financial challenges facing a newly minted member of the working world Piccari told Williamson that a monetary contribution couldn’t even hint at his gratitude toward the automotive professors. So he came up with Plan B, getting approval from the head of the training department in his regional office to donate at least one vehicle to Penn College.

“Tony’s continued contact with me after graduation and thinking enough of us to help obtain a vehicle for future students to learn with is too much for words,” Garner said. “I see this not only as a gift to the program and future students, but also a tribute to his classmates and past graduates who work hard every day to keep our automotive industry functioning. I am grateful.”

Picarri, who was accompanied in his return to Penn College by Stacie Crane, fixed operations manager for Nissan North America, said the donations not only honor his former professors but will expose students to yet another vehicle manufacturer and the state-of-the-art technologies in the newer-model Infiniti.

“We appreciate that Mr. Piccari has chosen to acknowledge his instructors and the value of his education in this significant way,” said Debra M. Miller, director of corporate relations in the college’s Office of Institutional Advancement. “Many students will benefit from this generous donation.”

“We’re always happy to welcome alumni back to campus, especially when their admiration of professors is so evident,” added Barbara A. Danko, director of alumni relations. “The fact that Anthony was able to influence his company to donate vehicles to benefit our students says a lot about his commitment to the college.”

One of the few such baccalaureate degrees in the northeastern United States, Penn College’s automotive technology management major combines time-tested technical education with the business-related skills necessary for students to embrace 21st-century job opportunities. The major is offered through the School of Transportation Technology, home to the industry’s oldest continually operating, postsecondary program in the country.

For more information about majors in the School of Transportation Technology, visit online or call 570-327-4516. For general information about Penn College, visit on the Web , e-mail or call toll-free 800-367-9222.