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President Celebrates ‘Year to Remember;’ Master Teacher Award Renamed in Tribute


(The following is drawn from remarks by Davie Jane Gilmour, Pennsylvania College of Technology president, during a May 11 all-college meeting to close the 2005-06 academic year.)

Frank Lloyd Wright said, “The price of success is dedication, hard work and devotion to the things we want to see happen.”

I believe that, every day, the faculty and staff of Pennsylvania College of Technology show dedication, hard work and devotion to our students, to our community and to our mission as an institution.

I do not take for granted your devotion, your dedication or your hard work. We all pay the price for the success of Penn College.

As we come to the end of another academic year, it is important that we take time to honor those among us who have reached milestones in their Penn College experience.

In a few days, we will celebrate the commencement of the Class of 2006. We also will name this year’s Master Teacher and distinguished full-time faculty.

Today, we honor individuals you have chosen as our distinguished staff and our distinguished part-time faculty for 2006. We also recognize those who have announced their plans to retire in 2005-06 and those who have marked their 25th anniversary at the college.

We begin with our retirees: Medford Barton Jr., Benjamin Eldred, Judith Folmar, Virginia Jolloff, Jim McMahon, Florence Peterson, Bonnie Powell, Richard Rankinen, Jere Rentzel and Richard Weilminster.

It is hard to imagine the campus without you!

Believe it or not, there are more than 200 years of service represented among this year’s retirees.

Four of these individuals Rich Rankinen, Rich Weilminster, Jim McMahon and Ben Eldred have each spent more than 30 years with the college. Rich Rankinen tops the list with 37 years of service. He joined the faculty in 1969, the year that men first walked on the moon, the year of Woodstock, the year that “Sesame Street” came on the air.

It was a while ago, but I have no doubt that the years went by very quickly.

Whether you have spent just a few years or 37 years with us, each of you has earned the reward of retirement. I hope you leave us with fantastic memories. I know we say “Goodbye” with very fond memories of you.

Ladies and gentlemen, let’s take this opportunity to recognize our “class” of 2006 retirees.

The retirees except Bonnie can take their seats.

Bonnie also is part of the next group of employees to be recognized today: our new inductees into the Quarter Century Club: From Administrative, Professional, Technical staff, Dennis Dunkleberger and Elaine Lambert; from Classified staff, Bonnie Powell; from Service staff, Edward Bergstrom and Gary Rising; from Faculty, Perry Gotschal and Mary Ann Lampman.

A lot was happening in the world 25 years ago: Reagan was president, Sandra Day O’Connor joined the Supreme Court, Iran freed 52 hostages held since 1979, air controllers went on strike, MTV went on the air and Pac-man was the rage.

The biggest game show on TV was “The $20,000 Pyramid.” Can you imagine a prize of only $20,000 on a television game show?

We were watching “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “On Golden Pond” and “Chariots of Fire” at the movie theater. We were watching “Hill Street Blues,” “Lou Grant,” “Donahue” and “Taxi” on TV.

And two things happened that really changed our world: IBM introduced its first PC remember, it ran MS-DOS? and the FDA approved the use of NutraSweet. How would we have made it through the last 25 years without PCs and diet soda?

Here they are, ladies and gentlemen, 25 years later and none looks a day over 30!

Now, I’d like to introduce the men and women that you have selected as your distinguished part-time faculty and distinguished staff members for 2006.

First, the individual who will receive the 2006 Part-Time Teaching Award: Arthur V. Campbell, instructor of business administration.

One of Arthur’s student nominators said, “There’s something about a man who drives a Porsche to school and wears a different suit each class.”

There certainly is “something” about Arthur Campbell.

He retired from Lunaire Limited (now TPA) as vice president and division executive manager and one of the corporation’s founding investors. He is using his retirement as an opportunity to share with our business and management students the experience that he gained while working in a $40 million corporation.

The students and the college are grateful for the way in which he chooses to spend his retirement.

Those who nominated him for this award said that his enthusiasm spreads through his classes and that he relates real-world examples to make business practices understandable.

“Most importantly,” one student said, “he talks to us, not at us.”

Arthur, on behalf of your grateful students, and your faculty and staff peers, I congratulate you for being named our 2006 Distinguished Part-Time Faculty Award winner.

Our Distinguished Staff Awards recognize excellence among APT (Administrative, Professional and Technical) staff, Classified staff and Service staff.

I am proud to introduce you to the three distinguished staff members you have selected for this year’s recognition.

First, this year’s distinguished APT staff member is Jennifer Hammond.

Jennifer has been employed by the college for over 15 years, first as a part-time tutor, later as an English 111 instructor and coordinator of the tutoring center.

Her nominators describe Jennifer as “a brilliant and gifted employee.” They believe that she “exhibits integrity, an exceptional attitude and a heart of gold.” And, when the situation calls for it, they tell us that she is known to provide pizza and snacks. Smart woman!

In her position, Jennifer serves as a liaison between instructors and the 40 to 50 tutors that she supervises. A daunting task!

Jennifer has a lifetime commitment to women’s issues and to the college community. She has been active over the years with the Women’s Forum, Alcohol Awareness Week, College Council and the Student Affairs Committee.

Earlier this year, she was named one of Penn College’s Awesome Women during our 2006 Celebration of Women.

Jennifer, for your efforts to help students become active, responsible and successful learners, we are proud to present you with this 2006 Distinguished Staff Award.

This year’s distinguished classified staff member is Mary Jane Baier.

Mary Jane is secretary to the School of Business and Computer Technologies. In fact, she is described as “that glowing, bubbly and energetic person that greets you each and every day when you enter the Business and Computer Technologies Office.”

Mary Jane also is a Penn College graduate, earning her office information systems degree in 2002.

Her nominators said that, while Mary Jane is very accomplished in her field, she constantly demonstrates willingness to learn and to adopt new ideas and techniques and newly gained information.

She has been known to create “how-to” flyers to assist faculty and staff whenever a new piece of equipment, such as a color copier or fax machine, arrives in the office. She also has been called the “idea person” in the office, the one who “adds those special touches” and is instrumental in organizing activities such as holiday-card decorating, Relay for Life and other initiatives among the school faculty and staff.

Faculty who nominated her for this award said that “Mary Jane demonstrates credibility.” “You can be confident, if you tell Mary Jane, the message will be conveyed.”

Mary Jane, for providing students and faculty with an environment for open and comfortable interaction, and for inspiring others with your professionalism, creativity and patience, we are proud to present you with this 2006 Distinguished Staff Award.

This year’s distinguished service staff member is Barry Loner.

Barry is a first-shift custodian for General Services. He is constantly inundated with work orders and he efficiently coordinates the setups for many campus events throughout the year. He also has had the pleasure of helping to relocate offices during the cold winter months when the Student and Administrative Services Center first opened for business and, most recently, during the Academic Center renovation.

Throughout challenging times, when those around him may not be at their best, Barry maintains a positive attitude and a strong work ethic in order to complete the task at hand.

One of his many nominators wrote that Barry “needs no prodding to act the role of the Good Samaritan it simply comes naturally to him.”

“There is no task too big or difficult that he doesn’t tackle and complete it with his supervisor’s complete confidence it will be done as expected.”

One fellow worker admitted, “He has even bailed me out of a few jams and never made me feel the less for doing so. He is a credit to the college family.” Another nominator said, “Each day, he does little things that make a big difference.” And another concluded, “Barry sets the bar high for hard work and dedication.”

Barry, for displaying a true professional manner throughout your workday, and for making our lives easier and more pleasant during hectic and trying times, we are proud to present you with this 2006 Distinguished Staff Award.

These individuals have been recognized by you, the men and women they work beside each day. You have chosen them because you see in them the qualities that define success: dedication, hard work and devotion to the college.

On behalf of everyone at Penn College students, faculty and staff I thank all the individuals we have honored today for setting high standards and for living their professional lives in a way that encourages others to follow their examples.

Please join me in congratulating our 2006 distinguished part-time faculty and staff members.

We have had quite a year.

Our Annual Fund Employee Campaign ended 2005-06 at $62,357, bringing the total to $459,082 from 1995 until now. The 2006-07 campaign has kicked off, and donations and pledges already amount to nearly $50,000 that takes the total to more than a half-million dollars. Thank you!

We look to the fall with anticipation of the opening of the Madigan Library. Who can forget the Basket Ballyhoo, which raised almost $5,000 for the library?

I get emotional at the thought the power of seeing our students in that building, creating a life for themselves, one that will distinguish them in their chosen professions and one that will distinguish us, is overwhelming to me.

I am amazed, yet again, of all we have accomplished this year.

Ground will be broken soon for the Center for Business& Workforce Development, the former BiLo grocery store.

Student achievement and faculty/staff recognition was at an all-time high, whether curricular, cocurricular or extracurricular recognition that was on the local, state and national levels. We can be very proud.

Each week brought us opportunity and challenge, our initiatives were completed, our unplanned opportunities met, and we are better for our work. Most importantly, our students are better.

The year has flown by, as will these coming summer months. We will have record summer enrollment, the new student Connections orientation program, and many groups and organizations visiting and staying on campus this summer. I dare say we already are planning August, but, before we move to the final part of our celebration today, I have one more task.

In April, the Board of Directors approved Lizabeth Mullens as the next vice president for academic affairs and provost.

I am certain that you know Veronica M. Muzic plans to retire from the vice president/provost position later this year, after more than 38 years of teaching and administrative leadership at the college. The good news is she will remain for several months to aid Liz?s transition into the role of chief academic officer. Veronica’s retirement marks a milepost in the institution’s history. I would never say that it’s the end of an era, because Veronica Muzic’s influence on this college and this community will never end.

She is an extraordinary teacher and administrator. She is a role model for students, alumni and colleagues who have the highest respect, admiration and love for her. She is a community leader who devotes her life to expressing her passion for education, culture and the arts.

Veronica’s influence is in the air we breathe on this campus; that will never change.

It is my great pleasure to announce that, in her honor, in recognition of her years of distinguished service and most notably to her students spanning more than 30 years, that, effective Saturday, the Master Teacher Award will become the Veronica Muzic Master Teacher Award a fitting tribute to the first-ever Master Teacher in 1982. It will be a privilege to have Veronica present this award Saturday during our commencement ceremonies.

Veronica, you are a force, a gifted woman who has taught me, among many, and you schooled us well. You will be missed more than you will ever know, but this award will allow your legacy of students, teaching and learning to resonate through the air that we breathe and the lives that we touch forever.

I want to thank each of you for being here today and for helping to make 2006 a year we will remember. Thank you!

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