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President says farewell with authenticity, humility … and accolades

In the final all-college address before her June 30 retirement, Pennsylvania College of Technology President Davie Jane Gilmour found the difficult words to sum up 44 years on campus – the last two-dozen as its leader.

“I have made mistakes, but – together – we have accomplished a great deal through extraordinary times – not just recent months, but in 24 years of change and adaptation, feast and famine,” she said, during an emotional mix of candid self-assessment and genuine gratitude. “We have always worked hard, kept students in sharp focus and moved this venture forward – and in the process, we have transformed lives. If I had but one small piece of that, then my career has been fulfilled.”

She was followed to the lectern by her imminent successor, Michael J. Reed, who put into perspective Gilmour’s “extraordinary” tenure as Penn College president: “If someone had visited this campus in May 1998, when you became president, and did not return until today, they would be utterly astounded by the transformation.”

Their remarks were preceded by recognition of faculty and staff with a series of end-of-semester honors – including the surprise inauguration of an award with a provenance steeped in campus lore.

(The following is drawn from remarks by President Gilmour during a May 12 all-college meeting to close the 2021-22 academic year.)

Reed and Hillary E. Hofstrom, vice president and people and culture, applaud as the crowd rises in tribute to President Gilmour.
Reed and Hillary E. Hofstrom, vice president and people and culture, applaud as the crowd rises in tribute to President Gilmour.

Good morning.

Employee Recognition Week has been a campus mainstay since 1997, predating my assumption of the presidency … and it will no doubt survive well into the future as noteworthy co-workers will continue to be celebrated for their contributions.

We begin our celebration with retirees.

This academic year brings the departure of 37 of our workplace colleagues with nearly 300 years of experience among them. Five have been with the college for more than 25 years, two for more than 30, and one for 35 – Abdul Pathan, professor of economics.

As I call your name, please come forward:

Heather Allison
Lori Berry
Daniel Blair
Tanna M. Brewer
Marianne E. DePasqua
Patti Durrwachter
Mary E. Erdman
Kenneth Gough
Walter Gower
Mary Gregory
Donald E. Gustafson
Paul Herbst
Kathryn C. Lose
Brad Lyon
Jeffrey Mather
Dr. Dottie Mathers
John J. Miknis
Lolita Mohney
Dr. Abdul B. Pathan
Tonja R. Pennycoff
Karen Plankenhorn
Vicki Plocinski
Shahin Shabanian
Kay M. Shipman
David A. Stabley
Kathleen Stahl
William F. Stepp III
David “Lynn” Turney
Susan Updegraff
Keith A. Vanderlin
Connie Welshans
Anita R. Wood
Robert A. Wozniak
Karen E. Wright
Dr. Donald C. York

Let’s acknowledge our 2021-22 retirees.

We now turn to the dozen newest members of the college’s Quarter Century Club, observing their 25th anniversary in this academic year.

When I call your name, please come forward:

Danna M. Brooks
Dr. Roy A. Fletcher
Dr. Sandra Gorka
Harry W. Hintz Jr.
Timothy J. Mallery
Darlene K. McCoy
Steven K. McCoy
Thomas R. McFadden
Randall L. Moser
David C. Pletz
Michael E. Rae
Elliott Strickland Jr.

On the floor and in the balcony, the president's co-workers turn out for her valedictory all-college address.
On the floor and in the balcony, the president’s co-workers turn out for her valedictory all-college address.

We historically travel back in time at this point, jolting our memories about what we were doing … and watching … and buying … and talking about as they were joined our college community.

The late Madeleine Albright was sworn in as secretary of state in 1997, Princess Diana died in an auto accident, gas was $1.22 a gallon, the Nintendo 64 gaming system hit the market, “The Lion King” opened on Broadway, the first in the Harry Potter book series was published in the U.K., Tiger Woods (at 21) became the youngest golfer ever to win the Masters, the Dow topped 8,000 for the first time, and “Titanic” premiered in movie theaters.

More locally:

  • Penn College purchased the former PBI property along the Maynard Street corridor, starting a revitalization process that would ultimately result in a beautiful and lasting gateway to main campus.
  • Our chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society for associate-degree students was chartered, inducting 91 students in its first year.
  • The college and one of its hugely supportive industry partners were collaborating on a new two-year program: a Caterpillar emphasis for our heavy construction equipment technology major.
  • And General Services’ Chad Karstetter, then a student and later a successful coach, was named an All-American in archery for the first of what ultimately would be three times.

Those are just a few examples from the year in which our newest Quarter Century Club members made their Penn College debut.

They are accompanied today by other longtime employees who are marking milestones during this 2021-22 academic year:

Reaching 35-year status are Joseph (Gustav) Loehr, the retiring (and ever-smiling) Dr. Abdul B. Pathan, and Dr. Jeffrey L. Rankinen. And we acknowledge our 30-year employees: Dr. Michael A. Dincher, Kenneth J. Kinley and Mary Jo Saxe.

Join me in thanking these veteran co-workers for their ongoing contributions.

We continue our Employee Recognition with our Distinguished Staff Awards, beginning with Dr. Jennifer McLean, associate dean of student affairs, this year’s winner among Administrative, Professional & Technical employees.

“A single sentence could sum up Jen’s qualifications, so here it is: ‘She is amazing,’” one of her nominators said. “Jen has a long history of serving the Penn College community in a variety of capacities, each with greater responsibility and importance to the mission of our institution and the success of our students.”

Her primary responsibilities include the supervision of College Health Services, Disability & Access Resources, Counseling Services, and the college’s Health Education program.

“These are complicated areas of service within the college that require an inordinate amount of time to stay relevant in and to supervise,” another said. “Jen is driven to help ensure the health and well-being of our students as a first step to their ability to effectively live and learn on our campus.”

Please join me in recognizing Jennifer McLean, who, while spending much of the past two years on our day-to-day COVID testing and isolation protocols, has been a consistent leader and – until now – an unsung hero in Student Affairs, from suicide and harassment prevention to accessibility issues to healthy behavioral intervention.

This year’s Classified winner is Barbara J. Stevens, secretary of K-12 Outreach.

“Barb first and foremost serves students. As our office has been through several iterations that include change to priorities and focus, Barb always embraces the change and displays exemplary customer service,” her nomination reads. “When our office incorporated with Academic Services,

Barb felt very strongly about learning the processes associated with placement testing and scheduling. It was important to her that she be able to answer as many questions as possible while the student or family were on the phone rather than passing a message for a callback. Barb has done an amazing job of improving the customer-service culture of our office, making students feel valued and important.”

Congratulations, Barbara, for checking all the boxes. We thank you your collaboration … for your clear communication … and for your consistency in dealing with faculty, with staff and – most importantly – with our students.

President Gilmour stands beneath a quote that adorned her office, a reminder of the perseverance and passion with which she executed the college mission.
President Gilmour stands beneath a quote that adorned her office, a reminder of the perseverance and passion with which she executed the college mission.

This year’s recipient of the Service award is Dining Services worker Teri L. Umstead – who, in addition to her many Keystone Dining Room duties, went the extra mile for our quarantined students as we were all feeling the strain from COVID-19.

“Teri wrote notes on to-go containers such as ‘Hang in there’ or drawing a smiley face,” a nominator said. “While this is a simple gesture, we have heard from several students on how much these little notes brightened their day while they were isolated from others. Over Thanksgiving, we had one student who had to isolate on campus and was disappointed that he was not traveling home for all of break. When arranging his meal deliveries during this time, he mentioned how much these notes had gotten him through several long days, and he looked forward to them each day.”

Thank you, Teri, for selflessly thinking of our students during a challenge they didn’t expect … and for all of the other things you routinely and impeccably do: chopping and prepping, being uncompromising on safety and standards, and for always knowing just how much ham to slice when the Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week kids storm your dining unit.

Our lineup of distinguished staff includes a part-time employee again this year: Carol J. Counsil, who – along with a 2020 honoree, Megan E. Rogers – serves as an information desk assistant at the busy Student & Administrative Services Center.

“I’ve had the opportunity on many occasions to watch and listen to Carol interact with students and the public; she does so with confidence, but is also compassionate and understanding,” her nominator wrote. “She seeks to appropriately resolve any conflict that may arise by presenting her ideas, but also with a willingness to listen and take advice from others. Carol understands and takes pride in the importance of excellent customer service. She possesses exceptional communication skills and recognizes the need for good verbal and nonverbal communication in her relationships and rapport with students, parents and the community.”

Thank you, Carol, for ensuring that students and their families are provided with quality information and guidance, leaving or hanging up the phone happier for the attention and service that they’ve received.

The Excellence in Academic Advising Award was created to recognize the vital part that advisers play in the success of our students.

This year’s honoree is Dr. Naim N. Jabbour, assistant professor of architecture.

Whether as a faculty member in both architecture and in teaching the First Year Experience course, as principal investigator for a National Science Foundation Built Environment Scholars grant, Dr. Jabbour has steadily guided students along a smooth path to graduation.

Congratulations, Naim, on your dedication to our students, in and out of the studio – and that includes your enviable study-abroad trip to Spain. Enjoy!

It is now my pleasure to present the President’s Award for Outstanding Assessment.

This year’s honor goes to College Relations for reimagining the way it looks at its various constituents in order to determine who is more likely to engage with the college – now and in the future.

Contemporaneous to the launch of a major campaign, the team collected data, not only from donors … but it also looked at such factors as student leadership, athletes and award-winners, who attends events and who recruits at Career Fair, not to mention where they’re coming from geographically … all to better align with the college’s Strategic Plan, meet our graduates where they live, and to make data-based budgeting and staffing decisions.

“We identified a target list of alumni to recruit for the Tomorrow Makers program, and now have more than 300 volunteers,” the group reported, adding, “Using the updated scoring data, so far in Fiscal Year 2022, we have received $1 million more in cash donations than in Fiscal Year 2021.”

For their considerable and purposeful work, we commend Loni N. Kline and her College Relations team for developing an Engagement Scoring Assessment that allows them to better target their efforts, effectively utilize their time and resources, build relationships with constituents, and promote continued growth of philanthropic support – all of which positively impact our students’ experience here.

As we remark each year during awards season, an integral part of that student experience is the instruction at its very core. Distinguished Teaching Awards are presented to full-time faculty at Penn College who have been nominated by their students and colleagues for excellence in instructional performance.

Prior to presenting the faculty/staff awards arrayed behind her, Gilmour tells of an impactful encounter with Franchesca "Franny" Ybarra, soon to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in welding & fabrication engineering technology and one of the weekend's commencement speakers.
Prior to presenting the faculty/staff awards arrayed behind her, Gilmour tells of an impactful encounter with Franchesca “Franny” Ybarra, soon to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in welding & fabrication engineering technology and one of the weekend’s commencement speakers.

Four full-time faculty members are receiving 2022 Excellence in Teaching Awards: Karen L. Avery, instructor of biology; Joshua J. Rice, instructor of plastics technology; Tammy M. Rich, associate professor of business administration/management/event management; and Kevin Yokitis, assistant professor of electrical technology/occupations.

Karen Avery has been employed by Penn College since August 2017. Previously, she taught at Montoursville Area, Milton Area, Montgomery Area and Bishop Neumann high schools. She also taught part time at Lycoming College and was an adjunct instructor at Bloomsburg University.

She holds a Master of Science in biology from Bloomsburg University and a Bachelor of Arts in biology from Lycoming College. She is pursuing a Doctor of Education in STEM education from the University of Pittsburgh.

Comments from her nominators include:

  • “Mrs. Avery is always full of energy and makes learning fun. There is not a day she doesn’t walk into class with a smile. She cares for her students and for their success.”
  • “She believes in all her students and builds a great rapport with them.”
  • “Professor Avery goes above and beyond in her teaching. She is thorough, teaches you to think critically to truly understand the topics.”

Please join me in congratulating the first of our four teaching honorees: Karen Avery.

Joshua Rice is one of our alumnus instructors, holding a Bachelor of Science with highest honors in plastics & polymer engineering technology. He has taught here since 2016, bringing with him the experience gained as a process engineer with W.L. Gore and Associates.

Comments from Rice’s nomination form include:

  • “Joshua sets an example for all of his students to follow in the areas of professionalism, accessibility and helpfulness. He holds himself to high standards of knowledge and skill in his discipline and explains to his students how to achieve these, while at the same time demonstrating them in his own life.”
  • “He often makes difficult topics easy to understand, and every class is guaranteed to be entertaining as well as educational.”
  • “I feel that when Mr. Rice notices a student has a problem, he will do whatever it takes to personally help solve that issue as quickly as possible.”

Congratulations, Joshua, on bringing such excellence to your mentorship of our students.

Tammy Rich has been employed by Penn College since March 2014, beginning as director of alumni relations. She taught as an adjunct instructor before becoming associate professor in 2016 and department head in 2018.

She served as executive director of alumni relations and special events at Lock Haven University and director of annual giving for the Lock Haven University Foundation. She has also been a sales director at various hotels and resorts.

Tammy holds a Ph.D. in organizational management and post-master’s certification in college teaching from Capella University; a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix; and a Bachelor of Arts in marketing and management and Associate of Applied Science in advertising from Northwood University.

Comments from her nominators include:

  • “Dr. Rich facilitates student learning more than any other professor I know. She utilizes engaging lecture tactics in classes and makes sure all students participate and have fun learning. It is a fact to say that she generates excitement for whatever concept it is she is teaching.”
  • “Having her as a professor for multiple classes, all being the best classes I have taken, she engages the class and never lets learning get boring or dull.”
  • “Dr. Rich is known for always having her door open to students and being someone, who students can go to for any academic or personal problem that they may need help with.”

Thank you, Tammy, for your contagious and inspirational enthusiasm on behalf of the students fortunate to cross your path.

Kevin Yokitis has taught electrical technology at Penn College since 2015. Previously, he taught electromechanical technology (and developed the program) at Williamsport Area High School. Prior to that, he was an automation and controls specialist with Cromaglass Corp., where he continues to serve as an engineering consultant.

Yokitis holds a Master of Science in workforce education and development from Penn State. He also earned a Bachelor of Science in building automation technology and an Associate of Applied Science in electrical technology from Penn College.

Comments from his nominators include:

  • “He is an amazing professor. He truly cares about you as a student and your success.”
  • “He makes sure you know the material needed in order to have great grades. He puts in a lot of work so that you can learn the most material possible.”
  • “Listens to you and what you need help on; he won’t necessarily give you all the information, he makes you work, but that is the way it should be.”

Congratulations to Kevin Yokitis, and the rest of our Excellence in Teaching Award winners.

It’s no accident that we can boast an esteemed collection of adjunct faculty members, too, one of whom we highlight each year for Excellence in Part-Time Teaching.

This year, we choose Sheryl E. Snyder-Everitt, faculty in physical therapist assistant, who holds an associate degree from Keystone College and bachelor’s degree from Penn College. She also serves on the staff of UPMC Susquehanna Health, among her professional affiliations, and is a member of the college’s Physical Therapist Assistant Advisory Committee.

She has brought her expertise to curricular collaborations on such topics as Therapeutic Exercise … and Sports and Orthopedics and developed syllabi and course structure for classes in Ethics and Law … and Medical Terminology.

Please help me congratulate Sheryl, this year’s honoree for Excellence in Part-Time Teaching.

Nine faculty members have earned promotion in academic rank as of Aug. 11. They (and their soon-to-be-new job titles) are:

Karen L. Avery, assistant professor of biology; David A. Becker, assistant professor of computer information technology; Dr. Summer L. Bukeavich, associate professor of business administration/management & marketing; Dr. Dulcey J. Frantz, associate professor of nursing; Dr. Sandra Gorka, professor of computer information technology; Evonne W. Haines, assistant professor of mathematics; Allen Heimbach, assistant professor of computer information technology; Jason W. Killinger, associate professor of HVAC technology; and Howard W. Troup, assistant professor of automated manufacturing/machine tool technology.

Joanna K. Flynn, dean of curriculum and instruction, holds her "Why Not Women" award – a makerspace-made replica that carries a trio of notable autographs – alongside the historic original.
Joanna K. Flynn, dean of curriculum and instruction, holds her “Why Not Women” award – a makerspace-made replica that carries a trio of notable autographs – alongside the historic original.

There is one more award to present today.

As many know, the Master Teacher award is named for Veronica Muzic, the first recipient of the award.

Veronica was a true master teacher and an amazing administrator, and she worked closely with me as provost.

I can honestly tell you I miss her every day.

She would arrive in her office early in the morning and depart at 6 p.m. daily.

Veronica gave it to you straight – she was funny, dedicated, driven and a consummate colleague.

This year, we are instituting a new award – the “Why Not Women” award – for a woman on our campus who has made a difference.

A bit of history: In 1984, Veronica’s daughter, Marci was a student at Marietta College in Ohio.

While visiting a faculty member, she saw the sign and said, “My mother would love that” and the faculty member took it off the wall and handed it to Marci … who brought it home to her mother on a Greyhound bus.

It hung in Veronica’s faculty office for years. Her office mates – fellow master teachers Ned Coates and Peter Dumanis – were known to add paper question marks in various locations of the sign!

When Veronica moved into administration – “across the street” – she passed the sign on to other women “living” in the Academic Center. The original now hangs permanently outside the ACC Auditorium. Three years ago, a likeness was made by Anthony O’Koren, a Penn College student, and was placed in the SGA Auction.

I could not resist and purchased it. The back is signed by Veronica, Marci and me.

Today, I am awarding the first “Why Not Women” sign – with the understanding that it will be passed annually to another deserving female campus leader. Mike, it is up to you and this year’s award-winner to decide the award’s future.

I am honored to share this history, and to offer my heartfelt “Thank you for making a difference” – to Joanna Flynn.

Congratulations to all of today’s honorees.

Today is a day for celebration.

We have recognized the people … and now, some accomplishments:

On March 31, we celebrated Legacy Day. During that 24-hour celebration, almost 500 contributors made gifts totaling nearly $875,000.

It was a day I’ll never forget – remembering most how our Penn College community came together in support of our students.

Of that $875,000 in gifts, over $600,000 was for scholarships – creating critical access to education for our Tomorrow Makers.

During this final year of the Tomorrow Is in the Making: Legacy Campaign, College Relations has already raised over $8 million for scholarships, academics and affinity, and equipment and facilities. We’re on pace for another record year in fundraising, which translates to firsts of all kinds for our students to experience.

Our students continue to be in high regard and high demand with our industry partners. The spring Career Fair registrations sold out in less than 72 hours, and we had 150 companies on the wait list. All of those companies on the list had the opportunity to engage in other recruitment activities this semester. In fact, through the Center for Career Design, the college has hosted 545 unique companies engaged in Career Fairs, Employer Recruitment Days and other activities during this academic year.

On April 22 – Earth Day – we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Herman T. Schneebeli Earth Science Center. Student C.C. Hawkins created the most beautiful cake to commemorate the occasion – a replica of the Earth Science Center, the equipment and grounds.

Our students never cease to amaze me.

Alumni, faculty, staff and students came together to celebrate the history of the ESC and to usher in the future of our academic programs.

Spring athletic teams made the conference championships: lacrosse, baseball, golf and softball. A great achievement for our student-athletes and coaches. Congratulations to all.

This is my final all-college meeting.

In preparing for today, I have so many thoughts and memories. It is really difficult to put into words all that I am feeling. Words like excitement, sadness, anticipation and an enormous amount of pride.

I have made mistakes, but – together – we have accomplished a great deal through extraordinary times – not just recent months, but in 24 years of change and adaptation, feast and famine.

We have always worked hard, kept students in sharp focus and moved this venture forward – and in the process, we have transformed lives.

If I had but one small piece of that, then my career has been fulfilled.

I have tried to be authentic, remembering the teachings of my parents – two of the most significant influences in my life. I have remained aware of my strengths and weaknesses, for, as my father would have said, “Do not be what you are not.”

I have tried to be humble, something my mother taught me at an early age. I may not be the smartest person in this room, but I was smart enough to surround myself with those smarter and wiser than I.

I have tried to be teachable, and to learn from mentors like Veronica, Bob Bowers, Gene Yaw and Bob Dunham. They taught me both by words and by deeds. And they were always ready with candid feedback and support, holding me accountable.

The team of professionals I work with daily are nothing short of amazing. They challenge me, they are creative and they care. I could not ask for more.

Valerie, we have been side-by-side for this adventure, we have cried together, laughed together and even dressed alike. There are no words to express my admiration and gratitude for your support, encouragement and patience. I will miss you.

“Maturing” is a nice word for aging, and is something I hope I have perfected. Learn from your mistakes, have the courage change, and know when to admit you were wrong, And most of all, say you are sorry … and mean it.

Honesty – not everyone has agreed with me; some of you are no doubt ready for the leadership change – but for 24 years, what you see is what you have gotten.

Another lesson from my father, take the high road. It may be lonely but good always wins. It just may take some time.

“The List” – This list was made Jan. 1, 1998, when I was a candidate for president.

Fred, Ralph and Connie Horne, and I spent that New Year’s Day writing a list – I had great help from Ralph – that detailed what I should do if I was appointed president.

Almost everything on it has been accomplished … except we still have tobacco on campus. Mike, that one is yours!

I leave on June 30 with no regrets. Thank you all for your tenacity, support and encouragement. I will miss the people most of all.

Fred has been beside me for this adventure, and I think we are ready for the next chapter in our lives. My guess is we will navigate a “new normal” and perhaps I will even learn to cook!

To my best friend and soulmate, thank you for being all that I could have ever dreamed of; I am excited for what’s next!

The college has a bright future.

I am confident Mike will lead with ethics, competence and trust. Never forget: We do this for the students and their future.

Finding a quote was not easy this time, but to quote Winnie the Pooh, “How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

Penn College will always be in my heart, my hopes and dreams. Thank you.

(The president was then presented with a bouquet of flowers and detained on stage, as Reed – who will assume the helm on July 1 – spoke on behalf of an appreciative campus community.)

Reed piggybacks onto a standing ovation, seizing the mic and catching the president off-guard with congratulatory comments and a floral tribute.
Reed piggybacks onto a standing ovation, seizing the mic and catching the president off-guard with congratulatory comments and a floral tribute.

President Gilmour, As this is the last time all of us will be gathered together in this fashion during your presidency, we cannot let the moment pass without putting into proper perspective your extraordinary service to this institution.

You have served as president of Pennsylvania College of Technology for 24 years – just shy of a quarter century! That is all the more remarkable when you consider that the average tenure of college presidents today is barely six years … and shrinking.

If someone had visited this campus in May 1998, when you became president, and did not return until today, they would be utterly astounded by the transformation.

In 1998, there was no Madigan Library, no College Avenue Labs, no Center for Business & Workforce Development, no Student & Administrative Services Center, no Rose Street Commons, no Campus View Apartments, no Field House, no UPMC Athletic Field and no beautiful main entrance welcoming all to campus. The list goes on and on, and it doesn’t even reflect the complete renovation of so many existing facilities like the Klump Academic Center, where we are assembled today.

Thanks to your leadership, our students have abundant program and career options – more bachelor’s degrees, our first master’s degrees, and myriad apprenticeship opportunities – all reflecting the college’s unique mission and persistent responsiveness to business and workforce needs. The unique educational model you have shepherded, in turn, has earned the enduring respect and support of stakeholders and elected officials alike.

Your passion for student access and success is admired by all. When you announced a year ago that your presidency would sunset on June 30, you used the opportunity to “pay it forward” to our students through the Legacy Campaign. Since the onset of the comprehensive campaign, College Relations reports 76 new scholarships have been established for a total of $16.7 million; nearly 2,400 scholarship awards have been made to students; almost 500 contributors heeded the call on Legacy Day, making gifts totaling nearly $875,000; and $12.8 million in tangible gifts (equipment, tools and technology) has been received.

Under your guidance, we also weathered one of the most profound threats to higher education in a century: the COVID-19 pandemic. We pivoted to remote instruction only once during the 2 ½-year duration of the ongoing pandemic – when complying with a government-ordered shutdown in Spring 2020. Even then, you encouraged and fostered innovative ways for us to deliver hands-on, in-person education to students whose academic programs required it.

When the pandemic forced nearly all other colleges and universities to forgo in-person commencement ceremonies, under your direction, we found a way to accommodate social-distancing requirements, making for very grateful students, parents, and families, who were able to savor some milestone moments during truly turbulent times.

Speaking of commencement, in the 24 years of your tenure, there have been 28,245 Penn College graduates sent off into the workforce, with 19,719 of them marching during the 132 ceremonies you oversaw.

That means you have shaken the hands of nearly 20,000 graduates as they crossed the stage to receive their diplomas! And, that number doesn’t even include the 637 who will march Friday and Saturday at the Community Arts Center as you preside over your final commencement. Thankfully, for the first 22 years, you didn’t have to sanitize before every handshake.

I would be remiss if I did not mention how you have strengthened ties with the local community – and beyond – during your 24 years at the helm of Penn College.

The vice president for academic affairs/provost (and incoming president) recaps Gilmour's monumental tenure, which – in addition to vastly improving facilities, opportunities and community ties – launched more than 28,000 graduates into the workforce.
The vice president for academic affairs/provost (and incoming president) recaps Gilmour’s monumental tenure, which – in addition to vastly improving facilities, opportunities and community ties – launched more than 28,000 graduates into the workforce.

A list of the local, regional and national organizations you have served is informative. It includes Little League Baseball, UPMC in Northcentral PA, the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce, the Emerson Project, First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the NCAA, the United East athletic conference, and many, many more.

Along the way, you also found the time to mentor so many individuals who have gone on to enjoy success in their lives and careers.

Back in 1977, when you were considering whether to accept the offer of our Williamsport Area Community College predecessor to become the first member of the dental hygiene faculty, you sought the counsel of your father, who said:

“What an opportunity, the first faculty member in a new program. You will have many opportunities. … Look at it as an adventure, a first step in a journey, and see what happens. If it does not fit, you can always leave.”

Without that sage advice, Davie, you might not have accepted that offer, and this vibrant institution would not have benefited from the countless, invaluable contributions you made over the ensuing 45 years.

So, please allow us to offer a heartfelt “thank you” on behalf of all the students, alumni, faculty and staff of Penn College who have been empowered by your leadership, mentorship and friendship. Best wishes for a long, rewarding and well-deserved retirement!

Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in one final round of applause for Dr. Davie Gilmour.

Photos by Larry D. Kauffman, digital publishing specialist/photographer


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