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President’s commencement finale hits all the right notes

Pennsylvania College of Technology held three ceremonies May 13-14 for the nearly 750 students who petitioned to graduate at the end of the Spring 2022 semester – the last of 135 commencement exercises to be held under President Davie Jane Gilmour. “My life is better for all of the students I’ve dealt with, interacted with, shook hands with for the last 24 years,” said the president, who is retiring June 30. “I am so proud of you and what you’ve done, and I want you to remember one thing: If you make yourself proud every day, then we will be Penn College Proud. And no matter where you go or what you do, you will always have a home at Penn College.” Bittersweet and joyful, nostalgic and raucous (with cowbells, air horns and confetti cannons), it truly offered moments to cherish, and not just for the 20,000th graduate to cross the stage and receive one-on-one congratulations.

Honoring Gilmour’s trailblazing tenure, all three student speakers were young women putting their imprint on fields once dominated by men: Caila Nicole Flanagan, of Danville, awarded a bachelor’s degree in business administration: management concentration and an associate degree in business management Friday; Franchesca Cheyenne Ybarra, of Williamsport by way of a 2,847-mile trip from western Oregon, who received a bachelor’s degree welding & fabrication engineering technology at Saturday morning’s ceremony (which included a Distinguished Alumni Award); and Charlee Marshall, of Snow Shoe, who earned a bachelor’s degree in construction management in the weekend’s – and Gilmour’s – final ceremony.

While commencement is a forward-looking event, state Sen. Gene Yaw, chairman of Penn College’s Board of Directors, remarked that “it’s also a time when you look back on old friends, good times and past experiences that can never be repeated.” Recalling a near-40-year relationship with Gilmour in a variety of college-related areas, and adding a personal touch prior to the conferral of degrees, he said, “That’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience and, indeed, it’s something that will probably never be repeated. Frankly, I will miss my friend in this capacity.”

– Photos by Cindy Davis Meixel, writer/photo editor; Jennifer A. Cline, writer/magazine editor;
Tom Wilson, writer/editor-PCToday; and Larry D. Kauffman, digital publishing specialist/photographer

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