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Tree Decorations Honor Penn College’s Military Family


A seasonal accent to Pennsylvania College of Technology’s main entrance has gift-wrapped an opportunity for the institution to recognize its military family. A 25-foot-tall tree pays tribute to the students and employees who are veterans.

The Vanderwolf blue limber pine is adorned with 408 stars, fashioned by servicemen enrolled in the School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies. The stars honor the 373 students and 35 employees who have identified themselves as veterans.

“We want to show all the veterans in the Penn College family that we are thinking about them,” said Chester M. Beaver, the college’s veterans affairs coordinator. “We also want the community to know how many veterans are on campus. By seeing the large number of stars on the tree, we hope people understand that veterans are an important part of the college community.”

Collating 500 stars for an on-campus tribute are (from left) Chester M. Beaver, Penn College’s veterans affairs coordinator; and manufacturing engineering technology students Robert W. Myers, of Montoursville, who set up the press in preparation for die-cutting of the ornaments; Justin L. Black, of Turbotville; and Joshua D. King, of Noxen.
Collating 500 stars for an on-campus tribute are (from left) Chester M. Beaver, Penn College’s veterans affairs coordinator; and manufacturing engineering technology students Robert W. Myers, of Montoursville, who set up the press in preparation for die-cutting of the ornaments; Justin L. Black, of Turbotville; and Joshua D. King, of Noxen.

Robert W. Myers, of Montoursville, a manufacturing engineering technology major, and Kenneth L. Mueller, of Schwenksville, an automated manufacturing technology student, devoted 35 hours outside of class preparing a 60-ton Minster No. 5 press for the project. Myers spent five weeks in class finalizing the press and die for the star ornaments to be cut.

“Basically, the press is like a big cookie cutter with 60 tons of force,” said Howard W. Troup, maintenance mechanic/millwright at the college.

Seven veterans enrolled in classes taught by Troup and Keith H. English, instructor of machine tool technology/automated manufacturing, stamped out the nearly 5-inch stars, which are made of leftover plastic from the college’s thermoforming lab.

Photo gallery

Student veterans – along with supportive friends from the Financial Aid, Admissions and Registrar’s offices at Penn College – pause for a photo during the tree’s decoration.
Student veterans – along with supportive friends from the Financial Aid, Admissions and Registrar’s offices at Penn College – pause for a photo during the tree’s decoration.

Student veterans – with assistance from General Services personnel and staff members from the Financial Aid, Admissions and Registrar’s offices – placed the star ornaments on the tree, which is illuminated by the patriotic glow of red, white and blue lights.

“Because of the positive response that we’ve received from all of those involved, as well as the fun we all had, we anticipate making the Veterans Holiday Tree an annual event that will in time become a cherished tradition on campus,” Beaver said.

Penn College, named a Military Friendly School for the sixth straight year, offers associate degrees in machine tool technology and automated manufacturing technology, as well as a bachelor’s degree in manufacturing engineering technology. For information about those programs and other degrees from the School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies, call 570-327-4520.

For more about Penn College, which is celebrating its Centennial throughout 2014, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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