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WTI Alumni Swap Stories, Make New Memories at 16th Reunion

Fifty graduates of Williamsport Technical Institute, a Penn College predecessor that existed under that name from 1941-65, returned Friday for the 16th annual WTI reunion. While on campus, they reminisced with one another, evoking the people and places of the college’s past. With youthful exuberance, they recalled dinners at Danny’s Diner, quotes from favorite instructors and moves to buildings around the community as course offerings evolved. They also heard presentations from students Cortney L. Weaver, a dental hygiene student from Williamsport, and Erik G. Knecht, a manufacturing engineering technology student from Cranesville, who shared information about their academic majors, and student-veterans Cody R. Harriman, an emergency management technology student from Muncy Valley, and Bradly Lantz, a pre-physician assistant student from Cogan Station, who talked with the group about the Penn College experience for veterans. Following a Le Jeune Chef lunch, Emily K. Lutz, an applied management student and hospitality management graduate, guided the group on a tour of the hospitality department’s labs.

– Photos by Cindy Davis Meixel, writer/photo editor

Arthur Mann (left), mechanical drafting, and D. Frederick Wascher, ’56, automotive mechanic, share some laughs.
Arthur Mann (left), mechanical drafting, and D. Frederick Wascher, ’56, automotive mechanic, share some laughs.

From left, George Brown and William Lewis, both ’63, mechanical drafting, and Paul Bizilia, ’62, drafting, discuss drafting days gone by.
From left, George Brown and William Lewis, both ’63, mechanical drafting, and Paul Bizilia, ’62, drafting, discuss drafting days gone by.

Charles O’Connor, ’51, electrical, peruses college history publications with Robb C. Dietrich, executive director of the Penn College Foundation.
Charles O’Connor, ’51, electrical, peruses college history publications with Robb C. Dietrich, executive director of the Penn College Foundation.

Robert Leech, ‘48, automotive technician and ’50, drafting, traveled all the way from North Carolina with his daughters, Elizabeth, left, and Ruth Ann. (Elizabeth lives in Colorado.) Leech said he was the first high school student to take tool design on campus and that led to his first job working for Avco Corp. His career, mostly spent with Hughes Aircraft Co., took him all over the world and included working on computers as early as 1955 and teaching electronics on foreign assignments.
Robert Leech, ‘48, automotive technician and ’50, drafting, traveled all the way from North Carolina with his daughters, Elizabeth, left, and Ruth Ann. (Elizabeth lives in Colorado.) Leech said he was the first high school student to take tool design on campus and that led to his first job working for Avco Corp. His career, mostly spent with Hughes Aircraft Co., took him all over the world and included working on computers as early as 1955 and teaching electronics on foreign assignments.

Jennifer A. Cline, writer/editor of One College Avenue magazine (in yellow) gathers notes and memories for the future.
Jennifer A. Cline, writer/editor of One College Avenue magazine (in yellow) gathers notes and memories for the future.

Chalmer Van Horn, ’58, mechanical drafting and professor emeritus of drafting, is accompanied by his daughter Rosa.
Chalmer Van Horn, ’58, mechanical drafting and professor emeritus of drafting, is accompanied by his daughter Rosa.

Debra M. Miller (at podium), vice president for institutional advancement, welcomes the crowd to the Mountain Laurel Room for the 16th annual event.
Debra M. Miller (at podium), vice president for institutional advancement, welcomes the crowd to the Mountain Laurel Room for the 16th annual event.

Cortney L. Weaver shares “a day in a life of a Penn College dental hygiene student” with the reunion gathering. Weaver juggled her talk with a job interview in Pittsburgh later in the day.
Cortney L. Weaver shares “a day in a life of a Penn College dental hygiene student” with the reunion gathering. Weaver juggled her talk with a job interview in Pittsburgh later in the day.

Erik G. Knecht, manufacturing engineering technology, engages the audience with tales of 3-D printing, Baja racing and homemade bicycles he’s been crafting – including one that measures 12 feet tall.
Erik G. Knecht, manufacturing engineering technology, engages the audience with tales of 3-D printing, Baja racing and homemade bicycles he’s been crafting – including one that measures 12 feet tall.

Cody R. Harriman (at podium) and Bradly Lantz (standing at right) detail the history and current state of student veterans. Harriman is the secretary of the Omega Delta Sigma veterans fraternity and Lantz is vice president.
Cody R. Harriman (at podium) and Bradly Lantz (standing at right) detail the history and current state of student veterans. Harriman is the secretary of the Omega Delta Sigma veterans fraternity and Lantz is vice president.

Joann Rishel (left), ’55, secretarial, and Constance Hess, ’58, secretarial, depart the Thompson Professional Development Center with their alumni goody bags.
Joann Rishel (left), ’55, secretarial, and Constance Hess, ’58, secretarial, depart the Thompson Professional Development Center with their alumni goody bags.

A gathering of the institution's earliest grads
A gathering of the institution’s earliest grads

Representing 1940s graduates are (from left) Albert Kraemer, ’49, neon fabrication; Kenneth Getz, ’49, drafting; Robert Fries, ’45, aviation mechanics; and Raymond Eck, ’41, drafting.
Representing 1940s graduates are (from left) Albert Kraemer, ’49, neon fabrication; Kenneth Getz, ’49, drafting; Robert Fries, ’45, aviation mechanics; and Raymond Eck, ’41, drafting.

By the glow of the Pavailler baker’s oven, Chef M. Todd Keeley, instructor of baking and pastry/culinary, and Robert Fries, ’45, aviation mechanics, talk shop.
By the glow of the Pavailler baker’s oven, Chef M. Todd Keeley, instructor of baking and pastry/culinary, and Robert Fries, ’45, aviation mechanics, talk shop.

First-time WTI reunion attendee Kenneth Burket (right), ’60, mechanical drafting, shares a laugh with Sarah I. Tielmann, a baking and pastry arts student from Tatamy, while alumnus Chalmer Van Horn and daughter look on.
First-time WTI reunion attendee Kenneth Burket (right), ’60, mechanical drafting, shares a laugh with Sarah I. Tielmann, a baking and pastry arts student from Tatamy, while alumnus Chalmer Van Horn and daughter look on.