Were you there? The Evolution of a College Campus
It was cool to see the history of my school. I learned many things I would have never known.
I miss the good old days at WACC.
Patty Burns, '71
This college has transformed over the years. It's amazing. So far my time at PCT has been the best time of my life.
Gerianne Tomb '12
Visitors to the retrospective exhibit were invited to share their thoughts using yellow, posted notes. Many of these have been included in this publication. You can post your thoughts on the exhibit and this publication – as well as your memories of the institution here.
A collection of photographs and artifacts from the archives of Pennsylvania College of Technology – was exhibited October 6 – November 8, 2009, in The Gallery at Penn College.
The exhibit took viewers on a journey through the institution's rich history, from the inception of adult classes at the Williamsport High School in 1914, through its evolution into Williamsport Technical Institute, Williamsport Area Community College and present-day Penn College. Images depicted the many aspects of campus life that have remained constant through time, while providing a glimpse of people, places, and events long relegated to the annals of history.
This commemorative booklet features the images exhibited in the retrospective. It also shares comments from visitors and the individuals who helped to gather the images and information used to create the historical display.
Did you miss the exhibit?
You can still participate online! Identify people and places, or just leave a comment on archived photos on facebook. Occasionally, Alumni Relations will post an old image with tags and questions for our alums.
The first high school in Williamsport was organized in 1869; 13 pupils from existing grammar schools were selected to attend. Grammar school teachers objected to losing their best pupils and the public objected to the added expense. The three-year course of study for high school included algebra, chemistry, physiology, and natural philosophy.
The course of study was extended to four years in 1873.
The first Williamsport High School building was constructed on the southeast corner of Third and Walnut Streets in 1887.
By 1900, the high school had 370 students and 11 teachers.
Construction of a new high school building began in 1913.
The old school burned down April 4, 1914.
Because local lumber and woodworking industries were in a boom period, woodworking was the most popular course offered from 1914-20.
The first adult full-time day school and an evening industrial school were established. Pattern making, automotive and electrical courses were added to the curriculum, providing expanded opportunities for retraining WWI veterans, many of them disabled. A cooperative work-study industrial course for students over 16 years of age began. By 1920, 48 local companies were using co-op students.
Evening conferences in foremanship training, co-sponsored by the school district and local Chamber of Commerce, were started to meet the rising demand for supervisors in area industries. In the first four years, 150 foremen from 20 plants took the evening training course.
A Williamsport Chamber of Commerce survey of local industries revealed that while unemployment continued to rise, there was a concurrent increase in the shortage of skilled workers. The high school was chosen to design a retraining program for the unemployed. Working in cooperation with several agencies, the school developed a plan to screen, train and place unemployed workers. The first experimental class was enrolled in 1931. The successful result, "The Williamsport Plan," gained national acclaim.
To remedy the shortage of truck drivers revealed by the 1930 survey, the high school borrowed trucks to begin the first truck-driving course in the United States. Out of this course grew the driver-training curriculum, which was later offered in high schools nationwide.
Industrial training shops were moved from the high school building to new industrial units on Susquehanna Street. A new wing was added to the high school building, containing 20 classrooms and a small theater.
On May 21 – 11 days after the Nazis invaded Holland and Belgium – the Board of Directors of Williamsport School District established a special Emergency Training Commission to adapt the vocational program to meet defense needs. On June 14, the program for defense industry training began to operate 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Williamsport was among the first schools to adapt an existing vocational program to meet war needs.
Anticipating the rising importance of the airplane and the need for skilled aviation technicians, the Aviation Shop was instituted at the airport in Montoursville. It was the first instructional shop in the United States to be set up at an airport.
The famous "Line 48" experiment (one step in the manufacture of the Lycoming R-680 engine) began. Lycoming Division of the Aviation Manufacturing Corporation (Avco) wanted to train disabled workers for assembly line war production. W.T.I. worked with several agencies to set up the entire assembly line at the school. The disabilities of the men had to be carefully studied so that each could be matched with the right machine. When Line 48 became an efficient unit, machinery, workers and school staff moved to the Lycoming plant. This experience prepared W.T.I. staff for retraining disabled veterans after World War II.
How to Operate a Lathe, a book by W.T.I. faculty member John Shuman, was published; it was used nationwide to teach lathe operators.
Clyde M. Ludwig became the first student to attend W.T.I. on the GI bill.
W.T.I. adopted the "Watsontown Plan," allowing students from area schools with no vocational education facilities to spend two weeks at W.T.I. learning a vocation and two weeks in their respective schools taking regular classes.
The institute's agricultural education program was developed under the leadership of James Bressler.
The institute's Vocational Diagnostic Program was established. Students were enrolled for four weeks, during which they received guidance, counseling and opportunities to test their abilities in real, hands-on work in various shops. The United Mine Workers was one of the first organizations to enroll their workers in this program.
The Williamsport Chamber of Commerce formed the Industrial Development Committee to attract new industry to the area. Some companies' decisions to relocate to Williamsport were a direct result of W.T.I.'s training programs.
The Community College Act was enacted, authorizing local communities to petition the Pennsylvania State Board of Education to sponsor and establish community colleges.
1,000 books were moved out of the Williamsport High School Library and into leased space at 1223 West Fourth St., a former Laundromat. After two years, the W.A.C.C. library moved again, into leased space in the Rishel Building at 1201 West Third Street.
The W.A.C.C. Foundation, Inc. was established to raise funds to support college programs.
Veronica M. Muzic earned the College's first Master Teacher Award.
A one-year planning grant from the National Science Foundation served as the basis for the development of the College's Technology Transfer Center, which became operational this year; in later years, it became known as Workforce Development & Continuing Education.
The College purchased the Capitol Theatre in downtown Williamsport and began a campaign for community support to develop a Community Arts Center.
Interface, a sculpture by alumnus Frederick T. Gilmour, was dedicated to honor all College alumni.
Penn College held the first public demonstration of its complete Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) process in its "factory of the future" in the Advanced Technology and Health Sciences Center; the event was believed to be the first time an American college achieved such a demonstration of industrial-scale equipment linking multiple CIM components. The College also was selected as one of 11 colleges and universities in the nation to participate in IBM's Manufacturing Industrial Fellowship Program.
Penn College – one of 95 colleges selected from among 540 competing in the highly competitive "Title III" program – earned a $2.5 million, five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Strengthening Institution's Program; the grant set in motion an "educational revolution" for technology-based instructional projects.
Penn College became a four-year institution with the offering of its first Bachelor of Science degrees in construction management, dental hygiene, manufacturing engineering technology, plastics and polymer engineering technology, and welding and fabrication engineering technology.
CBS Evening News aired a national broadcast from the Penn College campus on the subject of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The piece focused on inconsistencies in the government's handling of work retraining resources and featured Penn College as an example of how retraining programs can work for adults who lose their jobs after factory closings.
The first Penn College Bachelor of Science award was presented to John Upcraft, of State College, who earned a degree in manufacturing engineering technology after transferring from Penn State.
Kathryn Wentzel Lumley Aviation Center opened at the regional airport in Montoursville.
Alvin C. Bush Campus Center was opened as a facility to provide student services, recreation, and meeting space.
Penn College's Tech Prep Consortium – the largest in the U.S. – was directly impacting more than half of the state's public school districts by integrating education to better prepare students for technology-based careers of the future.
Plastics Manufacturing Center opened to serve the needs of Pennsylvania businesses in one of the nation's fastest growing industries.
Penn College was named the worldwide Textron Lycoming Authorized Training Center, providing training for domestic and international customers and employees.
Dr. Breuder announced plans to leave the College after 17 years as president.
With plans to expand the campus to Maynard Street, the College purchased the former PBI industrial site and the adjacent Campus View Apartments.
Alumni Relations Office was established.
Advanced Automotive Technology Center opened on Wahoo Drive to provide labs for alternative fuels, emission testing, engine and chassis performance, and motorsports.
New Field House was dedicated.
"Diamond 10" celebration marked 10 years as a Penn State affiliate and 85 years of education on the Williamsport campus. The family of Dr. George H. Parks, founding director of W.T.I., joined Dr. Kenneth E. Carl, founding president of W.A.C.C., for a Diamond 10 Anniversary Open House.<br/> <a href="diamond.htm#ajax" rel="box" title="Diamond 10 Year Penn College Anniversary">Read more.</a>
Student & Administrative Services, dedicated this year, became the first point of contact and a single point of reference for prospective students and their families.
Rose Street Apartments, dedicated in the fall, joined The Village at Penn College, College West and Campus View Apartments, providing on-campus student residences.
College Avenue Laboratories – with facilities for collision repair, automated manufacturing, civil engineering, and surveying – opened in the former HON manufacturing building at the west side of campus.
According to a Penn State commissioned study, Penn College contributed more than $455 million to the state economy.
Klump Academic Center was re-dedicated following a $9 million renovation. A time capsule was sealed in the northeast corner of the first floor of the building.
The highest form of recognition for Penn College faculty was renamed the Veronica M. Muzic Master Teacher Award in honor of the retiring vice president for academic affairs/provost, who served more than 30 years as a member of the faculty and administration.
Center for Business & Workforce Development opened; the center includes facilities for Workforce Development & Continuing Education and other agencies supporting industry and innovation, as well as laboratories for electronics and computer engineering technology.
James Everett Logue Popular Reading Room was dedicated in Madigan Library.
Richard J. Weilminster Arboretum was dedicated at the Schneebeli Earth Science Center.
North Campus celebrated its 25th anniversary.
Were You There? The Evolution of a College Campus
A commemorative booklet features the images exhibited in the retrospective exhibit. It also shares comments from visitors and the individuals who helped to gather the images and information used to create the historical display.
This booklet is the first in a series of publications marking the Countdown to the Centennial, a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the institution that will take place in 2014.
Net proceeds from the sale of Were You There? The Evolution of A College Campus will become permanently restricted funds that will be invested to create income used for annual scholarship awards from the Penn College Endowed Alumni Scholarship.
Submit your story or image
Do you have a fond memory during your time at WTI, WACC, or Penn College? We would love to hear about it. Your story may be a few sentences or it may fill volumes. Either way, you have a story to share and we want to hear it!
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