Patty L. Bilbay's Story
Technology Management, '04, Accounting '75

Patty L. BilbayWe all remember September 11, 2001. It was a nightmare for everyone. But for me it started before the twin towers were attacked. At 7:00 a.m. a group of workers was called into a meeting, I included. We were told that each of us would be permanently laid off sometime between that day and May 2002. I was devastated. Eventually the whole plant closed. Starting over at my age as a single mother with a child in college was not an ideal situation. Later that morning, we all got the news of the attack at the World Trade Center. It was one of the worst days of my life! But, I always believed that something good eventually comes out of something bad.

Starting over at my age as a single mother with a child in college was not an ideal situation.

Some time had passed and I was weighing all my options. I found out that I qualified for a program to go to college, due to the fact that my job was sent out of the country. I had an associate degree from WACC. My skills were outdated and I was not sure that I could make it through college at this time in my life. What were my alternatives…? I could go to another manufacturing company or take the chance of a lifetime and go back to school for my Bachelor’s degree.

One day I decided to call Penn College and the voice on the other end was so encouraging. I will never forget it. I contemplated for hours and days… could I do this? I called back to Penn College and after 3 phone calls to the same woman she convinced me that I could. It was now or never! I started back to school to get my Bachelor of Science degree in Technology Management. My son and I graduated the same semester, Spring of 2004. We really had a special bond through those years, encouraging each other when times got tough. Now, I work for Penn College at the Madigan Library. My title is Library Access Supervisor, Days. It was not an easy task. I really feel like my own life is truly one of Penn College’s success stories. Where I would be today without coming back to Penn College, I do not want to think about!

For me, the moment I will always remember is being connected to the voice at the other end from Penn College. By the way, the voice on the phone encouraging me was Mary Jane Baier! I have contacted her with my gratitude for her encouraging words and thanked her. One can go wherever they want with encouraging words and a lot of determination!

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