Alumnus Shares Memories of Dr. Carl
Your article on Dr. Kenneth Carl was a winner in so many ways as I still fondly remember Dr. Carl. Dr. Carl was my drafting instructor way back in the early 1940s, when I was a student of Aircraft Mechanics at W.T.I. I graduated in the Class of 1943. He was, as you pointed out in your article, an amiable advocate for students. I was saddened to hear of his passing, as he will always be one of my teachers who are indelibly linked with W.T.I. He was right there along with George Parkes, Omar Harris and Pat Patterson in being in the forefront of those who pushed their students into accomplishments the students themselves only dreamed about.
I last saw Dr. Carl about eight to 10 years ago at a restaurant located in the shopping center between Williamsport and Montoursville. My wife, Carol, and I were visiting with relatives who still live in the area, and Dr. Carl and his wife were also dining in the restaurant. We had a fine rehashing of earlier days at W.T.I. and between the two of us managed to solve most of the world’s problems at the time. Dr. Carl brought me up to date on the few remaining staff from the earlier days that were still alive in the area.
One of my fondest memories involving Dr. Carl concerned the ASTRP, or Army Specialized Training Reserve Program, which provided a semester of college for youths not yet 18 years of age prior to reporting for basic training in the Army following the 18th birthday. There was a rather stiff qualifying exam to enter the program. After basic, a student would return to college and complete an accelerated program that led to a B.S. in engineering. You would then be assigned to the Army Corp of Engineering, which at the time (1941-1943) was extremely short on qualified engineers.
An announcement regarding the program was made at Williamsport High School during Student Assembly, however those in W.T.I. who were in the shop phase of rotation missed it and were essentially left out. On Ken’s and Omar Harris’s urging, a delegation of students from W.T.I., including myself, went to Principal Nancarrow’s office and asked that the announcement be repeated for the benefit of those who were in shop at the time. Dr. Nancarrow allowed that few at W.T.I. could probably pass the test due to our inadequate schooling. To a group who invested two nights a week and Saturday mornings in additional academic classwork, this was unacceptable, and we took it on ourselves to spread the news regarding this opportunity. Just about half of the top 10 in rankings following the qualifying exam were W.T.I. students.
He will be missed, however, he did have a full life, and the multitude of successful students at W.T.I./Penn College is his memorial. Thank you for the fine article in One College Avenue.
Girard L Calehuff
Class of 1943