ACC Back in Service; Library to Rise on College Landscape

Published 01.07.2005


(The following is drawn from remarks by Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour, Pennsylvania College of Technology president, during a Jan. 7 all-College meeting to begin the Spring 2005 semester.)

Good morning.

Happy New Year. What a difference a year makes. One year ago, in place of this meeting, my message came to you as streaming video on the Web. This room was off-limits, as the Academic Center was underheavy construction.It certainly is an amazing building today!

One month ago, we celebrated the rededication of this fabulous building all 90 years of her!

This building represents our past, our present and our future. It also represents what is fundamentally most important to Penn College: student learning and teaching. This Academic Center serves as the literal and figurative foundation for our students, programs and services.

Manypeople other than architects and contractors made this renovation possible.

First and foremost were the daily residents of this building, the faculty and staff who survived the construction activity on a daily basis.

You barely complained. Some of you moved multiple times and you never fussed well, not too much even when the noise got loud and the heat difficult to tolerate.

Would the faculty and staff who make this wonderful place their work home, please rise? Thank you and welcome home!

Nick Vitterite, Dean of Integrated Studies; Ed Owens, Assistant Dean; and Cliff Coppersmith, Assistant Dean: What can I say?

This past summer, you could find them assembling furniture, moving boxes, and marking cabinets and classrooms. They managed to organize 46 full-time and 76 part-time faculty, move them into temporary locations, keep their belongings together, (sometimes moving them twice in the one building), and fit their offices with furniture all while running interference for noise, dust and heatand living out of their own temporary officesand doing their regular jobs.

They were wonderful. Thank you!

Walt Nyman never without his cellphone, always trying to find a way to get it done and working closely with us on the design as well as the building itself. Walt represents the entire General Services staff, including Don Luke and others, who worked tirelessly while moving faculty and staff,and keeping the building clean and "occupiable."

Thank you to you, Walt, and your staff for all you do.

Mike Cunningham, Chief Information Officer; and Jim Cunningham, Chief Technology Officer: We now have our first totally wireless building! All classrooms and computer labs are fully wired and functional with technology ideal teaching and learning spaces.

Thanks to Jim and Mike and the many ITS staff who worked hard to make this a phenomenal space for our faculty and students.

Bill Martin and Veronica Muzic: Thank you!

Your contributions were significant and appreciated. But rest not the library and BiLo await us.

One person to thank cannot be with us today. When you visit the paramedic lab, you will see a big, yellow ribbon in his honor. Erich Frank, director of our Paramedic program, worked very hard on the new space for his program. That space includes an ambulance and a rotating car!

Erich last saw the facility in August prior to shipping out to Iraq and we look forward to his return, so he can enjoy the wonderful facility that he and his staff have designed.

To all of these Penn College staff, we say "Thank you." You have left a legacy in this building that will live on forever.

Finally, we thank our students. They were wonderful during this construction Finding classes and faculty and even rest rooms proved challenging at times, but the students did a great job coping, and we are very proud of them. While rededicating the Academic Center, we also took time before the end of 2004 to celebrate the 15th anniversary of our affiliation with Penn State. It seemed fitting to mark these historic occasions with a commemorative time capsule.

Would the members of the Time Capsule Committee please rise when I call your names? Nancy Bowers, Chairman; Mindy Carr; Jim Folmar II; Jim Green and Dr. Mark Noe. Assisting the committee was Pat Scott, Librarian.

They all did an incredible job of collecting ideas, sorting and finalizing what went into the capsule, and making sure that the contents were preserved as well as possible.

In case you are curious, the contents of the capsule are listed on PCToday.

NowI am sure someone is saying I forgot one member of the committee. Not true!

Joshua Appleman was the student representative on the Time Capsule Committee. I save Joshua's name until last so that I could point out that we are all counting on him to be here in 2054 when the capsule is opened, so he can explain why we did what we did and what exactly some of these things are like a laptop computer, a DVD and a CD-ROM.

Josh is our best bet for making it to 2054. So, if you have him in class or see him on campus, encourage his good health, and safety 50 years and counting!

We cannot go back 90 years or go forward 50 years, but with the magic of technology, we can take a look into the past, view the present and catch a glimpse of the future: Time will explain it all

(A video clip of the Academic Center was shown.)

They did a great job!

At the conclusion of our meeting this morning, you are invited to tour this facility. There are refreshments in multiple locations and I encourage you to wander through all floors and admire this incredible new Klump Academic Center.

But first a few more topics for us to cover this morning.

We did more than finish the renovation of the Academic Center this past fall. We hired a number of new faculty and staff. The full list can be found on PCToday. Welcome to Penn College!

We continued our work to insure that our students and staff are safe on campus and, in particular, in the surrounding areas.

We continued our work to enhance Williamsport as a "College Town." I am encouraged by the cooperation that is taking place between our colleges and the local business community. Our community relations are very positive.

Still ... you may have heard or read that, once again, there is a call for Penn College, Lycoming College and Susquehanna Health System to contribute more financially to the City.

Budgets for everyone are challenging. We will continue our positive relationships and work toward mutually agreeable solutions to enhance the City?s economic development.

Candidly, I am not convinced that more money from the local nonprofit organizations is the only solution or the best solution. I do believe that we will find the solution as we continue to work together with other local leaders to meet the challenges that are very real for all of us.

Continued growth is key to future success. To that end, we again looked to expand our ability to meet local workforce needs by recently purchasing the former BiLo building between Vine Avenue and West Fourth Street.

We look forward to renovating that facility in order to bring Workforce Development and Continuing Education back to the main campus. This noncredit part of our operation plays a key role in supporting the region's economy by providing education, training and consulting services for many businesses and industries.

With the renovation of this property and the construction of the Madigan Library, we will again see many areas across campus affected by renovations and relocations.

We are working hard to best utilize our financial and physical-plant resources.

I have come to grips with the fact that not everyone will be happy with the choices we make. But we will do all we can to provide appropriate environments for instruction and for offices and support functions.

You will begin to hear more about our work toward determining our optimal size. The strategic vision asks: Just how big should we get?

Soon, the Long Range Planning Committee of Internal Governance will receive a document that reflects ideas about what makes Penn College special and how to keep our mission central as we quantify our optimal size.

Last night, we broke ground for the Roger and Peggy Madigan Library. I can tell you that the design team has worked very hard to bring to life an incredible facility. Construction should begin immediately.

What a night!

I owe some thank yous: to Joe Miller and the media staff; to General Services, Walt and Don Luke, outlining the building in lights; to Joe Geffre, Ray Fischer, Ted Scaife and Park Williams for reprinting the program in 26 hours; and to Special Events staff, Lenore Penfield, Institutional Advancement and Hospitality Services for the amazing transformation of the SASC third floor.

We can expect to see a new library in the summer of 2006. Yes! I said summer of 2006. The facility will be amazing:

  • 1,000 seats (as a point of comparison, we now have 200 seats)

  • a 100-seat computer lab

  • a Teacher's Learning Center for faculty collaboration, materials review and discussion

  • Archives to preserve our history and treasures.

  • Gallery for exhibits, presentations and student projects

  • Cafe Yes, you will be allowed to have drinks in the library!

and my favorite

  • Group study rooms where students can practice presentations and work collaboratively

I cannot wait. It will be incredible. But I need to ask for your help.

Rep. Brett Feese was successful in getting us $7 million in state funding to support the project and we will be forever grateful! To fund the total cost, we have pledged a matching $7 million in College funds.

We have committed to raising $3 million to offset the College contribution. To meet that goal will require a great deal of support.

I hope that the Penn College family of which we all are a part will again be generous in supporting this fund-raising goal.

Please understand me: Your participation is voluntary. But I do ask for you to consider making a contribution to the Library Campaign.

Yes, our Annual Fund campaign is also continuing and that fund drive is important as well. But, I ask you to consider an additional gift this year.

This is an opportunity for you to become part of our dream come true.

We have been very successful in fund-raising so far 100 percent of the members of our Board of Directors have contributed, 100 percent of our President's Council have contributed, we anticipate 100-percent participation from our Foundation Board and Corporate Advisory Board.

We spent time Wednesday on the phone with the Kresge Foundation. (Better on the phone than in Troy, Mich., as we were scheduled to meet with them in person before the storm hit!)

To make our case for funding support to Kresge, we need to establish good employee participation in the campaign as well.

There are many ways to support the campaign, including a legacy or naming opportunity that may be used to honor or memorialize a special friend, associate, mentor or family member. It may be funded by a family, group of employees or an individual.

Before you think, "It's probably too expensive," let me tell you that we have legacy opportunities starting at $250 and up. Options exist for a 5-year pledge period.

Since this building is for our students, the entrance will be known as the student plaza. All general contributions to the fund-raising campaign will be recognized in the plaza.

In today's mail, you will receive a "One for the Books" campaign brochure explaining the details.

If you have questions on what opportunities are available, please contact Barry Stiger, Debbie Miller or Joann Kay in the Office of Institutional Advancement.

I want to share a story with you about the library:

We waited for weeks no, months for final approval of the money from the state, the $7 million that would start the project to build the Madigan Library. There were days when it seemed like a "yes," days of uncertainty, and even a few days when it appeared the answer would be "no."

Then the day came! I am certain the library staff remembers the Board meeting where we surprised Senator Madigan. So does Chief Miller

You see, it snowed that day and pretty hard. Power was out in the Northern Tier. Senator Madigan lives in the Northern Tier. So we needed to work hard to convince the senator to come to the meeting without giving away the surprise! The senator is a proud man. He showered with cold water before he agreed to be driven south on Route 15 by a member of his staff who met up with Chief Miller at the Turkey Ranch ... so that the chief could bring Senator Madigan here to us.

What a remarkable moment in our history: a dream come true!

What made the whole experience even more special to me was what greeted me in my office the following morning: a note and a check from a longtime classified staff member, who shall remain anonymous.

The note said, "Here is your first contribution for the library!" That $100 check on Dec. 13, 2002 moved me to tears. Once again, I was reminded of the commitment of the people who make Penn College special.

There are any number of special days and moments that will remain with me forever ? that moment will certainly be one of them.

Jesse Owens once said, "We all have dreams. But in order to make our dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort."

I ask you personally to consider once again making a difference at Penn College. We would be most grateful if you would help the dream of a new, magnificent library come true.

Best wishes for a great semester and a happy and healthy 2005.

And remember to take time this morning to become reacquainted with the rededicated Klump Academic Center!