Faculty Member, Student Honored at Landscape Conference

Published 02.28.2006

Landscape/Plant Production
School of Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies News

Award-winners Abigail J. Gehman and Richard J. Weilminster, at this year's Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association's annual conference.A faculty member and a student in Pennsylvania College of Technology's School of Natural Resources Management were among the honorees during the Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association's annual conference, held Feb. 7-9 at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel in State College.

Richard J. Weilminster, lead horticulture professor and the 1986 "Master Teacher" at Penn College, received the Frederick J. Mummert Distinguished Service Award.

Abigail J. Gehman, of Middleburg, a landscape/nursery technology major, was presented with a $1,500 Robert C. Danik Memorial Scholarship.

The Mummert award is named after its first recipient, former owner of Colonial Nursery Inc. and PLNA president in 1962. Its purpose is to recognize someone who has served the association with a truly outstanding lifetime commitment during his or her career, who personifies professional excellence and whose long-term dedication has enhanced PLNA's services, standards or image.

"In almost 50 years in the nursery business, I have met and known only a few horticulture teachers that were 'truly outstanding'! Rich Weilminster is one of them," noted William D. Wells Sr., chief executive officer of William D. Wells and Associates Inc. in West Grove, and a member of Penn College's Horticulture Advisory Committee. "All the students, over all these years of teaching, have been touched by this man not only in horticulture, but in all of "life's rich pageant.'"

The award is the association's highest membership award and is bestowed with unanimous approval by its board of directors. Candidates must have provided a minimum of 20 years of outstanding leadership and service to PLNA and/or the Pennsylvania Foundation of Ornamental Horticulture, received the PLNA Lifetime Member Award (Weilminster was a "Hall of Fame" honoree in 1997) and served the organization at the chapter, committee and board levels.

Weilminster was presented with his award by former student William J. Kadryna Jr., owner of A Touch of Class Landscapes and Floral in Northumberland. Kadryna holds degrees in landscape/nursery technology and floral design/interior plantscape from Penn College.

The Danik scholarship is a tribute to another past PLNA Hall of Fame honoree, the late owner of the North Hills Landscape Nursery in Allegheny County. Goal-setting, attendance, commitment, professionalism and good grades are among the considerations for the scholarship, which is presented annually to a second-year landscape/nursery technology student at Penn College.

"Abby is one of the finest students that I have ever had," noted Weilminster, a 34-year veteran of the college's faculty. "She is an excellent worker, unafraid to take on any task, always finishes the job, and her work is always impeccable. You won't find anyone with stronger values and ethics, as well as being personable, engaging and sociable."

More information about the association, which represents horticultural businesses in Pennsylvania and the companies that supply them, is available here .

For more about the programs offered by the School of Natural Resources Management, call (570) 320-8038, send e-mail or visit online.