Kenneth E. Carl, Former College President, Dies

Published 04.22.2008

Faculty & Staff

Kenneth E. Carl attends the College Avenue Labs dedication in 2003.Kenneth E. Carl, 94, of Williamsport, former president of Williamsport Area Community College and director of Williamsport Technical Institute, both Pennsylvania College of Technology forerunners, died Monday, April 21. College flags have been placed at half-staff in his honor.

Visitation will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday at Sanders Mortuary, 821 Diamond St., Williamsport. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at First United Methodist Church Christian Life Center, 601 Market St., Williamsport.

Carl's career here spanned 36 years. A graduate of the Williamsport High School vocational education program (which began in the basement of what is now the Klump Academic Center), he became a faculty member in the program in 1937. The program led to the founding of W.T.I. in 1941.

After more than a decade as a mechanical drafting teacher, he became director of W.T.I. in 1952. He worked to convince the state Legislature to pass the Pennsylvania Community College Act in 1963 and led W.T.I.'s transition to become part of that system (as W.A.C.C.) in 1965. Under his leadership, W.A.C.C. developed programs to target specific groups of students, especially older workers and students in need of career counseling.

Carl was instrumental in shaping vocational education on both the state and national levels. His speeches, articles and testimony before legislative bodies helped to raise awareness of vocational education, especially issues affecting disabled and older workers. The Vocational Diagnostic Program that he began in 1951 garnered national attention, serving as a model for schools across the country.

In 1981, the college honored his contributions through the dedication of the Carl Building Technologies Center. The former president was a frequent visitor on campus through the years, attending many events and activities, including the annual W.T.I. alumni reunion. The last reunion featured a visit to an exhibition of Carl's woodcarvings in The Gallery at Penn College.

"Dr. Carl has, for many years, been a legend on our campus," said Davie Jane Gilmour, Penn College president. "Those of us who knew him were touched by his graciousness and his unwavering commitment to the mission of the college. He believed we had a duty to serve our community and to help those in need. His legacy will long endure."

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Kenneth E. Carl Scholarship Fund, Pennsylvania College of Technology, One College Avenue, Williamsport, PA 17701, or to the First United Methodist Church Building Fund, 2 Ross St., Williamsport, PA 17701.