Campus Leaders Honored at Annual Awards Banquet
The 2007-08 Student Activities Awards Banquet, honoring the campus and community involvement of Pennsylvania College of Technology's committed student leaders, groups and faculty advisers, was held Wednesday night in the Bush Campus Center.
The evening included awarding of two $500 Student Leader Legacy Scholarships and a surprise tribute to college President Davie Jane Gilmour to mark 10 years of her presidency.
The second annual recipients of the legacy scholarships, funded by students to continuea tradition of campus leadership, were Mark R. Capellazzi, a culinary arts and systems major from Rochester, N.Y., and Andrew R. Christoffel, an environmental management technology student from Lancaster. The scholarship winners were announced by Carl F. Gravely, last year's recipient.
The president was presented with a commemorative plaque by 2007-08 Student Government Association President Andrew S. Wisner, who quoted from her inauguralcomments of a decade ago, when she accepted the position "on behalf of the faculty, staff and students of Penn College ... because it would be all of us working together to make (the college) an even better place in the future."
"This is truly an honor for me," Gilmour said at the time, words that Wisner said ring true these 10 years later. "But it takes more than one person to make a college strong," she had continued. "Together, with a shared vision for our future, we all will do our best to serve our students and our community into the 21st century."
Minutes earlier, the president acknowledged student accomplishments of the past year, and remarked that there is "more to do, more to accomplish and greater goals to set." She and Elliott Strickland Jr., special assistant for student affairs and development, offered the official welcome to the Penn's Inn event, which included the following awards:
Student Leader of the YearWisner, of York, who is enrolled in the welding and fabrication engineering technology bachelor's-degree major, was named Student Leader of the Year. In addition to his SGA presidency, Wisner will be among the student speakers for next month's spring commencement ceremonies.
Wisner was chosen from among 11 nominees for the honor − there were record numbers of hopefuls formost of the night's awards,a testament to the abiding spirit of Penn College's student body − and was introduced by Carolyn Strickland, assistant vice president for academic affairs.
One of SGA's four advisers this academic year, shespoke of Wisner's legacy, leadership style and ever-listening ear, and borrowed a favorite quote to describe his unique brand of student activism: "Leaders are like eagles. They don't flock, you find them only one at a time."
Outstanding Student Organization In what was described as possibly "the most difficult award to decide each year," the Association for Computing Machinery was chosen as the Outstanding Student Organization of the Year from among six deserving nominees.
"ACM has become a 'household' name around campus over the past few years and its biweekly LAN parties have become a mainstay for the college community," said SGA's Aaron D. Moyer in announcing the honoree. "ACM also has been credited with hosting Pennsylvania's largest 'Bring Your Own Computer' gaming event."
New Student Leader of the YearSelected as New Student Leader of the Year was Christy A. Passaretti, of Unityville, who majors in early childhood education. Not present at the banquet, she is a member and vice president of the Early Educators club and a member of Campus Crusade for Christ.
"She has been planning activities throughout the semester, (involving) Early Educators in different ways," her nominator wrote. "She planned the Autism table, which has been in different buildings throughout the campus.
"When the president left last year,(Christy) was left with no idea what to do with all the paperwork, but she has stepped up and has done an excellent job."
Most Improved Student Organization Chosen as the Most Improved Student Organization of the Year was the American Welding Society chapter.
"In the 2006-06 school year, the AWS consisted of four members and did little to help any members of the student body," its nominator noted. "This year, (it) has excelled in all areas." Through a recruitment program that includes Open House tours and a cookout for new students, membership now stands at 35 and the club has embarked on renewed outreach to the community.
"Students spent a weekend this fall working with the Mini Indy 500 in Brandon Park," the nominator continued. "They supported all the teams there, making repairs and gettings cars ready to race." Several students also have been involved in work at state parks and on Department of Conservation and Natural Resources land, as well as in fashioning bicycle racks on campus.
The club also takes care of its own: When three of its members were deployed to military action, the club gathered T-shirts andpet items of the students − including one's favorite beef jerky − and shipped them to foreign locations.
Outstanding Senator of the Year Yo Seop-Lee, an aviation maintenance technology major from Williamsport, was honored as SGA's Outstanding Senator of the Year.
"Joe has grown in the past four years to be as much American as he is a native Korean," his nominator wrote. "He has learned one of the most difficult languages in the world ... and he does surprisingly well when trying to get his point across! He has immersed himself in the culture of a higher-educational institution half a world away."
Seop-Lee is a senator for the School of Transportation Technology, vice president and member of the National Residence Hall Honorary, secretary of the Multicultural Society and co-chair of the Aviation Center Dining Committee. He also serves as a Resident Assistant, and is a member of the Residence Hall Association, SGA and the Outdoor Adventure Club.
Adviser of the YearChef Judy P. Shimp, associate professor of hospitality management/culinary arts, was selected as Adviser of the Year for her work with United Campus Ministries.
"Her contribution of time and talents ... demonstrates her effectiveness as a leader and servant to the community. She has been instrumental in promoting an atmosphere in which student leaders can flourish and fulfill the goals of (this) organization," her nominator wrote. "(She) has been instrumental in assuring the organization nurtures effective student leaders and serves the community."
Among specific contributions this year, she volunteered her spring break to travel with UCM students to perform community-service work in New York City (she did the same last year in Washington, D.C.), has prepared many meals for the organization and regularly attends twice-weekly club meetings.
Organizational ActivityTheAir Conditioning Contractors of Americachapter won $700 and the prized SGA Cup, a scant 50 points shy of perfection in its quest to be the most active student organization. Other winning groups, all of whom also were awarded money in their organizational accounts, wereAWS, the Society of Plastics Engineers, the Human Services Club and the Penn College Motorsports Association.
A variety of student organizations reported on their accomplishments of the past year: ACM, the American Sign Language Club, AWS, Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers, Multicultural Society, Occupational Therapy Assistant Club and the Wildcat Power Team.
Passing of the Gavel The evening concluded with the swearing-in of SGA's 2008-09 Executive Board: Brian D. Walton, president; Andrew R. Christoffel, executive vice president; Thomas P. Garrett, vice president of finance; and Steven E. Ritter, vice president ofpublic relations.