Penn College bestows Distinguished Alumni Award

Published 05.14.2022

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Automated Manufacturing & Machining
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Pennsylvania College of Technology has presented a Distinguished Alumni Award to Larry A. Ward, a retired business owner whose philanthropic efforts helped the college undertake a complete renovation of its expansive machining lab.

The alumni honor was presented to Ward at a Spring 2022 Commencement ceremony at the Community Arts Center.

Larry A. Ward received Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Distinguished Alumni Award from President Davie Jane Gilmour at Saturday morning's commencement ceremony in the Community Arts Center.In 2020, Ward made a donation facilitating the complete overhaul of what is now known as the Larry A. Ward Machining Technologies Center. The 14,299-square-foot lab dated back to Ward’s days at Penn College predecessors Williamsport Technical Institute and Williamsport Area Community College. Approximately 90 Penn College students from five manufacturing-related programs receive vital hands-on experience in the revamped facility each semester.

Ward chose Williamsport Technical institute for its strong reputation for producing graduates with real-world skills. After graduation, he applied the skills he developed at WTI in a variety of settings. After stints as a Navy deep-sea diver and hyperbaric engineer at the University of Pennsylvania, he transitioned to design and engineering sales in the packaging machinery industry.

Ward created his own business, Packaging Films and Equipment Co., out of his home in 1981. He designed automated packaging lines, installed and serviced equipment, and sold the materials that ran on the packaging machines.

Always an innovator, Ward started Packaging Progressions Inc. in 1989 to market his patented Arc-Tronic Hole Perforator – an invention that employs electric arc to produce clean vent holes in plastic film for all types of packaging, including food products.

The company is a leading manufacturer and supplier of high-speed interleaving and stacking machines, having grown from $250,000 in first-year sales to a $30 million-a-year business.

A strong advocate for the future of American manufacturing, Ward is committed to enhancing Penn College’s automated manufacturing and machining curriculum and facilities, and to offering opportunities that prepare students for successful and sustaining careers. That commitment culminated in his $1 million donation to transform the college’s machining lab.

Over the years, Ward has also donated materials and equipment to the college, sponsored a commencement award for mechatronics students (the Larry A. Ward Excellence in Mechatronics Award, presented to a graduate of an electromechanical and/or mechatronics major who has demonstrated outstanding ability and achievement in the field), and hired Penn College graduates and interns as his workforce needs grew.

For more about Alumni Relations at Penn College, email or call toll-free 877-PCT-ALUM (877-728-2586).

For information about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.