President's commencement finale hits all the right notes
Pennsylvania College of Technology held three ceremonies May 13-14 for the nearly 750 students who petitioned to graduate at the end of the Spring 2022 semester – the last of 135 commencement exercises to be held under President Davie Jane Gilmour. "My life is better for all of the students I've dealt with, interacted with, shook hands with for the last 24 years," said the president, who is retiring June 30. "I am so proud of you and what you've done, and I want you to remember one thing: If you make yourself proud every day, then we will be Penn College Proud. And no matter where you go or what you do, you will always have a home at Penn College." Bittersweet and joyful, nostalgic and raucous (with cowbells, air horns and confetti cannons), it truly offered moments to cherish, and not just for the 20,000th graduate to cross the stage and receive one-on-one congratulations.
Honoring Gilmour's trailblazing tenure, all three student speakers were young women putting their imprint on fields once dominated by men: Caila Nicole Flanagan, of Danville, awarded a bachelor’s degree in business administration: management concentration and an associate degree in business management Friday; Franchesca Cheyenne Ybarra, of Williamsport by way of a 2,847-mile trip from western Oregon, who received a bachelor’s degree welding & fabrication engineering technology at Saturday morning’s ceremony (which included a Distinguished Alumni Award); and Charlee Marshall, of Snow Shoe, who earned a bachelor’s degree in construction management in the weekend's – and Gilmour's – final ceremony.
While commencement is a forward-looking event, state Sen. Gene Yaw, chairman of Penn College's Board of Directors, remarked that "it's also a time when you look back on old friends, good times and past experiences that can never be repeated." Recalling a near-40-year relationship with Gilmour in a variety of college-related areas, and adding a personal touch prior to the conferral of degrees, he said, "That's a once-in-a-lifetime experience and, indeed, it's something that will probably never be repeated. Frankly, I will miss my friend in this capacity."
– Photos by Cindy Davis Meixel, writer/photo editor; Jennifer A. Cline, writer/magazine editor;
Tom Wilson, writer/editor-PCToday; and Larry D. Kauffman, digital publishing specialist/photographer
Student-athletes (from left) share their Wildcat pride: Joel Verrico (baseball), Kelly Ann Williams (tennis and soccer), and Alexander Thomas Acree (golf).
Plastics technology instructor Joshua J. Rice (right), honored with an Excellence in Teaching Award on Thursday, talks with soon-to-be-grads prior to the Saturday morning procession. Giving the photographer a "thumb up" is manufacturing engineering technology student Joseph Louis Elinski, who also had a big week: In addition to earning three manufacturing-related degrees, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army.
Ybarra honors her parents en route to her "dream" assignment as welding graduate and student speaker.
Aviation maintenance technician student Aaron Dylan McGarvey marks the special day with two of his many supporters: Dawn M. Dickey (left), director of disability and access resources, and Heidi E. Roupp, disability and access resources specialist/staff interpreter.
Celebratory students assess the quality of a cellphone memento.
Momentarily drawn to the camera flash, a youngster takes time away from rooting for his favorite graduate.
Two- and four-year aviation graduates gather with faculty mentors across West Fourth Street from the commencement venue.
Charles R.A. Howard, of Williamsport, who earned a four-year degree in civil engineering technology, meets up with family after the proceedings.
A warm embrace duplicates a sunny, rain-free Saturday morning.
Originally from Haiti, aviation maintenance technology alumnus Kevin Pradel, of Belleville, N.J., shares the moment with his mother (left) and aunt.
Faculty athletics representative Tom A. Zimmerman with two Wildcats: the just-graduated Kelly Ann Williams and her sister, Hanna J., a 2018 alumna in industrial & human factors design and studio arts. The Williamses both played soccer and tennis during their Penn College years.
A fan club forms around Christopher Robert McFarland, a manufacturing engineering technology graduate from Coatesville – including his Penn College soccer coach, Tyler Mensch (to McFarland's immediate right).
It's right there in black and white!
Riding self-assuredly into tomorrow, Robert Edward Kisner IV, of Ulster, hops aboard one of the newest additions to the Penn College landscape: a chopper-style motorcycle fabricated by student members of the American Welding Society chapter. Earning an associate degree in welding technology, Kisner was among the students who worked on the sculpture, to which famed metal artist Rae Ripple added the final touches during a campus visit. Kisner received the AWS Student Chapter Award at Saturday morning's commencement exercises.
Nash D. Berfield, of Jersey Shore, who earned dual degrees in collision repair technology and automotive restoration technology, finds an appropriate farewell backdrop.
Noah M. Cooper, a welding technology student grad from Shavertown, poses with family in front of one of the coolest building signs on campus.
Family members walk to the Community Arts Center well-prepared to congratulate their special grad, Nestor Y. Ayala, a construction management student from Scranton.
Twins John T. and Stephen T. Lang, of Mercer, earning degrees in residential construction technology & management, tease Karen E. Wright, graduation assistant – not the first time they’ve tried to confuse her.
Just prior to her final commencement before retiring, Wright from the Registrar's Office gives helpful instruction to a grad in the Genetti.
Colton M.E. Long, an electronics & computer engineering technology grad from Northumberland, makes a final adjustment to his cap.
Gathering for the lineup are (from left) Kurt E. Maly, of Effort (mechatronics engineering technology); Aleah M. Emlet, of Chambersburg (electronics & computer engineering technology); Michael E. Highland II, of Slatington (electronics & computer engineering technology); Crew C. Haefner, of Montoursville (automation engineering technology: robotics & automation); and Colton M.E. Long (electronics & computer engineering technology).
Engineering design technology grads (from left) Dennis M. Barton, of Jeanette; Brandon Z. Williams, of West Pittston; William L. Buck, of Williamsport; Matheu A. Davenport, of Williamsport; and Sydney M. Camut, of Shippensburg.
Todd S. Woodling, assistant professor of building automation technologies/HVAC electrical, gathers with grads of the building automation technology major.
Heating, ventilation & air conditioning design technology grads and faculty member: Joseph V. Gullace, of Livingston, N.J.; Alan M. Renninger, of Pottsville; Jason W. Killinger, assistant professor of HVAC technology (and department head); and Gregory E. Kuhn, of Harrisburg
Katherine A. Walker, assistant professor of engineering design technology, captures a photo of her graduating students.
Sydney M. Camut’s well-designed cap speaks well to her new engineering design technology degree.
Students make their way to the end of a long lineup of Saturday afternoon grads on William Street.
Kambria R. Raymond, an architecture student from Susquehanna, added a hand-painted rendition of Fallingwater, one of the famous designs of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, to her cap.
The cap of architecture grad Sadie S.E. Niedermyer honors the memory of her friend and classmate Ashley D. Gentile-Wing, who died in March.
Architecture students Derek S. Eckman, of Lancaster; Nicholas J. Malis, of Butler; Sadie S.E. Niedermyer, of Spring Mills; Kambria R. Raymond, of Susquehanna; and Julius F. Govers, of Sinking Spring
Wildcat student-athlete Megan A. Bugbee shares her jubilation on completing a bachelor’s degree in building science & sustainable design: architectural technology concentration.
Grads confidently make their way to the ceremony. From right: Declan W. Gatchell, Marcie R. Harman, Gavin R. Hoffman and Jason R. Hollenbach – all graduates of building science and sustainable design.
A friendly gesture
Rounding the corner on their way to bachelor’s degrees
Caps – check. Gowns – check. Tassels – check. Well-deserved smiles – CHECK!
During a pause in the procession, a fan captures a photo of her favorite grads.
A graduation cap is the perfect canvas to show off well-earned knowledge – and inborn wit.
Graduates of information assurance & cyber security walk up Fourth Street in preparation for the walk across the Arts Center stage.
The face of a bright future
Capturing the milestone moment
Three generations of the Niedermyer family gather, including the latest grad, Sadie (architecture), as well as her father, Michael (’98 and ‘09, who was there for one of Gilmour’s first commencements as well as her last), and Charles II, ’05 and 12, an instructor in baking and pastry arts/culinary arts. All three of Charles Sr. and Patricia’s sons (son Mark, ’98 and ‘17, is not in photo) are Penn College graduates.
Destin R. Fedder, of Danville, celebrates his degree in electronics & computer engineering technology: robotics & automation emphasis with a loved one.
Building science & sustainable design grad Gavin R. Hoffman with his dad, Craig. (Gavin is trying to call instructor Daniel L. Brooks.)
A junior seeks the opportunity to shake President Gilmour’s hand, since she is retiring before his commencement next year.
Two Saturday grads – one in the morning and the other in the afternoon – have their photo taken with the president following the latter ceremony.
Karla Woods hugs her son, Javier E., of Bloomsburg, who earned a degree in residential construction technology & management.
Celebrating bachelor's degrees
Alejandro F. Huaman, of Dingmans Ferry, with his family and a Peruvian flag. Huaman earned a degree in building science & sustainable design: architectural technology concentration.
Devin S. Watson, of Shippensburg, electronics & computer engineering technology, joins his family at a main entrance icon.
Lori A. Zicolello, registrar assistant, provides guidance for grads on entering the CAC.
Distinguished Staff Award winner Jennifer McLean, associate dean of student affairs, with Friday's speaker
Making her way from the Genetti to the Community Arts Center, Friday speaker Flanagan is a picture of poise.
First in line for Friday’s festivities are human services & restorative justice graduates accompanied by Craig A. Miller (far left), associate professor of history/political science.
The brew crew is ready to roll! Brewing & fermentation science graduates join their instructor, Timothy L. Yarrington (left).
Proud of Mom! The daughters of Chihiro Ikegaya, brewing & fermentation science, join their mother for a photo op pre-ceremony.
Pantone perfection: Graphic design graduates show off their color-coordinated caps.
Alexis J. Muthler-Harris took a creative cue from her culinary arts technology major for the adornment of her graduation cap.
Tina M. Evans (left), associate professor of applied health studies, makes a memory with Caitlin M. DeLosa, health science.
En route to her second degree (applied health studies: radiography concentration) is Chloe A. Bierly, who earned an associate degree in radiography in 2019. Bierly received the UPMC Program Award for Applied Health Studies on Friday afternoon.
Jazz hands playfully process to the Arts Center.
A message of pride (and persistence)
Graduates wave to passersby who blow their car horns in celebration.
A last-minute touch-up from Mom!
The national anthem was sung at all three ceremonies by Loni N. Kline, vice president for college relations/chief philanthropy officer.
Incoming college president Michael J. Reed welcomes Friday's crowd in one of his last official appearances as vice president for academic affairs/provost.
"I can't tell you how many times I have written and rewritten this speech, trying my hardest to make it perfect for all of you," Flanagan said, before it dawned on her – channeling her Penn College experience – that perfection is a false reality. "There are so many more important things in life than being perfect: strength, honesty, resilience, determination, vulnerability, loyalty, truthfulness, integrity, bravery, growth, passion and happiness."
The president moves Flanagan's tassel from right to left, signifying her official ascension to a higher level of learning.
A visibly moved Brian D. Huffman, a nursing graduate – and one of the 250 veterans or active-duty military among Penn College's student body – rises to be acknowledged by the audience. Huffman was presented with the alumna-funded Flight Award: Fearless Learning in Good & Hard Times.
Human services & restorative justice graduate Alyson M. Rodgers cherishes her moment with the president.
Movin' and groovin' is Larissa J. Ealy, who earned an associate degree in baking & pastry arts.
Madison Yang Cooper, recipient of the Hospitality Faculty Award, graduates in applied management and culinary arts technology.
Angel Vicente-Rosario expresses step-and-wave exuberance – prompted, perhaps, by his successful acquisition of dual degrees (applied management and landscape horticulture technology: plant production emphasis).
The recipient of the Dr. Clarke J. Hollister Award in dental hygiene, Samantha S. Theriault adorably observes "Take Your Daughter to Commencement" Day.
Gilmour and nursing grad Connor J. Burke, a member of the Wildcat baseball team, enjoy their on-stage meeting. Burke was presented with a commencement award that memorializes Linda F. Clark, a former director of nursing at the college.
A floral accent to an already gorgeous day
A blue sky overhead and redbirds on the cap mean good fortune for Corinne M. Buttorff, who earned two degrees: business administration: banking & finance concentration (bachelor's) and business management (associate).
A fine day for minglin'
Dental hygiene graduate Rachel M. Steinbacher enjoys her moment in the sun. She received the Patricia L. Saxton Excellence in Dental Hygiene Award.
Sandra Malinowski revels in roses (and tulips and freesia) while posing with her mother.
A post-ceremony photo op for dental hygiene alumna Olivia V. Simpson and her family
Sparkle and shine! With diamond-like adornments to her eyes, Chanel A. Lopez, entrepreneurial innovation, mirrors the marquee.
Nursing graduate McKenzy S. Burley and daughter prove to be popular photo subjects.
Jesse L. White with his grandmother – who was moved to tears by the moment. The Wildcat basketball player added a bachelor's in business administration: management concentration to an earlier associate degree in business management.
Backlit by sunshine, the family of Grace A. Hollister, dental hygiene, celebrates her PCT achievement.
’22 looks good on you! Wildcat soccer player Kaelan M. Cronan, nursing, savors success.
A digital billboard carries an image of Friday's speaker in this webcam photo.
Visiting alumni honoree Larry A. Ward in the Capitol Lounge before the ceremony is Howard W. Troup, an automated manufacturing/machine tool technology faculty member whose professional connections with the benefactor have evolved into friendship.
It’s a bow-tie special day for Jahiel M. Lawrence Jr., diesel technician.
Selfie shenanigans for these horticulture grads and assistant professor Carl J. Bower Jr. (left)
Sporting his Built Environment Scholar patch is Wyatt E. Bartley, civil engineering technology.
Jumping into the procession line to assist a graduate with an honors cord conundrum is all in a commencement day’s duties for the president.
Delighted by their faculty members’ shouts from the inner lobby balcony and stairs, these grads make a grand entrance (before their final exit).
In what has become a Gilmour tradition at Penn College, "where we do things differently," the first photo is hers.
Bookended by outgoing and incoming presidents, Ybarra delivers her inspiring speech. "Every day consists of choices. And the powerful thing about them is that they are made by you. You have the choice to set your own goals and dreams, you have the choice to move cross-country, you have the choice of future careers and jobs, you have the choice to be busy or to travel or to start a family, you have the choice to start fresh every day. My hope for you is that you choose to be true, choose to be happy, to be healthy, self-driven, courageous and inspiring. Choose to step out of your comfort zone, choose to keep people around you who are in your corner rooting for you and who lift you up. Most importantly, choose yourself."
Ward congratulates the graduating class, with a particular affinity for students "bringing manufacturing back to America."
The ever-helpful Roupp followed one of her students throughout his Penn College experience – including commencement.
After turning Ybarra’s tassel, the president and Saturday morning's speaker revel in the beautiful moment when the student became a graduate "for all the world to know."
A milestone moment with Steven A. Millheim, a civil engineering technology graduate from Hughesville ...
... merits a hug as the president's 20,000th commencement handshake.
Triumphant! Is there any other word for plastics & polymer engineeering technology graduate Jarad David Sarna?
An expression of pure delight in one's accomplishment crosses the face of Ryan Michael DiRienzo (plastics & polymer engineeering technology).
A faceful of happiness – Janice Hyacinth Strachan – easily attracts the camera's notice. Like her class speaker, she graduated from the four-year welding & fabrication engineering technology major.
Eric V. Trischitta, who earned a bachelor's in welding & fabrication engineering technology, is joy personified.
Austin G. Hampton’s mother, Stacey C., assistant dean of industrial & computer technologies, joins in the diploma presentations with Gilmour and Yaw.
Welding technology grad Carson David Beach relishes the cross-stage journey, with enthusiasm that simply can't be contained.
Leaning in, before heading out, is Timothy D. Evans II, automotive technology management.
On the right path is Morgan Stephenie Wood, an associate-degree graduate in collision repair technology. She will remain in college, pursuing a bachelor's in automotive technology management.
Soaring into a job with Pfizer is Kevin Pradel, aviation maintenance technology, who was honored Friday with the Aviation Technology Faculty Award.
Recipient of the Board of Directors’ Award for achievement under exceptional conditions – Aaron Dylan McGarvey – signs his loving gratitude to his fans.
Class representative Ybarra sits between the Stricklands: Elliott and Carolyn R., vice president for enrollment management and associate provost.
Excitement that will not cease
Twin exhaust stacks adorn the motivational cap of Marcayla Marie Lutzkanin, of Port Carbon, who graduated with associate degrees in heavy construction equipment technology: Caterpillar equipment emphasis and diesel technology ...
... and who completed the ensemble with just the right pair of boots. She will return in the fall, working toward a bachelor's in applied management.
Ybarra’s father gives his graduate a warm hug as her mother beams on.
Ybarra and Erin M. Beaver, who gave her red roses and who earned a bachelor’s degree in welding and fabrication engineering technology in 2019, will soon be co-workers at the Harley-Davidson Motor Co. in York.
Basking in the glow of a superb spring Saturday (from left): Naaman T. Conoway, Karson J. Felty and Brigette M. Davis, building construction technology classmates
Elliott Strickland had the honor of introducing all three of the semester's impressive student speakers.
"Not only did this class have to face hours of homework and studying, but a new challenge of navigating a global pandemic while still maintaining good grades and some semblance of a social life. I'm honored to be graduating with these students today," Marshall said, noting that 45% of Americans do not hold a college degree. "What you have achieved here is nothing short of astounding. Each of you has accomplished something that the majority of this country has not. You have built the foundation of your future, and now it's time for you to begin constructing the rest of your life. Your futures are finally waiting for you."
The mother of Ashley D. Gentile-Wing meets with President Gilmour before the ceremony ...
... at which her daughter was posthumously awarded a bachelor's degree in residential construction technology & management and an associate degree in architecture.
One good turn propels Marshall into the workforce.
Veterans stand to be recognized amid one of the loudest audience reactions in memory.
Gilmour shakes the hand of Alejandro F. Huaman, building science & sustainable design: architectural technology concentration.
A grad's-eye view from stage right
Reed, Gilmour and Yaw form a triumvirate of advocacy for student success,
Confetti cascades across the house ...
... who looks to the loge, as well as to her future.
... amidst a standing ovation for the departing leader ...
Hopes are high ...
... and the music is loud!
A new definition for construction management?!?!?
Gilmour’s final graduate (and graduate handshake) ...
... and one last twirl on an impromptu dance floor.
Marshall celebrates with her red-sneaker-clad grandmother.
After the crowd departs, another shimmery curtain falls on a substantial career.
Take a bow, Madam President!
Sean P. McNamara, building automation engineering technology, seizes a presidential photo op after the final ceremony. McNamara was a Wildcat golfer.
The college entrance is a haven for post-commencement photos, as families work both sides of the big sign ...
... and pitch in to take photos for each other.
Isaiah S. Robinson makes good on his Lenfest Foundation scholarship challenge, earning an associate degree in building construction technology and heading to imminent employment in the concrete industry.
Family bonding at the big sign: Dylan C. Godinez, engineering design technology, and his entourage.
Spring is in the air (and on the ground) at the shutterbugged college entrance.
The strikingly beautiful Community Arts Center has hosted Penn College commencement exercises since the early days of Gilmour's presidency.
The president welcomes graduates and guests to Friday afternoon's start of her final graduation weekend.
Yaw authorizes the degrees and certificates earned by the students.
An award-winning graduate in human services & restorative justice, Charles Benjamin Mierwald is greeted by the president.
Gilmour and a new alum hug beneath the college seal, which incorporates design elements from Williamsport Area Community College – where the president began work as a faculty member in 1977. She quoted entrepreneur/author Tim Fargo in offering a fitting piece of advice to graduates: "Who you are tomorrow begins with what you do today."
Friday's speaker is radiant with the glow of achievement.
A seeming sea of decorated caps tops an assembly of post-finals brains.
With degree in hand, her future's in full bloom.
Spring colors, including the greens of budding trees, fuel a cheery mood