Michael J. Reed inaugurated as Penn College’s eighth president
Reed received Penn College’s presidential medallion from his predecessor, President Emeritus Davie Jane Gilmour, and state Sen. Gene Yaw, chairman of the board of directors, in front of about 400 attendees, including faculty and staff, students, alumni, industry partners, and visiting college and university delegates.
“Today, we honor how we are ignited by our past, inspired by tomorrow and committed to what we like to call a ‘future made by hand,’” said Reed, who assumed his duties on July 1. “As president, I pledge to do everything in my power to sustain and enhance the level of excellence embodied on our campus.” (Full text of the president's remarks)
During his opening remarks, Yaw chronicled the college’s 100-plus-year history of preparing graduates for the skilled trades to its status today as a national leader in applied technology education, prioritizing hands-on learning in state-of-the-art labs. He praised Gilmour’s 24-year tenure as an “era of dynamic innovation” and expressed confidence in Reed to build upon her legacy.
“There are many challenges and opportunities ahead, and our new president and his team are eager to meet the challenges,” Yaw said.
Reed was Penn College’s vice president for academic affairs and provost, the institution’s highest-ranking academic officer. He also served the college as vice president for academic operations and associate provost; dean of the former School of Sciences, Humanities & Visual Communications; and assistant dean of liberal arts and sciences.
Prior to joining Penn College in 2014, Reed accumulated extensive experience in secondary education as a teacher, counselor and principal.
A native of Glenshaw, a Pittsburgh suburb, Reed is a first-generation college student, a background shared with 43% of Penn College’s 4,200 students.
“I appreciate the challenges that many of our Penn College students face when they arrive on campus to begin their studies,” Reed said. “I understand how vital it is to provide the needed support to help students find their footing and accelerate.”
As president of Penn College’s Student Government Association, Sydney M. Telesky, of Milton, told the crowd that she has witnessed Reed’s commitment to students.
“It is obvious that Dr. Reed and many individuals on campus are putting in an immense effort to build relationships with each group of the Penn College community, especially students,” said Telesky, majoring in human services & restorative justice. “Dr. Reed’s strong leadership and persistence for improvement regarding diverse experiences and student opportunities will surely allow Pennsylvania College of Technology to fulfill its intended mission and vision for many years to come.”
Being the youngest of 10 siblings in a “blue-collar home” provided the “ideal platform for personal growth,” according to Reed, developing traits that he will rely on as president. “I know something about cooperation, competition and collaboration, not to mention patience,” Reed said.
John F. Chappo, assistant professor of history, shared that Reed has a well-earned reputation for exhibiting such qualities.
“President Reed has consistently and energetically worked really hard to bring people together in every role he has played and served at the college,” Chappo said. “He has tried to break down silos in order to create opportunities for faculty and staff to communicate, inform, and challenge one another in imagining and reimagining the ‘why’ behind what we do and in relation to where we should be headed.”
Reed stressed that his primary goal as president is “to place our graduates in the most competitive position to achieve long-term success, while meeting the current needs of employers in business and industry.”
Representing industry, Shannon L. Massey detailed how Penn College has fulfilled the needs of Lycoming Engines, the worldwide leader in manufacturing aviation piston engines and a Corporate Tomorrow Maker partner of the college.
Massey, the company’s senior vice president, revealed that Lycoming Engines employs 122 Penn College alumni, representing 30% of shop-floor employees and 13% of its salaried workforce.
“I feel the collaboration between Penn College and Lycoming Engines is a great example of how a college and industry businesses can work together to create successful outcomes for all involved,” she said. “Penn College truly provides an opportunity for students to follow their own path and to make their future by hand.”
The college’s overall graduate placement rate for 2020-21 was 96%.
“As president, my aim is to retain and refine what works and explore ways to tweak and enhance areas where there is room for improvement,” Reed said. “And there is always room for continual improvement – no matter how well our mission is executed. We must always aspire to be our best and meet our mission. … Together, there is nothing we can’t achieve.”
Following the ceremony, attendees toured campus and attended a reception hosted by Reed in the Lycoming Engines Metal Trades Center.
Reed holds a Doctor of Education in educational leadership from Drexel University, a Master of Education in counseling and education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. He earned a Post-Master Certificate in School Administration from Penn State.
Penn College’s roots date to 1914 as an adult training program at Williamsport High School. The vocational initiative evolved into Williamsport Technical Institute (1941-65) and Williamsport Area Community College (1965-89).
On July 1, 1989, Pennsylvania College of Technology was established as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Corporation for Penn State by Act 27 of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. As a special mission affiliate of Penn State, Penn College has its own board of directors, president, curriculum and accreditation.
Penn College is a national leader in applied technology education. Email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.
– Photos by Cindy Davis Meixel, writer/photo editor;
and Larry D. Kauffman, digital publishing specialist/photographer
Reed warmly embraces the manifestation of parenting done right, fresh from their proud and public acknowledgement of his presidential cred and his paternal chops.
Cadets from Bald Eagle Battalion Army ROTC present the colors ...
Well-wishers gather with the president (near doorway, at left), outside the theater.
Alp surprises Reed with the news that his teenage children had prepared some thoughts to share from the stage ...
Representing the college's essential network of collaborative partners, Lycoming Engines' Massey noted that 52% of the college's annual support is gifted by companies. "That level of commitment showcases industry’s recognition of the importance of Penn College to our success," she said. "In return, we receive 110% dedication and effort from the 'ready-now' talent we acquire from Penn College and send around the globe to work for our businesses."
Congratulatory letters from dignitaries – including other college presidents, and officials from state government and the NCAA – are displayed in the Capitol Lounge.
On a glorious day all the way around, Mike and Christina Reed join their children, Cali and Gavin, in the downtown sun.
Reed and Gilmour, surrounded by autumn's glory
Members of Reed's large, loving and extended family – anchored by the matriarch – gather for a portrait.
With a smile for his family, Reed processes with the platform party.
.. as singers from the Uptown Music Collective, assisted by Disability & Access Resources' Heidi E. Roupp, perform the national anthem.
Members of the board of directors, joined by visiting college and university delegates, fill the front row.
Sen. Yaw introduces a video providing a "representative glimpse of how Penn College is changing students' lives in our impressive instructional facilities." Among those on stage are Steve J. Kopera (far left), welding instructor and president of the Penn College Education Association; and John M. Confer (far right), chair of the Penn College Foundation Board of Directors.
Bound to Reed by their concurrent presidencies (and a fondness for fishing), Telesky delivers a message of solidarity and appreciation. "Dr. Reed and I have continued our professional relationship, 'igniting' each other’s growth in our new positions and 'committing' to the future of the Penn College community, while being 'inspired' by our own tomorrows," the SGA leader said. "In each of our meetings, (he) always ensures I have everything necessary to succeed in my role as a student and representative of the student body."
The varied regalia of Penn College faculty, as well as that of visiting delegates from other institutions, rivals the most vivid fall foliage.
"He is truly one of the nicest people I've ever encountered, and I think we need more people in the world like him," Cali told the crowd, adding, "He always makes a point to understand where everyone comes from in a conversation, which I know since everyone I talk to always tells me, 'Mike makes me feel seen. He lets me know I'm important.'"
Playing on a campus tendency toward abbreviations, Chappo offers the faculty's congratulations and support to M.J.R. (Michael J. Reed). An assistant professor of history, he assigned those initials to a trio of words ascribed to the president: mission, joiner and relentless. "In M.J.R.'s passionate and relentless pursuit of improvement for the college, we should find emotion and action worthy of embrace," he said. "In it, we should find opportunity to not only give greater permanency to the tireless work of those who have preceded us ... but to provide students with the tools and instruction they can use to thrive in and on fields of their own dreams."
The Reed family, alongside President Emeritus Gilmour and husband Fred, listen to remarks.
The applause that accompanied Reed's walk to the podium ...
A most pleasant recent addition to campus – Nesli Alp, vice president for academic affairs and provost – welcomes guests to the historic Community Arts Center.
Penn College's first family greets people in the post-ceremony receiving line.
... soon grew to a standing ovation for the new president.
"I know my dad has and will display great leadership, in-depth levels of understanding, genuine empathy for everyone and the courage to execute plans," Gavin said of his role model. "And – most certainly – he refuses to judge anyone, as he has a humble, open mind."
Symbolically standing amid other aspects of tradition and continuity, Penn College's seal and mace, Reed takes his rightful place at the helm.
... prompting a smile that says, if only once, that they pulled one over on Dad.
Enjoying the evening are (from left): freshmen Wildcats Avery W. Book, of Elizabethtown; Kevin Kanning, of Oakland, N.J.; and Wyatt M. Hale, of Hanover. Book is a freshman in heating, ventilation & air conditioning technology; Kanning and Hale are enrolled in welding & fabrication engineering technology.
Under the tent – and under the lights – the fun continues.
For the first time, the patio outside the recent welding addition serves as a seat of hospitality.
Nearly matching the florals, retired forestry professor Dennis F. Ringling enjoys the evening with his wife, Patricia A., a 1991 alumna. Dennis was honored in 2010 with the Veronica M. Muzic Master Teacher Award.
The interior of the welding lab offers ample space for mingling.
At one of the interactive displays, Wildcat golfer Gavin L. Baer, a manufacturing engineering technology student from Bainbridge, gets in the swing.
Guests gather under comfortable early-evening temperatures to celebrate the new administration.
Trevor M. Rosato, sous chef II and 2022 culinary arts & systems grad, serves New York strip to alumnus Dakota C. Harrison (’22, automated manufacturing technology).
Baja students and alumni represent
An auspicious day turns to magical night under a Wildcat Blue glow.
Donor Larry A. Ward, whose name adorns the Machining Technologies Center, shares a laugh with students while imparting his years of wisdom.
A guest takes a virtual reality tour of a Nursing & Health Sciences lab.