‘Makerspace’ formally dedicated at Penn College

PHOTO PROVIDED The Welch family pose for a photo at the new Dr. Welch Workshop, A Makerspace at Penn College.

Designed by students and funded by a forward-thinking group of individual and industry benefactors, a space designed to inspire interdisciplinary innovation and collaboration opened its doors at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

Dedication ceremonies were held Aug. 14 for The Dr. Welch Workshop: A Makerspace at Penn College, constructed in the Carl Building Technologies Center.

Donors and members of the college’s Board of Directors, Corporate Advisory Board, the Penn College Foundation Board and campus community gathered in the makerspace to hear about its genesis and to view its spaces for “clean” (computers, 3-D printers, sewing machines and vinyl cutters) and “dirty” (saws, drill presses, routers, lathes and CNC mills) activities.

“This layout inspires interdisciplinary cooperation and embodies ‘degrees that work,’ “ Penn College president Davie Jane Gilmour said. “When I look around this space, I envision ideas that will turn into inventions, and inventions that will turn into exciting partnerships among students who wish to dream, create and innovate. It is a privilege and an honor to dedicate this new facility in honor of the late Dr. Marshall Welch Jr., who had his very own ‘makerspace’ in his home long before the concept became popular.”

Marshall Welch III spoke of the clarity his father demonstrated in regard to his life’s purpose, knowing from eighth grade that he wanted to become a dentist. He lived in the same home and community his entire life, building a workshop/makerspace in his backyard to pursue his hobbies without leaving Lycoming County.

“Students of Penn College also appear to have amazing clarity at a very young age,” Welch said. “They come to hone their skills in dozens of majors across a dizzying number of fields. We hope the makerspace will add tremendous value to their futures.”

The design for the makerspace was conceived by students and finalized by a committee of faculty and staff. Student designers who participated are Thomas P. Abernatha, of Williamsport, and Christopher D. Fox, of York, both received an associate degree in architectural technology ’17, and John A. Gondy, of Glenmoore, a senior, residential construction technology and management: architectural technology concentration.

“Seeing this come to fruition makes me feel like I’ve left a legacy behind that will give others the ability to create and innovate with no bounds,” Gondy said.