Some graduation caps were adorned with rhinestones, some had messages spelled out with colored tape and others were plain, but one thing their owners all had in common was that they were all Pennsylvania College of Technology graduates.
Penn College held its spring graduations Friday and Saturday at the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St., with 962 students earning degrees in the institution's eight academic schools. Students from Penn College's schools of Industrial and Engineering
Technologies, Integrated Studies and Natural Resources Management graduated Friday. Those in Construction and Design Technologies, Health Sciences, Business and Computer Technologies, Hospitality and Transportation Technology graduated Saturday.
A “bedazzled” mortarboard, above, says it all as graduates line up for the Pennsylvania College of Technology commencement Saturday. At left, a graduate takes a look at his diploma.
"Today, you become part of a proud Penn College legacy," college President Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour told a filled arts center with parents, friends and well-wishers.
Gilmour said the institution's mission always has been to ready competent, trained employees for the workforce.
"You are special because you have skills and you have opportunities to make a difference in the world," she said. "I want each of you to make the most of your skills and your opportunities."
Jason T. Maddox, of South Williamsport, was the student speaker at Saturday's 10 a.m. commencement. Maddox, who earned a bachelor's degree, also earned an associate degree from Penn College in 2006. After being laid off after four years of work, he decided to go back to school.
Maddox challenged his classmates to be forward thinkers and leaders.
"You are graduating with a degree that will set you apart from the rest," he said.
Clint Hinton, of Lock Haven, was the student speaker at the 1:30 p.m. graduation. A six-year U.S. Air Force veteran who served two tours of duty in Iraq, Hinton enrolled at the college in the fall of 2008 after attending briefly at an area university.
"I excelled in the classroom, but I never really felt like I fit in there," Hinton said of his experience at a state-affiliated university.
"That's why I chose Penn College," he said.
"You once called me a dreamer, dad, and I am," Hinton told his father from the stage. "You're able to see one of my dreams come true today."
Hinton also urged graduates to "push yourself like you did here in college. Show employers that Penn College graduates are good investments to their companies."
Gilmour told graduates to keep the ideals of honesty, integrity and compassion close.
"Rather than limiting our lives, values and virtues provide opportunities for each of us to make a profound difference," she said. "Understanding that our lives have value and committing our talents to making the world a better place are ways we can begin to live virtuous lives."
For James Grube, 22, of New Ringgold, a job lined up after graduation means he only has about a week to relax before starting at Carson Helicopters in Perkasie.
Chase Keck, 21, of Orangeville, said he felt "accomplished" as a Penn College graduate. The physical fitness major said he has a job interview Tuesday.
Gilmour pointed out James E. Temple, assistant professor, and Robert E. Dunham, retiring chairman of the college's board of directors, who respectively served in their last commencement. Temple served as marshal, carrying in the ceremonial mace, while Dunham authorized and conferred diplomas on behalf of the board of directors.
Gilmour calculated that Dunman, in his 40th Penn College commencement, has conferred a total of 9,922 diplomas.