Designed by students and funded by a forward-thinking group of individual and industry benefactors, a space designed to inspire interdisciplinary innovation and collaboration has opened its doors at Pennsylvania College of Technology.
Dedication ceremonies were held Aug. 14 for The Dr. Welch Workshop: A Makerspace at Penn College, a facility constructed in the Carl Building Technologies Center on the main campus.
Donors – as well as members of the college’s Board of Directors, Corporate Advisory Board, the Penn College Foundation Board and the campus community – gathered in the makerspace to hear about its genesis and to view, in makerspace parlance, its spaces for “clean” (computers, 3-D printers, sewing machines and vinyl cutters, etc.) and “dirty” (saws, drill presses, routers, lathes and CNC mills) activities to take place within.
“This layout inspires interdisciplinary cooperation and embodies ‘degrees that work,’” Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour told those who gathered for the ceremony. “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.”
Gilmour added: “I would like to extend our sincere gratitude to Mary L. Welch and their three sons, Scott, Graham and Marshall III, who have dedicated this special gift to honor the lessons learned in that very workshop – creative perspectives that have been foundational in the sons’ successful careers of innovation and entrepreneurism.”
Marshall Welch III spoke of the clarity his father demonstrated with regard to his life’s purpose, knowing from eighth grade that he wanted to become a dentist. He also lived in the same home and community his entire life, building a workshop/makerspace in his backyard in order to pursue his hobbies without having to leave Lycoming County.
“The 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 refined and finalized by a committee of faculty and staff. The student designers who participated are: Thomas P. Abernatha, of Williamsport, and Christopher D. Fox, of York, who both earned an Associate of Applied Science in architectural technology in May 2017, and John A. Gondy, of Glenmoore, a senior in residential construction technology and management: architectural technology concentration.
“Tom, Chris, John: Thank you for your vision, creativity and determination to see this makerspace – your makerspace – come to life at Penn College,” Gilmour said. “And, congratulations for leaving a significant legacy at your alma mater. Students inspire me every day at Penn College. Tom, Chris and John’s thoughtful vision and design are the perfect example of such inspiration.”
“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. “This experience has brought to life the slogan ‘degrees that work.’ Our long hours and designing, deleting and redoing work have paid off in what I believe to be the definite peak of my four years at college.”
Donors whose names will adorn the individual spaces within the facility are Frederick T. Gilmour (The Gilmour Tinkertorium) and George E. “Herman” Logue Jr. (The Logue Fabritorium).
Other individuals and companies who have made leadership gifts to the project are: William F. Geyer and Dorothy J. Gerring; Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise Project; Young Industries Inc.; the Alberts Family; Al and Jane Clapps; Aurora Gilmour, representing the Scott C. Gilmour Memorial Fund; Bill and Veronica Muzic; and PPL Electric Utilities.
(Information from Penn College)