Ivy Leaf - Fall 2004

2004 Alumni Fellow: William J. Castle


Nearly four decades after receiving an associate degree in civil engineering from Penn State Altoona, William J. Castle still readily credits the College with providing to him all the essential engineering and basic skills required to develop and operate a successful engineering and construction company. And through a generous gift to establish a Trustee Scholarship, he is making it possible for students with similar ambitions to realize their dreams with a Penn State education.

"Eventually, all the knowledge that I acquired while attending Penn State Altoona has been utilized in one way or another," commented Castle, a 1966 graduate and recipient of the 2004 Penn State Alumni Fellow Award, the most prestigious award given by the Penn State Alumni Association.

For Castle, campus visits readily stir fond memories of favorite instructors, activities in the Slep Student Center, and the natural beauty of Ivyside Park. With advances in his career, he even gained an appreciation for specific classes that he expected to be of little practical value when he was an undergraduate.

"Each of my instructors was influential in one way or another. I just didn't really know how much at the time," acknowledges Castle, who now makes daily use of skills acquired in speech communication, English composition, and economics classes… classes that weren't as highly valued by him as the courses in the engineering curriculum.

Castle is owner, president and founder of The CASTLE Group in Lumberton, N.J., a structural engineering firm specializing in underwater inspection services.

A certified commercial diver, Castle has performed over 1,500 underwater inspections of bridges, piers, bulkheads, docks, outfall structures and other marine structures. Castle is a recognized leader in both the engineering and diving fields, and one of the few licensed, professional, engineer/divers in the country.

A Gift for Future Engineers

Castle's gift establishing a Trustee Scholarship will benefit students majoring in engineering. A minimum gift or pledge of $50,000 is required to create a Trustee Scholarship.

The Trustee Scholarship Program effectively doubles the impact of private philanthropy by using University funds to match contributions to need-based undergraduate scholarships. The significance of the match is that financial aid is available for immediate disbursement to students once a donor completes and signs a pledge form. The Trustee Scholarship established by Castle is the fifth at Penn State Altoona.

"It is very important to always remember where you came from and how you got there. The establishment of this scholarship is to help others fulfill their goals and dreams." —William J. Castle

A Distinguished Alumnus

As an Alumni Fellow, Castle joins a distinguished group of prominent Penn State alumni who have been recognized as leaders in their fields and notable contributors to society and their communities. Established in 1973, the Alumni Fellow program is administered in cooperation with each of Penn State's colleges and has achieved high academic prestige and visibility within the Penn State community. The Board of Trustees has designated the title of Alumni Fellow as permanent and lifelong. The Alumni Fellow Award Program is unique in that it provides to the recipients opportunities to share their experiences with students, faculty, and staff during a campus visit. Castle was honored during formal ceremonies at Penn State's Altoona and University Park campuses in October. He is one of five Penn State Altoona alumni to be selected for the award.

Castle aptly sums up his thoughts in receiving the Alumni Fellow award:

"The award is not only an honor for me, but also for everyone else in my life, including family, friends and instructors who motivated me to move forward and never say 'never' to any challenge."