Penn State Altoona receives gift commitment from Keller Engineers
Thursday, June 7, 2012 - 1395 hits
ALTOONA — Penn State Altoona has received a $50,000 commitment from Keller Engineers, of Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, to support the college’s Rail Transportation Engineering (RTE) program, a groundbreaking academic initiative designed to prepare students for placement and career advancement within the rail industry.
The gift will provide $25,000 for the purchase of essential lab equipment and $25,000 for the creation of an endowment for the program. This gift will contribute significantly to Penn State Altoona’s efforts to enhance the RTE program by creating transformational experiences within and beyond the classrooms and laboratories.
“Through this gift, Keller Engineers becomes the very first benefactor to create an endowed enhancement fund for our RTE program,” said Chancellor Lori J. Bechtel-Wherry. “Through the enhancement fund created by Keller Engineers, our faculty will have greater ability to fulfill requests for special funding. Of equal significance, the gift to support the purchase of lab equipment will have a positive, far-reaching impact on the academic experiences of our students, particularly those enrolled in the civil engineering courses that are incorporated into our RTE curriculum. On behalf of our entire Penn State Altoona community, I thank Joe Keller and Keller Engineers for generously supporting our RTE program.”
Penn State Altoona’s baccalaureate degree program in Rail Transportation Engineering is the first of its kind in the nation. Created in direct response to demographic shifts that have resulted in the loss of highly trained senior railroad engineers in recent years, the program provides students with a unique multi-disciplinary experience that emphasizes the study, development, and application of new and emerging technologies impacting the rail industry.
Keller Engineers, Inc., founded by Joseph G. Keller, PE, has seen steady growth since its inception in 1991 by providing civil and structural engineering as well as surveying and land development services to both the public and private sectors. Keller Engineers works mainly throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia. Twenty-six of their sixty employees, including Joe Keller, are Penn State graduates.
“Recently we have experienced a significant increase in railroad design work and feel the RTE program will be an excellent source of engineers for our company,” said Keller, a 1976 Penn State graduate and former Penn State Altoona student. “We are pleased to provide this opportunity to Penn State Altoona to invest in the future of our profession.”
Keller Engineers’ support for the RTE program will help Penn State Altoona to play a vital role in training engineers for placement within the expanding rail industry. Penn State’s Civil Engineering four-year degree program provides a strong technical foundation for the RTE program with existing civil engineering courses. These courses are coupled with new customized courses in rail business, mechanical systems, track, operations and safety, communications and signals, and industry regulation. Students also gain an invaluable perspective on the industry’s history, culture, and financial, regulatory and labor environment. The program’s impact may expand beyond the baccalaureate degree with research support for the industry and additional educational offerings, such as degree completion via distance learning.
The gift from Keller Engineers will help Penn State Altoona to reach its goals in For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students. This University-wide effort is directed toward a shared vision of Penn State as the most comprehensive, student-centered research university in America. The University is engaging Penn State’s alumni and friends as partners in achieving six key objectives: ensuring student access and opportunity, enhancing honors education, enriching the student experience, building faculty strength and capacity, fostering discovery and creativity, and sustaining the University’s tradition of quality. The campaign’s top priority is keeping a Penn State degree affordable for students and families. The For the Future campaign is the most ambitious effort of its kind in Penn State’s history, with the goal of securing $2 billion by 2014.