SUNSHINE, SMILES & BASEBALL

Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too. — Yogi Berra

Smiles from 2017 Little League World Series players enjoying a picnic at Pennsylvania College of Technology last year.

Today is a day we love on the campus of Pennsylvania College of Technology. It is a day of sunshine, smiles and baseball.

Tomorrow, in our hometown of Williamsport, PA, the Little League Baseball World Series begins. Later today, a parade through the downtown welcomes competing teams from around the globe to compete. Before the parade begins, Little League players, managers, umpires and officials gather for a picnic on the Penn College campus.

I believe Penn College hit a homerun when the picnic tradition began in 2009. Our modern, beautiful campus provides a perfect space for the diverse and colorful gathering of athletes from around the world. Although they speak different languages, the young players connect through their common love for baseball.

The annual series is an event that inspires a great sense of pride in the people of Williamsport, who remember its humble beginnings in 1939. Penn College and its predecessors (Williamsport Technical Institute and Williamsport Area Community College) were part of the evolution of Little League. Students and faculty helped to excavate the site of the present day stadium.

Over the years, in addition to building and remodeling support at the stadium, students and faculty also became part of teams of health care workers providing medical assistance to players and fans of the series.

In 2012, the nation’s largest educational advertising awards competition presented a gold award – its highest honor – for a “total public relations campaign” to Penn College for its connection to the Little League World Series.

At that time, I was serving as the College’s director of college information and community relations, and was asked to give a statement about the award. I said:

“The entire campus community comes out in support of this initiative. The college has partnered with Little League in various ways for more than half a century. In recent years, we have used this ‘hometown advantage’ to share a message about the importance of quality technology education with visitors around the world during the championship series. It’s an honor to have this initiative, which is so close to our hearts, selected among the nation’s top public relations campaigns.”

In that same year (2012), Penn College’s President Davie Jane Gilmour became the first woman to chair the Little League International Board of Directors. Today she remains an active member of the board and a spirited fan of the series.

When she was honored by the state Senate for her historic appointment as the first female chair in the organization’s history, Dr. Gilmour said, “Whether it’s Little League youth or college students earning a ‘degree that works,’ I spend most of my time being inspired by young people, as they are, in fact, our future.”

President Davie Jane Gilmour and Penn College administrators welcome 2017 players to campus for a picnic prior to last year’s Grand Slam parade.

Watching youngsters, from around the world, who play baseball at a championship level enjoy an afternoon on the Penn College campus is a highlight of the summer.

Each year, the Little League picnic kicks off a new academic year at Penn College by reminding us of the importance of connecting classrooms and communities. Through this partnership with Little League Baseball, we embrace a worldwide community.

The award-winning Working Class public television documentary series is another form of community outreach at Penn College. We are pleased to have you as a part of that audience, sharing our common commitment to inspiring future generations.

Little League teaches players to play fair, strive to win and always do their best. It is a great foundation upon which to build a future.

Let’s play ball!

World Series “man in the crowd” Tom Speicher interviews Penn College president and former Little League International Board of Directors chair Davie Jane Gilmour.

To experience a behind-the-scenes look at the 2018 Little League World Series, stay connected with Penn College’s own veteran broadcaster Tom Speicher. Access Tom’s “man in the crowd” interviews and experiences at:

https://twitter.com/maninthecrowd

https://www.facebook.com/WRAKManInTheCrowd/

https://www.instagram.com/wrakmaninthecrowd/

You also will find photos from today’s picnic and parade later this week online at PCToday.

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