Looking Back, Stepping Forward

As officials at IUP’s Armstrong Campus celebrate the first forty years of service to area residents, they look to a promising future. They see positive change for their campus and the people it serves.

Next January, the campus will move from its original location in Kittanning to Northpointe, located near Slate Lick, a planned mixed-use community composed of residential, recreational, and industrial neighbors. The new state-of-the-art facility, a cooperative effort between IUP and the Armstrong County Industrial Development Authority, will be situated on three acres.

Artist's rendering of the new facility

Artist's rendering of the new facility

To date, nearly $400,000 in private gifts has been pledged by area businesses, friends, and alumni to help fund the 23,600-square-foot facility, including a $250,000 pledge from the Snyder Charitable Foundation.

While the new facility is monumental for the campus, which has been straining for revitalized space, the opportunities for students are what really excite the campus’s dean, Patricia Scott.

Although the campus retains its original mission, a place for traditional students to take their first year of core courses, it now is offering full degree programs, such as the associate’s degree in electro-optics. Master’s degree programs in Industrial and Labor Relations and Nursing have been proposed for the new facility, and, in cooperation with Butler County Community College, a bachelor’s degree program in Nursing is on the drafting table. An evening Information Assurance certificate program will also be offered at new the campus.

Diane Reinhard, John McCue, Patricia Scott

"Visionary in Education" John McCue with Interim President Diane Reinhard, left, and Armstrong Campus Dean Patricia Scott

“With the move to Northpointe, the Armstrong Campus will be closer to the Pittsburgh area and will position us to better serve the workforce and professional development needs of the region,” Scott said. “It will help us to recognize our vision of becoming a destination of choice. By offering complete degree programs, we will attract students who need to build academic credentials but who cannot travel an hour or two to begin or continue their education because of family or work constraints.

“We believe there is a niche in region for outreach programs that can strengthen the enrollments at IUP and serve the region in a unique and important way.”

Although the campus is moving on in different directions, the past has not been forgotten; rather, it was celebrated during the campus’s recent fortieth anniversary. In April, alumni and friends came to honor the campus’s opening and forty-year evolution.

Concerned by the number of Armstrong County students not seeking higher education, a group of residents laid the groundwork in 1962 to start a college campus in the county. Classes began in August, 1963, when the Armstrong County Educational Trust purchased the former West Penn Power building on North McKean Street in Kittanning to serve as “old Main.”

Among participants at the anniversary dinner was John McCue, a founding member of the trust, Kittanning attorney, and former member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. McCue, who also served on IUP’s Council of Trustees from 1982 to 1991, received the Armstrong Campus Visionary in Education Award.

Five of the campus’s alumni were presented with Distinguished Alumni Awards: Sally Divins Anderson ’92, Bracken Burns ’70, Kim Lyttle ’72, M’74, Ronald Shafer ’68, M’70, and David Siesko ’83.

“This celebration, which reflects our forty years of educational excellence, gives us the opportunity to reflect on our history as a branch as well as prepares us to look forward to our new role as a regional campus, serving a larger community of students with a variety of educational needs,” Scott said. “Those early educational visionaries provided our campus with a strong foundation in 1963, and we will continue to use that vision as we move forward with our new mission.”