The Punxsutawney Area College Trust has continued its long-time support of Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a pledge of a $200,000 donation for the expansion of facilities in downtown Punxsutawney for the Academy of Culinary Arts.

The Punxsutawney Area College Trust was established in 1961 for the purpose of creating a college campus in Punxsutawney. It has continued its faithful support of IUP over the last 59 years, including consistent support of the Academy of Culinary Arts since the Academy's 1989 opening in Punxsutawney.

In September 2018, the Foundation for IUP, IUP's nonprofit fundraising office, gifted two buildings in downtown Punxsutawney adjacent to the Academy's Fairman Centre. As funding becomes available, these donated buildings will be razed to permit the construction of a new, expanded facility for the Academy of Culinary Arts. The Punxsutawney Area College Trust gift will be used to support this project.

“IUP and the community of Punxsutawney have enjoyed a long and successful relationship,” J. Thomas Frantz, president of the Punxsutawney Area College Trust, said. “By working together, IUP, the community, and the members of PACT have helped to provide educational opportunities not only for local and area students, but also for students throughout the United States and the world. This latest pledge from PACT demonstrates our continued support for IUP and for the plans the university has for the community of Punxsutawney.”

Fundraising for the building project is already underway by IUP for this initiative through IUP's Imagine Unlimited fundraising campaign.

“IUP is fully committed to Punxsutawney and to this region, and we value and appreciate our community partners and local stakeholders like the Punxsutawney Area College Trust,” IUP President Michael Driscoll said. “We could not be successful in the community without their support. We look forward to this building project complementing and stimulating further development in downtown Punxsutawney.”

With this most recent gift, PACT has provided more than $1.2 million for IUP Punxsutawney and the IUP Academy of Culinary Arts. In 2009, the Punxsutawney Area College Trust was honored by IUP's Council of Trustees for its support of the Fairman Centre with naming of the large kitchen in the facility.

The 16-month program offered at the Academy of Culinary Arts is nationally recognized and accredited by the American Culinary Federation. After completing a final semester at a paid externship, graduates earn a certificate in culinary arts and can also complete a separate baking and pastry program through the Academy.

The Baking and Pastry ARts program became a stand-alone program in 2019 to allow for additional growth in this program. Academy of Culinary Arts graduates also are able to complete an associate degree in culinary arts with an additional semester of study at IUP Punxsutawney.

The Fairman Centre (the former J.B. Eberhart building), was gifted to the Foundation for IUP by the Punxsutawney Regional Development Corporation and the Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce in November 2006. The gift was made possible through a $1.9-million gift from the Alan and Roy Fairman families, and the building is named in honor of the late Alan Fairman and the late Roy Fairman.

After a year-long, $4.7-million renovation, the building was repurposed with classrooms and teaching kitchens for the Academy of Culinary Arts. The first floor of the building is retail space. The Academy also has classrooms and teaching kitchens at this facility on Gilpin Street in Punxsutawney.

In June, it was announced that the Fairman Family Foundation of Punxsutawney donated $100,000 to the IUP Culinary Enhancement Fund to support the expansion project.

IUP's $75-million Imagine Unlimited Campaign will enable IUP to step forward as a national leader by transforming the student experience through scholarships, program enhancements, and new and modernized facilities. A new Academy of Culinary Arts building is a focal point of the campaign.