Highlights of the 127th Alumni Banquet on June 4th at the Springfield Country Club, included the presentation of two Distinguished Alumnus Awards, an Alumnus of the Year Award, and the Class of 7W2’s 50th reunion class gift to Williamson.
After Mark Specht 7W7 gave the invocation and dinner was held, Alumni Association president John Rex 7W5 gave welcoming remarks.
All of the members of the Class of 7W2 who were present then went to the podium and the members of the Reunion Committee, Dale Carlen, Dave Churchman, Bob Hopkins, Dennis Hollenbach, Richard Mays, and John Young (member Jim Kressly was unable to attend), presented their class’ 50th anniversary gift for $74,181, to President Michael Rounds. Rounds thanked them for their dedication to Williamson. [In the days after the reunion, the class gift increased to $77,681.00.]
Next, Edward Hatchigian 6W0 explained the meaning of the Distinguished Alumnus Award, and presented the award to his classmate Robert Berwager 6W0.
Then, Raymond Gamble 8W3 presented the award to his classmate and friend Dr. Robert Ditizio 8W3, who, a California resident, was unable to attend due to a schedule conflict. Gamble spoke of Ditizio’s many accomplishments and then read an acceptance letter written by Ditizio offering thanks for being selected and praise for Williamson.
Marty Jeffers 7W6, Alumnus of the Year Award Committee chairman, then explained the meaning of the award before it was presented by Hatchigian to Glenn Tomlinson 7W5.
A certificate of appreciation for service to the association was also presented by Kevin Welde 9W7 to Rex after a brief introduction by Ron Rinker 8W5.
The evening closed with Specht leading the singing of the alma mater and giving the benediction.
Robert L. Berwager ’60 – Distinguished Alumnus Award
After finishing 10th grade at Hanover High School in Hanover, PA, Robert Berwager went to Williamson to study machining. He also played in the Chapel Band and sang in the Glee Club.
Looking back, he says “I’m glad I had the opportunity to attend Williamson to get a machinist education. My education has benefitted me well. I took some challenging courses and I also benefitted from the structure. Being so young, I had never been away from home before and I learned some skills for taking care of myself. Later, when I enlisted in the Army, basic training was easier for me than for some of the other guys.”
Upon graduation, he worked as a machinist at Bendix Corp. in York, PA, a place he had worked the summer before his senior year. Williamson helped him find his next position as a machinist in the tool and die shop at Lasko Metal Products in West Chester. He then spent 27 years at Neway Packaging Machinery in Hanover, as a draftsman and machine designer, and then was in charge of the Engineering Department and was a sales manager.
He then made a career change, becoming an assistant administrator at the Conewago Valley School District in New Oxford, Pa. Upon retiring in 2004, he became a bus driver for the school district until fully retiring in 2016.
He has been an active member of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ since 1967, serving as a trustee and singing in the choir. In the past, he has been on the Church Council, as president, treasurer, and trustee, and on the Endowment Committee. He has been on the board of the New Oxford Historical Society and is currently vice president.
Over the years, he as been in the Hanover Lancers Drum and Bugle Corps, playing the French horn bugle; the Hanover Industrial Management Club; a founding member of the New Oxford Area Jaycees and served as president; the Conewago Valley School District board of directors for 14 years, three as president; the New Oxford High School Band Boosters; and a 20-year member of the Hanover Community Singers. He also served in the U.S. Army for six years.
He enjoys playing the piano and is on his retirement community’s Food Pantry Committee, providing food to the needy. He also enjoys riding a bicycle and running, including an occasional 5K race. An avid traveler, he has been to Alaska and twice to Europe. He has gone to Cape May, NJ, every summer for 56 years.
He married his wife Mary Ellen in 1963 and they live in New Oxford. They have two daughters, Ellen and Pamela.
Robert A. Ditizio ’83 – Distinguished Alumnus Award
Robert Ditizio’s experiences in life can best be summed up as a relentless spirit of adaptation to the opportunities that life provides, including the opportunity to attend Williamson.
A chance presentation at his vocational high school led him to Williamson, and although initially intent on a career in the trades, he quickly learned that the experiences at Williamson were not bound by the walls of a particular shop or program. While building skills as a mason, he absorbed the principles of the other shops on campus through interactions with classmates and instructors. Under the attentive guidance of dedicated teachers, his interests and pursuits further broadened from the trades to the sciences and engineering. Williamson’s instructors listened, they cared, they mentored, and they ushered him down a corridor of self-discovery and awakened in him an academic spirit that remains to this day.
The academic journey initiated at Williamson led him first to Penn State-Brandywine, just down the road from Williamson, and to University Park, a mecca for exploring the fundamental properties of materials. Robert’s mechanical skills, honed at Williamson, were instrumental in uncovering opportunities that required mechanical adeptness in addition to academic rigor.
After timely completion of an undergraduate degree in engineering science, he leapt into graduate school and promptly designed and built his first plasma system in support of his thesis research. With this equipment, he developed a plasma-based process for injecting atomic hydrogen into silicon that took less than a minute, far exceeding the results of processes that had historically taken over 30 hours. He also participated in the fabrication of the world’s first transistor made from diamond, while learning much about the materials and equipment used to manufacture computer chips.
Ditizio left Penn State with his college sweetheart and a Ph.D. in engineering science and landed in Northern California, not far from Silicon Valley. He completed an MBA at Sonoma State University and for the next 20 years, developed plasma-based processing equipment and processes for the fabrication of computer chips, traveling the world to work with top companies doing advanced chip development. Culminating as chief technologist, he was awarded 10 U.S. patents for his efforts, and in the process learned to write his own patents.
After the closure of the company that drew him to California, and not long thereafter, the premature death of his wife from cancer, Robert leveraged his patent experience doing consulting work in patent writing and patent portfolio management while guiding his two athletic teens through their high school years, enjoying a multitude of high school basketball, softball, soccer, and baseball games.
Starting new chapters in his home life and career, he recently remarried, welcomed a teenaged daughter to his newly blended family, and recently joined POET Technologies, a NASDAQ listed company specializing in photonic integrated devices used in optical fiber networks as vice president, intellectual property.
H. Glenn Tomlinson ’75 – Alumnus of the Year Award
Glenn Tomlinson 7W5 was the director of paint and coatings technology at Williamson from 2003 to 2020. Prior to this position, he began serving Williamson as an adjunct painting instructor for five years and as a member of the Painting Advisory Committee.
He said, “I loved working at Williamson. I enjoyed teaching the students and watching them progress in their skills and knowing that I played a part in it. I also attended many of their athletic competitions and enjoyed watching them and cheering them on. I think they appreciated my interest in their lives outside the shop.”
He grew up in Drexel Hill and graduated from Upper Darby High School. Learning of Williamson through his brother-in-law, a Williamson graduate, and a member of his church, he enrolled in the painting and decorating program. He had the chance to go into the masonry program, but decided not to, which he now says is one of the best decisions he ever made.
After graduating in 1975, with a bad economy and few employment prospects, he started his own painting contracting business, Glenn Tomlinson Painting Co., which he ran until 2018. His company specialized in residential and commercial painting and interior design in the Greater Philadelphia area and employed between two to five employees, depending on his business needs. His clients included Scott Paper Co., PSFS, and Linvilla Orchards. Serving as a mentor to his workers, two went on to begin their own painting businesses.
Glenn said, “I never would have become a painting contractor if I hadn’t learned the trade at Williamson. My instructor, Glenn Stevick (4W0), gave me the confidence to strike out on my own.” He also made some good business contacts that helped his business get off the ground through a paint salesman he met as a student in the shop.
A long-time, active, life member of Williamson’s Alumni Association, he served as president from 1996-97.
He has been an active member of Grace Lutheran Church in Drexel Hill and served as a council member, Sunday school teacher, and usher. He also has coached youth baseball and basketball for the Springfield Athletic Association.
He has a NACE certification and is a member of the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America and the National Guild of Professional Paperhangers.
He and Pat, his wife, lived in Springfield, Pa., for many years and now live in Ocean City, NJ. They have three children, Colleen, Michelle, and Greg. He especially enjoys spending time with his grandchildren. He also likes the beach, riding a bicycle, fishing, and traveling.