Tackling adult illiteracy a goal of Mont Alto CEO

December 16, 1997

Tackling adult illiteracy a goal of Mont Alto CEO


Staff Writer, Waynesboro

MONT ALTO, Pa. - David H. Goldenberg can see the Penn State Mont Alto Campus from a second-story window in his office in the oldest Penn State building.

He envisions a future of strong endowments, a student enrollment of 1,400 and an aggressive effort to teach illiterate adults how to read.


That, said Goldenberg, 45, CEO of the Mont Alto campus since June, is where he wants the school to be in five years.

"Today we're at a pivotal moment in the history of this institution," he said.

The campus is offering bachelor's degrees for the first time this year in occupational therapy, nursing and human and family development. About 50 of the school's 1,175 full-time students are enrolled in four-year programs, a number that will increase, Goldenberg said.

He also said the number of four-year programs will expand, but on a limited basis.

Last month a Philadelphia couple who are both doctors, Albert and Lorraine Kligman, gave the school $500,000, its biggest single gift ever, for scholarships for nontraditional students. Albert Kligman is a Mont Alto alumnus.

Goldenberg wants to dramatically increase endowments and build up the school's scholarship base.

"Fund-raising is one of my biggest jobs," he said.

He will begin seeking endowment funds for full professorships. The endowments will add to the prestige and salaries for existing faculty in the fields of health science, forestry and science. They will also enable the school to hire the best candidates, he said.

"Endowed professorships are what makes a strong baccalaureate institution," he said.

Less than five of Mont Alto's 57 full-time faculty members are full professors. The school has about 50 part-time instructors, some of whom teach only a single course, he said.

"It's my job to transform this school from a two-year to a four-year institution. I feel the community and foundations will support that goal," he said.

"We have many needs," he said.

He will announce his goals for scholarships and endowments in October 1998, he said.

He's still working on the school's long-range strategic goal, which can be found on the Internet at (

Goldenberg's biggest worry is adults who can't read.

"I was alarmed when I learned the high school dropout rates in Franklin County and the number of high school students who go to college. It's below the regional and national norms," he said.

The 1990 census showed that 32 percent of Franklin County's population who are 25 and older don't have high school diplomas, he said.

"I believe this university has a responsibility to do something about adult literacy. If parents can't read, who will read to their 2-year-old? If we establish a literacy program, it will be the greatest gift this campus gives to the community," he said.

Penn State Mont Alto opened as a forestry school in 1903. It is the oldest of 12 satellite campuses in the Penn State system.

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