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This fall semester marks 50 years that the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Northpointe campus has been located in Armstrong County.
Established in the fall semester of 1963, the Northpointe campus was originally located in a retired building in Kittanning. In 2005, the campus was moved to its new location in Freeport.
To celebrate the milestone, 100 people attended a reception and dinner at Lenape Heights Golf and Banquet Facility in Manor Township Sept. 20, said Northpointe director Richard Muth in an interview Monday in Stapleton Library.
“There were students, former students and staff,” Muth said. “We inducted four new members to the Hall of Distinction.”
The Hall of Distinction has been recognizing distinguished alumni of the Northpointe campus since the 35th anniversary in 1998.
This year’s inductees are retired Col. Stephen Abel, who now serves as director for Veteran and Military Programs and Services for Rutgers University; Mindy Knappenberger, who currently works as executive director of Armstrong County Community Foundation; Dr. Richard McMaster the STEM advocate and project management thought leader for IBM University Programs Worldwide; and David Reddecliff, who serves as director of administration for the Majority Leader in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, managing the internal operations of the House Republican Caucus, as listed on the Northpointe webpage.
With these additions, the total number of members of the Hall of Distinction increased to 11.
These 11 are just a few of the 6,500 IUP alumni that have attended the Northpointe campus, Muth said.
“It was a beautiful dinner,” said Associate Vice President for Academic Administration John N. Kilmarx in a phone interview Thursday. “A lot of alumni attended. You could tell from their stories and see from the friendships they made that Northpointe was really their college experience.”
“We are hoping to have other smaller events,” Muth said, “like a holiday open house and a faculty/staff alumni event, which would be a small reunion for faculty.”
The faculty/staff event will be a chance for former staff and faculty to get together and “share stories about the old days.”
“Things are much different than they were even five years ago,” Muth said. “There was a strict divide as if students were either Northpointe students or IUP students.”
The Northpointe campus is an extension of IUP, not a separate entity, said Muth.
“It is no longer considered, ‘here or there,’” he said. “Some students just come by when they’re home over weekends or taking online classes over break because it’s all the same network.”
Due to technology and greater visibility, Northpointe has become more a part of IUP, Kilmarx said. He explained that over time, coordination of the individual campuses of IUP has enabled the school to become more of a unit with all parts contributing.
“Northpointe is an asset,” Kilmarx said. “These are IUP students who are taught by IUP professors and receive IUP degrees.”
This semester Northpointe has 135 undergraduate and graduate students, Muth said.
A student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in management or marketing can attend the Northpointe campus all four years with a combination of face-to-face and online classes, Muth said.
The campus is currently offering two master’s degree programs.
“We periodically, and hope to do so more regularly, offer master’s programs at Northpointe,” Kilmarx said. “If we can get 20 people who want to complete the degree there, we are more than happy to provide it.”
There are some perks to attending the campus, Muth said. Everything is located in one building, which is fairly new. It is a purely academic campus, which brings the yearly costs to a total of $8,100. There are no classes on Friday.
“Oh, and we have great parking.”