Scholarship honors parents, benefits Allentown area civil engineering students

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- For David Pattillo, endowing a scholarship at Penn State allowed him to say "thank you" in more ways than one.

"It was a way to recognize my parents and what they did for me and a way to recognize my roots," said Pattillo about creating the Howard and Aileen Pattillo Scholarship in Civil and Environmental Engineering.

The scholarship from Pattillo and his wife Iris is designed to assist students from Pattillo's hometown of Allentown, Pa., who are pursuing a degree in civil engineering.

Pattillo is founder and president of David Pattillo & Associates, a Duluth, Ga., construction consulting firm that advises key stakeholders on how to help keep complex projects on schedule and on budget. The firm also provides expert testimony when projects encounter time and cost disputes that cannot be resolved short of litigation.

Pattillo credits his father, also a civil engineer, as a major influence in his decision to pursue engineering as a career.

"From early on, I always knew I wanted to be an engineer," he said. "My dad and his brother were in the engineering and construction business. I have vivid memories of us sitting around the table and me listening to their stories about difficult construction projects."

After receiving his degree, Pattillo worked at a number of construction companies, including Semmel Excavating, McCarthy Construction and eventually A.W. Hutchison & Associates, where he became president in 2000. Pattillo and his partners were acquired in 2005 by Navigant Consulting, and Pattillo started his own firm in 2010. 

For Pattillo, the scholarship in his parents' names is a way to provide future civil engineers the same opportunity he had.

"Looking back on it, Penn State set the stage for who I am today," he said. "I really wanted at some point in my career to give something back. There are a lot of smart kids out there who could really use a break."

Howard and Aileen Pattillo are both retired and reside in Macungie, Pa.

The Pattillos' gift will help the College of Engineering reach its goals in For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students, a University-wide fundraising effort directed toward a shared vision of Penn State as the most comprehensive, student-centered research university in America. The University is engaging Penn State's alumni and friends as partners in achieving six key objectives: ensuring student access and opportunity, enhancing honors education, enriching the student experience, building faculty strength and capacity, fostering discovery and creativity and sustaining the University's tradition of quality. The For the Future campaign is the most ambitious effort of its kind in Penn State’s history, with the goal of securing $2 billion by the end of June.

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Last Updated January 14, 2014