Castles pledge $300,000 to Penn State Altoona

February 19, 2009

Altoona, Pa. — Penn State alumnus William J. Castle and his wife, Janet, of Jobstown, N.J., have made a $300,000 commitment to Penn State Altoona. The donors placed no restrictions on the purposes for which the gift might be used. In recognition of the couple's generosity, the fifth floor of the campus' Aaron Building in downtown Altoona will be named The William J. Castle Executive Quarters.

"During these trying economic times, Bill and Janet have stepped forward to accept a significant gift opportunity," said Chancellor Lori J. Bechtel-Wherry. "Through philanthropy and service, they are making a tremendous difference at Penn State Altoona. On behalf of the entire campus community, I extend to them our everlasting gratitude for their generosity."

The renovation of the Aaron Building's fifth floor fills one of Penn State Altoona's major needs. The campus and local community will use the space of about 3,500 square feet for events and meetings.

"This area of the building will stand as an enduring tribute to the Castles' philanthropic spirit, service to the Altoona campus, and outstanding achievement in business," said Bechtel-Wherry. "The space will have considerable impact upon the operations of the campus."

She also noted that unrestricted gifts are vitally important because they provide the campus with resources outside the operating budget to fund academic and cultural programs and offer emergency scholarship assistance to students facing financial challenges.

The Castles have a distinguished record of philanthropic support for Penn State Altoona. In addition to their $300,000 commitment, the couple's corporate entity, The Castle Group and Hydro-Marine Construction Co., recently made a gift to serve as title sponsor of the Penn State Altoona Speaker Series event featuring Anderson Cooper in April 2009. William Castle was inducted into the platinum category of Penn State Altoona's Ivyside Society in 2004 after creating a Trustee Matching Scholarship. This category recognizes the highest level of giving at the campus.

"I was honored when given the opportunity to name the fifth floor of Aaron Building," William Castle said. "I have always tried to keep in mind that you should never forget who you are, where you came from, and who may have helped you to achieve success. There have been so many relatives, friends, colleagues, and, of course, instructors from Penn State Altoona who have contributed to my success that I couldn't name them all.

"I am proud to have grown up in Altoona and equally proud to have been able to attend and graduate from Penn State Altoona. Therefore, I have chosen this opportunity to give so that others may be able to succeed. I hope that everyone who sees the name 'Castle' realizes how they have helped me and will take pride in what I have chosen to do with this philanthropic opportunity."

William Castle is a 1966 Penn State Altoona graduate. A recipient of the Penn State Alumni Fellow Award in 2004, he is a member of the campus' advisory board and campaign council.

He is founder and president of The Castle Group, a union of three companies: W.J. Castle, P.E. & Associates, P.C.; Simplified Bridge Systems; and Hydro-Marine Construction Co. (HYDRO). Since 1983, The Castle Group has been involved in all phases of structural/civil engineering, from concept and design to evaluation and construction. The company specializes in underwater construction inspection services, testing, and hydrographic/fathometric surveys, and also offers a full range of marine/structural engineering services.

William Castle has received numerous professional honors over the years. He was recipient of the New Jersey 2007 Outstanding Professional Engineer Award, presented by the New Jersey Society of Professional Engineers. In 2006, Castle was elected to "Fellow" status by the American Society of Civil Engineers. That same year, he became the first engineer elected to the board of directors of the Association of Diving Contractors--International. Castle was named the 2005 New Jersey Engineer of the Year by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Janet Castle is co-founder and president of HYDRO. In June 2008, HYDRO was recognized by the Philadelphia Business Journal as one of the 25 fastest-growing privately-held companies in Southern New Jersey. HYDRO ranked 7th out of 25 as the result of a revenue increase of more than 172 percent over the previous three years.

A certified diver, William Castle has performed over 1,000 underwater inspections of bridges, piers, docks, and outfall structures. A recognized leader in both the engineering and diving fields, he is one of the few licensed professional engineer/divers in the country.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009