After years of helping fellow alumni celebrate milestone class reunions, Marge Gill ’74 is excited to be planning the 50th reunion for her Immaculata University graduating class.
Karen DeLucia Matweychuk ’83, Immaculata’s alumni director, appreciates Marge’s generosity and commitment to her alma mater. “Marge has been an active alumna for many years and supports all we do,” she said. “She is currently serving on our Alumni Board of Governors and has been instrumental in encouraging her classmates to attend IU events and support Immaculata on an annual basis.”
Since graduating from Immaculata with a degree in math and physics, Marge has financially supported Immaculata. She gradually increased her gifts as she progressed in her professional career, which spanned 40 years at Pennsylvania Power and Light Co. (PPL) in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
In response to a push in the early 1970s to hire more technically competent women, PPL needed recent graduates with math and science degrees. They held interviews on college campuses, including Immaculata, and Marge applied. One of six graduates hired from across the region, she ended up being the only female. Marge began her career in the systems operations department at PPL, working on computers that controlled the power system.
“Of the five males, four were electrical engineers and one was a physics major. They came from Drexel, Lehigh, Penn State and one was from Albright,” she remembered. “And here I am—the Immaculata girl,” she fondly added.
As a student at Immaculata, Marge loved physics and enjoyed learning about technology. When she began working at PPL, she worked on process control computers specifically made to perform real-time analysis and control of the electrical grid within predictable and specific constraints. She laughs now, knowing that her smartphone has more memory than the computers that provided electricity to the entire Lehigh Valley.
Marge’s job at PPL was intense. During the late 1980s and early ’90s, there were times when she was called into work in the middle of the night to fix a computer problem. “I was so glad when we finally got high-speed internet so when I got called at 2 in the morning, I could just walk into the kitchen, pull up my computer and see if I could figure it out,” she said.
With no desire to enter the ranks of management, Marge reached the highest non-management technical position available in her group: lead application developer, responsible for managing the PPL transmission and generation management systems. At this point in her career, she had become an expert in managing the computer networks, operating systems, firewalls and cybersecurity issues. However, by the time she retired from PPL in 2014, she was burned out from working 60-70 hours per week and constantly being on-call for emergencies.
“I took six months to decompress,” Marge admitted. After getting refreshed, she began connecting with friends and getting more involved with events at Immaculata. She joined the alumni board when the pandemic began, so she attended meetings virtually. When in-person meetings and alumni events resumed, Marge traveled to campus from her home in Allentown.
Her dedication to Immaculata stems from the lifelong friends she gained, the fond memories she holds dear, and the experiences she had as an undergraduate student. One of her most memorable experiences was when the Immaculata women’s basketball team earned a bid to the first AIAW (Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women) national championship tournament in 1972. Illinois State University hosted the historic event, and Marge was one of six Immaculata students who drove all night from Immaculata’s campus to Normal, Illinois to support the Mighty Macs.
“It was one of those big old GM cars that had the bench seats in the front,” she said of the vehicle they used. “We drove all night and found a Ramada Inn. The six of us stayed in a room for four,” she added. The drive back to Pennsylvania was jubilant as the Mighty Macs won their first of three consecutive national titles.
Marge and her friends shared many fond memories during their time at Immaculata, and she is excited to reminisce with her classmates when they gather to celebrate their 50th reunion in 2024.