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Walter C. Flatt, Jr. honored posthumously

Date: 5/18/2011

President Flynn (left) with Walter Flatt's family during the Seniors College annual luncheon.

Alvernia University with the Alvernia Seniors College presented the 2011 Rabbi Alan Weitzman Award for Community Service to Walter C. Flatt, Jr. (posthumously) at a noon luncheon, in the Student Center, on Tuesday, May 17. In attendance were several past award winners, Rabbi Weitzman, and State Senator Judy Schwank.

Each year at the Seniors College Luncheon, an outstanding individual is recognized for making our community a better place through a life of selfless service to others, especially senior citizens. The award is named in honor of Rabbi Alan G. Weitzman, founder and long-time director of the Alvernia Seniors College. 

“Service wasn’t an obligation, it was his identity.”

Walter C. Flatt, Jr., (1940-2009) was the personification of service, dedicating his life to serving his country, his community, his church and finally, the adult students of Berks County.

After enlisting in the Air Force, Walter was assigned to the Intelligence Service during his six-year deployment in Europe during the height of the Cold War (1962-67). Upon returning to the States, Walter began a 30-year career as a Court Stenographer in Berks County that saw him rise to the position of Chief Court Stenographer. He was instrumental in computerizing the functions of court reporting, and helped to found and lead the local union. He was admired and respected by every person who passed through the Berks County Courthouse, from judges and attorneys to staff members and criminal defendants. Walter saw his work as an avenue of service to the community at large.

In retirement, his desire to touch the lives of others manifested itself in his selfless dedication to teaching personal computer skills to adult learners as a member of the Alvernia Seniors College faculty — a strictly volunteer position. Indeed, he is the most prolific instructor in the history of the Seniors College, having taught more classes than anyone else.

Walter is the first person to posthumously receive the Rabbi Alan Weitzman Award for Community Service.

The Alvernia Seniors College is in its 12th year of facilitating the pursuit of lifelong learning for its 700 members. It is modeled after Elderhostel, a national learning in retirement program. Alvernia’s Senior College runs three semesters a year and offers about 20 courses per semester, in addition to clubs for socialization.   

  • History: Established as a private four-year liberal arts college in 1958, Alvernia celebrated its 50th year by being awarded university status in 2008.
  • Heritage: Founded by the Bernardine Sisters, a Catholic religious order, the university embraces the Franciscan core values of service, humility, collegiality, contemplation and peacemaking.
  • Motto: “To Learn, To Love, To Serve”
  • Campus: The main campus in Reading is 121 acres, with two satellite campuses in Philadelphia and Pottsville (Schuylkill County).
  • Location: Our residential campus is situated three miles from center-city Reading, in the scenic Blue Mountain area of Eastern Pennsylvania.
  • Enrollment: 3,000 students attend Alvernia including 1,500 traditional undergraduates, 600 continuing education students, and 780 graduate students. Over 77% of first-year students live on campus.
  • Faculty: Our professors are accomplished scholars, experts in their fields, and supportive mentors. The student-to-faculty ratio is 14:1. Most classes are 20 students or fewer.
  • Athletics: NCAA Division III, member of the Commonwealth Conference of the Middle Atlantic States Athletic Corporation and member of Eastern College Athletic Conference, 8 men’s and 10 women’s intercollegiate sports.