Stage set for phase two of Reading CollegeTowne renovation 

Alvernia announces its nursing programs will now be housed in the John and Karen Arnold School of Nursing during a celebration with university leaders, trustees, faculty, staff and nursing students on Tuesday afternoon. 

The naming recognizes the university’s largest philanthropic gift by a trustee in its 64-year history from business leaders and philanthropists John and Karen Arnold. The gift will support the expansion of the university’s nursing program, a key component to the second phase of the renovation of the newly named John R. Post Center at Reading CollegeTowne

“I would like to acknowledge the incredible generosity of the Arnold family, whose leadership in addressing the needs of our community and support of our vision for the City of Reading, Berks County and beyond will benefit generations of future students and residents,” said Alvernia University President John R. Loyack. “We are ecstatic to begin the second phase of renovation to the John R. Post Center to meet the demands for qualified healthcare professionals in our region and continue to ignite economic redevelopment in downtown Reading.” 

The project will address the need for nurses in the local healthcare industry by relocating, expanding, and modernizing Alvernia’s John and Karen Arnold School of Nursing. The project will add over 25,000 sq. ft of classroom and lab space, including a new Healthcare Simulation Center. The state-of-the-art simulation facilities will enhance Alvernia’s accredited professional undergraduate and graduate nursing degree programs. 

“Karen and I are excited to support Alvernia University’s Reading CollegeTowne Initiative and the expansion of the School of Nursing,” said Arnold. Reading CollegeTowne is having a transformational impact on the City of Reading, and the expansion of the School of Nursing, and the new facility in Reading CollegeTowne, will assist in meeting workforce development needs of the local healthcare organizations in our community now and well into the future.” 

Relocating the nursing programs to the new John R. Post Center at Reading CollegeTowne, Alvernia will expand the nursing program capacity and allow for the graduation of additional new RNs entering the region in various healthcare settings. 

"This donation to Alvernia University's CollegeTowne initiative, making possible the establishment of the John & Karen Arnold School of Nursing, will provide much more than just the means to renovate and create a state-of-the-art nursing education facility,” said Jamie Albert, junior nursing student. Such a gift provides us with the inspiration to elevate our learning not just in this building but in all those community-based locations where we students do our clinical rotations.” 

About the Arnolds 

John Arnold was the chairman and sole owner of Petroleum Products Corp., a large petroleum midstream pipeline terminal business that very dominantly serviced all the major oil companies, convenience store chains, and truck stops in a seven-state area. This company was sold to Arclight Capital in 2015.  


John was the founder and former CEO and chairman of the Jonestown, Pennsylvania-based PPC Lubricants, Inc., the nation’s fourth-largest distributor and largest privately-held distributor of commercial, industrial and automotive lubricants, edible greases for the food industry, oil and gas drilling fluids, chemicals and diesel exhaust fluids. PPC was sold to RelaDyne Lubricants in 2021. 


Karen Arnold graduated from Cedar Crest College and began her career as a sales assistant and registered representative for Johnston, Lemon and Co. Inc. She retired in 2015 from her position as assistant to the vice president of transportation at PVH Corp. 


John joined the Alvernia University Board of Trustees in March 2021. He also serves on the boards of Penn State University’s Smeal College of Business, Sageworth Trust Company and the Vail Valley Foundation, where he serves on the executive committee and is the finance/investment committee chair. John has previously served on the boards of the Harrisburg Area YMCA and Sovereign Bancorp. Inc. 


Karen serves on the Board of Trustees of the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation and also serves on the Foundation Board of Penn State Health St. Joseph Medical Center. Previously, Karen served on the board of Opportunity House and was a member of the Junior League of Reading for fifteen years.