MEDIA, Pa. — When David Ward retraces his path as a successful municipal planner for Chester County, he always returns to his beginnings at Penn State’s Brandywine campus.
The 1975 Penn State graduate spent his first five semesters at Brandywine, where he began his studies in environmental resource management. He later transitioned to University Park to complete his degree under the College of Agriculture.
Ward remembers Penn State Brandywine as a small but lively campus.
“The enrollment was small back then — less students than the high school I attended,” he said. “The campus had just moved from the city of Chester. Only the original Main Building and small parking lot had opened. In fact, the current parking lot served as the recreational fields where I took my mandatory physical education courses, including flag football, tennis and archery.”
Although Ward, who worked through college, did not have time to become part of organized student life on campus, he found rewarding friendships at Brandywine.
“To this day, I stay in touch with the friends I met,” he said. “The camaraderie of students and the small classroom size made for a positive learning experience.”
Ward took classes in a variety of subjects at Brandywine, including a chemistry course with Ed Tomeszko, who later became Brandywine’s second campus executive.
After graduating from Penn State, Ward found employment with the Chester County Planning Commission. Forty years later, he is now the commission’s assistant director, where he manages the department’s strategic planning and budget in the fastest-growing county in Pennsylvania. Ward also has worked as a training consultant with the Pennsylvania Municipal Planning Education Institute and previously served as a private planning consultant at his own firm.
“The broad scope of my major prepared me well for a career in city planning, which involves multiple disciplines coming together to solve public issues,” he said.
As a leader for the Chester County Planning Commission, a Boy Scouts volunteer, and an active community member, Ward looks back fondly on his beginnings at Brandywine and reflects on how the campus helped him accomplish his goals.
“I will always be a Brandywine Penn Stater!” he said.