Scott Durbin, member of the Bishop Guilfoyle Board of Trustees and leader of a successful construction company, has volunteerism in his blood.
Giving Back to the Community
Durbin’s dedication to community service dates back to the 1970s, when he used his carpentry skills to help build the stage for the Miss Pennsylvania Pageant, hosted in Altoona. Volunteering at the pageant was a family affair and part of a bigger picture of service that was engrained in Durbin from a young age.
“It’s something that’s in our blood in the Durbin Family,” he says. “Community is very important.”
Durbin says not a week goes by when he doesn’t see someone who was involved in the pageant, even 20 years after the fact. It was the beginning of a community network that he has built through years of diligent work and service.
Another part of that network stems from his involvement with the advisory board of the Greater Altoona Career and Technology Center, his past presidency of Blair/Bedford Builders Association and his lifetime membership of its counterpart, the State Board of Pennsylvania Builders Association. Durbin is dedicated to making an impact on the local community, and his two daughters are growing up with the same dedication to community and volunteerism.
Prompted by a grandmother’s wishes, Durbin and his wife, Lisa, considered the benefits of parochial schooling for their girls from a young age. Angela, a BG freshman, and Elena, a BG junior, attended Altoona Central Catholic School (ACCS), now known as Holy Trinity, before their time at BG. Angela and Elena’s Catholic education has reinforced their Christian responsibility to serve others and the importance of community service.
When ACCS became Holy Trinity, Durbin was eager to be of service to the school during its transition. He was heavily involved in the committee that was striving to improve the Catholic elementary school experience, and he believes they achieved that goal. When coupled with his involvement in constructing the international dorms for BG students in downtown Altoona, it’s no wonder he caught the attention of the BG Board of Trustees.
“I want to offer anything I can to help the school move forward,” Durbin says.
Setting Students Up for Success
As a member of the Board of Trustees, Durbin recognizes the importance of his role in encouraging and promoting a strong endowment fund and increasing giving to the school to ensure that the tuition remains at a reasonable cost for anyone who wants to attend BG. One of the board’s goals is to grow enrollment, and that will be correlated to keeping quality Catholic education affordable.
“We don’t want anyone to be turned away,” he says. While his children’s education forged his personal connection to BG, Durbin hopes to remain involved well after his girls graduate. He believes that BG offers a one-of-a-kind program that brings value to the Altoona area and Blair County through a world-class curriculum rooted in Catholic values. Durbin says that it’s important for parents to have an exemplary school like BG in their community.
As for himself, Durbin attended the Carpentery and Construction Program at Penn College in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. He credits his education as a major factor in the success of his business, Durbin Companies, which began as a family company in 1984. Because of his background, Durbin knows that a solid high school educational foundation is an excellent launching pad to post-secondary education, including trade school. He knows that a concrete high school education coupled with trade school as a complement sets students up well for success. BG offers that foundation, making it especially relevant to Durbin personally.
Durbin references BG’s technology program, including the school’s iPad program, as one of the ways the school is at the forefront of education in Altoona. He says that the school’s emphasis on technology is setting students up for success in their post-secondary educations and in their future careers.
BG Becomes a Family Tradition
“I believe we’re paving the road on great education,” Durbin says.
He knows from personal experience that BG’s methods work. Most recently, as his younger daughter entered high school, he noticed her ability to take the transition in stride. He credits her easy transition to BG’s intentionality in integrating the middle school students into various aspects of the high school program. Because of the seventh- and eighth-grade programs that allow middle school students to get familiar with the high school and be involved both academically and socially, there is a comfort level for freshman that makes the transition to high school less of a shock.
In addition to the family emphasis on community service, the Durbin family tries to reserve Sunday dinners for family and friends. They frequent Raystown Lake for boating when the weather is nice. Once Pennsylvania’s winter arrives, they switch to skiing. Durbin jokes that he was “pretty backward” in athletics, which is why he was “always tearing something apart and putting it back together.” Nonetheless, he enjoys watching his daughters’ various sporting events in basketball, tennis and track. He has another four years to watch his youngest daughter complete her education at BG, but hopes to have many more years on the Board of Trustees.