When the economy goes down, enrollment for
Newport Business Institute goes up, said the school's
director, John Kiernan.
"The students realize they need more skills," he
said. "'Last year, I was going nowhere. This year,
I'm going somewhere. I'm going to Newport
There are currently 66 students enrolled, with 45
physically attending classes and 21 online students.
Kiernan said the average amount of students usually
is between 150 to 300, but the school is going
through a transitionary phase.
The business school, 941 W. Third St., offers
degrees in business administration, medical administration,
legal administration and administrative assistance.
He said the post-secondary school is where students
can go for a local school with a small class
size. The student teacher ratios range from one-toone
to one-to-15 at most. Kiernan said the average
class is one professor for every eight students.
Kiernan said about 1/3 of the students are 18 to 22
year olds and another 1/3 are married adults looking
for a career change with a mid-life redirective. Other
students lost their jobs and need new skills for the
The biggest difference between Newport and
other schools is the focus, Kiernan said.
"We can do programs online," he said. "Some
people want to go to school, but they only have so
Every student has to do an internship to graduate
and every class is focused to prepare the student for
the internship and later career.
The school also has a dress code to prepare the
students for the business attire they will wear in the
Newport, formerly Williamsport School of
Commerce, was founded in 1955 by Raymond and
Sara Cornelius, who led it until September 1976. The
school was purchased and formed into Williamsport
School of Commerce, Inc., under the laws of
In June 1982, the Williamsport School of
Commerce purchased the former Clay Elementary
School from Williamsport Area School District. Built
in 1963, it has six classrooms for instructional use.
In January 1996 the name was changed to Newport
Business Institute, Inc. Newport is a combination of
New Kensington, which is the other branch of the
school, and Williamsport.
Kathy Erine, a business administration student,
said with such a small school, it makes it easy to
support each other academically and in other ways.
"I'm a nerd," she said. "I like it all. I waited a
long time (to come back to school). Because we're
so small and so personal, it's more like a family. The
teachers aren't here to lecture, they're here to teach."
Penny Ellis, career development coordinator,
works with area employers to place graduates in
"When somebody gets a job that's right for them
and they love, it's a good feeling," she said.
Jim Trick, a college writing professor, said he
enjoys seeing the achieve their potential.
"(My favorite part is) watching the non-traditional
students succeed beyond their own expectations, not
mine, but their expectations," he said.
He said the recent high school graduates and the
adult learners come together and play off each
other's skills in the classroom.