History | South Hills School of Business & Technology

The History of South Hills School of Business & Technology

South Hills School of Business & Technology is the product of necessity, creativity, economics, dreams, and hard work.

S. Paul Mazza Jr. (1930-2013) and his wife, Maralyn, founded South Hills in 1970 when they saw the need for more specialized skills training in central Pennsylvania. Starting with only seven students in the first class, it is now training over five hundred students each year. This growth is attributed to the Mazza family’s philosophy that all decisions are made on the basis of “what’s best for the students”.

South Hills founders S. Paul Mazza Jr. and Maralyn Mazza

South Hills founders S. Paul Mazza Jr. and Maralyn Mazza


South Hills School of Business & Technology was continuously accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) from 1976—2017. In 2017, South Hills was awarded a grant of accreditation from the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).

View all Accreditation & Approvals.

South Hills started out as South Hills Secretarial School in 1970 in a modest location on Allen Street in State College, Pennsylvania. The first class began on January 4, 1971. In August 1982, growth forced the school, by then renamed South Hills Business School to reflect the nature of its evolving program offerings, to move to larger quarters, a former elementary school building in Boalsburg, PA.

In January 1989, South Hills returned to State College—its original home—to a custom-built facility on 480 Waupelani Drive where it remains to this day under its current name, South Hills School of Business & Technology. The Mazzas' son, S. Paul Mazza III, oversaw the construction plans for the campus building to ensure that it would serve the technological needs of the growing school.


In 1980, South Hills was granted approval to award the Associate in Specialized Business (ASB) degree. In 1997, approval was granted to award the Associate in Specialized Technology (AST) degree. The school currently offers six ASB degree programs: Administrative Medical Assistant, Administrative Professional, Business Administration—Accounting, Business Administration—Management & Marketing, Criminal Justice, and Medical Assistant. It currently offers six AST degree programs: Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Engineering Technology, Graphic Arts, Health Information Technology, Information Technology, and Software Development and Programming. South Hills also offers two diploma programs for students with previous post-secondary school degrees: Diagnostic Medical Sonography Professional and Diagnostic Medical Sonography Professional Plus.


The Philipsburg, PA Branch Campus was opened in 1996 at the request of the Moshannon Valley Economic Development Partnership (MVEDP) and closed in 2013.

The Lewistown, PA Campus was opened in 1999 at the request of the Mifflin County Industrial Development Corporation (MDIDC) and closed in August 2019.


In 2001, the Altoona, PA Campus was opened when South Hills purchased the former Altoona School of Commerce. South Hills Altoona has been granted approval to offer four ASB degree programs: Administrative Medical Assistant, Business Administration—Accounting, Business Administration—Management & Marketing, and Medical Assistant. It has been granted approval to offer two AST degree programs: Health Information Technology and Information Technology.


Maralyn Mazza served as the Director of South Hills until her retirement in 2008 when Mark Maggs took the position. She has served in an advisory role ever since. Under the direction of Mr. Maggs, South Hills is serving a diverse population of recent high school graduates and returning adults.


With the passing of her husband in 2013, Maralyn Mazza became the President of South Hills School of Business & Technology. Maralyn and Paul’s daughter, Gina Mazza, who had been the Director of Marketing at the school for many years, stepped into the position of Vice President, a position she held until retiring in late 2014. Gina Mazza's leadership at this crucial time helped to steady South Hills after the loss of its founder. The Mazzas' legacy is now being carried on by their son, S. Paul Mazza III, who was appointed President of South Hills School of Business & Technology in the fall of 2015.


Students do come first at South Hills School of Business & Technology. We try to help the “whole” person with his/her many needs. In addition to the high-quality education, fine faculty, and state-of-the-art equipment, academic advising, recreation, and health are essentials at South Hills.

Paul and Maralyn believed in “Teaching People...Changing Lives,” a timeless ideal that continues to inspire our leadership, faculty, staff, and students.

Campus Art

Welcoming Myself

State College Main Campus

The sculpture "Welcoming Myself" was given to South Hills on May 10, 1989 by the RNR Construction Company, Inc. of State College.

The artist, Lisa M. Fedon of Pen Argyle, PA, was commissioned to create a major public work of art that would represent the philosophy of the emergence of self through education.

The resulting installation is comprised of three ¾-inch steel figures of negative space that decrease in size until they reach the school building, where a single nine-foot "shadow" crafted of wire cloth emerges ready to take on the future.

South Hills Loves Music

State College Main Campus

In 2011, Gina Mazza, daughter of the school's founders and then-Vice President of the school, gave the Graphic Arts (GA) Class of 2012 an opportunity to be part of the creation of a mural for the back of the Tom Mazza Bandshell on the North Lawn of the campus. Luciano Sormani of Bellefonte, PA, volunteered and became the one student who tackled the entire project on his own.

After 6 weeks of work, the 4-panel mural "South Hills Loves Music" was dedicated on September 4, 2011. The artist, who later went on to spend five years at South Hills as a GA Instructor, drew inspiration for the Trompe-l'œil mural from the music performed in the bandshell, the Pennsylvania landscape, the rocks that frame the North Lawn, the school's clock tower, and a hot air balloon that is frequently seen overhead in State College.

Kari Lynn Schlegel

March 4, 1992—December 15, 2016

Kari Schlegel was born in March 1992 and graduated from South Hills in September 2012.

The Kari Lynn Schlegel Memorial Gallery is named in memory of Kari Schlegel, a lifelong Bellefonte resident and 2012 graduate of the Graphic Arts program at South Hills.

Kari was often the exclamation point in any story about the Class of 2012. Her effervescent good mood, enthusiasm, and seemingly endless supply of optimism and positive spirit was infusive, lighting up the classroom.

Kari (right) is shown with her beloved sister, Mindy.

Her classmates still laugh at the memory of Kari wearing her bunny slippers on the Graphic Arts field trip to New York City. Groan-worthy puns and jokes? Kari had a volume of them. She delighted in sharing stories and photos of her four beloved cats as well as trivia and tales of Harry Potter and Disney World. She was a rare combination of innocence, maturity, trust, and hope. She was filled with a joy of life and an unconditional love for her friends, her family, her pets… and people she just met. That was Kari Schlegel.

Kari dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow for the South Hills “BooFest” Halloween party in 2012.

She loved her school, even coming back to audit several GA classes after graduating. Kari also particularly enjoyed returning to South Hills every summer to perform as part of the Music Picnic Series with the Bellefonte Community Band.

Kari died December 15, 2016, in a tragic automobile accident. It’s a loss everyone who knew her still feels. In the end, Kari truly lived her life with passion and joy, treating others as she wanted to be treated: with love, compassion, and respect.