Penn State University: Barron highlights the power of philanthropy for trustees

As Penn State’s six-year philanthropic campaign enters its final stretch this spring, its impact will continue to live on for future generations by providing opportunities — in classrooms, across campuses and in the larger world — that let students and faculty discover their full potential and make a difference, according to Penn State President Eric J. Barron.

In a presentation to the Penn State Board of Trustees at its Friday, Feb. 18 meeting, Barron highlighted “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence” and the power of philanthropy.

“Our campaign themes — Open Doors, Create Transformative Experiences and Impact the World — have focused on how we can make a great university greater,” Barron said. “Through this campaign, we have been able to fulfill our land-grant mission to make a tangible difference in the lives of Penn Staters and for the greater good. The impact the University can continue to have for our students, faculty and staff and the world has reached new heights thanks to the generosity of our community and supporters.”

Launched in 2016, “A Greater Penn State” so far has met 98% of its fundraising goal — which was increased in 2019 following record support — to raise $2.1 billion. Now in its final months, the campaign’s projected annual average commitment is expected to exceed $350 million, the highest annual level in Penn State history.

“A Greater Penn State” builds on the success of the University’s preceding campaigns, including the “Campaign for Penn State” that raised $300 million between 1984 and 1990, “A Grand Destiny” that raised $1.371 billion between 1996 and 2003, and “For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students” that raised $2.188 billion between 2007 and 2014.

On Thursday (Feb. 17), O. Richard Bundy III, vice president for development and alumni relations, updated the Board of Trustees’ committee on outreach, development and community relations on the progress of the “Greater Penn State” campaign.

“We continue to be humbled by the response of our donors and their generous support,” said Bundy. “And we are already seeing the impact on our students, our faculty and the communities we serve. Together, we are achieving the goals of this campaign — the most ambitious in the University’s history — and creating a greater Penn State for generations of Penn Staters.”

During the trustees’ meeting, Barron highlighted examples of transformative giving and the campaign’s lasting impact across its three themes:

Open Doors
Private support is helping to bring talented students from every background to Penn State and offering a range of scholarships and programs to help them graduate on time and move on to successful careers and lives. For example:

— Open Doors’ five programs — RaiseMe, Smart Track to Success, Pathway to Success: Summer Start (PaSSS), Student Transitional Experiences Program (STEP) and Complete Penn State — are having a positive impact on academics, connectedness and time to degree across the campuses. For example, 98% of participants in STEP, a six-week summer transition program for change-of-campus students, have either graduated or are still enrolled at Penn State. In addition, for the 2017 RaiseMe cohort, the four-year graduation rate is 52%, compared to 32% for non-RaiseMe students from the same high schools.

— Matching scholarships also are helping to extend the impact of giving. For example, $11.1 million in gifts to the Educational Equity Scholarship Matching Program have had a total impact of $24.6 million after matching. At the College of Medicine, donors established 15 new scholarships and strengthened two existing funds as part of the program to support students whose gender, race, ethnic, cultural and/or national background contribute to the diversity of the student body.

— The University’s 2021 “Philanthropists of the Year” Gene and Roz Chaiken made their largest gift to date in December 2021 to support future generations of liberal art students, along with honoring former dean, Susan Welch, with the naming of the soon-to-be-constructed Susan Welch Liberal Arts Building.

— In response to COVID-19, the Returning Athletes Student Fund received more than $630,000, including $400,000 from Ed and Helen Hintz, to provide scholarships for senior student-athletes impacted by 2020 season cancellations who returned to Penn State this year.

Create Transformative Experiences
Gifts from individuals and couples are having an enduring impact in creating opportunities for Penn Staters to have transformative educational experiences. For example:

— Since the Bellisarios’ $30 million landmark gift in 2018 to transform communications education at Penn State, an additional $16.4 million has been raised from foundations and individuals for student scholarships, a media-innovator-in-residence program, professorships, facilities support and entrepreneurial programs such as CommVentures.

— A $6.3 million gift will preserve and expand the Federal House at Penn State Behrend, which also will serve as the new home of the Susan Hirt Hagen Center for Community Outreach, Research, and Evaluation (CORE). CORE, established through a philanthropic gift in 1998, conducts research that promotes positive outcomes for youth and provides youth development programming for about 3,000 elementary, middle-school, and high-school students annually.

— The collective generosity of more than 50 donors contributed to one of Penn State’s fastest and most successful fundraising campaigns for a building — a new Palmer Museum of Art. After surpassing the original fundraising goal in just 11 months, in 2020, the goal was increased from $13.9 million to $22 million; already more than $21 million of the philanthropic goal has been raised.

— Longtime residents of DuBois, Pa., George and Diana Kosco supported Penn State DuBois with $2.5 million in philanthropy that will impact teaching, research and service in perpetuity and their contributions to the Eberly College of Science are helping make a science degree accessible to all.

Impact the World
Through corporate sponsorships and visionary gifts of alumni and friends, students and faculty are empowered to address the world’s most pressing problems. For example:

— A transformative gift from Ross and Carol Nese in 2021 has enhanced nursing education through funding for scholarships, faculty and program support, and facilities and equipment. The gift is helping to increase the number of nurses entering the profession over the next decade by a minimum of 20% or more.

— In 2017, CSL Behring, a global specialty biotherapeutics leader, committed $4.92 million for industrial biotechnology education and research. As a result, the multidisciplinary Center of Excellence in Biotechnology and the Shared Fermentation Facility opened in 2018 as engines for collaboration and innovation in biological training and research at University Park.

— Philanthropy is fueling key University initiatives to develop global energy solutions, facilitate transitions, and develop community and leadership through the Penn State Center for Energy Law and Policy, Consortium for Integrated Energy Systems, Global Building Network and Drawdown Scholars Program.

— Dr. Keiko Miwa Ross, Penn State’s “Philanthropist of the Year” in 2020, is adding to her history of giving to fuel economic development initiatives and programming led by Invent Penn State. Today, 96% of Pennsylvanians have a LaunchBox or Innovation Hub within 30 miles of home or work and nearly 5,000 entrepreneurs have received assistance through the entrepreneurial network.

Comments are closed.