ALTOONA – The Penn State Altoona Alumni Society has made a $60,000 commitment to create a Trustee Scholarship at Penn State Altoona. In recognition of the gift, the Alumni Society will be inducted this fall into the Ivy Circle category of the campus’ Ivyside Society, which was established in 1987 to honor those who, through their philanthropic support and leadership, share a commitment to the continuing excellence of Penn State Altoona. Ivy Circle represents the highest level of giving to Penn State Altoona.
“The Alumni Society has a long history of support for our college,” said Chancellor and Dean Lori J. Bechtel-Wherry. “This philanthropic gift extends their legacy of giving while meeting students’ critical financial needs. I am grateful for the many ways that our Alumni Society supports our students and college.”
The Alumni Society’s sustained philanthropic commitment to the campus over the years includes creation of an endowed scholarship in 1999. To date, approximately $20,300 has been awarded to twenty-eight students, providing them with critical financial aid. The society has also supported the Community Arts Center and Force Advanced Technology Center building funds and funding of numerous enhancement projects.
“The Penn State Altoona Alumni Society takes great pride in providing opportunities and resources for our students,” said Thomas J. Koehle ’03, president of the society. “This commitment is just the latest example of that. The Trustee Matching Scholarship Program is a unique opportunity to impact a great number of students. Our board of directors is excited to be able to support Penn State Altoona students in perpetuity.”
The Alumni Society sponsors an array of educational, social, cultural, and philanthropic events and activities that promote engagement with alumni, students, and friends of Penn State Altoona. This past January, the Alumni Society inaugurated a new event titled Winter Plunge that netted over $12,000 in pledges and proceeds designated for the society’s scholarship program and Penn State Altoona Benefitting THON. In November 2013, Winter Plunge will be recognized as a winner in the New/Innovative Event or Program category of the Penn State Alumni Association Volunteer Awards Program.
Penn State launched the Trustee Matching Scholarship Program in 2002 to engage alumni and friends as partners in supporting students in need, offering a 5 percent annual match, in perpetuity, for donor-created endowments and approximately doubling their spendable income. Over the years, the program has raised more than $100 million in endowed scholarship support for undergraduates who might not otherwise be able to earn a Penn State degree. Each year, some 4,000 Penn State students benefit from the more than 800 Trustee Scholarship endowments that have been created throughout the University. During the 2012-13 academic year, Trustee Scholarships helped 71 Penn State Altoona students to focus on their studies, develop as leaders, and prioritize their education over paying for that education. A Trustee Scholarship endowment recently created by Steve and Nancy Sheetz will increase the number of recipients to nearly 200 during the upcoming academic year.
On March 1, 2013, the program began offering a 10 percent annual match for new endowed gifts, doubling the additional funds available for students. This increased match will be available through the end of For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students on June 30, 2014, or until the pool of matching support has been awarded. The higher match level applies only to new endowments at the $50,000 level or higher.
Gifts to create Trustee Scholarships will help Penn State Altoona and the University to reach the goals of the For the Future campaign, which is directed toward a shared vision of Penn State as the most comprehensive, student-centered research university in America. The University is engaging Penn State’s alumni and friends as partners in achieving six key objectives: ensuring student access and opportunity, enhancing honors education, enriching the student experience, building faculty strength and capacity, fostering discovery and creativity, and sustaining the University’s tradition of quality. The campaign’s top priority is keeping a Penn State degree affordable for students and families. The For the Future campaign is the most ambitious effort of its kind in Penn State’s history, with the goal of securing $2 billion by 2014.