Ivy Leaf - Fall 2002

Honoring Penn State Altoona Treasures


With the recent creation of two distinct philanthropic initiatives, Penn State Altoona is providing individuals with opportunities to pay tribute to a revered faculty member through donations to an endowed scholarship fund and to honor loved ones through the purchase of trees that will advance campus preservation efforts.

The Dr. Athleen Stere Endowed Scholarship Fund honors the esteemed associate professor of Biology who has instructed and advised students at Penn State Altoona since 1971. By establishing a scholarship in Dr. Stere's name, College officials have designed the perfect vehicle through which countless current and former administrators, colleagues, and students may recognize an individual whose devotion to students is unrivaled and whose stature on campus is unparalleled.

Few people throughout Penn State Altoona's rich sixty plus years of existence have impacted the lives of as many students as Dr. Stere. Her dedication to those students, and their pursuit of a college degree, has been unfailing over the years.

After more than thirty years as a University professor, Dr. Stere can count on one hand the number of classes she has been forced to cancel. Amazingly, she once insisted on delaying a trip to an orthopedic specialist to have her broken arm cast until she had finished teaching a lab. Another time, during a blackout, she continued lecturing while a student illuminated the blackboard with a flashlight.

Dr. Stere has been recognized as an outstanding educator on several occasions. In 1980, the University bestowed the prestigious Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching on Dr. Stere. The award recognizes "master teachers" who possess a dedication to excellence, an active involvement in scholarship, an excitement about teaching, a deep interest in students as individuals, and a personal commitment to help students learn.

In 1999, Dr. Stere received the Women in Leadership Award, sponsored by Penn State's Commission for Women. In addition to several other awards for faculty excellence and distinguished teaching, Dr. Stere has received the Faculty Member of the Year Award, presented by Penn State Altoona's Student Government Association. Dr. Stere is particularly proud of that honor because students select the award winner.

"When I make something that is difficult understandable to students, I feel I have really accomplished something," Dr. Stere noted. "I have such wonderful students. I learn just as much from them as they learn from me. They enrich my life. I also enjoy my colleagues very much. The faculty and staff are like family to me. I love my work. I can't imagine not being here."

When the $50,000.00 scholarship is fully endowed, the fund will generate the financial resources necessary to aid current and future students in obtaining a coveted college education, while honoring a remarkable academician and treasured friend.

The second initiative, Ivyside Legacy, is a program through which individuals can arrange to have a tree planted on campus to celebrate the life of someone dear to them, whether that person is living or deceased. Under the program, interested parties meet with College representatives to select the type of tree to be planted and its location on campus. Once the tree is planted, a beautiful bronze plaque with the tree's name and the name of the loved one to be honored is placed near its base. All monies received beyond the cost of purchasing and planting a tree and creating the bronze plaque will be deposited in a Campus Preservation Endowment Fund, ensuring care and maintenance of the beautiful natural setting in perpetuity.

Ivyside Park holds cherished memories for those who remember the good old days when it was a popular amusement park and for many others who studied, taught or worked at present-day Penn State Altoona. Ivyside Legacy ensures that the splendor everyone remembers will still be seen through the eyes of future generations who traverse those comfortably shaded and well-manicured grounds. Honoring a loved one through Ivyside Legacy affords one with the opportunity to become a part of both Ivyside Park's past and Penn State Altoona's future.

Importantly, donations to the Dr. Stere Scholarship Fund and participation in Ivyside Legacy support Penn State Altoona's quest to fulfill its Grand Destiny Campaign goals related to endowed scholarships and program development.

For more information on how you can donate to the Dr. Stere Scholarship Fund and participate in Ivyside Legacy, please contact Penn State Altoona's Office of Development at 814-949-5091.