Ivy Leaf - Spring 2004
A major factor in Edith Hertzog's decision to create a Trustee Scholarship at Penn State Altoona was her desire to alleviate part of the financial burden that many students carry in pursuit of a college education. But the March Forth Trustee Scholarship, initiated by Hertzog and co-sponsored by her husband Mark and Penn State college roommate Patricia Lankes Gadbaw '72, represents much more than tuition assistance.
The name of the scholarship reflects "Edie" Hertzog's sense of determination and positive outlook. On March 4, 1994, Hertzog received her final chemotherapy treatment for colon cancer. At the time, a friend pointed out that the date offered a wonderful message: "March Forth! Go forward with hope-YES!"
"We've celebrated March Forth on March 4 every year since then, and, with its 10-year anniversary in 2004, it is the appropriate name for this scholarship," Hertzog explained.
A 1972 Penn State graduate who later earned a master's degree in adult education from the University, Edie was born and raised in Altoona and began her undergraduate work at Penn State Altoona. Her husband, Mark, is a Cambria County native. Both felt compelled to assist Penn State students from their home areas who need scholarships in order to continue their education. As a former scholarship recipient, Hertzog was well aware of the tremendous difference the assistance could make on the futures of young scholars.
"As a high school senior, I received a small scholarship that was managed by a local bank," commented Hertzog. "I didn't knowingly apply for it. I still don't know how or why I got it, but without it, I could easily not have attended college."
"My mother died when I was 10, my father had just retired on disability from the railroad, and I had no idea how I would pay for college. No one in my immediate family had ever gone to college. The scholarship gave me the push I needed to hope that college could really happen for me."
The struggling economies in their home counties also factored into the Hertzogs' decision on the selection of a gift to Penn State Altoona.
"We've often talked about the economic devastation that has occurred in our home areas since we were children," remarked Hertzog. "We feel the need to do something positive to help the area where our roots are. Establishing this scholarship is a small payback to the area. It is our hope that it gives area residents the opportunity to advance themselves by going to college, and that someday they, too, will be motivated and able to pass the opportunity on to others."
The Hertzogs are funding this trustee scholarship with the financial support of family, friends, colleagues and other interested donors. College roommate Gadbaw was among the very first to join the effort.
"When I approached Pat about what we had planned, at first she was happy just to contribute to the cause," related Hertzog, who has been employed by Penn State for 31 years and currently serves as associate director for information resources in the University Budget Office. "After we discussed it further, she decided to leap with us as a scholarship sponsor. Pat told me that she feels she has been very fortunate as a result of the college education she received at Penn State, and that she wants to offer assistance to individuals in the future so that they may have that same opportunity."
The Hertzogs' philanthropic vision focuses on the roles they can play in building and sustaining a successful community. Over the years, these Centre County residents have gained an understanding of what can be accomplished by individuals with a common purpose through their involvement with the Park Forest Day Nursery, a preschool for children of at-risk families; the United Way; their church; and various other charitable organizations.
Creating Dreams ... One Step at a Time
"We formed a small company called 'Create Dreams One', as in 'create dreams one step at a time,' that assists non-profit organizations with fundraising," Hertzog stated. "We've published two cookbooks and created other items which have been used by a wide variety of charitable organizations to raise money. It's small, but we do what we can."
Through the March Forth Trustee Scholarship, the Hertzogs are aiding students in a very big way. Although it has been more than three decades since she attended classes at Ivyside Park, Hertzog has always maintained a deep appreciation for all that was offered during those formative years, especially the scholarship funds.
"There was never any question that, if I could go to college, I would go to Penn State Altoona. It provided me the opportunity to get a college degree. It has grown so much since I attended, and now it provides people with many more options, including the possibility of completing a bachelor's degree. What better way to give back than to support a scholarship for others with financial need at a place with so much to offer?"
"It is an opportunity to boost someone else's hope that college can be real for them. It is an opportunity to encourage others that they, too, have the creativity to find ways to help others. And, it's a way to remind everyone to March Forth to a future full of hope because they will also be encouraging others to have hope by what they say and do."