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Keith Donnelly

Building a foundation to make a difference in society

The small class sizes, friendly and well-educated faculty, and the close proximity to home were some of the reasons that Keith Donnelly, 21, a junior philosophy major from Pittsburgh’s South Hills chose to come to Penn State Greater Allegheny.  But after completing two years here and then changing to the University Park campus to complete his last two years, there is much more that stands out in his memory about the Greater Allegheny campus.

“I believe that the professors genuinely wish to help students learn and become better people, both citizens and human beings,” said Donnelly.  “They did not only critique and help me learn from an academic vantage point, but they made me question the type of person I was becoming.”

It is that desire to make a difference somehow in society that has this philosophy major strongly considering attending law school after graduation.  But his strong desire to learn wasn’t always the case for Donnelly. 

“Education was something I did not take seriously in high school.  I was not a bad student; I just simply did not care for schooling,” he said.  “College and the relationships I developed with my professors were the impetus for my new interest in learning.  I liked the freedom to take courses that interest me, not being forced into a particular field.”

He continued his quest for knowledge when he accepted a fellowship with the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in Harrisburg.  He believed the experience would give him an opportunity to learn about the nature of politics outside of a textbook.

“While a classroom education is beneficial, you have to be enmeshed in the field, in the here and now---here, where the political action is taking place; now, in the ever-changing country and world in which we live---to really understand what is going on,” he said.