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Anonymous bequest commits $2.2 million to Penn State Greater Allegheny

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12/20/2011 —

An anonymous donor has made a $2.2 million estate commitment to Penn State Greater Allegheny. The bequest will institute a scholarship fund, two professorships and a chancellor’s excellence fund.

“This commitment is a tremendous gift to the campus,” said Curtiss E. Porter, chancellor of Penn State Greater Allegheny. “It is historic in its size and scope, as well as in the impact it will have on our students, faculty and community. Private philanthropy is a major driving force behind the growth and enhancement of our campus. Gifts from alumni and friends allow us to fulfill Penn State Greater Allegheny’s mission to care for the success of our students and communities.”

The anonymous bequest establishes a scholarship fund with an initial endowment of $700,000.

“This fund will help us address the growing need for student assistance,” said Porter. “Ninety-one percent of Greater Allegheny students qualify for some kind of financial aid. Most of this aid takes the form of loans. The scholarship fund will help us continue to keep a university degree accessible to future Penn Staters.” Annual scholarship awards will be made from the endowment’s income, which will total approximately $31,500 in support each year. Preference will be given to students from the Pittsburgh region who demonstrate financial need.

The bequest will also establish two professorships at Penn State Greater Allegheny, one in the Department of Information Sciences and Technology and an Early Career Professorship in the Department of Business. These two professorships will be the first faculty endowments ever established at the Greater Allegheny campus. They will provide the support necessary to recruit and retain some of the nation’s best faculty members. In addition, Early Career Professorships provide junior level faculty with a stable, dependable source of income for needs such as specialized teaching and research materials, library acquisitions, salary supplements, and travel assistance.

“The most innovative research initiatives must often produce results before greater funding can become available,” said Porter. “The professorships have the potential not only to support the careers of our faculty, but also to fund breakthroughs that will transform their disciplines.” The early career award will rotate every three years to a new recipient who has completed his or her terminal degree within the preceding decade.

In addition, $500,000 of the bequest will create a new chancellor’s excellence fund at the Greater Allegheny campus. These designated funds will provide the chancellor with flexible financial resources to respond to the evolving needs of the campus. The interest from the endowment, approximately $22,500 each year, will be directed to areas in need of support that enhance the campus’ academic and community environments, including faculty research, student projects, start-up funds for new community engagement programs, facilities support, or other steps toward enhancing education at the campus.

“This bequest is a tremendous asset to our campus. The donor’s generosity will enable us to strengthen the most important areas of Penn State Greater Allegheny’s land-grant mission,” said Porter. “Thanks to the incredible commitment represented in this gift, our donor helps us to ensure we keep a Penn State degree affordable during difficult economic times, launch the careers of our newest, most promising faculty members, and continue the Greater Allegheny campus tradition of excellence and engagement.”

For more information about supporting the Greater Allegheny campus or its students, contact Dale DiSanto, executive director of development for Commonwealth Campuses, at dad23@psu.edu. Gifts to Penn State Greater Allegheny count toward the campus’ goals in For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students. This University-wide effort 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.

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