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College of Education > News and Publications > 2020: 04-06 news > Alumni instrumental in shaping who We Were, who We Are, who We Will Be

Alumni instrumental in shaping who We Were, who We Are, who We Will Be

If students are the lifeblood of a university, alumni are the heart that keeps the lifeblood flowing.

If students are the lifeblood of a university, alumni are the heart that keeps the lifeblood flowing.

Our alumni defined who we as a College of Education were during their time as students. Their involvement now – as mentors to current students, members of the Alumni Society Board or Dean’s Development Council, volunteers at college events, or involved donors contributing both time and their presence to those who are the beneficiaries of their generosity – helps to support who We Are currently, and sets us up for who we will be in the decades to come.

Supporters of the College of Education have been philanthropically supportive of a number of initiatives, including growing the number of scholarships available to students. In 2018-19, the College of Education awarded more than $1.6 million in scholarships to 345 students from 190 different individual funds, with an average individual award of $3,500. Alumni have contributed 74% of the total scholarship funding in the college.

“The amount of a gift, and how it’s made, will differ from donor to donor. But together, those many gifts combine to create transformational support for our students, our faculty and the overall mission of the college.”
~ Steve Wilson

The numbers are only part of the story, however. For many of those 345 students, the financial support made it possible for them to attend Penn State. For others, scholarships enabled them to carry full course loads and also participate in co-curricular activities including Blue Band, THON and Education Ambassadors, instead of working 20 hours a week or more to help pay their tuition bills. It allowed others to participate in courses with embedded study abroad experiences, expanding their world view and exposing them to unique perspectives they may not otherwise obtain.

“We have donors of all ages,” said Steve Wilson, director of Development for the college. “The Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, and even Gen Z alumni. They are a very diverse group, and we are proud to offer ways for them to create philanthropic impact in a way that reflects their unique passions and their specific stages of life.”

Wilson said that some have included the College of Education in their estate planning. Some have endowed scholarships or other funds. And many contribute to already established funds. Some people remember the college with annual contributions; some have money sent to the college through monthly EFT drafts; and some participate in text-to-give campaigns.

“The amount of a gift, and how it’s made, will differ from donor to donor,” said Wilson. “But together, those many gifts combine to create transformational support for our students, our faculty and the overall mission of the college.”

Many alumni also give of themselves.

“Our alumni are so generous with their time, especially when it comes to helping our current students,” said Stefanie Tomlinson, assistant director of Alumni Relations for the College. “Many alumni are involved in multiple ways, including serving on the Alumni Society Board, participating in the Alumni-Student Teacher Network, volunteering their time with some of our undergraduate and graduate student organizations, and attending events such as the Discovery Summit to learn about what our students and faculty are doing in and out of the classroom.”

Below we are featuring a few of the many people whose generosity impacts our students in so many positive ways.

Alumni Profile: Nancy Gamble

Nancy Gamble
Nancy Gamble
Nancy Gamble graduated from the College of Education in 1952 with a bachelor’s degree in home economics education, and in 1955 with an M.Ed. in child development and family relations. A retired elementary and special education teacher, and elementary school principal, she is a past member, along with her late husband, Glenn, of both the Dean’s Development Council and the Alumni Society Board. They generously funded the Glenn and Nancy Gamble Endowed Scholarship in Education; the Franklin and Emma Gamble/Mac and Mabel Saylor Scholarship in the College of Education in memory their parents; the Nancy S. and Glenn W. Gamble Trustee Scholarship in the College of Education; and through a future gift, the Glenn and Nancy Gamble Leadership Fund in Education.

“It is such a pleasure each year to hear from the scholarship recipients and to learn how the award is easing their financial burden. I am so proud of all these future educators.”

Alumni Profile: Evelynn Ellis

Evelynn Ellis
Evelynn Ellis
Evelynn Ellis earned her D.Ed. from the College of Education in 1997. She currently is vice president for Institutional Diversity and Equity at Dartmouth College. Ellis is a former member of the Higher Education Program Alumni Council (HEPAC). She uses electronic funds transfer (EFT) to make monthly gifts to the college in support of a variety of programs offered through the College of Education’s Office of Education and Social Equity.

“Giving to programs that support students in the College of Education at Penn State is an active way to support the future leaders of this country and the world.”

Alumni Profile: Galit Fraser

Galit Fraser
Galit Fraser
Galit Fraser graduated from the College of Education in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in special education. She is a special education teacher at South Anna Elementary in Montpelier, Virginia. Fraser is a volunteer mentor to current students in the college. She also has given annually to fund the ANJ Fraser Scholarship in the College of Education, specifically for students majoring in special education.

“Financial need should not prevent someone who is passionate about education from becoming a teacher and my hope is that my scholarship can help a dedicated, hardworking student to achieve their dream of being a teacher and go on to make an impact on the lives of their students.”

Alumni Profile: Jonathan Klingeman

Jonathan Klingeman
Jonathan Klingeman
Jonathan Klingeman graduated in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from the College of Education and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Bellisario College of Communications. Klingeman, who won the college’s Outstanding New Graduate award in 2012, is director of Gifted, Learning Enrichment and Title Services in the State College Area School District. He is a member of the Alumni Society Board, and co-chairs the Alumni-Student Teacher Network (ASTN). He makes annual gifts to support the Education Future Fund, College of Education General Scholarship Fund, and the David and Pamela Monk Endowment.

“I love giving back to the COE to support the betterment of our schools, students, and teachers, and to show my thanks for the continuous support I’ve received in my career from Penn State.”

Alumni Profile: Carly Colavecchi

Carly Colavecchi
Carly Colavecchi
Carly Colavecchi graduated from the College of Education in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in childhood and early adolescent education. She participated in the Ecuador Immersion Program to receive her ESL teaching certificate. She currently is one of the English language development teachers at Easterly Parkway Elementary School in the State College Area School District. Colavecchi participated in Giving Tuesday in 2017, in support of the Dean’s Student Teaching/Study Abroad Fund in the College of Education.

“It was important to me to give back to the College of Education, because the opportunities I was granted with the ESL Ecuador Immersion Program not only shaped my core beliefs as an educator, but also helped me find my passion in teaching English as a Second Language.”