College of Education > News and Publications > News: April-June 2014 > Support from Alumni, Friends Benefit Students, Provides for Future Excellence

Support from Alumni, Friends Benefit Students, Provides for Future Excellence

As the "For the Future" campaign draws to a close, the College reflects on how its community's many meaningful contributions continue to make a powerful positive impact.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.—High-quality education is the key to a promising future. It builds character, boosts confidence and opens doors of opportunity. It improves society and produces leaders. It charts a bright future and gives birth to innovation.

Melissa Wallington
“Penn State had been a dream of mine for as long as I could remember… However, there were two obstacles I was facing, gaining acceptance and paying my tuition… When I received news of being a College of Education scholarship recipient, I could not have been more grateful.”--Melissa Wallington, from a thank you note to a donor
For all of these reasons and more, education is a worthy investment, one that many alumni, faculty, staff and friends have chosen to support during “For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students.” All of these gifts and pledges have benefited numerous students in the College of Education.

Dean David H. Monk said the generous gifts from alumni and friends throughout the seven-year “For the Future” campaign are moving the College to unprecedented levels of excellence. 

“The resulting scholarships make it possible for us to recruit and retain highly talented students who otherwise would have been denied a Penn State education,” said Monk. “We celebrate these students’ many successes and delight in observing their entrance into so many parts of the vast field of education. The achievements of the campaign have also strengthened the faculty and the richness of the educational experience for our students.”

Mayra Martinez
“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to you for your scholarship... Every semester I challenge myself to earn the best grades and get the most out of all my classes. By awarding me this scholarship you have lightened my financial burden and your generosity is appreciated and accepted with extreme honor. I will continue to work hard in and outside the classroom.” --Mayra Martinez, from a thank you note to a donor
Since the campaign began in 2007, the College has raised more than $31.5 million and has dramatically increased the number of positive impacts on students. In the 2006–07 academic year, $530,000 in scholarships were awarded from endowments. During 2013-14, the College was able to award more than $800,000 in scholarships. In addition, due to a rise in giving through “For the Future,” the College was able to increase the average scholarship amount from $1,300 to $2,200, an increase of nearly 70 percent.

Monk added that thanks to the campaign, the College has achieved the goals it set in previous strategic plans, including its deep commitment to the pursuit of effective innovation in teaching and learning throughout the College. 

“We have reached an impressive peak in our performance as a College, and we look forward to building on these considerable results,” said Monk. “I am personally deeply grateful for every gift that was made during the campaign. Please accept my heartfelt thanks for this remarkable and transformational support.”

The gifts received throughout the campaign have real-world impact. They have been used to support 15 graduate assistantships, countless scholarships, program development, faculty support and facility improvements.

In addition, 46 new endowments were established in the College during the “For the Future” campaign through outright gifts, pledges and documented estate gifts. These endowments provide financial support for scholarships, assistantships, research expenses, guest lecturers, faculty and student recruitment, faculty start-up support, graduate, conferences, professional development for faculty and staff and technology enhancements throughout the College.

“I am delighted to see how the success of the “For the Future” campaign has allowed the College of Education to support so many students interested in advancing their education,” said former Penn State President Rodney Erickson. “This is a fine example of a community coming together to support a great University’s highest priority, its students. The community ranges from the generous donors and alumni whose gifts support our students to the faculty and staff who help our students realize their dreams. It is a wonderful illustration of Penn State at its finest, and I am pleased to offer my congratulations.”

Elizabeth Davinsizer
“I am grateful for the people I have met who have helped me progress toward my goals; just as the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, so too does even the smallest contribution help set great things in motion. When I learned that I had been selected as a recipient for this prestigious scholarship, I was moved that you were interested in helping me continue my pursuit toward higher education and beyond.”--Elizabeth Davinsizer, from a thank you note to a donor
Sue Breedlove, the co-chair of the Dean’s Development Council and a donor herself, said she has learned firsthand how the financial support from the campaign has made an enormous difference in the lives of many students.

“Without these gifts, some students might have been unable to attend Penn State or may have had to juggle a job while working toward their degree,” said Breedlove. “The support students receive helps them to concentrate more on their studies and less on how they are going to cover their expenses.”

The members of the community of those who supported the College and its students during the campaign come from many walks of life. Some are alumni who want to give back to the College that helped them to develop into leaders in their fields. Several are graduates of other Penn State colleges or other universities who are passionate about their belief in the importance of education and the work of the College. Still others are College of Education faculty and staff who believe deeply in the College’s mission and students.

As of January 2014, nearly a third of the faculty and staff in the College of Education, both active and retired, have collectively contributed nearly $900,000 to the “For the Future” campaign. 

Jim Nolan, Hermanowicz professor of education and director of CIFE, is the current College chairperson of the faculty and staff fund raising effort.

“I believe everyone in the College has played an integral role in the campaign’s success through our dedication and commitment to our students,” said Nolan. “Together, we’ve achieved our goal!”

The “For the Future “campaign comes to a close on June 30, 2014, so there is still time to participate. Individuals who are interested in supporting the College of Education by making a contribution may contact Michelle Houser, director of development and alumni relations, at 814-863-2146 or .

--by (June 2014)