College of Education > News and Publications > News: Jan. - March 2011 > Alumna to Endow Undergraduate Scholarship

Alumna to Endow Undergraduate Scholarship

Penn State College of Education alumna Kathleen L. Spicher has pledged to create a scholarship to support outstanding undergraduate students in the College.

by David Price (January 2011)

A scholarship fund endowed by a Penn State alumna will support outstanding undergraduate students in Penn State's College of Education. Dr. Kathleen L. Spicher of Lemont, PA, recently pledged $50,000 to create the Dr. Kathleen L. Spicher Spicher_Kathleen_sml.jpgEndowed Scholarship in the College.

"Increasing numbers of our students need financial assistance to make their educational dreams come true, and a scholarship can make all the difference," says David H. Monk, dean of the College of Education. "I'm truly thankful for Kathleen Spicher's appreciation of the impact that her gift will have."

Spicher, who grew up in Pleasant Gap near the University Park Campus, earned three degrees from the University: a B.S. in secondary education in 1971, an M.A. in social studies in 1976, and a D.Ed. in curriculum and instruction in 1984.

"A lot of the students don't have sufficient funds to go to college and/or their parents can't afford to send them. I would hope that this 'extra incentive' would help them to decide to go to college," Spicher says, knowing that achieving a college education takes hard work and dedication.

"This will be difficult for some to believe, but I never cut a class during my entire college career. I remember in my junior year that I had six classes for the spring semester, and some days I thought I couldn't make it, but I did...still had my PJs on under my raincoat!" That is a drive she hopes the students who benefit from the Dr. Kathleen L. Spicher Endowed Scholarship will embrace.

"Don't give up when times get tough, and don't disappoint yourself or others. Get that degree because it will open up doors in your life that you can never imagine," she says.

As early as seventh grade, Spicher knew that she wanted to be a history teacher. "I had a wonderful teacher, Mrs. Susan Sassman, who inspired me. I wanted to be just like her," she recalls. "I don't know if I ever did, but I do know that I did 'touch students,' as they have thanked me for helping them. I didn't get rich in the monetary sense, but I am rich with the knowledge that my students had at least one good day because of a teacher."

Spicher has a global appreciation for the future impact of her gift. She has traveled extensively (110 countries, seven continents!), and wherever she has gone, she has found an appreciation for a Penn State education. From a Penn State bumper sticker on a bus in the former Soviet Union to legendary singer Pat Boone in Israel: "He asked me where I was from. I said, 'Oh, you wouldn't know the place.' He said, 'Try me.' I said, 'State College, Pennsylvania.' His response was 'Happy Valley, where Joe Paterno and Penn State football reign.' He then said, 'We are!' and pointed to me to finish. I said, 'PENN STATE!'"