University, Pa. – A six-year fundraiser by Penn State University raised $2.1 billion, officials said.
PSU President Eric J. Barron announced in April that the fundraiser, A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence, exceeded its goal, raising $2,166,032,798 for the three imperatives that Barron identified as the university’s top priorities have defined.
Penn State is now one of only 15 universities nationwide to have raised more than $1 billion in three or more campaigns.
“Opening the doors of higher education and helping students graduate on time and on track for success, creating the transformative experiences that help Penn Staters become leaders and connecting the world through research, outreach and service to communities close to home making an impact at home and around the globe — that’s what it means to be a really great public university,” Barron said at a fundraiser earlier this year.
“As I prepare to step down from my role as President, I am deeply grateful for the support we have received and for the confidence our alumni and friends have in Penn State’s potential for leadership. The success of this campaign has provided President-elect Neeli Bendapudi with important resources to take the university to an even higher level and make us ‘a Greater Penn State’.”
Bendapudi was among more than 1,440 guests at the April event, which highlighted the impact of philanthropic support received since the campaign began in 2016.
Board of Trustees Chairman Matthew W. Schuyler observed, “The campaign’s success in meeting its goal is all the more impressive given the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and Penn State’s fighting spirit has never served us better than it has in recent years . The university has broken institutional records in four of the six years of this campaign, and we have had six of our top eight fundraising years of all time.
“Our history and future as a leader in higher education has required that we succeed in this effort, and through their gifts, the university’s alumni and friends help our students and our institution thrive.”
Throughout the event, speakers and videos highlighted landmark gifts, matching programs and other fundraising milestones that contributed to the $2.166 billion total:
Eight figure gifts to name Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications and Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing.
An eight-figure commitment from Gene and Roz Chaiken to expand their scholarship support at the College of the Liberal Arts, making them the largest scholarship providers in the university’s history.
Added support for programs to create a more diverse and inclusive Penn State community, including a $15.5 million donation to establish the A. James Clark Scholars Program at the College of Engineering and nearly $11 million from donors through more than $13 million in university funding to endow Educational Equity Scholarships.
Gifts for appointment to top academic programs and positions including the Ken and Mary Alice Lindquist Department of Nuclear Engineering, the Peter and Ann Tombros Dean’s Chair at the College of Agricultural Sciences, the Michael J. and Aimee Rusinko Kakos Dean’s Chair at the College of Arts and Architecture and the John Leone Dean’s Chair at the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences.
Scholarship gifts and related funds that have provided $93.3 million in endowed support for students in the Open Doors programs to help students meet challenges on the path to their Penn State degrees.
More than $25 million matched 1:1 with university funds in support of the Invent Penn State Initiative and other programs promoting entrepreneurship and economic development across the Commonwealth.
Supporting the construction of the new Palmer Museum of Art at the Arboretum in Penn State, which is expected to be a destination for thousands of students, families and visitors each year and home to nearly $15 million in new art to serve Penn State during the campaign.
gifts from dr Keiko Miwa Ross totaling more than $15 million to name, create and transform spaces across the university, including support for the new Palmer Museum of Art, the Arboretum at Penn State, WPSU, university libraries and more .
More than $160.4 million raised by Children’s Miracle Network, Four Diamonds and THON, as well as donations made directly to Penn State Health Children’s Hospital for Children’s Health.
A $25 million commitment from Highmark for research and care at Penn State Cancer Institute.
Helping improve the student-athlete and fan experience through improved facilities, including nearly $41 million raised for the Football Excellence Fund; $7.5 million to build a new field hockey stadium; $5.5 million for the Panzer Stadium used by the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams; $3.5 million for men’s and women’s basketball facilities; and $2 million for the Morgan Academic Center.
Support from campaign volunteers, including a pledge from campaign chair Rick Sokolov to name the Sokolov-Miller Family Financial and Life Skills Center.
Efforts that brought together donors at all levels to support students in need, such as the Tackle Hunger and One Big Week challenges with Big Ten peers, the Student Care & Advocacy Student Emergency Fund, GivingTuesday and the Returning Seniors Fund for student athletes whose college careers have been disrupted by the pandemic.
“The impact of this campaign will be felt far and deep for many decades to come,” said O. Richard Bundy III, vice president of development and alumni relations. “In the university’s colleges and on campuses throughout the Commonwealth, Penn State supporters ensure that our ambition as an institution—to serve and lead, to set a new standard for higher education—aligns with the ambition of our students. Since the campaign began, we have received support from nearly 684,000 donors, and each of these donors is dedicated to making our institution bigger.”
The event also celebrated the contributions of Penn State’s volunteer fundraisers to the campaign’s success. Campaign Chairman Rick Sokolov thanked the more than 700 alumni and community leaders who have served over the past six years.
“Not only have our volunteers donated a tremendous amount of time and talent to A Greater Penn State,” said Sokolov. “They also set a strong example with their own donation, as did the University Board of Trustees, the academic deans and chancellors, and Eric and Molly Barron themselves. These demonstrated efforts underscored the importance of the success of this campaign and represented the continued commitment of the entire Penn State Community for ‘A Greater Penn State’ for sure.”
The event was one of Eric and Molly Barron’s last public appearances before the President’s official retirement on May 8. The program featured a medley of the couple’s favorite songs performed by students from Penn State’s musical theater program, conducted by program director John Simpsons.
Onstage and backstage, more than 200 students and 17 faculty were involved in the live show, which was directed by School of Theater Director Rick Lombardo, and video components of the event were created in partnership with WPSU, the College of Arts and Architecture , created , and the center for immersive experiences.
While the April 22nd event marked the official public celebration of “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” gifts made prior to June 30th will count towards the campaign total.
To learn more about A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence, visit greatpennstate.psu.edu.