These extraordinary gifts are carefully managed by Penn State to provide permanent, ongoing support for our students and programs. Endowments exist in perpetuity: the fund is invested for long-term growth; only a small percentage (typically 4.5 percent) of the market value is spent each year, so that the endowment—and the legacy of our donors—endures for the life of the University.
The minimum endowment levels listed below guarantee that sufficient income will be available to fulfill the intentions of the endowment. All endowments can be created with payments over the course of five years, and most can be established with estate or deferred gifts (exceptions are noted below with an asterisk). Our development staff can work with you to establish guidelines for your endowment and to provide ongoing stewardship to ensure that your philanthropic goals are achieved.
Please scroll down or click on the categories below in order to view a list of endowment opportunities.
Dean’s / Chancellor’s Chair
The endowment of a dean’s or chancellor’s chair represents a landmark commitment to Penn State, ensuring that the most visible and important position within a college or campus will continue to be held by distinguished and talented leader-educators.
Department Head Chair
This gift provides flexible support for departmental leadership in the form of strategic investments in such areas as graduate student stipends, faculty recruitment, research expenses, equipment purchases, and other resources that dramatically improve departmental excellence.
Typically conferred upon the most distinguished scholar-teachers, the endowment of a chair provides a professor with resources to continue promising research and programs, helping departments to attract or retain top faculty who are esteemed as mentors, direct important initiatives, and contribute significantly to the University’s mission.
An endowed professorship offers resources necessary to pursue new lines of research or innovative teaching methods, ensuring the stability and strength of our academic programs and allowing Penn State to encourage new levels of achievement among its most promising faculty.
Early Career Professorship
The early career professorship offers recognition and additional support for outstanding young University faculty. It is designed to rotate every three years to a new recipient, typically at the assistant professor level, and it offers deans and campus executives the opportunity to recruit and retain rising academic stars.
Graduate Fellowships and Awards
Graduate fellowships allow departments to recruit the most talented students from around the globe, regardless of their financial circumstances. Covering tuition and basic living expenses, fellowships ensure that graduate students remain focused on their studies instead of the cost of education.
Distinguished Graduate Fellowship
Awarded to the most outstanding applicants across the University, these fellowships are among the most competitive forms of aid available to Penn State’s graduate students. While the same minimum endowment levels apply, Distinguished Graduate Fellowships double the impact of privately endowed funds by partnering endowment returns with permanently allocated University resources. This program will exist only until each unit has established the number of Distinguished Graduate Fellowships allocated to it by the Graduate School.
Graduate Scholarships and Research Awards
These funds can enhance an emerging scholar’s Penn State experience and future career by supplementing other financial aid awards, encouraging individual academic projects, supporting travel for research and professional conferences, and recognizing achievements that have meaning to the donor and to the wider world.
Undergraduate Scholarships and Awards
These scholarships are a critical component of the aid packages provided to Schreyer Scholars, helping us to compete with other leading honors programs and universities in attracting the highest performing undergraduate applicants. An honors scholarship may be targeted to Schreyer Scholars in a specific college or at a specific campus.
The Trustee Matching Scholarship Program offers our alumni and friends an opportunity to become partners with Penn State in meeting the financial need of our undergraduates. This groundbreaking philanthropic model uses University funds to match 5 of the original endowment value every year in perpetuity. With some restrictions, donors may target their Trustee Scholarships to the student population with whom they feel the deepest connection by indicating a single preference category such as geographic region, academic major, or involvement in a particular activity.
Visit the Trustee Matching Scholarship Program section of this website for more information on this scholarship program.
This type of endowment offers donors the opportunity to shape a scholarship that expresses their passions and values by indicating multiple criteria for recipients: rewarding student leaders or academic achievers from a particular community, for example, or supporting students in a preferred major who also share other aspects of the donor’s background.
Destiny Scholarships help Penn State to fulfill its land-grant mission by assisting first-generation college students who are unlikely to enroll and remain at Penn State without significant financial support.
Enrichment Scholarships help Penn State to create a vibrant and diverse academic community in which all individuals—regardless of ethnicity, gender, or other personal characteristics—can achieve their full potential.
Recipients of Renaissance Scholarships are chosen from among the top students with the greatest financial need, regardless of academic major or other criteria. Donors may establish Renaissance Scholarships as University-wide or for a particular campus. Students who continue to meet eligibility requirements can maintain their Renaissance Scholarships throughout their Penn State careers.
Award endowments allow donors to recognize the extraordinary achievements of Penn State students and encourage new levels of academic excellence.
Support for Programs and Research
$5,000,000 and more*
Academic departments are the core of the University, encouraging disciplinary rigor and providing intellectual homes for our students and faculty. Naming an academic department is the best way to ensure that a program has the resources and flexibility it needs to lead the way for its students and its peers in education, research, and service.
Academic Centers and Institutes
By naming an academic center or institute, donors can accelerate our progress in addressing urgent global issues and encourage the interdisciplinary collaborations that hold the most promise in fields as diverse as medicine, economics, environmental science, and international law.
Lectures by visiting speakers reinvigorate dialogue on our campuses, connect our students with leaders in a vast range of fields, and attract the attention of the public and the media to the academic community at Penn State.
Research endowments have the potential to yield tangible benefits beyond the University and are particularly vital in nurturing the work of junior faculty-researchers who may have special promise and vision but face difficulty in securing funds from conventional corporate and government sources.
Both students and faculty depend upon the University’s library holdings, from print publications such as books and periodicals to digital media and archival materials. An endowment can ensure that Penn State will be able to deepen and refresh its collections in an area that holds special interest for a donor.
Through program endowments, donors can support activities as diverse as literacy outreach, undergraduate research, study abroad, and public broadcasting.
Naming Colleges, Campuses, and Schools
Through naming endowments, our most generous benefactors can:
- recognize a program’s achievements and provide the resources necessary to build upon them;
- give a program the stability and support it needs to become a force in the academic world;
- challenge faculty and staff to unite across disciplines and fields to provide the best possible education for Penn State students.
Naming a college, campus, or school is one of the most visible and important legacies that can be established at Penn State. Each gift reflects the donor’s highest ideals and ensures that those ideals remain an enduring yet dynamic part of Penn State for generations to come. The opportunity to name a college, campus, or school is available on an individual basis, at the level that reflects the scope of the entity. Our development staff can work with you to establish guidelines and provide ongoing stewardship.
* These endowments (endowments marked with an asterisk) must be established with an outright gift, rather than an estate or deferred gift.