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: $5,000,000*
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: $3,000,000*
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.
Faculty Chair: $2,000,000
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: $500,000
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
Distinguished Graduate Fellowship $400,000
Awarded to outstanding research doctorate (Ph.D.) applicants across the University, these fellowships are among the most competitive forms of support available to Penn State’s graduate students. While the same minimum endowment levels as Graduate Fellowships apply, Distinguished Graduate Fellowships double the impact of privately endowed funds by partnering endowment returns with permanently allocated University resources to provide two semesters of support. This program will exist only until each unit has established the number of Distinguished Graduate Fellowships that can be matched with resources allocated to it by the Graduate School, with a limited number of matches available University-wide.
Graduate Fellowship $400,000
Competition for quality graduate students is intense, and high-quality students are increasingly discerning in their choices of graduate institutions. In this environment, gifts for graduate fellowships help Penn State to recruit and retain the highest-achieving, creative, and innovative advanced-degree candidates. Covering tuition and/or basic living expenses, including health care benefits, fellowships ensure that graduate students remain focused on their studies rather than the cost of education.
Graduate Scholarships $250,000
These funds can enhance an emerging scholar’s Penn State experience and future career by supplementing other financial awards, enabling individual scholarly projects, supporting travel for research and professional conferences, and recognizing achievements that have special meaning to the donor and to the greater world. Scholarships are awards of direct financial support to students who demonstrate academic excellence, in recognition of attaining distinction in their area of scholarship. These funds enable critical support of students’ professional development and scholarly achievement.
Graduate Research Awards: $50,000
Research is an integral part of graduate education. With their combination of energy, curiosity, and ambition, graduate students ask probing questions, pursue in-depth levels of investigation that often produce critical insights, and generate new innovations. These gift funds provide monetary support to graduate students for expenses related to conducting research that is considered part of their graduate program requirements. These awards do not support tuition or stipends, but are to assist with out-of-pocket costs for conducting required research for a student’s master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation. Research awards may include such items as travel for the collection of data or to present research results at a professional conference; the purchase or utilization of critical research equipment, laboratory or studio supplies; the development of survey research tools; statistical consulting; research subject reimbursements; and publications costs. This type of funding has the potential to advance solutions to our most pressing societal problems and global challenges, and affords students the opportunity to add components to their graduate work that may not have otherwise been possible.
Graduate Awards: $20,000
Graduate awards are designed to provide recognition to students for a singular accomplishment. Gifts for graduate awards afford Penn State’s Graduate School, through the support of donors, the opportunity to recognize excellence among our graduate students. Whether it is the highest quality thesis or dissertation, outstanding teaching and mentoring, or any of the other many contributions our graduate students make, these gifts allow us to highlight the many distinguished efforts of those enrolled in graduate degree programs.
Undergraduate Scholarships and Awards
Honors Scholarship: $50,000
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.
Trustee Scholarship: $100,000*
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 percent 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.
Undergraduate Scholarship: $50,000
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 Scholarship: $50,000
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 Scholarship: $50,000
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.
Renaissance Scholarship: $30,000
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
Academic Departments: $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: Various Levels
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 Funds: >$50,000
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.
Program Support: $25,000
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.
Visit the Links to Colleges, Campuses, and Programs page for a list of college, campus, and program philanthropy web pages.
* These endowments (endowments marked with an asterisk) must be established with an outright gift, rather than an estate or deferred gift.