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President's Club Letter

Several times a year, President’s Club members will receive Letters from the President and other University leaders, keeping them up to date on recent happenings at Penn State. Below is the most recent letter.

January 2013 Letter from the President

Dear President’s Club Member:

I hope your year is off to a great start, as it is at Penn State. Our students, faculty and staff members are well into the new semester, and our campuses are alive with activity. Our donors and friends play a critical role in enabling our faculty and students to focus their energies on their work, and I wish to extend my sincerest appreciation for your continued generosity to Penn State through your philanthropy to the President’s Club.

I am also pleased to write to you about a milestone in our University’s fundraising history. The Trustee Matching Scholarship Program—created in 2002 to address the urgent need for undergraduate scholarship support—has reached its $100 million goal in new need-based scholarship funding for Penn State students. This unprecedented program has allowed more than 800 different donors, including some of you, to partner with the University to ensure the best and brightest individuals can attend Penn State, regardless of financial circumstance.

Over the past ten years, generous donors have created nearly 900 endowments through this program. Now, approximately $9.8 million in aid is available each year to Penn State students with the greatest economic need. During the 2011-2012 academic year, 4,483 students at every college and campus at Penn State benefitted from these scholarships. More than half of these students are the first generation in their families to attend college. Each of these scholarships provides our students with an opportunity for a better future.

These scholarships benefit students in a wide variety of academic areas across the University. Trustee Scholarship recipients study every major, from business to the arts; participate in student activities like Blue Band; and hail from different geographic areas of the Commonwealth and nation. Some are adult students returning to school to earn their degrees. However, all of these students are academic achievers: The average GPA for Trustee Scholarship recipients during the 2011-2012 academic year was 3.39.

As the costs of higher education continue to rise, undergraduate support is still urgently needed to ensure access to a Penn State degree. As a result, we are celebrating the achievement of the Trustee Matching Scholarship Program’s goal by raising the bar—and assisting even more Penn State students. On March 1, 2013, we will announce that the goal for the Trustee Matching Scholarship Program will be raised to $120 million and that the University’s permanent annual match is doubling from 5 percent to 10 percent on any newly established Trustee Scholarships made from March 1, 2013, until the end of For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students on June 30, 2014.

I have heard countless stories of Penn State students who have said they could not have earned their degrees without scholarship support. One such student is Faith Gibbs, a Secondary Education major who comes from a single-parent household and has another sister in college. She has benefited from several scholarships, including the Susan and Charles Martin Trustee Scholarship in Education. “Thanks to the scholarships I have received, I will be able to walk across the graduation stage and receive a diploma from one of the most prestigious universities in the world,” she said. “Without private support, I would not have been able to stay in school and complete my education.” Because of her donors, she feels even more committed to her teaching career, where she will be able to show other students “that with hard work and support, they too can achieve their dreams.”

As loyal donors to Penn State, thank you for the many ways you have enabled Penn State students to afford their college educations and to take advantage of the many enrichment opportunities offered. Because many of you have assisted our students with the costs of earning their degrees, I wanted to be the first to tell you of this new goal for the Trustee Matching Scholarship Program in advance of the public announcement. On behalf of the students you have helped, we are very grateful.


Rodney A. Erickson