UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As the University celebrates the success of its fundraising campaign, “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” Penn State Outreach and Online Education (OOE) is thanking donors whose dedication to its programs and to student success has made it possible to surpass its goal of $43 million and successfully fulfill its broad mission of teaching, research, and public service.
Penn State OOE units — including Penn State World Campus, WPSU-TV, Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, Readiness Institute at Penn State, Penn State Center Pittsburgh, Penn State Center Philadelphia, Nittany AI Alliance, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Penn State, Justice and Safety Institute, and Conferences and Institutes — have all been enabled to fulfill their outreach missions through the generosity of donors, supporters, and volunteers during the campaign.
Renata Engel, vice provost for Online Education, said Penn State OOE units exemplify the University’s commitment to support learners across the spectrum of lifelong learning.
“Through their incredible generosity, our donors are sending us two important messages. First, they believe in the purpose of the work, and second, they are confident in our ability to deliver on that mission with excellence,” Engel said. “We are deeply grateful for that endorsement and their support.”
Tracey Huston, vice president for Penn State Outreach, said she has great appreciation for those who champion the OOE mission.
“We are grateful to our donors and volunteers who have supported the University and this campaign,” Huston said. “By sharing their time, talent, and treasure to expand our programming efforts, support our learners, and invest in innovative advancements, they have created even more opportunities to impact people of all ages within Pennsylvania and beyond.”
At an April 22 event, outgoing President Eric J. Barron and President-elect Neeli Bendapudi, along with other members of University leadership, announced that the “A Greater Penn State” campaign had surpassed its $2.1 billion goal and raised more than $2.166 billion. Supporters of Penn State OOE contributed $43 million to that total.
Among the achievements of the “A Greater Penn State” campaign at Penn State OOE are:
- A $3 million total impact, including a Penn State match, from the Richard and Claudia Fischer Open Doors Scholarship in Penn State World Campus — the lead gift for the Smart Track to Success program. The program assists Penn State World Campus students to adjust to the demands of being a student for their first two semesters. The program provides them with $3,000 in financial assistance, academic support, peer mentoring, life skills, and the development of a peer community. As of today, 642 students have participated in Smart Track to Success and 200 of those students were supported by donor funds.
- A $2 million gift from Keiko Miwa Ross to name the Dr. Keiko Miwa Ross WPSU Production Studio, replace an aging transmitter, and assist the public broadcasting station (PBS) in reaching 2.9 million Pennsylvanians across 24 counties in the commonwealth.
- A $1.5 million gift to create the Mary Ellen and Thomas Litzinger Endowment at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, along with additional gifts to establish the Klingsberg Aviary at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center and Hawks View Treehouse at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center. This support helps to fulfill the center’s mission, while serving students and the community on a daily basis.
Susan Kukic, senior director for Penn State OOE Development and Alumni Relations, said Penn State OOE’s overall campaign success fosters access to education and life-enhancing programs while honoring and extending Penn State’s land-grant mission.
“We want to express sincere gratitude to our donors, volunteers, and staff for contributing to this major milestone,” Kukic said. “Transformational gifts, as well as the tens of thousands of smaller gifts when pooled together, are making a huge impact on the quality and scope of OOE’s far-ranging programs.”
The campaign continues until June 30, 2022, and there is still time for supporters to contribute to the final total and to the vision for “A Greater Penn State.”
“A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence” is a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by serving communities and fueling discovery, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence.”
Photo Credit: Trish Hummer / Penn State. Creative Commons