FEATURE ARTICLE: Donor event celebrates the generosity that makes dreams possible
Penn State Mont Alto celebrated the generosity and philanthropy of those who help make students’ dreams come true during its 19th annual Donor Appreciation Celebration in October. The event brought scholarship recipients together with donors for an evening.
"Scholarships are the only answer for many current and future students to be able to realize a college degree,” said Ellen Palmer ’89, chair of the newly formed Development Committee, while speaking to the audience of about 500 students, parents, alumni and friends of the Mont Alto community who had gathered in the Multipurpose Activities Center (MAC). “There is no limit to the needs our scholarships fill.”
“It is my hope to continue to provide students with all the means they need to accomplish their dreams,” she said, noting that dedicated committee members are working to continue the successful fundraising efforts of For the Future, The Campaign for Penn State Students, which ended on June 30.
“As a result of the University’s nationwide, seven-year For the Future, The Campaign for Penn State Students, Penn State Mont Alto increased its endowment by 66 percent and now boasts 88 permanent endowments,” said Director of Development Randall Ackerman. “As a result of this generous support, tonight we celebrate 313 students receiving scholarship support totaling $443,525.”
Throughout the evening, donors and scholarship recipients had the opportunity to meet while also hearing about the importance of receiving scholarships. Chancellor Francis Achampong welcomed the crowd, saying “This is a wonderful way to personalize the meaningfulness of the generosity of our scholarship donors.”
Four checks were unveiled, highlighting scholarship support of more than $1.8 million to the Mont Alto campus. Featured gifts included: Summit Health, which has given $1,570,000 in support to the Penn State Mont Alto nursing program over the past 10 years; Patrice Nitterhouse and her husband, Dennis Zimmerman, who have given a cumulative total of $213,500 to two scholarships that support nursing students, The T.K. Nitterhouse Trustee Scholarship and The Penn National Golf Course Community Nursing Scholarship in Honor of Mary Steel; John Shearer ’51 and his wife, Pauline Shearer ’53, who gave $25,000 to support their Trustee Scholarship; and Dick Rice ’56, and his wife, Sue Rice ’55, who gave $13,500 to the Penn State Mont Alto student hardship endowment.
Thanks in part to the nursing scholarships and the Summit Health partnership that supports two nursing faculty positions on the Mont Alto campus, there are 121 students enrolled in Penn State Mont Alto’s nursing programs, according to Ackerman. “Each is working to receive a world class education from Mont Alto’s nationally and internationally recognized nursing educators,” he said.
The program ended with a performance by the Penn State Mont Alto Student Chorale, directed by David Bowman and accompanied by Jamie Buxton. Throughout the evening, scholarship students expressed their gratitude to those whose generosity is helping to make their dreams come true.
“Scholarships are truly a very important aspect of my college life and the life of my family,” said veteran student and scholarship recipient Benjamin Stephey. “The world can seem like an unforgiving place at times, but for those of us who have support, and who are willing to meet life head on, there is light at the end of the tunnel. These scholarship awards and the people behind them are my light in the tunnel.”