Mont Alto celebrates philanthropy during 22nd Annual Scholarship Social

Bill Myers

Scholarship recipient Bill Myers thanks Penn State Mont Alto donors during the 22nd Scholarship Social on Oct. 13, 2017.

Credit: Debra Collins

MONT ALTO, Pa. ― On Oct. 13, Penn State Mont Alto hosted its 22nd Annual Scholarship Social to honor scholarship students and recognize donors who are providing financial support for scholarships and other campus programs. See more photos of the event here

This year, 345 Penn State Mont Alto students are receiving scholarship support, totaling more than $521,000, according to Mont Alto Development Director Randall Ackerman.

This year’s social provided scholarship students and donors the opportunity to meet and mingle while enjoying delicious food and Penn State Berkey Creamery Ice Cream. During the evening program, the audience heard about the importance of scholarships, learned about Penn State’s five-year University-wide campaign, "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence.” They also enjoyed a performance from the Penn State Mont Alto Chorale ― a student program made possible with endowment support ― and enjoyed Penn State Mont Alto chocolate bars provided by nursing alumnus Sandra Offut, a 1989 alumna.

“What an incredible blessing it is to receive the Albert and Lorraine Kligman Scholarship for Returning Students,” said nursing student Bill Myers. The father of two young daughters, Myers made the difficult decision to return to college, after working for more than ten years as a heavy diesel mechanic, with the support of his wife, Zivana, a 2005 alumna of Mont Alto’s physical therapy assistant program.

“I know that I speak for all of the students in the room when I say many of us would not be here at Penn State were it not for the alumni, donors and supporters gathered here,” he said.

“While we may never be able to say thank you enough, we want you each to know that because of your generosity, you are helping give each of us the opportunity to pursue our dreams and to earn a Penn state degree.”

Ellen Palmer, a 1989 alumna and volunteer chair of Mont Alto’s Campaign Committee, addressed the students. “You are surrounded this evening with supporters, who, in a variety of ways, are contributing money toward your college education. They make their gifts to Penn State because they each believe in the value of a Penn State degree and, they believe in each of you,” she said.

As she announced the upcoming kick-off celebration of the Greater Penn Statecampaign that will be held on May 19, 2018, Palmer put on a cowboy hat.

“The evening will have a country western theme, complete with square and line dancing!” she said. “So, friends, break out your cowboy boots and hats. The evening promises to be an exciting time here at Penn State Mont Alto!”

Ackerman recognized 11 recent gifts to the Mont Alto campus totaling more than $664,000. The largest this year was from Chambersburg Hospital and Summit Health ― a partnership dating back 13 years and amassing over $1.8 million in support of Mont Alto’s College of Nursing.

Combined support from Summit this year was $385,000 and included the purchase of a robotic birthing simulator, Lucina and Baby ― a high-tech teaching tool that allows nursing students to have experience with high-risk births and safely master the skills to respond to them.

Sherri Stahl, Summit Health senior vice president of hospital operations, spoke about the importance of Summit’s partnership with Penn State Mont Alto and how supporting nursing is not only important to her personally but is also an investment in the region.

“Summit’s partnering with Mont Alto is not just a donation, it is an investment for our community and our workforce,” she said. “One of my priorities is to support nursing, and I am so glad that Summit can do that with Penn State Mont Alto."

Ten other major gifts were recognized, including:

  • Estate of Charles Wolfe, $10,000 for the Scott Eckert Memorial Trustee Scholarship
  • Scott Electric Foundation, $10,000 for bronze military emblems displayed on Mont Alto’s Veterans Center
  • Debra Smith, $11,000 for  Mont Alto’s women’s volleyball team
  • John Fairchild and Lauraine Hawkins, assistant professor of biology, $11,500 for the Campus Career Clothes Closet, student scholarship awards, the George and Judy Bugyi Renaissance Scholarship, and Mont Alto Student Hardship Endowment
  • The late Mont Alto alumnus Gilmore Smith, class of 1950, $11,792 for the Emmanuel Chapel Preservation Fund
  • Harry Oyler, $15,894 for the Oyler Family Scholarship
  • Marilynne Stout, $25,000 for the scholarship named for her late husband, a Mont Alto 1969 alumnus, the William L. Stout Family Memorial Trustee Scholarship
  • Alumni Jim Ingram, class of 1983 and Barbara Ingram, class of 1985, $34,450 for the Jack Ingram Endowed Scholarship and the Mont Alto Alumni & Friends Tailgate
  • Gary and Brenda Cummings, $50,000 to fund the Gary & Brenda Cummings Scholarship
  • Page and Cindy Etchison, $100,000 to fund the Page & Cindy Etchison Trustee Scholarship

The evening closed with the exciting sounds of the Penn State Mont Alto Chorale under the direction of Music Director Fred Davison. The chorale was generously funded in 2013 by Kathryn Miner, wife of the late John A. Miner, who established the Miner Choir Endowment.