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Scholarships Do More Than Just Pay Tuition, They Motivate

During that gift-giving time of year, many alumni and friends of the Smeal College of Business choose to express their support for Penn State by making tax-deductible contributions that support students.
December 19, 2011

During that gift-giving time of year, many alumni and friends of the Smeal College of Business choose to express their support for Penn State by making tax-deductible contributions that support students.

These gifts make a big difference in the lives of today’s Penn Staters who face the tough financial realities of a struggling economy. Sixty-three percent of Smeal students qualify for financial aid, and the average Smeal student graduates with more than $28,000 in student loan debt.

Endowed scholarships help meet this pressing need for financial assistance, while inspiring and motivating the recipients to achieve their goals. The annual earnings on endowments provide the scholarship dollars, so these funds continue to help students year after year.

Consider the impact scholarship endowments have had on the lives of these Smeal students:

Steve Burns, Class of 2013
Majoring in Accounting
Recipient of the Smeal’s Harry and Nancy W. Silver Trustee Scholarship

Self-discipline is one term that could be used to describe Steve Burns of Keansburg, N.J. From his love for the crew team and its 4:30 a.m. practices to his ambition to work as a professional in the accounting field, he has the ability to focus on his goals.

Burns began his Penn State career at the Hazleton campus where he quickly acclimated to college life. Coming from a small high school where about four students in his graduating class went on to attend college, Burns says Penn State Hazleton was a great first step for him. Always strong in math, Burns became a tutor and later a resident assistant, where he planned projects and events that helped people to develop a sense of belonging. “It was a great experience,” he says.

Making the transition to University Park has not been easy, but he would not trade it for anything. He says he finds his accounting classes to be very tough, but great just the same. And he thinks highly of his professors. The Silver Scholarship provides meaningful assistance financially and emotionally.

“It’s been such a big help to me, and it motivates me,” Burns says. “Receiving a scholarship means a lot.”

Harry and Nancy Silver of Oakland, N.J., created the Silver Trustee Scholarship in 2007 to support Smeal students majoring in Accounting.

Jane Bridwell, Class of 2012
Majoring in Management
Recipient of the Smeal College Alumni Society Board Trustee Scholarship

For Jane Bridwell, a senior Management major from Spring Grove, Pa., family tradition put her on the path toward Penn State, but her own research confirmed that a business degree from Penn State Smeal was the way to go.

“The more I found out about the opportunities that would be available to me here, the more I wanted to come to Penn State and Smeal,” Bridwell says. “I have loved everything about being here.”

She credits her Smeal College Alumni Society Board Trustee Scholarship with allowing her to get the most out of her college experience.

“For me, getting a scholarship means I can participate in extracurricular activities,” she says. “I want to pursue a career in nonprofits, so my involvement as a family relations captain for Dance Marathon and as overall event chair for Penn State’s Relay for Life have provided me with valuable experience.”

Bridwell says her activities have been the perfect complement to her management classes, where she has learned how to figure out the ways that teams work and how to bring out the best in other people.

“It’s easy for me to connect the concepts I’ve been learning to the experiences I’ve been having as a student leader,” she says.

And, she’s grateful for the philanthropic support provided by Smeal alumni.

“Receiving the Alumni Society Board’s scholarship is a huge honor,” Bridwell says. “Being invited to participate in their meetings as an ex officio member has been great. I really appreciate the welcome they’ve extended to me. The scholarship has brought me even closer to Smeal.”

Members of the Smeal College Alumni Society Board established the Alumni Society Board Trustee Scholarship in 2010 to support strong students who demonstrate leadership.

Raymond Diep, class of 2013
Majoring in Supply Chain and Information Systems
Recipient of the Claude G. Wright Scholarship in Distribution

With strong grades and an interest in business, Raymond Diep of Philadelphia gave considerable thought to the major he would choose when he arrived at University Park. “When I found out that Smeal was the best school in the country for supply chain studies I thought, ‘if we’re the best, why not?’”

Scholarships and his job as a resident assistant have made a big difference for Diep, a graduate of Philadelphia’s Central High School. He says the support has made it possible for him to keep his loans down significantly. “I come from a poor area. The Claude Wright Scholarship helps a lot.”

Diep says he has enjoyed every single supply chain class he has taken and that his professors really know their stuff. In addition to his Supply Chain major, he is working toward minors in Information Systems Management, International Business, Sociology, and Japanese. He plans to study abroad in Japan next fall.

After graduation Diep hopes to join a company with a strong rotational training program where he can be exposed to every aspect of the business. His dream job? Earning a position with one of the big companies that develop video game software.

According to Diep, “Scholarship money makes dreaming possible.”

The Claude G. Wright Scholarship in Distribution was created in 1988 by the estate of the late Claude Wright of Rochester, N.Y., to support students in what is now the Department of Supply Chain and Information Systems. The scholarship continues to be supported by Wright’s son, Claude H. Wright.

For more information on making a gift to create a new scholarship or add to an existing fund, please contact Todd Sloan, Smeal’s director of development, at 814-865-7830 or toddsloan@psu.edu. If you would like to give to the Smeal Future Fund online, visit www.giveto.psu.edu.

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