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Smeal Alumni Leaders Challenged to Renew Support for Campaign

A member of the Smeal College of Business Board of Visitors has announced a $5 million addition to an existing campaign commitment and has challenged other volunteer leaders, alumni, and friends to consider new gifts as well.
November 19, 2012

A member of the Smeal College of Business Board of Visitors has announced a $5 million addition to an existing campaign commitment and has challenged other volunteer leaders, alumni, and friends to consider new gifts as well.

The donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, hopes this new commitment will encourage other alumni and friends of Smeal to reaffirm their support of For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students and make a second gift to the college during the final two years of this University-wide fundraising effort. Two of the college’s long-time advocates responded immediately with new commitments of their own, adding $100,000 each to scholarships they had previously endowed.

Mitchell D. Cohen, chair of the Smeal College campaign committee, and Bryon G. Deysher, former committee chair, were inspired by the generosity of their colleague on the Board of Visitors and decided that new gifts were an important way to show support for Smeal students following a difficult year at Penn State.

“With all the changes that have taken place at the University one thing that has not changed is the high quality of our students,” Cohen said. “Their work ethic and creativity are exceptional and companies like mine are eager to hire them. My wife, Carri, and I hope that by increasing our scholarship we can assist more aspiring business leaders to achieve their goal of earning a Penn State business degree.”

Deysher added, “My wife, Cynthia, and I continue to have the utmost faith and confidence in the Smeal College and the educational experience it offers. Many great students and promising leaders are struggling with the cost of earning a Penn State degree. I hope these new scholarship dollars will allow some of them to focus on their studies and extra-curricular activities and less on financial worries.”

Mr. Cohen is a partner and vice-chairman for PricewaterhouseCoopers in New York City. He earned his accounting degree from Smeal in 1981. Mrs. Cohen earned her accounting degree from Smeal the same year. Mr. Deysher is president and CEO of Methods Machine Tools Inc., of Sudbury, Ma. He received a bachelor’s degree in business administration/accounting from Smeal in 1977 and a master of science in finance from Bentley College in 1985. Mrs. Deysher runs Deysher Advisory Services, a consultancy that assists startup companies, and works actively on behalf of her alma mater, the University of Rhode Island.

Cohen has led the Smeal campaign since January 2012, following Deysher who chaired the committee from its formation in 2007 through 2011. Both men also serve on the Board of Visitors.

Charles H. Whiteman, the John and Becky Surma Dean of Smeal, said “The $5 million challenge comes at a crucial time. Our campaign goals are based on the current and future needs of our students and faculty, and securing new gifts brings us closer to addressing those needs. I hope others who are in a position to do so will consider increasing their campaign commitments now. Dollars for scholarships, programmatic funds, and faculty research help to elevate the college to new heights. I am deeply grateful to all three of these individuals for their unwavering and generous support.”

The Cohens and the Deyshers have established scholarships through Penn State’s Trustee Matching Scholarship Program, which maximizes the impact of private giving while directing funds to students as quickly as possible, meeting the urgent need for scholarship support. In this groundbreaking philanthropic model, Penn State matches 5 percent of the total pledge or gift at the time a Trustee Scholarship is created, making funds available immediately for student awards. This University match, which is approximately equal to the endowment's annual spendable income, continues in perpetuity, doubling the support available for students with financial need.

For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students is directed toward a shared vision of Penn State as the most comprehensive, student-centered research university in America. The University is engaging Penn State’s alumni and friends as partners in achieving six key objectives: ensuring student access and opportunity, enhancing honors education, enriching the student experience, building faculty strength and capacity, fostering discovery and creativity, and sustaining the University’s tradition of quality. The campaign’s top priority is keeping a Penn State degree affordable for students and families. The For the Future campaign is the most ambitious effort of its kind in Penn State’s history, with the goal of securing $2 billion by 2014.

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